My thoughts still lingered on Gabriel as I entered the house. He was an unsual person, mysterious and strangely enticing, but I decided there was nothing threatening about him; I was just being paranoid. Someone at the party probably told him about my parents. The party he "didn't" go to...
'Hailey!' my mother's voice drifted in from the kitchen.
'Have you forgotten I'm going out tonight, with work?'
'Oh yeah. What time you heading off?'
'About seven,' she came into the hallway, dressed in formal attire with a pinstripe skirt and a matching blazer jacket. Her black hair was pinned to the side, with a tumble of black waves coming past her shoulder. I certainly took after my mother, looks-wise.
I checked the clock in the hallway which told me it was a little after four.
'What's the rush?' I laughed.
'Oh, sorry dear. I have to go out before then, head to the office, sort out some papers. There was a bit of a mess with the new secretary,' she rolled her eyes. 'You're okay with this though, right?'
'Of course,' I nodded. 'Hey who knows? Maybe I'll even trash the place with another party.'
She looked at me sternly. 'No parties. You can call Mia though.'
I doubted Mia would come over, now that she had her new secret boyfriend. The one she had been so elusive about. Mum planted a kiss on my forehead, filling my nostrils with the scent of her expensive Chanel perfume. I waved her off and listened as the door slammed shut.
'Hmm, what to do?' I mused to myself. The idea of a party was incredibly tempting... But it was a Monday night and I had school early the next day which meant I wouldn't be able to get drunk, which meant it wouldn't be fun...
I kicked off my shoes and dumped my bag at the bottom of the stairs, heading into the kitchen for a snack.
The doorbell rang seconds later.
Thinking it was mum forgetting something, I swung open the door.
Instead, stood Gabriel.
'Gabriel?' I blurted out, through pieces of apple. God how unladylike was I acting right now?
He ducked his head slightly, trying to hide the laughter.
'What are you doing here?'
'Well I saw your mother head out now and I just wondered if you needed company tonight. You're obviously home alone.'
I was stunned into silence for several seconds. That was unexpected, albeit a little creepy. He was looking stunning, his hair neatly combed and his white shirt swapped for a light blue one. Bright green eyes stared back at me, waiting for an answer.
'Come in,' I stepped to the side.
'Thanks,' he murmured. In the seconds that he crossed the threshold, his eyes met mine and I could have sworn I detected something among them. Something slightly sinister and somewhat off putting. I briefly wondered if inviting him in had been a wise move until I scoffed inwardly. This paranoia was getting insane now.
'Did you wanna watch a film?' I offered uncertainly, chucking my half eaten apple in the bin.
'Sure,' he agreed. 'What do you have?'
'I don't know, there's a whole shelf of them there,' I gestured to the cabinet under the large TV. 'Why don't you pick something? I'll just go freshen up.'
I didn't wait for his answer as I half walked half ran up the stairs. Now that he was here I might as well make the most of it. I swapped my jeans for a skirt and changed into a white vest top, pulling my hair forwards, around my shoulders. I spritzed on a little perfume and assessed myself in the mirror. Large brown eyes, a little too excited, stared back at me as if to say What are you waiting for?
I took the steps slower this time, wanting to appear calm and controlled.
However, as I rounded the corner and peered into the living room, Gabriel was nowhere to be found. Puzzled, I called out his name. There was no response. I decided to check the kitchen, wondering if he'd possibly gotten something to drink.
Nope, he wasn't there either.
'Huh,' I muttered to myself.
As I was standing in the kitchen, something flickered in my peripheral vision. It was coming from the garden. The sky had grown considerably darker so I couldn't make out what it was, but it looked like a human shadow. What was he doing out there?
My fingers hovered over the back door handle. It was unlocked.
Footsteps dashed across the floorboards above my head.
'Gabriel?' my voice was beginning to sound panicked and nervous. The room directly above where I was stood was my bedroom. I took tentative, slow footsteps, back out into the hallway, standing at the bottom of the stairs. The landing was completely dark.
I could have sworn I left the light on...
Something gripped my heart in a cold grasp, tendrils spreading along my spine, something that made me want to get the hell out of there, to run.
You're not alone...
I ignored the voice in my head. Obviously I wasn't alone, Gabriel was here somewhere. My mind was playing tricks on me, that's all it was. Angry at myself for being such a wuss, I stormed up the stairs, straight into the darkness.
My fingers trailed the wall, trying to find the light switch. As they came into contact with the small, plastic object, a shadow dashed right in front of me. I tried to scream, but all I could manage was a strangled cry. Without warning, a cold hand brushed my bare arm.
Now I did scream.
I couldn't turn the damn light on!
'Hailey?' Gabriel's voice sounded in the darkness.
'Gabriel?' I gasped. He was stood behind me, at the entrance to the bathroom.
But if he was stood there, then who was in front of me...
Light illuminated my surroundings as Gabriel flicked the bathroom light on. The shadow slinked away, leaving me stood there trembling and gasping for breath.
'What's wrong?' Gabriel grabbed my arm, turning me round to face him.
'T-t-there was someone...in the house...' I stammered, clasping onto his shirt. 'They were right in front of me, and in the garden!'
Gabriel slipped his hand into mine, pulling me down the stairs with him, heading into the kitchen.
'No!' I protested. 'We have to call the police!'
Before I could stop him, he was opening the back door.
He was trying to anyway...
'It's locked Hailey. There's no way of getting inside.'
'But...it was unlocked, literally seconds ago...'
'That's impossible. I was in the bathroom this whole time, the front and back door is locked. Are you sure you didn't imagine it?'
'I couldn't imagine that,' I whispered. My heart was still hammering against my chest, threatening to explode. Blood pounded in my ears, my knees were trembling. I had been so sure...
Something strange was going on.