I nod in agreement as I read through the reasons why people should read. One of the classic reasons why fiction is the best is, you get to be in many places without moving your feet. Second, it keeps my mind active without talking to people. This is very important for me, I love the comfort of my room. I love the sight of books surrounding me.
The bad thing is that now I'm in love with Hendrick, the main character from "Inside the Future" a romantic crime series.
"Damn you! You should be nickname Die, you slimy bastard!" I said as read in horror as David aka Dai, an internist entered Hendrick's room. Hendrick is my most favorite book boyfriend in danger at the hand of Dai, the true villain of the book. But no one in the hospital knows that he facilitated Hendrick's accident. The accident didn't kill my Hendrick so now, the damn Dai wants to finish the job. "Don't you dare!" I shouted.
Dai was about to inject the poison when Olivia, his assistant, the heroine, and the reason why Dai wants to kill Hendrick, entered the room. Dai pocketed the poison and I wilted on my bed and I close the book. "Ah, thank goodness!" I plopped face down into my pillow and sob.
My overprotective mother burst into my room. "What's wrong? I heard you shouting and now crying."
Ugh. I should have close the door.
I looked up to my mom. "I—" I paused at the sight of my older sister smirking behind her.
"It's a book," Andrea said chewing and walked away before I can say anything. I hate her. She reminds me so much of the heroine in the book. Can't she see that Dai is a psycho? She acts all tough and saving everyone but she knows nothing.
"Andrea is right mom, I just got too emotional over the book."
My mom nods. "That's good. Come downstairs. The visitors will arrive any minute now."
I pouted. "Do I have to? Let Andrea take my place."
My mom laughed. "Mikaela, sweety, it's your eighteenth birthday."
I groaned. I never asked for a party. My friend understands this and if they truly wanted to help me celebrate they should have given me the expenses used for the party. I can use the money to buy books. Now that I'm holding the last book of Inside the Future, a new edition with new covers of the complete series is offered for free order in a collector's box. They're limited and I'm dying at the thought of not getting it.
I sighed. But I can't deny my parents from preparing the party, it's all my mom ever talk about. I love her, but no one in my family seemed to get that I'm perfectly happy of staying indoors in the company of my books and them, my family members, and my one and only best friend at school.
"Okay mom, I'll go down soon after I change."
"Okay," mom said and closed the door behind her. I took the book and opened it to where my bookmark was. The door opened, "Start now."
I groaned and begrudgingly put the bookmark back. I trudge toward my wardrobe and grabbed my nicest dress.
Just as I've predicted, I spent my party forcing a smile and thanking every visitor my parents invited. Jenna, my best friend went home after two hours after arriving and Andrea and her friends seemed to be having more fun than me. All I wanted was to get back in my room and read the last few chapters of my book.
I glanced around and concluded that no one will notice me sneaking out. No one did.
I heaved a sigh of relief as I closed the door and lock it. Throw my dress aside and get back into my comfy short sleeve and shirts with lemon designs. "Sorry to keep you waiting,” I said kissing the cover of Inside the Future. The moment flipped to the page where I left it, a loud boom made me jumped out of my bed. The book fell on the floor without a bookmark. Pissed, I took the book and marched to the door.
“What was that noise?” I said as I open my door and almost laugh to see swirling air instead of the corridor. It was so unrealistic to see something I’ve only read and see in movies but the smile on my face quickly fade when a hand reach out and grabbed me. I fought back but the arm had an iron grip and pulled me toward the swirl.
“No!” With my eyes close lifted my hand to hit whoever was still holding my hand, with the book in my other hand.
“Calm down,” said the voice. I opened my eyes and frowned. There’s something very familiar with the tall man in front of me. The way his sky-blue eyes didn’t show any emotion despite how gentle his lips smile. I looked around and opened my mouth to ask where I was but the man spoke again. “I know it’s doesn't feel good to be re-assigned to another doctor, but don’t worry, I’m as good as the doctor you applied for. Sit.” He motioned for the visitor seat in front of a table near the window.
I stared at the nameplate saying David Vargova. My throat dried up as I studied him again, yes, of course, he looked familiar, he looked and moved like Dai from Inside the Future series, his gentle waves, the smooth way he turns his head, the gentle smile that every person trust, but eyes so cold and ruthless for those he deemed to be an obstacle. Like Hendrick.
“Why am I here?” I looked down to myself still wearing my loungewear and added in a squeaky voice, “Not properly dressed.”
Dai’s—no—David’s lips curved up and this time the smile reach his eyes. “You finally spoke,” he said and turn to the cabinet. From there he took one of my slippers and kneel in front of me. He helped me put it on my feet. “I think you're dressed better than everyone here. I like the homely feel. But the slipper is a bit overkill.” He chuckled and lightly pushed me toward the visitor chair and went around the table. “It doesn’t matter, today’s meeting is just a formality, you can start as my assistant starting next week.”
Assistant? Me? Now that I think about it, everything David said except for the one about my slippers sounds like the one from the series. I looked at the nameplate again and shook my head. My reader’s head is going overboard today. Could it be that I actually fell asleep while reading and I’ve now projected myself into the story?
David curiously peered at me. “You looked more like a teenager than a twenty-four-year-old.”
Well, I was underage until yesterday. Wait, should I just say it? I swallowed and looked David straight in the eyes. “Do you have a friend named Hendrick Moen?”
David’s face lit up. “He’s a childhood friend! Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve seen him. Do you know him? Where is he?”
Am I really dreaming? But everything felt so real. I glance at the wall clock. A few seconds before 9:15, the time Olivia knocks at the door. The finger points 9:15, there was a knock on the door. David shoots up from his seat, looked at his phone and muttered, “It’s lunchtime.”
I turn as David went to open the door, knowing even how many steps he took before opening it and face the panting, brunette with hazel eyes. She smiled and say “Sorry for being late. Traffic was horrible and I ran here from the bus stop.” She looked straight into David’s eyes and say, “You’re doctor David Vargova right?”
Stunned by her beauty, David replied, “Y-yes, I am. You are?”
Misunderstanding his reaction Olivia straightened her clothes. “Please forgive my clothes. I’m Olivia Ramirez.”
It’s at this point when David should say, “I think you're dressed better than everyone here. I like the homely feel.” But instead he looked back at me and asked “Who are you?” His icy glare made me felt sick, so sick I passed out.
I woke up on the hospital bed and David staring down at me. My book in his hand. I hurried to close my eyes, praying he hadn’t notice.
“Should I just put you in permanent sleep?”
“You villain. I’m up!” I sat up and stared at his unjoking eyes. This jerk really seemed to be thinking of putting me in a coma. “Look, if you harm me you won’t get away with it. And Olivia will hate you.”
His face changed slightly at the mention of her name. “I couldn’t care less of what she thinks.”
“Oh yes, you do. You fell at first sight with her.”
“Look twenty-six years old. I don’t fall in love at first sight.”
“You’ve never been in love,” I said confidently and blurted out details about him, a stranger shouldn’t know, like how his mother abandoned him, how his father put him for adoption at five, how his stepbrothers secretly bullied him out of jealousy. “And in order to gain power and influence, you worked very hard day and night and earned your MD at just twenty. Pretty clever if I must say, and that’s why there’s no way someone like that could have time to fall—” my voice fade and terror occupied my heart.
“Are you done?”
“Yes, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say all that.” Oh gosh, me and my big mouth when it comes to book I’ve read.
Dai stood up from his seat in a very controlled movement. He put my book on the table and reach for the extra pillow. “Be very careful with what you want to say next, your life depends on it.” I nod and swallow. I can almost see what he’ll do next. Cover me with it until I stopped breathing. “Who are you? Why do you know so much of my life, even details no one should know.”
“I’ve read it in the book.” No use lying.
“Yes.” I glance at the book on the table. “I know this sounds strange but it’s true. I’m not a crazy stalker, I’m a reader from another, uh, world? I end up here because of some freaky things.”
Dai sat, covered his mouth and laughed. I awkwardly joined him, but he frowned and held the pillow up. “Time to end your life.”
“Wait! Let me proved it to you!” At this point I was desperate. I don’t care if this was a dream or reality, I don’t even care if I’m ruining the story of my favorite series. I told David everything, Including Hendrick's story. I also told him that Olivia will be the reason he will meet his childhood friend and that Hendrick and Olivia were dating.
He called Olivia and confirmed what I’ve told and for a moment he looked heartbroken, then he turned to me. “You’re saying that I’m going to be a villain?”
“You’re already a villain.”
He raised his hand with the pillow and I raised mine in surrender. I started it this time. I laugh at how stupid it was to get threatened by a pillow of all things. His lips twitch and he soon joined me.
I don’t know if David believed me but I didn’t refuse when he offered to make me stay at his place. He got two extra bedrooms which I already know, and as weird as it may be, I spent the next week in his company. We greet each other each morning, we ate breakfast and dinner together whenever possible and my favorite is chatting under the moonlight on the rooftop like tonight.
“It’s tomorrow isn’t it?”
“Olivia will work as your assistant.”
David flipped on his side to look at me. “Are you jealous?”
I huffed. “Why would I be?”
“Because you’ve fallin’ for me.”
“I did not!” I pushed his shoulder but he caught my hand.
He brought my hand to his lips and my heart thumped wildly. “I did.”
“I’ve fallin’ in love.”
My heart broke. “Yeah, I know, with Olivia.”
“With me—” the rest of my words were forgotten when he lowered his face and touch my lips with his. Teasing at first then deeper and breathtakingly passionate. And I know, I too have fallen for him.
We agreed to eat dinner outside the next night, but the moment I stepped in my room, the swirl was on the floor and no matter how hard David tried to hold my hand, I was swept away. “Read my book!” was the last word I was able to tell him.
My head spin and I was knocked out from the impact of falling to the floor.
“Andrea, go call your dad now,” I heard mom said as she comes in and out of focus. When my eyes completely adjusted I saw Andrea stumbling away. Despite the confusion, I smiled. Andrea would be the first to tease me and gets on my nerves, but I know that she loves me the most. I also know she’s the reason why those who bullied me in grade schools have bruises or find themselves bullied.
“Mom, what happened?”
“I don’t know,” Mom replied assisting me to sit up. “Andrea walked out of your party and then I heard her horrified scream. I don’t understand what she meant by seeing you appeared from nowhere.
I rubbed my temple and gasped. My book. “Mom where’s my book?” I stood up and waved of dizziness made me fall into mom’s arm.
“What happened?” Dad asked striding toward us. Andrea looking at me wide-eyed.
Andrea cupped my face and looked me straight in the eyes. “Are you okay? You were floating unconscious and—”
Andrea let go. “Are you sure?”
I nod, while mom explained what happened to my dad. We looked for the last volume of my book everywhere in my room and in the house but we found nothing. Andrea joke about my witchy powers and all that, but her shaky voice and how she refused to leave my side until morning gave her away. Oh yeah, she loves me.
“You’re like Olivia,” I told her as we lay in bed together.
I smiled. “The main person in the book I’m currently reading, the one we’re looking for was the last book.”
“Hmph! Go to sleep.”
I grabbed her hand in the dark. “Andrea?”
“I went there.”
“Inside the story, I’m reading. I think I left the book there.”
Andrea gripped my hand tighter. “Don’t go back. I’ll give you money, go buy the book again.”
“Plus the limited edition pack?”
She laughed. “Yeah, that too.”
I slip out of her hand and hug her. “You’re the best!”
I snort. “On the second thought, you’re arrogant as Dai’s true personality.”
“No one. Goodnight.”
I woke up the next day without Andrea beside me. All the gifts are in my room and a brand new last book of Inside the Future, and the limited boxset. A message was on my phone from Andrea saying “Don’t go back there. Wherever there was.”
I squealed and sent Andrea a thank you text and went ahead to find where I left off in the book. One paragraph in I stopped and took out the first book and read the story from the start. And for whatever reason I unintentionally ended up paying extra attention to Dai, looking for a reason, for motivation for his action and before I know it, I was biting lips. The storyline is the same, but between the lines, I can feel his search for something else, the loneliness I never notice the first time. Dai gave up on his love for Olivia in the end and regretted his crimes toward Hendrick, but it was too late. No one trusted him. I cried as the authorities made an arrest warrant for him. I felt happy when he escaped, felt sad when he suffered through the pain, and wrote a letter of apology for Hendrick and Olivia.
The story ended with Hendrick and Olivia having a baby and a question of where Dai went because no one knows. The police didn’t catch him and he vanished without a trace.
With a heavy heart, very heavy heart, I close the book and hugged it close to my chest. “I miss you Dai.”
“Glad to know I’m not the only one.” I opened my eyes and stared straight into David’s sky-blue eyes, looking at me with longing and gentleness. The swirls disappearing behind him. He looked over his shoulder and laughed. “I waited years and acted my part as the villain just to get to the right portal.”
I smiled. “Looks like you found it.”
He stepped closer and towered over me. “Are you not gonna hug me?” I did. I buried my face on his chest, his heart beating fast. “How about an I love you?”
I slapped his shoulder. “Dream on.”
"Don't lie, you're in love with me."
"And if I say I don't?"
His face darkened. "I'll get rid of every man you like until you have no one but me."
After knowing that he wasn't what I thought, there's no way he could fool me. "Then why didn't you get rid of Hendrick? I loved him more than you."
He clicked his tongue. "I should have before jumping here to be with you."
"Be happy you didn't. Because if you did," I pulled him down and caught him by surprise as I pressed our lips together, “I’m never going out with you again.”