After about the millionth time of holding the piece of paper and feeling the rush of images and emotions I lay it on my bedside table and get up. Five hours of sleep is all I can manage with the nightmares. Images of car crashes, Blaise and strangely myself are all mixed up in this latest dream but I can’t make sense of it. Before it was always clear. I’d be able to look back in my notebook and find where the dreams would tie in somehow. This time it's just weird. I’m starting to wonder if maybe this little curse I got is expanding.
Everyone is still asleep this time of the morning so I throw on some running clothes and grab my ipod before slipping out for a jog. Stretching out my arms and legs, I let the cool air wake me up as it kisses over my skin. I can hear the faint sound of kookaburras laughing in the distance even though the sun hasn’t quite made an appearance yet. Flipping through my hundreds of songs until I find the best one for running, I slip in the ear buds and start heading towards the main road.
The street I live on is just off the busiest road through Bellington but at five in the morning it’s relatively peaceful. Apart from the occasional power walker I don’t pass anyone until I head closer to the shops. My legs tingle with that familiar burn as I pound down hard on the pavement to the beat of ‘We Run The Night’. It’s been a while since I last ran, my breath is a little ragged the longer I persevere and I can’t help but think how unfit I’ve become in just a few short weeks. I pass the fields on the right and round the corner and almost take out a jogger heading in the opposite direction. I mouth a sorry before moving on. She doesn’t seem to be bothered, kept in her own little world with her ipod blaring. She’s only worrying about when she gets closer to home and having to find excuses for why she isn’t eating breakfast. She’s starting to get that emaciated look that is on the border of being acceptable and too skinny and if she starves herself a little longer she will be able to fit into her black studded jeans in no time.
I jolt back into my own mind and stumble at the realization of what has just happened. I double over catching my breath, wheezing suddenly. My chest tightens so suddenly I am fighting for breath, so much so that I swear I can feel my face starting to turn blue. I try relaxing my thoughts and breath slowly but I’m only managing to get slight trickles of air. I feel a light touch on my back, my chest relaxes and I suck in a big lungful of air. I think I’m hyperventilating on the side of the main road, my hand clutching my chest, my legs finally collapsing out from underneath me, when a hand appears from nowhere offering their help. I know I’m looking at their hand as if it hasn’t been washed for months, not being able to hide the disgust on my face. But I just can’t do it, not when I’m faced with another bout of speechless.
“I don’t bite.” That voice. My head snaps up, all the way up, and my eyes meet his. Up close he’s even more breathtaking. I stare for longer than necessary. His smirk grows wider until a blaring horn in the background brings me back to reality and I find myself stuttering a little as I help myself up.
“I’m good thanks” I
manage to squeeze out. Blaise is dressed in nikes, trackpants and sweatshirt. The beginnings of sweat mark the neck of his shirt but apart from that he’s perfect. He doesn’t even look like he’s been out jogging! Those piercing eyes, which I’ve worked out are green stare back at me intently. He’s in no rush to make things comfortable I think to myself.
He chuckles and I’m weirdly aware at how timed that laugh is with my thoughts, but shake the idea off. The last thing I need is to convince myself he’s just as unlucky and flawed as I am with my curse. I’m not even sure that reading people’s minds actually exists. But I suppose if I have my little problems, then maybe other people are dealing with stuff similar. One could only hope.
I realise I’ve been stuck thinking for too long and shift uncomfortably, aware that he is still looking at me.
“Uh, I better keep going.” I say and look towards where I’m headed. I shift myself out the way, ready to keep going when he steps into my path again.
“Violet. Do you want to tell me what happened yesterday?” Blaise in all his glory, purrs my name. Well it sounded like a purr nonetheless. No I don’t want to talk about yesterday. Better yet, let’s pretend it never happened I think silently, all the while I’m aware of the heat creeping into my pale cheeks.
“Oh, low blood pressure I guess. Uh thanks for the help home. I gotta keep going sorry.” I turn and side step him determined this conversation is over and that we are too close for comfort. I don’t even make it past him before he grabs my arm. The tingles shoot up my arm and my vision begins to darken before he jerks his hand back. The dizzy feeling that threatens to take over is easing up and I’m suddenly very cold.
I back away from him. His face is frozen, jaw slightly dropped as if he were about to say something but thought better of it.
I try to tell him that I’m fine and while my mouth is moving and doing the motions I’m as silent as ever. I don’t even get the chest tightening feeling until I’m passing him and running hard out towards home. I don’t even look back to see if he is stuck where I left him. I don’t look back at all because I’m scared he’s going to follow me home. To try and get me to talk things out or try to explain why the hell I freak out when he touches me. Even though it’s not just him but everyone.
Blaise is different though. I can’t quite pin point what it is. Whether it’s the odd visions I get every time we touch. Those same visions I seem to be a part of. Or whether it’s the way he was looking at me when I was having my inner dialogue moments and I swear it felt like he was listening in.
The front of my house creeps up fast until I almost pass it and slam on the brakes. The gates shut so I jump over it and duck up the side and sneak in the back. The moment I close the back door I know Mum’s awake. I can’t hear her but the atmosphere in the house seems disturbed. Out of all them sleeping under this roof she would be the first awake and the moment I step into the kitchen I know I’m right.
“Hi honey. You have a good run?” Mum says over her shoulder as she pulls the milk out of the fridge. All I can do is nod and give her a small smile before I duck upstairs for #652.. Three pens later and I’ve finished another sketch. It’s dark, the moon's out and there are three people standing under the cover of some trees. They are facing away from me, or at least the angle I’m drawing from so I can’t tell for certain who two of them are. One is me I’m sure of it. The black skull leggings are a give away as well as the feelings I had when I sketched her. She feels familiar, with every pen stroke it was like I was building parts of myself. Putting myself back together.
The musky sweet flavour that fills my mouth is tainted with the slightest hint of strawberries and I’m instantly on edge. I don’t know how soon this scene is going to happen but when I can taste that distinct mix something is coming, and pretty soon. I know the basic run down when Blaise had touched me this morning, and when I sketched out the drawing things became clearer. This is no social get together. I’m left confused though. Neither of the other two look like Blaise. Since it was him that touched me I’m wondering whether he is just a by stander, or lurking in the many shadows I coloured in. Usually it’s that person’s direct thoughts or feelings that triggers the future visions but everything about Blaise is throwing all I thought I knew about what I can do, way out of whack.
Saturday afternoons Ellie and I usually go see a movie. It’s been a tradition for the past three years and this year is even better. Mum hands me the keys and grins.
“Really?” I look at her with my eyebrows raised. I’ve had my licence longer than anyone at my year, since I was born on New Years Day. But since I don’t have a car it hasn’t really been a boasting point. That and the little itty bitty problem that I keep to myself so I’d have no one to do the car pooling with even if I wanted to. I take the keys careful not to touch her and smile a little more when she turns. It’s not that I’m a sour person, but when you smile too much at people it lulls them into the false sense of trusting you and therefore opening up and possibly touching you. Yeah I don’t like leading people down the garden path, or risking the chance of someone just casually patting my arm and then… Whoops, Violet can’t talk. Now that would be awkward straight after the smiling thing hey?
I step in to see Ellie going all out for our little movie date. Her naturally curly locks are now straight and shiny. Her jeans have been ironed and she’s plastering on some major makeup as if we may or may not run into someone she is interested in. Which makes me wonder?
“Hey are we still good to see I am Number Four tonight?” And I know the instant she locks eyes with me that she’s forgotten.
“Oh.. I’m sorry Vi. I totally forgot about the movie night. I’ve made plans with Jake. We are gonna hang out at his place for a while. Might head on over to Rhiannon’s party later on if you’re up for it.” She smiles when she says the last part since we both know that I’m the last person to be invited there, even if the invite says ‘open to all’.
“It’s cool, you can’t hang out with your sister every weekend, hey!” I smile even though I’m a little hurt that she can forget about me so easily. I suppose too it’s not quite fair of me to expect her to stop doing things to go with me. She’s got her own friends and life to live.
I get all done up anyway because I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for ages. I’ve read the book, and now I want to see who they cast for each character. It’s not like I haven’t had to attend things on my own before. It just gets a bit lonely.
Even though I’m going alone, I can’t help but skip down to Mum’s car waiting in the driveway. It’s a red VL commodore also known as ‘Little Red’. It’s in good condition for its age and thankfully they had converted it to a manual. I could definitely use some practice though. I slide in the driver’s side and start her up. It’s 6:30pm on the dash, the night’s coming on fast, and for the very first time I’m feeling pretty good about tonight. I back out the drive careful not to take the letterbox out, like I’d done the previous time. When I get onto the street I put my foot down a little, feeling the wind ruffle my hair. I miss driving. I don’t get to do it enough. I have to get a car.
I turn onto the main road and head towards the Plaza. My movie isn’t scheduled to start until seven and though it only takes me like five or so minutes to get there, tonight I feel like taking a scenic drive. It’s just a pity I couldn’t put the roof down, I giggle at the silly thought.
Bellington is a beautiful suburb to live in. It backs onto vast bushland which is great for going for hikes, not so good if you don’t want wildlife in your backyard. And definitely not good on main roads. I swerve to miss a roo sitting in the middle of the road. I blare the horn hoping to scare him off. The next person might not be so lucky to see him. Dusk is the worst for the roos. They seem to be out in force in all the wrong places. Luckily I had spotted him, otherwise I’d have a smashed car and a lot of explaining to do. Although Mum and Dad would understand I reckon, I don’t think I’d get the car again for a long time.
I pull into the plaza and park up. I grab my bag and jacket locking up Little Red in the process and stroll over to the Subway store for something to eat. Out the front are swarms of people my age hanging about with their skateboards and smokes hanging out of their mouths. It’s almost like they need a cigarette to be cool. I manage to get past without any of them touching me. It’s funny the amount of guys who now wear girls skinny jeans. Stray thoughts seem to float off them like bubbles heading in my direction. My jeans are too tight…. How do girls do this.. god my b*&%s are cramped in these. I chuckle and keep walking only to stop dead in my tracks when I realise I was actually hearing their thoughts. My hands are shaking. I feel sick. Something is seriously wrong with me. Maybe I do need to skip eating. I don’t want to be sick, especially in front of everyone out here. That would be embarrassing.
I walk out of Subway and into the shopping centre. It’s busy for a Saturday night and I’m not surprised to spot Rhiannon and Amaya hanging out at Timezone with a few boys from school. It’s a pity that the cinemas are right next to them. Damn.
“Oh look it’s the freakin loser Vee-ole-et. Does mummy and daddy let you out without a guardian at this time of night? Don’t tell me your going to see a movie all by your little lonesome?” Rhiannon taunts. By far out of the two I REALLY don’t like Rhiannon. To the point of wiping the smile off her face with my fist. It’s a shame that I’m not naturally a violent person because then I could get the courage up and do it. I stop short and glare at her. She laughs with her friends and keeps up the taunts and I’m rooted to the spot not knowing what to do.
If I’d had the guts I would have said to her, ‘Have you got nothing better to do than hang out at Timezone dressed as a Skank ‘. But I’m not that sort of person and I have nothing to say to them. Even if I had the guts, I know what happens when you taunt the bitch girls. They crowd in on you, and shove you around. That’s what happened to the last girls who did that. I just can’t afford to be touched. And just as I’m about to back away a hand clamps down on my shoulder.
“Hey guys, is there a problem?” My back bumps into something hard and I freeze up. I can feel the tension pulsing through his hand and I am about to shrug it off when Rhiannon starts yammering.
“Ohh Blaise honey, I wouldn’t touch that! Who knows where she’s been. You should be looking for someone who is more in your league and not some loner.” Rhiannon flicks her hair over her shoulder and one of the boys laugh at her lame comments. Amaya stands there with a smirk on her face, yet I can see the uncertainty of how far Rhiannon will go.. Amaya is a crowd pleaser, nothing more.
“Thanks Rhiannon BUT I don’t think you know a horses mouth from it’s arse honey. Violet’s awesome . And, maybe you should learn some dress sense. Might get the wrong impression if you know what I mean.” Blaise winks and leads me away with his arm wrapped around my waist pulling me in close. I try and pick my jaw up from dragging along the ground, not believing what I was just witnessing.
It looks like Rhiannon and her group can’t believe it either. I watch as she turns to Amaya and starts in her ear. I can only imagine what it’s about.
“Don’t ever put up with that shit Violet, you deserve more than their petty comments.” Blaise whispers in my ear, sending little chills up my spine. I’m not sure if I can talk with him being in close proximity but wow, he smells good.
We line up for our tickets and I can’t help but pull back abit. Not enough that Rhiannon and her posse would notice but enough to get a good look at Blaise.
“Before you say anything, yes we are going to watch a movie. I’m not taking no for an answer and I’m not leaving you to those vultures over there.” Blaise nods his head towards Timezone and leaves it at that. I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic though. I hardly know Blaise and the thought of any of his skin brushing against mine has me having phantom chest pains. As if on cue, the moment I think it, he drops his hand to his side and takes my hand in his. I suck in a breath but before I can panic, I realise he’s wearing gloves. Phew. The one item I didn’t think to bring tonight, since I didn’t realise I’d be hand holding with Blaise. .
We are up next at the counter and I’m about to point out what I was initially here to see, when Blaise takes over.
“Two students to I am Number Four.” He pulls out his wallet and pays before I can even attempt to locate mine. I stutter out a thank you before clamping my mouth shut again, feeling embarrassed that I didn’t pay for my own.
“Can we also grab two popcorns, frozen cokes, and a packet of jaffas for the lady please?” I look up at him astonished that he got the choice of lollies right. It’s uncanny the way he just knows things. I don’t realise I’m staring until he talks
“What? You were eyeing them off. I figured you wanted some.” He smirks at me and looks back at the cashier to pay. We move in to the cinemas and I'm acutely aware that he picks seats almost all the way up the back and to the side. I tense when we climb the stairs. I didn’t come in here for a make out session, as tempting as it sounds.
Blaise must feel my hesitation and gives my hand a squeeze. “I’m not like that Vi.” He says and tugs me down into the seat. I try to sit still but I’m struggling to understand why he’d go out of his way for me. It just doesn’t make sense. For someone who had hardly paid me any attention before. Why now? I pull my jacket tighter suddenly aware of the cold draught in the cinemas. The screen flicks on and the previews start.
And that’s when he decides to talk. Go figure. I actually want to see this movie but here he is trying to get me out of my shell. As much as I want to confide in someone about what’s going on with me, if it has anything to do with the curse I literally can’t speak about it. I could write it though but would I really want to share this kind of thing with someone else?
“Hey, you in there? You seem a million miles away there for a sec.” I’ve snapped out of the little discussion with myself to find him staring a little too intensely at me. His green eyes are more vivid in the dark which is odd. I lean in a little because I swear the longer I look the more I’m convinced they have a dim glow to them. I don’t realise how close I’ve gotten until he blinks and brings me back to reality.
“Oh um, sorry. You have the most unusual eyes.” The moment I say it, he looks away from me and I can feel the heat flood my cheeks. When he faces the screen again a smirk plays on his lips but he says nothing.
I sit back and face the screen but I’m not really watching. Instead I’m silently kicking myself for getting lost there for a moment. If I had any common sense I’d get up and just leave, and hope to catch the movie with Ellie when she’s not busy, but I’m fused to the seat as if my body has got other plans.
(c) Melissa Freeman 2012
Hope you enjoyed that and it's not too long. I'll be adding some more on later this week.