Pulling up in the parking lot, I applied my nude lipstick and put on my blush-on. I hopped out of the car and headed inside Starbucks. It was buzzing with business, waiters running around to and fro. My eyes scanned the establishment in search of Sienna. I ordered a mocha cookie crumble frappuccino. Spotting an unoccupied table by the window, I decided to wait for her there. I pulled out my sketchbook from my bucket bag and started sketching. I looked around the street and began sketching. The window beside me was huge, showing me the buildings in front. The buildings reminded me of the brick apartment-like houses in London. Tall with stairs at the side and windows every few feet.
"Ey drongo, what's up?" Sienna's voice made me look up from my sketchbook.
"Stop calling me idiot, Sienna. It's not fair. I don't have anything to call you," I said, smiling.
"Which is exactly why I will keep calling you drongo," she teased. "So, what did you get me?"
"I didn't know what you'd want right now since your taste changes every so often." I shrugged.
"True but I would drink anything given to me, I'm not one to waste food," she paused. "I'll just order, be right back drongo."
I smiled and my gaze wandered to a couple sitting at the table in front of us. My lips curled into a smile. I envy them. I envy those that have unlocked the door to paradise. Where they feel happy every second of their life. But I can't help but smile each time I see people like them. Makes me wonder how and when I'd achieve my happiness. I watched as they smiled and held each other in their arms. I flipped the page of my sketchbook and began sketching them as well. I'm not particularly great when it comes to drawing people but hey, I try my best. It must also be a bit creepy when I start sketching people without consent. Shaking my head, I turned back to the previous page.
Something in the corner of my eye caught my attention. Men. Men that reminded me of a memory I chose and tried to forget. Shivers ran down my spine as this scenario seemed all too familiar. This can't be happening again— why now? The walls were closing in on me. Darkness surrounded my vision and I couldn't breathe.
I can't rip my eyes away from these men, parked a road away from Starbucks.
Sienna tapped me lightly on the shoulder and I flinched. "Adrianne, what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost," she asked, concern lacing her tone.
"I guess I probably did," I answered breathlessly.
"What's wrong?" She placed down the cup she had in her hand and moved her seat beside me.
"Nothing, I'm fine." I waved my hand in front of her.
"Is something scaring you, Adrianne?" She looked around.
I shook my head. "No— I'm fine, Sienna. Nothing to worry about."
No. I know I'm scared. I know I'm scared when those fears run through my mind, when the taunting laughter of memories past echo in my mind. I know I'm scared when these fears cut their chain loose and surround me, reminding me of the events I beg to forget. When I fall into this abyss and the ladder is burned to ashes, I have no choice but go through all of this again. I want to scream. I want to ask for somebody's help. But these fears have turned me mute.
Sebastian and I stepped out of the car, he opened his umbrella and pulled me close to him. It had started raining by the time he picked me up. We entered the Plaza Hotel. He grabbed my hand and interlocked our fingers. Throwing him a curious glance he gestured to all of the people there.
"We don't want them thinking we're business partners rather than husband and wife," he whispered.
"Regardless, we aren't." I smiled at everyone.
His grip on my hand tightened. We entered the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel and there were no people there. It was quiet.
"Where is everybody?" I asked, letting go of his hand.
"Having dinner, it was all on me," he answered.
"Wow, that's nice of you." I roamed the ballroom.
"What? They deserve it after a long day's work."
I went up the runway and twirled around, smiling. At least I'm getting distracted.
I screamed at the sound of a sudden whip-crack of thunder. My hands started trembling, my mind became foggy and my breathing shallowed. Why is this all happening in one day? Even better, why is this even happening to me? All of these occurrences reminded me of a dreadful memory I threw somewhere in my head.
The lights flickered.
But of course, my pleas wouldn't be listened to. Another crack of thunder then the lights went out and I was engulfed in darkness.
Adrenaline pumped through my body, it coursed through my system like it's going to escape. I think my heart will explode and my eyes create figures in the dark. My body begged for me to move and run to safety or run to the hills or the weaponry. Just to get to safety. Instead, I stay rooted to the floor. Like my feet are glued to the ground. My main concern: that I get abducted even worse, get killed. Adrenaline surged through me so fast I got the urge to vomit. I can feel my saliva thickening and my sweat trickling down the side of my brow.
"Sebastian! Sebastian where are you?" I yelled, taking deep breaths.
My head turned left and right yet all I ever saw was pitch black. "I...I can't breathe...Sebastian...where are you?" I was losing control of my breathing. I placed my hand on my chest. It felt like my chest was closing in on me. Like my entire body was shutting down.
This fear was my demon to slay. Yet I couldn't quite clutch the weapon correctly. Every time I try to hold it, it falls out of my grasp. I can't breathe. I can't focus. The only way out was to get a hold of my mind and control it. To figure out a solution. To demand a way out of this instead of this crazy-making circling anxiety. My legs felt like noodles and my muscles were rendered weak. I still had an option and that was to stay still.
"Adrianne! Are you listening to me?!" Sebastian's voice echoed throughout the ballroom.
"Sebastian— I'm on the runway..." I weakly called out.
Footsteps came closer, closer, and closer until hands seized me. I let out a shrill scream and squirmed around helplessly trying to pry this person off of me.
"Woah, woah! Adrianne calm down, it's me!" He squeezed my shoulders.
I broke into tears as I wrapped my arms around him. I tried to ignore the noises and figures dancing in front of me, trying to feel safe in his arms.