Pyejammies beta'd & made me add more to it, lol... TY

M & K preread, *mwah*... TY

It's gonna b a slow build...

"No one can tell, when two people walk closely together, what unconscious communication one mind may have with another" ~ Robert Barr

1001 - Chapter 5, The Walk

Time can be such a fickle thing. On some days, hours tease and linger, they draw out and seem to last longer than sixty minutes. Other days, hours hurry and speed. I could blink my eyes and suddenly realize that somehow I lost a few of them in what I would have sworn was only minutes.

Today I couldn't decide which way I wanted it to be.

I left Bella's bakery two hours ago. Those hours passed quickly as I ordered the ingredients for our dinner tonight. Then I walked around my clean apartment to make sure everything was positively straightened up and all was tidy.

The grocery down the street delivered my items twenty three minutes ago. I already had the soup on the stove waiting for it to simmer. The rolls were ready to be put in the oven and the salad was tossed and covered in a bowl in the refrigerator.

There was nothing left for me to do but wait.

And wait.

Try to be patient.

It was only four hours and thirty-nine minutes before I was due to pick her back up from Sweetie's.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Maybe time needs to hurry up today.

Before I lose my nerve.


The lights at Sweetie's were already off when I arrived. I leaned forward on my toes to peer through the window into the darkened space. She was the only person inside the closed bakery. She was simply standing there flipping through a magazine. So casual. So pretty.

There was a constant battle waging in my mind. One side was trying to convince me that I had no business being here and that there was no way she would be worth the trouble in the long run. The other side was all in, worth it or not, and I would be proven a fool not to try.

I was taking the side of the latter, because one thing I was sure of, I was no fool.

I stood upright and stretched out my arms. I vigorously shook my hands as though I was merely shaking off excess water instead of the overwhelming uneasiness that was threatening to steal my breath.

I dismissed the anxious screams of my doubt and rapped my knuckles on the window to let her know I was here. It was time to do this.

Past time really.

She lifted her hand and mouthed for me to wait. I watched as she rushed around behind the counter flipping switches and checking locks. Excitement swiftly replaced everything else I was feeling. I might not come down from this high for days.

She threw me a smile as she stepped out the front door toward me. It was as though she had not a care in the world. I was envious of that. She looked so happy and carefree.

She glanced up at my headphones and her eyes lingered there. Once again, fear and doubt covered me, and all I could think was to retreat and save myself the ridicule and the hurt. But then her vision trailed down my face. My skin buzzed under her scrutiny and just like that our eyes met and locked on each other. In that instant the rest of the world slipped and faded away. It was just her and just me. It was nothing. And it was everything.

It was like I was on the verge of being caught and I didn't know which way to turn. Did she think I was crazy? Did she care? Did I even want to know what she thought? If only she knew how much power she had over me. Her looks could judge. Her words could condemn. Her rejection could kill.

But her acceptance, that could be the cure all.

As prevalent and distracting my idiosyncrasies were for me, they didn't appear to faze her a bit because with just a shrug of her shoulders, our exchange was over. The tension immediately doused like a lighted match being dropped into a bucket of cool water. Her lips curled and her eyes twinkled and the earth resumed its rotation. Her attention went back to the door as she shook it to double check the lock, seemingly forgetting all about what a crazy boy I must be wearing headphones every time she saw me.

Maybe she does understand my weirdness, or maybe she just doesn't care.

Either way, that makes me think that possibly we really could do this, we could be friends.

So, I tried not to worry so much. I knew I'd have to explain why I wore them to her to some extent, but I wasn't ready to tell her everything. My gift was something I guarded very closely. I hadn't spoken about it or told anyone about it in years.

It was too soon to know if she might be the one to break that silence. I knew that, even though I was just a kid the last time I talked to anyone about my telepathy, things really hadn't changed that much. Finding out someone could read minds tended to be a deal breaker.

Nothing was said as we turned and began to walk the pavement toward my place. I had lucked out. Tonight the streets were fairly quiet and bare. I had even debated with myself about taking off my headphones.

But I didn't. I couldn't.

The chance of running into a crowd was too great.

I did turn down my music to a low hum, just enough to distract my mind and calm me enough.

I shortened my stride and our slow steps easily fell in line with one another.

I kept glancing over at her, she had this half smile on her face and it looked as though she was trying not to laugh.

I tucked my hands into my pockets. I couldn't define the way I felt. So far, this was just too easy. Too right. My hope was great.

Yet it was still early.

One time she caught me looking at her. Her smile increased and she laughed. Her giggle floated and mingled in the air between us, easing the tension, alleviating the awkwardness.

"Hi." I said in a low breathy way trying to divert and keep my embarrassment at bay.

"Hey," she returned as she shook her head and kept on walking.

Her steps became crooked as she stumbled over to walk closer to me. Our bodies still parallel but now in tandem, our knees almost knocking with each step.

Then she linked her arm through mine, her hand gently gripping my forearm, her shoulder brushing up against my bicep as we strolled down the pavement. I couldn't react, couldn't speak, couldn't do anything but feel and smile... and soar. She was holding onto me like it was the most natural thing in the world.

I couldn't help but hope that it was.

Even through the layers of my jacket and my shirt, I could feel the warmth of her hand. With the silence and peace that occupied her touch, it was effortless for me to focus totally on her. So easy.

I couldn't have hid my smile, not even if I had wanted to.

"You're not a serial killer are you?" She broke the silence and asked without looking at me, that sly grin still present on her lips.

I abruptly stopped walking which caused her to lose her balance and fall into me.

Quickly I grabbed onto her elbows and kept her upright and safe. I didn't pull her flush into my arms, not like I thought about. Not like I craved.

I wanted to appear insulted by her question, but with her this close, her smell teasing me, her eyes wide and bright, and her teeth biting into her bottom lip, I couldn't. I could barely form words. "I promise I'm not a cereal killer, I like Frosted Flakes too much."

Her long hair almost covered the smooth expansion of her back when she tilted her head back and laughed at me. I reluctantly let go of her arms, while not missing a single move she made. I was sure to catalogue every single facial expression and commit to memory the way she responded with her body – her hands flailing around, her chest shaking, her knees bending. I attempted to memorize her laugh, I even thought about trying to record it and loop it on my iPod so I could listen to it later.

Talk about calming and distracting.

We began to walk again, her fingers found their home curled around my forearm. I took my time leading her to my place, trying to prolong our time, trying to lengthen perfection.

I never knew a simple walk with another person could be so fulfilling. I supposed the company did matter though and at the present, my company was best.

"What about a werewolf? Are you a werewolf?" Her nose crinkled as she asked and her voice was toned down and serious.

"Nope," I laughed through my nose, "I'm not a werewolf."

"Vampire?" This time she looked towards me and wiggled her eyebrows.

She was being playful and she seemed to trust me already.

I wasn't sure what I did to deserve this.

To deserve her.

I played along. I slightly opened my mouth and licked the edge of my top teeth, "You seem to want me to be a vampire, no?" I spoke with a slightly delusional Dracula accent.

She ducked her head, "No comment." But even through the veil of her hair I could see her cheeks stain pink.

I playfully jutted my elbow into to her side, "I promise Bella, I'm not a bad guy. I'm pretty much the opposite of dangerous; I don't think you could get much safer than me."

She looked up at me, her expression more serious than I expected it to be. Her eyes were round and bright, and I saw my face reflected in their watery gloss. Looking at those eyes was like glimpsing the near-still surface of a dark pond at twilight - I had no idea how deep it ran, or what lurked inside. And I knew that if I fell in, I might never get out.

And it was so tempting.

"Safe, huh?" I wasn't sure if she meant to, but she squeezed my arm when she asked. She quickly looked away, but the depth of her eyes stayed with me. The desire to learn and chase away that darkness that had briefly made its presence known in her eyes became my new goal.

"Yeah. I'm not the bad guy."

"I like that." She simply answered.

If only I could tell her everything that I already liked about her.


An older man with two young girls caught my eye crossing the street head of us. Bella didn't seem to be aware of his presence, but I had already caught his stare – his eyes boring into mine.

Instinctively I braced myself for the onslaught of thoughts; his inner voice to invade my head and the inane chatter of his little girls.

Briefly forgetting all about my own personal shield who was holding onto my arm.

So I chanced it. As he approached, I didn't look away. My usual habit of concentrating solely on the ground below me dismissed for another time.

His eyes were bouncing back and forth, from Bella to me and then back to Bella. And like magic poured from cracked and broken stars, I didn't hear a single thought or word.

Bella wiggled her fingers in a wave at the giggling girls as they passed us. The man ushered them along as he told them to quiet down.

In that moment it felt as though I was untouchable, as if no one could pull me down. For a change, it was like I had the power, not the other way around.

I was normal.

"What are you smiling about?" she asked with another squeeze of my arm.

I shook my head and motioned ahead, "We're almost there. My place is just around the corner."

"Good, I'm starving!"

"I hope soup and salad is all right with you. My cooking skills are very... primitive." I admitted, withholding the idea that, for her, I would learn to be a gourmet chief.

I can't explain how pleasant it was to want to please another. I couldn't remember the last time.

"I think soup and salad sounds kind of perfect right now." She said with a nod of her head.

My cheeks slightly ached from smiling so much. I led her up the steps towards my apartment.

She let go of my arm and walked behind me. I unlocked my door and motioned for her to enter. She tentatively stepped in, glancing all around at her surroundings.

"How about a tour after we eat?"

"Sounds like a plan."

She found her way to the kitchen, still looking all around at my place. She stopped and leaned her backside up against the counter, both her elbows bent and hands gripping the counter top.

I flipped on the small radio that I kept in the kitchen. Then I turned away from her & slipped off my headphones, sliding the tips of my fingers through the top of my hair to keep it from being flat.

I laid them down and turned around to face her.

She was looking me over; it made me feel exposed and bare. No one ever saw me without my headphones any more. It's just how it was.

Her face was serious, but her eyes were drawing me in again. I saw her concern there; it seemed to be bottomless and alluring.

"Tell me why you wear them?" She nodded toward where my headphones lay.

I took a deep breath, still not knowing how to answer that question.

But knowing that I had to.

And in a small way, somewhere deep inside of me, I wanted to.