The passion, obsession, distrust, and paranoia of a romance leaves muder in its wake.
| When Alex awoke, the faint smell of green tea filled his nose like a rush of air. He heard only the muffled sound of voices. The voices quickly became more clear, until he could hear exactly what they were saying.|
“How do we even know we can trust him?” Asked Juliet.
“We can’t. The only people who know what happened in those woods are Alex and Helen. There was no one else. No one could get in past the security. The gates surrounding the woods are electrical.”
“I know. But how could Alex ever do something like this?”
“I don’t know. But if there’s one thing I learned from boarding school, it’s that you can’t trust anyone…Goddammit, what the hell happened in those woods?”
Alex fully regained his consciousness. He sat up to find that he had been lying on the same nineteenth-century couch that he had watched the news on earlier. Juliet and Peter rushed over and sat down on the couch in front of him.
“What happened?” Alex nervously asked.
“You passed out. Are you feeling okay?” Peter asked him almost inquiringly.
“My head hurts¾my head hurts a lot,” Alex said as he rubbed the back of his head.
“Have some tea,” Juliet said as she pointed to the cup of green tea in front of him. “Alex what do you remember about what happened in the woods?” Juliet gently asked him.
“I’m not sure. There was a scream¾a loud, horrible scream. I was so scarred. I remember running. I was running¾very fast. My legs were getting numb. I¾I think I remember now… I stopped at a tree. It was an oak. And when I looked down on the ground I saw…I saw…oh, my god!” Alex suddenly grew frantic.
Alex began breathing heavily. He felt like he could cry. He impulsively put his hand on his pocket, and the other on his forehead, in defeat.
“Alex, what did you see?” Juliet had gotten up and both of her hands were on Alex’s shoulder. She didn’t seem inquiring, but more motherly to him.
“I found this,” Alex slipped his hand inside of his pocket. He pulled out a long white ribbon with blood stains on it. His hand was shaking as he held the ribbon, before adding, “Helen’s ribbon.”
Juliet had long released her hands from Alex in fear when he put his hand in his pocket. For a moment, she stood rigid with her hand over her mouth. Then she had both her hands at her side in silence.
Peter looked murderous. His mouth and head were almost shaking. He was breathing very hard with his mouth open. He looked like he would yell at any minute, but he didn’t say a word.
“Is that¾are those stains¾” Juliet began to look uneasy.
“Blood. I know. It’s true, isn’t it? Oh god…I know it’s true. Helen really is gone…I was trying to find her. I wanted to find her…” Neither of them had ever seen Alex sad like this. He was usually always so happy. But now he was in a bottomless pit of despair.
“YOU FUCKING LIER! WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER! DID YOU HURT HER? I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT SICK FUCKING THING YOU DID TO HELEN, I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?” When Alex didn’t answer right away, he began to yell again, “DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?” Peter had his face almost nose to nose against Alex’s. He was full of rage, like raving like a monster in rage. His perceptive blue eyes were burning a look of disturbing anger into Alex’s terrified eyes.
Alex was shaking from the shock of Peter’s blatant anger, but still, he remained silent. Then he finally spoke…
“I didn’t hurt Helen,” he said with a shaky voice.
Peter backed away incredulously, and sat down on the couch laughing nervously to himself. Juliet remained standing.
“Alex, I don’t know who to believe anymore. Do you remember anything about what happened to Helen?”
“Of course I don’t remember! I was passed out for God’s sake!” Alex was nervously irritated.
“Oh, How can you sit there and lie! No one can get onto this estate! There are gates around this entire fucking place. You said so yourself! And as for passing out…I don’t believe you for a second. You could have made yourself pass out!”
“I can’t believe this. I thought you two were my friends! You don’t even believe me…”
Juliet sat down next to Peter. They all sat in silence, staring away from each other. A strange, fearful thought began to take shape in Alex’s mind .
“Wait a minute…where were you two?”
Peter looked like he couldn’t believe the words coming out of Alex’s mouth. “We were looking for you and Helen separately. What the hell do you think? If we had been together, then it wouldn’t have been Hide-and-Seek.”
“Exactly, how do I know that I can believe either of you? How do you even know that you can believe each other? Like I said, no one person could get onto this estate. The woods are safe. If anyone is guilty here, its one of you. The only person who could have taken Helen is one of us. You would have to be a code-breaking genius to get in here. We’re the only ones with the code!” Alex still couldn’t believe this was happening. He was impassioned with an energy born out of titillating nervousness.
Juliet backed away from both boys, and stood in the middle of the two couches.
“Alex, you’re right. I can’t trust either of you,” she suspiciously accused them.
“Juliet, you don’t actually believe him! He’s obviously lying, for Christ’s sake!” Peter almost yelled. He was on the verge of having his temper erupt.
“Peter, you always had a crush on Helen. I know it. You always had eyes for her…not me. And Alex, what about all of the things you said about how you wanted to be with me, and that you would break up with Helen?” Juliet suddenly was cowering with fear after realizing what she had just told Peter.
“Oh, Peter. I¾” She could barely get the words to escape from her mouth.
“So that’s the thing with you two…You know, I think I always suspected it. But now I know. And you know what, I don’t care. You two might as well have been in on this whole thing together,” Peter now harshly accused both of them.
“That’s it! I am not going to stand here, and let this fucking insanity go on any longer!” Alex shouted before saying more calmly, “There’s only one way to resolve this whole thing. I’m calling the police,” Alex was now gravely serious. He would not take any more of their arguments.
Alex got up from the couch and went to the phone behind the couch on the table against the wall. It was a cream colored antique phone from the 1940s, with pure gold lining the rim, and the edges and bottom of the base. He was about to pick it up, when it rang. Alex stood in confusion for a moment, before he resolved to pick up the phone. Its cool touch was soft against her ears, as he tried to remain calm enough to speak to whomever was on the other line.
“Hello. Am I speaking to Alexander Winter-Meyer?” A collected, and business-sounding person answered.
“Yes, who are you?”
“This is the Hudson River Strangler speaking.”
Alex forgot to breathe, and his eyes popped open in fear. Just hearing the name penetrate his ear drum and pass through his brain with a nauseous coherency, made the voice seem suddenly darker that it was. For the voice on the line was calm, and even. But Alex was even more frightened to think about how confident, and indifferent the voice was.
His hand was shaking as he held the phone, “I’ll make this short and sweet. I have Helen. Deliver me your father’s large 20 karat diamond, at 1400 Olympia Avenue, on the West Side, at 10 o’clock , or I’ll kill your girlfriend. If you call the cops, I’ll kill her before they get to me. Sweet dreams...”
The person on the other line abruptly hung up. Alex slammed the phone to the receiver, and ran over to the others.
“What’s wrong?” Asked Juliet.
“The Hudson River Strangler has Helen! The Strangler was on the phone, and he says he’ll kill her if we call the police!” Alex was frantic, and on the verge of tears.
“Oh, my God! What do we do?” Juliet began to whimper nervously.
“Don’t listen to him! He’s obviously lying!” Peter remained unconvinced.
“Does he look like he’s lying, Peter? We have to do something.”
“If we go, he’ll probably kill us and Helen too. If we call the police…then maybe we have a chance. We have to call the police. There’s nothing we can do,” Alex desperately tried to persuade them.
“I hope you’re right,” said Juliet.
Peter remained silent. He was looking at them slyly. Without a sound, he stealthy stood up and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a gun. It was a Smith and Wesson 610 Classic double-action revolver with a 10mm caliber. The gun, made of stainless steal, shined brightly in the light of the crystal chandelier, and made the impression of being an indestructible force of power.
“Peter, don’t shoot! What are you doing?” Alex shrieked.
“Don’t worry, I won’t shoot you yet…Let me ask you something, what do you think it feels like, knowing that you go to a school where you’re considered scum because you don’t wear thousands of dollars of clothes to school every fucking day? What do you think it feels like to see that everyone around you has 10 cars, while you can barely afford one? It wasn’t even just that. It was that the only girl that I ever loved¾ever could love¾wouldn’t even look at me because I wasn’t rich. Well look at me now! No one could ever believe that someone like me, who wasn’t one of your own¾could pretend to be¾and beat you all at your own stupid game. I was Peter-the-class-clown to you, but you haven’t been introduced to the real me. The Peter that hated you both, and only stuck around you so that I could be with Helen. The Peter that likes a little murder. ‘Cause that’s what I’m planning to do with you two…I’m going to kill you both.”
Alex and Juliet tried to wake themselves up, for they figured they must be dreaming. Peter was their friend, not a killer. Yet, every word that came out of Peter’s mouth seemed as lethal as psychopathic killers that they had only seen on TV.
“I took Helen, of course. She finally told me the truth, that I was always the only one for her. I always knew that she loved me. Ever since we first met, I loved her. She said that she couldn’t tell me because everyone would keep us apart. But I found a way that we could always be together. It took years of planning and patience to keep myself from killing you and running away with her. Then the idea struck me. So I kidnapped her. We’re going to get away with the money we’ll make from that diamond, which I happen to know for a fact is in your father’s glass display in his study upstairs. Thanks for giving me a tour of your house all those years ago. Thanks to you, by tomorrow morning you’ll never see us again. We’ll go away someplace where its always warm and sunny, and we’ll love each other until we die. Nothing can keep us apart…”
Alex and Juliet realized that the person who they thought had been their friend, and lover; the person that they trusted for years; the person that they loved; had been a cold, calculating psychopath all along. Peter spoke with mesmerizing confidence, but yet unsettling despondence. He seemed so happy, and at the same time, so pained. It was as if he was oblivious to the degree of his madness.
“Peter, what are you doing?” Juliet frighteningly asked Peter.
“I’m holding you two hostage, babe. You’re both coming with me. I want Helen to be able to say a proper good-bye before I kill you. I was thinking about shooting you…but I realized that it would be way more fun to stab you to death. It is messy, but I’d just love to cut out your rich-snob-guts.”
“Peter, why are you doing this? Why didn’t you just hold us hostage right away?” Alex tried to remain as calm as he could. But he was still shaking with fear all along his body.
“I thought about it. But then I decided that it would be so funny to see you two suspect each other! But that’s enough talk. Alex, old pal, you’re going to drive your daddy’s Mercedes down to the address Justin told you.”
“That was Justin on the phone?”
“Well, I couldn’t do this all on my own. Even killers need help sometimes.”
“Are you saying that you are the Strangler?” Alex was frighteningly mystified.
“That Strangler…no. I’m not the Strangler. I simply admired his work. You could say that they’re someone close to me though…the point is, I admire them so much, that I just had to have Justin pretend to be him on the phone. Yes him, a man he is. It had to be the funniest prank phone call I’ve ever heard!”
“You’re insane!” Juliet horrifyingly marveled.
“Like Norman Bates said, ‘We all go a little crazy sometimes’,” he thrillingly quoted, “…Now let’s go.”
He pointed the gun steadily toward them. Alex and Juliet stood there stunned for a moment. Peter shot the gun at the wall as the bullet barely missed Alex’s head. It left a small hole on the wall.
“HOLY SHIT!” Alex shrieked as he scrambled toward Juliet and grabbed her roughly by the arm to lead the way outside. Peter just aimed his gun at his targets and laughed.
The Mercedes was brand new. It still had the shine and fresh smell of a new car as they hurriedly got inside. Alex sat at the wheel, Juliet by his side in the passenger seat, and Peter, lurked like how a nightmare sometimes lingers to one during the day, as he sat with the gun firmly held low in his lap, and pointed toward the back of Alex and Juliet’s seats.
Alex cranked up the car, and practically stepped on the ignition. The car rushed off with a squeal. He drove with the knowledge that his nerves might make them crash. “You don’t want to kill somebody,” Peter smirked.
They drove on and on. Peter told Alex the directions in a mocking voice as he laughed at them both. After about 20 minutes, they made it to their destination.
Fourteen-hundred Olympia Avenue was a rundown neighborhood with a cracked street on the outskirts of Tarrytown. The time was 9:52. It was an almost starless night. The ghost-street was deserted, and it was painfully quite.
Realizing that there was no one around to see or hear them, Alex and Juliet lost what little hope they had. They were not ready to die. But death sat like an evil spirit, and the spirit was Peter standing behind them both, steadily pointing his gun at them.
Alexander Winter-Meyer and Juliet Peron stumbled out of the car door. Peter was as silent as a snake. They all walked down the sidewalk, until they came upon an abandoned warehouse. The warehouse had two towers on either side of the building. One was a clock tower that had a huge, circular clock with numbers that were Roman Numerals. It was a brick building that was in good shape. The windows were cracked and broken. A dim light shown out from four of the windows at the top of the building.
“Hard part’s over. Now I want you two to go inside, and follow my directions to the top floor.”
“Peter, please¾,” Juliet’s begging was harshly cut short.
“Keep you mouth shut, bitch. Or I’ll shoot it off.”
Juliet whimpered to herself, and remained silent. As they walked closer to the gloomy building, their time to live became shorter every second. When they made it to the doors, Alex and Juliet saw that the lock to the door had been broken. Peter removed the broken lock with one hand, while still pointing his gun toward his hostages. When the door was open, Peter held it for them as they stepped inside.
Inside it was dark and silent. The only sound heard was the echo of their footsteps as they walked on the hard wood floor. Peter bent over and quickly picked up a flashlight. He turned it on.
The warehouse had been shut down 20 years ago. It was previously used to age wine when it opened in the early 1940s. Now as they looked around, there was nothing but a large, empty room, with cobwebs of spiders, thick layers of dust and dirt all around. There were broken pieces of bricks and glass from the windows shattered all over the floor. They heard a squeaking sound, and looked down to see three rats scurrying away.
There was a stair well to their far right. Peter told them to go the stairs. They unwillingly obeyed, quickly making their way up to the second floor. Alex and Juliet’s only comfort was each other, and the thunder of their footsteps as they stomped up to the approaching third floor. They tightly held each others hands. Juliet silently cried. She was twisting and turning against the wall, almost as if she was in pain, and she shook her head back and forth. Alex began to shake nervously at her side.
Their tortuous journey finally ended, and now they had made it to their destination. The third floor was as empty as the other floors, except even dirtier. There was even more dirt and dust, and cobwebs. They walked forward and saw that a corridor surrounded the entrance to the stair-well. The moonlight was shinning ominously through the broken window. Alex and Juliet looked at their shadows for what might be the last time. Looking around the corridor, they saw a door to their right, and turned, walking toward it.
Facing the door now, they saw light shining from underneath it. Peter stopped and starred at Alex and Juliet. He was excited and smiled creepily at them.
“Okay, Alex. It’s been a fun trip. Now, open the door, and step inside,” Peter said in a calm, even voice that contradicted his amused smile.
Alex’s hand was shaking as he reached for the door knob, and pushed the door open. The inside of the room was dimly lit, and was just as plain and dirty as all of the other rooms.
But sitting in the middle of the room was Helen, tied up with tape over her mouth, and blood on the side of her head. Tears were streaming down her face, and her once beautiful blond hair was rugged around her face.
Standing beside her was a boy dressed in a black jumpsuit, who had pale skin, black hair that was slicked back tight with hair gel, and dark brown eyes. He had a sly smile on his face.
“Finally, you’re here. And you brought your friends here alright, too.”
Alex turned his head back toward Peter, who was more excited than ever now. Even with her distressed appearance, at the sight of Helen, his face and eyes lit up as bright as the sun. He had a huge smile that showed all of his teeth, almost as if he was laughing. His face had the expression of a boy lost in consummate love.
Ignoring his friend, Peter gently said, “I’m so glad that we are together again, Helen. I can’t wait to be with you for the rest of my life. I’m so sorry that Justin had to hit you with that rock. There wasn’t any other way for me to help you escape from Alex. Justin, take the tape off of her beautiful mouth, and you better not hurt her anymore,” he said in a gentlemanly fashion.
“Sure. I won’t hurt her,” Justin suspiciously said as he removed the tape from her mouth.
Helen gasped in a deep suspiration of air. Her chest heaved up and down as she breathed heavily. When she had caught her breath, she sat back calmly in her chair. A smile formed on her lips as she looked up at Peter, now standing in front of her. Alex and Juliet stood motionlessly to her side.
Peter lent out both of his hands to Helen. She happily grabbed them as she stood up from the chair. Peter kept holding her hands, and began to kiss them all over. He kissed the back of her hands and her palms as he rested her hands against his cheek.
“Oh, Helen. I love you so much,” Peter said embracing her now in a hug.
“I love you too,” Helen told him.
At Helen’s expression of love, tears formed in Peter’s eyes. He leaned into her, and they kissed as if they were long-lost lovers that had not seen each other for years. Their kiss seemed endless, as they lost all reality. It seemed like they were aware only of each other, and no one else.
When Peter finally released her he said, “It’s time. Say good-bye to Alex and Juliet before I kill them. It’s all for you…just remember that.”
“I know…But let me kill them.”
“No, it’s too risky. ”
“Please, for me…”
“Oh, how can I refuse you after everything I’ve done for you…Alright . Just be careful not to get too much blood on you. I don’t want their blood on such beauty,” he reached into his pocket and held out a sharp, chef’s knife.
“No darling. I don’t want to use the knife. I want the gun,” Helen persuaded him.
“But angel, you know how I would love to see their life be drained from them slowly in blood, not a quick death from a simple bullet.”
“I know. But the faster we kill them, the faster we can leave, and forget about them. The knife will take far too long. I can’t wait to be with you.”
“Alright. Anything for my angel.”
Peter gently held out the gun to her. He had a trusting smile on his face. Helen gave him her trademark graceful smile, and carefully took the gun, holding it in her hands as she stared at it for a moment.
“Be careful,” Peter warned her.
“Oh, don’t worry. I will,” Helen said turning toward Alex and Juliet. She raised the gun towards her old friends, and aimed at them. She wore an expression of steel. But then her determination quickly faded to sympathy. A tear began to run down her blushing cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Peter.”
“Sorry for what?”
Helen quickly turned to her left and shot Justin, who had been standing near a window. There was a loud crash, before anyone realized that the impact of the bullet caused him to fall backwards out of the window, down to the hard cement three, high floors below them.
Peter lunged at Helen with the chef’s knife. He struggled to grab the gun from her. Alex attempted to stop him from hurting Helen, but before he could even move, the booming sound of a bullet flying through the air echoed all around them.
Helen had pulled the trigger while Peter was against her. He laid in her arms, having lost all strength from the shot. A subtle look of triumph was expressed across his dying face.
She was always a great actress.
“I know you didn’t mean it. I still love you, Helen,” he whispered to her his last, devoting words.
Helen’s mouth was still open from shock as she stared, mesmerized at Peter, his lifeless body sitting up against the wall. His eyes were wide open, staring back at her even in death. She dropped the gun and it clunked when it landed on the floor. Her eyes closed, and tears fell from the corners of her eyes. She passed out, and fell backwards. Alex was the one that caught her.
The New York City Police had left an hour ago. It was now 4 O’clock in the morning. Alex, Juliet, and Helen, all sat silently on the couch, their despondence was unmistakably shown. Alex held Helen’s hand as she leaned on his shoulder crying. He had combed her hair, and watched her change her clothes in silence. Alex was heartbroken as he looked at her now sitting solemnly on the couch. What ever happened to the lively and graceful Helen he knew? He wondered how long that she would be like this, and he began to get sickened with worry.
Nothing could make them feel any better. Alex knew this, but he still tried to liven things up.
He turned on the TV. Neither Helen or Juliet protested. The news came up on the screen. Howard Mandela was reporting more about the Hudson River Strangler.
“The race is over everyone. After 2 years of chaos, the Hudson River Strangler’s identity is finally revealed. A 45 year-old man by the name of Jeremy Gosling, who is the husband of Meredith Gosling, and who is also amazingly, the father of Peter Gosling; the 17 year-old that was recently killed from an attack of self-defense exhibited by the well-known socialite Helen Aprilsohn, who had been staying there for the first day of summer with her best friend Juliet Peron when she was kidnapped by Peter Gosling.
“Jeremy Gosling killed himself the other night about 35 minutes after his son was killed. Apparently he had been unaware of his son’s intentions, and when he found out he immediately tried to come over to Alexander Winter-Meyer’s house, in order to kill Helen Aprilsohn for being the cause of his death.
“When Gosling arrived, he saw that the police had already arrived, and he immediately pulled out a gun. Peter was an accomplice in all of Jeremy’s three murders. His job was to pick, and find the victims. They all had brown hair and brown eyes for a reason after all. Peter’s obsession with Helen Aprilsohn led him to adore all women with blonde hair and blue eyes. He is quoted as writing that, “They are the image of love to me. They all have the same graceful spirit as my angelic love, Helen. Every time I see their blond hair that shines like the sun, and their blue eyes that look like miniature oceans, I am reminded of Helen. But all of those girls with brown hair and brown eyes, I hate them for not having the light that Helen has. The world would be so much more beautiful if every girl had that light…”
“If this isn’t shocking enough, apparently Jeremy and his son, Peter, had made a suicide pact that if one of them should die, the other would follow in death. They also made a pact that if one of them should get arrested, then the other should escape to an unknown hiding place, and never return. All of this information was found in the late Peter Gosling’s diary, which is now in the possession of the New York City Police Department’s Major Case Squad.
“Jeremy’s wife, Meredith, says that she didn’t have a clue about the terrible murders that her husband and son committed. This all unfortunately, seems to be the perverse and horrifying case of a father and son, who were partners in crime. It has been a traumatic time for all of New York, so once again everyone, you can rest easy that the search is finally over.”
It was true. Alex, Helen, and Juliet had all watched through the large kitchen window as the drunk, and miserable man shot himself in his head, and fell to the ground, making a puddle of blood spill down the Winter-Meyer’s high-quality granite driveway, and abruptly staining it.
They didn’t even know who he was until he was dead. The police had to tell them.
All of the time that they knew Peter, he always refused for them to meet his parents, saying that they were depressingly boring, and that meeting them would only make them wish they hadn’t. Alex half wanted to have met this poor man, but his other half told him that he was nothing more than a terrible person that killed innocent girls. He couldn’t decide which side he should take, and tried to forget all together about everything that had happened to them the other day.
Though Alex tried, he knew that he would always find them deep in his heart for the rest of his life…no matter what their crimes were.
“Helen, baby, are you going to be alright while I talk for a second to Juliet,” Alex gently asked her. He glanced over at Juliet, and turned back toward Helen again. She was silent when she looked at him with saddened eyes and only nodded solemnly in approval.
Alex gently got up from the couch, carefully trying not to shake her. He was afraid that the slightest surprise would frighten her. Juliet seemed to feel the same way because she slowly got up from the couch, inch by inch, moving almost mechanically. When she finally got up, she slowly followed him out to the patio.
He turned and faced her. His eyes looked tired, and his hair was messy. A genial smile creased across his face.
“We’ve been through a lot,” he said, exhausted.
“We have…” Juliet sounded weary.
“I brought you out here because there’s something I have to tell you.”
Juliet was silent. She was wide-eyed with curiosity, but yet sickened from the anticipation of what he would say next.
“I love Helen. I know this is so sudden for me to change my mind like this about who I love, but I know that I love her. And it isn’t because I feel sorry for her. I guess that I realized now that I love her, because I almost lost her the other day.”
Juliet turned pale. She looked like she was both sickened and surprised, and she was on the verge of tears.
“Please…I didn’t mean to hurt you. I want you to understand that I love you too, Juliet. I just love you as my friend, and as Helen’s friend. I can tell you that I give you my honest and complete word on this: you will always have a special and loving place in my heart. I want you to know that.”
“I understand, Alex. Believe me, I understand.”
“No…I’m happy about this. I have felt so much guilt over us being together. I’m still hurt, and I know that I will always love you in the way that you were my first great love. But I believe that someday, I’ll probably fall in love again. And when I do, it will be with the right person. I understand that you and I can’t be together. But if being with Helen will make you happy, then I will honestly be happy for you.”
“I’m so glad that you’re okay with this. You don’t know how happy that I feel right now.”
“In some way, I think I do.”
They hugged and made it last longer than it normally would, as they stood in each other’s arms. When they released from each other, they walked hand-in-hand. They were not holding hands as a couple, but as close friends who had overcome all the odds. Walking through the door and into the house, they made their way back into the living room where Helen was still sitting there, and crying as she watched a Grey’s Anatomy re-run.
Alex and Juliet sat on either side of Helen. They each took her hand into theirs. She looked at Alex with her distressed eyes, and he looked happily into hers.
On Grey’s Anatomy, Izzie fixed a deer’s arm back on. Alex looked at the screen and made a big, heartfelt laugh. Helen smiled up at him and began to gently laugh through her tears. Juliet’s eyes twinkled while she laughed along with both of them.
“I guess I can laugh again,” Helen contently said.
Alex jovially smiled. He leaned into her and kissed her cheek like how a mother does to her sleeping child. Helen leaned onto his shoulder, and Juliet in turn, leaned onto Helen’s shoulder. They sat there like that, trying to find the beauty of the new day.