Even though I was still shocked, scared, angry and unable to believe that everything went so fine in a matter of seconds, I decided I should get over it and try to enjoy my time, after all, I can't blame Ashley for what she did.
"So, was that an invitation to your party?" Said mr Iero, looking kind of irritated as he stepped next to me trying to avoid all the balloons and rush of people around us.
"No." I replied beaming. I seriously couldn't wipe it off no matter how hard I tried; everything was fine!
"Actually, it's quite an interesting story to tell you." I added leading him to this couch I spotted in one of the corners, where it was less crowded.
I finally had SOMETHING to tell that guy. I barely knew him and all, but still, I really felt like getting to know him a little bit more, he sounds pretty interesting to me.
So I threw myself on the sofa, pulling him towards it to sit down. He looked a bit hesitated first. As if he wasn't really sure he wanted to be there. Well, I don't blame him, I mean he is attenting a kind of a stranger's party, but still, he did sit so close to me.
"Listen, I can't stay here for long..." He said looking around at everyone, as if he desprately wanted to see someone he actually knew.
"Alright." I said.
I was about to begin telling him the story of Ashley and those guys, but...just as if it felt like it was the right moment, something had to happen...Yeah, he couldn't have simply missed my birthday. I spotted him. Remember him? He's my sweet loving 'fiance'.
I don't know what got him there, he'd probably think a plane is a huge flying bird. How on earth was he able to get here.
"Oh, Claire!" Said Ashley stepping next to me. "I thought you might have missed him so I arranged everything so that he would be here." She added grinning.
"Oh my god, Ashley what have you done!" I exclaimed.
"Well." She said sitting between me and mr Iero. "I thought seeing your fiance would be the best present, even though I went through a LOT of trouble to get him here." She explained waving to him as he spotted us.
"I mean..." She added. "Can you imagine they almost put him in jail for trying to take one of those shotguns with him." She then said to add: "When they said it was banned, he actually insisted on holding on to it as he tried to shoot one of the security men. Good thing my dad is a really famous lawyer."
"Oh, my, god." Was the last thing I said as he finally got here.
Ahh, I remember that smell, that old cigars' smell. It almost killed me as he gave me one of those strong suffocating hugs.
"You won't believe what happened when I was coming here." He added.
"I won't?" I said faking a beam as he took me by the hand dragging me all the way outside.
"Why are we out here?" I said, wanting to go back inside... to mr Iero. It didn't seem right leaving him all alone like that.
"It's freezing out here and this is a scary neighborhood." I added putting my hands in my sweater's pocket, scanning the place.
"What?" He added looking at me. "Now I come all the way here and you're arguing me about why I took you outside?" He started to get angry at me.
And here comes the memories, the memories of why I travelled all the way here in the first place.
Forgetting them wasn't that easy and I thought he would've probably changed if he actually missed me. But he proved it all wrong as he continued yelling: "Do you know what I had to go through?"
"Huh, the stupid gun of yours." I mumbled sarcastically looking at the ground.
"What did you say?" He added getting all red.
"Nothing, nevermind." I replied trying to avoid his upcoming reaction.
"Is this how you are going to greet me?" He then yelled glaring at me.
I started to step backwards as those horrible memories were flashing back.
"Look, it's been a while, haven't you at least missed me?" I tried to get away with it...But he was too stubborn, he wouldn't let anything slip off. Well, only his hand as it slapped my face.
"And you know who gets the punishment if you keep this up don't you!" He shouted.
Who gets the punishment....You know....from where I come from, Lebanon, that is, gangs and well, people like this monster in front of me would actually take control of normal people's situation, normal people like me, and my parents. The government didn't really give a shit, politicians are more into stuff like getting more investors to use their money to finance firms and shit like that, it wasn't this safe, at least not in the area where I lived.
Meaning, George and his 'gang' have threatened my family to force me to marry him.
They couldn't run to the police...What police would they run to? Order and security was only provided to people living in the down town, where I met Ashley, where I went to college to stay away from him for a while.
I'm not really this kind of girl who would stay calm and say nothing while she's being abused but then again, it's my family we're talking about, and that's what I should be doing, at least until I find a solution to this whole thing.
I was reminding myself of why I was still with this monster as he finally made me snap out of it giving me one of his other slaps, on the other cheek this time, making me hit the floor.
"I WAS TALKING TO YOU!" He shouted as I looked at him from below, placing my hand on my cheek, feeling it burn.
Gosh, I wish the earth would open up and somehow swollow him or something.
"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO ANSWER ME RIGHT AWAY WHEN I ASK YOU A QUESTION!." He spat. Abviously he asked something while I was busy thinking....
"I'm sorry." I replied trying to avoid another one of his slaps as he stood there staring at me for a while.
He then took the hand I had on my cheek and pulled me up. I looked at him frowning as he then added: "Look, the whole matter is that sometimes it's impossible for you to understand things."
Impossible for me you fucking jerk? You're the one who can barely read his own name.
Well, I wished I had the gutts to say that, instead, I said: "It's ok, I just want to go home."
"Oh come on, we're enjoying ourselves here, besides I'm only staying here for tonight, I have to go back the guys need me there, you know." He explained winking proudly. Proud to be this filthy gang leader.
This gang shit of his needs him. The good news was that he will be leaving pretty soon.
"We'll go back inside and I'll tell you about what happened to me later." He said
"Alright then." I added as he put his arm around me, making me feel more sick than I already was, pushing me back in.
As we were walking back to Ashley who was still sitting on the sofa, I was hoping none of my friends would notice the bruises his slaps must have left on my face. It was funny though, I seemed to know nobody there, Ashley being Ashley, must have invited the people she knew. She sure didn't forget to get George here though.
"Oh my god what happened to your face?" She said loudly staring at it.
"It's nothing, I....I, uh..." I tried to lie, I never told her the deal with George, she's not the type to understand things like these, she's always lived in down town, ablivious of what's been going on elsewhere.
"Those damn assholes tried to rob us." George then came up with a lie.
"I tell you, this neighborhood is pretty scary." She said checking my bruises up. "But how else was I going to get you freaked out huh." She added with a wide grin.
"Um..." Iero interrupted. "I....I have to leave, I'm kind of late for something." He then added looking at his watch.
I don't blame him, I wish I could leave too, it was my own birthday and I was feeling awkward. I wished I could just scream out for him to take me with him.
"Okies." Replied Ashley looking at him smiling, showing her teeth.
"Ok." He said standing up forcing a kind of a smile as he then added: "I'll see you later." Glancing at me to then step away and leave.
The night went well, George drank so much that he ended up passing out on the couch the whole night, making everything a hell lot easier for me. That's why I probably enjoyed it.
So we cut the cake, we sang and danced, it was fun..Although I still wished that guy Iero had stayed.
After that, we took George to the airport, I was so excited, so excited to watch him leave.
He gave me a warm goodbye...Grabbing my ass that is, as he whispered: "You tell someone, You say goodbye to mom."
I saw him walk away, I kept glancing at him to make sure he was really leaving.
I think he then got himself into trouble again, I was able to see he tried to ask for the gun the security guard had on him...How stupid was that. I didn't care though, I just didn't believe I was back to that rathole I lived in, back to my uncomfortable bed, where I could finally get some sleep.
I woke up the next morning on the sound of the alarm, reminding me I had to get up for work.
I was still so tired I was barely able to open my eyes.
Dragging myself to the bathroom, I took a shower and got myself dressed. I was all ready to go, or so I thought.
The sight of me freaked me out as I looked in the mirror. My face had a purple spot on it and even more swollen than yesterday as my eyes were still red because of staying really late yesterday, my make up couldn't cover everything this time.
The usual thing that happens every morning then took place....Ashley coming with the coffee then taking me to the spa.
Who thought spas could be so tiring?
As I got there and got in to my work room, I took the paper of schedules in hand to see which client I should be expecting first..
I didn't know why, but it made me somehow happy to see 'Iero' with the first appointment for today.
He might actually make my day, and I don't even know the guy, but he's the only guy I've spent the most time with ever since I got to new york.
It wasn't until 15 minutes for him to get here, so as I put my white, 'work outfit' on, I tiredly sat on the couch facing the massage chair, and tried to rest waiting for him; I have to admit it, that couch was more comfortable than my own bed.