I live with my older sister Camille, we're not related, but that doesn't matter. We are in our hearts. She's tall, slender and has curves in the most perfect places. I'll always envy her looks. She has skin exactly the colour of milk chocolate that is faultless. Her hair is golden and wild above her head and bounces when she walks. She's without a doubt the most beautiful person I've ever met. Her eyes are the most intense electric blue I've ever known and the contrast rebounds from her skin incredibly. Of course she's my sister though, so she annoys the complete hell out of me and knows way too much about my personal life.
'Hey bitch, how was school?' she asked as I walked in. I just scowled at her.
'That good huh? Thought with your voodoo shit you would just sail through it.' She has such a way with words.
'I fell over as I took my first steps in to the building. That pretty much sums it up.' I said sarcastically.
'Well, at least it wasn't fatal. Any new friends?' she asked, eyebrow raised.
'No, Cam.' I said, then took the grocery list of the fridge and left.
I had no real intention of getting any groceries, I don't really know why I even took the list, but I wanted an excuse to wander about in this town I hadn't even seen until the day before. It was small, cold and green. Those were the only words that came to mind. But it won me over a little when I found a coffee shop. It was gorgeous, with mismatched furniture and vintage decorations. I couldn't resist.
The smell of cinnamon hit me the second I was inside, and I noticed a lit fireplace blazing away in the corner. The girl at the counter was small and had her back to me, although I knew who it was before she turned around.
'Dina! Hi!' Ellie said with a huge friendly smile. Small town indeed.
'Hi Ellie, can I get a latte please?' Call me crazy, but right then I could have sworn her eyes had got pinker.
'Sure thing, have a seat and I'll bring it over.'
I took a seat by the fireplace and she came over within minutes.
'Here you go,' she said, putting a large cup down next to me 'hey, I'm on my break now, do you mind if I take a seat with you?' she asked in a way that it was an actual question, she wasn't just being polite.
'Sure.' I replied, not trying to seem to enthusiastic. I didn't want friends.
She sat down and slipped off her shoes, putting her feet in front of the fire, curling and uncurling her toes.
'So how did you like your first day?' she asked, while I took a sip of my drink.
'It was okay. It's a big school for such a small town.' I replied, as I took of my gloves.
'Yeah, I suppose. I've never thought of that before. Everyone's really nice there though. Well, apart from a few.' She smiled at me with her eyebrows raised. I guessed she meant the group from the middle table.
'Really? I haven't spoken to many people. Only you and Theo.' I replied without thinking.
'Theo? You've spoken to Theo?' she looked intrigued now. But I could feel something from her that I couldn't put my finger on.
'Erm, yeah. A bit. Not much.' I tried to back up.
'Just that he's the best looking guy in the world, and wont usually interact with anybody at all. Apart from me once upon a time.' She was jealous, that's what I could feel. But now she was sad, immensely sad.
'Why don't you talk now?' I knew I shouldn't be asking. I didn't even care about these people. They were strangers and would stay that way.
'We were close, really close for a while, back in middle school. Inseparable for the most part. But after his sister died he changed completely. For one he got really really good looking, except he wouldn't talk to anyone. Most people forgot he even existed. It was like he wasn't there in classes; you wouldn't see him in the canteen. He was gone.' She was looking at the floor when she spoke, like I was someone else. I had an immediate image of my 14th Birthday in my head; when I first got my powers and everything changed. I wonder if people noticed my change as much as his. 'But I guess you're just as beautiful as him, so he would talk to you.' This sidetracked me a little.
'You're beautiful. You have those same shockingly bright eyes.' She said this as if it was obvious, but of course, I'd never seen my eyes how she did.
'Oh. Thank you. What... what happened to Theo's sister?' I couldn't help but ask. Just out of curiosity of course.
'Oh.' She frowned as she relived the memory. She looked so amazingly and overwhelmingly low as she said this.
'I'm sorry, you don't have to talk about it.' I tried to sound as empathetic as I was.
'No, I should now I've brought it up. There was a fire in the shed and Winola – that was her name – she was trapped inside. It was horrible, Theo was trying to get to her but he just couldn't.' My stomach dropped as I imagined this pain, just as I was washed with an overwhelming feeling of guilt. I shouldn't know this about Theo. He was a stranger.
'I don't know what to say, I'm so sorry.' I put my hand on hers and she looked up, smiling weakly.
'Oh, did you see Chloe Dutton get hit by that milkshake today? I'm sorry, I know we're supposed to worship her or something for being an absolute bitch but that was so hilarious! I nearly died laughing.' She giggled through this sentence and I smiled at her amusement. It was all light hearted after that. Gossiping about her crushes (Mitchell Young from biology), her parents (completely controlling) and her friends (all two million of them). We were there for hours, she turned her break in to early finishing without much trouble and I drank 3 more lattes. I had convinced myself I would not make a friend here; I'd keep myself to myself. But too easily I found myself making one.
It was dark by the time I started going home. No groceries to show for my travels, only a rather significant coffee buzz. I was walking slowly, enjoying the cold air biting at my hands when someone walking the other way caught my eye. In the darkness I couldn't see their eye colour, only that they were tall, with broad shoulders. I could see it was a guy, wearing a long black duffle coat. As he reached me I could feel he was curious. He stopped.
'Hi.' He said, simply. He was cute, square jaw and dark hair. His voice was soft but raspy at the same time.
'Hello.' I replied. I wasn't sure what to say.
'Are you new around here? I don't remember seeing your face before.' That explained his intrigue. In my head I could hear Camille 'stranger danger' but everyone was a stranger to me here, so I ignored it.
'Um yeah, I just moved here actually.' Was all I could think of to say.
Suddenly Theo was next to me. I just stared at him in astonishment. Surely he couldn't use his powers so openly? Someone would work him out as an Abnormal in a heartbeat. But the stranger didn't seem phased at all.
'Dina, hi, I was just looking for you. You left this in the canteen.' He said. I could feel how defensive he was, it was stronger than anything I'd ever felt. I could faintly feel anger from the stranger. Theo pulled my bottle of lemonade from him pocket and placed it in my hand. I looked at him, and his eyes were intense. He wanted me away from this guy, I didn't know why, but I knew I should go with it.
'Thanks. I think I'm a bit lost actually. Would you help me find my way home?' I couldn't think of a more genuine sounding excuse. Stranger was looking at me.
'I'm Gideon by the way, it was nice meeting you Dina.' He said, and held out his hand to shake. I took it but flinched away from the heat. I could have burned my hand on his, I was sure of it. It was unbelievable.
Abruptly though, I was in a park, with just Theo on a bench.
'What the?' I began, but he put his hand on mine to calm me.
'I used my power; we're only up the road from where we were. Is your hand okay?' He was incredibly concerned.
'I think so, I don't know what happened.' I looked down at my hand but he covered it with his.
'Pass me some ice from the lake please?' I did as he asked, I moved the ice slowly in to his lap using my 'power'. This was so open. Soweird. He took a handkerchief from is pocket and wrapped the ice around my hand.
'What did he do?' I winced as he held it lightly above my hand.
'He's an Abnormal too, he burnt you. He can change the temperature of things.' He was hiding something from me, but I didn't want to question it.
'Thank you.' I said. He looked at me then, straight it the eye. His eyes were soft, and now that Ellie had mentioned it I realised that I'd missed his good looks whilst trying to avoid him. But she was right; he was breath taking.
'Wait, how did you know?'
'Know what?' he looked away from me now.
'What was happening, where I was.'
'I sensed it.'
'You sensed that? Do you have more than one main power?' He turned away from me, and I could feel that his reply was going to be a lie. But quickly the feeling of a lie faded. He didn't know what to say. Neither did I now. It's not like I cared anyway, I was impartial. I'd already made one friend too many here; I wasn't about to make another.
'I really should go home.' I got up from the bench but realised I had no idea where I was.
'I'll take you. It's not far.'
'Do you mind if we walk? Your power makes me dizzy.' He smiled and nodded at this. Once again I could feel his happiness radiating around me. This boy had major mood swing issues. We began walking in silence, but slowly our conversation picked up once more and for a second time that evening I found myself too easily feeling comfortable around someone.
The air was cold and peaceful; the ever-present wind had ceased momentarily and the atmosphere was perfectly still like an untouched pool. We weren't walking so much as ambling like we didn't have a place to go to. If I was to look up, I'd catch him watching me and he'd quickly look away. I held the ice on my hand, where the stinging was fading gradually. I could feel pain coming from him too, somewhere deep underneath his happiness.
'What's wrong?' I asked finally.
'Nothing's wrong.' He said, like a question. I could feel the lie; not strong but still there.
'Don't forget the company you're in.' I smiled, but he saw the truth behind what I was saying.
'It's nothing, really. Just the thought of you being hurt. I don't like it.'
'Why should you care?' It was an honest question; I didn't mean it to be rude.
'I don't know.' I only just heard this, he said it so quietly.
We were at my house now, so I was facing him and caught the frown that he quickly erased from his features. He looked up at the lit window, behind which Camille would be sitting, probably on the phone to one of her friends. When he looked at me again he was smiling.
'So, I'll see you tomorrow or something.' I said ineptly.
'Right, yeah, see you around.' He shoved his hands in to his pockets and turned to walk away. I was walking up the steps to my front door when he called out.
'Hey Alverdine.' My heart jumped against my better judgement when he used my name; realising I'd never heard him say it like that before. I looked behind me to see he was at the bottom of the stairs, where I slowly went to meet him. He was tense as he reached in to his pocket.
'You, um… you forgot this.' He said as he gave me back the bottle of lemonade once more.
'Oh.' I'm sure he could feel the disappointment from me. 'Thanks'
I took it from him and turned away. When I looked back from the door, he'd gone.
I got myself a drink and changed in to my pyjamas but as I lay in my bed sleep just wouldn't come. Something about today just hadn't been right. Beyond the obvious reasons, my deeper frustration came from the fact that I cared at all. I was slipping, how dangerous that was. I knew now that no matter how much I would try to convince myself, I cared about Ellie. I was slightly eager to see what school would bring, which frightened me deeply. I wasn't supposed to care, about any of it. My head was in disarray; I saw the heavyset shoulders of the Stranger who had burnt my hand, his intrigue and anger, his husky voice. I saw the mass of objects I'd floated around in vengeance - the milkshake, the receptionist's coffee. I saw the excitement in Ellie's eyes as she introduced herself for the first time. I felt the bitter cold as I'd walked down the street still lingering on my fingertips and the embarrassment of stumbling as I took my first steps of my new life still painted across my cheeks.
The wind had picked up again and was battering on my window in a vicious attempt to keep me even more awake than I already was. It wasn't until the sky begun turning a violet colour and daylight was returning that I felt my body sinking, being dragged finally in to a sleep that I welcomed. All the while worrying that out of everything I had to think about, it was Theo's eyes that were most prominent in my mind, that watched me intently until at last, I fell asleep.