Authors: Neal Goldy
I Won't Let
Copyright 2015 Neal Goldy
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This book is a work of fiction and
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The characters are productions of the
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Adult Reading Material
Table of Contents
“STOP fiddling with
your pendant, Janet!!” exclaimed my
best friend Nicole.
I just realized I was
clutching it too hard. I sighed nervously.
I admit. I’m nervous. It’s
the third time in my
freaking life that I’m nervous! Nicole finished
my hairdo was grinning, obviously happy with her work.
“Now, you are looking perfectly
gorgeous”, said Nicole giving me a quick peck on the cheek, careful not to ruin
my makeup. I couldn’t stop a smile emerging at the sweet gesture. In the past few
months we have grown quite close.
She handed me a silver
clutch her favorite and grabbed a can of soda to relax. Well, I have no time to
relax. I checked myself last time in the oversize mirror. I looked pretty.
Generally, I am not categorized among the
, but today Nicole
rocked it. My long black hair was up in a twisted sort of hairdo that I didn’t
really recognize, random wisps dangling here and there. I was wearing a
turquoise dress, perfectly fitting each curve of my body, along with the
turquoise pendant that my mom gifted me about four months ago. I never got the
chance to wear it or rather I didn’t want to. Well, now is not the time to dwell
over our rocky relationship. The doorbell rang at the same time that I checked my
silver watch. I sighed.
“Calm down, Janet. Your
prince charming has arrived along with his golden chariot.”
Shut up Nicole
She walked towards me with
utter delicacy, took my arms, and dragged me out of the room we shared. “Come on,
I’ll escort you.”
We descended the stairs
and almost collided with Nicole’s cheesy brother, Rusty. He shot us an irritated
glance and hurried past us to his room. Professor Collins walked towards us with
an easy smile and took me in a quick embrace. “Have fun, Janet. It’s the first time
ever I saw a boy coming over for you. Enjoy your life. Don’t be just a little scientist.”
“Look who’s talking.” Nicole
gestured accusingly at her mother. Professor Collins ignored her and steered me
towards the porch. I gave her a genuine smile and walked towards my
boyfriend, Kevin. Well, the word
life. Kevin smiled at me and came forward for a quick kiss. I was already feeling
nervous; now I felt dizzy. Kevin steadied me on my feet and took me to his car,
opening the passenger door. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a shadow,
but when I turned, there was nothing, probably my nerves. I shrugged and stepped
It was our first date and
we were off to his parent’s anniversary party. Ever since I started my freshmen
year at the University of California, Berkeley, I had been irrevocably drawn towards
him. He has a nice physique, well-taut body, golden hair, gray eyes -- always watching
you curiously – and a fluid voice. Every girl in our year is crazy about him; I
never imagined I would be the lucky one to catch his eye. He is perfect in every
sense, perfect for me. We are similar in every aspect, we have the same goals, same
career path; we fit perfectly together like missing pieces in a puzzle.
A little screech of tires
snapped me out of my reverie. I glanced at Kevin and found him looking at me with
those big gray eyes. “What?”
“You look absolutely stunning.”
He traced his knuckles on my cheeks. “I can’t take my eyes off you.” I flushed.
He stopped the car abruptly.
Looking around, I noticed we were on a narrow street with dirty looking houses and
metal scraps in the surroundings. The look on Kevin’s face was not giving anything
away. I started fiddling with my pendant again, wondering if I had sufficient mint.
He blinked several times
and then said something that could become the joke of the century, “You are not
Saying that I was surprised
would be an understatement.
“Of course I’m not Nancy,
Dumbo, I’m Janet!” I said with irritation.
“But…. How? ….. What? …..
I don’t understand.”
“What is it, Kevin? Why
are you acting so strange?”
“Strange!!” He shrieked.
“You are the one who’s strange. What are you doing in
I was now annoyed beyond
my temper. “
asked me out on a date.
were excited to acquaint
me with your parents and
picked me up from my place.”
His annoying expression
now changed into a puzzling one. He was staring me in disbelief, speechless for
a moment, and then he started shaking his head violently. “No. No. NO. I couldn’t
do this. I couldn’t ask you. I like Nancy. I was going to ask her. You were never
in the picture.” It was my turn to be speechless. It was like a painful slap; I
was never in the picture! All those months I tried to fit in
and now when my dream had come true, he was ruthlessly crushing it.
I tried to remember Nancy.
She was cute… blond hair, gray eyes like Kevin’s, about a quarter of a foot shorter
than me. When she moves, it’s like a cat walking. When she speaks, honey drools
out of her artificial pink lips. She is the perfect picture of a Barbie doll turned
real woman, and she also happened to be our neighbor. Of course, he likes her. Everybody
Kevin was still looking
at me defiantly. I was so not going to show him my internal turmoil. I channeled
all my disappointment and disgust into anger and blasted, “Then you should have
instead of making a fool out of me as well as yourself by bringing
me a bunch of red roses, my favorite chocolates, and kneeling down in front of whole
With that, I stormed out
of the car, slammed the door hard enough to make him flinch, and rushed towards
a nearby unoccupied cab. Once inside the cab, I slapped my fist on the front seat
-- which made the cabbie jump -- and allowed myself to ponder my
Life felt stable since I
joined UC. I had a home here, and although not mine, I was more than welcome. My
dad had first acquainted me with Professor Lucy Collins when I had first enrolled
and urged me to live in her house rather than in the dorms. She hugged me that day
like I was her own daughter, I felt hugely overwhelmed by emotion. I always longed
for such affection from my mom. She’s a photo-journalist in New York and although
my parents are not divorced, they are distanced.
Dad rarely gets free from
his work at NASA, but I have no complaints. He loves his work, as I love science.
I love learning new things, discovering facts and it’s the reason I studied so hard
to get enrolled in Electrical and Computer Science Engineering at UC, Berkeley.
From the first day there, I had a huge crush on Kevin. He was intelligent, elegant,
well-mannered, handsome and more, everything I could want in a guy.
I found a new friend as
well, Nicole. When I arrived first and Professor Collins told her I’d be sharing
her room, she freaked and gave me the cold treatment. But as we started to understand
each other, we found that we were quite complementary. She’s everything that is
opposite of me; and in our unique way we have built the best duo of friends ever.
She’s taller than me, has shoulder-length brunette hair, which she said she had
dye just before my arrival, and her hazel eyes are always expressive. She has no
interest in science and is way too happy in the College of Arts at Cal.
The cab stopped jerking
me sideways. I glanced out of the window to see what caused the abruption. We were
near my house – er Professor Collins’s house – just a block away. Police vans were
everywhere; neighbors were assembled outside. My heart raced with panic, my mind
formulating dangerous assumptions. I shot out of the cab, paid the cabbie hurriedly,
and sprinted towards the house.
As I hurried past the police,
explaining that I live here and saw the wreckage, I stopped in my tracks, stumbling
over my own messenger bag – which had been thrown out of my room and fell onto my
knees. The house was in ruins, broken furniture everywhere; the windows were cracked,
broken glass here and there, and the front door half dangling on weak hinges. Blood
was everywhere-- on the porch and splattered on the lawn.
A wave of nausea swept over
me, an ambulance siren deafening my ears.
Ambulance…. I exhaled the
breath that was caught involuntarily. I stood up, stumbled again, and reached the
vehicle. My heart stopped for a few seconds. Nicole was lying inert, her limbs rigid,
blood covering her off-white shirt turning it into a crimson hue, her face too pale
to be alive.
I gasped. No…… no….this
is not happening. Nicole
“Watch it girl.” A pair
of hands yanked me away from Nicole. “You will make her situation worse.”
Worse!! What can be worse
than this? Then I watched Nicole closely and relief flushed over me. She was alive,
the slow rise and fall of her chest emanating the trace of a life-force. “What happened?”
I asked, blinking back the tears that were brimming in my eyes.
“We are examining her. Medical
speculation indicates she might be in coma,” Replied the nurse dismissively.
I stood there for a few
minutes staring nowhere in particular. How could this evening turn out much
more sinister? Half an hour ago I was dancing with rapture. And now….
“Where is Professor Collins?
Where the hell is Rusty?”
The officer nearby stiffened.
I realized that I shrieked out loud.
“That punk ran away when
he saw us and as for Lucy Collins….. She’s missing.”
Missing!! “Rusty ran away!
He left his own sister dying and escaped!!” I shouted in disbelief, a hint of malice
clearly in my voice. I knew Rusty was an unbelievable jerk and had been acting strange
recently, but how could anyone run from a situation like this. I felt my head bursting
from nausea and a headache.
The officer stared at me
warily, then finally asked “Where were you when all this happened?”
“I ….. I was…..”
The ambulance’s back door
was closing. I stepped aside to climb inside. Suddenly strong muscular arms pulled
me away from the ambulance. I protested in vain. The officer stuffed me in the police
van; and before I realized what was happening, the van was pulling away. “Stop.
Stop. I have to go to Nicole. Stop. She needs me. Why are you capturing me? I am
not a fugitive. STOP.”
No one cared about me shouting
and struggling. The van raced away and after about fifteen minutes, I found myself
sitting on a rocking chair in an interrogation room. The officer sitting across
from me studied me like I was some hard-core criminal on the loose. I tried to regain
my cool. There’s no way I could solve this problem by losing my temper. This must
be tackled tactfully.
Finally, mustering all of
my willpower, I asked in a calm tone which surprised me more than the officer, “What
is it, sir? You are clearly mistaken, I am not a fugitive. Please, I have to see
my friend and contact her parents. She needs someone by her side. I’ll answer all
your questions, but please let me see my friend just once.”
The officer gave me a rueful
glance and sighed, “Mr. Collins left yesterday for his operation in Iraq and we
are trying our best to locate Mrs. Collins. Your friend is receiving the best treatment
possible and will recover. Besides, we want to believe whatever you say Miss
“But we assume you had a
strong hand in this vile situation.”
I was losing my cool like
an exponentially decreasing curve. “You are mistaken, officer. I was not in the
house when it happened.”
“That’s what troubles us,
Miss Kanet. You leave and not a minute passes before an attacker wrecks the Collins’s
house. She/he tormented your friend and frightened her brother for almost fifteen
minutes, destroying the house recklessly – especially Nicole’s room -- and storming
out without a trace. Then you return fifteen minutes later
I blinked in disbelief.
Was he blaming me for my friend’s comatose situation? Was he blaming me for not
? What’s wrong with the police these days? If you can’t catch
the real culprit… just grab an innocent one.
“Are you listening to yourself
officer! I live there. Why would I cause such peril? Nicole is my
and the aforementioned room also happens to be
room. You just said they
were tormented for fifteen minutes. If you were aware of it, why didn’t you take
any action? Was it because you were waiting for the criminal to escape so
wouldn’t be inconvenienced?” I replied furiously.
The officer eyed me eerily.
“Your impertinent behavior won’t be tolerated here Janet Kanet. You are under arrest
until other evidence comes into view.”
Under arrest! Was he for
real? I wasn’t
punished once during my entire life. I was the type of
girl who always walked the line, never troubled a single soul, not even when I was
a child. Now I was under arrest for a crime I couldn’t fathom. For a moment I was
tongue-tied. I desperately wished for all of this to be a nightmare and that I’d
wake up with Nicole by my side. I blinked several times hoping the officer would
disappear into thin air. But that ugly, fat, old man was still standing there as
if waiting for me to try to escape so he could shoot me on the spot.
I finally took a deep breath,
knowing that being treacherous wouldn’t help my situation. “Fine, I’d like to contact
my parents first.” The officer looked at me like I’d grown horns.
Suddenly the door opened
and a guy in a black suit entered. I’ll admit that I
my perilous situation as I stared at him shamelessly. Handsome would be an inferior
word to describe his perfect features. He was pretty: black silky hair combed in
a businessman-like manner, well-taut body, sharp chiseled cheekbones outlining his
face, chocolate-brown eyes that could hold any girl immobile. He must have been
in his early-twenties. He chuckled at my obvious admiration and fixed his gaze on
“My sincere apologies, officer,
but I must borrow your prisoner here who also happens to be a charming young lady.
You must not torment such a pretty face.”
He winked in my direction
and I couldn’t stop blushing. His voice was hypnotic. I must have lost my goddamned
mind to be held mesmerized by this man in such highly adverse circumstances. But
he? Is it possible that my father somehow heard of my state and had
sent a lawyer? He was too handsome to be a boring lawyer. He could be a scientist
or an astronaut. Oh! How badly I wanted to kiss an astronaut. I snapped out of my
mental palace and tried to pay attention to the conversation. The man showed a few
papers to the officer and the look on fatty’s face gave me unusual satisfaction.
At last, he turned towards
me and sighed dejectedly. “You may leave with him.” With this he stormed out of
the interrogation room frustratingly. I stood up triumphantly and gave the man an
alluring smile. “Oh, thank you so much my knight in shining armor. You totally saved
the day. That ridiculous fat clunk of an officer was trying to restrain me against
my will and without any evidence.”
Now, imagine yourself in
a big bubble flying in the blue sky, and then imagine the bubble bursting and you
start to fall freely with the velocity of g = 9.8 m/s
. His next words
made me feel that way. He stifled a smile and said, “I don’t mind helping damsels
in distress, but in this situation, I must say that you are stuck with me for a
while.” Then he offered his hand for a handshake, “Agent Chris Gold, FBI at your
My approaching hand stopped
midway and I stared at him open-mouthed. What’s that Indian saying my father used
to tell me? …
Fallen from the sky and stuck on a date palm
“Umm, well…Why would
the FBI intervene in a local case? Is it due to Mr. Collins?”
“No, but it has to do with
national security. I’m afraid that the person who attacked your friend might be
an escaped terrorist. A highly guarded terrorist broke free and next we know he’s
been spotted not a few yards from Collins’s house. It can’t be mere coincidence.”
I let out a frustrated breath,
“Now the day can’t get worse. But before anything, Agent Gold, I would like to visit
Nicole. I won’t say a word in your interrogation if you restrain me from seeing
her,” I added stubbornly.
He snorted, “I forgot, girls
can be very obstinate when they want to be.”
“Are you a misogynist,
“Of course not Miss Kanet.
I am clearly a feminist. I often appreciate the beauty of god’s favored creation,
aka women.” He winked mischievously. God help me, but is my adversary flirting?
“After you, and please call me Chris.” He gestured me forward and I obliged.
We passed the corridor with
many interrogation rooms on either side. “So, why do you think it was a planned
attack rather than just a burglary?” I asked.
“We can’t tell you all the
details until we are in our headquarters and certainly not before we interrogate
you. But given the circumstances, the attacker certainly wanted something from Nicole
Collins, otherwise why let her brother escape. Besides, nothing was taken from the
house and nothing unusual except the broken furniture everywhere. He destroyed the
house but didn’t take anything valuable, and I daresay there are many valuables
in there. Normal burglars don’t do that, let alone try to torture someone without
a particular reason.”
I breathed in the cold air.
This was getting more and more complicated. It was beyond normal. Something was
up and Chris’s cautious tone implied it was not any less bad. We passed several
officers on our way, but no one dared to stop us. Outside, a gray Volkswagen was
waiting. Chris held the door open for me and I stepped inside. One more person was
sitting there in the same attire as Chris with a Bluetooth in his right ear. Chris
slid past me on the seat, and once again I was trapped between captors, though on
a better ride.
Several minutes passed in
an unnerving silence. “Where are we going? Towards the hospital?”
The other agent cast me
a wry look, but said nothing. I started playing with my pendant involuntarily. How
could anyone stay silent for that long? I certainly couldn’t. “Do you have any information
The car stopped abruptly,
almost knocking us over each other. The agent shouted angrily, “What the ...” His
voice faltered with the noise of windows breaking, Chris ducked my head in a defense
gesture and pulled out his gun. We were being fired upon from every direction.
I barely had time to recover
from the shock when the door opened and a pair of hands yanked me out of the car.
Chris tried to hold onto me, but the attacker was too fast, dragging me along
as he emptied all the bullets from his rifle in Chris’ direction. I struggled
and tried to apply a few defensive techniques I had learned in self-defense class,
struck my free hand on his shoulder, and doubled over quickly trying to free my
other hand from his grasp, but he was stronger than I had anticipated. He thwarted
my move midway, grabbed my shoulders and threw me onto the street. Something metal
hit my head and red spots appeared in my field of vision. I tried to get up, get
away from this person, but my view darkened, and soon darkness engulfed me completely.