Chapter 33. Bitter Sweet Goodbye
About another month passed since I found out Croy was alive. Even though it took some getting used to, I was really happy to have him back in my life. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal. After work or school, I would frequently go out on dates with Croy. We were finally happy together. It seemed like nothing could tear us apart. One night however; not too long after our new found happiness, everything changed...
I had just gotten out of basketball practice and was on my way home on my skateboard that night. I was around 8pm, so it was already getting dark outside. I didn’t live too far from the gym where I practiced, so I never found it necessary to take a bus or anything of the sort. I was about one block away from my house, when I got a text message from Croy. The text message asked if I could meet him outside of his house, behind an ally that was nearby. I wondered what was wrong, so I made my way over there worriedly. Since he lived with Jason, who lived pretty far from my house, it took me a while to get there. Almost 30 minutes.
When I finally arrived, I didn’t see anyone there. "Hello?" I asked softly as I got off my skateboard. I got no answer. I walked cautiously into the ally as I looked around. There didn’t seem to be anyone there at all. I was just about to turn back, when I got another text message from Croy. It read, "Turn around". I smiled exasperatedly. "Croy you jerk! Why have you been hiding from...?" I whirled around, to find a strange looking guy standing in the middle of the alleyway. "me..." I reluctantly finished my sentence as I realized that Croy wasn’t around. "Hey um, have you seen a black haired guy around here anywhere? He's about 5"9", has really intense blue eyes?" I asked as I slowly made my way towards him.
He never once met my gaze. He had short, messy light brown hair and light grey eyes that rested on a pale, unamusing complexion. He was thin and scraggily, with not much muscle tone on his arms or his abs. "I’m sorry...." He began in a whisper as he turned away from me. I didn’t understand what was going on. I was about to ask him what was going on, when suddenly, I felt someone grab me from behind and cover my mouth with a wet cloth. I struggled to get free, but it was useless. All I remember was the apologetic look on his face as everything went black...
I woke up to the sound of a familiar dripping. "Oh my head...." I complained woozily as I opened my eyes and looked around. It smelled of sewer water and mud. From the looks of it, I was somewhere underground. Everything was dark, except for some small amounts of light that shown through the holes in the ceiling. I wasn’t alone however, there was someone else down there with me. Two people to be exact. I squinted my eyes to look at the first one. It was a young girl, around 9. Her eyes were grey and watery. She had light brown, straight hair. She looked terrified. Her mouth was gagged and she was tied to a chair just like me. I turned my glance towards the other person and immediately recognized the shaggy hair that covered his unconscious face.
"Croy!" I screamed as I realized it was him. There was a small trickle of blood dripping from his mouth. "Croy!" I screamed, hysteria gripping me. "I won't lose you again! Croy!!" I screamed as I struggled to get free. It was useless though, because. I too was tied to a chair. I was placed right across from him. "Well look who decided to wake up" I was startled by a cynical and familiar voice. "Scaggot! What’s the meaning of this!? Let us go!" I screamed furiously as I struggled to get out. He just looked at me and laughed. "What’s the matter? A little down in the dumps?! Ha-ha!" he laughed as he grabbed Croy’s unconscious face and moved it around as if he was a puppet.
"Stop it! Leave him alone!" I hissed through clenched teeth as I snarled at him "Did you really think I would let you get away with framing me?!" Scaggot said as he let Croy go and walked behind him. That was when I noticed a guy standing where Scaggot had been, just a few seconds ago. It was the same guy from before. "I did what you asked, so please let my little sister go..."He began, his fists were balled and white. The little girl struggled in her confinement. After a few moments of silence, Scaggot nodded his head in the direction of the little girl’s chair.
Two guys were standing readily. "Untie her." He said. The two guys obeyed and did what they were told. The little girl ran towards her brother as soon as she was freed. "I’m so glad that you’re okay..." He whispered as he hugged her affectionately. "Escort them out!" Scaggot ordered as he turned back to Croy. The two guys proceeded with their orders and began pushing the siblings away into a dark tunnel that led to the far left of the sewer. I shot one last, accusing glance at the guy, who turned his head back wearily in my direction and mouthed the words "I’m sorry" just as they were escorted out of sight. \
Scaggot then took out a knife from his pocket and pressed it against Croy’s throat. "No! Don’t! Croy!" I screamed as tears of desperation welled up in my eyes. "Oh? What’s that? You don’t want me to kill him..?" He asked cynically as his eyes opened wide with a fake sense of surprise. "No, please! I’ll do anything, but please don’t hurt him...." I said as I sobbed desperately. "Do you really love him that much?" Scaggot asked, a sadistic smile crossing his face.
"Yes, please let him be...." I pleaded. This caused Scaggot to burst into a bout of cynical laughter. "Fine I’ll let him live, but in return, I get to keep you." He hissed. I paused for a long time, but after much consideration, I decided. "If it’s the only way to save him, I'll do it" I whispered. No trace of emotion in my voice. Scaggot just laughed even louder. "Then we have a deal." He said as he put his knife down and backed away from Croy. "On the floor!" Scaggot ordered the other four guys, who stood watching. Amongst them I recognized Randall and Tyler.
They made their way towards me and began untying me from the chair. "What are you doing?" I asked him wearily as I glared at him. "I’m going to make you mine." Scaggot hissed as he walked over to me and pinched my face. "This wasn’t part of the deal!" I screamed desperately as I realized what he had meant. "Well, I guess I forgot to mention it then, he-he." he said sadistically as I glanced over at Croy whose head was swaying heavily. He was finally waking up.
"Croy! Croy wake up! You have to get out of here!!" I screamed louder, trying to speed up the process of his awakening. His eyes opened wearily as he looked around confused. "What the...what’s going on? Hazel?" He began as he looked around. After a few minutes, he finally laid his eyes on me. "Let her go!" he screamed furiously when he realized what was going on. He shook the chair so hard, I thought for sure it was going to break. "Perfect timing. You are just in time to watch the show." Scaggot laughed as he took off his black jacket and walked over to where Croy sat. Croy struggled furiously without any progress.
Scaggot then nodded signaling Randall, who punched me in the face so hard that blood poured out of my mouth and nose. Everything got blurry. Tyler then knocked me down on the floor and tied my hands to my back, so that I couldn’t move. "What are you doing!? Let her go! I’m the one you want!!" Croy screamed as his voice filled with angst. "Oh didn’t you hear? Your little girlfriend here, made a trade. When you were dreaming about butterflies and cookies, she was busy saving your life." Scaggot hissed sarcastically as he smiled malevolently. Croy clenched his teeth.
"What do you mean?" he asked, his words were laced with concern. "In order to save your unconscious neck, she and I made a little trade." Croy’s eyes opened wide with terror when Scaggot said that. "What exactly did she trade?" he asked unwillingly. Scaggot then walked over and lowered his face down to Croy's ear level as he whispered the answer to him. "Herself" he said as he smiled cynically. Croy just stared at me dejectedly. "No...no..." he whispered as he shook his head furiously.
It was almost as if he was trying to un-hear, what Scaggot had just said. "No!! HAZEL!!" he screamed as Scaggot got up and made his way to where I lay on the floor, semi-conscious. "But don’t worry Croy old pal, I’ll be gentle enough. Ha-ha!" He said as he kneeled down beside me. "No Scaggot! Wait! Please! Stop!!" Croy screamed hysterically. I was half asleep and to this day, I thank the fact that Randall punched me the way he did or else I would have remembered way too much.
I felt as Scaggot crawled on top of me, his weight crushing me. I could hardly breathe. I don’t remember much after that though. All I remember is the pain, the horrible excruciating pain that I felt when Scaggot took my wrist and snapped it harshly because I was struggling, causing my bone to make a sickening, cracking sound. The unwilling scream that escaped my bloody mouth at that moment, is still a prominent memory. What I remember most however, was Croy's frantic screams.
"Let her go!! Nooo!! HAZEL!!!!" he screamed hysterically as he clenched his eyes shut. "Let her go!!" The look on his face, was a look of despair. He thrashed about helplessly. "Hazel!" He sobbed as he continued to struggle violently, trying to get out of the chair. He tried looking away, but one of the guys held his head in place, forcing him to watch. I don’t remember much after that, other than the loud scream and the sickening thud that followed afterwards.
The last thing I saw was Croy tackling Scaggot away from me, before he could take my innocence. Then I remember the other guy bursting into the room and fighting alongside Croy, the both of them more savage than a pair of untamed beasts. The last memory I hold from that night, was the look on Croy’s pale and bloody face. The way he picked me up in his arms gently and held me close, as tears poured down his pale, freckled cheeks.
"Oh..." I remarked wearily as I opened my eyes. I woke up in my house, on my bed, feeling like a truck had ran me over. I sat up groggily as I remembered the majority of the events that had happened. "Croy!" I gasped as I remembered that he was tied up. "I have to go help him!!" I screamed as I tried standing up, but my arm gave away as I realized it was hanging from a sling. "Hey what are you doing..?" A soft voice startled me. I turned around to find Croy standing behind me, a cup of hot chocolate in his hand.
"Don’t strain yourself please..." he said lightly as he sat next to me. "Here, I brought you a hot chocolate, my mom used to make it during stressful times to calm the nerves. I thought it would help you too." He said as he handed me the warm chocolate. There was something definitely wrong with Croy. I noticed it as I took the cup of chocolate from his hands. He was avoiding me.
"Croy, what’s wrong? Are you okay?" I asked him concerned. Croy simply turned away from me. "How can you ask me that...?" he began in a whisper. "How can you ask me if I’m ok!?" he turned to me angrily. "I’m supposed to be asking you that." He said angrily to himself. "What is up with you Croy? Why are you acting this way?" I asked him bewildered. "You want to know what’s wrong?!" He began again. "How can you ask me what’s wrong, when you know very well what it is!?" He screamed as he glared at me angrily. I glared back in silence. "You got hurt, because of me...again..." He said sadly as he looked down at my broken arm. He looked away from after a few seconds.
"I wasn’t able to do anything about it!" He shouted as he punched a small hole in my bedroom wall, just above my bed. "By the time I managed to get out of that stupid chair..." he trailed off. "Oh yea, how did you get out?" I asked him curiously as I tried desperately to remember. "The guy, whose sister they kidnapped, came back and helped me get out, he helped me fight, but by the time I got out of that chair, you were unconscious and your arm already broken..." He shook his head rapidly as if trying to shake off the memory.
"I knocked one out and the other guy did too, but the rest ran away. As for Scaggot, let’s just say that I left my permanent signature on his face" I gasped lightly as I realized what he meant. "But what he truly deserves is death..." He hissed as he balled his fists. I placed my hand gently over his as I tried to calm him. He looked at me wearily as he slowly unclenched his hands.
"Hazel, you got hurt trying to protect me and that is something that I cannot forgive. I can’t allow it to happen again..." he said lightly, pulling away. "But why Croy!? You took a bullet for me, why can’t I...?" He interrupted me, mid-sentence. "Because you’re a girl!! You’re a girl and I should be protecting you! Not the other way around!! I’m supposed to be there for you!! I’m supposed to be your shield!!!" He screamed breathlessly.
After a few moments of silence, Croy looked at me seriously. "I’ve decided, that I’m not good enough for you..." He trailed off sadly. "What are you saying...?" I asked, my heart throbbing. "I cannot be by your side any longer. If I continue to stay, I will only bring you hardships. Trouble follows me where ever I go..." He said as he stood up and kissed me on the forehead gently then made his way towards the door. "Wait Croy! Please don’t go!" I reached out and pulled on his shirt lightly. He stopped and turned around slowly, just as I stood up on my bed and pulled him in by his shirt collar.
I kissed him for what would be the very last time. There was never a kiss that made me feel such an array of confusing emotions, both joyful and depressing. Croy pulled away lightly as he took my face in his hands. "Don’t wait for me. Move on. Live your life and forget about me...." he whispered lightly. Tears ran down my cheeks as I shook my head. "I will never forget you..." And just like that, Croy Ramos walked out of my life for the second time, flashing me one last crooked smile, on his way out. I crumbled down on my bed and burst out into tears as the bitter, sweet taste of the hot chocolate that he had on his lips, lingered on my mouth from our last kiss...