Fly With Me
Chapter 2: The Mob is UnpredictableThe clunking of glasses was the only sound for a few minutes at the table. The guy with the glasses would lift up his glass and tip it to his lips every few seconds, his hands still shaking considerably though we had never been in any real danger.
“Why did you run out into the street like that?” He demanded. I took a sip of my water while I casually glanced at my watch: 3:57; that meant that this would be the third time he had asked in a total of five minutes.
“Look, dude, we were perfectly safe. Cars tend to try to avoid pedestrians.” I actually hadn’t seen the car when I had dragged him into the street behind me, and had only noticed that it was coming towards us a bit too late. As the red minivan screeched to a halt I pulled him the rest of the way across the street, the driver of the car yelling at us until we were out of sight.
“You pulled us in front of a moving vehicle; that is not perfectly safe.” With trembling hands, the young man in front of me pushed his light brown hair back. “What was I thinking going with you?”
I ignored him and stared out of the window, wondering what I was thinking actually offering to take him with me. Taking him with me from place to place just wasn’t a good idea. Briefly, I turned the idea of just leaving him here at the café over in my head. The more I thought about it, the more I like the idea. I felt a small smile flit across my lips as I began to plot my escape.
“What are you smiling at?” The man grunted from across the table, still seeming disgruntled about our little run in with the minivan.
“Oh, nothing, I’m just thinking.” I turned back towards Glasses-guy, and let the smile bloom across my face. “I never did catch your name, what was it again?”
“Brandon.” One slim finger pushed his glasses back up his nose. “Brandon Nickson.”
“Well, Mr. Nickson, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” I reached my hand out towards him and he shook it tentatively. “I’m Calypso.”
“Calypso?” Brandon’s eyebrows shot up and an excited light flashed across his face. “I may just use that sometime.”
“Use it?” One of my eyebrows quirked upwards at his odd reaction to my pseudonym; most people just nodded and said ‘that’s a cool name’. No one had ever wanted to ‘use it’ before. “What do you mean use it?” My confusion only grew when he whipped a small notebook and a pen out of his pocket and wrote my name down on one of the pages.
The pages that were facing me were covered with small sketches and words in sloppy handwriting. Although everything was upside-down, I could make out a few names and small snatches of description.
Once he had scribbled my name down, he opened his mouth excitedly, like a small child about to tell someone something fantastic, but then he quickly shut it and looked away, his face turning a deep red. “Just… you know, use it… for a… a project.” Brandon’s voice got quieter with each stammered word, and his face became redder.
My dark eyebrow went higher, but I didn’t comment on his obvious dishonesty; I had only known the guy for all of thirty minutes anyways. “Oh, that’s cool,” I said instead, and started to stir around the ice in my glass with my small plastic straw.
Brandon surveyed my drink over a nose wrinkled with distaste, “You know that you’re several times more likely to backwash while using a straw?” As if to accentuate his point, he picked up his own straw-free glass and tipped it to his lips.
“Did you know that drinking like that makes it more likely for the acid in soda to decay the enamel in your teeth?” I smirked a little bit as I countered his factoid with one of my own.
Disappointed that he hadn’t one-upped me, the nerdy boy looked down at his glass and started tracing its rim with his right ring finger. While he did that, I waved over the waitress and asked for the check. She nodded, departed, then returned quickly with the bill. I slipped a twenty onto the plastic holder, stood and headed towards the door as fast as my legs would take me without actually running.
“Hey! Where are you going?” So much for escaping unnoticed. I turned around and Brandon ran smack dab into my face.
“I’m leaving, were there any doubts about that?”
“You’re leaving without me?” Brandon’s glasses made his eyes look big, but when he widened them from behind, they seemed even larger.
“That would be the idea, yes.” With that brusque reply, I turned on my heel and started off again, but the boy caught me by my wrist and held me in place with a surprising gentle strength. “What do you want?” I exasperatedly said, getting ready to break his wrist and walk away.
“You can’t leave without me.” He replied simply, keeping eye contact with me through the lenses of his glasses. It sounded like he was trying to sound calm and confident, but his voice was still slightly tremulous.
“Why not? We got away from the co—the mob, and you should be perfectly safe now.” I tried to pull my arm out of his grasp, but failed.
“But—But they’ve seen my face, they’ve seen you with me. Won’t they,” he swallowed heavily, his Adam’s apple bobbing, “kill me?”
I stared at the guy with wide eyes; he had watched one too many mobster movies. “No, you’re safe now. Now, chill out, and let go of my arm.” I tugged again, trying to free my limb from his grasp, but he held onto it stubbornly.
With a depressed sigh, Brandon let his grasp loosen on my arm until I could easily slide it away from him. He let his arms drop and head fall as he heaved another huge sigh, “If I die, it will be on your head,” he mumbled, then turned away and walked back towards the building we had escaped from.
I snorted and turned on my heel before stalking away in the opposite direction. Honestly, who actually believes a complete, random stranger when she tells him that she’s being chased by the mob? A complete idiot, that’s who. I repeated these thoughts in my head to fight a feeling of unease that had settled comfortably in my stomach and started to grow.
If he was naïve enough to believe me he was obviously stupid enough to get himself hurt while trying to stay safe. The thought of being responsible for a third death sickened me, but I ignored it and continued walking.
Memories of the grief and sense of hopelessness I had felt when I had discovered I had accidentally killed my parents started swirling about in my head and I grimaced. They were killed because of me… it could happen to that stupid kid too.
I fought with myself for several minutes before I finally stopped where I was and looked back over my shoulder to see if he was anywhere in sight. If he was, I could just make sure he was okay, then walk okay. So, of course, he was nowhere near me.
With a groan at what I was about to do, I turned around completely and jogged off in the direction he had vanished in.
It didn’t take me long to find him. Brandon seemed to be a very slow walker and had only made it a couple of blocks away from the café. He didn’t seem to notice me as I walked behind him like a stalker. I toyed with the idea of just checking on him then leaving, but my gut wouldn’t let me just do that. I had to make sure he was safe—for the sake of my conscience.
My own pride, however, restrained me from making my presence known to him. I followed him through the streets of New York, the fall leaves crunching under my feet pleasantly, for another three blocks. A few times I would reach my hand out to stop him, but each time I pulled my hand back before it could make contact with his shoulder.
Finally, after about a mile, Brandon stopped and whirled around to face me. “Why are you following me?” he demanded, dark eyebrows furrowed.
I was taken aback at his knowledge that I had been following him this whole time. “I…” I blinked once and gathered myself together, “I’m a stalker; didn’t I tell you that?” Lifting one corner in a playful smile, I surveyed the man in front of me in hopes that he would find my response amusing.
My hopes were not met, however, and with a single serious look from the young man, my smile shriveled. “Weren’t you leaving?”
“I was… but, you know, I started thinking, and, uh, thought that it might be a good idea if you…came with me?”
One corner of Brandon’s mouth moved a little bit, “Why the sudden change of heart?”
I considered telling him, but the twist in my stomach at the thought of having to admit to killing my parents out loud quickly deterred me. “No reason.” Giving him a quick smile, I pushed my dark hair behind one ear and out of my face. “Besides, what have you got to lose by coming with me?”
“This isn’t some teenage novel, Calypso. I don’t know you; I have no reason to trust you.”
“Just twenty minutes ago, you were begging me to take you with me!” I groaned, trying to hold in my frustration.
“That was before I had time to think about this rationally.” If he didn’t sound nerdy enough, he only made himself look nerdier by pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I’m not going to charge off into the Unknown with a girl I met an hour ago.”
I inwardly slapped myself; the more time I stood here and argued with this Brandon Nickson guy, the more I regretted my decision to go after him.
“Fine.” I snapped, “But because I’ve given you the chance to come with me, if you do die your death is no longer on my head.”
Brandon’s Caucasian face paled considerably at the word ‘death’ and he looked as if he was seriously reconsidering my offer. “Y-you said I would be safe.” He countered, though his confidence had definitely taken a blow.
“The mob is pretty unpredictable…” I grinned and started to turn away from him, confident that I had successfully won the discussion. “You never know what they’re going to do.”
One step… two steps… thr—“Calypso, wait!”
“Ye-es?” I replied in a sing-song voice.
“I…I guess I’ll go with you. But I have a few conditions.”
Snorting in a very unladylike manner, I shook my head, “I’m the one in charge here, buddy. You can take my offer or leave it. No negotiating.” I smirked a little bit and raised one eyebrow, “Deal?” For the second time that day I extended my hand towards him, and for the second time he looked at it like it was a poisonous snake waiting to strike.
He hesitated a moment before taking my hand and shaking it firmly, “Why do I feel like I just sold my soul to the devil?” Brandon groaned, letting his head loll.
“Because that’s exactly what you just did, babe.” With another huge grin, I gave his hand one last shake before letting it go. “Now let’s be off, Monsieur Nickson. We’ve got to get out of here, like, yesterday.”