Three days before fate butted in once again…
This is wrong. this is so very wrong
Juts like every time every week, it was close to mid night. The full moon lit sky glittered with millions of stars without a cloud to conceal their brilliance. The streets have long since gone silent and not a soul walked the pavements, except for the cats and dogs, but they did not count. And there he was again, kneeling at her window–her door was armored with locks along with most of the windows–, picking the lock, and wondering just how many times he had said that very same thing, and sometimes with a few nasty words thrown in, in vain.
He knew that by doing this he was crossing all the lines, that he was acting like a psychologically messed-up stalker, which was something he was not. well, he was a stalker all right. just not a mentally ill one. There was a world of difference, even though from another perceptive the two didn’t really lack the ties.
Granted, he dedicated more hours to watch her from where she couldn’t see than he can count. Yes, he was here, because he wanted to know every last detail of her life. Yes, everything she did fascinated him so much that he snapped a picture– how she held her coffee mug, for example, was not by holding it from the handle, but by grasping the china body itself even though he was sure the liquid was boiling in a pot just two seconds ago.Yes, her photos filled the walls of an entire room in his house, and that he hated his assignments now since they were the only thing that kept him from watching her 24/7.
Yes, he took extra care to watch the ends of her every day, her pre-sleep routine, loving the way she stretched her arms high above her head, clasping the fingers of her hands and yawning as she slid a hand back down her arm to cover her mouth, her hips swaying slowly as if knowing he was watching.
And yes, of course he knew it was crazy to take such a risk and ridicule all the ways he could easily get caught, but how could he not keep coming back when she, with everything she did and everything she was, represented a brand new dimension of life he never thought would appeal to him? when to him she was life incarnate?
And watching her through spy glasses were too brief to satisfy any part of his curiosity.
He was not mentally ill. He was irrevocably in love.
And that propelled him from his house, often from his own bed, to hers. Because he missed her, ached for the sight of her, ached to hear the quiet even breaths and the occasional sleepy murmurs. They were the only things he could have for he didn’t deserve her, he knew, but he couldn’t stay away. It was like the unseen cosmic forces had tied them together and he could only stretch too far before finding himself back to where he was, where he belonged. And maybe this attraction was morbid, judging from his actions, but he would die before hurting her. If she found someone else, if she no longer had a room for him in her life, he would simply remove himself to a spot in the world that would make reaching her pure impossibility. But she was free now, and if his observation were any proof, she intended to be for a long time.
He lived on the hope that she would free for him forever, that maybe…
Within five minutes, Nicolas got the all too familiar go-ahead click . He took the lock picks out, put them back in his pocket and stood up. He touched the bottom of the window and tugged up lightly, still testing its vulnerability. He sighed a thank you when it moved according to his liking without restraint. He eased it open slowly, praying that it wouldn’t creak and announce his entry. When it didn’t and his estimation told him the opening was wide enough to accommodate him he planted a leg inside then he swung the rest of him inside. He left the window disclosed, a meager space between the glass and the sill–just in case– and made his way to her bedroom with a stealthily gait, and socked silent feet on the bits of the wooden floor the were not carpeted.
It was all the way it always had been when he came here every week. Her door was slightly ajar, a hue of weak light came from within the room, because she left a sorry excuse for a lamp on in a corner for some reason unknown. The two windows had been left open with the curtains drawn over them, ruffled by the night air, casting dancing shadows on the floor and walls.
And like every time, he took a deep gulp of air and felt it clench in his lungs. Her sightings always swelled his chest with a tender thrill. So slowly, his finger tips on the handle, he pushed the door open, certain about how far he must go before the squeak came so loud in the quietness of the darkened home.He squeezed between the door and the frame, careful not to let any part of him touch the wood and released the breath he had been holding.
He remained where he was, pressed against the wall, his dark clothes lending him the prefect disguise. A slight tremble in his hands. A bead of sweat slithering along his temple.
Just like every other time.
The room was the second biggest in the house after the kitchen (the woman did all but piss in the kitchen). The other room which he guess was meant to be for an over-night guest was small and had a treadmill that belittled the meager furniture of the room and never really made one comfortable enough to sleep with its silver and black metal body towering over the low bed.
Her own bedroom however was a world of its own, private and with starkly different characteristics. When the kitchen was designed with the practical, critical eyes of an expert, each item in this room was chosen according to the intimate thoughts of Natalie’s heart, so much that one felt as though one had stepped into a sacred ground. Nevertheless made one feel relaxed once the feeling wore off.
A desk with a neat surface and laptop was positioned at one wall, a chest of drawers with a mirror, perfumes and candles were against another wall with a ticking white clock above it. At a corner an exercise ball glistened on top of a rubber mat.
The single bed was pushed under the big window with mattresses (Nicolas knew by just looking at it) that were so unbelievably comfortable they sucked the fatigue immediately out of the body. That was so like Natalie, when it came to certain things she would not take less than perfect. The headboards were devoid of intricate designs. He saw a circular patch where the wood had peeled off somewhat from placing hot mugs on it without a coaster every night as she read on the sensual light of the lamp that rose elegantly behind the bed.
It was amazing how she could tolerate such a thing in her house when she skinned alive (figuratively speaking) whoever lazed down in her cafes. But of course here she didn’t need to maintain a superb reputation.
Like him, their homes were their personal Spas, their havens.
He saw everything in the house as he sneaked his way to her room and knew the details of that one too. However they were all in the margin. He had eyes only for her.
He took the same five steps toward her, blindly knowing where the boards would make unwanted sounds, and stopped a three-step distance away from her.
The pale blue sheet was pulled up to her waist, her bare arms hugged the pillow the way had dreamed to be held by her. Not a choke hold, just enough pressure to make him only aware of her embrace. Her hair was undone, dunes of golden brown touched by the silver light of the moon, thrown over the pillow behind her and swept over her face, hiding most of the face he loved from view, but he knew she looked serene.
He brought the huge dark blue cushion from the corner, well-stuffed with rice and comfortable to incline against–not so much to sleep on– plumbed it and brought it even closer to her bed. He put his forearms on his knees, intertwined his fingers and took the position of Watching Natalie Sleep, sitting at an angle where his face would not be totally exposed by the moonlight.
He looked at her, at the parts visible to him– her arms, her lips with creases at the corners hinting at a fight against a smile all the time, her eyelashes fanning shadows over her cheekbones.
And her hair.
Ah how he loved that hair.
He had been caught off guard by thoughts of that hair… slipping his fingers into it, filling his hands with its thickness, twist it as he kissed her and showed her all that he was unable to say till it got tangible beyond help. He wanted to bury his face in it and inhale the richness of scent he knew was its.
But all he could do now was to reach out a gentle hand and smooth it back away from her face. He could love that hair all he wanted, but he damn well didn’t come all the way across the city to stare at hair.
Taking his hand away again, he brushed a slow finger down her cheek, rosy and warm to the touch. He smiled when he saw a twitch of a smile at the corners of her mouth.
There that is so much better. Now he could resume his position for the rest of the hour and enjoy.
There were times when he wished he could stand as close as he was now to her and just drink from the endless mystery in her eyes, but every time he gazed upon her like this now, he was seized by the feeling that she was too beautiful to wake up.
All was going the way it usually went. She only moved once so that she was half on her back, half on her side, her arm draped over her hip. Every move made him hold his breath, fearing and wanting her to wake up. And he didn’t touch her again. He remained still and she remained asleep.
All was well as his night watch was drawing to an end… except that her eyelids fluttered and her lashes lifted.
Then suddenly the light from the ridiculous lamp went out.