Help In A Strange Place

By GiN825

This is the 2nd chapter to my very untitled 'hopefully' novel. Read chapter 1 first if you haven't already. Again, very very rough draft. Tell me what you think.

Help In A Strange Place

Uncle Steve helped me settle in that night. The rain picked back up at an alarming rate, pounding like knives against the roof of the house. I took my bags up stairs to my old room and unpacked. The sound of the rain was having a strangely soothing affect on my nerves. The house creaked and settled naturally with the force of the wind which usually would have creeped me out completely, but for some reason I felt completely at ease.

Once I finished unpacking I sat down on my bed and sighed. My bedroom was the second largest in the house with a fireplace and walk out balcony facing towards the famous bluffs that make this town so popular. It was this lone peaceful set up that would hold me here for the duration of the selling process. I'd have my land to tend to and a house to fix and my balcony for relaxation. I scowled at the many droplets of water being pelted against the sliding doors. Relaxation would have to wait for the rain to subside.

Grumbling to myself, I decided to grab a book and head downstairs where Uncle Steve was cooking some chicken for dinner. My stomach growled as the scent of the garlic and other seasonings hit my nose. I didn't even realize how hungry I had gotten. I hadn't eaten since before I boarded the plane in New York and now looking down at my stomach as it growled again I realized that I was famished.

"I noticed there's some fresh lettuce in the fridge. How do you feel about salad?" Uncle Steve asked quietly from the stove. I leaned against the counter a few paces from him and nodded my head.

"Salad sounds good." I looked down at the frying pan as it sizzled. "Chicken salad sounds even better." I offered a small smile. I hoped that Uncle Steve would let go the hostile exchange from earlier.

After Uncle Steve left that night, I hurried upstairs to bed. I knew that the next day held lots of work. I knew I had to fix the fence around the perimeter of the yard as well as cut the almost waist high grass. That was an all day project that was sure to leave me bed ridden for the next two. I sighed as pulled on my pajamas. The rain had finally slowed to a light drizzle and I instantly felt the lulling affects it had. I padded across the thick carpet to the sliding doors. I looked out into the back yard; my eyes automatically zoomed right to where I knew the bluffs were. The clouds had broken up casting odd shapes on the ground where the moonlight shown through.

It was during the first break in the clouds that I noticed the figure. She was slender and pale. The wind blew her long, dark hair about her face in elegant swirls. She wore a thin black cotton looking dress that also blew in the wind, trailing along behind her. She was unnaturally pale and still. As I went to take a closer look, unlatching the doors' lock as quietly as possible, she looked at me. Or at least it felt like she had noticed me. I quickly dropped the curtain and stood stock still behind it hoping against hope that she hadn't actually seen me. I jumped into my bed and pulled the covers over my face letting my breathing slow down. I hadn't even realized I was gasping for breath. That was the first night I dreamed about the beautiful stranger on the bluffs.

The next morning came fast. It didn't even feel as if I'd gotten any sleep. I knew I tossed and turned when I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror. A deep purple ran the length of my under eye and my hair was extra ruffled than usual. I got up and stretched when the phone rang.

"Hello?" I asked uncertainly. I still had some getting used to with this owning my own house thing.

"Hey, Ace. Grandma made some extra breakfast this morning. I'm coming by to drop it off. I also need to discuss an issue with you." Uncle Steve's voice rang loud and clear. My stomach grumbled much like it did last night. Growing boy needs food. I smirked to myself.

"Sure thing, man. Let yourself in, I'm hopping in the shower." I hung up with Uncle Steve briskly and jumped into the shower for a quick rinse off. As I ran the extra hot water over my tensed shoulders, I let the visions from last night take over. Automatically I thought of the figure from the bluffs last night. She was beautiful. There was no doubt about it. Even from afar her statuesque features stood out in the moonlight. Her fluid grace pronounced even in her unnatural stillness. Her pale skin looked feather soft and fragile. What I wouldn't do to be able to caress her cheek. My eyes snapped open then, realizing how stupid I sounded. She was a stranger for Christ's sake!

I quickly toweled off as I got out of the shower. I got dressed and headed down the stairs two at a time. I was brought up short, about halfway down the stairs. There, next to the bay window facing the back yard and the bluff's was the Goddess of my latest daydream. She stood stock-still as she peered out through the curtains. I made a choked noise without realizing it and she turned very slowly to face me, chancing a quick glance towards the kitchen. Uncle Steve had brought company.

"Er…hi." I stammered lightly and fumbled the rest of the way down the stairs. She grinned in acknowledgement of my greeting and I quickly dashed into the kitchen.

"Uh, Uncle Steve? Who is -" I started but was cut off.

"Ace, Rowan. Rowan, Ace." He gestured behind me. I wheeled around and blanched. The beautiful stranger from the bluffs stood before me, a picture of serenity upon her face. I was at a loss for words.

"Hello, Ace." Her soft, almost singsong voice trilled. She smiled sweetly up at me, knocking the breath right from my lungs. I was suddenly gasping for air. The room swirled around me and quite suddenly the floor rushed up to greet my face. I heard my Uncle shout from somewhere in the distance, through a tunnel almost, but I was too far into my own little world of stupidity and embarrassment that I barely paid attention to a word he said. It wasn't until a cold set of hands pulled me lightly into a sitting position that I came back to reality. As I sucked in the lovely air, a scent so sweet that it made my mouth water passed through my nostrils. I looked up into her sweet, serene face and my vision blurred again.

"Ace?" she asked tentatively. Her eyes were a dark yet vivid green. They ran up and down my face assessing my expression. Her long eyelashes batted at me once, three times and I was suddenly reeling again. I swayed in place and gripped the floor as best I could for support. I realized I was gasping again as I looked away from her face.

"Stop doing that!" I insisted, turning red. I chanced a glance at her face, hoping that I didn't hurt her feelings. Her responding smile sent my already fluttering heart into an even worse shock. Again Uncle Steve's feeble attempt at bringing me out of my reverie came to me as though through a tunnel. His chuckles were barely hidden behind the clearing of his throat. I looked up at him, beet red in the face and scowled. I started to get up off the floor when suddenly a pair of white hands jutted out to assist me. I stiffened under her touch, my breathing quickened again.

"Don't touch me!" I yelled at her while throwing the best apologetic expression that I could muster. I could NOT go into hysterics in front of her again. She let me go dropping my arm as though it was a white-hot iron. I grimaced at the hurt expression on her face.
"S-sorry." I stammered again. Luckily for me she kept her face emotionless and turned to walk into the living room. I looked over again at my Uncle. The grin on his face told me he found the last few minutes nothing short of amusing. I rolled my eyes and grabbed a piece of bacon off the counter. As I chewed I looked at him expectantly.

"Well?" I prompted him. He wasn't getting away with this quite so easily.

"Her name's Rowan-"

"Yeah, I got that. Want to explain why she's here?" I nearly hissed at him. He recoiled slightly and slouched.

"I figured you might need some help around here. She put an ad in the paper last week offering to help anyone on a strictly volunteer basis. How could I refuse?" I rolled my eyes. Why would I want a girl helping me?

"So you thought a frail excuse for human would be acceptable?" I countered. He simply shook his head as if I was missing the obvious.

"Can you cook, Ace?"

Caught.

"Okay, okay she can stay. But I want meals ready by the time I come back in from working in the yard, and I expect this house to be as sterile as a hospital." I knew I was being a little bit harsh, but I didn't care. House keeping one-oh-one. Keep the master happy. Then I thought of another issue.

"Where does she live?" I knew I struck a chord instantly. Uncle Steve looked up at me sheepishly.

"You have lots of bedrooms."

"NO!" I thundered. I heard a soft 'meep' from the living room. I huffed and stared in horror as I realized yet another issue. "How the hell do I live with someone I can barely look at without convulsing?" Uncle Steve chuckled at this.

"It's not very funny, Uncle." I narrowed my eyes at him. He strode passed me and patted me on the shoulder.

"You'll be fine. Just be nice. I gotta go though, Ace. I told Grandma I wouldn't be long. Take care and remember." I scowled at him.

"Yeah, yeah, be nice. Got it." He waved politely at Rowan as he exited through the front door. Rowan nodded in his direction then quite suddenly she was in the kitchen, leaning gracefully against the counter. I looked at her suspiciously, raising one eyebrow.

"So, Ace Bachelder. What do we do today?"

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Help In A Strange Place

Created: Jan 08, 2010

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