I hope that teenagers, like myself, read this entrancing novel and find themselves falling in...
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“This is going to be awesome!”
My close friend, Brad, practically jumped in his seat as he blabbered on about the wild party he and a bunch of other guys were throwing tonight. It was Thursday, but that didn’t stop him from getting drunk all night, waking up with a massive hangover, and dragging his feet to school the next day. I merely pretended to show interest—as usual—brushing my long, wavy brown hair that drooped low just above my green eyes.
My friends and I sat at
our normal lunch table in the spacious, chattering cafeteria, munching on thick slices of pizza while cracking jokes and laughing loudly.
“Dude,” I shook my head, grinning. “That’s what you say about every party you get wasted at; the next day, you wake up in your own puke.”
Brad scoffed; his spiky, black hair was too short to move with his head. He stopped a dropping string of cheese from falling off his chin, tucking it in his mouth. “Hey, if it’s fun, I don’t care what I wake up in,” he said through a mouthful of pepperoni. “Besides, I don’t see you chugging down vodka at those parties like I do! You don’t take risks or have any real fun.”
I rolled my eyes at his annoying comment. “You know I don’t drink,” I muttered.
“This is why you don’t understand.”
“Break it up, ladies,” Peter interrupted, messing with his tidy black hair as he did every three or four seconds. His voice was deep and skin tanned, and he was a close friend of mine. He didn’t party nearly as much as Brad, which was why the two of us could get along better, either playing video games, shooting hoops, or hitting on all the hot girls. “Can’t you guys ever agree on anything?”
“No,” we both replied simultaneously, and burst into laughter.
Daniel and James, the other two guys in the group, talked quietly about their next football game. “You don’t get it man,” Dan argued; he was burly and intimidating, just like you pictured any jock or extreme sportsman to be, with trimmed, light red hair and aggressive expression. “Look, if you play like that tomorrow, I swear I’ll break your legs so you won’t do it again.”
Daniel usually sounded serious, but he hardly meant half the things he said. James, nonetheless, was unaffected by his threats, and scorned at him. “Whatever, it was your fault we didn’t get that last touchdown.” James was short and brawny, with a high-pitched voice, but surprisingly strong for his size and physique.
And finally, there was Michel. He had thin, flimsy blonde hair with a hint of brown, and was the youngest and strangest of our crew. Although he was only a year younger at sixteen, he looked fourteen, and was always mouthing other people and pointing out others’ flaws. The only reason we put up with him is because of how hilarious he could be at times, and everyone but me and Daniel seemed to like him. His voice was always scratchy, his skin placid. For some reason, someone of his looks had every right to make fun of others. The world didn’t make sense to me.
“Have you guys checked out that new kid?” He gossiped like an immature, teenaged girl. “He’s totally weird! I heard he was obsessed with cheese, and he always dresses in these weird clothes and fixes his hair all uneven and whatnot.”
I rolled my eyes again as he continued, this time out of disgust. Give it a rest, I thought in aggravation. I glanced over at Dan out of the corner of my eye, giving him the look I always did when the weasel annoyed me. He understood my expression, and after chugging down his carton of chocolate milk, he did his job.
“Hey, weasel,” he barked, glaring at Michel. “Why don’t you shut that lip of yours before I shut it for you?”
Mike almost squeaked and shrunk back from the bigger man’s cracking knuckles, but seemed to regain some courage. “Hey, I’m getting sick of you always bagging on me, bro.”
Dan raised an eyebrow, giving him a look that clearly meant, what did you just say?
After that, Michel finally stopped talking, fading into the background again. I listened to everyone as lunch continued, watching them inhale their trays and howl like hyenas.
“Hey, Blake,” Brad called to me from across the table. “How come you’re not eating today?”
I looked down at the empty space in front of me, remembering the large, papered bag I brought from home. It was still laying in the passenger’s side of my cheap, used SUV that was parked in the school lot. It was a gift from my parents, actually, and ran good; but still, not the best ride I could ask for.
“Oh.” I blinked, not really thinking about it. “I left it in my car. It’s cool, though, I’m not that hungry. Plus, it’s cold out, so it’ll stay fresh.”
Brad shrugged it off and went back to his meal, taking a large bite out of his juicy apple. Lance turned his attention to me and chatted about the new song he was working on. “I have the cords right and all, but it’s just not matching up with the lyrics.”
“Well, play around with it some more; you’ll find the right words, man. You’re the best guitar player I know, seriously.” And I meant that. Peter played awesome songs in front of me before, and it was always nice to hang out with him while he played.
I wasn’t the best at instruments, however. My primary hobbies included spending time with my friends, playing basketball, video games, and occasionally writing. Of course, I knew how to play a few cords on guitar or hit a couple keys on a piano, but I was no expert at any of it. Peter was the music man, Brad loved to “Have fun”, and Daniel and James were the sports freaks. As for Michel….well, I wasn’t exactly sure what he did.
“Thanks, I appreciate that,” Peter smiled, blushing a bit. He didn’t take compliments very well, considering he himself thought he was terrible at everything, but he never gave himself enough credit. I used to wish I could play as well as him or pick up girls naturally, but none of that came to me. I wasn’t unattractive to most of them, and I had dated several girls in the past; but I wasn’t the smoothest with talking to them, or the most experienced.
“Are you going to the party tonight?” Peter asked me.
There was no party in town, because we lived in a small, unknown piece of land next to a river and forest smacked in the middle of the middle of the United States, good ole’ Missouri. “I don’t know,” I admitted, yawning and stretching my muscles, dreading the next class. “Will you be there?”
“I’ll probably check it out,” he mused, cramming a handful of fries in his mouth. “Or maybe, if you go, we can chill at your place afterwards?”
“That sounds cool, if you promise we don’t have to stay for the whole thing and you bring your guitar.” I flashed him a grin.
He almost spit out his food. “You still want me to teach you how to play?”
“Kind of,” I confessed, slapping him on the back. “It’d never hurt to learn.”
“Ha!” he snorted. “It would hurt me; dude, I’ve seen you mess with my guitar, and I can’t see much hope for you.”
I punched him on the shoulder. “Shut up.”
Just then, the bell rang, signaling my demise for American Government to start, easily the most boring class. I groaned mechanically, forcing myself out of the chair and towards sixth hour.
“See you later,” I called to Peter, sucked into the immense crowd of students. I fought and twisted my way through the bundle, praying for a meteor to hit the school. Once I arrived in the tiny, stuffy classroom with its neatly aligned desks in three columns, I slumped into the farthest chair from the front, with Mr. Smith’s white board and desk in the front facing the rest of the students.
“Good afternoon,” greeted the drooling, monotone voice of our balding teacher after the tardy bell sounded, with large spectacles and a blank expression. The mass of twenty students mumbled in response, and I fumbled in my stuffed backpack for a notebook and pencil. Dang it, I left my book in my locker.
“Um, Mr. Smith?” I raised my hand to get his attention.
“What is it, Mr. Moss?” He answered without turning around, scribbling notes on the board with a black marker.
“May I get my book from my locker?” I asked as politely as I could when speaking to a teacher.
Thank God. I immediately flung myself from the tight desk and scurried to the door, just as the teacher was beginning his boring speech. I slowed my pace as I entered the long, empty hallway. I huffed loudly and ran my fingers through my thick hair, relieved to be out of that awful purgatory. My locker was at the end of the stretched hall, so that gave me a minute or two to let the hour idle by.
When I reentered the room, Mr. Smith had written an impossible amount of notes to copy on the board, covering every inch of white. To make it worse, his handwriting was untidy and scribbled, making it difficult to even read, much less repeat. I let out a low whoosh of air as I flopped into my seat, opening my notebook and attempting to jot down his lesson. The hour lasted for two weeks, but eventually, the sweet sound of ringing filled my ears. I slammed my history book shut and gathered my belongings, shoving it carelessly into my bag before sweeping out of the room.
“Remember to do page three-sixty-five for homework,” Mr. Smith called to the class as the hurried out.
Algebra III would be much easier to skim through, considering I had Peter in there and the work was breezy for me. I clamped palms with Lace, taking my seat beside him. The bubbly and indifferent Mrs. Johnson entered, instantly starting her lesson the moment the bell announced class to start. Peter and I virtually ignored her teaching and talked aimlessly about various subjects of interest, and every now and then we were shushed to silence by the teacher. At the end of the period, I scribbled down the assignment she had written on the board, promising to get back to it later.
“Hey, you wanna head over to my house before the party?” Peter suggested, walking beside me with his books in one hand.
“I would,” I started, dodging past swarms of teenagers. “But I have to get ready for work.” About three times a week, I went down to the local grocery store as a cashier, but it wasn’t necessarily a full requirement; see, my parents had quite a bit of money, both having successful careers. They weren’t rich or anything, but they had enough to supply for most of the bills and rent for the apartment I lived in alone. “As long as you make good grades and go to college, I’ll let you move into your own house,” my dad had told me once after I approached him about moving out. Seventeen wasn’t a bad age to leave, and I enjoyed having a place to myself.
“Hey, it’s cool,” he shrugged. “I’ll see you at the party?”
“Yep,” I assured, bumping his fist. “Later.”
I emerged out onto the parking lot, the air freezing and cruel; the trees were barren and grass dead, making the town look even uglier than it already was. I pulled up my leathery jacket and tucked my hands under my armpits, seeing my breath plume out at each exhale. I quickly identified my car, as it wasn’t the most impressive but not the worst. Desperate to escape the cold, I dug in my pockets and grabbed my silver keys, throwing open the door.
I sighed in relaxation as I blasted the heater after the engine roared to life, rubbing my hands together for faster warmth. In my peripheral vision, I saw Brad grin at me, and I gave him a thumb up, signaling I would be at the party. It was a friend thing, to know what they were always talking about by a single glance or wave.
I slid my way out of the parking lot, glancing at my mirror to watch for reckless morons from behind. I pressed my foot on the gas when my tires met the pavement of the road, driving as fast as the town would allow towards my dingy apartment. Along the way, I cranked my favorite radio station up and drummed my thumbs on the steering wheel with the beat; music was a passion of mine, something I couldn’t live without it possessing my ears at least ten hours out of the day. I focused as much attention as I could manage while singing along quietly to the lyrics, my brain automatically heading in the direction of my home with little thought.
It was three minutes later, just before my apartment came into view, that my eye noticed a disturbing scene that was never there before.
Sitting on the side of the street two blocks away from my house was a girl—obviously homeless—with a ragged, black, and sleeveless T-shirt; dark skinny jeans with several, accidental rips; dangly, messy black hair with a string of purple, and low-rise shoes that looked old and worn. Her lips were completely chapped and face deathly pale, which only proved how long she had been sitting in the freezing whether. Her face was small and blank, not containing any traces of sadness or any type of emotion whatsoever. She had long, lanky arms and an extremely thin build, like she could be broken by a hug that was just a little too tight, or a strong gust of wind. Besides a small, torn box that was lying next to her, the girl had no possessions.
That’s weird, I thought. She wasn’t there yesterday, unless I was being unobservant. My eyes narrowed as I examined her, cold and lost on the side of a small-town street. Of course, my mind instantly reacted to pull over and provide help, but there were a few reasons that slowed me down.
First, she would probably think I was some sort of rapist that planned to steal her away to my home. My second thought was that perhaps she would reject all of my offers, see me as a different threat, or ultimately run away from me. Besides, if she had been here for too long, someone else would have tried to help her, right?
I sighed, unable to drive by without a hand of assistance. I slowed to a stop on the other side of the street, keeping my car running and the heater up. The moment my car stopped across from her, the girl’s eyes widened in alert, as if she was expecting danger. I felt bad for her, only imagining what was sprinting through her mind. Tentatively, I opened my door and stepped out of the car.
The homeless girl, who looked about my age, balled her hand into a fist, changing her expression back to its blank, emotionless structure, but her tightened muscles had already given her away; she was prepared to run, or fight, if she had to.
I began walking to her in a slow, cautious stride, taking a step every two seconds. The street was empty, not one car passed by on the other road, so I was in no trouble of being ran over. Just to be extra-safe, I raised my hands awkwardly in the air right below my shoulder blades, like a criminal steeping out of a vehicle after being stopped by a policeman. I felt foolish, but I kept a straight face, progressing towards her. I hesitated, though, unsure if I was merely wasting my time.
The girl’s fist never relaxed, however, remaining strained in case of emergency. She glared at me directly with cold eyes, measuring my figure as if I were a serial killer. Whatever this girl had experienced before, it must have been considerably serious in order for her to be this tense. Still, I stepped closer, shortening the distance, keeping my eyes on hers with an innocent expression.
“Excuse me,” I called, still a few yards away, ignoring the chilling wind that sent shivers down my spine. “Is everything all right?”
I knew it was a stupid and pathetic question, but it came out in a spur; I couldn’t think of anything else to say, thinking furiously on how to approach. She didn’t answer, glaring at me with murderous eyes, her fist so tight that her knuckles whitened, even more than they already were, with enough force to bulge the tendons of her arms—considering how there was hardly any muscle in her skeleton-like body. Adding her fierce eyes and dirty clothes, the girl was hideously intimidating, especially for her size.
I tried again, taking another step. “Um, I was wondering if you could use some help.” My tone held a taste of immurement at the end of each sentence, making the statement sound like a question. Again, she didn’t answer, and it was peculiar how she never seemed to blink. I stood there awkwardly for a moment, debating whether or not to walk any closer, being only a couple yards away. We both stared at one another, my expression confused, and hers venomous.
“Um,” I stumbled again. “It’s really cold out here….my car is warm, if you want to—” I cut myself off, watching her clenched fist flinch and eye twitch. Okay, so that wasn’t the best way to offer her comfort. I racked my brain, desperate for an answer.
“Okay,” I said. “Forget that….,” I shrugged out of my jacket, feeling the cold wash across my body, and folded it in my hand. “Here.” I took a few steps closer and stuck my hand out.
The girl stared with piercing eyes from the jacket to my face, her expression unreadable, but she never made a move. I forced myself not to sigh; this was even harder than I expected.
“Alright,” I breathed. Not wanting to set her off by drawing closer, I flicked my wrist out and the jacket landed in a lump at her feet. The girl made no move to take it, only following it with her eyes as it plopped onto the ground.
I stood there again, waiting to see if she would do anything. After she didn’t, I mumbled, “Um…I guess I’ll be going now.” I turned on my heels and scurried rapidly to my car, not taking another glance back. Once in the car, I shook my head in disappointment. Stupid, stupid; If only I had made a different approach. Then, as I thought about it for a second, I glanced at the passengers’ seat. Giving in, I swiped the brown bag and hopped out of the car again.
I walked to the girl faster this time, stopping just before I reached the sidewalk. “Uh, here’s some food,” I said. I forced a smile. “I thought you might be hungry.”
For the third time, the girl did not answer, always glaring. Having no other choice, I set the bag down on top of the untouched jacket, and then swept back to the car. Now that I had nothing else to offer, I revved the engine and sped down the street, my mind twisted in confusion.
Who was that girl? I wondered. She wasn’t from around here, and people don’t just randomly appear on the streets without a home. That usually only happened in big cities, or in movies. The warm car felt soothing against my skin, for the loss of my jacket had frozen my innards. My only valid assumption was that someone had left her there, and she had been waiting in the cold all day long, completely abandoned. But why?
I let the girl fade from my mind, knowing I did all I could, or all she would let me do. Someone will probably pick her up at some point, I assured myself. She’ll be gone soon.
I unlocked my apartment door, number 25, and entered with a sigh. The “house” was filthy; although I didn’t know how a space of only one bedroom, one bathroom, and a small living room and kitchen could get so dirty. Clothes were strewn on the floor, the coffee table next to the couch was littered, the sink was piled with dishes, and my bedroom was destroyed. I tossed my keys on the coffee table and got to work, having only two hours to clean the place, take a shower, and go to the grocery store.
It took me more time to wash the dishes than anything, scrubbing through one plate after another, wishing for a dish washer. I cleaned up the pillared table, threw the clothes into the laundry, vacuumed the floor, made my bed, and even dusted the furniture. That’s what I get for letting my friends throw a party in a tiny apartment. After what felt like a lifetime, I finally stripped off my clothes and turned the shower on, letting the water heat up and steam the mirror.
I stepped into the hot water, feeling a wave of relaxation rain over me. My muscles eased and I could slowly feel my hands again, then I thoroughly washed my hair and drained the dirtiness from my body. Energized and ready, I jumped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around my waist, and trotted to my bedroom.
The black sheets of my twin-sized bed were unruffled and smoothed, my lamp on the side table was off, and my drawer was organized. That was the majority of my room, apart from a small television on the entertainment center at the south side of my room. I set the towel in the hamper on the way there, and then surveyed through my clothes. My work outfit was already set out, so I scanned for some decent clothes for the party. I found my favorite V-neck, short-sleeved shirt and baggy pair of blue jeans, and put on a set of black socks and skater shoes.
I brushed through my tangled hair, laying it flat and neat down my scalp, and ran a toothbrush across my teeth. Finally, I put my work outfit over my normal clothes, grabbed my keys, and drove to work.
Thankfully, the grocery store wasn’t as crowded as usual, and I skimmed through the day with little problems, except for having to restack an array of cans that some clumsy man knocked over. I checked out with a huge grin, getting my paycheck for the week. Excited, I sped towards the party, calling up Peter along the way to ensure he was heading there, too.
Some rich teenager rented a large building for the night to have a wild and awesome time with a bunch of crazy animals.
“Nice to see you, bro,” Peter grinned at me, dressed in a black jacket and hair spiked to a point. “Let’s do this!”
I was instantly blinded by the thousands of strobe and colored lights bouncing in every direction when we entered. A giant dance floor beamed in the center of the enormous room, a dazzling disco ball spinning above. A D.J idled and controlled the music, dancing with the tune and rallying the crowd. Several people were already on the dance floor, some using phenomenal moves and flips. In the room over, a fabulous resort of hundreds of tables with bright, matching tablecloths. The immense number of people suffocated the atmosphere, but was easily replaced with loud shouts and wooing dancers. Everyone held exploding excitement, including Brad—who slapped me on the shoulder as he passed—fitting the mood perfectly. Apparently, the party had already started.
“Who throws this big of a party on a Thursday?” I shouted over the music, squeezing through the crowd.
“I have no idea!” he replied, laughing.
It was no secret that the alcohol was the main attraction of this crazy party; mixing martinis, bottles of vodka, glasses of wine, and, of course, cans of beer. The entire party revolved around the first floor, the glorious set of stairs leading to the second floor untouched. After a few high fives and greets, Peter and I made our way to the dance floor.
I really enjoyed myself, looking like a monkey, jumping around and pretending I knew what I was doing. Unsurprisingly, I grew bored fairly quickly.
“Man, all this talk and excitement, and this place sucks,” Peter tusked, shaking his head. “Remind me not to do this again.” He sipped at the Cola in his hand, leaning casually against a wall.
“Agreed,” I said. “Wanna ditch?”
He didn’t need a second option. “Yep.” He crushed the can in his hand and tossed it in a nearby trashcan. “But hey, could you help me with something first?”
“Sure. What is it?”
Peter looked irritated. “I had my cousin stay over last night, and he left a ton of blankets and clothes in the back of my Jeep. Could you take some of it? I have no place to put it right now.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, rising from the table. “Just throw it all in my trunk—you can get it back some other time.”
We set off together to Peter’s black Jeep, and he opened his trunk and a pile of large quilts and pants fell to the ground. I let out a low whistle. “You weren’t kidding.”
He grinned sheepishly. “Nope.”
Chuckling, I scooped up a mass of blankets and carried them to my SUV, carelessly bundling them in the trunk. “Alright,” I said. “I’ll meet you at my house; and bring your guitar!” I reminded.
Peter smirked. “I will,” he promised.
I jumped in my car and quickly flipped on the heat, shivering from the frosty wind. As always, I turned up the radio and jammed as I rolled home, enjoying the peaceful night. I could still hear the faint rumble from the party behind me, but it soon faded into nothing, the black road speeding under my wheels in the illuminating glow of the headlights. I watched trees, plains, and houses scurry by, easing back in the ten minute drive back to my apartment. Peter was behind me, honking mockingly. I swerved to the side, cutting him off, and shook with laughter when I saw his expression.
I veered in my driveway, but Peter would take an extra minute to run by and grab his guitar. As I waited, I kicked the T.V on and flipped through the channels, twitting my car keys through my fingers. Nothing good was on, as expected, but I didn’t have to bore myself for long before Peter knocked on the door.
He was grinning as he walked in, carrying his guitar, tuner, and pick. We took comfortable seats on the squishy couch, and he began playing.
“This is something I’ve been working on for a while,” he said.
And he moved his fingers across the instrument, playing a soft melody that was meaningful and somewhat depressing. I marveled at the song as he started to sing; it was a romantic song, indicating how much he deeply cared for a girl, but she never loved him back. His heart was in the music, his eyes closed and voice smooth. He hit all the pitches perfectly, and whenever he stopped playing, I was speechless.
“Dude,” I breathed. “That was….awesome! You definitely have a fantastic talent.”
Peter smiled fluently, obviously pleased. “Thanks, man….it really means a lot to me.”
“I can tell. Who’s it about?”
Peter’s face flushed with embarrassment. “Maybe another time,” he mumbled.
I barked a short, hard laugh. “Whatever you say, my friend.”
He played a few other songs I had heard of before, but I listened intently and enjoyed the tunes. We stayed there for a while, singing and drinking soda, letting time slip by. Finally, once it was getting late, we kicked our feet up and delved in short conversation before he left.
“You haven’t had any girlfriends in a while,” Peter commented. “What’s up with that?” His tone was light, but his eyes were serious.
I shrugged. “I don’t know,” I replied bluntly. “Haven’t been searching, I guess. No one’s really caught my interest lately.”
He scoffed quietly. “I see. Well, you need to step up your game; you forget that we have prom at the end of this year, only five months away.”
“I’ll find someone,” I grinned. “Why are you worrying so much?”
“I’m always looking out for you.” He smiled indifferently. “But, it’s late. I’ll see you tomorrow, Blake.”
“Yeah, see you.” I waved as he left, shutting the door behind him.
My stomach growled with hunger, and I realized that I hadn’t ate anything since breakfast. Ravenous, I dug through the freezer and found a frozen pizza—my favorite food. I popped it in the microwave and watched it rotate, my mouth watering. I grabbed a can of soda and attacked the meal, sating my appetite.
After a quick shower, I flopped into my bed and slept dreamlessly, not looking forward to yet another day of school.
The day went by surprisingly fast, and I hopped through my classes without complaint. At the end of the day, Peter approached me.
“What are you doing this weekend?” he asked casually.
“No idea….wanna hang out later?”
He agreed enthusiastically, and I strutted to my car—eager to begin my weekend—and drove home.
Losing my mind in the music, I nearly crashed into a street pole as I spotted a sight that escaped my eyes on the way to school this morning.
The girl was still there, her face expressionless and eyes blank. This time, her lips were even more cracked, her skin more pale. But, I noticed with mild surprise, she was wearing my leather jacket and the bag I had given her was gone. I had almost forgotten about her.
Something has to be done, I thought glumly. I couldn’t leave her on the streets all weekend, cold and alone. I pulled my car on the curb again, leaving it running. When I stepped out, she seemed to recognize me, but her fist still balled up in defense. Her eyes, however, were a little less cold.
I approached her, still cautious, but with not as much calculation as before. “Ma’am,” I said clearly, unsure of what to call her other than that. I crouched down a few feet away, keeping my hands exposed. “I want to help you.”
I held out my hand, and she recoiled in response, like an angry cat when a stranger approaches. I summarily withdrew it, but didn’t step away. “Please,” I begged, feeling utterly childish. Were it not for my better nature and nagging conscience, I would have drove by without a word; but I couldn’t be so heartless.
I expected her to not reply, as she didn’t. Although, the way she curled herself in my warm jacket made her appear less intimidating and helpless. “Will you let me help you?” I repeated gently.
“Go away,” she muttered in a low, threatening voice. I jerked back in shock, not because of how vicious her tone was, but in surprise she actually spoke to me. I blinked, frozen in place, searching for an alternative. Nothing came to me, and I finally rose from my crouch and walked away, feeling her dark eyes bore into the back of my head. Before I reached the car, however, another thought wormed in my brain. It was all I could do, so I popped open the trunk and grabbed as many blankets as I could.
“Take these,” I said, dropping the bundle beside her. “At least try and stay warm.”
For a brief second, the coldness in the girls’ eyes wavered, giving off a different but unrecognizable glint. Then, before I could identify it, it vanished, and returned to its deadly glare. Sighing, I waved slyly and went back to the car, tossing my head against the seat.
Isn’t there anything I can do? I wondered hopelessly. I stepped on the gas pedal and did the only thing I knew to do. Why doesn’t anyone have a heart these days and help out the homeless? And why doesn’t she go to a church or shelter?
Minutes later I returned, again surprised to see her bundled tightly in all the blankets I gave her. I approached with two bags stuffed with hot food and a cold drink, setting it at her feet.
“Please eat,” I said quietly, and then I smiled warmly, observing the blankets. “Is that better?”
She simply glared at me, fists clenched, and I let it go again. I watched her for a moment. “Well,” I said slowly. “I’ll, um….I’ll come check on you tomorrow. If you need anything, my apart—”
I cut off again, remembering her response the last time I suggested that. “Never mind,” I muttered. “I’ll come by again tomorrow and bring you some food, and some hot chocolate….okay?”
The girl looked down at the foods, then at me, this time her expression blank rather than murderous. With that, I turned again and headed out.
Although I felt incredibly bad for the girl, I chuckled aloud as I glanced at my review mirror while speeding away, watching her attack the bags of food.