Chapter 7: Angela Calling, Nora Falling
After mom left, I sat down at my desk. I opened the top drawer. It was filled with half-finished drawings, pens, paper, and a homemade false bottom. I pulled the false bottom up and pulled out my diary. I hadn’t written in it awhile, but that was because I never had much to say. No secrets to keep. But now I had one, and it was huge. I opened up the book and stared at a blank page. I debated on what to write or whether even to write in it at all. I mean, what if it was found? The secret would be out and Haru’s life would be in danger. I put pen to paper and wrote the first sentence my diary would record about the vampire boy next door: “Dear Diary, I ain’t telling you shit.”
Closing the book, I pulled my cell out of my back pocket, wondering if Haru carried one. I’d had only a couple boys’ numbers in my address book, but I’d never called them and they had never called me. I could picture myself lying up in bed at night talking to or texting Haru for hours. I smiled at the thought because it was such a normal one, but I decided to call Angela back instead. I couldn’t keep putting her off.
“Hey girl, what’s up?”
“Oh my God, Nora! I’ve been going crazy. Are you all right?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Got in a fight with mom an hour ago, but other than that I’m okay.”
“Oh, that sucks.”
“So, what’s he like? Come on, tell me. What did you guys talk about? Did you hold hands?”
“No, we didn’t hold hands, but he’s nice.”
I heard her sigh on the other end. “Just nice?”
“Yeah. He’s nice. He’s very kind and sweet. He came over to cheer me up after mom and I fought.”
“How did he cheer you up? Did he take his shirt off?”
I frowned, though she couldn’t see it. “No, Angela. He just let me know he understood and if I wanted to talk I could.”
“Damn girl, I hate you.” She laughed. “Does he have a brother?”
“I don’t know. I’ll ask.”
“So, what else did you talk about?”
“Not much really. Stuff like where he lived before, his parents and family. Just normal stuff.”
“Did he hit on you?”
I could hear the smile in her question. “No, I don’t think so. I couldn’t really tell.”
“How can you not tell?”
“Well…he’s not like guys at our school. It’s hard to figure him out or what he’s thinking. He’s not like our transparent American boys. “
“Ah, Asian mystery date.”
I laughed again, but thinking about it, I felt that was one of the draws for me. He was mysterious. I didn’t know what he was thinking. I knew very little about him, and every time something new was revealed it made it more exciting. When or if he flirted with me, I didn’t know if I’d realize it or not.
“Is he going to Chelsea Valley High next year?”
“I don’t….oh crap.”
“What?” she nearly shouted into her cell.
“I forgot to tell mom about summer school. She’s not going to be happy with me again.”
“Sucks for you,“ Angela replied. “Hope she doesn’t blow a gasket.”
“Yeah, me too. Look, I’ll see you in the morning, ok?”
“Alright, girlfriend. Say hi to Haru for me.”
The way she said his name was in a teasing manner, and I giggled like a little seventh grader gushing over a ninth grade boy. “Okay, I will,“ I lied. I disconnected the call and walked over to the window. Looking over to his yard, Haru was nowhere to be seen. He wasn’t out watching the stars. Not yet anyway.
I think Mom was so relieved over us having made up that the summer school news didn’t affect her too badly. Sure, she was upset that my grades had suffered so, but I think she was also a little bothered by the fact she had been so oblivious to it. So, perhaps she blamed herself a little for not paying attention to my report cards. Either way, she approved of me attending summer school, as she didn’t want me to be held back a year either.
Back in my room, I turned off all the lights and flipped on the TV. I put it on a local cable channel that showed old black and white movies. It’s not that I liked the movies themselves; I just liked how the black and white from the television infused my room with this eerie lighting. However, tonight they were playing a good one. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. As a little girl it had scared the crap out of me. The sounds the birds made was this cacophony of terrifying sound that sent me flying to my father’s lap. He’d shield my eyes from the sight of the birds chasing the school kids on the playground and then hurling themselves against windows.
I really needed to go see him. I’d been only twice since he’d been locked up. It wasn’t a very pleasant place to go, and the patients tended to freak me out. Some wandered around like zombies in that World War Z movie. The Walking Dead invade the hospital. This one lady made guttural noises in her throat that reminded me of the Jigsaw Man next door. This reminded me to go see if Haru was outside.
I got up and went to my window. Because the light was somewhat subdued in my room, I could see easier. In his backyard nothing moved. The patio porch also seemed empty. A few lights were on in the house and I could see cars in the driveway, but no movement behind curtains or in the dark outside. Disappointed, I began to turn away from the window when I saw something shifting in the shadows outside the room across from mine. There was a figure out on the widow’s walk. He was leaning against the railing and looking up at the stars.
I don’t think he saw me at first, so intent his gazing heavenward was, but then he looked over my way and I knew I had been spotted. On instinct, I moved away from the window, but when I saw it was Haru I smiled. He motioned me to come over, and I began to turn when he waved at me again, signaling me to come over in the same way I had speculated the night before: by climbing out the window and jumping to the tree limbs outside my room. I wondered if he had somehow read my thoughts the night before and I shook my head no. I could see he found this humorous and he made a motion with his arms that basically said I was chicken. I thought to myself maybe he and Angela should get together and dare each other to death, but I soon found myself opening the window and bravely jumping to the nearest branch.
I couldn’t believe I was even doing this. This wasn’t safe. I could fall from the tree and break my neck, or at least that’s what my mom would say if she’d seen me. I climbed onto a thicker branch and began to make my way to the center of the tree. I could see Haru watching me with interest, his arms gripping the railing as if he would jump over it any minute to save me, if I should fall.
I clutched the main trunk of the tree allowing me a moment to catch my breath and call myself an idiot. I’d never been one to try and impress boys. I had always considered it a form of manipulation on their part and I refused to reduce myself to that kind of thing. So, how did I find myself two stories off the ground, jumping out windows and climbing across tree limbs to get to a boy in the next house? I must be nuts or he the master of complete mind control. I couldn’t be that crazy to be around him, could I? It had to be his vampiric persuasion that was making me risk life and limb, no pun intended.
I struck out on to another limb, edging my way to the widow’s walk where Haru waited. It wasn’t that far now. Soon I’d be at the end of the tree branches and I would have to jump the rest of the way. I felt the limb under my feet creak and I stopped, wondering if it was going to break. After a moment, I began to edge my way again. I tried not to look down, and instead looked at Haru. His eyes were focused on me as he flipped his long blond bangs out of his face. I had this odd vision of brushing his hair. Only a girl would think of things like that while perched on a tree branch outside a guy’s bedroom window. Can you say stalker?
The branch began to bend and it brought me out of my reverie. I was going to have to jump to the balcony now before the limb snapped. I hesitated only a second. The branch broke as I pushed away from it, but my ankle twisted in the process and it affected my leap. I wasn’t going to make it. I reached for the railing but I knew I was going to come up short. I looked at Haru in horror and then looked down. The ground was rising to meet me and I closed my eyes, bringing my arms up to protect my face from the impact. I hit with a soft thud, much softer than I imagined it would be, and when I opened my eyes I realized I hadn’t even hit the earth. Haru had.
He stood, legs braced apart, holding me in his outstretched arms. How he had gotten down to ground level so fast was amazing, and the fact he had caught me before impact was nothing short of miraculous. I looked up into his perfect beautiful face. His eyes were looking at me with a warmth that seemed to spread across his whole face. His lips were upturned in a one corner smile.
“I’ll never let anything happen to you,“ he said, and set my feet softly down. I did the only thing a girl could do after having been caught falling from a great height by a beautiful boy, who had face, eyes, and lips to die for. I passed out.
I must not have been out long because when I came to, he hadn’t moved and was still holding me up, though my feet were on solid ground. “What happened? Did I black out?”
“For a moment,“ he replied, his voice soft and lilting like music.
I straightened up and he let me go. My feet were still unsteady and I wobbled a little. He placed a hand on my back to make sure I’d be alright.
“That was a good catch,“ I said, trying to save myself a little embarrassment over the feat I had been trying to accomplish.
“It wasn’t too bad, I guess. Hopefully we won’t have to repeat it.”
“We wouldn’t have had to do it this time if you hadn’t called me chicken.”
He smiled with a mischievous grin. “Is that what I called you? Wow, the things you learn from American television.”
“Ha-ha. But thank you for catching me. That would have hurt pretty bad.”
“Yes, it would have. But I’ll always be there for you, so no worries.”
I smiled. “Will you be there for me in summer school? That’s where I’ll really need help.”
“Perhaps,“ he teased. “Come on, let’s sit on the patio. I’ll get us something to drink.”
I allowed him to lead me to the patio and he sat me down in a deck chair. He held the back of the chair to steady it just in case. This won him a few more points on my scorecard.
“Do you like having melons?” he asked.
“What?” I answered, feeling offended. I couldn’t believe his sexist question. One minute he was the king of chivalry, the next super pervert junior.
He shook his head. “Forget it,“ he said, and went inside. He came back out in a few minutes with two clear bottles with green labels on them. I could see on the bottle it said “Ramune” and under it in smaller letters, “melon.”
I was so freaking embarrassed over my mistake, if there had been a sandbox nearby I would have buried myself in it. “I..I’m sorry…I thought you meant…”
He smirked. “I didn’t know what you meant, just that you were offended somehow.” He sat down in a chair next to me. “I don’t know if you have had this before or not; it’s a carbonated soda from Japan. Have a try.”
He popped both the caps off with the ease, and handed one of them to me. He tipped the other to his mouth and took a sip. I followed suit and noticed something brushing against my mouth as I drank.
“What the? It’s got a marble inside. What’s that about?”
“The drink is sealed with the marble. The bottle has a special cap that presses the marble down and releases the pressure. It may seem difficult at first to drink with the marble rolling around, but if you use your tongue just right you can get the marble out of the way.”
I took another sip, but I didn’t use my tongue to push anything out of the way. There was no way I was going to embarrass myself further. I could just see my tongue getting stuck in the bottle and him having a good laugh about it.
He finished his drink and set it down beside him. Scooting down in his chair a little, he turned his head skyward to admire the stars. “I love this time of night,” he said.
A dog barked a couple houses down the street. Followed by another. He took a deep breath and then let it out.
“Ah, children of the night. What beautiful noise they make.”
I turned to look at him. “You have got to be kidding me,“ I said, recognizing the famous line from Dracula.
He grinned. “I am. Great movie though.”
I made a mental note to myself that when I got home to write in my diary, it should read: “I believe my neighbor’s an idiot.”
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.