Place. Face. Place. Face.
Dear lord if this task gets anymore redundant I'm pretty sure hanging myself with the shiny sparkling christmas tinsel was definitely going to be an option. By the way for the record my name is Rukki Legate. And no I'm not "Joshing you" for lack of a better word. I am however a firm believer that my mother had to have been high on painkillers when she chose it, seeing as my dad split before I was even born. My mother blamed me for that naturally, because I can control my mother's hormones or my father's sperm. Truthfully it was the most ridiculous grudge I had ever heard of , but yet it had managed to keep itself alive to this very day twenty-one years later. It is why I was standing where I was, in the middle of a department store, which I hated. Surrounded by people, which I hated even more. Wearing a smock that was the most repugnant shade of green, and a name tag that advertisted who I was to anyone who bothered to look at it. All so she wouldn't be evicted from her tiny one bedrrom apartment. Did I mention it was minimum wage?
Anyways back to the fabulous, yet annoyed me. In addition to getting one of the weirdest names to ever be created in our century, I also happened to get some genes that I wished I could give back. Here let me explain what exactly it is that I am talking about. I have medium-long wavey hair, that has been dyed so many times I don't even know if I could tell you its natural colour. Which is my fault and I take full responsibility for it. My eyes are blue, not a concrete shade of blue, more like multi-hues of it. Soft, full, pouty lips, a pretty average nose, and some of the chubbest cheeks you have ever laid eyes on,. Oh, and trust me the baby fat doesn't end there it continues all the way down to my toes. My friend used to say "I'm not fat, I'm fluffy", and I choose to believe in that whole heartedly otherwise me and that treadmill at the gym were going to have to have a talk, and those never end well.
As I was saying, christmas tinsel really good idea.
Place. Face. Place. Face.
"Excuse me". Oh my god life, it really does exist, and isn't some fabled lore inside of today's novels. I'm shocked. This man was the first person I had seen since I started my shift, roughly an hour ago. I turned to face him directly, as the training video's we were made to watch said and in my sweetest, most polite tone I could muster replied with,
"Hi there, how can I help you?"
"I was wondering if you could point me to the toy section".
"Why certaintly, it's just down this way. Here let me show you". YAY! Out of assorted christmas items and toys here I come. It's a wonderful life belting itself from within.
However in turning the corner and seeing one of my four managers muttering under his breath about young people and the work ethis, the song immediately changed to "Highway to hell". AC-DC got to love them and they seemed to sum up this moment perfectly. Making my way along the shelves, pointing out books and dolls, none od which seemed to interest him. And the less interested he became the most annoyed I became, and the closer we got to Milton. The nest thing I knew my arm was nearly touching his, how had we gotten so far, so quickly. Denial, it's a powerful enemy/ally depending on the situation. Right now enemy, defintely. He still hadn't looked up from his clipboard, maybe I was going to get away unscathed after all.
"What about this one?" Milton's eyes snapped up and immediately locked onto me, and than the customer standing right behind me. Bloody jinx. But, in seeing the customer with merchandise on his hands, he put on his manager of the month smile.
"Woody, what a delightful present. It's a classic. One of our best sellers in fact". Pivoting on the ball of his foot, taking me into view once more, he sneered ever so slightly. "This packaging seems to have torn a bit, would you go and see if we have any in today's shipment. Thanks". He was already leading the customer away, prattling on about some promotion or other we were having. Now to the stockroom I head to, to find a toy that contributed possibly a dollar to my paycheck. Yet we were selling it for $34.95. Bullocks!
Pushing open the heavy filmed lined doors, I suddenly felt way more sorry for these guys than for myself. There were clothes strewn everywhere, and not a single person within sight. Just great! Walking in a little further, I realized that if I didn't yell for help I might just get lost in boxes filled with over priced soaps, and that would be too much to bear.
"Hello.....anyone there?" A couple minutes ticked by before an older balding gentleman, with a name tag read Bill, emerged form a stack of boxes. He seemed harmless enough, cleaning his bi-focals as he began addressing me,
"Why hell there sweetheart, what can I do for you?" Just goes to show you the older someone is the more appropriate they think it is to use words like that.
"Toy shipment? Woody in peticular".
"Just got some in today". Glancing around and apparently not finding what he was looking for. "Daniel would you come here, and help this nice young lady to the toy shipment. I have a million other things to do and very little time".
"Take it easy old man. I'll show her". From the moment I heard his voice I was mesmerized. It was like pure, unrefined chocolate; deep, dark, and bitter sweet. His looked didn't hurt either; dirty blond almost brown hair just long enough to spike. Hazel eyes, and his smile and cheekbones looked as though they were stolen from an angel. A couple inches taller than five feet nine inches, and a fair build, there wasn't much not to stare at.
"Hey there. Toys are right this way". He said, leading me further into the cement walled room. "Name's Daniel. Danny for short. What about you?" I debated lying, but what was the point.
"Rukki. Kiki for short". He stopped, turned around and looked at me a moment before he spoke,
"Cool name". Was he serious?! "Alright toys. Take your pick". I looked around and saw nothing but more boxes.
"You mean its not even unpacked. Yippee, now Milton's really going to kill me" I heard him snicker slightly. "Its not funny". Chimming into my mood, he immediately stopped and began cutting the tape on the boxes with his exacto-knife. We's shuffled and opened so many boxes I was pretty sure that we were barracked in, and that Milton had already dug my grave.
"This is boring". The sound of his voice was so unexpected that I jumped in alarm. That definitely got me a laugh.
"Shut-up. It's not funny". I hit him playful on the arm, and I don't know who I hurt more myself or him.
"Yes it is".
"Okay, fine maybe it's a little. But, geesh". The next thing I know I'm laughing right along with him. Damn boy's too cute for his own good.
"Come on, let's get out of here". The logical part of me said keep digging, you'll find it. But, the part of me that had struggled her whole life, and had been grateful for whatever she had was sick and tired of always settling. She wanted this. So what was the problem?
That was her last thought as she reached for Daniel's out stretched hand, running out the emergency exit, settling off the alarm along the way. His hand was warm, calloused, and oh so large that it practically engulfed my own. I could definitely get used to this. But, the steady pace he had set to ensure our getaway was starting to wear on me, letting him know that was not even an option though. The destination came quicker than I had expected, and I thanked whoever the higher power was for it.
There we were infront of a three storey castle, that screamed money.
"Where are we?" But, he didn't answer, just kept pulling until we were in the foyer of the great stone monstrousity.
"A party". Adjusting my sight from the contrat of the bright chandelier overhead to that of the coming darkness of outside. That was when I saw the first "party-goer" and realized that she had to have been no more than thirteen. Oh yay! I ran out of work to come to a party, that is alcohol free. I was beginning to regret this.
"A party? Really? Is Dora the Explorer going to be here because I would really like to get her autograph". My comment earned me a schocked expression, that melted into a grin that stretched from perfect ear to perfect ear. He nudged me playfully.
"Oh come one, it;s better than being back at that place". He did have a point.
"Fine lead the way". Assuming the leader position once again he swivered and swiveled around atleast ten more under-age Lady Gaga wanna-be's. Now infront of a common looking door, which no doubt led to the basement I was even less impressed. In opening the door a swift blast of music filled our ears. Walking down revealed a mass of bodies, in what had to be the biggest basement I had ever seen. Drinking, dancing, and talking, a party I suppose, huh wonder where I got that idea. Wink....Wink...
When we had finished descending the stairs, a group near the back of the room starting shouting in our direction. Making our way over to them, my hand was still in his. They greeted us halfway, three boys and a girl. Pat and Phil were twins as it turns out, and Jeff and Shannon were an item, they formed what was apparently just a small group of his friends.
"Oh no, I dont dance".
"Not me". Even in my obvious refusal to partake in the charade, he dragged me to a less crowed spot and began dancing like it was the age of disco, and I couldn't help but laugh. He truly looked like a spasming tool. Which only made it that much funnier." You look absolutely ridiculous"
"Than come and show me how its done". Pulling me so that I was offically in a dancing region, he placed me right infront of him and once again started acting silly, but he made it look like such fun. Oh I give up! I started doing the same comedic moves he was doing and it really was fun. We continued like this until the music changed, and his body crept closer to mine. The next thing I knew his hands had placed his hands on my hips from behind and and was moving us in slow, steady circles. I could feel his breath on the back of my neck, felt my body move to the rythm of his, and everything else just seemed to fade away. There was only his heartbeat thumping against my back and his head nestled into the groove of my neck. And for a moment all I could think to myself was thank god I remembered to show this morning. The beat seemed to take on a life of its own, trance like allowing the movement of our bodies to continue endlessly. Eventually the music changed, breaking the spell.
"It's warm, you want to get out of here?" I just nodded in agreement, not trusting myself to form coherent words just yet. This time however instead of being led I was left to follow in his wake, trying to edge and squeeze past the still intertwined arms and legs. Emerging from the crowd, I noticed he was already part way up the stairs. I raced up them as fast as I could, only catching up to him near the front door. He said nothing as he walked aimlessly down yet another road.
"I didn't ditch work to be ignored". I seemed to have roused him from his train of thought. He looked up as if he just realized he'd been ignoring me. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he took a deep breath in and let what seemed like an even heavier breath out.
"Sorry". He seemed so sincere in just that one word that I had to believe him.
"Ok". And just like that it was forgotten. It was a few minutes later that I started noticing some familar "landmarks" close to home. Hey, wait there was a park up ahead. And sure enough after the row of houses ended there it was. Beat up, run down and perfect. It even still had its tire swing, which of course is immediately what I ran for. When I looked back to make sure he was following he had the most amused look on his face, as if this is the last thing he had expected from me. Once he regained his wits he sped off towards me, I could already tell he would reached me before I reached the swing if I kept standing there. I had just started running again when I felt something collide with me. the next thing I knew he was straddling me, and I was pinned beneath him. He leaned in close, lips to my ear and said,
"Me first". It was the most out of place thing he could have said, given where my mind was going. He jumped on the rim in his first attempt, and he was mighty pleased with himself for it too. I watched him make himself dizzy thinking to myself that while swinging on it was fun, watching him was better, much better.
"So when is it my turn exactly?"
"Why you want to spin round and round that badly?"
"It's called sharing". We both had silly grins plastered on our faces.
"I don't like sharing, its over-rated". He hopped off, dodging the tire swing he knew would be coming back around.
"Is that so?" I was starting to get just a little nervous, thankfully keeping it in, and not letting it creep into my voice. He was slinking ever so slowly towards me. I could see the muscles playing on his arms, watching his shoulders roll ever so slightly as his whole body began to hum with energy.
"Yes". He pounced, landing just behind me. I could feel his hands sneak their way around my stomach, skimming along my skin ever so slightly along the way. They managed to clasp themselves in the middle, pressing my back ever so tightly against his chest. No complaints here! There it was again, his breath against my neck. I could the prickle of goosebumps the closer he got. Till I could feel them, those soft lips pressed right against my skin. It scorched, feeling as though a trail of fire was starting beneath them. "Hold on tight".
"What-". My feet left the ground in one heaving motion. Susupended even those few inches above the ground felt as though I was thirty storey's above it, than came the spinning. It was as if in slow motion, I felt my right side shift with his, the rest of my body followed, than kept repeating. I grabbed hold of his clasped hands, gripping them tightly afraid of being dropped. Dear lord I think we were going faster! And all I could think was how is he doing this, I was bigger than he was, I guessed the boy has muscles....a lot of them.
"Had enough?" Oh he was good!
"Is that a yes?"
"It's a if you don't stop spinning me I'm going to puke". I'm pretty sure he started laughing at me. Did I miss something?
"You asked for it". It got faster, objects blurring even more than before, than just as suddenly came the down ward motion. It's in comparsion to falling down a "rabbit hole", the slow and exaggerated fall into an unknown world, only I knew where I was landing, on my ass. But, I didn't.I landed on something else, well technically someone else. He broke my fall, landing so that I was half sprawled across hsi chest.I had been right earlier, definitely muscled. His righgt arm was still hooked around my waist, while he had moved the other one to support his head. The silence seemed deafening with things that wanted to be said. In those few moments I felt as though I could tel him anything, a stranger, my deepest and darkest secrets and he would understand. It was crazy, luanacy, I must be insane. Why on earth would he-.
"I remember playing with my big sister at a park like this when I was little. There used to be this big oak tree, I used to hide behind it, and make her find me. She used to make it seem like it was a treasure hunt, like it was a mystery. I believed I had the perfect hiding spot everytime". Why was he telling me this? "One day when I was nine or ten, I went shopping after school with my mom to buy her sixteenth birthday present. Her birthday was the next day, and I had finally saved up enough money working the paper route to get it, "The child thief" by BROM. She'd been eyeing it for months, she has read, "The Devil's rose" and got hooked. As mom and me walked through the front door, she yelled up the stairs to see if Becca was home yet. When she didn't reply, my mother just figured that she had headphones on and couldn't hear, so she sent me upstairs to check". His voice had grown faint, as if remembering something he had tried to block out. I wanted to tell him it was okay, that he didn't have to finish. But, the part of me that had been all too willing to share myself with him, stilled the rest of me I'd let him get it out, than everything would be fine. "After climbing the stairs I made my way down the hallway, hers was the last door on the right. I was just about to knock on the door, when I heard crying coming from the bathroom, two doors back. The closer I got the more desperate the sound got, and the more that feeling that something was terribly wrong grew". Oh god, please don't let anything be wrong, let her just have the flu. "When I pushed open the it creaked ever so slightly, but she didn't even look up. My first thought was of the blood. It had starting to pool around her ever so slightly, tracing her as she rocking back and forth. The razorblade was glinting ever so slightly from the remaining light through the window. Her wrists had deep and shallow horizontal line through them, the blood had slowed, not pumping steadily but instead it was sluggish. There were so many cuts, so much blood I could hardly see her arm anymore. At some point I must have started screaming, my mother appeared in the doorway behind me moments later. Her shrill screams made it clear that I hadn't been over-reacting. Time seemed suspended for a while, tilled her screamed jolted me back to reality and the ever growing pool of my sister's blood on the floor.
"Go call 9-1-1". She just kept repeating it. I ran down the stairs as fast as I could and into the kitchen. The operator came on shortly after my finger pressed the last button.
"9-1-1, what's your emergency?" I froze. I couldn't speak. "9-1-1, what's your emergency?"
"Okay just tell me what's happened".
"Blood". I'm pretty sure my brain had stopped functioning except for on a basic level.
"Okay I need you to tell me your address so I can send someone to help your sister".
"1784 Baythorn Private".
"Okay, someone's coming".
" I let the phone fall, it hit the tiles and bounced back. Ten minutes later there were bright flashes and sirens, there was so much noise. I watched them carry her down the stairs and out through the front door strapped to a stretcher. My mother rushed out with them and got into the ambulance. The sirens tore off back down the street, and I just stood there, staring at the wide open door, listening to the silence that had fallen. I couldn't make myself move". He sat up, pinching the bridge of his nose. I could tell he was in pain just remembering. I hated seeing him like this.
"Is still alive, if you can call it that. She's at "Shady brook's facility for the mental unstable". I was happy to hear that she had lived, but clearly I was missing a piece to the puzzle.
"I haven't seen her since that night. I can't bring myself to. I can't see why or how she could have done that. I almost lost her, if I let her in, I run the risk of losinng it all again. My bestfriend".
"Maybe one day-".
"Yeah maybe". He pushed himself off the grass and started shaking like one of the UFC fighters in the cage, losening the muscles. When he turned back his former emotions had vanished and was replaced by a smile of resolve. "Come on, it's getting late, we should get you home". That was the last place I wanted to go, but there had been enough sharetime for one night I suppose.
"Okay". I led the way, to the begining of my street. You could hear the fighting from even hear. Why had I let him walk me even this far?
"Cement building right?"
"Yes, how'd you know?"
"I have a friend that lives in the building across the street you around a few time". He had?
"Okay". It was a shorter walk than I would have liked to the apartment, and even more so when he walked me all the way to the front door. I could hear the dull buzz of the t.v. on the otherside. Please don't let her be up. She'd ruin everything like always. "Well this is my stop".
"I know". It was that awkward moment, to understand whether to kiss the girl good night or not. Oh please, just one sweet, innocent-. His lips grazed mine ever so lightly, just a passing flutter. They were soft and warm, melting against mine. Peace came over me and the drama of work, my mother, everything just slipped away. This was it. Than just as suddenly it was over. I opened my eyes and looked straight at him, pleading with them, with him not to stop. Forget what I said earilier, one just isn't enough, it would never be enough. He brought his hand up to cup my face, a smile once again gracing his lips, he kissed my forehead and backed away slowly letting his hand linger for as long as possible. He walked to the elevator, pressed the button and waited, never turning around. I heard it slide open, watching himself disappear inside. He didn't even say-.
"Good night beautiful girl". His head popped out and than back in so fast, I didn't even have time to look at him one last time. I was still stuck on one word he had said, "beautiful".