Perfect

This is my most recent story written for my Intro to Writing Fiction course. Enjoy! :)

It’s twelve o’clock. I need to go to bed, but I can’t. I’m too anxious. I look to my left to the man sleeping next to me. The moonlight shines through the window down onto his handsome face. His dirty blonde hair lies perfectly straight on the navy pillowcase. His long dark eyelashes flutter as he dreams. His bushy beard and mustache covers the majority of his jaw line. As I watch Shawn sleep, I think of how much I love him. He’s perfect in every way. He treats me like a princess; always buying me little gifts of chocolate and jewelry.

Now that it’s midnight, we have been dating for one year. This has been the happiest year of my life. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. He is the one. I knew it when I first fell in love with him, because it was different from the rest. Everyone knows that Shawn loved me first. He even told me he loved me our third week of dating. It scared the shit out of me. We were at a drunken college party.

 ***

            He pulls me to the corner of the room and kisses me. When we pull apart, he says, “I love you, Catherine.”

My heart speeds up and I feel like I’m going to vomit. I don’t want to say anything back, because I don’t know how I feel about him. I know that this guy makes me happier than anyone else ever could, but I can’t say it back if I don’t know how I feel. So I just kiss him more.

The next day, hung over, Shawn tells me as we lie in my bed, “You know, I meant what I said last night. I love you.”

I just look at him, thinking of how perfect he really is, and say, “Thank you.”

Two months later, I finally told him I loved him. It was the scariest thing I ever had to say to anyone in my whole entire life! I felt like I was going to vomit as I walked over to him. I took a deep breath and then said it. He pulled me into his arms and relief washed over my body. I felt so much better. He told me he loved me too.

 ***

I wonder what he’s going to do for our one-year anniversary. I think back to what my roommate, Erin, told me earlier in the day.

“Imagine if Shawn proposed to you?!”

“Erin, he’s not going to propose to me. We’re too young to get married and we don’t have the money to spend on a wedding. He’d be crazy to even think so!”

“Yeah, crazy in love!”

What would I say if he proposed to me? I mean I do want to marry him… but not now! Our parents would think it’s crazy! I look at the clock on my night table. It’s already one-thirty in the morning. Oh god! I really need to go to sleep. I lay my head on Shawn’s bare chest and listen to his heartbeat. His heartbeat always sooths me to sleep.

The sun shines on my face, waking me up. I smell French toast and maple syrup. Shawn is not in bed. Is he making me breakfast? I smile to myself. He really is perfect. I put my pink fuzzy slippers on and head to the kitchen. As I enter, I see Shawn put three slices of French toast on a plate. He already has the table set and one plate of steaming French toast waiting for me. He turns away from the counter as I sit down in the wooden chair.

“Good morning, beautiful.” He smiles perfectly.

“Good morning. Happy one-year Anniversary.” I beam.

He makes his way over to me, leans forward, and kisses me hard on the lips. I lick my lips as he pulls away, tasting maple syrup.

“Happy Anniversary. Do you want milk and sugar with your coffee?” he asks.

“Yes, please. Shawn, this is amazing. Thank you.”

He places my mug in front of me, then takes his plate to his seat.

“Well, dig in.” Shawn says.

The French toast was perfectly delicious. Everything was perfect.

“So, what’s on the agenda for today?” I ask him, anticipating the answer.

“I was thinking of going to a special place for lunch.”

“Oh, yeah? Where?”

“I’m not telling. It’s a surprise.”

“Please?” I plead.

“Nope. Not telling!”

“Fine.” I pout.

Shawn chuckles, “You’re adorable, Catherine.”

“Meh, meh, meh.” I mumble in response.

“Okay, so I packed the car. Let’s go, babe.” Shawn states.

“Where are we going?” I ask, thinking maybe he’ll tell me now.

“Not telling.” He chuckles, obviously enjoying my anticipation.

We got onto the road in Shawn’s car and he takes a left, towards the highway.

“How long is the drive going to be?”

“At least an hour.”

Where could he possibly be taking me? What’s an hour away that’s so special for lunch? Ugh, the anticipation is killing me!

Shawn merges onto the three-lane high way, almost cutting a car off. The car honks at us and Shawn flips them off. Well, that was scary. I hate Shawn’s road rage. It doesn’t come out often, but when it does, it’s scary.

“Sorry about that, babe. I know you don’t like my road rage, but that guy was an asshole.” Shawn apologizes.

“It’s fine.”

Although it was Shawn’s fault, I let it go. I don’t point it out, because Shawn is always right. When he’s wrong, he will argue he is right until you give up. He’s one of the most stubborn people I know, but he’s still perfect to me.

Shawn turns the radio on to PLJ just as Maroon 5 plays their hit single, Payphone. I hum in my head as I look out the window seeing trees pass by in a blur. Shawn taps to the beat on the steering wheel. About fifteen minutes later, a guy in a red pick-up truck cuts us off. Shawn has to swerve onto the shoulder to not get hit.

“Woah!” I yelp as Shawn gets back into the lane. “What was that?” I ask, my heart racing.

“Fucking prick! I’m going to get him!” Shawn yells.

Shawn steps down on the gas pedal to catch up to the pick-up truck. He gets right up the guy’s ass.

“Shawn, stop it. Calm down. He probably didn’t even see us with how big his truck is.”

“I’m going to fucking kill him!” Shawn growls.

“Shawn! Stop. You’re not going to kill him. Stop throwing empty threats into the air and slow down.” I plead.

I watch as the speedometer goes from 70 to 80 to 90 miles per hour. I can see the man in the pickup truck look shakily into his rearview mirror. He looks as scared as I am.

“Shawn, stop it!”

Shawn slows down, but only because the pickup truck is. If he didn’t, we would have hit him. The speedometer goes back down from 90 to 50 to 30. The red pickup truck pulls over onto the shoulder. Shawn pulls up behind him. I look at him, wearily.

“Shawn?” my voice shakes, “What are you doing? Just leave this guy alone, okay?”

“He almost killed us, Catherine. We could have died!”

Shawn gets out of the car and opens the trunk. He pulls out a baseball bat. My eyes go wide. I hold my cell phone in my pocket as I contemplate what to do. I’m not going to call the police on my boyfriend, but Shawn’s gone too far. He has never done this before.

The man in the pickup truck steps out with his hands up, palms facing Shawn. He has short brown hair and freckles across his pale face. He’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans with work boots. I can hear the mumbled plea from the man telling him to calm down and apologizing for cutting us off earlier.

Shawn takes a swing close to the man. I open my door and step out. I stand behind the car as Shawn takes another swing. I’m speechless. All I can do is watch. The second swing hits the man in the ribs. He falls to the ground. Shawn smashes the man’s skull with the baseball bat. I see the man’s eyes close. He’s unconscious as Shawn continues to bash him with the bat.

I’m scared that if I approach him, he’ll hit me. So I do the only thing I think possible. I get back in the car and close the door. I dial 9-1-1. Shawn is still beating him as a woman picks up.

“9-1-1. What is your emergency?”

“I’m on highway 644. My boyfriend is beating up another man with a baseball bat and I don’t know what to do. The man is unconscious on the side of the road.” I start to tear up.

“Calm down, Ma’am. Where on 644 are you?”

“Uh, the marker I’m parked next to says 178.”

“Alright, Ma’am, police are on their way. Where are you right now?” she asks me.

“I’m in the car.”

“Okay. If you could, please lock the doors. Does your boyfriend have the keys?”

“No, they’re still in the ignition.”

“Good, so you are safe. Just wait for the police to arrive and then everything will be okay.”

“Okay.”

I hang up and see that Shawn is sitting in the grass, panting. The baseball bat is on the ground next to the man’s body. I lock the doors. Shawn’s head is in his hands with his knees pulled up to his chest. There is blood on his hands and I start to hysterical cry. I turn the radio on louder so Shawn can’t hear my crying and try to get inside the car.

Fifteen minutes later, sirens and blue and red flashes draw near us. Shawn bolts up and looks at me with his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. No cars were passing by while Shawn beat up the man, so no one could have called the police. No one but me. I see Shawn figure it out in his head and then try to open the passenger door. The car is still locked and he bangs on the window, screaming to unlock the door. I shake my head no and start to cry again.

The police pull up to us and Shawn tries to run for it into the woods. Two policemen chase him down and tackle him to the ground. They handcuff him. An ambulance pulls up and EMTs get out with a stretcher. They start to assess the man from the pickup truck. One policeman knocks on my window and I unlock the door. He opens it. I see Shawn led back to the side of the road.

“I thought you loved me! Why are you doing this to me?” He screams at me.

I cry harder as he is put in the back of the police car.

“Ma’am, are you the one who called the police?” the officer asks me.

I nod my head.

“What is your name?”

“Catherine Waters.”

“So, Shawn Green is your boyfriend. Correct?”

“Yes.”

“Is this the first time you’ve seen your boyfriend this way?”

“Yes.”

“And he used a baseball bat as a weapon to beat Mr. Friedman. Correct?”

I swallow hard as I hear the officer say weapon, “Yes.”

“Well, we have to process Mr. Green now. Would you like us to drive you home?” the officer asks me.

I contemplate my options. “Can I go where Shawn is going?”

“I’m afraid not, Ms. Waters. If we need to question you anymore, we’ll contact you. Where do you live?”

“42 Withers Way. In Tarragon.”

I can’t believe this happened. Shawn beat up a man. He assaulted a man. He got arrested. He’s going to go to jail. Why did he have to ruin our anniversary? Everything was going perfectly. I grab my purse and follow the police officer into another cop car. As he drives me home, I continue to cry. I never knew Shawn was capable of anything like this. I never knew Shawn had that much rage hidden inside him. Why didn’t he tell me he was mad? What was he even angry about?

The car pulls up into my driveway and I get out. The policeman rolls down his window.

“Are you going to be alright, Ms. Waters? You should call someone to come over so you’re not alone.”

“I’ll be fine. Thank you for the ride.” I sniffle.

I walk up my walkway and unlock the front door. I walk up the stairs and unlock my apartment door. I plop onto the couch and turn the television on. A rerun of Friends is on. Mindless TV should help. My cell phone rings. I groan as I get up to get my purse.

“Hello?”

“Catherine! What happened! Are you okay? I just got a call from the police! What happened to Shawn? He got arrested for assault and reckless driving?!” Shawn’s mother, Terry, frantically questions me.

“I don’t know what happened. We got cut off by a pickup truck and the next thing I know, we’re pulled over and Shawn is beating the guy with a baseball bat.” I explain with knots in my throat.

“Are you okay? I can’t believe my baby would do something like that!”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Isn’t today your one-year Anniversary?” Terry asks.

“Mhm.”

“Oh, sweetie. I’m so sorry! Would you like me to come over?” Terry offers.

“No, it’s fine. Thank you though.”

“Alright, well if you need me, don’t hesitate to call.”

“I won’t. Goodbye.” I hang up before she has time to say goodbye, because I’m getting another call.

I look at the unknown number then answer it.

“Hello?”

“Catherine Waters?”

“Yes?”

“This is Franklin County’s Police Station. I am calling because we need you to pick up Shawn Green’s belongings.”

“Oh. Alright. I’m on my way now.” I hang up.

What belongings does he have other than his wallet and cell phone? I get into my car and drive to the station. Forty-five minutes later, I park the car. I get out and enter the entrance. There are people waiting in chairs along the walls. I walk up to the woman at the front desk.

“May I help you?” she asks.

“I’m here to pick up my boyfriend’s belongings.” I state.

“Shawn Green?”

“Yes.”

“Just go through the blue door to the right. There should be a man behind a glass-encased counter with Green’s things.”

“Okay.”

I walk to the blue metal door and pull it open. It’s too heavy and takes me a couple of tries. Once I get it open, I squeeze through before it can close on my butt. I enter a long hallway with grey tile and grey walls. To the left is a man behind a glass-encased counter just like the woman at the front desk said. I walk up to the counter.

“I’m here to pick up Shawn Green’s belongings.”

“Okay, here you go. If you could just sign here.”

I sign the paper and take the small cardboard box. I look inside. A brown leather wallet, an iPhone, and a small blue velvet box. What’s this?

I walk back to my car and sit down. The cardboard box lies in my lap. I pick up the blue velvet box. I open it and see a perfect diamond ring.

2012 (c) Jennifer Gioia

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