The next morning Harper and I stood up really early - too early if you may ask. We quickly got dressed, took all our belongings with us and quietly went to the kitchen. We ate some fruit and carefully walked through the living room - where my brothers and Levi were staying.
We tried to be as quiet as we could, but Harper didn’t see the lamp above her and bumped against it extremely hard. If we weren’t trying to ‘escape’ I would be dying from laughter, but we were, so I quickly turned around to see them all still asleep. I gave Harper a glare and we quickly went further.
When we entered the elevator and pressed the button to go to the ground floor, we turned to each other. “Where are we going now?” She whisper-yelled.I just gave her a confused look and said. “Why in hell are you still whispering, and I thought that we should go to the alley again. Maybe we’ll find something else.“She just shook her head. “No way in hell. I am not going back to that Rat Cemetery.” See, stubborn as hell. I groaned as response. “Okay, you can watch your jewelry and I will do all the work. Is that better?” I asked, getting a little annoyed at how immature she reacted.
That’s when we heard the ‘ding’ and stepped out of the elevator. “Maybe we should get Ashton to help us too. I bet he isn’t scared of rats, so that would help.” I announced. To which Harper responded with sticking her tongue out at me. “Yeah, maybe you’re right, but I think we need to wait a little more. It’s kind of early.”
That when we went out for a walk in the park.
When it was a more reasonable hour, we went to the apartment of Ashton’s father. We knocked on the door and then heard a small giggle at the other side of the door.
“Owh . . . Ash youw giwlfwiends awe hewe.” Milla yelled when she opened the door, she was the little girl from earlier, Milla. What she said made me and Harper chuckle a little. “Which girlfriend? I haven’t dated someone in like a year.” But when he saw us, he also started to chuckle.
"Well hi to you too.” He then picked his little sister up and put her on his shoulder which made the cutest sound ever come out of her mouth.
“Can we talk?” She asked, letting it sound urgent, which it is. “But not here.” I added while looking around. “Can you come with us?” I asked - looking hopefully. “Uhm . . .Yeah sure.” He said while setting his little sister down. “But I have to get my shoes first.” With that he ran back to his room.
“What awe you gowing to now?” Little Milla asked us - looking at us with those big brown eyes. “We need to ask him, to do a favor for us.” Harper simply announced. At that Milla simply ran back into the living room and yelled something like ‘wait’ to us. We both laughed a little when she came back with three barbie dolls in her hands - two boys and one girl to be exactly. “Can you two help me, pwease.” She asked with those puppy-eyes, you can’t resist. “Of course, we can help you.” I softly cooed. “What do we have to do?” Harper cooed now. “Which Ken has to be Barwbie’s boyfwiend? This wone?” She said while holding up a blond boy. “Ow this wone?” Now it was a black haired one.
Harper and I pretended to think for a while and that’s when we both pointed to the one with blond hair. “That one.” We said at the same time, which made her giggle. “What?” I asked sweetly. “You said it at the same twime.” She laughed. “What’s da laughing about?” We suddenly heard a voice from inside ask. “She was laughing, because we said the same thing at the same time.” We said together, again. After we said that Ashton chuckled. “Yeah, it’s kinda funny, you know.” He said while stepping to his little sister and bending down.
“Are you going to behave, little sis?” At that she nodded wildly. “Okay, but you have to listen to James now, because daddy isn’t home right now, but only listen to wise things, not like the last time. You promise?” He said. “Pinky pwomise.” She whispered while sticking her pinky finger out. Ashton put his in Milla’s and shook them softly. “One last hug, big bwothe.” She asked quietly.
We went to the park after Ashton gave his hug to his little sister. And now we just finished explaining everything to him, while he just stood their wobbling on his feet and staring blankly in front of him.
“So, what’d ya say?” Harper asked with a hopeful glim in her eyes. But Ashton didn’t answer, he just continued staring. “Ash?” I asked after a few seconds, snapping my fingers in front of his face. “Doesn’t work . . .” Harper said thinking. “Uhm . . .” Now it was me who started thinking. “I killed someone . . .?” I said more like a question. With that his head just flew up and the look on his face made me and Harper laugh really hard.“Your . . .What?” He stuttered, looking stunned at my face.
So, when our laughing died down, I just said: “No I don’t think I killed someone, we just needed your attention, because Harper asked you if you wanted to help us.” He just looked at me as if I were crazy. “You really think, I’ll let you two go by yourselves?” He asked dumbfounded. We just shrugged as an answer. “Of course, I am not letting you go alone. I know that gang and it isn’t fun at all, trust me. They’re the most wanted, searched gang in the whole city, boy even in the hole country. So, I am not letting you two go out of my sight.”
‘Jeez, what a speech.’
“Where are we going to start?” Ashton asked full excitement - bouncing on his feet again. “I thought that we could go back to the alley, where we found the note.” I suggested. “Come on, let’s go.” Ashton said while running away. “Not out of sight, huh?” I nudged Harper, who started laughing. And that’s how we left the park - running after Ashton, laughing. Maybe it wasn’t the best situation, but hey, fun in the littlest things, remember.
But somewhere deep in my head, there was a little voice that told me that it wasn’t right to leave Autumn like that and I knew it wasn’t right, but I was somewhere doing this for her.
When Ash and I entered the alley, leaving Harper by her shops again, I had that strange feeling again; the feeling of being watched. “Do you feel that?” I said putting my hand over my heart and turning to Ashton. “Sorry Alice, I don’t want to disappoint you nor make it awkward, but I don’t return your feelings towards me.” He said while scratching his neck lightly. “No that’s not what I meant, you dumbhead.” I gave him a little tick on his head and laughed a little. “What did you mean then?” Was what he asked, giving me a confused look. “The feeling of being watched.” I said, my voice turning serious again. “A little . . .maybe. Let’s begin then so we can leave earlier.” He said really fast and I thought I saw him shivering lightly.
After thirty minutes of searching we found nothing. So, we decided to go back to Harper. We searched for a while and then we saw her talking to a man.
“Don’t talk to strangers, why doesn’t she listen?” I mumbled -a little annoyed- to myself, but Ashton also heard. “I have no idea . . .” He sighed. “Shall we go up to her?” He added then, looking from Harper to me. “Yeah, I think it’s the best to do.” He just answered with a nod and we walked to Harper. “Harp?” Ashton and I asked. “Yeah?” She asked casually - like nothing was wrong.
“Look who I found.” She pointed and that’s when the man turned around, I was met with those beautiful, familiar green eyes. “Jayden . . .” I sighed out. “I thought you were some weirdo trying to kidnap Harper.” I said with a light chuckle, to which he just answered with a small grin. After a few seconds looking in his eyes, I heard someone clearing his throat, Ashton. ‘Way to disturb the moment.’ “Yeah . . .Sorry.” I sighed, clearing my throat.
“Ash that’s Jayden. Jayden that’s our friend Ashton.” I said while pointing to both of them. “Alice you can stop pointing.” Ashton said, chuckling softly. “Yeah, you’re right.” I sighed. “Hey Jayden? Can we all three talk for a few seconds?” Harper interrupted.
“Yea- . . .” He started, but had to clear his throat, because his voice cracked a little. “Of course, but I can’t stay long.” I was still looking at him, when Harper started snapping her fingers in front of my face. “No time to stare at pretty boys, now.” At that I just blushed like crazy.
“What did you want to tell us?” Ashton asked, looking at Harper.“I think we need his help . . .” She mumbled, almost unintelligible. “Wow, you okay Harp? What happened with ‘he is the creepiest guy ever.’?” I teased. “I just talked to him and I think I saw something bright in him, something really small. But I think he could be really nice, just like you said.” She said. She looked kind of embarrassed.
“I am not the kind of person to say it, but, Told You!” I started. “And I think it’s a good idea to ask him, to help us. Ash?” I finished and looked at Ashton.As answer he just shrugged. “I’ll go ask him then.”
When I stepped towards him, I saw him looking at the jewelry that Harper was staring at earlier. “You like this?” He asked, feeling my presence behind him - looking at some earrings. ”Eh, I don’t really see, why you would give so much money, for just some beauty products. Why?” I asked looking at our reflection in the window. That’s when our eyes locked. “No reason . . .” He mumbled a little dreamily, shaking his head a little and breaking the eye-contact. “Why are you here?” He continued eventually. “I actually came here to ask you for a favor.” We both turned around and that’s when our eyes met again. He just nodded a little. “Yeah. Continue.” ‘Those eyes.’ I thought, but quickly put it out of my head and turned serious again.
“Uhm . . .I came here to ask . . .” I stuttered a little. “Spit it out already.” He said with a serious, yet joking tone. And he added a little chuckle too. “Okay, I just wanted to know if you want to help us, and maybe we can kind of start over again. Because the last time it wasn’t that . . . let’s just say pleasant.” I said with a light chuckle and quickly added. “And who knows that gang better than you do?” That’s when his face-expression totally changed from a small smile to just nothing.
“We can start over again, I guess.” He mumbled - not looking up. “But not now.” He said sternly. I just gave him a confused look. “I’ll explain it to you later, can you come to the alley tonight at nine o’clock? Then we can start this whole ‘start over’ thing.” He said, looking up again. “Uhm . . .Yeah sure, I’ll go tell the re- . . .” I said while stepping over to them, when he suddenly grabbed my arm. “Please, I just wanted to get to know you.” He said with a goofy grin, which made a small smile appear on my face.“Okay.” I simply stated, looking back at my friends for a second. “I have to go back now.” He stated, trying to search my eyes, which he easily found. “What about helpi- . . .” I started, but he shushed me. “I’ll have to think, but I’ll tell you tonight.” With that he left and I was looking at how his shadow stepped away.
“Hey, Alce, what did he say?” I heard Harper ask behind me. “He needed to think.” I sighed. “Do you want to do something in the meanwhile then?” Ashton suggested now. “Yeah, sure.” I sighed again. “Cheer me up.” I said, turning around.
We first went to Ashton’s apartment, washed ourselves and played a little with James and Milla. Then we went to the park and walked around. After that we passed a few shops. ‘Bad idea.’ I thought, Harper dragged us through every shop, making me damn tired. “My feet are dying.” I complained when we were walking back to the apartment. “Tell me about it.” Ashton responded, with a deep sigh. “Hey, do you guys want to stay at my place?” He then asked. “Yeah sure, we don’t have anywhere to stay, I guess.” Harper said and mumbled the last part.
“Yeah, su- . . .” But I cut myself off, remembering my appointment with Jayden. I realized that my feet stopped itself on their own, making both my friends give me stunned, awaiting looks.“What?” I asked genuinely confused. “You just cut yourself off at a really strange moment. Are you okay?” Harper answered. “Yeah, I just realized, I have to go somewhere in a few moments. Maybe I can come later.” I said, while turning slightly around. “Where are you even going?” Asked Ashton, when I turned back to look at them. I really wanted to answer him, but didn’t I kind of promised to leave it between us? “You’ll see, but I can promise you, I will be safe.” I promised while putting my hand over my heart. He just nodded lightly, not completely reassured. “If I don’t see you guys tonight, we’ll see each other tomorrow anyway.” I quickly gave them a hug and left.
I wandered around the streets for like an hour - I didn’t have a watch - when I left Harp and Ash, I thought it was already time to leave, so that’s why I was so early. I was still too early when I neared the alley. So, I just sat down on one of the containers and looked around. I’d never noticed the graffiti on the walls earlier, it was actually really amazing. There were animals, just some doodles, names, houses, people, ... And that’s when an idea came to my mind. ‘Maybe we just have to go back to my parents’ house or Harper’s parent’s house; we could easily find a clue.′ But suddenly I heard a crack next to me. “Hey, stranger, it isn’t very safe to sit here on your own.” He chuckled lightly. I just hummed still thinking. “Hey are you okay? What happened with that happy mood of yours?” He asked genuinely wondering. I just shook my head and said: “No I just found something out.” At that I grinned a little. “But we aren’t going to talk about that right now. We’re going to have fun.” I grinned wider when I finished. “Okay, let’s start then.” He clapped in his hands. “Okay, hi- . . .” But I just ran out of the alley, leaving him confused behind. But when I slowly walked back and started talking, he understood. “Oh, hello, I am Alice, what are you doing here?” I asked while putting my hand out for him to shake, which he did immediately. “Hey, I am Jayden and I’m waiting on a girl, she’s really nice.” He quickly added, which made me smile sweetly. “Cool, then we can wait together.” I said, still looking at him. “Yeah, sure what do you want to do? Something in particular?” I shook my head, but then an idea came to my head. “What if we just asked each other questions and answered them in all honesty.” He just shrugged. “Yeah sure. You can go first.” At that I started thinking. “Okay, easy. What’s your full name?” I was actually kind of curious now. “Uhm . . .Jayden Finn Wood. Yours?” he said kind of embarrassed. “Why are you so embarrassed of your name? I really like it. And mine is Alice Avery White.” I said with a light chuckle. “Do you have any siblings?” I asked after a minute of silence. “I don’t really like talking about it . . .I’ll tell you later, when I explain everything.” He said, scratching his neck awkwardly. At that I just gave him a side hug, which startled him a little and me too actually, but he still put his arm around me. “It’s okay.” I whispered, trying to comfort him.
“Hey, I want to tell you something . . .” He started, still with his tense arm around me. “Continue . . .” I whispered, becoming a little sleepy. He started with a little chuckle “I think I want to help you.” He whispered. At that I just flied up and looked him seriously in the eyes. “Are you serious?” He just shook his head around. “I think I want to, but I don’t know if I can . . .” He confessed. “Why?” I asked slowly. “I don’t- . . . Those people are after me, that’s why I am always running away and if they find out I’m helping you guys, they would go after you too. And I don’t want that to happen. I don’t really know you yet, but you’re the first people in so long I can slowly start calling my friends. And I just don’t want you to get hurt.” He confessed; at that I slowly shook my head. “We can defend ourselves. I want you to be there. I want to become friends with you, I want to give you the chance that nobody gave you, I want to be a friend for you, the person you would go talk to about your problems. Please?” I begged, trying the puppy-eyes. “Urgh. . . How can you do that so good?” He groaned, but sighed deeply. “Ask your friends first and then we’ll see.” At that I just hugged him. “Thank you.” At that he just looked me in the eye. “You know what? I want to be that friend to you too.” He said with a goofy smile. That made me giggle lightly. “Thank you.” I murmured. “For what? I didn’t do anything.” He said confounded. “For helping us that day, or just giving us that little more information.” At that he gave me a little smile.