Claires P.O.V.

I never thought that life could be this harsh and cruel. Hitting with the same weapon again and again but we, being humans still can have any control over that weapon, our emotions, and especially our tears.

Ever since Scarlet died, ever since I have started to find Markus, there had been no place where I hadn searched him, I searched through the airline records to see if he had fled away somewhere, I searched through every police station to find records on him, I searched through the gangsters teams for him but nothing. It felt like the whole world was against me for some unknown reason.

I didn have any picture of Markus but I remembered his face as well Alana. She had met with him few times when we were younger. We got a portrait done of him but still, no one recognized him.

I no longer had any idea where to look for him. His absence was messing with my head but I was determined to find him because I thought that revenge was letting me be with Scarlet, letting me know that she wants justice for herself, it was letting me remember her. And I didn want to let go because I knew I wasn strong enough.

There was nothing I could do to find him. The only clues and evidence I had, were the letters and emails he always sent me. The only thing that was the proof of his existence. He would send me letters and emails after every few months but this time I had gotten a letter after almost a year. The last he sent was on my birthday. I stared at the pictures sprawled on my desk which brought back so many memories yet again.

It was the pictures of Scarlet, me and Markus, from the night we went to the drive-in cinema. It was Markuss birthday and he had taken us to a fancy-looking restaurant for dinner, and to the amusement park where Scarlet made him wear bunny headbands, and to the drive-in carnival cinema where we ended up watching A walk to remember.

We were not even halfway through the movie when as usual I started hearing the whispers from behind. ”Oh, you smell amazing. Is that the perfume I got you last time? ” Markus whispered.

”Yup. Used it first time today. Did you see my new nail paint? ” Scarlet replied to him.

”Oh, baby. They are amazing. You
e amazing. I love you. ” Markus said followed by the sound of a kiss. They continued with their love-birdy talks until it became too hard to concentrate on the movie that I turned around and snapped at them.

”Some of us actually want to watch a movie. ”

”Then you watch. Whos stopping you? ” Markus said as they snuggled.

”Its hard when both of you are here, having your cuddling session and talking so loudly. Why did you even bother coming when you guys were not going to watch? ” I asked frustratingly but they just smiled at me and went back to talking like I wasn there. Thats why they always made me sit on the front, so they could talk and cuddle back there. I huffed and prayed that the movie finishes soon so I could have some peaceful time.

I remembered that day clearly — the last time I went to any cinema and how odd, today was Markuss birthday. I sighed loudly and opened the letter Markus had sent me this time.

Memories always bring back more memories, happy but sad and they hurt. Stop searching. You will get tired or worst, end up getting hurt. Scarlet wouldn want you to get hurt.

-M-

I read the letter, again and again, getting confused in his complex words again. As moments passed by, as I got more and more tangled in his words where he used Scarlet, I started to get a headache. I never understood why he always used Scarlet word in his letters, showing that he cares. How messed up and sick is he? I thought.

Suddenly a knock broke the chain of my thoughts and I found Ryan standing near the doorway. ”You are still working? Its late. ” He said.

I looked at the time and it was 8:35 pm. I sighed. ”Yeah, I was just grabbing my things. ”

”Are you fine? It seems that you have a fever. ” He pointed out with a frown etched on his forehead.

”No. I am just tired thats why. I am fine. ” I said. I indeed had a fever but I didn consider telling Ryan that. I got up, putting the pictures and letter in my bag, I grabbed my bag and walked out of my cabin, followed by Ryan.

The elevator ride was silent as dead that our breathing could be heard. The ding noise indicated that we had reached the ground floor. We walked out of the office and went to our cars.

I was about to get into my car when I saw the front-left tire busted. Another tragedy! ”Seriously? Do you think thats a good time? Ugh, its so frustrating. ” I ranted, venting my anger on the busted tire by stomping my foot on the road.

I heard a loud laugh and when looked at the source of the sound, I realized that Ryan was still there, listening to my ranting. I got flustered at that and averted my eyes to the busted tire.

”Aww, I guess someone is stuck with me tonight. Want a ride? ” He asked leaning on his car.

I sighed for the hundredth time today and having no option, I went towards his car and sat inside. I heard Ryan chuckling and then he settled beside me as well.

There was an awkward silence in the car. First time in years I was riding with a man other than dad. I looked at Ryan and thought that how can anyone be so dumb and intellectual at the same time. How can anyone like him be the first man to drive me home. He was a stranger to me. A kind of where we only had a business relationship. Then why does his presence make me feel so comfortable and exciting?

A smirk broke onto his face which caused me to avert my eyes from him and look outside the window, towards the busy traffic, skyscrapers, silhouettes of distant buildings. I pushed the door button and the mirror rolled down the window. The cold air entered the car, just as much harshly as the speed of driving and my life, rushing through the whole car. I could feel Ryan looking at me every 5 seconds.

But my mind felt so numb. It was Markuss birthday. Scarlet always baked a cake for him. I just wanted to go home, tightly hug dad and snuggle up in my bed, and wish to have a peaceful sleep.

”Are you hungry? ” Ryan asked suddenly. I looked at him. ”What? ”

”I am hungry. There is a restaurant just down this road. Do you want to join? ” He asked.

I wanted to say no, immediately, because I just wanted to go home but still, the only thing that came out of my mouth was; ”Okay. Sure. ” I said. He nodded with a smile.

Soon we were getting out of the car, towards the hotel. We walked inside the illustrious pricey restaurant. It was warm inside. A serene and charming atmosphere floated in the area, surrounding the polite chatter of people. It was a simple yet elegant place where you didn need to make reservations beforehand to dine. There was also sweet classical music playing in the background.

We were brought to our seats by a teen waiter. He handed us the menu and we started to look through it. ”What did you select? ” He asked after few moments.

”Umm, I am thinking about Szechuan Chicken, and as for dessert, Russian Salad, ” I replied.

”Same as the lady with Red wine. ” He said to the waiter, who was standing at a distance, waiting for us to place our order. He jotted down the order and left, saying it will be ready in 10 minutes.

We sat there, waiting for the food when the notification sound dinged on my phone. I turned it on. It was a picture from an unknown number. Clicking on it, it was a picture of me and Ryan sitting in the restaurant. The picture was taken from outside the hotel. I tensed up, my breath hitched, looking frantically outside the hotel, trying to find anyone or anything suspicious.

”Claire? What happened? ” Ryan asked with a worried frown etched on his face.

”Huh…?… ” I tried to compose myself. ”Umm… nothing. Its just… nothing. I am fine. ”

”Okay… ” He replied unsurely but I was too distracted to think about that. My head was blasting like it was gonna come off. Soon our food came and I had lost my appetite but still, I grabbed the knife and fork and cut a small piece of chicken, and put it in my mouth. Few minutes passed by in utter silence until he asked again;

”Are you really alright Claire? You don seem fine. ” I was getting angry with each passing moment, frustrated of being unable to do anything and his questions were making me even more shitty.

”I told you I am fine. You don have to worry about anything. ” I said, as calmly as possible.

”Okay but if theres anything that is bothering you or you have any problem with, you can always ask, maybe I could be of any help. ” He said placing his hard on my arm which triggered me. How dare he!!! I got up abruptly, picking my glass I splashed my wine at him.

Before I could even comprehend what I have done, all eyes were on us, and why not they would look at us? They got to enjoy the live entertaining show. But that time I didn care because I knew I was fuming with anger.

”Don you understand that I am fine? Stop bothering me! ” I said, pointing my finger at him and got out of the hotel. I didn care about the people whispering behind my back, didn care that Ryan was standing there shocked by what had happened because of my messiness but my mind was so messed up and numb that even his attempt to help, angered me. It was all Markuss fault. He ruined everything in my life.

I sat on the bench nearby, careful not to be seen by any passerby. I sat there and soon it started raining but I still didn move. I just sat there, thinking nothing in particular. It rained for I don know how long until the only sound near was the drops of water, falling from the bench onto the ground, in the little pond of water.

I saw a cab on the road, I got up and pointing it to stop. After getting in the cab, and reaching home, I got inside. Dad came towards me and I plunged myself towards him and cried silently on his shoulder and I was grateful that instead of asking what happened to me, he was soothing and calming me.

”You have a fever, Claire. Cmon, lets get you in your room and then Ill make a soup for you and give you medicine. ” Dad said, taking me towards my room.

After taking me to the room, dad left to make soup for me and I changed into my night silk gown. I brought the letter out of my bag to put it inside the drawer with all the other letters when I accidentally opened the left drawer and found my old journal.

Scarlett gave that journal to me when I was 11. It was an old vintage-styled journal but I haven written anything in a very long while. Maybe because I was afraid of my own thoughts. Sometimes they scare me the most, more than anyone.

Sighing, I put it back and put the letter in its respective drawer as well. When dad came back with soup in his hands, I told him about the letter and picture and he said exactly what I had thought that the picture wasn enough of anything to get Liam to search anything on it so we left the topic and sat in silence.

************

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