Stay

I sipped on a Daiquiri and listened to him joke with his friends. They were haughty – branded from head-to-toe in designer clothes, raced around the streets of L.A. in 7-series beamers and trophied silicone bimbos.

He was wasted, his speech was slurring, and his advances were getting bolder.

I peeled his sweaty palm off my bare knee, and stood up.

He stopped me. “Where are you going?”

“Bathroom,” I lied.

Instead, I snuck out of the bar and strolled down the Hollywood Blvd. The air was warm and thick, polluted with pungent scents of weed, cigarettes and greasy food.

My nose bleeding heels walked across the stars, and I dodged the lecherous stares my black, skintight dress earned from the guys that guzzled beer and smoked cigarettes in the nearby bars, and searched for a drunken conquest to take home.

I ignored the salacious invitations, and frowned at the loud whistles.

The man I ditched at the bar was a rebound. He was not you. He was just an aftermath of your nonchalance.

You were right.

I lost myself amidst the bright lights, phony glamour life and pretentious prima donnas. I stabbed you in the back by craving the spotlight – but all I ever wanted was your attention. Not sure where I went wrong.

You got angry; called me an attention whore and marched out of my life.

But, she’s not me.

You blocked my number – was that really necessary? Yet, my name is still on your lips. You still ask about me. If you don’t give a damn anymore then why bother wondering if I’m still alive or dead? Doesn’t make sense.

Yes, I was playing a role, but you were being a coward.

You said I hurt you, but you hurt me first. I bruised your ego a couple of times, but you wounded my pride. You can’t just kiss me and feign ignorance to the feelings that surfaced in the pit of your stomach.

You didn’t want to talk about it then, but what about now? Don’t say it’s complicated. It’s not. I hate that word.

Now be a man, own up to your mistakes. Stop playing games and call me out on mine. Let’s face each other, fist fight through our differences and walk away like grown-ups, not churlish kids.

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The Beginning of a Sinister Love Affair


You are not Prince Charming.

Your heart is the shade of charcoal, and it is filled with hatred against the world that has never taken the time to recognize the ingenious thoughts inside of your sinister mind.

No, not sinister – your brilliant mind.

Once upon a time, under a starry night, our lips touched for the first time and the poison you harbored in your black, little heart infested mine.

Slowly and quietly, I have fallen in love with the Dark Knight.

He has good intentions, even though he is riddled with insecurities, pain and sorrow. He is not perfect – in fact, he is ugly and far from the picture perfect guys that the modern society fantasizes about.

He fears intimacy.

Past love affairs have left him vulnerable, cold and guarded. He fears unknown – especially if it’s in a form of a fiercely independent woman.

But, whenever our gazes align, I can smell the lustful thoughts that brew in his head.

He is intrigued by the cloak of mystery I wear and although he cannot decipher the nonchalance in the tone of my voice, he tries. To him, a puzzle needs to be solved and a riddle needs be answered; uncertainty is not an option.

And, although he fears love, he will have to learn to accept it.

For the Dark Knight needs the Queen of Hearts.

It is simply inevitable.

The Beginning of a Sinister Love Affair

Impossible Friendship

I sat across from a man that I swore I would never see again. Yet, fate has a mysterious – if not a cruel – way of bringing us together, and under rather interesting circumstances too.

My heart is sore.

Your friendship has been impossible to obtain and I want to bury these memories into the cold, damp soil in hopes that they will never see the golden sunlight again.

Someday, perhaps, these tainted memories will blossom into a scarlet rose.

My mind was riddled with these thoughts and even though we picked out a small, private table outside, I still couldn’t breathe.

He was leaving the country in a couple of days and the thought of his feet touching a different continent gave me a nauseating feeling.

Suddenly, I pushed away the dainty cup – while he was in the middle of divulging details of his upcoming trip – and slammed a scrunched up five dollar bill on the round, metal table.

He paused, unsure of what I was trying to accomplish. He never liked my spontaneity because he always thought he had me figured out.

“Good luck. I have to go. I forgot that I have to work on a presentation,” I lied and gave him a polite smile.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, his green eyes searching for mine.

I didn’t answer.

Instead, I hurried out of the café before he bombarded me with questions that I couldn’t answer. I slipped my arms into the pleather sleeves of my bomber jacket and melted into the faceless crowd of strangers that rushed down the sidewalk.

I shoved my clenched fists into the pockets and gritted my teeth.

I left my sunglasses in the car, back in Chinatown, and I couldn’t help but feel stupid as I started crying in public. My tears earned a couple of concerned stares but I kept my eyes pinned to the cracked asphalt as I slipped by the eager tourists that dotted Little Tokyo and hurried down Hope St.

My heart felt like an open piñata, and all of its content was out in the open for him to analyze. I knew it was a mistake to see him and I knew that he’d win this fight – he always knew what to do and say in these situations.

He’d always come out a victor.

And at that moment, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and share the pain that coursed through me with the innocent bystanders that stood at the cross section with me and waited for the green light.

I was being selfish and yet, I didn’t care.

I jogged up the stairs to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion when I heard him call out my name. He reached the top, panting slightly, and the sight of him completely out of breath with beads of perspiration on his forehead made me laugh.

He failed to see the humor in the situation. “What the hell was that all about? Why did you run out on me like that?”

He was angry.

“There’s nothing else for me to say. I wished you good luck. That’s all. End of story.”

“Oh, come on! I wanted to leave this country on good terms. Why are you acting like I still owe you an apology? You were warned. You have always been warned about my reputation!”

“I remember. I just—” there were so many words that I wanted to yell in his face but just like the school of silver fish in the ocean, I couldn’t grab a hold of any of them. And, there was an array of emotions that I wanted to run through but I couldn’t identify which one of them I wanted to display first.

Anger? Sorrow? Confusion? Nonchalance? Happiness?

I started to cry again – he had an uncanny gift of bringing tears to my eyes and twisting my emotions into a cherry knot. I stood a few inches away from him and it literally felt as though we were the only two people on Earth.

No one else mattered.

“I’ll miss you, homie. Despite the pain you put me through, I still wish you the best.”

He took a deep, exasperated breath and raked his fingers through his hair. For the first time, I saw a hint of sorrow in his green eyes and that’s when I realized he was hurting too.

He pulled me into a warm embrace. “I’ll miss you too.”

Impossible Friendship

Don’t Speak

ever-after-danielle-swimming-450

Tears streamed down her face and burned the soft, crimson flesh of her cheeks as she pressed the cool bottle of Absolut to her forehead and studied the cotton-candy clouds that floated across the blue sky outside of her windows. She bathed her listless limbs in the warmth of the morning sun as she lay on a shaggy rug, amidst the broken glass that was scattered across the living room, and rested her feet on the velvet cushions of the tufted, turquoise sofa.

A faint, crackling sound pierced the silence as the needle of her antique phonograph scratched the surface of a spinning vinyl record and breathed life to the legendary voice of Nina Simone. The deep, melancholy Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair drifted over the graveyard of massacred paintings piled next to the shattered picture frames, an upturned coffee table with its tapered legs reaching out to the exposed ceiling pipes, two fractured table lamps and a sea of slashed chiffon curtains sprawled across the walnut floor.

Izabel took a swig of vodka and fought back the urge to cough as the clear liquid raped the inside of her throat.

The phone rang.

“Hey, you know what do do after the beep.” Beep!

“IZABEL, what the fuck! Answer your goddamn phone. I know you’re at home, sulking like a lazy cow over this stupid breakup. Try not to commit suicide until after our afternoon meeting with the client -” an angry honk in the background drowned out her sister’s angry voice, “-green means go, you stupid fuck!”

Click.

Izabel closed her eyes and imagined floating atop of a lake. Its placid surface mirrored the steel-grey sky above and matched the rhythm of her deliberate backstrokes to the chirping of the birds that sang among the tall, conifers.

A familiar voice echoed throughout the surrounding boreal forest, spearing the dense fog, and called out her name. It spawned a lonely tear. The crystal drop snaked down her pallid cheeks and melted into her frozen, blue lips. She continued to swim through the cold water. Her lifeless body sailed out of everyone’s reach and drifted towards a place where she could spend the rest of her life in solitude.

Don’t Speak

Crush

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Burning up from the fever that your stare supplies,
I look away, averting the gleam in your dark eyes.
Your stare gently grazes the soft curves of my face,
As you stand across from me and smile.

I flush.

Your stare is intrusive and your smile is wily.
I sneak a peek at your body – broad shoulders, strong arms and toned tummy.
The way the fabric of your shirt stretches across your chest turns me on.
I wonder what it’d feel like to be in your arms.
Your hand is scarred, yet it’s attractive.

Your lips are sweet, yet dangerously captive.
Your voice is deep – a soothing lullaby to my romantic ears.
My mind is racing like a Grand Prix!
I wish you’d kiss me, ignite my fantasies.
I wish you’d hold me, envelop my body with your sexuality.
I wish you’d stop teasing,
Because I’m losing self-control and I wish you’d just ask me.

I’d cave in with a passionate yes!

Crush

I’m Gonna Spit Some Glitter on These Haters

Despite the stupid name, Brass Monkey was an upscale lounge that only catered to the crème de la crème of society. In other words, if you weren’t rich and famous, then your penniless behind was not welcomed here.

The lounge reeked of wealth and power with its palatial Swarovski crystal chandeliers, Chesterfield sofas, tufted leather armchairs and renowned artwork. Well-groomed men in three-piece suits, modelesque women in designer dresses and nose-bleeding heels casually socialized over glasses of expensive champagne and miniscule caviar sandwiches.

Mira looked as though he’d walked out of the glossy pages of GQ magazine in his tailored, Alexander McQueen suit and leather, Oxford shoes. He moved through the room like a natural-born hustler and introduced me, along the way, to artists, influencers and European celebrities.

I’m not the kind of a girl that suffers from low self-esteem but on that night I felt like chopped liver. All of the guests knew Mira – his name would casually roll off their lips – and even despite having more followers on Instagram, I felt as though I was his arm candy and not the other way around.

That kind of, sort of bugged me, actually.

His hand was on the small of my back as he steered me towards our reserved table. It stood by the tall glass windows and offered a breathtaking view of the Parliament and the St. Vitus Cathedral in the distance.

Without bothering to see my I.D., the waiter returned with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and two plates laden with sizzling filet mignon, sautéed mushrooms and mashed potatoes.

“I ordered ahead,” Mira explained sheepishly. “I figured since you eat like a caveman, you’d appreciate my chivalrous gesture.”

I laughed. “That’s very sweet.”

While I stuffed my face with the first, second and third courses, Mira had finally confessed about his connections.

Apparently, he was related to Scarlet Rose – one of the biggest DJs in Europe – and the bejeweled Audemars Piguet watch on his wrist was a gift from his famous, older sister.

Coincidentally, she helped him secure the internship at creativ[un]block and tonight, she was promoting her new album.

“So that’s why everyone here knows your name.”

He nodded his head. “It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. Almost like walking in the shadows of your cool, older sibling at school. You know?”

“Actually, I don’t!” I snorted. “You’ve met my sister, right?”

He didn’t answer right away but it didn’t take a psychic to read the thoughts that floated inside of his head. In fact, I was used to that kind of a reaction whenever I mentioned Julia.

None of my friends believed that we shared the same bloodline, and whenever we had to attend corporate banquets and fundraising soirées with our parents, most of the guests thought she was adopted!

“She’s different…” he finally said.

“Psychotic, anti-social, creepy and ugly is more like it.”

He chuckled. “You don’t get along?”

“I like to pretend that she doesn’t exist—”

Suddenly, the room broke out in applause and Scarlet Rose appeared on a small, elevated platform that tonight served as a stage. She took a bow and blew kisses, before grabbing the microphone.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. Your support means a lot to me, and since I hate talking in public, I’m going to make this super short and sweet. Thanks to my manager Leni and my marketing powerhouse, Sydney. You’re a bunch of brilliantly crazy mothereffers and I love you for that!”

Scarlet Rose was striking with her large, blue eyes, full lips and razor-sharp cheekbones. She sported a raven faux-hawk, several tattoos and piercings, and her tall, lean body was clad in high-waisted tuxedo trousers and a cropped, muscle tee.

She walked behind the DJ table, pressed the headphones to one side of her head and moved her hands from her laptop to the turntables. Soon, the lounge drowned in hypnotic beats and the guests bobbed their heads and moved their bodies to the music.

Mira gently took hold of my hand.

“You look gorgeous, by the way,” he said with an Oscar-worthy smile on his face.

I wore a black, spaghetti-strap velvet dress and spiked Christian Louboutin heels. I knew I looked like a stone cold fox tonight but the way he looked at me made my heart twerk inside of my chest.

“Let’s go dance.” I grabbed his hand and led him to the dance floor.

We joined a bevy of sun-kissed girls and sexy, muscular guys. Despite their best efforts, some of the guests were sloshed, and their drinks ended up all over their Versaces and Armanis.

I swayed my hips to the EDM music that poured out of the speakers and grinded up against Mira. He wrapped his muscular arms around my waist and his lips were dangerously close to my neck. I could feel his warm breath against my skin.

By the time Scarlet Rose decided to take a fifteen-minute break, my body was glistening with sweat. I grabbed a towel off the waiter’s tray and dabbed it against my chest and neck.

Two glasses of iced water, along with Panna cotta, waited for Mira and I back at the table. I gulped down the water like the runner after a triathlon, and gobbled up a slice of the Italian dessert.

Miroslav!” exclaimed Scarlet Rose and kissed her little brother on the cheek. He turned pink from embarrassment.

Hana, this is Olivia. She’s visiting from California and she’s interning at creativ[un]block as well.”

Scarlet Rose smiled and stretched out her hand for me to shake. I gave it a firm squeeze.

“You were amazing!” I gushed, knowing damn well that flattery will get you in many places.

“I’m happy you enjoyed my performance. And—” her eyes glistened like gemstones when she looked me up and down, “—are you single?”

Er—”

Mira interrupted me with a short answer in Czech, and his sister looked visibly disappointed by his words.

“Enjoy the show!” She called out and returned back to the stage.

“What was that all about?” I asked, confused by her sudden shift in attitude.

He grinned like a Cheshire cat. “It’s getting hot in here. Let’s go outside for a few minutes.”

I followed him out on the balcony.

The air was cool, perfumed with honeysuckle that grew alongside of the railing, burnt coffee beans that wafted from the Starbucks below and foreign food.

Mira wrapped his blazer around my bare shoulders when I gave out an involuntary shiver.

“This is definitely not California. It still gets cold during the summers.”

I watched a glittery boat cross the Prague River and admired the twinkling lights in the distance.

“So, are you going to tell me what you told your sister before she left?”

“Sure. She was interested in dating you but I told her you were taken.”

That’s a surprise!

“I am? Who’s the lucky guy, then?”

“I am.”

He reached out and kissed me. It was hot and sweltering kiss – the kind that could win an Oscar.

I’m Gonna Spit Some Glitter on These Haters

Crossroads

Nicholas sat still, his eyes were plagued with sadness, and a rueful smile touched his thin lips when he took hold of her delicate hand. His thumb gently brushed the surface of her smooth, soft skin before he gave her fingers a light kiss.

Izabel blinked back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks, and looked away.

The sky outside the tall, glass windows of LAX was a blanket of midnight blue, with a cluster of diamond stars, and occasional airplane in sight.

It was four o’clock in the morning, and her heart was ripping apart at the seams.

Izabel scheduled an early flight to escape the memories that perfumed her life in California, and desperately yearned to begin anew on a foreign land, across the Atlantic Ocean. There, she built a grand, Baroque-inspired mansion and there, awaiting her safe return, was her fiancé, Evan.

He was a handsome man, with eyes that matched the color of the turquoise waters around the Caribbean islands, a headful of dark, disheveled curls and strong, cleft chin. He was every inch of a man any woman could have wanted for a husband: astute, sophisticated and charming, but he couldn’t ignite the flame in the pit of her stomach the way Nicholas had.

The man across from her was destined to run free, like a wild horse, never to be domesticated, and Izabel learned that lesson the hard way. His heart was buried deep within his broad chest, in a vault that guarded it from love, affection and possibly, heartache.

He was never destined to be a husband, or a father.

“I never meant to hurt you, and I’m sorry if I did.”

She nodded her head slowly, gazing absentmindedly out of the windows, and growing immune to the excruciating pain that threatened to tear her limbs apart. Her soul was massacred as a result from his careless lies and calloused actions, and at times, she wondered if she was still alive.

It took all of the courage in her heart to forgive his dirty deeds and sail out of his greedy reach.

She rose to her feet, with a nonchalant smile on her red lips, and cast one last glance at his mournful face. He looked small and helpless, almost childlike, but Izabel knew that it was just a façade.

Nicholas was a psychotic mélange of selfishness, jealousy, rage and rancor. But, he only let the monster loose after the victim was tangled up in his golden web of lies.

Izabel freed her hand out of his iron grip and said, “Goodbye, Nicholas. May we never cross paths.”

 

 

Crossroads