A male cry immediately followed by a crash floated up the stairs and Debbie's mum distractedly turned away and started down the stairs to investigate. But not before sticking her head back round the peeling doorframe and saying sternly, "I hope to see that turned off when I come back upstairs."
"Ok, I promise!"
Debbie's thumping heart eased and she sighed with relief. Thank God her Dad had returned from his late night shift down at the station, just at that moment! She quickly turned back to the screen and reopened the window to see a whole chunk of conversation waiting. From him. Frantically typing away, cursing herself for making countless mistakes in her frenzy and bashing at the backspace, she explained the situation.
"Sorry. Mum came in! She was real mad I'm still up! Gotta dash. Been nice chatting. You got Msn? Sorry i didn't ask before. I totally forgot!"
"Oh yeah, sure! firstname.lastname@example.org"
"Thanks. Talk later then! Byeee x"
"Bye ;) "
She copied and pasted the email address to make sure, and added him as a contact. Logging out of the sketching website and quickly closing down all the windows, she hit 'shut down' and waited as her desktop wallpaper of Bleach stared for those few seconds before it disappeared.Well, that was a close one! Smiling, she began to change absentmindly into her pjamas with a feeling of secret contentment. She couldn't wait to talk to him again.
Lying in bed, she glanced over at her trusty digital clock sitting on her wooden side table. 3:12. Argh. She couldn't sleep! There was going to be hell to pay in the morning when the alarm went off at 7am for university. Staring up at a Juno poster on her ceiling, snatches of her conversation with Tristan swirled round and round in her head, parts of which gnawingly puzzled her..."there's so much I could tell you but I don't know where to start.....I'm really lost and confused right now and I could do with a friend to help me figure things out.....if i told you what I know, you wouldn't believe me." Wow, he sounded like one messed up guy! What kind of secrets was he keeping?! Yet, for some reason, they didn't sound like flippant shock stories. There was something deeper...
Shaking her head, she assumed she was reading too deep into what he'd said. She turned over for the millionth time and her eyes finally grew heavy allowing her to drift off into a deep sleep.
Why was she doing this?! She should turn back now. But still she stood there, rooted to the spot, half not but half wanting to see what would happen. What would he look like? Would he recognise her? And what would they say?! It was easy online, you could say whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, but now..? She crossed her arms tightly, restlessly, shivering momentarily as a chill coursed through her. A gust of chilly air tousled her wavy auburn hair and rustled the autumn leaves which lay around her grey knitwear boots, sweeping them lightly in spirals until they reached high above their home branches. One flapped impatiently from underneath her feet, wanting to break free and swirl like the others in the wandering wind. Normally, the swishing sound of the beech trees would have soothed her but now they seemed to mock her, eerily swaying back and forth.
Sighing nervously, and looking round again, she still could see no sign of him. She got out her phone - it had only been 10 minutes ago that she'd arrived at the meeting place but it felt like an eternity since then. And no messages. Her mind switched back to the endless unanswered questions...what were all this mysterious, vague references he had kept making? She had tried to get it out of him but he wouldn't explain, repeatedly pressing that he needed to see her urgently. Then he would tell her everything. It worried her just thinking about it. But what more could she have done? She couldn't simply turn a blind eye to his blatant cry for help. But. Maybe he wasn't a 19 year old guy after all. Perhaps it was all a scam to intice her to meet up and...Ohh, she knew this had been a bad idea! She hadn't even told Kate about it. At least then, if something happened, someone would know where she was and what she was doing. Had it really only been a month since she first logged onto that sketching website?
She glanced round again and her heart leapt, suddenly beating wilder and thumping in her ears. There he was! And he was walking straight towards her! This was it.