For Jaden and Marvin, the city is within walking distance for them. The college campus is only ten minutes away from the city. They both quickly get dressed, leave their dorm room and head to the city. It’s close to midnight, and Jaden is still feeling a little nervous about being in the city so late in the night. The city is different at night. It’s not as lively or chaotic during the day. There’s this eerie, strange quietness of the city. The city is a different world with nearly no one in sight. If there are people out in the city, they are simply lurking and hiding in the shadows. There are plenty of shadows and dark corners in the city. You never know what to expect, and the city late at night is a place where nightmares can become reality.
Jaden and Marvin finally make it to the city, and they find themselves a few minutes away from the diner. As they’re walking, Marvin is still trying to convince Jaden to go see Maria.
Marvin says, “Look bro, all I’m saying is Maria is fine, and you need to get with her tonight.”
Jaden is still unsure about going to Maria’s place, and he responds, “I don’t know man, I still feel like it’s wrong. Yeah she’s pretty and beautiful, but she has a whole boyfriend. Plus, it’s kinda late and who knows how long we’ll be at this diner. It’s probably going to be too late to see her anyways.”
“I don’t think so, bro. We’re probably going to be at the diner for at most an hour, and I think she’ll still want to see you at 1:00 am. I think she wants you that badly, and you can have so much fun with her tonight.”
Before Jaden can respond, they’re about to walk past the bus stop but see someone waiting there. Marvin tells Jaden to be cool, and Jaden listens to him. They walk past the bus stop and the person waiting there. Jaden takes a quick look at the person at the bus stop and instantly recognizes the person. The person is someone familiar at the bus stop. This person was a guy with glasses, a long sleeved gray shirt and blue jeans. He was someone in Jaden’s chemistry class. Jaden forgot his name, but he remembers the guy mostly keeping his distance and not really talking to people in class. He is this shy kid with a lot of anxiety, and Jaden wonders why he is in the city so late at night. He’s looking nervous at the bus stop, and Jaden thinks about going back to talk to him.
Jaden tells Marvin that the person they passed is in his chemistry class. “Maybe I should just check on him real quick and make sure he’s alright. He seemed kinda nervous and scared at the bus stop,” Jaden explains.
Jaden is about to turn around, but Marvin stops him. Marvin tells Jaden not to worry about him because they’re almost at the diner. Marvin also believes the bus the guy is waiting for will be coming for him soon anyway. Jaden is still worried about the guy, but he trusts Marvin.
As they’re still walking to the diner, Jaden gets a phone call from Maria. Jaden forgot that he didn’t respond to her, and he’s nervous and reluctant to answer it. However, Marvin pushes Jaden to answer the phone. Jaden answers the phone, and Maria quickly asks if Jaden had received her message. Jaden admits that he received it, but he was not sure if he could come over.
Marvin mouths, “What are you doing?”
Jaden tells him to shush, and Maria asks Jaden why he can’t come over. Jaden is trying to find a good excuse, and he comes up with a reasonable, good excuse. He says, “Well, my roommate and I are heading to this late night diner, and I’m not sure how long we’ll be there. I don’t want to keep you waiting.”
“Oh that’s okay Jaden, I’m a night owl and typically go to bed around 3:00 am anyways. Plus, I don’t mind waiting for you,” Maria responds.
Before Jaden responds, Marvin shouts, “Actually, we’ll probably be back on campus around 1 or 1:30 am, so Jaden will be all good to come to your place around that time.”
Jaden could not believe Marvin said that. Maria quickly says that time would work perfectly for her, and she was really looking forward to seeing Jaden later tonight. Jaden tries to object, but Maria adds, “Please Jaden, just for an hour, that’s all I need. I promise you that I won’t bother you for any more.
Jaden contemplates going over to her place, and he sees Marvin telling him to go over to her place. He reluctantly listens to Marvin and agrees to see Maria.
She is happy to hear that Jaden is coming over and adds, “Just text me when you’re at my door. I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight, and I just know you’re going to love our study session a lot.”
Jaden understands and hangs up the phone. He turns over to Marvin and sees this big smile on his face. Then, he says, “I see you, Jaden! Playing hard to get, that’s actually really smart of you because now she really wants you.”
Jaden shakes his head, and he can’t believe the situation he is in with Maria. As Jaden was thinking about Maria, Marvin and him find themselves in front of the diner they were hoping to get to. The name of the diner is called “Purple Eyes.”
“What kind of name is ‘Purple Eyes’ for a diner?” Jaden asks Marvin.
“I don’t know, I kinda dig it bro. Also, everything in there is purple. It has a nice feel and vibe to it,” Marvin adds.
They both head inside the diner, and they’re able to find a booth for themselves. A waitress comes up to them and asks if they want anything to drink. They both decide to get water, and they ask if they could have a few minutes to look over the menu. After a few minutes, Jaden decides to get some pancakes, eggs and sausage. Marvin decides on a burger and some fries. While they’re waiting on their meals to come, Marvins brings up Maria to Jaden.
“I don’t know man, I don’t know if I want to do this,” Jaden explains to Marvin.
“You’re not going to regret it. Look, I’ve had a lot of fun times with cheating girlfriends.”
“Yeah man, they’re something else. The best part about them is that they know what they’re doing and there’s no commitment involved. It’s honestly like a fun, exciting game messing with a cheating girlfriend. A fun, little Mortal Kombat game,” Marvin smiles and explains.
“Well sometimes you’ll have flawless victories with girls that cheat with ease. Sometimes you’ll lose when girls change their minds, and that’s perfectly okay. Girls have a right to change their minds. Other times, they fight and start second guessing themselves. They’re not sure if they want to cheat on their significant other or not. So, you have to come up with the right moves and combinations that puts her mind at ease. Once you do that, you’re having fun times with a cheating girlfriend,” Marvin responds.
Marvin was making a little sense to Jaden, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play such a game with someone that has a boyfriend. Marvin then asks Jaden what’s stopping him from playing such a fun, exciting game.
Jaden takes a deep breath and says that he wants something more. He wants love. Marvin looks at him and starts laughing.
Then, he says, “Jaden, love is overrated, especially in college. Take it from me when I say that college is all about trying new things and having fun. Don’t lose out on Maria. Have fun with her and who knows, maybe you two crazy kids will fall in love. Also, maybe things are not going so well with the boyfriend, and she’s trying to take a chance with you and start something new. Just take a chance man and go for it, too.”
Their food comes after Marvin makes that statement to Jaden. While they’re eating, Jaden wonders how true Marvin’s words are to him. Jaden is not sure what to think anymore.
After they’re done eating, they leave tips for the waitress and head out of the diner. They both enjoyed their food a lot and admitted that they would want to come back to this diner again for their food.
“Yeah man, that diner had a nice, chill vibe to it and the food was so good,” Marvin says.
“I know it, we gotta come back here again. Also, the service was pretty good,” Jaden adds.
As they continue to walk back to campus and praise the diner, they are surprised by someone running towards them. It appears to be someone crying and begging for help. They both see some blood on the person’s face. Marvin and Jaden cannot tell who the person is, but they can tell that he’s been hurt and in a lot of pain. They think about helping the person. Then, they see three figures chasing after the person. Marvin pulls Jaden back and tells him to run and follow him. Jaden listens to Marvin.
They end up running back near the diner, but they’re not sure about going inside the diner. Marvin directs them through the alley that’s next to the diner. They rush through the alley, and Marvin pulls Jaden near a dumpster. They hide behind it and start to hear footsteps.
Their hearts are beating, and they’re not sure what to do. Jaden asks Marvin if they should call the cops, but Marvin tells him to shush and be quiet.
Jaden and Marvin hear the footsteps getting closer to them, and someone yelling, “Can you two please help me? These three guys are trying to rob and kill me. I tried to get into the diner, but the doors were locked. Can either of you call the cops or something? Help me, please.”
The voice sounds familiar to Jaden. He thinks it’s the one guy from his chemistry class. The guy that was alone and scared at the bus stop.
This is the end of part two of “A Familiar Shadow.”
Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.
Part Three of “A Familiar Shadow” will be posted next Thursday.