“Keep on walking, try to stay up
Pay attention to the details
We go slowly, slowly down…”
From “Little Thoughts” by Bloc Party
“How’s your head feeling this morning?”
“Your head… wasn’t it hurting last night?”
“Oh right… Yeah, it’s better now I guess… You know it’s weird because I’ve been getting the headaches more than usual lately. I’m starting to think it’s something other than my eyesight because my glasses don’t help much… they never have, really.”
“Have you always worn glasses?”
“Since I was twelve. I wore them a lot more back then, but funny enough they made my eyes hurt wearing them. I don’t know… things are a bit backwards with me.”
“Hmm… and aspirin doesn’t help? Maybe you should see a doctor about it or something…”
“Nah, I’ve been dealing with it all this time. I’ll get over it. Pain is good sometimes…”
“Uh, whatever, Mr. Masochist! You need to take care of yourself!”
“Yeah, I know, but I’ll be fine… So Jack called me early this morning…”
“Did he? Lemme guess, to setup a timetable for you both to work on the bike he bought for his dad?”
“Uh-huh… and I guess he felt bad about calling me early, but he said had loads of work he wanted to take care of this weekend, and wanted to get our plan out of the way. I told him not to worry about it, since I was already up.”
“Cool… so when do you start working on the bike?”
“We’re starting next week. He gave me directions to his place, and I’ll be going over there on Tuesday and Thursdays after school, and then on Sundays. On Mondays and Wednesdays I’ll go to work if I’m needed.”
“Isn’t that a bit much? What about schoolwork and semester exams and all that? Are you sure you won’t burn yourself out?”
“Nah, it’s only temporary. Don’t worry… I’m positive I can handle the load. Besides if things do get a little crazy, Jack said he’d completely understand if I ever needed a break. His goal is to have the bike finished by Christmas, but he said it wouldn’t be that big a deal if it ended up being after the holidays.”
“Well, okay then… if you say so.”
It was late Saturday morning and Odessa and The Boy had met up in front of the town’s public library. They were on one of the benches with her sitting down, tenderly running her fingers through his hair whilst he lay on the bench with his head in her lap. The air was a bit chilly, but with each other in company, the temperature was all but absent to them.
He closed his eyes as she then began to stroke his blackened eyebrows with her thumb. He was enjoying her touch as a goofy smile crept on his face. “Damn girl, if you keep this up I won’t make it up to the mountains today!”
“Really? Well, I’m not going to stop then…” Odessa sighed. “Do you really have to go there today?”
The Boy opened his eyes and looked up at her, noting the tone of disappointment in her voice. “This will probably be the last time I go for a while, since I’m going to be kept busy. Also, it’ll start snowing soon, and I can’t be asked to go through an icy mountain range on my bike.”
“Why do you go there so much?”
“I told you a long time ago that it’s my retreat spot.”
“Yea, I know that, but what do you do there?”
He kept his eyes fixed on her before he sat up facing her. He tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear, and for a split second Odessa thought she’d seen the familiar look of pain in his eyes before he looked down at the ground. But when he looked back up at her, he had a tiny smile. “Some time after Uncle Carlo was killed I felt this huge hole inside of me, like a huge piece of was now missing… When we lived in Switzerland we lived in a city called Bern, which is known in Europe for its arts. I don’t know… maybe being there had some kind of subconscious effect on me or something… Losing my mom was one thing, but losing him… I just didn’t know what the hell to do with myself, but all of a sudden I just started drawing all sorts of stuff like random things and places I’d seen or found interesting… Soon after I began drawing people.” The Boy seemed to frown at that moment, and then he resumed. “Don’t think I’m crazy or anything, but basically drawing is like my therapy… my meditation. Kind of like when I need some peace in mind. When I first came to this town, I passed through Llantano Mountain and thought it to be great place for me to go when needed, especially since the views up there are amazing, also… So, I guess you could say it’s my ‘secret hiding spot.’ I go there to draw, or just… chill.”
Odessa grinned. “No, I don’t think you’re crazy! Except I don’t know where your spot is. The Mountains are a huge area, you know… But seriously, though, I can totally understand your position.”
He smiled and caressed her face before gently kissing her lips. “We’ll be up there together, eventually…” His eyes rested on hers for a short time.
“Nothing… I can’t help it sometimes, but I love looking at perfection…”
Odessa became hot at his words, squirmed a bit and looked away. She then changed the subject. “From what I’ve seen in your drawings I see that you only use black charcoal or pencil. I only assume that some of the people you draw with hair that aren’t filled in are blond or something. But do you ever use colour? It could take your art in a whole other direction…”
The Boy was thinking about her suggestion. “Well, I don’t do paintings or anything like that, but as far as colour fill goes, I’m not into all that. It just makes things, too… permanent. More real, I guess…”
Odessa was confused. “And you wouldn’t want that?”
“What’s real anymore?” he said quietly, more to himself, and seeming absent-minded. He looked at Odessa, with his eyes still vacant until they sparkled suddenly. He started to put on his toboggan and riding gloves, as he hadn’t come with his helmet. “Alright, I’m going to take off now, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It should be interesting.”
Odessa grunted. “To say the least! But, just remember to be on time… one o’clock sharp at The Palace. You gotta make a good impression, know what I mean.”
“No probs, I’m just worried about what to wear at a place like that. It’s been so long since I’ve been in a fancy restaurant.”
“Just wear something casual, but not too casual or nothing too formal either… And try not to worry about anything.”
The Boy gave her a gentle parting kiss. “I think you should take your own advice when it comes to that, Babes. I’ll see you tomorrow…”
Odessa had been inside the library to get a couple books on computer graphics. The library happened to be located on a hill between the hospital, and slightly above another vast recreation area, Victor Lord Park, in Llanview; a mid-high, bush-surrounded trail ran along next to the all three areas. When she left the library she had taken out her film camera to take some black and white photos of anything that caught her interest. When she and The Boy were on the bench earlier, she had asked a passer-by to take their photo; she was looking forward to having that photo developed. She was walking in the direction that went towards the hospital when she saw two figures ahead of her of a boy and a girl, walking towards her direction. As the pair got closer, she recognised them to be Alec and Tamzin. Odessa, getting camera happy, immediately snapped their photo. When they were at meeting point greeted each other.
“What are you guys up?” Odessa asked.
“Nothing much, except giving big brother some advice with girl trouble he’s having,” Tamzin answered.
“Easy Tamzin…” said Alec.
“What? It’s true!”
Odessa was curious with their exchange. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing!” Alec quickly answered, but then he became sheepish. “Um… actuallly, O, have you talked with Skyler, by chance today?” Alec asked.
He sighed. “Nevermind…”
Odessa just looked at him, before it dawned on her. “Oh no, don’t tell me you two broke up again!”
“No… at least I don’t think we did. We had a huge argument last night.”
“Good grief! You two seemed fine, especially when I accidentally saw you sucking face!” Tamzin laughed and Alec gave his sister a hard look. “What were you two arguing about this time?” Odessa asked.
Tamzin laughed. “Can you believe it was over Thanksgiving?!”
Alec was exasperated. “Tamz, no one asked your big mouth to start yacking!”
“Thanksgiving! But that’s not for another few weeks!” Odessa exclaimed.
“I know, I know!... Look don’t ask alright?”
“Hey, you’re the one that brought Sky’s name…”
Yeah, okay, just forget it, nevermind…. So did you hear about Keeks?” Alec asked Odessa changing the subject.
Odessa started laughing. “Does this have anything to do with Halloween? Because if so, I heard it through Matthew Buchanan last night.”
The siblings were cracking up, as well. “I swear she’s a nutcase sometimes, but I gotta give her props because that chick’s got some balls,” Alec commented.
They continued on their course walking towards the park this time, as Tamzin then went on to explain how she’d tried phoning Kiko earlier, but her Dad answered her mobile phone. He and Kelly had figured out that the ‘fleeing nun’ was their daughter, when late-night her dad found the rental receipt that she’d absent-mindedly misplaced, and called Kelly to reveal his discovery. Kelly immediately came over to the house and had both a tongue-lash and a heart-to-heart session with Kiko. Kevin informed Kiko she was to personally apologise to Hughes, and that she would be grounded for a month, since she managed to somehow sneak into The Palace party where alcohol was present, embarrassed and almost caused trouble between two important members of the Llanview community. Privileges taken away from Kiko included confiscating her mobile, having or seeing visitors, and her being prohibited from attending other social activities or functions. During this time, Kiko would stay with her mother at La Boulet, which served as fodder for her punishment, being that her Great Aunt Dorian was a meddlesome person. The only activities Kiko could participate in were any crucial study groups she needed to attend-- with the proper background check conducted by her parents --, student council meetings and being on the Llanview High’s girls’ basketball team.
“Go figure, I knew she was going to get it!” said Odessa. “Knowing her she’s probably only sorry she got caught, and I’ll bet she’d do it all over again, too.”
Suddenly, they heard a faint yell coming from Victor Lord Park. They turned ahead to see a little child, high in a tree on a snapping branch. Suddenly, the branch broke and down went the child. Because the bushes separating the Park and the library on the trail mostly obstructed their view, they couldn’t see much else.
“Holy shit! Did you guys see that?!” Alec exclaimed.
“Ohmigod! I hope the kid is alright! ” Odessa said, and all three quickly took off running down the quarter mile hill over to the Park. When they’d their destination, panting a crowd had formed by a tall and three teens were able to break their way through it. They were astounded as they found a visibly-shaken Starr cradling her daughter Rosie, who had been crying.
“Starr, what happened?! Are you alright? Is Rosie alright?” Tamzin queried.
“Yes, she’s fine… I guess she ventured off and being that she loves trees, she started climbing up this one, when the branch she was on snapped I started to see her fall, but I was too far away to catch her…” Starr started to choke up, but was able to regain her composure. “Then all of a sudden, a young man sprinted out of nowhere, dove down and, thankfully, caught my baby… I don’t know where he came from, but thank God he came when he did, otherwise…” A couple of tears started to run down her face, as she gave Rosie an even tighter hug and kissed her head.
“Whew! Thank goodness she isn’t hurt!” said Odessa. “Where’s the guy that saved her?”
“I don’t know. It’s really strange, but it all happened so quickly that by the time I got here, all he said was “Here’s your daughter, ma’am… I don’t think she’s hurt,’ and then he just took off, instantly. All I know is that he had dark hair and his eyed were really green… I found these nearby, but I don’t know if they belong to him…” Starr was holding up a pair of broken glasses, which looked somewhat familiar to Odessa.
Odessa gasped. Are those Tim’s!? But he wasn’t wearing them earlier…
Starr continued “…I need to thank him and see if these belong to him. The very least I can do have them replaced for him…”
“Did Rosie see his face, by any chance?” Odessa asked, as she watched Alec taking Rosie away from Starr, and wiped the tear streaks off her face with the back of his hand. He then picked up his little cousin and hugged her.
“That’s the problem. She nodded when I asked her that, but when I asked for specifics she wouldn’t respond. I guess she’s still too traumatised to speak. I’ll ask her again when she’s recovered from the shock… I wish he hadn’t taken off so quickly like that. I’d really like to know who saved my little girl’s life…”
So would I, Odessa thought. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be able to reach The Boy since he would be at the mountains all day, and most likely would have his phone unplugged when he returned back to his hotel room tonight. Some time later the crowd had since dispersed and Starr went home with Rosie. The three teens had gone over to a vending machine within the park. Odessa was both lost in thought and confused, while selecting a chocolate bar. It couldn’t have been Tim, though. He left ages ago…