Oh this is unnerving. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m a small town girl, what in the world am I moving to the big city for? I hate city traffic, all the stupid traffic rams, rush hours, maniac drivers…UGH!
“Hey watch it! I happen to like my bumper just the way it is!” I yell at a driver who cut me off. Oh my beautiful car! I absolutely love this car. I miss Uncle Greg! I remember the day he gave me this car. 1996 Candy Apple Red Mustang, my dream car. I hate stupid and careless drivers! UGH!
Hot Springs Arkansas isn’t that small of a town, but compared to Hanover New Hampshire, it was like comparing apples and peaches, though the analogy that would fit in here better would be like ‘comparing Porches to Civics’ or something along those lines. We were in Ivy League territory now. There are times that coming up middle class sucked, and this was one of those times. Driving down the upper class neighbor hoods where you see cars like Mercedes or Vipers that are no more than a year or two old, my thirteen year old Mustang stands out like a sore thumb. But not all of Hanover is like this, just this part of town. All of it is pretty much upper class but some is upper middle, which is where my lovely little corner of the world is. I hate being bad with directions, getting lost is so embarrassing! And what a lovely neighborhood to get lost in. OH! Hey there’s a fairly normal person, lets ask her for directions!
As I pull up in front of a cute house, smaller than the rest on the block but still larger than my house in Arkansas, I’m very pleasantly surprised. “Nice Uncle Greg!” I say as I get out of the car. Well he certainly out did himself this time. “I’m so gonna have to call him later.” I say laughing as I walk inside my new house for the next four years. The inside is just as appealing as the outside. The entryway leads into a hall way with large French doors that lead off to the left and right. There’s a staircase that leads to the second story and straight ahead I can see what appears to be the kitchen. Who’d have thought that I, Andrea Dayla, would be here in Hanover about to start at DARTMOUTH! I am so excited, and yet I’m absolutely terrified too. I don’t know what it is but I can feel something very big is about to happen…soon. I walk to the first door to the left and open them to see a rather large study, complete with a desk in the middle. The walls are covered in shelves and shelves of books. In the middle of the room there’s a nice, what looks to be a suede material, sofa in front of a fireplace. I whistle, “Very nice. I’m gonna enjoy this room a lot.” I say and shut the doors. Walking across the hall way I open up that set of French doors to reveal what appears to be a sitting room. It has large windows two of the three walls and sofa’s of black leather facing each other in the middle of the room with a matching black leather loveseat facing a very nice fireplace.. “Well this is clearly a house made for entertaining guests as well.” and shut the doors. I continue on down the hall to investigate the kitchen and dinning room. As I walk in the first thing I notice are the state of the art, top of the line appliances. There’s a breakfast bar dividing the kitchen and dinning room. “Yep definitely made for entertaining company, though I doubt I will ever need it.” I turn and make my way to the stair case. I put my hand on the banister and smile, “I may have to try and slide down this.” I say with a chuckle and start up the stairs. Whoever remodeled this house is amazing! You can tell it’s an old house but had been beautifully restored. Upstairs the hallway goes to the left and the right. To the left there are two doors, one on the right hand wall and the other at the end of the hall way. The door on the right leads to the restroom I bet. I walk over and open it. I’m totally taken aback. It has duel sinks with a huge mirror over it. “Obviously the people who own this place likes the new as well as the old, look at that tub!” There’s an old claw foot tub against the far wall but to the left of it there’s a separate shower. I close the door and walk to the end of the hall. Inside, is the perfect bedroom. A huge four poster bed, with that canopy thing over the top. “Sky blue, very nice.” Every surface that has fabric on it is covered in either sky blue or slat blue, very classy. The door to the closet is open a jar so I go over to invest age it. “Okay, I don’t think I have enough cloths to hang up to fill half of this closet I don’t think. Time to do some shopping!” Now that sounds like a lot of fun! I close it back and go to look out the bay window over looking the back yard. Such a peaceful neighborhood, beautiful elm and oak trees surround a small gazebo and beautiful flowers. There’s a small stream running through the yard closest to the line of trees furthest away from the window and a foot bridge to cross over it. It looks so peaceful…
“Now I wonder who that is.” I say and walk down the stairs to the front door. I open it to find a girl about my age standing on my doorstep. “Hey! My name’s Sara and I live across the street, you must be Ms. Betty’s friend.” Sara has short red hair and bright green eyes and from her cloths, she has money. “Hey Sara, I’m Andrea. Nice to meet you. Would you like to come in? I just got in so I don’t have anything to offer you and you’ll have to excuse the mess.” I says getting a little self conscious. Her eyes light up. “Really? Do you need some help unpacking and all? I’d love to help.” she says. Well she seems sincere so why not. “Sure, that’d be great.” I say and Sara comes bouncing in the door. “Wow, the place looks great. So where you want to get started? Put me to work.” she says rubbing her hands together. Well that’s unexpected, but I like her. Her energy…and her smile, it’s infectious. Well at least I have made one friend, and I haven’t even been here an hour. “Do you go to Dartmouth?” I ask. “Yeah I start this year. You?” “Same. Well lets start in the kitchen.” I say and we walk down the hall to the kitchen and dinning room.
We walk down the hall and through the arched doorway into the kitchen. Sara whistles behind me and I turn to look at her. Everything about her screams MONEY at you, why my kitchen…wow that was going to take some getting use to…would impress her is beyond me. Besides from the state of the art appliances it all looks pretty much the same as any other kitchen. Ms. Betty had left most of her things behind when she moved to Florida so I hadn’t needed much but Uncle Greg had insisted on getting me a few things of my own. ‘After all you don’t get a second first house.’ he had said. He was such a character, but if you knew him you loved him.
“So how do you know Ms. Betty?” she asks me.
“Well I don’t personally but my Uncle Greg had worked for her late husband and they had all but adopted him. When she moved down to Florida he had told her that I was going to start school up here and she said I could stay here as long as I wanted. She seems like a sweet old lady.” I reply
“Yea she was, she was such a good person. I use to come over here all the time to escape my parents constant fighting. I haven’t been inside for months though. She’s had someone update for you.” she says taking in the room.
Well that explains why everything looks so nice. It’s new!
“Well lets get started.” I say and open one of the boxes on the island and start lifting things out. “Just find a place and put it somewhere. I’m not picky.”
“I love decorating! This is going to be fun.” she says and rubs her hands together again making me laugh.
We finish with the boxes in less time than I could’ve thought possible, even with not having that much. I found the laundry/pantry too. It was pretty well stocked to, though some of it I know I will never touch myself. The deep freeze was stocked with lots of nice steaks and corn on the cob and things like that. Just looking inside made my mouth water.
“Hey Sara, are you hungry or anything. Apparently I had more to offer you than I thought.” I call from inside the pantry.
Sara sticks her head inside. “Yea sure. Whatcha got?”
“What don’t I have?” I say with a laugh and gesture around the room.
I slowly make my way through, shelf by shelf, my mind never straying to far from the juicy steaks in the freezer. I know what I’m having for dinner!
I find some chicken breasts in the freezer and head out to the stove. I open up the refrigerator and take out the Italian dressing I had brought with me.
“Do you like grilled chicken?” I ask her
“Yea. Sounds good.”
Grilled chicken was probably one of the simplest thing I love to make. The Italian dressing gives it such a great flavor and makes a great sauce after too. One pan, one meal. Yum!
“You like to cook?” she asks me, sounding a little surprised.
“Yea love it. You?”
“No mom doesn’t cook, everything we eat is either out or take out. I don’t think our oven has ever been used.” she says with a laugh.
“Hmm. Well you’re welcome any time for dinner, just let me know.” I say and start breaking the chicken apart.
“Wow!” she says again
“What?” I ask still concentrating on the frozen breast in my hands.
“I guess I just figured breaking frozen chicken apart would be harder than that. You make it look effertless! Isn’t it cold at least?”
“Yea a little bit but not to bad, guess I’m use to it.”
“Yea probably.” she says and leans against the counter still watching my hands.
“Wow Andrea! That was great!” she says “You’re a great cook. Mom would give you a job anytime!”
“Well thanks! Uncle Greg says I’m a natural. As for the job, I already have one but yall are welcome to come over anytime. I’d like the company.”
“Yea.” is all she says. “So where you working?”
“A place called ‘The Ivy League’, it’s right next to campus almost.”
“Yea I know. That place is awesome. My dad use to take me there every Saturday when he got home from work but since he’s started traveling more we don’t get to that often.”
“Well that’s to bad, now you’ll just have to come see me instead.” I say
“Yea that’d be fun. So when do you start?”
“Gotta be there first thing in the morning tomorrow. Going to go by later and get my uniform and all.”
I wonder what it is about her home life that makes her so sad? At least she has a dad and a mom, even if they aren’t prefect or there all the time. I’d never got to know either of my parents and even though I loved my Uncle Greg dearly he wasn’t my parents. But at least he was family and I didn’t have to go into the system. Uncle Greg and his son Roger are the only family I have. My parents had been victims of a mugging gone bad when my mom was pregnant with me. My dad had died on scene but my mother was found barely alive. They rushed her to the hospital and tried to save her but it was to late. My uncle had never tried to spare me from the truth, he’d always been very straight forward with me. He was a great man, but very superstitious. I use to laugh at him when he’d watch the news at night and they’d say something about an attack here or a string of murders there and he’d always contribute it to another ’vampire’ attack or some other monster from horror movies. It was fun at Halloween but it got old after awhile. Luckily he keep that kind of talk for inside the house and never talked about it outside, he’d just give me ’the look’ when we were out and he wanted me to know.
Even though I thought it was crazy most of the time, it did make me stop and look at things and people more closely than anyone else. I didn’t believe in everything Uncle Greg had said, but I didn’t not believe either. I was very aware of my surroundings whenever I was out. I was a good judge of character too so maybe all the craziness was worth it. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to forget all about vampires and all though because that is just what I plan on doing.
“So hey, I probably need to get back and let mother know where I’ve been . Have a good day at work in the morning. When do you start classes?”
“Tomorrow evening at 7. You?”
“Okay. See you then. Thanks for lunch, it was unbelievable!” she says and walks out the kitchen door.
I count her footsteps, twenty-three all together and hear the door open and close behind her. I lean back into the stool and put my hands on my stomach. I do have to admit that was a good batch of chicken.
I push back up and stand up, taking my plate and Sara’s to the sink to wash them. Looking out the window above the sink I can see the flowers better, so many colors. I can just imagine the smell from here. Grabbing a dish towel from the drawer to the left of the sink I start to dry off dishes I just washed so I can put them away. I hate leaving dishes in the sink because you never know when you’re going to have someone stop by and you don’t want dirty dishes just sitting in your sink.
I put the dishes away and decide to head upstairs to try to unpack some of that stuff too. Moving is probably one of my least favorite things to do. I was lucky Ms. Betty was nice enough to let me live here and that she too didn’t want to have to move all the furniture with her.
I only brought a few of my cloths and person things with me. Uncle Greg is suppose to send me the rest in the next day or two. All my books, a good majority of my cloths though that still won’t be enough to fill up half of that closet in the blue room. I decided that the blue room is going to be mine, I loved how it looked out onto the backyard.
This traffic is going to take some getting use to, the rest was great but I hate traffic. Luckily driving through town at this time of day wasn’t nearly as bad as when I came in this morning. The sunset is really pretty though. At least I had found an awesome job, well my Uncle Greg did anyway. Not only was it just a few blocks from campus but the owner, Lilly, employs only college students so she works around our class schedules. How awesome is that? I can’t believe how much things have come together in such a short time, great house and an awesome job not to mention a great friend, all in the first day, how amazing is that?!
“Well lets go see what ‘The Ivy League’ looks like.” I say as I get out of my car. I turn to lock my door behind me and something shiny catches my eye. What in the…okay those guys are…different. Okay that doesn’t even begin to cover it. I mean they are absolutely gorgeous, in almost a work of art sort of way…perfect ya know? I stare at the two guys, who appear to be about my age, and I get a strange feeling in my stomach. Now what was that strange glittering? It came from right where they’re standing but it’s gone now. Maybe a stray ray of light hit something real quick. But those guys…wow! Their skin is really pale like mine, but much more beautiful. In the diming light it almost seems to have a glow to it, or maybe it’s the darkness that makes it seem to glow? They could seriously be runway models! Or something closer to home… The blonde one’s hair’s kinda curly and is a little shorter than the other but still very toned. The darker haired one on the other hand, is taller, had kind of shaggy hair and…
All of a sudden, they are both looking at me. I didn’t even see them turn around. They’re really fast! And look at the blonde one’s eyes! They ARE glowing. I blink. Now wait, their eyes are the same color now, kind of a warm copper or something. And they’re so…mesmerizing! I look at the dark haired one, he’s giving me a very strange look. Now what’s up with that? And what is up with my stomach, it’s like it’s twisting into knots or something, like there’s a thousand butterflies in my stomach. If he didn’t look like he was mad at me or something I would be on top of the world right now. Good lord, I’m blushing! I say and break eye contact with the dark haired one, looking at my feet. What am I thinking? He’s totally out of my league! He’s gorgeous and I’m utterly plain. We’re not even the same species!
The things Uncle Greg had told me start popping back up in my head and I quickly pop them before they can take root. When I look back up before I start for the door the two guys are no where in sight. Now that’s odd! Where’d they go? I say and look around. Hmm. Oh well. Time to go in and get my uniform shirt for the morning. I say and walk towards the door. I know what Uncle Greg would say about those two. He’s so superstitious! Now I won’t disagree that they were out of this world…gorgeous, and then disappearing in the blink of an eye is kind of strange but good lord they couldn‘t be... I let that thought fade away without thinking the word as I reach the door and turn back to look at where the guys had been before. It was very strange I won’t argue with that, and makes me more than a little nervous but…but maybe I was just imagining that I saw the guys? A little bit of wishful thinking maybe? Or maybe I had looked down longer than I thought I had, I thought it had only been a couple seconds but maybe… The wind kicks up a little bit, blowing from the car towards me. There’s a strange smell in the air, kind of a floral scent. I look into the wind but don’t see anything floral or an open window or door either to be the source of the smell. The night are is getting a little chilly and makes me shiver. I hadn’t brought my sweater with me so it’s time to duck inside the door. I look one more time at where the guys had been and then down the alleyway towards the smell. Maybe they’re connected, Uncle Greg would say they were… I pull the door open and duck inside before I could think any further into that.
I walk into ‘The Ivy League’ and the interior is very much alive. The ‘dinner’ rush must have just started. College kids are everywhere. Being the closest coffee bar open around the clock to campus had it’s major advantages. They are always busy, catering to all class schedules being open 24/7. I walk over to the ‘bar’ area, avoiding a couple of giggly girls that are a couple sheets to the wind, where there’s a guy behind the bar reading a book. As I approach he glances up from his book and back down then back up again, doing a major double take. I look behind me knowing it wasn’t me that caused his double take. When I look back at him he’s set his book down and is smiling at me.
“You must be Andrea, I’m Jack Sterling. I run the bar here.” he says and stretches his hand across the bar to shake my hand.
“Nice to meet you Jack.” I say and shake his hand. He has a cute smile. Jack is a fairly short for a guy only a couple inches taller than my 5’5”, 25 years old I’d say, bald with some bright green eyes. But his smile is infectious. I can’t help but smile back at him.
“I’m looking for Lilly. Do you know where I can find her?” I ask.
“She’d be behind ya sweetie.” says a female voice behind me.
I turn around to see a woman who’s about a head shorter than I am, with a head full of bright red curls, and again bright green eyes.
“Okay are you two related?” I say looking between the two of them. Both of their smiles the same and the same twinkle in bright green eyes.
“Yea, I’m his older sister.” says Lilly.
“Well nice to meet the both of ya.”
About then another woman walks up and puts her arm on Lilly’s shoulder.
“And this would be our baby sister Samantha. She’s gonna be waiting tables and all with you.”
I reach out and shake her hand. “I’m Andrea.” I say.
“I figured that much, you’re really the first new face we’ve seen here for awhile, everyone is pretty much old money and what not. I’m so happy to meet you.” says Samantha.
“Well since I’m working the early shift in the morning I better get my shirt and head on back to my house and get some sleep. Would hate to be late on my first day.” I say and they all laugh.
“Well come to the office with me and I’ll get you fixed up in no time.” Lilly says to me and winks at Jack. Okay what’s that about? I look back at Jack as I walk away with Lilly, he winks at mef. Going to have to nip that in the bud. I’m here for school, don’t have time to even think about a guy right now. Besides I like to try to keep work and relationships as separate as possible. To many ways for it to end badly, and worse still, he’s my boss’s brother. No way!
In the office Lilly hands me two work shirts, a name tag and my work schedule. Lilly’s office is very cluttered but very homey. She sits down behind her desk and starts typing into her laptop, she chicken pecks of course. When she finally looks up at me she has that same infectious smile on her face.
“So how are you liking the town so far?” she asks me
“It’s very pretty.” I reply. I haven’t seen much of town yet and what I had seen I had been stressing the whole time from being lost but I had seen that it was a very beautiful city.
“Yes. I love it here. Just wait til it snows then it’s even better. Do you like the cold?”
“Yes I love winter and snow, my favorite time of year, but where I’m from we don’t get much snow so it will be nice to be able to actually have a white Christmas this year.”
“Well that’s good. Now you clock-in in here.” she points to the small table next to the door. “There’s a card with your name on it and you just slide it thru the little back box thing. The green light has to come on for it to log you into the computer so if it doesn’t do it the first time try it again.”
She gives me a couple more pointers, about routes to and from campus and tells me where I can park at, the parking lot I’m in now is fine. We talk for a few more minutes until I excuse myself to head home. I really don’t want to be late on my first day of work.
I walk out the door to head for my car and right away I get an uneasy feeling, like I’m being watched or something. I casually look over my shoulders just to see if I can see anything, but I don’t. I get to my car and unlock it. Again I pause to look around. When did I get so edgy? Thank you Uncle Greg for your silly superstitions. I say myself with a chuckle and get into my car. I look down to put the key in the ignition and I swear I see a shadow pass by my window like someone walked past; I about jump out of my skin. “What in the hey was that?!” I say as I start the car and turn on the headlights in a split second. There’s nothing there! I know I saw something! Well I think I saw something. Maybe I’m just jumpy from those guys disappearing earlier still. I’m being ridiculous! It had gotten considerably darker in the fifteen minutes I was inside making it really eerie. I’m going to have to mention it to Lilly that they should see about getting a night watcher installed for this parking lot. I look around the parking lot one more time and back out heading for home.
Ahh! Shower’s done, now time to blow dry and straighten my hair for the morning. I think as I step out of the shower and wrap a towel around myself. I walk to the sink and take a towel off the counter to wipe off the moisture off the mirror. I towel dry my hair and run a brush through it. I still can’t figure it out. Did I just imagine those guys in the alleyway? They did seem to perfect to be real. But I’ve never had that vivid of an imagination, and I saw them very vividly. I think, trying to reason with myself. And that shadow! What was that? Again my imagination isn’t that good. But what could it have been? Nothing was there when I turned on the headlights, nothing. And it had only been a second so it’s not like whatever it was could’ve gotten out of sight or anything. Could they be connected? Maybe, but who knows. Maybe it’s just the different surroundings that’s making me jumpy. Yeah that has to be it. I think as I shake my head. My mental mussing continues as I do my hair. You know, hair should really do this itself. I think and chuckle. Hey maybe one of those shadows could do it for me? I think with a bigger laugh.
I finish up with my hair and put the blow dryer and straightened away in the cabinet. I walk out into the hall and into the blue room. I haven’t finished putting all my cloths away yet so I dig through the box and find a pair of pink plaid pj shorts and a pink camisole to put on. I look around, still slightly uneasy. I still feel like I’m being watched but not as bad. I take a deep breath and change into my pjs and climb into bed. I’m thirsty but I have to go downstairs for that. Sighing I get out of bed and slip on the slippers Uncle Greg had got me right before I left to come up here. All the lights are off but as usual I can see just fine. I walk down the stairs not really paying attention to where I’m going.
Since the kitchen is the only room that Sara and I had got squared away it’s easy to find what I’m looking for. With drink in hand I walk over to look out the window over the sink. The sky is clear and the moon is lighting up the yard. There’s a slight breeze blowing and I can hear the sound of the small stream rushing over some of the rocks. I close my eyes and just listen, it’s so peaceful.
My eyes fly open again, my heart racing. I had heard footsteps, very faint footsteps, but very much human footsteps just the same. It’s my first night here so for all I know there could be a public trail that comes close to the house, but even so why someone would be out there walking this late worries me just the same. That feeling of unease gets me really jumpy. I feel like I’m being watched again. I hadn’t heard the footsteps since I opened my eyes so maybe it was just my imagination again. If so it was sure getting a work out since I got here this morning. I could seriously hurt Uncle Greg for all those stories he told me my whole life, but I’m fairly certain this had more to do with my new surroundings since they hadn’t bothered me until I moved up here. Once I get use to it I’m sure all this unease will go away too. I sure hope so anyway.
I look out into the yard for a couple more minutes, looking for any sign of the source of the footsteps I had heard. The longer I stand here the more ridiculous I feel. I finally laugh at myself and finish my water. I rinse it out and put it back up in the cabinet. I look out the window again and full out laugh this time. I know I’m just being jumpy and now that I think about it, it is funny. If there was anyone watching me they’d be too busy laughing to do anything to hurt me. I all but had my nose pressed against the glass of the window a minute ago!
“Good night shadows.” I say with a chuckle and walk back upstairs.
I get back to the blue room before my mental musings get me going again. I just can’t stop thinking about those guys in the alleyway earlier. The more I think about it the more I know they were really there. He had to have been real, that feeling in my stomach I couldn’t have faked for sure. But even if he is real I have no chance with him, not that I was even interested in guys right now anyway but he’s so not in my league anyway…maybe…if I, I take a big yawn and snuggle into the plush blanket, were more like him. But he’s so perfect and I’m so…plain… I think as I drift off to sleep.