Fall For Me (Also Known As 'Fall')
Author's note: i believe in angels, and hope to fall in love one day. what better reason to write this!
Fall For MeMUNCIE, INDIANA; SPRING
“I don’t see why you don’t want one, Rio,” Dana asked me as we walked to exit the chemistry room door. We were headed to our study halls. Mine was in the counselor’s office and hers was in the main office. We ran hall passes to students and delivered papers.
“I don’t because I think I have my whole life ahead of me. I need to get and education and job before I worry about it,” I said.
“Well, boyfriends are a common part of high
“That doesn’t mean I have to be ‘common’,” I retorted. She gave me one of her ‘enough-with-the-stupid-snappy-comebacks-of-yours’ look. I smirked as we walked down the hallway. Right before we split to our separate offices, she looked at me and said, “Just think about it. You might like it,” I gave a unamused smile. “Whatever,” I said. She rolled her eyes, and turned into the office.
I turned the corner and walked into the guidance room. I parked my backpack on the couch, and flipped into my algebra book. Systems of linear functions! Yay!, my brain snapped. As I began to dive into the numbers and variables, I cleared all outside noises. I have to be that serious with algebra because it’s so confusing to me. I wanted to keep my place in the highest honors category, so it was vital.
Just as the graphing and variables started to put a chokehold on my brain, I was rescued by someone calling my name.
“Ms. Capulet! Rio Capulet!” Yes, I have the same last name as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. When we did the play in class, I was always Juliet against my will. It’s always been the butt of everyone’s jokes. Mike Stephens always demanded to be Romeo because he has the biggest crush on me. I have no desire to hook up because he’s a creeper. And it’s no secret, either.
I spun around and met the secretary, Mrs. Guild. “Are you busy?” she asked, almost frantically.
“No, not really,” I said, mentally weighing my options; algebra or hall pass? Hall pass, definitely.
“Good,” she said, “We have a new student and we need someone to show him around to his classes.” So much for hall pass, I thought. She always acted overly perky. She needed to lay off the caffeine. The jumbo-sized Starbuck’s latte she drank every morning was way too much. She would get a heart attack if she drank anymore.
“Okay. Just a second,” I said, neatly filing my paper into my book and neatly setting it on the table. I turned around and came face to face with a monster. Well, a monster-sized person. This guy was huge! Not huge as in fat (he was actually a pencil), but huge as in he could scare Abraham Lincoln.
I looked up at him. His overall appearance-not including his height-was very intimidating. He had dark black hair that was messy and shaggy and hung in front of his face. His piercing blue eyes seemed to stare through your soul. A silver stud was placed under his lower lip, and a silver rod with little shiny balls on the end ran through his left ear at a diagonal angle. The thing that really bothered me was the tattoo sleeves that ran down his muscular arms. What looked like tips of bird wings curled around to the front of his neck. They were a reddish-orange color.
He wore a black t-shirt that stated his musical preference-Three Days Grace-a red and black rosary necklace, dark jeans, and black Hi-Tops. A studded belt ran around his waist, and met at a large belt buckle that I recognized as Avenged Sevenfold’s Deathbat logo.
“Hello,” I said meekly.
“Good afternoon,” he said in a tone that matched his scary appearance. He held out his hand in a gentleman-ly manner. I didn’t expect him to. “May I ask your name?” he asked. He was kina creeping me out because his attitude didn’t match his appearance.
“Only if I can ask yours,” I said.
“Phoenix,” he said. Even more alarms were sounded because that’s usually a girl’s name. Maybe I was being too critical. He probably had nothing wrong with him.
“Rio,” I said, gently shaking his hand. His handshake was firm, but still gentle.
“Rio…?” he asked.
“Capulet,” I said. A smirk came onto his face. Here we go, I thought.
“Like Juliet,” he said. I nodded.
“And you are Phoenix…?” I asked, trying to copy him. For a moment, he acted as if he was thinking. Like he forgot his last name.
“Martin,” he said quickly.
“Can I see your schedule?” I asked. He pulled it from his pocket and handed it to me. I scanned though it, and it shocked me; he had exactly the same schedule as me. Same lunch, same study hall, same everything. “You have the same thing!” I said. He furrowed his brow.
“Really?” he asked. I nodded.
“This’ll be easy. I guess we can just sit here, and you can follow me all day,” I said, somewhat wincing at the idea. I didn’t really want a shadow. A shadow named Phoenix. He reached behind him and pulled his backpack in front of him.
“Guess it’s a waiting game,” he said.
“Guess so,” I said, sitting back down. He did the same. He leaned forward a little and rested his arms on his knees. I looked at his tattoo sleeves. They contained morbid images such as the painting of Lucifer controlling souls of sinners by John Baptist Medina for Paradise Lost. On the inside of his other arm was another painting of Satan by Gustave Dore. I know this because I’m a walking text book.
Above the Gustave Dore painting was another likeness of Michael the archangel. On the top of the hand nearest to me, it said this;
They Stumble That Run Fast
I recognized it from Romeo And Juliet, when Friar Laurence is talking to Romeo about marring Juliet. He had quite an assortment. On the back of his neck was a fiery eagle, that stretched its wings to the front of his neck. In an instant, I realized it was a phoenix. I decided to investigate.
“I take it the phoenix has to do with your name,” I said. He looked back at me for a moment.
“Somewhat,” he said. I had dipped my toe into the water, now it was time for the dive.
“What meaning does this have to you?” I asked, gently dragging my finger across the Medina painting. His flesh twitched under my finger, and was giving off a burning heat. He pulled away slightly. He looked back again.
“Just a reminder,” he said.
“Of what?” I asked.
“What can happen,”
“Can happen if what?” He focused in on my eyes. It felt as if they were being sucked out of their sockets.
“You ask a lot of questions,” he said.
“Just curious,” I said. He turned away. Phoenix stood and pulled his pack onto his shoulder.
“Where to next?” he asked.
“The bell hasn’t-” I said, before the loud buzz cut me off.
“Just did,” he smiled. I sighed.
“English,” I said, grabbing my things, and making for the door. I climbed the stairs and crossed the study hall room, glancing back occasionally to see if he was still there. It didn’t take much to see if he was because you couldn’t really miss him. All I needed to see was a sea of ants and one grasshopper. A tattooed and pierced grasshopper.
I came into the classroom, feeling Phoenix’s presence behind me. I went to my seat, and sat my things down.
“Mr. Usborn is over there,” I said to Phoenix, pointing. He looked, then back at me. I didn’t make eye contact, and pretended to look though the stack of books on my desk. Instead of saying anything, he took his books and sat in the desk next to me, which was never occupied.
“He’s gonna make you move,” I said, fidgeting with a paper that was jammed in my chemistry book.
He didn’t say anything. He leaned back, putting his Hi-Top-shoed feet onto the desk, and crossed his arms across his chest. It shocked me because he was so tall, and managed to fit.
Phoenix gave me a look that didn’t say ‘watch it’, or ‘oh’. It was blank. No emotion. It felt like he was reading my mind. I could almost picture him filing through my innermost secrets and information. Who I was. Where I came from. My life story. My insides started to churn at the idea. I mean, everyone has skeletons in their closet.
Mr. Usborn snapped the line. He walked in between us, and faced me.
“You’re gonna hate me,” he said. He is a short, fat man, with thinning gray hair and glasses that looked like they could pick up cable. He was always over-zealous when it came to Shakespeare and any play we did in class.
“Why will I hate you?” I asked, already knowing the answer. He held up his worn copy of Romeo and Juliet. The bright red letters and sparkling red rose seemed to actually radiate off the black cover. To me, inside was a huge pack of lies. Love never was true. It always seemed to be the dog that you saw in the classifieds and wanted so badly; it looked good on paper, then when you experience it, it bites you. It made me think of A Little Piece of Heaven by Avenged Sevenfold; our love had been so strong for far too long/ I was weak with fear that something would go wrong/ before the possibilities came true/ I took all possibilities from you. Looks good, but really sucks. Something always goes wrong.
Mr. Usborn looked at Phoenix.
“Has anyone given you a copy yet?” he asked. He still didn’t take his eyes off me.
“No, sir,” he said, glaring.
“I’ll get you one, then,”
I finally turned to face him. “Why are you staring at me?” I snapped. He never blinked as a sinister smile slinked onto his mouth.
“You’re nice to look at,” he said. It was like someone took a rock and set it in the back of my mouth, and when he said that, it fell a thousand feet into the pit of my innards, and it made a epic splat. No one had told me that. And I wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Oh, that’s not creepy at all!” I said, forcing in as much sarcasm as possible.
“We’re all creepy in our own way,” he said. And you have a lot of ways, I thought.
Right back at you…
I almost jumped out of my skin. Phoenix just said something to me. But his voice didn’t come from his side. It was like it was detached from him. Free-floating. If anything, it sounded like it came from above me.
A bell rang. The tardy bell. It diverted me from Phoenix’s voice. “Rio…Rio, come here,” another voice said. I recognized it as Mr. Usborn. I obeyed as he crooked his finger at me. I stood by his side, ready for the embarrassment I was about to be given.
“Ladies and gentleman, I now transform Rio Capulet into Juliet Capulet!” he said mockingly as he handed me a copy of Shakespeare’s play. Kids yelped and hollered and whistled and laughed. It mostly came from Mike Stephens’ coven. He was a football jock, and it was in their blood. I looked at him, and he winked, which made my gag reflex do a practice run. I just smiled a fake smile, raised the book, and said, “Here’s to Shakespeare! And to my mother for picking a poor last name to marry!”
Kids laughed hysterically. I made my way back to my desk, and sat back down. My brain instantly told my eyes to look at Phoenix. It was bad because my heart was split down the middle, one half it’s normal self, the other possessed by a feeling that I knew in the pit of my stomach it was L-O-V-E. I was hating it to the highest degree. I prayed it was puppy love and nothing would commence.
Phoenix was looking at me out of the corner of his eye, and smiling a smile that the Devil would be proud of.
“What’re you smirking at?” I demanded. He shook his head.
“You handle pressure so well,” he said. I scoffed.
“And you don’t?” I retorted. His wicked smile faded slightly into a humble smile.
“Not so much,” he said. I rolled my eyes. He was frustrating.
“Now, who wants the wonderful role of being Romeo Montague, Ms. Rio ‘Juliet’ Capulet’s lover for approximately forty-five minutes of each day?” Mr. Usborn asked. I glanced over towards Mike. He had both arms in the air, waving away. Don’t you do it, I tried to mentally command Mr. Usborn. Once again, I glanced towards Phoenix. I could see the wheels turning in his head. Evil wheels, that is.
He leisurely put his John Baptist Medina-tattooed arm in the air.
Mr. Usborn looked almost relieved when he did. Don’t do it, you dirty little son of a…
It’s not right to curse.
I furrowed my brow. What?, I thought, seeing if the voice would answer.
You’re taking the Lord’s name in vain.
“Mr. Phoenix Martin! That’s a nice change,” he said, “Can you read Shakespeare well?”
“I can manage,” Phoenix said.
Of course you will.
Now I was getting mad. As Mr. Usborn picked out other parts-Lord and Lady Capulet, Lord and Lady Montague, Mercutio, Benvolio, Tybalt-I was waiting to pick a fight with Phoenix. He had to be doing this. It was his voice. Plus, he was enough of a freak to have ESP.
We dived in to Shakespeare. We got past the fight between the Montague men and the Capulet men, and into Romeo doting over Rosaline. I was shocked at Phoenix’s fluency.
“Why, such is love's transgression. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest with more of thine: this love that thou hast shown doth add more grief to too much of mine own. Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs; being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; being vex'd a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears: What is it else? A madness most discreet, a choking gall and a preserving sweet. Farewell, my coz,” he read effortlessly.
All I had to do was sit and wait until my lines came up. I was dreading the Montague’s feast. I had to read about Romeo trying to woo Juliet, and even kissing her. Not that I didn’t want to read it. I just didn’t want to read it to Phoenix. And him to me. It made my stomach turn.
I swallowed as ‘Tybalt’ finished his line, and tried not to blush as Phoenix commenced.
“If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: my lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss,” he read. I took a quick breath, and began.
“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which mannerly devotion shows in this; for saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss,” I said. As I read, I heard Phoenix quietly shut his book. As soon as I said the final word, the bell rang out. I breathed a sigh of relief. What startled me was that was the second time Phoenix had been right on time with bell. I was starting to get very scared. Not just of him, but of being in love with him.
“Mom? Are you home?” I called into the roomy house. We lived in a large house that Mom got with her real estate job. Well, that’s not how she really got it. My mother has been known to be kind of, well…promiscuous. To be honest, I’m ashamed. Who wouldn’t be? I know how she got to be this way. Money, looks, loves alcohol. Easy as one, two, three.
“I’m in here, Rio! Did you get your sister?” she called from her bedroom.
“Yeah,” I called down the hall. My ‘sister’ is Savanna. She’s not really my sister. Well, she’s a half sister. Mom took custody of her when Savanna’s dad died in a car wreck. He was one of Mom’s ‘clients’.
Savanna turned off into her room, and I went to Mom’s room. She was sitting at her vanity, applying makeup. I sat on the end of her long silk cushioned stool. I reached up to take out my small silver hoop earrings. Mom started to add her eyeliner.
“How was school?” she asked. I have to give her credit for being involved. She wants to know about our lives and I’m thankful for it.
“It was okay. Dove into Musheo and Goo-liet. Yay, me,” I said, giggling at my idea of Shakespeare. Mom smiled.
“Never liked that, either,” she said, smudging her eyeshadow with her expensive horse-hair brushes, “It never came true,” she added.
“Never will,” I said. Then Phoenix popped into my head again. My mind then began a dogfight. Tell her. You gotta tell her…well, no you don’t. She doesn’t have to know that you might be in love with a freak. Yeah, she does. She’s my mom. Doesn’t mean I have to claim her…oh, just…
“Hey, Mom…” You’re screwed.
“Did you ever think that you loved someone, but didn’t think you should?” I asked, plunging in headfirst.
“Of course. Happened often,” she said. She was on to mascara now. It was silent for a moment. “Is there someone I should know about? A special someone?”
I sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe,” I said.
“Do you think he’s bad news?” she asked.
“He’s covered in tattoos, and has a couple piercings. Not saying he’s ugly, but…huh…I don’t know if he’s…okay,” I said. Mom smiled at me though the mirror. She gently placed her makeup on the table. She fixed her satin robe, and crossed her legs.
“Been waiting a long time for this. Let’s talk boy talk,” she said, looking giddy. I sighed again. “Does he have a name?” she asked.
“Martin,” She put her hand on her chin.
“Don’t believe I know anyone with that name,” she said.
“Don’t you dare get ‘friendly’ with one,” I said. She gave me a look.
“I’m about over that stuff,” she said, “It’s not getting me anywhere. Besides, I thought I might have sold a home to one,”
“I know. I’m just so confused,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest. Mom put her arms around me.
“I know. Love is very confusing. If he’s the one, it’ll unravel,” she said.
“I feel like my brain’s unraveled over it,” I said. She giggled. Mom picked up her makeup again and finished up. “Where are you going?” I asked.
“Party,” she said, giving herself a look over.
“Oh,” I said.
“I’ll leave you guys some money and you can order Chinese or something. How’s that sound?” she asked.
“It’s fine,” I said. She stood, went to her closet, and held up two dresses. A red, sequined one, and a sapphire, ruffled one.
“Scarlett…” she said, holding the red one, “Or Diana?”, showing the blue one.
“Scarlett,” I said. She looked in the mirror.
“Good choice,” she said, hanging the blue one up. “I don’t need it. I’ll be someone’s royalty tonight, anyway,” she said, winking. I rolled my eyes.
“What happened to ‘I’m about over that’?” I reminded her.
“I said ‘about’,” she said. I shook my head. “I’m going to get dressed and finish my hair,” she said, motioning for me to leave. I stood and went to the door.
“Mom?” I asked again.
“You sure it’ll go the way it’s supposed to?”
A smile curled onto her lips. “I make no promises, but if it’s right, it’s right, can’t change it,” she said. “If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark,” she said, quoting Shakespeare.
I slapped my hands to my ears. “NO!!! Don’t say it!!” I cried. She laughed and so did I.
“I’ll come get you before I leave,” she said.
“Okay,” I said shutting the door. “Love you,”
“Love you, too, Rio,”
I walked into Savanna’s room. “Hey, you,” I said, sitting on the end of her bed.
“Hey, yourself,” she said. “Ms. Boy Problems,” she added.
“You heard me?” I snapped. She nodded wickedly. “You have no room to talk. Just last week you and Michael had a breakdown. How’d that turn out, by the way?” I asked.
“It’s fine,” she said. I still felt like I could look up to her. Not just because she’s a junior and I’m a sophomore, but that she still shares my blood, and has the distance of a friend.
“Is he cute?” she asked.
“You should know. You listened,” I snapped. She rolled her eyes.
“Not that much,” she said, grabbing her stereo remote. She flicked it on, and pondered for a moment. “Hmmm…Avenged Sevenfold or Guns ‘N’ Roses? Axl Rose or M. Shadows? Slash or Synyster Gates?” she asked the air, hand on her chin. I could really see Mom in her. “Maybe we should throw Three Days Grace into this. You think Adam Gontier could stand up to the others?”
“Heck, yeah,” I said. I then remembered that Phoenix wore a Three Days Grace shirt today, and an Avenged Sevenfold belt buckle. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!!! my thoughts screamed.
“What about Jacoby Shaddix with Papa Roach?” she asked.
“Just stick with A7X,” I said. “The Rev is my favorite anyway,” I added. “And Zacky Vengeance. And Johnny Christ,”
She smiled. “You are so whipped!” she barked. I made a face.
“By who? Rev?” I wish…
“Your guy friend. He’s got you goin’ gaga over him,” she said.
“I thought we were talking about Avenged Sevenfold, GNR, and Roach,” I said trying to change the subject. “Not Lady Gaga. She’s not in that genre,”
“Subject changer! What’s his name? What’s his name? What’s his name? Tell me! Tell me!” she squealed.
“He is nameless! No name!” I shouted.
“I’m not giving up!” she said, standing on her bed.
“Yes, you are!” I said. Savanna grabbed the remote and cranked ‘I Devise My Own Demise’ by Papa Roach. We started to sing along. I can’t control everything/ and I can’t forget just what I’ve seen/ and these memories/ take me away/ to a better place than I am today/ Than I am today!/ I devise my own demise/ here’s to life/ the life I’m losin’.
The door cracked open. There stood Mom in her red dress, all made up.
“Alright, rock stars,” she said. “I’m leaving. Money’s on the table,” she said. We both bent over and gave her a kiss goodbye. “I’ll have Rick come by and check on you guys later,” she added. “See you. Love you,” she said before she left. Rick is her latest boy toy. Savanna and I calmed down, and went out to the living room after finishing PR’s song.
Savanna parked it on the loveseat and started flipping though channels. She landed on a History Channel’s Monsterquest marathon. They were talking about different monsters like Bigfoot and Mothman. I placed an order with Golden Dragon, and twenty minutes later, we were dining on greasy Tso’s chicken and vegetable lo mein.
We began an episode about angels. “Do you believe in them?” I asked Savanna. She nodded as she chewed a mouthful of noodles. I stabbed my chicken with a chopstick and leaned back.
“I think Daddy’s one,” she said. I smiled.
“My daddy’s a low-life drunk,” I said. She snickered. I sat my carton down on the table, and instantly felt eyes on me. I glanced through the French doors, and out onto the balcony. I stood, then heard a shattering of glass. Savanna and I screamed the loudest we have ever screamed. I ran in the direction of the sound, and found a large, gray, speckled rock on the cream colored carpet. I didn’t touch it, and looked out the shattered window. I didn’t hear anyone running, or talking, or breathing. I turned around, and went to the phone.
I called 911, and waited for the cops. Savanna and I held each other, for fear of someone abducting one of us. Soon, the cops pulled in, and we stood outside and explained the story. I soon saw a Mercedes-Benz pull up. Out came Mom’s little gopher, Rick.
“What in the name of…what happened?” he demanded, adjusting his tie on his fancy black suit.
“Someone threw a rock through the window,” Savanna informed him. He gasped.
“Not my girls!” he cried, wrapping his arms around us, which creeped me out.
“Wipe the lipstick from your collar,” I said, just to see what he’d do. He frantically swiped his collar and neck, and checked his hand for the imaginary red stain.
“Rio! Rio!” I heard someone call. I turned around and saw Phoenix jogging towards me. Oh, no…my thoughts wailed.
“Are you okay? What happened?” he asked when he got closer.
“Someone threw a rock through our window. We’re fine,” I reassured him. “Where’d you come from?” I asked.
“I live down there,” he said, motioning down the street.
“Who are you?” asked Savanna.
“This is Phoenix. He just moved here,” I said. “This is my sister Savanna,” Phoenix smiled and extended his hand. His gentlemanly-ness always surprised me.
“And who are you, young man?” Rick asked as he stepped between Phoenix and I.
“Who are you?” Phoenix asked.
“I happen to be their father,” he snapped.
“He’s not either! He’s my mom’s boyfriend,” I barked.
“Once again, who are you?” Rick asked.
“I happen to be a friend of Rio’s. A close friend,” he said. You are so not close, I thought.
Yes, I am…
“Phoenix, can I talk to you? Alone?” I asked. It was more of a demand than question. He nodded, never braking the gaze between he and Rick. I pulled him down the sidewalk a little more.
“What are you doing?” I hissed.
“I came to see what was going on,” he said.
“No! Not that! You are talking to me inside my head!” I snapped.
“No, I’m not,”
“Yes, you are! I know it! I can hear you!” I shot back.
“You might have ESP. You might wanna check that out,” he said playfully.
“Is he bothering you?” Rick called from down the sidewalk.
“Shut up, Rick!” I yelled. “I’m gonna kill him before this is over,” I growled.
“That’s not nice,” Phoenix said.
“Sorry. Not a fan of Hannibal Lecter,” I glared at him. “Just trying to lighten the mood,” he said. “So, here’ s the deal; you believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want. We’re not gonna change each other. Fair?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. I sighed.
“Okay, whatever,” I said. He smiled. It was one of those perfect smiles that Prince Charming always has. His teeth were perfectly straight and white.
“See you at school tomorrow, Juliet,” he said, walking around me. He placed his hand on my shoulder, and it sent sparks flying though my body. I whipped around.
“Like you gotta lot of room to talk, Romeo!” I called down the sidewalk. He turned around.
“I actually enjoy it!” he said, walking backwards. He winked as he turned around and walked into the night.
I turned around to head back to Rick, who was spazzing out. I heard the familiar sound of a diesel-fueled truck. I turned and saw Mike and his posse slow down and roll down the window.
“What’s going on, sugar?” he called playfully.
“Nothing go home,” was all I said. It almost sounded like one word, I talked so quickly.
“Then why are the cops here?” he asked, still driving slowly beside me. I stopped.
“Someone threw a rock through the window,” I said, and continued to walk.
“You sure it wasn’t that freak Martin kid? What’s his name? Free bird?” he asked.
“His name is Phoenix,” I said, suddenly defensive. “And he’s not a freak,”
“What kind of name is that?”
“It’s the name of a bird that’s made of fire. When we talk about mythology in English, you should listen,” I snapped.
“Yeah, I don’t care. I only care about you,” he said, trying out pick-up lines.
“Oh, just go home,” I snapped.
“Suit yourself, honey,” he said sweetly.
“Honey, my butt,” I snapped, and gestured to the road. He and his friends whooped and hollered before blazing down the road. I came back to the house.
“Two guys in one night. That’s nice odds!” Savanna said. I rolled my eyes.
“I know you hate Mike, but what about Phoenix?” Rick asked.
“He just moved here. Not sure I like him, either,” I said.
“Well, your mother informed me that I am to take you to my house tonight,” Rick said. “She’ll be there soon,”
I nodded, and Savanna and I grabbed a change of clothes, and got into the Mercedes. I couldn’t stop thinking about Phoenix. Maybe I did want him in my head after all.
After a long night at Rick’s, we were allowed to go home. The window had been replaced by Mom’s maintenance crew. When we got home, we finished dressing for school, and were dropped of like normal.
I didn’t say anything to Phoenix. I didn’t want to. I still wasn’t sure of him. After suffering through English, I went to lunch, and as I sat, I saw Phoenix come towards me. Not now…please! my mind pleaded, thinking he could hear me. He sat anyway.
“How was your day, so far?” he asked kindly.
“Let’s see…morbid, hateful, disgraced. Any other words you wanna add?” I snarled.
“What bit you last night?” he asked.
“A rock,” I said, “And two guys who don’t know how to leave,”
“I just wondered if you were okay,” he said.
“How did you know where I lived, anyway?” I asked. He froze.
“I didn’t. I just saw lights, and…” he trailed off.
“You stalker!” I accused.
“I’m not a stalker,” he said. “Be realistic,”
“Nothing’s realistic anymore, Romeo,” I said, then realized I called him Romeo without trying.
“You just have to look for it, Juliet,” he said sweetly. I rolled my eyes. I looked at his arms. Today he wore a short-sleeved black shirt with no design. His belt was studded and it closed by a pair of handcuffs.
“Do tattoos hurt?” I asked randomly. “I mean to get one,”
“They can,” he said quietly, looking blankly at the table.
“How?” I asked.
“If you get it in a place where it’s tender, it hurts,” he said, “Like here,” He touched his finger to the inside my wrist. It felt like a shock and a burn combined into one bizarre feeling. It wasn’t painful, but weird. I jumped in my chair. He moved back a little.
“What’s your problem?” he asked. I shook my head. I wasn’t about to tell him he just burned and shocked me.
“I…just…you scared me. I didn’t think you’d touch me. Not a big fan of that,” I said. It wasn’t really a lie. I don’t like people touching me, and he did scare me.
“Oh,” he said. He kept staring at my arm. I didn’t say anything about it. I wasn’t in the mood to fight. “I can’t remember when I had arms with no tattoos,” he said, sounding like he was hypnotized.
“Oh,” I said. It was the saddest thing you’ve ever seen. He had me so whipped. Savanna was right. Then maybe I have him whipped, I thought.
Phoenix lifted his hand, then put it back down.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Can I touch your arm? So I don’t scare you again,” he asked. It was a weird question, but I allowed it. He gently placed his fingertips on my thin arm. I still felt that burning shock, but it didn’t bother me as much. He flipped my arm so the inside of the wrist was showing. The blue veins stood out against the white pallor of my skin. Muncie, Indiana winters are long and cold. You don’t get much sun.
He studied my wrist as if he had to take a test on the placement of my veins.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said, “I’m just trying to remember what mine looked like. Can’t see them anymore.” He showed me his wrist. His veins were covered by what looked like fire.
“Are you obsessed with them?” I asked.
“People become obsessed with things they don’t have. If you have it, you take it for granted and have no problem. When it’s gone, you demand to see it,” he pointed out. All of a sudden, Phoenix’s shoulder came forward and he slammed his gut into the table. His face was twisted in pain and confusion as he turned to view his assailant.
Mike stood behind him, trying to tower him, but there is now towering over Phoenix.
“You’re in my chair, punk,” he snapped.
“I don’t see your name on it,” Phoenix said coolly.
“I said, get out of my chair,” Mike barked. Phoenix stood and met Mike eye to eye.
“You deaf, boy? I said go,” he said. Phoenix crossed his arms.
“Make me,” he said. He glared into Mike’s eyes, never blinking. I wonder if he felt the same way as I did when Phoenix looked at me; like your insides were being sucked out.
Mike furrowed his brow, and shook his head. “What’re you doing?” he demanded.
“Waiting for you,” Phoenix said.
“Dude, hit him!” one of Mike’s friends said.
“No!” Mike protested, “You’re screwing with my head! Freak!”
“No, I’m not,” Phoenix said quietly and calmly.
“You-just-Get out of my way!” Mike said as he shoved past Phoenix, and his posse followed, giving deadly looks. Phoenix quietly sat back down.
“Not good under pressure my butt,” I said, remembering what he said.
“I’m not,” he said.
“What the crap was that then?” I asked. He gave me a look.
It’s not nice…
“Stop it right now!!” I almost yelled. “I can’t take this! Get out of my head!”
“I’m not in your head,”
“Yes, you are! I can hear you! Don’t lie to me!”
“I’m not lying,”
“THAT’S IT!!!” I jumped up from the table. Not sure of where I wanted to go, I simply went to the door and started down the hall. I was so ticked that ticked puts it mildly. He was doing it. I knew he was.
“Rio! Rio, come back!” I heard him call.
“No!” I yelled, still walking. All of a sudden, my arm was yanked backwards.
“Listen to me,” Phoenix said, latched to my arm.
“How’d you get here so fast?” I asked.
“Yes, it does! What are you? Tell me!” I demanded. He breathed for a moment. He looked down the hall, both ways, and answered me.
“You want answers?” he asked.
“A few would be nice,” I said sarcastically. He looked down the hall again.
“I’ll come to your house about nine. I’ll give you all the answers you want,” he said.
“I want them now,” I said.
“Too many ears,” he said. I shook my head. “I swear. I’ll tell you anything. I will be there,” he added.
“What about my mom? And Rick?” I asked.
“Who says they have to know?” he said, giving a sly smile. I sighed deeply.
“Don’t do something dumb,” I said.
“No one said I was smart. Or dumb.”
I sat in my bedroom that night, wondering about Phoenix’s hare-brained plan. I seriously thought he had major mental issues.
Mom and Savanna had went to bed, and Rick had gone home, so it was me all by myself.
“But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief, that thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; her vestal livery is but sick and green and none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were!” were the words that was called into my room.
I went immediately to my window. I looked out, and saw Phoenix standing below my window.
“What are you doing? Just go knock at the door,” I called.
“She speaks: O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art as glorious to this night, being o'er my head as is a winged messenger of heaven unto the white-upturned wondering eyes of mortals that fall back to gaze on him when he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds and sails upon the bosom of the air,” he called. He made a gesture with his hand for me to continue with the lines. I sighed.
“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet,” I said.
“That’s more like it!” he said. “Back away from the window,”
“Why?” I asked, getting a bad feeling.
“Do it,” he said. I stood back, waiting for something bad. Next thing I knew, Phoenix was crawling though my window.
“How’d you get up here?!” I demanded.
“You’ll see,” he said. He sat casually on my bed, and made himself comfortable. “Speak,” he said.
“How are you talking to me in my head?” I asked.
“I’m not,” he said.
“You said-” was as far as I got.
“It’s all you,” he said, “Your mind is open to invitations. You’re open to telepathy. We all have it,”
“All of us? As in people from your planet or mine?” I asked.
“Not planet, but world,” he said.
“What?” I asked. He made no sense.
“Well, I’m of this world now,” he said.
“You’re confusing me,” I said.
“That’s normal,” he said.
“Don’t talk in riddles,” I said. “Just tell me everything,”
“I won’t tell, but show,” he said, standing up.
“What’re you doing?” I asked as he reached behind him and grabbed the back of his shirt. “Don’t do it!” I said, knowing his plan. He pulled up his shirt, keeping his arms in the arm holes. He turned his back to me. What I saw made my blood run very, very, very cold.
Two jagged scars ran down his back, one on each side. What looked like veins with black blood in them grew in scraggly lines off them. They faded into his flesh tone.
“What do you see?” he asked. I swallowed.
“Lines,” I said. He pulled his shirt back on and faced me.
“Think about it,” he said. “It’s not hard,”
I thought. And thought. And thought. But my mind was completely blank. Nothing. Blackness. He smiled. “What did you watch last night?” he asked. The way he said it made it a statement and not a question. He knew what I watched.
“Monsterquest,” I squeaked.
“What did they have on Monsterquest?” he said, still not a question. My mind ran through options. Wolfman, no. Vampire, no. Swamp monster, no. Fallen…wait…oh, my…
Keep going. You’re on the right track.
I gave him a scared look. I couldn’t control myself anymore. All blood had rushed down to my feet and left me light-headed.
“Say it. You have the idea. Say it,” he demanded. I couldn’t speak. I just shook my head. “Just two little words, Rio. You can do it,” he prodded.
“What if I’m wrong?” I asked.
“I know you’re not. Just say it,” he said. I just stood. “Need help?” he asked playfully as he crossed his arms across his chest. I felt myself being controlled. The words fell out of a mouth that felt like it belonged to someone else. Like it didn’t belong.
“Fallen angel,” I said, almost whispering.
“Very good,” he said, “Now, you have two options. One, sit and breathe so you don’t have heart palpitations. Two, you can scream and put yourself in hot water. Take your pick.” I found myself on the floor with my knees crushed to my chest. Phoenix sat across from me, on the edge of the bed. He still had a wicked smile. “Are you scared?” he asked, stating the obvious.
I just nodded. My voice box had just shriveled up and died. Phoenix took off his red and black rosary, and held it out to me. “It’ll make you feel safer. Have faith,” he said. I looked at it, then him. “Trust me,” he purred. I held out a shaky hand, let the rosary fall into my hand, and then held it to my chest. It actually helped a little.
“Now, do you think I’d be wearing that if I was bad?” he asked. My mind answered for me. Guess not.
See. Have faith.
I once again glared. “Does it really bother you that much?” he asked.
What do you think?
Fine then, I’ll stop.
Silence. “We aren’t all bad,” he said. “Just a few. Some fell for things like lust and money, others for doing God’s work and spreading the gospel,” he said.
“Why did you…fall?” I asked, the words slowly forming. He gave me an intense look.
I think my heart stopped beating then. “W…what?” I hissed, barely able to speak.
“Rio Isabella Capulet,” he said. “That’s my reason,” he added. He still wore his wicked smile.
“What are you planning?” I asked, scared of the answer. He shrugged his shoulders.
“This, I guess. Here you are and here I am,” he said. I sighed. I should have known this. It was obvious that something wasn’t right about him. I should have stayed away.
“You’re fine where you are,” he said. I was confused at first, then I realized he was prying into my brain again.
“You said you’d stop that!” I said.
“I said I’d quit talking to you inside your head. I said nothing about reading,” he said playfully.
“I hate you,” I said, actually meaning it.
“Hate is a strong word,” he said, “Like love.”
“Don’t go there,”
“I went there when we met,” he said. Every time he said something like that, it was like another shock. I could just shake my head.
“I threw the rock in your window,” he said. I glared at him.
“Huh?” was all I could manage.
“I had to see you again,” he said. He stood up off the bed, and sat gently next to me. I tried to move away, but my muscles couldn’t be commanded. He gracefully lifted his hand in the air. “Can I touch you?” he asked. I nodded. He took my hand and once again flipped it to show the inside of my wrist. The rosary remained in my other hand.
“Remember what I told you?” he said. I nodded again. “When it’s gone, you demand to see it,” he said. It almost felt natural when I did it, but I gently laid my head on his shoulder. He entwined his fingers into mine.
“Can I ask you something?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Do you believe in guardian angels?” he asked. I nodded again. “Good,” was all he said.
When Phoenix left, it was 10:30 p.m. I had a long day in front of me tomorrow. Romeo and Juliet and Phoenix. A nice combination.
I leaned back on the couch in the guidance office, half asleep. A few moments before the bell rang, I felt that familiar shocking feeling take hold on my arm as a strong hand gently clasped it. I opened my eyes and looked up at Phoenix. He was smiling that perfect smile again.
“Hey,” I said.
“How are you?” he asked as he sat down.
“Good,” I said, “Nice to know I have an angel sitting next to me,” I said quietly. He gave an amused smile. Today he wore a red Avenged Sevenfold shirt. I leaned against his shoulder. “I feel really safe now. I mean it,” I said.
“Good luck trying to convince you that last night,” he chuckled. I nodded.
“I get it now,” I said.
“Remind me to show you something later, Juliet,” he said.
“And you expect me to remember, Romeo?” I asked. He gave me a playful look.
“Yeah. It’s important,” he said. I nodded. The day went by so much better knowing he was by my side. Before I went out to Rick’s car, I reminded Phoenix about his ‘important’ message. He looked down the hall, then pulled me under the staircase.
“Look,” he said as he lifted his shirt partway. The scars and black veins had disappeared.
“How’d that happen?” I asked.
“I asked you if you believed in guardian angels,” he said. “And you said yes,”
“So…” I said, thinking I knew what he meant.
“I’m your guardian angel,” he said, smiling. I instantly embraced him.
“Oh, my gosh!” I said. He pulled me farther under the staircase and wrapped his arms around me. We stood like that for a moment, then I remembered Rick out waiting for me.
“Wait! Rick’s waiting for me. I gotta go,” I said, trying to pull away.
“No, you don’t,” he said, trapping me.
“I have to! He’ll get mad,” I said. He stared deep into my eyes.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Close your eyes,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Trust me,” he said. I sighed and obeyed him.
Soon, his warm lips gently touched mine. We stood like that, neither one wanting to end it. When we did, I kept my eyes closed and laid my head against his chest.
“Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged,” he said.
“Then have my lips the sin that they have took,” I said. I lifted my head, and he gave me a tender look.
“Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again,” he said, and kissed me once more.
Started February 14, 2011, Valentine’s Day
Finished February 16, 2011 5:29 P.M
Dedicated to James ‘The Rev’ Sullivan
The Reverend Tholomew Plague foREVer