Sunday. The day of supposed rest, my mother decides to do a cleansing ritual with the help of every cleaning instrument known to humankind. She scrubs, washes, scours, and polishes everything in sight, with the hope, I presume, of getting rid of every DNA sample my dad could have possibly left behind.
When I hear a knock at the door just after lunch, I am relieved and I call from my room, where I am hiding, “I’ll get it.”
I jump off my bed and rush to the front door. I pull the door open hastily.
“Oh,” I say when I see Jayden standing on my doorstep.
He looks at me uncomfortably when he obviously sees the displeased look on my face. He asks, “Can I come in?”
I am reluctant to invite him in, so I step outside and make sure the latch is up before I pull the door shut behind me. I remember the way he was glaring at me the night before in the rear-view mirror, so I am not in the mood for him.
Expectantly I ask, looking around him, “Is Kieran here?”
“No. I came here on my own.” His eyes pull together tightly, as he looks at me and I cannot hide my disappointment. He turns away from me. “I’ll be off then.”
Feeling embarrassed at my blatant rudeness, I lean toward him and grab onto his arm. “Why did you come here? What do you want anyway?” I feel him stiffen under my touch.
He turns around slowly and takes a step closer to me. He stands too closely, and he looks down at me pensively. I feel my heart palpitate in my chest. He has a profound power over me. His eyes are hypnotic and he keeps my eyes captive with his. The corners of his mouth lift into a sardonic smile as if he can hear my heart racing in my chest.
“Kieran told me about his almost death yesterday and I am worried about you. Did you see any dark shadows before you saw the car speeding toward you?”
I gasp. How could he know? I step away from him.
He steps closer to me, leaning nearer. He scans my eyes, looking pensively from one to the other. He asks worriedly, “Have you always seen shadows or dark mist?”
“No, never before. But, how do you know?” I ask bewildered.
He ignores my question. “When did you start seeing them?”
“Friday. Why? What is it to do with you anyway?”
He replies quietly, “Everything.”
I frown briefly. “My mom says it is stress.”
“Stress, because your dad left?”
Bunching my fists tightly against my legs, I exclaim angrily, “Jeez, does Kieran tell you everything!”
“Not always.” He smiles sarcastically. Two lines are forming between his coal black eyes. “Why do you think you are seeing them?”
“It is my eyes. There is only something wrong with my eyes.”
For a long, slow moment, he just stands there looking down at me. I cannot stare him down, so I glance across the street. Nervously I glimpse he is still looking at me intently, so I look down at my feet. The top of my head rubs against his chest, so close is he standing to me.
Tenderly, he places his palms under each side of my chin and he pulls my face up gently. He keeps his hands against my neck, his thumbs pushed against my arteries. I am sure he can feel how fast my heart is beating. Slowly he leans down toward me, and then even closer. I can feel his breath on my cheeks. Involuntarily my eyes move to his lips. They are full and slightly moist. I feel a little frightened by him and a bit intrigued.
I can actually feel his lips on mine, so close they are, as I stand there unresisting as if he has weaved a spell around us. He is going to kiss me. He has to kiss me.
My mom pulls open the door and she says startled, “Oh.”
I step back from Jayden embarrassed. The enchantment between us is broken.
Relaxed Jayden turns toward my mom, and he greets her friendly, “Good afternoon, Mrs. O’Halloran.”
My mom looks at him flustered as her eyes dart between him and me.
I stutter when I introduce Jayden to her.
She gives me a stern look. “I need your help, Heather. Best you come in now.”
She goes back into the house, but she leaves the front door open.
Jayden laughs. “Your house smells clean.”
The smells of cleaning products waft in the air around us. “I know. My mom is on a cleaning frenzy.”
He looks at me deep in thought, and then he sighs. “Anyhow, I guess I better go. Kieran doesn’t know I am here and I only wanted to find out about, um, you know, the shadows.”
I ask urgently, before he turns away from me, “Do you know why I am seeing them suddenly. Do you know whether it is my eyes or not?”
“I cannot say.” He smirks.
“You cannot say, or you will not say. You would not come all the way here if you did not think it was something more than my eyes.”
“I really cannot say.”
I sigh frustrated.
He turns away from me and walks to his car. When he pulls open the door, he leans with his forearms on the door frame. He looks at me again and then his straightforward question shocks me. “If you had to choose between Kieran and me, who would you choose?”
Laughing mortified, I say, “Neither one.”
He smiles suddenly, a brilliant natural smile. “Thought so.”
He gets into his car and I wait to watch him drive away.
After his car turns the corner, I walk into the house thoughtfully. It suddenly dawns on me that when Jayden was standing so breathtakingly close to me, I did not feel any shadows pressing into me, also the entire time we were together I did not see a dark shadow fleetingly pass across my vision. However, when I stood in Kieran’s back garden and we kissed, I could feel the shadows pushing and prodding into me. I realize also I met Kieran on Friday and that is when I started having these visions of apparitions every time I am with him.