|Lone Star in the Night Sky
Author: Blank Majesties PM
Alex is hard up, bottom line. His father hates him because he's not his. He can barely attend high school because of two jobs. But when he decides to talk to Angel, a girl whose suffering from a break-up, maybe life won't be so shitty after all?Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,063 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 08-01-08 - Published: 08-24-07 - id: 2407105
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thank you to my ever faithful, single reviewer, Black Viper! Thanks so much for the reviews!
Lone Star in the Night Sky
Chapter 3: Paint This Town Red
"Okay, okay, so let me get this straight," Alex laughed. The girl beside him burbled with laughter too. "Your great grandmother had a friend who was your grandmother's . . ."
"Godmother," Angel finished for him. He patted the air with a single finger, nodding. A few people glanced behind their seats, some with annoyed looks, at the two kids making a ruckus in the back of the bus. The two were oblivious to the stares, more so Alex than Angel.
"Okay, and your mother remembered your great grandmother—"
"—no," she corrected, pushing his hand down as if to emphasis what she was about to say. "My mother remembered what my grandmother—"
"—Yeah!" he exclaimed, hushing her. She giggled again as Alex attempted to get the story of her name's origin correct. "Yeah, so your mother remembered your grandmother telling her a story about what her great grandmother heard from her friend, right?"
Angel nodded slowly, staring at him as he seemed to concentrate hard to remember what she had told him.
"And her friend said that she saw an angel in her dream the night her daughter was born. . . . So your mother remembered that story from her mother and that's where your name came from?" Angel clapped and he laughed again. "What the fuck? So, really all you had to say was that your godmother was the inspiration behind your name."
"Well I could of, but I always like to confuse people when they ask."
"I hope you know that when guys ask, 'So does that mean you were sent from heaven?' that's a pick-up line," he explained. "A lame one. How many times have you heard it?"
"Never," she honestly answered as if nothing was wrong with that. Alex whipped his head from the moving buildings and trees beyond the public bus's large window. He had a surprised, even shocked look on his handsome face.
"You serious?" She simply nodded, a bit self-consciously. It was a little embarrassing. Did he say that because she was too attractive to not be flirted with, or was he surprised simply because he somehow knew she wasn't very social? She turned to her lap where she realized her hands were nervously drawn into fists, clenching the ends of her pea coat.
God, what the hell was she thinking? She had already come from a failed relationship, why was she diving into another friendship? If she dived for too long, she'd grow feelings for him and she knew he would never consider her. Then she would suffer a second heartbreak. Trouble always seemed to follow her.
"So are you?" he smiled. Once again, his voice pulled her from her thoughts. Was she being boring? Really, what the hell was she thinking? Why didn't she say 'no' to him at the bus stop? Was there something she wanted to prove?
"Am I what?" she responded as if her thoughts weren't erratic and moving a hundred miles per hour.
"Heaven sent?" She didn't know how to answer that. Well, actually, she did. She could either reply, "Find out. . . ." But that statement wasn't like her in the least bit. It would be a jest between her and her ex-boyfriend instead. Her other reply could be, 'Do you think I am?' But that one was pretty lame.
How exactly should she respond to that? She didn't want to flirt, she wasn't in the mood to flirt. And he knew very well she wasn't heaven sent. She was plain, just average. Maybe it was just a joke. But, before she could even conjure a single response, he laughed.
"It's okay, it's just a joke," he laughed out. "Don't look so nervous." She smiled and her face deflated with relief. Seriously, she had to get a grip. She was analyzing everything. She took in every detail of his face, of his mannerisms and the way he talked. She responded to his jokes like they were serious statements.
When Alex turned back to the window, Angel looked forward, unsure of what would happen next or if she should say something so it didn't seem like he was the only one talking. Just a few minutes ago, they had been laughing so freely, and now, things had died down dramatically. She hoped he didn't notice like she did, but it was doubtful. At least he seemed to be enjoying himself.
The people on the bus appeared sleepy and rigid. They were silent with just a few occasional chatter here and there.
An old woman, possibly in her fifties to early sixties, was facing Angel. The girl knew the old woman had been staring at her, but she didn't know why. Maybe because of the racket she and Alex had been making. Or maybe she envied their youthfulness?
The old woman wore her hair in tight silver curls around her head. She had small liver spots dotting her pale face and aged hands. They were holding two paper brown bags of groceries. Her huge off-color beige coat looked a little too warm for the weather. The old woman wore bifocals and she—
"Okay, here's our stop, fourth and main," Alex announced, ushering her to stand from her seat. She took a quick glance as if she would be familiar with the skyscrapers and the abundant businessmen littering the streets, talking on their cellphones to important people.
As they dismounted the bus with a few other people, Alex grabbed her hand with no problem whatsoever, and guided her a few blocks from where the bus had dropped them off at. Angel didn't question him, she simply allowed him to guide her, to perhaps teach her how to let go and have fun. Still, his spontaneity would have to take some getting used to.
As they walked, she noticed bright orange and red lights up ahead and the general noise on the streets seemed to increase. She smelled fried and baked foods mingling in the afternoon air. Then, with pure amazement and excitement, she saw the building seemingly made of only glass. She noticed the huge stone water fountains where two goddess-like figures sprouted great amounts of silver cold water from their palms.
The water intertwined and touched each other as they fell to the pool below the circular balcony. It sounded like she was near Niagara falls. Dots of people were below the balcony admiring the huge statues and snapping pictures of it. The place was bustling with life and energy. The glass domed ceiling let the sun and blue skies of the afternoon spray into the building.
She thought this must be heaven. And since she never knew what heaven looked like or if it even existed, of course she wasn't heaven sent.
"Yeah, this building runs underground, that's how we ended up on the balcony first," Alex explained, leaning over the metal bars of the balcony. He examined the moving people and the buildings with all kinds of lights and sounds exploding from them.
"It's amazing, Alex!" Angel breathed out. Her hazel eyes shined as she turned to him. Up here, on the level they were on, many of the buildings were used for dining reasons and clothing stores.
"So you've never been here?" he asked. She shook her head. "Then come on, I have to show you everything."
Even when she tried beating Alex at the digital ping pong game and failed she couldn't help but wonder how she ended up spending a day with him. It just baffled her. There she was, spending some time at the park like she usually did, and then the next thing she knew, Alex was taking her on an adventure, to some far away land.
She had let him whisk her away for a bit, if only for an afternoon and possibly an evening. Angel hadn't thought about her ex throughout the shooting game Alex introduced to her, even after the fourth failure to beat him. Then they moved on to virtual car racing games and stepping-pad arcade games before finally leaving the dim lighting of the numerous rooms below the balcony, laughing and holding on to each other for support.
Her stomach muscles hurt so badly from the great amounts of laughter and excitement. The skies beyond the glass ceiling were turning to a shade of very pale purple, a sign that the evening was fast approaching. A few clouds had accumulated since then.
Wiping the tears formulating in her eyes, Angel then linked her arm between the juncture of Alex's.
"Oh my god! You're insane in there!" Angel laughed out as they stammered about. Alex was a bit more balanced as he led her up the escalator, back to the top of the magnificent complex.
"No, you're just a newbie. But you'll have to turn into an expert if you want to beat me at anything," he boasted. They passed a parlor filled with different types of Asian foods and once the scents entered Angel's nostrils she realized how hungry she was. She had brought no money with her, only spare change that would take care of her bus fair home.
So instead of announcing that she was hungry, they continued to walk on.
"Come on," Alex suddenly commanded. They made a sharp turn around a corner, picking up speed and nearly crashing into a mother and her three young children. "Let's be Italian for a while." And as if reading her thoughts again, they entered a pizzeria where American employees awaited them.
Angel took a seat near the window, pushing herself along the leather red and green cushioned seats. Alex sat across from her, placing his elbows on the square plastic table in between them. People passed along, still upbeat, still carefree.
The pizzeria was dark with dim brown lighting. The smell of different types of cheese, breads, and sauces permeated the air and the heat from the cooking ovens in the back warmed their already heated up bodies. The Italian music played loudly throughout the place. To Angel, the pizzeria was just a stereotypical display of an Italian culture. She knew it probably wasn't like this at all over there.
Angel removed her pea coat, revealing to Alex her simple, form-fitting white shirt and dark blue jeans. Her slender, nearly bony arms mimicked his posture. She smiled up at him with much exhilaration.
"I guess just a simple pizza, since I'm on a budget," Alex said, looking to the trays of delicious golden pizzas on display under the glass counters.
"Extra cheese!" Angel added when Alex rose.
When he returned, she snapped out of her thoughts of what her ex was doing right now and whether or not he was enjoying the company of his new girlfriend.
Alex brought the tray of two large slices of pizza encased in folded cardboard and two medium soft drinks to the table. Only when he sat down and sorted out the food between them did he strike up conversation.
"I take it you're enjoying yourself," he jested, taking a sip of his soda. Angel nodded enthusiastically.
"Who knew downtown was so much fun?" she replied after swallowing a small piece of her pizza.
"Well, you just have to look in the right places."
As if there was something solemn Angel needed to discuss, she pushed her half-eaten pizza to the side and with imploring hazel eyes looked to Alex, her expression one of a bit confusion and still strong excitement.
"I was wondering. . . . I mean, your dad is billionaire—" She paused when Alex began nodding his head, taking a sip of his soda. His gaze had traveled from her face to the window. "And," her voice was now wavering with uncertainty. Should she really ask the question or not? He seemed uncomfortable at the mention of his father, but it was too late to turn back. "I was just wondering why you attend a public school."
"'Cause I chose to. I didn't want to attend some stiff, straight-laced private school. All I'd be surrounded with are rich pricks and nothing else," he answered her. His eyes had become clouded with past emotions she knew had resurfaced after being repressed for so long. Angel felt the guilt rise in her and she wished she didn't ask.
Whatever had happened in Alex's past was none of her business. Though they attended the same elementary, middle, and high school, she knew nothing about him. She kept repeating that to herself, but the words never stayed with her. He still felt familiar to her.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up," Angel apologized, her eyes traveling to the table.
"Nah, it's cool. I get asked that all the time, you know. I guess it's rare that some rich kid would consider joining a regular public school," Alex replied. He took another bite of his slice.
"So why do you work at the candy shop?" She couldn't resist the question, it had to be asked. Suddenly, something possessed her, this want for more knowledge regarding Alex. She wanted to know his history, everything about him.
Did he feel the same, she wondered.
"Some shit happened and I got fed up. So I left without his help." Alex's tone was low with resentment and remembrance. If Angel had to guess, she assumed that an ordeal had happened between Alex and his father and it had caused their relationship. She wondered what could have possibly made Alex run. How could he do so much on his own? Was that the reason he never attended school?
"So what about you?" he asked, sitting back with a sigh. That was when she took notice to the glowing silver chain around his black work shirt. It flickered and shined as the metal rolled around his neck before finding its resting place again. Alex's left arm found its way to the top of his chair.
"Oh, yes?" Angel asked, hoping she could tell him about herself without sounding stupid and boring.
"You just live with your mom or something?" he wondered, staring at her. Angel nodded.
"Yeah, it's just me and mom. My dad divorced her five years ago, never saw him again after that."
"And you still want to?" he asked her, sounding as if the idea was absurd.
"Well, sure, he's my dad," Angel explained. Alex turned his attention to the window again. The male opera singer came to a very dramatic climax, before he concluded with and unfamiliar Italian phrase all sung in one note.
"Even after what he did to your family?" She realized that this was where their views differed. Whatever scar had been made on Alex's heart that warped his opinions of family and love had not been healed fully. Maybe he was still hurting over a possible divorce his parents had had? Was that what caused him to hate his father?
"It wasn't his decision alone," Angel tried to convince him. "My mother thought that it was in the best interest. They would constantly argue. Finally, they both grew tired of it, and my dad was the one to suggest the divorce."
"But they weren't thinking of your best interests," Alex countered. She wondered why he had become so serious. Trying her best not to let the growing pain and anger at his words show, Angel averted her eyes again. Her parents' divorce was none of his business, but she supposed she had initiated the personal history conversation.
Angel said, "Yeah, they did have my best interests. I never wanted to come home to them fighting and arguing all the time. My mom always had a problem with me joining the volleyball team, but my dad encouraged it. So they argued about that. They argued so much over me." Her voice became very low.
"Very noble of your father for suggesting the divorce," he commented sarcastically. "Can't say the same for my old man."
"But at least you still have your father!" Angel snapped, surprising herself. She put a hand to her mouth as if the words that had already escaped could be taken back. She looked to Alex with apologetic, hurt eyes. He looked at her with indifference, nothing on his features revealing his thoughts or emotions.
"Unfortunately," he replied. But before she could apologize or even move, he stood. "Come on, let's get outta here."
The evening sky was simply astonishing. Streaks of pink and purple remained from the remnants of the sunset she missed. The trees looked like black silhouettes against the clouds as they swayed gently with the sporadic wind that grew colder by the hour.
The lights from the arcade center splashed onto the streets that became a little more desolate. As she and Alex walked further away in silence, the noises and music faded as well.
She wanted to say that she was sorry for yelling at him in the pizzeria, but she feared it was too late. The tension had gotten the best of her as usual, and she was too meek and feeble to control it from spewing forth.
They both were just hurt and they wanted the other to understand their feelings, but the emotions blinded them too much for understanding. It was a subject she hoped they would never touch again, that was, if they ever did this again.
Alex was walking beside her, his hands in the backs of his jean pockets. His head was positioned in an upward posture as if looking where land and sky met up ahead. They were walking slowly, keeping time with each other's stride. Angel couldn't be sure if he felt awkward about what had happened early because he seemed so laid back. But perhaps his silence was testament enough? Or maybe he was just fed up with her?
Her ex had never raised the subject of her parents, even when their conversations veered toward it. They were always happy, talking about light-hearted issues. If she was ever feeling depressed about it, he would just listen and comfort her. Not with words, but with action.
Maybe she really did love him. And why was it so hard to determine if he loved her?
They had never confessed to each other, but still, her intuition should have told her something, right?
I'm over you, I have a new, better girlfriend.
She repeated those words over and over in her mind. Why did it all happen to so suddenly? Wasn't he content with her? They showed no signs of unhappiness or drifting. What exactly went wrong?
She was answered by her aching longing for him. She missed his presence, everything about him. Maybe she only allowed herself to be taken here by Alex because deep down she was imagining her ex walking beside her. Angel knew, she just couldn't forget him. Not so easily.
"I want to take a swim," Alex suddenly declared. She was startled a little.
"There are no beaches near here," Angel replied, confused. He turned to her.
"Who said you needed you needed a beach?"
Once again he took her hand and the next thing she knew, they were running. Dodging people seamlessly. Lights whizzed by her so fast it made her dizzy. It seemed they were running through the night. When the laughter finally returned and erupted between them, Angel felt like she could just let ago again.
She loved that feeling. It was so relieving and rejuvenating.
Finally, after many corners and turns, a small trip to the underground subway, they were hopping off of a train and heading just up the cement stairs.
"Where on earth are we . . ." Then, it all registered. She smelled the water, heard the creaking of swaying wood and chains. She knew exactly where she was. The marina!
But swimming here was illegal and if they got caught, they'd get fined and taken down to the police station. There was no doubt that her mom would be informed.
"We can't swim here," Angel said, grabbing Alex's forearm.
"I know," he simply answered, guiding her to a desolate pier. No one was around except maybe roving rangers. Here, the closing hours were around eight or nine. It was seven forty-five, so practically everyone was just about leaving.
Angel looked to the distance. The whites of yachts and small boats were the only things visible in the blackening night. The street poles on the curving road behind her were too dull to travel fully to where she stood. When she turned back to Alex, he was removing his shoes and shirt.
"Alex, what are you doing?" she panicked, whispering so that she wouldn't draw attention to them.
"I'm taking a swim princess, hurry and strip," he said, now discarding his pants. Angel paused at what he had called her. Princess? Was that a word of endearment he called all his lady friends? Still, the notion made him cute.
Uncertain, Angel looked all around her twice and before she knew it, Alex was fully naked. Thankful for the darkness, she watched as his silhouette ran from the pier and jumped, loudly splashing into the cold below.
"Alex!" she called to him.
"Shit, it's cold!" he replied back. No shit, she thought. It's in the middle of February! And at night no less!
Angel heard him paddling and diving further under, only to come back up with loud gasp of air.
"Come on Angel, the water's fine," he taunted. She stepped a little closer.
"Alex, please get out before we get caught," Angel pleaded, her hands clamping to each other. Suddenly she felt alone and foreign to the place.
Then she smelled it. The scent of rain was in the air.
"It's going to—" A cold droplet fell onto her nose. Then another on her head. Soon, the droplets formulated into drizzles, and the drizzles became heavier until the full brunt came crashing down. She squealed and called for Alex. He was laughing, but finally he retreated from the cold black waters below. He quickly put on his boxers, damp jeans, and shoes, throwing his work shirt and apron into the water below.
"Come on, let's get outta here!" he yelled, talking above the splattering rain. He took Angel's hand, guiding her away, weaving through the blackness.
"Who's there?" someone Angel knew was authority yelled. A bright white flashlight illuminated the pier where they had been standing, but the rain still penetrated through it.
"Fuck off!" Alex yelled with a laugh. The officer pivoted his line of bright light to the voice. At first it found Angel's wet shoulder and then blackness. They were running now, Angel giggling. Though she was scared to death, Alex's presence and attitude alleviated some of her worries.
"Hold it right there!" the ranger yelled. "Damn kids. . . ." He could have easily chased after them, but he was on his way to his car, headed for home. The ranger didn't want to be bothered by them.
By the time they reached the subway again, Angel and Alex were nothing but soaking wet bundles of excitement. People were looking at them as they waited for the train. They were probably wondering why Alex was shirtless in the middle of February. The day had been warmer than usual, but by night, it would drop to freezing.
"Oh my god, it's like almost ten o'clock," Angel exclaimed, looking to her cellphone.
"You have a curfew?" Alex asked. He didn't sound surprised, just expectant.
"Well, a little. Sometimes my mom doesn't care," she stated. He nodded his head as if he understood, but he didn't. What she meant to add was that sometimes her mom didn't care as long as she was home by 10: 30 to 11.
"Well the rain's probably not going to stop any time soon, so let's crash at my place for a little, then I'll take you home."
Alex seemed to be so knowledgeable and ready for anything. While the idea of visiting his place was shocking and seemed impossible before, Angel was excited to go. She wasn't sure what time she'd be home tonight and she didn't care. Lying to her mom was the easiest thing in the world.
But when the train finally arrived and they were transported to York Province where his apartment building was located, her worries mounted. When they quickly walked up the many flights of stairs to reach apartment number 119 and entered, the first thing Angel did was flop on to his leather bean bag chair and rest.
Her last thought was of her ex and how his night probably ended.
He probably got laid.