He knew I knew he was there.
“Just peachy,” I muttered, sharply drawing my curtains shut. “Absolutely fantastic. What do you want, anyway?” I asked, folding my arms tightly so he wouldn’t see that I was shaking. Zack stared at me for a moment with a dazed, puzzled expression, his large blue-green eyes hidden by his disarray of strawberry blonde hair.
“Just wanted to tell you I’m going out, so you should invite one of your friends round”
“No thanks,” I replied starkly; I was so not in the mood for entertaining. Zack raised his eyebrows.
“Whatever. Anyway, I’ll probably be at Siobhan’s for, uh…a while, so don’t wait up, ‘kay? You can feed yourself, right?”
I snorted. Feed myself? I fed him, for crying out loud.
“Right,” he rolled his eyes. “Oh, yeah, and while you were in the bath, Miles called, said to call you back”
My stomach tightened. Miles?
“Now, Daya?” he ruffled my hair, making me scowl and swat his hand. “He said to call him quickly, ‘cause he’s going out soon”
“Okay, okay,” I agreed. “So, um, get out. Now”
“Already leaving,” he told me over his shoulder. I waited until he’d slammed the door shut before dashing back to my window, yanking the curtain open, and staring back out at the alley, searching for the pale-skinned, dark-haired mystery; but it was too dark for my roving eyes. He may as well never have been there at all.
I didn’t call Miles back. Maybe I should have – who knows? But the guy had freaked me out.
That may be a little odd in itself; I mean, I wasn’t one to be panicked easily, and there were so many factors in this. He may not have been looking at me – it wasn’t like my window was the only one in the building. That was the most logical assumption – I mean, why would he have been looking at me in that studious manner, a perfect stranger?
But instinct, that creature that lives in your gut and pokes its head up at seemingly random moments, cannot be overridden. It’s stronger than logic and reason, and mixes with that old thing that somehow finds its way into our minds – superstition – to create a very foreboding, eerie feeling indeed.
I mulled over “the guy”, as I referred to him in my mind, for far longer than I should have; I had things to do, homework, calling Miles back, revision for exams and mock tests and other things. But it didn’t matter. I shut my eyes, and all I saw was a pale face – I opened them, and although all that was in front of them was the bland, sorely in need of decorating image of my room, the face did not disappear. It was as though the face had been stamped over a slide, and that slide had been dropped in front of my vision.
Weeks. A few weeks was a long time.
I kept that thought – a firm fact – in my mind. Even if he wasn’t looking at me, a few weeks was a long time to be watching anybody; it was worrying, for whoever involved.