Tonight is going to be the most special night ever thought Valentina. She has been married to Tiberius Ziegler for four years and somehow this night is their very first anniversary dinner. As a marketing executive at a major international company, it’s been difficult for Tiberius to find the time for the both them to celebrate. Valentina face glowed in the mirror as she put on her hanging diamond earrings contemplating what tonight entails. Tiberius walks by and stood at the entranceway to their bed room with his hand in his pocket. He was in awe with Valentina’s appearance.
“You’ve better not have bought me more jewelry. You know I hate it when you kept buying me things.” Working as an accountant at a major bank, Valentina didn’t like it when others bought her gifts. She is able to buy the things she wants herself and she rather be the gift giver.
“Oh no,” exclaimed Tiberius. “I was just checking up on the reservation of the restaurant we will be heading tonight” as he took out his cell phone scrolling through his email.
“Well good. I rather have that money spent towards our dinner anyway,” chuckle Valentina. At the same time, she was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a special gift. It was their anniversary night but she was a patient girl and hope Tiberius will have a few surprises up his sleeves.
“Looks like you are all set to go! Wait for me in the car; I will be down in a sec. Just need to send some important files to the higher ups” said Tiberius as his soft hazel eyes met with hers. “Also don’t forget your medicine.”
Valentina grabbed her glittering pocketbook in front of the mirror and opened it showing Tiberius the small transparent orange canister filled with white pills. “Of course I have them. I would never forget to bring them with me.” She was annoyed though. To her these pills were just a nuisance and taking up valuable space in her pocketbook. Once in awhile she tried not eating any pills and nothing came about except for a few stomachaches. It seemed weird to have the doctor to prescribe her this medication when it seems like they did nothing, but who is she to question a medical expert.
As she was waiting for Tiberius in the car, Valentina look at the top stories trending on Twitter. Social media was the place for her to get her news. Television, Radio and Newspaper just reported boring and uninteresting stuff to her. Apparently someone online is claiming the Government was performing unethical experiments on people. Another reported that they created clones and using them as soldiers against terrorist abroad. Why wasn’t this reported in the news she wondered? Then Tiberius entered the car.
“Hey, how is work? You seem busy as ever.”
“Work is ok, but I kinda don’t want to talk about it. It has been frustrating and I don’t want to think about it. Tonight is our special night.” Tiberius leaned over and gave her a kiss on the forehead. Tiberius rarely talked about his work to Valentina and she grew ever more curious. She notices it made Tiberius uncomfortable to talk about it but she would not pressure him further on the subject.
“As I was waiting, there some article trending on Twitter on the government experiment on people and that they have created clones to be used as super soldiers to fight terrorist. Isn’t that crazy?” With a change in topic, Tiberius will be a little less tense and more open.
*Pfffh* “That is some conspiracy hogwash. There’s fake news on twitter all the time. I remember when the AP twitter account got hacked and claimed that President Obama was injured at the bombing at the White House. Don’t trust what you find.”
“I don’t know. My good friend Wanda at work retweeted it and a lot of people are. Let me find it for you.” Valentina could not believe this information could be fake with all these credible people retweeting and reporting it. Maybe if she pulls up the article Tiberius would believe her.
“Did you find it yet?” It been a good minute or two and Valentina just kept scrolling. All traces of those articles just disappeared. That’s not right unless she is just imaging things. She hated being wrong. Maybe one last Google search. Nothing.
“Um, maybe I read it wrong. I can’t seem to find the article anywhere.”
“Well maybe people knew it was fake and deleted it. Even in this age of free flowing information, you still don’t want to pass false knowledge that can lead to chaos and unnecessary fear. Hey look! We’ve arrived at the secret restaurant.”
Valentina knew what Tiberius was saying is true but she had her doubts. There had to be at least one trace of that article somewhere on the web, but she couldn’t find it. Oh well, she couldn’t let this small event bother her. Valentina was excited about the dinner. She never been here before and already she was impressed. Having a giant gate at the entranceway and series of well trim pines lined the road gave a good impression. As she squint her eyes, there in the distance Valentina got a glimpse at a Victorian style mansion as it became larger. The two of them were greeted by a sharp dressed waiter at the entrance to the mansion as they exited their car. He led them through giant double doors, ornate decorated hallways and a dimly lit ballroom.
“Here is your table Sir. What would like to drink.”
“A bottle of Domaine Georges Roumier Musigny Grand Cru. Try saying that ten times!” chucked Tiberius.
“Very good sir. I will be back with your champagne.” The waiter swiftly went way.
Valentina was speechless. She has never been to any restaurant like this. She felt like she was in a movie or a fairly tale. “Tiberius, I’m lost for words.”
“Haha. Don’t be! We will be here for a while and kinda don’t want to be the only one talking” jest Tiberius. The candle on their table flickered creating a romantic atmosphere. Not done taking in all of the restaurant. She scanned the room looking at the tall marble statue by the ballroom entrance, a Monet painting framed in gold and a tall window by their table overlooking the city in the distance. The waiter arrived with their champagne and two crystal glasses. He pop the bottle open, pour the velvety liquid in their glass and gently placed it on the table. Then he quickly disappeared from sight.
“To our 4th year of being married” exclaimed Tiberius as he lifted up his glass, “even though this is our first anniversary dinner” and chuckled. This is why Valentina loved Tiberius. No matter how serious or romantic the situation is, there is always something to laugh at. Sometimes she took herself too seriously and needed to see the good side of life. Together they tapped their glasses together to celebrate their special occasion. “Don’t forget to take your medicine.”
“Aw, do I really need to take it?” Valentina open her purse and took out the small canister. She loath it every time she has to take the pill. “I’ve been taking these pills for over a year. They seem to do nothing but maybe give me some stomachache.”
“Valentina, we’ve had this discussion many times. I don’t want to run the risk of you ending up at the ER just because you didn’t take your pills.” Valentina felt a cold shiver down her spine. Tiberius was giving her one of his cold looks; it was like he was a completely different person. A person with no emotion or compassion. With hesitation, she places the pills in her mouth and took a sip of the smooth champagne. She looked forward to the cure where she no longer needed the pills.
A small vibration was heard from Tiberius’s pocket. Valentina saw him take out his phone and looking at the screen. She felt a little annoyed. ‘Shouldn’t he have his phone on silent?’ she thought to herself. Once in awhile she wondered what Tiberius’s priorities were. Her or work. “Is there a problem at work?” Valentina saw Tiberius face turn cold and stern. He quickly grabbed her hand and pull her closer to him. The lights in the restaurant went out. Valentina was in a state of surprise. ‘What was going on?’ she thought to herself. It must have been a power outage or something along those lines.
In the distance, at a different dinner table, an elderly woman lifted her candle towards man laying flat on his table. His eyes and mouth were wide open with his meal coming out of his mouth. The sight of his face stop Valentina’s heart for a moment then she started to feel light headed. “Tiberius… I don’t think…I feel…good.” She collapsed into Tiberius arms and started to moan. Tiberius place Valentina gently on the floor, lifted up his dinner chair and threw it at the large window. Valentina was trying to keep it together but she struggled to even stand up. The fresh night air cleared part of her mind but it wasn’t enough.
Before Valentina was aware of the situation, she was dangling on top of Tiberius shoulder as he jumped out the window and rush down the hill. Faintly Valentina heard screams, dogs barking and a small explosion. She was still unsure what was going on. Everything felt like a dream as she was the leading lady in an action pack espionage film. Tiberius reaches the end of the fenced off premises. He placed Valentina down.
“Hey Valentina, are you ok?” She tried to stare into eyes. It proved to be difficult to keep her head straight. “Come’on… Take in some deep breaths.” Valentina followed his orders and breathe in and out. The air clear her mind. She struggled to stand up.
“What’s going on?” slurred Valentina.
“Our ride is here. No time to talk.” A driverless car pulled up to the curb as Tiberius carried Valentina over the fence and placed her into the passenger seat. She is feeling better now but still a little groggy. As her senses came back to her, Valentina’s heart beat faster. In the rear view mirror, she notices cars chancing after them. Tiberius drift left and right trying to lose them. He hit some buttons on the dash boards which caused some of the cars to explode behind them.
“Tiberius… what is going on?” exclaimed Valentina. Everything was ruined. Today was supposed to be their very first anniversary dinner and now they are on the run, for what? She looks at Tiberius hoping for his eyes to meet hers to give her some comfort, but he just focused on the road ahead of them.
“I’m not sure but I will make sure not harm shall ever come to you.” Then a road in front of them opens up. As quickly Tiberius enters the underground area the door closed behind him. Valentina looks around. Metal shelves with boxes, military style truck, a car similar to one she is in now, a motorcycle. Tiberius opens her door and pulls her out. “Please listen to me carefully.” Valentina was trying to stay strong and compose but it proves to be difficult since her arms were shaking in his hands.
“I will be gone for a couple days, maybe months. I have a friend here who will help you and protect you. Please don’t worry about me. I will come back to you alive and well.”
“What do you mean?” Tiberius led her to a door. Unexpectedly, pull on her arms and threw her into the hallway. He closes the door behind him. Valentina shakes her head expecting Tiberius to be next to her but when she turned around, it was just a close metal door. In the small window afforded to her, she sees Tiberius picking up a backpack and exiting through a door on the other side of the room. Not wanting to be alone, Valentina screams and bangs on the door. Tears came out. She doesn’t want to be alone, she needs Tiberius. She lost hope when she saw the closed the door behind him. She turns around and leans against the door with her back sliding slowly to the ground. Feeling abandon, Valentina brought her legs closer to her chest and cried.