Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Half of Me: Prologue

Half Of Me


Paul Diaz


The arena was packed with people, all sitting silently as their attention was focused on the two people on the stage. A beautiful young woman with long red hair wearing an elegant dark green dress was seated in front of a piano. She smiles at the man standing a few steps away from her, a tall handsome man wearing a matching dark green tuxedo. The young man smiles back at her and she begins to play.

A soft and relaxing tune emanated from the piano, most of the audience had their eyes closed seeming relaxed and the rest had smiles on their faces. A few seconds later the young man starts singing and everyone was in awe with his marvelous voice. The crooner’s voice was blending well with the tune of the piano. With every word the man uttered everyone in the audience could simply feel his emotions. The crowd was carried away as tears began falling but the smiles never faded. After the song the audience could not help but applause loudly and it took a few seconds before they stopped.

The concert continued, eight more songs were sang and after the final note that the woman played the crowd stood up and the arena was filled with cheers, claps and calls for more. The young man walked towards the piano and took the woman’s hand as he escorted her towards the center where they both bowed. The crowd cheered more wildly as the couple on stage locked lips for a second and waived to the everyone.

Like their usual concerts, this would be the time that they both walk off the stage but today was different. The young man took the microphone and begged the crowd to sit down and be quiet. The man looked backstage as the staffs were all looking at him and signaling them to exit as the curtains would be lowered. “Please let me have this moment” he said and the arena fell silent and the woman beside him was looking at him. “What’s going on?” she asked.

“Thank you. I am Adam Bowfield, years ago I was no one. I was just a normal guy who was blessed with a talent for singing. Standing beside me is Aimee Patterson, definitely a beautiful young woman who is blessed in playing the piano. Years back I already made a name for myself, I sang all over the world and so did she but we were not together. It just so happened that our paths crossed and I have loved her eversince and forever will. Some critics say we both could be better off as solo artists just like before. Some say together we do make good music and I couldn’t agree more” Adam said.

“I am known to sing with full emotions, I admit I really do. With each song I sing I let everything go in order for the listener to feel what I am feeling. I hope tonight you all felt what I really feel deep inside of me. Well if you didn’t then let me show you” he added as he faced Aimee and knelt down on one knee. From his pocket he brought out a diamond ring as he looked at the stunned woman in front of him.

“Aimee, it’s been two years since we first met, and fifteen concerts in ten countries. Here we are at a country where we have never been, here we are together. You could have gone here alone, played your piano in your own concert. I could have gone here alone, singing in my own concert but here we are together. Could we have gone higher, could we have become more famous if we never met? Here we are together, two years together, and I admit I can never sing a song anymore without your piano accompaniment. Even at rehearsals I always need you there”

“Words cannot come out of my mouth without the tune you play. Could I have been gone higher without you? Yes probably but I am sure I would have not been this happy, and I hope you feel the same way. With you I can sing forever, and even if I lose my voice one day and you grow weak to play, my heart will sing for me and I do hope you heart will be there to play the tune”

“So Aimee…Will you play good music with me for the rest of our lives?”

Half of Me: Chapter 1

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 1: When Dreams Come True

The following morning Adam and Aimee stepped out of the hotel doors to be greeted by a dozen photographers. Lights began flashing as each one was jostling for a good position to get a picture of the couple. Aimee hid at the back of Adam, holding his hand tightly, the young man was all smiles but turned to his fiancée. “Hey, are you alright?” he asked. “I told you we should have taken the back door and took the limo” Aimee replied. “Oh come on my love, it’s our last day here in Paris, it would be better if we walked and enjoyed the scenery. This is our dream place remember? It took us several years to get here but here we are now” Adam told her.

“How are we supposed to enjoy if it’s going to be this way the whole day?” Aimee complained. “They have to make money too, but we can ask them nicely to give us space” the young man told her as he faced the photographers. “Okay okay, please calm down. Stop shooting for a moment, I want to tell you guys something” Adam pleaded and the flashes stopped and everyone fell silent.

“Guys, I know you need to make money, so its really okay. You see this is our last day here in Paris. Me and Aimee, this is our dream place, you know when you are young and you have a place that you really want to go to. Well for us this is it. We are willing to let you do your jobs, we would be glad to even pose for you. All we ask is to give us some space so we could enjoy this place. I could tell you our itinerary if you want, I could tell you the route we are going to take but please could you give us some space?” Adam asked and instantly there was a silent agreement between all photographers.

“Great! So okay we shall be walking this way, so before that you can take our photos here. Oh is it okay if I ask for copies of the photographs? You see we didn’t bring our camera” Adam added. “Sure thing Mister Bowfield!” one photographer replied. “Yeah we could do that” replied another. “Sweet! So come on Aimee lets pose for them” Adam said as Aimee smiled at her fiancée and stood beside him. For five minutes photos were taken, the couple did several poses to the delight of the photographers. There was no jostling for position since Adam made sure everyone took a good shot.

As agreed the photographers left the couple to enjoy Paris, they kept their distance as Adam and Aimee started to walk. Aimee leaned her body on Adam, her head resting on his chest. “You always have a good way dealing with people” she whispered as the young man placed his arm around her waist. “Well I know how much you hate situations like that, but you also have to understand them. You know I would always side with you but look it’s a win-win situation right? At least we can have free photos” Adam said and they both laughed.

Three hours and several shopping bags later, Aimee was exhausted. “I think its time we had lunch” Adam suggested as they entered a nearby restaurant. Before they entered the door Aimee signaled the photographers to come closer. “Why are you calling them?” Adam asked. “Oh well lets treat them to lunch” Aimee replied and the young man was surprised. “Wow, that’s a sudden change of heart. What gives?” he asked. Aimee smiled and looked at the ring at her finger. “I just want to be like you, so maybe this is a first step” she said as the photographers gathered in front of the restaurant.

“Come on in guys, let’s have lunch together” Aimee said with a smile on her face. The men with cameras were surprised and looked at each other. Some were scratching their heads but Adam laughed. “Oh you better follow what she orders, she has a really bad temper if she doesn’t get what she wants” he joked. “No I don’t!” Aimee exclaimed as Adam laughed louder. “See, so come on guys you don’t want to see her really angry” he added as laughter erupted as they all entered the restaurant.

A table for two for the couple and around them was three more tables filled with vest clad gentlemen. “Now don’t hold back guys, just order what you want” Adam told the photographers. “Adam, don’t you find it weird, they aren’t taking photos” Aimee whispered. “We got their respect; you see if you are nice to them they also become nice to us. Or maybe they are just hungry” Adam explained as they both shared a laugh.

A few minutes later the food was served, everyone feasted on sumptuous steak meals. The photographers started eating only to stop as they noticed Adam and Aimee not touching their meal. “Ah, did we forget to say prayer?” asked one man. Aimee smiled and shook her head, “You see Adam doesn’t want me to touch knives or anything sharp. So I have to wait for him cut my steak into pieces” she explained. “Her hands are valuable, I would rather have my hands cut than hers” Adam said while he was focused on slicing the lump of meat.

Minutes later again the eating stopped as they watched the couple smiling at each other slowly chewing their food. Aimee was taking food from Adam’s plate while the young man did the same on her plate. “I really don’t get it, why can’t they just eat from their own plates?” whispered one man to his seatmate. “Are you married or do you have a girlfriend?” replied the older man. “Too busy for that” said the younger man. “Then you would not understand, looking at them makes me miss my wife all of a sudden. Yeah, we are definitely going to try that” said the older man as he wiped some tears off his eyes.

After lunch Adam and Aimee went back to the hotel to rest their legs. After two hours the again came out of the hotel main doors to be greeted by the same twelve people but this time they were not taking photos. “Hi guys! No more shopping this time, just plain sight seeing” Adam said and the photographers started walking fast ahead of them. Hand in hand the couple walked only to be stopped by one photographer. “I am sorry to butt in but if you are just going to walk this path you would not really enjoy Paris. If you want we can show you the great places to see” the man offered.

“That won’t be necessary. We are in Paris, it used to be a place only in our dreams but here we are now together. Being here, with here is enough for me unless she would want to go see other places” Adam explained as he looked at her fiancée. Aimee smiled at him and shook her head, “This is more than enough” she softly said and the man smiled back at them and ran ahead.

As the moon lit the dark sky the couple were exhausted and found themselves seating on a bench along a park. Most photographers had left except for two who were situated a far distance from the couple. “Its been a whole day and still we have not introduced ourselves” said the old man. “My name is Ricky, I am quite new to this really” said the younger man. “Alfred, nice to meet you Ricky. I have been doing this for fifteen years but let me tell you this is the only day I enjoyed” said the older man.

Aimee and Adam were laughing and the two men could hear them. Alfred took several shots and smiled. “I don’t get it, aren’t you supposed to wait until their lips lock? I am sure those kind of pictures are going to sell compared to the ones you just took” Ricky commented. “Oh so the whole day you were waiting for those situations then” Alfred said. “Of course, those are what you call hot items. Kissing, public display of affection, nudity, those pictures do sell” Ricky added and the old man laughed.

“Well that may be true but let me show you” Alfred said as he recalled the latest shots he took on the LCD screen of his camera. “What do you see in this picture?” he asked. “What else but its them laughing” Ricky replied and the old man smiled. “Again that is true, but look closer. Their hands gripping each other, yes they are laughing but look they are happy. Walking for several hours makes you tired but look at them, it seems that they are full of happiness and energy. This young man is a perfect picture of love. You can never give a price for this picture. You may take their picture kissing, but that is common. A picture like this is rare, this is a picture of true love” Alfred explained.

Adam and Aimee watched as the two last photographers walked away waiving at them. They both waived back to the last two friends they have made. Adam placed his arm around Aimee, she leaned her body against his and raised her hand pointing towards the sky. “Look, its just like one of the stars sparkling but this star is on my finger” Aimee said as they both stared at the ring at her finger. “It suits you perfectly, the only thing that is missing are your wings” Adam said. “Wings? What do I need wings for?” Aimee asked. “Well angels do have wings right?” the young man said and his fiancée looked at him at smiled.

“Tomorrow we shall go back home, back to our own places” Adam suddenly said. “Why the sad face? Do you like to stay here a little bit longer? We could do that” Aimee replied. “No, I was just thinking about us. Yeah we don’t have a definite date for our wedding yet but…I was hoping that…even though we are not married yet…” Adam cut his speech short as Aimee embraced him. “Yes, I would love to move in with you” she uttered and Adam was surprised. “You read my mind?” he asked and Aimee smiled at him. “I have always wanted be by your side each morning. It pains me when we have to part at night, so yes let’s move in together” the young woman said with a happy tone.

“So tomorrow I will pack my things and move in with you because I always liked your apartment. I like the terrace on your room, your kitchen…hmmm never mind we can fix that” Aimee excitedly said but Adam stopped her and kissed her. “Tomorrow can wait, for now let’s just enjoy our last hours here. Paris is just another place; I didn’t understand why I really wanted to go here years ago. I just had this urge that I need to, and I had all the chances to go here but I never did. Now I do understand the mystical feeling, it’s not about Paris, it’s about achieving a dream going here and from here, together we start to make new dreams for the both of us” he softly said.

“I love you Adam Bowfield” Aimee softly whispered. “And I love you too Aimee Bowfield” he replied and the young woman’s jaw dropped. “Oh I am sorry, maybe I am just too excited” Adam said but the young woman giggled and peppered him with soft kisses. “No, say it again” Aimee told him. “Aimee Bowfield?” he replied and the more she giggled. “Honestly I have been saying that since last night, but hearing it from you makes it more perfect. Say it again” Aimee begged as Adam faced her and caressed her cheek. “I love you Aimee Bowfield” he said as he moved his face closer and they both kissed.

As the sun was brightly shining the next day, Adam and Aimee found themselves standing at the exit of the airport to the place they call home. “Aimee are you in a rush to go home?” Adam asked. “Sort of, I didn’t sleep well at the plane. Why? Do you want to grab breakfast? It’s okay with me” she replied. “Ah yeah something like that, so wait here I just have to make a call” he said as he signaled one staff to look over Aimee and he walked bringing out his mobile phone.

A limousine arrived but Adam held Aimee’s hand, “We are not getting on that one” he told her. “Why? This is our ride” Aimee said. “Not today my love. Henry please take all our luggage inside the limo” Adam instructed accompanied by a short nod to where the driver smiled. “Why is he smiling? What did you signal him to do?” Aimee asked. A brand new Sports Utility vehicle stopped in front of them and Aimee recognized the driver. “Is that your new car Darlene?” she asked. “Oh no Aimee, I think it belongs to the both of you” Darlene said as she quickly walked towards Adam and handed him the keys.

“Adam? What’s this? Is this your car?” Aimee asked as she was escorted by her fiancée to the front seat. “Now seat tight my love, I want to take you somewhere. Trust me you will like it” Adam told her as he shut the door and waived at Darlene who rode the limousine. “You go ahead, were going to take our time getting there” he said to their assistant. “Don’t take too long, the breakfast would be cold” Darlene said as the limo sped off.

An hour later Adam woke up Aimee who fell asleep. As she opened her eyes she was amazed by the green surroundings. Aimee quickly got out of the car and ran towards the lake, she stood up and took a deep breath. “Wow! This is the best surprise ever! How did you know I wanted to go to a place like this?” Aimee exclaimed. Adam stood at her back and embraced her, “Well do you like this place?” he asked.

“Like? I love this place! Oh Adam look at the tall trees, everything here is so green. This calm lake is so refreshing to look at. Adam, I want us to save money and build our dream house here. Our room should have a terrace overlooking this lake” she said as Adam kissed her neck. “Come on, there is a house nearby, we are going to have a picnic” he whispered so they started walking.

A few steps away Aimee was again surprised to see a huge house, Henry and Darlene at the front lawn setting up breakfast. Aimee stood still staring at the house, it was simple in design but the scenery made it look more elegant. At the second floor she saw a terrace, she quickly looked across to see the calm lake. “Adam…I want our house to be like this one” she whispered. “But it looks so simple” he told her. “No, its perfect. I want one like this one” she said.

“Oh okay, come on let’s eat before the food turns cold” Adam said as Aimee slowly back stepped, she still could not let her eyes off the house. While eating Aimee leaned towards Adam, “Adam, lets take more deals so we could buy something like this. I really want a house just like this” she said. “Don’t you think the color of that house is a bit dull? And the design is quite old. Don’t you want a bigger house? The one with a pool and stuff just like other celebrities?” Adam asked.

“No, I want something like this one. You should not have bought the car. You should have saved the money” Aimee said as she started to pout. Darlene and Henry were all smiles as Adam was scratching his head. “Oh come on my love just eat. You barely touched your food. We can take a picture of the house and have it blown up if you like. We could hang it on the wall of my apartment” Adam teased and the more Aimee felt sad. “I don’t want a picture, I want a real house like that” she whispered.

“A house like that? With a terrace like that?” Adam asked. “Yes, just like that” Aimee replied. “An art room for our paintings?” he asked again. “Definitely, and two rooms for our children because I only want two. Then two guest rooms, a big kitchen because I love to cook” Aimee told him. “Love to cook and eat, then a wide living room with a piano so you can entertain our guests?” Adam added and Aimee was already smiling. “Yes, I told you several times what i like, I know I sounded like teasing but I do really like all those. I am not being selfish right? Its just a dream right?” she asked.

“And what happens if that dream comes true?” Adam asked and Aimee flashed the sweetest smile and looked at Adam. “Then I will be left with one dream…and you have to make sure it happens” she replied. “And what would that last dream be?” he asked. “To spend my whole life with you” Aimee said and Adam’s lips shivered as tears started to form in his eyes. Adam stood up and reached inside his pocket, he looked at Darlene and Henry, both of them nodded.

“That last dream of yours happens to be my dream too. So here, I want you to be the first one to open the door” Adam said as he handed a key to Aimee. The young woman was shocked, she trembled as she stared at the key. “Adam what is that?” she asked trembling. “The key to the door to your dream house” he replied. Aimee shook her head in disbelief as she looked at Darlene and Henry. “Am I dreaming? Is this really happening?” she asked as the two laughed at her. Adam pulled her up and placed the key on her hand, all of them walked towards the door but Aimee stopped and looked at her fiancée.

“Adam if this is another prank of yours you better tell me now” Aimee said with a straight face. “If the door doesn’t open then it’s a prank” Adam replied and the young woman inserted the key at the keyhole. She turned the key and they heard something unlock. Aimee started shivering but a smile brightened up her face. She took a deep breath and finally opened the door.

Aimee stood frozen as tears started to fall down her cheeks. She was just like staring at images from her dreams but this was all real. She wiped her tears and walked towards the grand piano at the living room. She caressed the keys and looked at Adam and bowed her head. Aimee continued walking looking at the paintings hanging on each wall. “We made those” she uttered softly.

At the far end she entered the last room, inside she saw three easels. The one at the center had a canvass with their unfinished painting. “Well?” Adam asked but Aimee was like in a trance and started to walk towards the stairs. She went to the second floor and immediately found the master’s bedroom.

She glided her hand on the huge bed and giggled; she smiled at Adam and winked. Aimee walked towards glass door and opened it, it was a terrace overlooking the lake. She held on to the railings and closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Adam tell me I am not dreaming” she whispered.

Adam stood behind her, placed his hands around her hips. “It was just a dream but this time you are not dreaming. If you have more dreams I want to know them. I want to be the one to make them come true. I love you so much Aimee” Adam whispered.

Aimee faced her husband to be and placed her hands around his neck. “All my dreams have come true, the last one I am sure will. I can’t find the right words, I don’t know how to thank you. This time you tell me your dreams and I too want to be the one to make them real” Aimee said as they both smiled at each other.

“You already did the moment you said yes” he softly replied as their lips locked and embraced.

Half of Me: Chapter 2

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 2: 87th Day

The morning sunlight hit the face of Adam and so he slowly opened his eyes. He turned his body to the usual morning kiss he gives Aimee but this time she was not there beside him. Adam sat up wiping his eyes and looked around the room, he wanted to shout out Aimee’s name but the smell of bacon and pancakes quickly cheered him up. Adam quickly got out of bed, did some stretching and looked at the calendar. It was the 86th day of the year and tomorrow would be his special day.

Adam went to the kitchen but did not find Aimee; instead he saw a note posted at the refrigerator. “Good Morning my love, I made you breakfast. Sorry I didn’t want you to stop me so I snuck out while you were asleep. Tomorrow is your birthday and this time I wanted to get you something. Don’t worry I will be back sooner than you think. I love you, Aimee” the note said.

Adam took a deep breath and looked at the dining table, there was only one plate so he brought out another one and set it on the table. He was about to eat when the doorbell rang so he quickly ran towards the door and smiled. “Wow you came back fast” he said only to find out it was not Aimee, instead it was Darlene standing outside. “Oh good morning Darlene, you are early” Adam said. “Early? It’s already nine in the morning, why aren’t you dressed yet? The gallery will be opening by eleven” she said as they both entered the house.

Adam sat down in front of the dining table and began eating; Darlene sat down too and noticed the extra plate. “I am starving, may I?” she asked and Adam glared at her. “Don’t sit there, that is where Aimee sits, go get your own plate” he told her and Darlene was surprised. “She isn’t here you know” she countered. “Physically she may not be, but in my heart she is. So move to another seat and get your own plate” Adam told her and Darlene laughed. “You two are so much alike, I remember a week ago when you were not here. I sat there and now I understand why she felt so uneasy” she recalled.

Darlene sat down seats away from Adam and started to eat, “Hey Darlene, you have been with me from the start of my career, are you happy?” Adam suddenly asked. “Of course I am. I am happy for you. Why do you ask?” Darlene replied. “I am asking if you are happy? Don’t you get sick of me, and now you have to manage Aimee too. Are we paying you well? You know stuff like that” Adam explained and the woman laughed. “To be honest you do pay me well, I had more problems before you met Aimee” Darlene said and they both laughed.

“Yeah, sorry about that” Adam said. “I thank God you met Aimee, she definitely tamed you. Two years ago I thought you were going to end up like those big headed stars, so I said if you did I would definitely leave” Darlene stated. “So I was that bad?” the young man asked. “Hmmm it was understandable because you were young and had fame and fortune. The biggest surprise I had was that day you asked me to enroll you in an art school. Forgive me but I and Henry did really have a good laugh. A wild child suddenly opting for art school, oh boy we would watch you and Henry really laugh out loud at the hallways” Darlene recounted.

“Yeah, but that is where I first saw her. April 21, that was the exact date. I intended to enroll for publicity but after that first day I just wanted to keep on entering class just to see her. And here we are now, our first gallery. I don’t know if we do paint that well, maybe its just the hype because of our status but that gallery shows how far we have gone together” Adam said as he smiled.

“Honestly you two make good paintings. There is so much talent in the both of you” Darlene stated. “Nah, maybe it’s just the hype. I don’t know we shall see later on. Oh by the way who arranged the gallery?” he asked and Darlene grinned. “Your number one fan of course, Kristine” she said and Adam shook his head and laughed. “So did she burn down Aimee’s paintings?” he asked and Darlene started laughing too.

“She couldn’t find a single painting of Aimee since you both worked together on all of them. But if there was a painting where Aimee worked alone then I am sure there would be no traces of it” Darlene said as they laughed louder. “You know she likes you” she suddenly said and Adam pouted. “Did you have doubts on your mind? Did you ever think that there would be complications?” he asked.

“Yes, but you proved me wrong. I thought you were just like those youngsters who would fall for the prettier girl, no offense by the way” Darlene admitted. “Kristine is indeed prettier, but she isn’t beautiful. She is kind, thoughtful but she isn’t beautiful. To me only Aimee is beautiful and I do hope Kristine understands that. When I say beautiful I do hope you understand what I am talking about right?” Adam asked and Darlene smiled and nodded. “Oh come on get changed, let me handle the dishes” she offered. “No, Aimee cooks, and I do the dishes. So why don’t you go relax in the living room. Don’t worry I have mastered dish washing” Adam said and again they both laughed.

Eleven o’ clock on the dot Adam and Darlene arrived at the art gallery. Hundreds of elegantly clad men and women filled the adjacent room all standing and clapping for his arrival. Adam walked towards the podium at the center where he was greeted by Kristine. “Is everything set?” he asked. “Of course, all you have to do is open the doors” she replied. Adam took the podium and smiled at everyone; he positioned the microphone and tapped it twice.

“Good morning to everyone. I am sorry if my fiancée is not with me. Well tomorrow is my birthday so she said she went to get me a gift. But I am here, and she is here with me” Adam said pointing to his heart and drew applauses from everyone except for the young woman standing a few steps away from him.

“Years ago this place was just an art school. This is where I and Aimee met; this is where our love for each other started to bloom. It really saddened us learning that the school had to close due to recession. We could not let that happen so me and my fiancée decided to sell our paintings. Half of the profit would keep the school open, but I don’t want to put pressure on all of you” Adam said and the crowd burst in laughter.

“The paintings that you will be seeing are done by me and Aimee. You see we there was one day I left a painting half done, the next day I was surprised to see it complete. Aimee completed the painting for me, she was a better painter so I took courage to do the same for a painting she left half done. From that moment on we decided to paint together, I know it sounds weird since two contradicting minds working on the same thing. But we were both amazed since we painted something beautiful, a painting that was better than our solo works”

“Our strokes complimented each other, even though she had a different perspective and so did I, but we made something we were proud of. As I would be good in the form and structure, she would add her fine detailing skills so the painting would seem more realistic. From that day on I could not lift a paint brush without her lifting hers” Adam recalled.

“So I do hope you see beyond the images that you see. In every painting there is a hidden story we want to tell everyone. We all do not have the same set of eyes to appreciate the art but I know everyone has a heart, look with your eyes and understand with your heart. It may have been our hands that did the art but it was our hearts that dictated every stroke. Thank you, I do hope you all enjoy” Adam said in parting as he walked down the podium and opened the gallery doors.

A lot of people entered the doors, most of them teary eyed. Darlene stood beside Adam who welcomed the guests as they entered. “You overdid your speech” she whispered as she wiped the tears on her eyes. “I was just being real, I told everyone our real story” Adam responded. “Yeah I know but it would have been more dramatic if Aimee was here” Darlene said and Adam sighed. “Could you try and give her a call? I know I should trust her but I am worried” Adam said. “Okay, now come on go around and entertain the guests” Darlene told him as she took out her mobile phone.

Two hours later Adam was starting to get uneasy, Darlene has been trying to get in touch with Aimee to no avail. The young man walked around the gallery flashing a fake smile, trying to hide what he is really feeling. Even if majority of the paintings already had red tags to indicate they have been sold could not brighten up Adam’s mood.

Exactly six in the evening the gallery was silent, Darlene’s cell phone battery ran out since she has been trying to contact Aimee the whole day. Adam was standing in one corner looking at all the red tags in all paintings. “I have not looked at the accounting but I am sure we made lots of money today” said a young pretty woman who stood beside him. “Let’s go grab dinner, my treat since I sold one of my paintings too. I hope you don’t mind I included some of my art work?” Kristine told him but Adam even how close did not hear any word she said.

Henry entered the gallery huffing and puffing, Adam smiled for a second but that smile soon faded when his driver started shaking his head. “So she isn’t home yet?” Adam asked. “It seems so, I tried knocking for ten minutes before I used the key you gave me. I checked the whole house she isn’t there yet” Henry said and Adam bowed his head.

“Henry could you go back to the house and stay there until she arrives? Could you call me up as soon she does?” Adam asked. “Sure thing sir” Henry replied. “No, wait, you have to eat dinner first. Darlene kindly treat them out for dinner and may I borrow your car?” Adam asked. “Sure but you have to eat too, why don’t we all go eat first?” Darlene replied. “No I am not hungry. I can eat when she gets back” he said as he took the keys.

“Adam where are you going?” Kristine asked. “To the police station” he answered as he walked towards the exit. “Let me go with you” the young woman said as she grabbed her purse and ran after Adam. “Okay I think its best we settle for fast food then, you two go ahead and I will bring your food” Darlene said but it fell to deaf ears as Adam and Kristine had already left.

Down at the police station Adam and Kristine immediately proceeded to the front desk. A burly old cop was busy writing on a log sheet, he momentarily looked at the two but continued writing. “What is it?” the cop asked. “Sir I would like to file a missing person report” Adam said and the cop looked at him. “How are you related to the missing person?” the police man asked. “She is my fiancée” Adam replied.

“Since when has she been missing?” the cop asked as he began to type on the keyboard. “Since this morning” Adam said and the burly man stopped. “Oh you can only file a missing person report if the person has been missing for forty eight hours. Did you have a fight?” the cop said. “Of course not! She left a note saying she went to get me a gift” Adam angrily said. “Well there it is, maybe you just have to wait for her to return then” the cop argued. “But she never leaves her phone unattended and she has not been gone away from me for this long. It’s been almost twelve hours!” Adam stated.

“Then you wait for another thirty six more” the cop said and Adam was furious and he clenched his fists. “This is Adam Bowfield, maybe you don’t recognize him” Kristine butted in but Adam took her arm and walked away. “Adam Bowfield as in the singer? Hey wait! Come back!” the cop said but the two were already out of the station. “We already got his attention!” Kristine said. “Never do that again! I am Adam Bowfield but that does not mean I have to be given special treatment. He is right we just have to wait; maybe she is on her way back. I just have to wait” Adam told her.

“So are you going home?” Kristine asked as the both entered the car. “No, I will bring you to your place then I am coming back here to wait” Adam said as he started the engine. “What?! You are going to wait here in the car for thirty six hours? Are you kidding me?” Kristine asked. “I am going to wait right here, fasten your seatbelt” Adam told her. “No! If you are going to wait here then I will accompany you” the woman replied. “You don’t have to do that, I will take you home” he insisted.

“What are you two fighting about?” Darlene said as she knocked on the window. Kristine turned off the engine and took the keys. “I am staying here whether you like it or not” she said. Darlene went inside the car and offered them some burgers and fries. “So it’s just like a camp out then, okay I too will wait with you two” she said. Adam breathed heavily and stared at the food; he took a look at his watch then turned to Darlene. “Yeah I know don’t worry I got some extra batteries, just let me finish my food” Darlene said.

It was exactly midnight; the two ladies were asleep while Adam was pacing around the car trying to contact Aimee through the phone. Two more hours of pacing and he grew tired so he went inside the car and ate his burger. “Get some sleep Adam” Kristine whispered as she barely could open her eyes. “I will sleep when she is with me. Go back to sleep Kristine” he told her. She wanted to comfort him but could not, ever since she got news of their engagement it tore her heart apart. She wanted to hold his hand just this once to let him know he is not alone but as soon as her hand reached for his, Adam looked at her. “I am okay” he whispered so just closed took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

The sun peeked along the horizon; Adam quickly entered the police station only to be greeted by the same policeman at the front desk. “Good Morning mister Bowfield” the cop greeted him. “Can I file the report now? Even if I am twenty hours short” Adam asked and the policeman quickly typed at the keyboard. As Adam was giving details for the report a man stood beside him and listened in.

“Adam, I told you if you have problems you call me” said the man so Adam quickly turned and recognized his friend. “David! You just don’t know how glad I am to see you” Adam said as they shook hands. “So whats the problem? Why didn’t you call me?” David said. “Sorry, I just could not think straight anymore. You see Aimee is missing since yesterday. We could not even reach her, we have been trying all night but her phone seems to be turned off” Adam told him.

“Charlie have you filed the report?” David asked the cop at the front desk. “Just a minute ago Detective even though its been only twenty four hours” replied the old man. “A minute ago?” the detective asked with raised eyebrows. “Hey hey David, he is just doing his job. I too have to abide by the rules. So its okay” Adam said. “Don’t worry let me handle this Adam, I will work on this. So you can go home and get some sleep will you? You look like you haven’t slept in days” David said.

“Sir, do you have a recent picture of Aimee so I could place it in the report” Charlie asked. “Geez just Google it will ya? Now Adam go home and get some rest. I will report to you constantly. Relax my friend; this time let me help you okay?” David said and Adam just bowed his head. The policeman at the front desk took out his mobile phone and tapped Adam’s shoulder, “Ah may I take a photograph of you and me? My wife is a big fan. Sorry if I didn’t recognize you last night” he whispered and Adam smiled at him.

“Seriously Charlie?” David asked as the burly old man stood beside Adam. “Oh its okay David, why don’t you take the picture for us?” Adam said as Charlie handed him the phone. David could not do anything but took several pictures of the two since Adam’s funny side suddenly came out. “Come on ride my back” Charlie suggested. “Seriously?!” David again asked and Adam laughed. “What the heck, your wife is not going to believe this but as long as she is happy why not?” Adam replied as he got on the burly man’s back. David shook his head as he took several more pictures of them.

“Now, do you have kids?” Adam asked Charlie. “Yeah, we have two boys” the burly cop replied. “Do they like concerts like ours or they prefer the rock genre?” the crooner asked. “Oh they are more into the hip hop music” Charlie answered. “Here take this card, its my assistant’s card, give her a call soon and tell her I told you to call. I will give you tickets to our next concert for you and your wife. As for your kids I will get them something to their liking but you have to go with them” Adam said and the man was surprised.

“Oh that’s too much mister Bowfield. My wife will go nuts if she hears this” Charlie said in delight. “It’s the least I can do for your help” Adam told the man but the burly cop suddenly was full of guilt. “I am sorry I had to follow protocol” he whispered but Adam tapped his arm. “It’s okay, I know you were just doing your job” Adam told him. “Don’t worry mister Bowfield I will make sure the detective here doesn’t forget. Sorry I can’t do much since I am behind the desk” Charlie replied as David scratched his head.

David walked Adam out of the station and as soon as the stepped out the detective put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Adam go home and rest. Relax, leave this to me okay? Get some sleep my friend” David told him. Adam barely could smile so he just nodded as he walked towards the car.

Adam got in the car and sighed, the two ladies were awake and noticed his food was not finished. “Oh Adam, lets just go home. I am sure she will be back today. Its your birthday. And look, she said she went to get you a gift. Whatever that gift is, I am sure it’s a big one” Darlene said. “Happy birthday Adam. Sorry we were too busy and I could not get you a gift” Kristine told him.

“Me too. So cheer up Adam. Now tell me what do you like for your birthday? We have to celebrate it you know” Darlene added from the back seat. Adam rested his head at looked at the mirror, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “You two being here with me is already enough. But if you insist on giving me a gift…”

“…find her for me and bring her back…please”

Half of Me: Chapter 3

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 3: The Wild Child

Two days have passed and Adam was really worried, he had been pacing the living room for over an hour. “You should call him again, he needs to eat” whispered Kristine. “He won’t listen, let him eat when he is hungry” Darlene replied as her phone rang. Before she could reach for it, Adam rushed towards her and grabbed the mobile phone. “Hello, David, yes tell me you found her” Adam said as he flashed a simple smile. That smile didn’t last as it quickly turned into a lonely frown. “I see…okay. Please find her” the young man whispered as he slowly put down the phone on the table.

Adam took a deep breath and looked at the two women; he then quickly turned around and went upstairs to their room. “Oh my God, I really don’t know what to do anymore. I have to attend to many things but I can’t leave him alone” Darlene said. “It’s okay, you can go. I will stay here with him” Kristine told her and Darlene stared at her. “Come on go already. Life has to move on, we can’t all be idle. You can come back later” Kristine said as she stood up and took the plate of food and walked towards the stairs. “Okay, but make sure he eats. I will send Henry later on to bring lunch” Darlene said. “Don’t worry about lunch, I can cook you know. Just go, I will take care of him” the young lady said as she walked up the stairs.

Inside the master’s bedroom Adam was seated in front of a study desk, in his hands was a photograph of him and Aimee. Kristine walked over and set the plate on the table. “Adam you should eat” she said. “I am not hungry” he replied. “Adam, please eat. Last night you barely touched your food. Do you think if Aimee was here she would like that?” the young lady said. “She isn’t here, I can eat when I know she is safe” Adam replied. “And when she comes back, you will be so weak for you have not eaten. Where will you find the strength to even embrace her?” Kristine said and Adam looked at her.

Kristine pulled another chair and sat down, she moved the plate closer to Adam and the young man looked at the plate. “It’s already cold” he whispered. “It’s because you are so stubborn. Do you want me to reheat it?” she asked. “No, it’s okay” he said. Kristine noticed the sad face Adam was wearing as he was eating. She knows her cooking was good but Adam was just not in the mood. She took the photo and moved closer to the young man. “Now, I hope you don’t mind, can you tell me how you two met while you are eating?” she asked and Adam looked at her and smiled.

Two years ago

The auditorium was packed and Adam was belting out the final line of his song. As he stopped singing the crowd all rose to their feet and clapped. The young man bowed and waived to the crowd, calls for one more song emanated and the crooner could not just leave and gave in. He looked at the orchestra accompanying him and signaled the song he wanted to sing. A few seconds later the crooner again serenaded the crowd with his enchanting voice. As the last note was hit he once again bowed for the last time and left the stage.

As he stepped foot at the backstage a man took his arm and escorted him towards the exit. As soon as they stepped out a mob of fans were already there screaming and shouting. They were all trying to reach for him but the man beside him and several other bodyguards shielded Adam. As soon as he entered the limo, Darlene was already there handing him a bottle of orange juice. The other man got in and closed the door, he tapped the window and the limo took off.

“Hey, you are new. Where is Jerry?” Adam asked the other man. “He called in sick sir” replied the man. “This is David Thompson, don’t worry he is a cop” Darlene said to the surprise of Adam. “Geez, so that means no more happy days for me huh” the crooner said as he looked at David. “Hey, I can’t go partying without a bodyguard so you have to come with me” Adam told the cop.

“Sorry, I have a girlfriend” David replied and the crooner laughed. “Oh so you are the loyal type, having a girlfriend has nothing to do with this so you are coming with me. I need protection, right Darlene?” Adam said as he looked at his assistant. “When will you grow up Adam? You are already 24 years old, you just can’t go partying or doing whatever you do” Darlene complained. “Can you think of something else that relaxes me? Have I done something that bad to ruin me? Relax Darlene, I am fine and even if I go partying I can still perform the next night” Adam explained.

The limousine stopped and Darlene frowned. “David will you please see to it he gets back to his apartment before midnight” she asked and the cop nodded. The two men got off the limo and stood still until the car drove away. Adam took a deep breath and stretched his arms looked at the small bar in front of them. “Lets go David, we have so little time left before midnight” he said as he wore his hood so he would not be recognized.

Inside the bar they took a table at the far end, Adam quickly ordered for drinks as David sat quietly looking around. “Hey will you relax, you are too tense” Adam told him. “Sorry, it’s part of the job. It’s my first time doing this” David replied. “Hey, lose your tie, and will you please relax. Look around you; do you see notorious looking people? Come on drink with me, yeah don’t give me the you are on the clock excuse” Adam said as the pitcher of beer arrived.

For three hours David watched Adam gulp down mugs of beer, he took a couple of sips from his own mug and just listened to Adam rant about many things. “Sir, its almost midnight and I think you have had too much already” David said. Adam who could barely open his eyes looked at his new friend and nodded. “Yeah, hey could you reach for my wallet and pay. I just feel so dizzy” Adam said and David did as instructed.

A few minutes later the two were outside waiting for a cab. Adam could not barely stand was leaning on David; the cop making sure the crooner’s face was hidden. A few minutes later they arrived at Adam’s apartment, David had no choice but to tuck the singer in bed. He wanted to leave but felt it was better to stay so he took out his mobile phone and called his girlfriend.

“Hi, you won’t believe where I am. I just tucked Adam Bowfield in his bed” he whispered. “Shhhhh…he is asleep. I covered for Jerry, that damn fool didn’t say he was guarding a celebrity” he added. A few seconds later David walked out of the room and his face suddenly changed to a worried one. “I am not lying; I am really here at Adam Bowfield’s apartment. I am not fooling around, I want to take a picture and send it to you but I think that is against the law so I can’t. Why don’t you believe me?” David asked but the call had been dropped. He took a deep breath and scratched his head; he knew he could not just leave Adam alone.

The following night Adam and David was at the same bar, this time the cop was matching the singer’s pace in drinking. “Hey Adam, oh is it okay if I call you Adam?” David asked. “Of course, you seem to be in a drinking mode today. What gives?” Adam replied. David gulped down his mug and wiped his mouth, “Girlfriend issues, hey are you holding back? Where are the girls? Where is the party?” asked David and Adam laughed.

“This is the party, this is what I do” Adam said and David laughed. “Oh come on you don’t have to hide it from me. Forget I told you I have a girlfriend, come on spill the beans and bring them out and take me to them” David said. “Oh, okay, let’s just drink some more and I will take you to one” Adam said and David was excited.

Two hours later the two found themselves at a grocery grabbing a couple of six packs. David was tipsy so he just slouched at the counter as Adam was paying. “Oh come on, Henry is here” Adam said as the limo pulled over in front of the grocery. The two quickly got in and David was surprised. “Oh so we have to take a limo to the girls eh” David said. “Yeah something like that. I called for Henry since we could reach that place faster and safer” Adam explained as the cop slouched and shut his eyes. “Henry, you know the place?” Adam asked. “Yes sir, Darlene told me” the driver replied and the limousine quickly drove off.

A few minutes later Adam was knocking on an apartment door, slouched on the ground was David who was clinging to the six packs. The door opened and the woman stood there surprised. “Hi, I believe this is your boyfriend” Adam said as he pointed at David. The young woman didn’t even bother looking her boyfriend, she had her jaw dropped and eyes wide open. “Adam Bowfield” she uttered softly. “Yes, that’s me. And your boyfriend was not lying. He has been with me for two days” Adam said.

“Oh…come in come in” the woman said as Adam and Henry helped David up and they entered the apartment. David sat down on the couch and looked at her girlfriend, “Oh, now do you believe me?” he asked as the woman was still shaking her head in disbelief. “Sir, I shall return to the car now” Henry interrupted. “No, stay here and drink with us. If that is okay with the lady of the house” Adam said. “Oh I don’t mind, its okay” the woman said. “Sir, I don’t drink anymore. I would appreciate it if I could get a cup of coffee” Henry said. “Yes I shall make you one, oh please sit down. David snap out of it and entertain them” the woman said as she left for the kitchen.

A few minutes later everyone was at the living room, David was beside his girlfriend and Adam was across them gulping down a bottle. “You still have not introduced me to your girlfriend David” Adam said. “Yeah, ah this is Beverly, and as you can see she loves to paint. She is an art instructor” David said and Adam smiled at her. All around the apartment were beautiful paintings but Adam kept looking at the one at the center.

“So now are you still mad at me Bev?” David asked and the lady frowned. “I believe you but still you were with but you know there are rumors that he is a wild child. Oh sorry I meant no offense” Beverly said and Adam laughed. “So tell me Beverly when you hear those rumors what do you think I do behind the cameras and spotlight?” Adam asked and Beverly crossed her arms and pouted.

“Rich and fame, booze and girls and I don’t what else. So far the booze was right” Beverly answered and Adam again laughed. “Will you believe me if it’s just the booze?” Adam asked as he opened another bottle. “I am sorry but I don’t believe you” Beverly replied. Adam grinned and again focused his attention at the painting; it was a portrait of what seemed like to be David.

“Ever since I was discovered I kept on singing. It is true I earn a lot but honestly I don’t know how much I have. I didn’t bother asking, and you know what you have a bigger apartment than I do” Adam said. Henry nodded his head and Beverly leaned back and listened. “After I sing I go back to my place, nothing has changed. I am still alone like before. I should be happy but I am not. Ever since I became famous, oh not to brag, I seemed to lost my freedom. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. My time is not mine anymore, and I do have an assistant, sort of a manager who tells me where to be, what to do and even what to wear. So do you think that is fun?” he added.

“I find solace in drinking, I don’t know why but it’s a sort of escape. If I don’t drink I can’t sleep because there seems to be something missing in my life and the harder I think about it the more I don’t know what it is. I am me but I feel there is really something missing in my life” Adam told them. “With all the money I could think of so many things I can buy but I really think hard if it would really make me happy” he added.

“And what have you bought lately?” Beverly asked. “Nothing. I don’t even own a car; the clothes I wear are all given to me. The good thing is they pay me to wear them though” Adam said and they all laughed. “So it’s just the beer and alcohol?” Beverly asked. “Yeah, every time I say I go party my assistant gives me pocket money. Two hundred dollars, just for booze and a taxi ride back to my apartment” the crooner explained.

There were several minutes of silence due to Adam’s revelation. Even Henry silently enjoyed his coffee while David seemed to have gotten his senses back and opened a bottle of beer. “I noticed you have been staring at that painting, it’s not for sale” Beverly joked and Adam managed to smile. “That painting is David, and there is another one at the far end that looks like him again. I count three paintings of him” Adam said.

“Eight actually, the others are at the bedroom” Beverly said and the singer was surprised. “Would you like to see them?” the young woman offered. “No thank you” Adam said as he looked at David. “Yesterday you were so scared when I said party. You were relieved when you knew it was just drinking. Last night you brought me home, I overheard your conversation. A while ago you drank with me, you looked like you had a big problem” Adam related as he looked at Beverly. “He loves you so much, and I can see you love him too. I envy both of you” he added.

Beverly and David looked at each other, they suddenly kissed and Adam smiled at them. “I want to enroll in your art class” Adam suddenly said and everyone looked at him. “Are you sure? Painting involves dedication and patience, you just can’t say you want to paint or you are willing to learn to paint” Beverly explained. “I want to learn to paint, I want to do the same one day to the one I will love” he said as he again stared at David’s portrait.

“Adam I don’t think the art class can accommodate irregular schedules. I know the class should fit in to your schedule” Beverly said. “No, this time I will decide what I want. My schedule will adapt to my art class. So give me the form and I will sign it immediately” Adam told her and the woman was ecstatic. “You really are serious, I can tell” she said. “Yes, I want to do something worthwhile for a change” the singer said.

“This is unbelievable, if you are going to really enroll then you would be the second celebrity to do so” Beverly told him but Adam stood up and went around the room and observed the paintings. “Will I be able to paint as good as you?” Adam asked. Beverly stood beside him and looked at the painting of David.

“Yes, but it will take time” Beverly replied. “I have time, I will make time. I want to do this” Adam told her. “Well I will be expecting you at nine in the morning sharp” she said and Adam looked at Henry who was already jotting down the appointment. “Hey look I have a painting too” David suddenly said as he walked towards the flat screen television. At the back he brought out a small framed painting to which Beverly laughed at the sight of it.

David felt embarrassed but Adam took the painting and stared at it. “What is this supposed to be?” he asked. “It’s a dark night, and that is me and Bev walking under moonlight” David said as Beverly kept laughing. “You are teaching him to paint?” Adam asked Beverly. The woman shook her head and giggled. “I didn’t even know he tried to paint, I am just surprised” she said.

“He tried to do what you do best. He had no training but still he did paint. It may not compare to the beautiful paintings that you have but among all paintings I see in this room I would buy this one” Adam said and Beverly was shocked and ashamed. “Sometimes it’s not what the eyes can see that is important. In this case it’s the effort, the reason behind the painting, and that reason I think is what I am missing in my life” Adam explained.

“And what reason is that?” Beverly asked. “Love, its what you two have that I don’t” Adam said and he smiled at the two. “Here, you can have my painting” David offered. “No thanks, I think you should be proud and post that at the wall. Some people may criticize it, they may never understand. What is important is you both know why that painting exists. It’s getting late, I have to go now in order to wake up early” Adam told them as he walked towards the door. Henry opened the door and nodded at the couple, “See you at nine sharp then” Adam said as he bid the two farewell.

The following morning Adam and Darlene were rushing down the halls of the art school. He was already one hour late, he had to attend a scheduled event at eight and it lasted for almost two hours. “First day in class and I am late, so late” Adam said. “Don’t worry they can understand” Darlene said as they reached the classroom door. “Good luck” she said and Adam opened the door and entered.

Beverly was giving a lecture; she paused and nodded at Adam. The young man nodded back and smiled at everyone. “I am sorry for being late” he said and walked towards the back of the classroom where he sat down. Beverly continued her lecture and Adam looked around the classroom and someone caught his attention.

A young woman with long red hair, she tapping her pen on a notebook, she suddenly turned her head and their eyes met. For a moment their eyes locked, she was pretty and once she smiled at him, Adam felt something different. His lips trembled but he managed to smile back. He quickly looked away and took a deep breath. The woman was three rows in front of him, she never looked back but Adam never removed his gaze even if it was only the side of her face he was looking at.

Two hours later he saw the woman stand up and get her bag. Everyone was standing so Adam quickly stood up and he didn’t have a clue what was happening. Everyone was getting out of the door, he wanted to catch up with the woman but Beverly suddenly appeared in front of him. “You were an hour late but its okay at least you came” she told him but Adam just watched the woman walk out of the door.

Darlene entered the classroom and approached Adam who was still frozen. “Adam are you okay?” Darlene asked. “You! I missed an hour in class. Starting today you make sure this is my priority. Cancel everything that gets in the way of this class” Adam instructed as he quickly raced out of the room. Darlene was still in shock but Beverly just grinned and patted her shoulder. “Is he always like that?” Beverly asked.

“No, I am so shocked to see him that way. This is a first” Darlene said. “But is this a good thing?” Beverly asked. “Actually yes, I am supposed to feel bad that he scolded be but somehow I feel good” Darlene said and the two women laughed.

“I envy my colleague who is going to be their instructor. I really wanted this class since there are two celebrities” Beverly related. “Two? Who is the other one?” Darlene asked. “Aimee Patterson” Beverly answered and Darlene was surprised. “The pianist? Oh I thought it was just someone who looked like her, so that was her?” Darlene asked.

“Yes it was her. Oh maybe that is why Adam is so interested in this class” Beverly replied and Darlene laughed. “I don’t know, I have seen so many pretty girls but he never showed interest. It’s not that Aimee isn’t pretty, she is indeed pretty. There are much prettier girls but Adam never pays attention to them” Darlene related. “So you think he is…” Beverly asked and again they both laughed.

“I really can’t say because he is so secretive. He is just like a robot and obeys me. But this is the first time he ever told me what he wanted. Maybe this art class is really important to him. I don’t know he chose to enroll in art class but somehow I have this feeling that big changes are about to come” Darlene said.

Half of Me: Chapter 4

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 4: Denial

A whole week passed, Darlene, Kristine and Henry had already moved in with Adam to give the young man company. The two ladies were busy cooking breakfast when suddenly Adam came down and was singing loudly. Everyone looked at him as he swayed and sang with full emotion. As Adam finished his song, he bowed and Henry started clapping so the two ladies did the same.

“Good morning everyone!” Adam happily said. “Did you have a good sleep sir?” Henry asked. “Oh yes, and now I feel so hungry so could you speed up the cooking girls?” the young man pleaded. Kristine and Darlene were surprised, they turned around and were still in disbelief. “What’s happening?” Kristine whispered. “I don’t know but he seems to be in a good mood so we better not spoil it” Darlene responded.

Breakfast was served; Adam who barely ate the past few days was really different. All eyes were on him for he was eating like a pig. “Don’t mind me I am just so hungry” he murmured with a full mouth. In ten minutes he was full while the three barely touched their food. “I think Aimee won’t be eating breakfast with us so just go ahead and eat” Adam said and the rest didn’t know how to respond.

“Where do you think did she go and buy your gift?” Kristine suddenly asking resulting with a light nudge to the rib from Darlene. Adam smiled at them and happily said, “Oh I don’t know, but I am excited to see what that gift is. It may be late but as long as it’s from her it won’t matter” the young man replied. He suddenly stood up and walked towards the refrigerator and grabbed some chocolate bars. “What the hell are you trying to do?” Darlene whispered. “He is in denial, it’s best if we keep his mind busy” Kristine whispered back.

“Oh Adam, why don’t you continue your story. Sorry about last time I feel asleep. Why don’t you continue the story so everyone could hear it” Kristine said and Adam stood still and looked at them. They were worried because he wore a slight frown but everything changed when he smiled and got back at his seat. “Okay, Darlene and Henry knew what happened the first day anyway so let me tell you the days after then” he gamely said. Adam started telling their story as the three listened intently as they ate.

Two Years Ago

It was a sunny Monday morning, Adam and Darlene were walking down the hall of the art school. They were thirty minutes early and today was the sixth day of Adam’s class. “Tell me why you chose to wear jeans and shirt again?” Darlene asked and Adam laughed. “I want to look normal. I want to be me, just like the old days. I feel comfortable this way” he replied. “You look better wearing something more decent” his assistant told him. “Why? Don’t I look decent? You know what I really love this art class” Adam said.

“And why is that?” Darlene asked. “Hmmm…my classmates don’t pay much attention to me. It is as if they don’t know me and that is how I like it. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the attention but with too much attention I feel like being choked” the young man said. “Your classmates are lawyers, doctors and one celebrity like you” Darlene said as she grinned at him. “Celebrity? Really? I didn’t know that because I don’t pay attention to them too” Adam told her and Darlene laughed.

Adam stopped and looked at Darlene, “Why are you laughing?” he asked. “Oh nothing, are you sure you don’t pay attention to your classmates?” she asked. “Yeah, but not in a way I am being a snob. I do smile at them when they look at me. I do ask questions or you know casual talk here and there” Adam replied. “Aimee Patterson, the pianist, you classmate” Darlene dropped the bomb and Adam smiled. “I knew it, she looked familiar. So that’s her name…Aimee” the young man uttered as Darlene raised an eyebrow and grinned.

“I can help you” Darlene suddenly uttered and Adam froze and looked at her. “Help with what?” he asked. “You never had a girlfriend, right?” she asked. “Yeah so what?” he replied. “I can help you” his assistant said. Adam played dumb and laughed, “You are acting strange today Darlene” he commented. “Seriously Adam, I can help you. Five days of classes and you even didn’t get to know her name? I can help you. I know your problem” Darlene told him and the young man just laughed even more.

All of a sudden Adam looked at his watch even if he wasn’t wearing one; he reached inside his pocket and pretended to search for something. “What is it?” Darlene asked but the young man turned around slowly. Darlene wondered why he was acting that way but as she turned around she saw Aimee walking towards them. The assistant hid her smile and tricked the young man. “She went in already” she whispered and Adam faced her only to see Aimee in front of the door looking at him. He froze as their eyes met, his hands began to shake. “Are you coming in?” Aimee asked and all Adam could do was smile at her and nod.

The pretty red head entered the classroom and other people enrolled to the class followed. Adam took a deep breath and shook his head while Darlene was laughing at him. “I can help you” she repeated. “Why do you keep saying that?” Adam asked. “Because you like her” Darlene said and Adam laughed. The young man walked towards the door but turned to look at his assistant. “I don’t know what you are talking about Darlene but if ever I like someone, I am going to do it my way” Adam told her. “Talk is cheap Adam” Darlene quipped and the young man grinned at her.

Inside the classroom everyone was seated in front of their easels, and at the center was a one red shiny apple on top of a stool. A grey haired man walked around and fixed his tie looking at every student’s accomplishment so far. “Alright, let’s continue from last meeting. Take your time; art is not to be rushed. Never compare your work to others, work at your own pace. Everyone can improve at their own rate. So go ahead continue, I will go around and give you suggestions and corrections” the old man said.

Derrick Milton was the art director of the school, he wanted to teach this students because they were the high paying ones so he said they deserved the best. Adam was staring at his sketch, a set of water color was in front of him but he could not start painting. “Let me tell you a secret, you have the best sketch in this class but this isn’t a sketch school. You may sketch well but there is a lot left for the imagination. You have to give life to that sketch. But I must say you do sketch well, now you have to add color, add life to it” Derrick told him. The old man took a brush, dipped it in water and on the color red and he started to do the edges.

“You see it is starting to breathe, a while ago it was just a structure where you used your imagination to guess what its color was. Now you tell them what color of the apple is, show them how you see it so they can see the apple through your eyes” Derrick said and he handed the brush to Adam. The young man continued painting and the old man patted his back as he moved along.

Thirty minutes later the professor left the classroom and Adam quickly stood up and tore his work. Everyone looked at him as he threw his unfinished art in the trash can. A new canvass was set and a pencil at hand, Adam started to sketch, this time he wasn’t looking at the apple. Ten minutes later the sketch was finished and Adam was so proud of his work that he stood up and did a little dance. His classmates looked at him and started to laugh so Adam sat back down and took the brush.

He lowered his voice and imitated the art instructor; he repeated every word the old man said while he gave color to his sketch. Most of his classmates kept on laughing and could not do their work so some gathered behind his back and were amazed at Adam’s work. “It isn’t an apple” said the lawyer. Adam grinned and looked at him, “Who said I was doing that apple? I don’t get it, why does it have to be apples anyway?” he replied and Aimee chuckled so everyone looked at her.

“It’s her, but it’s just a face. No eyes, mouth, it’s just her face” said the doctor and Adam panicked. “What are you talking about? I just imagined this image” he told them. “Yeah right, just imagined” said another man as they all looked at Aimee. The sketch was exactly her image minus the specific details of the face. “You got her face and hair correctly thought” the lawyer commented and Adam had his face all red.

Aimee stood up and walked towards Adam; the rest moved away but patted the young man’s shoulder bidding him good luck. The singer froze, his hands shook hard and he wanted to cover his work but it was too late. The red haired woman stood beside him, she stared at his work while Adam could not even move his head to look at her. “You sketch well” she commented and the young man turned and looked at her. “It isn’t you I swear” he said and Aimee just smiled at her.

Adam looked at his work again and started to rant. “Well who the heck am I kidding, yeah it’s you but I am sorry I am not really good in details” he said but as he turned Aimee was not there. Professor Derrick Milton was stroking his beard and staring at his work. “You don’t understand why I am teaching you the basics. Are you in a hurry? Rushing wont do you any good. Look what you have done, it looks good but it would look better if the image had Miss Patterson’s eyes, lips and all facial details. I told you to focus on the apple and she isn’t an apple” the professor told him.

“To my eyes she is” Adam boasted and everyone tried to hold back their smiles and looked at Aimee. The young lady was blushing, there was a faint smile on her face but she was holding back. Adam grinned and looked at their professor who had his two eyebrows raised. “Okay then mister Bowfield. I will let this incident pass if you are able to complete the face on your work. If you can’t then I would ask you to drop this class. I have no time to deal with wise asses like you” he threatened and Adam fell silent and embarrassed.

The professor walked towards Aimee, she sat frozen for a while and then looked at the old man. Professor Milton took a deep breath and rubbed his forehead then angrily shook his head. Adam saw everything, he even saw Aimee bow down her head. He wanted to know why but as he turned to his work he had a bigger problem waiting. He had to finish the details and if he couldn’t he would not be seeing Aimee again.

Adam took his pencil; he wanted to try to finish his work. Aimee saw him and didn’t move, she was trying to help him and Adam knew she was. No matter how much he wanted to he just could not, he knew his weakness so he let go of his pencil and just looked at Aimee. This was probably the last time he could do so for he did not have the courage, at this moment he thought of Darlene’s offer. The bell rang and the young man bowed his head in defeat.

Aimee and Adam were the last ones in the classroom, the young lady was still holding her pose but Adam stood up and packed his things. “It’s okay I just can’t do it. Thank you” he said. Aimee stood up and packed her bag, she looked at Adam and she saw the sadness in his face. “Maybe he was just kidding” she told him. Adam looked at her and smiled, “If he was still I am a man of my word. I know my weaknesses and I don’t want to beg. I know I was wrong but I just couldn’t help it” Adam said while scratching his head.

“You did it because you wanted to right?” Aimee asked but Adam felt embarrassed so he bowed his head. “Finish it” the young woman added and Adam looked at her. Aimee sat back down and regained her pose, “Take out your phone and take a photo of me” she commanded. “Say what?” the young man asked. “Take a photo of me and finish that” she replied.

“But I am not good with details” Adam told her. “Take a photo of me and finish your work” Aimee insisted so Adam quickly took out his phone and took a photo of Aimee. “If you started something that you believe is right then be ready to finish it. You say you are not good in detail but who is there to judge you when in your eyes you believe what you made is good” the young lady told him and those words penetrated his brain completely. “Yeah, I am going to finish this” he said and Aimee smiled at him. “Good luck, I wanted to stay but I have an appointment” she told him.

“Ah, Aimee…thanks” Adam whispered. “See you tomorrow Adam” she told him and they smiled at each other. At that moment he was so happy, an emotion he rarely felt his whole life. With his phone in one hand and a pencil in the other, Adam just could not start sketching for he could not stop smiling.

“Wow, that’s not a fake smile” a female voice said. Darlene was standing by the door looking at Adam who still flashed a wide smile. “Let’s go, we have lunch arrangements” she said. “Cancel them, I have to finish this” Adam told her. Darlene happily dialed her phone and looked at the young man, “You know what I am getting a hang of cancelling appointments already” she said and they laughed.

After the call Darlene went to get lunch. An hour later she came back only to see Adam sitting at the floor and staring at the ceiling. “What are you doing down there? Are you done?” she asked but the young man remained silent. Darlene walked towards the easel and saw nothing was added to his work. “Adam I can see you could draw well but she should have a face” she commented.

“I can’t! I just don’t have the talent for details. I should have stuck with the apple” Adam replied and slouched back. Darlene walked around the room checking the other easels, “Hey Adam, they all have apples” she joked but the young man closed his eyes and sulked. “Hey Adam, you should see this” his assistant said. “I don’t want to see an apple” he replied. “No it isn’t an apple, come quick” she told him. “Just tell what it is Darlene, I am not in the mood right now” Adam said. “It’s you!” Darlene said.

Adam opened his eyes and looked at his assistant; she was standing in front of Aimee’s easel. He quickly stood up and rushed to Darlene’s side and he could not believe what he saw. “See! It’s you. Look, those eyes, pointed eyebrows, your nose and your lips. She drew you!” she ecstatically said. “That is me? It looks like me…yes it is me!” he shouted with glee. “But I don’t understand why it’s just the eyes, nose and mouth. It’s just like your face is bursting out of the canvass” Darlene said as she burst in laughter.

“So I am the apples of her eyes too” the young man whispered as he stared at his own reflection on the canvass. “What did you say?” Darlene asked. Adam rushed to his seat and followed the pose of Aimee’s work. “Take out your phone and take my picture, sit down on the stool. Do it quick!” Adam commanded. Darlene didn’t ask questions but followed what was ordered. Adam got back at Aimee’s easel and started to finish what was started.

“She is good in details while I am not. What I excel in that is her weakness. So I am going to finish this for her” he said. “Ah should you be finishing your own work?” Darlene asked. “No, I don’t care anymore. I want to do this for her. I want to complete what she started. I want to complete what she could not. I don’t care if I get kicked out, I just want to know that she smiled seeing this even if I don’t get to see it” Adam said as he stroke his pencil magic on the canvass.

Two hours later and Adam finished his own portrait; he took a deep breath and smiled. “Wow, Adam I can’t believe it. Six days of art school and you managed to make a portrait of yourself” Darlene said. “No Darlene, it’s we. Aimee and me” Adam joyfully said. It took ten more minutes for the two to stop staring at the portrait, another five minutes to pack.

“Adam how about your work?” Darlene asked. “Hmmm I don’t really care anymore. Tomorrow I am going to show up here and beg if I have to. I take back all I said a while ago. I do want to see her smile when she sees this” he said. “You know what? Maybe she can finish your work too. Wow, you barely know each other and it is as if you already complete each other” she commented and Adam giggled.

“Hey Darlene, do you think she will be happy seeing this? Will she be insulted?” Adam asked. “If I was her? I would be so happy Adam. I just can’t believe it you know. Six days and you two managed to make something like this? Oh boy, but wait…did I see you giggle?” Darlene teased and the young man laughed. “I don’t want to deny it but yeah you are right. I do like her…she drew me, I mean parts of my face…do you think…” Adam said but cut it short. “Yes she does” his assistant said and Adam hugged her. “Am I in love Darlene?” he asked and they both laughed.

The next morning Adam intentionally went to class late. He stood by the door and the professor noticed him. “Mister Bowfield nothing will be accomplished if you stand there” the old man said. Adam was surprised so he slowly took one step inside and pointed to his seat. “Yes, go to your seat and will you just do the apple this time” Professor Milton told him. Adam was so happy, he rushed to his stool and as he opened his canvass his jaw dropped. Aimee’s portrait was complete and for a whole minute he could not take his eyes off the canvass.

He first looked at his professor then turned his attention to Aimee. The pretty red head was looking at him; she was smiling so he smiled back. “Thank you” Adam whispered as Aimee’s smile became sweeter. “Thank you” she replied and the more they smiled at each other.

As soon as the bell rang Aimee and Adam had their apples finished. Professor Milton was amazed on their work since they only restarted it. Outside Darlene was busy on her phone waiting for Adam to come out. She saw the professor leaving with a grin and seconds later she could not believe that Adam and Aimee were side by side walking out of the classroom. A simple hand signal from Adam and Darlene knew she had to cancel all appointments for the day and just watched the two walk away.

“Again I want to say thank you” Adam said. “Thank you for what?” Aimee asked. “For finishing my work” the young man said. “I don’t know what you are talking about. Thank you for finishing mine” Aimee replied and Adam laughed. “I too don’t know what you are talking about” he said. The two were traversing the hallway laughing and giggling and as soon as they stepped out of the school they both looked at each other.

Adam reached out his hand to Aimee and smiled at her. “We have not formally met, my name is Adam” he said. “I am Aimee” the young lady replied and they shook hands. Adam was ashamed, he kept on looking away but he wanted to ask Aimee out for lunch. “I am starving, you want to grab lunch with me?” Aimee suddenly asked. “Yes I would so love that” that young man replied and Aimee laughed seeing Adam’s wide eyed reaction.

“Ah, shall we take my limo or yours?” Adam asked and Aimee smiled. “Let’s walk. I know a good place nearby” she said and at the same time they both signaled their drivers to go on ahead without them. “Oh Adam wait up” they heard Darlene shouting as she ran towards them. Adam’s assistant stood beside the young man and secretly handed a bundle of cash on his hand. “I just want to tell you that your schedule for the day is all clear. That’s all, enjoy your lunch you two. Oh by the way Aimee I am a big fan of yours” Darlene said as Adam pocketed the cash.

“Would you like to join us?” Aimee asked and Adam looked at Darlene with wide eyes. “Oh no, I still have errands to run. You two go ahead and enjoy” the assistant said and she walked towards the limo. “That was Darlene my assistant, she is also my manager” Adam said. “Just your manager?” Aimee asked and Adam looked at her surprised. “Yes my manager and assistant, why?” he asked and the young lady just smiled and shook her head. “Come on I am starving” she said so the two started to walk.

“Do you think your girlfriend can manage me too?” Aimee jokingly asked and Adam laughed. “She is not my girlfriend” he said. “You don’t have to deny it you know” the young lady teased. “What is there to deny? I never had a girlfriend in my life” Adam replied and Aimee stopped and looked at him. “I believe you” she told him and Adam was surprised.

“Say what? You believe me?” he asked and Aimee laughed. “I do believe you” she said again. “I was expecting a different reaction, I was expecting you to call me a liar” Adam said. Aimee smiled and bumped hips with Adam and said. “Trust me I do believe you” she reiterated and giggled. Adam scratched his head as they continued walking, he looked at Aimee and all he could do was smile.

Half of Me: Chapter 5

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 5: Pain

A whole month has passed and everyone noticed Adam was already faking his smile. During breakfast he kept on spacing out as they were eating but they all knew better to pretend not to notice. The doorbell rang and Adam quickly stood up and ran to the door. He took a deep breath and his hands trembled, he quickly opened the door only to find David standing there. Adam bowed his head and walked away but David put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and pulled him aside.

Darlene, Kristine, and Henry looked on as the two sat on the couch. Two minutes later Adam covered his ears and bowed his head, David stood up and looked at three. The detective walked towards the dining table shaking his head but the three were more concerned with Adam who seemed frozen. “I guess he didn’t take it so well” David said. “Why? What happened?” Darlene asked. The detective sat down and Kristine offered him coffee. David took a deep breath and pouted, “We are dropping the case” he said.

“What?!!!” the three said in unison and all eyes were on the detective. “Look here, we checked all accident reports and there was no mention of Aimee. She is popular so if ever she got into an accident it would be a headline. We checked all hospitals; we checked at airports, we even checked morgues and funeral parlors. She has not used her credit card, but her bank we could not check since we need a court order. What I am saying is that she does not want to be found” David said.

“What do you mean she does not want to be found?! Are you crazy?” Henry yelled and the two ladies were surprised because their driver was always soft spoken but this time he was enraged. David calmed him down and looked at Adam who was still frozen on the couch. “Look, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but it seems that way. Don’t worry I won’t stop searching, if I have to bend some rules then I will. For now officially the case is closed” David explained and all eyes were now focused on Adam.

“For now leave Aimee to me, you have a bigger problem with Adam. I will do everything I can because I owe him that much, Darlene you should know that” David said and Darlene nodded. “I know he has stopped drinking so you better make sure he does not resort to it” the detective advised them. “How are we supposed to cheer him up? What are the right words to say?” Kristine asked. Darlene took off her glasses and wiped her tears, “There are no right words, but still we can try. I just do hope he listens” she said in a weeping voice.

“I still don’t believe that she doesn’t want to be found or she left Adam. I will never accept that” Henry said as he played with mug of coffee. “Wait, Darlene, you have access to her account right?” David asked. Darlene wiped her tears and now all attention was on her. “Yes I do, but all I do is deposit, I don’t have access to withdraw” she clarified. “Great! Why didn’t I think of this earlier, you come with me today” David told her. “What? What are we going to do?” she asked.

“You are going to deposit money to her account” the detective said. Darlene was quite confused since her mind was wandering. “Look Darlene, you deposit money and they give you a receipt right? So we shall know if she did withdraw money since I am sure you still have the last deposit slip?” David explained and Darlene nodded and smiled. “You are right! I still have a check for her to be deposited. Wait here I will get my things” Darlene said as she rushed towards the stairs.

“What are we going to do? How can we help?” Kristine asked and David looked at her and Henry. “Just be here for him. Give him space, talk to him. I will try to get my wife to come over she might help. The more friends he has the less pain he has to endure alone. So you two just stay with him” David instructed them. “I know what he is feeling, probably the same feeling I had when my wife died. I don’t know if it’s the same but I am sure he will need us. I will be here for him like he was there for me” Henry whispered as tears formed in his eyes.

Ten minutes later David and Darlene already left, Kristine and Henry walked towards Adam to comfort him. The young man still had his head bowed with hands on both ears. There was a wet portion on the carpet where tears still continue to fall from his face. Kristine didn’t know what to do but Henry signaled her to do something else. The old man patted Adam’s shoulder and massaged his back. “Adam stand up, lets go for a walk. I know you can hear me” Henry said.

Just like an obedient child Adam stood up, he still had his head bowed but Henry put his arm around his shoulder. The two stepped out of the house and walked towards the lake. Near the lake there was an old tree, and under the tree was a bench where Adam and Aimee would spend their afternoons together. Henry told Adam to sit down and the old man sat down beside him.

Adam wiped his tears and looked at the calm water of the lake. He took a deep breath and clenched his fists. “What have I don’t wrong Henry?” he asked. “You tell me” the old man replied. “I don’t remember doing anything wrong to Aimee. We were find, she just went to get me a gift. Why has she not come back yet? Did she leave me?” Adam asked. “Did you do something wrong? If you were to ask me you two are the sweetest couple I have seen. Did you do something wrong? I say nothing but you tell me Adam” Henry replied.

“Nothing! I did nothing. I love her so much and I would not even dare do something bad to hurt even her feelings” Adam said. “There is your answer. Now if you believe in that then why are you worried then? There is no indication that she is dead or has been kidnapped. She is alive and I know you can feel that she is. Do not believe in what David has told you. That is just a conclusion they derived but you should know better” Henry stated.

“But why isn’t she back yet Henry? Why?!” Adam asked and Henry took a deep breath and looked at the calm water. Henry did not know what to say so he remained silent, Adam took several deep breaths and leaned back on the bench. “Henry it hurts so much. Thinking of the reason hurts so much. I can’t find reason but there must be one. Henry it hurts so much, it really hurts so much Henry” Adam repeated several times. The old man even though irritated just listened to him rant for that is the only thing he could do, be there for him.

Outside the bank David was inside his car eating a sandwich while waiting for Darlene. Minutes later the car door opened and Adam’s assistant got in and started to weep. “Hey, stop crying. At least we now know she is alive right?” David said but the more Darlene burst in tears. “Why?! Why Aimee?!” she screamed and punched the dashboard. “Maybe she has her reasons, maybe Adam isn’t telling us everything” the detective added which infuriated her. “You shut the hell up! Adam is the kindest person and you must know that! You owe him so much and you have even the guts to think of that?! Shame on you!!!” Darlene shouted.

“You know what even if we say we have been with a person for so long and we know them well, there are still things that surprises us. Maybe if you just open your mind to that possibility” David said. Darlene opened the door but the detective stopped her, “Don’t go, I was just saying that. I don’t believe Adam could hurt Aimee. But how are we going to know the real reason for Aimee leaving? She isn’t here to tell us, we will keep asking why but if we stick to what we believe in then we shall never get answers. I am just saying we think of that possibility” David explained.

“So what will we tell Adam?” Darlene asked as she wiped her tears. “You tell him the truth. If you can’t do it then I will” David replied. “He won’t be able to take it, I just know he won’t be able to take it” Darlene said as she began weeping again. “I know, nobody can but its better if he knew this now. It can help him move on” David told her and the more she wept.

Around one in the afternoon Darlene and David arrived at the lake, they saw the three by the bench. Darlene took a deep breath and looked at David, “He has to know, right?” she asked and the detective nodded. “Okay, I am sorry but it has to be done” the assistant murmured and they started to walk towards the lake.

Adam noticed them at once so he looked at his assistant. The look on Darlene’s face spelled it all so the young man quickly looked away. “I think we should all eat lunch first” Kristine said to break the silence but Henry patted her shoulder. “I want to hear it. Darlene it’s okay tell me” Adam said. Darlene started to shake but David put his hand on her shoulder. “Aimee took fifty thousand from her account the day before she left. A week ago…another hundred thousand” Darlene said and she totally broke down. “I am so sorry Adam” she added as David embraced her as she wept.

Adam started to laugh to everyone’s surprise. “She is alive…Aimee is alive!” he shouted and the more he laughed. Henry signaled the others to go back in the house as Adam kept on laughing and giggling. “Did you hear that Henry? She went to the bank last week, she is alive! She got me worried” Adam joyfully said as he turned his back and see the others leaving. “Hey, where are you all going? We should be happy Aimee is alive. Hey guys!” he yelled but the others were not listening.

“Adam, its okay. You don’t have to hide it” Henry said as he tapped the young man’s shoulder. Adam looked at his trusted driver and friend and smiled. “Henry she is alive, why aren’t you celebrating with me?” the young man asked but Henry sighed and threw a stone at the lake. “Adam, let it out. You do not need to pretend in front of me. I know its eating you. Just let it out, go ahead just let it out” Henry said as he looked the other way.

The fake smile faded away from the young man’s face. His lips slowly trembled and his cheeks began shaking. Adam trembled, his eyes focused on the lake water and tears began flowing down his cheeks. Henry could feel the pain but he just let his friend cry it out. Adam didn’t hold back he gasped for air as more tears drowned his eyes. “I can feel your pain; just let it out for now. Don’t hold back, just let it all out boy” Henry softly said.

Minutes later Henry stood up and massaged Adam’s back. The young man was silent but tears still continued to traverse his face. “You have to eat, come on lets go inside now” Henry said and Adam nodded his head and slowly stood up. It was a slow walk back to the house, Adam had his head bowed the whole time and Henry just followed the young man’s pace.

The two men sat in front of the dining table, Kristine was there to serve them. As Adam was about to eat, he slowly turned his head towards the living room. He stared at the grand piano and he started to tremble and again broke down in tears. Henry took a deep breath and looked at Kristine; he shook his head and slumped on his chair. Kristine walked towards Adam; she blocked his view and gently held on the young man’s head and pressed it against her stomach. “She left me” Adam said in a shaking voice.

Kristine didn’t say a word but caressed Adam’s head. For a long time she was in love with him, and now he is weeping in her arms. “Adam, everything is going to be alright” she whispered. Henry glared at the young woman but Kristine avoided eye contact. It took Adam a few minutes to calm down and Kristine made sure he ate after.

The crooner decided to be alone in his room so everyone let him. Henry approached Kristine right after she got down the stairs and held firmly on the young woman’s arm. “What the hell are you trying to do? Why did you say everything is going to be alright?” he angrily asked. “I was just trying to help! I didn’t know what else to say at that moment” she argued. “You don’t say anything! What are you up to?” the old man asked. “I don’t know what you are talking about. I care for Adam just as much as you do. So let go of my arm you are hurting me!” she screamed.

Henry let go but he angrily stared at her. Kristine walked away and Darlene slowly stood beside the driver. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Don’t take your eyes away from that girl. She is up to no good” he whispered. “Kristine? I know she likes Adam but I don’t think she would take advantage” Darlene said. “You think? I am just saying keep a close eye on her” Henry replied as his cold eyes followed Kristine up to the kitchen.

Another week passed and Adam fell pale for he barely ate. For seven days he shed tears and even when his friends tried to console him he they could not stop the tears from falling. On the eighth day he decided to join everyone for breakfast, a big surprise that they happily took.

Adam was slowly eating, everyone else was silent and watching him. “This omelet, it’s good” he softly said. Henry grinned and tapped the table, “Well I do have some cooking abilities too you know, just eat because I can cook more later” the old man boasted. Adam looked at his old friend and managed to smile, “Aimee was the one always cooking. I do know a little but ever since we moved in together she always wanted to be the one to do the cooking” Adam said and everyone was edgy awaiting for tears to fall but there weren’t any.

“Why are you all looking at me?” Adam asked and the three pretended to be eating. “Do I have tantalizing eyes?” the young man suddenly joked and Kristine laughed and the two followed. “Tantalizingly swollen” Henry commented and the three paused for Adam pouted. He soon burst in laughter so everyone had a good laugh. They missed his smile and laughter so Darlene, Henry and Kristine just kept laughing to keep the mood going.

The house phone rang and Darlene quickly stood up but Adam signaled her to sit down. “Let me, I need the exercise” he said. Adam walked briskly towards the ringing phone by the living room while the three breathed a sigh of relief. “Whatever is in this omelet Henry you better make them every day since it has a good effect on him” Darlene joked and the old man laughed. “I sure will, its better seeing him this way rather than not seeing him around at all” he said.

Adam picked up the phone and answered, “Hello” he said calmly. The person on the other end did not speak but the young man could hear breathing. “Aimee!!!” he shouted so the three stood up and rushed to his side. “Aimee I know that is you! Aimee? Please say something” Adam pleaded. Darlene sat down on the couch while Kristine tried to listen in. Henry paced the living room as all eyes were on Adam.

“Aimee I know it’s you. I recognize the way you breathe. Please say something Aimee. Aimee I miss you so much, when are you coming home?” he said. “Aimee please I beg you say something. Please come home Aimee, please Aimee” he again pleaded but after hearing a deep breath the busy tone followed. Adam closed his eyes and dropped the phone; he bowed his head and fell on his knees.

“It was Aimee” he whispered and Kristine knelt down and comforted him. “How sure are you it was her?” Henry asked. “I know how she breathes…when she sleeps I just stare at her pretty face and listen to her breath. When we are together watching television I listen to her breath. It was her…but why won’t she talk to me? Why didn’t she say a single word? What did I do to make her that way?” Adam said as tears once again traversed the contours of his face.

“Why did she leave me?”

Half of Me: Chapter 6

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter Six: Nothing

It was a bright early day of June; Kristine got up and proceeded to the kitchen to cook breakfast. As she got down from the stairs she noticed the house door open. She began to panic and ran back up to wake up Henry. “Henry wake up! We have been robbed!” Kristine screamed as she bang on the room door.

Immediately Henry opened the door and took out his gun, Darlene alighted from her room visibly terrified. “What do you mean we have been robbed?” Henry asked. “The door is open” Kristine said so the old man ran down the stairs but as soon as he reached the first floor he heard another scream. “Henry! Adam is not in his room!” Darlene shouted.

Henry quickly checked the first floor, the two women slowly walked behind him. “I don’t see anything missing” Henry said so he tucked in his gun and looked at Kristine. “Maybe he just went out for a walk” he told them so they quickly walked towards the door and stepped out of the house. On the bench they saw Adam so they all breathed a sigh of relief. “You gave us a little scare there” Henry said as Kristine bowed her head. “I am sorry, I could not think straight once I saw the door open” she whispered but Darlene embraced her. “It’s okay, I would have panicked in the same manner” she told the young lady.

The three happily walked towards Adam but the stopped a few steps with the sight of blood dripping from the young man’s knuckles. Even his forehead had a cut and the his whole face was bloody. Kristine trembled and screamed as Darlene ran back to the house. Henry took off his shirt and wiped the blood off Adam’s face, “What the hell did you do?” he angrily asked.

“I thought I could take down this tree. He is a tough one. This tree reminds me of Aimee. I don’t want seeing this tree so I tried to kill it” Adam said as he remained calm on the bench. “Kristine! Quit standing there and go get the first aid kit!” Henry instructed as the trembling young woman ran back to the house. Darlene ran out holding her phone close to her ear calling for help.

Minutes later Adam was patched up, Darlene was escorting the paramedics back to the ambulance as Henry sat beside the young man. Adam’s eyes were seething with anger, his fists were clenched and his teeth were grinding. “Who do you see when you punch the tree? Do you see Aimee? Are you mad at her?” Henry asked. “I can never be mad at her, I am mad at myself” Adam replied.

“Why are you blaming yourself?” Henry asked. “Because I should have seen this coming. Maybe I did something wrong that I was not aware of! I should have paid more attention! The problem is I really don’t know what I did wrong!!! Do you understand me? I am mad at myself because I don’t know what I did!!!” Adam shouted and he stood up and walked towards the house.

Breakfast was served and the three were surprised to see Adam back to normal. He was enjoying his food and smiling at everyone. “Hey, sorry for what happened. I really am but don’t worry it will never happen again” he told them and everyone smiled at him. After eating Adam stood up and walked towards the living room, they saw him do some stretching and sat down. He turned on the television and calmly watched the news.

Darlene was relieved so she enjoyed eating, Henry dropped his guard and did the same. After breakfast Kristine did the dishes, Darlene was busy on her phone negotiating cancelled shows and appearances for her ward. Henry on the other hand decided to take a bath after seeing Adam asleep on the couch.

After a refreshing bath Henry went to the living room only to find Adam gone. “Kristine where is Adam?” he asked. “I don’t know, maybe in his room” she answered so the old man went to check but he wasn’t there. Henry looked outside the window, there was no one on the bench but he saw the car missing. He quickly ran down the stairs and confronted Darlene. “He took the car!” he shouted. “Let me get back at you…” Darlene said on the phone as she turned it off. “What did you say?” she asked.

“Adam took the car!” he repeated and Darlene quickly turned towards the coffee table to find her bag missing. “Oh my God, he took my bag too!” she said and the three began to panic. “Why didn’t you two check on him?!” Henry yelled. “I was busy in the kitchen, ask Darlene, she was here all the time” Kristine countered. “I didn’t even notice him, I thought he was asleep” Darlene reasoned so Henry grabbed the phone and called David.

Three hours later the SUV returned so the three came out of the house. David got out of the driver’s seat and greeted them. The other door opened and a drunk Adam stepped out. “Hey did I worry you all?” he asked. Adam was tipsy but managed to walk towards the bench. David and Henry rushed to his side to assist him but the young man refused. “I am not a baby! I can walk so let go of me!” he shouted.

Adam sat on the bench; he leaned his head back and started to laugh. “Hey! She left me! You up there, God! Are you listening? She left me! Could you please erase these damn memories because they are killing me!!! Are you listening to me?” the young man shouted. His four friends could not do anything, they just let him vent out his anger. It was better this way rather than hurting himself.

Minutes later Adam fell silent and started to sob. He took a deep breath and signaled for everyone to come closer. “Adam, I have to tell you that you better get in shape soon because the producers are already mad. They need you to go ahead with the concert even without Aimee” Darlene said. “I can’t sing without her. Cancel it” he replied. “But Adam they are going to sue us” Darlene told him. “Pay them, I don’t care. Pay them all. I can’t sing without Aimee. If you don’t want then fine, I shall go but I tell you I am just going to stand there” the young man said.

“Adam if I pay them all you will have nothing left. You might even lose this house” Darlene reminded him. The young man fell silent and he closed his eyes and quickly stood up. He ran towards the lake and jumped on the water. David was about to go after him but Henry stopped him. “Don’t worry the water is shallow” he said. So they just watched Adam float on the water as he looked up towards the sky. “I already lost everything the moment she left” Adam said as he lay seemingly lifeless.

The next morning over breakfast everyone was relieved to see Adam join them. The young man looked groggy but he did eat a lot. “Adam, I know you were drunk yesterday so about the concerts…” Darlene said and the young man looked at her. “Cancel them, pay them if needed” he answered. “But Adam, there is still time to think about it. You have seven days to prepare” Darlene reasoned. “Do you see Aimee around? She isn’t here so no concerts. Bring her back then let’s have them, without her cancel them” Adam insisted.

“I can play the piano” Kristine suddenly blurted out and the young man glared at her. “What is your name?” he asked. “What do you mean?” the pretty lady asked. “Tell me your name” Adam said. “Kristine, silly you pretending to have amnesia” she said. “Kristine, so no concerts. Its either you are deaf or dumb. You are not Aimee and no one can replace her” the crooner harshly uttered stabbing Kristine painfully in the heart.

“I never said I wanted to replace her! I was just offering so to save the concerts” Kristine snapped back and Henry shook his head. Adam stood up and pointed at the young woman, “You! Yes you are sticking around too much. Maybe Aimee was jealous so she left me. Its your fault” Adam said and Kristine was surprised. “Why are you placing the blame on me? What have I done?” Kristine asked as tears filled her eyes.

“Shut up! I don’t want to see you hear again! Pack your things and leave” Adam instructed. Kristine stood up and ran upstairs, Henry quickly followed her. “You are too harsh putting the blame on anyone Adam. Its not like you anymore” Darlene said. “Or maybe she was jealous of you! Yeah maybe it was you because we are too close” Adam said as he stared at his assistant. “What are you talking about?! You are not making sense! Do not pass your anger on us we are just here trying to help you!” Darlene fought back.

“I don’t need anyone. I want all of you to leave as soon as possible. I will go to my room and when I come back down after an hour I don’t want to see you all here” Adam said and he did as he said. After an hour Adam was fresh from a bath, he was wearing a dark green jogging suit and walked in front of a mirror. He has not seen his own face ever since Aimee left and he has grown facial hair. He looked thinner and pale and he barely could recognize himself.

Down at the living room he found the three seated, he looked at them and shook his head. “So you are all still here, fine with me. Enjoy yourselves, I am going out” he said. “Adam, let me drive you” Henry offered. “I want to come too” Darlene said. “Hey, I am not a child. I can drive and I can take care of myself. I told you three to leave but since you want to stay then stay but leave me alone! I will do what I want from now on do you understand?” Adam said.

Darlene stood up and confronted him, “I have to make sure you keep your image. I don’t want to see you ruin yourself in public” she told him. “I am not a puppet! Back off! I can think for myself and do things for myself. If you want to help then cancel everything! There is no more Adam and Aimee so tell the whole world that” Adam snapped and Henry pulled Darlene aside. “Adam that is not you boy, I know you are angry but let me remind you that you are still you. Don’t do anything you will regret” the old man told him.

“I am me and I am broken so let this broken man alone! All of you! You think you know what I am feeling? Then if you know then you should understand. If not shut up and leave me alone! Darlene where are my keys? Don’t you follow me or call David to tail me. I want to live my own life from now on so respect that!” Adam said as he grabbed the keys from Darlene and rushed out of the house.

Adam parked his car in front of the art school; he wore his hood and stepped out of the car. He took a deep breath and looked at the building where he met Aimee, a sudden rush of memories flooded his mind, and tears started to form so he wore his shades and walked away. He traversed the same path as their first walk together heading towards the restaurant where they first had lunch.

He entered the doors of the restaurant, he took of his hood and shades and the front desk clerk recognized him at once. “The usual table sir?” the lady asked and Adam looked at the people inside and stared at the usual window side table they usually take. “Yes please” he answered. A waiter escorted him to his seat but Adam was hesitant to sit down. “Is there something wrong sir?” the waiter asked.

Images of Aimee seated and smiling clouded Adam’s imagination, a smile alighted on his face. “Sir are you okay?” the waiter asked and Adam sat down and shook his head. “I am fine” he replied. “The usual sir?” the middle aged man asked. “Yes please, and if you could serve too her usual dish” Adam said and the waiter was bewildered. “As you wish sir” the server replied and left.

Twenty minutes later the food was served and Adam found himself at an awkward situation. He stared at his food and the plate across, even though how hard he tried to imagine she was there but Aimee wasn’t. Still, Adam took the other plate and cut the beef into pieces. He returned the plate and started to work at his own but he could not help the tears from falling anymore.

Just as if she was there, Adam reached his fork to take a piece of meat from the other plate. They were used to eating this way but this time the food in front of him remained untouched. The food did not taste as good when Aimee was present. The smile of her face with every chew he took was gone, vivid images filled his mind but it was not the same. It was a painful lunch for Adam, this was their favorite restaurant but now he was beginning to hate it.

Across the restaurant was a movie house, which was where Adam proceeded after lunch. He stood at the lobby for a long time for he did not know what movie to choose. Aimee used to do the choosing and Adam would like whatever movie she chose. After twenty minutes he picked one and bought tickets for two because he was used to doing that.

Inside the cinema the movie began to play, Adam again felt awkward for during this time he was already holding Aimee’s hand. He would intentionally not watch and fall asleep on her shoulder so that when they walk home she would tell him what he missed. This time Adam was alone and all his attention was on the movie but he could not understand anything. When the film ended he walked out knowing nothing, he just wasted almost two hours and if he didn’t look back at the poster he would not even know the title of the movie he just watched.

It was a lonely walk back to the art school; he forgot to wear his hood so a lot of people recognized him and greeted him. Adam would just nod and smile but continue his painful walk back to his car. A few more steps and Adam brought out the key, he was about to press the alarm button when a horde of photographers and a media crew rushed towards him.

It was chaos with the lights flashing and the reporter jostling for a good spot in front of Adam. He was asking questions to where Adam was not listening. “How true is it that Aimee left you? Are the rumors true?” the reporter asked and Adam smiled at him. “Can you confirm the reports?” the reporter insisted.

Adam wanted to get inside the car but his eyes stared at the camera. He grabbed the microphone and signaled the reporter to keep quiet. “No there is no truth to those rumors. Aimee went on a vacation, she needed a break” Adam said. “So there it is not true that you two have separated” the reporter said.

Adam shook his head and even managed to smile. “Of course not! But you know what I do miss her. So will this be shown on television?” he asked and the camera man nodded. “Good, I would like to take this opportunity to speak to Aimee. You see we made an agreement that we would not contact each other, so we could miss each other. So Aimee if you are watching I miss you badly”

“I went to eat lunch at our favorite restaurant but the food didn’t taste the same. I went to watch a movie after and it’s so lonely. I miss you Aimee, I didn’t fall asleep at the movie house” Adam said and it elicited laughter. “But Aimee I wish you were here to tell me the story for I didn’t understand anything, I just kept thinking of you all the time” he paused and wiped the tears from his eyes.

“Aimee…I am nothing without you. I feel incomplete. Come back soon Aimee…I am nothing without you. Please Aimee come home” Adam said as he finally pressed the alarm button and the photographers let him go.

The reporter stood in front of the camera wiping his own tears, “Well there you have it an exclusive interview with Adam Bowfield. He refuted the rumors about their alleged break up with Aimee Patterson. Aimee if you are watching cut your vacation short and come back home…he could have just stood in front of the camera without saying a word for you to notice his sadness…wherever you are come home.”