"Huh," I asked confused. "Do I want…a job?"
"What did you think I was going to ask," Blair asked playfully.
"U-Uh," I stammered, my dark bangs straying into my eyes. "Well, I didn't expect you to ask that."
He smirked again and I swore my knees almost buckled that time. His light brown eyes matched his hair, which was the same colour, and his smile was bright but mischievous.
He reached into his pocket, pulled out a scrap piece of paper and looked back up at me, "Do you have a pen?"
"Oh, um," I mumbled, finding my purse on the ground and shuffling through it until I found an old pen at the bottom. "Here, I think this one works."
He placed the paper in the palm of his hand and, with a click of the pen, began to write something down.
"Here," he said, as he handed me the paper. "Come to this address tomorrow morning for your…interview."
I took the piece of paper from him and looked at what he had written down. In small, fancy handwriting was the address, 72 Elmgrove Drive and just beneath that was a phone number.
"I'll meet you," he explained. "Just call me when you're heading there. You won't be able to get in if I'm not with you."
"72 Elmgrove Drive," I pondered aloud. "Isn't that the giant government building a little west of downtown? The one that has all those rumors it?"
"That would be the one," he confirmed. "You can come at whatever time you'd like. Just make sure to call me first. See you later, blue eyes."
I blushed as he turned and waved goodbye. I couldn't believe he had just called me 'blue eyes', let alone offered me a job. What had I done to be offered one in the first place? On top of that, it was a that government building that everyone had rumoured to be a back-up facility for area 51 or something like that. What could a place like that want to do with me?
"Sooooo," I heard Abbey's eager voice behind me say. "Did you get his number? What did he say? Tell me everything!"
"He offered me a job," I said rather flatly, since I was still in a daze.
"A job," my red headed friend asked in confusion. "What's up with that?"
"I don't know," I shrugged. "And it's at that government building, west of downtown."
"The one people say is haunted or full of extra-terrestrial stuff," she asked. "Why did he offer you a job there? He doesn't seem like the type to work at a place like that anyway."
"I know," I sighed. "It's so confusing."
"And mysterious," Abbey squealed. "I just wish you got his number at least."
"Oh, I did," I informed her as I handed her the piece of paper with the address and phone number on it. "He also called me 'blue eyes' before he left too."
Abbey squealed again, "I knew it! He totally likes you!"
I frowned, "Why are you so happy, anyway?"
"This just means that I don't have to hear you mope about what a miserable life you're having," she joked.
I smiled at her, "Whatever, you're just jealous."
Abbey laughed and I took out my cell phone.
"You going to call your parents now," my best friend asked me.
"Ya," I sighed as I dialed the number. "I'd better call them now before anything else unexpected happens."
"Are you sure you're alright," my mom asked me for the hundredth time as we drove home that evening. The police questioning had taken longer than I thought it would have.
"I'm fine," I said irritably. "Now stop asking."
"I'm just making sure you're ok," she said defensively, quickly looking over at me with worried blue eyes as she drove. "You don't have to be mean about it."
I stared out the window as we made our way home, "I know."
My mom sighed as her light brown hair blew in the wind from the open window, "What's happening with this place? Crime just seems to be getting worse and worse. Even the towns and cities nearby are getting affected by the crime spike."
"I don't know," I shrugged. "Maybe it's the heat."
"Maybe," she agreed. "It was irregularly hot this summer…"
"Ya," I mumbled. I was too busy thinking about Blair and tomorrow's job interview. I was nervous and with all this talk about crime going up I was afraid everything was too good to be true. Maybe this was a trap.
Just then, I saw the reflection of my mom looking at me in the window.
"Do you want me to drive you to tomorrow's interview," she asked. "It would be better than going alone, since it's fairly far from the main roads."
"Could you," I asked. "I mean, you don't have to."
"Of course," my mom smiled at me. "With everything happening recently, I wouldn't dare let you go by yourself. Let's just hope that this really is an interview…and that is goes well."
"Ya," I agreed. "That would be a nice change of events."
We drove into the driveway and I looked up at our house. I guess it wasn't as average as I made it out to be when I was complaining to Abbey about it. It was nicer than most houses on our street and the inside was very cozy and modern.
As I moved to get out of the car, I could feel my outfit sticking to my skin. I had sweat in the heat all day and the warm night air was making me sweat still. I wanted nothing more than to have a nice, cool shower and go to bed.
When I finally made my way around the car, I noticed my fourteen-year-old brother, Alex, and my dad waiting on the front porch.
"Are you alright," my dad asked immediately as I stepped toward the house.
"Dad, I'm fine," I replied as I rolled my eyes in a typical teenage manner. "I'm just tired."
"Alright, well dinner is waiting for you," my dad answered with uncertainty in his light brown eyes. "I'll heat it up."
"Sure, I'm just going to go for a shower first," I told him. "I feel all sweaty and gross."
"I told you, you should have worn something more suitable for the weather," my mom nagged at me.
"Ya, Ya, I know," I sighed, as I looked toward my younger brother, who was sitting on the steps. "Did you wait out here to see if I was OK too?"
I watched my brother as he snorted. Had he not been three years younger than me, he could have been my twin, as noted by many of the people who knew us. We had the same blue eyes and dark, brown hair.
"Ya right. The air conditioning broke and it's too hot inside so I came out here to cool down," Alex replied simply.
I glared at him for a second before asking flatly, "The air conditioning broke."
"Unfortunately," my dad replied, standing up and running his hands through his short, dark brown hair. "It looks like we're going to have to buy a new one."
"This day just keeps getting better and better," I mumbled sarcastically as we all went inside.
It took me half an hour to shower and change into my old pajama shorts and a light blue tank top that was fading in colour. With my hair wrapped in a towel, I sat down to eat reheated dinner at the kitchen table, while my dad washed the dishes and my mom washed the laundry.
"So," my father spoke up. "I heard you got an interesting job offer from a strange boy today."
I looked up from my food and replied, "Ya, he offered me a job at that weird government building on the edge of town. Mom said she'll drive me there."
"Alright," my dad sighed. "Just be careful alright?"
"Of course dad," I smiled taking another bite of the stuffed chicken. "I'll kick his butt if he tries anything."
"Of course you will," my dad responded sarcastically, as he changed to drying the dishes.
"What's that supposed to mean," I asked jokingly.
My dad laughed and threw the dish towel at me, "Nothing. Now help me with these."
I sighed, as I finished off my plate of food and unwillingly began to help with the chores.
Later on, that night, I lay wide awake with a dozen questions running through my head. I couldn't sleep as I wondered what could possibly happen tomorrow. Already, I had gone through dozens of scenarios, most of which had me either kidnapped, wounded, or on the news for one reason or another.
At one point, I was so sure I felt someone else's presence in the room; I sat upright and looked around, however, I was the only one there.
The strange event only furthered my questioning and I realized that I wasn't going to get much sleep that night.
"So do you want me to wait here," my mom asked as I sat in the passenger seat of our silver Toyota, tapping my finger on my leg. "Until I see you go inside the gates at least?"
"Ya," I said distractedly as I stared at the huge building made entirely of metal and tinted one-way glass. "Can't you come in with me?"
"I know it looks intimidating from out here," my mom assured as the air conditioning blasted in our faces. "But it will be fine. Don't believe in those silly rumours."
My mom's words failed to relax me as I sat slightly forward, and clutching my brown, country styled purse. I had worn a navy blazer and pants with a white blouse this time and sincerely hoped that if I really did have to go into that building, that it would at least have air conditioning as well.
I had called Blair before we had left the house and now my mom and I were waiting on the side of the road, opposite of the giant gate, which separated us from the parking lot and the building itself. Looking out the passenger side window, all I could see was an endless field of what looked like wheat. It actually felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, even though Ridgewood was only five minutes down the road.
"Well at least we know that if he gets into the parking lot he really does work here," my mother told me reassuringly, interrupting my thoughts. "The security here is pretty tight."
"You're making me more nervous," I muttered. "…as if that were even possible."
"Sorry hun," my mother smiled at me with sympathy in her blue eyes. "It honestly won't be as bad as you think. It's just all in your head."
"I hope your right…," I trailed off when, suddenly, an idea hit me and I quickly pivoted in my seat to face my mom. "What if this is a prank or something? Maybe he was joking and we're sitting here for nothing…"
Just as the words left my mouth, a shiny, black sports car came driving down the road.
"Doesn't look like it hun," my mom pointed out, as the car in question drove up to the gates. "That's probably him now."
"Maybe it isn't him," I blurted out, watching the gates open and the car drive in. "We don't know if it's him or not. Maybe we shouldn't sit here for too long or they'll think we're spying or something."
"Just calm down," my mom insisted. "If he doesn't come in the next few minutes, we'll go back home."
"Alright," I gave in. "Five more minutes then."
For the next few minutes we sat together in the car and waited for someone to appear. When the five minutes was up my mom sighed and started to put the car in drive, "I guess he's not coming."
I began to relax, as the car started to pull forward and relief washed over me. "I guess not."
I didn't quite finish what I was saying, before the gates started to slide open again and my mom put on the brakes.
"Is that him," she asked as Blair came out from behind the gates and waved at us. "I guess it is."
I immediately tensed up and realized that this was for real. I was no longer sure that I even wanted a job anymore.
"Let's just pretend we never saw him and keep driving," I tried to persuade my mom. "We can forget this ever happened."
"Don't worry Skye," she tried to reassure me. "You'll do just fine. Besides, he already knows that we saw him. If we sped off now, that would just be rude."
I watched as Blair looked both ways, even though hardly any cars ever drove up or down the road we were on, and cross the street to where we had stopped.
My mom put down the window and I gripped my purse tighter, as the cute guy from yesterday leaned down to talk us.
"Hello," Blair greeted with that irresistible smile. "You must be Skylar's mother. I'm pleased to meet you."
He held out his hand and my mom shook it. I realized that any trace of mischievousness from yesterday was gone. He was acting like a true gentleman, which only made my anxiety worse, since I was terrible at formal things.
"It's nice to meet you too, Blair," my mother smiled. "My name is Jennifer. Skylar told me about you."
"She did," Blair asked in a playful tone, letting his childish nature show for only about a moment. "I hope it was positive."
My mother laughed, "Don't worry, she didn't say anything negative."
I couldn't believe how much of a ladies man Blair could be. Even my mother seemed awe struck by his charm. My rebellious nature started to kick in, as I swore I would not give in so easily to the womanizer.
"So, are you ready to go," Blair asked, looking over at me in the passenger's seat.
"Sure," I muttered, as I turned away from him and got out the car, hearing the loose gravel from the side of the road crunch beneath my feet. "Let's get this over with."
"Do your best hun," my mom smiled at me. "I wish you luck."
"Thanks mom," I replied, kind of embarrassed, as Blair stood there with his hands in his dress pants. "I'll call you when I'm done."
"No need," Blair interrupted. "I'll drive her home."
"Really," my mom asked him. "I wouldn't want to impose any sort of inconveniences."
"It's no problem," Blair insisted with a killer smile. "I'll bring her straight home."
"Thank you so much," my mother replied with much gratitude before rolling down the passenger's window to talk to me. "I'll see you at home then hun. Good luck again."
"Ok, see you later…," I started, as my mom began to drive off. "But aren't you-."
I didn't get to finish what I was saying, as I watched my mom drive down the road. Wasn't she supposed to wait until I got inside before she drove off? I looked at Blair and saw him grinning at me.
"What's wrong," he asked innocently. "You seem startled for some reason."
"Well I didn't expect her to…," I trailed off and wondered why I was even telling him anything. "It's nothing, let's go."
Once we crossed the road, Blair nodded to the security guard sitting in the gatekeeper booth and soon we were walking through the packed parking lot.
"I'm surprised," Blair started, as he reached into the right pocket of his pants and pulled out a pen. "That you didn't notice I took your pen yesterday."
"Oh," I replied, as I realized he hadn't given back the pen yesterday before walking off. "It's ok; you can keep it if you want."
"Perhaps if I had taken something more valuable," Blair seemed to wonder aloud to himself, as he reached into the left pocket of his pants and pulled out a set of keys on a dragonfly keychain. "Like your house keys for example."
"W-What," I stammered, opening my purse and searching through it. "When did you…?"
Blair chuckled and tossed the keys over his shoulder toward me. I stopped and caught them, before putting them back in my purse.
When could he have taken them? I had my keys this morning, so the only possible way he could have taken them, was if he had snatched them while we walked from the car to the building. However, even that would have been impossible, since he had walked in front of me the entire time.
Everything that had happened in the past twenty four hours, including this job interview, was strange and abnormal. I regarded my surroundings carefully, waiting for something horrible to happen, as we finally entered the building.
I was standing in what looked to be a reception area as a girl behind bullet proof glass looked back at me dismissively. This only caused my anxiety to become worse. After all, why was there a need for bullet proof glass?
Blair walked up to the glass and the friendly, blond receptionist looked up at Blair with a huge grin and her big blue eyes sparkling, "Hi Blair."
"Hi there Alice," Blair flirted as he grinned back. "I've got a new recruit here. Do you think you could get her a visitor's pass?"
"Sure," she replied enthusiastically as she got up from her desk and hurried to some unknown location.
"You can come over here," Blair teased, looking over at me. "I won't bite."
I frowned as I stood near the front doors and ignored his comment, "Why is there bullet proof glass?"
"Oh this," Blair asked, tapping the glass with his knuckle. "It's harmless. No need to worry about it."
"Not what I meant," I mumbled, as Alice came back with a pass that had "VISITOR" across the front of it.
"Here you go Blair," she giggled, sliding the pass through one of the openings in the glass that was along the desk. "It's great to see you by the way."
"It's good to see you too," Blair smiled. "I haven't seen you in a while."
Alice giggled again and I rolled my eyes, as I walked up to the flirting duo and took my pass from Blair.
"Someone is in rush," Blair smiled, which is all he seemed to do when ladies were around. "I thought you were scared."
"I'm not scared," I muttered. "Are we going to go now?"
"Oh I see," Blair remarked playfully. "You're jealous. That's Ok, it's understandable. Sorry Alice but we're going to go now."
"O-Oh," the wavy blond stammered. "It's ok."
I clenched my fist as Blair took out a card and swiped it by the door that was down a short hallway to the left of the reception desk. Jealous? Jealous of what? He had infuriated me for making such false assumptions.
Once we made it through the doorway, we passed a few offices and turned left, until we came to a giant steel, grey door that almost looked as though it belonged to a vault.
Blair swiped his card in the same device that was at the door before, but this time he had to put his eye up to what appeared to be a peephole. The only thing was, instead of being in the middle of the door, the peephole was beside it, on the wall. There was a quick 'bzzt' noise, before a loud clink as the door unlocked.
"Did you just scan your eye," I asked in disbelief. "I thought that was only in James Bond movies."
Blair chuckled, "The movies are going to seem a lot more believable to you soon."
"Huh," I questioned. "What are you talking about?"
Blair just smiled as he tugged the door open and revealed a giant opened room with about a hundred people scurrying to and from. The ceiling was two stories high at least and made out of glass. If everyone hadn't of been dressed up so formally, I would have thought I was standing in the middle of Ridgewood mall.
"Welcome to the pit," Blair announced proudly.
Looking up, I could see people on the second floor hurrying from office to office, while some were leaning on the railing, talking to one another and looking out at everyone on the floor below.
"Don't look so awe struck blue eyes," I heard Blair joke as he walked away. "You're getting left behind. Oh, and I took a piece of gum if you don't mind."
"Huh," I exclaimed, opening up my purse and searching through it until I found my mint gum, which was somewhere near my keys and my lip gloss. "It's empty…but I had one more…when did you?"
Blair chuckled, as I hurried to catch up to him, "You better keep up with me or you'll get lost."
"Hold on," I pleaded, while trying to avoid bumping into any people passing by. "How do you keep taking things from me, without me noticing? And how come you suddenly asked me if I wanted a job? I don't get it."
"You'll understand soon enough," Blair insisted. "Don't worry."
I frowned. That was definitely not the response I was looking for. Suddenly a gorgeous, black haired girl, carrying a clipboard came walking quickly toward us, or rather, in our general direction.
She had dark, almond eyes, olive skin and was probably as tall as Abbey. Blair started to head in her direction and I sincerely hoped he wasn't going to stop and start flirting with her too.
"Khloe," Blair called out to her, making her stop and look up at us before she went past. "This is the new host I was telling you about, Skylar."
Blair turned and gestured to me, while Khloe looked me over. Host…what was a host?
"She doesn't look like much," Khloe muttered, making my blood boil. "Are you sure she's a host?"
"I don't make mistakes when it comes to these things," Blair replied confidently. "She's definitely a host."
"Um," I started. "What's a-?"
"Well then, who's your spirit," Khloe interrupted, going to wright something down on her clipboard. "I need to know what rank to classify you as."
"My spirit," I asked confused. "What are you talking about?"
Khloe sighed and looked over at Blair, "Have you explained anything to her yet?"
"I haven't had the time," Blair admitted. "She doesn't know much of anything right now."
"Know what," I asked. "What are you t-?"
"Well it doesn't take too long to explain," Khloe interrupted again, making me clench my fist. "You're just giving me more work to do."
"You just said yourself that it doesn't take long to explain," Blair pointed out. "So it shouldn't be that much of a hassle."
"U-um," I stammered, trying to get their attention. "Excuse me."
Despite my efforts, I was completely ignored, as the two of them continued arguing. I surveyed the people around me before raising my voice a bit higher.
"Hello," I tried again, but got no answer, so I practically yelled this time. "Can you please tell me what's going on?!"
Both Khloe and Blair turned their heads simultaneously, Khloe looking pissed for getting yelled at and Blair looking slightly amused. It wasn't long before I realized all the attention was now focused back entirely on me.
"I-I just wanted to know what was going on," I stammered. "I'm pretty confused at the moment…"
"You want to know what's happening," Khloe asked simply.
"Y-Yes," I nodded. "It would be helpful."
"Fine, I will have to tell you now since Blair can't seem to do nothing but be a slacker," she muttered. "But be warned that your life, and your take on reality, is going to different…starting now."