By Summer Hillfield
A butterfly zoomed by my face as I walked down the sidewalk toward my house. My earbuds blasting my ears with music and my feet stomping to the rhythm. I look down the street to my left to see a red van parked on the side of the road. I see that van very frequently through this neighborhood. Maybe it’s because the owners of the red lawn company used to own my new house. I kind of feel bad for the guy ‘cause his wife died of cancer and he tried to cope with smoking. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when we ripped up the old carpet to find disgusting, brown carpet padding underneath. It reeked of tobacco.
I look to the right and see the houses I pass every day from the bus stop. However, something doesn’t seem right about this house. The windows are still draped in the white lace curtains and the house is still a red-brown mix color and there’s still a hedge by the front door. But something’s not right. I pass this house every day and I’ve never had this feeling.
My eyes shift to the hand on the inside of the widow. That’s it! As I take a closer look, I see the owner of the hand is a wide-eyed, teenage-looking, black-haired boy. Wow. Nice. I brush my hair out of my face and attempt to smile. But he doesn’t smile back. Instead his hand hits the window and his eyes grow wider. He frantically hits the window again and his mouth moves up and down as fast as lightning. Finally, after a couple times of saying it, I finally see what he’s trying to say. “Help me” his lips say.
I race over to the widow as fast as I can to see his eyes are puffed up to look like pink golf balls with bright green irises. He looks at me intensely like he’s trying to burn a hole in my face. “What’s wrong” I mouth back. But, before he can respond, the door of his bedroom shoots wide open. Reacting with pure reflexes, I duck under the window so nobody sees me. Whoever is in there with him now must not want him to get help or he’d be calling the police. I sit there for what seems like a minute before I hear a deep, loud voice yell “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING”. That must be his father. I hear a couple high whimpers that sound like it came from the boy. Then, a crash and a thud on the ground and a scream. something must have broken. “STOP” I hear the boy yell. “DON’T YOU YELL AT ME” the man responds followed by another thud.
I need to get help. I pull my phone out to dial 911 but stop myself. No. I shouldn’t get involved.
But he needs help!
Don’t call 911 it’s a family issue if you get the police involved they’ll hate me.
Well then what should I do?
Come on, Annie, use your brains. You have to have some up there.
Suddenly, some of the gears inside my head start working. I’ve got a plan. But it’s going to hurt. This plan would trick anyone, especially an abusive, alcoholic father. If only it goes well.
I crawl out from under the window and race home with my backpack trailing behind me. I run two blocks before I reach my house. Out of breath, I wrestle the keys out of my backpack and bolt inside forgetting to shut the front doors. I tuck my keys inside my shorts and throw my backpack in my room before racing to the kitchen where I pull out a small fillet knife. Before bolting through the door again, I wrap it in a dish towel so it won’t cut me. Not yet.
Then, I run back to the house. My lungs are fighting to keep me alive. I can feel them stinging my ribs, begging them to give more room to breathe. But that’s good-I should be out of breath.
Making sure nobody is around; I duck behind the bush and take the knife out of the towel. After I bite down on the towel to keep my jaws shut, I hold it up to the sun and see it reflects a tiny spot of light onto my skin. The knife is now up against my shoulder. I feel it already cutting some flesh before I take a deep breath and slide the knife down. A searing pain fills my shoulder and arm. My jaws bite down hard on the towel to keep them from opening. I can’t help a little cry from escaping my throat. NO I have to remain quiet!
I close my throat and open my eyes. I can barely see past the blurry wall of tears. The knife goes from my shoulder to my thigh. I quickly slide the knife across my upper thigh and the searing pain fills me again. OKAY, that’s enough to convince him. My shaky hands successfully wrap the knife back up in the towel and shove it under the branches of the bush. Then, I reach my good arm up and scramble my hair until it feels like a bird’s nest. I lift myself up off the warm ground and limp to the front door of the house where I saw the boy. The wounds on my arm and leg are now dripping with blood. My hair and puffy eyes add perfect texture. Now, time for the acting skills I have obtained throughout my four years in theater class.
My good arm reaches up for my hand to knock roughly on the door. I don’t stop knocking until it swings open and a tall man stands before me. He has long, scruffy black hair and a beard that looks like he hasn’t shaved in weeks. His white t-shirt is stained with what looks like ketchup but it’s darker and thicker. This might be worse than I thought.
I start talking as fast as I can “I need your help. I just came from down the street and these people were trying to attack me and I have nowhere else to go. Please. They don’t know where I am but if I stay out here-“ He must have understood me behind the shaky voice and messed-up hair because his eyes grow wide and he opens the door just enough to let me in. I limp under his arm and end up in the living room of what looks like one of the messiest, laziest person in the planet. Broken glass and soaked newspaper clippings sprinkled across the tobacco-coated carpet. It sort of looks like the carpet I used to have in my room…
My eyes scan the living room and end up in the kitchen where the boy stands behind the counter. His eyes focused on me and nothing else. The vibrant green around the pupils shift from my face to the cuts dripping with blood back to my face. The man with the blood-stained shirt locked the door behind me and is now standing between me and the boy.
“What in the name of God almighty have you got yourself into” he says to me.
“Something crazy” I respond with my voice still shaken.
He leads me to the kitchen and moves the magazines off a chair for me to sit on by the bar. Then, he motions to the boy “get her some bandages”. I look over at the boy to see a bruise by his eye, another bruise by his shoulder and a busted lip. He’s got it worse than me. I think as the searing pain travels through my body when I lift myself up on the bar chair. The boy brings over a small box of bandages as the man walks down the hall and out of sight. However, I hear the footsteps stop after he goes around the first corner.
“What the hell are you doing” the boy whispers.
I shake my head and press my finger to my lips begging him to be quiet. Then, I hold out my wounded arm allowing him to wipe the blood up with a tissue and cover it with a large bandage. After he does the same with my thigh, his beautiful green eyes look up at me with relief mixed with fear.
I lean forward so my lips are centimeters away from his ear and whisper. “I want to ask your dad a question”. He gives me a confused look then hesitantly walks down the hall. A few moments later, the man comes back into the kitchen.
“Sir, I am very thankful for your hospitality.” I hesitate before saying the next line “Would you mind if I stay the night?”
He stares at me. His deep black eyes piercing mine. Daring me to ask for more. But I stare back with kindness but determination. He finally breaks the connection between our eyes and scans the living room. Then, he slowly walks over to me- closer than I expect. His breath hits my nose which makes me shrivel back into the chair. “There’s a price.”
“A price?... I don’t have any money-“
“Not money, young, beautiful child” he says stroking my hair out of my face. A moment of realization hits me. He wants something much more than money. Much more than I could ever give.
“David, please. She just needs help. Can you at least give her that?” the boy asks with caution. The man, David, takes his focus away from me and slowly turns around. He shifts his eyes to look at the boy. Then, his hand comes up. Before the boy can duck out of the way, a streak of flesh-colored force hits the boy sending him tumbling to the floor. I let out a cry from my mouth but quickly cover it with my hand. David turns back to me with an accomplished look on his face.
“Okay, okay I’ll give you what you want” my voice truly scared this time. David lets out a smirk “meet me in my room in five” he says as he walks down the hallway and shuts a door behind him. I immediately jump off of the chair and rush over to the boy. His eyes meet mine. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” he snaps.
A look of shock fills my face. I thought he would thank me…
“I’m helping you!” I snap back. “I have a plan.”
After hesitating and thinking it over, he nods. “what should I do?”
I tap on the door to the bedroom and a moment later it opens to reveal a man smirking so big, his lips could probably touch the moon. “Come on in, sugar.”
I step inside a room that looks like a tornado hit it and the only clean thing is a bed in the middle of the room. Before I can reach the bed, David forcefully picks me up by the waist. “LET ME DOWN” I yell. Mostly because of the pain in my leg and arm. He lays me down on the bed and, even though it might not be possible, his smirk grows wider. Then, he leans over me so both of our stomachs are touching. This is absolutely revolting. I think.
Now’s my chance. I take the small dagger I have clamped in my hand and swing my arm around to his back. I let out all my force and drive it into his back. He yells right into my ear as I slide away from him leaving his pained body on the edge of the bed. I crawl as fast as I can to the other side but his hand comes out from his side and clamps around my ankle. “NO” I scream and kick him in the face with my other foot. He lets go just as the boy comes bolting in the room. He helps me off the bed and we scramble as fast as we can out of the room. Before we get out of the front door, I hear David’s footsteps behind us. I quickly look behind me to see him raising the dagger I put in his back to throw it at us. I drag the boy down to the ground and the knife comes whizzing over our heads and lands on the front door. The boy quickly helps me up again and we race to unlock the latches. We just have the door open when the collar of my shirt tightens around my neck. I shove the boy outside and slam the door closed with my foot as David drags me back to the room.
As my body slides across the floor, I fight for him to let me go. I kick at him and grab the walls with all of my force. But nothing helps. Finally, the walls open up and I find myself in the room again. He turns me over so my back lands on the floor and spreads his legs over me. Finding the closest beer bottle, he raises it high above his head. I cover my face with my arms and wait for the impact that will probably break my arms, but instead I hear a loud crack about five feet above me. Then, something extremely heavy lands on top of me. I gasp trying to get air in my lungs as the large weight rolls off of me. I hesitantly uncover my face and see the boy taking the place of David and David lying next to me unconscious.
I let out a sigh of relief and take the extended hand that pulls me up off the ground. In one swift movement, I am grasped in warm, gentle arms that wrap all the way around my shoulders and stroke my head. His body is pressed against mine in the gentlest way and I let out another sigh to release the tension in my chest. “You are so incredibly stupid… Thank you.” He whispers in my ear. I allow my arms to wrap around his waist and bring him closer to me. I breathe in deep and the smell of blood and sweat mixed with apple shampoo crawls up my nose. He is still stroking my head when David stirs next to us.
We both jump out of the hug, glance at David and race out the door before anything else happens. He slams the door behind him and I take his hand. We run. We run until my house comes into view and we keep running until we reach the door. I dig the keys out of my shorts and struggle the keys inside the door. After letting him inside, I lock the deadbolts and the knobs to make sure nobody else can get in. Then, I turned back to him.
“Why the hell did you do that? You could have died.” He stares at me like I am a million-year-old artifact that is priceless.
“But I didn’t” I smirk and pass him to enter my kitchen.
“Why? You must have had a reason.”
I look down at the counter and then up at him. I really don’t want to talk about it, so I change the subject. “I don’t even know your name.”
“You first” he said.
“Annie. But my friends call me An.” I introduce myself
“Kyle, but my friends call me Kyle.” He grins.
“That was so stupid” I laugh slightly through my nose. His eyes soften and his lips curve up enough for his dimples to show. Gosh, his smile is gorgeous. I must be smiling even more because his lips spread open to reveal straight, white teeth.
If you look past the swelled bruises and cuts, you can actually see a hot guy. Oh, God he probably thinks I’m a creep now. I’ve been staring at him for too long.
I decide to distract myself and grab the first aid kit from the cabinet above the fridge. As I reach up, I can feel his eyes staring at me. But not in a creepy way. When I turn around he immediately turns his head to look at the counter and blushes. I walk around him and slide in between him and the counter so he has no choice but to stare at me, then, I jump up to sit on the counter. After I open the first aid kit, I take a bandage and gently press it against the open wound on his forehead. The whole time, his vibrant, green eyes are gazing into mine. Kyle hesitantly reaches up to brush the hair out of my face but much gentler and more cautious than David.
Then, I say the only thing my awkward mind is thinking. “I’m sorry about your father.” Which causes him to flinch and I immediately regret it. Then, he smiles again and shakes his head.
“He’s not my father. My mom married him for money before she passed away.” The look of sorrow crashes over him again and I move my thumb from his forehead to his lips.
“I’m sorry” I barely whisper.
“What about you; what’s your story?” somehow he brings the topic back on me.
I hesitated. He told you his story. You tell him yours. No! I can’t… okay only the parts I’m allowed to.
“My dad was a drug dealer. He was the top dog. Got into a lot of trouble. My mom and I were just about to leave when somebody…” Oh, God I always get choked up at this part… “When somebody raided the house, stole everything and left me with my mom’s body.”
He stared at me dumbstruck. His face almost looked like he’d just accidentally killed a puppy. I didn’t realize tears were falling from my eyes until he wiped them away with the knuckle of his index finger. Then, he took both of his hands, cupped them around my face, and reached up to kiss my forehead. A set of extremely soft lips touched my face and I let everything out. All the crying, all the shaking, everything. Kyle wrapped me in his arms again. In two seconds, I became a big heap of a sobbing mess. Tears poured down my cheeks but I couldn’t stop them. He started shaking also which told me he was crying too.
“You’re going to be okay. We’re gonna be okay.” He told me. And I believed him.
Something Crazy (continued)
Most people don't believe me when i say i live alone. But then again, I don't tell most people. My mom left in her will that if i was seventeen by the time she died (and was capable enough, of course), I could live alone. Well, i was sixteen and a half. Close enough, right?
The only people that know i live in this house alone is my best friend, Marie, my neighbors, Tracy and Jerremy, and the Child Service agent, Rose. Let's just say Rose has more thorns than petals...
A creamy lump of peanut butter spread across a piece of toast evenly. His wrist moved perfectly to the rythm of the butter knive. Kyle tilted his head a little to the side as he finished his masterpiece and lifted the snack up to his mouth. As his eyes contacted mine i gave him a teasing, disgusted look.
"What, Its good" he said before he took a bite of the bread.
"You're not even going to put jelly on it?" i walked over to the counter.
"That would ruin it"
I took the jelly out from the fridge and grabbed another piece of bread. I could feel him watching me as i licked the knife and plunged it into the jelly jar to bring out a knife full of strawberry, sugarry goodness. Then, i slopped it onto the piece of bread, spread it around and took a bite. "There. Now we're even" i said with a mouth full of food.
"That jelly is contaminated now" he teased.
I laughed "everything's contaminated in this house"
He gave an even bigger smile back showing his white teeth that totally contrasts his hair. We both took another bite at the same time still staring each other down.
Ever since the whole parade of police cars came zooming down the street towards his house, we decided it was best if Kyle stayed at my place until the police find us and start interrogating our brains apart. It's been two days and so far nobody has rung the doorbell. The day after the incident, we stayed home from school just to settle down and relax. Thank goodness my dad left some stuff for him to wear cause i need the little money i have from my job at the hospital to pay taxes on everything my mom left me. It was hard for me to realize before i had responsibilities, but nothing is free.
I didn't have much more time to stare into Kyle's gorgeous green eyes as i was interrupted by the familiar sound of a car door slamming shut on my driveway. Rose... i forgot it was Wednesday!
My head whipped to the front door and back to Kyle. "Hide" i said quickly.
The doorbell rang throughout the house causing me to jump. "Where?" he whispered loudly as he set the peanut butter toast down and started cautiously backing away from the door.
"I don't know, anywhere! I'll explain everything later" i assured him.
He made a b-line towards the guest bedroom as the doorbell rang again. I rushed towards the door and before Rose could start repeatedly ringing the bell, i opened it just wide enough to see her blonde hair brush out of her face and look at me.
She was wearing her typical pencil skirt and flamboyant blouse with the cat-eye sunglasses covering her blue eye shadow. Her pink-stained lips curled up to form a forced smile. "Annie!" she pronounced loudly as though we were close friends. I rolled my eyes as she pushed open the door to welcome herself in. "I see you haven't trashed the place as i expected you to do by now"
"I'm sure you would have a feild day if i threw a party" I gave her an equally strained sarcastic smile.
Her smile dropped immedietly into (as i call it) her "thorn face". "I also see you haven't changed your attitude" she pursed her lips.
"What attitude?" I challenged as i crossed my arms and raised my eyebrows.
Finally, she gave up trying to get on my nice side and walked into the kitchen. Oh, sh*t. She's going to see Kyle's peanut butter toast.
I walked past her and casually placed the peanut butter and jelly breads together to make a sandwich. Then, i took a bite and looked at her as if nothing happened. Just a simple girl making a simple peanut butter and jelly. Her eyes peirced through mine as if i was a bomb and would randomly burst and reveal all my secrets. After i beat her at an awkward staring contest, she strolled around to the living room and scanned every corner for signs of misbehavior. as if to check for drugs or any other illegal thing a kid my age might be doing. I seemed to hear her repeat over and over in her head "Too innocent, too innocent"
I dared a glance towards the guest bedroom to see if Kyle wasn't making himself known. If Rose were to find him, he'd be questioned and background checked and he would certainly end up at the police statio where someone might recognize him as the runaway son and take him in. I couldn't have that happen. She must have seen me make that tiny glance toward the guest bedroom cause the next thing i know, she was striding over to the hallway with a stupid meniacle smile on her face. No no no no please anywhere but there...
I followed her into the hallway as my heartbeat picked up its pace and i swear my hands started sweating. Before she crossed the threshhold into the room, i coughed loudly to try and warn him we were coming in. Hopefully he could hear the click of Rose's shoes on the floor and know not to reveal himself. There was only one place Kyle could have hidden. And that was the closet. Of course, Rose knew if anyone were to hide anything, it would be, you guessed it, the closet. She stepped cautiously over to the closet and i held my breath as the doors dramatically creaked open. She looked at me to tell if i was nervous. I immedietly forced myself to relax my muscles and gave a reassuring smile. Nothing is out of the ordinary here.
Rose looked deeper into the closet and i had to dig my nails into my cut wound so i wouldn't scream. She looked left and right and saw nothing. Then, i noticed a heap of blankets on the floor that looked as big as a balled-up human body.
Rose's hand reached toward the blankets her fingers almost touched the fabric-
"Rose..." i said quickly and calmly. She turned her head. "Are you done invading my personal space? Cause i kind of have a lot of homework to do."
An evil smile slowly curved upwards on her face. Then, in a split second, she grabbed the sheets and sent them flying out of the closet. Every muscle in my body tensed and i shut my eyes to wait for her wrath. But nothing came.
I peaked my eyes open to see what was under the blanket. Only more blankets. I let out a large sigh of releif and Rose shot me a glance. i covered up the sigh as a sigh of impatience. "As i said, Rose, are you done?" she shifted her focus back to the heap of blankets and started frantically sending them out of the closet and onto the floor. "Great! Now i have a crazy lady's mess to clean up. Thanks" I added.
She stood up straight and straightened her blouse. She held her head high, however, i could see emarrasment in her eyes. This made a wide grin on my face. Her heels clicked out of the room and i followed her to the front door.
"I'll see you next week" she said confidently and walked out the door as i happily shut and lock the door behind her. I finally let my whole body relax and raced back to the guest bedroom.
"She's gone" i announced to the seemingly empty room. I looked around to try and find where he actually hid. Then, a hand slid out from under the bed followed by a shoulder and a head of black hair.
"Geeze you really should clean under here" The body said. i laughed as i dragged Kyle out by his arms. He looked up at me from the floor with his peircing green eyes. I couldn't take my eyes off of him.
"You scared me" i said to break the silence.
"Well, you said anywhere, so i took that litterally" his lips curved upward to a much more inviting smile than Rose's. "Who was that, anyway?"
"My super strict child service agent" i added a sigh. He frowned and nodded his head like it was a new fact he learned.
Neither of us got up. Neither of us moved. He stared into my disgusting brown eyes as i stared into his godly green ones. I could see his hunger for a taste of my lips. His eyes pleaded to touch me. Then, without warning, a tingling sensation filled my left cheek. His hand was warm and it made my cheek feel like an ice cube. The warmth guided my head down until it was centimeters away from his. I closed my eyes.
The space between our lips dissapeared and his hand ancored a place on my cheek. We moved our jaws up and down wanting more with each touch. My hands slid behind his head as his slid from my head down to wrap around my waist. His hands temporarily left my waist to push himself up to a sitting posititon and then found my waist again. Then, hungry for more, i moved my body closer and pressed my chest to his. it felt like i could not be close enough. Our hearts could be litterally connected and we would want more.
He moved my hair to one side of my head with the gentle stroke of his fingers. His lips made their own path and suddenly my neck was exploding with satisfaction. I had not realized how heavy i was breathing until i opened my mouth and let my lungs flow freely. His hands gripped my thighs and i let out a sigh. As his lips found mine again, he hoisted me up on his hips and stood up. Woah, he's freakin strong!
In my moment of shock, i broke free of the kiss and stared at him with awe. Then, I closed my eyes again and carressed his neck with my lips as he gently sat me down on top of the bed.
~fast forward cause im not that nasty~
The twilight light crept in to the window and illuminated Kyle's beautiful black hair. He looked at me as if i was a fragile piece of ancient china as he gently placed a strand of hair back behind my ear. I leaned my head down onto his chest. Every part of me that touched him radiated warmth into my body. As his fingers played with my hair, i thought to myself.
Mom would have been so proud of me. She always wanted me to have a boyfriend and be happy. That's all she wanted for me. And now that i am happy, i can sense her smiling down from heaven where she's telling all of her angel friends about me. I can tell she is as happy up there as i am down here. No father that created such a messed up situation can ruin this now. I wonder if Kyle is as happy as me. I wonder if he's ever been happy before. Seeing how his dad treated him, i certainly hope so. Nobody should go through anything without a little hope. At least when i lost my parents i had Marie to force me along and keep me on the right path.
Kyle must have felt the cold tear that fell from my eye to his chest because he lifted my chin up to look at his face. "Hey" his soothing voice comforted "what's wrong?"
I smiled through my tears of joy. "I just never thought i'd be this happy... that sounds really cheesy" i realised.
He shook his head. His green eyes stared with awe at me for a moment
"Annie," he started
"Kyle," I responded
"I love you"