This is the first “chapter” of a story I’ve been writing for over a year. I’d like to have some critiques on it. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Shawn looked around his New York apartment. It was small, barely enough to house one person by American standards. He had it well furnished, mostly by his parents, Joseph and Kierra. They were very generous. They had paid for college, his first car (the one he still owned), and, only occasionally nowadays, his groceries. Mom must be worried sick right now, he thought. I haven’t called in a couple of weeks. He picked up the phone and dialed, but got their answering machine. “Hey, mom, it’s me. Just calling to check on you. Call me back when you get this.”
He set the phone down into the cradle, and as he did, he saw a photo of his girlfriend, and soon-to-be fiancée, Katherine. He smiled. She was the one person he could really rely on, besides his parents. He knew that his parents helping him sometimes made it look like he’d never grow up, but those who actually knew him knew the opposite. By day, Shawn was a successful computer programmer. By night, he collapsed in his bed (which he proudly purchased himself), exhausted from sitting in front of a glowing screen all day.
His mind drifted back to Katherine. They met early on in college, but hadn’t hit it off at first. In fact, she pretty much avoided him. But one day, out of nowhere, she came up to him and asked him out. It was flattering to be asked, though somewhat embarrassing for the girl to ask the guy out. But Shawn pushed the awkward moment out of his mind. He said yes, and neither of them had looked back. Katherine felt bad about her avoidance of Shawn after their first meeting, but she attributed it to not being able to make head or tail out of him. Shawn accepted this with some margin of doubt at first, but she soon proved herself to be the most honest person he had ever known.
Tonight was the night he had planned for months. He reserved what was considered to be the best table in her favorite restaurant, Chateau le Divon. He had even worked out his plan with the management, who were thrilled to be part of a marriage proposal. The reservations were for eight o’clock. They would get there at the scheduled time on the dot and at eight forty-five, a waiter would come out with wine, saying it was in celebration of their special day. This would hopefully be a perfect segway into the proposal itself, which Shawn hoped would go off without a hitch. The only variable in the whole plan was her answer. If she said yes, the band would begin playing a classical rendition of the couple’s favorite song. If the answer was no… well, he didn’t have a plan for that.
He pushed the doubts out of his mind and stood up. He stretched and walked into his room to get ready for the night ahead.
Shawn’s hands began shaking as he reached for the glass in front of him. He smiled at Katherine, who seemed to notice his anxiousness. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yeah. I’m just a bit ner—anx—tired.”
“No, just tired.” he said, laughing nervously. He glanced at the clock. Eight forty-five exactly. Where is he? he thought. Just then, a waiter crashed through the kitchen doors with wine glasses in hand. He caught himself, straightened up, and walked calmly over to the table. “My apologies, sir. Compliments of the restaurant,” he said, setting the wine down. “For your special day.”
“What is he talking about, Shawn?” Katherine asked. Shawn took a deep breath to steady himself and got down on his knee. Katherine’s hands flew up to her mouth and she gasped.
“Katherine, I’ve known you for quite a while. We’ve had good times, like the park last week, and bad times, like the incident at the science museum I will not elaborate on.”
By this time, tears had begun falling down Katherine’s face. Taking this as a sign he should probably stop, he got up. “What are you doing, Shawn? That was beautiful.”
Shawn saw the reassuring smile in her eyes and got back down on his knee. He cleared his throat and continued. “Katherine, I’ve loved you for a long time. From the first day we met, I knew—I don’t know how, but I did—that you were the one for me. So, without further ado, Katherine Marie Bates, will you marry me?”
She looked at him with a passive expression, clearly contemplating her answer. Then she broke into a smile, and, as calmly as she could, said “Yes.” She jumped out of her chair and threw her arms around him. Shawn smiled and hugged back. The whole restaurant broke into applause.
“Sorry it took so long.” Shawn said sheepishly.
“Shawn, I’m just glad you asked.”
“Oh, I nearly forgot.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a ring box. When he opened the box, Katherine’s mouth flew open. “Shawn, it’s beautiful.” she said. He carefully put the ring on her finger.
He cupped her head in his hands and gave her a kiss, which she unabashedly returned. Suddenly, gunfire burst throughout the restaurant.
“Where is he?” said a man with a thick Oriental accent. “Where is Shawn McAcvoy?” When no one answered, the man became furious. “Everyone, on the ground now!”
Everyone, including Shawn and Katherine, did as told, not wanting to be shot. “What does he want with you?” Katherine whispered to Shawn.
“I have no idea.”
“Shawn,” the man said, “where are you? Shawn? Alright, then, you’ve forced my hand.” The man snapped his fingers and two more men, dressed, like the first man, in an all-black jumpsuit, came from nowhere to his side. He whispered something into their ears and they nodded. They both walked up to an elderly man of about seventy years of age and picked him roughly off of the floor. They dragged him over to the first man, who put his arm around the elderly man’s neck and put his gun to the man’s temple.
“Shawn, I don’t want to do this. Where are you? You have ten seconds before this man’s brain is scattered across the floor.” the man said. Shawn tensed as he heard this. What did this man want from him so badly that he would kill for it?
“Five seconds left, Shawn.”
Shawn sprang up. “I’m Shawn. What do you want with me?”
The man ignored his question and instead motioned to the men beside him. They came up to Shawn and grabbed him. The leader let the elderly man and he ran back over to his wife, who was quietly sobbing.
“Put him in the van.” the leader said, motioning at Shawn. The men dragged Shawn towards the door. All of a sudden, he heard Katherine yell “Shawn! Stop it! Fight them!” He then heard the sound of footsteps. One of the men holding Shawn had to turn around to defend himself from Katherine. Shawn was able to twist and see what was happening. Katherine was bravely fighting the man until, out of nowhere, a gunshot rang out and she went limp. Shawn could see a hole torn through her chest.
He became furious and twisted out of his captor’s grasp. Before the man could do anything, Shawn punched him in the stomach and put his knee in the man’s face. He crumpled to the ground, knocked out. The man who had fought Katherine came at him. Shawn dodged the man’s charge and punched. The man caught the punch and twisted Shawn’s arm behind his back. “Don’t worry,” the man said in a British accent, “it’ll come naturally in time.” With that, he turned Shawn around and rendered him unconscious with a head butt. The last thing Shawn heard before blacking out completely was one word: KATANA.