Chapter 4: Anastasia
Before I could release the sound of a scream from my mouth, I felt strong arms wrap around my waist and prevent me from falling. All the materials slipped out off my hands and tumbled down the stairs. At least I wasn’t one of them…
I found myself staring into a boy’s face. He looked fairly handsome with his long brown hair and light skin. He sort of seemed to freeze once he saw he was holding me. I just prayed that he wouldn’t let go.
I don’t know how long I was positioned like that but then the boy took hold of my hands and let me regain balance on the steps.
“Thanks,” I said looking at the floor, acting like it was the most interesting thing I had seen in my life.
“Welcome,” the boy said then stuck out his hand when he introduced himself, “I’m Raphael.”
I stared at his hand then at him.
“Adriana,” I muttered as I turned around to go and collect the materials.
As I walked downstairs, he found his way to my side and helped me gather the materials.
“Sorry for bumping into you. I didn’t see you there.”
“It’s alright,” I said.
I got up again, holding a small pile in my hand. He had another in his.
“Give me that,” I said, demanding the materials from him.
“It’s my pleasure to help,” he said, smiling at me.
I smiled back slyly. I dumped everything into his hands.
“If it’s your pleasure to help, come help me deliver this into the 3rd grade homeroom.”
He didn’t seem to struggle much with the pile, unfortunately, as we climbed up the stairs again. I walked in and told the teacher everything and she nodded and took the materials.
While I walked back out, Raphael followed me. I had a feeling that this was leading somewhere I didn’t want to go. Raphael also seemed vaguely familiar; maybe I had seen him in another school before…it was weird.
He followed me out of the building and tried talking to me but I just ignored him. We went our own ways as he headed for the cafeteria, and me to class.
It was the weekend now and I was staying at home. Well I can’t really call it a home. My parents were half the time out doing work so they put gave me an apartment [yeah, my own apartment] where I could stay. They only visited once in two weeks. Can you seriously call these people my parents?
It was early morning, about 9 a.m. It might not be too early to others but to me, it is during a weekend. I walked toward the café, hoping that the gang that had been staring at me won’t be there. I couldn’t describe my happiness when I walked into the café and saw nobody from school inside. There were a few elderly people sipping coffee. Other then that, not much.
I didn’t have much cash in my pockets now, so I just decided to have breakfast here then walk around the neighborhood where I lived and learn the landmarks. I ordered pancakes and after eating, I walked out. I couldn’t really say I was wearing appropriate clothes for touring the area. I was wearing a tight short sleeved t-shirt and jeans. But since the t-shirt was quite tight [being quite exposing], I had put my bath robe over so it covered the t-shirt from being seen. Come on, this is USA! I see men wearing boxers running across streets screaming Hallelujah! So what’s the big deal wearing a bath robe on top?
While I walked around, I made quick notes on my mind about the things I had seen. There was a supermarket just about 2 blocks away from the apartment complex, a public library on the same street as the café [the café’s quite close to the apartment complex]. I also saw a restaurant, a park, and a zoo.
This was just great! There were many places I could go instead of staying locked up in the apartment or going to school. I decided to stay some time in the park cause there was not much to do at the apartment. The park, I could mention, was quite huge. There were many children there and also a few adults sitting and talking. I saw a big family having an outing. I decided that this is a place to come often.
I sat on a bench as I was exhausted from all the walking around. I closed my eyes and placed my head back. I immediately felt relaxed. But after a few minutes, I opened my eyes and saw a girl sitting next to me.
She had long scarlet hair and was sitting cross legged next to me. She seemed about a 2nd grader and looked greatly confused and deep in thought. The weird thing about me is, I might be mean to highschoolers and classmates, but I know a great weakness I have: I love children.
“Hi there!” I said, brightly.
She looked at me and said, “Sorry for this but I’m not in a good mood and I don’t trust strangers.”
My eyebrows lifted at what she said.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her, turning around to face her.
She sighed, “I guess it’s not that bad trusting one stranger.
“My friend and I came here to play in the park but then what happened was my friend went to get ice cream and now she’s gone. I don’t know where she is. I’ve been sitting here for an hour.”
“Why don’t you go home? Where’re your parents?”
“I don’t have any. But I have an elder brother. He takes care of me. He just went out with his friends so he thought that I could stay with my friend till he comes back but now I don’t know where she is.”
“Hmm, where do you live?” I asked her.
She stared at me, thinking deeply, probably about whether or not she could tell a stranger where she lives. In the end she told me.
“In an apartment complex nearby.”
“Oh! That’s good! I live there too! Let’s go!”
I took hold of her hand and we walked toward the apartment complex. When we got in, I asked her if she had her room key and she said her brother has it. So I asked the receptionist if they had an extra key and they gave me one. I headed up toward her room and opened it. I left her in her room and told her to lock the door and watch her apartment and was about to leave when she stopped me.
“Wait! Thanks a lot! You’re the best stranger I’ve met yet!”
I grinned and said, “It’s alright. Bye.”
“No wait! Talk to my brother.”
She picked up the telephone and dialed a number. She started talking soon to her so called brother and explained everything.
“He wants to talk to you!” She stuck the phone out at me and I took it.
“Hi. Look, whoever you are, thanks a lot for what you did! I trusted the person who I left her with, I guess the arrangements didn’t go as planned. But thanks.”
“Sure,” I said and then gave the phone back to the girl.
She talked for a few minutes then hung up.
“My name’s Anastasia.”
I shook her hand and she smiled at me.
“Look, Ana, I have to go now. Go home and prepare lunch. Maybe if your brother doesn’t come till dinner, call room 247 and then tell me. I can come and pick you up and you can have lunch with me, okay?”
She nodded and she seemed real excited.
“Bye!” She yelled back at me.
I walked back to the apartment and started preparing lunch.