Her mother had warned her about sleazy men with shifty eyes and leering grins, but she had failed to warn her that she would encounter many men, and women too, as she went out into the world, who appeared to be kind and good and totally trustworthy, but in fact were none of that.
Kiana had been raised to be trusting and open, eager to make new friends, and all too willing to let them into her life. Piece-by-piece her heart was broken as those she let get close to her turned out to be much different than what they presented. Her mother, always pragmatic, said "That's just life, Kiana, learn to be a bit more careful and watch for signs that things are not exactly as they seem."
When Sheldon came into her life Kiana thought she'd finally met The One... the man who was everything she dreamed of and with whom she wanted to share her life. Sheldon was a few years older than Kiana, but maturity suited him well. He had a good job with a banking firm, and played important roles in the community and his church. He treated Kiana like a princess, with flowers and fancy dinners, and lovely things to wear. He talked sweetly and paid attention to what she said and what she liked. He opened doors, and spoke of her glowingly to all his friends.
Eventually Sheldon convinced Kiana that it was time for her to move in with him. So she ended her apartment lease, and took up residence in his lovely home. At first everything seemed perfect to those on the outside, like a fairytale romance was being played out before their eyes. Then Kiana's appearances with Sheldon in public became less frequent, and her mother noticed that she often didn't respond to calls or texts for days. When asked about it, she said that she was just so busy with Sheldon and their life together, and didn't have a lot of time to keep in touch.
Kiana finally agreed to meet up with her mother with lunch one day a few months later. Her mother was shocked to see her daughter looking so thin and pale; dark circles underneath her eyes barely concealed by makeup. Once again Kiana had an answer, stating that she'd been sick with the flu, and was starting to feel better now. Her mother wasn't all that sure though, the usually bubbly Kiana was now quiet, and something just seemed off. The friends Kiana had before she met Sheldon also told her mother that they rarely heard from her and she was never willing to go out. She had even dropped off Facebook and Twitter, and gone were the days of sparkling posts about the new love of her life.
Sheldon failed to show up at work one Monday morning. When his boss called him on his cellphone, he responded that he and Kiana had gone to the mountains over the holiday weekend, and had problems with their airplane connections coming back. He assured his boss that he would be in tomorrow, but he wasn't. Kiana's mom was also worried, and the few texts she'd exchanged with Kiana in the last few days seemed strange, not her usual manner and style of responding, and then, since Sunday there had been no response at all. She called Sheldon, who said not to worry, that Kiana had been sick again, but was doing just fine now and they were at the airport and headed home. He said that they were in the process of boarding the plane, but promised to have Kiana call her Mom as soon as their plane had landed.
That was the last contact anyone had with Sheldon or with Kiana. Police investigators found records indicating that the couple had travelled to Mexico the prior Friday, but that only Sheldon had returned to San Francisco the following Monday. Sheldon never returned to his job or his house and his Mercedes was never found. The case remains unsolved, without leads warranting more investigation.
Things are not always as they seem then, those who appear to be good guys may prove in the long run to be the worst. Relationships are always infused with risk, and yet we continue to attempt them, and we must. But be aware of the warning signs for yourself, your sister, your daughter, or your friend. If something tells you in your gut that it isn't right or as it appears, don't hesitate to investigate, and if it's your relationship don't hesitate to run!
This was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are target and deceived.
If you enjoy writing, come and join us!