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Her ice blue eyes skip over me not even lingering. Piercing my heart with the love she denies me. She’s the most beautiful girl in the world, with her golden skin and silky, straight black hair; she’s a diamond in the rough. She wanders the streets alone letting the summer sun warm her cheeks. I watch her from the park, sitting on the old wooden bench peeking around my newspaper. I must talk to her, hear that captivating voice that causes my hands to sweat, my pulse to quicken, my knees to go weak. She answers on the third ring. I say nothing. I just watch her lips form the word hello from afar. I exhale slowly and close my eyes as I put my phone away. I walk home slowly thinking about her. Salisha has unknowingly taken my heart hostage for the past 8 months. At the front door, I pull my keys out and my wedding ring drops to the ground. I grab it and slip it on my left ring finger before I enter .
I’m bombarded with hugs as I make my way to the kitchen. Having five kids isn’t how I envisioned my life even though I hardly ever see my twins, who are almost 18. I sneak up behind Annabelle, my wife, and swoop her up into my arms and spin her ‘round kissing her soft forehead. She giggles like a child and I set her down looking into her pale green eyes. She grabs my tie and pulls me into her sweet lips. I turn away thinking of Salisha.
“What is it honey,” worry on her face as she studies my dark unrevealing eyes.
“Nothing, just a long day at the office,” I head toward the stairs.
“Dinner will be done in 15 minutes, “she calls to the kids who come charging in, fighting over seats.
I shuffle upstairs to find Peter, my 17 year old rebellious son. I knock, no answer. I knock louder, still no answer. I try the handle, locked.
“Peter! You better open this door right this second!” I bellow. There’s some commotion behind the door then a click and his head emerges from behind the door.
“What do you want?” he says intensely glaring at me, attitude in his stance. His room smells like something died in it. His clothes are thrown about, CD’s are in piles on the dresser, and empty bottles and candy wrappers are littering the floor.
“Well since you asked, I would like a son who respects me an-“he cut me off.
“I’m not EVER going to respect you. You’re a dirty, lying, sick man. Now leave me alone.” Peter tries to slam the door but I kick it open with my boot making him stumble back and I lunge toward him. He staggers back till he hits the wall. I come closer, my breath hot in his face. I raise my hand to bash him in his smartelic mouth but he’s faster and grabs my arm and twists it, then knees me in the stomach. I crumble to the ground and Peter’s on top of me pounding my face and chest again and again. Each hit gets harder. The room is spinning and the lights are fading. He grabs the collar of my shirt and proclaims “I know your dirty little secret you disgusting old man,” then everything goes black.
I awake to yelling. My head is already pounding and I can barely move. I crawl down the stairs to where Annabelle and Peter are fighting. She stops mid yell and gasps. She comes closer and lifts my chin. Slowly she turns and walks silently over to Peter who doesn’t even blink as she smacks him across the face. He lowers his head and saunters to his room.
Annabelle cleans my cuts and helps me to the couch. I fall asleep fantasizing about Salisha.
I awake to the rumble of Peter’s car as it speeds away disrupting the morning peace. I tell Annabelle I will go find him but I actually want to go see Salisha. She’s at Jon’s Diner. Her shift started twenty minutes ago. I seat myself in her section and wait for her gleaming smile to appear.
I leave her a generous tip and wait for her to shift to end then follow her home. I like to watch her open my presents through her bedroom window then call and ask her if she likes them. Today I have left roses with a handwritten poem on her nightstand and a light pink silk dress on her bed.
She reads the poem and drops her head covering her face with the palms of her hands. She must like it. She picks up the dress and puts it in a drawer with my other presents. She opens her window and grabs the roses and heaves them into the street. The glass vase explodes into a million pieces, scattering the roses across the hot pavement. She watches trembling, tears soaking her cheeks.
No! She shouldn’t have done that. She made a huge mistake, doesn’t she appreciate my thoughtful words and gifts? She will not treat me like this. I speed to my office and send a message to Salisha. I tell her I’m not happy with how she treated my gifts but also how much she means to me. I explain to her again that she will be all mine one day and that if she doesn’t behave, bad things will start happening.
I call her on my way home and tell her I want to be with her and that we need each other. She lets out a shriek and slams down the phone. I call her 23 more times hoping she’ll answer, but she never does.
Annabelle reminds me that tomorrow is Peter and Macie’s birthday. Macie is Peter’s twin. She ran away when she was 14 and now only talks to Peter. I don’t care though; she was a stubborn little brat anyway. As for Peter he’s moving out tomorrow which means I no longer have to deal with the dumb punk and all his whining about how I need to leave Salisha alone. It’s only because he wants her for himself and he’s mad that she loves me. At least he’s smart enough not to tell anyone about Salisha and me. He knows the consequences of that action.
I have to do something to protect Salisha from my dad. He’s going to hurt her. She’s no longer safe at home or school. Only I can’t tell anyone or he will kill me. I know he isn’t bluffing because I tried to tell mom and he ordered me to my room then stabbed me. He said he would do worse if I tried to tell anyone again. He didn’t even bother to take me to the hospital or tell mom.
He comes into my room late, when the moon is the only light. He shakes me awake as I squint against the faint light above.
“Happy 18th birthday Peter. I’m sorry things worked out like this,” he gave a weary smile, “tell your mother and Macie, Hanna, James, and Damien that I love them and I’m sorry an-and I wish it wouldn’t end this way.” He sighed and got up to leave.
“Wh-what is going on,” I jumped out of bed and ran to block his path. “What did you do? Where is Salisha? Is she ok?” Rage shook my body as I realized something bad was going to or had already happened. I pinned him on the floor and shook him like a rag doll.
“What are you going to do,” I whisper-yelled through clenched teeth. He gave a wicked smile that chilled me to my core. I let go of him and stormed out of the house grabbing my keys. The cool night air was rushing past me, faster and faster. My mind was racing, my heart pounding. I opened the sun roof hopping that with all the windows open I would cool off. I speed through every light and traffic sign. The one time I need a cop there isn’t one anywhere.
I skid to a stop in front of Salisha’s house and jump out of the car before it’s completely stopped. I pound on the door but no one’s answering. I run to Salisha’s second story window and start climbing the tree beneath it. I freeze at the stern call of my name. He’s here. I climb faster and pound on her window. I rip my shirt off wrapping my hand in the damp fabric and punch the window sending shards of glass soaring through the night sky. Salisha is screaming, then there’s a flash as she flips on her light. It takes her a moment to realize who I am and then she pulls me through the broken window. He is running toward us yelling that we’re making a bad choice as he pulls out a gun.
“You better give her to me Peter; it’s too late to be the hero. Now why don’t you come down so I don’t have to shoot you both.” His dark cold eyes flashing in the moonlight. I push Salisha as far away from the window as possible and tell her to get on the floor. I’m wondering where her parents are but then I remember their celebrating their anniversary 3,000 miles away.
“What is going on Peter? Why is your dad here with a gun and why does he want me?” her voice was trembling with fear.
“We have to go. You’re not safe. I’ll explain later. Get dressed- warm. Hurry we don’t have much time. We have to get out of here.” I whispered to her so my dad wouldn’t hear. I was watching him out of the corner of my eye; he was picking the lock of the front door. There was a creak as he pushed open the door. I ran and locked Salisha’s door and moved everything in front of it. He was coming up the stairs singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ softly.
“Ok, I’m going to jump then you have to jump but be as quiet as possible. I’ll catch you, I pinky promise.” With that I leaped out the window to the hard ground below. She followed me and we rolled onto the grass. As we bolted to the car I could hear my dad pounding on Salisha’s door.
I floored it all the way to the police station. Salisha was curled in a tiny little ball, sobbing in the backseat. I carried her into the small, outdated sheriff’s office and set her down as 2 cops starred at me in shock. I ran down the never ending hallway to the sleepy deputy and told him to arrest his boss, my father, for stalking and attempted murder.