New York City. A city where millions of people live and travel to every day. There are many ways to get around such as cars, taxis, trains or walking. For one lonely man, he always took the subway.
Will Brooks heard his alarm clock and groaned. It was time to go work in his office at the big investing cooperation. He got dressed and made coffee in his tiny, lonely apartment. It's strange how huge it seemed to him since he had shared it with his girlfriend. He took a sip of his cappuccino and looked at a framed picture of Veronica and him. He prayed every night for a sign of her to be here or to finally feel okay.
"Veronica, I miss you. I wish you were here." Will said aloud and set down the coffee. He was going to be late for the subway if he didn't hurry up. The way to the subway was easy, Will memorized it like clockwork.
Will sighed as he got into the elevator from his office. His day of working from 7-9 was over. He had to work overtime as Christmas was coming and he wanted to get his parents and siblings a nice gift. The day of Veronica's funeral haunted him, even though it happened months ago. It was only a couple days before Will was going to propose to her on their 4 year anniversary. He can still remember every detail of her face from her smile lines to the way her eyes lit up when she saw Will.
Will went out of his investing business and took a cab to the subway entrance. The city lights of Times Square shined everywhere but that's all they were to Will: lights. They didn't have the spark of dreams like they had before with Veronica. Will walked down a flight of stairs and saw the subway waiting. He hopped on and halted.
There was a woman sitting in a seat and she was the only one there, besides Will. She wore a red trench coat and had raven black hair. She was crying and looked up at him but said nothing. Will felt his heart beat increase as her face was shockingly lovely, almost like looking at a piece of well-illustrated art.
He walked towards and his pulse started to race. Why do I feel like this? I don't know this woman so why am I getting so nervous? He thought as he walked and sat on the seat across from her.
"Hey, are you okay?" Will asked with genuine concern. She looked up at him with puffy red eyes and tears streaming down her face. Even when she was sad, she was hauntingly beautiful with piercing blue eyes with full lips and a pale face with a small nose piercing.
“Go away, creep. I’m not interested." She said as she wiped her tears away. Will noticed her hands were very slender but small with her nails painted red. Will knew that he should stop talking and ignore the obviously upset woman to avoid trouble. He couldn't bring himself to stop staring at her and he moved to sit next to her. She smelled of vanilla and fresh strawberries. She didn't move but gave him a dark glance and Will handed her a tissue.
"Thanks." She replied coldly as she snatched the tissue from his hand. She wiped her eyes with a piercing glance at Will. Will felt very awkward sitting next to her.
"Why are you crying?" Will pondered. She gave him a sharp look when he asked and Will thought better than to push any further. He couldn't help his curiosity with hearing her story, though.
"Why do you care?" She said with a voice as harsh as thorns.
"Sorry, my bad. Forget I asked." Will said as he flashed her an apologetic grin. He couldn't stand it when people were in bad moods as it always seemed to bring him down as well.
"Back off, you jerk face." She coldly hissed with a scowl. Her eyes watered up again and Will felt sorry for saying anything at all. A cheery ringtone went off and the woman frowned. She reached into her jacket pocket and looked at her phone screen.
"I'm not really interested in talking to you right now." She angrily muttered to her phone as she slipped it back in her pocket. She had muttered a couple hateful words when she pulled out her phone and looked at it. Will felt horrible but angry that she was being so rude. What was her problem?
"Are you sure you don’t need someone to talk to?" He asked and sat back down. Please say no, you crazy lady. PLEASE say no.
"I don’t even know what I need right now, to be honest." She sighed sadly while still not looking in his eyes. Her reply made his anger disappear as she sounded genuinely unsure. She sounded like she needed someone to listen to her. There was an awkward, dead silence for what seemed like hours. Will wanted to say something comforting but couldn't think of the right words.
"I'm Will Brooks." He introduced and offered his left hand for her to shake.
"I'm Penelope Winters." She offered and shook his hand.
"So do you like New York?" Will questioned. That's when Penelope had relaxed a little and had really struck up a conversation.
Will and Penelope had talked during the subway ride. Will couldn't explain why he found her so interesting or why he loved the sound of her voice. He felt this overwhelming need to keep talking to her and just watching her.
Will found out what seem like everything about Penelope. She grew up in a little town in Alaska and moved to New York to pursue her job of being a lawyer. She currently lives with her older sister, Marie, and her fiancée but she's trying to find her own apartment. Her mother was a wonderful mom while Penelope didn't have a good relationship with her father. That was why she left when she graduated high school. She could have been Veronica's twin sister, Will thought, as they had very similar personalities and lives. Penelope was kind and sweet and intelligent. She listened to Will tell about his quiet life in London with his parents and younger siblings. He moved to New York on a scholarship for college and when he graduated, he was offered a job at an investing company. He is currently the manager of it. He gets paid well and likes his job but he told her about Veronica and how they met. Penelope listened quietly with an expression of understanding and pity, not of jealousy. Penelope was so easy to talk to; he felt she could pull anything he couldn't say out of him.
They stopped talking about serious things as Will cracked some really bad puns. Penelope laughed and it sounded like the laughter of child, sweet and innocent. He could feel his cheeks go red as no girl had ever laughed at his puns before. Most of the time, they groaned and left him for some other rich boy. Suddenly, the subway jerked really hard, throwing Will's head back into a metal pole. He cringed and his head started to throb. Penelope was rubbing the back of her neck with a pained grimace.
"You okay?" Will asked her.
"I'm fine but what's happening with the lights?" She questioned as the light flickered on and off. They gave one bright shine and blew out all at once. Penelope shrieked and they were plunged into darkness.
"Will? What's going on?" Penelope asked fearfully. She was still afraid of the dark as that's when her father would come home. Penelope's father was an abusive alcoholic and treated her mother, herself, and her sister terribly.
"I don’t know.” He understood her fear of the dark and was angry at her father for making her feel that way. Will felt this pity for Penelope and also this need to protect her. This doesn't seem real. Why do I feel like this? These feelings just don't happen with a glance and 30 minutes of talking to a complete stranger, not to mention the fact she was so rude to me just for showing concern. It isn't logical.
"Attention, passengers. We are currently having technical issues that will be resolved shortly. Please stay seated in the car you are in. Thank you for riding the subway." An automated voice informed.
“Never riding this subway again if they have these issues." Penelope stated curtly. Will laughed at the tone of her voice. A loud bang occurred, sending Will to the ground and Penelope to the opposite side of the seat.
"Will!" Penelope cried as Will couldn't get back up. His foot was caught under the seat.
"Stay there, Penelope. Don't move." Will told her and he heard her move back to the seat. What was going on? This doesn't normally happen.
There were sounds of bangs and creaks occurring one after the other. Finally, Will could see the lights of the city. They were on a bridge to the outside. The subway train creaked. He could see it leaning over the edge of the bridge. Will panicked and crawled under the seat. He feared death for him, but mostly he feared for Penelope.
"Penelope! Get under a seat!" He yelled as he felt the train swaying and creaking over the bridge. Penelope crawled on the floor and shined her phone in his eyes. She slid in next to him and he wrapped his arms around her. Her breath was shaking and Will could feel her shoulders trembling.
"Penelope, it will be okay. I'm right here and I won't let you go." Will whispered in her hair and she looked at him. Her blue eyes were big and sparkled with green specks in them.
The train gave a loud moan and the tilting feeling felt even worse. Will knew what was happening but couldn't speak. Fear had grabbed his words and made him forget them all. Penelope clutched Will with a bone breaking grip but he didn't care. I can't lose her.
"Penelope, hang on to me and don't let me go." Will told her with his voice cracking a little. He had to be strong for him and more importantly, Penelope.
"Will?" Penelope questioned with her voice trembling, he prayed she wasn't crying.
"Could I see you again? It was nice to talk to you and I've never felt this way towards anyone. It's like someone wanted us to be together."
"I felt exactly the same. It would be my pleasure to see you again. Shall we say tomorrow night on the subway again?"
"Sounds good to me." Penelope replied happily and Will almost forgot what was happening until there was a loud screech. The train gave a final moan and tipped over. Penelope screamed and Will had yelled, his voice filled with pure fear.
Veronica, if you're there, please help us get out of this alive or I will see you soon.
The train fell and gravity pulled them down. There was a loud crash followed by an ear-splitting thud with the smell of fire and gasoline everywhere. Will felt as if the whole world was crushing his body as he couldn't move or think.
"Penelope?" He questioned as she laid limp in his arms. He tried to move but it was like a stab with each attempt. People were screaming and Will saw ambulances coming this way. Will couldn’t feel her breathing and he felt salt tears flowing down his cheeks.
“No, she can’t be dead.” Will defied and stared at the sky. He cursed his life and laid in anger.
Why am I crying? Why am I so angry? I barely know her but it feels like she’s been in my life for centuries. And now she’s gone, my only Penelope. She’s dead. My poor Penelope.
The world went black and the last thing Will remembered was Penelope, lying cold in his arms.
"Will. Will. Wake up, I don't have much time." A feminine voice coaxed. Will opened eyes. There was a blinding light and he saw a woman with black hair and brown eyes. It couldn't be, he thought.
"Veronica?" He questioned, hope rising in his voice.
"Hey, silly Willy." She teased and he knew it was her.
"Are you okay?" He asked her, a thousand questions running through his mind. How was she here? Where am I?
"Don't worry about me. Listen, you have to know that you died during that train wreck. You're currently on life support and your family is stricken with grief. They are going to take you off of it in a hour but I'm bringing you back to live. I love you so much, Will."
"Veronica, I can't leave you. When will I see you again?" Will pleaded. Please don't go, I can't lose you again, Veronica.
"Not for a while, I would hope. You need to move on, that will make me happy."
The light was fading and Will noticed Veronica was fading, too. He felt hopelessness and his grief was returning.
"I loved you, Veronica. I wanted to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you." Will admitted while staring into her chocolate eyes.
She smiled sadly and looked at him with an expression of love and pity. "I loved you, too. You're meant to be with her, though. I brought her back, too. She’s alive, Will and you will find her. Be hers and you will be in my heart. Bye, Will."
"Veronica, wait!" Will called.
She faded and it was black again.
Will awoke with a start. Beeps and buzzes and voices swarmed around him. His mother and father were there, along with his sister and brother. They looked at him with astonishment.
"Hey, Mom, Dad, Ella, Leo." He said casually. His mother cried and his family cheered.
"William Sebastian Brooks, what exactly happened on the subway?" His mother fussed with a loving tone. Will looked up and began to tell what he could remember to his family. Will was happy to see his family as it felt just like back home in London. He appeared better, but he only had one haunting thought.
Will had broken multiple bones in his body, suffered major head trauma but was otherwise able to go home in a couple weeks. The doctor said it was a miracle he was alive as the crash was meant to be fatal. He later told Will the subway car was hijacked by criminals who were on a killing spree and had caused the subway to crash in honor of their gang. They were caught and sent to prison. The subway company felt terrible and were paying for Will's medical treatment.
Will kept asking about Penelope but no one told him anything. The nurses usually said that they didn't know. One elderly nurse, Mrs. Norris, thought he was adorable. She always fussed over his blonde hair (as to her, it needed a haircut) and felt bad every time Will asked as she hadn’t found out anything. The doctor chose to ignore him, saying there wasn't a woman with black hair in a red trench coat admitted to this hospital.
"You must have imagined her, Will. You did have a lot of head trauma, considering you hit your head on the pole before the crash." The doctor teased. Will felt angry at the doctor and anyone else who refused to believe him about Penelope. I know she was real, she had felt too real. She has to be alive.
Will dreamt about her every night. He missed her terribly and his family noticed it, too. Will told them everything about her and was very determined to find her. Even though it felt hopeless, Will kept asking every day where she was. His Penelope couldn't have disappeared. Every night, he went to sleep missing her.
Then one day, he lost hope. To him, it felt better to give up than to ever hope again.
After one month of recovery, Will was finally able to head back to his tiny apartment. His family was overjoyed and happy to see him out of the hospital while Will pretended to feel the same. He really wanted to find Penelope or forget about her. Forgetting her seemed like the better option at this time, since Will doubted he would ever see her again. He couldn't keep feeling so empty and hollow as it was too much pain for him.
Will walked with his family and they headed towards the checkout center. He stood there and lost his train of thought, while the image of him holding a limp Penelope replayed in his head. Maybe the doctor was right, maybe I did imagine her. She had felt too real, though. And then he heard a voice along with a tap on the shoulder.
"Will?" A voice like roses whispered hopefully. It couldn't.
He flipped around and there she was. Penelope was right there, perfectly beautiful except with a long line of stitches on the left side of her face. He took her arms and held her tight.
"Penelope." He sighed with relief as he felt salty tears run down his face. He heard her sob as well and she held him tight, as though he would disappear any moment. Will felt different now that he found Penelope. After Veronica died, he hadn't known where he belonged or if he would ever be okay. He now realized that he was meant to belong with Penelope.
"It's okay, Penelope. I hope you'll take me up on that date now." Will teased and they walked towards his family, fingers intertwined. I won't ever let you go, Penelope, and that's a promise.