She came at me as if I was someone she loathes as her eyes burned with anger while glaring at me.
"Hey! STOP FLIRTING WITH MY BOYFRIEND OR ELSE I'LL KILL YOU!"
Her index finger is pointing at me while she walks closer and closer. I was startled by her scream and I can feel the tension of the atmosphere. People around me start to whisper with one another and I can sense their stares at me and to the girl standing in front of me.
"I-I I don't know what are you saying and I am ah I don't know you"
I feel embarrassed and I wanted to cry because a certain stranger accused me of something I'm not aware of.
"Ha ha! Don't act so innocent, want me to call him? Am sure he'll rush over here when he hears your ugly name"
I don't have a boyfriend and I'm not flirting with anyone, I'm mad with this girl but I'm more furious with that certain boyfriend of hers. How can he cheat on his girl?
"Oh yeah! I'm here at your school's cafeteria, and guess what? I'm with your so-called girl! Her name is Catherine right--"
A few minutes later and I saw a man running he's wearing our school uniform with his department printed on the side. I swear this is the first time I saw him. He faces the girl and his cold voice echoed inside the room.
"When will you stop?! I rejected you in a nice way possible but you still come around hurting people, please fix yourself and your life, it's no one's responsibility but yours"
I don't want to be in the middle of this so I tried to speak.
"Okay, please fix your problem, I'm not part of this. Mister, will you please tell your gf that we're a total stranger and this is a misunderstanding so--"
"Her name is Catherine and she's my girl. No one should ever hurt her"
I stood there trying to absorb what he said, he held my hand as we walk away.
"Please help me just this once"
He whispered as I felt his cold trembling hands.
I slowly followed him and walk silently. When we reached the school park where few students rest either on the bench or on the grass, he let go of my hand and look at me.
"Ahhm I don't how I'll explain and I can repay you for helping me. I know you were embarrassed and surprised a while ago and--"
"You have to fix it with her. Talk to her maybe she needs you and can't accept your decisions. Don't replace her with anyone as if you didn't know her at all"
"She's a total stranger. She's not my girlfriend, not an ex either."
"She's from my previous school. After she confessed to me I can see her wherever I go even outside my house any time of the day and night. I transferred here last semester and she keeps on bugging me that's why I told her I have a girlfriend now and she should stop bothering me."
" Then this Catherine is your real girlfriend?"
"My favorite book's main character. I can't think of any name so I just said that. I thought pretending to have a girlfriend will make her stop"
"This is the weirdest coincidence I ever encountered."
He looked at me in confusion.
"My name is Catherine"
I'm walking in our department building's corridor and I can say people remembered me from the chaos that happened a few days ago. I want to leave this place, my student life before is more peaceful. I only have one friend but she already graduated since she's a year older than me so I was left alone.
After that incident, Cleo, the boy who dragged me to this havoc told me his experience during his stay at the previous university that he attended as soon as that girl shows up. It was annoying and frightening that someone keeps on watching every action that you make. Who would want to see someone out of the blue in every places you'll go especially in your house during late hours- even she's a girl it's still alarming.
"Hey, Are you and Cleo dating for real?"
Samantha asked me as soon as I sat down. She's an outgoing, party-goer type of person but she's not a bully, I can say she's also kind and friendly but we're not close (I'm not close with anyone here) so I can feel the awkwardness and I don't know how to answer.
"It's all ahm a misunderstanding. I swear"
Girls from my class start to gather around me so it made me more nervous and uncomfortable.
"We know you're a silent girl or something but the event at the cafeteria is jaw-dropping, please tell us some more! We don't have class so tell us tell us"
Yna is so fond of stories. I know that she's a writer and already published two books- I've read both and I can see that she'll become famous maybe sooner or later.
"You know what? I have a huge crush on Cleo. I saw him in our university library before and I find his style cool. So when I witnessed what happened, I got jealous but feel bad at the same time for you. Like, you're caught in a situation that you don't know. Still, when Cleo announced that 'she's my girl' I was like kyaahhh this is like a romance movie!! Now I ship both of you"
I don't know how I will react to that but they started laughing and I did too.
"Ahmm, I'm still thinking what to say. This is,.. you know, the first time I'll be talking to all of you about non-acads thing so I ahmm hope you'll bear with my stuttering"
"Sure! Take your time kittycatcat"
I shared with them everything that Cleo told me. I feel bad for him because during that time he's so afraid and I can see in his eyes that he's struggling.
"What a psycho obsessed girl"
"I think, she needs help. I've read lots of cases like this and it's no joke. Some can hurt and kill people because of obsession. I feel bad for Cleo, even though he's a man we can't guarantee his safety."
I'm running around this dark alley, trembling and catching my breath. It's 10:00 in the evening and I'm on my way home from the store since I bought some modeling materials for my project. I was startled when a shadow showed up while I was walking, I tried to be calm and start walking faster but I can sense that the person behind me is following me. When I ran, the person ran as well. I want to scream but I can't my throat become dry and no voice came out. I'm hiding behind this big tree and peeking if someone is still there. Few minutes passed and no one showed up. My house is few blocks away so I ran as fast as I could and double-locked our main door. My parents are out because of a business trip and my sister is not home yet.
A few hours later I heard a loud bang on our window from the kitchen. I went outside my room to check it and there's a stone which caused a huge break in our window. I slowly approach our window when suddenly I heard a loud knock on our front door. I'm going crazy with all these noises and I don't know if I'll open the door.
"CATH!!! I WANNA GO PEE, OPEN THE DOOR!"
I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I recognized my sister's voice. I immediately opened the door and my sister ran fast to our comfort room soon as she entered our house. I'm about to close the door when I saw someone outside our house I can't see it clearly since the figure is standing in the dark part of the road. The person starts to walk away but the creeps it gave won't leave me.
I'm cleaning our broken window when my sister saw it and asked what happened. I just told her some kids accidentally thrown rocks because our house is near the park and basketball court so lots of kids hang out even during the night.
"Kyahhhh!!! Catherine! Cleo is looking for you"
What? I heard Yna's scream and then saw Cleo outside our room
The whole class is teasing us and I feel so embarrassed. They all knew the whole story since words circled our class immediately but I never expect that they'll act like this.
I slowly stand up and walk outside to approach him.
"Sorry for the sudden visit I just want to make sure you're safe"
"After that incident a week ago, Cherry stopped contacting and visiting me. I felt peace again and I'm thankful that you helped me. But today I received photos and videos of you. You're running. Photos of your house and you, entering it. I'm so afraid. I don't want you to get hurt."
My spine shivers and I can't move my body. Imagine being chased and then someone keeps on watching you from the dark.
"We should a-ask help from the authorities. We ahm we should ahm I think they can help us"
I stuttered every word that I want to say. I kept on looking around me what if she's here again watching us, waiting for us to become alone and harm me or him? What if she'll follow me again and hurt me or my family, what--
"Catherine, cath, look at me hey hey relax"
I get back to my senses when Cleo called my name and slowly shaken my shoulders.
"We'll ask for help and protection, okay? I won't leave you alone and make sure you're safe"
Cleo asked some of the girls from my class to keep me company. Even tho I'm not used to being with them, it's better than being alone given the situation. We reported it to the police but when they tried to trace Cherry they found out that she's living alone and she dropped out of school and moved from another apartment. They are still looking for further details. I also tell my family about it and my dad always sends and picked me up at school so I won't commute alone.
Months passed and all is well now. I gained friends and I and Cleo become closer. Cherry seems to give up and never showed up. I discovered why Cleo was so terrified when he found out that Cherry chased and followed me. His best friend, Jendi, died because of a girl who's obsessed with Jendi's boyfriend. It was a tragedy for all of them. Jendi was killed and her boyfriend committed suicide because he can't accept the fact that he lost her and failed to protect her. After that, the girl who killed Jendi also committed suicide inside her prison cell when she found out that the boy she's crazy in love with, is now dead.
I can't believe that things like this happened in real life. I never thought the world will be this dangerous, still, I'm thankful for the people who stayed beside me throughout.
We're now graduating students and our schedules become more hectic. Cleo and I agreed to meet in our favorite coffee shop tonight because we haven't talked for a while now. I miss him at some point.
"Hello, should I fetch you? We're almost done with our night shift"
"No, I'm fine. I'm almost at the coffee shop I'll wait for you there"
"Okay, keep safe"
I hanged up the phone and started to walk to the coffee shop. We just finished modeling our proposed building and I feel exhausted. The coffee shop is near our school so I decided to walk, Cleo will take some time since the hospital he's in is quite far away. They are now on the job training as nurses so I know he's also tired of work. It's 7:00 pm and the roads are already empty of people. It's a cold season so people seldom spend outside their houses.
I'm lost with my thoughts and I suddenly bump into something.
I hold my forehead and when I look I realized it's a person's back. I apologized since I'm the one who's not looking in front but it didn't move. I was about to move at the side and continue to walk when the person turned around and faced me. I can't recognize the person's face since its body blocked the street light.
"Long time no see, Catherine. Cleo's girl"
I was awakened from the light that struck my face. I look around and saw an unfamiliar room. My hands and feet are tied on the chair that I'm sitting in, my mouth is covered with cloth too.
I saw her. Tears start to fall as soon as I remembered meeting her a while ago. She has a lot of scars on her face and seeing her grin is the scariest thing I have ever seen.
"Ohhhhh!!! Dear Cleo's girl is awake now haha. You missed me?"
I tried to escape from this knot but my strength seems to fade and my head badly hurts.
"Look, can you see this? Which knife do you want me to use? Oh! I have also some toys here. I can electrify your brain and see you suffer. Hihi, I can also cut down some of your skin and drink your blood."
She showed me a table with different sharp materials. I want to scream and ask for help. Mom, dad, Cleo where are you? Save me, please.
"Okay... Let's get to business HAHAHAHHA"
"Hi, I'm Cleo and I'm your personal nurse. From now on I'll take care of you please tell me everything you need and I hope you'll drink your medicine okay? This will help you become better and healthy again"
Exactly a year ago, I saw her sitting on that chair, covered with blood and helpless.
"Will that girl visit me again? What if she'll bring her toys and hurt me again?"
"No, no. I promise. This time, I'll never leave you, I will protect you-- and I will make s--sure no one will ever harm you again. So, please, please come back to me."
I can't help my tears. As much as possible I don't want to show weakness in front of her. I need to be strong for both of us.
"If she comes, will you tell her to just play with me? And and and if she asks about a guy named Cleo, never ever tell her where he is k? She's obsessed with him, but-uut I love him as well! And and I don't know but I hope he loves me too. But! even if not, that Cherry will just hurt him so please let her use her knives to me but please please not with Cleo, you understa--"
I grabbed her head and hugged her tight. I can't continue hearing this. How can this girl think of me more than herself? She doesn't even know how much I love her- I failed to tell and show her how much she means to me. Even she's suffering all she thinks is my safety.
I regret it a lot when I let my guard down when I let her walk at the coffee shop all alone. I should've fetch her even tho she resist. The moment that I didn't see her at the coffee shop as soon as I arrived I knew something was off. It's been less than an hour since we last talked on the phone and, weirdly, she's not yet there. I looked for her around the area and after an hour I received a picture of Cherry and Catherine. She's covered with blood and Cherry told me where they are. I came rushing to the site and as soon as I got there, a lot of police cars are around. When I entered the building I saw some police officers holding Cherry down and a girl wiping Catherine's blood. I can't move my feet anymore I want to hurt Cherry more than she hurt Catherine. The ambulance came and we drove to the hospital, the doctor said that if we're a bit late, she'll die because she loses too much blood.
I found out that the teenage girl that's with her is a witness of the abduction, she followed them by riding a taxi and soon as she knew the location, she called the police. It took them so much time because the area is desolate.
Now, Catherine can't recognize anyone. She can't remember anything except the sufferings she experienced on Cherry's hands. I always try to introduce myself to her hoping that even her mind will no longer remember me, her heart will soon recognize me. Her future was ruined because of me. If I didn't grab her hand that day and told anyone that she's mine, Cherry won't think of harming her. Everything is my fault.
"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry for bringing chaos to your life. If only I didn't grab your hand and ask for help, if only I just solve my problems on my own, nothing like this will happen. I don't want to lose anyone how I lost Jendi, but I dragged you to this. I'm sorry."
Her name is Catherine. My favorite book's main character, and now Catherine is my favorite person whom I love the most.
"Why are you crying?"
I released her from my hug as soon as I she talks and I felt her hands wiping my tears which made me cry more.
"Are you in pain? You can cry as much as you want but don't forget that you're not alone and I'm always here. I love you, Cleo".
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