A/N: Written for rashaka's Hallowe'en Horror Contest but this particular story was actually inspired by crittab's awesome entry. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do and her approach, which is way scarier than mine, made so much more sense! So I went with something I could maybe see happening, on a very exaggerated scale. Definitely not 100% happy with this but since I've had writer's block for such a long time... Also, I hate writing multi-chapter fics so I apologize now for how long it may take me to get the next part out.
When Annie opened her locker to find a note sitting there, she was startled. Glancing around, she didn't see any likely candidates but really, who left notes in lockers anymore anyway? She stopped short, remembering Kim and the note in Jeff's locker. She briefly considered whether Jeff would bother pulling a stupid prank like that but dismissed the idea; Jeff thought he was above pranks and his ego would demand something more elaborate with an air of faux-subtlety. Kim, the sensitive baby, on the other hand… Annie rolled her eyes and scoffed mentally. Kim's passive aggressive missives could go take a flying leap if he though Annie Edison could be manipulated by a poorly written note. She picked up the note, carefully unfolding it, and as she read, a blush spread across her face.
Furtively looking around the hallway once more, Annie leaned against her locker and read the letter again.
'With eyes so beautifully blue,
Is it a wonder that I couldn't stop looking at you?
But I don't just admire your beauty and grace.
It's also the intelligence and loyalty displayed so clearly on your face.'
It was a simple poem but the words seemed so genuine. Annie felt her blush cooling and smiled quietly to herself. The poem was so utterly flattering. Taking another quick look around, she stuck the note into her bag and shut her locker, ready to face lunch with a renewed sense of optimism.
"Milady." Jeff extended his arm, gesturing Annie ahead of him. She smiled her thanks and slid into the lunch line.
"Milord. How was your Spielberg class?" His frustrated huff would have been answer enough but Jeff elaborated.
"Abed's old course outline was inaccurate. They made us watch the last Indiana Jones film. It still sucks thanks to The Beef." Annie frowned in sympathy. "Oh, hey, they still have carrot cake. I deserve it today." He looked at Annie and after a few moments, she realized he was waiting for affirmation.
"Oh, um, yes. I think carrot cake is a great idea!" Annie's face turned pained as she looked away. That might have been laying the enthusiasm on too thick.
"Want to split it?" Annie took in Jeff's hopeful grin and shook her head, smiling. His offer wasn't out of kindness so much as ab-preservation.
"Sure." They made their way to the cash register and Jeff surprised her by paying for her meal. "You didn't have to do that, Jeff. I agreed to split the carrot cake without any coercion."
"I know… Abed mentioned that the budget was tight this month because of something involving cookie dough, army men, and food colouring?" Annie shuddered.]
"Don't ask, you don't want to know." She peered at him from under her eyelashes, assessing his explanation. "Okay," She nodded slowly. "Thanks." He smiled back before nudging her with his elbow and gesturing to a table where the rest of the study group was gathered.
Sliding in beside Abed, Annie pulled her tray tighter into her body, hoping to keep Jeff's sticky fingers away from her fries. She shivered slightly, the sensation of being watched sending skitters down her spine.
"Well, don't you two look cozy?" Britta's pointed tone distracted Annie from her unease just as Jeff was reaching over to grab a fry. Slapping at his hand, Annie knew she was too late, the spud already in his hand, her discomfort forgotten.
"What are you talking about Britta?" Annie couldn't help that her tone was annoyed. Once Jeff was allowed one fry, he wouldn't stop there. Harrumphing in irritation, Annie resolved to eat less than her share of the carrot cake in a secret revenge.
"Like we don't see that piece of cake with two forks!"
"I thought it would be a nice gesture to share with you, Britta, but your accusatory tone and insinuations are rubbing me the wrong way. No cake for you." Pulling it further down his tray, Jeff turned to Annie, smiling. "Want some cake, Annie? I would've shared it with Britta but she's being-" Jeff was cut off by Pierce before he got a chance to insult her any further.
"A lesbian!" As one, they all turned to stare at him. "She's being lesbian, that's why she 'rubbed' Jeff the wrong way – I mean, also, because he's gay. But she's a lesbian so probably doesn't know how penises work." Jeff's head dropped.
"Okay, so Annie and I were going to share a piece of cake. I can't afford to eat that entire thing, I'd have to add 40 push ups to my bedtime routine and I can't do that when The Real Housewives of New Jersey is on tonight."
"I really don't think that helped your case, Jeff." Abed cocked his head. "I always thought you'd prefer The Real Housewives of Miami. Hmm." As the bickering continued, Annie munched on her fries contentedly.
If she forgot to let Jeff eat more of the carrot cake than her revenge scheme dictated, she was okay with that too.
It was a week later when Annie received the second note. It wasn't nearly as uplifting as her first note had been and Annie's forehead wrinkled as she tried to remember why it sounded so familiar.
'cause the night has a thousand eyes
And a thousand eyes can't help but see if you are true to me
So remember when you tell those little white lies
That the night has a thousand eyes.'
She had class in ten minutes but Annie figured it wouldn't hurt to mention to the study group and see if anyone recognized the words.
The study session that afternoon wasn't all that productive which wasn't all that unusual. After their third attempt at studying petered out into aimless conversation, Annie decided it was as good a time as any to mention her note.
"Does anyone recognize these words? They sound really familiar but I can't place them." Seeing that she had people's attention, Annie continued. "'cause the night has a thousand eyes. And a thousand eyes can't help but see if you are true to me. So remember when you tell those little white lies, that the night has a thousand eyes." There were a few shrugs from group members before Pierce let out a strangely triumphant squawk.
"Ha! Something I know that you guys don't!" Annie smiled encouragingly at Pierce, hoping he would clarify what exactly the words were from. "It's Bobby Vee's classic song, 'The Night Has a Thousand Eyes' about his gal stepping out on him."
"Why are you asking, Annie?" Abed made direct eye contact and Annie sighed internally, knowing that Abed would be able to tell if she lied.
"I found a note with those words in my locker." Jeff made a face, confused and feeling vaguely protective. He raised an eyebrow at Annie and she sighed again, out loud this time. "It wasn't the first note." She reached into her bag and dug out her planner, and pulled the two notes out. Jeff's hand extended immediately and Annie rolled her eyes even as she handed them over.
"Annie, this doesn't seem like a casual admirer. If the song is about a woman cheating, what exactly does he think you are to him?" A second later, the song in question was playing.
"It seemed like an appropriate time for us to hear it, I've had it queued since Pierce told us the name." Two minutes later and Jeff's question seemed more relevant than ever.
"Okay, seriously, Annie, if you get any more notes, go to the police. I mean, I don't like them because they're sexist, racist and homophobic power-abusers that glorify violence and reinforce stereotypes of male privilege and hegemonic masculinity-" A throat was cleared, someone else coughed, Pierce farted. "But um, they might be able to help you. I've seen stuff like this before, okay? In one of my textbooks, a guy developed a fixation on a woman and made up an entire relationship in his head. His actions became increasingly erratic and violent and it culminated-"
"Uh, Britta? Could you maybe, I don't know, stop talking? Your story is scary and unless you're going to stay up with me when I have nightmares, I doubt Abed appreciates it either." Britta winced in apology as Troy's voice rose in pitch.
"It's not a problem! I make copies of notes for my study group too so… I'm used to it. Don't worry about it." Annie pulled out a sheaf of papers, clipped together, and passed it to Greg, a casual friend from her sociology class.
"Are you sure? This is a life saver for me… I'll buy you lunch next week, okay?" Annie laughed.
"It's not a big deal, I promise. But I wouldn't say no to a sandwich at Shirley's." He smiled, squeezing her shoulder.
"It's a deal. See you next week, Annie!" He waved as he walked backwards down the hall, before turning and heading to his next class.
Five days later, a campus security alert went out after a student was attacked in a dimly lit parking lot. Hit from behind, he was savagely beaten with baseball bat. Although in rough shape, there was no permanent damage. A concussion, multiple cuts and bruises, a broken arm, but nothing permanent. Given that the attack occurred at 9:30PM, it was lucky that he was found and treated.
Annie agreed to coordinate the notes for all of Greg's classes while he was in the hospital recuperating.
It was with no great surprise that Annie opened her locker on Monday afternoon and found yet another note there.
'Laugh and sing
But while we're apart
Don't give your heart
Feeling a little creeped out, Annie peered around suspiciously. The notes were getting less and less adoring and more threatening. It might not have been overt but given the attack on campus last week and Britta's story, Annie didn't think it was outrageous to feel a slight twinge of fear.
Carefully tucking the note into her bag, Annie closed her locker door and took a deep breath. Blowing out the air slowly, she moved calmly toward the cafeteria and silently wished one of her friends would already be there. She was gratified, upon reaching her destination, to see Jeff and Troy seated near the window. Making her way over, she let out a sigh of relief, unaware she had been holding her breath in hopeful fear.
"Annie, what's wrong? You look like you saw a hawk eat a baby meerkat." Jeff mouthed a silent 'what?' at Troy complete with a scrunched face and raised eyebrow. "If you had seen that episode of Meerkat Manor, you wouldn't have to ask."
"Okay, well, let's try a rephrase so that we're all on the same page." He looked at Annie, his brow furrowing in concern. "Annie. You look upset. Is something wrong?"
"Not exactly. I got another note. I'm sure it's nothing but, you know, Britta had that story and it sort of freaked me out and… I don't know. Maybe this whole thing with Greg just has me all…" She shivered exaggeratedly. "On edge?"
"Yeah, Greg, the guy who was attacked? I have two classes with him. I'm coordinating his notes while he's getting better!" A spark of excitement lit her face.
"Wait, you knew the guy who got beat up?" Annie nodded. "And you've been getting notes. One of which implies you're cheating on the person writing the notes. Jesus. Okay, let's see this latest one, Annie. Then we can decide whether to go to the police or not." Annie bristled briefly at Jeff's decisive tone. But when he put it altogether like that, it sounded more ominous than it had only moments before.
"Here." She pulled it out and handed to him, hoping it was more innocuous than she remembered. She waited as Jeff read it out loud and Troy made a face.
"Are you having secret sex with someone?"
"What? Troy! No! Why would you ask me that?"
"Then what is this dude talking about? I mean, that doesn't sound like a stranger. That sounds like someone who's in love with you, Annie." He stared surreptitiously at Jeff out of the corner of his eye. "Write any poetic love notes lately, Jeff?"
"What? No! Shut up, Troy. Annie, this isn't safe. It pains me to admit this but Britta may have been right. You should go to the police."
"You guys really think it's that serious? It's three notes in three weeks… They could be totally harmless!"
"That's true." Troy nodded sagely. "Or it could be the love notes of someone obsessed with possessing a pretty young woman for his life-sized doll collection."
It was that statement that, more than anything else, convinced Annie to go to the police.