Chappeh 2: Cigarette Pins
The next day started off with a bad start.
"Monkey, we're gonna' go next door to say hi to our new neighbors!" Mom's voice rang through my ears. I hope she wasn't talking about next door where that insufferable boy lived. I wouldn't say that I was pissed off, or that's what Mom would say, but I was a little bit taken aback. He had flipped me off! Mom said people mostly did that when you were stuck in traffic and road rage had taken over your train of thought. I don't think a car would be able to fit inside a room like his.
"Mom, do we have to?!" I protested, slamming my foot onto the carpet of the living room. I really did not want to face him at the moment.
"I know little monkey, I'd rather stay inside and eat ice cream all day, but it's better to be hospitable when it comes to stuff like this," Mom said to me. She always had the wisest things to say, although the way she put it was in a rather odd way. My mom had taught me a lot of things in life, how to act in situations that may seem difficult and how to solve problems on your own. That's probably why I'm a lot more mature than most of my other friends, like a certain someone named Lindsay.
"Plus, if they're rich then we can go over to their hot tub and have caviar," Mom added with a wide smile. "Now, go up and dress. We don't want them thinking we're poorer than heck." She swatted me away with a push of her hand and I went upstairs, although unwillingly. I went into my room and went towards my closet. Usually, it wouldn't take me very long to get dressed. Just grab a T-shirt, a pair of shorts and shoes and I was off. But this was entirely different. Although, I still kind of disliked him for flipping me off last night there was still a residing feeling of wanting him to like me. I grabbed a gray T-shirt where the head of a deformed ninja was etched onto the front, reading "It's okay, I'm a ninja". I had always like that shirt, not sure where I had gotten it from, but liked it nonetheless. I grabbed a pair of faded blue jeans and pulled on my red Chucks and went to go brush my hair. After all was in place I ran back downstairs and awaited for Mom to appear.
She did. My eyes widened. Usually, Mom always wore a plane tank top, a pair of jeans, tennis shoes and a sweater. But now, it was as if she were going to some fancy dinner party. Her dark brown hair was curled at the bottom, leaving her with a head of shiny, bouncy hair. She wore a black blouse made of some kind of satiny material, complete with pair of stylish black Capri pants. Her black heels made a clinking sound as she made her way towards the kitchen to turn off the lights.
"What kind of food are you gonna' bring them?" I asked, making my way towards the front door, eyeing the dinner plate in her hands.
"Chocolate cake," she answered, following in suit after me.
"I didn't know we had chocolate cake," I said, quirking an eyebrow.
"Neither did I," Mom replied. I smiled at her odd joke. My mom had a weird sense of humor. I walked down my porch steps and stood waiting for her on the grass until I heard her lock the door. Then she came next to me and walked over the long strip of grass that separated his house from mine. I followed her, a nervous wave washing over me. How was he going to react to my being there? What would he say? I shuddered at the thought of him barricading me with all sorts of colorful words. Would I be able to take it? I shook my head and began to re-piece the shards of my broken confidence. Nothing ever faulted me, Mom taught me how to do that, so I wouldn't let her down.
We now stood at the front door of the house, both of us idly standing and fiddling with the garments of our clothes.
"You ring it," I said.
"No, you ring it," Mom replied. The both of us just stood there, waiting for some unknown presence to suddenly ring the doorbell. Finally, I let out a loud sigh, reached out my hand and pressed down upon the blue button that was the doorbell.
We heard a shuffle of footsteps resound from inside the house. I saw the doorknob turn and it opened. A stout lady with straight sandy blond hair pulled up into a high ponytail answered the door. She was around her mid 30's, with crow's feet starting to form around her eyes and wrinkles protruded around her mouth when she smiled. She flashed us her pearly whites and said hello.
"Hi, we're your next door neighbors and we just wanted to stop by and well...welcome you into the neighborhood," my mom replied, also flashing the woman with a smile of her own.
"Oh! How lovely!" the woman proclaimed, smacking her hands together. "My name is Sheryl, and oh...come in, come in!" Sheryl gestured us in with a wave of her hand and we did. A flood of old memories came back to me, of the Parkinson's. I used to go in here a lot because they used to invite me. Judith, the old lady was a bit eccentric and she always used to call me over to bake cookies with her for almost every holiday. Although, I really wasn't the type to enjoy baking, we always had a great time together because she was well...kind of strange in her little old way. Not like most old ladies' who were bitter and had many, many cats. If Sheryl wanted to give us a tour of the house, I would gladly decline because I knew it like the back of my hand.
My mind suddenly reeled to the boy. I tried very hard to try not to scout and look for him, but my eyes seemed to betray me and they stared every which way in search of the boy with the crazy hair and black eye liner. I didn't see him as Sheryl led us into the living room and motioned for us to sit down. Mom presented her the chocolate cake, which Sheryl greatly accepted and went to the kitchen to put it on the counter.
"My husband's not here at the moment, but he'll be here around 5:00," Sheryl explained. "Maybe when he gets back, we can come over and introduce ourselves more properly?" It was currently 11:00; maybe if I summoned enough courage I could go over to Lindsay's house and stay there for the entire night, although the sound of that prospect greatly terrified me.
"That would be great!" Mom exclaimed. "We'd love to have you over." I shifted my position on the soft red sofa couch. I badly wanted to say, "No we don't" but the better half of my judgement decided to kick itself into place, so I held my tongue.
"And who do we have here?" Sheryl asked, allowing her eyes to land upon my form. She smiled at me.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Mom cut in. "I'm Amanda and this here is my little girl, Rachel." I cringed when she said Rachel. I really, really didn't like that name. Why couldn't she just tell her I was Rey? Everyone else called me that. Sheryl smiled down at me once more and sat herself down in the loveseat adjacent to the couch we were sitting on.
"I have a little one myself," Sheryl said. She sighed. "They grow up so fast though. He's already going to be 13 in January." I wondered if she was talking about the boy, obviously she was but you never know. Sheryl jerked her head towards me, a flash of excitement dancing within her auburn eyes.
"You're only a bit younger than he is, would you like to go see him?!" she piped, giving me another smile. I caught a quick glimpse at Mom, who was setting her jaw straight and silently telling me to say "yes". I inwardly sighed and nodded.
"I'm going to stay here and talk to your mommy for a bit, but he's upstairs second door on the left of the hallway. Would you be able to find it okay?" I let out a quite yes and dragged my way towards the staircase. Of course I would know where his room would be. Judith always used to take me into her room and show me the different ways to paint a mannequin doll head. I'd always stare out her bedroom window to look at mine, wondering why it looked so different from the outside.
I was now staring down the hallway, deciding whether or not to go forward or go back down the stairs. I shrugged, deeming it senseless to go all the way back down when I was already within range of my destination. I made my way down the hall, that familiar sense of nausea creeping itself up my throat. Hopefully I didn't barf all over their carpet. I made my way towards the door to his room. A piece of black construction paper hung itself on the doorknob, white writing reading, "Off Limits". Sheryl did tell me to come up here and see him, so it'd be her fault if he did anything to me for intruding into his personal space.
With a deep breath, I placed my hand on the doorknob and slowly turned it. I heard a click and the door was open. The first thing to hit me was the smell of something strong and foul, and there was also a hazy like layer of smoke surrounding the room. I nearly keeled over but I stood my ground. I covered my nose with my hand. I looked about the room, my eyes searching for the familiar figure of the boy with the crazy hair, but I found nothing. Just that thin layer of smoke trailing through the air. I heard a flushing sound come from within the door to my right, the bathroom.
I panicked, my eyes resting on the sliding doors to the left of where I was standing. The closet, perfect. I ran over to them, slid them open and hopped inside, shutting the doors softly. It smelled strongly in here too. I backed myself against the wall, pushing aside the articles of clothing that hung from their hangers. I heard the bathroom door open and the soft padding of feet against the carpet. It was him, I knew it. And here I was, standing in a dark closet like a scared chicken...with a very strong scent filtering into my nostrils.
The sound of his feet shuffling against the carpet stopped altogether. I listened in silence for any trace of movement, anything at all...but there was nothing. Then suddenly, the sliding doors whooshed open and I was standing face to face with...him. My mouth fell open...he was smoking! A black stub of a cigarette hung from his mouth, the smoke from the end still trailing its way out. It was as if he didn't mind seeing a strange girl hiding in his closet. He stared down at me, his black eyeliner thicker than yesterday. I finally realized how pale he was and how fine his skin looked. Not like the teenagers with zits and scars on their faces like all those kids I'd seen at the neighboring middle school. His blonde fringe fell in front of his face, covering a slight portion of his left eye. His jagged hair was pulled back into a ponytail again.
"Say anything or I'll kill you," he said in a hushed whisper. Then he slammed the closet doors shut and left. My heart was racing back on his words. I suppose he was saying if I told anyone that he smoked...that...he'd kill me. Makes logical sense. I stood a moment within the closet, deciding whether to go out or not. The smell was getting stronger by the second so I slid open the closet doors and stepped out.
I found him sitting on his bed, his form hunched over with the cigarette between his fingers. He was wearing a black tank top today and those tight jeans again, but this time they were ripped in several many places with a sort of netty material underneath them. What were they called again? I remember watching a movie with Mom and I had pointed out what all the women standing on the streets where wearing on their legs. I believe they were called...fishnets! She told me all the prostitutes wore them. Wait...was he a prostitute then?
His blackish eyes peered up at me through his bangs, as if warning me to stay away. Instead, I peered around the room. He had a lot of unpacking to do. There were cardboard boxes everywhere! I heard the sound of the bed creaking and watched as he got up and headed towards a dark brown desktop where a closed laptop sat. He withdrew from the cigarette and crushed the butt of it onto the corner of the desk then dumped it into the black waste bucket to the side. He then opened a small drawer and rummaged around. I saw him take out a blue spray bottle of Febreaze. He proceeded to spray mass quantities of the odor reducing liquid into the air until the whole room smelled like fresh lilac. He put the spray bottle back within the drawer and shut it. I stared at his arms, fascinated on how his lean muscles flexed and strained as he opened, sprayed, and shut. He was really slender, like one of those fashion models, but at least he wasn't one of those ultra skinny ones. The skinny models scared me.
He walked back towards his bed, sat down upon it and pressed his hands on the surface, leaning back as if he were inspecting me. He continued to glare at me through his bangs, his charcoal eyes shining with a hidden animosity. I shivered, not really liking how he was looking at me.
"Come here," he said softly. His voice was soothing, melodic in a sense. Not too deep, yet not stringy and high pitched. Perfect, so I obeyed. I came closer to him and halted one foot away from where he sat.
"You're the little girl from next door," he stated more than asked. I simply nodded. Inside, I was screaming at him. How dare he call me a little girl, I was nothing like Lindsay and her girly cronies! The passion in my anger only fueled when I remembered what he did to me last night.
"I hate little girls," he breathed, catching me off guard. "So immature, whiny and bratty." He halted his trail of inspection near my chest, where he grimaced and snorted. I stared at him oddly, he was really strange.
"But I suppose..." he continued, his black fingernails gripping the bed sheets. "...you will do. I'll only allow you to be around me, is that clear?" I stiffened at his outrageous statement. Did he really think he could tell me what to do? He was not the boss of me. I clenched my fists and took a step back.
"Who ever said that I wanted to be around you," I said through clenched teeth, trying with all my might not to wail out and punch him. My nerves were screaming to do it, but I held back. I saw the corners of his mouth lift up, a smirk playing upon his thin lips. His eyes squinted; I thought he looked like one of those pretty evil villains with the slanted eyes on all those Japanese cartoons.
The smirk suddenly disappeared and his face was placid. I stared at him in wonder, trying to figure what kind of mood he was in now. Of course, I got nothing. Then, he shot out his hands and grabbed both of my wrists firmly. I thanked god I that I hated jewelry. His black painted thumbs pressed down on both of the blue veins that trailed up my wrists to my hands. I grimaced at the slight pressure. He began to tug me forward, close enough so that I was merely inches away from him. He stared up at me through his blonde fringe, his eyes dancing with a mix of mischief and suspicion.
I really didn't know what to think when he started speaking. I knew that I was listening to his words, but they really didn't form in my mind like all words should.
"You are not to play with your other friends," he said slowly, his voice narcotic and soothing like the wind. "I live here now and you're to only answer to me." The pressure on both my wrists began to grow, a piercing pain shooting up the length of my arm. I gritted my teeth, trying with all my might as to not cry. I never cried, to me...it was alien like. And I wasn't going to give him the pleasure in seeing me do it either.
"Let go," I said quietly, tugging on my wrists in means for him to release me. He merely stared at me, his grip never faltering. Once more I tugged on the tight grip.
"Let go," I said louder than the first time. When he didn't respond, that's when everything got fuzzy. I didn't really know how to place it, but I guess I was pissed. I gave one good yank and pushed him over, sending him to lie back on the bed. I was atop him, trying to wrestle my way out of his grip on my wrists again. I yanked at his hair, kicked at his legs but it was as if nothing was going to be able to falter him. Heck, he didn't even seem surprised when I suddenly jumped on him like that. I know what I did was childish and down right impudent, but I couldn't help it. My nine year old nature yearned to be released at least for a tiny moment, and I felt that this was the most adequate occasion to do just that.
I was growing tired at my relentless wrestling, and he knew it too. The faintest bit of a smirk etched itself upon his face as if he were amused at the way I was acting. I felt my face go red at that action and turned away, sending my hair to splay against my face. I really didn't want him looking at me like that or smirking either. I searched deep into the recesses of my mind, trying to summon the last bit of strength I had left. I accomplished in finding it and I started up another round of wrestling.
I saw his eyes slant again, telling me he really did not want to continue the little sparring match. He grabbed me and spun me around. I landed in his place on the bed, with him atop of me now, his knees planted next to each side of my hip. My arms were pinned outwards, his thumbs pressing down onto my wrists again. If I could only see myself, I'd probably look like Jesus right about now. Then he opened his mouth,
"That's why I hate little girls."
Yay! 2nd chappeh complete. Meow! Please review!!