|| Hazel ||
I couldn't stop thinking about it. How the blood splattered the white walls when Luke pulled the trigger. My stomach still twists every time I think about it. Luke had told me that he killed someone to get in the mafia. I pressed my forehead against the duvet on the bed. The silence allowed me to think, to meditate. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I didn't know what to think anymore, I was in a sea of emotions and I was drowning.
There was a knock on the door that pulled me out of my thoughts, "Hazel," Luke said.
I sat up and stared at the door, but didn't say anything. My feet slid quietly off the bed and I moved to the door. I pressed my ear to the door.
"Hazel please," Luke begged.
"What do you need?" I asked.
"I want to talk to you," He said.
I hesitated but opened the door just an inch. Luke towered over me and looked down at me with bloodshot eyes. I pulled it open and allowed him to come inside. He walked past me, I closed the door behind him and sat on the bed. He pulled out a chair and sat across from me.
"I'm sorry," He said.
"For what?" I asked slightly taken aback.
"I don't know, for whatever I did wrong," He mumbled. "For killing that guy, for trying to keep you safe. I feel like a damn monster."
"You're not a monster," I said. "Often times the good guys get mistaken for the bad guys."
He snorted, "Like I'm supposed to believe that."
I got off the bed and hugged him. He stiffened up, like this sort of human communication was foreign to him. Eventually he relaxed and wrapped his arms around me. His grip was tight yet gentle. After several seconds I finally let go.
"Thank you," I said. "For keeping me safe."
He smiled shyly and walked out the door. A smile crept on my lips as I closed the door.
|| Luke ||
My heart hammered in my chest. I looked up and saw Ashton with a stupid smile plastered on his face, "Luke," He began. "Let's go for a drive."
Ashton didn't answer my question only led me to the car and drove off. He took the road that led to the city.
"So tell me, what do you think of Hazel?" He asked.
"She's nice," I replied.
"Oh c'mon, that's it?" Ashton asked laughing.
"At the mall when I killed Edmond, I looked at her and she had these eyes of a deer caught in a car's headlights. She looked terrified out of her mind. I caused that fear, Ash. She's scared of me and it hurt me to see that look in her eyes and knowing I was the cause of it," I said.
"You just want to protect her?"
"I do, she's like a small puppy, that you just know that can't fend for itself so you have this need to protect it. To keep it safe and you're willing to do anything to not let anything hurt it." I groaned and rubbed my eyes, "What are these feelings?"
"You like her," Ashton said.
"No, I don't," I muttered.
"First step, is denial," Ashton giggled. "It starts with thinking she's cute, then it turns into something deeper. It turns to thinking she's beautiful, gorgeous. It's the little things that you start noticing. The way she smiles or how she laughs. The way she fumbles with her hair or the facial expressions she makes. It's these small things that really get you falling for her. Those things that you never want to forget. Suddenly your entire center shifts. She's in the middle and she's all you see. She becomes your all."
I let his words sink into my head. I may have a small liking in Hazel. "How do you know this?"
"I'm 21 years old, almost 22, Luke. This is just something that happened when I met Bryana." He replied.
"Have you set a date?" I asked.
"July 18," He smiled. "Still haven't gotten a suit."
Ashton's fiancee, Bryana has never stopped planning since Ashton proposed to her nearly half a year ago. With the wedding coming up and this new issue that we have with Hazel and the SOPRANO family, I need to get Ashton back alive.
"Oh hey, I found this outside the window shield when we got back to the car," He fished something out of his pocket. He brought out a creme-colored paperback envelope.
"What's this?" I asked taking it.
"Don't know, haven't opened it, forgot all about it with the whole Hazel kidnapping situation," Ashton explained.
It wasn't addressed to anyone. I turned it over and began ripping it open. I pulled out the single card. It seemed to be typed on a typewriter. I raised my eyebrow and began to read.
After the summer solstice,
The state of mind must be smart
Your arms will not be enough to save the thing you love the most
In a haze, everything will be gone, taken away because you don't deserve them
Tree of Life burned to the ground
You will be left alone
To die in sorrow
And never find out
I read the note carefully, it seemed like a threat.
"So?" Ashton said. "What's it say." I reread the letter aloud. "What does that mean?" He asked.
"I think it's a threat," I said.
"SOPRANO?" Ashton asked.
"Possibly, but this could be anyone, I've pissed off enough people for them to come attack me," I said. "They've made it into a riddle. It can't possibly be a poem, can it? It doesn't rhyme."
"A poem doesn't have to rhyme to be a poem," Ashton said. "But it's a very interesting riddle, it doesn't make sense and it doesn't really seem to know what it's talking about. I mean Tree of Life? Let's back up a bit, the truth about what?" He asked.
"I don't know, but they obviously don't want me to find out about it," I replied.