A Chapter by amiwritinggirl

Evelyn and Michael meet



               Guardians of the Gate
                           Book 1 and 2 
       Enter a world of elfin  romance
 When a human and an elfin fall in love, what happens in forbidden romance?
                    Guardians of the Gate, books 1 and 2: Spring
              Prisoners of Pride, books 3 and 4: Fall/Winter
     An Inquisition of Innocence, books 5 and 6: Evelyn/Lynia
                Roses Bleeds Red, books 7 and 8: Lilac/Elijah
 Within the small town of Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, there exists a quiet forest where a world undiscovered awaits. When soccer player, Michael Cole, of high school Green Mountain Falls sees the new girl Evelyn, coy yet intoxicating, walk into his senior English class he is forever changed.
His passion for her takes him deep into her heart and deep into her mystical world. Will their forbidden love be able to sustain them as their separate worlds collide, taking Evelyn and Michael on a magical journey into adventurous and perilous realms where dangerous creatures are determined to defeat them?
There are eight books to this series. Each novel is comprised of two books. This is the first novel in the series.    
                  High school will never be the same
                      © 2009 Amy Blackwelder
                     Property of Amy Blackwelder
Other books by this author:
Prisoners of Pride
Like a Budding Flower: Personal Poetry
The Water Jug: Personal Shorts
The Day the Flowers Died
                               For Tasha
Poetry used in Guardians of the Gate, book one:
Day Dream
by Emily Bronte
Wind and Window Flower
by Robert Frost
As book one: Spring, represents 3 months of seasonal birth of Evelyn into Michael’s life, book two: Summer, represents the 3 months of seasonal departure of Evelyn from Michael’s life.
As book three: Fall, represents 3 months of seasonal death of Evelyn’s world, book four: Winter, represents 3 months of its seasonal rebirth. 
As book five: Evelyn, represents 6 months of death in Michael’s world, book six: Lynia, represents 6 months of rebirth in Michael’s world.
As book seven: Elijah, represents the twin that brought death, book eight: Lilac, represents the twin that brought life.
I awaken at the sounds of clawing and howling in the night. I hear it. It is so close now. My body is sweating and I jump up from my bed. My heart is beating fast, faster. My eyes open and widen to the window. They fixate themselves to the clear glass. I hear clawing outside and a rustle in the trees. Then I see it, a dark shadow in the tree outside. Under the light of the moon I can make out its long, sharp teeth resembling blades, glistening and shiny.Its ears are long and covered with black fur. Its face is blue-black leather with stone dark eyes and small red pupils, and its stare pierces through my darkened window. .Its face is like a child’s and yet wolfish like a monsters. Its paws are huge and dark with furcovering its body, hanging over its eyes like eye brows. It opens its mouth and howls a loud scream, one longdark scream meaning
       Guardians of the Gate, Book 1: Spring
                        Table of Contents:
Month One: March
Month Two: April
 The Practice
 The Gate
Month Three: May
 The Game
Month one: March
I remember the first time I saw her, meandering like a ghostly vision up the hallways of Green Mountain Falls High. Like an artist or a writer, I noticed all the details others missed. My father used to tell me, ‘Michael, you’ll make a great poet someday.’ I didn’t know then it was she who would inspire the poetry in my own life. Poetry of passion. Poetry of torment. 
Two Years Earlier
Her snow brown boots cover her feet and her high white socks stick out over the top. Her white leggings are snug and tight, wrapping around her small legs until they disappear underneath her light blue jean skirt. A small bit of her white shirt can be seen underneath her green jacket. Her golden brown hair was highlighted by the late morning sun, shooting through the English Class window and into the hallway.
We were both heading in that direction. She pushes her hair that dangled past her breasts over her pale face as if to hide her beauty, but there was no dimming her effervescence. She shone like a lost jewel discovered for the first time by all the eyes upon her. Whispers echoed through the halls in wonder at this new girl to our boring town. Her caramel skin was accented by her golden hair which spread over her body like choppy waves in a storm on the sea. Her fluffy rose colored lips shone with ruby color. Her emerald green, almond shaped eyes spoke to me as I stood there paralyzed with my mouth agape.
Tanya pushes her way through the crowds gathering in the halls before the next class bell. A click of jocks stands at one end of the hall while another group of kids with alternative styles stands at the other end. A few girls giggle in secret near their lockers with hands covering their mouths and eyes peering over at the new girl. She drops her class schedule and bends down to pick it up. Tanya’s cheerleading athletic shape bumps into the new girl and she falls over hitting her knee.
I rush over to help her back to her feet, extending my hand. Tanya smirks and we all knew she did it on purpose. She knows I disapprove from my heavy glare and hurries away from the scene. I know Tanya well, or I should say everyone knows Tanya. Her large tall frame is the perfect base to the cheerleader’s pyramids and the streak of blond she highlighted her dark shoulder length hair with was the talk of last month. It didn’t take much for gossip in this town. She went to all of the sports games at my school. I played on the soccer team. She often attended to gawk at the athletes when she wasn’t practicing cheers with her squad or cheering for our football team. 
‘Are you alright?’ I speak the words like I am attaching plaster to a door with my father, without elegance or eye contact. I am too taken aback by her presence for that kind of innocent intimacy. She places her hand in mine and smiles. I become lost in her eyes in that instant and yet never feel more connected. Her touch feels like a volt of electricity surging throughout my body. I pull her up and her tall, lean figure, appearing frail from the distance becomes sturdy close up with well defined muscles underneath. I look at her schedule and a silent smile defines my lips and flushes my cheeks as I take her to the English classroom.
Her presence in the room is fresh, like the beginning of spring after the heavy snowfalls of winter. The snow is still falling in Colorado, despite the start of spring, and seemed like it would be for a while. It will be a couple more months before we could see what flowers the spring brought to our small town. Like the new spring flowers that bloomed each year, she is a flower of her own kind. She walks towards the back of the classroom and plops into a seat. I am drawn to her and want to sit next to her, but am hesitant with my anxious nerves.
I settle for the seat in the front row where I usually sit next to Robby. Robby’s disheveled, layered brown hair looks like a mess. Of course this is nothing new. He paid less attention to his appearance and more attention to his academics and beloved soccer game. We've played soccer together since we were kids and making it on the high school soccer team was a dream of ours that came true for both of us.
The class bell rings and the students file into the room leaving their last moments of freedom behind. They sit studiously and focus in their seats, knowing Mr. Roth takes no excuses for tardiness or misbehavior. In this honors English class we all take education a little more seriously. His wide frame is dressed always in an impeccable suit and his dark short blond hair is immaculately combed and parted to the left. Mr. Roth adjusts his spectacles and looks over his attendance sheet to read her name, Evelynia.
‘Class, please, say hello to Ev-e-lyn-ee-a’ he slows down each syllable to pronounce it correctly. She has just moved here from Alaska and will be joining our Senior English class.’ As she corrects him, saying her name I know my life would never be the same.
‘Please, call me Evelyn’ she says succinctly as she shyly brushes her hair over part of her face, trying to hide behind it again. The class turns around to see this new spectacle in our school, our quiet and boring run of the mill High School. She settles back into her seat, realizing she has drawn attention to herself. I can see her squirming, and then an awkward smile appears that says, ok you’ve all looked long enough, nothing to see here, turn back around now
A few of the kids giggle while other whisper as we turn back to face our midyear English quiz- all of us but me. I gaze around the classroom from my desk and whilst Mr. Roth is focused on the papers on his desk, lean back in my chair like I am about to yawn and roll my head back in her direction. Her face is subtly soft. She looks up and I see her emerald eyes, peering from behind her hair which highlights them and her heart-shaped face.
I smile and her eyes dart quickly back down to the quiz in front of her. The class is quiet and it feels like we have been there for a long time, too long. When the bell rings and everyone jumps up, ready to leave and head for lunch. Robby jumps up full of vigor and heads towards Evelyn. I watch as he takes her book bag from the back of her chair, in a most cordial and old fashioned way.
          ‘I’ve got it, thanks.’ Evelyn says, struggling to pull the bag back quickly, and managing to squeeze between the classroom wall and Robby to make her quick exit out the door. Robby smiles as he watches her delicate features vanish from his line of sight. 
          ‘Nice try, Robby.’ I tell him. ‘Maybe next time you won’t scare her away.' We have been friends since elementary school and he is more like a brother to me now. I follow Robby out of class and as we walk down the hallway, we watch her as she glides through the halls. Everyone turns their heads as she goes by, gossiping, wondering. It is not just her drawing the attention of so many eager faces, but the idea of something new to our lives - something to break the monotony of our everyday. New is exciting. New is different. She is both.
She walks angelically, as if she was sailing across the halls instead of walking across them, but of course one foot did go in front of the other. Perhaps it only seemed that way to me, because I was so taken by her. Her wavy, long hair sways back and forth just as she moves. I lose sight of her as she turns the corner. Robby is anxious to get into the cafeteria to eat lunch. Why is she walking away from the cafeteria? Isn't she hungry after this grueling morning? 
I sacrifice my curiosity for satiating Robby’s appetite. We walk to our usual table and join four other friends. I sit between Laura and Sarah. Robby sits across from me between Taylor and Lee. Laura strokes her blond hair with a wooden comb which she demands refines her locks for her role as head cheerleader. She has a crush on Taylor and says he has dark chocolate skin that tastes sweeter than the mounds chocolate bars (not that she has ever had the opportunity). I try not to keep that mental image in my mind for too long. As I sit down she is quick to tell me her thoughts on this new girl.
‘Did you see her? Her skin is ghastly.’ Laura sounded like a bird crooning in pain. I place my tray in front of me and grab the plastic covered sandwich. I answer her as I unwrap it.
‘She’s in my English class.’ I say plainly. Sarah brushes her elegant long brown hair away from her face and behind her ears to eat and listen intently. With her hair brushed behind her I can see the few freckles across her nose and over her cheeks which she tries to hide with make-up. ‘I thought she looked nice.’ Nice was an understatement, but I didn’t want to give Laura any more fuel to be jealous.
Taylor turns my way when I say, nice, because he knows that is my word for hot, of course he would just sayhot. He has no inhibitions. Tayloris another soccer player on our team who sits across from Laura every day at lunch time and is still oblivious to her preoccupations of him and I know when lunch is over he will head straight to me and try to weasel me out of information about this new girl. His blond high-lighted streak in the middle of his dark hair marks him from a distance. If Laura and he ever finally get together they may just be the quintessential jock couple of the year.
‘You are going to have to show me her sometime. Everyone is talking about her.’ He pauses in thought and then continues, ‘I know, tomorrow I’ll meet you outside of English class before heading to lunch.’ Taylor responds.
‘Wait at your own risk.’ I retort with a glint of humor behind my eyes and quirked eyebrows. Taylor knew my interest in her when I described her appearance as, nice, and he smirks before eating his cafeteria food. Sarah crunches down on her apple and studies the variety of vegetarian delights on her tray before picking one up and eating it. She smiles at Lee who sits across from her and her right cheek bunches up in a high corner of her jaw line.
‘I saw her in the hallway before lunch. I thought she looked sweet.’ Sarah defends. Her words spoke less about Evelyn and more about herself. Sarah was as naïve as anyone could be at seventeen.
‘Always seeing the best in people.’ Lee jumps eagerly into the conversation if it meant to converse with Sarah. Lee’s Chinese features give his dark eyes a chiseled almond appearance. He is gifted with computer, a typical cliche. We used to joke with him about it when he first joined our soccer team, but since he hacked into the school computer network last year and was suspended for a month, the jokes have become more of praise. He reaches across the table and grabs a few carrots from Sarah’s tray. Her lips press tight and she speaks a French phrase that none of us know except Lee, but from the tone of it and Lee’s retreat, it must have meant something in English like, don’t touch my food. Sarah’s long brown hair sits perfectly trimmed like she used a ruler to cut the edges straight and her fashionable appearance is only trumped by Lee’s designer jeans and Laura’s school cheerleading uniform.
Lee and Sarah are the only two at our table that can speak a foreign language. Lee knows Mandarin and French, but Sarah speaks fluent French. They never have much in particular to talk about in French, but the usual phrases about weather and well being and the less common phrases usually involving food, but they seem to enjoy the little French they do communicate with one another. I think Sarah just likes the idea of all things foreign. She fidgets with her fingers and pinches her face in childlike fashion when she is not eating and talking.
Additionally, they both always come to school dressed impeccably, something Robby could never aspire too. Robby twitches his nose when he ponders in deep thought which is too often for most of the students here. His verbose, over the head way of speaking lacks most of the local colloquialisms and common elocutions necessary for keeping the attention of most girls here, but he impresses the teachers which is where he spends a lot of his time.
He desires to attend Yale upon graduating, a school I have longed to get into most of my academic life. I have lived here most of my life and am still itching to get out of this place. Across from our table is where most of the cheerleaders sit along with Tanya. Laura would normally sit with them, but her current focus has been Taylor these past few months.
Like Tanya, Laura is quick and efficient to defend her turf. The cheerleaders are the talk of the school and if something or someone else mandates that attention away from them, they are effective in putting it, he or she back in its place. On the other side of the cafeteria is another table filled with ripped jeans, concert shirts, greased hair, and tattoos. Near the wall of the lunch room is the large table full of football and soccer players –the athletes. I sat with my friends there last year, but this year has been different with me, Robby and Lee trying to buckle down on our studies to ensure the acceptance of a top ten school. We try to separate ourselves from the parties and loud lunch hours in hopes that our sacrifices will pay off in the end. Interspersed throughout the rest of the café is everyone else neither notable nor influential, but filling the spaces of seats.
The bell rings to announce the end of lunch and we split up as we each head to our next class. My next class today is Physical Education. I head to the gym to change and then the track and field outside. That is when I see her. She isin her white gym uniform, sitting on one of the benches, waiting for her name to be called. It hasn’t been but about an hour and yet I feel like I’ve missed her.
‘Evelyn.’ The coach calls and her sharp piercing eyes dart up. She lines up in the third lane spot where Mr. Phillips points.
‘Michael.’ The coach calls again. I jump off the bench and stand next to Evelyn in the fourth lane. We all have our positions on the track. Standing next to her, it is difficult to concentrate. She smells like Jasmine flowers. Our gym instructor Mr. Phillips wants to assess our running speeds, so we need to run once around the track against the clock. If we cross the finish line under five minutes we pass, and over five minutes we fail. Most of us are timed at just over four minutes. A few of the class stranglers clock in at six and seven minutes.
I never have a problem running as I practice every other day with my friends. When we aren’t playing soccer on the soccer field we are playing hockey. The whistle blows and we attempt to outrace the others. Evelyn and I run side by side with only white chalk lines dividing us apart. We run head to head for the first two minutes and then I smile and wink as I pull past her. She returns my gesture with a shy laugh that she hides by looking down at the ground while she runs. I clock in at three minutes and thirty seconds, the fastest in the class. She completes the run in just over four minutes. She ranks eighth in the class after everyone has finished running. Not bad for the new girl. I heave while I race off the track and up to the benches where Evelyn sits. Her breathing is soft and fluid. There is no perspiration on her body like there is on all the other students including myself, and though she clocked in as eighth in the class, she looks like the one who has exerted herself the least. 
‘I hear its cold in Alaska.’ I look at her as her hair tousles in the Colorado wind. The next group of kids line up for their assessment. Mr. Phillips blows his whistle a few times, indicating a few false starts. Evelyn wiggles her feet over the dirt ground, playing with the sand with her sneakers. Her arms are secured with her hands holding each side of the bench.
‘Yes, it is.’ Her voice is soothing and warm like lemon tea. Her coy smile fixates on me for a moment before she draws her head down.
‘You must be used to the cold weather in Colorado then?’ I ask clumsily. She looks up and nods her head as the sun glistens over her face, gold jewel colors radiate from her complexion. She looks away from me and her eyes cast down at the shadows on the dirt field from the afternoon sun. Her honey colored hair wraps around her face like a canopy and drops to her hands. She looks comfortable as she basks in the sun. I turn my head to look at her closely, to see the sparkle again, but it has past along with the sun. ‘My name is Michael.’ She looks up again at me. ‘And you are Evelyn?’
‘Yes.’ She looks like she is about to say something more and then the bell rings. The class runs inside for showers and she follows behind the other girls. The next two classes move boringly along until the final bell rings and I pack up my things and jump into my truck to head home. My mom and dad, Sue and Henry, wait for me at the dinner table as I arrive late having stopped by the local library to pick up a few books we have to read for our English class. Despite what jokes my athletic friends make, I am studious and have been preparing to go away to Yale after graduation.
‘I’ve made your favorite tonight, steak and potatoes.’ Sue says standing over the kitchen stove. ‘Take a seat and I’ll be right there with you guys. My favorite two men in the word.’
‘So how are things going Michael?’ Dad says and begins eating now that mom has joined us at the table. My dad is a man of few words and when he begins eating, I know the conversation for his part is soon over.
‘It’s fine. I did well on my English quiz today and picked up a few books for our reports due next term. Though I speak about school, all I can really think about is her.
‘That’s good, glad to hear it.’ Henry smiles and then continues eating. At night I can only think of her: her hair, her eyes, her scent, her skin, her voice. She is intoxicating. I go outside to kick my soccer ball on the driveway in the dark. I cool off my mind and let the chilly breeze wash over me. Then I head back inside to a restless sleep.
The next day I spend an extra ten minutes in the bathroom getting ready for school. For me that is a lot more extra time than usual. I wash my short, dark hair twice and stare into the mirror on the wall. I rub my fingers over the two pink pimples against my nose. At least my blue eyes are strong in color to distract girls from the imperfection. All the girls say my eyes are the first thing they notice about me, followed by my elongated eyelashes. I have to admit I’m kind of proud of my eyes, though I had nothing to do with getting them. I shave my chin as I do every morning or the stubble from my hair begins to grow and grab my cologne and spray my clothes a few times.
When I get to school, I wait anxiously for my first three classes to pass so I can go to English and see her. I head to the back of the class, knowing she will be there soon. She walks into class just as the bell rings and returns to her seat from yesterday. I smile at her awkwardly and she politely smiles in return. I try for a conversation, but my throat tightens at the thought. What do I say? I’ve already asked her about the weather. Normally, I would have no problems talking to girls. I am quite popular. But she is different. When I am near her, I feel different. I sit quietly, smiling at her for the rest of class until the bell rings and everyone heads out. I notice Taylor hawk eyeing me and wiggling his finger indicating that I should usher myself over to him quickly or all hell might break loose. I weed through the crowd and manage to get to him before Evelyn disappears completely.
‘So, where is she?’ Taylor asks in impatient anticipation.
‘She left the room before I did. Didn’t you see her?’ I retort. Taylor raises his brows and in obligatory surrender, I point to the tall, lean figure in a blue jean jacket turning the corner at the end of the hall.
‘The girl dressed from the 80’s?’ Taylor giggles heavy. I hadn’t thought about it. I hadn’t noticed it staring into her eyes and finding myself lost in her flowery scents, but he was right. She was dressed like she was from a different time. Taylor digresses from his launch of attack on my affections for Evelyn and concedes my wording of looks nice from yesterday’s lunch. ‘But you are right. She is hot.’ He presses his lips together with a sound like a kiss slipping through them and he finishes with, ‘damn, those long legs are fine.’
For the next few weeks all I can do is think about her. I manage to say something in the second week like ‘ah, um, do you need my notes?’ She nods her head, no. Undiscouraged I eagerly rush to open the classroom door for her as she leaves the English class when the bell rings, along with three other students finding their way there, taking advantage of my chivalry. If I was the teacher I would have marked their names on the black board next to detention: Julia, Harry, Cynthia with big red marks. Today these three block my path through the hall, keeping me from watching Evelyn's delicate figure glide out of my line of sight as I had grown to enjoy the past weeks. Harry and Cynthia stop in the middle of the hall talking and I get stuck behind them. Then Evelyn turns the corner, disappearing.
It is in the beginning of the third week when I mutter something like, ‘do you need any paper,’ while dropping my own paper on the floor, distracting her from saying anything back to me. I look up at her with puppy eyes and manage to squeeze out of my mouth, 'would you like...' and then the bell rings. I wanted to invite her to lunch, to sit with me at my table. I figure this will give us time to get to know each other better, rather than sitting in silence in English and gym class.
At the end of the third week I finally muster the courage to ask her out on a proper date without feeling she will reject me completely. I see her pencil break half way through lecture notes and I pull out an extra one out of my bag to hand it to her. Can she see right through me? Maybe I should not be so attentive? But she seems so fragile to this small town and doesn’t seem to know many people.
‘Would you like to go out tonight? I speak slowly, not realizing fully that I am actually asking her out and she is actually listening. I may have been imagining it as I did so many times in class. ‘I mean if you’re not busy over the weekend.’ The words spit out of my lips from a frustrating three weeks of denying myself the privilege of conversing with her. But it is Friday and I don’t have exciting plans, unless one calls soccer practice with friends exciting, so I brave the embarrassment of my impulsive question.
‘Where?’ She replies. My eyes open up wide with excitement as she talks to me and it hits me that this is real, not in my head. She is talking with me and I am mystified by her presence.
‘The Main Star Cinemas, it is up the street from where I live, thirty minutes from the school.’ She hesitates in her answer and then in apologetic tones says,
‘I...I can’t. I’m sorry.’ She looks at me like she desperately wants to say yes, but can’t.
‘Perhaps you would rather go with some other friend?’ I look down at the desk and play with the pencil in my hand.
‘No, that’s not it. I’m just…I would just…rather do something closer to home.’ She looks at me and away and back at me as she says this.
‘Ok,’ I say hopeful with my eyes widening. ‘Where do you live?’
‘Across from Lake Forest.’ She tilts her head to the left and her hair falls away from her face and emerges is the warm heart-shape of her forehead to her jaw line.
‘Way over there?’ I giggle.
‘I like to stay as close to home as possible in the evenings, if you don’t mind?’ Her tone becomes serious.  
‘There is a movie theater across the street from Lake Forest near where you live, Major Cinemas. We could go there?’ Evelyn ponders the thought for a moment. ‘It’s a date?’ I say like a question and when she returns my smile it is confirmed. ‘I’ll pick you up around sevenish?’ I conclude and Evelyn hands me a piece of paper where upon she has scribbled directions to her house. A glitter of happiness sparks in my baby blue eyes and I wait for her to look at me again with her engaging emerald eyes. I carry an achieved smile on my face throughout the rest of the day, a smile everyone at the lunch table was quick to pick up on.
I anxiously drive myself home and park the truck in the driveway behind my mom’s Volvo. I run up to my bedroom and throw my hands into my closet, passing over the array of clothes I have collected over the years. Nothing seems right. I don’t want to appear too decadent. I don’t want to appear too casual like I don’t care. I find a dark blue pair of jeans and a nice brown wool sweater. That might look nice. The jeans are causal, but expensive. The sweater is elegant and also has a casual feel to it.
I run to the bathroom to fix my hair. I stare at myself in the mirror and notice my hair has blown into some kind of strange upward spiral from the windows rolled down in my truck. I knew it would happen. My hair is always a mess when I leave my windows down. But I wasn’t thinking about my hair as I drove home, I could only recall she said, yes. I wash my hair with a new shampoo my mom bought. It has a nice balance of fragrance, but not much of a perfume smell. I shave again just to be sure of hiding any stray stubble that has grown in the last seven hours and then dress. I go downstairs to eat dinner and then rest in the lounge room until it is time to leave. Moments pass slowly while I tap my fingers on the table and though it must have only been about twenty minutes, it feels like two hours. Finally, it is time to go and I’m can’t wait to see her.        
 I pull up to her house across from Lake Forest and park slowly near the curb. It’s a blue and white house. It has a white picket fence and a comfortable fell. My watch shows 6:55 pm. I walk slowly with tried confidence up to the door. I over hear a noisy conversation coming from the nearby open window which is covered with white
 curtains, and hear a man’s deep voice. 
‘You need to be careful Evelyn.’ He speaks with authority. Another voice, soft and female speaks. 
‘Evelyn can’t stay locked up in our needs forever. She is young and she should be enjoying her time here. Let her have her fun now.’
For now. But he must not ever find out Evelyn. It would be too dangerous for us, for him. You must fulfill your duty in the end. We can’t have the council talking about it.’ Then the conversation stops. I knock twice on the door and Evelyn opens the door with an irritated expression on her face. But as she sees me, she smiles and I let out the breath I have been holding.
‘Would you like to come in?’ She asks me with a tone telling me she is really not sure if I would.
‘Of course, I would like to meet your family.’ I say without delay.
She opens the door wider and a tall woman with a pale face looks at me. She has a few dark freckles around her cheeks, long black hair hiding her ears the same way Evelyn’s hair does. She has perfectly almond shaped eyes and the same bright emerald color I’ve grown accustomed too after staring into Evelyn’s eyes over the past three weeks in school. She stands next to a big sofa in the living room. A tall lean man with shoulder length white hair with several strands hanging over his ears, also with almond shaped eyes but with a paler shade of emerald stands next the tall woman. As he reaches towards me, welcoming me, I notice a scar deep on his right cheek from his lip to his lower eye.
‘Michael…These are my parents, Eve and Nile.’ I walk over to them and politely reach out my hand to shake their outstretched hands.
‘It’s nice to meet you. I’m Eve, Evelyn’s mom.’ Eve says. As I hold her hand, I note her hands are soft and warm. Her smile is inviting.
‘Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet one of Evelyn’s friends.’ Nile smiles and nods his head to me, but behind his eyes is a careful gaze and resistance with this intrusion into their lives. A small girl about the age of three and a half years comes running through the living room with long curly black hair past her shoulders and dark emerald eyes. Her hands are waving in the air and she speaks so quickly I can hardly keep up with her.
‘Mommy, mommy is this Michael?’ She looks at me. ‘Michael, Michael. It is nice to meet you. Evelyn told me you were coming over tonight. I hope you like our house. I’m Venda. I live here too.’ For a three year old little girl she is very precocious. I quietly laugh with my hand over my mouth at her noisy entrance as it has brought all attention away from me and directly onto her. Eve smiles and puts her hand gently on her daughter’s head, drawing Venda to her.
‘This is Venda, my youngest daughter.’ She says with a giggle. Nile’s face lightens up and the stern expression on his face, which he had as I walked in, disappears behind Venda’s puffing cheeks that now hold his smile and affections. I laugh aloud with them and the tension at once lifts in the room.   
‘What time is the movie?’ Niles asks.
‘It begins at 7:30 pm,’ I explain and I have the tickets already. I will have Evelyn back soon after the show.’ I say with certainty. My father raised me to be polite and responsible and I have usually followed his good example most of the time. We say our goodbyes and I walk her to my beat up old Chevy truck which I vacuumed and washed for this very occasion. I open the door for her before getting in myself. Her small frame and tender face appear so delicate, but after having pulled her up off the high school floor when I first met her I have felt her strength and seen close up her defined muscles hiding underneath her exterior. ‘Tighten your seat belt.’ Evelyn pulls the belt around her with a smirk across her face. I study the crooked smile for a moment, trying to understand it, learn it. We drive up to the cinema near Lake Forest which is about five minutes from where they live. Evelyn is quiet in the car and deep in thought. I don’t want to disturb her, but I want to see her face. I try to think of something to say, something which won’t sound too desperate in making conversation, something which won’t sound stupid.
‘Your parents seem real nice. Venda is delightful!’ Evelyn turns away from the window laughing in her deep emerald eyes and shakes her head.
‘Yes, Venda is quite a mouthful, Lucky for you, you don’t live with her. I am sure after a week with her you would be gnawing on your own wrists.’ She laughs again this time whole heartily and I laugh with her.
‘Are you comfortable?’ I inquire.
‘I’m good. Thank you for inviting me.’ She says earnestly. ‘I don’t get to go out often. My parents don’t like me too. They like me to stay close to home.’ She speaks in short rigid sentences, like she doesn’t want to say what she is saying, but feels compelled too explain.
‘Protective huh?’ I ask and she shrugs like she doesn’t want to say more. ‘Well, I hope you like the movie. You know this small town can get pretty boring.’
‘Yeah, my parents like boring. That is why we moved here.’ She looks at me with those words and then looks away out the window. ‘They worry so much.’  
‘About you?’
‘About everything.’ She stares at the forest as we pass it.
The movie is a comedy and I see Evelyn jump out of her seat a few times in the dark, giddy. I want her to feel comfortable about the small town –population 775, and my home town for most of my life. I am respectful and polite so I don’t throw my arms around her to kiss her incessantly, though it is what my heart pulls me to do. She is not like the other girls in this town and I don’t want to scare her away. Any other girl would be pawing me during the movie and they wouldn’t mind a kiss from me, a soccer star, but with her I am restrained. With her it feels as though every movement is being watched. The movie is over too quickly. I look at my watch and it is 8:45pm. I want to talk to her more, but we can’t stay out much longer since I promised to have her back soon after the movie. But Evelyn looks happy and her disposition is relaxed, so, I talk myself into inviting her for cake and coffee before dropping her home.
‘That was a hilarious movie, thanks for taking me.’ She says with sincerity and I know already if we never saw each other again I would greatly be missing her coy and child like smiles.
‘Yeah, it was.’ I move closer to her. ‘Would you like to get something small to eat before heading home?’ I speak with my eyes whenever I am with someone I like and I really liked being with her. Likewise, my eyes were true to form and widen and bat at the sounds of the words flowing from my mouth, at the ideas that would keep her close to me. The girls I dated in my sophomore year said they loved to see my long eyelashes bat up and down when I became excited. But when it came to Evelyn, I sometimes found it hard to think of anything to say, like every reasonable thought was fleeting from me and only babble remained.     
‘Sure would be nice.’ She speaks softly and assuredly. I’m glad she does not sound worried or anxious. I take her to one of my favorite weekend cafes. There are many books on the shelves, paintings on the walls, and an eclectic mix of music from around the world playing on any given day. We sit at a table near the window and the Lake Forest is just a few walking blocks from it. I notice her eyeing the forest as we drove past it to go the movies and then again when we drove past it to get to the café. She looks out of the window of the café and stares at it sternly.
‘Is there something about the forest that makes you love it so much?’
The forest,’ I smile, ‘you seem to enjoy looking at it a lot.’
‘Oh, I’m a nature person I guess.’ Her face leaves the seriousness behind and reflects humor, quickly realizing I’ve noticed her preoccupation. ‘You can pull the girl out of the country, but you can’t pull the country out of the girl.’ She smiles in return.
‘Something like, that.’ I laugh. Our traditional coffees are brought shortly to our table. No order is needed. There are only two items on the menu, the special Lake Forest coffee and the special Lake Forest coffee cake. I pointed to both listed on the side wall with two fingers up in the air when I walked in and the waitress Gloria knew immediately what I wanted. Her reddish short cropped hair slides across her shoulders as she gets our coffees and cake and as she walks towards us me, I notice her black and white laced waitress uniform hangs on her thin body needing a tighter fit. I have been here many times. I am accustomed to how this café works and all it has to offer. Sometimes the groups of kids wanting to get away from authority come here, smoking in the back and drinking coffee with a touch of rum they brought in from a drugstore.
Sometimes poetic kids from school hang out on the lounge sofas, reading poetry and every Friday night is open mic night. Someone would inevitably make a fool of themselves reading something they had written in prose or poetry form. Usually it was very entertaining and occasionally one or two nice stories or poems would be heard. The café had a local magazine and they would publish a new piece every month. This gets the creative crowds into frenzy every time the month approached its end. I walk over to the book self and pull out a few of the local stories they have resting there. The books are covered with a bit of dust. I brush off the covers. There is a story on the hunting of Colorado and another story on weapons sold in the area. I return them to the shelf and grab a few other books from a different area, because from the look in Evelyn’s face as she was staring at the covers, I knew she wouldn’t be too interested in hunting and local traditions. Evelyn smiles upon my return to the table.
‘Find anything?’
‘I think I have.’ I say, looking into her emerald eyes. A question pops into my mind and I interrupt her gaze with the books on the table. ‘Why did you move here?’
‘Our family needed to relocate.’
‘What do your parents do?’
‘They are in the conservation business.’ She looks down at the books and fumbles her fingers over the first few looking concerned. Then she looks up again with a smile, ‘What do your parents do?’
‘My mom, Sue, is a teacher at the local University. My dad, Henry, works as a ranger in the area.’
‘So your dad is into conservation too?’ She says with a giggle that seems to imply more than she is letting on and I look at her with a questioning eye. The coffees are warm against the cold night air of Colorado. They taste like butterscotch and mountain air. None of my friends from outside of state can ever imagine what it tastes like. Evelyn rumbles her fingers through the top book on the table, a book on local traditions and cultures. Underneath is a book on local folklore. The cover is blue and green like the ocean. It has a picture of angels and fairies intertwined like they are dancing on the water. She hides her eyes under her hair, dangling over her heart shaped-face and shyly scratches an itch on her shoulder and I notice her first imperfection, a deep scar over her right shoulder bone hiding underneath her silky green blouse.
‘Hey, look at this.’ I pull it out from underneath her hands. The book is thick and probably very old. I flip it open to the middle page. ‘Wow, look at these pictures.’ A picture of a few little people hiding under a log sits on the right page. On the left page is a picture of a dancing pale faced fairy with a purple silk dress and pixie wings, white and long. Evelyn smirks and a funny smile spreads from cheek to cheek, one I have not yet seen. I flip the book again further towards the back.
‘Look at this one.’ I say with a more serious tone. I forget my light humor for a moment and become sucked into the mystical pages of the book. A half-horse, half-man sits on the right page. The half-horse man jumps into the air and holds up a golden sword. On the other side sits a delicate figure, a tiny girl with a fragile looking face with almond shaped eyes and long curly hair. The picture is in black and white and when looking into the eyes of the small child on the page I cannot help but wonder if her eyes are emerald in color and if her skin is caramel in tone. I look back up at Evelyn, but she has turned her head away, gazing into the forest that she seems to love so much. I try to look out into the forest in her direction to see what she is looking at, at what is drawing her there, but all I see are trees.
‘Evelyn?’ She looks my way again. ‘You seem preoccupied.’
‘I’m sorry, it is just…’
‘You would like to get going now?’ 
I drive her home, silly we could have walked it was so close, but I felt the necessity that she felt about getting home and I didn't want to delay the inevitable any longer. I stop the truck by her house, walk her to the front door, and smile. She tells me she had a good time. I hope she is not just being polite. We stand there under the lightly lit moon and brightly lit stars, under this blanket of an otherwise pitch black night, waiting. I am not sure what we are waiting for, but I wait. Silence fills the air and I can see Evelyn squirm in her stance. Perhaps I should kiss her hand? Perhaps I should just say, ‘see you later?’ Perhaps I should give her a hug? The thoughts mount and muddle, but then one dominate thought is all I can think about being so close to her.
I knew I should not be thinking about kissing her on the lips so soon. I am a traditional boy from traditional Colorado. I was raised by a traditional family. Plus, she is going to think I am forward or rude or worse, she may just slap me and shut the door in my face. I tell myself this convincingly, but while I do I watch myself like one does when having an out of body experience walking closer and closer to her. I pull her head towards mine and gently with the lightest touch like a flower blowing in the wind, press my lips against hers and we kiss. It is only a few moments, but it feels like it lasts the entire night. This is what we were waiting for. In fact after she walks inside her house and closes the door, I can hardly remember anything else about the movie, the café, or the books. All I can remember is her and me and our kiss.
Yes, it was our first kiss and it was not just me kissing her. I took the step forward, I pulled her head to mine, and I reached my lips out to hers. But behind her lips she was reaching out to mine too, behind her eyes she was calling to me, and in her movement and in her touch she was in every way as much as I was, kissing. A smile spreads across my face as long as the Colorado Mountains, from one end to the other. This is not a dream of mine I shared with my closest friends. This is not a day dream while sitting in class. This is all real. The kiss, her kiss was real and I was smitten. I would not be the same Michael I was when I walked out those doors at 6:30pm this evening. I would not be the same Michael ever again.
I fall to my bed, closing my eyes, and immediately went to sleep. I didn’t have to dream about what it was like kissing her, I knew. My dreams couldn’t be more vivid of her. This new revelation of how it felt to press my lips against her soft rosy lips would stay with me forever, of that I was sure. There was no incident, there was no pain, and there was nothing strong enough to make me forget the memory of her kiss and our first night on her porch under the dark star lit night.
In the morning I almost did not want to wake up. The dreams I had of her kept me under my covers and in a trance for quite some time. But I knew something better than the dream waited for me on the other side. I rubbed my well rested eyes and jumped out of bed, anxious to see her again. It is Saturday morning, after our first date. I quickly shower, eat the cereal my mom fills up for me, head out the door and down to her street. I am about to pull into her road when I see her. She stands in a long silk green shirt going down to her ankles with a white thin rope tied around it. Her eyes glisten under the sun and radiate green like her long silk shirt. As she slides away from her house and into Lake Forest across her street, I see her move clandestinely inside the woods and in a few seconds she is gone.
I pull my old truck over to the side of the road, before her street, jump out speedily and run up to the forest where I saw her. It takes me a few moments to orient myself and then I see a sparkly green shirt run behind the trees in the distance. I know I shouldn’t follow her in there. I could feel where this is taking me. It couldn’t turn out good. She will catch me and we will fight or I will see something I don’t want to see, something to take away from our perfect union. Why am I compelled to follow her? Why do I have to see where she is going? I don’t listen to the voice inside my head saying, turn around, turn around now and go back to your truck. I am too curious. I am too entranced. I have to know the truth. Why does she love this forest so much? Why was she constantly staring at it as we drove past it last night? Why is she there now? As I follow her, her pace becomes faster and faster in the variety of trees surrounding us like a blanket above, hiding us in quiet secret from the rest of the world.
The forest is filled with varieties of trees. The Blue Spruce with gray brown bark, dark evergreen needles towering over us, Bristlecone Pines with dark white lines and white spots on their evergreen and red brown bark short enough to make me feel tall again, Quaking Aspen with green white bark and broad foliage of bright greens and dull greens which is a nice middle length between the other two trees. Even the Cottonwood begins to show its yellow green bark and broad leaf foliage of shiny green one month into springtime. She is prancing through the forest like she has lived there all her life, like she knows which turns to make, where to jump, what to miss and where to land safely. I think I can keep up with her; after all, I beat her on the race track we had at school in gym. I came in first. No one was faster than me. I have been the fastest runner in my class all my school life. I ran after her, faster and faster.
But she is faster -she is faster than me. I can't believe what I am seeing. Was she feigning her way all through gym class, humbling denying the class the privilege of seeing her agile abilities? Was she really this modest? She could be a first rate track runner at school, able to jump over hurdles and whatever perilous obstacles are thrown in her way by gym teachers , and still make it to the finishing line first. No, I am not going to be able to keep up with her. I am not going to be able to see where she is going today or why. Her silk shirt and sandy gold hair becomes smaller as it draws further and further away from me until it disappears altogether.
I stop and look around. I am lost. I hadn’t thought this through before I started running towards her. How am I going to make it back out of the forest? I remember coming from the other direction and so I start heading that way. I begin walking until I realize I am walking in circles. I get anxious and a little scared. Then I notice a light, however dim, shinning through the thicket of trees. It looks like the light from the cinema we went to last night. I can follow it and find my way out of here. The forest is dark under all the trees, but the light from the cinema shows the way and I think how poetic it is that our first night is what saves me from being lost. It takes me about twenty minutes, though running after her felt like only about five. I step off the forest trail and onto the pavement. Across the street is her house. I know I shouldn’t ask, because I know it is; however small a grain, still a lie, but I have to know. My body is compelled to move toward her house and I knock on the front door. Eve opens it and the lie comes out of my mouth as quickly as it pops into my head.
‘Why, hello Michael.’
‘Hello, Mrs. Eve.’
‘No need for the Mrs., Eve is fine.’
‘Eve,’ I politely speak, trying to force the word Mrs. back into my mouth, ‘is Evelyn here?’ I know the answer to that question. Of course she is not there. She is gallivanting around the forest. But what did her mom know about this? Would she tell me anything?
‘No, I’m sorry she is not here at this moment. May I leave a message for her?’
‘It is a bit urgent. Do you know where I might find her?’ Another lie I could add to my long growing list.
‘I believe she said,’ her eyes trail off into the distance and her answer is delayed a few seconds, ‘she was going to the library to pick up a few books. Perhaps you could try her again later?’
‘Yes, I could do that. Do you know when she will be back?’
‘Perhaps try her this afternoon.’
‘I will. Thank you Mrs. …Eve.’ I say, remembering too late to drop the Mrs.
           The day is restless for me, waiting for Evelyn to get back from her journey in the forest. But I patiently wait it through, walking down the streets near my favorite café, sipping the traditional butterscotch mountain taste coffee of my town, listening to the café’s soft music saturated with slow guitar strums, and reading a few of the books off the shelves. Do her parents know she was not at the library, but prancing along in the forest? Questions flood my mind and it doesn’t take long for me to miss her, for my mind to wonder back to her and then I remember. I remember the book we looked at before she seemed so distant, so reclusive like she was having a secret conversation solely between her and the forest.
Gloria brings me my coffee with a flirtatious smile, ‘no date today?’ I look up, politely smiling. Her red short hair is cut just below her ears, and she looks cute in the black and white waiting uniform, although it still looks too big for her thin figure but I never took much interest in her before Evelyn, and I am now taking even less. I sit sipping my coffee and then stand up to reach for the book off the shelf. It is still there, it is still old and the cover still captivates me. I hold my hands over the thick ripped book, caressing the cover a bit with my fingers as if some magical secret will seep through its pages and awaken inside of me. I laugh at myself for the thought of it and open it up gently to avoid ripping any fragile pages. I skim through the first few pages with pictures of nymphs, fairies, and trolls. I read through the next page twice, slowly:
This book contains Folklore brought to us by our ancient ancestors passed down from generation to generation. The following are stories and accounts of the town’s harbored old legends of magical worlds mixing with our own.
Along time ago, from the time man discovered the forest, he had a longing to learn its secrets, driving him further and further into it, destroying it as he sojourned. As he longed to discover it, this journey led some men to uncover a world unlike their own. Wrapped up, interwoven so much were the two worlds it was hard to know where one world ended and the other began.
Walking through the woods of the natural world and then as easily as crossing over a fallen tree, the forest would become a different forest, a different world, a world full of ‘Beasts and Angels,’ telling secrets to these men with their movements, words, and existence.
The new sky filled with purples and oranges, glittering like gold and air that smelled fresh and free, creatures beyond imagination and endless green meadows, lakes and sky. Silver lakes, emerald lakes, pink and purple and yellow flowers undulate in the green meadow breeze. Each man felt stronger in this new world, something inside him began to grow.
But as man grew, their world declined. Their existence was a secret no longer and man began to covet their world for himself. The mystical creatures bound together, creating a creature so dark and dangerous they were afraid of its very existence, but feared if they had not created such a thing that man would destroy their forests and their world would be forever lost.
 The mystical creatures established a boundary separating man’s world from theirs and created the golden gate. No man would be allowed to pass through the gate from that time on until such a time that man could prove himself no longer an unintentional but inclined and natural enemy to the creatures and forests of magic.   
   I close the book and take a breath. Mythical or not, it is a lot to take in. I look up at the clock hanging up over the menu on the wall in the café. It is still ten minutes fast and reads a quarter to twelve. I think of Evelyn and wonder if she will be returning home soon. Then a nudge in my back from behind brings me back to the moment.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Robby.’ I say with disappointment in my tone.
‘I’m, I’m…just waiting. What are you doing here?’ I deflect. I did not want to go into the details with him about my evening with Evelyn. I can tell he likes her and he is my best friend. I don’t want to hurt him with any ideas he may entertain about the two of us. She turned him down when he tried to carry her books. I took it to mean it was a fair game. I did not regret talking to her, or inviting her out, or her accepting my invitation. But Robby did not need to know any of this.
‘I’m just hanging out with Lee and Taylor.’ He points over to the two of them sitting in the back of the café on a sofa that opens out into a bed. The bed is usually turned down in the evening and the sofa set up for the afternoons. It is a comfortable environment and everyone enjoys letting loose here. Lee motions his hand, telling me to come over to him. I stand up carrying the book under my arm and walk to him to sit down on the sofa next to Taylor, facing him. A coffee table sits between the two sofas and Taylor is already on his third piece of cake.
‘You really shouldn’t eat like that, Taylor,’ Lee says concerned, ‘our game is coming up and you need to be in top shape. Remember, it is against our worst enemy this year.’ He says with a serious face and then laughs, ‘We have to destroy them.’
‘Yes, leave them in shame with their heads between their knees.’ Taylor pushes the third piece of cake away and looks over at me.
‘So what did you do last night? I didn’t see you. I thought you were coming out with us to practice?’
‘Yeah, I was going to and then something came up. Next time?’ I thought about the sweaty long night of practice in comparison to going out with Evelyn. There was no comparison.
‘You sure have many secrets these days. Are you not going to tell us what you did last night?’ Robby asks in a suspicious tone and sits down next to Lee with his cup of coffee in hand.
‘It was nothing.’ I could see the answer was not going to satisfy them, ‘really it is just…’ another lie, I could feel it coming out already as much as I tried to keep it back inside of me, ‘…that my mother wanted me to help her with some tedious work around the house and I couldn’t get out of it.’
Robby’s head shakes back and forth like he understands and is even sympathetic with my grief. Lee and Taylor say in unison, ‘that must have sucked.’ They are really buying it? The story seemed plausible? Are they really this gullible or do they just trust me this much? Though, they don’t live at my house. They don’t know my mother preferred I stay out of her way with everything she tries to get done. It could have been true in another house, another family, another universe. Who am I to argue with their new found sympathies for me?
‘So you will be out later tonight with us to practice then? We can’t get the game together without you there.’ Taylor piles the guilt on thick. His face is like a concerned teddy bear and the girls all think he is one.
‘I’ll try.’ I say with strong determination. I knew I was going to try. I also knew a bigger part of me was not. It is that part of me which wondered what I would be doing tonight with Evelyn.
‘Well, I’d better get going, I have to…’ another lie, ‘pick up some books and study for an exam I have in Biology. I’ll catch up with you guys later?’ I couldn’t believe it. My game buddies always had my back and now apparently all it takes is a day for me with Evelyn to turn my back on them. I am ashamed for a moment, but the moment is fleeting and not at all as dominate as my excitement about returning to her. My friends head out of the café and I tell them I’ll catch them later.  
I wasn’t going to the library, I wasn’t going to study. I didn’t even have an exam. I know where I am going. I am going to Evelyn’s home. I have to know if she came back and if she misses me like I miss her. I race to her house on foot this time, because the cafe is only a few blocks away and I leave my truck outside my favorite café. Gloria said she’d keep an eye on it. I almost thanked her, but turn away too quickly from her and headed down to Evelyn’s street. I may be losing my small town manners too. Her house is only a couple blocks from the café. The walk is easy, well more of a sprint really. I never knew this discipline of running in soccer would serve not only my family and my school, but my heart as well.     
            I walk briskly up to Evelyn’s door and her father Nile answers quickly as if he expects me. He must have seen me coming. Did he know I was waiting for her to come back while I sat at the café? Could he sense how much I longed to see her again? He looks me up and down with a suspicious glare and then smiles calmly, turns around and gives me room to breathe. 
‘Evelyn.’ He calls out her name and it sounds sweet like honeycomb and resonates in my ears. I let the sound of her name stay there a moment and then notice Evelyn before me. Her gold skin hues compliment her emerald eyes, and she carries a scent of lilacs today. Her skin tone surprises me, contrastingly darker than both her mother and father’s pale skin. I think I'll eventually grow numb to her dangerous beauty, but I never do. She is more beautiful than I remember, though close up I note another imperfection, a miniscule, almost invisible, white, thin scar in her chin. Nile calls out to her again, ‘Evelyn,’ and as she bounces over to the door, her smile brightens at the sight of me.
 ‘Michael?’ She still smiles. That is a good sign.
 ‘Would you like to hang out somewhere this afternoon?’ I say it quickly, hoping if she says no then the words will not really have existed.
‘Yes. I would.’ She says in a matter of fact tone. I hesitate in disbelief. ‘Would you like to come in first?’ I follow her inside. The house feels more warm and comfortable then before and her younger sister Venda is waiting by the door to greet me as I come inside. ‘She missed you. She likes you so much.’ Evelyn giggles at the expression her younger sister makes. I try hard not to burst out in laughter myself. Venda sticks her tongue out and puts her thumbs into her ears, like she is making moose ears and wiggles her hands back and forth. I hold back my laughter for a few moments and then it pops like a balloon and all comes out of me. She runs back into the long hallway that leads to the kitchen and then back again to the front door where the living room is. She is fast too. Her motions remind me of Evelyn in the forest this morning and I think their family must have won some kind of genetic lottery.
Venda is clearly trying to get me to chase her, but I am hesitant in an unfamiliar house and unaccustomed to the rules Nile may have. ‘Go for it.’ Evelyn reads my expression and I burst forward. I chase Venda up the hall and back down into the living room where I had first seen Evelyn’s parents. Venda jumps onto the couch and I tickle her until she starts laughing with tears pouring down her pink cheeks. I stop only to let her breathe. Evelyn comes over to me with a look of much approval on her face and sits down next to me while Venda tries recuperating. Nile walks into the room and Eve follows him.
‘Are you kids having fun?’ Eve asks without it really being meant as a question. Nile just smiles and then casts a strong look at Evelyn. They walk in the direction of the kitchen and I smell soup boiling in the pot.
‘Wow that smells delicious.’
‘Would you like to try some?’ Evelyn asks softly almost like a whisper. ‘My mom makes it. It is her special recipe. You will love it. I promise.’
I nod my head. How could anyone ever say no to such an angelic creature?
‘Yes, I think I would love too.’ We hop off the living room sofa and I help Venda to her feet. She is very light for a girl that can spit out words in the pounds. We walk to the dining table set up in the next room adjacent to the kitchen and I notice six place settings.
‘Is there someone else joining us?’ Nile and Evelyn look at each other in a way that tells me they don’t want to speak about it and Venda jumps up to her seat with an extra cushion so she can reach the table. She sits properly with her hands in her lap, waiting patiently. She has very good table manners for someone so young.
‘This other setting is for Wind.’ Eve stirs the soup out of the main bowl and into the first few smaller individual bowls decorating the table, ‘he’ll be coming by later tonight. He is…Evelyn’s brother you know. Did she tell you she has a brother?’
‘No.’ I look over to Evelyn and she looks annoyed.
‘His real name is Ky-el-in. She says it slowly so I hear the name clearly, ‘but everyone calls him Wind, because he thinks he is so fast, faster than anyone else.’
‘Well he is, Evelyn.’ Nile retorts.
‘He brags too much if you ask me.’ Evelyn responds with a roll of her eyes.
‘Your family seems to have a natural inclination for running.’ I say to Nile. ‘I myself am a very good runner. I have always come first in my class since elementary school.’
‘Really?’ Nile responds surprised. ‘That is good to hear. We don’t get enough disciplined young men these days.’ He puts his spoon into the soup. ‘Everyone is so reckless these days. It is not like it was long ago when men were more reliable. You knew what they would do even if you didn’t like it. Now men are a most unpredictable thing.’
‘I suppose man has always had an unpredictable nature.’ Eve slips.
‘What makes you think we have a knack for running? Did I do something in gym to impress you that I am unaware of?’ Evelyn says smiling.
   ‘You always impress me.’ I say without thinking and she blushes pink at the table. It is a beautiful color on her skin, against the caramel coloring. Now that I had discovered it, I am quickly trying to think of other ways to embarrass her.
‘What is that smirk on your face?’ Evelyn asks like she doesn’t really have to ask, because she already knows.
‘Nothing,’ I blush too caught in the act. I put my spoon into the soup and into my mouth. Its flavors explode with herbs and fragrances I cannot identify and the flavor slides down my tongue and throat. ‘This is amazing. I have never had anything quite like it. What ingredients did you use?’
‘My own special herbs from my own special garden.’ Eve says and everyone at the table starts laughing, including me though I am not quite sure what the joke is. Everyone finishes their meal and I am quite full. I am not full in the I need an excuse to leave the table way, but in the I am completely satisfied kind of way that comes with eating just the right amount with just the right amount of flavoring.
‘You want to get going now?’ Evelyn asks me and I look at my watch, it is 2:45pm. It is approaching three already. I get a bit nervous because I want to take Evelyn to the park since I know her love of nature, but it takes a good thirty minutes to get there and then we have to find the parking space. The park closes at four officially. We will not have much time to enjoy ourselves there now. My face becomes concentrated and Evelyn smiles at me to make sure I am fine. I smile back at her, reassuring her. Nile and Eve say goodbye as Evelyn and I leave the house and Venda sticks her tongue out at me and pouts from my absence on the living room sofa.
‘You’ll see him again.’ I hear Eve comfort her as Evelyn and I walk out the door together.
            It takes about thirty minutes to get to my house which is close to the park I wanted to take Evelyn to this morning. It is already three-fifteen and I know my mom will be home by now. She works part time at the University and loves to spend ‘quality time’ with her family. Though there is not much quality as she is always telling me to not get in her way while she is working. I think she really took part time hours so she could spend as much time as she needs taking care of the house. She never did like maids or other people taking care of things for her and she couldn’t find enough time to take care of it the way she wanted when she worked full time. She used to be away most of the day at the local University. I would love this quality time if I ever got to use it with her. My face grimaces with the thought.
‘Is that you Michael?’ Sue calls out to me while I walk through the front door. Who else could it be when the only other person that walks through the door without knocking first is my dad and he does not get off from his work until five. He doesn’t mind though, he loves working as a ranger.     
‘Yes mom.’ I roll my eyes. I walk Evelyn into the study that my mom usually uses to put together odds and ends from around the house. Sometimes projects of sewing quilts together I will never use, or organizing photos in scrap books and all those kinds of homely activities she loves and never had a chance to do when she worked full time. I knew she would be in there as it is usually where I would find her. ‘I wanted you to meet Evelyn.’ My mom gets up from the floor, away from her books and piles of projects and looks up. Her face is bright and her smile brighter, waiting to hear the story from this new creature to our small town who has graced our home with her presence.
‘Well hello, it is sure nice to meet you.’ Sue says with a warm smile. ‘Where have you been hiding her?’ She says in the, it’s a small town and so you can’t hide anything from anyone here kind of tone.
‘She just moved here three weeks ago.’
‘Where did you move from?’ Sue asks inquisitively as if this now is more interesting then the knick-knack hobbies and house cleaning she has gone to part time work for. She gives her undivided attention to hearing the answer from Evelyn. Evelyn shies away and I can tell she is not used to being open with everyone and I quickly answer for her. I know my mom will be partly disappointed for not being able to begin a conversation with the one new arrival to this town in the past year, and the one new girl I have brought home in just about the same amount of time. 
‘She is from Alaska. Her family moved here to relocate for work. They are into conservation. We are going to head upstairs. I’ll see you later.’ I pull Evelyn’s tiny hand into mine and lead her into my room.
‘Your mom seems nice.’ Evelyn speaks softly.
‘Yes, she is. She is a very decent mom.’ I had to be fair to my mom, as much as she irritated me. I knew she was caring, loving, and did everything she could to help and protect me in life. Though high school brought new stresses to our relationship, I did owe it to her to delight in her good qualities at least once in a while.
‘She is a great cook, and talker. I bet her and Venda would get along great.’ I laugh and then Evelyn laughs. Evelyn moves around my room gracefully examining my life, stroking her fingers over a gold medal I won in a race last year in high school and looking at the glass cabinet filled with other awards I had won in athletics and in soccer.
‘You weren’t kidding. You are a fast runner.’ She says. I smile softly and she continues with her thorough inspection. She moves her eyes over paintings I bought from rummage sales. They are pictures of trees and mountains. She then looks over at my window, peaking outside, noticing the park nearby which was to be our second date. She moves closer to me and we sit on my bed, looking up at the glow stars I stuck to my ceiling when I was in Middle school and in my curious ‘about the universe’ phase. I hadn’t taken them down yet. She enjoys looking at them glow and glimmer almost as much as she enjoyed staring at her forest. I get up from the bed and pull out a handful of CDs from one of my dresser drawers and ask if there is anything she likes in particular.
‘Anything soft with nice melodies.’ 
I pull out my Phil Collins CD and play ‘Against All Odds.’ The song always reminds me of my longing for the one who will fill my soul completely, the exact match to my heart: to find her, to know her, to love her. I always thought at how that reality would in fact be against all odds. I walk back to the bed and this time Evelyn is lying down on top of it. I lay side by side with her, our eyes gazing at my ceiling and as we listen to the music, our hands begin to touch and wrap themselves up in each other. The words fill my room.
‘Take a look at me now, I’ll still be standing here and to wait for you is all I can do and that’s what I have to face, take a good look at me now…I’ll still be standing here and you coming back to me is against all odds, but it’s a chance I have got to face….’
As old as the song is, it is one of my favorites. As the song ends, I see a tear in Evelyn’s eye and watch as it rolls down her cheek. She tries to wipe it before I notice, but when it comes to her I notice everything. We lay still like that on my bed for what feels like eternity, hand in hand, eyes to the ceiling, with a secret tear between us that I pretend not to notice, but eternity doesn’t end so it must have been sometime shorter than that.
‘Michael, are you upstairs?’ I can hear my mom below coming up too quickly and I pull myself up and Evelyn follows. I open the door to my bedroom,
‘I told you I was going upstairs mom. What do you want?’
‘What do you want for dinner?’
‘Anything is fine mom.'
 'Is Evelyn staying for dinner?’ I hadn’t thought that far ahead. Was she? I look over to Evelyn and she sits completely still on my bed.
‘Would you like to stay for dinner?’ I can see from the twisted expression on her face that she dearly wants to and is torn at what to do. She thinks about it for a moment.
‘Could I call my parents and let them know?’
‘Yes, of course.’ I smile big. I prevailed in the battle of whatever it was she was debating inside herself. I give her my cell phone and she makes a call.
‘No, Nile. I am not coming back soon.… I realize it is getting late, but I am here with Michael and I want to stay for dinner,’ another pause, ‘he can take care of that tonight. He doesn’t need me there all the time….I know it’s been,’ she looks over at me, ‘different lately but if you’re concerned, maybe you should stay with him tonight….ok, I’ll see you around seven. I love you too. Bye.’ I am content, knowing I had been on the winning side of her argument, but surprised, because as long as I had know her in the past three weeks I never heard her so forceful and headstrong. I did not know her shy demeanor and cautious words could ever be anything but gentle.
My mom prepares the meal downstairs ready for us to eat at five-thirty. My dad walks in and we are already sitting at the table, waiting for him to get home so we can begin our meal. My dad hangs his winter coat on the coat rack near the door and takes off his heavy boots. Though spring has begun, it was still chilly outside from the winter weather just a few weeks earlier and my dad always bundles up as a result of it.
‘We have a guest today.’ My mom shouts across the room as my dad makes his way to the dining table.
‘Oh, we do.’ My dad lightens his mood at the sight of Evelyn like he has finally gotten over me without a girlfriend for the past year. He heads to his seat on the left side of the small square table adjacent to me, and my mom sits on his right. Evelyn sits across from him, closer to me. I can see she is starting to feel comfortable around me and that makes me more comfortable too. ‘I’m Henry, Michael’s dad.’ He says before sitting down.
‘I’m Evelyn.’ She smiles awkwardly, looking at her plate of food. We each take a bite. Evelyn enjoys the veggies, but scrapes the meat away from her. She does not seem big on the socializing. My mom made pot roast and boiled vegetables and as great as my mom’s cooking is, I cannot help but remember Eve’s soup and how in comparison to the pot roast it is missing something. 
‘So, what brings your family here? I hear you are the new girl in town.’
‘Dad!’ I interrupt him with a stern look on my face. ‘She is from Alaska. Her family moved here to relocate for their jobs.’ I know how my dad hates to make small talk and I can see in Evelyn’s face she hates it even more, so I hope after the formal greeting and quick introduction into her life that the conversation will go into being non-existent. But somehow moms have a way of reading your mind and mine seemed to be bent on embarrassing me as much as possible. 
‘So you know our little Michael here was winner of the soccer competitions all through Elementary school. He just adores the sport.’ Sue says with a grinning smile on her face.
‘Really, that good?’ Evelyn looks up at Sue and than me. No, my mom was not going to let this one go. She had been alone in the house since she got home and she loved nothing more, aside from her beloved projects, than to talk about her little boy. Except that I wasn’t little anymore and every time she used the word little and boy I could feel hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I begin to slide slowly down my seat and my face must have been blushing red, because Evelyn looks at me with such an endearing look and I knew it was coming.
 ‘I remember when he first started walking. He was such an agile little boy, I couldn’t keep up with him. He wanted to run around everywhere and get into everything.’ She smiles proudly like I had achieved something great at that age. ‘But that is Michael, always trying stuff out. He loves to ski you know and he helps Henry out at the ranger station too.’ She makes her googly eyes at me, ‘such a helpful little boy.’ Little boy, mom I am seventeen I scream inside my own head.
‘I can’t tell you how proud we are of him. Some boys get into so much trouble, but not our little Michael. Even when he was seven he knew the difference between right and wrong. One of his friends, Robby I think, stole a candy cane from a candy store in December when everyone was busy getting ready for Christmas with decorations and Christmas trees.’ Oh no, not this story too, I scream inside my head again. 
‘Michael marched right up to him while I walked them down the street back home and Michael told Robby he had better return the candy cane or he may lose presents from Santa come Christmas time.’ I lowered my head in shame and thought, Mom you are getting it all wrong. I didn’t actually believe in Santa at that time. I knew he was a fraud since I was five. Yes, she wasn’t going to let me get out of here without embarrassing me of that I was sure. If Evelyn was at all unsure of where she stood on her feelings with me I was sure this would seal the deal right down the side of I have better things to do now. Dinner took hours to get through in my mind, but it must have only been about an hour, because after dinner I looked at my watch and it showed 6:30pm. I suggested we walk around outside a bit and Evelyn enjoyed the idea. We walk around on my front lawn and down the street quietly while I blushed at memories of dinner time at my house.
‘Your mom is very nice and your dad too.’ Evelyn says with assurance. ‘It is nice there. It is very…’ she scrambles for the right word, ‘normal.’ She is satisfied with the word she has chosen. I reach for Evelyn’s hand and take it into mine. If we are able to get close on my bed, getting close on the street should be easier. Evelyn holds my hand tight and we walk further down the road together. Our arms sway back and forth as we press forward and her hair blows vigorously in the breeze which has just blown past us. She brushes the hair away from her lips and eyes and I help her with one loose strand dedicated to sticking to her lips. My fingers wipe over her tender soft mouth and her eyes look down at my hand. Her lips press together in unconscious nervousness and then release and my fingers release and then the loose strand is free. 
           As we pass the local park, the sign reads in red: closes at 3:00pm due to maintenance, but Evelyn hops over the rope and pulls me over into the park with her. I laugh in surprise at the idea of this gentle girl breaking the law.
‘I knew you would like it. I was going to bring you here earlier, but you weren’t home and then I knew it would be closed and we would not have time.’
‘Thanks for the thought.’ She says with a grateful smile as we run up through the park together almost to its other end. This time I have no trouble keeping up with her. We sit together in the silence of the park where the sleepy sun is slowly lowering behind the mountains in the distance and a dark blue sky with white brave clouds will soon be receding away into a blanket of darkness. We lie on the grass which is a bit moist and stare at the sky, only this time the stars are not glowing stickers on my ceiling. They are real stars and they are strongly shinning above us.
‘I love that star.’ Evelyn points over to the collection of stars that looks like the big dipper to me and she points to the brightest one. ‘In the mix of all going on up there, in the middle of all the starlight chaos, this star burns brightly to be seen and noticed.’
‘And she is noticed.’ I whisper to her as if she and the star are one and the same. She turns over towards me, leaning into my lips, and kisses me. The wind blows gently across our somehow warm bodies and the smell of her fragrance like honeysuckle today tastes so sweet in my mouth. My blue eyes must have been something she adored, because instead of staring at the nature encompassing her, she is lost in my eyes for the first time too. The sun rolls backward into the sky, telling us goodbye and the dark blue sky begins to fold away as a blanket of brighter stars appear in the early dusk sky. I know she will have to be going home soon, but can’t pull myself away from the moment that is fitting into my life like a perfect puzzle piece that was once missing. But I know I have to and when she pulls herself up off the moist grass she pulls me up too. Not because she has my hand, but because the force between us is so strong. It is as if she turns left my body will innately follow and if she turns right my body will bend to her jester.
 ‘I have to get going. I wish I could stay, but it is all so complicated.’ She says almost as a side note while we walk through the park to my house and get into my truck. I drive her home and it is just about seven. I know Nile will be pleased since Evelyn told him that is when she would be home. I hope this responsibility means he would let me see her again. 
Saturday night is rough. Without her next to me I feel like a piece of me is missing. But my soccer friends want to practice and I remember earlier I had said I would try to make it out to today. I want to try to limit my lies as much as possible. I call up Robby and he calls Taylor and Lee. We meet at a vacant field near the school about fifteen minutes from Lake Park and Evelyn’s home. The field is dark, but lit up by street lights in the parking lot and around the field. Taylor pulls up with Laura in his truck. Robby, Lee, and Sarah pull up in another car together. Taylor throws up the soccer ball and kicks it with his knees. Laura cheers for him with such exuberance I can tell she must have moved her way into Taylor’s arms. He could keep the ball going for far longer than any one of us and he had the longest time record for keeping the ball in the air. That was his specialty. Mine was being the fastest runner. Robby is a great goalie and Lee is good at running the ball with me down the field, keeping it away from the opposing team. We each had our role on the soccer field and off the field too. 
Sarah plays with us for fun, though she is not very good at the game. Lee enjoys having Sarah around and runs with her up the field, showing her how to pass the ball back and forth to the players. Robby waits impatiently at the goal for the ball to come his way with his eyes pacing over the field so that he can dive or jump and block the ball before it penetrates his calloused hands. Taylor and I fight for the ball, playing against each other on the field, perfecting our defensive game. We play until eleven when the bugs begin to circle the lights like it is the last supply of food on earth. Taylor drives Laura home and Robby drives Lee and Sarah home. I drive home alone with my heart hoping I will see Evelyn prancing around somewhere outside, but my mind knows better and I knew she will be somewhere closer to her home.
Sunday morning I awaken to the sounds of my own torment, I shout Evelyn’s name and scare my mom. ‘Are you alright up there?’ She yells from downstairs in the kitchen as she is preparing our traditional Sunday morning breakfast of eggs and toast. It takes me a moment to realize I am in my own room, in bed. It was a dream. I can’t remember the dream. I can only remember feeling helpless and losing Evelyn. I jump in the shower, dress, run downstairs and quickly eat my breakfast. ‘What are you up to this morning?’ Sue asks inquisitively. Henry is still in bed sleeping. It is Sunday morning.
           ‘I think I’ll give Evelyn a call.’ I can see the glitter in my mom’s eyes as I said those words and then a smile crosses her face. I take my cell phone out and called Evelyn’s number.
            ‘Hello?’ Nile answers the phone.
            ‘Hi, it is Michael. Is Evelyn home?’ I hear a rustle in the background as the phone is passed to Evelyn. Then I hear whispering, ‘just tell him.’
            ‘Hi, Michael,’ the sound of her voice is like the sweetest symphony, ‘I’m not sure I can make it out today. I have a lot I have to do and perhaps I’ll see you at school?’ That was it. I wouldn’t see her today. I had missed her already.
            ‘Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow then. Have a good day.’ I hang up and my mom could see the expression on my face was not one of happiness.
            ‘Maybe you should try Robby today? You have missed him several times this week. Usually you two hang out all the time?’ I had to admit it was not a bad idea. I had been neglecting my other friends the past week when Evelyn and I started hanging out together. But I had just seen them last night. It is not like I had forgotten them altogether. I didn’t want to return to my world of soccer and friends in boring Green Mountain Falls. I want to be a part of her world and so I jump into my truck and go back to the café where we had our first coffee together. Gloria quickly notices I am alone again and begins to flirt as she brings me my coffee. I am ashamed to admit I hardly notice. I pull out the old Folklore of Colorado book resting on the shelf between two other books and open it up at the table I sat at with Evelyn over by the window. I flip the book back to the page with the half horse half man and the delicate looking girl on the opposite page. I look at her picture and then read the short story below it.         
               The fragile Elfin
               Born of the sun, of the moon.
               Stardust dancing under their lights
               Mingling together,
               Formed a rare beauty of light.
               She sits waiting for her bloom.
               Half of her pulling towards her human self,
               The other half pulling towards her Elfin kind.
               She was born in unity of both sun and moon,
               Of both man and angel,
               She will bring unity
               To two separate worlds. 
            I pass over the other pages I have read already and make my way towards the middle of the book, glancing at a few pictures of larger male elves with broad shoulders, and more athletic bodies. A few pictures of smaller female elfins all seem much smaller next to their male counterparts, and more agile in appearance because of their lean bodies. They are all drawn with long ears, pale faces and long hair, some with black hair, some with white and some with blond, but always long and straight. Their eyes are almond shaped, some with eyes of turquoise and some with eyes of emerald. I read the shortened poem below that looks like an excerpt from a larger piece of writing.
            Protectors of our world and theirs,
               They wave their hands,
                Complexions fare,
                From nature to magic,
               The gates they turn,
               The forests hide them,
               Their world won’t burn,  
               Beasts lurk in the night,
               Keeping watch,
               Kept at ranges tight, 
               Battles ensuing,
               Claiming rights,
               Human wailings,
               Angels fight.
               I close the book and know my curiosity has driven me over the edge, ‘Beasts and Angels,’ elves, half-horse half-men, mystical lands, magic. I have to get out of this café. I walk down the road and Gloria watches me leave quickly after shutting the book with desperate eyes. The next week in school I think I will be drawn closer to the reality of the world I have known my whole life which will allow me to forget the silliness recently filling my head. But seeing Evelyn somehow makes all of it impossible. Her presence somehow makes magic seem possible. Then my mom schedules a weekend for me to visit my grandparents in Colorado Springs and the last weekend of the month I have to unwillingly and reluctantly leave Evelyn and all the folklore behind to endure some good old fashioned grandparents.

© 2009 amiwritinggirl

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Any advice, feel free...look at it on smashwords, lulu, and bookhabit.

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Added on December 12, 2009



Wesley Chapel, FL

http://amiblackwelder.com http://hotgossiphotreview.blogspot.com I am a teacher and writer. I have traveled extensively throughout Asia. If you want a review of your work, check me out and co.. more..