"Let's see…" she mumbled to herself as she glanced down at the paper in her hand. "23…Everbrook Road…" That was Brian's house and she now stood before it. Her emerald eyes widened in amazement. She had a big house, yes, but his totally blew hers away. It was a two-story, Victorians style home, lavished with angled and domed roofs and antique windows. The entire exterior was brick, some of the original red color had changed to a brownish hue from old age. But the discoloration only added to the house's beauty.
Allison's hand clutched the strap of her book bag as she strode up the cobble stone walkway, while admiring the perfectly groomed grass and lush greenery surrounding the exterior of the house. She walked up a couple stone steps and knocked on the dark wood door. Just as she dropped her hand to her side, the knob turned and the door swung open.
But it wasn't Brian who answered. A rather lovely woman with silky, black hair and dazzling blue eyes greeted her with a warm smile. "You must be, Allison, right?" she asked, already placing a hand on her shoulder and guiding her inside.
Allison just nodded, not sure of what to say. Then her eyes fixated on the beautiful interior. If she thought the exterior was gorgeous, than she didn't know what true décor was. The oak floors were polished until they gleamed from the sun filtering in through the large windows. The walls were a rose color and decorated with various paintings of landscapes and other various depictions. Ahead of her was a large staircase, that had a ruby rug cascading down it. To the left was an archway that led into the living room and to the right, was another archway. But that one led to a large study. Getting a glimpse inside, Allison saw books upon books, lining the back wall and possibly others.
"My, my, my. That hair of yours is beautiful. Very fire-y," she beamed.
"Th…Thanks." Allison had to admit that the woman's enthusiasm was a bit overwhelming.
"Oh! Excuse my manners!" She closed the door and then held out her hand and waited for Allison to shake it. "I'm Brian's mom and you can just call me Jenna. His father is somewhere around him. You can refer to him as David. He prefers being called by his first name."
Allison would never dream of referring to them by their first names, even if Miss Lake did request it. It was just how she was brought up. "Um…where is-"
Jenna cut her off before finishing. "Oh! I am sorry. I didn't mean to keep you, but this is the first female friend he has ever had over."
"We aren't frie-"
She was cut off again, but this time by Brian's father. "Why, hello there. You must be, Miss Allison." He also extended his hand to her, which she shook. "I am David Lake."
He was definitely a lot less exuberant than Jenna, which Allison was just fine with. "It is nice to meet you, sir," she greeted.
His dark eyes scanned over her. "You sure do look a lot like-"
"Come on," came Brian's voice from the top of the stairs. "We need to get started."
Allison's eyes shot up towards him and she nodded. "It was nice to meet you." She bowed to them before ascending the stairs.
She followed him with her eyes, as he grabbed two chairs and set them in the middle of the room, facing each other. When he looked back at her, her breath caught in her throat.
"Do you want to draw today, or be drawn?" he asked.
"Umm…" She thought for a moment. If she was the one to draw, she could pick an angle where his obsidian eyes weren't staring at her. "I'll draw today…I brought my stuff…"
Brian didn't reply and sat down in one of the seats and waited for her to get all of her stuff out of her bag. She moved the chair to the right of him, so that she could do a profile image. Situating herself in the chair, she opened her large sketchbook to a blank page and began to sketch.
Brian found it interesting that she began with a profile. He knew it was because she was too timid to look at him straight on. Then again, he thought, maybe it was because she didn't want him to see the blush that had appeared on her cheeks. Obviously, she was unsuccessful.
He smirked and leaned back on the chair, wrapping an arm over the back. He glanced at Allison out of the corner of his eye to find that she had stopped for a moment, more color rising to her cheeks.
"Umm…" she began, lifting up her sketchbook so it covered most of her face. "Could you…stay still?" she asked. Her voice was so low that it sounded like she was scared of what his response would be.
He just nodded and her pencil started moving again, after she offered him a quiet thank you. For some reason, he couldn't take his eye off her. He watched her small hand guide her pencil across the blank paper. Her tongue curled over her top lip as she concentrated on her drawing. Emerald eyes flicked to him every once in a while as they memorized his features.
But something bothered him. Sometimes, when her arm moved a certain way, the baggy sleeve of her shirt would fall to her forearm, revealing what he thought looked like bruises.
They looked like hand marks, made from a fierce grip. That prompted a lot of questions to come into his mind, but he wouldn't ask any of them. For all he knew, he was just seeing things and there really was no need to jump to silly conclusions.
A knock came to his door, drawing Brian's gaze away from her. It was his mother. "Brian, dear. Your father and I are going out for a while. We'll be back later on, alright?"
Jenna smiled in response. "You two have a good time." She winked, causing her son to frown. Waving, she left the room and the two alone again.
A sigh escaped from the dark-haired boy. He hated when his mother did things like that. It was not only embarrassing to him, but a pointless comment that should have never been made.
"What's wrong?" Allison suddenly asked, so quietly that she was almost inaudible.
The question surprised Brian. He wasn't expecting her to talk at all, unless he was the one starting a conversation. Glancing at her, he didn't answer and returned his gaze back to the blank wall ahead of him.
"Hun...What do you think of Allison," Jenna asked to her husband. They were sitting in restaurant and had just finished ordering their food.
David folded his hands under his chin. "She is very…introverted...and uncommonly so."
"Do you think it's because of her mother's death and the fact that her father also turned to drinking for a while?"
David shrugged. "It is possible and I do not think Allison ever received counseling of her own." He took a sip of water. "Obviously, she has been affected by both of those two integers."
Jenna unconsciously scrunched her napkin in her hand. "I wonder why she hasn't gone to therapy. We both know that her father has money. So it couldn't have been because of finances." Her eyebrows furrowed as she thought of something. "What if we ask her if she would like some?"
Her husband shook his head. "If she wants help with her past, then she has to come to us, or someone else for that matter, on her own. I know you want to help, sweetie, but you have to stay out of it."
A frown creased her perfect pink lips. She knew her husband was right, but didn't want to accept it. Even through their short conversation when Allison arrived at the house, Jenna knew there was something wrong with the red-haired girl and she wanted to know what that was. Not because she was nosy, but because she wanted to help. However, it truly was up to Sakura to come to her. She had no right impose her occupation on the girl. "Alright, David. I'll wait."
A smile crossed his lips. "Good girl." It was always hard to get his wife to listen to him, but he usually wore her down until she saw his point. Though, in this case, he agreed with Jenn. He, too, wanted to help the girl, also sensing that something was wrong with her. However, he knew the rules of psychology. They had to wait for their patients to come to them. "But…that doesn't mean we can't hint at it."
When Jenna looked at him, he winked, bringing a smile back to her lips. "Thank you," she said, resting her hand on his.
"Aren't you hot?" Brian asked, noticing her layers of clothes. She wore a tee over a large, long-sleeved shirt and also a pair of baggy jeans. It was fairly warm and he figured all of the extra material had to be suffocating. But she never rolled up her sleeves or even mentioned being too warm. That was odd to him, considering he was in a tee shirt and was comfortable.
Allison shook her head quickly. "No. I'm fine," she assured. Truth was, she really was overheating. She could already feel sweat forming on her skin beneath her clothes. But she couldn't do anything about it. After a recent beating, her arms and legs were bruised and she had to keep them covered.
Brian stood from the chair and stretched, causing Allison to lower her sketchbook. An hour had passed since they started and he was ready for a break. "Well I am, so I'm going to get a drink. You want anything?"
"I…um…no thanks…I should be going anyway," she said, already beginning to put her things back in her backpack.
Brian raised an eyebrow. He didn't mind that she was going to leave. It just meant that he had the rest of the day to himself, but he was curious.