Chapter 9: Moving On
One morning over breakfast Frank was nowhere to be found and the whole team was again starting to worry.
“Where is Frank?” Erick asked and John shrugged his shoulders. “He should have been back by now, I wonder where he is” Yehleen said as she stirred her cup of coffee. “Relax I am sure he is fine” Jennifer reassured them as she played with her food. “How are you sure he is fine? He didn’t bring his watch with him, I know he has been acting happy for a month now but you never know he can revert back to his old self” Erick said.
“I’m sure he wouldn’t because he promised me that” Jennifer said. “Promised you what?” John inquired as all eyes were on her. They heard the elevator bell and they turned their heads and saw Frank. “See I told you” Jennifer said as she smiled at them. Everyone looked at her suspiciously grinning, “You know something that we don’t, don’t you?” Yehleen whispered and Jennifer grinned back at them.
For the whole day Frank avoided them making them wonder if he had reverted back to his old self. He never cracked a joke, never made a prank, and they never seen his smile. He didn’t eat breakfast and he barely touched his food during lunch.
As dinner time approached Frank told them he would not be eating dinner with them and told them not to worry for he just wanted time for himself. They let him go but they were awfully worried so after ten minutes they followed him secretly.
They saw Frank enter a restaurant near his old apartment, and for almost two hours they waited for him to come out. “What is he doing there?” Jennifer asked. “Eating what else?”Erick said. “For two hours?” Jennifer asked and Yehleen leaned on Jennifer and said “Maybe he has a date” Jennifer pretended not to hear her but the scenario played on her mind.
After ten minutes Frank came out with his head bowed and walked away. “He must be going back, come on lets go” Erick said but Jennifer told them to go ahead. She walked towards the restaurant and went inside. She noticed there were only a few customers and most of the crew members had sad faces. She approached the counter and noticed the cashier crying. “Excuse me, did Frank come here?” Jennifer asked. The woman wiped her tears and took a deep breath, “Yes he was here a while ago” she said.
“Was he with someone?” Jennifer inquired but the cashier started to cry again. “Sorry, is there a problem? I noticed so many sad faces in here” Jennifer said. “Frank and Hannah frequently come here, that is their favorite spot” the woman said as she pointed to a table near the window. “So Frank was with Hannah a while ago?” Jennifer asked and the woman shook her head.
“Today is their anniversary; they always come here for their anniversary. Everyone here knows this day and we even prepared their favorite dishes. We all knew that Hannah is not with him anymore but still we prepared for them because it has been already in our system for eight years” the lady said and Jennifer started to feel sad.
“The moment he came in we didn’t know what to say to him. He just smiled at us and went straight to their table. We served him food but we were hesitant to place the dishes for Hannah but he told us to place them still. For two hours we watched him…he seemed so sad, he barely touched the food. When he left he told us not to prepare anymore next year and he gave everyone a thousand dollar tip. He promised he would come visit often and check on us, I really feel sorry for him” the cashier narrated.
Jennifer walked out the establishment with a heavy heart; she knew he was not over Hannah yet. And as she walked a few steps she saw Hannah get out of a cab. The two women stood face to face staring each other in the eyes. “You are late, he waited for you for two hours” Jennifer told her. “Old habits die hard, I just came from the airport” Hannah said.
“Have you eaten? I am starving, would you like to grab dinner with me?” Hannah asked and Jennifer didn’t want to for he was on Frank’s side. “Please, I would like to know how Frank is doing. My treat” Hannah begged and Jennifer agreed. “Do you know another place? I feel embarrassed eating here now” Hannah whispered and Jennifer hailed a cab and they both entered.
On a restaurant near the docks they dined and there was a little bit of tension in the air. “You said you wanted to know about Frank, so you ask the question and I will answer” Jennifer said. “I know you all see me as a bad person, I can’t blame you for that. I admit I was wrong, I just fell bored of the same routine and one day at work I met Darwin” Hannah narrated. “Why are you telling me this, I don’t want to hear your excuse” Jennifer told her. “Please, I have to get this off my chest, so please listen” Hannah pleaded.
“I saw something different in Darwin, it all happened so fast. Next thing I knew we dated, then he asked me if I wanted a better position so I said yes. I really was not thinking straight at that time, I became selfish and I left Frank. Frank cried in front of me that day and that image of him haunts me every night. I wanted to go back to him, I really did I swear but I was ashamed for what I have done. I planned to quit my job and go back to him but again things moved to quickly. Darwin pampered me and let me experience things I have never done, I was happy…I thought I was. He asked me to marry him, I didn’t want to say yes but I was again ashamed to say no. I didn’t reply I just cried and he thought of it as a yes”
“I saw Frank on the news stopping the two robbers, and getting shot at the grocery, I didn’t finish the news report, I quickly booked a flight back here and looked for him. I searched for him for two weeks, I waited for him but I could not find him. So I went back to Darwin, funny thing is Darwin never asked where I was or he didn’t even look for me when I was gone. If that was Frank he would have filled my phone with text messages and missed calls, that’s the time I realized I made a huge mistake in my life” Hannah said as she sobbed profusely.
“Since I was living with him I got to know about Operation Salvation, funny thing is that I really thought that Frank was a real superhero but living with Frank he never showed signs of unusual stuff” Hannah said and they both laughed. “Then after reading the files I learned he was just a poster boy but still I was proud of him. Darwin got jealous actually one night when we turned on the television, the footage of Frank rescuing the hostages, it was as if we were watching an action flick, I was really happy and cheering because Frank really looked so cool” Hannah said and Jennifer agreed and laughed with her.
“I learned again that the ending was staged but still he looked so cool. So when I watched the footage of the fire incident I didn’t worry. But later that night I learned that it was real, it was no operation and Frank really went there by himself to save those children. I asked for copies of all his video footages and every time I watch them I realize how evil I am” Hannah narrated and Jennifer smiled at her. “During the movie premier I saw Frank and my heart beat so fast, but in an instant I saw the gun pointed at Darwin so I just froze. I saw Frank move in front of us but I could not move, I knew he was not a real superhero so I knew he could die. I really wanted to push him away but I couldn’t move. I saw him got shot but next thing I knew I was being dragged away, all I remember was Frank smiling at me. I saw him walk away but I knew he was shot, I wanted to run after him but they would not let me” Hannah said.
“I was ready to leave Darwin but in the hospital I heard what Frank said, his voice sounded in pain and I just could not forgive myself. The smile he was talking about, that was forced, I have to show that smile when I am in public view. I was taught to act that way. That was not my real smile, but how was I supposed to tell him that? It’s too late now and I will never forgive myself for hurting Frank” Hannah said sobbing.
“Do you still love him?” Jennifer asked and Hannah looked at her. “Very much” Hannah replied. Jennifer felt a mild pain in her heart for she too was in love with Frank. “Do you know where Frank lives now?” Jennifer asked and Hannah shook her head. “Classified information, top level clearance” Hannah said and Jennifer smiled. “There, that warehouse, that is where Frank lives” Jennifer said as she pointed at the warehouse. Hannah looked at her and was surprised, “Why did you tell me? That’s supposed to be classified information” she said.
“If you still love him then go to him and tell him. I would suggest you bring him some food because he hasn’t eaten yet” Jennifer said and Hannah smiled at her. Hannah ordered some food for Frank; as soon as the food was ready she remained silent. “Well would you like me to take you there now?” Jennifer asked. No, I won’t go there” Hannah replied. “I thought you still love him, so how are you going to tell him?” Jennifer said. “I won’t tell him” Hannah answered and Jennifer was surprised.
“What do you mean you won’t tell him?” Jennifer asked and Hannah smiled at her. “I have pained him so much and I still won’t forgive myself even if he takes me back. I still love him and I will forever love him even we are not together. You bring the food to him” Hannah said and Jennifer looked at her. “What Frank needs is a new start, he has to move on. And I can tell that you are in love with him am I right?” Hannah said and Jennifer again was surprised. She wanted to deny it but she just could not. “Bring him the food, he gets grumpy when he is hungry” Hannah said and they both laughed.
Jennifer noticed some bruised on Hannah’s arm and she asked about it. Hannah quickly covered the bruises and fell silent. “He did that to you?” Jennifer asked. “We had a fight, he stopped me from leaving” Hannah said softly. “That bastard!” Jennifer exclaimed but Hannah tried to pacify her. “Please don’t tell Frank about this, you don’t want to see Frank angry” Hannah said. “Frank angry? Never happened, Frank is a gentle guy I am sure if he knew he would just talk to Darwin” Jennifer said but Hannah shook her head. “No, you have never seen Frank angry; when he is angry he becomes a different person. Insult him, hurt him he will just smile at you or tell you it hurts. But when you hurt someone he loves he gets very angry” Hannah narrated. “So what does Frank do when he is angry?” Jennifer asked and there freight written on Hannah’s face.
“One time when we were window shopping, I moved away from Frank to check on an item. A man suddenly approached me and he groped my breast. I screamed and Frank saw it. For the first time in my life I saw Frank very angry, he didn’t say a word but he walked towards the man who was still laughing. I was even afraid to stop him, he told me to take a cab and go home. I didn’t think twice and I did, when he got home he was all smiles again and even though I asked him what happened he wouldn’t tell me. Next thing I knew I saw on the news the man who groped me being rushed to the hospital. He suffered bruises all over his face and all his bones on both of his hands were broken” Hannah recalled.
“So please don’t tell him” Hannah said and Jennifer who was still in shock just nodded. “You should go before the food gets cold” Hannah told her. “What about you? Where will you go?” Jennifer asked. “Don’t worry about me, just go. Please take care of Frank for me, that is all I ask” Hannah said as she smiled at her.
As Jennifer stepped out of the elevator she was surprised to see Frank standing by the door. “Do you know what time it is?” Frank said and Jennifer was surprised. “Is it late?” Jennifer asked and Frank nodded. “Sorry I had dinner with a friend, here I even got you food” she told him. “I was worried about you, you should get a watch like mine so I know where you are too” Frank said and Jennifer smiled at him, she actually liked what she was hearing.
“So you’re concerned about me?” Jennifer teased him as they walked towards the dining area. “Of course I am” Frank replied as he set the food on the table. Frank got two plates and they sat down. “No, that food is for you, I told you I already ate” Jennifer said. Frank pouted and looked at her, “I can’t eat alone, you must eat with me even just a little” he said and Jennifer agreed. “You are going to make me fat with this” Jennifer said as she took a spoonful. Frank looked at her and smiled, “Don’t worry even if you get very fat I will still like you” he said.
Jennifer blushed and almost choked, as she finished swallowing she asked him “What did you say?” Frank looked calm as he looked at her, “I said even if you become fat I will still like you” he said as he took a spoonful and started to chew. Jennifer was happy yet unsure of what she heard since he just said those words as if they were so easy to say. “Even if I grow fat you will still like me?” Jennifer repeated and Frank smiled and nodded.
Jennifer could not help but smile, her heart was once again beating fast. Still she was not contented with what she heard, there was something missing for her believe what he was saying. She thought maybe it was just a friendly gesture from him so she would eat. “Frank when you say the word like, what do you exactly mean?” she asked him. Frank paused for a while and thought deep, “I don’t know, there is only one definition of the word like right?” he replied. “Yes, but like as what? Like as a friend?” she again asked. “Yeah something like that” he replied and continued eating. Jennifer was frustrated; she thought that he liked her too in the same manner as she liked him. Nevertheless she was just happy being with him so she just smiled as she watched him eat.
After eating they both headed to upstairs and as Jennifer was about to enter her room she stopped and looked at him. “Frank, I have been mean to you from the start, you should hate me right?” she asked. Frank looked at her and shook his head. “I never hated you” he said. “So are you trying to say you liked me from the start?” she again asked. “Hmmm not really, but it doesn’t matter because I like you now” he said. Jennifer smiled and she really wanted to talk with him longer. “Tell me when you started liking me?” she said. Frank took a deep breath and leaned his forehead on his door, he turned to her and smiled, “When you started smiling at me” he said and she bowed her head and started to giggle. She looked at him smiling and Frank started to laugh, “Jen don’t smile at me too much, because if you do I might totally fall in love with you. Good night Jen” he said as he entered his room.
Jennifer entered her room feeling wonderful, she stood in front of the mirror and she could not help herself from giggling. She got on the bed and she could not stop laughing, she saw the communications set so she turned it on.
“Hey Papo, if you’re listening…I like you too” she said.
“You pressed the wrong button Ice Queen…ahem ahem…I will just pretend I didn’t hear that” she heard Erick say so she felt embarrassed.
“You actually pressed the general button Jen, so we heard it too. You two keeping secrets from us huh” she heard Yehleen say. Jennifer didn’t reply but even though they now know she was simply happy.
“What are you all talking about?” they heard Frank say. “Frank were you listening since a while ago?” Jennifer asked. “No, I just put my ear piece on, why did I miss anything?” he asked. “You actually missed a lot” Erick said. “Like what?” Frank asked. “Cap, John, Yehleen if you say a word I swear I will not forgive you!” Jennifer said. “Jennifer was bidding everyone goodnight” Yehleen said. “Ah okay, good night everyone, thanks for the food Jen” Frank said and there was communications silence.
“John do you think Frank heard what Jen said?” Yehleen asked as she hugged. “I don’t know but as far as I remember I saw Frank wearing his earpiece ever since he got back. “Oh those two, they make a great couple, funny thing is I noticed they are both shy” Yehleen said. “Oh leave them alone, but it would be really fun watching them from now on” John said and kissed her goodnight.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Chapter 9: Moving On