Kevin blinked weakly, his fingers flexing jerkily as he hissed at the burn that radiated from the bare skin on his back. The perfect darkness seemed to cling to his bruised skin as he looked around, squinting desperately in a futile attempt to find out exactly where he was. The air around him was musty, he realised as he took a deep breath in, coughing violently as he did so, his eyes tearing up as saliva hung off his lips.
A soft ‘click’ that resonated through the silence made him snap his attention to his left, his neck aching with the strain of the movement. “Who’s there?” his voice cautious but hoarse before he broke out coughing again, his throat dry and his voice cracking as he hunched over against the cold tiles. “So … you’re finally awake,” the cold voice that answered him made his eyes widen. No … it couldn’t be … he almost gasped at the heart-breaking familiarity of the voice before a crack followed by a searing pain made him wince and cry out.
“Who are you?” the yell was punctuated with yet another crack that made him attempt to pathetically claw his way further into the wall. “Answer me!” Kevin let out a hiss as a third strike raised a welt on his back, the inflamed skin threatening to break open as he arched against the pain. The tattered remains of what could no longer be called a shirt hung off his shoulders, doing nothing to soften the blows as they rained down on his body.
A faint flicker of light bounced off his skin, making him shy away from it with a pained hiss as the female lit a candle, the golden glow illuminating her face and framing it in a way that made her eyes glimmer dangerously as she glared down at him. As Kevin met her eyes, his heart shattered at the brokenness that seemed to ooze from the dark green orbs that gazed down at him.
“Who are you!?” she screamed again, her moment of weakness overcome by an irritation at his refusal to speak. This time, however, Kevin could see the faintest trails of tears that glistened on her cheeks, the transparent liquid colouring gold in the candle-light. He let a choked sob leave his lips as he stared at her, warm, sticky liquid running down his skin as she struck him yet again.
“Who am I!?” her scream was outraged as she bent down to pull him away from the wall, surprisingly strong as she did so. She slammed her fist into his side, sending him sprawling to the ground with a furious yell as Kevin rolled over weakly, his breaths turning shallow and uneven. “Tell me!” her voice on grew shrilled as her kick sent him a few inches into the air before he landed heavily on the cold stone again.
A pained whine left Kevin’s lips as he struggled to move, his hands scrabbling weakly on the stone in a pathetic attempt to find purchase on them. “Just tell me!” Kevin let out a scream as the woman slammed the knife, hilt-deep, into the back of his thigh.
The pain, Kevin smiled weakly as the knife was pulled out roughly, and as he rolled over weakly to look at the woman from the floor, was nothing. “J-Jade … “ he’d take the pain a million times over, if it would have helped her. “What did you say?” her voice was low and deadly as she turned to look at him, her green eyes meeting his pale blue ones for the first time.
“Y-your name … is Jade …” Kevin said weakly as he coughed, blood splattering onto the ground before he leaned back, resting his head on the ice-cold tile. “How do you know that?” Kevin didn’t know whether he should have felt fear or delight as she crouched beside him, one hand cradling the back of his neck gently as the other was placed on his chest, as if to keep him on the ground.
Kevin wound his way through the multitude of mismatched-chairs that decorated the small café, his blue eyes searching in vain for a seat that was yet to be taken. “Excuse me … is this seat taken?” his voice died when the female looked up, her green eyes smiling in a way that no lips ever could as she shook her head. “Thanks,” his voice was small as he looked at her, before settling himself into the brown leather cushion and taking a sip from the thankfully still-steaming mug in his hands.
“I’m Kevin, by the way,” he introduced himself, setting the cup down on the table and reaching one of his hands across the small distance. “Jade,” she replied, her voice as clear as crystal and as smooth as silk.
The very next day, just as Kevin rolled his neck and stretched his arms, enjoying the healthy burn that raced through his muscles, he caught sight of a familiar brunette. “Jade?” he asked, his voice careful as he approached her slowly, one of his hands clenched around the water-bottle as the female grinned up at him before waving childishly.
“Join me,” she invited, patting the patch of cloth-covered grass beside her as Kevin sat down, crossing his legs automatically before the female handed him a bottle of pastel-coloured juice.
“I haven’t poisoned it,” she laughed, slapping his arm playfully before sticking her tongue out to him cheekily.
“Because … I gave you this,” Kevin’s voice seemed to weaken as he unclenched him hands and told the female to reach for the necklace he was wearing. The gasp Jade let out when she caught sight of the silver, diamond-topped ring told Kevin that he’d finally gotten through to her. What happened next though, he wouldn’t have expected in a million years.
A soft, warm pair of arms wrapped themselves around his shoulders. “I … I …” Jade choked on her words as her tears dripped onto his face, her sobs wracking through her frame in a way that made her look frail. Kevin smiled at her words before pressing his blood-stained lips to her cheek.