The Things We Do....Chapter 2

September 29, 2010
“Mom!” I screamed, lurching upwards. My gaze flashed around the darkness surrounding me, my breathing quick and uneven. Cold sweat chilled me to the bone and made my flesh feel gross and clammy. How did I get back in my room? I thought to myself as my heart rate began to come down and my mind registered my surroundings. There were my posters and sketches cluttering my walls, the black oak bookshelves piled high and full with books, sketch books, and manga. Half-finished canvases leaned against the far wall waiting to be completed. The half-closed closet spilled its contents out onto the floor like an over-stuffed teddy bear. Cds lay all around, from Tchaikovsky to Slipknot. Had that really happened, or was it all just an unpleasant nightmare? Shakily, I ran my fingers through my too-long bangs.

“Ow!” I cried, clutching my shoulder. I turned on my bedside lamp and lifted the sleeve of my t-shirt. My eyes went wide. “Ah, crap….” my entire upper arm was greenish-black and blue with bruises. I carefully lifted my filthy t-shirt over my head, tossing it to my cluttered floor. Violet bruises blossomed like hurtful flowers all over my body.

There went my horribly clichéd nightmare theory.

With a heavy tired sigh, I shucked off my muddy boots and nasty jeans so that I only lay in my thin black undershirt and underwear and curled up- carefully- on my side, sheathing myself from the rest of the world in my eccentric green comforter, clicking the lamp off. I’d deal with this in the morning.

I woke to see hazy afternoon light clouding through my window in my face, making my eyes tear up from the sudden brightness. “But I’m still so tired,” I whined to the open air as I tossed aside my warm clingy comforter and trudged over to my closet, picking up a clean pair of jeans, underwear and a long-sleeved gray t-shirt. I took a quick warm shower to clean up before getting dressed and going downstairs to get some breakfast, my hair wrapped up in a towel. I made a hearty meal of toast and a mushroom-and-spinach omelet. I was rinsing off my plate when the phone rang. Drying my hands on a kitchen towel, I snatched it up on the third ring. “Hello?”

“It’s about time you finally answered!” Juliet screeched in my ear. “Do you know how many times I called, to no avail, trying to get a hold of you?!”

“Um, no?” I said, leaning against the spotless counter.

“Ten! I’ve called you ten times!”

My eyebrows rose up towards my hairline. “Really? Well what do you want?”

She made a choking sound. “Why do you assume that I want something?”

“Because you always want something, Jules. So, what is it?”

“….Will you please let me work at your job today?” I started coughing loudly in disbelief. “I know, I know! It’s just that, I met this guy last night and he said that he knew you, and I said I didn’t believe him and that we, well,… worked together-”

“You what!?”

“That’s not the worst of it. I sort of told him where you worked. And to come by. Today.”

“I could kill you, Jules.” I gasped, storming up the stairs to the bathroom and furiously throwing on some black kohl eyeliner and eye shadow, then cramming on my combat boots and heading out to my car. “I really, really could.”

“Oh god, Ariana, I really am sorry.” She said, sounding contrite, and hung up. I immediately felt bad. I mean, it wasn’t as if I didn’t have more to worry about than some guy that I didn’t know popping up at my work. I needed to go by the cemetery sometime today to check out mom’s grave- and more importantly, her effigy- and make sure that it wasn’t damaged. Because if I couldn’t see Mom every day- the very thought made me wince as I peeled out of the driveway and headed down the freeway.

I hadn’t coped well with Mom’s death in the two weeks it took for her to figure out that she could animate her statue. At first I’d been in denial, and kept asking Aunt Florence when Mom would be home. Then I’d gone catatonic, not reacting to anything unless I heard someone say something about Mom, flinching away from everyone, staying locked in my room and refusing to speak. It was right around the tenth day that I started to frequent the graveyard, acting like a haunt beside her grave.

But that was behind me. Now I was just the creepy girl who brought food and ate in the cemetery talking with her dead mother. Ugh.

Grimacing, I turned and parked at the shady spot at the end of the lot of Michael’s Craft Store and got out, locking the car behind me. Juliet’s silver Prius was already parked up front, I noticed as I walked through the door, the merry bell chiming at my entrance. “Well, good afternoon!” Jason, the store manager, laughed as he stocked a shelf with pipe cleaners. Juliet leaned against a cash register in a green t-shirt and jean shorts.

“Hey guys.” I smiled, stuffing my keys in my pocket. I’d just stepped behind the counter near Juliet when a black, sleek sports car roared around the corner and pulled up next to her Prius. Juliet went stock-still as the driver got out of the car.

“That’s him.” she hissed, clutching my sleeve terribly close to one of my bruises.

He was admittedly handsome, with hair like ebony and skin like porcelain. His eyes were a cold and haunting shade of blue that pinned me to the spot like a butterfly in a museum exhibit. He was dressed head to toe in straight black, with a long black trench coat thrown over it all, flowing behind him with every strong stride. All would wither beneath a glower such as his. The chime of the bell was almost cloyingly sweet as he entered the shop. He was walking directly towards us and without pause slid smoothly into an introduction, “Hello again Juliet. And you must be Ariana.” he gave me a heartbreaking smile. “I am Rourik. I believe we , hm, met, the other night.” the smile lowered into a knowing and secretive smirk.

“We did?” I said, dumbfounded.

“At the graveyard.” he mouthed while Juliet stared at me, wide eyed. I found myself staring at his sumptuous mouth. What did he mean, ‘At the graveyard’? Was he the werewolf? The thought chilled me. Or was he the one who saved me?

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