I groaned when I caught sight of my hair in the mirror, the wayward strands somehow managing to defy gravity. Last time I go out for drinks and come home wasted. Last time.
Looking at the rat's nest – or hair, whatever – I decided a shower was first on my to-do list while re-inflating my pride came a close second. Walking to the bathroom, I quickly turned on my stereo as I passed, grabbing a towel as well with a smile. I silently threw up a prayer that whatever the radio called music would wake up my lovely neighbors. They could listen to it while I had a shower.
A nice, long shower at this very early hour.
Still smiling I turned on the hot water, throwing the towels onto the basin beside me. Call me petty if you want but some people deserved it; and some people just happened to be the bitc—woman next door. I barked out a laugh as I stripped and hopped in the shower, water hitting my back. I moaned contently as the hot water washed away all the tension, before I froze in my tracks, mouth dropping open.
What the hell was I even doing up? I didn't have work or any other plans today, so the need to be presentable and well, alive was null. God, you're a genius Olivia, a real genius. You should be proud of yourself.
I sighed, deciding to finish the needed shower while humming a mismatched tune under my breath. The warm water, empty schedule and now awake and screaming neighbor's made me smile. It was just another day in paradise. Despite myself, I chuckled, looking down and wiping a trickle of water from my brow.
Life was easy now, as it should be.
I winced slightly as I pulled on the tangles in my hair, a relieved sigh escaping my lips when my ebony hair became soft under my fingers once again. I washed my body and hurried out of the shower, suddenly eager to be up and about.
Maybe I'll go to Central Park for a walk, I thought drying myself off with slow movements. Mentally planning my day, I blow-dried my dripping hair. Central Park sounds alright, I could go to that nice café for lunch then maybe see a movie...
Suddenly bursting with new energy I rushed to my favorite part of my apartment; the walk-in closet that was roughly the same size as my bedroom. Now, I'm not one of those horrible girly girls who walk around with dogs in their purses or anything like that, I just really love clothes.
And, well anything else that had to do with clothes.
With a sheepish smile, I began combing through my closet, searching for what seemed to be the perfect outfit for my bouncy mood. I smiled as I slipped on some denim shorts, a deep green tank top and a white cardigan. Pausing to throw on my favorite pair of white high-top sneakers, I checked out my reflection in the wall-length mirror behind the door.
Freaking good enough, it's the best you're going to manage anyway.
Happy – or sated at the very least – with my outfit I skipped breakfast and grabbed my purse, already high-tailing it out of my apartment. I locked the door behind me before I started to walk down the sidewalk, tying up my hair neatly as I went.
Breathing in deeply, I sniggered, catching the strange looks other people were giving me. Unlike the average New Yorker I wasn't dressed in a suit and tie and looking miserable, no, I was practically bouncing with every step I took and smiling like an idiot.
But the saying; all good things come to an end ruined the relaxing prospect of my day. I felt the hair on the back of my neck rise, goosebumps breaking out on my arms.
Someone was watching me.
My pace slowed and I casually turned my head, looking over the pavement behind me. As I scanned the crowd, I spotted the source of my worry.
There. That man. That man right there; he was the one staring – directly at me apparently. Okay, so staring down random strangers isn't creepy in the least. And neither is taking a few measured steps towards them.
Again. Not creepy.
My thoughts came to a halt when his gaze shifted to somewhere behind me, eyes widening a fraction. He stared for a few seconds then abruptly turned on his heel and stalked off, his dark shirt disappearing into the crowd.
Wow. Creepy. And definitely not weird in any way.
Did I mention Creepy?
Not a bad view actually, I thought idly watching him walk off.
Shrugging, I went to turn back around, my mood slightly dampened when a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. Something had made the man scatter… Something that was apparently directly behind me. I slowly faced my front again, not sure what to expect before letting out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. No one.
My cheerful mood seemed to have evaporated, the notion not at all unsurprising. I started to slowly walk again and rethink my planned day. Central park was definitely out – too many trees to hide behind it one was feeling creepy and stalkery – but the café still seemed to tempt me. What can I say, muffins and coffee was always a day brightener.
I nodded to myself and started to pick up the pace, my quick steps back but the skip missing. I walked for only ten minutes before I reached my favorite café, the neon sign giving a homely appearance and the smell of baked goods only emphasizing that. Ordering my usual, I sat down in the corner, quietly nibbling my choc chip muffin but not seeming to taste it at all.
The man, the creep from before, was worrying me. I had gone to great lengths to ensure that I would fade into the New York streets, that no one would recognize my face or name if they saw it. I was just another nameless person in the endless sea of people. He didn't know. He can't have.
I had just finished convincing myself the stranger knew nothing when the bell above the café door chimed loudly. Looking up, I caught a man in a simple suit stroll in, his gaze flying around the small shop. He had a soft look on his face and balding grey hair but he walked with confidence. A man on a mission.
I chuckled to myself before I realized he was coming my way, briefcase in hand. He calmly pulled out a chair and sat opposite me, placing his suitcase at his feet before he shifted his suit jacket.
"Olivia Romero," he stated, folding his hands together on the table.
My heart started thudding painfully in my chest, starting a race I knew I wouldn't win. Licking my lips, I used the small amount of time I was granted to think up a response. I could deny, joke, act confused…
With a mental sigh, I fell back on joke. It was a natural response anyway.
"May I help you Mr. Smith?" I asked, narrowing my eyes.
He laughed almost inaudibly, playing along. "Well I'm hoping you can help me," he admitted. "And please call me Phil; Mr. Smith is my father."
With a small smile; I decided I could like this man. "Well Phil, how can I be of service today?" I said, my voice gaining back its usual trademark confidence.
"I need your help Olivia," he dug through his suitcase before gently placing a picture in front of me.
I resisted the urge to gasp as I stared down at the picture in front of me. Two moonlight silver whips stared back at me, seeming to glint under the flash of the camera that had taken the photo. Beside it lay the description, a quick mention of the alloy it was made of and the man who made them.
My stomach squeezed painfully and I started to wish I hadn't eaten that muffin as it came back up my throat. Not again. I don't want to have to leave again. No, damn, and he seemed like such a nice guy too. I looked up, all playfulness gone as I stared him down. God, how I hated fate.
And apparently Phil Smith as well.
He must have noticed the emotions flicker across my face because he calmly held up a hand. "I mean you no harm Miss Romero, and I have no desire to acquire these whips," he explained, tapping the photo with a single finger.
I let out the breath I'd been holding. "What do you want then?" I demanded, my voice losing all friendliness, becoming hard.
He pulled another folder out of his briefcase and set it down in front me.
"Tell me Ms. Romero have you ever heard of the Avengers?"
Edited; 5th May 2015
Admittedly, I am now editing this, which is me practically putting the story into new sentences without changing it too much. So, I suppose it's a new ride, but the plot is the same, just with a slightly better grade of writing.
Also, I own nothing. The characters – bar Olivia of course – belong to Marvel and I'm simply borrowing them for my story.