This has nothing to do with the prompt. Enjoy the last part of the trilogy!
Recap: Those black boots thump its way over to my uncomfortable position on the floor and my attacker crouches down to my eye level for the second time. I need to make sure it’s him before I jump to conclusions.
Against my heart’s desire, I look into those sweet hazel eyes again and confirm my suspicions. It’s that sweet gentleman, my own dancing partner, my roommate---Brian.
He says nothing to me and just re-ties the gag around my mouth a little more gently. I’m hoping that he’ll continue these strange and generous favors. After his first use of verbal language to me, I’m waiting for him to continue since the longer he talks the longer I stay alive.
“I can’t hurt you, I can’t! Do you know why? Well, I have a family, and I’d do anything for them. A little boy, a girl, and a loving wife, but I’m not at all deserving of them. We were one big happy family, or at least I thought so.
“Then the bills began to pile up. Supporting a family was hard work; mentally, physically, and especially financially. I told my wife our situation, but even with our combined salaries we still couldn’t keep up with all those bills and taxes.”
He begins to sob again, and I let him. If I can just keep him talking and away from that switchblade, I have a better chance of surviving. I make a mental note that I’ll never stay at a hotel for the rest of my life if I survive. That dreaded ‘if,’ again. I bite my lip to focus on the pain rather than my thoughts, but it does more harm than good.
“I kept a level head for my kids during the day, but at night I was a total train wreck. I went to different bar joints each night, but I was always kicked out each night since I fought with the other customers.
“This continued on for about a week or two until one night, I went to another bar. It was the same as any other night, nothing much different except that I talked with the owner of the bar. I never met such a sweet and charming fellow as him, to be sure. I think his name started with a T.
This sparks my interest, and I stop trying to form escape plans. No way, I think, it can’t be him.
“He told me that he went to college, but that his parents couldn’t afford it so he had to sign up for student loans. Not much shame in that, I told him, everyone signed up for loans. He enjoyed college, he said; made some good friends and was overall very successful in his academics and sports. But just like me, everything in his life went downhill.
Tony? He went to college? Made friends? Went downhill? But I thought that he had the perfect life. He’s a bad person through and through, period.
“He was expelled from college, at his senior year, too, because of some mistake he made five months before his graduation. Now that he was older, he told me that he wasn’t at all proud of what he did and that if he could travel back in time, he never woulda done it. He didn’t talk much about this life changing event in detail, but I told him that I understood.
That life changing event must have been when he was dating my sister, but I never heard anything about this when he was on trial. He had no excuse to force Araina to drink, smoke, and do those other terrible things. Sure, he might have been young and stupid, but come on, doing those things to an innocent fifteen year old girl?
“I knew that his heart and mind have changed for the better, and I told him that. He was grateful for the knowledge and confirmation that there was at least one person in the world who didn't think him a completely bad person.
Could Tony really have been misunderstood, but how? The way he treated Ariana was inexcusable no matter his age!
“The story got worse, you see. He told me that his parents wanted him to have some time to reflect on his mistake and he was forced to live with his crazy uncle to do that. If you remember correctly, even though he was expelled from college he still needed to pay off his loan.
I never knew his side of the story and, against my judgment, I feel sorry for him. Me, feeling sorry for the person that almost ruined my sister’s life and who is about to end my life as well. What has the world come to for me to feel sorry for Tony Green?!
“But here is where I get involved. He knew that I was desperate for some money and offered to help a friend out. He told me that if I went, robbed a bank, and took care of some unfinished business he would give me more than half of the stolen money. He especially stressed the part about ending the unfinished business.
“And in case you’re wondering why I’m wearing all these extravagant clothing is because I needed to act like I was rich so I would be respected and seem unsuspicious. Before leaving, we gathered the bits of money we had to buy my clothing.
“But before I continue, don’t you find it strange that we’re at the same hotel sharing the exact same room? Well, my new friend had another friend who worked at this hotel and, being friends, Tony asked to receive two discounts to Hawaii and mail one to your house.
“That friend owed him a favor so the plan went into motion at once. He knew you so well that he predicted that you would do something rash at a second’s notice, and he was correct. Wasn't he?
I knew that Tony was smart, but all this?! Come on, doesn’t he know when to give up? It must have really ruined his life more than I thought but still, really?! Shouldn’t he have something better in his life to do than plot his revenge?
“He couldn’t go to Hawaii because he said something about managing the bar and his uncle not letting him, but he told me that he’d much rather be in person to witness the person’s downfall who ruined his entire future.
Me. My spine tingles in fear knowing that my time has almost run out. I need to act fast. With my mouth gagged I can’t scream so my eyes flicker toward the door that seems to close yet miles away.
“In case you don’t already know, you are the unfinished business. It was because of you that his whole life went downhill.
My anger at Tony rushes back to me, but I don’t lash out because my life’s on the line.
“But now that I’m here, now that I’ve danced with you and gotten to know you better, I just can’t do it. That guy’s gonna be real angry with me, but I just can’t kill you. Y-you remind me too much of L-Lilly, my little girl.”
The man crouches down to my eye level with a sorrowful look and some bills flutter down in front of my eyes like innocent green butterflies. He’s fulfilling my offer, but why? No other words have been spoken by my captor since his speech a minute ago, and I wonder what other generous actions he will do to me.
“Good night Rapunzel; you’re lucky you’re even alive.” He pulls down the gag and thrusts an intoxicating cloth into my face. I hold my breath for as long as I can, until the cologne overwhelms my senses. With a huge gulp of air, I descend into a sweet vanilla smelling darkness.
I stir and open my eyes. Blinding sunlight floods in from a nearby window so I close them again. It must be early morning, I groggily think, and why in the world am I lying on the ground? My face is stiff and my arms are sore.
A familiar ringtone is sounding in the distance and all I want to do right now is close my eyes. Just as I’m about to drift off into dreamland once more a wet slobbery tongue disrupts my slumber. I peek my eyes open and see a huge furry and green creature blocking my entire vision.
I try to scream for help, but nothing comes out because my mouth is too dry. It takes me more than a few minutes to adjust to the brightness of the day until I can see who or what monster is blocking my vision.
It’s Miss T giving me unwanted kisses and a couple of motionless green butterflies resting across my nose. I blow the butterflies away with a weak puff of air, and I try to tell Miss T to stop licking me, but my throat is too parched to even whisper.
My back is throbbing in pain and my hands are numb. I lick my cracked lips with my tongue, but it doesn't help rejuvenate them in the least. I have a severe headache that won’t quit its buzzing and for some reason there's a small pool of dried crimson beneath my head.
Everything that happened last night comes back to me in a flash. Those hazel eyes. The briefcase. The money. Brian. The rag. And then darkness.
I try to stand up to alert the authorities, but I flop back on the floor causing one of the scabs on my forehead to open up and bleed. Right, my hands are still tied behind my back.
I then encourage Miss T to bite through the rope binding my hands together like heroes pets’ did in the movies, but her whiskers continue to brush against my cheeks. Once I’m old news and boredom takes control of her tiny mind, she hops back into her cage to drink some water. Lazy rabbit.
The ringtone is still sounding as loudly as ever and, now fully awake, I begin rolling across the floor toward the noise that’s issuing from beneath a dresser. Miss T watches me as I slowly roll my way across the room toward the ringtone.
After about another few moments of struggling, I arrive at the dresser and, thankfully, my phone isn’t wedged too deep under the dresser so I’m able to use my teeth to pull it out. My mouth fills with dust bunnies, hair, fuzz, and who knows what other things I inhaled. Miss T watches me as if my sole purpose was to entertain her royal highness.
With my nose, I call the person who signaled my phone to ring. If it wasn’t for that phone, I don’t know how much longer I would’ve been asleep. My eyes are crusted with boogers, cakey mud, and dried blood which blurs my vision. I squint to see the contact name of my rescuer.
The contact name at the very top of the phone informs me that it’s my parents. I can’t hear anything and forgot that I’m not on speaker, so I use my nose again. I try to tell my parents to call someone at the Paradise Beach Hotel so I could get assistance, but my throat is too dry to speak.
It’s been over twenty four hours since I drank some water, and I do my best to communicate with them using cavemen speech but it’s very difficult to say anything to them because of their constant assault of questions.
My message is eventually related to them and the hotel manager arrives. I’m relieved when she enters, but disappointed when she informs me that everything would be on the house and that I needn’t worry about the cost of the suite or anything else money wise. I want to tell her to shut up and give me some medical attention, but I couldn’t utter a single syllable.
What felt like centuries later, I’m sent to the Honolulu Hospital Center and diagnosed to make a full recovery in only a couple days’ time. Miss T and all my luggage is brought to me.
When I have the strength to rise up from my lying down position on the clean white hospital bed, I stare daggers at that ungrateful little rabbit. She responds to my death stare by merely turning her back to me and curling up in a corner of her cage to fall asleep.
My week spent at the Honolulu Hospital Center passes in a dreamy like blur. Doctors and nurses enter and exit Room #104 to check my pulse, my temperature, redress my bandages, and occasionally applying some medicine on my cuts.
I’m wound in a maze of red, white, blue, black, and green wires that check my heart rate, oxygen levels, and other medical things that relate to my health. I’m bored out of my mind and the only company I have, except for Miss T and she’s no fun after her betrayal, is the constant beep of machines.
I decide for the first time in forever, and hopefully also the last, to read one of the hospital magazines about the latest Hawaiian fashions. I’m disgusted at myself, and I feel like an old lady by doing this, but what else can I do in a hospital bed with no one to talk to?
I’m bombarded with questions from multiple personages about my survival story in room seventy-six but my nurses, God bless them, shooed away any unwanted visitors. I’m recovering slowly but surely.
The pain where the switchblade is receding and most of the cuts on my lip and forehead have reduced to scabs. By then, I was functioning properly, but I was still very weak in my legs since I hadn’t used them in awhile.
Another day, a news reporter enters my hospital room and interviews me about what happened when I was held captive. I told him everything I witnessed except the bit about who the robber was, simply stating that I couldn't see their face.
After a long week at the Honolulu Hospital Center, I made sure to keep my vow to never stay at another hotel as long as I lived. As soon as I was diagnosed to make a full recovery, I booked a flight back home.
As I’m stepping onto the passenger boarding bridge I take one last look at paradise and think,
There’s really no place like home.
Epilogue: It’s been a month since I came home from Hawaii and everything has returned back to normal. I fulfilled most of my summer plans like reading books on my summer reading list and watching plenty of movies on Netflix with Miss T.
As a bonus, I also watched Tony wallow in his failed revenge across the street and prepared for next year’s curriculum for my English class. I still owed Mr. Green, so I got a new and improved summer job at Nordstrom as a cashier in the clothing department.
A month after returning home, I was clearing out and organizing some voicemails for my preparation back to school when I came across a shocking piece of information. Turns out, the entire situation when I was almost murdered in Hawaii was recorded through the means of my iphone in a voice recording I was making for my parents.
When I tried calling my parents to tell them my heartbroken emotions after the luau dance, they didn’t answer my call and their voicemail box was full. I started recording a voice memo instead and when I entered my hotel suite I was attacked, and my phone flung out of my hands, slid under the dresser, and continued to record.
With a few taps of my fingers I could send this bad boy off to a police department or agency and present it as evidence, but I didn’t plan on exposing and shaming my attacker to the world yet, or maybe not ever.