“Not quite. Keep guessing.” The bus pulled into a stop, and I looked up as someone I knew climbed on. Her hair was wet from rain: I felt sorry for her.
“Ruth?” she said, coming towards us. “Oh, er, hi,” added Anna, a friend from my youth group, when she saw Sean. “I’m, er, Anna.” I giggled at her awkwardness.
“And I’m Sean. You must be a friend of Ruth’s, yes?” He gave her his name readily, as though he knew that she wasn’t dangerous. Did that mean that I was? Or was it just because I could hear the tune – though I did not know why – and she could not?
“Yes, we go to the same youth group …” Anna’s voice made me realise that I was daydreaming and I looked up suddenly.
“Sorry. Distracted.” With effort, I managed to form my face into a bright smile. “Haven’t seen you for ages!”
“You weren’t at youth group, that’s why,” she replied. “What happened to you? It’s been over a month.”
“Oh, really? Well, you know how it is, with schoolwork and that…” My excuses were pathetic so I gave up. “It’s our stop, Sean. I’m really sorry: I’d have loved to catch up more with you, Anna, but we have to go. Bad timing, hmm? But I’ll try and make it on Friday this week.”
“Yeah, it would be good to see you.” She looked disappointed and confused as we got up to get off the bus. “See you then, maybe.”
Sean looked around as we stepped onto the pavement. The rain was heavier than I had imagined it to be, and my hair was soaked through in an instant. “Where are we?” he asked. “This isn’t where you live.”
“How do you know?” I asked slyly, though I was shaken, as I led him towards the entrance to a deserted park. “I could do.”
“But you don’t, because I know where you live.” His voice was puzzled, although he was trying not to show his confusion. Maybe he thought it was a weakness, not to know everything that was going on.
“Stalker!” I teased, and pretended to run away. He smiled, tiredly, but did not laugh. “All right, you win, sulky,” I told him, and led him over to a bench. “There’s no one here – we can talk freely.”
“Great,” said Sean, without any enthusiasm at all in his voice. “Just what I always wanted: to tell secrets to a Listener that I only met about fifteen minutes ago, in the middle of a random park when it’s pouring with rain. Oh, this has made my day!”