R&R

The air was thick and hot.

His throat burned and he awoken with dry coughs. He tried to open his eyes but they stung and ached – he coughed again. He could hear the popping and sizzling of the building around him burning and coming unrivaled. He had to get out, his mind screamed.

He managed to crack his eyes open a bit, taking in the intense glowing surrounding. He coughed again, placing a hand over his mouth, his head ached and blood seeped down his face. He could feel his skin being burned by the heat and he tugged his leg frantically from underneath a fallen piece of something. Getting his leg free he back paddled a little blindly bumping into something solid, his hands running over something slick, wet, and sticky.

Looking behind him his eyes widened dramatically and his mouth opened, but he ended up coughing. Before him was Cat, unconscious, her skin grey with soot, a pool of red, red blood pooling around her head, mixing with the color of her hair.

That's right, he wasn't alone.

His head wiped around and his eyes leaked. A few feet away, near a raging blaze he could make out another body half engulfed. His insides lurched realizing that was one of his friends. Turning his attention back to Cat he grabbed her, hulling her towards him. He looked around for an escape – they had already been trapped in, he remembered.

That gave him pause. Fear gripped him and he realized he was trapped, that he was going to burn in this fire. Then, Cat was gone and replaced by bones. He let go and scrambled away from the bones, pain tore up his left as he hit flames. A scream tore through his ravaged lungs and the walls began to close in, the hands of orange flames reached for him, clawing, licking, caressing him. All he could do was screaming.

Twenty-eight year old Robbie instantly sprang upwards; sweat crusading down him the memory of pain slowly leaving. He moved from his bed and stumbled into his bathroom, flicking on the light on. It came on dim and flickered. He moved to his sink, filling a glass sitting on it with water before grabbing the bottle of pills also sitting there. He quickly took a few of the little yellow pills, sighing as the left area of his chest from his neck to his thigh, stopped twitching.

Swallowing a few gulps of water his eyes rose to his reflection, taking in his worn eyes. He gently rubbed his eyes he needed sleep. His eyes went to the wall beside the mirror, his eyes on the taped photo on the wall. His eyes hardened, all tiredness going away. His fist came up and landed over the taped photo, removing his hand it floated to the grit covered floor. He turned and quickly vanished out of the bathroom, flicking the light off. He had a busy day tomorrow. It was a special day. He had only waited ten years for it.

(_)

She was not in the mood for this. These nightmares. When would they stop?

The young woman sat on the edge of her bed, her left hand shaking uncontrollably. Her nightmare, one of flames, wailing, and crying, was still fresh in her mind, though it was memory not nightmare.

There was so much to do today. She got up and moved toward the tall dresser in her bed room, pulling the thick doors open and grasping her outfit for her day – a dark blouse and skirt, the normal for her. She then wondered into the bathroom and peeled off her sweaty clothes getting to her shower. She then got out and dressed herself and pulled her long dark hair into a neat tail. Sliding on her heels and grabbing her brief case from the table in her room she exited out into the living room, scowling a bit for forgetting to close the wide and tall windows that over looked the back of the apartment building, letting in bright light.

Then, she moved to her left, entering into her kitchen opening her empty fridge then closing it – there was never anything in it. Grabbing a box of Wheat-Os from the cabinet the young woman sat at the tiny table in her kitchen with a bowl and a carton of milk.

She ate her meal in silence, glancing at her watch – groaning when noticing there was a whole another hour before going to work. Getting up, the woman left her bowl sitting on the table and was heading towards her home's door when her phone buzzed in her brief case.

Taking it out and seeing it was her mom the young woman frowned, simply staring at it until he quite it's buzzing. A few seconds after it finished ringing a text message came up on the cell phone's screen.

'Jade, call me. Today is the anniversary.' Jade's face twisted in annoyance. Of course today was the anniversary, how could she forget?

The young woman worked at a clothing company, she actually owned it now. This wasn't a simple clothing company either, but The West Fragrance, which had started off as a company who produce fragrances but had grown over the years. She had owned since the age of nineteen, when with the help of her father and her 'settlement'. The growth and success for her company had her own every magazine cover this morning for being one of the wealthiest young females of today. Each magazine also had her 'tragic' triumph story as main focus.

(_)

Robbie brought the wine glass away from his lips and glanced at his watch – noon. He had to go. His eyes fell on the woman before, older then he by at least fifteen years, married – not to him, and lonely. His specialty was lonely women. They had been dating for a while, a month, longer than usual. She was what he usually went after, lonely – of course - beautiful for their age, and rich. They had to be wealthy.

"I don't get it." The brown haired woman exclaimed, a magazine being held in her hands. Her perfectly arched eyebrows furrowed together in frustration. The young man reached across the table, taking up the woman's fork and blade, cutting a slice of her steak, holding it up to her. She took it into her mouth smiling at him briefly before her blue eyes returned to the magazine.

"What is it?" He asked, though his interest wasn't great. "What has gotten that beautiful face of yours so contorted?"

The woman sighs. "Nothing you have to worry about, my dear. I just am having trouble figuring out why every magazine I pick has this girl's face on it." Then she holds up a Magazine with Jade on it, her dress dark and expensive and her hair over only one of her shoulders. The words, 'From tragedy to success' written across the top.

Robbie took up his own fork and blade, cutting his steak, chewing it very slowly.

"I mean, when I was her age I was a millionaire as well, I never got featured in a magazine for it."

"Maybe," The young man says. "It has something to do with her story. Surviving a school fire, while all of her friends perished? Over-coming things, people like to root for those types of people."

The woman pouted like a child. "I still don't like it. I've met her before and she's not as sweet as the article tries to make her out to be."

The young man shrugged, and stood up. "How about we end things here?" He told her calmly, sliding his jacket back on.

"What?" The woman exclaims standing with him. "What are you saying?"

He gently smiles a smile that never reaches his eyes. "It's been fun but I think you need to focus on your family. We both have other things to focus on." He moves, stepping around the table and heads towards the exit. Her hand on his sleeve halts him.

She looks up at him, her eyes glossy with tears. He mentally groans. They're in a secluded area of the expensive highly stared restaurant – a VIP section. "I don't understand." She tells him. "I thought we had something."

He manages to resist the urge to yank her hands off him and instead gently takes her hands. He was smiling his fake grin one again. He gently pulls her up and hugs her as she begins to cry. He gently pats her back, his face emotionless.

Jade flips through a stack of applicants her annoyance growing, which each flip it grows and grows. She's sitting at a long table with three others – a man and two women, also flipping through stacks of applicants. "This, is all you have?" She glared at the girl before her. "Do you truly believe any of these unqualified losers would be qualified for my company?" She hissed. "I'm looking for experts, people who would be assets not liabilities!" Then an application she hadn't noticed before caught her attention. He hesitantly reached for it and plucked the crisp piece of paper up. The tiny photo in the corner was what caught her attention. Her eyes quickly went to the name to see if it matched the face – it was who she thought. Her heart beat increased and her blood rushed. Not good.

Continued…