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Blissfully ignorant

By , St. Joseph, MI
Intelligent, charismatic, athletic and painfully attractive are all words John Fritz had grown accustomed to. Growing up in a wealthy family and never having to lift a finger provided a stress free life for John. A trust fund with more than eight digits was promised to him along with a life full of luxury and class. Being an only child, he grew up traveling the world with his parents. Jetting off on exotic vacations was the norm for him, but New York City was where he called home. A determined attitude in school and sports paid off with a full ride academic and football scholarship to Harvard University. Receiving many accomplishments such as graduating top of his class and being named Valedictorian of his private school were all honors expected of John. Everyone he came in contact with loved him instantly.

John had just finished his first year at Harvard University and was feeling exuberant. He was back in New York City with his family and just about to start his summer. After hearing John received a 4.0 for both semesters, his parents decided to celebrate by taking him on a mini vacation to Europe. They loaded their private jet and set off for a long weekend in the beautiful city of Paris.

Victoria Clausen was trying desperately to get her life back on track, but struggling to do so. She grew up in Paris but recently moved to the states to go to college. No one had any idea she was running from a tenebrous past. Her parents knew her as an intelligent, stunningly beautiful girl with immense potential, unaware their innocent daughter hid many scandalous secrets. During her senior year of high school she had been involved with a married man who was known to her as Professor Loss. Life revolved around late night rendezvous in classrooms and sinful betrayal. Love was what she thought this was but she was young and naïve. She ignored the part of her that understood it was wrong and the fact that he went home to a wife and two kids. She was so wrapped up in the scandalous, passionate affair they were having that she lost sight of who she really was. Eventually the harsh reality hit when she discovered they had conceived a child. Terrified to tell her lover because she knew he wouldn’t leave his wife and kids for her, she made the decision to run away. Telling her parents, and enduring their great disappointment, was also not an option. Instead, at the tender age of 18, she ended the affair and ran off to New York City to have her baby. NYC was a long way from home, but she had learned to love it after visiting a couple years ago with her parents. Despite being in a city filled with thousands of people, she had never felt more alone and terrified. Throughout her secret pregnancy she never considered how difficult it would be to give her baby up for adoption. Knowing there was no way she could raise a child on her own, she chose to quietly suffer through the pain and then gave up her little baby girl to a wonderful family.

Every second Victoria was haunted by the pain and torture of her secret romance and the child she had to give up. The choice to find work and continue her new life in New York City came easy to her, not wanting to return home to the place that held so many negative memories for her. After the adoption, she finally started communicating with her parents again, although they were clueless about the arduous events she had been enduring. Now that it was summer, she was planning a much needed trip to go home and see her parents after a year of separation.

When the Fritz family first arrived in Paris, they immediately went to dinner. Here they talked and caught up about each other’s lives since John had been away at Harvard. The night continued in consuming lots of champagne to celebrate John’s great success. After awhile his parents decided to leave the restaurant to walk around the city while he stuck around. Sitting at the bar, John contemplated his life and appreciated how perfect it was. He was brilliant, handsome and on the track to becoming very successful. The feeling of being invincible kept creeping in his mind, making him dizzy with the lust of power and success. After becoming extremely intoxicated he took the car his parents left and began the drive back to their penthouse. It was late, dark, and surprisingly deserted on the streets of Paris. John felt the alcohol hitting him and was becoming apprehensive about making it home safely. While trying to find the windshield wipers, he swerved and hit two pedestrians on the street. His heart sank while his brain was trying to process what had just occurred. He sprang out of the car and caught sight of a man and woman lying deathly still; the blood gushing out of their mangled, broken bodies forced John into a state of panic. The impeccable life he had worked so hard for flashed before his eyes; the thought of it being destroyed scared him to death. Without thinking he raced back to his car and sped off. Finally making it home he zipped up to his bedroom, ripped off his clothes, got in the hot shower, and tried to process what had just happened. “I just killed two people.” The thought sank into his brain, causing his heart to race. What was he going to do? He immediately ruled out calling the police, there was no way he was getting involved anymore than he already was. He was a superstar, in a sense, to people; this would destroy him and his perfect reputation. After a short deliberation, John decided he would do whatever it took to never have anyone find out about this tragic night. Not being able to keep his eyes open any longer, he passed out and the next morning begged his parents to take him back home.

It had been a year since that terrible night in Paris when John took the lives of two people. It was his darkest secret that haunted his dreams every night. Guilt was a present emotion he dealt with, yet he somehow continued to be the star football player and keep a 4.0 both semesters again. Back in the city, he went out to the same bar every night to drink away his sorrows, his impeccable fake I.D. never once raising an eyebrow.

Victoria was now bartending and saw him coming into the restaurant recently. He was tall with an athletic build, his bulging muscles hinting at signs of a football player. The designer clothes, crisply pressed and tailored, only made him more of a sex magnet. He was captivating to look at; she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. This intoxicating feeling scared her because she had completely shut herself off from men since the affair. Eventually, she mustered enough courage to talk to him. “You’ve been coming in here a lot lately,” she said, faking confidence.

“What’s it to you,” John rudely mumbled. His eyes glanced up, laying eyes on an angelic woman. He instantly perked up, letting his eyes roll over every inch of her face. Her look was elegant and classy; she was wearing a smile that was breathtaking. He immediately felt like a fool and spit out an apology, “I’m so sorry to appear rude,” he stammered, “I’ve been under a lot of stress.”

She wasn’t shaken by his hostility, knowing he had to be under pressure since he’d been in here drinking frequently. Pulling out an easy smile, she let him off the hook with a smirk and got back to work. She was having trouble focusing on her other clients when she could feel his gaze burning into her back. Attempting to keep her cool turned out to be quite the difficult task considering her heart was about to break open her chest and walk out the front doors. Finally, when things died down in the restaurant, he called her over. They exchanged names and fell into an easy conversation, asking all the generic questions. At closing time they were forced to tear away from each other. Both were absolutely captivated and intrigued by one another, the air seemed to sizzle between them like sand on a sweltering summer day. They made plans to go out the next night.

After the first date they were inseparable, both being especially careful to keep their dark pasts a secret. They didn’t want their mistakes to ruin their developing love. After a couple weeks of being together, Victoria cautiously mentioned her parents had died. It was a sore subject for her and the conversation quickly dropped, John keenly aware of her raw pain. They were two broken people, but together they completed each other; falling deeply and madly in love, unaware of the tumultuous current lying dangerously below the surface of their fragile psyches. They traveled to exotic locations and rubbed elbows with prestigious men and women, most of whom John had grown up with all his life. The empty hole Victoria had felt was closing up and beginning to heal because of this incredible man.
Victoria completed John. She filled the emptiness he hid and transformed him into a respectable guy, keeping his inner demons at bay. Deciding he wanted to make her his forever, he planned a romantic evening for them and bought a sparkling 3 karat engagement ring. The excitement and nervousness he felt leading up to the big night was overwhelming, scrutinizing and reviewing every tiny detail to make sure perfection is what she received.
It was the evening before the big night and they were curled up on the couch, wrapped in each others arms. Victoria had never felt so close with someone before and she was ready to bare her soul to him. She made the decision to let him in on her secrets and share the agony she endured regarding the loss of both her baby and parents. She inhaled deeply and began to tell her story of the affair and baby she gave up. He sat and listened patiently, never once judging her. They had only known each other for a mere couple months, but he had never been more certain about anyone. After hearing her heart-wrenching story of the pain she went through, he felt an even deeper love for her. He was just about to tell her how much he loved her when she stopped him and proceeded with her story.

“John that was the hardest thing to tell you, but I’m not finished. After I gave up my little girl for adoption I was finally trying to move on with my life. I had completely cut off my parents and I was just about to go see them back in Paris. I was filled with guilt and remorse and couldn’t wait to make it up to them. A couple days before I was about to leave I got a phone call saying they were dead. Some idiot drunk driver had hit them and then fled the scene. The police never figured out who killed them but I can tell you something, I hate that b******. If I ever laid eyes on him I would kill him. He took away the only family I had and then didn’t have the courage to own up to it. I know this is a lot to handle but that’s my life story.”

John had already put the pieces together and felt sick. He was horrified by this unexpected realization. He loved this girl more than anything in the world and just discovered he murdered her parents. Emotions surged through him, causing him to have a panic attack. Losing control of his body, he started shaking from head to toe. He couldn’t even look at her, his guilt and shame so raw. Victoria sat there stunned, confused and tearful as John raced out of the room, leaving her sitting there in shock.

At home John paced around, debating what to do. If he told her she would never forgive him and he would lose his one true love. If he didn’t tell her he would have to deal with the guilt for the rest of his life. His mistakes were the reasons for her agony and pain. How could he look her in the eye for the rest of his life knowing he did that to her? But how could he risk losing the girl of his dreams? Deciding he couldn’t let her go, he called her up the next day to apologize, blaming his little fit on the 24 hr flu. Sticking with his original plans, he proposed to her that night.

Victoria and John had a lavish wedding that went down in history. It was the talk of the town with only the best of the best attending. After they were married, Victoria transferred to Harvard, moved in with John, and graduated with high remarks. Eventually they had three beautiful kids and lived happily ever after. Victoria never found out that John, the love of her life, murdered her parents.





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