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Chapter Three:Crush

"Do you catch your breath when I look at you?
Are you holding back like the way you do?"

--Crush, David Archuleta

   The next day seemed to bring more confusion than the last. My hopes of my brother being the culprit crumbled to dust that morning as I came downstairs fully dressed, sporting wet hair.

   "Hey, Siberia, is this yours?" he turned towards me, handing me a single white envelope.

   My heart stopped and broke into a gymnastics routine. I reached for the envelope with a shaking hand. George looked at me oddly, but finally shrugged and sat down, shoveling pancakes into his mouth.

   I opened the envelope to reveal a single piece of paper. Tears began to blur my vision and I could barely read the words on the paper. I blinked a few times and focused in on the paper, reading: "Never forget. We are watching you, Siberia."

   "Hey, Siberia, are you okay?" George was suddenly standing in front of me, looking worried.

   "Did you write this?" I snarled, shoving the ominous note in his face while wiping the traitorous tears angrily from my face.

   George smacked my hand away and made a face. "No. It was sitting on the counter and the envelope had your name on it, so obviously I gave it to you."

   I was shaking.

   Someone was watching me.

   Someone was stalking me...


   After bolting from my house, I drove to the park, deciding that school was NOT the best option for me right now. I sat on the bench with my sketchpad in my hand.

   Eventually though, my mind left my sketchpad and it began to wander. I felt as if something were crawling under my skin. I felt as if someone was watching me at that moment.

   I didn't even realize I had fallen asleep until I realized I wasn't in the park anymore.

   I was in Wickley Forest.

   For some reason, my heart was pounding, but I was unable to run.

   I was paralyzed.

   The sky was pitch black and I could smell smoke. It was heavy in the air. Something was burning.

   "We're watching," said voices. Thousands of voices, all bundled together.

   I wrapped my arms around myself and backed away from the sound of the voices. I backed right into the arms of a man.

   His eyes could not be seen. They were shrouded in the darkness. But his lips--which were curved into a cruel grin-- were easily visible.

   I was shaking and crying.

   I was scared out of my mind.

   He opened his mouth and spoke.

   "Siberia, wake up," I heard a voice say.

   I woke, frantically lashing out at the man in front of me. I couldn't let him take me.

   He cursed and grabbed my swinging fists in his strong hands.

   I glared into a pair of crystalline blue eyes. Riven.

   I blushed in embarrassment and muttered my apologies. Slowly Riven relaxed his grip. I pulled away.

   "Sorry," I muttered again, looking down, desperately trying to hide my flaming cheeks. "I...uh...had a nightmare."

   Riven chuckled slightly and I blushed more.

   "So you felt the need to lash out at a handsome passersby who was only trying to help." He smirked.

   "Okay, firstly, you aren't even that handsome," I lied, rolling my eyes. "Secondly, I didn't ask for your help." I hopped up, shoving my sketchpad and my pencil into my backpack. I holsted it onto my shoulder roughly and walked away.

   "Not that handsome?" he sang, walking alongside me. "So you do find me the slightest bit handsome, then?"

   I rolled my eyes, pretending I didn't hear him.

   "And as for the helping you part, well, what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't help a damsel in distress."

   "I am NOT a damsel in distress," I grumbled.

   He chuckled and walked backwards in front of me, smiling that half smile of his.

   "Why are you following me?" I asked, stopping and glaring at him as if he was the biggest creep on the universe.

   "We're partners. We have to work on that project that's due next week, remember?"

   I blinked as I remembered we were supposed to be starting our project.

   "Ugh, I totally forgot," I mumbled, shaking my head.

   "Well, let's get to it partner." He half smiled again.

   I shook my head and sighed. On the outside it looked as if I was peeved at the idea of working with him. But on the inside, I was euphoric at the idea of being with him some more.  He was turning me into a sweaty palmed schoolgirl. The kind of girl I always swore I'd never be.

   You need to take a few steps back, Siberia, my mind said.

   Riven was grinning that half smile of his as he held open the door of his sleek black Jaguar. His eyes were watchful on my face as I stepped closer and slid inside.

   Just keep yourself in check, inner Siberia whispered.

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