“A double-date?” Aaron asks and turn around to face me on the bed, a slight smile forming on his lips.
His body is still drenched in sweat from all the work I made him do.
Of course. I should have known by the sheer fact that I hate the idea, that Aaron would agree to it.
“Uhm, I don’t know…” I draw the words out a little irritated.
“But aren’t you busy with an assignment at the moment?” I add, hoping to buy some time before the dreaded experience.
“Well yeah, but not so much that I can’t take time off a single evening” he says and leans in to kiss me.
God damn it.
“Besides, if I was that busy, I wouldn’t have to for this” he adds with a smirk as his eyes run across my naked body, “I’ll just ask her.”
He reaches out his arm over me to grab his phone on the nightstand and gets up a little, the light from the screen illuminating his face.
“You guys text?” I ask him a little surprised.
“Yeah, how else do think I’m able to ambush you guys on campus so often?” he says and looks at me with a mischievous grin.
I had noticed that we seemed to run into each other an awful lot, despite being in different department on opposite sides of campus. So this is why. I really need to scold Jen for messing with my love life to this extent. Though, Aaron is just as bad. It’s really annoying how these guys seem so in cahoots.
Almost as soon as Aaron turns off the screen it lights up again with a beep.
“Saturday” he says when he finishes reading the text, “that good for you?”
I frown. I don’t have plans Saturday, but god I wish I had.
“It’s a double-date then!” he proclaims with a smile and gives me another kiss.
I’m standing in the bathroom, drying my hair after a shower when I hear someone ringing my doorbell.
‘A salesman?’ I’m not expecting any visitors… He’ll go away.
Then it rings again. Is it Aaron?
I quickly tuck away the towel and make my way into the hall way and yell: “Coming, coming!” while the doorbell keeps ringing.
“What?!” I yell a little irritated as I open the door but then I feel the blood drain from my face as I recognize the person behind it.
I quickly try to slam the door shut but he catches it with his hand and peers forward.
“Wow, hey there sis!” he says, with a surprised expression that turns into a smirky grin as he adds:
“Not happy to see your older brother?”
He looks older than I last saw him. His nut-brown hair is clean cut, his face newly shaved, and in his green eyes is a familiar expression.
“What are you doing here?” I snarl.
I feel my pulse rise and my body breaking out in cold sweats.
“Thought I’d come by for a visit, since I finally figured out where you live” he smiles.
Before I can protest, he shoves at the door and the force is stronger than I can combat. Surprised I jump a step backwards and he takes the opportunity to push past me and into the apartment.
I follow him nervously. How did he find me?
“Nice place you’ve got here” he says as he reaches the kitchen and adjacent living room.
“What do you want, Daniel?” I ask, trying my best to stay calm.
He turns to face me, and his smile gives me cold shivers.
“Oh, don’t be like that, sis. It’s been five years since I last saw you. I want to know how you are doing.”
He eyes a chair at the dinner table and takes a seat, gesturing me to take the one across from him. Reflexively I find myself following his suggestion.
“How did you find me, brother?” I ask him.
He eyes me seriously for a moment before his grin returns.
“Oh, I ran into Aunt Rose’s nurse when I brought Jasmine home to visit mom and dad over the summer – I was pretty disappointed when you didn’t show up for the wedding, by the way – but either way, she told me the old bird had sent you a Christmas card, so I got your address from her.”
Rosaline Jackson – or ‘Aunt Rose’, as we used to call her as kids – of course. I had cut off everyone from our hometown, including our parents, when I left the city five years ago. Everyone except Rose. The old neighboring lady had become such an important existence in my life.
She helped me escape from that hell, brother calls ‘home’ by getting my high school transfer in order and paid for my living expenses until I had secured a job. Later she helped me receive the inheritance from grandmother, which paid for my current apartment and my school tuition, though how she did it without letting my parents know where I live, is beyond me.
She’s always been so strong, but last year she fell very ill and now she has to be cared for by a nurse. I’ve thought about going there to visit a million times, but the fear of returning home turns my body cold and I always chicken out. She told me it was okay, that she understands, but I can’t help but feel guilty.
I’m sure Daniel used his silver tongue to convince Rose’s nurse to give him the address without the old bird knowing. Despicable.
“How is Rose, did you see her?” I ask, trying to make polite conversation and out of genuine concern.
Maybe I can just talk to him a little and he’ll be satisfied.
“Yeah, glimpsed her through the window. She looked pretty rough, but that hateful stare in her eyes is the same as always”, he says masking his own hateful expression with a smile.
I sigh a silent breath of relief over the news, but the feeling doesn’t last for long.
“I’m so glad I found you sis…” he says and gently strokes the back of my hand with a finger.
It makes me nauseous.
I quickly spring from my seat, recoiling from his touch and my eyes flicker around the kitchen.
“Y-you want some coffee?” I stutter.
“Sure” he smiles.
With shaking hands I start boiling the kettle and preparing our cups. Then I suddenly hear him get up and I close my eyes nervously as I feel him approaching behind me, then leaning against my back. Cold shivers run down my spine as I feel his hand touch my hair and neck, caressing it. I feel his breath right next to my ear.
“Why did you run?” he asks and there is a chill in his voice.
“I-I didn’t run. I s-simply moved away” I try explaining, but my voice is thin.
“Usually moving away doesn’t mean cutting off contact with all your family and friends…”
His hand is slowly moving his way down my arm.
“I j-just needed a f-fresh start” I stutter.
I know he isn’t going to buy anything I say, but I hope he’ll let it go. Please let it go.
He sighs and I feel a rush of relief as he pulls his body away from mine.
“Well, no matter. We’ve found each again, so now everything can return to the way it was”
I shiver at his words and the sinister tone in his voice, but my body can’t move.
“Shit. I think I’m going to have to take a raincheck on the coffee, sis. I was just dropping by on my way to a business meeting, but I’m about to run late” he suddenly says.
He takes a step forward to kiss the back of my head, then I hear him make his way out into the hallway and the front door opening.
“I’ll stop by some other time, so keep the coffee warm!” he yells just before closing it behind him.
I begin to shake and grab onto the counter for support as my knees begin to buckle.
Then I fall to the floor and vomit.
He found me.