In Your Eyes
This a copyright material.
It's not for sale.
Date of publication December 2014
I didn’t see Adrian’s car heading directly for mine. I tried to stop, but it was too late…
I covered my eyes with my hands, praying silently for both of us to stay alive. The next second, his car crashed into mine, making it spin in the middle of the road. Thank God, there were not any more cars around. But it didn’t help much, because when my car stopped and I opened my eyes again, I saw my worst nightmare coming true…
Across the street, was Adrian’s car lying upside down, so the roof of the car was on the ground instead of the wheels. I screamed.
I got out of my car in a hurry and ran to Adrian. Through the half-broken window, I could see his face, covered with blood. But the worst thing was the realization that hit me just a moment later. He wasn’t moving…
“Adrian? Adrian, wake up! Say something!” I tried to open the door, but failed. “Please, Baby, say something!” With my elbow, I hit the window, so I could open the door from the inside. When I finally managed to open the damn thing, I pulled Adrian by the shoulders, but only managed to get part of his body out of the car.
I leaned closer and put one finger to his carotid artery to feel for a pulse. But there was none… I started to panic.
“Help! Somebody, help!” I looked around frantically, but the street was empty. How the hell is that even possible? We live in one of the most overcrowded cities in the world!
“Hold on, Baby, we will get you out of here.” With shaking hands, I dialed Daniel’s number.
“Emily? Is everything all right?” Apparently, he was surprised I would call him that late in the night.
“I need your help,” I said into the handset, and then I told him about what had happened. Well, as much as I could tell anyway, considering I could hardly talk at all.
“Don’t do anything. I’ll be right there.” With a click, he hung up the phone, and I kneeled down next to Adrian again.
He looked so pale, but I still refused to believe he was dead, he couldn’t be dead.
He just can’t be dead, not like this, not right now.
I took his hand in mine, and no matter how lifeless his touch felt, I kept whispering to him, hoping he would wake up and respond, so this horrifying nightmare could end.
I don’t know how much time had passed before I heard the sound of Daniel’s bike roaring down the road behind me. He stopped next to his car, which I had been driving, and ran over to me.
Wordlessly, he checked Adrian’s pulse, then looked into my eyes and shook his head.
“What? What is it?” I asked, looking up at him.
“No… No, he can’t be,” I pleaded. I wanted to sink into the ground and die right along with him, I couldn’t believe this was happening to us.
How could this happen? Why would this happen to him, to me?
“Take my bike and go home.” Daniel helped me to my feet, but I couldn’t make myself move.
“I can’t leave him, he needs me!” I felt my chest tighten, and my panic rise.
“I said, go home! Look at me, Ems.” He shook me by the shoulders. “You can’t help him, no one can.”
“I killed him!” I cried.
I killed him… How could I have killed him?
“No, you didn’t! It was an accident. Just one stupid accident! Now, take my bike and go home. I will take care of this.”
Back then, I didn’t know what Daniel meant by that, because all I could think about was Adrian. All I could think about was the fact that maybe if I hadn’t gone after him, he would still be alive.
Pulling me to the bike, Daniel helped me get onto it, he put the keys into my hand, and said again, “Go!”
I don’t know where I found the strength to start the engine and leave. I didn’t look back, I couldn’t…
By the time I crossed the threshold of the apartment where Daniel and I lived, I felt like nothing on earth, I was shocked and devastated. My head was spinning, the awful images and sounds from the accident filled my head. I closed the door behind me and sat on the floor, leaning against it, sobbing. Then I looked down at my hands, and they were still covered with dirt and Adrian’s blood. I felt like a murderer…
I ran to the bathroom and started washing my hands, scrubbing them frantically, as if it would make me feel any better. But even with no blood on my palms, I still felt like a traitor, like the worst person in the world, like the worst liar ever. I couldn’t fool myself, it was all my fault.
It was all my damn fault!
Daniel didn’t call, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I sat on the edge of the bathtub, took my cell phone out of my pocket, and dialed his number.
“Hello?” A stranger’s voice said.
“Who are you? And where’s my brother?”
“Are you Daniel Farrell’s sister?”
“My name is detective Brasso. You brother has been detained, under the suspicion of having committed a crime.”
“What? What crime are you talking about?”
“He was in an accident, an accident that involved the death of another driver.”
“Are you accusing him of murder?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry. You will be informed about your brother’s future when the doctors examine the body of the other driver. For now, try and get some rest and know we will be in touch as soon as we have more details regarding the matter.” He said nothing else and hung up, before I even had the chance to figure out if he was talking about the accident with Adrian, or if there had been a completely separate accident I wasn’t aware of.
What the hell did Daniel tell him? I stared at my cell phone in confusion. He couldn’t have told them he was the person driving the car that hit Adrian’s, could he?
I needed to call Kassie. Even though she and Daniel had not been getting along very well recently, she was the only person who could help me save my brother. He didn’t deserve to suffer in prison because of a crime he didn’t even commit.
But Kassie’s phone was out of the coverage area. I cursed aloud. I couldn’t sit and do nothing while my brother was about to be charged with murder. I don’t know why, but at that very moment, I didn’t entirely understand the seriousness of everything that was going on. Or maybe, I simply was not ready to face the truth — which I know was even worse than what was about to happen to Daniel.
I didn’t know where the police took him, or how I could even find it out. Regardless how many times I tried to call him again, no one answered, not even the detective I talked to a few minutes ago.
Hours passed, but I still didn’t have any news about my brother. Kassie didn’t call me back, even though I left about two dozen messages on her voice mail, so I had nothing else to do but to sit and wait.
When it was almost midnight, I heard the front door opening.
“Daniel?” My brother was standing at the threshold, as pale as a plain, white sheet.
“Oh, thank God, they let you go.” I breathed a sigh of relief, running up to him and hugged him tight.
He didn’t say anything, he waited for me to step back, then he went over to the bar, took a bottle of whiskey, poured a glass, and drained it dry. Then another one, and another one. He kept drinking until I walked over to him, and took the bottle away. Just to pour a glass of whiskey for myself.
We didn’t talk that night. We sat on the floor near the couch, and kept drinking, trying to wash away the sorrows of the horrible night we were having.
I couldn’t even cry. I don’t know why. Maybe I was still too shocked to let myself feel what I was sure would break me tomorrow. Or maybe I was already too broken to be ever able to be okay again…
The next morning started with a call from Kassie.
“Hello?” I said, clearing my throat.
“He’s gone, Ems… Adrian’s gone!” She started crying into the handset.
I sat up and looked around, surprised I didn’t see my brother anywhere around. There were two empty bottles lying near the couch, must have been where I passed out when my body couldn’t accept the burning liquid anymore. Daniel’s cellphone and wallet were there also. He never left without them.
“Oh, my God.” I jumped to my feet and rushed to Daniel’s room.
I could hear the sound of running water in the shower. I didn’t even think about knocking, I pushed the bathroom door open and breathed a sigh of relief. He was sitting next to the shower stall, crying but alive, and not trying to kill himself or anything.
“Emily, are you still there?”
I put the phone back to my ear, and said, “Yeah, I’m here.”
“I know it’s not an easy time for you, but I need you here. Could you come to my place, please?”
“I’ll be there.” I put the phone aside and walked over to Daniel. It was probably the first time I had ever seen my brother cry. He was anything, but the crying type. He could be a real douche, a crazy and often-drunk-half-to-death driver, but he had never been the weak Daniel I saw at that moment. He never showed his weaknesses to anyone. He always said he was the only man in our small family, and he couldn’t let himself be weak.
We grew up in an orphanage, and if it weren’t for Adrian’s help and Daniel’s wild desire to live a better life, I don’t know where we would be today. Tabitha and Jonas, our adopted parents, were great people. We loved them a lot, but I still thought there wasn’t anyone I was closer to than Daniel. We’d been through a lot. No matter what, Daniel never let me down. And last night was more proof of his love for me.
“What did you tell the police?” I asked, sitting next to him.
“It doesn’t matter now.”
“We need to talk to Kassie.”
“No! Don’t you even think about it.”
“She will understand.”
“Hardly. She saw me there, she saw my car, and she saw her brother’s body. It was more than enough for her to understand everything, even without anyone’s words.”
“I don’t want her to hate you.” I felt tears running down my cheeks. It was so unfair…
“You won’t tell her a word, and neither will I.”
“This is what Adrian wanted.”
“What do you mean?”
“Forget it. Just promise me, you won’t tell her anything. It’s better if she blames me for his death than knowing the truth.”
Back then, I didn’t know what exactly Daniel meant by ‘the truth’. No one did, except for him and Adrian.
The day of Adrian’s funeral began with the worst surprise I could ever receive.
“I’ll get it,” Daniel said, hearing the doorbell ring.
We were sitting in the kitchen, and he had been trying to make me eat, but I felt like I was about to be sick again, and I couldn’t make myself swallow anything.
I heard Daniel talking to a courier, “Thanks, I’ll sign for her.”
A delivery for me? I didn’t remember ordering anything.
I went out into the hall and froze, horrified. There, in a huge pale-pink, paper box with a transparent side, was my wedding dress… All beautiful and magical, just the way I always wanted it to be. Every inch of me tensed.
I didn’t think there could be anything more awful than what I needed to face in a few hours, but the dress was the last drop in the ocean of my pain.
“Take it away from me,” I said, turning around and going back to the kitchen.
After Adrian broke up with me, I canceled everything that was supposed to be ready for the wedding, except for one thing — the dress.
Deep down inside of me, I still hoped he would change his mind. I still hoped his words were said out of depression, cold feet, or something, anything that might make him come back to me. But I could have never imagined the dress would be delivered the day I would no longer need it, neither for a wedding with Adrian, nor at all.
I was still wearing the ring he gave me on the day he proposed. It was one of the best days of my life, I was so happy, I was even afraid I might suffocate from the amount of happiness filling me. With him, I always felt like the most amazing woman in the whole world. I felt loved, cared for, and cherished deeply. I used to think men like Adrian didn’t exist anymore, outside of fairytales that is. The world had changed since the romantic era, chivalry wasn’t something men lived by anymore. But then, the most amazing thing happened to me, I met Adrian, and I realized one man who held the morals men used to live by in fact still did exist.
He wasn’t just perfect, he was my everything. I lived for him, I breathed for him, and now… Now, I didn’t have a single reason to wake up in the morning. I simply didn’t know how to live without him. If at first I thought I would never accept the fact he was gone, now everything was different, and even worse. Now, I clearly understood that I would never see him again, kiss him again, hug him again, I would never even be able to talk to him again, my rock in this world was gone…
I lived my life on autopilot after the awful night that took Adrian’s life away. I helped Kassie and her parents with the funeral preparations, but I didn’t know how to prepare myself for saying good-bye to him. They say life is a game made for everyone, and love is a price… But for me, life was a price I had to pay for my love.
I was still in shock, and it was simply impossible to absorb the amount of it. My guilt made everything even more difficult to stand, it didn’t matter how many times Daniel tried to make me believe Adrian’s death wasn’t my fault, but just a tragic accident. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Adrian’s car speeding down the road, and then… It was all over and gone.
Hundreds of times, I replayed the scenario in my head, trying to figure out if there was a way I could have avoided the crash and everything that followed it. Hundreds of times, I asked myself if I could have done anything to save him. But I never got the answers to my questions… And the worst thing was I never stopped blaming myself for losing the best and most important part of my life. It was a burden I was predestined to live with, for the rest of my life. But frankly, I didn’t want to live, because the night Adrian died, I died right along with him...
“It’s time to go,” Daniel said after a while. He wasn’t going to attend the funeral, well not exactly. He was going to be there, but he didn’t want Kassie to see him. She was still angry at him, even though the police report said whatever had happened, had been just an accident, and Daniel didn’t have anything to do with Adrian’s death.
Uh, if only she knew it was me driving the car that night… She would hate me too.
We called a taxi and went to the cemetery where Adrian was to be buried.
Dozens of people were standing around the grave. Everyone loved Adrian. He was a great person, he always helped those who needed it, and he never hated anyone, even those who hated him. Personally, I was sure his haters were simply jealous of everything that he had. But I guess no one really knows how to gain the love of everyone. It’s just a matter of the attitude you have when you have nothing, and when you have everything.
People were crying around me, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to cry. Adrian always said death is just another life which no one but a soul can see. Maybe it was just a myth, but today, I wanted to believe it was true.
I went to one of the benches that was not far away from where the ceremony was about to take place, and sat down. The ground was covered with a thin layer of snow. Adrian always loved snow.
I closed my eyes and imagined him sitting next to me. He would probably say it was not the end, that I should move on, live, and enjoy every moment of the rest of my life. I always admired his love for life. I don’t think anyone could ever be a bigger optimist than Adrian was. God, I already missed him like hell.
I felt so helpless. It was one thing to know we went to different cities, or on vacations away from each other, but knowing I would never see him, ever again, was so much worse. Even the pain I felt after the break up couldn’t be compared to whatever I felt at that time. I was lost and broken, but for Adrian, I needed to be strong. Somehow, I knew he never stopped loving me. Even the night he died, he came to see me, and kissed me just the way he always did, with so much love, a love I was sure I would never feel again from anyone, as long as I lived. And of course, I never stopped loving him. Actually, I thought I would never love anyone as much I loved him, because I was sure I would never meet a man who was able to overshadow the things Adrian made me feel, the things he made me believe in, the love he endowed me with…
I opened my eyes and looked up into the sky.
“Will always love you,” I said in whisper. Then I rose to my feet and headed back to where I knew Daniel was waiting for me.
“You sure you don’t wanna go back?” He asked, hugging me. “The ceremony is not over yet.”
“What about you? Do you want to go there?”
“I tried, but Kassie wouldn’t let me anywhere near.”
“I’m so sorry, Daniel. You shouldn’t have sacrificed your love for her, just to save me.”
“I did just exactly what should be done. Home?”
I nodded and we got into the car.
Only when I was back to my room, the pain hit me again. I took off my clothes, closed the curtains, and got under the blanket. I didn’t want to think about tomorrow, or anything at all, I just wanted to fall asleep.
“Ems? Do you hear me?”
I opened my eyes, trying to figure out who was talking to me. It was still dark in the room, the only illumination was coming from a small lamp on my bedside table.
“Daniel? What time is it? How long have I been asleep?”
“For almost two days,” he replied, looking down and smiling slightly at me. He looked tired. His shirt was all wrinkled, and he obviously needed to shave.
“Was it just a dream?” I asked, already knowing the answer to my question.
Daniel shook his head. “No, but life goes on. And you need to eat.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Should I wake you up for dinner, then?”
“Wake me up when it’s all over.”
I closed my eyes and turned over onto my other side. Maybe someone’s life was supposed to go on, but not mine and not now…