She's running. Running where, she has no idea, but she's running. She weaves through bushes, jumps over potholes, and sprints to take cover by the garage. Out of breath she peeks out, looking for her assailant. I don't see him. She slowly makes her way to the other side and takes a look. Where is he??? Just then, a loud siren startles her from behind. She turns around and comes face to face with the tip of a barrel pointed right at her. Her eyes widen.
"I got you!"
She shrieks in horror. Isaac laughs as he pumps his water gun repeatedly, the water spraying Gina in the face. The lights flicker wild and sirens ring from his pump. Gina holds up her hands in defense. Her bracelet falls to the ground.
"Stop Isaac you got me!" she yells.
Isaac puts down his water gun.
"I told you I would get you. You can't run from me."
Gina picks up her broken bracelet and looks up at him, soaked.
"My mom's not gonna be happy. I wasn't supposed to wear this."
"So why did you?"
"Don't know. Just thought it looked nice."
Twelve-year-old Gina Davey has been Isaac's neighbor for two years now. They met at school, but didn't hit it off good in the beginning. Isaac was more about playing sports and adventure, whereas Gina was more into reading and writing. The first couple weeks they avoided each other, neither one willing to test the school rumor of "coodies", but when the teacher paired them for a project on the, "Functionality of Liquid Pressure", they had no choice. Gina hesitated at first, but quickly got over it that same day. If getting an "A" meant dealing with an immature adolescent male, whose average attention span is equal to the amount of time it takes to blink, then so be it. Isaac on the other hand protested the idea of being paired with the school nerd. He complained to the teacher, his coach, the lunch lady, and later his parents, but it had no effect. In the end, he had no choice.
Needless to say, they argued a lot. Gina wanted to learn all she could about the laws of gravity in relation to liquid pressure, but Isaac was too focused on having fun, that he paid no attention to their project. Their teacher, analyzing their progress, was very disappointed. After threatening to tell his parents of his low performance, Isaac was forced to put more effort in working with Gina.
The project turned out to be more fun than he expected. Liquid Pressure, as it turned out, involves a lot of overflow. Which to Isaac meant filling things up until they explode, and that was something he could definitely be into. Working with Gina wasn't too bad either. He soon found her to be pretty "cool". Her sense of humor was brilliant, her jokes funny, and her courage? Well, let's just say she's never scared to fulfill a dare. It was a great partnership. She would help him understand the physics of pressure, and in turn, he would show her the many ways to make objects explode. Every day their parents would sit outside socializing, and watch them fill balloons and milk cartons until they popped, laughing when they see water shower their entire body. They passed their project. They've been inseparable ever since.
"Don't worry... I'll protect you."
From across the street, Gina's mother calls for her. Gina turns to Isaac, a guilty look on her face.
"Oh no the bracelet. She's gonna get mad. I'll be grounded for life!"
Isaac smiles and holds his water gun at the ready.
"Don't worry...I'll protect you."
Later that night, Gina lay in bed smiling, surprised that Isaac took the blame for the broken bracelet.
The years went on and before they knew it, graduation day was here. Gina, an outstanding academic, earned a full scholarship to Standford University in Palo Alto, CA majoring in Comparative Literature. To her luck, Isaac wouldn't be far, accepting a job in San Mateo, CA with the GoPro Company making commercial marketing videos. In his sophomore year, Isaac became pretty good with a camera. Mix that with his lust for adventure, and you have some of the best extreme video captures anyone has ever seen. He sent a reel to GoPro headquarters in hopes of catching someone's interest. It didn't take long for them to respond with the job offer of video demo specialist, capturing intense extreme sport shots. He was happy to accept.
The seniors line up against the wall in the hallway, waiting for their cue to enter the auditorium. Gina turns to look for Isaac. He sees her nervous expression and walks over.
"Hey, you ok?"
She shakes her head.
"Nervous. It's a lot of people."
He peeks out in the auditorium.
"It's just a bunch of old people. It'll be alright."
"I'm nervous about going to California. I won't know anyone."
Isaac looks at her puzzled.
"What are you talking about? I'll be right down the street."
Gina shakes her head.
"You'll be off on some mountain skydiving or somewhere hanging from a cliff.
It's ok I'm just saying that it'll be rough the first year getting settled in."
"Scared of making new friends?"
Gina sighs. Isaac eyes her for a moment.
"Look at me..."
Gina does so hesitantly. Isaac looks deep into her eyes.
"I dare you to do well over there." he says with a wink.
Isaac's dare, like so many others in the past, brings confidence back into her. He turns to walk back to his spot, but quickly stops to face her.
"Don't worry, I'll protect you."
He gives her a peck on the cheek and walks back to his spot. Gina can't help but smile.
"Isaac...please help me!"
3. The Call
The phone rings, waking Isaac. It's three-thirty in the morning and he just finished settling down in his apartment after a long trip to the Philippines. Who is calling me at this time? He answers it.
The sound of a woman's whimper startles him.
"Hello, someone there?"
"Isaac..." she whispers.
His eyes go wide.
"Gina? What's the matter? What's wrong?!"
There's no response.
"Gina! Talk to me what happened?! Did he..."
he stops himself, remembering the promise he made to her weeks before.
"Gina, tell me what's wrong."
A long pause follows before her voice pierces through to his heart.
"Isaac...please help me!"
He hangs up.
For three years Gina has been dating Brandon. She was twenty-five now and in love, and who could blame her? Brandon treated her like royalty. He took her places, romanced her, and even chose to spend the holidays with her instead of his family one Christmas.
Isaac felt at any moment Brandon would purpose, but as time went by, he never did. He always wondered why. They've hung out a couple of times and each time has been fun, but on one occasion, Gina and Brandon got into an argument. Brandon grabbed and pushed her against the wall. Isaac didn't know. He was outside tending to the bar-b-q. When they returned, Isaac noticed the change in mood. Gina was quiet and closed off. Isaac asked if she was OK and she quickly nodded yes. Afterwards, things only got worse. Gina wasn't allowed to see Isaac or any of her male friends for that matter. Communication between them shortened. Isaac felt worried and visited her apartment one day, but she wasn't there. He went to her Brandon's place, but he simply told Isaac,
"She's a different person now, even around me. I think you should give her some space. Maybe she'll come around."
It didn't feel right to Isaac, but he wasn't one to disrespect Gina's personal life or privacy. Later that day he got a text message from Gina saying that she was ok and that everything is fine.
A couple of weeks later Isaac found her at the park, eyes red from crying. She told him of Brandon's anger problems and the violent outbursts. Isaac didn't take it well, but Gina reassured him it wasn't Brandon's fault, and made Isaac promise not to act out on his aggression, or bring up the topic. It took some convincing, but he finally agreed only on the condition that if she ever felt threatened, to call him immediately. She lived up to her promise.
Isaac drives into the parking lot and rushes to the door. He turns the knob. Locked.
"Gina! It's Isaac open the door!"
No answer. Isaac pounds his shoulder into the door repeatedly. On the fourth try the door swings open. Oh no. It was horrible. The place looked like a crime scene, broken glass everywhere, chairs tipped over, ripped furniture. He ran upstairs.
"Gina! Where are you?!"
He looks in each room. Nothing. He calls out again. Nothing. Just then, he hears Brandon's voice. It came from the garage.
Gina, badly bruised and bloody, pushes her hands against Brandon's face. His hand tighten around her throat, pinning her against the passenger door inside the car.
"It's never good enough for you is it!"
He releases her. Gina gasps for air.
"I'll show you. You're not going anywhere" yells Brandon.
He slips the key in the ignition and turns on the car.
"I'm gonna show you what happens when you don't obey."
Before he can place the car into gear, the driver side window shatters. Isaac's fist soars through and connects with Brandon's jaw. Isaac pulls back and delivers another hard blow. Brandon's head jerks back against the seat. Isaac continues punching him, one after the other. Gina watches in horror as all of Brandon's senses are knocked out of him.
"Gina get out of the car!" yells Isaac.
She does, landing on the concrete. She gets up and runs to the back door. Isaac lands a couple more punches before joining her. That felt good. He looks at Gina. The sight of Isaac fills her with overwhelming emotion, and she can do nothing but rush to him. Isaac takes her in his arms.
"It's OK. I'm here now."
Gina tightens her hold on Isaac.
He stops her.
"Shh, don't worry. I'll protect you."
She closes her eyes and buries her face in his shoulder.
"I'll protect you" he whispers again.
The moment quickly fades as the engine roars. Isaac looks up to see Brandon behind the wheel. He stomps on the gas petal. The sound of tires screeching echo off the walls. Without thinking, Isaac pushes Gina out of the way. The car smashes through the garage door and onto the main road. Gina looks up and sees Brandon staring her down. He's going to kill me. Before Brandon could press the gas, another car collides with it with force, tipping the car over. Brandon's body lay motionless, eyes open... dead. Gina sits up and turns to Isaac. Oh my god no!
Isaac lays on his stomach, fists clench tight. Gina runs to his side and tries to help him up. Isaac yells in in agony. Gina looks down to see his legs fractured and feet broken.
"Isaac! No please! Try to get up!"
She hears police sirens close by. Neighbors surround the area. Isaac's pain worsens.
"I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry Isaac!"
The only thing Isaac can do is yell.
"I dare you."
Isaac looks up.
"YOU'RE daring me?"
Gina smiles and nods. He looks at the ride before him. The line was long and tonight was the last time the carnival would be open before closing up for the year.
Thirty-eight years have passed since the that horrible day. Isaac's heroics cost him the use of his legs, but Gina was safe, and that mattered more to him than anything else. It wasn't easy dealing with his disability. There were many low moments in Isaac's life afterwards. The only thing that kept him fighting was Gina. Her undying love for him filled him with the strength he needed to overcome the struggles
that came with such a misfortune. It wasn't all bad though. His love for adventure never faded and therefore, joined a sports club for the handicap. He learned to play basketball, tennis, hand cycling, and even swimming. Gina was very proud of him. They married two years later, and, because his disability didn't prevent him from having kids, they had five. The last two were a surprise to both, as they didn't expect twins. Now in their sixties, they're living their lives as happy as any couple can.
Isaac watches the teenagers settling behind their bumper cars. Within seconds they will be crashing into each other, bodies jerking back and forth. He wasn't sure if he could handle such wild activities at his age.
Gina smiles at him.
"That's ok. I understand. We don't have to if you're scared", she says.
"Wait what?! I never said I was. Let's go."
Gina pushes his wheelchair forward. He tightens his grip slightly on the arm chair. Gina notices and leans into his ear,
"Don't worry...I'll protect you."
Behind the Story
I love writing suspense drama, but I wanted to try my hand in Romance for a change. I wrote this story several years ago when I was still trying to find my voice.
At the time, my wife and I spent our nights reading Nicholas Sparks' "The Rescue". It was an awesome book and after finishing it, I wanted to see if I could write something similar. Let me tell you, Romance is hard!
Gina and Isaac's story was completely made up. Originally, I had a stereotypical love story full of cliche's. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl doesn't want boy, boy wins girl's heart, happy ending. It was dry and boring. Later I read an article about a woman surviving an abusive relationship and thought, There's my story!
Afterwards, filling in the details came fairly easy to me and before I knew it, I had a story worth reading. At least in my eyes. It had all the qualities I love writing about, drama, suspense, tragedy, and now Romance.