Familiar Stranger

While we walked through the halls of Coldwater High School, I saw Katarina looking at me, unashamed.  She looked as though she was studying me; memorizing my every move. 

"So, uh, how long have you been living here, Katarina?"  I asked, uneasy in the silence. 

"Today is my first full day here," she responded, never taking her eyes away from me. 

"Any brothers or sisters?"  Adrian asked.

"No.  I'm here by myself."

I spun to look at her.  "No parents?"

"They will be coming later."

Her answers we short and to the point.  They sounded as though she'd rehearsed them many times. 

"So, where are you living, then?"  Adrian asked.  "Do you have any reletives you're staying with?"

"I'm here by myself," she said again, as if Adrian hadn't understood the first time. 

"So, what?  You're living on the streets?"  I asked.

"I had not thought of housing.  When I came here, my parents gave me money to use until they could join me."

My eyes narrowed.  Call me crazy, but something about this girl wasn't right.   Adrian looked at me expectingly.  I knew where he was headed with this, so instead of fighting against him,  I sighed in defeat.  

"Katarina?"  She looked at me, her eyes wide.  "Would you like to stay with me and my parents?  At least until your parents arrive.  We have a spare bedroom."

"Oh, Aria!"  She threw her arms around me.  "Thank you.  Thanks very much!"  She laughed in joy and grasped my hand.  "I promise I won't be a burden!  Thank you!"

"You're welcome," I said.  I caught Adrian's eye and he smiled.  

I couldn't tell myself if I smiled or grimaced in return.


"You're house is so beautiful," Katarina commented as I pulled in my driveway.  She bounced in her seat, eager to see her new (temporary) home.  

"It's honestly not much," I replied.  "Come on, I'll show you around.  My parents won't come home until much later and that gives me time to think of a good excuse."

Katarina looked at me.  "I really appreciated you doing this for me, Aria.  I don't know where I would have gone if you hadn't so kindly offered to help me."

I have no reason to dislike her, I told myself.  And she's certainly making it difficult to try.


The End

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