It was late afternoon on the following Saturday. I was bored out of my wits. I'd texted Rory once to give him my number and he'd replied with a simple ‘Hi'. I felt like I needed to get to know him better before I started a long conversation with him by text. Beginning one now would just be random and what would there be to talk about? So, I was just walking around in the intense sun not knowing what to do.
Deciding I was thirsty, I walked into the local store to get some water. I'd just bought some when I noticed Rory in another aisle.
‘Rory!' I thought, surprised at my excitement at seeing him.
He looked up, brow furrowed, and looked around. He spotted me and approached me, looking at me as if I was odd.
"Next time, could you tell me where you are?"
"Oh, I wasn't calling you."
"So were you ... using your talents: listening in or reading - whatever it is that you do?"
"Listening," he clarified. "No. I heard your mental shout but I wasn't tuned in to your thoughts."
"Oh, no, I was just commenting upon the fact that we're stood here calmly discussing something I didn't believe in until a few weeks ago."
"Well, we did figure out you were weird."
I nodded. "We did."
There was a small silence.
"Was there anything you had planned today?" I asked.
"No, not really. You?"
I shook my head. A sudden thought struck me. "You didn't need to ask," I realised.
Rory looked at me as if I was the strangest person on the planet. "I didn't need to, no. But it would be impolite if I didn't, not to mention unpleasant for you."
"You're ... really nice."
"Hardly. It's just good manners. So, did you want to hang out?"
"Yeah: I was bored until I saw you. Incidentally, can you hear other people's emotions?"
"No, I ... feel them?"
"What, feel as in as if they were your own?"
"Yes. I get a sense of the emotion. Sometimes, I get a mental picture too, for example rain if someone's sad or the sun if someone's happy. The emotions feel foreign though. There's a hint of the person feeling that emotion behind them."
"A hint of the person."
"Yes, like a personality trait or a stray thought. A person's self is a collection of images, attitudes and thoughts personal to them."
"What do I feel like?" I wondered aloud.
"I think you should stay away from me until you've considered the danger you're in," Rory said, looking serious and concerned.
"I'm following my instinct."
"Oh, so you're stupid as well as weird."
"Hey!" I cried indignantly.
"Well, it's true. You're not running away when you're in danger and you haven't thought once about what I could do to you."
"Maybe I trust you."
"You have no evidence whatsoever that I am a trustworthy person."
"No one has when they make friends," I said defiantly. "And a friend is what you wanted, isn't it?"
"I wanted a friend who was sensible, wary and didn't confuse me."
"Oh, so just because I don't fit the picture of the ‘perfect friend', you're rejecting any friendliness I show you?" I asked challengingly.
"I didn't say that. You seem to care about your safety less than a normal person which is why I'm concerned."
"What would a normal person do, then?" I challenged.
"Be cautious until they were absolutely sure they could trust me."
"I want to trust you," I told him. "Maybe that's what we should do today. Things like the falling backwards exercise."
"That's absurd. What if I can't be trusted?"
"Well, what happens happens."
"I still think you should stay away from me."
"I'm not scared of you."
"You should be."
"Are you going to let me try to find reason to trust you?"
Rory sighed. "Yes, I am. Just know you're in danger, right? As much as I want a friend, I don't want one who's completely comfortable with me. I expect people to fear me." He hesitated. "I'm unnatural."