Sienna enjoyed thrift store shopping more than your usual teenage girl. The thought of finding a unique piece of clothing or object that you couldn't find in the mall excited her. From collecting vintage cameras and picture frames to brass ornaments and used books, there wasn't a wasted or disappointing day at the flea markets for this girl.
Seventeen year old Sienna got introduced into this hobby by her aunt Marena, an artist that made the most beautiful sculptures using the simplest and trashiest things. Her aunt's yard was called the "patio of possibilities." There her finished pieces decorated the lawn creating a whimsical wonderland. You'd find the Statue of David, Venus de Milo and the Statue of Liberty all made out of different scraps of metals and plastics with a touch of fabric intertwined.
Marena Moore was a well-known local artist in their town of Burlington, Vermont. Luckily she had passed down her love for the arts to her niece Sienna who was very skilled at drawing and painting. Sienna lived with her aunt since both her parents were in the military and constantly having to move. They decided that the best life their daughter could have was one of consistency and security of being in one home for more than year.
Sienna couldn't have been happier with that choice. For in her earlier years she relied on schools on several military bases, private tutoring and eventually homeschooling online. Living with her aunt allowed for a sense of normalcy and finally being able to attend one community school. Now a junior at Burlington High, it was her second year there and she was still just a shadow on the wall.
With the exception of her fellow artistic friends she wasn't considered to necessarily be one of the cooler kids. As typical high school drama goes, the kids with the unique talent, the smarts and the music skills are the least ones praised but most likely to succeed. Sienna knew she had a bright future ahead of her and with the help of her aunt she would succeed and reach the moon and back.
One day Sienna noticed a garage sale on her way home from school. She quickly aligned the car alongside the sidewalk and skipped to the mountain of books stacked on one of the tables. Her eyes widened as she saw how antique and rare some of these hardbacks were. There was one in particular that looked like a mystical love story and immediately found its way in her arms. She paid the lady and eagerly drove off.
Once she arrived home she dropped her back pack by the entry way and strolled into the yard to sit on her favorite bench right next to her gal pal Venus. She admired the burgundy crackled panels and the faded gold spine cover. Inside was a small dedication to a man's wife; that made this purchase even more special.
Two hours into the novel, Sienna had discovered that she was very similar to the main character Delilah, ignored by her village because she was a witch's grand-daughter. Not so much relating to the circumstances but the feelings that Delilah harvest; a longing to be in love and appreciated for who she was. Her Grandmother gave her a magic scroll where she could paint the person her heart most desired.
Sienna reached the point where after Delilah sketched the face of Collin, the locksmith's son, he began to notice and talk with her more. Eventually things lead to Delilah's awaited first kiss.
"Sia, my goodness you are glued to that book! Can't you hear me calling you dear?" aunt Marena smiled brightly as she pat her head.
"Oh I'm sorry Rena, I'm just so excited about this book I bought today at this yard sale."
"Those are the best finds aren't they? We'll dinner is ready early; I have a town meeting to go to. We're discussing the theme of this year's Masterpiece Fair."
"Clue me in with the details later. I'm not hungry right now, but I'll be sure to eat later." Sienna assured her.
Sienna loved how beautiful and graceful her aunt was for being in her fifties. She even had a couple of dinner rendezvous every now and then with suitable gentlemen. Marena enjoyed the company but always kept a respectable name for herself. Being in the spotlight as Burlington's jewel, she could never present an opportunity for skepticism or scandalous gossip.
Later that evening, Sienna had finished eating then showering and was now ready for some more reading before actually going to bed. Settled in her sheets and puffed pillows behind her back she reached for the book on her night stand and clumsily knocked it off to the floor. Bothered because she had to get out of her cozy spot she dangled her body off the bed and noticed something sticking out of her book.
Eyes narrowing at the scraps, she carefully picked them up and placed it on her lap. It looked like old parchment paper. It was fragile and ripped on the edges; she collected three square pieces all- together. She ran her thumb through the pages to see if there were anymore and to her satisfaction one more slipped out. Only this one had a little not on it.
"Your magic paper, my love. Delilah's legacy."
Sienna stared confused and lost in thought. She kept reading the note over and over again, hoping that each time would bring some kind of clarity. The only conclusion she could come up with was the magic scroll that she painted her love's face on. Once she realized how enraptured she truly was, she couldn't help but laugh at the notion of her actually having pieces of the "scroll" in her possession.
Needless to say her mind granted her no rest as her head lay on the pillow and her eyes stared blankly at the ceiling. She had fallen in love with the plot of the story and couldn't brush off the possibility of having something that linked her to it. Her aunt had already come back and was probably already asleep in her room, as it was close to midnight.
"What could it hurt?" Sienna sighed.
She leaped softly out of bed and turned on her desk light. She held the novel in one hand as she scanned her bookshelves for something else. Pulling out a yearbook she swiftly sat in her chair and skimmed through the colorful pages. First she saw her sophomore picture, to which she cringed at the sight of her blandness. Then she turned to the junior class, where she spotted Eli Robertson.
Eli was one of the more attractive guys at the school, now a senior and co-captain of the wrestling team. She didn't know too much about his personal life for he didn't have it on display like his team mates and friends. She guessed that that was why she liked him, or at least was drawn to him. If there was any guy at school that was worth getting to know it was definitely Eli.
And so it began with one stroke of her ebony pencil. She studied every curvature of Eli's face and every highlight and shadow. Sienna captured the strands of his brown hair, the depth of soul in his eyes and his childlike smile. She had memorized his face so well that she could see him every time she closed her eyes. With a grin that couldn't be erased, she had completed her sketch and leaned back in amazement at the likeness.
Unsure of what to do with the piece of paper she simply slipped it back in to her book. Two hours had passed and she was now ready to fall in to a deep sleep. Her last thoughts centered on how silly this all was and perhaps a waste of time.
"But wouldn't it be wonderful if…"
At school, Sienna couldn't help wonder if this silly gimmick could actually work. She didn't even think to mention it to her friends for fear of being laughed at. She was about to go her favorite class, art of course, but first she needed to grab her materials in her locker. She pulled out her rather large drawing pad and got her small case of paints.
Just before closing her locker door, her eyes caught a glimpse of Eli coming down the hall with a small group of his team mates. The moment of truth had arrived, her palms were sweaty and her heart a little shaky. She kept thinking what if he said hi, how would she respond? Sienna didn't know whether to look at him and anticipate what was to come or hide her face.
"Sienna!" She heard her name and fluttered at the thought of.
"C'mon we're going to be late for class." He rushed her.
For those few seconds she actually had thought that Eli was the one calling her. She grabbed her things and took off, watching as the elite group walked only a couple of feet ahead. Sienna observed the hair on the back of Eli's neck, how it was so cleanly cut and combed. She could pick up the scent of his cologne that lingered in the hall. Realizing that she was somewhat obsessed she shook her head and laughed to herself.
Passing the classroom that they began to walk in, Sienna's heart nearly stopped when she saw Eli looking back making direct eye contact. Although he now disappeared inside, her photographic memory still saw him there in the entrance, as if time had stood still. She gripped her pad ever so tightly and began to smile.
Thankfully today's art assignment consisted of an abstract portrait, to which it was a no-brainer who would be her object of study. She had no trouble in remembering his face or his frame, luckily because it was an abstract piece no one knew who it really was but her. Meanwhile, the teacher had announced that this semester she would be looking for a few art works to display in the town's gallery for the Masterpiece Fair. To Sienna's disbelief, her painting was one of the teacher's picks.
Sienna was placing her things in the trunk of her car and when she came around to the driver's seat she glanced up and coincidentally saw Eli getting in his car. He just happened to look back at her and gave a friendly goodbye smile. Normally Sienna got in her car, inserted the keys and shifted in to reverse. But this time she just sat there in wonder. Was this really happening? Was it the magic paper?
That afternoon, Sienna helped her aunt with a new sculpture all the while sharing the good news about her painting getting a spot in the gallery. Still she debated whether to tell her about the Eli and the mysterious paper. If anyone could believe her it would definitely be her aunt.
She decided to tell her over dinner. Then she showed her the novel and her drawing. aunt Marena was in a dreamy daze. But Sienna was desperate to hear her feedback on the matter.
"I think this is a wonderful illusion. But haven't you stopped to think that perhaps this young man just might be interested? A coincidence yes but not impossibility." She smiled.
"But Rena, he never has looked at me before. Not last year or this semester till now. From never to two times in one day and a smile, how could I not link that to the picture?"
"I don't know sweet heart. I'm just thrilled to see you so happy and finally getting the attention you deserve. And not just from some guy but for your talent too!"
"I know. I just can't help wonder. But I won't spend any more time on the thought." Sienna tried to sound convincing.
"Oh we both know that's not true. Just be careful, and keep me updated." Marena winked.
Sienna did cling to this so called illusion and was hopeful of future updates to inform her aunt with. She had a hard time sleeping; she went to bed late and got up way too early. It was six in the morning and Sienna was giving herself the spa treatment in her bathroom. Soaking in the bath tub and daydreaming of bumping in to Eli and getting a look up close of his extraordinary hazel eyes.
Her burgundy hardback was becoming quite the faithful companion, she almost never let it out of her sight; regardless she kept it at home. After she dried off she stood before the mirror. Holding her sketched scrap paper in her hand, it was just as good as the original picture. Her mind filled in the skin and hair tones.
Then Sienna stared at her reflection. She was embarrassed to admit that she had somewhat of an attractive body, only she chose not to flaunt it like several of her classmates did. Her soft wavy hair started smooth on the top and gradually curled towards the ends; brown like chocolate and fell like a v on her back. Unlike Eli's her eyes were brown but rather large and romantic.
If it weren't for her lack of sense of fashion, she thought, maybe she would attract more guys. But then again she didn't think that mattered because it didn't define her as a person. So she stuck to the casual jeans and solid neutral fitted shirts.
One thing she did like to adorn herself with was the necklace that her aunt made her for her birthday a few years ago. It was the silhouette of a young girl swinging on the chain of the necklace; which was actually inspired by a childhood picture of Sienna.
It didn't take long till the regular school routine would kick in and shatter her fairytale imagination. At least the day was never in vain when she could paint in class. As usual she grabbed her art supplies from her locker and dreaded the moment when Eli would come walking down the hallway, like clockwork.
She heard someone shout not too far behind her.
"I'll catch up with you in a minute!"
When Sienna slammed the locker shut she nearly dropped her drawing pad when she saw Eli casually standing behind her. He had shoved his hands in his jacket and had an innocent smile.
"I was about to ask if you were new, and why have I not seen you before but I realized that you probably weren't. And that was the only icebreaker I could think of. So now I'm only left with introducing myself…I'm Eli." He started rather nervous yet collected.
"I know. I'm Sienna."
"Yeah, I know." He smiled again.
"Well, I hope to catch you later Sienna, now that we've officially met."
Their greeting left Sienna rather puzzled, all she wanted to do was continue reading her book. She was intrigued to see if Collin truly fell in love with Delilah or if it was all just a spell. She came to find out that the scroll was merely an aid to help him notice her and not an actual love hex. Which meant that she hadn't bewitched Eli after all…right?
In the following chapters, Delilah and Collin were about to marry until one of his admirers got hold of the magical scroll and burned it. Delilah was almost convinced that it wouldn't have any effect on their love but in turn was devastated when Collin ended up hating the very sight of her; vowing to never lay eyes on her again for he was too disgusted.
Sienna was appalled, why would the effects be that extreme and did this mean if anything should happen to her little scrap paper that Eli would hate her too? She didn't know what to believe or what to do. What she did know, she would protect that paper with her life!
It was lunch time on a Friday and Sienna sat with her regular group of friends on one of the outside tables. Each high school clique had their social assigned area, meaning groups of Eli's caliber and the like sat inside.
Sienna was just about to leave with her friends when she was stopped in her tracks. Eli had come out up to her table and grabbed her hand to sit back down with him. Sienna's friends knew better than to leave them alone immediately.
"Hey, it seems like we are always passing each other but never get a chance to actually talk, why is that?" Eli asked.
"Our schedules, I suppose." She uttered. Now loosing feeling in her hand which he still held on to.
"Well I hope I don't come across as too confident, but what would you say to going out with me tonight?
"I'd say are you sure?"
"I'm always sure." He guaranteed.
He took out his cell phone to write in her number and address meanwhile she witnessed students in the back ground watching their every move, dumb founded.
"It's set. You can't back down on me now. I'll pick you up say around six?"
"That sounds good."
"Great, and be hungry." He grinned as he walked away.
Sienna was excited and scared all at once. Her reality far exceeded her dreams this time. And now she was about to have her fairytale evening. Over joyed she galloped in to her house and flung herself into her aunt's arms.
"He asked me out! We are going on a date tonight!" She squealed.
"What? Heavens! I knew it! Wait we have to find something special for you to wear. Quickly let's get in the car." Marena cheered.
After their brief shopping spree, they made it back home with an hour and a half to spare before the big date. Sienna quickly got in the shower while Marena set out the beige and black striped dress on her niece's bed. She added some of her own accessories that she thought complimented the outfit; and some casual black shoes.
Marena began to straighten and style Sienna's hair while her niece tried to apply her make up to the best of her knowledge. The dress fell like silk on her subtle curves and ended on her thighs. The dress along with her hair was enough change for Sienna; she gave up on the makeup and just went with her Chap Stick.
"That's all you need anyway, you are too beautiful to cover it up with all that paint. Save it for the canvas sweetie." Marena insisted.
Eli arrived and introduced himself to aunt Marena, but once his eyes fell on Sienna he let out a small gasp. Glassy eyes now greeted his date and he softly grabbed her hand to kiss it. When they walked out to his car, Sienna found a single white rose in her seat. She picked it up and immediately brought it to her nose to inhale deeply. She was convinced that there wouldn't be a single moment of the night where she wouldn't be caught smiling.
On the drive to the restaurant, Sienna couldn't fight the urge to ask Eli the one question that kept boggling her mind.
"So what made you decide to ask me out? I mean I know that you said we don't get to talk much at school but why the interest all of a sudden?" She hoped she wasn't prying too much.
"Honestly, this is kind of embarrassing to talk about. My mother is on the town's leaderboard and I had seen you a couple of times with your aunt at art functions and what not. I don't know why I could never muster up the courage to talk to you. I guess I just thought you weren't interested in dating or dating any guy from school at least." He confessed.
"So you mean to tell me that you've wanted to talk to me since last year."
"Something like that. Then I saw your photograph in the gallery's office stating that you were one of the students showing for the fair. And I don't know, maybe because this is my last year I thought it was now or never."
Throughout the evening, they both held genuine interest in their conversations. Not only was Sienna impressed with this place but with Eli's manners and personality. He was charming, funny and had a way of making the dullest topic seem fascinating. More importantly he was captivated with her as well.
"I can't believe you were right in front of my nose this whole time!" He exclaimed.
"Life has a funny way of keeping treasures hidden at times, only because it's waiting for the perfect time for them to be discovered." Sienna answered back.
"I like that."
"So where are we off to now?"
"Hold on, you have to try their deserts. But since you must know, I thought I would take you to this nice pool bar that me and my friends hangout at. There's usually a band there on Friday nights. Don't worry it's one of the nicer places."
"I'm not worried I've just never really been to a pool bar before."
"Good, then that means that you don't play pool, which also means that I get to teach you."
Sienna liked that he was looking forward to spending more time with her. She had found out all she needed to about him to now begin to fall in love but would never share that with him unless he demonstrated the same sentiments.
The Crème Brule was the perfect desert to end this part of the evening and now they were on their way to the pool hall. Eli had mentioned that this was one of the nicer ones and when she saw that it was Pool Station, she had remembered her friends talking about it. If you were a part of the in crowd this was definitely where you'd be.
Eli noticed a slight hesitation from Sienna as she got out of the car. He closed the door behind her and grabbed her hand.
"Are you nervous?" He asked worried.
"A little, yes."
"Please don't be. I promise if you feel extremely uncomfortable we'll leave."
Sienna smiled and nodded, she just wanted to continue holding his hand and only hoped that he wouldn't let go the minute he saw his friends. When they walked inside, dozens of his friends had seen him and either said or waved hello; he only held on tighter.
They got his regular pool table and he ordered her whatever drink she wanted, which in this case was a non-alcoholic Piña Colada. Some of Eli's closest friends came over and introduced themselves and began to talk amongst themselves. Sienna could see that one in particular was nudging him and giving him a sly grin. She would never really know what they were really talking about but all she saw was Eli shaking his head no.
"Are you ready?"
"To play or humiliate myself?" Sienna laughed nervously.
"To beat me, come on!"
Eli enjoyed trying to teach Sienna how to play pool when clearly she hadn't a clue. They basically just ended up shooting all the balls they could and making a new set of rules. From a distance she recognized many students from their high school including those that were now in college. What she didn't find surprising was that many of the females were looking over and gossiping with each other, most likely about the new couple.
"So are you having fun?" Eli wondered.
"If looks could kill I would dead the minute we walked in the door. But thankfully I'm still alive, and yes having fun."
"At a girl. Listen, I don't expect you to become friends with this crowd overnight. In fact one of the many reasons why I like you is because you are nothing like them. So don't feel like you have to compete or anything because with you there's no contest…ok?"
"Wow, do you mean that?" Sienna was astonished.
"Every word." He finished as he bent down to kiss her cheek.
Where to find the strength to keep from melting and getting weak at the knees? It was nearly impossible to remain so calm when all she wanted to do was jump up and down, squeal and tell her aunt every lovely word he shared.
It was time to listen to the band so Eli grabbed a stool for Sienna while he stood behind her as they watched the performance. He'd place his hands on her shoulder and rub her neck subtly or he would brush his hand over her hair. It felt as though they had been dating for a long time, they just fit together.
After a while Sienna stood up beside him, and got the nerve to grab his hand this time. He was happy to see her gesture and pulled her in for a hug. He kept his arms around her shoulders and without warning he simply leaned in to kiss her. Her toes curled inside her shoes as her eyes widened at the same time.
He leaned back displaying the widest open smile and tenderly held on to her head to kiss her again. Her hands cupped his elbows as she finally closed her eyes and enjoyed. The band kept playing; the crowd kept dancing and singing along, while jealous girls kept staring.
Eli enjoyed her moistened lips and little did he know that this was her first kiss. But apparently she wasn't doing badly, if he kept on kissing her. Sienna wasn't a big fan of people that made out in public, but this was a dark place and an entirely different case; it had to be an exception.
"I could kiss you all night if you'd let Me." he smiled
"I would, but I should probably get back home."
"You're right. Let's go."
On the porch of her aunt's house, Sienna and Eli stood hand in hand not wanting to leave each other's side. He asked when he could see her again to which she replied whenever he wanted. He gave her one last kiss goodbye and made sure that it was one she wouldn't forget.
"Can't wait to see that smile again!" He said as he waved goodbye and got in his car.
Aunt Marena had been waiting patiently and enthusiastically to hear how her niece's night had turned out. It was an even later night for the both of them once they finished chatting.
Come Monday, things would have been back to normal only normal didn't consist of being greeted by one of the school's most attractive guy at your locker. Sienna was standing wide eyed, leaning on the locker wall while Eli brushed her hair behind her ear. He asked if he could come over tonight. In a daze she nodded in agreement.
How wonderful to be looked at and longed for the way Eli did her. He clearly wanted to be with her and it wasn't because of some silly piece of paper that this happened. Sienna got out of school early and had almost forgotten that by her beside lay her novel unread.
Delilah was devastated to say the least. She desperately re painted Collin's face numerous times on the scroll, but as weeks went by he still loathed her. She begged her grandmother to do something, but she was told that once a heart had been tainted with she could no longer pursue the same person; she had to paint a different face. But how could Delilah exchange the love she had for Collin for another man and start all over again? And what would people in the village say?
"Well I know that Eli has truly fallen for me, regardless what this stupid story says." Sienna admitted.
She felt the challenge to prove it. And without thinking twice she accepted the test and ripped the piece of parchment paper. She tore it several times till Eli's face was no longer recognizable. Sienna couldn't wait to share this silly story with him in hopes for a good laugh.
The evening approached and Sienna along with aunt Marena had just finished making dinner for their guest that was bound to arrive at any minute. Unfortunately time continued to go by and they grew hungry and impatient. Before Sienna knew it was already nine o'clock and they were putting away the food and cleaning up to get ready for bed. She was worried, Eli hadn't called nor did he answer his phone. Aunt Marena assured her that something just must have happened and to never expect the worst.
Surely Eli had a good explanation; there was no need to worry. Only there was a grave coincidence that this happened right after she tore the drawing…nonsense!
Sienna kept a look out for Eli, hoping to spot him in the hallway. Yet she saw no signs of him. She waited and waited till it was last period. Her only way of finding out was asking one of his friends, no matter how intimidating that would be. In desperation she caught sight of one of the guys she met Friday night and sped walked to catch up.
"Hey Brice, by any chance do you know where Eli is?" She inquired in concern.
"He broke out in a fever last night, so he's at home sick." He said hesitantly.
She knew the right thing to do was to pay Eli a visit and see how he was doing; only she wasn't sure where he lived. After asking around she finally made it to his gated property. And as if it weren't awkward enough she was obligated to have to speak through the intercom. She introduced himself as a friend and waited for them to get his approval, but an older woman spoke through the speaker saying that he wished to have no visitors right now.
Sienna felt sick to her stomach. There was no way that this could actually be happening. Maybe he felt so horrible he didn't wish to be seen like that; the only thing left to do was wait till he came back to school.
A few days had gone by and Eli finally returned to school fully recovered. Everything was back to normal. Sienna saw him at his locker and eagerly flew to his side.
"I'm so glad you're feeling better!" She beamed.
"Th-anks. That's nice of you to say".
Sienna noticed his indifferent attitude, but she didn't know how to ask if things were ok between them. Instead she reached for his hand. Eli was confused and released his hand from her grip.
"I'm sor-ry; I have to get to class." He announced.
And there it was the look of disgust that Delilah had dreadfully described. The following week proved that things were back to its normal routine; Sienna was once again a mere shadow on the wall.