Chapter Three. Rossie
What can I say, Jack? I'm a scary person. But I seriously didn't think you were going to drop to the ground right in front of me. I pulled the old picnic blanket out of the cupboard and spread it out on the floor, not wanting the poor lad to have to stay slumped on that filthy floor.
He was light - or maybe I was just strong - and was easy to drag onto the blanket. I then lifted his legs and waited for him to come around. His facial muscles twitched, and he squeezed his eyes shut. I lowered his legs and crawled closer to his head.
"Hey, kid? You okay?" I asked.
He rubbed his eyes and opened them. They were big and wide and brownish green. A look of terror crossed his pale face as he saw me staring down at him. I quickly raised my hands.
"No knife," I said. "I put the knife away. Though I promise I was never going to use it."
"Never going to use it?" he demanded, running a hand over his curly dirty-blonde hair. "You were going to attack me with it!"
"I was never gonna do that!" I gasped, offended that he was jumping to such conclusions. "I'd never attack a kid like that. I only had the knife for self defence."
He sat up, and ran his hands over the blanket beneath him. "Did you put this here?" he asked me.
I nodded. "Couldn't have you lying on the floor. It's disgusting."
I think it was only then that he started to believe I wasn't a psycho who was going to slice him to shreds.
"Sorry if I scared you a bit too much. I thought you were some chancer trying to rob the place."
"Rob the place?" he repeated, glancing around the big empty room. "You do know there's not a lot in here to rob, right?"
I raised my eyebrows. He looked at me for a moment before he blinked.
"Oh," he said. "You live here. You thought someone was going to try and take your home."
"That's right. Home sweet home," I said with a smile.
"Oh. So you're a..." He chewed his bottom lip, seeming unsure of whether or not to say the word he was thinking of.
"A squatter," I said. "I take it from your delayed reaction that you're not one?"
He shook his head. "Do you live here on your own?"
I wondered why he would think this. "Do you live on your own?" I asked him.
He frowned. "Sometimes I do."
I shrugged. "No. I don't live alone."
I noticed his eyes drift towards my right hand. At first, I wondered if he thought I was waiting to grab a knife again; but then I remembered the silver bracelet on my wrist.
I raised my hand and stroked the bracelet with my other hand.
"Is... Is this yours?" I asked.
He nodded. "That's actually why I came in here. That bracelet was actually for my friend... Can I have it back?" He reached for it.
I pulled my hand back, clutching the bracelet. "Finders keepers, kid."
He sank back, though I had a feeling he wasn't gonna easily give up on getting the bracelet back. See, Jack, even from the start I knew you were sneaky.
"You look a lot better now," I said, as the colour had returned to his cheeks. "What's your name?"
"Jack," he said.
"Rosaline?" he repeated, his nose scrunching up. "You don't look like a Rosaline."
"I get that a lot," I said with a laugh. "I always get people to shorten it."
"So... Should I call you Rosie? Rose?" he asked.
I grinned and shook my head. "Call me any of those and I'll break your legs," I said lightly.
"Tell me what to call you then."
"Rossie," I smiled. "Call me Rossie."
And then you smiled at me, Jack. And I knew you were my friend. I just didn't know that this friendship would take me places I'd never even dreamed of.