Orange Peels

See that orange sitting on the table? Pick it up, peel it, and eat it. I can guarantee you it has a different taste; you won’t know how it actually tastes until you try it, no? There’s no need to hurry, take your time and peel it slowly unless you really want it. But I’ll warn you, if you don’t like it, it won’t be my fault. However, now that you have the orange in your hand, take it apart into two halves. How else will you be able to eat slice by slice, right? Take one from the first half. Does it taste good, juicy, and sour? Sweet? It’s good, right? Now take one piece from the other half. Does it taste as good as the other? Does it have a seed in it? Are you going to spit it out? Is it tasteless? Dull? Disgusting?

       Now think of yourself sitting in a coffee shop. It’s raining really hard outside, and people are running around trying to catch a cab while holding on to their umbrella.  You, on the other hand, are having a normal Sunday morning. With your daily hot chocolate in your hand, you’re comfortably seated in the comfy high-chair by the door. Everything is normal: the newspaper, and the teenage cashier cleaning the counter. Just a normal Sunday morning. However, something catches your attention.  A girl. Sitting across the coffee café, in her early twenties, a blonde girl is sitting alone in a bright red booth. She’s staring outside, watching people curse the Seattle rain. She herself seems as if she’s been living in the rain, considering her clothes are soaking wet. There’s this glimpse in her eye, a very sad and lonely one.  She seems lost to you, as if she has no one. There’s nothing on her table, no coffee or cookie. Just a girl staring out the window. She has a story, a really sad one and you get the feeling you have to cast yourself in her book.

       Your curiosity takes you to her, not to mention how sorry you feel for her. You introduce yourself and ask if you can sit with her. She nods and smiles softly.  She introduces herself as Ace. You ask her why she’s so wet. Ace laughs and tells you she’s been running around all morning. Why, you ask. She tells you she’s been looking for a place for the past three days. You remember that the studios in your building are pretty affordable. You tell Ace this; a smile forms on her face and she thanks you. Still, she seems as if that’s not her only problem. You’re curious and you want to know what else is going on in her life. This has never happened to you before, but something attracts you about her. Hours pass by; your normal Sunday morning becomes a fun Sunday afternoon. You learn that Ace is from New York; she’s a writer and loves Shakespeare. Ace hates black coffee and loves hot chocolate more than anything. You buy her one even if she refuses. For now, her house has been her car and she has no job.  You tell her if she needs anything she can always ask you. Ace thanks you once more. Giving her your number, she leaves with a smile. You find yourself thinking about your new friend.

       Weeks pass; you haven’t seen Ace since the day at the coffee shop. She hasn’t been on your mind either. To you it’s just a good memory until she calls you that afternoon. Ace asks you if you would like to join her for dinner. You agree, and plan to meet up at the New Mexican restaurant a couple of blocks down from your studio building. After getting yourself ready, you set off on your way by foot. Your curious why Ace would call so late. But your curiosity leaves as you see her waiting at an outside table. You greet her with a hug; she seems uncomfortable so you pull back. A bit embarrassed you sit down. Ace starts out by saying she managed to rent out a basement and she got a job as a waitress at that same café and she thanks you with a huge smile. You congratulate her dearly and order your food. Soon enough hours pass and you’re having the time of your life. You learn about the random things she’s written and done as a child. You ask her about her parents and that huge smile vanishes of her face. Pulling out her phone she says she has to leave due to work. Not fully convinced, you smile and nod. She leaves, causing thousands of questions forming on your mind.

       Months and months pass by. Ace has become your new best friend. You have gone fishing together, went on a camping trip, she has met your other friends, and you have even started to read a lot of her writing. You seem to get along so well. Sometimes you wonder what it would have been like if you hadn’t talked to her at the coffee shop. Ace still seems like she’s hiding something. She makes mysterious calls and sometimes you even find her crying. Every time you ask her if she’s okay she smiles and nods. You think Ace would trust you by now, how bad can her problems be?

        It’s Ace’s birthday; you buy her those new shoes she was looking at the other day and two new books.  She seems to love her books, so why not? You knock on her door and find a man asking who you are. You tell him that you’re a friend of Ace. He gives you a confused look; the man himself seems to be the same age as Ace but more built. His body is decorated with tattoos.  For a moment you think you’re at the wrong door somehow, but then you hear Ace’s voice. She appears next to the man. Something seems off about her. She introduces the man as her boyfriend, Luke. They both welcome you into her studio, but in spite of what you would think there’s elephant in the room. You don’t like the looks of the man and how nervous Ace seems. After moments of silence and sitting down on the white couch you ask Ace if she wants to join you for a cup of coffee. Ace refuses, looking at Luke. He has a hard stone face and seems to be eyeing you. You insist Ace to come and Luke agrees which seems to have surprised Ace. She runs upstairs to get ready while you’re still staring at this Luke boy. He seems like a rebel, a bad boy that looks for nothing but trouble. You realize Ace never mentioned a boyfriend. She would have told you, right?

       Ace comes down and grabs a jacket. You follow her out to your car and without a word you drive out to the café you first met her. On your way you realize her eyes are red, as if she had cried for ages. Ace is playing with her hands and is trying her best not to make eye contact. Today is when you ask for answers.

       As you sit down, you see Ace is shaking just so slightly. You politely smile and get two hot chocolates with two chocolate chip cookies. After an awkward silence you ask the question: What is he doing to you? She looks up. shocked. She knows what you mean, but she smiles slightly and tells you that she doesn’t. As furious as you are, you control your anger and ask: Why are you so badly hiding your arms in the summer? She looks back down and stares at the table. You could see tears picking up in her eyes. Guilt struck your chest. You recognize you shouldn’t have asked. But Ace, for once, tells you everything.

       Tears drip from her eyes she tells you everything from the beginning to the end. Starting from senior year of Ace’s high school year where she meets Luke. He was the kind of guy she always wanted. He got her everything she needed and did everything for her. Soon enough things started to get weird. The summer after the first year of college Luke started getting obsessed. They had moved in together, which was nice, but something was wrong. He always wanted Ace to be with him. If she went out to get mail, or a cup of coffee she would come home to find her place trashed. Luke would appear and would start to yell at Ace for leaving without telling. Ace would end up apologizing and trying to make up for her ‘mistake’. Soon enough the yelling got worse and an apology wasn’t enough. She would come home after her job and be asked why she was a minute late. Ace would tell him that she had traffic situation. Luke stopped believing her and for times she got slapped and worse, beat up.

You don’t believe Ace’s words as she tells you all the sins Luke did. She shows you the bruises she recently produced after healing all of them. Ace continues her story and tells you she finally got the courage to run. The night of Luke’s birthday, he had taken all the energy out of her, making her do things she didn’t want to. After understanding he was asleep, Ace grabbed her car keys and ran out of the apartment. With some cash she had put in her car she drove to her parents’ house. She knew that they wouldn’t want to talk to her seeing that they had told Ace that Luke was a bad idea. The day she had moved in with Luke, Ace’s parents had split from her. Finding no one there, she waited. But shortly after, Luke appeared; Ace jumped in her car and drove aimlessly. He followed her for hours and soon enough she lost him. Not knowing how she could go back without having Luke find her, she drove and drown and drove. Soon enough she ended up in here.

You find yourself feeling remorseful towards Ace. You should have never asked, it wasn’t your place to. However, Ace lingers. She tells you how her friends had called saying that Luke found out where she was staying. Ace found herself crying more and feeling lost once more. Ace had tried telling you, but she didn’t have the courage to. So there she was, waking up finding Luke on her doorsteps and then ending up on the floor, hurting and crying. Ace thanks you for coming today, if you hadn’t, Ace didn’t think she would be alive.

So now what? You know what happened, what are you going to do? Are you going to leave Ace with the criminal, excuse of a being? What are you going to do?

 I warned you about the orange that was once on that table. You picked it up, peeled it, and ate it. Matter of fact you even took your time peeling that small thing. But did you finish it? I gave you a guarantee it was going to be different, but I didn’t tell you that you’d regret it. It’s not my fault you didn’t except the way it tasted. You took it apart and tasted both halves. It was sour, juicy and good at first, right? But the other half was dull and disgusting, completely tasteless. The other half had seeds in, didn’t it? But what doesn’t these days?  


The End

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