I groaned in annoyance, bending my head. I’ve been sitting here for the past twenty minutes. If I was to take a wild guess, it’ll be that this ‘guardian’ or whatever fancy name my mum’s fiance addressed him as, was just as bull shitty and irresponsible.
“Ethan?” I heard a low toned voice say from above me. I looked up at the person in question. It was a skinny man in a red turtleneck sweater and faded blue jeans. He had a full head of dark hair. Its smooth waves making it almost wavelike in appearance.
“Ethan Lightwood?” he asked more definitely this time. I nodded giving him a confused look. He didn’t look much older than me. He looked around the age twenty-four to six.
“Hi, I’m Andrew. If you quite remember I was asked to pick you up,” he said stretching out his hand. I looked down with an inspecting gaze. It was just as skinny as the rest of his body.
“Nice meeting you,” I said out of obligation rather than actual feelings. I took his hand in a brief short handshake, almost expecting it to shatter from my touch.
“Your things?” he asked, looking about.
“Just this,” I said plucking the strap of my rucksack.
“Well then...” He trailed, looking towards the parking lot with a smile on his face. It kind of made him look different — the smile that is. It distracted you from the fact he was literally a bag of bones.
He started walking towards the parking lot, making me get up in haste to follow him. We walked to his gray SUV, the tires and back bumper covered in road dirt.
I blinked when he indicated he was going to get the door. Watching him, I squinted noticing his slight limp as he walked over to the other side of the car.
Hearing the door unlock I attempted to open the passenger seat only to hear a low growl making me back up both in fear and surprise.
“Sorry she likes the front seat,” Andrew said rolling down the window glass. The dog stuck out its jaw to growl at me.
“I see...” I trailed as my irritation picked up again before heading to the back seat.
“Sorry about that,” he apologized before starting the car engine and adjusting the driver’s mirror. I could see his features from the mirror more than I did face to face. His brown eyes adorned with thick lashes sat hallow on his pale face. He was exactly what his uncle referred to him as — skinny and plain looking.
“You’ll have to tell me what you like eating, I don’t have much,” he said without taking his eyes off the road.
I let my eyes wander from Andrew to the dog, still wondering what in the world it was doing up front while I was at the back. But it’s okay. if I was up front I’d actually have to make conversation.
“You might like it here...” he trailed as I watched him smile from the driver’s mirror.
“Quiet town, polite people,” he said, chuckling lightly.
The rest of the ride was quiet apart from the occasional question or comment.
I squinted as we came up an isolated cabin, my supposed residence while his uncle knocked up and eventually married my mother. I hugged my rucksack to myself, observing the place. The walls were painted a pale cream, and a small shed was visible at the side. It was partly open and showing an array of gardening tools. A hen was parading around the compound as her brood of chicks tried to keep up with their tiny legs. The place was more or less a country home.
“We’re here,” Andrew said, pulling the gear to park before reaching out to pet his dog’s head. The greyhound closed its eyes, barking in pleasure.
I opened the back door, getting out. I casually threw my rucksack over my shoulder. I didn’t have much, just a three pair of jeans, a few t-shirts and the needed cosmetics.
I raised my hand to block the light. I might not enjoy this place at all, but I could exist casually for a while without bickering from my mother.
“I’ll go put on the heater,” Andrew muttered absently as he got down too, puffing out air and running his palms up and down sweatered arms.
I followed him to the door and waited for him as preyed the door open with a key.
“I’ll give you the spare latter,” he said as the door flew open. ” Meanwhile, I’ll advice you getting comfortable while I look for something you could eat.”
I nodded following him into the small cabin. It wasn’t as horrifying as I expected it to be. It gave off a homey feel, along with a dash of maturity.
“Your room’s the one to the right, the other is mine. If you need anything ask me,” he said heading to a room I assumed was the kitchen. From his description, I assumed there were only two rooms in the cabin, so I just walked around to find out that was exactly the case.
I walked into the small room and switched on the lights. Looking around I figured he did do some light cleaning. The bed and pillows were made. The windows were open, and there was soap and tissue in the bathroom. I dropped my rucksack on the bed and headed to the bathroom to wash my face. I drained myself reading a book by my favorite author afterward until I got interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Dinner’s ready,” Andrew said from the other side of the door making me groan in irritation. I got up to head to the dining table anyway.
Walking into the sitting room and towards the dining table at the corner, I scrolled at my plate.
Seriously? I thought, pulling my chair out before sitting down. I picked up the fork looking in condemnation at the salad mixed with corned beef.
“Sorry, I didn’t have much you’ll just have to tell me what to buy when I head out tomorrow,” he sighed from the other end making me towards him. The fact that he was nibbling at a toast of bread and not an actual meal puzzled me.
“I knew you didn’t want to come here, don’t worry the stay will be over before you know it,” he said giving me a small smile. I nodded taking a fork of salad into my mouth. I chewed watching with slight interest as my dark hair dangled around me. I’ve been trying to grow it out for a while and it seems to be actually working.
I finished the rest of the salad not feeling full but satisfied. Looking over at Andrew I raised a brow realizing he had barely gone half way into the toast.
“I’m not hungry, I ate in the afternoon,” he said almost defensively as he got up. I watched as he whistled for his dog and feed her the remaining toast.
He walked over to one of the sofa’s taking a sit, his dog following behind before settling beside his feet. I got up and walked towards the main sitting room too.
“I noticed there was no cellular service here. Is there a way I could send an email here? It’s to my mum...” I asked, sitting on the opposite sofa from him.
“Of course, you can use my laptop there’s no password, it’s in the study room; my modem should be in the second drawer,” he said switching the channels. I watched him scowl as he moved his feet. His dog whimpered adjusting slightly before licking his ankle.
“I’ll get going,” I said, getting up before heading out of the living room. I’d wandered into the living room why looking for my room. It was a small dimly lit room. The floor was carpeted with fur, and at the corner sat a small study table overcrowded with books. I could see the laptop in the midst of the disarray and headed for it.
Like he said, there was no password, and I had no trouble logging on or finding the modem. I had already prepared the wordings to my hate mail to my mother. I wondered why I even bothered considering I could write a book on how much I hate her in a chance.
I groaned realizing I’d clicked an open icon instead of the one for the browser. I looked at the MS word page that had popped up. I was about to click minimize when I spotted a familiar name.
‘George looked down at the dead body of another woman the sixth time this week. She was one of the many victims of the mass serial killing...’
George? As in George Graham from the seeker series? My interest suddenly picked up. George was a prominent character appearing in most of my favorite author’s books. Ironically I wouldn’t have found them if I hadn’t strolled into my mother’s last husbands library.
But why in the world would he have something like this? I asked myself, scrolling through the apparent chapter; I hadn’t read any like this. I sighed minimizing the page finally. I sent the angry hate mail and closed the computer.
I looked around the table, expecting some sort of answer to pop up, but none did. Why does he have that on his laptop? I thought helplessly before deciding to look around. Finding a dusty package in the first drawer, I dusted it to read the card attached to it.
Here’s a complimentary copy of your latest novel, Controversy, enjoy!
Controversy? It can’t be... I thought, pulling the wrapper off in a way I could re-wrap its content, and soon, right before my eyes was Kalian. A. Sheldon’s book. My eyes widened in shock as the puzzle piece came together. He was Kalian. A. Sheldon. I stood up and paced around in a brief panic attack. I’d had the chance to make a good first impression and at blown it.
I could still change that. I could go and apologize for being grumpy throughout today. I though calming myself down. I’ll just do that and hope it clouds the first impression I must have given him.
After arranging the study table and re-wrapping the novel, I headed for Andrew’s room. It kind of intrigued and baffled me that he was able to write such genius in such a secluded area. My mum’s fiance hadn’t told me his nephew was an author; a quite acknowledged one at that. Maybe he didn’t just care about literature or knew about it himself.
Stopping at the front of his open door I paused. He was inspecting his collarbone by a standing mirror. His pale skin looked a tad unhealthy, and I gasped silently at the sight of his spinal bones as he turned. I don’t know why I didn’t say something, just stared.
“Look at you...” he, trailed giving himself a sad smile as he inspected himself in the mirror.
“Fat or slim you’re still ugly,” he said, sighing slightly. I watched as he touched his shoulder blades in an inspection. I felt my cheek get warm slightly. I didn’t see it; see the ugliness he was talking about. Sure he looked a bit ill, not ugly. In fact, if he gained a little more weight he’ll be more than handsome.
“Why were you so surprised he was repulsed at you?” he asked himself, chuckling softly before gasping.
I watched as his face twisted in pain before he raised a foot from the floor. Was something wrong with it? I watched as he limped away from my view. I blinked wondering if I could still go ahead with my apology. Wouldn’t he put one and two together? I decided against it and headed off to my room instead.
Lying on my bed I thought deeply about Andrew, about what he told himself in front of the mirror. Was that why there was no photo of the author on his website or any interview I searched up? I turned on the bed looking out the window at the evening sky.
I still couldn’t believe I was sharing the same house with the man I’d admired for years. Couldn’t believe the self-conscious man in the room right next to me had penned down such genius.
I hugged my pillow to myself remembering he’d said someone had been repulsed by him. I’d been staring at him — stark naked and I hadn’t been repulsed. I sighed, taking a novel from the bed head. Using my hand to brush the cover, I frowned in rage. Why would anyone say that, and to him of all people?
I let myself calm down, falling in and out of sleep, most of the time being awoken by the cries from the next room.