"Give me time, Mr. Carter."
It was hardly past six, and I'm already hearing faint noises from behind the door. I couldn't help but groan as I stood from my bed to tend to the commotion. I didn't like losing out on the nine full hours I rest on my only weekends. Especially, if that bitch of an intrusion was our debtor.
A familiar man whose face I wished I hadn't recalled, stood calmly at our doorway. The only water jug so elated to appear at our apartment six in the morning was Tim Carter, more specifically known as the Devil Debtor or Lucifer the Landlord. He was shorter than the average man and slightly round on the edges. Nonetheless, he was made out of power and money which gave him complete rights over...our entire lives to say the least.
"I've given you far too long," Mr. Carter raises a dramatic hand against his forehead. I didn't know a thing or two about acting, but I'm sure this man would never win an Oscar anytime soon. He takes my sister's hand, staring deeply into her subtly nauseated eyes. I too bit back the vomit already crawling up my throat. ""And Marian, I've told you many times to call me, Tim. Please, do not be so formal."
I rolled my eyes from behind the door. Mr. Carter has never been the type to drop his guard...in front of anyone. But the obnoxious pest had crazy heart eyes for my sister, and whenever he sensed her near, the man went as soft as a blanket. Which was fine, at first, considering her tolerated our late dues. However, Marian says that taking advantage of his kindness would be wrong. Damn it, it's no wonder why the man was still trying to put a ring on her finger.
In response, my sister suppresses her unbearable urge to grimace. Instead, she gently rejects his earnest hands from her, with an awkward smile. Marian always had a habit of letting others down too easy. It's probably why her former boyfriends believe that they're still in a relationship.
I watch as a look of dismay follows on our debtor face. "Mr. Carter, I'm...I'm just having a difficult time right now. But I promise! I'll pay off the month's rent next week, and I'll have last month's rent after!" My sister affirmed.
But Mr. Carter feigns a weary sigh. I knew that man was just not having it. "Then, I wonder what we shall do about this situation. I mean we can't just- Oh, I know!" He exclaims almost immediately. Our debtor's face brightens at his hard hitting new idea. I wouldn't be surprised if he came with an ulterior motive on his backhand as he arrived. That conniving landlord really pisses me off.
But I'll admit, I'm actually quite curious to know his "brilliant solution."
My sister raises a suspicious brow, urging him to continue.
"You've only been making it hard for yourself all these years, Marian. And with my very own eyes, I've watched you struggle," He sniffled in angst. "It took a while to come to terms with such a drastic decision, but I figured it would be best for us all."
Mr. Carter reaches for her hands once again. My sister stiffens "Marian...Marry me." He proposes. I blinked in disbelief. Then blinked again to recollect my thoughts. Marriage? Am I hearing this right?
I look towards the scene once again, to see the man already dropping on one knee. He whips out a large, blue, velvet box and carefully opens it to reveal the contents. I gasped in complete astonishment.
Holy shit, that diamond is huge! I marveled at the blinding sight. The jewel was sparkling from every perfect edge, and angle. I felt tears dwell on the rims of my eyes. That thing could pay off all the debts our parents left for us. And I bet my sister was thinking the exact same.
"Mr. Carter!" She choked.
"Tim." He encouraged with a gentle smile. Marian clears her throat.
"-Mr. Carter. I...I- don't know what to say," Marian stuttered. Her hands already rose to her heated face. Instead of staring at Mr. Carter's hopeful expression, her gaze was fully locked on the diamond ring. However, the man was oblivious as ever.
"Say yes," He chirped. Mr. Carter rose to his feet to capture her fingers with his. Man, was this was completely nuts! I would've sent him off just about now. Marian chewed on her lower lip in thought.
"You've been very kind to us through thick and thin. But marriage? That is a large change to throughly consider. I don't think it's worth any amount of money to devote yourself to one person." My sister said quietly. She attempts to slip out of his grasp, but the man pulls her hand back into his.
"Marian! I have thoroughly considered this and properly assessed my choices! It isn't about the money! I love you!" He insisted. Shit, here comes last night's dinner. For the love of all things good, this bastard just won't give up.
"Mr. Carter. I...I don't think I'm ready to settle down in my condition," she murmured. Yet, I think that was just a her sweet way to reject a proposal.
"But the whole idea behind getting married is to solve all your 'conditions!" Mr. Carter said a bit more forcefully.
"Mr. Carter please-" She pleaded, pulling her hand away.
"Marian," He urged persistently. That hand must have been gold, considering he continued to reach for it. I decided it was about time to cut the chord. As much as I enjoyed his...little scenes, six o'clock was a tad bit too early for the show. I dashed between the two, shielding my older sister.
"Look, Tim," I snapped. Mr. Carter grimaced as I informally used his first name. "My sister doesn't love you, and probably never will. Even though she looks like it, she's not easy to fool. So don't think you could just stomp in at six in the morning acting like we owe you anything," I bellowed authoritatively.
"You owe me money," He reminds with a sullen look. Oh, right. I almost forgot.
"Well, that's not the point! The point is that my sister will never wed to you, under any circumstance! Marriage is supposed to be consensual, not obligatory. Now if you'll excuse us, we'd like to go back to sleep. Good day, sir." I ramble before shutting the door on him. We never got along, and probably never will. I can't imagine the thought of him as my brother in law. Shudder.
"You do realize that he's going to return soon. That man won't give up without a tough fight," Marian cautioned. Tough fights were in field of expertise, so if the going gets hard, I'll resort to brutality. So there isn't a thing she has to worry about. I smile reassuringly before collapsing on the couch.
"That's a given. So we'll retaliate even harder," I begun to play with the loose hair on my ponytail. "But Whatever you do, Marian, promise me that you won't give in to the man's request. Marriage isn't worth all the money in the world," I said. She has taken too many burdens on her frail shoulders just to ensure I was living a comfortable lifestyle. I am afraid that she'll exchange her entire lifestyle just for me.
Soon, I felt the couch sink in, as she sat on the other end. She holds my tiny hands into her slightly bigger ones. "Okay, I promise." She assured, with one of those stupid, yet calming smiles.
I return a grin with all the energy I could summon, then allowed it to droop in uneasiness.
I say that...yet, I'd do anything to marry into fortune and status.
It was a cool morning. It got to the point where I felt my bones shiver from underneath my skin. I could have never imagined our small town this chilly, I lived here since I could remember.
I released a hefty, disgusting sneeze. Damn it, I should've listened to Marian when she told me to wear a coat. But I couldn't help it. If I dared to be late again, I'd have to dig out the doo in the doggy den. And trust me, the last time wasn't a pretty sight.
See, I wasn't exactly...an animal whisperer. In fact, they say animals hate me; which I find utterly ridiculous. Sure, I've gotten chased by a pack of hungry dogs, stomped on by a belligerent horse, and even yakked on by a llama...all in one day, but everyone has been through that phase of their life, right?
Just as I was on my way to work, I hear a voice call from behind.
"Miss?" It acknowledged. I whirl around quickly to be faced by a vile stench that left my lungs gasping for clean air. Yuck! I immediately reached towards my face to pinch the bridge of my nose. I'd jump in a pool of water just to forget this intoxicating smell.
"Damn it! Did you just crawl out of a sewer?!" I cursed.
The man looked down at his tattered clothing and dirty, bare feet. He takes a strand of his unruly, long hair and takes a sniff of it. "No, this is how I smell everyday," He whimpered. The man was obviously homeless, and if I stood here for another moment, I would definitely pass out.
"Do your neighborhood a favor, and wash yourself with mud. Yuck," I spat bitterly before continuing down the sidewalk.
"Miss!" He calls once again.
"What?!" I bark loudly. I made the mistake of turning around without securing my vulnerable smell. Therefore, I gagged from the repulsive odor. For goodness sake, how can something so unbearably horrid exist!?
"Can you spare some change?" He murmured.
I swallowed back my baby barfs, facing the opposite direction. I knew that if i opened my mouth, guts would spill like a waterfall. And that wouldn't be a friendly sight for anyone. I sped my pace, praying that the man would head far...far away from me.
But the freak show was persistent.
"Can you spare some change?" He repeated louder than the last.
"No, leave me alone," I replied firmly. My head was ducked against my chin as I lifted my shirt against my nose. I jogged away this time, but the man wasn't taking no for an answer.
"Ma'am," He provoked, following in my tracks. Ah- what? He's still here? It was only natural to feel the blood rise to my head. The nasty piece of filth was trying to test my temperament, wasn't he?
"How many times have I told you-"
With a single turn, he latched unto my bag, attempting to pry it off my back.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" I shouted. My grip was on one strap as my other hand was pressed against my nose. This wasn't fair! He's using his stench to his advantage. The dirty riffraff yanks at the other end.
"Sorry. Man's gotta eat," He wheezed in a panic. The man continued to pull at my bag, but I was tenacious.
"You wanna die, scum!? I'm not afraid to jab you where it hurts!" I threaten. Half of my focus was directed on blocking the smell out, hence losing grip of the bag.
"Just give me the bag!" The man groan.
In my final attempt, I pull towards myself, reluctantly releasing the hand on my face. Then I sent him a flying kick in the groin. The beggar immediately releases in pain, wincing in cries of help. Oddly, no one rushed to his aid.
I hugged unto my bag losing my balance. Nevertheless, I fell backwards bracing myself for the aching fall.
However, as I hit the ground, I felt no pain whatsoever. Since gravity loved me so, I expected a scratch at the very least. But I felt quite comfortable, if anything. I open my right eye slightly to confirm that I was still alive. Huzzah! I'm still in pieces!
But then I immediately came to my senses. It's impossible to fall without feeling slight pain, there must be a reasonable explanation. Then another thought crossed my mind.
I gasped. Did that homeless man have supernatural powers and transferred them to me?! Oh shit. I knew I shouldn't have messed with him. I mean, no earthling could have such a repulsive stench. He must have been a alien!
"Ugh..." A voice croaked below me suddenly wrecking my train of thought. My gaze followed the sound. To my surprise, I found another human being underneath me who must have cushioned my fall. I slightly reddened at my wild imagination. Psh...who said anything about aliens?
"Hey, are you alright?" I call, still not getting off him. He didn't move for a moment, so I took the liberty to poke at his side.
"Yuck!" He shrieks at my touch. The boy stands up abruptly, causing me to fall against the hard concrete. Ouch. Okay, I deserved that.
I stood up as well, dusting myself off. Meanwhile, he stashes out a bottle of sanitizer, before lathering it all over his forearms and hands. Okay, that's a little strange. But it doesn't hurt to clean off a bit. I mean, the ground was quite filthy. Anyways, I thought it was only right to thank him for breaking my fall.
"You-" He interjected before leaping a few feet away. "Stay back!" He commanded. He places a finger against the nozzle of the bottle, wielding the product like a weapon. I took a weary step forward.
"Look, I was just trying to-"
"Up, bup bup!" He wiggles the bottle, threateningly. Urging me to stay back. I click my tongue against the roof of my mouth. What the hell? Is he a moron?
Rolling my eyes, I decided to stand where I was.
"I wanted to thank you for breaking my fall. But apparently, my gratitude isn't welcomed, " I said impatiently. Man, there were a load of crazies in this neighborhood. Then again, I should have known. The rent charges cheap here. In response, He glares suspiciously.
"You ran into me. It's the only reason why you fell," The boy replies, reluctantly. I shrug.
"Well, you did. So-"
"-Hey, is that Dylan Lockehart!?" The homeless man gasped. Geez, do I ever get to finish any of my sentences around here?! And isn't this retard supposed to be wailing in pain?
All heads begin to turn our way, in response. The sight was comparable to a flock of hungry birds marveling at the bread crumb that fell to the floor.
Dylan Lockehart? I blink twice. My gaze followed the taller one before me. I haven't noticed it a few seconds ago, but the person who broke my fall was extremely handsome. I examined him for a bit longer. And I mean...really handsome.
In fact, he didn't look like he was even from this neighborhood. He wore clothes that you could only find in exclusive tailored brands, which we had none in our community. His chocolate hair was fashionably styled in its utmost sophisticated state, which you usually can't find here. And finally, he carried himself in such a confident matter which is usually not seen here.
The person before looked like alien from the planet specifically adapted by attractive, rich, dwellers. Or at least from another neighborhood of the high class.
"Dylan Lockehart!" I blurted in astonishment. It's not all the time you meet a well renowned celebrity in a crusty, dried up community. I can't believe I'm actually in the face of Dylan Lockehart: the ...uh- I realized that I haven't even heard of him up until now. "Wait, are you who?" I asked obliviously.
"Dylan Lockehart!" A group of girls sang in excitement. The boy stiffens completely.
Yeah, yeah. I know his name, but why is he oh-so important?
Ignoring my question, he gasped in sheer horror. "Now look what you've done!" The so-called celebrity barked. He took no time to snatch his shades off the ground, and sprint off. The brat was so much in a hurry, he even forgot about his beloved sanitizing bottle. Oh no!
Just as his crazed fans were hunting after their prey, I took the time to read the contents of his bottle. "Kills 99% of germs guaranteed," I smirked. What a prick.
I took one last look at boy, running like there's no tomorrow. The kid is famous eh? How interesting. Before I knew it, my feet were on its way to chasing after him as well. Now, I usually don't involve myself in these time-consuming affairs, but the boy was made of dollar signs. It was a God-given opportunity I had to snatch. That twit was already in trouble himself. I could blackmail him into paying off our debts.
With my new motivation, I found it easy to ram through the herd of bull-headed chicks. Of course, with the help of my trusty bag to knock them aside.
And It wasn't long before I found myself sprinting alongside him. "Hey, what are you doing?" I ask casually.
"Ah! The boy shrieked at my presence. His voice rung in my ears, causing me to shudder in annoyance. What a noisy priss. I watch as he tripped on his own foot, falling face first. In fact, I had to bite back the laughter forcing to escape my lips. Wow, a prick and a klutz. What a new sight.
We made it all the way to the local park, where it seems as if the crowd had attracted more attention. This was not good...especially for the rascal.
"Where is he?!" The voices squirreled in anticipation. They were right behind us, I couldn't let them attack my target. Immediately, I shove Dylan against a tree, shamelessly sitting across his lap and pulling his collar so that his face was barely an inch from mines.
"What are you doing!?" He exclaims, with an attempt to shove me off. I threw my cardigan over his head, to shield his identity from his crazed fans.
"Sh...Sit still for a second." I warn. I point a finger towards the crowd behind him. Finally, he mutes in understanding, as we both wait for the crowd to pass. My heart was thumping thunderously in my chest. I've never been so close to a male, to the point that I could smell his masculine scent. I couldn't even look the handsome jerk square in the eye. His neck was so lean and exposed, it triggered a spark in the pit of my stomach. I licked my lips hungrily.
Wait, what the hell was I even thinking? Damn it, Maya, you're an absolute idiot, an absolute idiot! If anything, you should be pick pocketing him about now. Not flustering over his scent!
As the voices became fainter, he shoves me off his lap, snapping me out of my inner reprimanding. Yup, he was just a little prick. I watch as he shuffles against a tree, in utter terror. His eyes were wide and fear filled, yet I couldn't help but pity him a little. "You! Stay back!" He warns in a shaky voice. He reached in his bag, but wielded nothing in particular.
He blinks twice in confusion. "What? Where is it?!" He cries in a fit. The boy nearly tore his bag apart searching for his desired item, but to no avail. Unfortunately, for him, I possessed what he was looking for.
"You mean this thing?" I dangled the unnecessarily large bottle before him.
He stares at the item in relief...or horror. Either way, it wasn't going to be pretty. "Give that back!" He commands.
I simply pursed my lips mockingly. "Good boys say 'please, you know?" I jested. Yet, he didn't seem to appreciate my light-hearted mockery.
"Don't give me that bullshit. Do you know how many germs are crawling on that thing because of your direct skin contact?" He persisted. I rose a perplexed brow. How was I supposed to know that shit?
"No?" I reply lamely. The arrogant prick scoffs, finally lowering his hands.
"Of course not, because you peasants have too many to count!" Dylan proclaimed.
Okay, he was actually kind of getting on my nerves.
"Do you have to be such a sissy?" I grumble. I threw the stupid object towards the jerk, before retreating. He embraces bottle protectively. Which did not help his image at all.
I extended a hand to him. But in response, he stares in deep disgust.
"Are you kidding me? I'm not holding that hand of yours!" Dylan shrieks. I could have sworn a flock of birds flew away in terror.
"Me neither, asshole!" I retaliated.
"Then when are you holding your hand out like an idiot!?" He screeches. I bit back the urge to roll my eyes, but his stupidity was too overbearing. Why? Why do I have to put up with this horror? Especially on a day like this.
I inhaled sharply, trying to summon my Zen. It's okay, Maya. After you receive your reward, you'll never have to see this freak...ever again.
"Compensation," I said simply.
"I dragged you out of this mess. Now, you'll reward me," I embellish in terms the idiot would understand. But his jaw only drops incredulously.
"Don't you remember who pulled me into this mess anyway? You're an idiot if you think I'd simply fork cash over," He snapped. I could tell that he was losing the last of his patience as well. I mean, the guy's ears were already bright red.
"You were bound to be caught. Who wears extravagant clothing like that to simple town?" I scoff arrogantly. He can't hold this against me, This guy knows absolutely nothing about sneaking around. Then it occurred to me that a rich boy shouldn't be here to begin with. I ponder on that idea for quite a while but I couldn't find a plausible reason for someone of his likes to be lingering here. I mean, what is there to this worn out community anyway? Gasp. Was I living under gold and I wasn't aware?
The sound of his voice soon ripped me from deep thought.
"Well, I apologize. Dressing like you, makes me nauseous," He spats bitterly. Dressing like me? What was that supposed to mean? The jerk was nearly torn into pieces because of his flashy attire! What the point in mocking my clothing?! Nonetheless, I couldn't find anything coherent to say. Possibly because the fumes of aggravation were steaming from the holes of my ears. If there is anything I hated more than pricks, it's pricks that dare to belittle me.
"Does it, now?" I said menacingly through clenched teeth.
"What are you doing?" He stuttered nervously. He backs up against the tree as I took a poisonous step. I continue to inch towards the jerk very slowly. "Hey! Stay back!" Dylan demands, but his voice was already faltering. He wields his bottle, as he frantically scans the park for anyone who'd help. But unfortunately, there was no one in view. My eyes roam to where he shakily held out his only source of protection. I scoff. The prick doesn't look like it, but he was a real big wuss. Then, I took the opportunity to snatch his beloved hygienic device, and daringly, tossed it into a nearby body of water. It came crashing with a mild splash, submerging with the water before popping back to the surface. I could only smirk victoriously as his jaw drops in disbelief. Hah. Serves the fool right.
"Are you stupid!? That was the only one I carried around" He cried out. We both watch as the poor item floated away.
"Oh boo hoo. If you really want it: go get it. I dare you," I narrow my eyes threateningly. His entire body was tense, as if he were restraining the urge to chew me out. That being the case, I knew I had won. That spoiled brat needed to be taught a good lesson.
Just as I were about to walk off the next thing I saw surprised me. Audaciously, he stood tall, towering above me. I took a couple of steps back, avoiding to fall against the lake behind me.
"W-what are you doing?" I stammer. His gaze was sullen, and unwavering: that stare meant business. My tummy flipped inside out, as I pull my eyes away from his. Oh no, he's going to annihilate me! His personal agents would ship me off to an isolated forest engulfed by darkness, I'll meet a frightening old hag who'll hang me against his collection of poor souls, tear me apart, and sell my bones to some rugged, saggy witch to perform black magic on them! Or worst...I gasped in fear...they'll sue me! To hell, I don't want to go to jail! I cry internally.
But before I was about to beg on my knees, he shoves me aside with one hand. "Move." He demands. What? My brain goes blank. I'm not being charged? Is he serious? Before I had enough time to question him, I hear a large splash behind me.
With one turn, he disappeared. Where the hell did he go?
I stared at the ripples in the lake, taking a moment to register the event. And I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I think he jumped right into the water.
Then it hit me. My eyes widened. Holy shit. He actually dove in.
I waited for a while, but he did not reach for water. Which was odd, because normal, breathing human beings would usually gasped for air. Right? Right? Please tell me I'm wrong. The thought soon hit me, like a frisbee in the park...Dylan Lockehart...was drowning.
I begun to go mad.
The boy couldn't swim. He couldn't swim for Pete Sake?! Why the hell would be jump in for such a trivial thing? God! What a moron?! What the hell am I going to do now?! I push my hair back, anxiously. I didn't know why, but my heart was pounding a thousand times faster. I tear my vision from the ripples forming in the water.
Don't panic, Maya. Whatever you do, do not panic! You're always irrational when you aren't in a calm state of mind. Zen remember? Find your center! Find. your. center! I begun to breath in and out, but it begun to sound more like hyperventilating. This is good? This is good right? I mean, it teaches the boy a lesson. And I'm sure...I'm sure he'll swim back to safety.
I look into the water once again, as his hand pops back to the surface, as if he were saying S.O.S. My eyes widened as his hand floats away further. He's drowning...he's drowning. I soon pictured the aftermath. The FBI would soon find me, pin me down, and send me to court. There is no denying I was here! Bills...bills...and a lifetime of prison. I can't let that happen.
After a moment of inner debating, I leaped into the lake. The cold air plus the freezing water did not do any good to me. But this was far better than a sea of jury at court. I rid my head of the thought and continued to to reach around for the prick. I soon felt flesh which resembled the tip of his finger and pulled it towards me. Ecstatically, I grabbed a hold of his waist, and forced him out of the water. My feet were barely touching the floor but I held him steady. He wheezed in deep breaths of air, coughing like a maniac. I could only pat his back in reassurance.
"Are you okay?!" I shouted anxiously. He doesn't say anything and simply buries his head into my shoulder. I could feel trembling in my arms, and my instincts told me to pull him closer.
"You're safe, now. Okay?" I whisper gently. I felt him nod against my shoulder, nuzzling in the crook of my neck. It was a wonder how my heart could melt at such a freezing state. He was actually quite sweet when he wasn't speaking. And oddly, this was actually quite nice.
I sigh, exhaustedly. At least he was alright. I stop myself. I mean, at least I wasn't going to jail. Hah. Hah...Whew.
In the midst of hauling him out, I noticed my feet were no longer touching the floor.
And another thought occurred to me right then...
I can't swim either.