By: Scarlett Kol
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction
Lead-in: Our protagonist, Mercury is the daughter of important government official and has run away from home for reasons unknown at this point. She thinks she has been spotted and has returned to her hotel room to collect her things and run again. She enters the room and realizes she’s not alone.
I knew who it was before I bothered to turn on the lights. The smell of expensive hair gel mixed with ambition and a hint of sweat could only be one person — Christophe.
He sat poised on the bed. His left foot crossed over his right knee vibrated with either impatience or anxiety from sitting on the cheap hotel sheets. It would have been funny if I didn’t want to lunge across the room and strangle him. If I was certain no one would come looking for him, I would consider it.
Crossing my arms, I leaned against the door. “What do you want?”
He stood up and adjusted his French cuffs under his jacket. He used to look like a kid playing dress up when he wore a suit like this, but right now he finally looked the part. An adult. A man of purpose. It was disgusting.
He cleared his throat. “You know why I’m here.”
“Which is exactly why you need to leave.” I pointed toward the closed door.
“Why do you need to be so hostile? Your family’s been worried about you. He started to walk toward me. “I’ve been worried about you.”
I narrowed my eyes to sharp slits and he stopped. Smarter than I thought he’d be. I braced myself anyway.
“I don’t know why you insist on these games. You’ve been gone almost three months this time. I think they get the point.”
“If they did, you wouldn’t be here.”
“I know this isn’t how you expected things to work out.” He ran a hand through his short spiky hair. “I’m not even going to pretend that I know what you were trying to do, because the truth is I don’t. I never know what is going on in that head of yours. But I’d like to, if you’d just let me.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I don’t feel much like talking. So why don’t you crawl back to my father and tell him that I’m fine.” I moved into the bathroom threshold allowing him a clear path to the door. “Let him know I said hello.”
“I’m not leaving here without you.”
“Then I guess I’ll have to go without you.”
“You’ll never make it around the block. He’s got security everywhere.”
“Fantastic. It was that guard, wasn’t it? He recognized me.”
He nodded. “There is a helicopter waiting for us not far from here. I’m here to take you home.”
Resting my head against the door frame, I fought back the tears threatening to fall. It was over.
“You didn’t think he would let you walk away again did you?”
“Why not? He can’t make me stay.”
“Of course he can. You’re a minor.”
Christophe took my arm and pulled me to him. I fell against his chest as his palm rested on my hair, his chin sitting gently on the top of my head. The heat of his skin seeped through his thin dress shirt. It was almost comforting.
“It’s going to be okay.”