“In the wash of the new light, your face takes on the appearance of an old photograph, one of nostalgia, so beautiful. I watch as it brings your skin into focus, not yet animated with the warmth of who you are, for you are still in the land of dreams. And since there is no better thing to do but to bring my body so close that our hearts synchronise, I'll hug you till you wake, when the light is so strong that you come into the present with me, eyes open.”
The curtains in Adeline’s room added an orange glow to the morning light, every morning a perfect sunrise. She woke up, feeling a little fearful as this morning reminded Adeline of the times she slept in a beach hut, watching the ocean emerge under the golden shimmer, the place she had always visited with her grandfather.
For a moment her mind conjured the rhythmic waves, soft on the sandy shore and felt her heartbeat at the same slow pace. She breathed in deeply. A new day has begun.
Reaching her hand out to the fabric, noticing how up close the light poured through every open space between fibres, no different from how it once came through the beach-hut walls, illuminating like brilliant fireflies each dawn. The material was warm beneath her fingers, and when the sun flooded the room, painting the colours anew, she felt a little of those golden rays soak into her skin.
Wait, who opened the window? A thought crossed Adeline’s mind.
Might be the unknown living in her apartment.
Well, when the world woke up as a king, Adeline woke up as if it was an emergency as if sleeping had become a dangerous thing. Her heartbeat was fast and there was a buzzing in her brain and together they panicked with jump-leads. Only now her brain was as a flat battery, the exertions of the night being a marathon of erratic problem-solving. And so this day would pass as if she was hungover, not from drink, but from the nightmares that demanded solutions.
Sitting up, she stretched and wiped the fogginess from her eyes, Adeline slid off the warm blanket and nearly screamed when her eyes met the stranger’s.
He was sitting on the couch, his elbow on the armrest as his eyes were locked on her own.
How long had he been here and did he really watch Adeline sleep?
By the way, Mr Stranger was back to wearing his formal long sleeve casual olive green shirt, black cargos, and a black mask over the lower half of his face. She could feel herself grow more irritated with his stupid mask, and her curiosity threatened to consume her.
“Why are you here?” Adeline asked flatly and crossed her arms over her chest.
He rolled his dark eyes, giving her a chill of excitement and tapped the pile of documents placed beside him on the stool as well as his watch, turning her eyes toward the watch that hung on the wall, her eyes widened in the show as it was already forty-five minutes past nine!
And, you know what before she could ask, Mr Stranger was gone, woof- disappeared in thin air.
Oh, and to top it all off?
Not only was she attacked last night and had an important meeting with Ace, but she also had slept in one hour late, which meant that she had exactly fifteen minutes to reach Victoria Coffee House for her morning shift.
Wasn’t that great?
This, no doubt, was beyond to be one surely exciting day.
Fighting back a groan, Adeline practically threw herself out of the bed, half crawled her way to the door, wrenched it open, sprinted for the kitchen and decided to read the pile of documents left by the stranger, later.
Of course, he was gone- so there was no one there watching her creepily as she threw open the cupboards in the kitchen, trying to find some breakfast. Adeline settled on a granola bar and a quick glass of orange juice, both of which she promptly finished in one minute and seven seconds.
Very precise, huh!
Adeline realised with dread as she sprinted back to her room that there was no way in hell she was going to be able to take a shower, brush her hair and teeth, get dressed, gather her belongings and shove it in her bag, and then make a dash for the subway all within thirteen minutes.
To hell with all of this!
She decided to skip a shower this morning and the light dusting of makeup that she usually wore to look at least somewhat acceptable and head off to the coffee house.
Well, three cheers for looking unruly this morning, ha!
Banging her way out of the bathroom ten minutes later, running a brush through her tangled chestnut hair and tugging on a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved blouse, and her coat. Interestingly enough, she had also found the dress and flats that she wore five years at her grandfather’s funeral, neatly tucked back into place in her closet.
One could only hope that today was going to go perfectly fine with nothing at all to throw her off track on her mission. Of course, however, that was too much to ask for when she was Adeline Martinez.
Under normal circumstances, she might have spent a bit more time wallowing, somewhat, in self-pity about how much her life sucked. But today she just did not have the time or motivation for that. So, after grabbing all of her things, throwing them furiously into her bag, she made her way toward the entrance door of her apartment.
Quickly picking the keys to lock the apartment behind her, she yanked, opened the door and was about to leave when a surprise visit of a certain someone shocked her.
He looked like he was about to knock on the door, but before that, he had already made his presence quite clear as she spoke in shock, “Ace?”
What was Ace doing at her apartment?
And, what were those documents about that stranger gave Adeline?