The hallway was a strip of panelled wood walls and tiled flooring. An intricate wooden staircase was at one end and at the other to her right was an open entryway to the main parlour. Expensive décor, sofas and cabinets made up the room. The smell of sweat and alcohol prevailed inside, along with an undercurrent of questionable smoke. Martin was an only child and his parents were never home, so he was always throwing parties. Since he never cared about how many turned up there were always a lot of new faces. People from other schools or sometimes the nearby university. Alivia saw a puff of smoke from the back doorway that led to the kitchen. She didn't want to get any kind of contact high. Last time that had happened she'd almost thrown up. She grabbed a drink from a cooler someone had dumped by the large patio doors instead. The doors had been thrown open letting in a soft breeze. She could see others dancing and meandering outside.
“Oh wow,” Sophie breathed next to her. Alivia followed her line of sight and saw a guy on the other side of the room. He was laughing and joking with Martin. Even at this distance she could feel the deep vibrations of the sound. He had dark hair that spiked out at odd angles and shaded his face. He had to be at least six foot two with a healthy tan. She was wondering briefly what colour his eyes were, when he looked up. Clear-cut sapphire eyes locked on hers and she blinked. She looked away, findings her breathing hard to control for some reason. I swear I saw … No, must've been my imagination.
“Why am I not surprised?” Sophie muttered with crossed arms.
“What?” Alivia asked, confused by the hostility in her voice.
“Nothing,” Sophie said, rolling her eyes. “Let's go say hi. Then you and Martin can kiss and make up,” Sophie joked. Alivia chose not to reply to that, feeling her lips form a flat line. She followed Sophie and felt an odd buzzing start in the back of her head. She blinked the feeling away. Up close she could see an old, faded scar through his right eyebrow. He also had broad shoulders, emphasised by the black jacket he wore.
“Hey,” Martin said, noticing them. He flung an arm round Alivia's shoulders and started talking more about school. Alivia hardly paid attention to it. She couldn't stop looking at the stranger, certain she was missing something.
“Sounds like it'll be a good place to go to,” the guy replied. His voice deep and velvety, sending unnecessary shivers down her spine. Just what was it about this guy that was putting her on edge?
“What's your name?” she blurted, she instantly felt embarrassed by the abruptness of it. His eyes flicked to her and the intensity with which he studied her made her heart rate speed up. It was like he didn't care that there were other people in the room, his eyes just roamed over her freely.
“Kaiden,” he replied. “What's your name?” he asked, though the sentence felt unfinished. She saw it in the way half his lip curled upwards.
“Alivia, but everyone just calls me Ali,” she replied.
“Nice to meet you, Alivia,” he said, using her full name despite what she'd just said. He had a small knowing smile and she couldn't wondering the why.
“I'm Sophie,” her friend stepped in, tucking a stray strand of red hair behind her ear shyly. Kaiden glanced at her once and looked away, his disinterest clear.
“How long have you lived here?” Kaiden asked Alivia. She saw Sophie's mouth draw back as her jaw clenched.
“My whole life. You?” she replied. More out of politeness than a want too.
“Oh, I've been pretty much everywhere,” he replied. “My dad runs a pretty big business.” he added as explanation. A crash sounded in the kitchen followed by stoned laughter. Martin swore and turned to leave.
“I'll help you deal with it,” Alivia jumped in, following him readily. She watched Sophie strike up a conversation with Kaiden, but he appeared far from enthusiastic about it.