He was just a boy looking for meaning. She was just a girl who didnt know how to feel. But together...there was hope.
Whoever does not abide in love
abides in death
-1 John 13:14
I think I am dead.
That, or I'm about to be. Surely that is the only way to explain this complete lack of feeling. This utter emptiness I find myself in. It's as if all emotion has been washed away from me, and I lay here now with nothing but the thoughts in my head and the blood pouring in rushing streams onto the ground from within my fragile body.
There is blood. I am dying.
They say that when you die, there is suppose to be some sort of light, shining ever so brightly to guide you into Heaven. That is, if you're lucky enough to make it in. I see no such light- just the twisting shadows, the never-ending darkness. And silence. Oh, how the silence could kill me in itself.
But then, I feel a hand upon my arm, sweltering hot compared to the cool air that surrounds my battered body. I wonder to myself if this may be then hand of an angel, coming to lead me into the light I have yet to see. I become vaguely aware that someone is talking, but my mind is too weak to decipher what they're saying. I dont try to listen. I dont want to hear.
They seem to be addressing me, I think. Calling out my name with the faintest hope that I might respond. I dont, of course. Dont, or cant. I have yet to figure that out. There are multiple voices now. One of them lets out a sigh, and I am certain I can feel their hot breath against the chilled flesh of my face. I manage to make out two muttered words: "She's gone."
Darkness engulfs me.
I sat up in bed with a start, the sound of my desperately heavy breathing reverberating through the silence. A cold sweat drenched my body. Quickly, I threw back my covers, revealing my slender body, my too-frail frame. Even in the dark of the night I could see my hips jutting out through the delicately stretched skin of my stomach. I shook my head in a vain attempt to clear it. There would be no more sleep after that dream.
I made my way blinding towards the bathroom at the end of the hall, sure to be excessively silent as I passed my mom and stepdad's room. According to the clock I could barely read, it was just after two. There was no need for them to be awake. In the hours of day, I had to fake it for them both, to smile and act as though nothing were the matter. I had to tell them exactly what they wanted to hear to keep them from prying. They would ask about the dream, performing their own little act so perfectly, when we both knew I was only a burden to them.
Nevertheless, I did not want to relive that particular haunting nightmare.
It wasnt the first time I'd dreamed of dying, or even the second or third. if it was, I wouldnt have cared so much. Everyone was plagued with bad dreams time and again, werent they? Still, I was fairly convinced that few ever had dreams so vividly real and so frequent. And that gave me reason enough to worry. However, I'd never told anyone. Three months of dealing with the traumatizing visions, and I'd never told a soul. I wrote it off as having no one to tell. My parents would have had me committed for sure. And friends? I had none. I preferred to be alone. I couldnt get hurt that way.
In the bathroom, I splashed some icy water against my face, letting the droplets roll down my pale cheeks and fall back into the sink. With my eyes half-closed, I probably could have fallen asleep right there. Only the dull roar of the nighttime traffic kept me from doing that. Patting my face dry, I crossed the minute bathroom to the open window. Pressing ever so lightly, the screen popped from its place, and I was able to swing my leg over and climb out.
The balcony was the one thing I truly liked about the apartment. Below me, the steady traffic of New York City rushed past. Even in the middle of the night, there was always someplace to be. How fitting for the city that really didnt ever sleep. With my eyes closed, the breeze was allowed to tug at me in a way that made me a little more than slightly nervous. My choppy black hair blew around my face, tickling me in the most irriting of ways. I reached up to roughly push it back.
It was still taking time for me to adjust to New York. To living with Mark. To sharing my mom with something besides her ever-demanding job. They'd met only a year earlier, but my mom was never one for waiting things out. When she knew what she wanted, she went for it without a moment's hesitation. Which meant that I was expected to pack up and move clear across the country right along with her. I hadnt had much to say, but then, I wouldnt have said it anyway. Silence and passive behavior were both in my nature.
With a sigh, I turned and climbed back through the window. I figured the least I could do was make an effort to fall back asleep.
Dawn broke out shortly after I'd managed to get resettled. I'd spent the few short hours before the sunrise scrolling through my iPod, jumping nervously from song to song, never listening for more than thirty seconds. As soon as the viciously bright sun was high enough to penetrate my curtains, I knew it was safe to emerge.
Despite the short amount of time I'd spent in New York, I'd already accepted that my life had settled into a routine, and that was the one thing which provided me any comfort. The security of always knowing what was to happen next was something I embraced. I'd never been the sort to seek out excitement or change.
My mother and Mark were sitting at the island counter upon a pair of abundantly simplistic bar-stools. They appeared to be deep in conversation, so I knew better than to approach either one. I didnt bother to listen in; their conversations were always impossibly to keep up with. I didnt consider myself to be especially philosophical, but I did believe there was a world outside of the office, a sort a mystery to the order. I thought that maybe acknowledging its presence was enough for me. Someone else could pick it apart until it had been shredded of magic. After all, that was all that philosophy was.
"Good morning, Arielle," my mother greeted suddenly, cutting Mark off mid-sentence. As was customary, I shuddered a little at my name. That was all the response I was able to give before they simultaneously glanced at their watches and rose to their feet. It was somewhat sickening, and definitely pathetic. My mother kissed me goodbye atop the head. "Dont be late again," She said firmly. "The last thing you need is another tardy on your record.
I nodded, but there was hardly any meaning behind it. My mother seemed to realize this, but she was already running zero-point-five seconds late as it was, leaving no time for a lecture. I wasnt worth it even if she had time to spare. The door slammed on their way out.
Billiards Day School began promptly at eight with absolutely no acceptions. At seven-fifty-six, I pushed my locker shut violently and began the trudge down the hall to my first hour. English. Chaos seemed to be the teacher as I entered the dungeon, walking past the cheerleaders and brainiacs to my usual seat in the back. As anyone would expect, the back rows were reserved for the kids like me- the ones with darkness etched into their expressions, who favored too much eyeliner and dressed in ways that defied the standards. In Mr. Norton's English, I was the only one who fit that definition, so the corner desk in the back was completely up for grabs.
On that day, however, there was one problem. Someone was in my seat.
I could have ignored them. I could have done what was expected and sulked away to find another spot. In doing so, nothing would have changed. The world would have stayed utterly untouched. But I didnt. I stayed. And staying made all the difference.
I was taken aback by his very presence. He was leaned over his desk in extreme concentration, his striking features appearing composed. From under a tangle of black hair I could just make out a pair of abnormally green eyes, the kind that only showed up in cartoons, or horror stories, or dreams. From what I could see, the lower rim was lightly traced in eyeliner, though it may have been little more than the shadows.So entranced I was, I didnt even realize I'd been staring until he looked up and said simply, "You're staring at me."
Oh. Duh. I could feel the fire spreading over my cheeks already. Coyness was another one of those arts I'd jsut never bothered to master. I tried to form words, but they all seemed to lodge in my throat. "Oh, uh...you're in my seat," I stammered at last.
He made no motion of gathering his belongings or moving. He stayed right where he was, a slight smile playing upon his lips. I kept telling myself to turn away, but within me I was sure that would be impossible. I was captivated by the intensity of his gaze, heavy upon me.
"I dont see your name upon it."
I was certain I almost died. My heart gave an involuntary shudder in my chest; I took an unsteady breath. I'd never been hit like that before in my life. "It's alright," I managed, sliding into the seat beside him. "I can sit here."
As I tried to focus on the whiteboard before me, I scolded myself for my unlikely behavior. I'd spent the last year in New York being completely unaware of anyone around me. I would not let some boy that appeared out of nowhere get to me. I would not allow him the chance to rip me to shreds. Yes, there was something alluring about him. I thought it may have been in the vibrant shade of him emerald eyes, or the very aura that seemed to surround him.
When the bell rang forty-five minutes late, the boy gathered his books in a manner that screamed nonchalance and headed towards the door. I pretended to do the same, but I was staring after him as he left. Silently wishing that, just maybe, he might stop. He didnt.
Author's Note: The chapters of this novel have been divided into an excess of chapters so as to keep them shorter for the website.