Slightly unnerved by this, you looked around her, eyes searching for the man who was, currently, the source of all your tension.
“Has he gone?” you whispered to Lolita.
“I can’t see him anywhere, Sunshine,” she replied back in a soft voice, her own eyes searching in the shadows that lurked behind every brick wall and lamp post.
You felt creeped out but you weren’t sure if it was your own imagination playing tricks on you… or was he still actually watching you from somewhere?
“What if he follows us?” you whispered to her, looking over your shoulder to see if anyone was coming up behind you.
“We’ll keep an eye out,” she said softly again, eyes now set on the bus stop ahead, and good lighting. That would surely keep the nervous jitters at bay.
The wait for the bus felt like an eternity, and a few other passengers arrived to board as well, making it hard to keep count of who had turned up and who was just walking past.
Onto the bus you got and found a seat, while another passenger got on through the back door and sat down low so as to remain unseen. That particular passenger hadn’t seen you with this woman before and wasn’t sure how to handle the situation so following you was their best option at this point.
You couldn’t shake the feeling that he was nearby and many times you glanced around the bus but saw no one suspicious.
“I think we’re ok now,” Lolita said with relief… but you still felt uneasy.
Although you never actually saw anyone following you and Lolita to her place, you felt certain that you weren’t safe and once inside her place you voiced your concerns.
“Hey, Lolita,” you said nervously, “can… I stay in your side of the house for a bit? I don’t want to go to my studio just yet…”
You hung your head and wrung your hands together, waiting for her to tell you to just go…
“Is everything ok, sunshine?” she asked gently.
Surprised, your eyes flew up and met hers. You stared at her for way too long.
“Sunshine?” she asked again when you just stood there with a blank look on your face.
“I… you didn’t tell me I was being stupid… or something…” you said with the strangest look on your face- almost like the one thing you were expecting, didn’t happen, and you now didn’t know what to do.
“Why would I tell you you’re being stupid?” she asked with concern, “you said you wanted to stay in here… is there a reason?”
“Umm… well, I,” you looked away again, trying to gather your words so that they would come out in a coherent sentence and make Lolita see it from your perspective- whatever that was, “I know you said we weren’t being followed but I still don’t feel one hundred percent safe and I still think he’s out there.”
“You can definitely stay here,” she said invitingly with a warm smile, “don’t leave here until you feel absolutely relaxed, yes? Come, I’ll make us a hot drink. What would you like?”
All of the tension that you had been holding in your shoulder melted away immediately and your face broke out into a relieved smile.
“Thank you so much, Lolita,” you said with warmness in your eyes.
“It’s no trouble, I want you to feel safe here,” she said as she bustled her way around the kitchen.
Outside the house, your dad stayed put.
He still didn’t quite know what to do. He knew he couldn’t ring the authorities because they already had your name down as safe, whatever that meant, and weren’t giving him any room to say his piece.
But what if he rang the emergency services?
Picking up his phone he dialed 110 – the hotline for police, and fabricated a story about you being held hostage at a residence.
Seeing as this was a different line than for the local police station, they were inclined to believe his story and made haste to get to the address he had given them.
It was about 20 minutes later that you could hear police sirens from outside, coming down the road, and you paused, mid sip of hot drink, and turned your head towards the door.
You don’t know why or how you knew, but you just felt like those sirens were coming for you.
When they stopped outside Lolita’s house your heart sank.
Your turned and looked at her.
She too, sensed something was up and she put her cup down and walked around the kitchen bench towards the front door.
You had now frozen in place and couldn’t move.
“Are they here to arrest me? Am I going to get taken away? Are they going to tell Lolita that her guardianship was a lie and that they were keeping tabs on me this whole time? I’m going to jail. That’s it. I’ll live the rest of my life in a cell… will Kozu come and visit me?”
Stress poured from your heart into your veins and vice versa, completely drowning your body in cortisol as you panicked about imaginary situations that hadn’t even had a chance to present themselves.
There was a stern knock at the door but Lolita was already there and opened the door the second that the officers knuckles had grazed it that second time.
You really wanted to go and stand with her but fear took you in the opposite direction and you ran around behind the kitchen bench and crouched down, tucking yourself up under the table so that you could hide a little bit.
The conversation at the door was overheard very clearly, by yourself, and you panicked when you heard the name of your father.
“I knew he was behind this! He followed us! Don’t make me go back to him, please! I’ll rot in jail. I’d prefer to rot in jail than go back home with him. Please!”
Lolita very calmly explained the situation to the police and invited them inside so that she could show them the guardianship papers that had been signed by her and by you.
The whole time that she was talking to them, though, she was looking for you and was worried that you might have done a runner.
“Y/N?” she called once she had shown the police the papers, “are you here, sweets? We need to discuss what we want to do about your father calling in false alarms.”
At hearing her call for you, you froze up again, but the warmth in her voice and the calmness in her call made you crawl out from under the table and meekly pop your head around from behind the bench.