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THE ATTENTION SEEKER

Last updated on April 10, 2022

One year ago, Rumi King had everyone she loved abandon her.
They called her the attention seeker, the people pleaser, and maybe they were right.
In order to prove to herself that she was more than a string of words, she disappeared.

One year later, she’s back.
Stronger.
Fierce.
Independent.

But, someone is silently getting revenge on all those people who hurt her.
She’s the obvious suspect.
None of her alibis add up.
None of his alibis add up, either.

3 Murders,
2 Suspects,
1 Clue.

The Attention Seeker

She sits in a corner. Her impossibly long black hair tipped with blue, and grey is disheveled and knotted around her shoulders. Her once large brown eyes are narrowed into slits as she watches my every step towards her. She doesn’t trust me. Of course, she wouldn’t. Afterall, I am the reason she is here.

She is locked away from society, in the middle of four walls, behind bars. I never heard her out. All the signs pointed to her, but as of late, something feels off and I needed to see her. I needed to know her real story. The one she tried to tell me from the beginning. The one she tried to tell everyone, but no listened.

My only hope was that after all these months she actually wanted to talk to me.

Her plump lips are lifted in a snarl as she watches me get closer to her. I hate seeing her like this. A broken version of the woman I once knew. She used to be vibrant. Full of life. The girl that I had admired from afar. The girl who loved me unconditionally, and yet, I was never ready for that love.

I don’t think I would have ever been. Even now.

I had too much inside of me for her to handle, I preferred to be alone. I deserved to be alone. I carried too much pain, and after all she had been through before I put her through even more, I did not want her to take on my burden. Sometimes, I wondered whether it was too late.

There were times when I looked at her lying next to me or across a room and I thought to myself, I could do this. We could be something.

She once told me we would have been magic together, and I don’t doubt that, but men like me didn’t deserve magic… at least, that is what I firmly believed.

I never wanted this for her. I wanted her to be stronger than that for which she gave herself credit. For a while she was, she was so fucking strong. She fell though. One look at me and she fell further than we expected.

I knew she wasn’t to blame, now, three months after letting her rot in this prison cell all by herself, paying for crimes she had never committed, I fear that I may have created a monster out of an angel.

“What do you want?” she snarls.

God, her voice. Her once sweet angelic voice that softened when aimed at me, now spits venom my way.

“We need to talk,” I say. “I need to explain.”

“I don’t want to hear it,” she grits.

“Rumi—”

“Did you give me that chance? When I needed your help? When I needed you to hear me out? Did you give me a chance to fucking explain?” she shouts.

I close my eyes. This was not about me. This was about her. She needed her chance.

“Three people, Rumi,” I sigh. “All connected to you. All had some interaction or another with you before meeting their end, what did you expect me to do?”

“Believe me!”

“The evidence was stacked against you!” I shout back, trying to control my anger as soon as it exploded.

“You broke me once before, Archer, what the fuck do you want from me now?” she whispers. Her eyes seem devoid of all emotion.

My heart breaks. It truly fucking does.

“I just… I’m ready to listen,” I say.

“You’re three months too fucking late,” she turns her face away.

“Don’t do it for me then,” I swallow. It hurts my fucking core and pride to have to say what I say next. I do anyway. This is the only way she will talk. The real reason she quietly followed me and the detective and his fellow officers into the van. “Do it for him.”

She looks at me over her shoulder. The pain evident in her gaze and the tightening of the body that once gravitated towards me. The body I once owned now belonged to someone else. Someone who loved her and cared for her the way she deserved. As always, I had to come in and ruin that for her. I had to take it all away.

I wish she could understand that it was not even my fault. His love for her was terrifying. It was bloody. Yet, she was her most pure self with him.

“What do you want to know,” she asks me.

She’d talk for him. She would do anything for him. I could not even feel jealousy or rage. Just regret. I could have had all of that, but I threw it all away for pride. But this was not my story, this was hers. Unfortunately, I was the villain in her story. He was the hero.

“Start from the beginning, when you rolled back into town,” I sit on the floor in front of her. She looks at me for a minute or two and then opens her mouth…

copyright@authoryajna2022

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