”I think about dying. ”

”And what happens when you think about dying? ”

I twiddle with the ring on my forefinger. ”I wonder… I wonder if Ill even be remembered. ”

”You want to be remembered? ”

Who doesn ? ”Yeah. ” I nod. ”I want… people to remember me. ”

Thunder rumbles, and the lights in the diner flicker.

”People? ”

”Yes, people, ” I answer. ”I want them to remember me. ”

”You think they won remember you? ”

I let out a dry laugh and look down at the barely eaten fries and untouched burger on my plate. Hed ordered the food and black coffee, saying I had to eat something. Id asked: ”Can I at least buy the food myself? ” Hed said, taking his wallet out: ”Its nothing. I got it. ” Hed sat across me, watching, waiting for me to eat, and so Id forced myself to eat a few fries before losing the little appetite Id had to begin with.

”I know it doesn make sense. Nothing I say makes sense anyway. ” I look out the window at the pouring rain outside the diner and then back at him, at those piercing ice blue eyes.

”It makes sense. ” He cradles a steaming cup of frothy coffee in his elegant long-fingered hands—probably absorbing its warmth. Fuckin rain. I can even feel my feet, let alone wiggle my toes; they are frozen solid. It doesn help that the diners heater is broken. (Id asked the young waitress behind the counter to please turn the heater on, and shed said without so much as looking at me, in a dismissive tone, that its broken.) ”Theres nothing wrong with wanting people to remember you when you die. I think there are people who will remember you, ” he says, voice deep.

Yeah? ”

He nods. ”Your family will remember you. Your friends too. ”

Only Jonah would remember me. My family, though… Well, thats a whole other different story.

I shrug. ”My family, they… I don think theyd remember me. ”

He looks at me pensively, like he wants to say something but doesn know exactly what to say. I stare at his blue eyes. He is an extremely handsome man; he has the kind of face that would make people stop and stare—a beautiful, captivating face. He has short dark curly hair that frames his well-sculptured face, sharp blue eyes, and piercings in three places: his right eyebrow, nose, and lower lip—and he has tattoos on his hands. Hes hot as hell—a modern-day Greek god.

I don know this handsome man, nor do I know his name. But what I do know about him is: he makes good money. He is wearing an expensive black tailor-made suit and has an expensive-looking car parked outside the diner. And, despite his youthful appearance, he looks several years older than me—maybe in his mid-twenties.

He opens his mouth, thinks, and then closes it again, deciding against whatever he was going to say. His gaze is on me, those blue eyes of his studying my face, thinking, probably, about what would be the right thing to say to me. With his intense gaze on me, I can help but think: I probably look like Ive been dragged to hell and back. I have dark circles under my eyes from sleep deprivation (its been a rough two days) and cracked dry lips; my eyes probably look swollen and red from crying from when Id been at that bridge—where hed found me.

After a beat of silence, I say, ”Anyway, I should go. ” I stand up. ”I can believe I just told a stranger my problems, ” I say, more to myself than to him.

He looks at me and says, ”You are leaving already? ”

”Yeah, it looks like it won stop raining anytime soon. ” I nod towards the window at the pummelling rain outside. ”So, I better leave. Otherwise, I will be stuck here. ”

”Okay, ” he says, nods, and stands up too. Tall—hes so tall. Theres a pause in which he stands there, so beautiful, so powerful. He has that look in his eyes as he stares at me as if hes studying me again like he can figure me out. Like he wants to figure me out. It feels like hes looking through my brown eyes into my soul. Then he says, ”You are so… ” A pause as if hes thinking of a word to describe me. ”You are so hard to read. It frustrates me, ” he finishes.

”It does? ”

A nod. ”Im very good at reading people, but not you apparently. I can seem to figure you out, ” he says.

”Well, that makes both of us—I can seem to figure myself out, too, ” I say to him as I gather my things to leave the small diner. The diner is vacant this time of the night—no customers except for the handsome stranger and me. My eyes stray over to the young waitress behind the counter, who is chewing gum obnoxiously with her eyes glued to the small TV on the wall, and then to the other waitress, who looks older, sitting on the bar stool, flipping through the pages of a magazine, a bored expression on her face.

”Don I deserve a reward, though? ”

I turn to look at him and arch a brow. ”A reward? ”

He nods and takes a step forward, a little closer to me. ”Yes, a reward. I saved your life, remember? ”

”But I didn want my life to be saved. ” That might be harsh, but its the truth. I didn ask him to save my life. He shouldn have.

He hums and nods. And then he says, ”What about a reward for listening to you then? ”

I stare at him, dumbfounded. Is he for real? ”What do you want? Money? ” I say, and then realize that that was a stupid thing to assume, considering he looks like he bathes in money.

”No. ” He shakes his head. ”I just want to know your name. ”

I stare at him for a second too long and ask, ”Thats what you want, my name? ”

He nods.

”Fine, ” I say with a sigh. ”I guess I can do that. Nia. My name is Nia. ”

”No last name, Nia? ” He says my name like hes testing it on his tongue.

”Thats all you get. ”

”Okay. ” He smiles—a perfect smile, I realize. ”Nice to meet you, Nia. ”

I chuckle. ”Isn it a little too late for pleasantries? ”

”You have a point. ” He laughs. I like his laugh. Its such a pleasant sound. I find myself smiling. ”But Im really glad I met you tonight. ”

”Aren you going to tell me your name? ” I ask expectantly.

He seems to consider it before saying, ”Not tonight. But youll know soon. ”

”Well, that doesn sound ominous at all. ”

”You should go, ” is all he says.

”Right. ” I forgot I was leaving. ”I should go. ”

”Nia? ” he says before I turn to leave. ”Ill remember you. ”

I linger, backpack in hand, staring at him with burning eyes, tears threatening to spill down my cheeks.

”You should go home, Nia, ” he says softly.

I try to keep my voice from wavering as I say to him: ”Yeah, I should. ”

I give him one last look before walking out of the diner. I run to my car, careful of stepping into puddles and soaking my sneakers. I climb inside and turn the heater on. I pull out my phone and scroll through it, hoping for… something, anything. But nothing, other than a missed call from Jonah—not who I was expecting a call from. I sigh. Of course theres nothing. I bet my mother doesn even know Im gone or that I haven been home in two days. How would she know when she doesn care about me? My chest tightens, so heavy with emotion. I scream, punching the steering wheel before collecting myself and driving home.

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