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An Agent's Story
Author's note: Here are people that I based my characters off of. Ryan Higa as Ryan Parker, Tayor Green as Arden Cho, Veronica as Katie Cassidy, Robert as Paul Donahoe, Chelsea as Rachel Mcadams, and Diego as Chris Hemsworth.
I was once a small boy, about the age of five. Life was nice; I lived in a ginormous house that had the awesomest pool and servants that did everything for me. The house had nearly forty rooms! Some for games, about ten for beds, some for storage, guests, other stuff, and one was a big ballroom. That room had a marble floor and an old-fashioned chandelier with a lot of crystals hanging from the candle holders. There was also a huge fireplace, like ten feet high and twenty feet long. It had lots of animals, flowers, and other interesting characters painted around it. Also in the ballroom was a grand staircase, all twisty and curvy. I remember that I used to slide down the railing, fun times. That was my favorite room in the whole house.
My second favorite place to be was the pool. It was shaped like a shark with its mouth open. I used to get in at the mouth and slowly make my way to the tail. The tail had a diving board twenty feet high. I used to try and do flips off the board; some worked well and some ended in belly flops. My life was so perfect, that I thought nothing could ruin it. I was wrong.
I stayed up late one night in my room to watch a movie, I forget the name of it. Then I heard a noise. I was sure that it was my parents and that they had discovered me up past my bedtime. So, I did what any five year old would do, turn off the movie and pretend to sleep. Five minutes later and my parents still hadn’t come into my room. I figured that the noise was just from my imagination, or the movie, so I went to turn the movie back on. Right before I turned on the movie, I heard another noise, and another, and Another, until they were all blending together. I was getting scared, but I decided to investigate the crisis anyway.
First thing I did when I got out of my room was try and find which direction the noises were coming from. It sounded like they came from the ballroom. So, I went down the hallway to the staircase. I could hear fighting going on as I got closer to the ballroom. I reached the staircase and ever so slowly, I peeked around the corner to see the ballroom. I saw my parents fighting my servants, Maria the maid, Gavin the butler, Kevin the chauffeur, Eric the party planner, and Charolette the chef. They were using stuff like candlesticks, mops, ladles, among other things to fight my parents. I could see my parents were exhausted from fighting, but I knew that they couldn’t stop fighting. I slowly crept down the stairs, making sure that no one could see me. I wanted to help my parents fight.
When I got to the bottom, my mother noticed me. “Look away!” she yelled to me. I just stood there, frozen. I thought she would want my help. Lost in my thoughts, I was pulled back into reality when my father yelled at me, “Listen to your mother and turn around!” I could see the worry and fear in their faces for my safety. So I did as they said and turned around.
After what felt like ten minutes of hearing fighting, I dared to turn around. I saw my parents lying on the floor. I tried to reassure myself that they were unconscious, but I knew the truth. They were dead. The tears came streaming down my face, and there was nothing I could do to stop them. Charolette noticed me and said something to her gang that I couldn’t hear. Then she and the others started advancing toward me. I didn’t trust them anymore, so I ran away from where I was. I hid under the staircase. I used to go there to think but now it was protecting my life. About half an hour after Charolette’s gang started chasing me, I heard them leave. Even though it felt like a heavy weight had come off my chest and I was safe, I didn’t want to move from my spot. I feared too much that they would come back and find me. I needed a place where I could take in what just happened. And for the first time in my life, I felt completely and utterly alone. I wished that my parents were still here and that this was just a dream, but as the seconds turned into minutes and the silence dragged on, I realized that it wasn't a dream and that my parents were dead. I just sat there under the staircase, crying silent tears.
Time started to slip away from me and I didn’t know how long I was under the staircase. Eventually, I heard voices. I didn’t recognize them, but I didn’t trust these new strangers. Luckily, I could hear their conversation and decide whether these people were good or bad.
“Well John, they are dead.”
“No doubt about it Diego.”
“What a shame, and they were our best agents too.” The word agents surprised me. My parents weren’t agents, they’re just a medical researcher and marine biologist. I went back to listening to the two guys.
“We’ll have to sell the house and arrange a funeral...”
“And also fire the servants.”
“Right, right Diego.”
“Hey, didn’t they also have a kid?”
“Yeah, I think they did.”
“Where do you suppose he is?”
“I don’t know? He may be with A.S.S. by now.” I snickered, remembering how easy it was to get away from Charolette and the others. I guess John and Diego had heard my snicker because I could hear footsteps coming toward me. I froze in place because I didn’t know what else to do.
“Don’t worry,” I heard one of them say. “We won’t hurt you. I promise.” He sounded kind and I decided to come out of hiding. I got to see the ballroom for the first time since I came down. The chandelier was on the ground, crystals and everything shattered. Glasses shards everywhere, objects pieces scattered around the room, blood on the floor. It was so beautiful before, and now...
The sight of the ballroom shocked me, I couldn’t speak and my tears started coming back. I stayed like this for what felt like twenty minutes. Then I finally spoke, “Who...who...who are you?” My voice was barely audible.
“I’m Diego, and this is John.” John waved to me and I waved back awkwardly. John looked like a man who knew how to take care of himself. He was slightly built and I could tell that he had done some bad things to protect himself and the people I love. Diego was the same, but he had a softer side to him. He wasn’t a violent man if he didn’t have to be. He had somewhat messy hair that seemed like it would always look slightly messy. He had a slight beard that made him look rugged. And then there were his eyes. They were as blue as the ocean and had a certain charm about them. A charm that made me trust him immediately. I went with him, leaving my old life behind.
My parents funeral was held a week later. I never truly got over their death. Diego took me in and took care of me, He started training me to be an agent for SECRET, Save Everyone Cause Real Evil is Terrible. For thirteen years, I have been training and going on missions, defeat A.S.S., Agents of Sinister Stuff. My life goal is to stop A.S.S. and avenge my parents death. I am Ryan Parker and I am about to go on the biggest mission of my life.
I am eighteen years old. I should be a senior in high school, but instead I am training and going on missions for SECRET Normally, I didn’t get time off, but when I did, I daydreamed about high school life. What is it like? What are the kids like? Is it fun? The way I imagined it, high school was fun. Teachers were exuberant and students were enthusiastic. Classes include: math, science, english, history, art, gym, and study hall. Lunch was a peaceful time when girls gossiped about guys, guys tried to win over girls, and trouble never erupted. The school was just perfect all around. But I guess daydreams are just that, daydreams. But I couldn't daydream, I had to get to my mission briefing.
I met my mission informat, Silvia Evermore. I found it surprising that she along with Cord Riskener and Estaban Telando founded SECRET. The agency’s acronym came from their names. Pretty clever. But getting back to the meeting with Silvia, we started by going into a small room. It reminded me of an interrogation room with its one way window, small metal table, and two metal chairs. We sat down across from each other, shook hands, and then Silvia started giving me my mission information. Although, today she seemed a bit nervous, like what she was going to tell me would shatter me.
“Ryan,” she started, her voice flat and emotionless. “You know that you are one of our best agents and also one of our youngest agents.” I nodded, agreeing with the statement. In these kind of meetings I rarely talked and just communicated via body language. “But this mission is different from the rest.” Silvia’s voice gained a hint of nervousness. “You won’t be attacking A.S.S. agents. Instead, you will have to protect this girl, Taylor Green, from an attack by A.S.S.” Silvia held up a picture of Taylor. The picture only showed her face, but that was the only thing I needed to see to immediately fall in love with her. Her chocolate brown eyes complimented her wavy dark brown hair. Her smile was white and perfect, like an untouched layer of snow on the ground. Her skin seemed to emanate confidence and energy, even from the picture. Every aspect of her that I could see was perfect. But what am I thinking. As beautiful as she is, agents aren’t supposed to fall in love. Especially with their mission target. This is definitely going to be a tough mission.
“We have learned that an agent from A.S.S. have infiltrated her everyday life. We believe that he or she is waiting for the signal to attack. Your mission is to anticipate attacks at any moment. We are sending you undercover as a high school senior. I know you’re excited, but try to keep yourself contained. We are putting you in all of Taylor’s classes to monitor her. And remember, expect an attack at ANY time.” I nodded my head, acknowledging that I understood. Even though I wanted to jump around the room and scream, “I’m going to highschool!” I remained sitting. “You start tomorrow.” I stood up and started to walk out. Before I could get out the door, Silvia warned me, “Ryan. High schoolers are different than us. They don’t always do what they are told. They will lie, can be deceitful and you cannot trust any of them. Just make sure you protect Taylor Green.”
“I promise Silvia, I will.” Those were the first and last words I said during our meeting. Then I carefully walked out of the room and went to my dorm. All agents had one near the agency headquarters. As soon as I got in and closed my door, I started jumping and dancing around the room. “FINALLY!!” I yelled to myself, “I GET TO GO TO HIGH SCHOOL!!!”
I find it surprising what boys in high school wear. I normally wear something that resembles a ninja outfit or just a shirt and jeans. But in high school, a lot of guys have saggy pants and loose shirts. It’ll be a challenge to adjust. If the clothing is different; I can’t even begin to imagine what changes the actual school has in store for me.
So, I finally arrived at the Terran Calermo High School. My first task was to get my schedule, or whatever they call it from the main office. I started walking into the highschool, determination soared through me with each step. Once I stepped into the office, I expected to be helped immediately. Apparently, that wasn’t happening. I thought that the people in the office were busy, so I just sat down and waited. Once five minutes had gone by, I lost my patience and had to get help.
“Excuse me!” I yelled to no one in particular. A woman in glasses started tilting her head up. She ever so carefully started walking towards me until she got to the front desk.
“Can I help you, sir?” she asked in an annoyed tone.
“I’m Chris Ravencroth, the new student,” I retorted.
“Let me see now...” she mumbled to herself while walking back to her computer. Then she started typing, pulling up lists and documents and other things. “Jen Raberlin ... Paul Ragerton ... Derek Raller ... Alecia Ratlon ... AHAH! Here you are Chris Ravencroth. Let me get your schedule.” A piece of paper started printing. Once the machine released the paper, the woman snatched it and rushed it to me. She thrust it at me, shoving it into my chest.
As I removed it from my chest, I started to scan it. My classes were Math with Mr. Collins, Science with Mrs. Gullen, Art with Mrs. Talon, English with Mr. Lieuan, Gym with Mr. Monahan and other subjects with teacher names I couldn’t pronounce. As I was scanning, something in the top right corner caught my eye. There was a little scribble of text that read Student Helper: Taylor Green.
“Excuse me,” I said to the lady. She turned to me, ready to help. “What is this?” I asked pointing to the scribbles.
“Oh. That is your student guide. Taylor will show you the basic ‘ropes’ of the school.” She then casually walked over to a microphone and pressed a button. “Will Taylor Green please come to the main office. Taylor Green to the main office.” Her voice loudly echoed around me. It hurt my ears, so I covered them and sat down in a chair. Once the echoes stopped, I uncovered my ears. The lady helping me looked at me like I was crazy. “Taylor should be here in a couple minutes.”
Surely enough, Taylor arrived at the front office minutes later. But what really astounded me was that she was even more beautiful than she was in the picture. Her hair looked silky and more beautiful than any picture could capture. She wore a halter top dress that looked stunning. The dress was hot pink slowing fading into a deep violet as it cascaded down her body. Her face was that of an angel’s. Her lips perfectly pink and luscious. Her entire face seemed to have a glow around it. But I had to remain focused on my mission. She started walking over gracefully, like she was walking on flower petals. As she approached, I tried to keep my feelings under control. Scene 1 of the best acting of my life. Ready...Set...ACTION!
“So, you’re Chris Ravencroth,” Taylor commented; her voice soft and gentle. I nodded because I was speechless; also because I wasn’t used to talking to people. “You’re not very talkative, are you? Well, let’s see your schedule.” Taylor talked as if she had done this a million times before. Then she took my schedule from me and started looking it over. “Let’s see...Your period one is English with Mr. Lieuan. Same as me! Second period is art with Mrs. Talon. I have her second too. Third is math with Mr. Collins, just like me. Infact, we have identical schedules. And your locker is also right next to mine! Guess we’ll be seeing each other a lot.” I nodded. “Well, we should probably get to Mr. Lieuan, he’ll love having a new student!”
“...which led Shakespeare to”
“Mr. Lieuan,” Taylor interrupted.
“Ah, Taylor. I see you’ve brought back Mr...”
“Ravencroth,” I said seeing his obvious hesitation to say the name correctly. Taylor left me in front of the class with me and glided to her seat. I then noticed that Mr. Lieuan wanted me to come towards him. He whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry about these students. Their bark is worse than their bite.” Noting the warning, I looked around the room looking for A.S.S. agents. What I saw were high school seniors. Some girls wore revealing shirts and short shorts. Others, like Taylor, wore a shirt and some shorts. A few girls wore sweaters and tried to stay away from people. A couple wore heavy makeup and black clothing. The guys all wore either jeans or shorts. The tops were a mixture of plain colored shirts that were loose, shirts that were called graphic tees, and hoodies. The entire class seemed to just be groups of people hanging out. Girls gossiping, guys talking sports, people listening to music, and a few select people that were actually paying attention. “Just take a textbook and find a seat. You are just in time for one of my lessons on Shakespeare,” Mr. Lieuan told me, bringing me back to the real world. I saw three open chairs; one my the athletic guys, one by some gossiping girls, and one behind Taylor. I obviously went for the seat behind Taylor. As soon as I took my seat, Taylor turned around and told me the basics on how survive senior year. “First of all, don’t be late. Teachers hate it and give you detention slips. Too many of those and you have to spend another year here. Second, keep your grades up. Otherwise, it’s another year. Third, don’t interfere with couples ‘cause that earns you”
“I know,” I said cutting her off. “Another year here.”
“No, a bad rep. Fourth and foremost, listen to your science teacher. One wrong chemical mix up and you are history! Got it?”
“I’ll manage,” I replied. After the small crash course, the girl next to Taylor cleared her throat loudly.
“Oh, this is my best friend, Veronica. And that sexy man behind her is my friend, Robert. Veronica is sort of a science geek.”
“Guilty as charged,” Veronica commented. Veronica didn’t look like a science geek, more like someone that would...what is it...skateboard. Her hair honey blonde and coming down a couple inches below her shoulders. Her lips curved into a smirk. Her eyes dark and untrusting. Clothing included a jean jacket, black shirt with a red and white rose on it and some black skinny jeans.
“And Robert is on the wrestling team,” Taylor continued.
“Never lose a single match,” Robert proudly stated. Robert had muscles, probably from wrestling. He has short messy brown hair and sported a brown abercrombie and fitch shirt, or at least that’s what was written on the shirt. Robert also wore faded blue jeans. His eyes were what caught me off guard. They said “I’m nice” when you first look, but underneath that, they said “I’m violent.” I’d definitely have to keep an eye on him.
“And that’s about it,” Taylor finished.
“You’re forgetting Chelsea,” Robert commented.
“Right. How do I describe her?” Taylor pondered, putting her finger to her chin.
“I know,” Veronica chimed in, anger in her voice. “She is the biggest b*tch in the school. She is the most popular and most hated girl in school. She always gets what she wants when she wants it just cause her dad is rich. You can spot her a mile away with her straight blond hair, skin tight pink shirt, little booty shorts, and pink stiletto heels. She always makes obnoxious entrances and is the queen of hell. She never runs out of boyfriends and will make your life hell if you let her.” I could feel Veronica’s hatred for Chelsea growing with every remark she made about Chelsea. It sounded like this Chelsea girl was a...what did Veronica say...b*tch.
“Don’t worry, it’s easy to steer clear of her. But be alert this week. She likes to play with new people.” Robert warned. “So, are you planning on joining a sports team. You seem like you’d be great at football.”
“What is football?” I asked. The three of them burst out laughing. What was so funny?
“You don’t know what football is?” Veronica said in between giggles.
“Well, I don’t watch sports or play any sports,” I replied.
“Wow!” Robert exclaimed, “Dude you are seriously deprived. What have your parents been doing to you?” He brought up my parents; I hate talking about them. To this day, My eyes still tear up when they’re mentioned. But I can’t let these people see that. I can’t tell them because I don’t trust them.
“I’d rather not talk about my parents,” I mumbled.
“Seriously, what did they do. Not buy you a car, ground you, take away your phone? Spill!” Veronica interjected. That almost made me cry because they couldn’t live long enough to do those things to me. Then I just got fed up with them mentioning my parents.
“I said I don’t want to talk about my parents!” I snapped at them. So far high school isn’t what I imagined it would be. I didn’t feel like talking to them anymore, so I dug into my backpack and got out a book titled "11th Hour" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. I opened it to a random page, pretending to read it. While ‘reading’ the book, I thought about who the agent could be. Chelsea seemed like she could be the agent. She had money, probably from A.S.S. headquarters, was feared and could get one of her boyfriends to help her get rid of Taylor. Although, Robert could also be the agent. He is strong enough and judging by his eyes, is violent enough. Question is, why would he be her friend if he was trying to kill her. And I can’t forget about teachers. I can never be sure who is or isn’t putting on a fake smile. Although, I find it hard to believe that an agent could pretend to be a high school teacher. I just can’t wait until this mission is over. I was so lost in my thoughts that I was startled when I heard a loud ringing noise. I covered my ears because it was so loud. then everyone started heading out of the classroom. I guess that it was time to go to my locker and next class. Luckily, it was next to Taylor’s, so I just needed to stick with Taylor all day.
Surprisingly, the high school day went by pretty quick. Although, it wasn’t anything like I had imagined it. Art was right after English, and I was still thinking of my parents and my old house. Our assignment was to draw something from our past. I remembered the big chandelier and the swimming pool. I decided to draw them on the blank canvas in front of me. When I was finished, I decided to add some red paint because they looked too bright and cheery. They were painful to look at, even without the red paint. Before class ended, Mrs.Talon collected our paintings. Her face looked confused and sad when she saw my painting. To her, it was two random objects with red paint, but to me, it was a reminder of my old life.
Math with Mr. Collins was confusing to say the least. I could barely follow the equations or comprehend what he was saying. Not to mention the problems on my worksheet that I had to complete. Taylor, who sat to my right, noticed I had trouble and became my...what did she call it...tutor. “Chris, you need help?” she asked. I responded with a nod, burying my head in my hands in the process. “Ok. Well, let’s look at number one. It says ‘A sheet of metal 12 inches by 10 inches is to be used to make an open box. Squares of equal sides x are cut out of each corner then the sides are folded to make the box. Find the value of x that makes the volume maximum.’ The first thing you do is use the volume formula for a rectangular box, V = L times W times H. Now, you can figure out that L = 12 - x, W = 10 - 2x and H = x. The length and width have subtractions because squares of ‘x’ length are cut. You following?”
“I guess,” I answered. This wasn’t so bad so far.
“Now you rewrite the volume of the box. Which should be V(x) = 4x(x2 -11 x + 30) or V(x) = 4x(x -6)(x - 5). Next, you need to determine the domain of function V(x). ALL the box dimensions should be positive or zero. Basically, x ≥ 0 and x - 6 ≥ 0 and x - 5 ≥ 0. Once you solve those inequalities, you’ll find an intersection; 0 ≤ x ≤ 5. Now, we need to find the first derivative of V(x) using its last expression.”
“Question teacher. What does derivative mean?”
“Well Chris, the derivative is the instantaneous rate of change of a function with respect to one of its variables. It’s the equivalent to finding the slope of the tangent line to the function at a point.”
“Got it, I think.”
“Ok, back to the problem. The equation for the first derivative of V(x) using its last expression is dV/dx = 4[(x2 -11 x + 30) + x(2x - 11)] = 3x2 - 22 x + 30. Now, you have to find the values that makes dV/dx = 0. You do that by substituting dV/dx with 3x2 - 22 x + 30 to make the equation 3x2 -22x + 30 = 0. After you work through the quadratic, you find that x = 5.52 and x = 1.81, rounded to two decimal places. Since x = 5.52 is outside the domain and isn’t the ultimate answer, it means that 1.81 is. So to sum up, the maximum for V(x) is x = 1.81 inches. Not too hard when you know what you are doing. You think that you can try the rest of the paper on your own.”
“Maybe. Could you be my tutor until I can do this on my own?”
“Alright, but only because you’re new.” Then she giggled. Her giggle was so cute that it made me giggle too. I had never laughed about anything since my parents died. That thought made me cease giggling and almost made me cry. I miss my parents. Taylor noticed I stopped giggling and asked me in a caring voice, “What’s wrong?”
“I haven’t laughed in long time,” was the response I gave her. With that, I went back to my worksheet, drifting into my own little world.
During lunch I met the queen of hell herself. Now I know why they call her that. My first lunch from the school cafeteria consisted of what looked like a hamburger, mashed potatoes, carrots and milk. I sat down next to Taylor at her table occupied by Robert and Veronica. Then Chelsea and her boy posse showed up.
“Hey Chris,” she said to me sweetly. The boy posse behind her just standing there like guards.
“Leave him alone, b*tch!” Veronica yelled at Chelsea.
“Great to see you too Veronica. By the way, how’s your boyfriend?” Chelsea retorted sinisterly.
“You filled his head with the idea that I cheated on him with Greg, slut.”
“Pity that you blame me for your problems. So Chris, I heard that you’re new. How’s your first day?” Chelsea asked sweetly. Why was she being nice to me when she was told to be this b*tch?
“Lay off Chelsea. He doesn’t need to hear any sh*t from you!” Taylor interjected.
“Like you know what is or isn’t sh*t. You’re so involved with your studies that you don’t even know what matters anymore. Your fashion for example, it looks like it was taken out of the trash.”
“Hey!” I yelled to Chelsea, “Don’t you dare insult Taylor!”
“Oh, feisty and protective. Don’t lose those qualities, they’ll get you far in life. Besides, her outfit does look terrible.”
I stood up, grabbing Chelsea’s arm and raising my voice. Then I spoke in harsh tone emphasizing every syllable so Chelsea could understand. “I said, don’t you dare insult Taylor again.”
“Or what. What will Mr. New Guy do?” Chelsea obnoxiously asked.
I twisted her arm so much that she fell to the floor; her arrogance was getting annoying. “You don’t want to know what I have in mind for you.” I let go of her, sure that my message got through to her.
Chelsea got up with the help of her posse then exclaimed, “You’ll be sorry for that Ravencroth!” After that, she stormed away, her posse giving me dirty looks.
“Man! I can’t believe you just did that! Why? You know she can file a restraining order or have you expelled,” Robert blurted out.
“I think that b*tch deserved it,” Veronica chimed in.
“Well I’m just glad that Chris stood up for me.” Taylor added, “Turns out chivalry isn’t dead.” Then she turned and quickly kissed my cheek. I tried to think nothing of it, but I was exploding with joy inside.
“Ooooooh,” Veronica gushed. “You like Chris.”
“Shut up Veronica,” Taylor said while playfully shoving her.
“I don’t care about that girls. Chris, why the hell did you do that to Chelsea. I mean I know why, but why did you hurt?” Rob asked. I thought to myself, because I’m pretty sure she’s the agent. I mean A.S.S. agents usually are as.ses.
“Let’s just say I’ve seen too many people get hurt by people like Chelsea.” My parents included I thought to myself. “By the way, is the cafeteria food as nasty as it looks?” The three of them looked at eachother, then unanimously answered “Yes.” Afterwards we just talked, ate and laughed. Taylor explained to me that I have gym every other day along with art. Basically, my second period is either gym or art. The rest of the school day after lunch was pretty uneventful. I just made sure that Taylor stayed away from Chelsea. I hate that Chelsea is in my science class; it makes the mission that much harder.
When school ended, I was happy cause I didn’t have to sit in class, but I was also sad that I had to leave Taylor. As soon as I saw her in a big yellow bus, I got in my started my Mercedes and started my two mile journey to ‘home.’ I am just lucky that I’m not on a stakeout. In SECRET, every undercover mission involves a stakeout; just in case the target gets attacked at home or not in the expected area. John and Diego are on stakeout duty, rotating out with other agents every couple of hours. I hate that I have this so called homework. It was going to take all night. I guess I would have to miss out protecting Taylor all hours of the day. I can’t help but worry for her safety.
It wasn’t even fifteen minutes into English and I was already falling asleep. I hated that there was a quiz on this stuff Friday. I started copying down what was on the board into a notebook I pulled out of my backpack. “Don’t worry Chris,” Taylor said in the middle of my copying. “Lieuan never makes the tests hard, he just quizzes us to make sure we know something about Shakespeare. All you need to know are his most famous plays and their basic plots.”
“That’s a relief,” I said putting my notebook away. “Now all I need to do is find his most famous plays.” I smiled because I knew she would laugh at that. Sure enough, she did. Over the last week, I’d really gotten to know Taylor. What she likes, doesn’t like, her flaws, her habits, what makes her laugh and stuff like that. She is a very nice girl. Makes me wonder why A.S.S. would attack her. What’s even more interesting is that they haven’t even attempted to attack her yet. Is it possible that Silvia got the wrong target?
“Hey Chris,” Veronica whispered to me. “You don’t have to act stupid to flirt.”
“I’m not trying to act stupid Veronica,” I whispered back. “Besides, shouldn’t be thinking of ways to win back Dan, not that it’s any of my business.”
“You’re right, but I’ll worry about that next period,” Veronica replied, smirking.
“Alright class clear your desks!” Mr. Lieuan suddenly blurted out.
“Veronica, what’s going on?” I asked. Why would we need to clear our desks? He was just giving a lecture.
“Looks like Lieuan is giving us the quiz today instead of Friday. He’s never done that before.” Veronica looked at me with confusion in her eyes, and a slight hint of horror.
“Class, when you are done with your quizzes, quietly pile them onto my desk and then go back to your seat,” Lieuan instructed.
As soon as I got my quiz I put it down on the desk and got out one of my pencils. The first question was simple, What was Shakespeare’s first name? William, easy. The second question then related to one of the scenes from Macbeth Lieuan had been lecturing about for the past week. At the beginning of one scene Macbeth starts by saying, “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” Who was Macbeth saying this to and what are they discussing? I thought that this was tough. Especially since I hadn’t even read one part of the story. Then I remember that Lieuan was talking about something like this on Monday. He mentioned something about Banquo and a victory, so I put that as my answer. If all the tests and quizzes were like this, I would need to read the actual plays just to keep up my grades.
Art today was so easy. We just made collages by cutting out pictures from magazines. Seems like art should be for smaller kids instead of high schoolers. Well, at least I can enjoy it. Just have to make sure no one does anything to Taylor.
At first, I didn’t even know what to do for my collage. Then as I started looking through the magazines and my hands got a mind of their own. They cut out all the red, pink, cream, and green pictures that they could find. Then cut out some white, pale, and more green pictures. Before I had time to even realize what my body was doing, my hands had finished gluing the cut outs to a large piece of paper. I looked at it and realized what I had made. The picture contained a bouquet of red, pink, and cream colored roses. A bride was holding them, I assume she was on her way down the aisle. Why had I made this? I mean I was thinking of Taylor, but that would only explain the roses, a rose was Taylor’s favorite flower. Why had I made a bride? I didn’t want to marry Taylor, or anyone else for that matter. I had better keep this for later examination. I didn’t know why, but I needed to know why I had made a bride.
After lunch, I went to science with Taylor. Chelsea showed up four minutes after the bell rang, as usual. I had grown sick of seeing her face, she was such a b*tch. I could see it anywhere she was. Every person she saw, she victimized, it was torturous for me to watch. “Let’s hope the queen bee can leave us alone today. It’s torturous enough being her lab partner,” Veronica told me, bringing me back to reality.
“Doubt it. I just want her to not do anything stupid, like always. If that is even possible for her,” I said.
“I just don’t want to hear her comments about everyone,” Taylor chimed in. Taylor was my science buddy as Mrs. Gullen put it. A lab partner when we did labs every so often. Contrary to my first thought, we only learned about chemicals, atoms, and other boring stuff that regular people would never need to know. We rarely did anything with chemicals, gases, or even labs. The only reason that I actually paid the slightest bit of attention during class was that she was able to bring in a model or sample of what we were learning about.
When I was growing up with Diego at SECRET I learned more than just fighting. I learned about chemicals, how to combine them to make bombs, what gases were flammable and how to avoid death or injury if I ever encountered one. I learned that a lot of gases and chemicals had certain smells, I can even name some off the top of my head. Hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs, Dimethylamine smells like ammonia and Trimethylamine smells like fish and ammonia. There is also a long list of flammable gases that smelled sweet. I had trained so much in the ‘chemical field’ that I was one of the only agents able to identify a sweet smelling flammable gas instead of just knowing it was flammable. I knew all of the gases, Methyl chloride, Acetaldehyde, Cyclopropane, Chloroethane. In fact, I think I just heard Mrs. Gullen mention Chloroethane.
I looked at Mrs. Gullen and saw her writing the properties of the gas on the board. The first scribble of writing I saw was Chloroethane has a faintly sweet odor. I figured I didn’t need to pay attention, after all, I had already learned about the gas. I could still remember the odor. Sweet with the smallest traces of chlorine. I inhaled through my nose and the sweet smell got stronger. I sniffed the air and the smell became even more intense. It was then I realized that I wasn’t just remembering the odor, it was actually in the air.
I looked at the jar at the front of the room to see if there was a leak in it. Sure enough there was a hole allowing the gas to escape into the air. I had to warn the teacher that there was a leak because if you continuously inhaled Chloroethane, you could potentially damage your lungs. Although, there were a couple of windows open, so most of the gas would probably get swept outside. Now all I had be on the lookout for were things that could start a fire. As I scanned the room, my eyes landed on Chelsea. She had a lighter in her hands and had just started messing around with it. I whispered to her from across the aisle, “Stop messing with that lighter Chelsea. You’re gonna get us all killed.”
Chelsea retorted by sticking her tongue out at me and whispering, “F**k you.” She continued messing around with her lighter. I knew that in a few short seconds, the lighter would spark and there would be an explosion. So, trying to act like the hero I yelled, “Get down, NOW!” in my most masculine voice, trying to sound like an adult. Most of the class listened and got down including the teacher. Only a few guys and Chelsea remained standing, Chelsea still playing with her lighter.
In a flash, I crouched down dragging Taylor down with me, hoping to protect her. In less than a second, I heard a fire rushing through the classroom. I dared to look up and saw a wave of flames above me and Taylor. Then there was screaming coming from guys and girls all around the classroom, but I only concentrated on Taylor. She was laying motionless on the floor, excluding the rise and fall of her chest. I think she may have become unconscious due to the fire overwhelming her. In a matter of seconds, the fireball of an explosion ceased to exist. Some people were still screaming, but I stood up to look at the damage.
Everything was blackened. The door had apparently been blown off its hinges and now lay outside the classroom. Some wires hung from the ceilings, threatening us with their sparking ends. Parts of the walls had been blown away. All of the science equipment was either charred or shattered. People slowly started getting up and looking around. A crowd of teachers and students had gathered outside our room. Some of them whipped out their phones and called what I think was 911. I decided to check on Taylor, make sure nothing was wrong. The paramedics, accompanied by policemen, arrived within five minutes.
Taylor was taken aside by two of the paramedics, one trying to wake her up and the other checking her vitals. A couple students had some minor burn injuries and were bandaged. Chelsea’s injuries were the worst of all. Her face had what looked to be second degree burns on it. Her clothing was burned a little by the fire. She was unconscious when the paramedics found her. They had to take her to the hospital and the principal had to dismiss the school early. Once Taylor was headed home, I called Diego and John to let them know what happened. Then I went to SECRET headquarters to inform Silvia.
I entered the little meeting room, Silvia was already there. “Ryan,” she began. “Thanks to your efforts, Taylor is safe. Your reports show that you think that this Chelsea girl is the agent. Where is she?” Silvia asked. She had apparently already learned about the explosion from John.
“Chelsea is in the hospital Silvia. She had burns on her face and arms that looked severe, possibly fatal.”
“Ryan, if this Chelsea . . .” Silvia gulped nervously. “Passes away . . . then you are relieved from this mission and go back to regular training. We meet back here on Thursday, 7AM sharp.” Silvia stood up and walked out of the room leaving me alone. I started to head to my dorm all the while thinking of Taylor. One slip up and she would probably have been killed. Once I got to my dorm, I plopped myself down at my desk and started to try and do the homework. I hate having to take calculus; it’s so confusing.
It had been two days since the explosion at the school. The reporters were all over it because they didn’t have much else to cover. The only story that topped the explosion was the funeral for Chelsea. She apparently died early Wednesday morning. I actually felt a bit sad when I heard it on the news. Anyways, since I heard about Chelsea’s death, I started thinking about Taylor and her safety. If A.S.S. wanted her dead, then they would have planned all the attacks ahead of time, thinking about every outcome. By Thursday morning, I had come up with the theory that more than one agent was trying to kill Taylor. I had to tell Silvia about my theory and make sure that Taylor was safe.
“Silvia,” I started, but she cut me off.
“Ryan, as you may very well know, Chelsea has died. Therefore, you are relieved of your undercover position,” She said coldly. Then she started to walk out.
“Silvia wait!” I called grabbing her arm.
“Mr. Parker, you had better have a good reason for keeping me from leaving!”
“I do,” I said letting her arm go. She went back to her seat. “Silvia, I believe that they are actually two agents trying to kill Taylor. I mean, suppose I figured out one of the agents and ‘stopped’ them.” I told her using air quotes when I said stopped. “I would have been taken out of the school, and that would leave Taylor vulnerable for another attack. Now I don’t know what A.S.S. wants to do with Taylor, but I intend to see this mission through.” When I finished I leaned back in the chair and waited for Silvia to respond.
After a couple of minutes of silence, Silvia finally broke, “Mr. Parker I will give you one more week at Terran Calermo to prove that there is another agent. If the week is up and you don’t have another probable agent, I will stop this undercover mission. Am I clear?”
“Crystal,” I replied.
I had been watching the news reports since I got back from my meeting. Hoping that they would mention when the high school would open again or anything about the fire. At about 10 AM, a female reporter announced that the principal of Terran Calermo High School would be in class tomorrow morning. That it was just a half day and that classes would return to normal next week.
After about half an hour of random news reports, there was a developments in the story about the fire. Apparently, the fireman determined that it wasn’t arson. I hated that Chelsea had gotten away with arson, but she was dead, so what could cops do. The news report also included some interviews with some of my classmates and the teacher. The interviews were pretty much the same, saying that they didn’t know what had happened, they were lucky and all that. The teacher had said that she heard a man yell to get down. “If that young gentleman didn’t yell to get down, we most of the class would probably suffering from burns and the towns would have suffered more fatalities.” Mrs. Gullen told the reporter.
Following Mrs. Gullen’s interview, the main reporter told the camera, “And now we talk to the girl who may have known who saved most of her science class from the fire.” I wondered who this girl was. Then I saw Taylor’s face on the screen. “Well, I admit that I did black out for part of the fire, but I do remember some things clearly. I heard a man yell ‘Get down now!’ I recognized the voice as a man from my class. Then my lab partner dragged me to the ground before I blacked out, as if he knew that the fire would happen. I believe that the hero is Chris Ravencroth. I don’t know how he knew Chris, but if you are watching, thank you.” Then Taylor blew a kiss at the camera. I couldn’t believe it. She figured out it was me, told everyone that watches the news, and blew me a kiss. I took the kiss as a sign that she liked me, maybe just for being the hero, but maybe not. I disregarded the unwanted publicity and focused my attention on the fact that she figured me out. How did she? I mean, I tried to make my voice as unrecognizable as I could while still being protective. Plus, don’t people forget what happens to them before they black out? I have to ask Taylor tomorrow. As I left the room I faintly heard the female news reporter say, “Well there you have it folks. The presumed savior is none other than Chris Ravencroth, a regular high school senior. This is Amy Sharlom signing off for Channel 6 news.”
It’s Friday morning and I still have some unresolved questions whirling around in my head. Why did I make a collage of a bride? How did Taylor know I was the ‘hero’? Who is the second agent, if he even exists? And most importantly, what did A.S.S. want with Taylor?! I thought about each of these questions as I got ready to go to school. Luckily for me, I had a Mercedes, so I didn’t have to walk to school or take a bus.
Once I parked my car in the school car lot, I stood outside the school; I had arrived 15 minutes before the school doors even opened. A few kids were already waiting there and the number of students grew as the minutes flew by. After standing around for about 7 minutes, Taylor arrived. She looked beautiful in her striped tank top and booty shorts as they were called. I have no idea how Chelsea thought she had no sense in fashion.
“Hey Taylor!” I called over the crowd of students.
“Hi Chris!” she shouted back, pushing her way through the group. When she finally got to me, she hugged me.
“What was that for?” I asked already knowing the answer.
“Saving my life. What else for?” She responded playfully.
“I don’t know, for being a hot new guy that is now being treated like a hero.”
Taylor gasped, “Who ruined the surprise and told you I said that?” She said sarcastically.
“Channel 6 News,” I said casually. We both laughed at that. Once we had calmed down, I had to ask her the question that had been buzzing around in my head since the interview. “Taylor, how did you know it was me?”
“Simple, you are the most protective guy in the school. Your first day here, you protected me from Chelsea. You always make sure your friends are happy even when you aren’t. And . . . and . . I feel safer when I am around you.” Her voice was almost inaudible when she said that she felt safe, looking down almost ashamed that she’d said that. Then her face perked up, “Plus, you saved me from a massive fireball, as the media is calling the explosion.” Taylor then kissed me on the lips passionately. I found myself kissing her back with as much passion as she had. It felt so good, why had I been holding back these feelings. Feelings of love, desire, longing . . . It felt like the kiss would last forever, but sadly, nothing lasts forever and Taylor’s lips and mine parted.
“Now . . . what was that for?” I asked between my gasps for breathes.
“Simple, science of the heart.” I looked at her with puzzled eyes. Science of the heart, what did that mean. It was probably one of those brainy quotes Taylor was always using. I guess she noticed my expression and started to explain. “The heart wants what the heart wants. It may be complicated, hurtful, or forbidden, but your brain doesn’t choose who you like or love, your heart does.” I started to grin as she said this. Then she whispered in my ear as if she were going to tell me a secret, “Chris, I like you, more than as just a friend. I like you because of how you make me feel, your selflessness, your courage, bravery, everything about you is perfect and just make me want you even more than when I first met you. I don’t know how, but I feel like we have a connection. Stronger than just friends, like you are the one that completes me. It feels like I can’t even exist in a world where you don’t.” Taylor moved her lips to mine and kissed them sweetly and shortly.
“Taylor,” I started bending down next to her ear and whispering. “From the first moment I saw you, I knew that I liked you, possibly loved you. I would do anything to protect you no matter what happens to me. I know that we were destined to meet each other, fall in love with each other . . . Nothing in the world can compare to our chemistry.” I pulled back from Taylor’s ear and smiled. I only now realized that she had been smiling the entire time.
I crushed our lips together passionately, fortifying what we had. It felt like the entire crowd of students were staring at us like we were sharks in a swimming pool, but all I cared about was Taylor. I loved this moment and never wanted it to end. Every sound but my and her beating hearts were blocked out. Unfortunately, the crowd had started moving toward us, shoving us, making us break our kiss. It was only then that I realized that the school had opened the doors, signifying that we were to get in and get to our classes. I couldn’t move, and I just stood there with Taylor as the students shuffled into the school. After the crowd had disappeared, I was finally able to move. I hugged Taylor in a loving and protective way, her hugging me back from sheer love.
I pulled out of the hug, “Taylor, is it just me or do you not feel like going to school today?” I asked smiling.
“It’s not just you.” She smiled back. “So, where are you going to take me?”
I glanced up in the sky as if deep in thought, even though my mind went to a special place instantly. After a minute or so of staring aimlessly into space, I looked down at Taylor and just smiled. I took her hand and she followed me to my car. She gawked at my Mercedes, her mouth open with a loss for words. “Hop in,” I encouraged her. She literally jumped over the door and into the car.
“So where are you taking me?” She asked playfully.
“Someplace special to me. I don’t want to ruin the surprise.” I looked over at her, grinning from ear to ear. I turn the ignition key, backed out of the parking spot, and headed away from the school.
The wind was blowing on my face as I sped down the street. Taylor’s hair was flying backwards, almost angelically. She looked so calm and content in that moment. I had been driving for nearly twenty minutes. I could feel that Taylor was holding back the question of where we were going. She had decided to stop after asking it repeatedly, receiving that same answer each time.
I turned the car down a lonely road, sending shivers up my spine as I drove along the narrow path. Eventually, the road opened up to a small clearing. Beyond this were rows of carefully organized stone placemarks. I stepped out of the car and felt like I was going to have a heart attack coming back here, but I had to do it. I had to show Taylor, even though it went against my most basic instinct.
“Chris, why did you bring me here? I mean it is not romantic.”
“Because Taylor, I have to show you something.” I took her hand, guiding her to the spot. All the while inhaling and exhaling deeply. I finally had to start talking, “Taylor, you know how I never talk about my parents . . .”
“Yes,” she said, fear in her voice.
“Well, this is why,” I stated, stopping at their graves. I fought the urge to drop to my knees and cry my eyes out. Instead, I let a single tear drip out of my eye. Taylor gasped when she saw their graves. She made her way to the ground and slowly traced her hands around their tombstones. I bent down beside her, and started to hug her. This was so weird, I was comforting her when they were my parents.
“How old were you . . .” I heard Taylor whisper.
“Only five . . .” I whispered. My subconscious had let me start crying, make it hard to talk or even breathe. “They were murdered . . .” I choked out the words.
Taylor then turned around and threw her arms around me. She had started sobbing uncontrollably. Holding her actually made some of the pain of their loss go away. The only sounds I heard for the next few minutes were the random sound of birds chirping and Taylor’s crying. She suddenly pulled away and wiped her cheeks looking at me with sadness in her eyes. “Chris . . . why didn’t you . . . how do you . . . why did this have to happen to you!” She screamed out. She looked me straight in the eyes, realization starting to sink in her. “Chris . . . on your first day at lunch . . . when you had said . . . that you’d seen too many people . . . hurt by people like Chelsea . . . you were talking about your parents. They were murdered . . . by a cold heartless b*tch. How . . . Chris . . . how do you . . . carry yourself around . . . like nothing is wrong. I mean . . . you have to live . . . everyday . . . knowing that your parents . . . are dead. I could. . . I could never live like that.” Suddenly panic was written on her face. “Who do you live with?” She asked, terror in her eyes.
“I have an Uncle, Diego,” I lied to her. She couldn’t find out what I had witnessed or that I’m an agent. “He took me in when no one else would. We had moved around a lot . . . but he thought I would be ready to come back here since I am ‘more mature’ as he put it.” I then looked down at the grass and whispered, “I miss them so much . . ."
Suddenly, Taylor’s phone rang. She took out her phone and looked at the caller id. “It’s Veronica. I’m sorry Chris, I have to talk to her.” She hit the answer button and said “Hello?” in the calmest voice she could muster. I couldn’t hear what Veronica said and had to guess. “I’m with Chris,” Taylor told Veronica. I could only assume that Veronica asked where Taylor was. “I’ll tell you later. Veronica, why did you call?” Taylor responded. As Taylor was listening to Veronica she got a worried expression on her face. She eventually closed her phone, worry still clear on her face. “Chris. . . I want to go back to school. . .”
I brought Taylor back to my car and we started our drive back. Neither of us spoke at any point in time. I could tell that Taylor felt sorry for me. Once we reached the school, I parked where I had before and we got out of the car. I was worried about what Veronica had said to Taylor. I mean, Taylor always tries to keep calm, but whatever Veronica said, it scared her.
As Taylor and walked into the school, I saw kids just rushing around. I realized that we had walked in right after the second period had ended. “There you two are!” I heard Veronica shout. She appeared before us in a matter of seconds. “Come on,” she said taking Taylor’s hand. Taylor grabbed my hand and we started rushing through the halls and crowds. I had absolutely no idea where Veronica was taking us.
When we finally stopped, we were outside of Mrs. Gullen’s room. There was crime scene tape across the door. I looked inside and saw blood on the floor and my mind immediately jumped to conclusions. The other agent had done it and they were saying they could get anyone at anytime. “One of her second period students found her,” Veronica told Taylor, interrupting my thoughts. “No one knows who did it or why, but they are keeping the school open for the day for some reason. Something about the kids need their education or some crap like that.” I heard Taylor starting to cry and instantly hugged her. She didn’t need to cry anymore today.
“So, Taylor, are you going to tell me why you were playing hooky with Chris? Or am I going to have to guess.” Veronica then puckered her lips and made kissing sounds. She could be so immature sometimes.
“Nothing like that Veronica,” Taylor said. “We just didn’t want to be at school.”
“Okay, I’ll buy that for now. But at least tell me what you were doing.” Taylor looked up at me, asking my approval to tell Veronica. I shook my head no, panic and fear flooding my eyes. It was hard enough to tell Taylor. I just didn't need anyone else to know. Taylor looked back at Veronica, "It's our secret."
“Okay. . . I get it. Well, I know one thing, we should probably get to period 3. I mean, you two have already skipped enough classes.” Veronica then headed for her third period, I think it was world history. Once Veronica disappeared into the growing crowds,Taylor and I started heading toward Mr. Collins’s room. I was pretty sure that no matter what I did, I would not be able to focus on anything related to math for the entire period.
Math was pretty quiet to say the least, but the lunchroom had a deafening silence in it. It was obvious that everyone had heard about Mrs. Gullen. As soon as I walked in, there was some clapping, but it quickly died. People then started whispering to each other like they were sharing a secret. Once I got to my usually table, the conversation picked up a little.
“So Chris,” Robert started awkwardly. “You were the one to save the science class?” I could tell by his tone that he was just trying to fill the silence around us.
“Yeah, but that didn’t help the teacher.” I replied. I kept my head down, silently mourning the loss.
“Well,” Veronica said. “I just found out who found her. . . It was Robert.” She gestured to him with pride in her eyes, but Rob just looked down at the table.
“Yeah, doesn’t make it any less gross or devastating. I don’t think I’ll ever get that image out of my mind.” He shivered after he said that.
“Well, I know one thing,” Taylor said. “At least have Chris to protect me if that psycho comes after me. I mean, who goes after a science teacher?”
“Wait! Back it up. Did you just say Chris ‘ll protect you? Like as your boyfriend?” Veronica asked interest clearly written on her face.
“Yeah. Pretty much,” Taylor said hugging me.
“Hey Rob! Did you ever think that these two would hook up?” Veronica asked, sarcasm evidently present.
“No,” Rob played along. “Never in a million years did I think they would get together.” Taylor looked at them with joy plastered on her face.
“Ok. Before you two get freaky, let me put one rule into place. You can not have sex without first proving your love.” Veronica stated. I looked at her confused. What the hell did that mean? Even more confusing, why did she even bring up sex? Taylor then grabbed me and pulled into a kiss. After about a minute, she pulled away and looked at Veronica. “Okay Veronica, do we have your ‘blessing’ to date?” Taylor asked playfully. “Yeah you’re good. Chris one more thing. You ever hurt my girl, prepare to get your as.s kicked to kalamazoo.”
“Veronica!” Taylor shouted at her.
“No it's alright Taylor. Veronica I heed your warning. And trust me when I say I won’t hurt Taylor.”
"Chris," Rob said, breaking his silence. "When did this happen. I mean, when the school closed you two are friends, and now. . ."
"I think it kinda happened like this. I am called the hero of the school by Taylor. We meet at school, and then wham! Boyfriend and girlfriend." I said hugging Taylor protectively.
"No. I realize I love you and then we come back and become boyfriend and girlfriend,." Taylor said, snuggling up to my shoulder.
"Well either way, where were you two during English? LIeuan bored me out of my mind with one of his Shakspeare lessons," Rob said. I was about to say it was a secret when Veronica puckered her lips and made kissing sounds. Rob chuckled and I sighed. Would Veronica ever think that we weren't making out?
"OH! Btw, I learned that they are probably going to keep the school open and just find a new teacher. I think that until they find a teacher, students just get a free study hall period in the library." Veronica told us. I had no idea how she learned what was going in the school so quickly. "I swear, if one more thing happens at this school, they are going to have to shut down the school.
"Yeah, they would have to. . ." I said. "The worst part about that would be that I wouldn't get to see my friends as often."
"Or your girlfriend!" Veronica said.
"Wait a second, if there is a psycho in our town or in the school, shouldn't the school already be closed down?" Taylor asked.
"Crappy education board," Veronica murmured. Then the bell rang and everyone started shuffling out of the cafeteria. It seemed as if lunch flew by in five minutes. Taylor, Veronica and I all moved to the library. Veronica came up with schemes to win back her boyfriend while Taylor and I worked on our calculus. Why did we even need to be doing this stuff when a teacher was murdered? Lucky for me,Taylor and I were both done the work in ten minutes. Taylor then took me to a small hidden place in the library. . .
Once we arrived at our destination, she sat me down, looked me straight into my eyes, and started crying. I instantly became confused and worried. What had happened, why was she crying, what could I do? "Chris. . . Can you help me?" she pleaded, hugging me.
"Of course I can," I replied lovingly, stroking her brown hair.
"How do you do it?" she asked, pain in her eyes.
"Do what?" I asked worried.
"Deal with the death of someone. I mean, you deal with your parents death on a daily basis, not shedding a tear, and I. . . I. . .I burst into tears when a teacher I don't even really know dies." She told me, tears streaming down her face.
"Well, that's natural. A normal person starts crying when they hear about someone's death."
“And you don’t define yourself as normal?” Taylor asked through her tears.
“No Taylor. How many kids do you know that have lost both of their parents and saved a classroom full of students from an explosion.”
“I guess that does make you unique. . . But still, how do you not burst into tears when someone even talks about their parents.”
“Well. . . I have had a lot of time to grieve and move on. I learned how to live my life with them being gone. I still miss them, and think about how my life could have been, but I know how to deal with the pain of losing someone.”
“So. . .” she sniffled. “It gets easier with time?”
“Yeah, although how much time depends on the person,” I said bringing her closer to me. I may not be the best at everything, but I did know how to comfort her.
“Ok. Chris, can we talk about something different. I don’t want to walk into the hallway looking like a hot mess.” she said, let a little chuckle out when she said hot mess. She snuggled her head onto my shoulder.
“Anything you want. I just want to know that you’re okay.”
“What is your Uncle Diego like?”
“Well,” I started, thinking about what I should say about him. “He took it upon himself to be my guardian. He could have let me go into foster care, but he didn’t. He has always been protective of me, maybe even a bit too protective, and is caring.” I hated lying to Taylor. “He pushed me to get good grades and be active in the community, although I haven’t really been doing a lot in the community lately.” These lies were slowly eating me inside. I wished I could tell Taylor the truth so badly. “He also tried to get me to do new and different things in each new town we moved to. Hang gliding, bungee jumping, salamander swallowing, other exotic stuff.”
“Salamander swallowing?” Taylor asked in disbelief.
“Not the best idea in the world,” I answered.
“Well, your Uncle Diego sounds like the role model guardian.”
“Yeah. Although he sometimes tries to interfere in my personal life, just like parents.”
“Hey Chris,” she said moving her head to face me. “I don’t know if I am moving to fast, but could you come over to my house after school?”
“I would Taylor, but. . .”
“Please Chris. I need to know that I am safe.” She looked at me, her eyes pleading.
“Sounds perfect.” I told her.
“Thank you!” She whispered, pulling my body and lips to her. I immediately closed my and kissed her back. As Taylor combed her fingers through her hair, my hands started finding their way to her waist. Once my hands reached their destination, any space between Taylor and I ceased to exist.
The longer we kissed, the hotter my blood became. It felt like liquid fire running through my veins. I thought that such an amazing sensation could not be caused by anyone but your true love. Unfortunately, my mind chose to remind me about my mission, making me subconsciously worry for Taylor's safety. I pulled away, immediately regretting the decision but at the same time knowing that I did it to make sure she was safe.
I saw Taylor's face and knew that she wished for us to kiss again. Before I could grant that wish, Veronica came over.
"I knew it!" She shouted, immediately coupled with random people shushing her. "You two were making out. I saw the whole thing," she whispered.
"Veronica," Taylor started, annoyance clear in her voice. "Can you just leave me and my boyfriend alone right now? Besides, shouldn't you be thinking of ways to get Dan back."
"I thought about it and while the sex was great, there is no way he'll take me back. Maybe I should get together with Greg. From what I hear, he's better than Dan!"
"There, you have your project. Now just please leave us alone."
"Fine, just promise that you won't have sex in school. You ALWAYS and I mean always get caught." Then Veronica left.
“Now, where were we. . .”.
All throughout the rest of the day, I couldn’t get my mind off of Taylor. We were almost late to history because we lost track of time while in the library. I couldn't take my off of Taylor as I sat it my seat. Even though I could only see the back of her, I caught her glancing back at me, loving. I also saw that she was constantly writing in her notebook, but I don't think that she was writing about what was on the board. I don't even remember my last period of the day, all I remember is following Taylor to a classroom, sitting down, and gazing at her. On occasion, I would look at the board to seem like I was paying attention, all the would be thinking about Taylor.
The only sound that I paid attention to was the bell that signified that I was supposed to leave school. Taylor and I could finally be together with no interruptions. Except maybe her parents. But I would cross that bridge when I got to it. As we walked through the hall, I tried to remember where Taylor lived. We decided that it was better for me to drive us home instead of her taking the bus. Once we walked out of the school, I told Taylor that I had to call Diego to let him know I’d be at her house. She quickly kissed me on the cheek, “Try and make it quick,” she pleaded, then walked over to my Mercedes. She went to the back of the car and rested her arms on the trunk.
I dialed Diego’s number, “Diego?”
“Ryan? Why are you calling me? You know not to call when agents while they’re on stakeouts,” Diego whispered into the phone.
“That why I’m calling, you don’t have to stake out Taylor’s house, I’ll be there.”
“Ryan, why are you doing the stakeout. You are just assigned to watch her at school. Or is this personal.”
“No,” I blurted out. “I just told her that I needed a tutor.”
“Ryan, don’t lie to me. You’ve fallen in love with her, haven’t you.” Diego knew that I had fallen in love. I couldn’t admit it, so I stayed silent for a long while. “You have. Ryan, you know that it’s forbidden. They’ll have to kick you out. And I don’t want one of our best agents ruining his career for some girl.”
“Well what if Silvia never found out? I could just say I have to move away, and that we give me an excuse not to see Taylor.” I hated saying those words; I never wanted to leave Taylor. I started walking over to her, getting ready to hang up on Diego. She had started pacing in the lot, obviously bored. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a blue Chrysler start moving. It veered around to the aisle where Taylor was pacing. I focused on the car and saw that the driver was revving the car, as if holding back a sudden burst of energy. In the background I heard Diego’s voice, “Ryan, are you still there. . . Ryan? What is going on?”
I muttered, “Oh, crap.” Then the driver sent the car shooting forward, no doubt trying to hit Taylor. I immediately dropped my phone and dashed to Taylor. She was still pacing, oblivious to the approaching danger. I screamed out, “TAYLOR!!” And she stopped in the middle of the aisle turning to face me.
“WHAT IS IT CHRIS?” I heard her shout back.
“CAR!” I yelled, less than 10 yards from her. Taylor turned and saw the mechanical vehicle approaching her. She didn’t move from her spot. It was if she was frozen from fear. I could tell that the car would reach Taylor any moment now, so I knew what I had to do. Using all my force, I ran and shoved Taylor out of the path of the car. I barely had any time to react when I felt a sudden pain all throughout my body. I knew that I had been hit by the car. I stared right at the face of the driver before blacking out. I knew who the agent trying to kill Taylor was.
The first thing that I noticed when I returned to consciousness was a loud repetitive beeping sound. It got very annoying, but I couldn't hear anything else, so I had to deal with it. I had decided to open my eyes, but that took much more effort than I thought. It was as if my brain didn't want me to see what was in the real world. However, I overcame it’s intentions after about five minutes. At first, my vision was blurry; my brainy still didn't want me to see anything. I slowly turned my head and looked around the room I was in. All I saw were shadows and shapes. I gave up trying to see anything clearly and stared at my body.
I forced myself to life my right arm and pain immediately shot through my arm. I let out a small yelp of pain. Apparently getting hit by a car is a lot worse than fighting agents from A.S.S. I heard someone let out a small moan over the annoying beeping. A dark shape moved and I realized that it was a person. They slowly stood up and stayed like that for a while. I looked at them, praying that my vision would return so that I could see them. The figure then quickly walked towards me and lifted me up in a hug. It hurt, but not enough to yelp in pain again. I knew who the person was, even without seeing their face or hearing their voice.
"Chris!" I heard her whisper my name in my ear.
"Taylor," I croaked out. I hadn't realized how dry my throat was.
“You’re awake,” I heard her choke out. I assume that she was crying.
“I’m awake,” I answered hoarsely. “Hey, is there any water in this place?” My vision was slowly returning, but everything was still unclear.
“Yeah, here,” she said, handing me a glass of what I guess water. I took a sip and looked at Taylor. I could see her face more clearly and she had some black lines streaking down her face. “It’s so good to see that you’re awake! Doctors said that if you couldn’t pull out of the coma, you’d probably die. . .”
“What a second. I was in a coma?” I asked in disbelief
“For two weeks. Doctors patched me up pretty quick. But all they could do was patch up your internal bleeding. They didn’t think that you could survive the surgery unless you came out of the coma. And you did!” Tears were streaming down her face and I could finally see her clearly. I noticed her left arm.
“Taylor, what happened to your arm?”
“When you pushed me out of the way of the car, my left arm landed on the pavement and my radius and ulna broke. But you shouldn’t be worried about me, you have multiple breaks in your ribs, arm and legs. You need to take it easy.”
“Ok, but at least tell me how we got to a hospital.”
“Well, the driver backed up and drove off after he hit you, letting your body slide off the hood onto the pavement. Other students came rushing over to help. I called 911 while other people crowded around you. I somehow managed to crawl over to you and made sure that you were breathing. The ambulance showed up about two minutes later, and paramedics took us to Terran Calermo General. They took me away to get my arm in cast and you into surgery. They contacted you’re Uncle Diego sometime while you were in surgery. And we were also the top story on the news the day it happened. But I’m just glad that you’re ok!” Taylor then hugged me again and I hugged her back, pain exploding through my body.
“I should probably get your Uncle and doctors. They’ll be shocked by this.” Taylor turned to leave, but I grabbed her arm. I pulled her toward me for a quick kiss before letting her go get the doctors.
“Well Chris, you should make a full recovery. But I suggest that you take it easy for the next couple of weeks. Give your body time to fully heal."
"Hey Doc, when do you think I can get released?"
"The earliest we can release you would be in two days, but I recommend that you stay here for four more days. I will check on your progress tomorrow Chris." He then left and Diego came in. His eyes were filled with worry and relief. He went came over to my bed and sighed.
“Damn it Ryan!” He muttered, “What were you thinking?!”
“Diego, I am supposed to be protecting her from being killed. What was I supposed to do, let her get hit and killed by that car!”
“You are supposed to protect her, not get yourself killed.”
“Well if it wasn’t for me, she would already be dead. So am I just supposed to not protect her, or do I do my job and keep her safe. Cause I think that I am supposed to do my job, no matter what happens.”
“Yes, Ryan. But you are not supposed to be involved with Taylor. Your job was to protect her and stay out of her life. You aren’t supposed to be her ‘world’! You know what will happen if you get caught.”
“I know, Diego.” We stayed silent for a while after that. I wanted to tell him who the agent was, but I didn’t know how to bring it up. So I decided I’d just come out and say it. “Diego, I know who the agent is.”
“Oh really,” he retorted, sarcasm coating his voice. “Are you sure it isn’t just someone that hates Taylor. Cause those are two very different things Ryan.”
“Why don’t you trust me anymore?! I handled this job like any other. Get in and find the threat. Nothing has changed.”
“Except for the fact that you’re feelings got in the way Ryan! Your parents were a very special case because they could work without their feelings intervening. But that doesn’t mean that you get special treatment or that you can let your emotions intervene with your mission. As far as SECRET is concerned, you are just another agent breaking rules.”
“Diego, I didn’t intentionally let my feelings intervene. Do you think that I wanted to make her fall in love with me?! She chose that path, I didn’t force it on her.”
“Very well.” He grumbled to himself, unsatisfied with my response. “You said you knew who the agent was.”
“Yeah, he’s the one that hit me with the car. It’s-”
“Chris?” Taylor asked, entering the room with a can of Coke. “I heard screaming from down the hall. Are you two alright?”
“Yeah Taylor,” I said. “Everything is fine.” Diego left, obviously annoyed that Taylor had interrupted us.
“So, when can you be let out of here?” Taylor asked hesitantly. I knew that she was trying to relieve the tension in the air, but it wasn’t working.
“Doc said that I can be released as early as two days from now. Which reminds me, what day is it?”
“Umm,” Taylor hummed, counting on her fingers. “Wednesday April 13. I didn’t really need to pay attention since the school has been closed.”
“Oh yeah, because of the murder. Did the police find out who did it yet?”
“No, but they have determined that she beaten and stabbed.” Taylor shuddered after she said stabbed. “I just can’t imagine anyone in our school being that brutal and violent.”
“Taylor,” I started. “I know who hit me with the car. . .” I knew that it would crush her knowing who tried to kill her. “It was Robert.”
"What are - what are you saying?" Taylor spluttered out even though she already knew what I was saying. I could see the realization in her eyes, but to her the truth was too horrible to understand. I mean, finding out that your best friend tried to kill you isn't exactly an easy thing to digest. I knew that Taylor was trying to deny the truth and that she needed to face reality, but how could she accept it.
"Robert was the one that hit me with the car," I stated." The one that tried to kill you. . . " I went on, my voice getting softer as I spoke.
"But. . .but. . . that doesn't make any sense! He's my friend! Why would he try to kill me?!" I couldn't let Taylor know I was an agent, but I couldn’t lie to her anymore.
“Taylor. . .” I started, “Robert is-”
“Robert is what?” Rob said with his hands on the sides of the doorway. Taylor started to move as far away from him as possible. Rob then took his hands off the doorway and started to move into the room. I could feel the fear radiating from Taylor’s skin and I wished that she could just get out of here. Taylor eventually made her way to a corner, but slowly began walking towards me. “So Ryan, how ya feelin’?” Rob asked sarcastically.
“He was hit by a car. Your car!!” Taylor screamed at him.
“Did I do that now? Or is little Ryan here just lying,” he stated, playing the innocent card.
“I know you’re lying Rob. Why did you do it?” Taylor growled at him.
“Simple. It’s my job.” He said like it was the simplest thing in the world.
“Your. . . job?” Taylor asked in disbelief. I looked at her face and it was filled with disbelief, shock, and horror. I hated to see her like this, but I couldn’t do anything besides watch.
“Yeah Taylor. It is my job to kill you and him. Shocking isn’t it.”
“But. . .but. . .” Taylor spluttered out.
“But how, why? Simple. You are a threat to the people I work for, him to. So, what better way to get into your life and then stab you in the back, then to get as close as possible.” He pulled out a knife and pointed it at me. “Not so tough now are you, Ryan.” I knew that this was it. When my world came crashing down. Taylor would find out, I would die, and I couldn’t even defend myself because of these stupid injuries. Or could I? I gathered any strength I had in me and sat up, trying to make myself eye level with Rob.
“That’s what you think,” I taunted him before slamming his side with my fist. Pain exploded through me, but I had to protect Taylor. I ripped any wires that were attached to me and managed to stand on my feet. I wobbled a little because of the cast on my left foot, and grabbed the closest object to me. I swung it at his face and made direct contact. The vase I had grabbed shattered into pieces and Rob’s face started to bleed. Before I could get another object, he tackled me to the ground.
He wrapped his hands around my neck and started to choke me. I could feel my brain slowly shutting down, my heart rate decreasing, my body was going numb. The more I tried to shove air down my throat, the drier and smaller my lungs felt. Everything I heard sounded like it was far away. I was sure that I was going to pass out until air that felt like acid slowly started to fill my lungs. Noises sounded like they should and my brain started focusing on reality and not survival. I sat up to see what made Rob stop choking me, and I saw Taylor standing behind where he used to be with what I thought was a bedpan in her hands. She must have knocked him out with it. I tried getting up, but couldn’t manage to stand. Taylor must have seen my struggle because she came over and helped me stand.
I stood there, looking from Taylor to Rob, then to Taylor and back to Rob again. “You knocked him out with a bedpan?” I asked as I realized that she did.
“You’d be surprised what can knock out guys.” Taylor chuckled a little as if it were the simplest thing in the world. I knew that she had a question on her mind, but was afraid to ask it. I wanted to ask her how she was, but I didn’t think I’d like the answer I got. If she said she was okay, I knew that she was lying and if she wasn’t okay, then I wouldn’t be okay.
Infact, I’d be broken. Taylor was the only one my everything. Her smile brightened my world, she picked me up when I was down, she made me rethink my life as an agent and I could never repay her for that. I had to come clean to her about who I really am. She deserved the truth, and if she chose to not accept me, then I would have to live with that. It would kill me inside, but it would better that she know the truth than to believe a lie forever.
"Um. . . Chris. . ." Taylor started hesitantly. I immediately knew this was the question she had been wanting to ask, and I was prepared to give her the truth. Even if it meant I told her about being an agent. "Why did Rob. . . call you Ryan?"
I opened my mouth to speak when I heard a female voice answer, "Because that's his real name." Taylor and I mouth turned our heads to the doorway. We saw Veronica standing there with an evil smile on her face. She slowly walked towards us, like a lion stalking its prey, all the while telling Taylor the truth about me. "Ryan here is a secret agent, just like Rob and I are, except he's the good kind." Veronica sneered at the fact. "He was assigned to protect you from attacks from me and Rob, although, he must have thought it was Chelsea. It was so easy to manipulate Chelsea into being the decoy. Just tell her to play with a lighter and voila, decoy deployed." Veronica started smiling and chuckling as if this was all a game to her. "That science teacher was a loose end and I had Rob take care of her. As for the car, that was intended for you Taylor.” She stopped walking when she reached Rob. “Pity that he couldn’t get the job done,” she said while getting the knife that Rob had dropped earlier. “Then again, he never could do the job right.” Veronica got up and looked at Taylor with death in her eyes. I could feel the fear radiating from Taylor’s body.
“Veronica, this isn’t you. I know you. You like guys and sex and science. You’re bluffing.” Taylor spluttered out, trying to deny the truth.
“First of all, that was all an act. And second of all shortcake, my name isn’t Veronica, it’s Charolette II.” She sneered matter of factly. The word Charolette echoed in my head. The girl in front of me, this Charolette II, was the daughter of the woman that killed my parents. I was instantly filled with the need to wreak vengeance out on her. This girl in front of me had to die; justice had to be served.
“Oh well, it doesn’t really matter now. Besides, I always liked doing stuff the old fashioned way.” In a flash, Charolette launched the knife at Taylor. I didn’t have more than a second before Taylor was hit in the chest with it. I heard her make an oof sound before hitting the bed and falling to the floor. I could hear Charolette snickering, thinking that she had complete her mission. But it would be a cold day in hell before I let Taylor die.
Before I could comprehend what my body was doing, my fists were pounding into Charolette. I hoped that they could kill her. Every hit I landed, I thought about what her family had done to me. Killing my parents and hurting Taylor. No matter what happened to me, I would make Charolette pay. All of a sudden, I felt Charolette kick my stomach. I fell back off of her, coughing up blood and stumbling next to Taylor.
She looked at Taylor than me, “Looks like my job is just to easy,” she smirked. She started walking over to me, about to finish her job. I could see the killer in her as she walked towards me. But halfway through her walk towards me, her eyes suddenly filled with pain. Her body had thrust forward a little before collapsing. I looked at her back to find a hole over her heart. She looked at me and looked straight at me, determination clear in her eyes. “You think that me dying is a good thing, don’t you Ryan. Well you couldn’t be more wrong.” she muttered.
“Oh really Charolette. I say that it is payback for what you and your mother have done to me.” I growled back at her.
“Well,” she muttered through her pain. I could tell that she was fading fast, and I didn’t even care. “You’ll never know the big secret.”
My mind instantly regarded this as just a pathetic reason to save her life, but a part of me was curious. What was this supposed secret? “You are such a liar, there probably isn’t even a secret.” I scoffed.
“Oh yes there is. And it involves both our mothers.” Charolette muttered. I knew that she had less than a minute left to live.
“You don’t know anything about my mother.”
“But I do,” she sneered. “Because she’s my mother too.” Charolette then dropped her head, her mind and body shutting down from the blood loss. My mind started racing; what Charolette had just said couldn’t be true. My mother was an agent for SECRET, she was not the scumbag that was a murderous b*tch for A.S.S. Millions of different emotions flashed through my mind, each hurtful, confused, or disbelieving.
I then remembered that Taylor was hit by a knife. How could I have been so stupid to forget about her. I crawled towards her and saw the knife in her chest. I checked for her pulse, and it was faint, but it was there and that was what was important. I looked to the doorway and saw Diego standing there with a .22 caliber pistol in his hands. There was a silencer on the end, which accompanied with my focus on Charolette was probably why I hadn’t heard anything. As soon as I saw him standing there, doing nothing, I yelled at him to get help.
I watched him leave and instantly returned my attention to Taylor. Her breathing was shallow, and I realized that the knife had punctured one of her lungs. It wouldn’t kill Taylor as quickly as a strike to the heart, but she could be dead in a matter of minutes if she didn’t get any medical attention. I cradled her head in my lap, hoping that I wouldn't lose her.
“I can’t lose you Taylor, not after everything that has happened. You’re the only thing in my life that really matters. Your breathing, your fire, your spirit is what keeps me alive. Taylor, you’re all I have . . . all I need. If you die, I’ll die. I cannot not truly exist in a world where you don’t. If you run out of breath, I can no longer breathe and would never breathe again. Everything in me would be torn into a million pieces with no chance that they could be brought back together. So just please Taylor, don’t leave me alone.” I wept over her.
Her breathing was heavy and hard and she was fading fast. I wanted to carry her out of this room to get her help, but I knew that I couldn’t. I was too weak to help keep my love from dying. I couldn’t hear anyone coming, but I decided to press my luck and yell for help, hoping it wasn’t a worthless effort.
Almost immediately, I saw a nurse appear in the doorway. She stared down at Charolette and Rob horrified. “Please,” I begged her, taking her attention away from the two people on the floor. “I need you to help her. She’s dying!” I yelled at the nurse, tears in my eyes. It felt like my whole world was collapsing on me, just like when I lost my parents.
“We need a crash cart here! Stat!” I heard the nurse yell down the hallway. I kissed Taylor's forehead, knowing that she would live.
"Hang on Taylor," I whispered to her. "The doctors will be here and they will save you. Just keep on breathing." A team of nurses showed up with a crash cart as soon as I stopped talking. They wheeled the crash cart as close to Taylor as they could and put her on it. Then they wheeled her down the hallway toward the operating room. I sat on the floor of the now desolate hospital room, weeping tears of joy. Taylor would live and Charolette and Rob got what they deserved.
It seemed like I stayed there forever, unable to move. I finally stood up and grabbed a metal pole to help support myself. I only now realized that I had a cast on my left foot. I knew that it would definitely cause me trouble for the next few weeks or days, depending on how broken my foot was. I took one step and my feet gave out under me. I had to put my hand on the edge of the bed to keep me from falling on the floor. It seemed like I would be on crutches for a least a week if I couldn’t even walk.
Need a hand?” I heard a familiar voice ask.
“Yeah Diego. I’m gonna need crutches.” Diego came over and helped me stand again. He then got me crutches from a corner of the room. It felt like those crutches were just waiting to be used.
“Come on Ryan. We need to get you home.” Diego told me, handing me the crutches.
“But what about Taylor?” I asked baffled, “Shouldn’t I be protecting Taylor? I mean yeah these two can’t hurt her,” I said pointing at Rob and Charolette, “But A.S.S. won’t stop until they think she’s gone. You know that better than anyone else!”
“Yes, and her getting hit with a knife is a perfect reason to think that she died. We’ll make sure that A.S.S. thinks she got hit in the heart and died. Now come on, I arranged for you to be let out early.”
“Ryan, you’re mission is over. I’ll have John and someone else take care of Rob and Charolette. Just come with me back to the agency. We’ll have one of our medical professionals see how long you’ll be out of commision.” I started to get out of the room on my crutches. Once I was in the hallway, I looked in the direction that the nurse wheeled Taylor. I saw the words “OPERATING ROOM” on the class of the door. I mouthed ‘be strong my love’ and then turned and followed Diego out of the hospital. He took me to his car, and drove me toward SECRET headquarters.
Once I was checked out by one of the doctors that works for SECRET, I was sentenced to spend three days resting and two weeks of not going on missions. To be honest, that really didn't matter to me. For all I cared, I could have been told that I would never go on missions again. All that I cared for now was Taylor. I couldn't see how Diego had been so heartless as to tear me away from her. I was just lucky that he wouldn't tell Silvia. Otherwise, I would have to be transferred to Mexico where Estaban ran a branch of SECRET.
For the rest of the day, I just stayed in my dorm, lying on my bed, looking at the ceiling, and imagining Taylor's face. Not one of my thoughts wasn't related to her. Memories of what had happened in the hospital room flooded my mind. I thought about Taylor and what she must have been feeling. Terror, fear, loneliness, and anger towards me for lying to her. I can't blame her, she would have a good reason to hate me. And if her hate meant that she wouldn't want to see me again, then I would have to live with that. I wouldn't feel whole inside, and I would probably write apology letters to her and dream of her every night, but I would understand.
But how could I be okay with not seeing Taylor ever again. She has made herself a huge part of my world and cutting her out of my life would be like cutting out my own heart. I had to know if she could forgive me. I had to go see her, but I couldn't leave because other agents would see me leaving and just report me back to my dorm. I'd have to leave under the dark camouflage of night.
Once the afternoon blue faded into a blood red, the sky eventually became covered by an eerie black blanket. I knew that if I were to ever see Taylor again, I would have to leave now. Using all my skills, I snuck out of my dorm and the building, only having to stop a few times because of the crutches. I didn't trust my legs enough to try and walk on their own.
As I finally arrived at my car, I placed my crutches in the back seat and got into the front. The hospital, fortunately, was only five blocks. Easy enough for me to do with a foot injury. I parked my car near the entrance and entered the hospital's double doors on my crutches, no doubt that they would recognize me. I went up to the front desk and got the attention of the woman that was sitting there.
"What can I help you with sir?" she asked, noticing my crutches.
"Actually, I need to see my girlfriend, Taylor Green. She was. . . . . . she was stabbed earlier today.” I could barely choke out the word stabbed.
“Sir, you do know that visiting hours are over, don’t you?”
“Yes, I know, but couldn’t you make an exception this one time? Please.” Tears were starting to well up in my eyes.
The woman sighed after a minute, “Alright, but if anyone asks, you are just here for a follow up.”
“Thank you,” I whispered to her. She started leading me down a hallway that seemed to stretch on forever. As we approached the end, she stopped and turned to her right. She pushed open the door to reveal Taylor in a bed. I wanted to cry for her, she looked so helpless.
“I’ll give you fifteen minutes. But then you will have to get out of here. Got it?” I nodded, not taking my eyes off of Taylor. Once I heard the door gently close, I moved towards her. She looked so peaceful, but at the same time so unhappy. I pulled up a chair by her bed and started to talk to her.
“Hey Taylor,” I told her stroking her hair. “What a day we’ve had. I know that you probably hate me right now and that you may never want to see me again for all the lies. But I just want you to know that I only did it for your safety. Everything I did was to protect you. And nothing in this world can change that. I just wish that you could have had a normal life and not have been a target of A.S.S.”
Then, as if by some miracle, Taylor started to move. She groaned and rolled towards me. She slowly opened her eyes and looked at me. At first, her eyes were filled with relief, but they slowly started to filled with painful emotions that I couldn’t describe. She rolled onto her other side, “What are you doing here?” she muttered.
“I wanted to see you.” It pained me to hear here this hurt.
“I don’t want to see you.”
“I know that you hate me Taylor-”
“Hate you,” she questioned rolling over. “Hate doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.” I saw tears streaming down her face. I hated this; I was hurting her, I was the reason she was like this.
“I’m sorry,” was what I could barely manage to whisper, knowing that it probably wouldn’t solve anything.
“Ryan, or Chris, or whatever your name is. I don’t want your sorry. You literally took my world and filled it with lies and then it broke apart all because of you! So just get out of here if you really love me. Unless that was also a lie.”
“No! Taylor, my love was not a lie.” I made a move to touch her, but she moved away from me. “I never wanted to lie to you, but it was my job. Yes, I did lie about who I was and a lot of other things, but I never lied about my feelings toward you. If you want to believe anything from my mouth, then believe that. I never wanted you to get hurt. And if you don’t believe me at all, then listen to your heart. It’ll tell you if what we had was real or not.” Silent tears were falling on my face, but I didn’t try to wipe them away. I got up from the chair and made a move to get my crutches.
Taylor grabbed my arm tightly, “Don’t go,” she whispered almost inaudibly.
“I won’t if you don’t want me to.”
“I don’t want you to leave. Because in spite of everything I said, I still love you.”
“And I love you too Taylor. More than you know.”
“I know that, but we can’t be together.”
I was shocked, literally taken back by what she had just said. She just said she still loved me, but that we couldn’t be together. “What?” I sputtered out.
“We can’t be together Ryan. Your life is just too dangerous for me. The explosions the murders, the secrets, the violence. I don’t want to get hurt again because of your job and your life. I just. . .”
“. . .you can’t live like that,” I finished for her. “And I get it. I just wanted to know that you were okay. And if there is anything that you want to know, just ask me right now.”
“Well. . . . . . . . . what was Veronica, or Charolette, talking about when she mentioned secret agents and a job?”
I sighed, she probably wouldn’t want to hear this. “I work for SECRET, Save Everyone Cause Real Evil is Terrible. Charolette and Rob were both agents for A.S.S., Agents of Sinister Stuff. They were sent on an undercover mission to kill you. Once SECRET found out about it, they sent me undercover to protect you. Charolette made the explosion happen, then had Rob kill Mrs. Gullen. Rob tried to kill you with his car, but he hit me instead. Then they tried to kill you earlier today. I assume that A.S.S. thinks you’re dead, so there shouldn’t be anymore attacks to try and kill you.”
“Oh. . .” I knew that she was processing what she had just heard. I mean, hearing that your best friends actually wanted you dead is no easy thing to accept.
Five minutes passed and the room was dead silent. “Taylor, are you okay?” I asked breaking the silence.
“Ryan, my best friends are secret agents trying to kill me and my boyfriend was also a secret agent this entire time! I am not okay, I don’t even think that I can handle staying in this town. There is just so much that I can’t deal with right now. Including the fact that you aren’t who you said you were. I want to leave this town as soon as I can.” Her words were like bombshells hanging in the air. I was afraid that if I responded, she would explode.
“No, just. . . just go. I can’t take much more of this,” she whispered.
“Well, if you ever change your mind, you have my number.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever call it.” Tears were running down her face.
“Okay.” I picked up my crutches and went out of the room. I closed the door and listened to her crying. It was the most excruciating thing I ever heard. I couldn’t listen to her hurting anymore, so I got out of the hospital as fast as I could.
Once I got to my car, I sat in the front seat and banged my head on the steering wheel. "I am a horrible person," I muttered to myself. I knew that Taylor was going through a lot emotionally, which made me feel terrible, but hearing blame me for all of it just made me feel hollow inside. If I was going to cause her that much pain, then I could never willingly go near her. I didn't want her to be hurting, I wanted to be there to help her, but when you're the source of someone's pain, what can you do.
I eventually started the car and drove back to my dorm. I didn't take any precautions to be sure that I wasn't caught. I trudged back to my dorm on my crutches and collapsed onto my bed. I laid there, shedding silent tears into my pillow. For the second time in my life, I felt completely alone with no hope in sight that things would get better.
Two days had gone by, and Taylor hadn't called. I knew that she wouldn't call me, but a small part of me hoped that she would. Most of those two days was spent on my bed, silently crying or sleeping. Turns out that I wasn’t as tough as I thought I was. Diego stopped by every once in awhile to see how I was. Every time he came, I stopped crying, wiped away my tears and tried to make it seem like everything was okay. I guess he didn’t buy it because he came around almost every two hours rather than twice a day. I think that he worries too much for me.
One thing that preoccupied my mind was how I had been so blind. I mean, any other agent would have probably known that Charolette or Rob was the agent probably right after the explosion. It seemed like I wasn’t as sharp on undercover missions as I was on attacks. Then the realization hit me like a bullet. Diego was right. My feelings got in the way of my work. It was because I loved Taylor that she and I both got hurt. I wept even more when I realized that.
Maybe it was better that I never saw Taylor again. Maybe she was my kryptonite. Then I realized something else, something drastic, Taylor had changed me. She turned me into a sensitive, caring man from the almost stone cold agent I was. She had literally turned my world around. I wanted to thank her, to see her again, but then she would be hurting. It killed me inside not seeing her. Suddenly, a door slammed, interrupting my thoughts. I knew it was Diego, so I did my routine and sat up before he entered.
“Hey Ryan,” he started.
“Hey Diego,” I said through a fake smile.
“So, you feeling any different?” he asked, trying to start a conversation.
“Ryan, honestly, tell me how you are feeling.”
“I told you, no different then when you came in here last time.”
“You know what I mean. Your feelings for Taylor.”
“Diego,” I sighed, “She was a part of a mission. She got hurt, but she’ll survive. I feel sorry for her.”
“Yes, you may feel that, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were in love with her. I know what it’s like to love someone you can’t have.”
“Don’t tell me you fell in love with someone from one of your missions,” I said, falling back onto my bed.
“No, nothing like that. I fell in love with Silvia.” He stated almost matter of factly.
“Silvia?” I questioned sitting up, “No way.”
“Yes way. But, after awhile, I knew that we couldn’t be together. I thought that she was the love of my life, but I know now that she is just another woman. But don’t tell her I said that.” I chuckled at the comment. “I know that you probably miss Taylor right now, and that you want to just be with here and run away together, but. . .” he couldn’t finish.
“It’s illogical,” I finished for him.
“Exactly, illogical. Ryan, believe when I say that you will get over Taylor. I mean look at me, I’m still the same agent I was before I fell in and out of love with Silvia.”
“But you aren’t,” I muttered.
“What did you say Ryan?”
“You’re not the same as me.” I stated more clearly, “You may have thought you loved Silvia, but if you don’t have a gaping hole in your heart right now, then you are lying to me. I know what I am experiencing. Trying to forget her is like trying to remember someone I’ve never met. My heart has been shattered into a million pieces, and has been engulfed by the flames in hell, then put back together and thrown in my chest! You think you know what I am going through! You have no idea.” I exploded on him. I dropped back onto the bed and pulled the covers over my head. “Just go away,” I muttered pained.
I heard a slight movement, as if Diego had gotten up from sitting. “Ryan-”
“Just go,” I mumbled. I heard his footsteps as he walked out of my dorm. As the door shut and an eerie silence hung in the air, it felt like the aftermath of a horrible accident. Then the silence was shattered by the sound of my phone ringing. I scrambled to grab it, hoping that it was Taylor calling. "Hello?" I answered as calmly as I could.
"Uh, Ryan," she said, her voice broken.
"Yeah Taylor?" I was surprised that she had called me.
"Um, I just, um. What I said before. . . about not wanting to see you again. . .well I've changed my mind. There is some. . . stuff I need to talk to you about. Do you think. . . do you think that you could. . . you could meet me at my house in twenty minutes. It is kind of important." She told me, her voice cracking as if she was crying.
"I can be there in fifteen minutes if it's important to you."
"It is. . . can you just come over as soon as possible?"
"Sure, whatever you need." Then the phone went dead; she had hung up. I then shot out of bed, and grabbed my crutches. I noticed that I could walk without my crutches, but I didn't want to take the chance of falling, so I used the crutches. Once in my car, I started it as soon as I could and drove towards Taylor's house.
The drive only took eight minutes, but it seemed like that wasn't fast enough. As I pulled up to her house, I saw her standing on her porch. Her arms were wrapped around herself, as if she was holding herself together. She looked like she was crying. I parked my car and got out. I had no idea what was wrong, but I wanted to help Taylor.
As I approached Taylor, her eyes started to light up. The moment I stepped onto the porch, Taylor wrapped me in a hug. I hugged her back, loving every second I spent with her. Although, I was wondering what was so important that she had to call me over. Eventually Taylor let go of me. "You're here," she whispered.
"I'm here," I said back, stroking her hair.
"I was wrong," she whispered after a minute of silence.
"Wrong about what?"
"Wrong to blame you for everything, wrong to think that you didn't love me, wrong to try and live my life without you in it." She started pacing. "I've thought about all of it, every time I was in danger or needed someone. You were always there. You were my shoulder to cry on and my protector. I thought about what might have happened if you weren't in my life. I would have been burned by the explosion and I would've have become a nervous wreck after Mrs. Gullen was murdered. I would have been hit by that car and I would have been killed by Charolette and Rob in the hospital.You are the reason that I am still alive and breathing." Taylor stopped pacing and stood straight in front of me. "I also have thought about why you lied to me and I get it. It was the only way that you could get me to trust you. And by being directly in my life, you could protect me from. . . attacks."
"But it hasn't changed your mind about my life. How it is too dangerous for you to live with."
"Actually, I have thought about that too. I think that I can deal with your life. Because these last few days without you have been torturous. I would rather live with you and your dangerous live than live a plain and safe life without you."
"But I can't have you be in danger because of me." I grabbed her hands as my eyes started tearing up. "If something happened to you. . . I just couldn't live with myself. . ." I trailed off.
"Well, can't you just quit working for your agency? That way your life wouldn't be dangerous and we could be together. I mean, that is possible, right?" Taylor looked at me, hope in her eyes.
I sighed, "Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There is no way to just quit or get out. Once you're in, it's a lifetime job. The only way to truly get out is to be captured and held prisoner or killed." I hung my head ashamed, knowing that I had disappointed Taylor and myself. I wanted to be with her, but this job just got in the way.
"Well," Taylor sniffled, crying again, "Then I guess there is only one way we can be together. . . I'll have to join your agency."
"No Taylor. You can't join. I won't let you. You have no idea what they will do to you. They make you cold and unfeeling so that you can only focus on your missions. They also make you put your life at risk everyday and turn you into someone you never wanted to be. I will not let them make you like that." She was silent for the longest period of time. "I'm sorry Taylor, but there is no way that we can be together."
Suddenly, a crazy idea jumped into my head. It was risky, dangerous, and almost impossible to execute, but it would give Taylor and I a chance to be together. I looked at Taylor. Her head was tilted down and she was crying. It pained me to see her like this, but she would do a 180 as soon as I told her my idea. "Taylor," I started, tilting her head up,"I have an idea.I know one way that we can be together."
She looked at me, hoping filling her eyes. "Really? You know how we can be together?"
"Yeah, although it is kinda of crazy. If I never returned to SECRET and disappeared, then I wouldn't have a dangerous life. That way, we can be together and I you'd be safe."
"What's the catch Ryan? You and I both know that would never work just like that."
"Well," I hesitated, putting my hand behind my head. "We'd need to change our names, get as far away from here as possible, and we would have to basically wipe our slates clean. We couldn't have any connections with our old friends and family and we would have to keep a low profile. It isn’t the most ideal situation, but. . .” A minute of silence passed over us. I knew that Taylor would probably decline my offer, but I had to wait and find out her answer. To be honest, I had doubts that we could even live like that.
Taylor opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. It was a full five minutes before she tried again. "Ryan. . ." she started hesitantly, "I think. . . I think that maybe. . . just maybe. . . we could. . . we could try to live like that. . . and if by. . . if by some chance it doesn't. . . it doesn't. . . work out. . . I could. . . I would. . . I would join SECRET. . . just because. . . because I know. . . I know that I can't. . . I can't live without you. . .” I was stunned. She actually would abandon her old life to be with me. All I knew right now was that Taylor and I were going to be together, no matter what.
"Taylor. . . you do know what you're giving up if you come with me. Don't you?" I wanted to make sure that her decision was final before taking her away.
She sighed, "I know what I am giving up Ryan. But honestly, what is left here for me? My closest friends weren't even friends, I'll be going off to college this summer, and all my memories here are just painful. Living in this house would be a reminder. . ." She shuddered. "I am sure that I want a new life."
"Ok. If you're sure." I still felt bad about doing this. "When do you think you'll be ready to leave?" I asked trying to fill the empty air.
"Maybe 45 minutes. I convinced my parents that we should move as soon as possible. Some of my stuff is already packed, but I'll need to pack some more stuff before I can leave. You should probably get your stuff and come back here. I don’t want my parents getting suspicious.”
“Alright. And you are sure that you want to do this?”
“Yes Ryan, for the third time, I want to do this.” After that, I kissed her on the forehead and got back to my car. I found out that I could finally walk without crutches. Before I pulled out of her driveway, I looked at her one last time; a tear was streaming down her face. Once I was on the road, she blew me a kiss and then headed inside her house.
It was very tedious back to my dorm, but I knew that it would be the last time I would have to do so. As I walked up to my dorm, an uneasy feeling increasingly grew inside me. Reaching for the door to my dorm, the feeling was at its peak. It was as if something horrible was waiting for me. Slowly opening the door, everything seemed normal, until I saw a shadow in my room move. I entered cautiously until I heard his voice. "Ryan," he said coming out of my room, "Where have you been?"
"Nowhere Diego, how long have you been in here?"
"Only ten minutes. I know where you went," he told me seriously.
"Where have I been Diego? You seem cockily confident."
"With Taylor." A silence draped the room and took hold of my throat. It was obvious how he knew, but what would he do. Tell Silvia, figure out my plan, or something else.
It was a full five minutes before I could speak. “Okay, and what are you going to do about it.”
“Well, whatever I have to to keep you here.”
“If that’s the way you want it,” I taunted, “Come and get me because there is no way I am going to willing leave Taylor.” As if on queue, Diego came at me, trying to tackle me. I guess he never wanted to fight me. I moved out of the way before he could get me. He turned around, punching, trying to knock me out. I blocked each one of them and landed a few punches of my own on him. Diego managed to hit me in the chest, making me crumble to the ground. I guess my body hadn’t healed from the car crash.
“I don’t want to fight you Ryan,” Diego pleaded with me. “Just forget about her. You’ll only be putting her in danger.” That last remark went me over the edge. I knew that I had put her in danger and it made me feel horrible. I never thought Diego would sink so low as say Taylor was in danger because of me. I lunged at him from the ground, knocking him over. Now the playing field was even. I went on top of him and starting punching him until he was unconscious. It made me feel better, but I still didn’t feel right knocking out Diego. I mean, he was the closest thing to a father figure I had since I was five. As I stood up, I looked down at Diego. I felt bad for knocking him out, but what else could I have done. If I was lucky, he would wake up after I had left.
I went into my room and got my bookbag. I put in the clothes that I got while undercover and essential things like money, toothbrush, etc. I opened my drawers and saw mainly mission reports and logs and paperwork. Then something caught my eye, my collage of the bride. I still hadn’t figured out why I had made it, but I decided to take it with me.
Now all that was left to do was get Taylor. I had spent about 15 minutes getting my stuff together, so I figured that I should head over to Taylor's house. After all, I had already spent enough time here. So I got my things together and headed to my car. It seemed like I couldn't drive fast enough away from SECRET.
Once I arrived at Taylor's house, I realized that I arrived there early. I didn't want to rush her, but I couldn't risk her parents finding out. I decided to move my car down the street far enough so that I could see Taylor's house, but not so close that Taylor's parents would get suspicious.
I waited a full ten minutes for Taylor to come out onto her porch, but she never showed. I was starting to get worried. What if Taylor had changed her mind? Then I thought back to our conversation and realized I was worrying over nothing. She wouldn't change her mind. I calmed myself by saying that she is just getting her stuff together. Another ten minutes ticked by and now I was starting to get anxious. What was taking her so long? FInally, Taylor appeared on her porch. I drove up to her driveway, ready to pick her up. As soon as she saw my car, she stated rushing toward me, a panicked expression on her face. She threw her stuff in the back seat and raced to buckle herself in the front.
"What’s your rush Taylor?" I asked worried.
"Nothing, just drive." She replied in a flash. I pulled the car out of the driveway and started heading away from her house. I glanced at Taylor; she was jittery and staring straight ahead, like she was in a trance. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably. I noticed that her wrist was red and swollen.
"Taylor, what happened to your wrist? It's red and swollen," I asked worried.
"What, oh yeah, it is. I must have bumped it on something while I was packing. Nothing to worry about." She replied quickly. Her response worried me more than the injury. Taylor was normally calm and cool, but now she seemed scared and afraid.
"Taylor. Honestly. What happened?"
It took her a minute to reply. "I. . . I honestly don't know. . ." she started crying. "One minute he was just fine. . . and then he got all mad. . . and then. . ." her crying turned into sobbing. I decided to pull the car over, realizing what she was talking about.
"He should never have hit you," I told her, trying to comfort her. I reached my hand towards her to touch her, but she flinched away.
"I don't know why. . ." she started saying, "I mean, he hasn't in over a year. Mom always blamed it on the alcohol, but he wasn't drinking today. I know he wasn't! It just. . ."
"I isn't right and he will never hurt you again.” I leaned over and hugged her, doing what I could to help. She leaned her head onto my shoulder and I kissed her forehead. I didn’t know what I could do. I just learned that Taylor was abused by her father, how is someone supposed to handle that. Even worse, how was Taylor handling it? I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for her as a child.
Taylor spent seven minutes trying to get herself together. I started driving again as soon as I thought that she wouldn't breakdown. About ten minutes into the drive, Taylor started crying again. I asked her if she wanted to pull over again, but she said she'd be fine. She fell asleep around three minutes later, still crying. I felt so sorry for her and all that she had to live with in the past. But I guess that her being asleep was the best way for her to cope with all the changes in her life. Hopefully, in our new lives, Taylor won't have to deal with as much pain and deception.