‘Fucking foreigners,’ someone muttered in a harsh tone behind me. My cheeks flamed red as I considered the possibility that he was talking about me. I tried lowering my voice as I ordered my coffee and told myself I didn’t care what people thought of me.
‘Come on Anthony. We can’t all be born with the city in our blood. At least she speaks English,’ a girl replied, slightly desperately.
Oh god they were talking about me.
One thing I really hated about the world was narrow mindedness. I hated those people who thought that just because someone wasn’t from their country they had no right being there and they did everything in their power to make them feel unwelcome. We can’t all be subjected to our home country. We have just as much right to wander the world as they do.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ the male spoke again, not bothering to stay quiet anymore.
Please don’t let there be trouble, please don’t let there be trouble. I silently prayed he would let me pay for my coffee and be on my way.
I didn’t need to though; as something caused him to cry out loud and seconds later I heard a slap, the sick sound of skin hitting skin with incredible force. I couldn’t stop myself from casting a furtive glance in the general direction of the sound. I found myself looking at a pretty girl with platinum blonde hair and thickly lined eyes clutching her cheek and staring at a tall, handsome guy, presumably her boyfriend, with horror and disbelief. He looked just as shocked, but he didn’t bother to apologise, he stormed off through the door, leaving the girl stood there looking mortified.
Without thinking I blurted out, ‘Are you okay?’
She narrowed her eyes at me and I instantly regretted it. She probably thought I was being nosey, listening in to their troubles. Instead, her expression softened and she replied, ‘Yeah I’m fine. Did you hear anything?’
‘A little,’ I admitted, deciding the truth was the best.
She pursed her lips slightly.
‘I guess I should apologise on his behalf, he doesn’t always think before he speaks.’
Before I could say anymore, a loud crash from outside snagged my attention. Turning my eyes to the door, I saw the girls boyfriend locked in a fight with someone who looked vaguely familiar…
‘What the hell is going on?’ the girl shrieked, running outside. Grabbing my coffee, I followed her to see what the commotion was about.
As we approached closer, I realised why I recognised one of them. Throwing an impressive punch was none other than the guy I’d run into earlier! His eyes were blazing with fury and he muttered something before kicking the blonde guy to the ground. Keeping him firmly on the ground he stamped his foot onto the blonde’s neck.
‘Apologize!’ he hissed, with such venom. It was almost mesmerizing, like watching an animal going in for the kill, it’s prey struggling hopelessly beneath its iron grip.
‘OK, Ok, Dinah,’ he angled his head as much as possible to the blonde girl stood next to me. ‘I’m sorry. Can I go now?!’
‘Yes,’ the other guy spat hatefully.
Without another backward glance, the blonde guy scrambled up off the floor looking utterly terrified. I couldn’t help a small smile creep its way onto my face. That was certainly impressive, although I didn’t think people in New York were like that, getting involved in other people’s business. I thought they just got on with their own lives. ‘Nobody cares when you’re out on the street, picking up the pieces to make ends meet’ the familiar quote ran through my head whenever I thought of New York. I thought it was right. Nobody cared what happened to you; they were all wrapped up in their own lives and had their own problems to deal with.
Turning to me, the guy spoke in a soft voice: ‘Listen, I’m sorry for being…well…a jerk. Could I make it up to you by buying you a drink? I don’t think he’ll bother you,’ his eyes flickered to the girl I now knew as Dinah. ‘You’re also welcome to join me for a drink, if you’d like?’
‘You’re welcome,’ I smiled. ‘And yes, I’d love a drink.’
‘Great! Name’s Ryder by the way,’ he smiled in response.
‘He’s going to kill me,’ Dinah whispered.
It took us less than a second to realise she was on about her boyfriend.
‘It’s none of my business, but why are you even with him?’ Ryder questioned, eyebrows raised.
‘You’re right. It is none of your business.’ Dinah hissed. Without looking back, she turned round and headed off down the sidewalk.
‘You’d think she’d be grateful really,’ he mumbled, frowning.
‘Well, you did just beat the crap out of her boyfriend,’ I pointed out. ‘Who also happens to have a thing for beating women… How did you think she was going to react?’
I jogged down the sidewalk to keep up with Dinah, Ryder following closely behind. He circled round to block Dinah’s path and looked at her earnestly.
‘Look, I’m really sorry. I just hate guys that think they can treat their girlfriends like crap. Can I buy you a drink to make up for it?’
Placebo - For what it's worth