You sit there in the room. Your knees are against your chest and your forehead rests on the exposed flesh; long tendrils of golden wheat locks fall forward and just barely brush against the carpet flooring. The small bit of light that comes from the candle on the side table catches on your greasy roots. You haven’t taken a shower yet; I haven’t let you because things aren’t ready for your movement around the house. I haven’t finished the downstairs. Of course, I’d cursed myself for this; I’d been too eager to bring you home and to have you with me. That’s OK, though. You’re understanding. You don’t fault me for this mishap.
I offered you clothes to change into in the meantime so you wouldn’t have to wear the same thing day in and day out, but you refused. The pants you wear, white and disgustingly short—why would your parents allow such a thing?—are tinted with dirt. White is such a terrible color on you, but that’s OK too; we’ll fix that together. You’re more of a green color girl, I think. You don’t respond when I bring this topic up. In fact, you hardly ever respond when I talk to you. Sometimes, it aggravates me, but I know it’s only temporary. You’re still settling in. You’re not used to being in a new environment, away from your parents and friends. You’re still a teenager after all, just barely on the verge of being eighteen. You haven’t experienced much of the world yet, but we’ll fix that together, too. You’ll learn to adapt quickly.
I take a step further into the dimly lit room and I catch the subtle tensing of your body. Your shoulders become rigid and your toes curl into the tan carpet. Each one is painted a pretty pink; again, the color doesn’t suit you. I make a mental note to get some nail polish remover. Maybe that will be a bonding experience we can have together. I’ll paint your toenails and you’ll be able to relax more. We’ll get to know each other, and everything will be OK. We’ll laugh and share stories. You’ll tell me about your upcoming exams in school and what made you apply for Boston University—it’s the academics that intrigues you the most; that and living in the dorms, making friends, signing up for activities. You’re planning on joining the track and field team. You’re the star of your team at high school so you want to continue it through college. You know you’ve got talent since you talked about receiving a scholarship from the university based on your athletic ability. See how much we already know about each other?
This is meant to be.
To an untrained eye, people probably wouldn’t be able to tell you’re inching backward with every step closer I take, but I can see. I can make out the small movements because I see everything about you. It’s difficult not to watch. You’re so beautiful, even more so in candlelight. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but it is.
“Kayla,” I said. My voice carries in the large space. It echoes off the walls. You’re the only thing in here. I haven’t put in any furnishings since I know that will be something you’ll want to do. That’s why I brought some furniture catalogues with me today. I want you to be comfortable in your room. You shift, more obviously now and there’s a soft clinking. Silver catches in the light and I frown. I knew the silver bracelets would look good on you; like the color green, silver is your color. It accentuates your small wrists and petite ankles. The little chains connecting them carries a more provocative, sensual atmosphere. I haven’t told you this yet, but it’s always hard controlling myself around you. I really hope you’ll come around soon, for both of our sakes.
“I brought you a gift.”
You don’t say anything, and my smile slips away. It’s been a week since I brought you here, but you haven’t spoken a single word after I told you where you were.
“I thought you might like to look at these.” I sit in front of you and cross my legs—I think kids call it Indian style sitting now—and spread out the catalogues in front of you. My stomach clenches when I catch you glancing at them. I knew this would interest you. The movement spurs me on and I say, “It’ll be nice to have some furniture in here, right? You’ll be more comfortable sitting on a bed.”
At the word your entire body shudders. You turn and turn and turn until you’re facing the wall and I’m left to look at your back. Any excitement I may be feeling deflates. Of course, this would be your reaction, stupid me. You’re still accumulating to your home. I sigh and my eyes focus on the small visible sliver of your neck. Your hair parts here, and I lick my lips. My fingers twitch and I’m unable to stop myself. I lean forward and kiss the small space.
“Don’t worry, little bird. Take all the time you need.”
You don’t move. You don’t speak. I don’t even think you breathe. I leave the catalogues where I laid them and walk for the door, mumbling that I’ll bring you your dinner later. Hopefully you’ll eat it this time. Just as the door clicks closed behind me, I hear a guttural scream come from you. Goosebumps rise on my flesh and I’m unable to hold back my smile. My arms wrap around my body and I shudder.
Your voice is beautiful.