The Rabbit and the Wolf
I get home from school, and run to the fridge, anxiously, dropping my bag on the table as I zoom past it. Eyes only focused on one object: the fridge. Once the handle is in my hand, I whip it open and hear as it slams up against the wallI, not caring. Finding nothing, I slam it back closed, and let out a frustrated cry, then turn to pull the freezer open.
Alarmed and caught off guard, I smack my face against the freezer door. "Fudge-sticks, Dad! Holy crap. A warning would have been nice." I say as I rub my temple.
He chuckles deeply, leaning against the wall, crossing his arms as he tsks and says, "You need to be more alert, If you'd have noticed, my footsteps were easily heard."
"Well, I'm more interested in getting food in me at the moment, so I'll be able to concentrate on your footsteps later." I shut the freezer and fridge, unsatisfied. A mangled sigh erupts from my mouth. Why is all the food gone! Great, I sound like the lunatic pirate, Jack Sparrow.
"You!" I point angrily at Dad. "You, need to go shopping before I turn into a cannibal! I'm close to gnawing on you're chunky leg."
"Easy, Kiddo," he chuckles again. "School lunch hasn't gotten any better I take it?"
"Gee, what makes you say that?"
Thankfully he orders pizza. I don't have to turn into a zombie just yet. I finish off my last bite and think of a way to ask Dad about Mom's disappearance. If I straight out tell him about the note I found, he's probably gonna go nuts and not tell me anything. I have to proceed with caution. It's still a sore subject.
"I was wondering about Mom. . ."
He snaps his head up, looking rattled. "What were you wanting to know?"
"Just about the day she went missing. Something about it doesn't feel exactly. . . right to me. It feels like I'm missing something." It does. It feels like deep down I know the answer, but I can't get my memory to resurface.
"Well, the morning she went missing she left a note for me." His voice catches, emotions sticking in his throat making it hard to talk. "I was usually the first person to wake up, but she beat me." His eyes go glassy, like their back in the past. "I found a piece of paper from her on the dresser. She said she went to go meet up with someone she worked with, and that she'd see me at home after work." Frustration breaks out over his face. I hate having to ask him, knowing he'll relive the memory, but it's important that I ask. I've forced myself to not think about that note until I could talk to him about it, and now that I have I'm still lost.
"Do you know who the person was that she was meeting?" I ask hopefully.
"No, she was new. Anne never mentioned her before in detail. Just said she was recently hired and her boss wanted her to get the lady up to speed with things." He sighs heavily, resting his elbows on the table and holds his face in his hands defeated. "I know you found the note Kaylee, but I can't give you any answers. The police said the new girl vanished when your mom did, neither of them showed up for work."
"I'm sorry Dad, I just wanted to know if you knew anything." Gah, I feel horrible. I reach across the table and put my hand on his forearm.
The alarm wails in my ear. I slap it into submission like a pro. After ten years I'm finally good at something. I didn't sleep much last night. Nightmares bombarded me, competing to hold the title of which dream could scare the ever-living-shit-out-of-me more. Needless to say I feel like crap. Fifteen minutes later I'm out of the shower, erratically throwing shirts and pants onto my bed, indecisively. "Gotta look good for Zarik." I chant. If I go to school looking like I just woke up he's bound to notice me, but that's not what I'm going for. I wonder if he knows how much he affects me. Just one look and I'm turned into jelly. Physically and mentally. I blush so much around him my attraction must be known. But if I get stuck in a friend-zone hole I'm gonna die. I rush against the clock and put together an outfit I hope, will make him think twice about putting me into that category. But then I notice how pretty much all my clothes are the same. This is going to be difficult. . .
When I get to school, I see a black 2006 Grand Cherokee parked in my usual slot. Adeline and Zarik open the doors and jump down.
"Get your own parking space buddy!" I yell out my window to Zarik as I park next to them. I step out of my car, hopefully looking as good as I thought I did before I left the house. Zarik stops in his tracks when he sees me. He walks slowly to my car and stands against the opened door grinning. So far so good.
"Naw, I like this one best, thanks though." And then he's walking away.
Oooh really. We'll see who gets it tomorrow, I think evilly.
I don't usually like attention, but from Zarik I can gladly make an exception. Throughout our classes together I've felt his eyes on me multiple times, actually caught him once. He tried to make out like he was staring at the wall past my head, but I knew better. Plus, I got to see his amazing dimples again. I had to cover my mouth to muffle the horrific girly giggles. Gah, where are all these emotions coming from?
"Where'd you guys move here from anyways?" I ask at lunch. I know this would be something you'd have asked on their first day, but like I said, my social skills are more then a little rusty.
"Cali." Adeline says flatly. Something's had her in a funk this morning. Every look Zarik's given her she's avoided. Must have something to do with the telepathy conversation from yesterday.
Zarik sees my incredulous look and takes a huge bite from his ham sandwich. "It's not all it's cracked up to be."
"Right," I say unconvinced. "More there then here."
"You'd think so, but I've noticed no matter where we go it's all the same."
I want to ask what he means, but something stops me. He looks down at his sandwich losing interest. So California, sore subject. Check. I'll be sure not to bring up the past.
"So, Adeline. Wanna go shopping with me Friday after school?"
"Sure, sounds good." She slowly smiles, making me feel like a million dollar friend. Bam! Where's my cookie?
After school rolls around Friday, Adeline and I are eager to be at the mall. We rush outside and head to my car. Adeline jumps in first and waves goodbye to Zarik, who's still catching up to us. For having long legs he sure can walk like a turtle sometimes.
I flutter my eyelashes at him innocently as he makes his way to the passenger side of my car. He grins, making fuzzy warm butterflies swarm inside my stomach. My heart leaps. I love his smile. And I have to admit, these overly girly emotions and reactions have proven handy so far. Just have to rein them in before they reach Stacy level. I'm not dropping to her pathetic level.
I drive away from the school still mesmerized by Zarik's boyish charm, when Adeline interrupts me.
"So, Kaylee," she smirks. "What's going on with you and my brother?"
Busted. "Whatever do you mean?"
"Don't play coy, I have eyes ya know."
"Alright, Adeline. You win." I laugh.
"I've never seen Zarik get this close to anyone but me. I can tell he likes you." She smiles sweetly.
"You think so?" I ask eagerly
"Trust me, I know my brother."
I can't help but smile back like a fool.
"Oh my gosh! How cute is this?" Adeline asks, interrupting my Zarik induced coma once again. WE've reached the mall and are in some store. I don't know offhand which. I've been to focused on my thoughts. I look up and see she's holding up a hipster sweater with two cats on the front. One's yawning and the other has it's head practically in it's mouth.
"Interesting." I laugh
After that, we decide to go to the Food Court and grab some drinks, and I decide to pay better attention to my new best friend. I get a small, mocha latte from Starbucks and Adeline opts for a Mango Smoothie. We sit down at a bench and enjoy.
I notice how pretty Adeline is. Her big, curly red hair makes her stand out in a way I never could. Her hair reads carefree and fun. Mine is lifeless. She has a small round face, with deep brown eyes. I can tell she's a tough cookie like her brother. Her face and body may look innocent, but I'm sure she can hold her own. In a short amount of time I've grown to love having her as a friend. Her brother is an added bonus of course. Everything seems to be falling into place with them here.
"We should hang out more." I tell her.
"Totally." She replies happily.
We talk constantly going in and out of shops. Mostly sticking to Forever 21, Hot Topic, Wet Seal, and Spencers. I never go to the back half of Spencers, it's too horrifying for my eyes. Adeline had the guts to pick up dirty loungerie and wink at me. I couldn't stop blushing until we were out of the store. She seems to be okay with me liking Zarik, so that's good.
Five o'clock rolls around and it's time for me to take Adeline home. I wonder where she lives. I tell myself I won't freak out if they live in a mansion. But the reality of it is I just won't let it show.
I drive past the mall heading the way I came the other night, that leads to Infinita. When she tells me to turn into the entrance I'm flabbergasted. They live in a restaurant? That's gotta be the first. I drive around the building to the back and put the car in park.
"Infinita? You live here?" I ask dumbly.
"Yeah my Mom's a chef here, she makes the desserts usually, but sometimes does some of the real cooking. We actually live behind the kitchen, it's like a little apartment, I guess." She explains.
"I don't mean to make you uncomfortable, I just would never have guessed you could even do that."
"No, it's okay. I understand your shock." She laughs.
"At least you'll never starve." I said jokingly. We crack up laughing.
My stomach is on fire by the time we calm down. My joke wasn't even funny so I don't' know why we're laughing, but it just feels good. I haven't laughed in a long time. I'm sure my face is bright red. It feels like my whole head is on fire from the immense heat. She points and laughs at my lobster face and we're back to working out our abs.
When she gets out of the car, finally in control, she grabs her shopping bags from the backseat and waves goodbye.
I pull out of the exit and absently wonder what I'd be doing if Zarik and Adeline hadn't showed up and changed my life. I can finally forget about the pain related to Mom for a while. I feel normal again. I have friends and don't feel like a reclusive old lady for once.
A few miles past Infinita, I see a dark figure in the road. I instantly grip the steering wheel tighter, knuckles blanching against my death grip. The figure grows bigger and bigger. It looks like someone's hunched over, maybe puking? Has to be drunk. I break slowly and edge up closer to the figure, driving into the opposite lane. The figure is sure enough hunched over as if in pain, holding his stomach. For the first time, I notice no other cars are around. Something about this doesn't feel right. . .
Against my better judgement I roll down my window and get a whiff of sulfur. I hold a hand over my nose and call out to the figure.
"Hey, are you alright?"
Nothing. He doesn't even look at me to acknowledge I'm here.
"Hello?" I try again.
The figure snaps his head up and opens his mouth. A violent blood curdling scream echoes into the night air, laced with acid. The sound freezes my blood. I open my mouth to scream, but nothing comes out. He looks at me, giving a better view of his eyes. Massive black holes take ahold of mine making me cringe into the car seat, I'm unable to look away, the sight is too horrific that I just can't.
After a heftily-solid good minute of hearing such painful shrieking, he clamps his mouth shut, snapping me out of my horrified haze. My foot finds the gas pedal and slams down, tires squeal viscously against the pavement, no doubt leaving a trail.
I speed home in a blur, praying that God awful creature doesn't follow me. Better the cops then that thing. It looked like a man, and had a shirt and pants on like one, but the way he looked at me with those eyes; it felt like I was looking into my nightmare. Maybe he was just on acid or something. He was outside of a liquor store. . . But something about him is off. I'm shaky as hell.
I pull slowly into my driveway not wanting dad to think anything's wrong. Yeah, I don't think he'll believe me with what I'd tell him. I don't need a shrink more then I already do.
I turn off the headlights and look thoroughly around, finding nothing. Whatever is was it didn't follow me, thank God. Still a little shaky, I get out and hurriedly grab my things and sprint to the front door and quietly close it behind me.
Dad has the TV on in the living room watching the Discovery Channel, completely oblivious of my freaky confrontation with an unknown phsycho screaming maniac. I see a wolf take down a rabbit from where I stand, with my back up against the door from the kitchen. I shield my eyes away from the screen so I don't have to see the cute, fluffy bunny get eaten. I know how the chase ends. The wolf brings me back to the creature in the road. I bet I would have been that bunny.