In the still of the night, Blaire woke up, gasping for breath. As she looked around, she saw nothing. No one. Just the darkness. She stared at the glow that was emanating from beneath her covers and slowly lifted them up, looking at it. With a sigh of relief, she smiled and picked up the yellow ipod that she had fallen asleep listening to. Fall Out Boy was pounding through the headphones, and she clicked it off, leaning back on her pillows and resting her hand across her forehead. She pulled it back and looked at it. Cold sweat, but it was dark. She smelled something strange. Salt with a hint of rusted iron. Her eyes grew wide as she smelled her hand and practically screamed. She covered her mouth with her hand, smudging it across her face. Removing the hand, she got up and ran to the bathroom. Blood was everywhere, on the sink, in handprints on the walls, coating the mirrors and spattered across the floors.
Blaire woke with a start, screaming. She covered her mouth and checked her forehead. Just cold sweat, no blood, nor anything else that shouldn't be there. She sighed and flopped back as the alarm sounded. Thank God Mom and Dad are gone, she thought. She clicked the button on the alarm and flicked on the lights. She quickly pulled on her black and white, star imprinted shirt, and a pair of dark denim skinny jeans with holes in the knees. With a groan, she slipped on her converse and walked into the bathroom. As the lights slowly came on, papers flapped in her room. Her once yellow walls were now covered in papers she had drawn on, bearing the image of a boy. He had blonde hair, almost like hers that was long and hung in his eyes. In some pictures he was smiling, in some he was crying. He had shown up to her school about a month ago, but he had been in her dreams much longer. She brushed her waist length blonde curls out and looked in the mirror. With a sigh she turned out the lights and grabbed her necklace off of the counter, sliding it on.
Downstairs she grabbed an apple and her bag, walking out the door as she locked it and walked down the street, stuffing her keys in her pocket. The apple made a crisp crunching sound through the bitter air down the road as she walked in the middle of the road. It was to early for any oncoming traffic, save a school bus and a few choosy Moms, and there was no one around to tell her any different. She didn't feel comfortable driving, and her parents didn't leave her a car anyways. She didn't have any friends who could give her a ride, and she didn't have any friends. They were all on the academic trip team to the capitol for the week. She shuddered at the thought of an actual team. Interaction with people of any sort had scared her ever since a trip to evening church. Blaire relived the event in her mind as she walked down the road, the zippers on her backpack jingling in time with the silver bell tied with a red ribbon on the front pocket.
It was her first trip to the church grounds and she was six years old. They were pairing teams together and put her on Team Dogwood, along with several other children. Since most children there were pre-teens, or teens, or even toddlers, she had to be put with a group of third graders. When time for the three legged race came, she was uncomfortable with the partner who had been forced to be hers since she was the youngest of the older children. The girl, a sweet looking 8 year old with blonde pigtails and a pink strawberry shortcake dress, was very competitive and aggressive. They tied their ankles together and when Blaire, who the rules had not been properly explained to, (the eight year old girl had thought a simple "run when they say go!" was sufficient) had come in last place, the little girl she was tied to had screamed in rage. The adults were congratulating the winners and the girl that was still strapped to Blaire had decided to take her anger out on her. She immediately began hitting Blaire, slapping her, punching her in the face. She bit her several times, and kicked her in the ribs, shrieking as she continued to repeatedly abuse her. Blaire was to afraid to scream for help and after about fifteen minutes later, Blaire's parents had noticed and they took her and left. Blaire had never gone back. It took her the year after she started school to start talking in public again. A similar experience had happened in the sixth, eighth, and ninth grade when upperclassmen chose Blaire as the object of ridicule.
"Hello?!" Someone shouted and she flinched, looking around. She stiffened and bit into the apple nervously again, looking ahead in shock as she saw the boy that was drawn all over her room. She didn't need to see his face in order to see him. "I've been trying to get your attention for about five minutes now."
"I'm sorry, I wasn't listening. I was lost in thought," she softly tried to explain. The apple was nothing but a core now and she tossed it to the side of the road, silently wishing for it to grow into a beautiful tree.
"How does one become lost in thought?" She shrugged.
"How does anyone become lost in anything? For some people it's athletics, or books, but I find myself lost in thought most of the time." He thought a moment.
"Well, you do have a point. Do you get lost in thought often?"
"About as often as when I take a breath."
"Might I ask what you were getting lost in?"
"Really? Good or bad?"
"I'm sorry if I offend you, but I don't really like sharing my innermost thoughts with complete strangers." Although to her, he was no stranger.
"That's understandable. A good motto as well. Where are you headed?"
"To school. I'm sure you are to. Congratulations by the way."
"You're going to win most valuable player today by a landslide and that's going to skyrocket you're sex appeal from amazingly hot, to unbearable, which will most definitely impress Destiny. Be expecting a note from her during sixth period, just after they announce it."
"Well, elections aren't over until homeroom, but thanks for your confidence. I hope it happens."
"And how do you know? Psychic powers?"
"For now, let's just chalk it up to 'knowing'."
"Right. I never introduced myself. I'm-"
"-Sean Levine, 11th grade, Mr. Collison's homeroom, number 37 on the football team, 23 on the basketball team. Transferred here about a week ago from Brooklyn." He laughed and looked at Blaire as she stared ahead still.
"And how do you know that?"
"Just a feeling. You never confirmed it."
"Well, you're absolutely right. And might I ask who you are?" She looked at him and walked onto the concrete of the school sidewalk.
"No." She smiled and turned down the sidewalk. Sean reached for her and was immediately pulled away by the jocks who were shouting peppy phrases at him. Blaire felt her face grow red as she smiled, biting her lip as she walked over to her locker. A group of girls passed by, whispering and giggling. She watched as they walked away and looked at them. A boy walked up behind one of the girls and kissed her, sliding his arm around her waist. Blaire sighed, her heart aching. Why wouldn't that ever happen to her? She wasn't obsessed with getting a boyfriend, she just wanted someone to talk with, someone to share her deepest thoughts. Someone who could take away all of her fears and her pain, who could help her with her abnormal phobias. She shivered involuntarily and walked to her locker, eagerly awaiting sixth period.
After what seemed like forever waiting in a daze, Blaire sat down at the table beneath the weeping willow tree, listening to the wind. Sixth period was always spent outside. She didn't exactly consider it a period now that she had given it some more thought, and though she always enjoyed it by herself, she found herself expecting someone else's company. Since you were to stay with your homeroom teacher in their designated section, her friends were always on the other side of the school. With a sigh, she looked around, Sean catching her eye.
The sun was high behind him, and illuminating his entire body, giving it an unearthly golden glow. His hair was flying gracefully in the wind, and his smile radiated happiness against his sun kissed skin. He pulled off his yellow and black letter jacket, a gift from the football team. As he began laughing, he looked over at Blaire, who had turned her attention elsewhere, and saw her reading a worn out book. The pages were yellowed with age and the navy blue cover was worn with age and overuse, white in spots. He looked at her, her hair flying freely in the wind and the waving branches of the weeping willow cast eerie shadows on her pale skin. She looked like winter to him, and oddly out of place in such warm autumn weather. She glanced up from her book and stared at him with curious, big brown eyes. Turning her attention to the book, she chalked it up to paranoia, thinking it conceited to think about someone paying close attention to her. As Sean moved himself and sat on the picnic table top, the intercom buzzed and some birds flew away. Black birds, all swarming around Blaire. They made a few strange noises and then settled themselves around the picnic table Blaire was sitting on top of again, preening themselves. Sean was going to make his way over to her, but his name on the announcements caught his attention.
"Congratulations to Sean Levine of Mr. Collison's homeroom, number 37 on the football team for winning Most Valuable Player in a landslide!" It announced. Everyone clapped, shouting and he looked over at Destiny, the girl in the tiny cheerleading uniform with the black, low pigtails that stared at him with predatory eyes as she bit her finger and crossed her legs. As all his buddies surrounding him slapped him on the back and patted him on the shoulder, he looked at her, smiling in disbelief and then over at Blaire, who was watching him intently just above her book. She turned back to it and Sean thought a moment, then continued conversing with his babbling friends, all the while staring at the girl reading the worn book who seemed to be paying no attention to him.
Blaire kept reading as she walked into the school, turning to the last page and weaving herself around the many children of the school who were blocking her locker. She closed the book as she savored the last words and opened her locker, shoving books into her black and white checkered backpack. Sean appeared behind her locker door as she closed it, ignoring him and walking out. He ran after her, turning around to thank the smiling friends who were still congratulating him. He placed a hand on her shoulder and she didn't acknowledge the person behind it, walking down the sidewalk and onto the road. She turned to the side of the road, cars honking as she dodged them, lost in thought once again. The hand on her arm shook her shoulders and she blinked a few times, looking at Sean.
"May I ask what you're doing?" She said softly and walking ahead. He walked beside her and adjusted his one strapped backpack over his shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm following you."
"I don't exactly appreciate strange teenage boys following me home."
"I'm not a stranger to you. You know everything about me, and I know nothing about you. Now I want some answers. Please." She let out a breath and then shrugged, the bell on her backpack tinkling. "What's with the bell?"
"It signifies belief."
"Belief in what?" She shrugged again.
"For most it's faeries, but for me its something else entirely."
"And that something else would be?"
"What is it? I bet its something all deep and intense like 'it symbolizes our will to change the predetermined future'."
"It has nothing to do with the future."
"I bet its something awesome like that. Something that requires explanation and deep thought in order to understand."
"Not really. The world itself is pretty self-explanatory."
"And what word is that?"
"One you'll never know because I'll never tell." He groaned, aggravated.
"Well, can you at least tell me who you are?"
"Last names are superficial."
"Not sure what that means, but I take it you don't want to tell me." She said nothing, only kept walking. "So, Blaire. How did you know about the election? And Destiny?" Blaire shrugged a third time.
"Did you rig the election results?" She laughed softly to herself.
"No, I did not. What if it was just a guess? Everyone knew you were gonna win, because everyone feels comfortable around you. You make everyone feel welcome and your aura is very pleasant."
"My aura? What is that, like my mood?"
"Care to explain it?"
"Look it up. They make dictionaries."
"Yes, well, it's much easier if you just tell me."
"That would make things easier wouldn't it?" Blaire looked at him and walked back onto the road close to her house. She saw the two story sky blue and white house just around the bend in the road and looked at it, letting out a small sigh.
"That your house? It's pretty," Sean said suddenly, unsure of how to deal with awkward silences.
"Yes, it's my home."
"Where's your parents car? Or your car?"
"I don't like driving. I prefer walking."
"Do your parents walk everywhere too? Or are they imaginary? Let me guess, they're novelists or something right?" He scoffed. She looked at the ground and grew silent. "Hello?" He asked, swallowing hard, hoping he didn't offend her.
"My parents left me last year. They decided they couldn't handle a teenager like myself. I got them to sign my papers to become an emancipated minor and my mom overdosed a few months later. Last I heard from my dad, he was in a jail in Europe for shooting someone while he was intoxicated. He died in his cell. He shot himself when he grew sober," Blaire explained softly, still looking at the pavement. Sean swallowed hard again and looked at her.
"Um, I am really sorry. I didn't mean to offend you and make assumptions, I just…I don't exactly think before I speak sometimes, you know? I really…" He sighed. "I'm really sorry."
"It's fine, really. I never really told anybody. Now that I think about it, not even my friends know I'm by myself."
"And you're not crying your eyes out or anything?" She shook her head.
"No, I like the solitude." She looked at the ground again and laughed a little to herself. "I felt kinda guilty for awhile, but now that I think about it, I kinda wish that they'd left me earlier."
"So you're like, an adult in the 11th grade."
"Sort of. I'm just a legal adult, nothing special." She walked up the steps and turned to him as she fished her keys out of her pocket. "Well, this has been a most delightful and enlightening discussion, but if you'll excuse me, I have to go."
"Right, that's understandable. Um, do you mind if I come in?" He blushed and bit his lip, hoping for a yes. He desperately wanted to get closer to this strange girl. He wanted to know everything about her, her likes and her dislikes, her favorite books, her favorite movie, her favorite song. He wanted to read a book with her laying her head on his chest and reading with him. He wanted to comfort her and null the pain she had inside of her, hiding it so well.
"I know of your date with Destiny, literally not metaphorically speaking, in a few hours, so you'll understand me when I say no."
"Oh, right. I knew that, totally did, I just wanted to talk to you for a bit, or, you know, hang out or whatever."
"Sorry. I don't do social interactions." She closed the door and he heard it click as she locked it behind him. Smart girl. He couldn't help but like her. She was strange, but it was cute how she was quirky and socially awkward. He laughed and shook his head smiling, as the window came open and he heard her saying something. A piece of paper came down and before Sean could notice him, it came down and cut the back of Sean's hand, wiping blood across most of it. He sucked in a breath and looked at his hand, watching blood come across his hand. He held the wounded hand and looked at the ground, searching for whatever had cut him. He picked up a paper and turned around, looking at Blaire's house as se shouted.
"That's mine! Please, don't touch it!" She shouted. Blaire climbed over the window sill and onto the roof, sliding down the shingles and jumping off. She ran over to him and reached for the paper. He pulled it away and looked at it. He stared at it, his expression growing from playfulness, to confusion. He looked at her.
"Who drew this?" He asked suddenly, turning the paper around to Blaire who knew the picture practically by heart. It was yellowed with age and ripped in places, the tape still on some of the edges of it. It was a picture of him, looking away and crying.
"It's mine," she said softly, reaching for it.
"Why do you have it?"
"I drew it, now give it back."
"You didn't tell me you were an artist."
"-Well it sure looks like it to me!"
"I can't draw anything else. I try, but it ends up just being you. Now please. Give it back and have fun on you're date." He handed it to Blaire, blood dripping from his fingers. Blaire's eyes grew wide and she looked at his hand.
"Oh my God. Come inside, I'll help you." She unlocked the door and lead him inside. "Wait right here in the living room and I'll go get the first aid kit." He stood there, holding his hand, trying to keep it from dripping onto the hardwood floor.
He watched as she came downstairs holding various medical items and gestured for him to come into her kitchen. Sean sat down on the very high bar stools next to the marble island in the center of the kitchen, making sure to keep hold of his hand. She set the items down and grabbed a dish towel, wiping the blood off of his hand and wetting the corner of it. He watched as she held his hand in concentration, trying to clean it up. She set the dish towel in the sink and tore the top off of a small square package, pulling out and unfolding a white piece of cloth. She gingerly wiped at the cut which was much larger than both she and Sean had guessed. He winced as the cold alcohol stung his skin and she looked at him, then at the bandages, setting to work wrapping a white bandage around his hand.
"I couldn't find the band aids, and I thought since it's just over a vein it might take a little longer for the bleeding to stop," she mused aloud and pulled the bandage tight as he winced again. "The tighter the better," she said once he was done wincing, and loosened it up just a bit, tying it beneath his wrist after she had worked it all the way down and pushed back his jacket sleeve. He looked around while she finished tying it and cleaned up the counter.
"This place is huge. The kitchen is bigger than the living room," he breathed, looking up at the high ceiling.
"My mother and I used to bake all the time in her apartment and when we moved here in the fourth grade, my dad made sure they put a huge kitchen in so my mother and I could bake as much as we pleased while he was gone on business."
"What did your dad do?"
"I don't really remember. I was always to afraid to ask him and when I asked Mom, she would just shrug and change the subject. Well, my mom started leaving the house to do her own errands one day, and found herself lost a few counties over, with some shady characters. They took all of her money, but one of them had dropped some drugs. And thus began the fateful addiction of my mother's. Eventually, I was by myself more than I thought. She never wanted to bake, just wanted to stay up in her room all of the time and told me to have fun baking by myself and to make something extra special for her."
"And then they just left you?"
"No, my Dad lost his job and was looking for a new one, so they blamed it on me because of…certain incidents. I came home from school one day last year thumbing through a new recipe book I got and no one was home. I waited up all night and left their food out on the table and didn't even go to school the next day. They eventually came back and my mom passed out on the couch, drunk, and my dad was yelling about something, so I just walked upstairs and locked myself in my room and quit listening. Then one day…One day they didn't bother coming back home. I waited up for them every night, and no one ever came to eat the dinner I left out for them. I eventually gave up hope and they sent me the signed papers in the mail, approved by the judge. They said they couldn't handle being parents, and my nature and past history was stressing them out. They sent me money every week, and after my dad killed himself, I got all of the family money, and the house, everything. I gave the car away and turned the bedroom into a library-another one. I've been living here ever since." He stared at her while she finished cleaning and threw the dishtowel away.
"Does anyone know?"
"Aside from you?" he nodded. "No."
"Why didn't you tell anyone?" Blaire shrugged.
"I didn't really think it was anyone's business. My friends come over and never ask, and their gone for the next two weeks. I don't have any relatives. I met my cousins once when I was six, but my dad drove them away. He didn't really like his side of the family, or my mom's for that matter. You're the only one I've ever really told."
"Why me?" She shrugged again.
"Because you have a pleasant aura, and I can trust you." She turned to face him. "How's your hand?"
"It's been better, but I'm sure it'll be fine. I think it's stopped bleeding, or at least slowed down a bunch." He watched her intently as she turned around and gathered up the medical supplies, heading upstairs. Sean sighed and leaned against the counter. She came back downstairs a few minutes later, leaning her back against the counter next to the stove.
"So, you like to bake?" She laughed softly to herself. "What do you bake?"
"Everything. I love it all. But I love making pies. Pies were the first things I learned to make, and I fell in love with them the minute I saw my mother making them, and I made them everyday my parents were gone. I thought maybe if my mother saw me baking pie for her gain, she would come home. But I was wrong, like always, and I just ended up with a lot of uneaten pie."
"Will you ever bake for me?" She smiled and watched as he got up.
"I'll tell you what. You go have fun on your date with Destiny, and if you ever come back, when you're not stalking me and I'll give you some pie."
"Fine," he said as she lead him out the door, leaning against the frame.
"Fine. Now go," she said, shoving him forward. As she shut the door, he smiled and walked off, adjusting his backpack. He headed down the road and walked off, heading towards his home, since he had undoubtedly missed his bus.
Blaire grabbed the picture off of the counter and looked at it. It was smeared with blood on the sides and he looked beautiful, crying. She crumpled it up and threw it away. With a sigh, she headed into the living room, turning up the stereo and listening to her new Boys Like Girls CD. She smiled and walked upstairs to her room, opening the door and watching the papers rustle. She pulled off her school clothes and tossed them into the laundry hamper next to her bathroom, pulling on a black tank top and a pair of denim shorts with paint splatters and holes on them. She grabbed the hamper and headed downstairs to the laundry room, tossing her clothes in and turning on the wash. She walked downstairs and poured herself a glass of water. Sean's date was to be beginning in just a few minutes.
"I wonder what he's doing. He's not going to do much in this weather," she thought aloud as the grey clouds outside bellowed with thunder.
At that moment, Sean was in his car, ready to pick up Destiny. He sighed as he started the car. He hadn't thought about where he was going to take her. All he could think about was Blaire. As he drove down the road, heading to Destiny's house, he thought aloud, ignoring the low buzz of the radio's weather report and the rain pelting down on his windshield.
"What am I doing? I don't even like Destiny. I don't want to date her, I want to talk to Blaire. But why Blaire?
"Because she's intriguing," he answered himself. "She has an exciting history and has a lot more life than Destiny. But, Destiny asked you out, and that wouldn't be fair. Besides, you don't want anyone to hate you one month into school. Just do it and then get it over with. You can think of something else next time. Just get it over with." He let out a breath and pulled into the driveway of Destiny's house. He smoothed out his black button up shirt, debating on whether or not to tuck it in, then not caring at all. He pulled up his black skinny jeans and headed outside, his black converse tapping on the wet concrete as he tucked his head down low and shook the water out of his hair as he rang the doorbell. A man came to the door, Destiny's dad he assumed, and the man smiled at him, shaking his hand.
"Ah, you must be Joey! I've heard a lot about you young man. How's Princeton? Long way from campus, aren't you?" He said, his eyes glistening.
"Uh, no, I'm not Joey."
"Dennis perhaps? No?" he shook his head. "Walter? Josh? Which one are you?"
"Sean sir, I'm Sean."
"Oh, Joey looks just like you. I almost got you confused with Josh there for a minute though." Sean cleared his throat and stuffed his hands into his pockets. "Where are the two of you headed?"
"We're going to catch a movie."
"Really? A scary movie?"
"No, I'm sure she'll pick out a good one."
"Ah, letting the lady choose. You take care of my daughter son, and have her home as soon as you can."
"All right. Thanks sir." Destiny came downstairs, her black ringlets bouncing along after her. She moved around her dad smiling nervously and waved goodbye quickly as she shut the door behind them. She kissed him and held his hand as they walked to the car. He pulled it away and she looked at him as he wiped his mouth free of the lip gloss she had caked on his lips.
"What is it?" she stared at him intently as he sighed.
"I'm sorry, but I can't go out with you. I mean, you're a very nice girl or whatever, I just don't see myself being with you. I'm sorry." She crossed her arms.
"Are you kidding me? Was it something my dad said? I heard him listing the names of past boyfriends, but trust me they are meaningless."
"It's not that it's just…you're not exactly my type. And if you really liked me, we would've gone out much sooner." The rain was causing her hair to frizz up and she looked at him.
"How can you be rejecting me? Nobody rejects me!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but I have to go. Someone's waiting for me," he lied. Destiny covered her face with her hands and sobbed softly in the rain. She looked back up at him, her eyes running with grey tears.
"I didn't really like you either. I just wanted to date you so no one else could. I would've cheated on you in a week anyway, its just my nature. I can't help it. I have someone I love too. I'm glad I can finally see that."
"Well, the best of luck to both of you then. He hugged her and then tossed her the keys to his car. "You should go see him and tell him how you feel." She smiled and got in the car. As she left, he thrust his hands in his pockets, listening to it rain as he walked down the sidewalk. Seeing her gone, he sighed and then broke into a run, heading down the sidewalk and then the middle of the road. He ran, pushing himself harder and harder for the next 23 miles until he finally reached Blaire's house, soaking wet. He rang the doorbell and listened, silently willing her to come to the door and praying she wasn't out.
Blaire had been sitting downstairs watching the weather report for the last hour, listening to her music. Sitting in the comfortable prison of the lather chair, she had found herself nodding off, listening to the probability of snow.
"It will snow," she whispered. "He wants it to, and so do I." As she dozed off, she was unaware of the running gentleman that was to be at her door within the next forty five minutes. It grew colder as he stood on the porch, ringing the doorbell. She finally stood up and yawned, opening the door as Sean came in. She closed the door and stood there, resting her hands behind her back on the doorknob.
"Welcome back. Might I ask what you're doing here?"
"I couldn't do it. I couldn't date Destiny so I ran all the way here while she visited someone in my car, or something like that. I'm not really sure what I'm doing." He gasped for breath, dripping everywhere.
"The bathrooms upstairs, you can take a shower and I'll get you some clean clothes," she said as he followed her upstairs and walked into the bathroom. She shut the door and he peeled his clothes off, taking a hot shower. She went into the guest room and pulled out a grey long sleeved shirt and a pair of black skinny jeans. Hopefully he wouldn't mind, he was wearing them earlier and it was all that she had that could possibly fit him. She shut the door to the guest room and knocked on the bathroom door. She could hear the water running, then turn off. The door opened a crack and he looked at her with a pale blue eye, water dripping off of the bridge of his nose.
"Clothes," Blaire managed after an awkward moment. He grabbed them and shut the door as Blaire let out a breath and walked downstairs, her heart racing. She grabbed a book off of the shelf in the living room and walked into the kitchen, seating herself on one of the tall stools. She held the book up, propping herself up on her elbows, reading as one light illuminated the entire kitchen in a soft, dark glow. Outside the storm was sounding and branches of the trees beat against the windows.
Sean came downstairs, shaking his partially wet hair after he had managed to dry it mostly with a fluffy towel. The pants fit perfectly on him and the shirt was tight, but comfortable and not constricting, though the sleeves almost covered his entire hands. He leaned against the frame leading into the kitchen and looked at Blaire. She was beautiful sitting there, reading. He watched as she brushed a few stray hairs from her face.
"It's impolite to stare," she said without looking up, though he could tell from her voice she was smiling. "Just throw your clothes into the washing machine with my other things. You can have them back before you leave." He went back upstairs and grabbed the clothes, searching downstairs for the laundry room. He finally found it and tossed the clothes into the washing machine, walking back into the kitchen and sitting on the stool next to her.
"Well, we had a deal," Sean said, leaning his head against one of his hands. "I'm hungry for pie." Blaire smiled and set the book in the living room on one of the end tables.
"Cherry, apple, peach, what's you're favorite?"
"I've never really had fruit pies. My mother always made chocolate pies," he said.
"Apple it is then. That's my favorite," she said, setting out a few things from the refrigerator, and a few bowls out of the pantry. She handed him a knife and a bag of apples.
"You're here, you get to help," she said. She showed him how to cut the core out of the apple and then slice it into thin slices. He kept slicing, watching her mix the pie crust.
"Keep your eyes on the apple," she told him without looking up. She broke her gaze and kept mixing while looking at him. "I don't want you bleeding all over my counter." He laughed softly to himself and kept slicing until she took the slices from him and told him to stop. He watched her put the crust in the pan, wiping flour on her shirt. He looked at her.
She had her hair pulled back into a messy bun at the nape of her neck, and flour was smeared on the bridge of her nose and down her shirt. She stared in concentration at the dough she was pressing into the pan and he eyed her up and down as she washed her hands and wiped them on the back of her shorts. She turned to face him, the curls around her face falling into her eyes and swinging with her.
"Now I have to start on the filling," she whispered to herself, asking him to hand her things. She mixed it all together and then set the pie pan next to the bowl, spooning in the apple filling. She took the rest of the dough and he watched as she moved back and forth, rolling the dough. She set it over the pie and cut the excess off, pressing the edges together with her fingers to secure it. She cut three little holes in the center, for decoration or ventilation Blaire was not exactly sure which, and placed it in the oven, setting the timer. With a sigh, she leaned against the counter and grabbed a shiny red apple, biting it. The silence was broken by the crunching noise of the apple she bit into and he stared at her. She covered her mouth and spoke, ignoring her manners temporarily.
"You really shouldn't stare at people. I know it's fun, but try to control yourself. And don't watch me while I'm eating. It creeps me out," she explained around a mouthful of apple. She swallowed it down and bit into it again as he laughed. She offered it to him. "If you'll stop staring at it, you can have some of my apple." She swallowed it as he took it and stared at it, then at her. He leaned over and pressed his lips to hers, ignoring her surprise. He pulled himself away and took a bite of her apple, leaving her blushing. He handed it back to her.
"Good apple," he said, smiling. She took it and touched her lips, glancing at him. She smiled to herself as she bit into it again.
The timer beeped and Blaire grabbed her oven mitts and set up the wire cooling rack next to them on the counter. She turned it off and the oven, placing it gingerly on the cooling rack. Sean inhaled the scent of it, savoring it, his mouth watering. He reached for it and she grabbed his hand.
"No. It just came out of the oven and I don't know how to treat a burn," she said. He shook his head and smiled at her.
"Thanks." She walked over to the cabinet and grabbed two plates. "You know, I think you're pie is magic. It put me in a trance and if you hadn't stopped me, I would've been burnt."
"No magic, just a special ingredient."
"Really, what is it?"
"It's a special ingredient."
"Which would be?"
"Special." He let out a breath aggravated. He placed his head in his hands, setting his elbows on the counter. She smiled and looked at him.
"You know, you never kissed me back." She smiled and set forks beside the plates. She planted a kiss gingerly on his lips and pulled herself away. He licked his lips and smiled. "You taste like apples," he said laughing.
"And now you do too," she replied. "Congratulations." She walked over to the freezer and pulled out a small container full of vanilla ice cream. She grabbed a knife and the ice cream scoop. Blaire cut a piece of pie and set it on his plate, setting a scoop of ice cream on top of it. He took it from her and grabbed his fork, eating a bug forkful. She cut herself a slender piece and a scoop of ice cream, then put the lid back on the container. She ate some of it, savoring it, then looked at Sean. He was already done.
"It's so good Blaire," he said, "it's like heaven in my mouth." She giggled to herself and cut him another piece with a scoop of ice cream. He tore into it, enjoying the still warm apple pie mixed with the partially melted, still cold ice cream.
Once they had each finished the pie, she put the ice cream up and set the pie in the fridge, rinsing the plates and stuffing them in the dishwasher, turning it on. Sean cleared his throat and sat up straight as she sat beside him, undoing her hair. He watched as it cascaded down over her shoulders in adorable little ringlets, like Destiny's falsely curled, over gelled hair earlier. But this was different. It was natural, beautiful. He cleared his throat again, as well as his head, and looked at her. She looked at him in return, sensing his seriousness.
"I like…Blaire's pie," he stated awkwardly, his face growing hot. She laughed.
"I thought the pie was okay too," she replied.
"I…like Blaire," he said softly, hoping she couldn't hear him. She layered her hand over his.
"I like Sean too," she stated softly, staring at him from beneath large brown eyes. He smiled and kissed her, leaning the bridge of his nose against hers. She placed a hand on the side of his face and he grabbed it, holding it against his. The large grandfather clock in the living room chimed the hour, 10 o'clock. Blaire got off the stool and let go of his face.
"Well, I suppose you should be getting to bed. The, uh, guest rooms upstairs next to my room. I'll show you where it is." He followed her upstairs and watched as she opened the door to the room. He walked inside and turned around.
"Good night Blaire," he whispered.
"Good night Sean." She smiled at him, a forced grimace, and closed the door, sighing as she walked over to her bedroom. She walked inside and turned on the lights, stripping her clothes off. She pulled on a pair of black shorts, and a white tank top, heading downstairs and placing her clothes in the washing machine. She yawned and stretched before heading back upstairs and throwing herself down on her bed. She blew and closed her eyes, turning over to her stomach and pressing her cheek into the pillow.
"What an eventful day," she whispered into the darkness, sleeping finally.
She woke with a start again. She wiped away the tears on her face and picked herself up off of the hardwood floor of her bedroom. As she laid back down on the bed, the door opened and Sean burst in, looking at Blaire's body lying on the perfectly made bed, outlined by the moon.
"Blaire, are you all right?" He whispered into the dark.
"Yes, I'm fine. I just fell out of bed." He closed her door and let out a breath, looking at the clock as it buzzed. 5:00 in the morning. She turned it off and sat there a moment. He laid down beside her, laying his hands against his face. She sniffed and cleared her throat.
"What are you doing up?"
"Couldn't sleep. You?"
"I fell in my sleep." He hugged her close, leaning his head on her chest. She cradled his head in her arms and she stroked his hair.
"You better get ready for school. If you want me to walk ahead of you so no one sees us together, I will."
"Why would I do that?" She shrugged.
"Isn't that typically how it works? You're kind doesn't exactly mingle with my kind." She let go of him and sat up on the edge of the bed, turning her back to him.
"I will pack you into school myself," he replied, sitting up and moving himself beside her. He leaned his head on her shoulder and she rested hers on his.
"That really isn't necessary. But I'm glad you aren't afraid to be seen with me."
"Why would I be afraid to be seen with a beautiful girl." She shrugged.
"Do you really mean that?"
"Of course I do." She sniffed again and he looked at her. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she said, standing up and wiping her eyes as she walked into the bathroom. He looked around the room, wondering what the flapping images on the walls were of. He got up and turned the lights on, gasping.
"Oh. My. God," he breathed, taking in the many pictures of himself. "Blaire," he called. She came out and leaned her forehead against the doorframe.
"I tried to explain it earlier. I was going to tear them all down before you ever came here, but I guess I forgot," she explained, closing her eyes. He looked at some of the pictures, taking note of the dates.
"This one is from September of last year."
"Yeah, that ones from January of two years ago," she said pointing. "And some earlier than that."
"How did you know what I looked like?"
"I didn't. I just drew the face in my dreams."
"Me? I was in your dreams?"
"Yes, it was you. I don't know how, and I don't know why, it just was. So I tried to draw a picture in art class one day, and that was all I got. No matter hat I tried drawing, it all ended up just being you." She let out a breath and turned to him. "Feel free to leave screaming at anytime."
"No, no it's amazing. I just can't believe…" he shook his head and looked at her. "I'm going to get something to eat, and let you get ready. See you downstairs."
"Allright," she said, smiling as he walked out. She sucked in a breath and grabbed her clothes out of the wardrobe, wiping at her eyes again. "Stop it," she whispered to herself. "You knew it was coming. You saw it. There's no preventing it. You just need to shut up, and go one. Don't bother trying to explain it to him, you know he won't understand. Just cherish everything you have with hi up until sixth period." As she pulled on a black thin strapped shirt under her favorite black and blue checked hoody and a pair of dark denim skinny jeans with paint spatters and threadbare knees, she sighed. Today was the day. The day she had been dreaming about forever. She grabbed her backpack and slid on her black flats, heading downstairs. Sean handed her an apple and she took it, heading outdoors. She locked the door with a sigh and she looked at him, stuffing the keys in her pocket. She walked down the stairs and he walked alongside her, stuffing his hands in his pockets. She bit into the apple with a loud snapping sound and handed it to him. He took a bite and held onto it, absorbing the silence.
"So, what's gonna happen today my psychic little angel?" Sean asked. She took the apple and bit into it again, covering her mouth as she spoke.
"You mean aside from having chicken for lunch?" She laughed softly to herself, and then continued after a quick shrug, her favorite gesture. "Something sad, something happy, and something unexpected."
"Can you be any more specific?"
"I'm afraid not. That's all the information I can give right now." He sighed and took the apple, biting into it.
"I miss the pie." She laughed and grabbed his hand.
"You'll get some soon enough. Just remember where everything is. And remember me when you're eating it."
"Aren't you going to eat it with me?" She didn't answer, only looked at the ground and squeezed his hand. "Blaire?" She kept looking forward, the school emerging finally from behind the trees. He threw the apple to the ground.
"You should've gotten your backpack from your house." He shrugged.
"My parents don't really care whether I pass or fail, as long as I leave them alone."
"What are you going to do?"
"Borrow some off of my friends and you I guess." They stopped on the sidewalk, preparing to part ways. He kissed her and squeezed her hand a last time.
"See you in sixth period," she whispered in his ear. She smiled weakly at him, then left, the bell on her backpack tinkling as she walked away. He was whisked away immediately by his friends, eagerly ignoring them and awaiting sixth period outside.
Blaire sat on the same table beneath the same tree she had always sat at, placing her backpack beside her. She pulled out a black book with gold block lettering down the side of it. She glanced over at Sean who was staring at her, smiling with his friends. The entire place grew silent as they all watched Destiny stand up, walking away from the cheerleader's table. She had her hair pulled back into a low braid, and was actually wearing full sized clothes. A pink sweater and a pair of light colored flare legged jeans. Her high heeled boots dug into the earth as she moved over to the table two away from Blaire. It was the chess club's table. The guys all left from the table except one guy with glasses and a long sleeved polo sporting the school colors. He stood up and dusted himself off, shaking.
"I love you Thomas!" She shouted as she kissed him. Everyone clapped as several other girls and guys walked up to each other, hugging and confessing their true feelings. There was a whole line of girls at Tre's table. Blaire sighed. It was already happening. He would leave her for all of those girls in a heartbeat undoubtedly. He got off the top of the picnic table, and his friends parted in confusion. They all watched as he came over to her, and sat next to Blaire, kissing her. Everyone clapped, and several girls groaned angrily as he leaned his head against her shoulder. She leaned her head against his and they continued reading together. After everything had settled down she put the book back into her bag, holding the tiny silver bell with a red bow on top. He noted her nervously rolling the bell in her palms and held her had in his.
"What is it?"
"It's time," she whispered, her eyes brimming with tears and spilling over onto her cheeks.
"Time for what?"
"You remember what I said about what was going to happen today?"
"Yeah, something sad, something happy and something unexpected."
"Piece it together. What has happened so far?"
"Something happy, you and I together, something unexpected…hmm…oh, that's Destiny and Thomas. Something sad…What'd happened that's sad so far?"
"It's not what has happened, it's what's going to happen." He looked at her in confusion.
"What are you talking about?" A black van came up slowly in the parking lot, no one noticing it. She glanced at it, and then looked at him.
"The bell. It signifies belief. It means-" Several loud shots sounded and everyone screamed as the van squealed away. Blaire fell into his arms and he looked at her. Blood was coming out of her mouth and he looked. She was shot in the chest, just above her heart and in the arm.
"Blaire? BLAIRE?!" Sean screamed. "No, no, no, no, no," he whispered crying. Several students ran away, trying to get the teachers to unlock the door to get the nurse. He cradled Blaire in his arms and she handed him the keys to her house out of her pocket.
"Blaire, no, c'mon, you can't die on me. I need you here, I need you," he whispered, still crying. He bent down and kissed her and she placed a hand on the side of his face, pushing something into his hand. She pressed her cheek to his and whispered in his ear as she struggled for breath.
"Love…it means…love. Be someone who can believe in anything Sean," she whispered, her words getting lost in the wind. He looked at the bell and it jingled, winking in the sunlight. "I…lo…" she stopped. He held her up to him and screamed in agony. She was lifeless in her arms. He screamed in pain as the paramedics took her away, covering her up and driving off. He held himself and fell to the ground. , rocking himself gently back and forth.
"Sean," Destiny asked, "Are you okay?" He looked up at her-not at her, past her-tears streaming down his face. The bell jingled in his hands.
…Six months later…
Sean woke up and thought about going to school, then shook the thought away. He changed into his grey shirt and black skinny jeans, still covered in her blood. Well, the stains anyways. He walked upstairs and opened the door, the papers rustling. Tears fell effortlessly down his face as he sat on her bed, covered in dust.
"Six months ago. Six months ago today…" he whispered, still crying and holding himself. The door downstairs was unlocked, and in stepped the man wearing a ski mask and a black outfit. He placed a gloved hand on the gun around this waist, and the other one was closing the door softly. The man walked upstairs, shaking, ignoring the scent of apples in the air. He opened the door upstairs and looked at Sean, shaking on the bed. He didn't face him. He only held the bell and looked out the window.
"You're the one who took her away from me," he said silently.
"What?" The Man asked, his voice breaking.
"You took Blaire away at the high school shooting. They said on the news you wanted to kill two students. Blaire was the first. I'll be the second, I know. Just make it quick, please. The sooner I get to see her, the better."
The man held the shaking gun and pressed it to Sean's head as he cried soundlessly, and the bell jingled.
"Any last words?" The man asked.
"Yes," he replied. He looked at him, pressing the guns tip directly between his eyes.
"…I want pie…"