Home > See Me(2)

See Me(2)
Author: Nicholas Sparks

Checking his watch, he saw it was finally time to go. He closed the textbook and rose from his spot, pausing to see if his movement had caused others to notice him. It hadn’t. He set off then, crossing the commons, textbook beneath his arm. In his pocket was a letter he’d written, and he veered toward the mailbox just outside the science building. He dropped the envelope through the slot and waited; a few minutes later, he spotted Serena emerging from the doors, precisely on time.

He already knew much about her. These days, it seemed that every young person had Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat, their lives on display for anyone who cared to put the pieces together. What they liked, who their friends were, where they spent their time. He already knew from a Facebook post that she’d be having brunch at her parents’ house with her sister this Sunday, and as he watched her walking ahead of him, her dark brown hair tumbling past her shoulders, he noted again how beautiful she was. There was a natural grace about her, and she drew appreciative smiles from the guys she passed, though lost in conversation, she didn’t seem to notice. She was walking with a short, heavy blonde, a friend from class. They’d been in an education seminar together; he knew she wanted to become an elementary school teacher. Making plans, just like Cassie used to do.

He kept his distance, energized by the power he felt in her presence. The power he’d been husbanding for the last two years. She had no idea how close he was or what he could do. She never so much as glanced over her shoulder, but why should she? He was no one to her, just another face in the crowd…

He wondered whether she was telling the blonde about her weekend plans, rattling off places to go or the people she intended to see. For his part, he planned to join the family for brunch on Sunday, though not as a guest. Instead, he would watch them from a nearby house, located in a neighborhood that was solidly middle class. The house had been empty for a month, the owners having lost it to foreclosure, but it was not yet up for sale. Though the locks on the doors were solid, he’d been able to gain entry through a window along the side of the house without much trouble. He already knew that from the master bedroom, he could see onto their back porch and into the kitchen. On Sunday, he’d watch the close-knit family laugh and joke at the table on the porch.

He knew something about each of them. Felix Sanchez was the classic immigrant success story; the newspaper article that was proudly laminated and on display at their restaurant chronicled how he’d arrived in the country illegally as a teenager without speaking a word of English and begun working as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. Fifteen years later, after becoming an American citizen, he’d saved enough money to open his own place in a strip mall – La Cocina de la Familia – serving his wife Carmen’s recipes. While she cooked, he did everything else, especially in the early years of the business. Little by little, their restaurant had expanded, and it was now regarded as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city. Though there were more than fifteen employees, many were relatives, retaining the restaurant’s family character. Both parents still worked there, and Serena waited tables three times a week, just as her older sister, Maria, once had. Felix was a member of both the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and he and his wife attended the seven a.m. mass at St. Mary’s every Sunday, where he also served as a deacon. Carmen was a bit more of a mystery; he knew only that she was still more comfortable speaking Spanish than English and, like her husband, was proud of the fact that Maria had become the first college graduate in the family.

As for Maria…

He hadn’t yet seen her in Wilmington. She’d been out of town for the last few days at a legal conference, but he knew her best of all. In the past, when she’d lived in Charlotte, he’d seen her many times. He’d talked to her. He’d tried to convince her she was wrong. And in the end, she’d made him suffer as no one should ever suffer, and he hated her for what she’d done.

When Serena waved good-bye to her friend and headed toward the parking lot, he continued walking straight. There was no reason to follow her, and he was content knowing that he’d see the small but happy family on Sunday. Especially Maria. Maria was arguably even more beautiful than her sister, though frankly, both had been winners in the genetic lottery, with their dark eyes and nearly perfect bone structure. He tried to imagine them sitting close together at the table; despite the seven-year age difference, many people might assume they were twins. And yet they were different. Where Serena was outgoing to a fault, Maria had always been quieter and driven, the more serious and studious of the two. Even so, they were close, best friends as well as sisters. He speculated that perhaps Serena saw traits in her sister that she wanted to emulate, and vice versa. He felt a frisson of excitement at the thought of the weekend, knowing it might be one of the last times the family would all be together with any semblance of normalcy. He wanted to see how they would act before tension began to infect their sweet happy family… before the fear took hold. Before their lives were slowly – and then furiously – brought to ruin.

He’d come here, after all, for a purpose, and that purpose had a name.

Its name was vengeance.



Colin Hancock stood over the sink in the bathroom at the diner, his shirt raised to better examine the bruise on his ribs. He guessed that it would deepen to a dark purple by the time he woke tomorrow. Even grazing the bruise made him wince, and while he knew from experience that the pain could be overridden for a while, he wondered whether it would hurt to breathe in the morning.

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