When Derek woke me up, I rubbed at my eyes and looked out the windshield where there was no longer any traffic. I could see the back of the ferry against the nearly-set sun. There was no one on board. But there was someone walking up to the boat. His dark back was retreating hastily. What was he doing? Didn't he know the ferry was out of commission at night?
Bobbi saw where I was looking. "We picked him up back there on the road. He's kinda strange. But very cute."
I tried to roll my eyes for Derek's sake, but, given the confident and somewhat mysterious set of his shoulders, I had no doubt in my mind that he was, indeed, very cute. "Wait a second. We missed the ferry?" I began to panic.
Bobbi placed a calming hand on my shoulder. "Calm down, Kimi, we'll just stay with you in a hotel or something and then when we wake up, we'll all come down to the ferry, me and Derek will see you off and everything will be all gravy."
I tried to take comfort from her rational train of thought, but I had had my heart set on seeing with my parents today. "Yeah," I sighed, deflated. "alright."
We found and checked into a little beach-side motel with an antique feel to it. I thought it was adorable. I laid back on the bed as Bobbi assigned Derek to sleeping on the floor.
"Why do I have to?" he whined.
I tried not to giggle. He could be so childish sometimes. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, but it was definitely a goofy thing for someone who looked so macho (or at least tried to be) to act so… immaturely indignant.
Given my nap in the van on our way here, I wasn't too tired. I kept Bobbi and Derek up with me all night, ignoring their yawns of protest. I questioned them on the stranger we had picked up on the road, intrigued by his vague mystery, I told them in detail all about my mother's vacation home. The polished wood floors, all of the dusty old knickknacks, the coolness of the water after my mother and I had picked basket loads of mushrooms.
Around one in the morning, I finally fell asleep.
"I cant believe we missed it again," I said emotionlessly. "We woke up early and everything. How did this happen?"
Bobbi and Derek shrugged, both with large, tired circles beneath their eyes.
"You guys go on home. I'll just wait for it to get back." They looked like they were about to protest, but I quickly held a hand up to stop them. "I'm just going to sit right here and wait, and when the ferry gets back, I'll take it across and meet my parents at the house."
They frowned, but begrudgingly obliged. Bobbi gave me a quick hug and hopped back into the van.
"I guess I'll see you next school year," Derek said, staring out across the water.
"I guess so," I said with a scowl. The fact that I wouldn't get to see my boyfriend for the duration of summer kind of bummed me out, though I was looking forward to staying with my parents for a while.
He pulled me into a close embrace and kissed me quickly. "So I've been thinking…"
I narrowed my eyes at his tone, nearly as stiff as his kisses. "About?"
He suddenly couldn't look in my eyes.
"Derek? What have you been thinking about?"
He turned away from me. "I think we need to break up."
My ears started ringing. He what? For a moment I was too stunned to speak, but when I regained my voice, the first thing that popped out was, "You kiss me one second and the next you break up with me?"
He sighed. "Look Kimba, its not you-"
"Its you?" I asked.
He looked uncomfortable. "Well, not exactly."
"What is it then?"
He glanced instinctively back at the van where Bobbi was studiously paying way too much attention to the peeling pictures on her steering wheel cover.
My body felt weak. I wanted to collapse right there and sob my eyes out, but I wouldn't give them the satisfaction of that. "I think you should leave, Derek," I said without looking at him.
"Will you just let me explain-"
"Explain how you're leaving me for my best friend, or how that best friend turned out to be a boyfriend-stealing bitch? Because I would like to know both. Please enlighten me to how exactly this happened."
He jerked back as if he'd been slapped.
"Just leave, Derek." Before I start crying, please.
His jaw tightened and he nodded, turning away from me and getting back into the van with Bobbi, the traitor.
I sat heavily onto the wooden dock, trying not to pay attention to the sound of the tires on the van pulling away as the only tear I allowed to be shed for that asshat slid down my cheek.
Okay, so I lied to Bobbi and Derek about staying on the dock till the ferry came back (what did it matter anyway? They lied to me too), but I was getting all antsy from just sitting there feeling sorry for myself. So I got up and walked around a bit, up the shoreline.
A few yards off, I could barely make out a fisherman and his boat. I gripped my bags tighter and ran for it. The ferry was being ridiculously slow, so why didn't I just go and take a ride from something closer to hand?
"Hey!" I called, trying to wave with the hand that wasn't pulling my suitcase. The duffle bag around my shoulder bumped around as I waved at the man.
He was wearing a bright yellow rain coat and hat. "What can I do for you, miss?" the old man asked, taking his hat off and exposing his butter-yellow teeth.
I resisted the urge to retch at the smell of fish coming from behind him on the boat. "Well, I'm supposed to be meeting my parents at our vacation house out there," I gestured out across the water. "but my ferry already left and I really don't have the time to sit around and wait for it." Or at least I didn't have the patience.
"Yeah, sure, I can get you there. Just hop on in and I'll take you over."
I laughed once. "Thank you, thank you so much."
He nodded and helped me over the boats edge and into the smelly, slimy-decked boat. He held up a finger before he got in and said, "I just have to get these fish in there," he pointed behind him to an old, falling apart Italian restaurant.
I nodded and watched as he picked up a large net full of fish flopping around. I sat restlessly, trying to distract myself from the loss of Derek, and even more from the fact that I really didn't mind as much as I probably should have.
The man was back almost 15 minutes later and still I couldn't see the ferry anywhere. He started up the boat and I gave him his directions. He, being a fisherman, stopped a few times along the way to cast his net into the water. I could hardly protest as this was his boat and his occupation, but after the third time, I was getting a little frustrated.
"Is that the ferry?" I asked myself as a large boat came out of the fog. I groaned into my hands when it rode straight past us, back in the direction of the dock.
I wanted to ask the fisherman to speed things along, but I was lucky he had been nice enough to give me a ride. The ferry passed by us (at varying distances) at least three more times, I had vomited over the side of the boat a total of 6 times, and night had fallen by the time we finally made it to the shore of the large island the vacation house sat on.
I thanked the man and insisted he take at least five dollars for the trouble (but mostly so he could afford to lessen up at least a tiny bit on the outrageous amounts of fishing). He pushed off of land and, with a last decaying smile, disappeared.
I shook off the feeling of disgust that overtook me when I thought about the smell of fish. I twisted my head and sniffed my shoulder. I tried not to gag. "I need a shower," I grumbled, walking slowly up the hill, trying to rediscover my land legs.
When I made it up to the house, I could immediately tell my parents weren't home. The boat was gone and all the lights were out. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my copy of the key.
I was a little disappointed that I still wouldn't be able to see my parents, but I was glad I would have the chance to take a shower before anyone caught the scent of sea salt and guts on me.
I closed and locked the door behind me before flicking on the light switch and sighing happily. Screw Derek and Bobbi. I had this amazing place. I chuckled and moved around slowly, recalling memories of each little thing in the house.
It didn't matter if David and Alexis weren't biologically related to me, they were my parents. David had been the one to push me on the swing and check my closet for booger monsters. Alexis had nursed me back to health when I caught the flu and had helped me repaint my room when I was 8. Both of them had encouraged me in school and treated me as if I truly was their child.
After my shower, I wrapped my hair in a towel and changed into a pair of navy-colored sweat pants and a tank top. As I was towel-drying my hair, I heard the front door downstairs click closed. Then the jingling of keys, the shuffling of feet, the muffled sound of quiet chatter.
"Kimba," the familiar voice of David called upstairs. "darling, are you here?"
I squealed and dropped my towel, running out of my room and down the stairs. "Daddy!" I laughed, hugging him as he grinned.
"How are you, sweetheart?" He pressed a fatherly kiss to my forehead and released me.
I turned to give my mother a hug in reunion, but there was someone else there, too. A young man not much older than I was. He had dark hair and a fading black eye. Blue eyes gazed curiously into my own. I saw a hint of recognition in them. But I had never seen this man. Or at least I didn't think I had.
"Kimba," my mother sighed, relieved. "We were so worried about you." She worried over me, her maternal side kicking into overdrive. After she was done quizzing me on my well-being, she seemed to remember the other man standing in our living room. "This is, umm, someone we picked up along the road. And then, we found him again earlier this afternoon."
I nodded and shook his hand. "Kimba."
His hand was warm, despite his wet appearance. "Nice to meet you." Even his voice was appealing. Nobody, including me, seemed to realize that he never gave us his name.
We got him comfortable in front of the fire and gave him a robe as we let his clothes dry. We sat around with him, talking a lot about nothing until we realized that the man had fallen asleep on the couch.
My dad frowned. He and my mom got into an argument about them not having said he could sleep over, but we needed to help him, et. Cetera.
But I was too caught up in examining his face. Unlined in sleep, relaxed and unworried. From what my parents told me, he must've been involved in something pretty bad. Normally I would feel nervous having someone who didn't want the cops near them in our house, but there was something intriguing (in an oddly familiar way) about him.
My parents went upstairs to bed and told me goodnight. "Honey, aren't you going to bed?" my mom asked.
I shook my head. "I've slept a lot in the past couple days. I think I'm just going to get something to eat first."
She nodded and turned back up the stairs.
I sent one last fleeting look at the guy on the couch before standing and venturing into the kitchen. I found a cup of jello and quickly gobbled it down. When I came back into the living room, turning the light in the kitchen off as I left, I saw that the man was beginning to wake up.
He stirred briefly and then his eyes popped open. "Did I pass out here?" he asked quietly.
I nodded. When he started apologizing and began to stand up, I waved a hand in dismissal. "Its fine. My dad was a little grumpy, but my mom convinced him to let you stay. And don't take that personally, he's like that with everyone." I moved closer, unsure why my foot were moving without my consent.
"And where do you stand?" he asked, cocking his head at me curiously. "On me sleeping over, I mean."
I shrugged. "I haven't got a problem with it. You need a place to sleep and we have a couch."
He smiled. "Aren't you worried? Having a guy in the house with you here?"
That was when I started to get nervous. "W-What do you mean?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Aren't you scared I'm a rapist or a serial killer or something?"
I took a moment to think about it, searching his face for any hint of menace. Then I shook my head. "It would certainly explain why you didn't want to get involved with the police, but I don't think you're that kind of person."
He cocked a brow at me. "How can you be sure?"
"Well, I cant. But… I have a feeling you're better than that."
It looked like what I said caught him off guard or struck a nerve. His eyes widened a fraction and his head moved back. "Trusting, aren't you?" He turned his head away, looking down at the armrest, but I could hear the uncertainty and guilt in his voice.
"I like to think of it as optimistic." After a pause, I hesitantly asked, "You haven't killed anyone have you?"
He gave a tiny smile that didn't reach his eyes. "No. I can honestly say I haven't." I thought the unsaid, but still present, "yet" was just my overactive, and apparently paranoid, mind.
"Well, there you go. I guess I've got nothing to worry about."
He looked up then, slightly amused. "I never said I wasn't a rapist."
I squinted my eyes at him and puckered my lips in thought. "No," I decided, "You're not a rapist, either. Too… I dunno, nice-looking."
He grinned. "You think I'm nice-looking?"
"Well, I don't mean in that way," even though I most certainly did. "I just mean, you look like a nice guy."
"Well, thanks, then. I guess," he chuckled. I found myself laughing right along with him, unable to help myself from being affected by his voice. His laughter was interrupted by a yawn.
"Oh, gosh, I'm sorry," I said, hastily backing away. "I'll let you get to sleep, then."
He started to argue, but I cut him off. "Come on, you look like you're about to pass out whether or not I get out of your hair. You're exhausted. Get some sleep." I turned and started to walk up the stairs, but turned around. "I hope I see you tomorrow before you leave. Then I'll know for sure you aren't a serial killer."
He smirked and leaned back against the couch. "I thought you knew I wasn't."
I shrugged. "Reassurance."
I left him and went up to my bedroom, happy that I had figured out where I had seen him before. He was the retreating back Bobbi had given a lift to the ferry. Why he would need to go back there after leaving my parents there I didn't know.
But I would keep that to myself. For now.
Oh goodness, I think this one might be my favorite fanfiction to write. Maybe. Its right up there with my Game Over series. So anyway, Thanks for reading, as always, and please review! :D