There is a story that belongs to every person on this planet some never tell it, some would rather others tell it for them when they are long gone. She didn’t quite know what she wanted, it was rather late to tell her story to the world but deep down she would rather have her story erased from the memories of those who lived it with her.
The darkness that came with the night felt like a blanket of protection, she could escape her troubles and meet people who had no idea what her life was all about. Here in the dark she would allow herself to live and enjoy what she had left of her life. Of course it wasn’t an ideal way to cope with what was happening. She did not have any real friends left, and that was okay with her.
Another gift that the night gave to her, was the ability to meet people who intrigued her and made her short time more enjoyable. While not having to worry about them missing her when she was no longer here on this earth. It was a routine to hop from city to city enjoying the way people enjoyed themselves when the sun went down and the shyness went away.
People were weird, that was the first thing she noticed. Up until a year ago she had never really ventured far beyond her comfort zone. Quaint little coffee shops, local gatherings and her same friend group she had since forever. She sometimes asked herself how people could go from being normal at day to sometimes a completely different person when the moon was present. It was funny because it could also apply to her, the version people met at bars and late night raves were not even close to who she once was.
Time did not allow for her to wallow in nostalgia about what could have been. All she allowed herself to do was live in the present as intensely as she could. Most days she truly did not know what time it was, she never carried a phone with her. There was no one she wanted to contact or no one she wanted to be contacted by. It was way easier not having one to begin with than to keep blocking or ignoring those numbers that just wouldn’t stop bothering her.
Tonight would be no different from others, there was a rave downtown. Everyone seemed to be raging with anticipation, and if the locals were amused then it was shaping up to be something good.
An hour into the event she was ready for the next thing. It was not horrible but she should have known that an event with residents of a city made for a friend filled atmosphere and she did not want to be reminded of people she wished to be with. Instead she opted to walk back to her small motel room choosing a route she had never taken before.
Her outfit was not too provocative but it did leave room for imagination, death might be a given but that did not mean she had a death wish.30 minutes into her walk she felt a guy watching her from afar but as she quicken her pace so did he.
“They do say the best ones come out at night. “His predatory voice sounding closer to her ear by the minute. The only reason she didn’t flat out went into panic mode was because she saw people and a better illuminated part of town just a few steps more. Before she was able to make it to safety he caught up with her and managed to grab her arm. For some reason fear made her go mute and all she could do was try to fight herself from his grip. His face has a sly smile like he had just won a prize that wasn’t meant for him. However, that smile was wiped off his face when he saw some guys approaching him. As soon as she felt the grip loosen she broke free and ran as fast as she could from the scene.
She should have probably thanked the guys who had gotten her out of a very bad situation, but her legs ran faster than her mind could process. It wasn’t her first scary encounter out on her own, but when they happened it still scared her. Moments like these were when she wanted the comforts of her friends and someone she really didn’t want to think about. It was becoming more palpable what was about to come next, what in a way she had been running from was now knocking at her door. Luckily she still had some time to ignore it, even if it was minuscular.
Her legs were getting tired from all the walking and running she had done. There was a bench just a couple steps away from her it just happened to already occupied. She debated sitting for a few seconds, there was space for her to sit but she would be touching the other person. Which was something she was not really looking forward to.
Sensing there was a presence near her personal space the person sitting on the bench looked up and gave her an inquisitive look. “If you wanted to sit so badly you could have just asked me to scoot over”. With the help of a street light all she could make out was that the girl in front of her had mid-length hair and her eyes sparkled with the reflection of the moon. When the girl made some room for her, all she mustered was a small nod indicating she was grateful for the space.
“Rough night? “The girl questioned as she stared her companion up and down. She didn’t know how to answer that, because it wasn’t a rough night. What she was feeling could not be reset tomorrow after getting some sleep. But she was a stranger who didn’t need to know her sorrows. A simple nod conveyed an easy answer for the curious stranger.
“Well that makes two of us, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t have taken the easy way out. “The girl’s statement confused her, one because that meant there was probably going to be a vent session coming from her and secondly she had no idea what the context of the situation was. “I probably just confused you, or you probably are thinking can this stranger just shut up already. “Maybe it was the fact that her adventures would end soon or the way the girl’s eyes begged to be heard but she decided to listen to the girl and maybe help her out in some way.
“It’s the first one.”She replied quietly it was the first time in a week that she had used her voice so it sounded a little off. “Sorry I don’t know what came over me it just spilled out, I’m Penelope by the way.”She extended her hand waiting to be shaken. It took a second for her to shake it because she knew it would be her turn to present herself and she always shied away from it.But Penelope was a stranger who would not remember of this encounter come breakfast so she caved in.
“I’m Josie.” Penelope seemed happy by the name reveal. Before she could ask for a last name or where she came from, Josie coaxed Penelope to continue her vent session. “Sometimes I ask myself if it would have been better to be born into a family with no legacy. Where I would not be expected to be anything, kind of like a clean slate. Maybe it would have been harder to achieve things but you also wouldn’t have to worry about not being great enough. “Josie gave her an understanding look , she knew it was nowhere near the same what she was going through. But one thing was true, had she not been born into the bloodline that she had…she would be just a regular Young Adult ready to face the real world. “I wanted to be a doctor for underprivileged people, I’m an only child who will inherit a finance company which means that foolish little dream will stay a dream.” Penelope sighed she usually was good at accepting her reality but she had a crappy day at university. And her father had belittled her for getting a B+ in her economy class. Dumping out all her frustrations out on a stranger was not what she had planned but here she was.
“Isn’t being a doctor something most parents wish their kids would be? “At the question Penelope shrugged “Not the Park family, my father would rather kill himself than give the business up to his brother and for that to not happen I have to be next in line for the job.” Stupid rules imposed by her great grandfather who was just a money hungry man looking for glory.
“I’m sorry you don’t get to be what you wanted, you would have been a great doctor.” She doesn’t really know the other girl, for all she knows she could be horrible at biology and never even have made it to Med school. But looking at Penelope she knew there was something special. Her comment earned her a soft smile and a small laugh. Josie had been starved from real human interaction for about a year, random drunken conversations didn’t really count, and to have such a nice laugh directed at her was bringing a longing for home she had managed to avoid all year long.
Penelope continued talking about her life and her family, Josie rather them shift conversations because she would not be able to handle talking about family especially not this night. To her surprise apart from her career choice drama, Penelope was actually a happy person in her life. She was funny, smart, social and not to mention cute (not that Josie would admit it). It was really easy to talk to her, conversation just flowed naturally like they had already met before.
Somehow Penelope convinced Josie to go and eat at a 24hr Mexican restaurant. She swore they had the best authentic taco’s in the whole city. And the moans currently escaping Josie’s mouth confirmed it. “Wow these really are something else” Josie said as she swallowed the food in her mouth. Penelope gave her the “I told you so look” but coming from Penelope, Josie found it endearing.
“I feel like a narcissist, all this time I have been talking about myself and I practically know nothing about you. Except that you have a very pretty name. “The last part caught Josie off guard and made her blush. She did not know at which point of the night Penelope had starting flirting, subtle but still there, maybe it was after their second beer when they felt lighter and happier. Once again Josie found herself debating about how much information she should tell Penelope.
Of course she would keep it light, bubbly and cheerful…not lies but hidden truths. She proceeded to talk about her hobbies, likes, dislikes, that she had an older sister (technically by a couple of minutes), she even talked a little about her friends (mostly about Hope).
Hope Mikaelson her best friend who she had ignored for the past year. Knowing Hope, she probably knew where Josie was the second she disappeared into the night. It was probably Lizzie who had convinced Hope to not go after her. Lizzie was the only one who understood the most why Josie had left. For Lizzie it was her final year of having a sister, Josie was aware that she was being selfish in leaving and returning to her fate to be complete but then again Josie was about to be as selfless as one could be. In her opinion she deserved this last act of selfishness. As the night dragged on she went sharing more with Penelope. Girls like Penelope probably wouldn’t talk to girls like Josie in high school. They weren’t in high school anymore and the comfort of the night made people different versions of themselves.
In her buzzed state of mind Josie reveals that she doesn’t know the city that well. To which Penelope immediately decides it’s time for a tour of the city at midnight. It’s not the safest idea, considering what happened mere hours ago but her judgment is clouding up by cheap beer and pretty green eyes.
So far her tour has included random statues, big skyscrapers and obscene billboards. Josie soaks up every bit of normalcy she feels around Penelope. If things were different she would have loved to be part of Penelope’s life. “How come we have never met before?” It was an innocent statement that was just out of curiosity, but it caught Josie by surprise. The answer was simple they should have never even met, had Josie stuck to her plan of the night. A part of her was glad she ditched it, meeting Penelope was a gift her shitty life had given her just before it screwed her over.
Of course she had promised herself to be as positive and cheerful as she could, so she replied with something simple. “Big city, busy life”. It seemed to satisfy Penelope, since she was a victim of how busy life could get. “Well I’m glad we met, you’re really nice and sweet something that is rare to find nowadays.” Josie wanted to tell her how wrong she was, someone nice and sweet doesn’t run away and abandon the people that love her. Before she has the chance to think about it, Penelope grabs her hand and tugs her to a nearby pond. The sun is creeping back up, reminding her that the night is long gone and the truth will come out soon.
While she was fixated on the sun, Penelope was fixated on her. Josie felt a pair of eyes on her, she wanted to resist the urge to look at them. If she turned around it would probably not end well, she was almost able to resist the urge until Penelope spoke up and willed Josie to look at her. “I love this little pond it is always alone; people don’t really like to admire stagnant water.” Josie let out a chuckle, it seemed unfair that Penelope only seemed to get more beautiful as the sun rose. She was now able to fully admire the girl she had spent the last couple hours with. And because Josie deleted self-control from her vocabulary she could not stop herself from leaning in.
Embarrassingly Josie had to admit her last real kiss was with her very short lived relationship with Rafael, they were 16 and naïve. After they broke up things went downhill fast, Lizzie somehow found out about the merge and their parents finally revealed the truth. Their Mother Caroline swore they didn’t have to worry because by the time they turned 22 they would find a way to save them both. But as the years passed, Josie knew deep-down what the solution would be. It wasn’t that she gave up, she didn’t want to die but a life knowing she killed her sister…she’d rather die than live with that. As luck would have it, the first person she actually liked since the whole Merge, Rafael fiasco happened to be just when the clock had run out.
Penelope was the first one to pull away, but only because she had run out of breath. She was sporting a goofy grin only adding salt to the wound Josie was carrying around. “That was..”Josie let herself be carried by the moment even if it was just for a second. “Amazing” Josie completed the sentence with a happy look on her face. The second time Penelope started it, this time grabbing Josie’s face and deepening the kiss. She felt like a horny teen making out in a public space, but she never got to be a horny teen. She wasted so much time finding a way to delay the inevitable, how she wished she could have met Penelope even at the start of the year. Maybe if she hadn’t gone to Belgium or France for 4 months maybe their paths would have crossed sooner.
“Want me to take you home? It’s almost 2 a.m of course if you want we can maybe meet up later when we both had at least 5 hours of sleep.” Penelope jokingly says but concern washes over her face when she sees Josie look down at the grass. “I..didn’t mean to make you feel obligated, I enjoyed today and I would really like to get to know you more.” Josie gives Penelope a sad smile, she wants to say it back and how she also wants to know Penelope better but she can’t.
“I leave today at 4 in the afternoon, I have to…go back home.” And it isn’t a lie she does have to go back, people are waiting on her for her fate to be finally sealed so Lizzie can live to see another day. “Oh..”Realization hits Penelope and suddenly she feels like a fool for thinking this could be the start of something new. “Where is home?” Josie almost wants to snicker at the thought of the word home, instead she just says “Mystic Falls in Virginia”. Penelope nods and stares at the pond for a moment before clearing her throat so she doesn’t sound weak as she speaks. “Thank you for listening to me I meant what I said, I’m glad I got to know you even if it was for a little bit.” Josie engulfs Penelope in a tight hug, mostly to remember what Penelope smells like and cherish this last happy memory. “me too” Josie says into Penelope’s neck.
Her plane ride home turns out to be rather painful, Penelope dropped her off and they exchanged numbers in case Josie was ever in the area. Which would never happen, because in a couple hours she would merge with Lizzie and Josie would cease to exist. The only thing she hoped was that Penelope remembered her fondly and not be angry when she never received a call back. However, on the plane she had to let her feeling out and just poured her soul into a handwritten letter. She didn’t know if Penelope would ever read it but she found solace in the fact that maybe Lizzie could one day give it to her. At least that way Penelope will know how happy she made her in those last moments.