Late Night Arrival
There was something about the angles of the buildings on campus at night. The different play of light and shade brought out a darker shade of beauty in my photos. A beat up crummydore rolled up into the empty parking lot disturbing the serene atmosphere.
She had been on the news only a few hours ago describing the latest addition in her break out book series. Anyone who had a pulse had heard of Lilac Cove. All the girls loved the romance and the hot guys. All the guys drooled over the chicks on the covers. I studied her through the lens of my camera. Her polish had long since been smudged.
Wearing a somewhat stylish red coat paired with some comfortable denim jeans most of her flawless white skin was hidden from view. Black large framed geek glasses covered her face and her previously styled hair flowed loose over her shoulders. The guy she was with wore the same style glasses. There was enough of a family resemblance for me to assume that the guy shadowing her was her brother Nick. He shouldered her frayed back pack and hefted a matching duffel bag. I had thought she would have rolled up in her Shelby Cobra GT500 or at the very least in her Ford Mondeo. Enough students around here were rich enough to travel in style so she would have fit right in.
Shouldering her tote and shoving her hands in her front pockets I could tell she was shivering even from this distance. A light breeze sent a chill down my own back. Dad and I had come to an arrangement. I would watch over little miss superstar in exchange for a place to go with Clarity on my weekends with her, ongoing tuition support for my double degrees of photography and business.
Everyone was worth at least one photo and fifteen minutes of fame. Even though the exquisite creature in the parking lot was pretending to be ordinary the camera loved her. There was something about her face. A wary kind of innocence. Keeping my lens hidden from the light I snapped a quick close up of the apprehension expressed on it plainly for the world to see. Nick gestured to her before the tail lights on the commodore flashed once signalling that he had locked it. They set off at a slow stroll on the path that would lead them directly to the nearest tunnel door.
Leaning against the cement pillar I began to review my work for the night. Classes were due to begin in the next couple of days. My life was already messy enough. I was extremely busy trying to carry my course loads and then there was Clarity. I didn’t have time for any distractions. I had a feeling the ice princess would be a major one if I let her under my skin.
Waiting until I could no longer see shapes on the path I slung my camera over my shoulder and withdrew my pack of cigarettes from my back pocket. Attempting to cut back now that Clarity was in my life I was down to two a day. Blowing smoke into the air I nodded to the night security guard. I was on first names with most of them since I lived on campus year round. Finishing the cigarette quickly I disposed of it before making my own way back to the dorms.
Ryan my room mate wasn’t due to arrive until the first day of classes. His grandmother needed treatment in the hospital and the whole family had put their lives on hold to be with her. ‘You the one watching her?’ The question caught me unaware. Nick st James had a no nonsense air about him. He crossed his arms clearly waiting for my answer. ‘Josh Patterson.’ Introducing myself I held my hand out to him. He had a firm grasp. ‘The professor’s kid right?’ His stern demeanor broke into an easy grin. ‘Yeah that’s me.’ My tone conveying how thrilled I was with his description. ‘Didn’t mean any disrespect. I know how life gets around here. She’ll miss it all unless you give her a little nudge to go to at least one party. I want her to do what she came to do but I also want her to learn how to live outside of her own head.’ He held out a business card to me. ‘What’s this?’ I knew what it was but I needed to hear it from him. ‘Her number. I’m not setting her up for failure. Use it to get her out of her shell.’ He sized me up before adding, ‘If you do want time with her do it because she’s amazing not because she’ll make you famous. Lily’s been used too many times to jump start other people’s careers. She wont survive another heartache like that.’
His phone vibrated in his hand. ‘That’s her.’ He looked up at me, ‘Keep my sister safe.’ He tapped a message on his keypad before striding back across campus to his car.