They got me right out of college. It's not like I was going to graduate anyway. I was barely surviving my first semester and my dad was sick again. Treatment just cost too much, too much money, too much time, too much effort. I remember when they told us that this was our last shot at it. I knew he didn't want to ask me, and I never made him. I knew that when he was sick I would be the only that would be able to work. I was planning on leaving school anyway. Once treatment started he wouldn't be able to walk to and from the kitchen let alone actually work.
I remember the first time I ran into him, literally. I had just dropped off an application at a coffee shop and as I was walking towards the door someone cut me and I stopped short and the person behind me ran a tray of four piping hot coffees down the back of my shirt. I didn't know it then, but he was following me. Even as a fell to the floor with searing pain of my flesh bubbling up and blistering, I could tell he was beautiful.
Even now I'm still not sure if he really meant to run into me or if that really was an accident. He looked surprised. He had dark hair and toned arms that helped me up. Then after a few bags of ice given to me by panic stricken baristas, he offered to walk me home. I was enthralled by the way we walked in sync, side by side. There was no awkward side stepping, keeping up with the pace, it felt so natural. I was so naïve, I thought it was a sign, like we would work well together that maybe that meant we were on the same wave length. Now I know he didn't question which way to go and never faltered at short cuts through alleyways and parks was because he had followed me home before. He knew my routes well.
I was so clueless, I let him into our apartment. I had put my father at risk without even knowing. I let him sit on the couch while I attempted to clean myself up in the bathroom, which I quickly realized meant a freezing cold shower to soothe my blisters. I left him out there, all alone, to go through our things, our drawers, our closets, our fridge. Everything and anything is important to know about your target. I wonder if he rifled through my drawers and found the only picture I have of me and my mother, or my first boyfriend's football jersey. Things that now thinking about them seem so unimportant. I don't remember how I lived with so much stuff.
After the shower I scrambled to get dressed, smearing a glob of Vaseline over my red back and throbbing blisters. I couldn't put my bra back on, my skin was too irritated, and so when I emerged from the bathroom wearing only jeans and an oversized sweatshirt, I felt exposed. Exposed to a stranger. How little I knew at the time. I wish the most exposed I could feel would be going braless in front of a cute stranger.
He didn't stay for very long after that. His job was done; he had made contact with me. He left his card with me "just in case you decide to sue" and with a smirk that made my cheeks turn pink, he was gone. It wasn't until later that night after my father got home was I able to actually read the card. I was so dazed by the cute man, that every time I looked at the card I could feel the way our hands touched briefly and how my heart had melted when his eyes looked into mine and I couldn't focus on the numbers and letters before my eyes. The card said his name was Bill Johnson, MD, a dentist. It seemed strange that someone that young and handsome would want to be a doctor, he could've been a phenomenal sales men, selling luxury cars to cougars in Long Beach, or a model. Why a dentist?
After that night, I stopped thinking about it, life went back to normal. I got a job (not at the coffee shop) then another when my dad went on hospice. I never had time to think about that guy again. Well not really. Sometimes I would think about his face, I would catch myself day dreaming about another life where my dad wasn't sick and I was able to go to school, I would only have one part time job and me and this guy would meet in class and then one day he would work up enough courage to ask me out. I used to think that maybe in another life I would have time to get dressed up and look good too, like a normal 19 year old. In my fantasy would really only study together and flirt and hold hands. He was merely and object in a fantasy. Before I knew it, it was summer time, with the ferocious heat came dreadful news.
My father couldn't fight anymore. We sent the nurses and doctors home and on a hot night in late June my father went to sleep and didn't wake up. I couldn't get out of bed for weeks. The wake and funeral went by in a blur and before I knew it, I was alone. It was bad. I didn't eat for days and a trip to the laundry room was something that winded me and made me need a nap at 2 in the afternoon. It was a dark place, and I was alone. Even the fantasy of that man couldn't make me feel anything.
Then the weather changed and I got stronger day by day. It was hard, but I knew that I was the only one fighting for me. My father didn't leave this earth wanting to me to be miserable and give up on life. I remember being able to go to work and smile here and there, then before I knew it, I was living again. It would never be the same, but I was getting there.
As my life went back to normal, I went back to work. Slowly but surely getting there, first just a few shifts. Some people who knew my dad would leave good tips, and they would help me get by week to week. The weather was cold and snow dusted the grass before I was back to my old self, or as much of my old self as I would ever be, juggling two jobs. Then one day, I woke up with an awful feeling in the back of my mouth: my wisdom teeth decided to finally arrive.
That's when I thought of that beautiful man, whose face and my fantasy I had left as something in the past. Someone who I was dazed by as a young naïve girl. Times had changed. I remember shuffling through my drawers trying to find the card he gave me. I gripped my phone, afraid of calling him. I felt like I was calling an ex. Not like I had many of those to begin with. I mean I didn't know the guy at all. I finally worked up the courage and dialed the number. It rang more than a few times, and then finally a flustered sounding woman came onto the line "Thank you for calling Johnson family dentistry, my name's Elaine how can I help you?" she sounded so real, she could fool anybody. Elaine was the best liar I ever met to date, but back then she was just a receptionist in a dentist office.
I booked an appointment for the next day and couldn't contain my nerves, I was nervous and excited to see this beautiful man again. Maybe this time my fantasy would be different. Maybe I would see him again and I would feel that spark again. I don't think I missed him necessarily, but I missed the feeling of being able to day dream of the millions of what if's normal teenage girls get to ponder every day.
They had set up shop rather quickly by the time I had arrived at the "dentist office" the next day. Flashy teeth whitening gadgets and old magazines included. I waited for a while too, nothing was off. I should've noticed that there was no one else but me in the waiting room and no one ever called when I sat there waiting. It was too quiet, I should've known. Then a sweet, plump looking nurse came out to bring me back to the room.
They sat me down in a fancy dentist seat and wrapped that bib around my neck. They reclined my seat and asked what flavor of toothpaste I wanted. They were so good at what they did for a living. Then when it was time for the "doctor" to come in he came in with a white coat and clip board with charts and x-rays. I remember looking up and seeing him and my stomach doing a back flip. His hair was different, a little shorter. "Hi, Kate, my name is Doctor Johnson, but please call me Bill. I hear you're having some pain near your molars, have you ever had your wisdom teeth x-rayed in the past?"
I hadn't because my father never had health insurance. The dentist was a luxury in my house growing up, if you had a problem, you just ignored it and hoped you stopped noticing the pain. I always did. I stumbled over my words with a lisp I seemed to have developed from staring at the scruff surrounding his neck and mouth. I knew my face was on fire too, back then I was an open book.
The next thing I know I'm being talked into sedation dentistry, being put to sleep to have an examination. "Bill" was a good sales person, just like in my fantasy. He had a face and demeanor you couldn't say no to. I agreed even though I was nervous, and rightfully so. I was naïve but I wasn't stupid, I knew that no matter how pretty or trustworthy looking he was, he could be a serial rapist for all I knew, but those dimples got the best of me. In less than ten minutes I was lying down in the chair with a mask over my mouth, nodding off to sleep.
When I woke up, I wasn't in a dentist chair. I was groggy but my senses kicked into overdrive as I awoke in a dark, dank place. It smelled like a parking garage and was wet like an alleyway. Before I had time to panic a door swung open and two shadowy figures stepped in "Kate, don't panic. We are not here to hurt you. We brought you here to offer you a job."
And that's where it all started. I was sworn to secrecy and took an oath binding me to the government and to my superiors. But that was before they burned me, before they abandoned me and left me for dead. Now they're on my black list and I will find them.
A/N: okay so this action/adventure stuff normally isn't my style but I can't get this idea out of my head so here's to never letting an idea escape you.