I dumped my books from my morning classes into my locker, not bothering to organize them. I slammed the door…and almost had a heart attack. Griffin was there, leaning casually against the wall of lockers, looking down and absent-mindedly running two fingers over the cross tattoo. There was something else there too, something I hadn’t noticed before, something that caused my skin to crawl. A collaboration of slashes going across his wrists, scars overlapping each other, seemingly endless…
“Did I scare you?” He asked with a wicked grin, falling into step beside me. I shot him a sidelong glance. He moved on quickly to the next topic. “Not very famous here, are you?” My brows knit together in confusion, which seemed to please Griffin. “I was asking around about you, but no one seemed to know who you were,” he explained.
I simply shrugged. “Sometimes it’s better to be invisible,” I mumbled.
This time it was Griffin who frowned. “I can’t figure you out, Arielle. You’re fine being practically non-existent, you find no romance in Romeo and Juliet; you probably spend every night locked away in your room with a book and some death metal.”
My lips parted a little. “Is it that obvious?”
Griffin nodded, and then a bit of laughter erupted from him. “I never imagined anyone like you in New York.”
As we continued to the cafeteria and on to the courtyard, Griffin told me about life in Nevada, where he had lived before. He told me that both of his parents had died-refusing to elaborate- and he had come to live with his widowed grandmother here in NYC. And then he asked me about my life, so I told him about my mom and Mark, and the difference between California and New York. Which was, really, all there was to my life. He was an incredible listener. It made me want to tell him more, but my life was only so interesting.
Lunch period passed unnaturally fast when I was talking with Griffin. Usually, it dragged on in silence for me, an hour of complete, utter boredom. But with Griffin, time seemed non-existent, a minute passing in the blink of an eye.
Griffin walked with me back to my locker after lunch, hesitating for the briefest second before saying goodbye and parting. Realization that I wouldn’t see him until tomorrow hit me hard, causing my stomach to knot up a million times. I wondered if I was developing separation anxiety. “Griffin,” I called after him softly. But as he turned around, I realized I hadn’t the slightest idea what it was I wanted to say.
“You don’t have to say anything, Arielle,” he told me. My name didn’t bother me as much coming from his mouth, I noted. “I already know.”
His words rang in my head all night long, keeping me tossing and turning as I lay in my bed. How could he possibly know what I was thinking? How I felt about him? There was no way, I decided. It was all in my head. Once I’d half-way convinced myself of this fact, I drifted into slumber.
Lights are flashing, casting red and blue shadows around me. I hear voices faintly in the distance, but I am too tired to listen close enough to understand them.
The command explodes in my head; the voice was much closer than I’d thought. I become aware of someone’s arms wrapped tightly around my body, cradling me, rocking me gently back and forth, whispering the same two words over and over.
I want to obey the words- the voice is just so soothing- but I am so, so tired. Already I feel myself slipping away. My eyes droop shut.
“Don’t leave me,” the voice begs. “I need you.” I realize that the speaker is crying. I wish I could tell them to stop, but even the thought of forming words causes me physical pain.
I give into the darkness, allowing it to engulf me completely.
Her name resounded in my head as I lie awake in my bed that night. She was... I was unsure of how to complete that sentence.
Well, one thing was sure- I wanted her. I wanted her in unlike any way I had ever wanted anything before. And I longed for her to want me in the same way. But why should she? What was I, besides an intruder on her life, startling the way she’d lived for so long?
I didn’t want to think anymore. I willed myself to sleep, but to no prevail. At least New York’s nickname was accurate- the city that never slept. Perhaps I did belong here after all. But how could I possibly sleep with so many random thoughts racing through my mind?
I could see it when I gazed into Arielle’s pale, stone-gray eyes. She was slowing slipping away. Maybe she didn’t realize it yet, but I had been there, and I could tell. Sooner or later, she would let the darkness take her completely.
No. I did not believe that. I did not believe that Arielle would give up so easily. She would keep fighting. She was stronger than she knew. I could see that too.With a small smile creeping onto my lips, I fell away into unconsciousness.