Five

Griffin:

When I returned home from school that day, the memory of Arielle sitting beside me in the courtyard was still replaying in my head.  With the sunlight shimmering off of her blue-black hair, her eyes wide with passion and cynicism as we argued over Romeo and Juliet of all things, she’d looked far more angelic than any of the creatures that haunted me in my sleep. She was really something. She was really… beautiful.

And it killed me to admit it. It killed me to admit that just maybe I felt something for her. 

 I couldn’t. It wasn’t a possibility.    

 Cordelia didn’t seem to be around, although I didn’t do much more checking than simply shouting out her name before proceeding on straight to my room. I disregarded my homework completely, dropping down into my stool at my drawing desk and reaching for a fresh piece of cardstock and a new piece of charcoal. Sooner or later I’d need to find an art store where I could get some newer supplies.

As always when drawing, I did not think. I just closed my eyes and let the image come. Let the lines emanate from my mind, all the way to my fingertips and onto the paper. When I opened my eyes, I’d already sketched out the background: a clear sky blotted out by skyscrapers, and a lone oak tree. The picture was unlike anything I could recall drawing in months- it had life to it.

 I knew exactly what was coming next. I returned the tip of the charcoal to the cardstock and drew lightly the first few traceries of Arielle’s form, the lines gradually becoming more sure as I recalled the shape of her hands and her neck, the way her hair had looked with the slight September breeze brushing it lightly, the angle of her jaw and the fire in her eyes as she stared at me with that expression she so often wore. The one that said, I am nothing more than a child, and I am completely alone.

I knew it well. I was completely alone just the same as her.

I worked for two hours straight, until the sun had finally dipped below the horizon and I heard Cordelia’s voice calling to me from downstairs. When I moved back and took a good, long look at it, there was not a trace of doubt in my mind.

Arielle had not appeared in my life by mere happenstance. I may not have believed in God or faith, but I didn’t believe in coincidence either. Whatever had brought us together, it was more than just chance.

 

Arielle:

The rest of the week followed the same pattern: Griffin and I sat together, both insanely aware of the other’s presence- at least, I was of his- but neither saying much of anything. Thoughts of Griffin completely consumed my mind. He was the air I breathed, the water I drank, the very core of my existence. I’d known him for a week, and yet I felt compelled to be with him every waking moment. He was just so perfect.

Yet I couldn’t shake the thought that there was something different about him. Something that separated him from the rest of the world. It wasn’t his clothes or his carefree attitude towards the world; it was below the surface. I was determined to unravel the mystery.

I was sure that Griffin didn’t feel for me the way I did for him. I was sure that he didn’t think of me every moment that he was awake, thoughts of me creeping into his mind every opportunity that it could. I was sure that he probably wouldn’t even remember me if he didn’t see me twice every day.

 But none of these certainties stopped me from allowing him into my mind. From picturing him every time I closed my eyes. It was wrong, I knew, and irrational. But Griffin was devouring me.

The weekend dragged by. I was left home alone while my mother and Mark spent endless hours in the office with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I passed the time by cleaning my room and downloading some new music to my iPod, but that barely took up Saturday. I went to bed as early as possible to avoid thoughts of Griffin, hoping he wouldn’t reach my subconscious too.

Of course, an even worse terror was awaiting me in my sleep. The dreams had persisted, gotten worse even. I couldn’t make sense of them; I didn’t try. I told myself that they were only dreams, but I knew that it was unnatural to so vividly see yourself dying. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if it was me that I dreamed of. For all I knew, it was some figment of my imagination, an alter-ego that my sleeping mind had conjured up. I doubted that I would ever know.

   XXX        

On Monday morning I awoke naturally before my alarm even went off. I was half-convinced that it was because I knew that I would see Griffin today. I was very nearly faint with the thought of him, of his vibrant green eyes boring into me, burning holes through my skin to scrutinize the soul that lay beyond. I was sure it was as black as the vacant night sky. Dazedly, I pulled on my standard outfit: a black corset, edged with purple lace, and a full-length black skirt. I wasn’t much for accessories, but I did have a long silver chain from which an intricate cross hung. Not that I was religious in any sense of the word. I traced a ring of eyeliner around my gray-blue eyes, I nibbled on an English muffin, and I brushed my teeth. I ran a comb through my black tresses, and then I headed out the door.

I spent less than five seconds at my locker before power-walking to English. My heart sped up at the very thought of seeing Griffin, my feet naturally quickening.

But when I turned into the room, he wasn’t there. My usual desk sat unoccupied, not even a pile of books atop it.

My stomach twisted up. I had been so intent on seeing him, not seeing him had made me physically ill. It was like cutting off the supply of a heroin addict. That was about how badly I needed him. I wasn’t sure which made me more ill- not seeing him or how ridiculous I was being. This was not logical. This was not me.

Impulsively, I turned on my heel and headed back out the door. I would go to the nurse’s office. They had told me on my first day that that was where I was to go if I felt like I was going to vomit. Myabe i could convince them to send me home. They could write it up as out of character behavior. Of course, this wasn’t flu related. This was all Griffin’s fault. For not being in the classroom. The rational part of my mind registered how outrageous, how pathetic this was.  

I walked unsteadily towards the door, aware that a few Cheerleaders and nerds were watching me stumble, not even polite enough to make sure I didn’t catch them staring. I moved my gaze down to the floor. This was probably why I walked right into something- or rather, someone- while making my way through the doorway. Slowly, shyly, I looked up through my lashes.

Griffin had a slightly amused smile on his flawless face. My memory had not done him justice. He was just too perfect. Too gorgeous. “Going somewhere?” He asked in a velvet voice meant only for me to hear. I shook my head dumbly, but was unable to move back into the classroom. I was frozen in place.

“Arielle?” He murmured, causing my heart to skip a beat. Oh, this was worse than I’d thought. “Are you just going to stand there?”

Suddenly aware of how I must have looked, I backed up a little and walked quickly back to my desk, which I slid into silently. I laid my head down on my folded arms and closed my eyes. But I could still feel Griffin’s deep green eyes on my face. So I opened my eyes slightly just enough to see him studying- really, there was no other way to describe it- me.

“Yes?” I managed to ask, hoping I sounded slightly sarcastic, as I’d intended.

Griffin shook his head slowly. “You’re not who you seem, are you? There’s many secrets hidden underneath, aren’t there?” I was unsure how to reply. Was he looking for a life history or was he more observant than I gave him credit for? I couldn’t tell.

For a second, my mind traveled to the dreams. Griffin had a certain air about him that made me want to spill my every thought, every secret, to him. I knew that wasn’t exactly the smartest, so I decided not to say anything at all.

Griffin understood, and pulled his lips into a crooked half-smile. “I get it,” he said. “Why would you tell the creepy new kid anything?”

My head jerked up. “That’s not what I think of you at all,” I blurted.

Griffin’s eyes danced with mischief. “What do you think, then?”

Thankfully, Mr. Norton came in and saved me.

Griffin:  

  I had yet to figure how why it was so hard to catch a cab in New York City. Granted, Fifth Avenue was a nightmare at seven in the morning, but still.  Because of it all, I was nearly late to school. I skipped out on going to my locker before class and headed straight to Mr. Norton’s room. I told myself that it was only so that I wouldn’t be late, but me, myself, and I all knew that there was another reason entirely behind it.

I’d done everything I could to try and get my mind off of Arielle, but to no prevail. I was infatuated with her, it seemed, and I certainly couldn’t stop thinking about her.

But, no. I could not allow myself to open up to someone, not here, not now. Not when I was still as raw as I was. I trembled a little just at the very thought. Besides, how did I even know that Arielle thought about me the way I thought about her?

Okay, stupid question.

Just as I was about to turn into Mr. Norton’s room, none other than Arielle herself appeared seemingly out of nowhere and walked literally right into me. She gasped as she looked up at me through her lashes; I swallowed hard. Her hand brushed up against mine, and she didn’t move it away.

Maybe she didn’t notice it, suggested a voice in my head.

Shut up, I told it.

“Going somewhere?” I murmured. Arielle somehow managed to shake her head, causing her black tresses to dance around her pale face. But she made no motion of moving back into the room. “Arielle,” I said softly. “Are you just going to stand there?”

Finally, she turned, and I followed closely behind her, to our desks in the back of the room. As I watched her, I thought of the picture I’d drawn of her. One thing was for sure- I had not done her justice. My depiction made her look cold and shut off from the world, guarded and distrusting. And while that was definitely one side of her, it wasn’t the side I’d wish for anyone to know. Because somewhere in there, I was sure, there was a softer, vulnerable being just waiting for someone to comfort it. Arielle was just waiting for someone to hold her and tell her it would all be okay; I was sure of it.

And I desperately wanted to be the one to do it.

The End

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