Disclaimer: Everything apart from the plot belongs to L.J Smith
Julian watched. Of course, being a Shadow Man, watching was what he did best. He watched one girl in particular. A girl named Jenny Thornton with hair like liquid amber and green eyes as dark as cypress trees. She was sitting on the bench in front of him, reading a book underneath a willow tree. She glanced up from her book now and again to survey the park, where she was supposed to be meeting her boyfriend.
The very thought of Jenny having a boyfriend made Julian growl with anger. Tom Locke definitely did not deserve her. Soon, Julian thought, you won't have much need for a boyfriend. In a couple of years he would whisk her off to the Shadow World. There, she could have anything she wanted. But not now, for even Julian was not cruel enough to take someone who was really still a child away from everything they knew. No, he would just have to wait. Jenny was fourteen now, fifteen in a few months. He would not have to wait for much longer.
Half an hour passed, and Jenny finished reading her book. Julian laughed quietly to himself. This was one of the many things that he loved about Jenny. Her intellect and ability to read quickly through a book continued to fascinate him. Jenny now looked on the verge of tears: it seemed that her Tom was never going to come. Julian felt so sorry for Jenny. He hated seeing her green eyes cloud over with confusion and upset, couldn't stand that she was all alone. He had to talk to her.
Julian had attempted conversation with Jenny when she was younger, but as she hit her early teens, he found it best to keep a safe distance, for the fear that she would reject him. But not today. Willing himself visible, for mortals couldn't see him unless he wished he, Julian walked towards Jenny. She didn't notice him at first, but when she did, the reaction he got from her was most pleasing.
Jenny's eyes trailed over his lean body, which was clad in simple black jeans and a plain T-shirt. Her gaze grazed over his glistening white hair and finally rested on his impossible electric blue eyes. Julian's eyes connected with her gorgeous green ones, and he smiled. He took a seat next to her, near enough to be able to make conversation, but far away enough so that she didn't feel uncomfortable. After all, Jenny was only fourteen and Julian had the appearance of a seventeen year old. When Jenny continued to stare, admittedly unashamedly, Julian spoke.
"What are you doing here all by yourself?" he asked, taking special care to keep his voice neutral. Julian already new the answer that she was going to give, but he wanted to here her voice. Her sweet, caring voice, that captivated him even though she didn't know it.
"I'm waiting for my boyfriend." Jenny replied, evidently torn between being polite and abiding to the rule about not talking to strangers. She was just precious.
"Ah I see. And how's that working out for you?" Julian questioned. Jenny tore her eyes away from his and shuffled up on the bench. The opposite way to what Julian would have liked.
"My parents always told me not to talk to strangers." She mumbled. Julian smiled, before breaking out into huge peals of laughter. Jenny looked up at him instantly, eyebrows raised disbelievingly.
"I think it's a little bit late for that. Besides, I'm not a stranger." He insisted casually.
"A stranger is someone you don't know. I don't know you; therefore you fall into that category." She explained impatiently, looking to the side as though trying to make a break for it.
"Well, let's change that, shall we? My name is Julian." He started, holding out his hand for her to shake. He knew that things were happening way to fast, but he didn't care. Maybe she would come with him willingly now? Jenny eyed his hand apprehensively, before standing up.
"I'm sorry but I have to go now," She rushed her words, not even trying to clam herself. Jenny made to move away. No, she couldn't go now. No like this, when Julian was so close to knowing her. It was one thing to know all about a person, but another to truly know them.
"Careful Jenny." He said his voice deadly velvet. It had come out harsher than intended. With a jolt, Julian realised that he had spoke her name, without her introducing herself. Julian hoped that she wouldn't run. Because if she did, then the Shadow Man in him would be sure to take over. And the Shadow Man loved a chase. Jenny froze on the stop, and whirled round, so that she was again facing Julian. Beautiful, stunningly beautiful.
"What are you?" She whispered, retracing her steps so that she was standing right in front of him. Her sweet breath clouded the air in front of them. She was so close, he could just reach out and-
"Jenny!" A voice called. They both turned to see her boyfriend walking through the park gates. Stupid boy, leave it to him to ruin the moment. Julian would need to leave-fast. But before he did, he looked up to Jenny, for he was still down, and answered her question.
"I am both your worst nightmare and your most beautiful dream." He murmured, before turning back to his invisible state. Pain stabbed at his heart like a blunt knife as Jenny ran to meet Tom. The boy enveloped her in a hug, a simple gesture that Julian was truly jealous of. He longed to hold Jenny in his arms, to kiss her, to caress her. Instead, he was sitting on a park bench, watching her in the arms of another. One day, Julian thought darkly, she will be all mine.
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