CHAPTER THREE - CHRIS
I head outside to the backyard and it’s also filled with pretty flowers that are stunning. I make my way down the steps and into what looks like a garden. Walking down the rows of flowers, I run my fingers along the flowers and leaves. I can only imagine how much time she has put into this garden. I round the corner and run smack into something solid. I stumble backwards and hit the ground.
"Are you alright," shouts a male voice. I open my eyes to try to focus on the figure in front of me. "That was a hard fall, I'm really sorry," he says again.
Before I can say or do anything he offers me his hand as my vision stops swimming. When our fingers touch an electric spark shocks me making me pull back.
"Ouch...” I say out of surprise.
"Static electricity," he mumbles.
I take his hand again as he pulls me off the ground. I feel the world tilt a little and feel arms wrap around me to sturdy me.
"I'm sorry; I must have fallen harder than I thought. I will be alright, just giving me a moment," I say.
When my vision clears I take in the guy that has me in his arms. His appearance takes me by surprise, his long sandy blond hair hangs past his ears as his hazel eyes stare down at me.
"Hi, I'm Chris he says taking the silent moment away.
“Oh...I'm Kristen," I reply. I step out of his arms and straighten my shirt.
"I’ve never seen you around here," he says in a cool tone.
"I'm staying with my aunt for a little while," I reply as I try to regain my composure.
"So how long are you staying?" he asks.
Who is this guy and why is he so interested in me? I can’t tell him the truth behind the reason why I was here. I had to come up with a story and fast.
“I'm not sure how long I will be staying here, I know it will be for a little while," I tell him in hopes that would be enough information for him to stop all the questions.
“I know your cousin that stays here during the summer," he says. A change in subject a welcomed change.
"Yeah, that’s Hanna," I reply.
"Out of curiosity, what happened to your face?' he asks as he goes to touch my cheek.
"Oh, it's nothing," I say as I step backwards out of his reach. That didn’t last long he was all curious again.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to be nosy, just looks like it hurts," he says as his eyes soften. Now I felt bad for being so snappy that I wanted to tell him how I was wronged by my uncle, how he turned on me and did this to me. But I couldn’t let myself slip up.
"Yeah it was an accident, that's why I'm here," I tell him.
"I'm sorry," he says as he steps closer to me. My heart almost stops at the closeness of him. I could smell his scent as some strange pull to him made me uneasy.
"No need to be sorry, it's fine," I tell him as I step back a few steps in hopes he didn’t notice.
"So what brings you here?" I ask.
"I do work for Marie from time to time, I was coming by to fix her porch in the back," he says. "If you don't mind, I would love for you to keep me company while I work on them," he says with a grin. I turn heading toward the back of the house before he can see me turn red.
I watch Chris head out to a building that I didn't even notice was there before. He steps in and then comes out with a thing of tools. He walks over to the porch, setting the tools down on the steps. He starts pulling and tugging at the steps, testing them I guess. Some wiggle loose, and others don't. He stands up, pulling his shirt off, draping it over the railing of the porch. My mouth drops as I take in his fine cut abs, his broad shoulders and smooth chest. I feel so guilty for looking at him, I turn my gaze toward the garden before he caught me staring at him. None of the other guys ever had this effect on me, not like him. We just meet and I was already having weird feelings for him. I didn't even know him, but I wanted to no matter if I was supposed to be in hiding. There was something about Chris that had me drawn to him.
"Kristen," he calls out.
"Oh, yeah," I say finally as I keep turned toward the garden.
"Can you hand me that hammer," he says. I turn around, walk over to the tools and hand him the hammer, taking in his beautiful body. Crap, I know I'm blushing and I know he just seen it too, his grin told me so.
I turn my back to him once again, trying to take my mind off him. "All done with the stairs," he says. "Marie will appreciate that," I mummer. "So tell me more about yourself," he says. "Not much to tell really," I say. "How long have you known Marie," I ask. "Two years, I meet her when I moved here. Why is this the first time you have come down here," he asks. "My parents wouldn't really let me travel, but the car accident left them hurt, so they thought it would be easier for me to recover down here," I tell him. "Boyfriend?" he asks. "You’re a little nosy aren't you?" I say. "Sorry, I was just curious, I meant no harm" he says with a horrified look on his face. I felt guilty as soon as it came out of my mouth, but it was too late. I had already stuck my foot in my mouth. I had to do damage control before I ran him off.
"No it's me that should be sorry, I've been under so much stress lately that it's got me on edge. No, I don't have a boyfriend," I tell him. "Really," he says. with a pleased look. "Since you are so full of questions, what's your story?" I ask. His eyes grow wide, making me regret my question. Maybe it was something he didn't want to tell me about. His face softens, "Well let's see I have lived here for about a two years now. Me and my dad move around a lot with my dad being in the military. He's stationed here for a couple of years and then I'm not sure where he will go. Good possibility he will stay here; he seems to like it. My mom she passed away about ten years ago from cancer. That was it, he didn't want to talk about his parents, I knew how painful that could be. I lost mine before I could even remember who they were. School is your average boring school of course, I'm in my last year so I might want to think about going to college," he tells me. "Your turn he says. Crap! What can I tell him that won't run him off? Maybe the bad stuff I will leave out? I can do this.
"Well I'm staying with my aunt for a little while. I was in a car accident a week ago, leaving my mom in a comma and my dad has been by her side since then. My dad decided it would be better for me to heal here. I'm in my last year too but they said school can wait. They will let me catch up when I get back home," I tell him. I kept it short. That shouldn't raise any suspicions and it explains me not going to school and my poor face. I know even with all this makeup he can still see the bruises. "Want some tea," I ask trying to change the mood. "That would be nice," he says as he finishes nailing on the step.
I head inside the house, almost slump against the counter as my emotions seem all over the place. I was taken by him, but confused being around him. One-minute I was sticking my foot in my mouth and the next I wanted to know more. I knew I should keep my distance from him but I couldn't keep my eyes off him. I felt at ease around him, I was drawn to him for some strange reason. I wasn't sure why, since I had just meet him today, but I wanted to be near him. I shake my feelings, finally walking over to the fridge, to get the tea. When I stand and turn, there is Chris leaning on the counter of the sink. I drop the pitcher, tea and glass shattering at my feet. "I'm sorry, he says as he runs over, scooping me up into his arms to lift me from the broken glass on the floor.
I'm face to face with him only a brief moment before he sets me on the counter. He lets go of me, steps back from me as if he did something wrong. "You ok," he asks. "I think so, I'm so clumsy sometimes," I say to apologize for my accident. "It's my fault, I scared you," he says as he reaches down, examining my feet to make sure there are no cuts. "Well what's the prognosis doc?" I say with a chuckle. "You’re ok," he says as he stands. "You stay put, I'll clean this up," he says. I go to protest but he puts his hand up to silence me. He grins as he grabs the broom and dust pan from the kitchen closet. He has it cleaned up in a few minutes while I watch him clean up all the broken glass. He dumps the glass in the trash and then wipes up the tea from the floor. "See all done," he says with a grin.
"Is there anything you can't do? “I ask with a laugh. "I don't know, maybe," he says as he comes to stand in front of me, making my heart stop. He moves toward me, and I stop breathing as he gets face to face with me. He reaches out, moving a piece of my hair to tuck behind my ear. His finger trails down my jaw to my chin. He moves closer as he pulls my chin up to meet his lips that come down on mine. I gasp as he wraps his arms around me, pulling my body to his. His lips move slowly on mine, taking me hostage like no other had before. I run my hands into his hair, as I go to deepen the kiss, he pulls back with his forehead to mine. "Sorry," he says as he still holds me. "Why?" I ask. "I shouldn't have done that, I got to go," he says as he pulls away from me. "What?" I ask out of confusion. "Tell Marie I will be back sometime this week to finish up," he says without looking at me.
He's out the door and down the steps before I can get out the door. I didn't want him to leave but before I can make it around the corner of the house, I hear his car pull out of the driveway. He's out of site before I can get to the street. What just happened? I'm an idiot, I just ran him away with what. What did I do? I try replaying everything in my head and I come up with no answers at all. It was him that initiated the kiss and then it was like someone dumped a cold bucket of water on him. He wouldn't even look at me, I felt crushed as I head back around the house to put up the tools that were still laying out, his shirt catches my eye, he left without his shirt, how strange. I reach over, pulling it from the banister, looking down at it as if I had a piece of Chris still here. I can't help it, I lift it up, breathing in his scent which takes me almost to my knees. He smells so good, but why was he acting so strange. I shove the thoughts aside, put his shirt up in my room, then return back downstairs to put up the tools before Marie got back home. I put the tools back in the building, and go back inside to wait on Marie to get home.
I hear a car pull up in the driveway signaling Marie has come home. I head downstairs as she unlocks the door and puts some bags on the table. "I have more bags to bring in, if you don't mind will you put some of it away," she calls as she heads back out the door. I do as she asked and my mind drifts to all the articles I read and what the guy name, Chris said today. This would be too weird for it to be connected to me in any way. I'm miles away from my home and for there to be some sort of similarities seemed too weird too happen. I finish and set down at the table as Marie sets down across from me. "So how was your day," she asks.
"It was fine; you have a beautiful garden. Looks like you took a lot of work into it," I say. "Well when you live alone like me, you tend to find things to do to pass the time." she says. "Oh and a guy named Chris stopped by to do some work on the porch, he said he would come back later this week to finish it up," I tell her. "I wasn't expecting him till later this week, he came by earlier, he's a sweet young man," she says. How much do you know about him?" I ask. "He a really nice boy, helps a lot around here with the things I can't do. I meet him a few years back when I was out doing some shopping. I broke down one day and he helped me out. Ever since then, he’s came around to help me with things that need fixing. I cook for him and we set around sometimes chatting," she tells me. "What about his dad, have you ever meet him?" I ask. "Well come to think about it, no I haven't he’s some kind of military guy that that travels a lot, so Chris takes care of himself pretty much. He seems fine with it, much more grown up than the other boys his age," she says with a smile. "I'm going to turn in for the night, if you need anything let me know," she says as she heads up the steps.
I clean up in the kitchen, then head up to my bedroom. I get ready for bed and my mind won't shut down. I look over at Chris's shirt that’s laying on the bottom of my bed. There was something strange about him, there was a pull to him that I couldn't understand and for some strange reason I was missing him. I barely knew him, but it was as if I had been around him all my life, something familiar. I flop back on the bed, pulling his shirt to my face as I breath him in, a soothing feeling washing over me. What made him so different from any other guy I had dated in the past. Your attracted to him your idiot, I scold myself. That was no surprise, but there still was something else to him that made him so different. Pulling the covers up around me I settle in for a night hopefully with no more nightmares.
My nightmares have returned and I am once more submerged into this world that haunts me every night. Darkness surrounds me and I cannot see anything but the shadows that dance around me. The sounds deafen me with the piercing pitch that it takes me to my knees. I press my hands to my ears in desperation to mute the sounds, the screams. The scream rocks me from my knees and I find myself once again in the middle of the shadows that taunt me. I'm looking around trying to find an escape from them but they have me surrounded. The shadows close in and all that remains are pools of blood. I'm in the middle of it and it covers me. Whose blood is this I scream as I try to wipe it. It only makes it smear more. "Leave me alone" I scream.
I jolt up in the bed with my heart pounding and my skin is covered in sweat. I try to ease my heart and get my bearings. My screams must have woken me up. Marie comes busting through the door again with a haunted look on her face. "You alright," she asks breathless. "Yes just another nightmare. I fear that I'm going too pulled into them every night till my mind eases," I say out of apology. "It's alright dear, I will get use to them," she says as she closes the door. I head to the bathroom and splash some water on my face to wake me up a little. The nightmares were starting to take their toll on me night after night leaving me tired the next day. I've tried to figure out why I was having them thinking that they mean something. Maybe it was something from my past, but what was the missing piece and why was it so different from last night's nightmare. I settle back into bed and fear I will be dragged once more into one of these crazy nightmares. I look over at the clock and its three o'clock in the morning and I'm exhausted. I settle in and try to fall back to sleep.
When I wake its morning and I wiggle out of my covers that are wrapped around me like a vine. Heading into the bathroom I hit the shower to get ready for the day that I have no plans for. The shower is very refreshing as I step out and head to the sink to try to get myself cleaned up. My face is actually getting a little better but still looks very colorful. The dark bruises were fading to ugly yellows and browns. I put the cover makeup on and it covers a little better this time. I finish by fixing my hair to hang around my face to hide it a little better. Not bad Kristen I say to myself. I found myself hoping that Chris would come by sometime today. I had my doubts with how he left yesterday, but I could still hope. The morning drug by with an agonizing slow pace. I was getting bored out of my mind with nothing to do. Half the day passed and I was just about ready to give up when I hear a car pull up in the driveway. I run to the window, and see Chris getting out of the car, an amazing car for a teenager. He must do a lot of odd jobs or his dad spoils him, either way he was here and I couldn't wait to talk to him. I run through the house and stop by the mirror in the hallway to make sure my hair and makeup looks ok. My face was getting a little better each day but without the makeup I would look hideous.
I hear a knock at the door, moments later Marie answers it. "Hello Chris, glad to see you again, come in," she says. "Thanks," he replies as he looks at me standing in the hall. He breaks eye contact when Marie offers him a seat at the kitchen table. I want to go in there but I'm scared of his reaction to what happened yesterday, was he rejecting me. My heart sinks, and I go into almost a full blown panic attack. "Kristen, come join us," Chris calls out. Maybe not, I had to get myself under control and fast. I take a deep breath and head in where Chris is talking care free with Marie. I set down and watch them talk, but Chris looks over at me several times with a smile that makes my heart jump. "Well if that's all, I've got stuff to do, you guys have fun," she says, leaving me alone with Chris who looks over at me.
"Sorry about yesterday," he says. "What was that all about?" I ask. "I thought I stepped over the line with you and I felt bad about it," he says. "Really, it was just a kiss, you went running and even left without your shirt, who does that?" I say. He smirks at me and lets out a small laugh. "Apparently me, Kristen, I see how you seen it but it's a little bit more complicated than that with me. I haven't had any serious relationships and well you got under my skin a little, I just didn't want to make you mad," he says. My mouth does a head dive and I'm stunned. "You have never had no serious relationships before, you’re a senior and no serious relationship, I don't know if I should be happy or scared about that," I tell him. He laughs again and it's distracting. "Why are you laughing, I'm really confused?" I ask. "With everything that happened with my dad dying and my mom moving around so much I never had time for any serious relationships. I never did the whole date thing either," he says. "Your pulling my leg," I say with a laugh. His face gets serious letting me know he was telling the truth. He's so intense that I get overwhelmed leaving me to panic again. I have no idea why but I stand up quick, dart out the door into the backyard letting myself cry.
"Why are you crying?" he asks as he turns me around to face him. I can't bear to look at him after what he confessed to me, I felt like an idiot. He puts his hand under my chin to raise my face up to his. "Why are you crying?" he asks in a soft voice. I meet his hazel eyes that regard me with worry. "I was upset on how things went yesterday, you had me really confused and now you tell me all this which makes me feel so foolish," I tell him. "You were upset?" he asks. "I thought you were rejecting me after we kissed," I confess to him. "No, just the opposite," he says. "Please stop crying," he says as he leans down kissing both my cheeks. I gasp, as I look up and see Chris grinning at me. "I'm so confused?" I say. "I know, but it's ok, I understand, I just want to get to know you," he says.
He takes me by my hand with that electric pull like before, leading me over to the porch. He pulls me toward the steps to set with him. "Tell me about your parents, and your childhood," he says. "My childhood?" I ask. "Yeah, I want to know everything about you, that’s a good start," he says. "Well, I grew up as an only child, and my parents are normal parents," I tell him. "So what kind of accident was you in that left you so hurt?" he asks. "I thought I hid it well, it was a car accident that left me bruised up and my mom in a comma. My dad is staying with her till she wakes up. He sent me here so my aunt could look after me better than he could at the present moment. He didn't want me to stress out over the whole situation. He said he would call if anything changed. He calls on a regular basis to give me updates. So far nothing has changed. They keep me updated on a regular basis but it's until she gets better," I tell him.
"So when she gets better, you will go back?" he asks. "Yeah," I reply. "Where do you live?" he asks. I didn't want him to know but I wasn't planning on going back there anyway so I didn't see any point in lying to him about it. "Kentucky," I tell him. He seems in deep thought until I give him a shove. "Sorry, I was just thinking," he says. "About what?" I ask. "I've never traveled with my dad there before, but all around it," he says as he snaps his attention back to me. "I have a question, would you consider dating me, I know you will go back home when your mom gets better but I would really like to go out with you," he says. "You want to date me?" I ask with a shocked tone. "Yeah, I've never meet a girl like you before, I would really like to go out with you," he says. "Ok," I reply. That was totally out of nowhere, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought a guy like Chris would want to go out with an ordinary girl like me.
He leans over placing a small kiss on my lips, making me gasp. "Want to help me with this porch, then we can go out for a bite," he asks. "Sure," I say with a giggle. We make quick work on the porch, fixing the steps and railing in record time. "Nice job you two," Marie calls out as she brings us out some tea. I set back on my butt as Chris finishes putting all the tools back into the tool box. Marie hands me a glass, then Chris. "So what are you kids up to for the rest of the evening?" she asks. "I think we are going to get a bite to eat in a little bit if that's ok," I tell her. "Yeah that's fine," she says as she sips on her tea. Chris grins at me, as he heads to put the tools up. How did I manage to meet a guy like him, my mind couldn't wrap around the idea that he was interested in me? He could see through my bruises, and broken soul. He didn't judge me, he accepted who I was and that made him special.
"I'm going home to get cleaned up, then I'll be back to pick you up in say an hour and a half," he says. "OK, sounds good to me," I reply. Chris grabs me into his arms, placing a kiss on my lips. It's a quick kiss but still a very effective one. He heads down the driveway, gets in his car and he's off. I dart back into the house to my bathroom to get freshened up. I reapply my makeup, straighten my hair, then change clothes before Chris can get back. I head down stairs to wait on him in the kitchen. Marie is setting at the table reading some book. She looks up with a smile, so you and Chris are hitting it off pretty nice. I must say I'm stunned at how well he has taken up to you. Hanna has tried for the past two years to get him to go out with her, but he was not interested at all'" she says. "Are you serious, Hanna failed to mention it to me," I say in shock. "I figured that much, she's too proud to admit that a guy turned her down, but he did. He's really not her type anyway, I wouldn't mention it to her," she says with a giggle. "Oh trust me, not a word from me," I say with a serious tone. "Do me one favor, try to keep a low profile, you are still in hiding," Marie says. "Ok, I will," I say as a knock sounds on the door.
Getting up from the table I walk over to the door looking out the little window I'm greeted by a smile by Chris. I open the door and he strolls in carrying a basket and a blanket draped across his arm. I can't help the grin that spreads across my face. "I figured instead of going out, that a picnic would be nice. Shall we," he asks as he reaches for my hand. I take his hand and there's that electric feeling again. He leads me outside to Marie's garden and picks a perfect place. He sets the basket down and spreads the blanket out motioning for me to sit. He sits down next to me pulling the basket toward him. He pulls out some glasses with a bottle of coke. I can't help but giggle. "What's so funny," he asks with amusement. "Well most would have wine but you have coke," I giggle. "Yes that's right but we are underage remember. I'm not breaking any rules," he says almost too serious.
My face falls and now I feel like I have just insulted him. "I'm sorry," I say. "I'm just kidding it was funny," he says as his laugh rings out. It's infectious because I find myself laughing right along with him. He places some fruit and sandwiches out on some plates. "Dig in," he says as he takes a strawberry and pops it in his mouth. "Did you do all this by yourself," I ask as I place a grape in my mouth. "Yes, is that not normal for you?" he asks. "No I just think it's a very sweet gesture that most guys I have ever known would never know how to do," I say before I think about what I just said. I bet I look mortified but his face doesn't show it. "I'm not like most guys Kristen," he says. "I'm figuring that out," I reply.
We eat and laugh at each other, as we talk it feels like we have known each other for a long time. He's care free and sexy as hell with his smile and those hazel eyes. The time passed quickly and it was getting dark outside. "I better go," he says as he stands offering me his hand. I take it and we are face to face. His hand brushes my cheek and I can feel myself blush. Leaning forward he places a kiss on my lips. "I had a wonderful time," he says as he steps back and proceeds to pick everything up. "Can I see you tomorrow?" he asks. "I would like that," I reply. "Good, I shall see you tomorrow after school," he says. He heads down the driveway placing everything in his car. He backs out and his headlights disappear out of sight. I head inside with my head spinning.
Days follow then turns to weeks as my injuries have healed on the outside, I'm still torn apart on the inside. I still have the nightmares every night which I have come use to. They are always the same and the end result is never changing. Chris comes up all the time to spend time with me. We spend the day's at Marie's on her porch, drinking tea and hanging out. It was so nice to feel like life was returning to a little bit of a normal pace. Marie joins me and Chris with her tea. "So now that you have got better what would you think about going to school here to finish up the year so you don't get to far behind," she asks. The idea is a shock a little and Chris is grinning. "You could enroll in my classes. I promise I won't let you cheat from me," he says as he winks at me. "I think that would be really nice but are you sure it's ok?" I ask. "I'll get it all set up tomorrow for you," she says leaving me and Chris out on the porch.
"I can't believe she's going to let me go to school here. I guess my parents are willing for me to finish here," I tell him hoping I sound convincing. He puts his arm around me and pulls me into him. "Yep, now I can show my gal off to everyone," he says in a conceded tone. "Show me off, I bet that you have all kinds of girls that swarm you at school," I say in a picking tone. "I'm offended Miss Kristen, that you would think I would have any other girl but you. You better take that back," he teases, as he starts tickling me. "I take it back," I squall out.
My first day was like any other new school day. I was nervous and the other student's stairs made me uneasy. Chris helped me to each class walking me down the halls with his arm around me carrying my books. And just like he promised we had just about every class together which made it easy. Weeks go by and I have made a few friends which was so nice. I found Marie letting me go out with Chris and some of the girls. My life was getting better, but the nightmares still haunted me every night, which I could not shake. I couldn't figure out why I was having them now that my life was better. I wasn't scared anymore now that I had Chris and Marie in my life. Chris. I could only wish my deep wounds would heal soon before it drove me mad. Marie even moved her room downstairs so she couldn't hear my screams, I didn't want her to suffer like me.