December 28, 2009

When the Autumn Leaves Blush - Part IV

As dictated by Faranza Syns

This time, it's for fun.

Thanks to Aja, Amanda and Ruz for getting me back into perspective.

When The Autumn Leaves Blush
Faranza Syns

Chapter 3

At the shrill sound of what she regrettably recognized as Sean's personal ringtone - he liked to make her jump to attention for him - Sophia groped around for her handphone and found it inside her pillowcase. Grunting and pushing strands of hair away from her face, Sophia answered while still lying down. "Hnn?"

"Meet me downstairs."

She rubbed her sore, tired eyes. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm leaving town today."

Still groggy, Sophia laid back and stayed quiet for a few seconds, then said, "Huh?"

"I'm leaving Harlow's Bayou today, Soph. I'm going away. Look," he said, now starting to sound impatient. "Would you come down, please?"

"Going away?" Sophia said on a whisper. "What are you talking about?"

"Again, come down. I'm at the door. I need to say some things."

"I'm not decent." Then, what Sean was trying to say diced through Sophia's grogginess. She inhaled sharply. "Wait - you're only leaving for a while, right? Geez, don't scare me like that, Sean! God, you know how I hate having people leave just like that. Stop dropping bombs - "

Sophia paused at the beginnings of her tirade as her anger was met with the dull sound of the dialing tone.

For the first time in their relationship, Sean Hayes had hung up on her.


Sean stood on the grand patio of Dorwood Manor, his hands tucked nonchalantly in the front pocket of his jeans. His eyes surveyed the glory of the well-tended grounds of the manor with a degree of detachment. A sudden sense of bitterness surged in his chest and he clamped his jaws tight, taking in a deep breath.

Was she up there, in her room, lounging about in lavish bed sheets, laughing at the stupidity of a boy who had waited hours for her?

His lips twisted in a vicious snarl. Well, screw her. He was done - especially after what he saw last night when he walked past Dorwood Manor.

It was disgusting, vile, and he never wanted to see her ever again. She was sick, alright, and she was not the girl he used to know.

Holding on desperately to stay calm, he closed his eyes and tried to push the thought away, succeeding by a very narrow margin. Still strung tight, he turned on his heels immediately as he heard the door swing open.

"You hung up on me!" Sophia fumed. "You've never ever done that!"

Sean stood back and stared at Sophia. Why could he not fall in love - or even lust, for that matter - with Soph? She was beautiful, having inherited the highly acclaimed beauty of the Dorwood blood, and she was twice as smart as he was. She was aggravating at times, but she always wanted the best for her friends - for him. Even when it was unnecessary and insignificant, she still worked her ass off trying to make a certain person happy. It was that one thing that had made them close since that day many years ago when he had finally approached her and asked about Danielle. She had glared dirks at him, asking with tight lips why he wanted to know about Danielle. When he had told her that he was just trying to thank her...

That was when she had clapped her hands in delight and declared that they were now friends, despite him being abominably male (she was sure he would take a turn for the better one day, a thought that bewildered and amused Sean without end).

So why not Sophia?

"What did you mean by you were leaving?"

Sean reinserted his hands into his pockets. "I'm going back to military school."

He brushed his feet against the gleaming wood underneath him. "I hate shitting my pants whenever people grab me by my shirt collar, or jumping a mile high whenever people shout my name."

Sophia frowned. "You don't ... get bowel movements whenever people grab your collar," she corrected. "Last time Foster did that, he ended up on his behind."

"Yeah, well... I don't like feeling like I can't handle something as stupid as military school."

"That's nonsense - "

"I just need to go back there and see it again as an older me. I was young when I went there the first time. I'm tougher now. I just... Do you understand what I'm trying to say?"

Sophia held onto the doorframe. Her expression of puzzlement soon gave way to comprehension and defeat. To her, this was a repeat of the many times Danielle had flown off, leaving her alone. "I think so."

"I'll write." Sean watched as Sophia grimaced, looking away. He understood. In fact, he always somehow knew that he would not be writing back home anymore.

"What about Danielle?"

"Don't ever say her name in front of me."

Alarmed, Sophia stared at him. "Sean?"

"It was stupid and I don't want to think about it."

Discomfited, Sophia inched forward. "Sean, something happened last night."

"Of course something happened - "

"No," she cut him off urgently. "I think it was something bad. Very bad," a look of fear and uncertainty crossed over her features. "Danny was crying last night, screaming that it was someone's fault - that someone did something. I don't know what happened - "

Sean raised his hand. "Stop it, Soph. I'm done with Danielle."


Frustrated, he ran a hand through his hair. "I'm done, alright? I hate to admit it, but I've been obsessing over her, and it's unhealthy. I'm stopping it now."

Incredulous, Sophia gaped for a moment, then rushed to make amends. "No, you haven't been obsessing. And Danny - Danny needs our help. Something awful happened last night."

"I saw her last night - sneaking into your house. Nothing bad happened from the way she was acting last night alright."

"No! She wasn't home until later. She was crying when I got home and -" With each word, Sean could feel his faith in her blossom back to life. Maybe it really was not her and maybe he had been wrong. Maybe she needed him now, more than he needed her years before. Maybe...

He steeled his resolve against the pleadings of his affections. "Soph, it's done. Done." The finality in his tone ceased Sophia's desperate words. Anger quickly replaced it.

"How can you just toss her aside like this? She needs us -"

"Wrong!" Sean snapped. "She needs you. She doesn't need someone she doesn't know. She doesn't need someone she stood up," he jeered. "Just can it, Soph. I came to say goodbye. Don't ruin it."

Sophia's breathing remained laboured for a while, then, stiltedly, she stared back at him. "Can't you just give her one chance?"

"No," Sean answered quietly. "I gotta go, Soph."

She frowned, and his heart buckled when he saw the tears in her eyes. He grabbed her gently and hugged her, regretting the harsh words. "I'm sorry."

"Promise to write," she muttered.



"She's gone!"

"What do you mean she's - "

"Her clothes are missing, her cellphone, her wallet - everything! Ryan, Watson, she's gone!"

"Call the others and check if they'd seen her! She must be with the others. Me and Ryan'll get the car - she can't have gone far."

"Let her go. Maybe we should teach her a lesson - cut her off for being so damned stubborn."

"Ryan, how could you say that? She's you daughter!"

"No daughter of mine runs away from home - no daughter of mine lies to me, and shames me."


Danielle sat quietly, a counterpoint to her noisy, buzzing surroundings. Her eyes devoid of emotion, she stared at her hands, letting a sense of false peace envelope her being. The now-familiar vibration of her handphone against her thigh did nothing to budge the stillness that was spreading like bushmaster poison in her veins. Somehow, she felt that the less she moved, the slower it would spread. But spread it did.

Moving as slowly as she could she took the handphone out. Names flashed on the screen. She bit her lip and stood up, pocketing the device.

As she dragged her bag forward, cutting through the dense crowd, she felt her cellphone vibrating again. Pausing, she took a calming breath, and took it out. At the name on the screen a flood of emotions choked her. Anger and rage conquered. Without thinking, she raised her arm and threw her phone towards a decorated, marble pillar.

The phone shattered into unfixable pieces. So did the only connection between her and her family of once-upon-a-time

Hardening her resolve, Danielle walked away from the mess that was her emotions and her past. She'd get through this - support, or no support. Alone, but who cared?

Within two days, nobody could find Danielle no matter how hard they searched.

By the time they realised it wasn't the normal sulk of a hormonal teenager, Danielle had vanished.


-end of chapter 3 -


Chi said...

ow u suck! I want to knw wht happens next!