Seeing At Dusk
The Night Time Visitor
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, but the characters – don't tell them I said that, though.
A/n: New story. Something different, I think, than my other stuff. Don't know if you'll like it, so tell me what you think. I'm tired but energized. Went to see Chuck Palahniuk at a book signing. It was so cool. Anyways, I'd love some ideas or suggestions or just some fun reviews, so throw 'em at me. Well, not literally because I'm not good with eye-hand coordination and baseball isn't really my sport.
I opened my eyes to blankness. Not to the light, empty blankness, but the crushing, dark kind. The night.
His silhouette was traceable, his shadowy figure leaning against my closet door, one of his old caps tilted out over his head. "You awake?" he murmured.
My heart dropped south. I loved his voice. It had this pitch range, where it could go from high and lispy sounding to lower and confident, crunchy. It was between a deep whistle, and an excited whisper.
I almost, almost sat up on my elbows, but I hurled that notion concerning movement out of my mind, through my ear – and hoped not to consider it for the rest of the night. The only outcome was my wet, sweaty fingers twitching under my floaty quilt.
"I'd come closer, but there are two reasons why I shouldn't." The only sounds were those of crickets and my electronic fan, cutting up the humid air in my room. "Actually, three. They're all concerning me taking delight in you somehow."
Only he would say taking delight in such a completely serious and sorrowful manner as he did. Only he would make it equally depressing for me to consume. 'Taking delight.' It sounded so pleasant, and yet it killed me more.
There was one question, though, that loomed over me like my sister would do when I was working out a problem on her math assignment. Why'd he come?
"I miss you, Rosalie. My dolly." Those were two statements that came from about a mile away in some other direction, but I heard him breathe it out like it was some special secret.
I was tempted to smile right then, but knew it would lead to my face shattering into pale, freckled shards, all on my pillows.
"That means, most certainly that I'll miss you . . ." I heard him swallow, through that intense blankness and one foot of distance. " . . . like crazy when I'm gone."
Like crazy. My jaw clenched. Like he was crazy.
"You'll be much happier, you know, once I leave."
I wondered if he had sneaked into my room to torture me. There was no doubt that I deserved it, but of course I didn't want it. I tortured myself pretty well on my own.
"You can go with Gavin now," he remarked without being snide or remorseful.
This lessened my life some more as I undecidedly clenched my fists by my side. I kept right on watching the ever entertaining ceiling too.
"You'll be happy together," he said softly. Then his voice broke into a crackling waver and he said, "Gavin's a wicked funny guy." He was being sarcastic, but his voice hinted at no change in the tone.
I exhaled deeply.
"And now your mom won't have to worry about you getting too close to someone." His words were ripping me apart and then throwing me into the dark invisibility of it all. "She'll like Gavin, though. He'll sweet talk her, eh Dolly?"
I tried to inhale. I did. But it broke midway and I released a low sob. I held in my breath, but I knew he heard it.
"I'm sorry," he told me, hushed. "I'm done."
My stubby nails were digging into my palms and I could picture my thumbs making whiter imprints on my knuckles.
"But I love you, dolly." His words traveled as I heard him go over to my open window. "There's so many things that I wish for you." A foot bumped the wall below my window sill as he hopped up on it. "The thing I can say is that I hope someday you realize . . . you can't fix everyone."
I heard him waiting. For what, I didn't know. But for a few minutes we were both in the same room, breathing the same musty air quietly.
I turned my head completely, just to see his shadow slide right out of the window after finding that one sturdy branch that would brush against my house at night and form scary shapes through the window glass.
He was gone.
It hurt. My whole body, that shook violently when I started to cry and cry, trembling and aching. Those tears warm like blood.
Goodbye, Weston Kimble.
----- ONE ---- YEAR ---- LATER -----
"Dallas Orphan! Open this door now! I know you're still here! Let me in now! Don't make me break this down with my bulging, gargantuan arms or my thick, wide head! I have intimidating perseverance, buddy! IN-TIM-I-DATE-"
I felt like I was on one of those recoiling bouncy springs, as the tacky green door was opened swiftly. I tottered around before lurching on to a big, burly shoulder right in front of me.
"Rosalie? The one from the hotline?" The man (I hoped it was Dallas) seemed more than a little surprised.
"Yeah," I wheezed. "You're Dallas right?"
His voice gave it all away. That pitiful, moan of a voice. But his appearance told me something else. He was not sad or pathetic with about three inches on top of my five-something form. He wasn't sorry or lame looking with those enormous muscles threatening to tear away the fabric of his . . . turtleneck. He didn't seem like Dallas's voice at all, with that physique. That was for sure.
"What are you doing here?" Dallas murmured, wonderingly.
"You called," I breathed. "You said that you were going to take some kind of pills, because your girlfriend left you and – and you were really depressed." I frowned at him. "I was worried."
He gazed down in my direction. "I didn't, though."
I mumbled a thankful obscenity. "Really? Why not? – I mean it's good, it's good you didn't, but what changed your mind?"
He eyed me. "You banging on my door sort of distracted me from the Vicodin."
I sighed happily and then dropped my hand from his shoulder. "But you were going to do it. Over some girl?"
He lowered his head. "Yes."
"Did you love her?" I asked.
He nodded, silently.
"You can't just end it all like that!"
His smirk caught me off guard. "I'm pretty sure I can."
"But, Dallas, she's not worth it. No one is. If she hurt you this bad, then she's not worth you killing yourself over. You're better off without her. You deserve someone so much better."
He sighed. "I almost believed you when you said all this during our phone conversation. I almost believe you now, but it still doesn't change the fact that I need her and I can't live without her."
I studied him. Even with that strong body, he was still weak. Weak and lost. It was horribly familiar; looking at his droopy eyes and saggy lips, and faltering stare. It reminded me of my own face sadly examining myself, back in the mirror once. Once.
"What if I found you someone else?" I chirped.
His brows furrowed. "It's no use."
"I could, Dallas. I have a lot of friends that would love someone as sensitive as you."
I was willing to beg.
"You do?" He seemed interested but hesitant.
"Yeah. Tons. You sounded like a perfect catch on the phone, and now I can see I was right."
"My friends would line up to date you. I guarantee it."
"Thanks," he mumbled.
"But I still want you to come with me," I told him earnestly. "I want to take you somewhere."
"Where is somewhere?" He fiddled with the doorknob behind him.
"A clinic," I replied, cringing.
"What kind of clinic?" he said lowly back.
"You don't have to stay, I just want you to get some help. I don't want you doing something like this again, if another stupid female comes along and breaks your heart. You don't need to put yourself through this."
"You want to take me to a clinic that will help me not get my heart broken?" He scoffed.
"It has seminars and maybe those'll help you learn how to bounce back." I smiled, hoping.
"Will you go with me?" He chewed on his lip.
"Yeah. It'll be my pleasure."
"Is it your pleasure or something, you bizarre little girl, to go flying around Seattle like some friggin' wannabe superhero, and knocking on stranger's doors? Huh? Is that your idea of what it takes to work here, Dolson?!"
I wheeled around in the chair and came back to face my boss. Ariel Blackstone. Her hands were never empty, with a cigarette or a tube of Wet N' Wild lipstick cramped between her manicured nails.
"I mean, I got people manning the lines, and there you are – one of my hardest workers – trekking off to wherever the hell the person on the phone called you from, thinking you could what?"
"Help them," I replied, rolling my eyes.
"No." She took a drag and blew before making a beeping noise with her lips pursed together. "Incorrect. You're thinking you could make my life a little friggin' harder. That's what."
"Nah-ah, Ariel. Trust me. If I thought you didn't have enough people here taking calls, I wouldn't leave. Today you had plenty."
"Sue and Leonard got a call from their parents, wanting them home to see their Nana who just got back from the damn hospital."
"So you were two short." I tsked. "That's nothing."
"I was still worried as hell. I didn't know where you went. You just bolted." She blinked those fake lashes and scowled at me. "It scared the crap out'a me when Denise came in and said you weren't here."
"What a nark," I hissed under my breath.
"Look, I know you make your little house calls about half the time you work here, because you think it's your duty to go to their homes and make sure everything's all right, but I want to know when you're going to do it, and I want to know the friggin' situation before you scamper off, Dolson. You got me?"
"Why is it such a big deal?" I wrapped one of my already curly pieces of hair 'round and 'round my finger.
"First off, the person you could be going to see, could be a liar and a phony. Second off, your mom would be distraught to the extreme if she knew you were takin' a taxi to go see some man you didn't know."
"She'd just tell me to use protection," I said wryly.
Ariel's eyes twinkled, humorously, but she didn't smile. Probably because she knew it was the truth.
"Don't worry, Ariel. I'll let you know next time, and I'll call you before I go to a seminar – to tell you I'll be gone from work for a while."
"Thanks, kid. That's all I ask."
I nodded at her and waved. "See ya tomorrow."
I closed her office door and headed down to the elevator.
Telephones rang and people chatted away, spilling over with support and worry, and grief, and hope, and concern, warning, and reassurance.
"Why don't you tell me why you think your father did that?"
"Do you think you don't deserve to live?"
"Where are you right now?"
"I know there are plenty of people who-"
"They love you-"
"To care about you-"
"-He cares about-"
"-you are worth it-"
Computers piled on brown, worn out tables with telephones. Telephones everywhere. Ringing, ringing, ringing. Someone always answered, even if they were on a different line.
"Crisis Help Hotline. We want to listen to you, can you hold for one second. Oh, Samantha. Well, Samantha, can you hold on for one second. Your call means a lot to us. We'll get right to you-"
"Hi, this is Amy. Crisis Help-"
"-Hotline, this is Mark."
I waved to some who weren't entirely caught up in their conversations. They swayed their hands right back at me, with their head sets on. They all mouthed back, unquoted, 'is Ariel mad?'
I found my sister sitting on the porch when the cab and I pulled up in front of my our house. A one-story, light blue and white – somewhat neat appearing, abode was the place I called home. Actually, only the left part was the portion I called home. Down the hall to the right was where my mom resided – along with her boyfriend of the night.
"Hey, Esther." I plopped down beside her, curious about her attire.
Her tiny, curvaceous figure was covered in a flowery peach bathrobe and her favorite, fuzzy green crocodile slippers were on her feet.
"Hi," she grumbled, with her auburn hair in pink rollers. "You're home late."
"Had to take someone to a self-righteous type seminar," I responded. "Why are you out here?"
"Mom's . . . having fun inside, and I could hear her." She grimaced and I practically felt her convulsing, sitting beside her on the steps.
"What's his name?"
She placed her head on my shoulder. "I could only hear faint screams of it, but I think it's either Bob or Rob."
"Isn't it always?" she groaned.
We sat there, basking in the last week of summer. I was going to be a senior and my little Esther, a Junior. We both weren't looking forward to it, after knowing what high school was like. What Banksler High was like, in reality. I wanted to be done with it and go to Washington University, where I planned, while Esther just wanted to move away from our mother.
"Oh, Gavin called," Esther suddenly informed me. "Earlier today."
I sat up stiffly and experienced what happens when one's eyes truly widen one's whole face. "What-what-what'd he say?"
"The same thing he's been saying for the whole summer." She shrugged. "He wants to know why you won't talk to him and if you'll call him back. I told him to go screw a banshee."
"You did?" I squealed excitedly.
"No, I didn't."
I moaned painfully. "Well, what does he want?"
"The ass hole wants you, Rosie. He has for about two years."
I jumped up. "I don't want to talk to him."
"You're going to have to face him at school."
"I can be like a flexible Asian secret agent," I bragged. "He won't see me unless I want him to."
"Sure, sure." She kept right on watching the neighborhood road.
I went inside. It was soundless and I thanked God. I walked straight to my room and secured the door shut. Esther's bedroom was right beside mine. We would knock on the walls in made-up codes and it would drive my mom insane, unless she was entertaining – then she wouldn't notice.
I had a Heath Ledger poster right on the ceiling above my bed and besides that it was pretty plain. I fell down on my bed and let out a whimper. Staring up at Heath made me feel a tinge better, but I still couldn't get Gavin out of my mind. He wasn't my type, even thought I didn't have one. He didn't make me laugh and he wasn't creative, and he didn't have a sweet, baby face that would drive other girls, including me, wild. Nope, that wasn't Gavin Bert. Gavin was mild. Mild, dreary, mediocre.
Sure, Gavin would be a decent Dad, and he'd be a pleasant neighbor, or a polite boyfriend. But Gavin wasn't what I wanted. Not ever.
My hand crept over to the handle on my wooden dresser drawer. I pulled it open, like I did at least twice a week; Like I did whenever I could handle doing it; like I did whenever I felt lonely; like I did whenever I missed him – and could access his picture. I pulled it out and I grinned.
There he was. Weston's dark, straight hair, falling over his forehead, dangling above those passionate dark green eyes of his. Weston's narrow, baby face. Those pouty, full lips, downcast in a reflective expression. I couldn't remember, but I figured he had been probably staring off into space. Into nothingness.
I blinked away familiar tears and buried the picture back in the drawer, beneath notebooks and papers.