I do not enjoy being stalked.
"Did you hear about Stacy? She died in hospital last night."
"Oh my God! I know right? It's unbelievable."
"I loved Stacy. How could this have happened?"
"She was so nice."
"I…I just can't believe it."
I looked around as I sat in the cafeteria, fingering the scarf around my neck and picking at my lunch, a sick feeling in my gut. For once, my stomach wasn't twisting because of the food.
I glanced at the newspaper that was sitting underneath my plate.
Stacy Worthington, golden girl of Kensignton High School in the small town of Fishbowl, died in hospital after a tragic car accident.
Stacy had been rushed to the hospital a few days earlier after an out of control car crashed into her house. Her condition was critical and no one expected her to live. However, her death still came as a numbing shock. You see, Stacy Worthington lived only a few blocks from my house. I had actually been looking out my window when it happened and I saw the whole thing. It scared me when I realised that, had the car that killed her sped a little further down the road, it would have been my house it crashed into and I may have been the one dead.
Stacy didn't deserve to die. I don't think anyone does really…at least not until they've become so old that life just isn't life anymore. However, Stacy really, really didn't deserve to die. She was the epitome of goodness.
As a really pretty and popular girl, she was still nice to everyone; even my friends who were a grade below her. She was sporty, smart, did charity work and had really nice brown hair and huge green eyes. I wouldn't be surprised if she single-handedly brought puppies back to life using the power of her amazing smile and pure heart.
We had been living in the same neighbourhood for years now but I think Stacy was the only one who had noticed. Her brother Cory, I'm pretty sure, didn't know I existed.
Oh Cory, when will you realise that your soul mate lives just a few blocks from your house? Yea, I've had a crush on Cory ever since I moved here and saw him walking his dog. Actually, it probably wasn't his dog since it was a fluffy little terrier that had a pink collar with rhinestones and the name Fifi. At least I hope it wasn't his dog.
"Out of everyone, I had never expected Stacy to be the one to…pass away." Gina, my best friend, said as she pulled out a chair and sat down next to me.
I cringed at the sound. The squealing of chair legs against the tile floor did not help my migraine.
Gina smiled in apology, pushing her glasses up and fiddling with her pig tails. If there was anyone geekier than Gina, I had yet to find them.
"She was so kind…even to us." My other best friend Lizzy said with a grim face.
That was true enough. My group of friends were not exactly the popular ones. Actually, we were probably at the bottom of the high school hierarchy. I could see why. Gina was super smart, cynical at times, and looked a bit dorky with her glasses and pigtails. Lizzy used to be part of the 'in crowd' until she got into and argument with one of them and ended up exiled from their company.
And as for me? Well, I guess the 'lame' kids got to me first. I'll admit it; I'm not ugly. If I actually put some effort into grooming my appearance, then I guess I could be considered pretty. It was by chance that I became friends with Gina before any of them recruited me, and now I'd rather stay with my real friends instead of those who would hang around with me for my looks. If only Jess, my annoying little sister, thought like that. I guess she watched way too many lame teen dramas as a kid and grew up thinking that popularity was everything.
More people arrived at our table, but I wasn't close with any of them. They were friendly but Gina and Lizzy were my best and closest friends. I wasn't shy. I was just happier if I was in a smaller group.
I zoned out, staring at the greasy slice of pizza on my plate. I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open.
And that note written in my textbook was starting to get to me.
SEE YOU SOON SWEETHEART.
What on Earth was that supposed to mean? And what ring was he talking about? Just in case I saw the freak again, I packed the steak knife in my pencil case before I walked to school. I'll use it if I have to. I swear I will.
"…right Tegan? Tegan? Hello?? Anyone there?"
My head snapped up as I came face to face with Lizzy, her azure eyes squinting at me from behind her heavy eye make up. I really wish I had her eyes instead of my brown boring ones.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked, applying nail polish to her toes.
"Nothing. Why?" I grumbled.
"Uh, well, you're kinda like spacing out on me. And in English you were sitting in the classroom for an extra five minutes after the bell rang because you didn't realise that class was over and everyone had left."
"Oh. I'm just tired."
"And I thought I saw a knife in your pencil case."
"What?" Gina exclaimed.
"Yea, what are you talking about?" I mumbled unconvincingly.
"Tegan, that's illegal!" Gina continued. "You can't carry around weapons!"
Oh, was it? Well I'm pretty sure sneaking into someone bedroom and trying to kill them was illegal too.
"Oh yea!" Lizzy sat up straighter and stared at me. "You got smashed in the face yesterday."
"He didn't mean it!" Gina jumped in. "It was an accident! Please don't cut him or anything. Revenge is bad."
"It's not that. The whole nose bleed thing really isn't a big deal." I was surprised that they thought that I'd get angry over something like that.
"There was a lot of blood. Are you sure you're ok?" Gina looked so concerned that I felt guilty, although I wasn't really sure why.
"Yea it's totally fine. My mom just yelled at me about staining my uniform. Oh, and blamed me when she found out that Jess is still sneaking out almost every night."
It looked like they were going to keep asking questions about the knife so I kept talking about Jess.
"It is not my fault that my little sister snuck out of the house and got trashed at some party. She's fifteen. I can't stop her. And then my mom goes on about how they trust me to keep an eye on her since I'm the older one; about how I need to set a good example."
"You need to put that girl on a leash or something." Gina snapped.
"She's not that bad. It's just annoying that you get blamed for all the crap she does." Lizzy chirped.
Ah success. They took the bait. Good work Tegan.
I stopped listening as they begin to psychoanalyse the behaviour of my little sister.
I was having enough issues this week without my friends trying to figure out if maybe Jess had secretly joined a carrot worshipping cult and was just using parties as an excuse to sneak out to a secret vegetable garden to praise some Carrot King.
Several hours later it was finally the end of school. I successfully survived the day without any nose bleeds, hallucinations or strange boys trying to kill me.
I dragged myself to my locker. The whole place was full of everyone rushing about, getting their bags so they can run off home or to somewhere else more interesting.
It was all a blur of blue and white uniforms.
Lizzy left school early because she hadn't been feeling very well (yea right), and Gina had a music lesson. Jess didn't like being seen with me, since it could damage her social status, so I was walking home alone today.
Oh life, how I love thee.
I started the long trek back to my house, glaring at the bright sunshine. I guess it wasn't that far but I was lazy and I didn't deal very well with heat. I sweated a lot and a greasy face was never attractive. I was also in a very bad mood, but the thought of going home and sitting in front of the TV for the rest of the day sounded promising.
I eventually came to my neighbourhood, a little street called Herring Avenue. That was the thing about my town: all the streets were named after a fish of some sort. That's what you get for living in a place called Fishbowl smack in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't a small town, but there weren't many people. Most of the habitants of Fishbowl were actually quite wealthy but chose to settle down in a quaint and quirky sounding town. As a result, Fishbowl had massive malls, expensive boutiques and at least one mansion on every street. There were only two high schools: Sheridan Preparatory and Kensington High School. I went to the latter.
I stopped walking and looked across the road at Stacy's house, which was full of construction workers and police. I stood all on my lonesome, no one noticing me as I stared blankly, observing at the damage done to the residence.
I wonder where Cory was…
The cool voice caught me off guard and I jumped three feet into the air.
Spinning, I turned and…
I must have died. There's no way that I was still alive and on earth. Maybe when I was walking past the old, abandoned train station, a mass murderer stabbed me in the neck and I died and went to heaven. That was the only way I could account for the absolutely breathtaking being in front of me.
He was tall, but not overly so, with dark hair that lightly fell into his eyes. Wait what? Lightly fell…what does that mean?
What I meant to say was that his hair wasn't super short and gross. It actually looked styled…but not overly styled…more like he didn't brush it or anything so it fell naturally but didn't look messy.
Oh my golly gosh. I'd spent a good minute staring at his hair. It was nice hair though. I really wanted to touch…
To my horror, I made a gurgling sound in my throat as I tried to control my thoughts, making him laugh.
Argh! His voice sounded nice. His lips looked nice too. Huh?? Oh man, I think I'm beginning to act like Jess.
"Are you done staring at my magnificence?" Nameless-but-hot-boy said with a smirk on his face. His voice sounded strangely familiar but I couldn't remember where I'd heard it before.
"Are you Stacy Worthington's boyfriend?" I spluttered randomly. I had no idea where that came from. Sure, we were standing opposite her house but I distinctly remember seeing her actual boyfriend breaking down in the hallway outside my English classroom the other day.
The boy frowned.
"Did you know Stacy?" he asked, sounding amused. Ahh his voice. I could listen to it all day. Wait, no! Focus Tegan Michaels.
"No. I mean yes. I mean-"
"Where's my ring?"
And then it hit me. I remembered where I heard his voice. I had heard it this morning in my room.
Sorry, I got a little carried away
It was the same voice!
I felt fear quicken my heartbeat as I looked at his dark clothes and realised that, without a doubt, this gorgeous guy was the freak who had tried to kill me. Oh lord, he was stalking me now! Where's my knife?
As I moved to open my bag, the boy moved too.
In a flash, he was standing inches away from me and I was staring into his eyes. Wow he could move fast. And his eyes…
Wow his eyes were nice in the sunlight. They were dark…like really dark, but I thought I saw a hint of blue there…or maybe green…oh deary I could stare at those eyes all day long trying to figure out what colour they were.
"You're drooling." He grinned.
"No I'm not." I turned away quickly, my hand still fumbling in my bag. "And I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't even know you. Now if you will excuse me, I have something very important to do."
Where was it? I still couldn't find my pencil case with the knife.
"Looking for this?"
I felt as if someone had punched me and the fear returned. He was dangling a sparkling pink pencil case in front of me.
Oh great, so he was a thief too!
"It's very...pink..." he commented as he swung it back and forth. All I could think about was the two hundred dollar graphics calculator that currently resided in within the sparkly material.
"Give that back!" I shouted, making a lunge for it. The freak just laughed and held it up higher, stupid tall boy.
This was humiliating and without my weapon, I was completely defenceless. There was only one thing to do and that was run.
I bolted, cursing my regulation school shoes which squeezed my toes. I was going to get blisters by the time I got home.
It took me a moment to realise that the boy was following me almost effortlessly. I didn't know how I knew but I could sense him behind me, his dark eyes glued to the back of my head.
What scared me the most was the fact that he made no sound as he ran.
"Where is my ring?" he said again, sounding a little more annoyed but not nearly as out of breath as he should be.
"I don't know! Now leave me alone!"
I continued to run. My Physical Ed teacher would be proud if he could see me now. I should let him know that the next time he wanted me to run a race, he should hire some persistent psycho to chase me.
"I really need it you know." Persistent Psycho said as he ran beside me. I tried not to notice how hot he looked.
"Could I please have it back?" His voice was getting lower and more sinister.
I gulped, my breathing getting ragged. He was crazy but I was almost home now. Almost to safety.
"So you're ignoring me now?" His voice took on a dark tone and my heart started to race even more.
This was not good.
"You don't want me to get angry."
"Why don't you just strangle me again?" I grunted, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
Oh geez. This wasn't happening. Did I just say that?
With a growl, the guy jumped in front of me and moved his arm as if to hit me and I flinched, waiting for the sharp pain. When nothing happened, I slowly opened my eyes and saw his expression change to become friendly again. Whoa, talk about mood swings.
"Fine then. I'll talk. You can listen."
He moved to the side and blocked the way as I tried to get past him. I looked around, wondering if someone would come out of their house and save me if I screamed. At the look on the guy's face, I decided that wasn't such a good idea. He could kill me before I even made a noise.
I started to walk and he remained in front of me, walking backwards so that he could face me. Oh man, he looked so good.
No! Forbidden thoughts. This couldn't end well!
"Right, well…Hey. I'm Raith. What's your name?" He gave me a heart wrenching smile and I almost tripped.
IgnoreIgnoreIgnoreIgnore. He's a psycho.
"Um…I'm eighteen…I think...Maybe…" He laughed and I found the sound mesmerizing.
"Oh and um about yesterday, I think maybe I should explain that-"
I stopped in my tracks.
"You mean last night?" I snapped.
"Well, yea last night too. But yesterday before that happened…"
What happened yesterday?
At my confused look, he frowned, even more confused. "You…you don't remember me?" The way he said it made me realise that he was not someone that people forgot.
Yesterday. What did I do yesterday? I woke up, ate breakfast, walked to school, fought with Jess in the hallway, went to double maths, ate-
"Oh my God!"
I jumped back, my mouth hanging open as I stared at him.
"You're the…the…and blood…and…hallucination!" I screamed incoherently, pointing an accusatory finger at him.
He laughed again and I tried not to swoon.
Clearing my throat, I got my sentence out properly this time.
"But that was a dream! A hallucination! There was no hole in the ceiling."
Before he could speak, I heard an abrupt yell and screamed as some guy on a bicycle sped past me, clipping me on the shoulder and sending me flying forwards towards Raith.
In that split second, my eyes met his and they widened at the horrified expression I saw on his face as I fell forward.
Then, with lightning fast reflexes, he jumped back so that I hit the ground face first.
Lying on the pavement, I moaned and pushed myself up.
"What's your problem? Couldn't you have at least tried to catch me?" I yelled, looking up at Raith.
I was taken aback by the furious look on his gorgeous face.
"Don't ever do that again!"
"What? It's not my fault that guy pushed me! And I'm the one who now has a huge scratch across my face!" For some reason, I reached out to him, as if I wanted to hit him or shake some sense into his pretty little head.
Again, Raith looked enraged.
"Don't touch me." He hissed.
"Huh?" my confused expression seemed to have calmed him down because he took a deep breath and looked right into my eyes.
"If you touch me, you'll die."