A girl, a new town, and her admirer.
God, I really have no idea how to start these sorts of things. Do I introduce myself first, and then go from there? Or just throw you into the thick of it and let the story tell itself? Either way, I've got a lot to tell and very little time to tell it, so I better get going.
So this whole weird adventure started a few months after we moved to Bedford. Now this town, like many towns where weird shit goes down, is surrounded on all sides by forest. The only reason Bedford is still even surrounded by the woods is due to the mysterious accidents that occurred every time anyone tried to cut a tree down. Men disappearing and showing up miles away, unrecognizable except for their dental records, mauled machinery, and I heard that one dude even went insane. This didn't stop developers for long though. What did finally stop their endless attacks on the forest was the discovery of a rare breed of bird that could only live in the oaks particular to that area. So the woods stayed.
The town was small, the population was only about 1,000 and laid out in a neat grid pattern. The buildings were ancient. As far as I could tell, the few new buildings in among the old stuck out like children at a funeral. There was once a clear line that divided the rich side of town from the poor, but it was seriously blurred. Formerly luxurious houses stood chipped and stooped, their windows grimy, their yards patchy. The people who lived in them were just as bad, their glared out from behind dark curtains with hard eyes and even harder hearts.
I had taken to wandering the streets during the day, since most of our time was spent unpacking and ‘settling in' as mom put it. School was on, but mom had just registered us. It was on the day before school started that the first weird thing happened.
I saw an impossibly tall, impossibly thin man buying a candy bar at the corner store. His ears were pointed and thin, the feathers on the ends twitched nervously as his head jerked back and forth. He had a stalking step similar to that of a crane. As if it were going to help, he wore a long trenchoat,but it didn't hide the fact that his knees were backward. As if he sensed a predator, he jumped and spun towards me, scanning me with eyes as dull as river pebbles.
"Who a you?" He squawked. I just pretended I hadn't noticed the fact that he was a freakin bird and walked to the back freezer to grab an ice cream. Of course, the annoying bird guy followed me in his twitching crane step.
"Eh, Who a you?" He squawked. "Not a talka?"
Yeah, a fudge pop sounded good. "Eh? Who a you?"
I walked out the door and my new friend was right behind. Geez, was he planning on following me home?"
"Hey, buddy! Get back in here and pay for that!" Zoom! Bird guy disappeared back into the shop. I ran for it before he could get back outside and right into someone. For once, I had to look up, man was he tall.
"Oh, sorry," I said, for lack of anything better to say.
"No harm done." He smiled and I felt my knees go weak. His eyes were hazel.
"Yeah," I fought the urge to run and walked away slowly. Running might make me trip and look like an even bigger loser. "See you."
"Yeah, you can, can't you?"
It was the first day of school. Bedford High was situated in a building that was held together by what looked like duck tape and a prayer. The main buildings hadn't been updated since the 60s, portables branched out from the school like the village of a medieval manor. I had eventually found my way to my AP English class thanks to a few kids who must have thought I was mentally retarded.
I had gone hoping to find a couple of good friends and so far, I was having no luck. I had dressed normally for the first day in a ragged pair of jeans with a slight rip at the knee, my vintage converse, a random red shirt, and my oversized black skater hoodie. I stood up in front of the English class said hello, told them I loved art, and then made a beeline for the seat the teacher indicated was mine. Even though this was Bedford's AP English 4 class, they were going over things we'd done junior year. I decided to take out my sketchbook and doodle. Thank god, last period of the day!
A piece of paper clipped my ear and landed on my desk. I picked it up with a frown, looked behind me, past the guy who was obviously very, very high, and spotted a happy looking girl with short, flippy hair. She waved at me, so I waved back, then turned back to the note she had thrown.
Hii Adele! I'm Nina Velasquez. What're ya drawin? Also, your shoes are really cool! :D
...Ok, at least she was friendly. This is the sort of friendly that made little paranoid me extremely suspicious, though.
Hiya, I'm just doodling, really. Thanks, I got them at a flea market for like, 5 bucks.
I passed the note behind me and the stoned guy did the same. I watched our flabby English teacher continue her uninspired lecture on writing for AP exams, and then the note was back on my desk.
Ohh that's awesome! I've only been to a flea market once when I was 7. So where're you from? Mrs. Dull forgot to say.
I smiled a little at the teacher's too apt nickname. This girl seemed pretty ok.
So English continued on and on like that for awhile. During that time, I learned that Nina had two older brothers, and her parents were still together. She lived on the other side of town, and had three cats named Alpha, Omega, and Barnaby. She seemed nice enough, so I let her plan the first of what would become many off-campus lunch outings to the small street of restaurants a short walk from the school. Things were really looking up! School finally ended, I decided it would do me good to get some exercise, so I set out on a mission to figure out how to get from my house to the school. I had made it to Main Street, squinting at vaguely familiar buildings all the way, when I noticed some weirdo was following me.
Of course, thanks to society today, it did flash through my mind that this guy might be some sort of serial killer or rapist, but I dismissed that immediately. Not only because I was not rape material, standing at a sturdy 6' 0" foot even, but because I wasn't all that pretty. I would slip under the radar of any rapist, especially not one as handsome as this one. He was at least a couple of inches taller than me, his hair was a dark, dark black, he had a strong jaw with a slight wisps of the starts of a small beard growing on his chin, of all things, he was wearing a suit. Seeing as he couldn't possibly be more than a few years older than me, I thought it was a bit odd. Maybe he'd just gotten out of a funeral? When he saw that I was looking at him, his hazel eyes lit up, he grinned like a kid offered a treat and waved.
I frowned at him and kept walking. Of course, I heard the clack of the dress shoes he was wearing on the pavement as he started walking after me.
"Look dude, "I turned to him, readying my extra-heavy backpack in case whapping action was needed, "I have no idea why you're following me, but stop it, it's creeping me out."
Weird Guy grinned as if I'd just told him a joke and then of all possible reactions, bowed to me.
"Ah ha! So you can see me!"
"Yes? You're not exactly a small guy." I looked down Main Street, hoping for someone to be out and about, and guess what? I saw no one. Fan-freaking-tastic.
"Well, I apologize for not saying anything, but I'm not really one for starting conversations unless I know the person I'm addressing can acknowledge my existence." He scratched his chin and grinned again. What the heck was going on here?
"Right, well it was fun chatting, but mom always said to not talk to strangers, and you're one strange dude." I turned and fast-walked away. Yet again, the clack of dress shoes followed me step for step.
"Wait! I wasn't done chatting with you, my lovely!"
"Well I sure as heck am!" I yelled over my shoulder as I broke into a run. I ducked into what looked like a pizza parlor and surprised the poo out of the lady working the register. She took one look at my face, and then shooed me under the counter. I took a few deep breaths, then froze as the bell over the front door rang.
"Excuse me; have you seen a girl come in here? Cute, short hair, wearing a large black jacket?"
Without skipping a beat, the pizza parlor lady shook her head. "No, she didn't come in here, Hun."
I believe some sort of stare down happened if the tension was any indicator, and then Strange Guy left. I hopped up from under counter and hugged my savior.
"God, thanks Mrs.-?"
"Velasquez," Mrs. Velasquez patted me on the head and smiled in a way that was growing pretty familiar. "No problem, honey, we get creeps around here like that sometimes."
"Hey, are you Nina's mom? I met her today." Her face lit up, I had guessed right.
I hung out with Mrs. Velasquez for a little while, since I was too nervous to leave just yet. After we chatted for a bit, learned how to make pizza dough, and received both her and her daughter's email address, I told her good-bye. Much like the gazelle sensing the nearness of the lion, crept out of the pizza parlor.
I looked up and down the sidewalk, and across the street for good measure, and then set out for home. I was passing by the park I vaguely recognized as the more than half-way mark when I heard a chuckle from...One of the trees? What the hell? I looked up and spotted Weird Guy seated in the crook of an old oak. How he had gotten up there while in a suit was anybody's guess.
"Nice night, huh?"
"Uh-huh..." I looked around, not only was it getting dark, but the street was once again, deserted. This dude sure knew how to pick ‘em. "I would scream, but there's no one around to hear."
"Smart. Besides, I only want to talk."
"Oh yes, we can most definitely talk with you up in an old tree, and me down here." And then he jumped from the tree and landed with feline prowess in front of me. I took and involuntary step backwards. Had his eyes always been that particular shade of yellow?
"I like you, not only are you cute, but you have quite the wit. Care to become my girlfriend?" He grinned in an extremely x-rated sort of way and felt what must have been a blush spread across my cheeks. It was the first of hundreds, if not thousands that this guy would cause.
"Wha? I, uh, Wait," I shook my head. Focus, Adelle! He might be cute, but he's a stalker, a blind stalker apparently. "Who are you?"
He winked at me and held a finger to his lips. "I'll tell you, for a kiss."
"No, No way."
"What a pity." He looked me square in the eye for a moment; his expression was intense. I was on the verge of pinching myself to see if this was just another of my weird nonsensical dreams when he suddenly right there, nose to nose. I blinked in shock as he grabbed the back of my neck and kissed me firmly. I'm not sure what most girls notice when a guy's that close to them, but for me it's the way they smell. And let me tell you, the guy smelled amazing. It was a mix of the usual guy smell and a faint hint of cologne, and I got lost in it for a moment. Then I, you know, remembered I was kissing a complete stranger and pushed him away.
"Since I had to take it, no name for you."
"What the heck?! Do you always just go around kissing random girls?"
"Only the cute ones." He grinned impishly .
"Please, I am not cute."
"I beg to differ!" He cocked his head, as if listening to some far off signal and sighed. "Our time is up I'm afraid. Never fear, my lovely I shall return to thee!"
He started walking off into the park, and then turned and shouted. "Don't bother fretting over if I'll be able to find you again by the way, I know where you live."
"That wasn't just talking, you jerk!" But only made him laugh. All I could hear was his laugh until even that eventually faded away. Time to get home, I can worry about odd men in suits later