Chapter 2

He smiled as he peered into the gymnasium. It was a rainy Wednesday afternoon; school was out and he was huddled behind the bleachers, waiting for her to show. Ten minutes had passed—it was three fifteen! Where could she possibly be? He had memorized her schedule; her practices were always three to five o'clock. This was the first time he had dared to watch her so openly. He had never watched her at school before.

His fingers, which had been shoved into his jacket's pockets, began to twitch nervously. He hated waiting; he was too impatient for that. His plan was still in construction, he needed to find ways of becoming undetectable. It's not like he would be missed at home: his father hardly ever left work and his mother knew he didn't like her pestering him about where he had been.

The doors of the locker room swung open and he felt his heart skip a beat. He watched and with dismay saw it was only Jessica Werner, a classmate of his, walk out of the room dressed in her practice attire. But he remembered with a glimmer of hope that if she was coming out to begin practice, Mallory shouldn't be far behind. After numerous girls filed out of the locker room, he clutched himself as he saw her exit the room.

She was dressed in spandex and a t-shirt, her lustrous hair pulled back into a bun. He felt his fingertips burn at the sensation of running his fingers through her hair. Ken watched as her long, well sculpted leg muscles flexed as she walked, her whole body curvy and desirous. Ken watched as the girls began to start practice.

Mallory sighed as she finished pulling off her knee pads and shoes. Sweat dripped down her back as she finished packing her bags in the locker room. Practice had been vigorous that day—they had a tournament that weekend against multiple large schools and their coach wanted the first place trophy badly. She pulled on a pair of sweat pants and a long sleeved shirt and began to head out of the locker room. As she exited the gymnasium and walked down the hallway, heading for the parking lot, she felt as though she was being watched. She stopped dead in her tracks and looked behind her. Suppressing the urge to call out and ask if someone was there, she kept walking.

She increased her pace to a brisk walk and made it to the parking lot. The gray sky threatened even more rain and the wind picked up, causing her hair to whip out of her bun and fly into her eyes. She unlocked her black Ford Focus and sat into the seat, rubbing her arms to try to get warmer. She hated autumn! Things were damp, wet and cold and she couldn't stand it. Why couldn't it always be spring, with its beautiful sunrises to its warm gentle breezes?

As she pulled out of her parking space and headed out of the parking lot, she didn't even notice Ken standing next to the dumpster that was parallel to the parking lot's exit and she sped out.

When she arrived at home, she lifted all her bags off the passenger's seat. That was when she noticed it. Slipped almost imperceptibly into her bag was a letter. Her name was written in cursive letters on the front. She frowned at it; who could it possibly be from? She continued on into her house and marched into her bedroom, determined to figure out its origin.

She sat down on her bed and carefully opened it. She realized that it was completely written in cursive—it was also handwritten. She unfolded it gently and began to read.

Dearest Mallory,

I know that by now my letter has piqued your interest. I know you are thinking: who could this possibly be from? Why have they sent this to me? Well, Mallory, I know you are destined for things; things that are much greater than Thorton High. You are a beautiful, charismatic and elegant woman. You do not need anything but your beauty to ensure an outstanding future. I know that you do not even realize this—yet—but I have always loved you.

I have loved you since grade school, when we used to read together and play together. Is it so selfish on my part that I wish to revisit these times? Now all your time is occupied by that great buffoon Ryan Cole. Why don't you understand, Mallory, that you deserve better than that piece of trash? You have warranted my love. Isn't that enough for you? You don't even notice me, let alone who I am. I have seen the way you look at me; do not think that I am blind to your affection.

Mallory, I love you and if you will just let me, I will cherish you. We could run away together and elope. We could go anywhere you want, I don't care! As long as you are beside me, we can accomplish anything. Friday will bring about a new change, one that is so desperately needed by this school. Just know that I will not harm you, as long as you do what I say. Don't forget that I am always watching—for your protection as well as mine.

That is where the letter ended. Mallory felt a chill run up her spine and she read into the contents of the letter. What could this possibly mean? She had a secret admirer? One that was constantly watching her? Did she have a stalker? She decided to banish these thoughts from her mind and take a shower. It had been a long, exhausting day and all she wanted to do was erase its evidence.

He watched from the window as she left the room. She was just so beautiful…and she was his. It was getting late—about eight o'clock—and he knew that it was time to act. He knew that her parents had gone out to dinner for the night and that Mallory's brother, Michael, was out to the movies with his girlfriend. This was his opportunity. He slipped in through the door that was foolishly unlocked, and crept into her bedroom.

Ken knew she was still in the shower and he didn't want to disturb her, so he decided to mill about in her room until she got back. Her room was very lovely; it was decorated nicely. It had faint pink wall paper and lace trim along the top. Her bed was placed in the corner and the TV that was set atop the dresser had been left on. He turned it off with the remote that was left on the bureau.

Every nerve in his body felt alive at this very moment. Mallory would be here any moment, and he would delightfully surprise her. He heard her walk down the hallway toward him, humming a song. His insides clenched and he licked his lips as he prepared to accept his destiny. Mallory was alone…and he was ready for her.