Ariel Perez (1st place. Fiction. Spring 2010 Writing Contest)
I’ve been seeing her for weeks now. Every morning she rushed through the cold to get her medium coffee, and every night she fell asleep to her music, fearing the silence of the night without it. I first saw her at a music shop; I was getting my violin restrung and so was she. It was fate. It was the smell of her coffee that caught my attention, caramel swirled in the air around me. I turned to find her, a waterfall of orange flowed down to her alabaster skin, she had big green eyes that reminded me of ponds, and a distinct birth mark on her chin that I’d grow to love.
After watching her and getting to know her for the past four months, I decided that I needed to talk to her. Just being around her in the shadows of the day wasn’t enough anymore, I needed her with me. Always I burned for it, for her. I wanted to taste her sweet lips on mine, I wanted her to hold onto me and never let go. I wanted to wake up to her entrancing scent every morning instead of catching its stale and long gone presence.
I needed her.
I prepared a room just for her (if we were going to be a couple she would need her own space sometimes). I worked on the room relentlessly. It needed to be spectacular, needed to wow her. I bought her favorite 700-thread count silk sheets for her bed, five pillows, two with frilled edges for decoration (she never slept on them because they bothered her when she slept), and one knitted blanket for cold nights. It was exactly like the bed she had at her apartment, a deep green that matched her wondrous eyes with a dim gold trim. I knew she would love it.
She was my life now, my Amanda; I had everything I knew she would love, from her favorite shampoo down to the scented candles that she lit every night before bed. I had spent countless hours getting to know her, changing my world for her, and now, well, now we were in love.
Today was the day, I was ready and all set up. I had her favorite color on, a deep green sweater, and I even had on a cologne I knew she liked. I was ready. Amanda would see me today, she would see me the way I see her, it would be perfect.
I followed her into her regular coffee shop; I ordered the same thing she got every morning to spark a conversation.
“ So…uh, you like the caramel latte too, huh?” She looked at me a bit startled but gave a slight smile.
“Yes,” she coughed, “but I like mine with soy milk, you know? It tastes a bit sweeter to me that way.”
I panicked for a moment. Soy! I forgot to add soy milk to my latte like she religiously does every morning. How could I be so stupid? I can’t screw this up.
My latte was finished first. I had planned it so that I would be the one to walk away first.
“Well,” I looked at her with my deep gray eyes and half smile, “Guess I’ll see you around. Uh… I didn’t catch your name.”
“Amanda, my name is Amanda.”
“Well I’ll see you around, Amanda. My name’s Allen, by the way.”
I turned and began to walk away. I took a sip of my steaming latte and then turned back around with my cell phone in hand.
“Hey, Amanda, can I, uh, can I maybe get your number?”
She looked me up and down playfully; kindly she took the phone from me and typed in her number. I knew it, she loved me.
I don’t know what happened; we were having such a great time. We were having dinner at this Italian place I knew she loved, she had gone there many times for her ritual girls’ night out. Now here she lay, a gash on her head, bleeding, her limp pale body begging me to scoop her up and hold her.
I took her back to my apartment that would soon be ours, I laid her on the bed in the room I had prepared specially for her. I’d wait for her to wake, I closed the door and locked it.
Hours later I heard her banging on the door, screaming to let her out. Why was she so mad? Everything I did, I did for her. I had turned my life upside down to satisfy her needs, to give her what she wants, and this is what she does?
From inside my room I could hear her faint “Let me out! Please! Don’t hurt me, Allen, please!” Hurt her? I didn’t want to hurt her! I loved her, I wanted to be with her forever. I’d go talk to her at midnight, she had to understand, she would. And she’d find me romantic for it, at midnight it would be the fourteenth, February fourteenth, Valentine’s Day, the day of love.
I waited till Amanda tired herself out, and then I slipped inside into the light, no more shadows. She was sitting in a corner sobbing, her hands covering her face.
“Why are you crying?”
She looked up at me with her full green eyes, squinting from the tears but staring as if I were a monster. Her eyes could be so cruel, just like I could be so cruel.
I grabbed her by her wrists and lifted her up, she was so light. She tried to fight back, but she wasn’t strong enough. I had control of her dainty little wrists now, she wouldn’t stop moving, she was making me hurt her.
“Why are you doing this? What did I do?!” her words started to slur with her crying. “Please! I know you’re not a monster, please just let me go, Allen!”
I pinned her to the ground, both wrists in one hand, and my other brought a kitchen knife up to the tender neck that I dreamed of every night. She let out a quick gasp, the cold steel of the knife giving her small body goose bumps, I could feel them on her wrists.
She was so beautiful, even with her wet cheeks and messy orange hair, she was so perfect. I looked up at the clock that was on the night stand, digital so she could listen to her music on the radio (she loved music).
It was time, this was it. I looked down at her terrified, angelic face.
“Amanda,” I took a breath, “Will you be mine?”
I pressed the knife to her neck.