Lighting the Shadows

July 25, 2012
By Taki_Chou, Camas, Washington
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Taki_Chou, Camas, Washington
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Favorite Quote:
carpe diem...sieze the day!


Author's note: This story took forever. Whats funny is that it all started by one little word. But that little word exploded into something special.

Drip

Drip


Drip
That was all I could hear in the creaky, old house. My mother told me that houses were alive, like they lived and breathed as people. Though she mostly said this to me because it was an excuse to tell me that the noises I heard at night was the house, not monsters. Thing is… there was something in the house, and I haven’t a clue as to what it was. Now people think I’m Schizophrenic, but I’m not, trust me. I’ve known there was something around since I could remember.
My mom used to tell me that there was no such thing as monsters and that I shouldn’t be afraid of old houses. She said that they hold stories, secrets, and memories of the many people who lived there. I understood what she was saying and it comforted me… for a while. Then the weird stuff started happening. I was only seven and I thought it happened to others. My mom thought I was crazy and all that jazz, I wasn’t by the way. She took me to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a psychic. Really mom, I needed a psychic? What are they going to do to help? Tell me I was this person in my past life? Or how I’m going to marry into wealth? Yeah sure that helped a bunch.
No one could find out what was wrong with me. My parents thought it was where we were living, nope not that. So they decided to pack up me and move in with my great-aunt. The thing about my great-aunt is that she lived in this big old house that had over twelve rooms. All of them housed thousands of cobwebs and the works of creepy crawlies. She used to have servants and workers, but this was when my great-uncle was still alive, now he’s six feet under in the family plot. She sent them away because she was losing it and thought they were stealing from her and the house. So she lived in a ginormous house that she barely cleaned, well the upstairs mostly. She slept and resided in a room on the bottom floor.
I loved my great-aunt. She may have been a little loopy but she’s amazing. From the stories my mom tells me she was once a dancer. She danced all around the world, for famous people and royalty. She must’ve lived a wonderful life. My mom told me her name was Cecilia Marie Matthews. Her maiden name was Dread, scary how her maiden name is my last name. My great-aunt was one of my favorite persons to be with. But she’s gone now. Someplace where she can dance and be with great-uncle Logan. Yes she is dead and she left her house and belongings to the only people who cared about her and stuck with her till the end.
I sleep in the same room she had when she was a teenager before going off and marrying my great-uncle. Her room is much larger than my old one. Even when most of my medical equipment and medicine cabinet takes up half the room, I still have room for some personal items... I am sick but not dying. I won’t be dying anytime soon...hopefully. What consists of my room is nothing important because most of the stuff in there shouldn’t be in a teenager’s room. I don’t have a desk, television set, or a stereo. These are things my great-aunt didn’t have when she was a teenager so I was no exception. I do have her old record player. She used to play it from six to nine. Her excuse every time was that she didn’t want the silence to creep in and take her.
My mom and I had put up a big fight. The reason my mom wanted the record player was to keep in Cecelia's room. I had thrown a fit, like a normal 13 year old, and won. But mom gave me a condition, to not play it when Ana was at home. I had no problem with this because she was barely home in the first place.
The last time I went into Cecelia’s room was once, and that was to get the things she left to me in her makeshift will, though the lawyer couldn’t read her cursive chicken scratch... I got the record player, her jewelry box and the contents it contained, an old key (no clue what it goes to), and a large, old box with a lock on it…but no key. I had thought the key went to the box, but I didn’t expect it to work or to be that easy, nothing was easy with Cecilia. My little sister threw a tantrum because I got Cecelia’s pearls. Christiana always had her eyes on the pearls the day she saw them. She would bring them up in every conversation she had with Cecilia. I thought it disrespectful when she brought them up as well as the topic of her time coming to curtain call. But they are mine and having hid them well enough, even to the point where I have to remember where they were.
Drip


Drip


Drip
That sound came again and my curiosity piqued with every drip. I couldn’t leave the room, not because of fear, but because of the equipment I was hooked up to. If I could just get the tubes out I could take my I.V and walk any where. Taking out the tube connected to my oxygen tank was easy enough; I can’t waste the oxygen though. I had become a pro at taking the medical equipment out or off of me without setting off any alarms. Stepping out of bed and tip-toeing around it and the equipment was a talent I mastered at the age of 4. My room was dark except for the street lights streaming in through my dormer windows. I had pulled the blinds up before going to bed just so I could see outside. My door seemed so far away, dragging my I.V along with wasn’t an easy task. You’d think that after all these years with the equipment I would be able to get around quicker with it, nope not easy then and not now.
Opening the door was harder than I thought; it was probably jammed, which was common for my door, it’s always my door. Pulling at the door helped some; hopefully it didn’t swing open and bang against the wall. Light flooded my room by a crack made by the opening in the door. I peered out into the hall and looked left and right. Nothing except hall tables, flowers, windows and the other bedroom doors. I could feel that something or someone was still awake. I was hoping it wasn’t one of the shadows or silence Cecilia kept talking about before she hit the earth bed. I walked to my parents’ door and peeked through the crack their door made. Mom was asleep with a book in her lap; dad was lying on his stomach with the blankets up and over his head. Mom had her reading glasses off so that meant she was most definitely asleep.
Backing from their door and heading down the hall to my sisters room I heard that same noise.
Drip

Drip


Drip
“What is that?!” I whispered to the house and maybe to my sister if she was still awake or if she was even there. My sister may have been 2 years younger than me, but that doesn’t stop her from sneaking out from time to time. I could never do that. What with my sickness and all, can’t really bring an I.V into a party or a club. But I had to make sure if she was or wasn’t in her room, I sneaked over to her door and peered through the crack it made. She was sprawled out on the bed with some clubbing clothes on. Yep, she went out with that guy… what’s his name again? Jamie I think … well it was debate time, do I wake her or do I let her get in trouble. I still had to get back at her for losing one of my albums, but this is not how I wanted to do it. I also didn’t want to get in trouble for disconnecting myself…again. I knew she would tell even though I had just helped her. My decision made, I walked away from her door and towards the end of the hall that opens to the landing of the stairs.
The whole house was silent, nothing moved and nothing would. I could hear my own breathing, labored from walking all the way down the hall from my room. Taking a break was in my book of options, so was going back to bed, and to continue forward. I had already made it halfway to where the sound was coming from, but I was also halfway to my bedroom. I had that nagging feeling that told me to go to bed, tonight is not the night to explore. I had another feeling telling me that adventure comes very few for people like me, now is the time to act and have that new adventure! I wasn’t in the mood to argue with either and I wasn’t feeling all too hot about my adventure attitude.
I chose my first feeling and turned around to head back to my room. When I turned my back to the stairs I could hear the faint sound of Glenn Miller and his band playing “In the Mood”; I could tell that they had been going at it for quite awhile. Thinking of that song made me think of The Shining, that creepy movie about that haunted hotel. I don’t know how it could be playing, I have the record player. Curiosity had kicked in and I descended the stairs quietly but quickly. A thought came to me and I paused in the middle of the stairs. What if it was the shadow/silence that Cecilia mentioned before? Was it or were they coming for me and this music deal just a ruse to get me to them? I couldn’t tell if the music was from the radio or from some other thing. I felt the pressure of curiosity and fear dominating me. I couldn’t tell which to choose. Besides, that wasn’t the noise that got me out of bed.
Then there was silence. The music stopped and that was more than enough convincing to get me back into bed and to wait for the morning. I was so not ready to die at the age of eighteen especially when I’m going to start it soon. Turning on my heel and turning my back to the landing of the stairs and walked up. My bedroom wasn’t too far away so there was no reason to be afraid. Something was there, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of someone/thing being behind me. I didn’t dare look back, not even a peek. After reaching the top of the stairs I kept walking. I had just passed my sister’s room when I heard the music again, only it was fainter and sounded like it was dying. I ignored it and kept walking. I had passed my parents door. ‘Almost there, soon I’ll be safe and cozy in-.’ Thump! Looking back I could see that my I.V cord got caught on a table knob and made the I.V stand fall to the floor I didn’t dare look at the stairs as I was trying to get my I.V cord untangled. ‘Almost got it…’ I had a small victory after getting it, before I realized I was still not in the safety of my room. Jogging back to my door (what I considered jogging, but walking to others) the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I tried my damned hardest not to look back.
I looked back…

There was nothing except the stairs and the windows. I was worrying over nothing. Turning toward my door I stopped short. It was Cecilia, only she was younger, like she was twenty. Striking auburn hair, cool, ocean eyes, and a body that would put any woman to shame. But she was dead and yet she was here. “Now you listen here! I did not go to all this trouble just to be ignored!” she screamed at me with annoyance. I was too shocked to move or to even speak. “I have things to say that are important! Now listen… you need to leave. It’s as simple as that. They only want you, no one else. They got Logan, they got Leila, and they got me. I don’t want them getting you too.” I couldn’t tell if she was serious or not but then I saw her face and knew that she meant business. She said her daughter’s name out loud. “Why me, I didn’t do anything.” I asked her with a heavy dose of confusion in my voice. “You were dying, and that’s good enough for them. I don’t know why they chose you instead of others out there, but they chose you.”I paused before I spoke, I didn’t know if I was going to see or hear from her again, “Is it the house, the land? What is it?” I whispered breathlessly. “It’s nothing to do with the house or the land. Its people, it’s always been the people. They choose who comes and who goes.” “Who or what are they?!”I whispered furiously “You’ll find out soon enough if you stay here.” As she was saying this, the clock struck 3. “I have to go, I love you moppet.” With that said, Cecilia had vanished down the stairs.
My bedroom was a welcome sight for my tired, weak eyes. I was exhausted and I was done with the night. I could feel a lecture coming on in the morning. Mom would find out, what with all the noise I made. I really wanted to forget the night; it would be better if I did. I fell in bed, not really getting comfortable for a while; just thinking on the things that just happened. I couldn’t get what Cecilia said out of my head. ‘What was she talking about? Was it the silence or shadows she kept mentioning before she died?’ I had to know why she wanted me out, I knew she wanted to protect me but I can’t just leave. This was my home now, my family was here, and though the friends department was empty, I still wanted to stay. My mind was starting to wander to other things and it warned me that sleep was coming, and coming fast…
“Don’t forget what I said…you need to leave…”

Chapter Two

I woke with a start. It was 9 and the bus had come and gone. No school for me; can’t with all the things I needed to take every hour of the day. I was home schooled, had been since I was diagnosed. The doctors said what I was rare, but they did know what worked and what didn’t from the research.
“Hey! Get out of bed and come eat! I know you’re awake!” Mom, she always knew how to wake us up. Though I don’t know how she knows we are awake. Stepping out of bed and walking sleepily to my wardrobe, I could barely tell that my jewelry box door was askew. ‘Why can’t she ever ask me to borrow my property?’ I thought bitterly. I walked over to it and peered inside.

Nothing, absolutely nothing was missing. I was taken back. I knew she was looking for the pearls. ‘She won’t find them,’ I thought with smug satisfaction. But just to make sure, I checked the hiding spot, the record player. There was a secret nook in it. It was made this way in WWII when spies were involved and they had to hide secret info in places where police and others wouldn’t normally look. But the difficult part about it was to get the record player to play like normal without anything to give it away. I took the recent record that I had played the other day and pressed the secret button. The click came and I knew I was in.
Before I could stop them, the pearls were tumbling out, and so did two rings. ‘That’s weird… I never put rings in here.’ I picked up the rings and started to study them. One was silver and had a really interesting stone. The other was in gold and also had an interesting stone. I put them on my dressing table and began my search for an outfit.
Not much I could choose from; all my outfits were meant to be taken off quickly in a time of emergency. Not willing to dwell to long on my previous outfit, pajamas, robe, and slippers I worn at the hospital 3 days ago... I walked into my large closet and looked at the left side. Should I wear green or red? Mom wouldn’t care if I wore either, just as long as they were simple and she didn’t tell me to go change.
As I had just started to get the water the right temperature, in comes Christiana into my room. “Aha! There you are!” I heard her whisper silently, as if on some spy mission. Just before she could turn towards the door, I walked out, acting as if I didn’t hear her. “Put them down.” I said without a look at her, my eyes were more interested to what lay on my dressing table.

“But you don’t need them! I should have gotten them! I begged her and she never said anything about giving them to you!” I knew who she was talking about, I knew Cecilia never said she would give them to me, it just happened. I was getting annoyed and curious as to why she needed them on this day. It was Tuesday, a normal day of school for her, and it was spaghetti night. “Why do you need them?” I inquired dryly, my face of boredom in place. “I need them for a school thing,” She answered distractedly, staring at them like a wolf. “Not happening. What teacher would need them?” I asked exasperated at the same old excuse. “I need them for my um, my history teacher! We need to bring in something that once belonged to someone in our family.”
‘Like I’m going to buy that line again’ I remember the last time she used that bit on me. I let her borrow a vintage broach. Her Excuse,” I left it in my locker so it wouldn’t get damaged?” Not falling for it. “No, not happening like last time.” I know it sounds awful, but she always takes my things without asking. I grabbed the pearls turned my back on her and walked to the bathroom. “That’s not fair and you know it!!!” she yelled at my back, walking out and slamming the door behind her in a single huff. “What’s all this yelling?! I need sleep!” a simple statement and everyone knew, Dad’s up. Bellowing and growling like the bear he is. My door was closed so I had no worries about my dad thinking it was me.
The bathtub was close to overflowing. I ran to the knob and turned it off. I grabbed the stopper and took it out to drain some. While doing all this I took the time to notice that the water was freezing. ‘That’s odd… I know I turned the hot water on more than the cold’. I decided that I might as well drain it completely and start on a shower. I don’t like them, but at the moment I didn’t care. The thing with the shower was that I barely remembered how it worked but I somehow always figured it out. I got undressed and stepped in quickly, too quickly. I ran into the wall and fell to the floor in a tangle of limbs. My legs were crossed over each other, my left arm was underneath my back and my right was underneath my head.
My head was throbbing by the time I got out. I finished and had barely enough time to change before my mom would come up. She was always more concerned for my safety than my sister. I think that was why Christiana somewhat resented me at times. Especially during birthdays, I always got more than her. Bu that is going to change, I had a feeling my sister was going to flip someday during this week. I only have to wait 3 more days for my birthday, and I think she’s planning something. I dressed quickly and headed out the door, but then I remembered the two things that had caught my attention most of the morning.
Turning around, I could see the rings were still where I had left them. They looked so natural lying there on the dressing table. I debated on whether I should bring them to my mom, but she might claim they were hers… or worse, Christiana might say she wanted these too! Oh the pure pressure of what to do…”I got it! I can ask for a ride to town!” I said out loud, too loud for Dad. “I won’t say it again! I am tired and I can’t take much more of the noise! Keep it down or get punished!!!” I think I felt the whole house moved when my dad talked. I had to work fast because my needed ride was leaving when my sister left. I grabbed the rings and booked it down the stairs to the breakfast nook.
Mom was slowly reading the paper and my sister was eating her waffles like a hound. ‘Uh oh… waffle day, which means if she is eating like a fiend than that means there are only a few left…’ I grabbed a plate and rushed to where the waffles were. All the while my sister was trying to stuff her face to get her plate empty for more. I made it and grabbed the remaining waffles and put them on my plate before she could even try and duel me for them. “That’s not fair! I wanted some! You always get everything and you know it!” I couldn’t believe she was whining over waffles. I was about ready to make my defense argument but Mom beat me to it.
“Ana, I don’t want to hear it today. You’ve already had 7 and a half. You better start getting ready cause I’m going to be shoving off soon.” Ana, aka Christiana, stomped her foot once, turned on her heel and walked out. I turned towards my mom ready to ask her for a ride, but my mom had this ESP thing, she always knew what we wanted.”I’m assuming you want a ride to the mall?” I gave her a baffled look and finished what I had in my mouth.” Yeah, I was…um… thinking that I needed some things.” I knew it was highly unlikely she would listen to what I really said; she could find hidden meanings in our words even when we didn’t know it. “Oh. Well I’ll go with you. I think I can help.” I knew what she was saying; she wanted to know why I had to go on this particular day.”I’m guessing you want to know why I want to go.” I asked sheepishly. “Hmm…not really, just curious is all.” My mom could sound so nonchalant about things that involve her children and their needs.
“I found these” I said as I took out the rings from my pocket. “Now these I know about. These were Cecilia’s. She told me they were somewhere around the house. Said that if I find them I was to give them to you…don’t understand why, from what I gather they were suppose to be “stolen” along with her Glenn Miller record” she finished her coffee and got up. “I’m assuming you want to know what the gems are and if they are real.” Still baffled with what she told me I nodded mutely. ‘How can the record be stolen? I heard it last night.’ I knew where it was, in her room. I didn’t have to think twice about going in there. Privacy is privacy to anyone. She always said that to Ana. I was still in a trance when I heard my mom from the front porch yelling for me to “shake a tail feather”. I grabbed my book bag and headed out. I could see Ana in the front seat with a smug look on her face. I could almost hear her saying “look at me! I’m in the front by mom!” Smug satisfaction was radiating off of her in strong waves. I could care less if she sat on the top of the car. I put my headphones on and got ready for an exciting ride.
“Don’t make me turn around and buckle you up.” Mom always said that to us if we weren’t buckled. I buckled up quickly and stared at her, my face giving away a “are you satisfied?” look. “Ha-ha! You got told!” Ana had to open her big mouth just so she could get her opinion out there… and for mom to tell her to switch seats with me. “Mom that’s so not fair!!!! I got here first!” Ana whined, more like howled in my opinion, to mom. “Ana. Think before you talk or give opinions. I’ve had almost about a week’s worth of you and its only Monday.” I had to agree with mom there, Ana was grating my nerves as well. Ana made a big event of switching seats with me, stomping and grumbling all the way. I kept staring out the window, feeling my sisters’ heated, angry glare on the back of my head the whole way. As we pulled out I could see the old oak, taken over with Spanish moss, it had been trimmed and made the house a lot better than the days before. That tree always got my attention, even if I wasn’t anywhere near it I would start thinking of it.
Ana made another scene at the high school. She slammed the door and screamed out in frustration,” I will see you after school! I hope you have an awesome day!” then she stomped to the courtyard to meet her friends. “Well I can tell this day is just beginning…ready?” Mom can make any situation casual and comforting. I relaxed in my seat and enjoyed the ride. Mom never talked during a short car ride, it wasn’t in her forte. But then again not a lot of things were. I could feel myself falling asleep. I had to keep staring at my mom to keep myself focused on my mission, not really a mission.
My mother was short in stature but seemed tall in her own right. She has ginger hair that twisted and curled into little ringlets. Her eyes were violet; I always loved that about my mom. She still looked young even though she was 35. Mom was my hero and friend. We use to do everything together, bake, talk, etc… that was before I got sick. Even though I was eight I knew my mom like the back of my hand. Mom always knew what to say at any given moment, though she may say it as if it never happened or it was suppose to be a celebration. I feel no embarrassment saying “I love you” or “you’re so cool!” to my mom. Because in my opinion she that’s the way she was, and would always be. I see no reason to hate her or be mean to her.
The mall in Paradis, Louisiana was the size of a stadium and more. You could get anything from there. A trip to the mall in my town was an essential for every teenager. Mom tried to bring me and Ana to the mall as much as her schedule could fit. It’s what she considers “mom time”. Though it’s not a lot of time she spends with us. Going over a speed bump brought me out of my musings. I looked around and could tell that the mall was still quite a bit away. I noticed we were near the park and I felt a wave of nostalgia come over me.


~Flashback~
“Now you keep pumping your legs and then you got it.” Cecilia stopped pushing me on the swings and let me do it my own. I had never swung before and hadn’t been given the chance. Mom kept me inside or in the back or front yard because of my condition. But Cecilia never listened, she decided on this day she would take me to the park, and by George she did. My legs were moving on their own and before I know it I was swinging high. “Well I’ll be… you learn fast there sprout. Soon we can teach you what I was taught.”
I felt a swell a pride flow through me as I continued to swing…Until mommy got back from the baby doctor... ”Cecilia you know you can’t do that without speaking to me first! I can’t believe you did this!” I didn’t like when my mom yelled like that, Cecilia didn’t know any better. “Cecilia, maybe it would be best if we stopped visiting for a while.” I heard nothing after that statement and that was my chance. “NO!!! Mommy I like Cecilia! She didn’t know I wasn’t suppose to go out outside! Please don’t make me stay away!!!” I clung to my mother’s leg as I wailed. “Now you stop that. It ain’t like I’m gonna die or move. We will see each other again. I promise.” I knew I could trust Cecilia, she always kept her promises. “Till the grave” she’d tell people, when she said it she meant it. But she never said it after this promise; I knew something was final from this conversation… I didn’t know what though…

Chapter Three
“…Molly. Molly, honey, we’re here.” I could barely register mom calling my name. “There’s my love bug, you ready?” I didn’t see why everyone had to call me different names of endearment, but it felt nice. I could never figure out why I didn’t need my medicine at the moment. “Hey mom, when do I need to take my medication?” the silence didn’t last long but it stung in the air. “…I’m not sure, I had thought today wasn’t medicine day. Well… when we get home we’ll have to check the calendar and doctor”. I didn’t see why we had to get the doctor involved; he’s the one who drew up the calendar.

The mall we went to for the day was in another town, the town of Luling, Louisiana. The name itself screams sleep. Mostly hipsters lived there and some of the stores there are my type of stores. The mall was close to empty and that made me feel a little bit more comfortable. Mom knew exactly where to go, the second floor, which included almost all the clothing stores. ‘Poor Ana, she is going to be fuming when we go back to pick her up’. She was bound to see the things my mother bought for me.

“These look like they aren’t gems but stones.” I looked at the man with eagerness to know what the stones were and to get them back. “This one, I believe, is a moon stone” he said this while holding up the silver ring with the creamy white stone.” And this one is…um…I'm actually not sure…I’ll have to check the books. Come back in 20 or 30 minutes and we’ll have the answer.” He handed back the moonstone ring and shuffled into his office, closing the door behind him before I could object. I turned to my mom and she gave me this weird smile, she had the gleam in her eyes.

Twenty turned into an hour and a half for mom. “Uh mom, you do know that Ana didn’t get a thing right?” I could already feel a headache coming on, Ana was going to scream, yell, and tear her room apart. “I am very much aware that she didn’t and for a good reason. She went out last night to a club with that kid, I keep forgetting his name.” she looked at me from the corner of her eyes expecting me to say something about it. I looked down at my feet then back up. “I think his name is Jamie. She always uses the phone.” I answered sheepishly while looking into a make-up and lotion store. I know Ana was going to scream and it would be deafening.

“I know for a fact that this is a sunstone!” I was by the door listening to mom and the store-clerk yell their heads off at each other. “And I know for a fact that this is NOT a sunstone but a Garnet or a red topaz!” I was getting a headache from holding 15 bags and listening to them scream, I had to do something or I was going to the car. ”Let me see the ring and the book! I’ll see who’s right!” I half expected the clerk to ignore my request, but he obliged. I glanced at the red topaz first and compared it to the ring, ’no, not that, the color is lighter.’ I flipped the pages quickly, scanning each page for garnet. ‘No it can’t be that either the red is close but it’s darker.’ Finally I flipped to the sunstone.’ Now I know it’s a sunstone, it’s polished but it’s a sunstone.’ I closed the book, kept the ring in my hand, and turned towards the clerk and mom.

“It’s a sunstone. The other two were close mom but the colors were either lighter or darker. And the one I have is polished so the color turned different than a topaz or garnet.” I felt pretty smart after saying this, though the feeling of being told off by the clerk leaked in. “That’s pretty good… have you studied gems before? Taken a class? Saw this before?” I looked up and could see the genuine surprise on his face, sure I could hear it in his voice, but still…” thank you. Sorry but I’ve never taken a class or studied gems before, this was actually the first day I actually saw a sun and moon stone.” I answered eyes to the ground, feeling my ever famous shyness creep in; the blush on my cheeks wasn’t helping my case either. “Well you have a keen eye there! Cameron!! Come out here!”

Auburn/reddish hair, and lots of it, was what I could see through my hair curtain. He was different from the boys I had seen when I went around town. He was tall, brawny, and huge in general. ‘He is most definitely Irish.’ I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. ‘He has got to have the most alluring and attractive green eyes! Are those Hazel and gold flecks in them?’ I knew if I really stared long enough I would drown in them. His face was perfect, strong jaw, wide eyes, and full pink lips.

“Ah! There you are! This is… um sorry your name my dear.” I had barely heard his questioning voice by the way this guy, Cameron I believe, was staring at me.” Oh. It’s Molly. Molly Hayle. It’s nice to meet you.” I put my hand in front of me, expecting him to shake it. Instead he looked at in then took it at and, oh my stars, kissed my palm. My knees turned to Jell-O and my heart to butter. “It’s very nice to meet you. I am Cameron Blair.” His voice was deep and musical, every word he said had a little melody behind it.

“This girl here could tell what these were. And the fun fact… she’s never seen them before. But the problem I’m having is that these used to belong to Cecilia Matthews. She used to have me clean them every so often, back when we were young and I was still getting my bearings with this shop. But one day she didn’t come, after a year I finally realized she wasn’t coming back… now my question is how and why do you have them?” I hadn’t expected to be interrogated from him. I took a step back from the blunt way he asked me. “I … I …” I couldn’t get anything out; I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar.
“She has them because her Great Aunt gave them to her when she died.” My mom’s voice rang out from her seat by the bags and door. “She put them in the will to give to Molly, when she found them of course.” I could feel relief flood through me when my mom came to my defense. I glanced her way and gave her a thank you smile. She smiled back, got up, and walked over. “Well that’s interesting. I’ve heard of The Great Cecilia, but I never expected her to have relatives, and very pretty relatives at that.” I felt my cheeks burn with my obvious blush from what Cameron said. ‘Is he flirting or just flattering us.’ I kept my eyes on the ground for fear of facing him. My mom and the clerk, giving his name of Charles, went into the back to talk and get the rings polished and checked out.
“Now I wonder why you can’t look at me” his voice came out close to me and was a soft whisper. I didn’t get time to answer because he had lifted my chin with two of his long fingers. Our eyes clashed and I was surprised to see him take a quick intake of breath and a step back. Not the kind of reaction I was expecting. “How’d your eyes get that color?” I could almost hear the demand in his voice, but it was overshadowed by his curiosity. “What do you mean? They’re just normal eyes” I answered like anyone else except with my head down and my voice quiet and with a tint of confusion of his question. “No they aren’t, they are purple, with hints of blue and green.” He was saying as he lifted my face, his eyes bored into mine.
“Well I can now say I did something productive. Thank you for bringing these back and having them cleaned.” I heard Charles and my mom come out. Cameron and I stepped away from each other before we were caught looking suspicious.
“I’m glad we could help, I guess. Molly, you ready to hit a few more stores and some lunch?” I knew my mom wasn’t asking me if I wanted to but whether that sounded okay. “Yeah I guess. It was nice to meet you Charles! Mom can you give me a minute?” I knew my tone sounded pleading but I had to ask this guy a question. “Sure toots. I’ll wait outside… Hey Charles can you help me with these bags?” I could practically praise my mom for her comment to get Charles out. “Hey Cameron, I was wondering if I could have your number… You know what, let’s forget I asked that and say I go and die in a hole?” I blushed and started for the door, embarrassment flooding my system. ‘Real Smooth Molly, I could have said anything, anything! But I go and say that!? Molly, you are on embarrassment to the society of girls!’’
I hadn’t taken two steps before I felt a hand grip my wrist loosely.” I’d rather not give you my number, for nothing, and I would be very displeased if you died. However, I would like to give you my number, in exchange for a proper good bye.” ‘I didn’t think a good-bye will settle with me.’ “I don’t know if a number is worth a good-bye…” I let my vice trail off nonchalantly, trying to hide my excitement of a guy giving me his number. “Really, Then what would be a proper exchange?” he looked genuinely surprised and curious by my comment. “Well…maybe lunch, sometime this week?” I had never expected to blurt it out so smooth, even though I had a dozen butterflies in my chest. ’Score one for Molly!’ “Hmmm… I think that’s pretty reasonable, lunch for me and a phone number and date for you? Sound good?” My mouth dropped open at his little add-on. “A date, are you sure? Cause I know my sister might be much more interested.” I answered, though my voice quiet and shocked. “No, I would rather be in your company then hers. Do we have a deal?”

My eyes bugged out and my mouth opened into an ‘O’ and I knew I looked like a frog. ‘Mom would either flip or laugh if she saw me.’ I got my composure and put my hair behind my ear and got ready to reply. “… I guess that sounds okay. But my mom would have to check the calendar…” I almost forgot. The calendar! “Are you booked or something?” I could tell he was trying to crack a joke, but it didn’t make me feel better. “No, I might have doctor’s appointments or I might have a ‘no’ day…” I hated those days, I couldn’t go anywhere nor could I eat anything good, in teen terms. I could see the look of confusion on his face and I knew he was going to ask. “I had Acute lymphoblastic leukemia… it wasn’t bad, But I have to go to the hospital every week and take it easy. It’s kind of a deal breaker.” I knew if I kept talking I wouldn’t stop, which in my case is an everyday occurrence.
“Well Charles I’ll be sure to make that appointment. You have a good day.” My mom and Charles walked out of the back room in a nice conversation. Mom came over to me and turned to the pair of. ”Well we better head out. Molly might be getting bored or hungry, right mops?” I detested that nickname, Cecilia had to give it to me after I had chemo and it stuck. “Yeah sure, bye Charles it was nice to meet you…bye Cameron.”
My eyes trained on the ground, willing it to swallow me whole.
I heard footsteps approach and could tell my mom and Charles had gone to the front of the shop and got into another heated discussion. “Bye Molly, I hope to see you again some time.” I felt his arms around me and his voice next to my ear in a whisper. I hugged back. When would I be able to do this again? I took my one and only chance… and it felt amazing. I had wanted it to last longer but mom was done talking and waiting. I could feel Cameron place a slip of paper in my open hand, then closed it.
“Bye Mrs. Hayle, I hope to see you and Molly soon.” As Cameron said this I could feel his eyes linger on me as I walked to my mom and left the shop. The mall had lost interest to me after I left Cameron.
But my mom hadn’t noticed my sour look and continued on to a clothing store for teens. We walked out of the store an hour later with three bags and my stomach growling. “Well I think it’s time for lunch, don’t you?” I looked at my mom with pleading eyes. I knew what I wanted and I wanted confirmation from her. “Yes Molly we can go there.” I practically jumped for joy before catching up with my mom.

The waiter was a geek, no doubt about it. What’s more, he’s a flirt and I don’t mean to my mom. I could not hide my disgust any longer with the way he was going off on how we should go out sometime, all the while my mom was getting take-out for my dad. Dad practically drooled over when we walk by this place. I was about to tell the guy to jump in a river but never got the chance. “I believe she said ‘no’ ten minutes ago.” I heard a deep voice say by my right shoulder and felt an arm wrap around my left. I didn’t have to look up, I knew that voice clearly. “Uh, s-s-sorry, Please excuse me!”

I couldn’t understand why Cameron would be here. ‘Lunch break or stalker mode?’ I was musing between the two when I was interrupted.” I thought girls liked to be flirted and impressed with?” I could tell he was being playful and I didn’t like it. “Some do, me on the other hand was neither impressed nor flirting. What are you doing here?” I was genuinely curious and kept glancing to the front desk for my mom. ‘Yep, still at the counter ordering for dad.’ I wondered if she was also ordering for Ana but knew that wasn’t happening. “I am here because I forgot something and was ordered to get lunch.” I freaked for a minute, ‘does he want the number back?!’ My mini panic attack lasted until he talked. “I forgot to get your number. I’ve decided to change the terms of the deal. A number for a number, it seemed like a much fairer deal. Makes us both feel we got something out of this without straining ourselves.” I knew he was talking about my sickness and I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t sick any more but there was no point.
‘He wants my number!!’ my thoughts took a gleeful screech and I had to bite the inside of my lips to stop the smile that was forming. “Do you have a pen and paper?” I knew I didn’t, my purse was at home full of prescriptions and gum wrappers. “Yeah one second…” I could see he was probing his pockets for the requested things. He laid out the pen and stationary paper by my plate and went to the front desk to order the meal. I quickly wrote my number down and folded the paper. I continued with my meal and waited; mom came back and tried to make me guess who was here. I knew she was teasing but I wanted to mess with her, before she got anything out I made my move. “Hey mom Cameron’s here. He was at the shop we went to for the rings. Remember?” I think its fun to mess with her, she gets a stunned look on her face then she tries to come back at me, though it never works.
“Well it was nice seeing you again Cameron, but we have to go.” We had to bump into him again! We had been at the mall for 4 hours! Dads’ food got cold and mom gave it to a bum and we clearly had to go get more. With over 15 bags I was done. After saying good-bye to Cameron for the umpteenth time we headed to the restaurant to pick up our order and headed home.



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