Audra woke up the following morning to the wretched sound of her alarm going off. She heaved a sigh and sat up, grabbed the alarm clock, and weakly chucked it at the wall. After another minute, she stood, showered, and got changed into a grey tank top, short black skirt that fell to her mid thighs, black tights and her usual black Doc Martens. Once her hair was dry, she walked over to her large mirror hanging on her door. Her gaze fell to her arms.
The veins of her arms and the palms of her hands glowed an unnatural silver color, pulsing with every beat of her heart. She was lucky it didn’t show on her hands.
She sighed, and grabbed her long fingerless black gloves from off of her nightstand, grimacing in pain as she carefully slid them over her hands and past her elbows. Once they were on, she grabbed her blue flannel, buttoning it up until it a few buttons away from the top, then tucked it into her skirt. She applied the faintest bit of make-up and, seeing as it was about half an hour until noon, walked out of her house and climbed into her car, driving to the address Colton had given her the previous day.
She was rather suspicious about the whole thing. Colton Danvers was the “king” of West Lake High School. People like that don’t talk to people like her, people considered strange and called outcasts. None of it made much sense. Those popular kids were a pack. All of them were the same.
But it didn’t matter why he’d asked her out on a date, or if it budded into something more. None of it mattered. She didn’t even know why she was going to Moon Rise Coffee House with frickin’ Colton Danvers.
Audra pulled up in front of his house in her black Chevy, putting it in park just as it turned twelve. She kept her car running while she waited for Colton to come out.
Colton came out a few moments later. His usually messy rusty red hair that he had shaved on both sides was neater. He was dressed in a nice, white collared shirt with the sleeves folded up past his elbows, and a pair of nice blue jeans and converse. When he neared the car, he smiled at her, sitting in the passenger seat once she’d unlocked the car.
His emerald green eyes briefly scanned her outfit, and his smile softened a little. “You look nice, Audra.”
She looked over at him, a faint smile on her lips, then she pulled out of his driveway and started off down the road. “Thanks. You don’t look too bad yourself, Colton.”
He chuckled nervously, looking out the window and rubbing the back of his neck. “Uh… Thank you.”
She nodded a bit, her gaze fixed on the road still, and fell silent.
After a few minutes of sitting there, Colton cleared his throat. “So… you know where Moon Rise Coffee House is, right?” he asked her, looking over at her.
Audra nodded. “Yeah. I went there all the time last year.”
He nodded, then his gaze landed on the fingerless gloves on her arms. “Also… I was, um, I was wondering-”
“Do you always stumble over your words when you’re nervous? Or are you just really good at hiding it?” she interrupted, glancing over at him for a moment before returning her gaze to the road.
“Oh, yeah. I’m… Well, this is the first date I’ve been on since last year.” He shook his head a bit, then gestured to the gloves. “Why do you wear those? Don’t get me wrong: I think they’re cool. Makes your style unique. I’ve just always wondered why…”
“If you tell me why you haven’t dated anyone for a year- because I was fairly certain that you and Bree were still a couple- then I will tell you why I wear them.” Again, she glanced over at him briefly. “Sound like a deal, Mr. Danvers? Now would be a good time for that, since we’ll be driving for half an hour.”
He nodded, looking out the window again. “Sounds good to me.” He took a deep breath, slowly letting it out a moment later. “Well… Bree and I had dated in freshman year, and about halfway through sophomore year. Things had been going great, and then I found out that she’d been cheating on me since halfway through freshman year… with Mason Miller. He’s my cousin, and she knew that. We broke up after that. It was pretty bad, from what my friends had said. I haven’t talked to her since then, and it took me two years to get over it. I know that seems like a long time, but…” He shrugged. “Whatever. Point is, it’s over now, and I’m starting fresh. We haven’t spoken to each other, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Again, he shrugged and looked over at her. “Now, why wear those gloves?”
Audra bit her lip. She couldn’t really tell him why she wore them, right? He’d just see her as a monster. A freak of nature. Something that shouldn’t exist. She sighed. “I said I would tell you if you told me about Bree. I never said when.”
“Come on. Please? I promise that I won’t judge you for the reason,” he pleaded, turning to face her in his seat.
“No,” she said rather quickly. “No, you’re lying. You would judge me. Everyone always does.”
“And you think I’m just like everybody else?”
There was something about the way he said it that made her heart tighten a bit. The tone in his voice made it sound like he was hurt.
She hurriedly shook her head. “No- No, that’s not what I meant. I just…” She shook her head a little, then pulled over to the side of the road, put it in park, and put her face in her hands. After a moment, she took a deep breath and lowered her hands. She looked over at him. “Look, if I tell you why I wear them, you have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone else. Do I make myself clear?”
Colton jumped in his seat, his brows furrowed. “Yeah. I promise. What’s- Why can’t I-”
She shook her head and turned, putting the car back in drive and starting back to the coffee house. “Because things will only get worse for me. That’s why.”
He nodded a little bit. “Okay…? Why would people knowing why you wear gloves like that all the time make things worse for you?”
They pulled up at the coffee house a moment later. “I’ll tell you when I’m taking you home.” She parked the car and shut it off, then stepped outside.
Colton did the same, and they went inside the building. The whole time he was confused, thinking about what she’d said.