Author: Chesterfield PM
The ARROW Corporation has the power and resources to sell and trade children as though they are pieces of machinery. Can Juliet intervene before these boys are sold to the highest bidder for illegal human experiments?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 43 - Words: 108,820 - Reviews: 57 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 12-15-09 - Published: 05-18-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2674456
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The building wasn't particularly glamorous or expensive and was really just a temporary arrangement until the house was finished, but Juliet had never realized just how thin the walls separating the rooms were until all of the commotion had occurred upstairs. She and Corinna were sharing the same room, something that would never happen again after they moved to the new house, but she was glad to have her younger sister in the room with her when they heard the yelling.
Corinna leaned over to the side of the bed and whispered across to her sister, "Can you hear that?"
"Obviously," Juliet murmured back grumpily.
There were people upstairs and they were obviously arguing with one another. Furniture was being moved and there were curse words thrown around. Juliet threw her covers over her head disapprovingly, frustrated that she wasn't going to get to sleep. Tomorrow was a Monday and she would have to go to school with only a half a night's sleep.
The temporary apartment was a lot further away from the high school than the new house was going to be, and Juliet found herself constantly reminded of this fact when she would leave with only fifteen minutes to cover a distance which a sensible person would set aside a half an hour.
Juliet never met her biological father, as she was told by her mother that it would be impossible because he was dead. She accepted this as truth, since there would be no reason to lie, but she began to develop a natural resentment towards him and a sense of abandonment even though it wasn't exactly his choice. Still, her mother remarried when Juliet was still a very little girl so as far as she was concerned, Parker Spear was her father and she liked calling him that. In fact, Juliet probably never would have known the difference if her mother had told her this husband of hers was her real father. He, after all, was the one with the straight brown hair and the huge brown eyes, two traits which Juliet seemed to have acquired through different means. However, this husband of her mother's was very handsome, something which differed him from Juliet's real father, as she seemed to be lucky to received entirely average looking genes from the man. As a whole, Juliet could have been pretty if she tried hard enough, but she wasn't willing to make the every day commitment to style her hair and coat her face with make-up, so she went about her life as simply average.
She and her parents, along with her younger half sister Corinna, had been in the apartment for several weeks following her father's promotion and consequent insistence on spending his new boatload of money on a brand new home which was nearly twice the size of their old one. She couldn't complain about her future situation, but she found plenty of ways to complain about her current one. Still, the people in the apartment complex were nice enough, which is why she was surprised to hear the yelling the night before. As far as she knew, the only people who lived in the rooms above her were a cute old couple who loved each other very much, so there wouldn't be a reason for them to argue so fiercely.
As she hurriedly walked away from the apartment complex, she glanced back at the top floor which had a balcony to look down at the parking lot. Standing right in front of the door upstairs of hers was a boy her age, staring down at her, watching her leave. The town was small enough for her to know most people, so Juliet's mind immediately flushed with who he could possibly be, before settling on a visiting grandson of the old couple.
He pushed away from the railing and walked indignantly back inside the apartment without saying anything. Juliet stood still for a moment, and then realized she had stopped walking all together and been staring directly at him with absolutely no subtlety whatsoever, which is probably why he walked away. She quickly tried to get back on track, feeling embarrassed, but she justified her staring because he had been staring at her too before she had noticed him. Then again, he may have just been looking out in the parking lot—no, he was definitely staring! She had to keep telling herself that so she wouldn't feel so awkward about it.
Then again, if he was staring at her, wouldn't that make it more awkward? Juliet decided that there was no more reason to even think about the weird boy and just hurry to school. She couldn't afford to miss the first part of science again so it would be in her best interest to get there on time.
Despite her decision to stop thinking about The Boy, she sketched a little outline of him once she had barely arrived on time for her first class. What kind of kid visits his grandparents at the beginning of the school week? Then again, maybe he had graduated high school already, or even dropped out maybe, or maybe there were extenuating circumstances. She curved her pencil around the outline of the boy, shadowing his elbow as he leaned on the railing. From the shoulders up, she had drawn him completely faceless and hairless, since she couldn't remember what he looked like. They had been too far away, she decided.
At the end of the class, she folded the paper in half and dropped it in the trash can, really vowing to herself this time that she was making too big of a deal out of something so small and that she should actually start concentrating on class work.
Again, however, she found herself upon returning from school feeling very hopeful that perhaps The Boy would be standing there on the balcony, leaning casually, and eyes piercing. But, much to her dismay, he was not there.
Dejectedly, she went back into the apartment and closed the door behind her, staring up at the ceiling as if that would give her some kind of indication of what was going on. Television did a not-so-great job distracting her, because she constantly thought she heard something and muted the television, only to be disappointed that nothing had come from her waiting.
Her mother returned home from working, having picked Corinna up from the junior high school. Both were completely unknowing manner, having no knowledge of anything occurring upstairs because if they had heard anything last night, they simply dismissed it and most certainly did not encounter The Boy in the morning.
"Mom," Juliet began as she turned off the television and leaned over the armrest of the couch. "Do those old people still live upstairs?"
"Oh, no," her mother said in passing as she sifted through the mail. "Mr. Donald passed away last month and Mrs. Donald's children took her to live something else so she wouldn't be by herself."
"Oh," Juliet said. She would have been more torn up about it if she had actually ever spoken to the old people, though she did feel bad for the unfortunate situation they had been thrown into. Then again, it happened a month ago, so she felt kind of like a bad person for not noticing they weren't there.
"New people moved in last night," Corinna noted, suddenly remembering the yelling and pounding above them.
"I hadn't noticed," said their mother as she shuffled the stacks to make sure they were even. "You girls should go up there and say hi to our new neighbors."
"Neighbors?" Juliet repeated. "They're not our neighbors. We're moving out of here as soon as possible."
"For the moment, we're neighbors," said their mother. "I have to go look at these bills. If they don't get paid, we won't be moving at all."
She took the stack of mail into her bedroom and closed the door behind her.
Corinna looked over her shoulder at her older sister. "Do we have to go upstairs?" she asked, appearing uncomfortable with the notion.
"No," Juliet answered, turning back to the television with her hand outstretched to turn it back on with the remote. However, in the midst of it all, she thought of The Boy again, and thought that if he was not the old couple's grandchild come to visit, then that means he must be the new neighbor. And, if he was the new neighbor, maybe she did want to go meet them.
She dropped the remote on the couch and stood up, striding quickly towards the door. Suddenly she was surged with such a tenacity to answer questions which had plagued her for the past six or so hours (Juliet was never much for patience) and finally be able to call The Boy something other than The Boy.
"Are you going?" Corinna asked, observing her older sister's change of heart.
"Yeah," Juliet said hesitantly. "You don't have to come."
"I don't want to come," Corinna said honestly.
"Perfect, then," Juliet observed.
The left the apartment and went to the bottom of the stairs which led to the balcony she had seen The Boy that morning. As she ascended them, she started to think maybe she should have brought a gift, and then she thought maybe she should wait until later so everyone would be home. But, just when common sense was starting to formulate the best case scenario, she was already standing at the top of the staircase, so she figured she might as well candidly go how she is.
She had been in the old couple's apartment only a few times when they would invite her in for tea after she and her family had first moved in. Juliet was not a fan of tea, but politely attempted to consume at least half the cup before acting like she forgot about it. She had never stopped to wonder why she hadn't been invited anymore but now guiltily realized it was because the old people no longer lived there.
It was very apparent, now that she was standing in front of their door, because their cute little thousand year old welcome mat was no longer there, and the sign on the door with their name lovingly carved in had been removed as well. She supposed the new neighbors hadn't gotten the chance to personalize the small area in front of their doorway yet, and fabricated the possible ways they could make it more welcoming. They had only moved in the night before, after all.
Juliet stood there foolishly in front of the door, knocking softly, for a few minutes. No one answered, though she could distinctly hear movement from inside. The movement wasn't quieted, however, so they it wasn't as though they were trying to fool her into believing they weren't home; they were simply disinterested in coming to the door. She tried knocking again and this time there was silence in response. She tried calling out to them, getting a little frustrated that she was being ignored, but no one opened the door.
She wasn't about to make herself look like an idiot anymore, so she went to the staircase to leave. As she made her way down the stairs, she caught sight of the vending machine at the end of the hallway and saw it was smashed and raided.
/end chapter 1