Fancy Meeting You
His name was Alexander Cornelius Frasier; but I didn't learn that until long after I had met him. If the coroner only knew that name... maybe then they would have something to write down for 'cause of death'. After all, he was the death of me.From the moment we are born, we are all just waiting around to die. Well, some people think we start dying when we turn twenty-five and our cells stop repairing themselves as our bodies finally begin to deteriorate. Fascinating, huh? Either way, it seems that the entire point of life in our modern age is too hurry up and wait to die.
It was a day of coincidences. My car coincidentally wouldn’t start, my friends were all coincidentally unable to give me a ride, my dog had coincidentally eaten through my bike tire, and a strange man coincidentally happened to notice me walking on the side of the road. Like I said, a day full of coincidences. Enough, some may say, to hint towards being evidence of it all being an act of fate.
I was 'destined' to climb into the sleek silver car that I would learn belonged to a cynical man named Alec Frasier.
Of course at the time I was entertaining no notions of fate. There was no greater purpose in my life. I would live, die, and who knows what else. Maybe I could glimpse love at some point in my dwindling days; I doubted it. The only goal in my life was to survive until tomorrow.
My feet were aching as I trudged through the stiflingly hot air and the sun scorched my skin. It was an agonizingly sunny day; there wasn’t a cloud in sight to blemish the clear blue sky. The park, my destination, was only another twenty minutes away but I was already pretty sure I was going to give up and lay down in the road to await my future career as roadkill when a silver Ford car pulled up next to me. The passenger window rolled down as the car slowed to a snail crawl to keep pace with me. I tensed as I gave the car an uneasy glance through my peripheral vision.
“You need a ride?” the man’s voice was as smooth as silk and felt like warm oil pouring in my ears and pooling in my chest. I peeked into the window and saw the speaker. He could have been in his late twenties or early thirties. His black coffee colored hair was short and shaggy- with obvious signs of some sort of gel. A layer of stubble covered his jaw.
“Nah, I’m good. Tip for the future? You may want to avoid offering rides to teenagers. Someone could mistake you for a hebephile,” I quipped and then chastised myself. No one knew that the correct term for an adult that is attracted to teenagers is a hebephile and this man most definitely wouldn't care. My pale grey eyes diverted from the stranger to return to their scrutiny of my galaxy patterned converse as I continued walking. Sometimes I wish I couldn't talk- that someone would just cut out my tongue. The man released a deep chuckle and I could feel it vibrate in my chest.
“A hebephile? I’ve never heard that term,” he remarked, continuing his car’s slow crawl next to me even as multiple cars honked and swerved past him. I looked over my shoulder at the impatient drivers that were glowering at the silver Ford.
“You’re holding up traffic,” I stated plainly, refusing to look back at the stranger as I changed the subject. My own voice was a soft alto tone in comparison to his deep baritone. More cars beeped and honked as they surged past and the force of their speed shook the stranger’s car.
“Yea, well they’re just in a hurry to get nowhere,” the way his voice faded off in thought caught my attention and I glanced back at him to see him staring thoughtfully into his rear view mirror. His comment caught me by surprise. I hesitated, wondering if I should get in the car. My foot pulsed in pain and I looked down at the empty black leather passenger seat through the lenses of my blocky navy blue glasses. Something in my gut trusted him and wanted to get into the car.
“How do I know you’re not an axe murderer?” I pursed my lips. His eyes flickered back to me and the sun made the irises glitter. They were a dark, deep indigo like the ocean with a ring of darker blue on the rim and flecks of gold glittering like stars. I could picture myself diving from a cliff into the raging ocean of his eyes- the chilled embrace of water wrenching the air out of my lungs. His pale purple/pink lips thinned into a smile that showed off his white teeth and made my skin tingle.
“You’ll just have to trust me.”
I don’t know what convinced me to get into his car, because it definitely wasn’t his diversion from answering the axe murderer accusation, but I did. It didn’t occur to me at the time; but I was far too willing to dive blindly into the depths of this stranger.
His seats were comfortable and the interior of his car cold. The air conditioner blasted a crisp strawberry scent throughout the car that mingled with the vague but distinct scent of cigarette smoke. I buckled into the seat and placed my thin-fingered milky white hands on my knees awkwardly. The stark contrast between my pasty skin and the black material of my skinny jeans made my hands look even paler. My eyes flickered over to the potential serial killer next to me. He had a pale tan- which is to say he looked like he had been tan and the previous harsh winter and rainy spring drained some of the color. Curious, I glanced at his left hand. He was wearing a thin silver band around his ring finger. An odd feeling of disappointment draped over me and I quickly shook it off. Why did I care if he was married? The stranger caught my stare and took off the silver band. He held it up and the pristine metal glistened in the sun.
“You’re curious about this thing, right?” he guessed. I diverted my gaze to the windshield where a wasp met it’s gruesome end as nothing but bug guts on a potential serial killer’s windshield. “It’s not real. I wear it as a deterrent.”
He baited me with the open-ended explanation and I took the bait far too easily.
“A deterrent?” I arched an eyebrow at him as I returned my attention to the stranger next to me.
“Yes. A deterrent against crazy women,” he confided. He noticed the frown that pulled at the corners of my mouth in response but didn’t comment. "I'm not married, is what I'm trying to say."
“So where were you headed?” he glanced over at me.
“Stencil Creek Park,” I gestured vaguely in the direction of the town’s largest park. It was mostly baseball fields and other sports areas. There was a broken down dog park and a plastic playground but both were sparsely populated.
“The SCP? That’s another half hour from here on foot,” he pointed out. I shrugged. “My names Alec, by the way, Alec Frasier. Thought you may want to know the name of your killer.”
My head whipped towards him fast enough to give me whiplash and he laughed. Both of my cheeks lit up in embarrassment. His eyes were shimmering with amusement when he looked over at me.
“I’m just messing with you. I’d never kill a girl on the first date,” he winked and I felt my cheeks burn a darker shade of red as I battled the urge to smile. “Do you always purse your lips like that when you’re trying not to smile?”
“Do you always pick up strangers on the side of the road?” I countered.
“Touché,” Alec’s smile grew and my heart thumped unsteadily in my chest. My phone buzzed in my pocket- probably a message from Nik. I ignored it and returned my attention to Alec.
“My name’s Maggie. Maggie Boston,” I informed him with a small smile. His eyes flickered back to me and I wondered in the back of my mind if he was even watching the road. It should have concerned me that he seemed to have no concern for his surroundings considering how fast we were speeding down the road. “Just thought you’d like to know the name of your victim before you kill her.”
“Maggie. Is that supposed to be short for something?" Alec smiled broadly at me.
"Margeret, perhaps?” Alec guessed. I shook my head with a grin. “Not Margaret. Margerie? Magnus?”
“You’re about as good at guessing as you are at keeping your eyes on the road,” I rolled my eyes at him as I gestured pointedly towards the road. I was strangely reminded of the prince trying to find out Ariel’s name. Too bad there wasn’t a singing crab in the car. Alec pulled over into the middle lane- pointedly staring at me rather than the road.
Then again maybe this man had enough distractions without musical shellfish added to the mix.
“What’s your name? Tell me your name and I’ll look at the road,” he offered-tilting the wheel ever so slightly towards the oncoming lane of traffic. My muscles tightened in a slight panic and I narrowed my eyes at him. "I'm going to count to three."
He held up his right hand, one finger sticking up.
I rolled my eyes, trying to blow off the sudden squirming in my stomach as he held up another finger.
Alec's eyes were luminescent and held an electricity that made the hairs on my arms raise. He held up a third finger and I couldn't contain the flinch as a car came dangerously close to colliding with us- the drive angrily blaring their horn as they swerved out of the way.
“You’re not going to drive into oncoming traffic,” I challenged. He arched an eyebrow and the wheel dipped to the left drastically. The car swerved just as a semi came barreling towards us. I squeaked and grabbed the wheel- jerking it to the right and barely steering us out of its path. When I whirled my gaze back towards him, my messy chestnut brown bangs had fallen into my eyes. The challenge was still alive in his eyes- a fiery gaze that dared me to test his resolve. “Magnolia. It stands for Magnolia.”