I was a freak. My parents told me I was unique, my best friend Lissa told me I was special, but I was a freak! My hair was white, not white blonde or platinum blonde, but white, almost silver in fact. This wasn't some faze I was going through in which my hair was dyed; I was born with white silvery hair. My eyes were red with purple veins in the irises, like albino human eyes, only I wasn't albino! My skin was a nice, rich ivory, and my lips were deep red. I was absolutely a freak!
It was in kindergarten that I realized how much of a freak I was. When I went to school for the first time, I was stared at by other kids my age, and they asked their parents what was wrong with me. I didn't understand what they meant; I had looked the same my entire life. When I asked my mother, she had told me I was unique. If it hadn't been for meeting Lissa on the first day, I probably would never have stayed in school.
Lissa was a black haired, cream skinned, blue eyed china doll. Her dark countered my light, and we seemed to click instantly. Lissa was sitting at a table and coloring with a purple crayon. When she saw me, she dropped her crayon and looked at me with wide eyes. I picked up the crayon and handed it back to her, being polite as my mommy always taught me to be.
"Are you an angel?" Lissa asked me when she shyly took the crayon away from me.
"What is an angel?" I asked.
"Sit here and I will tell you," She said. "I'm Lissa."
"I'm Parker," I said taking the seat beside her.
"Angels are people, only they are made of light and have wings, they also live in heaven, that's what my mommy says," Lissa said starting to color again. "I'll draw one for you."
"I don't think I am one," I said.
"But you are made of light," Lissa said continuing to color.
"But I live in deering, not heaven," I said confused. "Where is heaven?"
"Heaven is in the sky," Lissa said. "But angels leave heaven to come down here and be with regular people."
"I think I would know if I was an angel," I said still not used to the word. "My mommy says I am unique."
"What is that?" Lissa asked.
"I don't know," I said. "But it is what my mommy says I am."
"I think you are an angel," Lissa said.
"But I don't have wings like that," I said pointing to Lissa's drawing.
"Maybe you'll get them when you grow up," Lissa said. I shrugged and took a crayon from the box to begin coloring on a blank piece of paper.
Ever since that day, Lissa and I had been best friends. We were in every class together in elementary school, and played games on the playground where Lissa pretended to be a person in trouble, and I would save her, because I was an angel. She was so excited by the idea that I was one, I began to believe I was one too. But as we got older, and my wings never grew, I began to think I was just normal.
In third grade, I took Lissa aside, to our private hideout on the playground, and I told her I wasn't an angel.
"That's okay," She said. "You can still save all the people in trouble, and I can help!" That was the year we stopped playing our angel games on the playground. By fifth grade, Lissa had forgotten our game all together, and she was beginning to partake in sports, like basket ball. I was not coordinated enough to play sports, and no one ever picked me to be on their team, so I shied away from team activities. Instead I became very interested in fantasy and science fiction novels. I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. My favorite stories were on angels and vampires.
By the time we were in middle school, Lissa had moved on to playing field hockey. She had made many friends on the team, and they had banquets and practices and games to spend time together. I went to every game Lissa played in, and often accompanied her to practice to kill time, but I never went without a fantasy book in my hand. Some people began to talk, but Lissa and I ignored them. We were still best friends, and every Friday night we would go see the newest science fiction or fantasy movie release in the theaters.
Once, in eighth grade, Lissa called me to tell me she couldn't go to the movies with me. We had been partaking in that tradition since the third grade, and I felt a little hurt.
"Why not, we've had this planned all week?" I said a bit stubbornly.
"Well, the Field Hockey team is having a party," Lissa said slowly and quietly, as if I had asked the one question she had wanted to avoid.
"Oh," I said. It made me feel left out suddenly, that Lissa had other plans that couldn't include me.
"We can go tomorrow night," She said hopefully.
"No, its okay," I had said. "Next week will work." I had hung up after that, and ended up going to see the movie anyway, by myself. Seeing a movie alone is one of the most depressing experiences ever. There was no one for me to make jokes with, no one for me to laugh with or comment on the stupidity of the special effects. I had no one to point out plot holes to, and eventually I got bored and called my mom to pick me up early.
At home that night I was reading a book about a vampire named Basil. The story was a romance of how he fell in love with a beautiful young woman, who rejected him once she found out his true identity. She was terrified of him, and called him a monster and a killer. Basil was so heartbroken, even though his heart didn't beat, that he walked into the sun and burned himself up. His soul was taken into the arms of a beautiful angel and she carried him into the clouds. It was tragic and sad, I almost cried. I promised myself from that night on that if I was ever lucky enough to find love, I wouldn't turn it away, no matter what the truth was.
When high school started, Lissa became increasingly more interested in makeup and boys. She spent time with the field hockey team shopping at the mall and gossiping about the jock boys and who they thought would ask who to which dance. Boys didn't talk to me, look at me, or even notice me because of how I looked. I was often not invited to the sleepovers that Lissa hosted for her field hockey friends. So, I continued reading books about vampires and angels, and even dabbled in writing my own stories.
Lissa got her first boyfriend two weeks after freshman year Homecoming. He was a senior, captain of the football team with a red sports car bought by his rich parents. Lissa was in freshman heaven and I was cast aside further for time she wanted to spend with James. Of course, Friday nights, Lissa and I still went to movies, mostly, but they were no longer the types of movies I enjoyed, fantasy and science fiction. Now the movies were romances, teen dramas, and other chick flicks. I didn't mind them, because I got to spend time with Lissa, but I got bored of them quickly.
Once sophomore year of high school started and I showed Lissa my newest science fiction and fantasy books to add to my collection she had looked down her nose at me.
"Still dreaming of fantasy worlds?" She asked treating me like a child. That was the last day I ever spoke to her of my reading or writing. She had once listened on the edge of her seat to the stories I wrote, usually featuring the beautiful Princess Lissa, but now she laughed at them and waved me away. I was afraid that my friend was slipping out of my reach. As much as I enjoyed everything about fantasy reading and writing, I knew I had to change my interests in order to continue my lifelong friendship with Lissa. Christmas of sophomore year of high school, I burned my fantasy book collection in a festival fire in the neighborhood. Lissa stood with me and held my hand.
"You know it is for the best," She whispered to me. I nodded, but felt torn up inside. That same Holiday, the neighbor woman, who had been pretty old and frail, passed away from the cold. Her house was cleaned out by family, put up for sale, and sold almost immediately, despite the crappy housing market and the fact that no one ever even came to see the house.
By the New Year, Lissa and James were done, because he left for college. We both held each other and cried for hours as she felt the loss of her first love. By the time school started after Christmas break, Lissa was dating a new senior jock, Marcus. Lissa began to teach me how to use makeup, and despite my discomfort with it, I went along, but still getting away with using as little as possible.
"You could dye your hair you know," Lissa said. "Maybe a golden blonde."
"I'll think about it," I said realizing in that instant that Lissa and I were more different than I had ever imagined. She had once praised my looks, saying I was an angelic being. Now everything to her was about fitting in, being normal, and not making waves. She wanted me to blend in too so we could continue being friends.
On the day Marcus graduated and broke up with Lissa, a new family moved into the house next door to mine. Lissa was over at my house, completely distraught. We had been eating ice cream and she had been crying about the loss of the love of her life. It was four in the afternoon on a cloudy summer day, and my mother knocked on my bedroom door.
"Girls, the new neighbors are here. Did you want to meet them?" She asked poking her head into my room. Lissa was about to turn sixteen, and I was closer to seventeen.
"What are they like?" I asked.
"A man, his son, and his nephew who lives with them," My mother said. "The boys will be attending your school in the fall as juniors," She added letting us know they were our age.
"Oh my gosh!" Lissa said jumping out of my bed and spilling ice cream on my comforter. "I can't meet two boys looking like this!" She said. "Parker, I need your minimal makeup stash," She said searching through a drawer in my desk. I gave a soft eye role when she wasn't looking, and got out of my bed to clean up the ice cream spill.
"You look fine, Lissa," I told her. She disagreed and manically applied makeup. Once Lissa was satisfied that her face was not red and blotchy from crying, and that she looked cute enough to meet new boys, we headed down to see my mom already in their front lawn talking to the man.
"Girls," She said motioning Lissa and me over to her. "This is Malakye, our new neighbor," My mother said introducing the man. "This is my daughter Parker, and her best friend Lissa."
"Pleased to meet you both," Malakye said with a nod at us both. He was young, younger than I would have imagined to have a son and nephew our age, both in his charge. He was tall, handsome, and had a nice little scruff of facial hair.
"Welcome to the neighborhood," I said smiling at him. He double took when he looked at me directly, not something I was unaccustomed to, but Malakye looked appreciative, not worried. I got the sense from him that we would get along very well.
It was at that moment that two boys, no older than seventeen, and they looked like complete polar opposites. They both stood at around six feet tall, maybe six one, and had a similar slim build that wasn't lanky but graceful. One of them had blonde hair that was about shoulder length, and he had piercing blue eyes that looked almost as human as my own. The other had black hair that was even longer, almost down to his shoulder blades, and his eyes were black, completely. They were both surprisingly pale, but no denying that they were absolutely good looking.
"Boys," Malakye said. "Meet our new neighbors. This is Blanche," He said motioning to my mother. "Her daughter Parker, and a family friend, Lissa, this is my son Damian and my nephew Lucian." Lucian had the blonde hair and Damian the black. When they looked at Lissa they smiled at her and she beamed, but both the boys took a minute longer than normal to look at me.
"It is nice to meet you two," Damian said with a small bow of respect that made Lissa melt beside me. Damian took my hand to shake, but instead he turned it up and pressed his lips to the back of my hand in an act of chivalry I had never seen!
"Parker, I presume," He said, my name sounding like a soft purr as he spoke it.
"Yes," I said retracting my hand from him a little quickly.
"Hi, I'm Lissa," Lissa said stepping between Damian and me. She shook his hand. "You are so lucky that the two of you met me, I can show you everything about this town before school starts in a month," She said casting me aside. I took a few steps out of her way, Damian looked at me like he had been hijacked, and I felt Lucian standing beside me.
"Parker, I'm going to take Malakye down town and show him around," My mother said. "Keep the boys company?" She asked.
I nodded, but didn't feel too thrilled about it.
"You smell amazing," Lucian said and I realized he was standing closer than I felt comfortable with.
"It's called a shower, soap, water, shampoo," I said in a duh voice.
"Naked, yes, I know the drill," He said raising a perfectly arched blonde eyebrow at me. I buried the urge to hit him. "I meant you smell good on the inside."
"No offense, Lucian, but that is a little creepy, and you are kind of impinging on my personal space," I said taking a step away from him. He flashed me a beautiful smile with shiny white teeth. My heart thudded in my chest, faster, and I was surprised by his reaction.
"Already studying for the SAT's?" He joked, making fun of my use of such a big word. "You have beautiful eyes," He added. He was mocking my looks now!
"Can't help being a freak," I said automatically. I sighed and turned to look at Lissa and Damian. Lucian hooked his hand around my face and pulled me back to face him so I was looking into his bright blue eyes that were endless pools of sapphire liquid.
"You're eyes are beautiful," He said. There was no longer a trace of mocking or laughter in his voice. I had never gotten a compliment on my looks before, least of all from a guy, and a good looking one at that!
"Th-thanks," I stammered, trying to break his hold on my face. He held me to look at him a little longer. Something about him wasn't right, I realized as I looked at him. He was…dangerous, and every fiber of my body suddenly kicked into defense mode. I pulled away from him.
"Personal boundaries, get some," I said sharply. Lissa tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to face her, glad for an excuse to look away from Lucian.
"Parker, my mom and dad want me home," She said looking bummed. "Something about wanting to talk about Marcus leaving," She said with an irritated eye role. For someone who was devastated about the loss of her boyfriend less than an hour ago, Lissa had certainly bounced back from it!
"Okay, we will hang out again soon," I told her, more for my own benefit.
"How about tomorrow?" She asked excitedly.
"You have field hockey practice," I said.
"I'll blow it off," She said smiling and glancing over at Lucian and Damian. Never once had Lissa skipped a sports practice, and certainly not to hang out with me. This was all about my new neighbors.
"Yea, I'll see you tomorrow," I said although there was no enthusiasm in my voice. Lissa walked away, and once she turned the corner down the block, I realized I was alone with my new neighbors.
"How do you like your new house?" I asked trying to awkwardly make conversation. I wondered if they would leave, now that the beautiful Lissa was gone.
"It is a little more cramped than our last place," Damian said looking almost relieved to speak to me.
"This is a nice neighborhood," I said not really knowing where I was going with that statement. The house that Damian and Lucian lived in was the biggest house in the neighborhood. They must have been used to much swankier places. Damian had walked closer to me, and Lucian had backed away. He was leaning casually against a tree in their front lawn, watching me with hooded eyes. I tried to keep my mind off him looking at me, which was hard because his stare felt heavy.
"Have you lived here long?" Damian asked. He was starting a conversation with me, about me. This was new. Usually boys only spoke to me to ask about Lissa.
"My whole life," I said looking at him suspiciously.
"You have gorgeous hair," Damian said pushing my silvery white hair out of my face and behind my ear. "Like moonlight." I felt something cool on my ear as his hand moved past it, and I shied away.
"Sorry, my ring is cold," He said holding up his hand to show me the ring he wore on his middle finger. The ring was old, very old, I could tell by the design. It was silver with a large D wrapped around a deep green stone that had red flecks in it.
"Bloodstone?" I asked recognizing the gem.
"Yes," Damian said looking surprised. "As the eldest men in our generation, Lucian and I both have one, only his bears and L."
"It is, well, other than big and bulky, it is very pretty," I said with a nervous laugh. I looked over to the tree where Lucian had been lounging. He wasn't there anymore. "Um…I should go, I need to make dinner for my mom," I said making up a good excuse to leave, and then deciding to do my mom that favor once I was back at my house.
The day two new boys move in next door is the day I first get noticed by the opposite sex. It was eerie. The feeling of danger I had gotten from Lucian I hadn't sensed in Damian at all, but there was something off about both of them.