A/N: *Savagely bites into Happy Meal cheeseburger* So I was half way through - 5000 word count to my first chapter! And what happens? I ACCIDENTALLY HIT THE 'LETS JUST BE FUCKING STUPID AND QUIT THE SCREEN BEFORE I GET A CHANCE TO SAVE' BUTTON. Oh my god, fuck my life. I was on a roll too. Fuck fuck, fuckitty fuck. /end rant.
So I've been lurking through FF for a while because the Assassin's Creed game itself cannot satisfy my poor cliché fangirling heart. I've come across several stories already with the whole 'girl goes back in time' thing. I know it's been overused. BUT I CANNOT STOP MYSELF FROM THINKING ABOUT IT. I seriously want to have a shot at this - so I'm sorry to all those guys/girls that groan and roll their eyes at 'one of these stories'. It's made clear, I have an obsession - you have been warned. STAND BACK.
I'll try and tone down the cheezyness/chichéness - but I'm a hopeless romantic TAT *slams head repeatedly against desk* I need to go out more.
Is there anything else I should say before I start the story, Altair?
Altair: *folds arms and leans against back wall* All original characters and places and game plots are copyrighted to the original developers at Ubisoft. In no way shape or form does Devonshire take any credit. However, 'Tahlia' does belong to the author ... as well as the unnecessary storyline.
Me: *whines* Altair! You're so mean!
Altair: *throws knife across room and narrowly missing my head*
Me: jgfkjadflakdjf! *turns back to laptop* GOD YOU'RE SO IMPATIENT. *goes back to typing* And by the way - there is a spot here for a Beta-reader! Please PM me if you are interested.
"'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat. 'We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
'You must be," said the Cat. 'or you wouldn't have come here.'"
- Lewis Carroll - Alice In Wonderland
There was no better feeling knowing that it was finally the end of her shift.
Tahlia Amster untied her black apron from her waist and walked into the kitchen. "I'm off!" she chirped to the others. She folded her apron as she walked past her work mate/friend Amy, who was in the middle of writing down a checklist. She gave Tahlia a reproachful look.
"Could we swap shifts?" she asked, her mouth curled in amusement as a desperate look gleamed in her eyes.
Tahlia gave a chuckle, retreating further into the kitchen and past the chef who was busy cooking. "Maybe next time!" she called over her shoulder.
She went over to her bag and jacket hanging with a handful of others on the coat rack. Tahlia opened her leather messenger bag and fished out her phone. No messages. Not loved. She slid her thumb over the lockpad on the screen anyway as she shrugged into her charcoal-colored jacket with one arm. She fingered her way through the touchpad, switching hands to shimmy the other arm up the thick sleeve.
Who wrote on her wall? Musing, she pressed the little world button and waited...only to be a little disappointed. It was a notification from her university group - to their teacher from another student. Seeing that it wasn't addressed to her she suppressed another sigh and went back to her messages. Tahlia flung her bag over her shoulders. Nope. She wasn't dreaming about it. No one loved her. She slid her phone into the back pocket of her work pants. And made her way back into the kitchen. "See you on Thursday," she said as she passed Amy again who waved goodbye. Tahlia made her way to the front of the store again - Le Gold - a small but very well kept restaurant. She waved goodbye to the other employers and pushed the glass doors open into the chilly night air.
Tahlia checked the time again - 10.37pm - and made her way down the two blocks to her car. It wasn't quiet in the main streets of Melbourne. There were still people walking around, going out for dinner, seeing the movies, being social. She huffed out a cloud of air and wrapped her arms around herself. Two more days to herself and then she would have to go back to work. She smiled inwardly. Two full days of sleeping in and being a lazy ass with nothing more than her Playstation 3, Assassin's Creed, her laptop and take-away chinese food from the corner store. Ah! The dream!
She was living the dream - her dream. Living by herself, supporting herself and more so keeping to herself. She was proud that she managed to do that and all by herself too! Tahlia was never really one to go out and party in the nightclubs or get ridiculously drunk that her face would end up in a bowl of spaghetti (true story). She didn't see the need to waste her money on alcohol.
Tahlia walked to the end of the block to the crosswalk and lifted her hand to press the crosswalk button. It was cold to touch. A few other people joined her, all ignoring her as they chatted. She bit her lip. Well... she did spend her money on things she really didn't need - but she couldn't help it! She liked buying games and downloading songs and purchasing unesseccary amounts of clothes of eBay. But, I mean who hasn't?
The little green man flashed and Tahlia proceeded forward. She lived alone - though renting out a room to another could never really hurt. She should look into it tomorrow. It would help out with the bills and sharing the lease would financially make her feel more stable. Though she would have to hold back on the whole shopping online thing. There were so many things that she had to put her money aside for. Water, electricity, gas, her car, insurance. Another huff. And... it would be nice to have some company once and a while. It did get a little lonely living in the apartment by yourself, even if you told everyone that you were perfectly fine managing on your own.
Tahlia nodded to herself. She should find a suitable someone that was willing to share the home with her. They had to be smart and well educated and have a sense of humour. God, there was nothing worse than meeting a stuck-up asshole that thought the entire world and all it's knowledge belonged purely for their sake. Humour was a definite must. Tahlia was never one to be serious for a certain period of time - though she could be when the time called for it. They had to be carefree. Not hippie carefree that they didn't give a shit about how they looked or smelled. They had to just go with the flow - be calm and respectful ... but also fun. Because if you were going to live with Tahlia and act like a complete fuckhead - then your ass would be kicked out that door before you knew what had hit you.
She kept musing about the perfect room-mate. Funny, yes. Carefree, yes, but needs to be determined as well. Determination was a must. They also needed to be independent, to know what they were doing. She couldn't stand dependent types. They should know how to clean and cook. God! Imagine coming home from work and dinner was already served for you? She smiled happily at the thought as she fished for her keys in her handbag. That had definitely made up her mind. First thing tomorrow morning, she was going on the computer.
Her car came into view - slotted inbetween a Mazda and a posh looking Mustang. Tahlia gave a low whistle as she approached the driver's side of her car. The mustang's exterior glinted in the nightlife. Its dark blue surface gleamed under the street light. There were two thick white racing stripes running from the front grill and over it's length. Tahlia's heart stammered like a wild fan girl. Her breath hitched. It must be a Shelby GT500. She didn't know her cars - but she definitely knew this one. She inwardly squealed. It was her favourite type of car and seeing a mustang in the middle of Melbourne was rare. She lifted her hand and gently ran it over the paintwork. Like silk! She giggled, resting her palm on the door she patted it lovingly. "Oh baby," she whispered to the beast underneath her. She was in love. "I wish I could take you home with me."
The dream disappeared as the wind picked up and a thin sheet of rain began to fall. Tahlia opened her car door up and slipped into the confines of the drivers seat. She pushed the keys into the ignition and started the car almost sulking when she didn't hear the purr of a mustang's engine underneath her. "Alright, girl," she muttered to her car as she pulled out into the street. She gave one more loving glance to the mustang before she curved into traffic. Her car's engine humming underneath her. Tahlia pushed back the loose locks that fell against the sides of her face and adjusted the controls on the dashboard. She turned the radio up, switched the heater on and pulled out her phone so it rested on her thigh. She bobbed along to the radio subtly, singing the lyrics under her breath.
What the hell was she doing?
She hated this song.
Grimacing, she flicked the station over. News. Ugh, boring - not to mention depressing. Was there anything else happening in the world beside famine and war? After flicking through several more stations, she gave up and wanted to listen to a CD instead. The traffic around her slowed and she stopped behind another car at an intersection. Taking her chance, she moved one arm away from the steering wheel and leant over to the passenger side, popping open the little cabinet on the dashboard. She rattled through the contents, keeping one eye on the traffic and the rest of her attention to her searching.
The lights went red at the next intersection and Tahlia rolled to a stop behind the traffic. She leant back over and dumped the contents on the seat beside her. God, I seriously need to throw out these. They were all CD compilations that she made herself. Each CD never really had a particular theme - it usually held the songs that she was listening to at the time - which was far and few between when it came to what types. Tahlia never settled on one particular genre of music and would soon become bored of it if all her songs sounded the same. So usually after a few weeks of overabusing her more-than-enough CD collection, she would toss it in the dashboard, sending them to an early grave with the others.
"Where are you..." She fished blindly for a handful of CDs as traffic began to move again, shaking off any unnecessary dockets or paper from the pile in her hand. She brought the CD's up to the steering wheel, making a left turn around a block. She flicked on her wipers, seeing to road once again. The rain was light and looked like it had stopped. What is with the weather here? Very short - if not - visible shower of rain. Caring less about the weather and eager to find a good song that would keep her motivated for the next twenty minutes of driving she searched through the CD's in hand, tossing any back onto the passenger-side floor that she didn't want to listen to. She should have labeled the CD's more specifically. The only writing on there was scribbled on with black marker with a date that the compilation had been created. In the low lighting of her car, she had to squint to read. The street lamps proved to be useful, flashing light through her car as she passed and illuminating her sight. She had one CD in mind - not like it looked any different than any of the other CD's. She surpressed the urge to toss the whole lot out the window. She was becoming very impatient very quickly.
Finally, finally she found what she was looking for. Her best friend Daniel had made this compilation for her a while back. It had been one of her favourites. She pressed the little 'eject' button on her car stereo and replaced the current CD with Daniels. Her mood instantly brightened as she settled back comfortably in the seat. No later, one of the songs started and Tahlia found herself singing to it.
Traffic slowed again at another intersection. Tahlia pulled up close behind the blue car in front of her. The roads were glittering from the recent shower, people were chatting and heading out on the footpaths. Tahlia drummed her fingers on her steering wheel and traffic began to move. The car in front of her blinkered left and merged into the said lane. Tahlia's foot pressed a little harder on the pedal - her car inching forward to the free road. There were no more car's in front of hers. The beats began and Tahlia turned the music up, raising her voice with it. She loved how her car could suddenly turn into a mini nightclub. She bobbed to the beat, slapping her palm on the wheel and belted out another tune. She could beat this singer hands down! Who said she didn't have a voice of an angel?
"OOOOHOHOH SOMETIMES I GET A GOOD FEELING, YEAH~"
The road wound down to the highway. The lights on the next block flashed to green. What luck! She might be home in time to watch the season finale of Supernatural. She crossed her fingers. She hadn't caught up with the show for ages! She was a fan. She could sit down and maybe heat up the leftovers of last night's dinner – lasagna. Her smiled contently. Then she could cuddle up on the lounge and play Assassin's Creed all night long.
"I GET A FEELING THAT I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER HAD BEFORE – NO, NO~"
It happened so quickly as she sped through the intersection.
She saw the light first before anything else. Tahlia didn't have time to react, but it was as if time had slowed down. One pair of bright headlights of a truck rocketed towards the side of her car. The sounds of screeching tires echoed over the music. In the distance, she could hear the blast of the truck's horn. But it was too late. Tahlia didn't have time to move. She didn't have time to even open her mouth to scream. She just... froze. What could she do?
The last thing she saw was the large metal grill of the truck right beside her before she closed her eyes.
Breaks slammed down. Steering wheel sharply turned. A scream ripped through her throat as her little car fishtailed just in time across the intersection. There was a loud thud as a tire hit the side of a gutter and caused Tahlia to whack her head hard against her car door. Two pairs of tires screamed along the wet road. The truck's horn blared narrowly past. The car swerved in a complete 180 and barely missed the sturdy impact of a street lamp before it settled quite unscathed in the middle of the road.
Tahlia's eyes remained squeezed shut. She was expecting to hear the sound of metal crushing metal - to feel the truck smash into her car and leave nothing but a scrap that looked like a large pretzel of her baby. But nothing came. No pain came. Only the music blared through the speakers. She meekily opened her eyes - almost daring herself to see if it was true. If she just survived something like that. She tried to calm her breathing. Her knuckles were white as she slowly unclenched her hands from the wheel.
People were running to the scene. The truck was still in the middle of the road - now abandoned as the driver stepped out, dazed. A few went up to him, a few went to Tahlia's car. She turned the engine off - the music ending with it as her hands began to shake from the overwhelming adreniline that pulsed through her. A worried witness knocked on her window and Tahlia took her seatbelt off. She opened the door. "Are you alright, lady?" A man, no later than his twenties asked her. Tahlia's eyes fell to the other group of people hurrying to the scene. There was a jittery looking female beside him. Girlfriend. Tahlia nodded, a little dazed. "I t-think I'm fine..." she looked down at her limbs and flexed them carefully. Nothing really hurt. She was safe. A little wobbly, but alright. She slowly stepped out of her car. "What happened?"
The man - guy - shook his head. "I didn't really see it, but I heard the sounds of the tires and the truck's horn..." He looked back at the truck, his eyes worried. He placed an uncertain hand on Tahlia's shoulder. "You're lucky to be alive. I was... expecting something worse..."
His girlfriend was on the verge of tears. Obviously the very fact that Tahlia had just narrowly avoided what may have been a very bad accident seemed to affect her deeply. Tahlia immediately felt...weird. A good weird, if that. That another could be so moved by the reminder that death could be around the corner. Tahlia raised a hand to her temple and prodded it tenderly. She winced. Yep. That hurt.
A few more came up to Tahlia - they were older. One was on the phone, calling an ambulance, another older looking woman had walked straight up to her and asked if Tahlia was alright. She nodded. Her head pounded from where she had knocked it against the door, but she was fine. The old woman didn't really believe her and told her to sit back down in her seat. Reluctantly Tahlia sat, with her legs outside of her car and feet planted firmly on the ground. Her mind was still spinning from the images of a literally near-death experience. She suddenly wanted to cry.
There were a few more moments and a few more awkward pats from everyone. Why was everyone acting like she needed special attention? She didn't like to be comforted by complete strangers. They kept asking her if she was okay, if she knew what had just happened. Why were they asking stupid questions? Her anger was slowly boiling over. She felt uncomfortable. She just wanted to drive back home. But someone had already called the ambulance. It would be hours until she got home again.
The driver of the truck slowly made their way over, still dazed from what had just (or what didn't really) happened. He was in his late forties at least as he slowed down to stand in front of Tahlia. Almost hesitantly as if he took a step closer, she would break in front of his eyes. "Are you alright?" he asked cautiously. "You're not hurt are you?"
Tahlia shrugged her shoulders, surprised to find them sore. "I'm fine. Are you alright?" She stood up.
They stood together, a few feet away, both feeling awkward. The driver nodded. "A little shakey...if that." Then he ran a hand through his hair, becoming delirious. "Fuck... I almost messed up so bad...I'm so sorry..."
Another witness stood up along side of the two. "What happened? Are you two alright?"
The driver nodded, his hands shaking. "Y-yeah... I didn't see the lights change... I just... oh, god, I'm so happy that you're okay." It felt like a weight of guilt had been lifted off his shoulders. He didn't want to be the one to take another's life. He met Tahlia's hardened gaze. "I'm so sorry that happened... it's just-"
Tahlia's fist collided with the side of his jaw as she delivered a sloppy roundhouse. It wasn't perfect, but the desired outcome was met. The man stumbled a few feet, catching his swelling jaw with his hand in shock. Her knuckles stung from the hit as she shook her hand at her side. "You fucking asshole!" she shouted, so overcome with anger that all she could do was to point accusingly at him. "You almost killed me! What the fuck is wrong with you? How can you not see the lights change? Are you fucking stupid?"
She could feel hands on her arms, but she shook them off. The driver squawked at the young woman coming towards him like hell was at her heels. He staggered backwards, a ring of apologies streaming out of his swelling mouth. "I said I was sorry! Didn't you hear me? It wasn't as if I did it on purpose!"
"You need to get your license taken off you, prick!" Tahlia took another step forward, but a few people helped the driver and stood between them. Her head was beginning to get dizzy. Someone grabbed her arm to steady her or restrain her - Tahlia wasn't sure. The next thing she knew was she was sitting back down in her car with her pounding head in her hands. The driver wiped his mouth. "Bitch..." he muttered, clearly not for Tahlia to hear.
She was back up on her feet snarling like a wild dog. "What did you say?"
Another random male stepped between the two. "Whoa! Whoa guys! No need to be getting into another fight!"
"You both need to keep away from each other," another said. "Has someone called anyone?"
There was a reply in the group. "I called the ambulance. They should be here in a while."
"The police are on their way!"
"We need to get the truck off the road." The driver was taken back to his vehicle. The same guy that came to Tahlia's car before appeared in front of her. He passed a skeptical look to his girlfriend. "You need to get your car off the road too."
Tahlia huffed, her anger still boiling in her veins. But she nodded her head robotically and parked her car across the road from the truck. Both drivers got out and bitterly glared at each other. No later, the street was filled with sirens and lights. The police had questioned Tahlia first while the paramedics checked on the truck driver. When she gave her statement to the police, the two professions swapped sides of the street. Tahlia found herself sitting on the lip of the gutter while a female paramedic checked her head.
"It's a small concussion," she stated, placing back the bandages and wraps in the case. "The skin hasn't broken, but there is just a slight swelling. Nothing too serious. But I recommend that you wouldn't drive home tonight. Is there anyone that can pick you up?"
Tahlia didn't have many options. The closest relatives she had lived three hours away. "Yeah, I have a friend. He might be at work though." She walked back to her car and found her phone on the floor wedged between the passenger-side door and the chair. She inspected it quickly. It wasn't broken – thank god. But like most of the loose items in her car – it had been hazardously tossed around. Tahlia speed-dialed a number from the touchpad and pressed it to her ear. Another light shower of rain fell and Tahlia shivered in the biting-cold night.
"Hey Tahlia." It was Daniel. He wasn't working at the bar, thank god. "Missed me already?"
Even though he couldn't see it, Tahlia rolled her eyes. "No…I was uh, wondering if you could pick me up?"
He was instantly concerned. His voice went an octave higher. "Yeah I can. What's wrong?"
The adrenaline Tahlia had felt before was beginning to subside. She wasn't a cry baby, but the reality of the accident was slowly dawning on her. A familiar prickling sensation burned behind her lids. "I was in a uh, car accident."
"What!" She could hear the rattle of car keys on the other line. "Are you alright? You're not hurt are you? Where are you? Tahlia! You're not in hosp-"
"No, idiot!" She sighed. "I'm fine! I just need you to pick me up – I'll explain when you get here, okay?" She told him the address and no sooner did they both hang up. He was ten minutes away. Tahlia slumped back into the seat of her car. The police were still talking to the driver – obviously his end didn't go so well because he was filling out a form. Tahlia tenderly pressed her cold fingers to the bump on her head. She winced. She needed some painkillers when she got home.
By the time Tahlia was dropped off to her apartment and was finished getting harassed by Daniel who was reluctant to leave her be, it was well past midnight. Tahlia was exhausted. She just wanted to sleep and forget that the events ever happened.
She flicked on the lights in the hallway and tossed her work shoes onto the shoe rack beside the front door. Tahlia slowly made her way to the kitchen and went to the medicine cabinet above the fridge. Opening it, she took out the little 'First Aid' box and fished out a packet of painkillers. She popped two pills in her hands and grabbed a glass of water from the sink. Slipping the pills on her tongue, she drank the glass of water steadily and sat down wearied at the kitchen counter. A few minutes went by and the pain in her skull dulled to a comfortable numbness.
Her finger twirled around a lock of hair and brought it up to her face. She sniffed it and flared her nostrils. She had to shower.
She grabbed her pajamas and trudged off to the bathroom. It was a small bathroom, with a white sink and white tiles. She kept everything relatively clean. She shrugged off her clothes and tossed them into the laundry hamper beside the closed door and turned the shower on, testing it on her hand before she slipped under the water.
She let out a long pleasant sigh. The warm water always relaxed her muscles. She let her mind wander aimlessly as she washed. She hummed a tune, scrubbing her body before she began to shampoo her hair. What a crazy night. My bed has never sounded better in my life. She rinsed the soap and shampoo out of her hair and stayed beneath the amiable spray, drawing with her fingers on the glass and doodling random pictures. The bathroom began to fog up like a sauna. Time to get out. She turned the shower off and stepped out onto the small white shrug-rug in the middle of the bathroom.
She toweled herself dry and wrapped her wet hair in the towel ontop of her head. Tahlia quickly inspected her body awkwardly in the tiny mirror above the sink. There were no bruises, but the bump on her head was evident – just bruising underneath the hairline of her charcoal brunette hair. Nothing a little make-up can't fix. Tahlia brushed her teeth and threw on her pajamas, a small sleepy smile creeping up on her face. Her bed was calling her! She couldn't wait to collapse on her oh-so-fluffy sheets. She opened the bathroom door but immediately froze at the sight before her.
Only one thought flashed through her mind.
I must be going crazy.
The place where her small and comfy lounge room was meant to be was nowhere in sight. It was like someone had teleported her bathroom to the middle-east. The noon sun shone in the middle of the bright blue sky lighting up the large street before her. The buildings were very squared off, with little holes for windows and old front doors. Rugs of all sorts were wrapped up in piles next to wooden stalls or hanging over roof ledges. The street was busy with people – all dressed in robes and turbans. At some point Tahlia could hear the thick accents shouting above the bustling crowd but no one seemed to take notice. In fact, none of the people in her living-room-slash-wide-open-street seemed to notice her as if she wasn't staring at them in her duck pajamas like she just had finally snapped. Her fingers gripped the bathroom door frame tightly, her knuckles white. A hot wind blew down the street and raised sand into the air. Tahlia gasped as it came towards her and stumbled back onto the slippery tiles of her bathroom.
And slammed the door shut.
Immediately the sounds of the street chatter and noises of the wind were cut off. Tahlia stood in the middle of her quiet bathroom, her heart hammering in her chest. What the hell just happened? Did I just see that? Her eyes burned through her door as her hands repeatedly fisted and relaxed at her sides. Tahlia glared challengingly at the door which suddenly became incredibly intimidating. She nervously reached for the handle again. It's all in your head, Tahlia. There wasn't a street in your living room. She twisted the knob, feeling slowly sick as the door unlatched itself from the frame. She held in a breath. Okay…one, two, three-
She threw the door open and immediately cowered back reflexively like she was about to be attacked. When no attack came, she lowered her arm, opening her eyes slowly. She almost did a double take, confusion spinning like crazy little hamsters in her mind.
A foot cautiously stepped out into the quiet living room. Yes. It was her living room. There was no evidence of a street ever existing outside her bathroom. "B-but," she started, confused. Yep. This was her living room. She went over to the grey sofa and prodded it carefully, half expecting it to magically turn into a wooden crate. It didn't. Tahlia's eyes scanned her quiet apartment for any types of flaws and when she found none, her heartbeat slowed and her alert stance relaxed. She chuckled retreating to her bedroom - if not feeling a little wary of her surroundings. "I must've hit my head pretty hard…"
Tahlia was at the doorway when she glanced down to something itching between her toes. "What the hell," she breathed and leant over. Her fingers brushed between the lower digits and she lifted them up to her face to inspect. Her fingers were coated in something gritty. She rubbed her forefinger and thumb together. Little specks of sand fell to the floor.
"You look like shit," Daniel joked the next day during breakfast. They were sitting outside under one of the white canvas umbrellas propped up in front of a small café.
"You're an asshole."
Tahlia was in no mood to be teased. She leaned over the wrought-iron table on her elbows tiredly. She looked more than 'just shit' – and listening to Daniel point out a rather obvious thing had made her even grumpier. Her eyes felt like they were about to fall out of her head. She was dealing with a massive headache and her body was extremely sluggish. She had hardly slept at all last night – only to doze off for a few hours when the sun rose and just before Daniel had knocked on her front door. He had come over to check up on her and take her out for breakfast.
Daniel chuckled and Tahlia gave him a galled look. "Why did you bring me along again?" She rubbed her temples.
He shrugged. He had been around Tahlia for years – so her mood swings and bad temper he had gotten used to. "You need a good dose of vitamin D… and a good breakfast. How long has it been since you had bacon and eggs?"
Tahlia shrugged. "Too long…" she looked over to the inside of the café before turning back to Daniel rather smugly. "Have you ever realized the coffee girl has a crush on you?"
Daniel almost spat out his bacon. Tahlia chuckled and went to fork some egg into her mouth. He frowned at her, but his cheeks were slightly pink. "No she doesn't."
"I swear she does. I mean she knows your order from memory." She lifted her head up and gave her best impersonation of her. Acting like a total slut was pretty easy to do. "Oh, hay Daniel! Double strength latter with three sugars?" She batters her eyelashes and Daniel makes a face. To put Daniel off even more, she reaches over and strokes his hand on the table. "Oh, yes. Anything for you, Daniel! Is that all? Do you want extra cream on top, Daniel?"
He flicked Tahlia's nose stubbornly and cleared his throat. "She doesn't sound like that at all."
Tahlia laughed. "I doubt you even hear what she's saying to you – half the time you're staring at her cleavage."
She narrowly dodged a piece of bacon being flung across the table and at her face. Daniel was blushing madly and Tahlia loved how easy she could make him uncomfortable. Her inner mini-devil-self was cackling inside. Daniel flashed her a warning. "You make me sound like a pervert!"
Tahlia chuckled, taking a drink of her hot cappuccino. "Because you're a man."
"You can't make a judgment call like that." He pouted at her. Tahlia shrugged and Daniel huffed. "Fine. Then I'll just generalize every woman with one stereotype. You're a slut, Tahlia."
"Contrary to your improper mind, sir, I'm still a virgin," Tahlia replied matter-of-factly. Daniel rolled his eyes. Tahlia was completely comfortable talking about her sexuality with him. After all – they were pretty much like siblings.
They continued with their breakfast and when they were down, they both settled down in the wrought-iron chairs to finish their coffee. Daniel was halfway through talking about his studies when he caught Tahlia's expression. He snapped his fingers in front of her face.
"Tal – what's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost."
Tahlia snapped out of her gaze, a little startled. To be honest, she was thinking back to last night. She had tried to shake the whole incident with the street in the middle of her house as a dream, but she couldn't. Not after…she found the sand between her toes. She lifted her gaze back to Daniel. "Huh?"
"Is everything alright?" he asked slowly. He wasn't sure if Tahlia was feeling alright. He placed his cup on the table and leant over.
Tahlia remained quiet for a few moments. She ran a hand through her shoulder-length hair. She didn't know what to think. It – It had to be real, right? But there was no logical answer to what she saw – it was impossible! She lowered her voice so the other patrons sitting outside didn't hear what she was about to say. "I – I don't know."
His worried face was worried. He picked up the tone of the conversation and dropped his voice to barely a whisper. "Tal? Is this about the car accident? Do you want to go home?"
No. She didn't want to go home. Not just yet. In case… that happened again. The headache was returning. How was she going to say it without sounding like a complete freak? She waved his comment away. "Daniel. How long have we known each other for?"
"Since we were babies. Why?"
"And we've shared how many secrets?"
"Too many." He paused. He was getting more concerned by the second. "Tal – please tell me what's going on."
She leant back in her seat and pulled something out of her jean's pocket and placed it hastily between them. It was as if she didn't want to have the thing near her. Daniel curiously looked down to the object Tahlia gave him and picked it up by the corner. "Tell me what you think that is," she asked quietly, her face paling.
Daniel was holding up a small plastic bag – the type of plastic bag you used to pack your sandwiches for lunch with. It even had a snap-lock seal on top of it. He shook it slightly, the contents inside grouping together in the corner. It was sand. He was instantly confused. He shared a quick glance to Tahlia. "When did you go to the beach?"
Tahlia shook her head, eyeing the bag he held accusingly. "It's not beach sand, Daniel. Take a closer look."
He gave her a look. Alright. But I have no idea where you are going with this. He studied the contents a little longer. He finally shrugged and lowered the bag back down on the table. "I don't know." It just looked like ordinary sand to him. But somehow Tahlia was glaring at it as if it carried the plague.
"Sand like that doesn't belong at the beach," Tahlia replied dryly. Daniel raised a brow and Tahlia huffed, irritated. "It's desert sand, Daniel. Shit. Can't you tell the difference between the two?"
Offended and confused, Daniel said, "Since when did you have time to visit the desert?"
Tahlia threw her hands up in the air in frustration. She snatched the bag off the table and stuffed it in her pocket again. "I never went to the desert. I found it in the bathroom last night!"
Daniel frowned and lifted a finger to his chin in the classic 'thinking man' pose. He gave up. "Maybe you went to a desert or something and you just can't remember it?"
"I think I would recall a trip to the desert," she deadpanned.
"Maybe someone broke into your house?" The thought angered him.
"Then what are you trying to say? That the desert just magically appeared in your bathroom?" he replied defensively. He knew she was giving him shit. It was frustrating that she was acting cryptic!
Tahlia pursed her lips. She was very quiet when she replied. A complete 180 to what she was a second ago. "What would you say if that was the case?"
Daniel was caught off guard. What did he think? "I think you were smoking some serious stuff for that to happen."
"You know I don't take drugs," she snapped.
"Then I don't know, Tal. It seems a little weird."
"Understatement of the century," she remarked bitterly.
Daniel sighed. He knew that he wasn't going to get to her this way. To be honest, he was getting a little worried about her mental health – not that he would say anything out loud. But the way she was acting? He couldn't help to be extremely worried. He knew Tahlia long enough. He knew she was a smart girl – a good girl in fact. She never got in trouble with the law, she was always up with her studies. He decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. "Alright…" he stated slowly. "Look. Just say – hypothetically – that there was some bizarre and crazy chance you had a desert in your… apartment…" Man, he was having difficulty with this. "Why would … it be there?"
Tahlia remained impassive. "Try not to pull anything, Daniel." He frowned at her response and Tahlia just sighed and shook her head. She was as frustrated and confused with this as he was. "I don't know! How would I know?" she demanded. She abruptly felt like she didn't want to have this conversation. It precipitously seemed wrong. "You know what? Just forget what I said. I mean…" she plastered on a fake smile even though she was feeling ill inside. "I got you good, didn't I?" She gave a laugh for good measure.
"It was just a joke," she said quickly. Daniel narrowed his eyes at her but before he knew it, she had shut him out completely. "So…what's on for the rest of the day?"
He knew she was still bothered with it. He could tell. There was something in her grey eyes that were…restless. He sighed tiredly, giving up… for now. "Nothing much. Just studies and all that. I was planning to go to the library this afternoon..."
He watched as Tahlia began to vague out again. Now he was getting annoyed. "You know what? Let's just take you home. You still seem like you're still recovering." He pushed his chair back.
Tahlia's gaze returned to his. "I'm fine, Daniel. I was just thinking about something."
"About the desert in the middle of your apartment?" he guessed. Her eyes flashed. Yep.
"No." She hesitated for a second – a split second. "I was thinking about work. I have to ring them still and tell them what happened. The paramedics told me to have at least a week off before I could go back to work. With the stress and all that."
He remained quiet as he observed her answer. It seemed good enough. He sighed and nodded.
"We could hang out sometime." At least he offered, right? She was tightly wound. He gave a small smirk. "You do realize that I'll be taking you everywhere with me right?"
"I never said I was going to tag along with your sorry ass." The familiar fire he knew and loved came back in her eyes. He smiled a little wider. Tahlia nudged his shin through his jeans with her boot. Her voice was a little smoother – calmer. "But…yes, I would like to catch up with you. You seem to work all the time."
"So do you."
She smirked. He mirrored it. He stood up and placed his hand gently on the top of her head. "I'll be back in a moment." And he left to go inside to pay for their table.
Tahlia took her chance to ring up work while Daniel was inside. She watched him through the glass window talking to that slutty double-D pop-top of a coffee maker inside as she explained her situation to her boss. When Daniel returned, tucking his wallet in the back of his jeans and nodded to Tahlia for them to go, she stood up and followed him down the street, ending her conversation on the phone.
"Who was that?"
"Work. I just called in to tell them what happened," she explained. They stopped at the corner of the block. Tahlia enjoyed the warmth of the sun over her – even though the morning was quite cool. It warmed up her dark leather jacket and seeped through the front of her long white cotton shirt. She changed the subject. "So, how was she?"
"How was who?"
Daniel rolled his eyes again. "She has a name, Tahlia."
"Enlighten me, oh wise one." The green man flickered on the traffic lights. They crossed the road.
He seemed reluctant to tell her. "Cherry."
Tahlia laughed. "Do you want to pop her cherry?"
"Sorry…you guys just seem to click really well," she mused, pinching Daniels arm. "It must be from her magical breast milk she puts in your coffee every morning."
"TAHLIA!" He was bright red. She couldn't stop her laughter. He glared at her.
"I hope she put her breast milk in your drink as well," he teased back. She choked.
"That's disgusting, Daniel!"
"You know what they say – breast milk is rather sweet and you like your coffee sweet-"
"OH MY GOD JUST SHUT UP ALREADY!" She covered her ears like she was four years old – not nineteen. Even though Daniel was two years older than her, he still had the maturity of a twelve-year-old boy. She fled across to the footpath and pointed at Daniel before belting out, "DANIEL LIKES BREAST MILK!"
He froze in mid-walk and several heads whipped around to her direction. She was pretty sure a jogger just ran straight into a pole. Everyone stopped and stared at both of them. Daniel's playful look turned murderous as he narrowed his eyes at her. Tahlia didn't have time to gloat in her winnings as he charged forward and she zipped her way down the street.
They ran down half a block and around the corner until Tahlia finally slowed. She was panting – her body was already showing effects from her cardio – if she had any. Turning on her heels to face Daniel, she held up her hands. "Alright, alright-"
He tackled her and she squeaked out in protest. He kept them standing, with his arms wrapped around her body into a tight bear hug. "You're such a bitch," he growled in her ear. Tahlia shivered at the tone. "I'm going to get you back so bad, Tahlia Amster."
Uh oh. He said her full name. She was going to get it. She tried to flee but Daniel had locked his arms – if not awkwardly around her and proceeded to tickle her in public. A fit of giggles escaped her throat as she squirmed. After a few moments, Daniel stopped and they both pulled away. The morning seemed brighter – easier for some reason. Tahlia gave a grin to her best friend.
"You're an asshole."
"And you're a bitch."
The grinned manically to each other.
"Truce?" Daniel offered her sweetly. Tahlia chuckled.
They made their way down the street with Tahlia feeling remarkably better. Daniel drove them to the city center and they dropped by his work. He worked in the very popular bar making cocktails and drinks. Tuesday nights weren't busy however, so he had planned to spend the rest of the day at the city library. They both got another coffee together – in large Styrofoam cups and sat between the enormous bookcases with the steaming beverages sitting on the oak table. It was quiet and calm and relatively peaceful. Tahlia had taken a nap on one of the armchairs as Daniel studied and soon the memories of last night finally faded into just that. Memories…
She woke herself up and looked over to Daniel who was still reading through an art biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. Afternoon sunlight was filtering through the stain glass patterns of the tall ceiling-to-floor windows. Tahlia's bladder twisted uncomfortably and she got up and stretched her limbs. "I'm heading to the toilet, alright?" Daniel just grunted, taking down a few notes on his notepad.
Tahlia plodded happily down the familiar building. She had been here many times – she usually studied here after university classes ended for the day. She made her way down stairs and turned to the large corridor to the left. She checked her phone. It was almost four. Her stomach growled. She laughed.
She pushed through the door of the woman's restroom and took herself to the last stall. When she was finished, she washed her hands and fixed up her hair. The bags under her eyes had flattened and were less puffy. She praised herself for getting a quick nap in. She towel dried her hands and checked her phone again. No messages. I wonder if Daniel could take us out for lunch again…
She pulled open the door again and stepped out, ready to head back to Daniel. She was still on her phone as she tapped away. She would send him a message just to piss him off-
She stopped as a hot breeze blew over her and the library corridor suddenly became very crowded. She froze as her eyes caught the sandy ground that was now planted under her leather ankle boots and slowly lifted her gaze.
It was the same street that appeared outside of her bathroom door last night. Tahlia's eyes flashed through the heavy crowd. Shouts were heard in the air, dust and sand flew against her cheek as it was carried by the wind. The hot sun glared down on her, making her skin tingle uncomfortably. This isn't happening. Her gaze became desperate. She stumbled back a step. This time – unlike last night, people were starting to notice her. "No, no, no, no!" She wanted to go back into the library! She wanted to be back where she knew she was! She stumbled back, her death-grip sweating as she clutched her phone. More stares. She started to panic. This can't be real!
She spun around and reached out to the door closing behind her. The door was the only thing that resembled something back in the library. The white smooth finish of wood and the metal symbol of a very simple woman figure told her it was a way back home. Home, dammit! It looked very odd to have that type of door on a very old looking building. But Tahlia didn't think twice of it – she snatched her hand around the metal handle just as the door clicked shut and ripped it back open.
She didn't find herself back in the female restrooms. Instead she found herself gaping into what looked like a very small home. There was a small wooden table in the middle, a dirty tiled floor and a mismatched rug. Herbs and meat hung from the rafters from the ceiling. There was even a cabinet that held jars and all sorts of fabrics and plants. The smell was dank and stuffy in the hot air. It made her nose crinkle.
It wasn't until something stirred in the depths – a woman in a red dusty robe and a brown shawl stepped into the room and looked very startled back at Tahlia. She began saying something in a language that Tahlia had no idea what she was talking about. But it wasn't English. She just stood there dumbfounded as this random lady began to get more and more frightened. No sooner the lady began shouting at her. This Tahlia could get. She wasn't welcomed – she was freaking out them both. She slammed the door shut and gasped.
The door that looked once resembled the female restrooms had now appeared old and wooden. The red paint had peeled off to a point that it didn't even look like it had been painted. Tahlia ripped her hand away from the door as if it was a disease. What the hell was happening?
She turned around, feeling as if this alienated place was about to swallow her up. Where was she? Where the hell was she!
How was she going to get back home?
A/N: And done! Lul, I seriously kept thinking that Daniel reminds me of Shaun. BUT THATS JUST ME. Apologies for the awkward first chapter - introduction to the characters and such but it had to be done.
Please review guys! I know there is a hundred other fan fics exactly like this one out there - but I just want to say thank you for giving this a chance. You have made it through the first chapter!
I don't care if you're anons or you're logged if. Just review! Did you hate it? Did you love it? Should I continue? *sighs* If I don't get any reviews, Altair will punish me! Dx
And I'm still looking for a Beta-reader for this Assassin's Creed fic~ feel free to PM!