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Raw – A clandestine love story.

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She held him tight, like his second skin. His hands in her silky hair, in an undeniable gesture. The night fell and it was almost dawn as they drove past the magical streets of The New York City. The only sound she could hear was the motorbike engine. The only thing she could feel were his soft lips on her cheeks. And the only thing she could smell was his intimidating perfume.

Noah dropped Jessica to her room as she kissed him goodnight because the  sweet, kind Noah couldn’t fall asleep without his lover’s lullaby.

The sun rays caressed Jessica’s rosy cheeks, as she sat on her bay window seat and talked to her diary.

‘Dear diary,

 Today will be different. It has to be. I will smile and it will be believable. Smile and say, “I’m fine. Thank you”. Yes, I feel much better. I will no longer be the sad little girl, who lost her parents. I will start fresh. Be someone new. It’s the only way I’ll make it through.’

‘Jessica, breakfast is ready. You’re getting late for school.’

‘In a minute.’

Jessica Forbes stopped writing. She stared at the last line she had written and then shook her head, pen hovering over the small book with blue velvet cover. Then, with a sudden gesture, she lifted her head and threw the pen and book at the big bay window  where they bounced off harmlessly and landed on the unholstered window seat. It was all so completely ridiculous. Since when had she, Jessica Forbes, been scared of meeting people? She stood up angrily, didn’t even glance at the elaborate Victorian mirror. She knew what she’d see. Jessica Forbes, cool, blonde and slender, the fashion trendsetter, the high school senior, the girl every boy wanted and every girl wanted to be. Jessica grabbed her backpack and climbed down the stairs. She landed a peck on grandma’s cheek and left for school.

‘Last night was crazy. I saw a dark, uncanny figure, who was mysteriously gorgeous. Something drew me towards him instantly. His blue eyes looked diabolical. And when you’re high with molly, diabolicity has it’s perks.’ she thought as she walked past houses, which looked strange and silent.

It was sophomore year and Noah had somewhat helped Jessica  forget about her life in Virginia with her parents, two years back. Her first day at Westside High School would have been a mishanter, if she hadn’t met Noah, the kindest of all creatures, the sweetest of all people, and the most gentlemanly man ever. Great things happened over coffee and they eventually kissed, letting go of all the grief in their past lives.

 But what happened at the bar last night? Noah and Jessica hung out again, as they usually did, to have fun and create beautiful memories. But something was different about last night. Jessica was a girl who was quite hard to please. But this dark silhouette caught her attention.

Jessica was surrounded the instant she entered class. One by one, she accepted the welcoming hugs of her group.

‘Hello everybody!’

‘My name is Mr. Sullivan and I am your new English teacher. You can call me Nick.’

Jessica occupied the last seat as she peeked to take a look at the blonde charming man who had entered the class from the back door. Completely flummoxed, she knew at once, it was the same mysterious figure from the Moments nightclub.

And of course, Mr. Nick Sullivan was the amorous English teacher who taught the eighteenth century play ‘Mourning becomes Electra’, written by the playwriter, Eugene O’ Neill.

Days passed by and Jessica had finally started to take interest in studies, especially English. She would often stay after school and discuss plays with Nick. It didn’t take long for Jessica and Nick to become great friends. While the already popular Jessica had gained attention of the beguiling English teacher, the hangers-on who hoped to gain popularity by association, became jealous. Jessica knew she was enchanted by the celestial being, but was aware of her boyfriend which somehow, sometimes lead to even self loathing.

But Nick Sullivan was much more than just a charming young man who taught literature. He was the mysterious guy who everybody liked. But with mysteries come secrets. And with secrets, comes the past.

The past of Olivia and Jordan Forbes, Jessica’s parents, was replaying itself trying to give some kind of warning signal to Jessica to run far away from this charming young lad.

“It’s over Nick! We can’t do this anymore…”shouted Olivia Forbes as she got into her car and drove through the streets of Virginia to return to her family.

“I’m sorry Jordan! This wasn’t supposed to happen. I never wanted you or Jessica to get hurt.”

‘But it’s too late now Olivia. I can’t stop but repent that I married you and you cheated on me. Come to the lawyer’s office tomorrow with me and we’ll get our paths sorted.’

Jessica woke up abruptly in the middle of the night, dumbfounded. A terrible dream. It had been a long time since she had been tortured by dreams like that;  in fact, she’d dreamed it all. She saw mom and dad again. And the constant thought stuck in her mind. The same wickery bridge and the way the slick roads caused them to inadvertently drive off the bridge and into the river below, where they both drowned. And the same questions running through her mind. How could that even be possible? How did the car manage to drive off the bridge? Dad wasn’t drunk driving, they didn’t hit any object, nor was someone in front of the car. Or was there someone who managed flee before the cops reached?

But where was Jessica now? It wasn’t her pretty purple room. Sitting on the bed, in the low roofed dark room, she noticed a painting on the wall; signed ‘Olivia Forbes’. It was one of her mom’s work. She hadn’t seen that painting in ages. Why was it here? Where is this place exactly? As she tried to reach out to the painting, only to realise she was shackled to the bed. Jessica howled in fear as the ruthless shackles latched onto her exquisite hands.

‘Help, please somebody help!’, she cried her eyes out.

Some heavy footsteps were heard and the big metal door opened.

‘Hello beautiful!’

“Nick!”

‘What are you doing here? Where am I?’

“SHHH … it’s okay, love. I’m here. You must be hungry, I brought sandwiches.’ Nick smiled in an evil manner.

‘Did you drug me?’

‘I know you’re upset and I know it’s the worst way to start a relationship, but it’s the only way we can make it through Jessica.’

‘What are you talking? I have a boyfriend. He’ll kill you.’ Jessica yelled at the diabolical Nick.

‘Nobody can kill me Jessica! Especially not Noah. Because he is dead. Oh god! May the poor boy rest in peace. Now calm down and give yourself some space. Okay?’

‘Why do you have one of mom’s paintings? You knew her?’

‘I loved her. I didn’t want you to discover this way. Poor Olivia. I wanted her and she thought she could run away from me.’

‘What does that mean? Were you there on the day of the accident?’

‘Of course I stood in front of the speeding car. And Jordan being Jordan wanted to save me and instead killed himself and my dear Olivia. It was a sad love story. But you know what they left behind? YOU. One of Olivia’s most beautiful creation. Now you don’t dare run away from me like your mom did. Okay? Be a good girl and listen to me. There is just this single rule and I’ll get you anything that you want. Trust me, it’ll get better.’ Nick smiled with one corner of his lip twitched. He stood up to leave.

The heavy metal door of the soundproof dungeon banged and Jessica screamed for help, only to be heard by silence.

Jessica had lost the one person she had faith in after her parents. And in what world could she be influenced by the murderer of her parents and her boyfriend. As the forlorn days filled with grief and guilt and remorse passed by, Jessica once again lost her purpose of life. This time it lead to self condemnation and anguish. She couldn’t find a way out this time. Maybe she didn’t want to. But she knew a way to escape the monster who tortured her each day. Jessica hadn’t ever been so cold-hearted to kill herself. But all she could think of everytime she saw herself shackled was a desperate desire to be able to fly like a free bird. She strangulated herself to escape the beast, because this wasn’t a  fairy tale where the beauty falls in love with the beast.

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