Two people sleeping soundlessly on a rock near the waterfront were awoken by a shrill shriek.
"Mommy! Who are they?"
"Walk away, Crystal. I'm talking the cops," the mother, presumably, dragged her daughter away.
They both sat up groggily, taking in their surroundings. The sun was, as usual, behind the clouds. The heavy smog made it difficult to see anywhere far, but the Golden Gate was vaguely distinguishable.
"Why is that girl screaming?" she asked, scratching her head.
"We're two hobos sleeping on a rock at the waterfront," he laughed. "That can be scary to a little girl, not to mention illegal,"
"That's idiotic. We're humans, just like her," she grumbled.
He got up and brushed himself off. He turned around to help her up, only to find she was already standing. In the distance, he saw some policemen running toward them.
She seemed to have seen them at the same time, because she grabbed his hand in hers and ran in the opposite direction. They ran until they were out of breath and at a dead end.
"Quick, I'll give you a boost up!" she said, putting her hands out.
"What? No! I'm not leaving you," he argued.
"Look, it's either one of us gets caught, or both of us. Stop being stubborn and get away,"
"I can give you a boost! I'll take the heat,"
"I suggested it first," she sighed. "Therefore I have the rights to get caught,"
"You're absolutely impossible," he grumbled. "Do you even-"
"Put your hands in the air! You're under arrest!" the policeman yelled.
They were handcuffed and read the rights on the way to the police car. They sat in the back, and surprisingly, there was a space made out in the seat to keep their handcuffed hands. Once they got to the police station, they were seated in front of an officer and questioned.
"Name?" they were asked.
"Look, just take my card and charge me whatever for bail," he muttered, gesturing to his pocket. "And bail her out as well,"
The policeman gave him a dirty look before reaching inside the wallet, retrieving the card, and walking away. When he looked back at her, she was giving him a strange look. He raised an eyebrow.
"That's why you weren't afraid of arrest. You're the kind that's made of money,"
"Of all the things to find out about me, that's the first," he sighed. "I'd honestly like a normal life, with a normal job and salary,"
"Be careful what you wish for," she warned cryptically.
Their conversation was cut short by a policeman freeing them from their handcuffs. "You're free to go,"
"Thanks," he nodded, grabbing his card.
They walked out of the station and into the streets. She had been unusually quiet with him since their arrest.
He stopped a taxi and turned to her. "We need to clean up. We haven't showered in days, and I don't know about you, but I'm starving,"
"You go. I'm content with just walking for a while longer," she wrapped her arms around herself.
"Please? We'll walk some more after. I don't want to leave you," he pleaded.
She stared at him for a while. His face was turned into an adorable pout, though the effect was somewhat lessoned by his beard. His eyes held kindness and passion. She couldn't refuse this man, even if she had a thousand reasons to. She nodded and climbed into the back of the taxi. He told the driver his address and turned to face her, smiling.
"Thank you," he said.
"Why?" she asked, automatically smiling back.
"For trusting me," he paused. "For not judging or using me for my money. For understanding me,"
"You know, it's sad that in today's world, we need to thank people for that. Kindness and compassion should be the norm, rather than a rare catch," she remarked. "It's as if we expect people to be bad until they prove themselves to be good,"
"Funny how, the law says the exact opposite. Innocent until proven guilty," he remarked.
"You're associating innocence with goodness," she argued. "One can be innocent of a certain charge, but still be a horrible person. One can also be guilty of murder, but still be a good person,"
"How can you classify a murderer as a good person?" he asked incredulously.
"If one murdered an abusive, alcoholic father during one of his rages to protect a sibling maybe, is that considered being a bad person?" she raised her eyebrow.
"No I suppose not," he frowned. "Hey, we're here,"
He paid the driver and got out. They got strange looks in the lobby, probably because when their appearance and the posh look of the building were held in juxtaposition, they severely and rather harshly contrasted each other.
They took the elevator to the top floor in silence. Not the tense silence of an hour ago, but comfortable and amicable silence.
"And here is your humble abode," she said, walking into the penthouse.
"Abode, sure. Humble, not so much," he mumbled.
"Humbleness is always present, should you choose to make it so. You may have a large penthouse in the heart of San Fransisco, but you don't boast about it. I consider that quite humble," she smiled.
"Thanks. It's strange, you always know what to say at the right time," he smiled back. "Anyways, go take a shower. You can take any of the clothes in the guest room,"
He finished his shower much quicker than she did, so he set about making lunch. When she walked in the kitchen, she was hit with a wave of garlic, onion, and spices.
"That smells lovely," she inhaled. "What are you making?"
"Pasta. The way my mom used to make it," he smiled.
"Who's clothes are these?" she asked, gesturing to the clothes she was wearing.
"Uh... Let's not go into that right now," he avoided her gaze.
"No. We've ignored our problems for long enough. It's time to face them," she said.
"Excuse me? How does telling you about the owner of those clothes classify as facing my problems?" he snapped.
The pasta was ready, so he put some in each of their plates and poured the Alfredo sauce over it. Handing her the plate and a fork, he took his lunch to the living room.
"Because when you don't talk about your issues, you're pushing them under the rug; farther and farther away into the recesses of your mind. Eventually, you'll have pushed it so far, no one can help you but yourself," she frowned, following him into the living room.
"And maybe if I push it in far enough, it'll go away?" he said stubbornly.
"You and I both know that will never work. Push it in, and it will become a part of you. Isn't it better to talk about it, get it off your chest and have someone support and help you?" she asked. "Humans are social beings. We are not meant to be alone. Just as any group of living things, we function better as a unit. We can play on each other's strengths and cover our weaknesses,"
He searched her face for signs for sarcasm or deception, but could find none. All he saw was pure, unadulterated kindness in those captivating green eyes. He sighed, raking a hand through his hair. He looked up to see her staring at him, patiently awaiting his answer.
He took her petite hands in his and stared into her eyes. "Will you be that person?"
"Of course I will," she grinned, the smile reaching her eyes.
Something clicked inside of him then. A revelation of sorts. He realized that, although he had just met this woman two days ago, and he didn't even know her name, he would gladly lay down his life for her. Not only his life, which was evidently unimportant to him, but his happiness as well. He would be willing to go to hell and back to make this woman crack the smallest of smiles.
She was simply the most unique, quirky, and beautiful thing that had ever happened to him.
Why? He wasn't quite sure. Maybe it was the experiences he had with her, unparalleled by anyone else. Or not perhaps, it was because she was his wake-up call. She was the bucket of cold water splashed on his face in the morning. She was the energy drink that refreshed and cooled him down after a workout. She showed him how to live in the moment and enjoy life, to be grateful for everything he had instead of complaining about the things he didn't.
And most importantly, she taught him to seize the day.