Kaleb runs his long fingers across the spines of my books one by one. His curious eyes take in every title that sits on my shelves. He moves slowly to look at the items I have on my desk. His fingers skim across the top of my lap-top. His eyes stop on the picture I have sitting on my nightstand. It’s one of Leo and I at the county fair when I was eight.
“You know what I noticed?” He mumbles as he brings the picture into his hands. He doesn’t look at me. His eyes take in every inch of the framed picture. “Out of all the pictures in this house, there’s not one of your parents.”
I gulp, but I’m ready for the question. “It was too painful. I insisted Leo not put any up.” That wasn’t totally a lie. If I did have a picture of my parents, I don’t think I could bring myself to look at it anymore. It would bring too much pain.
He nods and sets the picture back down. His eyes scan across my room once more, taking in everything. Then he spots Barnaby on my chair and smiles. “A little too old for toys, aren’t we?”
I’m at my feet in seconds, pushing him out of the way and grabbing the teddy bear before he can touch him. “Barnaby isn’t a toy.”
"Barnaby?” He laughs. “You’re kidding me, right?”
“No.” I hug the bear close to my chest. “Barnaby is important to me, so leave him alone.”
He puts his hands up in surrender, ”Fine. Sorry, Barnaby.”
I place the bear back in its place and watch as Kaleb crosses to the other side of my room. It makes me uncomfortable having him in here inspecting all my things. I don’t like the look in his eyes. I don’t like his fingers prodding my stuff and my life.
“It looks better in here.” He states as he finally finishes his thorough walk through. “Was anything missing?”
My eyes skirt around my room, “Just my TV. Everything else was damaged.”
“Do you have a safe in here?” He asks.
“What?” I question.
“A safe? You know, to hide valuables in.” He says to me.
He shakes his head, “No reason, just wondering.”
I could tell he meant something else, but he didn’t say.
“Can you sit, please?” I say to him. “You’re making me nervous.”
He gives me a smirk and crosses the room slowly to stand above me. “I make you nervous?”
“Very.” I admit.
He takes a seat next to me on the edge of the bed, knitting his fingers together. His Adam’s apple bobs up in down as he gulps. Our thighs are touching and I can feel the heat as his presses against mine. My skin tingles with his nearness.
“So, did you work things over with pretty-boy?” He asks, his eyes staring at my door.
“Can we not talk about Bash, please?” I beg. It feels awkward talking about my ex with the boy sitting so close to me.
“What do you want to talk about then?” His voice is shaking as he speaks.
I try to think of something to say, but my brain feels fogged. I can’t concentrate with him sitting so close. I try to remember all the times to annoyed me to calm my racing heart. It works. “I don’t know, anything else but Bash.”
He nods, but stays silent. Neither of us knows what to say. The silence wells up around us, pressing down on us. But this silence is different. This isn’t the silence that I hate. This silence, here with Kaleb, is almost nice.
“Sofia keeps asking when ‘Geer’ is going to come back.” Kaleb laughs.
“She’s adorable. I always wanted a little sister.” I tell him.
“You can have her. She drives me insane.” He shakes his head.
“You don’t mean that. I see how you are with her.”
“I guess you’re right.” He shrugs. “So, you’re an only child, huh?”
“Yep. My dad told me that I was so perfect that he didn’t think he could love another kid like he loved me.” I laugh.
He studies me a moment, a ghost of a smile across his lips.
“What?” I ask, my cheeks heating up under his gaze.
“I like that smile.”
“The smile you only get when you talk about your parents.”
My fingers go instinctively to my lips. I hadn’t noticed that my smile was any differently when I talked about them, but it made sense. They were the only thing that made me well and truly happy lately. But they were also the thing that caused so much pain and sadness.
“You should smile like that more often.” He tells me.
I didn’t know what to say.
He clears his throat and stands to his feet then, “Listen, Greer. I just came to give you your homework and make sure you were okay. I’ve got to get home.”
“Okay, thanks.” I stand to my feet and walk him to my door.
He nods and steps through my doorway. He stops in the hallway and turns back to look at me. “Will you be at school tomorrow?”
I nod. “Yeah, I just needed to take a break today.”
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He looks me over a moment longer before turning his back on me and walking out. I hear him say goodbye to Leo before the front door opens and closes behind him.
I let out a sigh and plop back onto my bed. I should’ve talked to him. I should’ve asked him how he felt. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so confused. At some points, I feel like he does like me back. But then others, he’s so cold and distant. I don’t know how to read him.
The next morning, I finish putting on my uniform and then stand in front of the mirror to do my hair. I opt to leave it down today and even leave my glasses off. I place my back pack over my shoulder and then step out of my room to go to the kitchen. Like always, Leo is standing at the stove making me breakfast.
“Morning, Greer. You ready for school?” He asks, flipping a piece of french toast in the skillet.
I nod, “Yeah, as ready as I’ll ever be.”
He hands over a plate of french toast and bacon. I smother on butter and syrup before digging in. Leo sits down beside me and eats some breakfast as well. Once I’m done, I place my plate in the dish washer and wave goodbye to Leo.
I slip into my car and drive to The Bean for my usual cup of coffee. When I pull into the parking lot, I instantly spot Adam’s car. He’s waiting for me beside his door, smiling as he sees me. He pushes up from his truck and opens my door for me.
“Good morning.” He says to me.
I follow him into the coffee shop. We stand at the back of the long line. Adam talks about Cameron and a date he took her on. It makes me smile listening to him talk about her. She obviously makes him happy.
Suddenly, my eyes stop on the window. The same person that I’ve seen on several occasions is standing outside. They have a hood pulled over their head to hide their features. When I blink, they’re gone. I close my eyes and suck in a deep breath.
I’m going crazy.