A smile took over his face as he walked down the long stretch of city road, littered with vendors of every sort. The smell of soft pretzels, gasoline and roses filled his nostrils, and he couldn't help but smile even wider. He past two teenage girls sitting on the steps of a house and they giggled as he went by.
He couldn't help but smile because he was in love. In love with a beautiful girl with long red hair and three freckles along the bridge of her nose. Oh how he loved those freckles, he loved to run his finger over her nose when they were together, nestled on her beige love seat.
If that couch could talk… it could tell many stories. Stories of them watching horror movies, Kay clutching onto his arm for safety, of sleepless nights during summer thunderstorms, of sweet love by candle light. They had so many great memories that would always stay with him.
As he walked along the sidewalk a bike messenger almost clipped him, but he didn't even flinch, he just continued to walk down, the smile still framing his face. It was almost as if the smile was contagious, because whenever someone past him, they couldn't help but smile back.
"Oh I can tell he's in love," one woman said to her husband after smiling back at the man, then smacking her husband on the arm, "Why don't you ever look like that anymore?"
The real reason he was smiling was yes, he was in love… but it was more than that, it was what was nestled deep inside the pocket of his navy suit, in a small black velvet box. A ring. An engagement ring to be more precise. As he walked it burrowed into his leg, a feeling that had he not been in love, would have been uncomfortable. But alas he was in love, and it felt perfectly fine to him, but he knew it would feel even better on Kay's finger.
The sun was beginning to set and it cast an orange glow on the city that seemed to put everyone in a very romantic mood. He smiled as he saw two teenagers kissing on a park bench on the other side ride, smiling at each other when taking breaths. An old couple was walking down the street, the man's wrinkled arm around his wife, lovingly.
Then man was now approaching Kay's apartment building, he could see its cement top reaching towards the heavens, and Kay's apartment was on the top floor. He smiled a little wider, so that his mouth looked like it was in danger of falling off his face. He shoved his hands in his pockets as he crossed the street, in front of a car that had graciously let him cross.
He closed his hand over the velvet case, and it felt good against the smooth palm of his hand. He opened the door to the apartment building and walked past the lobby desk to the elevator.
"Evening Mr. Lancer, aren't you looking good today…" the receptionist said from behind the desk.
"Thank you Irene," he smiled back and pushed the up button on the elevator.
The elevator soon arrived on the floor and opened its doors to let a tiny man out, who tipped his black bowler hat at Mr. Lancer. The small man reminded him briefly of Danny Devito as "the penguin" in one of the batman movies, he couldn't remember which. He smiled at the man and stepped into the elevator and hit floor 35.
The elevator seemed to take its old time climbing up the steel ropes to the top floor, it seemed like he was in there for an hour. But time always seems to go more slowly when you really want to get somewhere. Finally the elevator dinged and opened its door to the 35th floor, to reveal a mousy looking lady with a grey wool cap and a cat in her arm. She watched him as he stepped out of the elevator, the smile still taking over his face, but she didn't smile back. In fact she almost had a look of fear on her face as she quickly got in the elevator and jabbed the button for the lobby.
Lancer shrugged it off and walked to Kay's apartment, number 537 and rapped on the door, his heart feeling heavy with anticipation in his chest. There was no answer at the door though. He rapped on it again, and waited a good 3 minutes before he heard something inside. It was sobbing, and it sounded like Kay. He knocked on the door again, and this time a mournful voice cried out.
"Go away!" Kay sobbed.
"Kay it's me Ethan!"
"Liar!" she screamed, hysterical now, "Go away!"
"Kay come on…" he said not knowing what the hell was going on, and now getting out the key he had to her apartment.
He put the key in the knob and unlocked the door pushing it open to reveal Kay sitting on her couch with the pillow in her arms, sobbing uncontrollably. She looked at him as he came in and jumped up and flew against the wall almost screaming now, tears pouring down her tanned face.
"Kay what's wrong, it's me Ethan?" he asked edging closer to her, she tried to back up but was already against the wall.
"It can't be…" she sobbed, almost inaudibly, "He's not you… you're… you can't be him."
"Kay it's me," he came up closer to her and she started to scream.
"Get away from me!" she screamed and ran over to the kitchen.
"Kay something's wrong with you…" he said as he saw her pick up a steak knife and step away from him, "You've gone…"
"Go now!" she screamed, "Get the hell out of here!"
"No Kay I have something I want to ask you!" he demanded, "Just tell me what's wrong."
He edged forward and she sliced his suit with the knife, leaving a cut in the lapel. He backed up, he now knew that she meant business. She mist be having a psychotic break or something, he thought, but she had never had any mental problems, she hadn't had any physical ones either, she had always been perfectly healthy. But something was majorly wrong.
"Get the hell out!" she screamed, tears pouring down her face like a faucet left on.
She held the knife out in front of her like a sword and forced him out the open door, "Kay come on let's just talk about it!"
"There's nothing to talk about cause you're not here!" she sobbed hysterically.
"What the hell are you talking about I'm not here? I'm standing right it front of you! Now stop this!"
"Just go away," she sobbed pathetically, dropping the knife on the red carpet of her apartment.
"I was planning to give you this," he said frowning fishing out the black velevet box. and opening it.
She then started crying so hard that her body was shaking all over and she fell to the ground onto her knees. She pushed the door closed and he heard her lock the knob, the dead bolt and the chain. He looked miserably down at the ring. He didn't know what to think. Kay had been talking crazy, saying he wasn't there, he could still hear her crying on her couch, the same couch they had so many happy memories on.
Something suddenly caught his eye on the door mat of her next door neighbor. The evening edition of the paper was sitting there and bore a legend that made him drop the ring on the spot: LOCAL BUSINESS MAN MURDERED IN JEWRELY STORE ROBBERY. And right next to the legend was a picture of a young man with a navy blue suit and a wide smile that took up his whole face.