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04.

"Hey, it's just me, are you the new girl?" His whisper echoed inside my head yet I couldn't gain the strength to face him.

I barely breathe because of shock. I felt his hands, he's holding mine very tight. I felt my knees trembling, and I could feel his deep breathing.

"Get away from me!" I exclaimed and struggled to untie his grip on me.

"Keep quiet, you might wake up the monster. Why are you here? Did my mother tell you to come over to my room?" My eyes then widened upon hearing his voice. I couldn't stop my feet from shaking, our bodies are so close that I could feel his heat. I'm becoming scared.

What is he even saying?

"Don't touch me, Archer!" I exclaimed once more and successfully got away from him. I was catching breath — gasped. I felt like I would fall to the floor at any moment.

I was gasping for air and I saw his stares shift. He was glaring at me, without even blinking.

"Why are you so noisy? I told you to keep silent. You won't like it when the monster chases you." He threatened me. It made me step back and attempt to run away from him but I paused when he stretched out his arms to me.

"Come on, you don't trust me, do you?" He seriously asked which made me gulp. How can I trust the person I just met? Besides, I don't feel quite well the moment our stares are met.

"Will you please not come near me? You're scaring me, and I don't trust easily, now you know that I don't trust you," I said to him and his lips parted. I immediately covered my mouth when I realized what came out of my mouth.

Oh no, did I just hurt him?

"Mom told me that we have a new neighbor and probably likes paintings too, would you mind if I'll make a portrait of you?" His voice was way more serious than ever. His stares won't get away, and as moment goes by, the shivering cold won't get away. I'm more frightened by how he throws his stares at me.

All of a sudden, my eyes become teary, "Let go of me," I mumbled and shove his arm.

"Just please, never touch me, Archer." Because of shock, something would just come out of my mouth, arghh! Why am I being harsh on him? He's probably not aware that his presence is intimidating.

I saw his countenance and I knew his mood altered. "Presently, I believe our feelings are mutual, I dislike you." I was surprised when he lightly pushed me, he turned his back away and walked ahead into his room.

I was left dumbfounded, there I felt guilty for making him feel bad. I bit my lower lip as I tried to hold on to my tears. I think I hurt him. Oh well, I just did. Why am I even behaving like this?

"What should I do?" I whispered, I only became distracted when I felt annoyed. This can't be! I shouldn't be acting like this, he never meant it so why am I affected?

I sighed with my shoulders low, I went downstairs and rushed my way to the backyard. I saw her mother in the garden, sitting while having a cup of tea. I shyly arrived at their area and lowered my head, shifting my gaze.

It's embarrassing, what if Archer complains to his Mom?

"Hi sweetie, did you enjoy your moment with Archer? It didn't take any minutes at all, how was it?" His mother greeted me, I didn't respond. Instead, I dive into the sketchbook which was placed on the table, it's probably owned by her son. The materials were placed on the wooden furniture.

"Are these your son's stuff?" I questioned and gently flipped the pages of the book. Abstract art greeted my sight and my cheeks flushed red the moment I saw his drawings. I must say he is fond of nude art.

"Hey, what's wrong, Scekinah?" Miss Alice spoke.

"He's so good at these stuff," I responded with amazement. I heard her chuckled and she had a glimpse of the pages that I was browsing.

"I recently found out that he is fond of such art, we barely talk when I am around. I seldom comes home since I work at the other island, Archer is always left home alone." Miss Alice smiled and looked at me with her hazel irises, "How is your moment with him?" She asks which made me gulped.

How should I tell this to her? I think it is my fault why he shove me away. Oh my goodness, what have I done?

She waited for my response and I nearly couldn't answer her. I breathe heavily before taking the courage to reply, "I think Archer hates me," I mumbled. I bit my lower lip, am I blaming him? But I was just scared when he suddenly pulled me earlier.

"He did? Why did you say so?" Miss Alice asks.

I felt even more guilty, "He told me he dislikes me, perhaps he doesn't want to befriend me at all." I can't believe I just lied!

"Oh, I should talk to him later. Presumably, he's not in his best mood. I'm sorry for that," she uttered and I lowered my head, shifting my gazes from her.

I didn't bother to reply or at least glance at her complexion. I was lurking in my seat and sketching on the pad. I sulked and sighed.

"I always think Archer is a strange boy, and I always believe that he is. Now he doesn't like me, I should be happy but why am I feeling sorry?" I muttered to myself and proceeded to focus on the sketch pad.

"Sweetie, you should go back upstairs and try talking to him. Maybe he's feeling a bit unhappy, you should comfort him." Her mother suggested, I wanted to shake my head but that didn't happen, my head automatically nodded.

I paused and thought about it, I'm pretty sure he's not really happy because I fought with him. I should at least give him something as a gift. "Miss Alice? What is the usual stuff that Archer likes the most?"

Because of my question, Archer's Mom was stunned. She looked at me and a smile disappeared from her lips. "He probably likes scary stories? He always tells me about a monster under his bed," she replied.

I seem to be upset. Scary stories? I can't make one, I don't like to tell stories with such genre too. He is weird, I get it but most of the people around the world like scary stories as well. "I'm not making stories just to comfort him, there's no way," I mumbled to myself.

"Are there anything else?" I asks once again and while waiting for her answer, I roamed my eyes around their backyard. Miss Alice is fond of planting anything, there are tall trees and flowers around.

"As far as I know, he likes to play games and he feels better whenever he plays. He has a lot of art materials already that's why I don't usually bother myself buying a new one for him," she replied and I thought deeply of it.

"What kind of game is it?"

"He once mentioned to me that he likes to have a playmate, maybe it's some typical games to ease boredom."

"Now that is quite strange, he is older than me yet he still wants to have a playmate," I muttered to myself.

"Hmm? What is it, my dearest Scekinah?" I heard her spoke but I gently shrugged off.

"Uh, nothing Miss Alice!" I shifted my eyes and twitched my lips, I sighed. Perhaps I need to do something to make him feel better.

Maybe I could visit him some other time and play games with him? But still his aura scares me, overthinking was once my habbit, and bad stuff usually comes out in my mind. Praying can still help me to stay calm though.

I also waited a few minutes before I could decide to go home. Supposedly it will take me another two hours to stay but I've convinced her to let me go so I could go home and prepare a meal for my brother.

Until now I'm still restless, I didn't expect that I would show that kind of attitude. It is really disappointing. I mean, come on Scekinah! You're a christian right? You should behave as one, goodness.

"Maybe I can visit their place tomorrow morning? I really don't know what to do, I should at least go and plan for it." I was talking to myself until I arrived at our gate.

"Something's bothering you, huh? What is it?" I was surprised when my brother, Solomon greeted my sight. He was standing by the balcony while waiting for my arrival, oh goodness, did I even make him wait for me?

I walked near him and greeted him, "Hello," but he didn't respond. He sat on the hammock and stayed there for a second. I lowered my head and shifted my gaze, I can't do this anymore. I should tell him the truth.

"Sol, I went to our neighbor's house and I met Miss Alice and her son Archer today." I leaned my back on the wall and waited for his response.

"And?"

"Well, I know this seems fast but I guess he hates me?" My words made him opened his eyes and throw a glare at me.

"You're now a war freak, huh? How could you cause trouble with our neighbor? Is that how the church teach you?" There he goes again with his line. Solomon is getting into my nerves sometimes and I really hate that attitude of him.

"Don't include the church, Sol. I was surprised, okay? Who would have stayed calm when somebody's touching you intently? Even if he never meant it, it's affecting me, okay? It's triggering my trauma, you knew that because this is all your fault!" I hissed and shout at him. I saw how his lips parted, yes he wanted to speak and I know he's been holding back his temper.

"Just go to your room, Scekinah." He muttered and lowered his head, he pinched the bridge of his nose and before I could finally go inside, I heard him sigh.

"I hate this feeling! I was deeply surprised because he was holding my hand very tight and it pushed me to shout at him." I sighed and ran my way upstairs, "I know he's hurt because of how I told him that I never trust anyone including him, and I feel sorry about it. It's not my fault why I am having anxiety right now," I whispered to myself.

Arghh! I could still recall how his expression shifted.

When I entered my room, I lay myself on my bed and stared at the ceiling. "What must I do now? Come on, Scekinah, think!"

Until now I am still thinking about what I need to do for him to accept my sorry. I mean, I just offended him earlier in his own house. What a shame, Scekinah.

Well, I can treat him to any meal he wants or I can simply sketch him or play with him but arghh! I should have asked for more info from her Mom so I would know how I would do it.

"Maybe I can use my phone to browse for any ideas?" I said to myself and took my phone under my pillow. I usually hide it here since it's a bit distracting whenever I journal or study.

"Why don't I buy him a snack? I should probably call Anna so the two of us could visit him? her Mom told me that he dislike going out although he attend his classes but he doesn't interact much."

Whenever I would think of him, it only made me guilty even more. And I was having the same thought that it was him whom Anna was talking about when we're at the city. I see that he doesn't have any friends as of now.

Now I just figured out that I had to wander around their house every afternoon or even morning to bond with Archer. I think that'll help to put up with my sorry. I really hope that everything goes well.

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