I awoke to find the detective crouched over me. Her eyes were red and puffy. I watched a couple of tears roll down her cheeks as she smiled in relief. She laughed, hugging me tightly. I could smell the citrus smell of her hair, likely from the products she used to keep every strand neatly in place.
“It’s okay,” I assured her as I gently wrapped my arms around her. “I’m okay.”
“What happened?” she asked, pulling away to look me in the eye.
“I’m not sure,” I answered. Irritation pinched her eyebrows together just above the bridge of her slender nose. “That’s the truth. I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t in control.”
“Do you remember anything?” she asked, releasing the tension from her brow.
That was a loaded question, and I didn’t know how to answer it. I remembered my encounter with my alter ego, Love, in my mind, but I didn’t think that divulging that information would solve anything with the detective. She supported me, knowing I saw and spoke with two people others couldn’t see, but I didn’t know how she would react to hearing about a third.
My eyes darted around the room, scanning every corner to see if there was any sign of my minions. There was nothing. The newfound love character was nowhere to be seen. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t make an appearance at some point, but I felt it was best to let the sleeping emotion rest.
He’d warned me regarding my potential actions to come. It was as if he knew something I didn’t, like he could see into my future transgressions. Even with his threats, I worried about Jealousy and Hatred. I didn’t fear what they would do when they would eventually reappeared, because I knew they would at some point, but I wondered where they’d gone and if what Love had said was possible.
The two minions had been a part of me for as long as I could remember. I could hear and see them, carry on full conversations away from prying ears, but now they were lost. Love agreed they were a part of my subconscious, but he hadn’t expanded on the growing complexity of my mind. According to Love, they were afraid of him—
“I’m guessing you don’t remember anything,” the detective scoffed, cutting off my inner thoughts regarding the issue of my fractured mind.
“I won’t lie to you,” I said, leaning up. “So, how much do you want to know?”
“That depends on what story you’re going to give me,” she replied.
“When I passed out, there was another minion waiting for me inside my mind,” I explained. “One I didn’t know and one I don’t remember.”
Her eyebrow raised and her posture went rigid. It was something I hadn’t seen since our first encounter. I could see she was struggling with the news, but she was careful to choose her words and actions carefully.
“Dinlas, this is crazy—”
“It’s the truth,” I interrupted.
“It’s not normal,” she interjected, jumping to her feet. The detective walked away from me, folding her arms as she shook her head. “Is this what you do?” she asked, twisting her head around to look at me. “When you feel something for someone else, you lie in an attempt to push them away?”
“No,” I answered, walking over to her and placing my hand on her cheek. “Normally, I just leave without saying anything. I don’t have a habit of telling others the truth when it has to do with me and what goes on inside my mind.”
“Perfect, that’s good. Reassure her more,” Love said, staring at me with a smile from behind the detective.
I swallowed hard, struggling not to make eye contact with him. I locked my gaze on the detective, but she saw right through me.
“What are you looking at?” she asked.
“Tell her about me,” Love said. “Tell her about what I can do for both of you, for all of us.”
“Your eyes may be on me, but you’re looking at something else,” she said, turning around to look in the direction of my newfound minion.
“Can we get out of here?” I asked, gently using my knuckle to turn her head back to me.
“Nice touch, Dinlas,” Love added.
“I can’t go anywhere,” she replied. “I have to stay here and take care of this mess.” The sounds of sirens filled the air as the red and blue lights flickered through the shattered windows. “Just go. I’ll handle this and fill them in on everything, but I can’t do that with you here.”
She darted away from me toward what I assumed was her desk. The detective opened the top drawer, clutching a set of keys, and threw them to me. They were my keys. I caught them, gripping them tightly in my fist. I didn’t like her trying to push me out without knowing where to go or what to do.
The detective pulled a pen from a holder on the desk, scribbling something on a piece of paper. Her hand moved quickly and with purpose as she ignored the sirens closing in on our position.
“Go here,” she said, handing me the piece of paper. “I will meet you there after all this has died down.”
“Are you trying to get rid of me?” I growled.
“Yes, but not for the reasons you think,” she said with a chuckle. “They won’t be as understanding as I am about everything that’s happened, and I don’t want to be the reason for causing you any more trouble. Just go there, and I’ll meet you there.” She leaned in, propping herself on the tips of her toes to kiss me softly.
I could feel that she cared for me. Her touch radiated throughout my body, from my lips to the bottoms of my feet. She pulled away to look me in the eye as she smiled.
“Now, go,” she continued. “Take that stairwell to the parking garage. Walk to the northwest corner of the lot. There will be a gate that will lead to the impound lot. I trust that you can get in there yourself.”
I chuckled and gave her a slight nod. The lights flickered brightly all around us, and I could hear car doors and the sounds of footsteps. I rushed to the stairwell door and ran down the stairs.
The gate to the impound lot was padlocked with a thick chain. I gripped the heavy metal of the lock and yanked. I clicked the button on my keychain remote until my car beeped, signaling its location. I jumped in, turned the key, and sped away.
It felt good to be behind the wheel again, and the carton of cigarettes I’d purchased from the gas station was still on the passenger seat. I laughed as I took a pack out, smacking the bottom against the heel of my hand. Things felt good, and a strange sense of calm washed over me. I couldn’t explain it, but it felt like things were beginning to click into place.
“For now,” Love giggled, placing a smoke between his lips. He ignited the tip as he peered over at me. The twinkle in his eye concerned me as if he already knew the outcome of everything.
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