Abrielle Schuyler is a 17-year-old girl from a boring little town in Southern England, who is content to live her unimpressive life in the shadows. She is brought into the light by a strange man that she meets, and together they face a danger that is totally unimaginable to this small-town girl.
The air I breathed was hot and humid as if it had been recycled too many times. My head was foggy and the sound of the music made my ears vibrate and ache. I felt my face muscles fold into an obvious glare as I watched the crowd of my former classmates thrust their hormonal bodies against each other in some dance that was totally alien to me. Only my generation could massacre a supposed historical ball with Hip Hop. I felt my gut twist, as it had done all day, as if it wanted to tell me something in a language that I couldn't understand.
Someone handed me a drink from a tray and I cautiously sipped it. My mouth and throat burned with the fire inflicted by vodka, and I tried to casually tip the rest of the contents of the glass into a neighbouring plant pot. I could feel the red flush from the alcohol and the body heat creep onto my face. The bright lights were burning my dry eyes, and the stench of body odour wouldn't leave my violated nose. I thought about the impracticality of an almost completely creme and gilt house. Of course I would think of things like that, when the others were enjoying the entertainment and their vivacious youth. I had grown up too quickly, and the petty, pathetic protests of those who I had once admired and loved were now abusive to my hostile ears.
Sighing, I subconsciously looked around the room, but stopped when my golden eyes met dark, brown ones. I gasped when I realised that a man, who I didn't know, was staring at me from across the room. Although a part of my mind was noting the ridiculous cliche, the other was memorising his low brows that were furrowed in concentration, and his head was tilted to one side so that his floppy, dark hair covered a part of his face. Something about his presence made me freeze to the spot. I realised that others may consider me to be rude, so I glanced down at my white dress and adjusted the scarlett ribbon around my waist. I flicked my eyes up beneath my lashes to see if he was still staring, and was surprised to find that in those few seconds he had disappeared.
I casually searched the room, trying not to look too animated or caring and completely aware that I was acting slightly irrationally and/or stalkerish. I soon gave up the search for the vanishing man and instead decided to go out into the fresh air, as I was feeling the heat and wanted to clear my dizzy head. I stood on the porch, feeling the cool sea breeze on my burning skin and my anxieties cleared from my over-full head. My lungs burned with the cold breaths that I was gulping down, and I let my forehead rest on my bare arms and my eyes slowly shut. Darkness; pure bliss.
"Hello." I heard a voice say behind me. I stiffened, instantly defensive and on guard. I turned to see the strange, mystery man from before. I smiled apologetically.
"Hello." I replied like an echo. I looked at him, trying to take in his features and expression in the near dark. He held his hand out for me to take.
"I'm Elijah." He said, smiling. I smiled again, taking his outstretched hand.
"Abrielle." I replied. He tilted his head as our hands released.
"Abrielle?" He repeated, playing with it on his tongue. He said it with a slight accent. "That is an uncommon name."
"It's French." I told him, unsure if he cared. His eyebrows raised a little, and he turne to rest his arms on the railing of the top of the stairs.
"Do you want to go back in?" He asked me, looking at me as if I was a puzzle that he was trying to crack.
"Well, I was actually about to make my way home." I told him, raising one of my shoulders in a lopsided shrug.
"Did you drive?"
"No, I walked. My house isn't far from here."
"Well then." He stood up and adjusted his jacket. "Would you allow me to accompany you to your home?" I smiled, surprised at his kindness for someone who he had barely spoken to.
"If it's not too much trouble..."
"Of course it isn't." he said dismissively, with a smile.
"Hmm... I trust that you aren't going to mug and murder me, so either you make a good impression or I am an idiot. Well, at least it's a win-win situation for you." I joked. He laughed.
"I promise, you will be safer with me than you have ever been in your life." I raised one eyebrow at him.
"We shall see, won't we?" I said. He held out his hand to help me down the stairs. I took it with one hand, and held my dress with the other.
We didn't speak much in the ten minute walk, but he was a calming presence and I could tell that, like me, he didn't have to fill silence with meaningless conversation. We finally came to my house and I opened my gate.
"Thank you for the company, Elijah." I said to him and he smiled.
"It was no trouble. Have a good night, Abrielle." He said to me. I smiled and turned to leave, but thought better of it.
"I work at the bookshop on the main street, if you want to come and see what we have,or have coffee..." I told him. He nodded.
"Sounds good." He said.
"Well... Good night, again."
"Good night." I went to my door and unlocked it. I pushed the sturdy wood and entered my house. As I sat on the sofa in my pajamas, with a mug of coffee in my hands, I realised that I should have invited him in.