Wednesday, April 21, 2010
IN THE BEGINNING
The handle on the door turned. *Click*, the door opened wide. He walked into the room and kicked his shoes off. He unbuttoned his shirt as fast as he could; the feeling of ‘filthy’ was all around him. He opened his closet, pulled out a small black bag from inside. He stuffed the shirt inside the bag; and shoved it into one corner – to be forgotten.
But, honestly, he would never ever be able to forget the presence of this unwanted item of clothing in his room. ‘I’ll burn the shirt off, later in the night, when everyone’s sleeping.’
“Tim, are you ready for dinner?”
“Yes. I’ll be down in a minute”, he yelled.
He went over to the door; and latched it from the inside. He looked all around him. It wasn’t safe here anymore. It was his own room; but still everything seemed so alien. He walked over to the window; and shut it tightly.
He stripped off every piece of clothing on him. He was now stark naked. He stood in front of the mirror and inspected his body closely. Did he have any marks that would give him away?
When he was satisfied that his body didn’t have any physical evidence to give him away, he walked over to the shower. He stood under the shower; and turned the knob to let the icy cold water fall onto his already ice-cold skin.
He knew the water couldn’t clean him. Nothing could clean him. He was not dirty on the outside. He was dirty on the inside. But he couldn’t tell the truth now, could he?
He couldn’t let all of his hard work go to waste now.
It was too late to repent.
He had to hold on to his guilt; and move on to a better future.
He walked out of the bathroom, with only a towel covering him waist under. He once again looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were beginning to show signs of not having had their due rest.
‘I must try and sleep well; or my dark-circles might turn out to be a matter of worry for mom and dad. I must avoid any kind of questions that might come up as a result.’
He walked down the steps slowly; as he clutched onto the railings for support. He had to be careful, lest he aggravates the wound on his right thigh.
“So, what’s for dinner?” he asked mom, trying to sound cheerful.
“Potatoes and some fish” she replied, without looking away from the dishes.
“Where’s dad?” he asked.
“He’s gone to the cops”, she replied.
He froze. Did she say ‘cops’?
“Umm… Why the cops?” he asked, trying to sound casual.
“There’s been a case of some money being swindled out of their company’s account. Dad and Mr. Jones have gone to the cops to lodge an official complaint.”
“Do they suspect anyone?” he asked.
“Not really. They are pretty clueless at the moment. They are wondering who would want to do this to them. Mrs. Jones is also very worried about the whole scenario.”
“How much money is involved in this whole scam?” he asked.
“About fifty thousand dollars”, she replied.
He could almost feel his throat drying up. “That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?” he asked, as he filled a glass of water for himself.
“Yes, it’s quite a bit. This is exactly the reason why we’re all confused about who could have pulled it off.”
“Must have been an insider”, he suggested. “Who else could have pulled off a heist like this?”
“You’re right, son!” she said, as she came and placed a plate in front of him.
“You eat and go to bed soon. I’ll wait up until Dad returns home” mom said.
“Alright” he said, as he helped himself to some potatoes.
He wanted to get done with supper as soon as possible. He couldn’t look his mother in the eye. He didn’t want to be around her anymore. He focused on eating his dinner quietly.
“Tim, there was a call for you in the evening”, she said.
“Who was it?”
“Some Nathaniel”, she said.
Tim dropped his fork. “Who did you say?” he asked; the tone of shock apparent in his voice.
“But he’s… It couldn’t be him… He’s… ”
DRIVING HER TO SCHOOL
“Good morning, honey” mom said.
“Good morning”, he replied.
“He got back late last night; he’s still resting”, she responded.
“I have an assignment due today. So I’m going to rush off now”, Tim said, as he slid his chair backwards to get up.
“I’ll come with you”, Ruth yelled from her room.
“You’ll make me late” he yelled back. “I’m off, ma!” he said, as he picked his bag off the chair.
Ruth held her hand against the door, blocking his path. “I told you I’m coming with you” she said; as she drummed her nails on the door. She was dressed in black, from head to toe - black leggings, with a black strappy top, with black ear-rings.
“Fine”, he said, sternly.
“Bye ma!” she yelled, as she closed the door behind her.
“Didn’t you want breakfast?” Tim asked her, as he strapped his seat belt on.
“I’m on a diet”, she replied.
“What for, Ruth? You’re pretty slim anyways”, he commented.
“But Jonathan is having a pool party next week. I need to look my best to fit into the bikini I bought from the mall last week”, she said, with a smirk on her face.
“You superficial creature”, he taunted.
“Taunt all you want, you ugly man! Your sister isn’t pretty just because the God wants her to be. This takes a lot of efforts, young man!” she said, as she playfully showed off her body.
“Is that a tattoo I see?” Tim asked.
“This. Yeah. It’s a miniscule one!” she replied, trying to cover it.
“Does mom know?” Tim asked.
“Nah, she doesn’t. Do me a favor, let her remain unaware”, Ruth looked at him, pleadingly.
“What does it say?” he asked, inquisitively.
He pulled the car into his daily parking spot in the campus. Ruth slid the strap of her top off her shoulder. It was a pink heart, with some writing in the center. ‘N & R’ it read.
“What’s ‘N’ for?” Tim asked.
“You will know when the time is right”, she winked, as she got off the car; and skipped off to class. “Thanks for the ride, bro!” she yelled over her shoulder.
“Crazy woman”, he said, shaking his head, as he got off the car and walked over to the West-wing of the campus.
He walked right up to the first floor of the building. He walked right till the end of the corridor; and knocked on the large heavy teak door. “Come in” came a female voice. He turned the handle door open; and walked in, shutting the door behind him.
The placard on the outside of the door read ‘Ms. Hedger – Head of Department, Canadian Literature’.
SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET
Ruth rushed to the ladies’ cloakroom on the 2nd floor of the Eastern House building. She shut the door behind her. There were some girls retouching their make-up. She waited patiently until they got done.
Once the last one had left, she walked up to the door; put up the ‘Cleaning in progress’ board outside the cloakroom. She then shut the door, and latched it. She looked to see if the coast was clear or not. When she was assured that it was, she walked over to the door with the blue paint smeared across it; and pushed it open.
“The coast is clear”, she announced to him.
“I was craving for you, you hawtie. Come to daddy”, he said, as he looked at her which would have made a hardened rapist look like a toddler.
He pulled her into his arms; and went for her neck with the thirst of a vampire.
“Go easy, boy! Easy! I have a surprise for you”, she announced.
“What is it?” he said, in her characteristically scruffy voice.
She moved a few steps backward; her eyes affixed on his. She slowly pulled her top off to reveal her bubble-gum pink bra, it had little red hearts on it.
“I like what I see”, he said, scratching his chin.
“Not the bra, you freak!” she said, irritated.
“What then?” he asked, genuinely confused.
“This”, she said, pointing out to the tattoo.
He rubbed his rough finger along her smooth skin. “It’s beautiful”, he said. He bent over, and planted a kiss on the tattoo that was on her shoulder. But he didn’t stop there. He kissed her on the neck, then on the ear and then he looked at her in the eyes.
“I love you, Ruth.”
“I love you too, Nathan.”
He placed his arms around her tiny waist, as he pulled her in to kiss her lips. He kissed her passionately, yet gently. He held onto her with one hand, and with his free hand, he slid down the strap of her bra that was sitting firmly on her right shoulder.
“Are you sure about this?” she asked.
“I have never been surer about anything else in this world”, he whispered in her ear. She let go of her inhibitions.
He pulled his hands up to her bra strap; and he unhooked it with precision.
She moved backwards; and gently dropped her bra to the floor. He looked at her in awe.
“A work of perfection”, he said; as he walked forward.
His hands lingered close to her breasts; unsure of whether to touch them. Ruth took his hands, and placed them on her skin. “They’re all yours”, she said.
There was no looking back from there. He kissed her on her lips like it was his last day on earth. She kissed him back with equally feverish passion.
He turned her around to have her back against his body. She bent over the wash-basin; as he traced a path along her back with his kisses. She looked at herself in the mirror. She looked way younger than him. She was after all, just 16. He, in turn, was already 24; but he looked older owing to his scruffy stubble, and long pony tail that was part of him. She loved him more than she had loved anything in the world.
It was hard to believe that all this had begun just 7 months back. It was Peggy’s 16th birthday; and the girls were at Togo’s to celebrate the cause.
“Happy birthday, girl”, Ruth wished Peggy, as she arrived at the table.
“Thanks darling. Come, take a seat”, Peggy offered.
“I will. Excuse me, I’ll be right back”, she said, as she excused herself to visit the ladies’ room. On her way there, her eyes fell on the gorgeous man who was seated at the bar. He was looking right at her. There was something about that look that pierced through her skin, to get the better of her.
When she returned to her seat, she kept turning behind to catch a glimpse of him.
“What’s up, girl?” Peggy asked.
“Do you know that fellow, sitting there by the bar?” she whispered in her ear.
“The guy with the pony tail?” she asked.
“Who is he?”
“Heard he’s related to someone on the faculty. He’s here to do some research on his thesis.”
“Interesting”, she said, as she touched her chin with her index finger. “Wouldn’t really hit you as being the ‘academic’ kinds, would he?”
“Not really; but he’s attractive in the ‘bad-boy’ way. Isn’t he?”Peggy added.
“Ma’am, these are from the gentleman there by the bar”, said the waitress; as she placed the Virgin Pina Coladas on the table.
Ruth and the others turned to the bar; he was looking right at them. He flashed a smile.
“Maybe, you should thank him when we’re done”, Peggy suggested.
“I must”, Ruth said, as she rose from her seat. But when she turned around, his seat was empty.
“He left”, she said, the tone of disappointment hung in her words.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll bump into him at the campus”, Peggy had said.
“Goodnight girls! See you tomorrow morning”, Ruth yelled, as she crossed the street. She lived a block away from Togo’s. As she was walking, a car screeched to a halt right next to her. She bent over to see who was driving the car. It was him, the mystery man from the bar.
“Need a ride?” he asked.
“Not really, I live close by. But thanks for asking”, she responded.
“Would it be okay if I walked you?” he asked.
“Sure, I could use the company”, she added.
He had parked the car and walked back with her. “Alrite then, this is me!” Ruth said, as they neared her house.
“This is where you live, eh?” he asked.
“Yes”, she replied. “Alrite, goodnight”, she said, as she turned to walk away.
“I still don’t know your name”, he shouted out.
“Ruth”, she smiled.
“I’m Nathan”, he said, as she walked away, a smile plastered on her face.
They’d ‘accidentally’ bumped into each other the next day on campus as well. And that’s how it had begun. They had somehow managed to keep things under wrap. Nobody knew about their little ‘affair’. Nathan had wanted to keep things under wrap; because a family member worked on the faculty. “It wouldn’t be right for us to announce things as yet, plus, with you being younger than me, I’m not sure how people would deal with this just as yet”, he’d said.
Keeping things this way suited Ruth too. Her older brother Timothy also studied in the same school. If he ever found out about her relationship with someone older than him, he would freak; and in turn, her parents would also get to know the truth; and they would definitely freak a lot more than Timothy. She might as well end up being ‘grounded’ for life.
So they continued to meet secretly. Before hours and after hours, preferably, while on campus. They kept the meetings off the campus at a minimal; because, if someone they knew bumped into them outside, they wouldn’t have had a viable excuse. While they were on campus, some plausible explanation could always be made up.
She was panting heavily, as she got off him. She looked at him and smiled.
“You’re awesome. Do you know that?” he said.
“Tell me something I don’t know”, she teased. “Alrite, I’m super late for Physics now. See you later, hun”, she said, as she planted a firm kiss on his lips. She hurriedly dressed up, straightened her hair. Before leaving she looked at him and said; “Get out of here before someone catches you.”
(TO BE CONTINUED...)