Glimpse

Life is normal for 16 year old Lissa Bennett, until the day she starts seeing the future. When images of events that have not yet occurred begin to appear to Lissa for no apparent reason, she and her best friends try to piece together what’s happening and what it means.

When her visions seem to revolve around Daniel, the local ‘loner’ whose brother has gone missing, should Lissa risk everything to help, or leave well enough alone?

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6. Chapter 6

I instantly looked across the table at Jade, accusingly. She shook her head at me.

“I didn’t invite her, Lissa.” she whispered frantically.

Mum went over to great them. I hadn’t even known that Stacey’s father was home from Dubai, he only comes home for business meetings every few months. After a few pleasantries, Stacey and her father made their way to a table close to ours; I noticed their seating cards, S. Miller and D. Miller. My mother came to sit back down.

“What is she doing here?” I hissed at mum.

“Her father wanted to attend the auction. He’s only here for a week before he goes back.”

I looked over at Stacey. Her platinum blonde locks were pulled up into a perfect knot at the top of her head and she was wearing a short, figure-hugging, emerald green dress. She locked eyes with me and flashed me a twisted smile.

At that point, Daniel came over and offered my mother another glass of wine. She looked at him and answered politely with a yes. She studied him as he poured the wine into her glass. I was completely on edge, not wanting her to say anything to him. My mother was not afraid to speak her mind. Luckily, she refrained from saying anything but she kept glancing at me.

Daniel looked over in my direction when he finished pouring the wine and he obviously saw from the look on my face that something wasn’t right. He scanned the room and spotted Stacey. He looked back down at me with sympathetic eyes before walking off again.

When I looked back at Stacey, I knew that she’d recognised Daniel. She shot me a smug smile before turning back to her father.

“So, Daniel is a waiter?” I heard mum ask me.

“He works for a sandwich bar,” I shrugged. “It must be the same one that dad hired last minute for the food.”

“Oh, right,” mum watched Daniel walking around the room, offering wine to the guests. “At least he has a job.” I rolled my eyes.

“He’s actually quite cute, dressed like that,” Jade observed.

Mum narrowed her eyes, “Pretty faces can hide the trouble underneath.”

“Mum, he’s not troubled, okay? He’s just worried about his brother.” Before mum could say anything else, dad cleared his throat and began talking into the microphone.

“Hello everyone, thank you for attending tonight’s special charity auction.”

The auction itself was pretty dull, just a bunch of rich people bidding on rare books. But at least it was all for a good cause. Stacey’s father didn’t even bid on anything in the end, considering my mother had acted as though he’d been desperate to attend.

Daniel caught my eye quite a few times throughout the auction. One little old dear kept pestering him for more wine and I had to supress a giggle when she scolded him for telling her she’d had enough.

After the auction was over, the guests started splitting off to either the buffet table or the bar. I hung around at our table for a bit until Daniel came and sat down opposite me. He wasn’t really needed now that people were going into the bar area for something a bit stronger.

“Remind me to never let myself get roped into doing this again,” he said as he sat down. “Students wanting a light snack, I can deal with. But posh, old women who don’t know when to stop with the drink? Never again.”

I smiled at him and he held my gaze for a while.

“It wasn’t all bad though,” he added as his gazed dropped to what I was wearing.

Suddenly, my dad seemed to appear out of nowhere, “So, how did I do?” He sat down on the chair nearest to mine.

“You did great, dad. There were a couple of good bidding wars tonight. How much did you raise?”

“I don’t know the exact total yet but I know we did well,” he said proudly. He looked over at Daniel. “Ah, you must be one of our last minute waiters; you don’t know how much I appreciated you guys stepping in at such late notice.”

“No problem, sir.”

Dad held out a hand, “The name’s Steve.” They shook hands.

“I’m Daniel,” Dad’s eyebrows rose just a little. “I go to school with Lissa.”

“Oh, right.” Dad glanced over at me, a smile forming at the corner of his mouth. “I best be getting back to the guests anyway, most of whom I assume are in the bar.” He stood up. “Nice meeting you, Daniel.”

“You too,” Daniel replied politely. He turned back to me, “Your dad seems cool. Are you going to the bar area?”

“Yeah, I will in a minute, I’ll probably just get some food first.”

Daniel just looked at me, waiting for me to stand up. I really hoped he would just go to the bar because, truth be told, I really didn’t want him to witness the car crash that was me, walking in heels.  I realised he wasn’t going to go without me, so I stood up and so did he. I cautiously began walking over to the buffet table and Daniel watched me with amusement. I was practically shuffling across the floor and I heard him laughing.

 “It’s not funny,” I glared at him. “I’m not a high heels kinda girl.”

“Yeah,” he laughed. “I can see that.”

He strode over and held his arm out for me. I laughed before taking it, even though we only had to walk half way across the hall. We pilled a few sandwiches on a plate and made our way into the bar area. I couldn’t spot mum or Jade, so I just sat at a small table with Daniel and we shared the sandwiches.

“I’ll have to go and help the guys clean up,” he said to me before standing. “I’ll come back when I’m done, if you want?”

I smiled, “Okay then.”

He stared at me for a little while longer, his expression unreadable. I looked over his shoulder and saw Stacey standing near to her father. She was looking Daniel up and down, differently from the look of disgust she normally throws at him. He followed my gaze and saw Stacey. He turned back to me, looking sympathetic, before walking back into the hall. Stacey watched him walking out of the bar area. I wanted to throw drink all over her but I doubt my dad would appreciate that.

Before I knew it, my mother had me cornered.

“Where have you been?” she inquired. “With that boy?”

“His name is Daniel and, yes, I was with him because you guys just disappeared on me.” I saw Jade approaching, listening to me and mum.

“He looks good in formal wear,” she stated.

I turned to her, “He was a freak the other day, according to you.”

“Yes, but that was before I saw him in a waistcoat.”

Mum rolled her eyes at us both and then walked off, looking for dad.

I glanced over to the bar, “Where’s Stacey gone?” I asked Jade.

“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “I haven’t really seen her much tonight.”

I could see her father but she wasn’t there anymore. I scanned the bar area, her blonde locks weren’t in sight. She’d probably gone straight to her girlfriends to tell them that I looked hideous and that my hair was a mess and that I couldn’t walk in heels. Well, the heels part would be totally true but I was quite proud of my hair and make-up tonight.

Jade and I sat at a table drinking cranberry juice for a while. Jade tried to get a glass of wine from the bartender but he just laughed at her. As some of the guests started to leave, I got up and walked back into the hall, looking for Daniel.  The hall was almost cleaned out. The buffet tables had been emptied and the tables were being pushed to the walls. I spotted Daniel in the far corner, near the stage. Stacey was standing next to him. The pang of jealousy that I felt came as a complete surprise. She was standing there, flicking her hair and flashing her smile. She was turning on the charm, like she always did when there was a guy around who wasn’t already paying attention to her. Daniel was staring at her with a blank look on his face. I heard someone walking up behind me and turned to find Jade.

She looked towards Stacey and Daniel and then looked at me. She looked like she couldn’t figure out what to say so she just turned around and walked back out again. She didn’t want to admit that the ever perfect Stacey was so clearly flirting with another guy, who was unworthy of her attention just the other day, regardless of the fact she had a boyfriend. Jade didn’t want to admit that I was right. I was just about to turn around and walk out before they could spot me when I heard Daniel call my name. I looked back over my shoulder and saw that he was walking towards me.

“Hey,” I smiled at him. “The guests are starting to leave so I just came to say goodnight.” I glanced over his shoulder and saw Stacey standing with her hands on her hips.

“Goodnight, Lissa.”

I turned and saw Jade waiting for me. I started to walk towards her, feeling proud of myself for not slipping over in my heels once during the course of the night.

“Hey, Lissa,” I glanced back at Daniel. “You look lovely tonight.” He said, sincerely.

My eyes widened, not sure how to react. Stacey’s model-worthy pout turned into a frown.

“Umm thanks,” I replied. Clearly, I lacked in practice at receiving compliments.

I turned back round to Jade, who was looking at me with smile playing on her lips. She opened her mouth to say something as we walked back into the bar area.

“Don’t even go there,” I warned her.

Ten minutes later, we were in the car, on our way home. Mum was too content gossiping to realise that none of us were even paying any attention to a word she way saying. Jade kept giving me sideways glances, smirking. I was busy analysing the nights events and worrying about the size of the blister I could feel forming on my heel.

“Tonight went really well, I think.” Dad said when we walked through the front door. “Did you have a nice night, girls?”

Jade giggled, “Oh, Lissa had a lovely night.” I shot her a glare.

“Glad you enjoyed it, sweetheart.” Dad said, oblivious.

I kicked my heels off and headed up the stairs, hobbling slightly. My poor toes, I thought as I walked. How do girls wear these things all the time? The minute I’d changed out of my dress, I practically collapsed onto my bed, exhausted. When I actually tried to fall asleep however, I couldn’t get Daniel out of my head. He’d looked at me differently that night, I could tell. I hadn’t realised how much I’d wanted him to look at me that way until that night. It unnerved me as much as it thrilled me.

************************************************************************

On Monday morning, I met Charlotte on the way to school so that I could tell her everything about Saturday. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her on the Sunday because she had been at her grandmothers all day.

“Do you like him, Lissa?” she asked me.

“What do you mean?”

“Oh come on,” she grabbed my arm. “You know what I mean. Do you like him?”

“I don’t know Char, I barley know him. I…” I trailed off, thinking about it.

I liked spending time with him. A lot. That, I was certain of.

We walked into registration and I immediately saw Stacey’s head turn towards me. She gave me her usual snooty look, but this time it clearly had more venom behind it. I was relieved to get out of the classroom when the bell rang for first period.

Charlotte and I headed to history class, expecting to see Daniel. He wasn’t there. Nor was he at lunch later that day. We pondered as to where he could be, assuming that he must be off sick. That was until I saw him in a corridor when I was on my way to English, slightly late because the physics teacher had kept me behind over my grades.

“Hey, where have you been all day?” I could tell instantly by the darkened look on his face that something was wrong.

“Nowhere, I just had something to do at lunch.” He  was lying.

“Anything I can help you with?” I asked him.

“Not really, Lissa.” His voice sounded strained. “I’m late for class, I’ll see you later.”

He walked off without another word. I watched him walk down the corridor, confused. He’d been fine on Saturday. I went off to English but I didn’t take anything in, I was too busy wondering what was wrong.

When the final bell rang, I met up with the others and waited to see if they mentioned anything about seeing Daniel. None of them did so I kept my mouth shut. Later that night, I went into the coffee shop, wondering if he’d show up at all, but he didn’t.

When I walked into the cafeteria with Charlotte the next day, Daniel was back in his seat at our table.

“Where did you disappear to yesterday?” Charlotte asked him as she sat down in her usual seat next to Adam.

“Oh, I was in the library, I had to do some serious catching up on an assignment.” He replied casually.

The others didn’t question it but I knew it wasn’t the truth. I didn’t say anything, however, but I did try to catch his eye. He was concentrating on his lunch and seemed distant.

Stacey walked in about ten minutes later.

As she walked past our table, she smiled, “Hi, Daniel.”

She continued to walk over to her own table and sat next to Ben. Hayley immediately whipped her head to face Daniel.

“Why is she talking you?” Only Hayley could just come straight out with it.

I’d told Adam and Hayley that Daniel had been working at the charity event but I’d failed to tell them that Stacey had turned up.

“She was at Lissa’s dad’s charity auction at the weekend.” he said to her, glancing at me.

Hayley shot me a look, “You didn’t tell me that the wicked witch of the west had been in attendance.”

“Yeah, she came with her dad. Apparently he’s home from Dubai for a little while. I managed to successfully dodge her for most of the night though.”

I looked at her over my shoulder. Ben was talking to her but she was texting on her phone, not listening to a word he was saying. She looked up in our direction every now and then, smiling at Daniel.

Charlotte and I looked at each other, knowing what was going on. Daniel Evans had become one of the most interesting people at school recently.

If it was talked about, Stacey wanted it.

*************************************************************************

I don’t know why I’d thought it was a good idea to go to the sandwich bar that evening. Once I was nearly there, I was regretting it immensely. But I was there now and I wanted to talk to Daniel. I opened the door and walked in.

It was warm inside and provided relief from the chilly wind that had picked up outside. I spotted Daniel, almost immediately, in the same black clothes and white apron he’d been wearing last week. I couldn’t help remembering how great that t-shirt made his arms look.  

He looked up and saw me. I walked over to a booth by a window and sat down. He walked behind the counter, with the empty plates he was holding, and took them back to the kitchens. He emerged a minute later and made his way over to my booth, sliding onto the bench opposite me.

“What brings you here?”

I felt brave, “Are you going to tell me what’s wrong? And don’t lie to me because I know something’s up.”

He stared at me for a moment, “Can you wait twenty minutes?”

I nodded and he stood up and went back to work. Twenty minutes later, he took off his apron and after some small talk with another waiter; he made his way over to the booth.  

“Do you want to go get coffee?” he asked.

I said okay and we both walked out, back into the cold. We walked in silence until the coffee shop. We ordered our drinks and Daniel jumped in to pay for mine. I know it was just coffee, but I’d never had a guy jump in to pay for anything for me before. We sat at our usual table and just stared down at our coffees for a little while before Daniel looked up at me.

“You remember that guy from bowling the other night?” I nodded. “He knows something, something about my brother.” He looked back down at his cup. “My father was in trouble, owed money, as usual. Tyler saw me walking home on Saturday night; he told me that his father knew of the man that my father owed money to. He is a well feared man in that community, apparently.”

Daniel looked back up at me, “He told me that Charlie had found out where our father was staying and he went to go see him. The night that he went to find him, there were ‘debtors’ there to collect money from my father. Tyler told me that his father knew the debtors had left after Charlie arrived, but these are the type of guys who don’t leave a job like that unfinished.”

“Is that the night Charlie went missing?” I asked him quietly.

“No,” he shook his head. “He never came home from school the day after that. I should have known something was up that night, when he came home late.”

“Why didn’t he tell you? He’d just spoken to his dad, who he hadn’t seen in years.”

“Because Charlie knew that I didn’t want to hear anything about him.” I could see Daniel thinking it over, “If I’d have just listened to him more, I would have realised just how serious he was about finding dad.”

“It’s not your fault, Daniel.” I wanted to reach out across the table for his hand, but stopped myself.

“I got a text from Tyler on Monday morning. It was the address of the place my father had been staying in. I skipped class and went down there but the place was empty. I think he left town to avoid having to pay up and I think Charlie left with him.”

He blamed himself, I could tell by the look on his face. Charlie’s story had almost ground to a stop now. There weren’t as many people looking for him now that they thought he was with his father. The police were starting to seem more interested in his father because of the crimes he’d committed in the past.

“The police will find your father, Daniel, and Charlie will come home,” I tried to reassure him.

“But what if Charlie doesn’t want to come home? What if he resents us for splitting him away from dad? He’d always idolised him because I never allowed him to see what he was really like.”

“You were protecting him,” I determined. “You did what any brother would do.” He attempted to give me a small smile but I could see how much he was cut up. “If you ever need any help, you can come to me. You didn’t have to go to that house alone.”

His face turned curious for a moment, “Why do you care so much?” The question was unexpected  and I didn’t know how to respond.

“You’re a friend, now,” I told him. He continued to look at me, curiously.

“You know, I was quite shocked when you tried to talk to me in the nurse’s office. Not many people would just try to start a conversation with me. Well, not in the past, anyway.”

I thought back to how he’d looked at me like I was insane that day.

“It was Hayley that invited you to sit with us though,” I stated, thinking about how mortified I was when she asked him to join us.

“Yeah, but let’s admit it, Hayley just wanted a bit of attention. She liked that people were gossiping about it. No one forced you into getting to know me, you did that yourself.”  

“Well, I’m stuck with you now, aren’t I?” I laughed.

“There are worse people you could be stuck with,” he replied with the arrogance he had sometimes.

I’d discovered a lot about Daniel in the past couple of weeks, learning that he definitely wasn’t shy. The fact that he’d never spoken to many people in school was simply because no one gave him the time of day. Probably because he wasn’t the average guy you’d find at our school. Like Adam, Daniel was falsely labelled because he wasn’t trying to be like everyone else.  

He finished his coffee, “Are you done?”

I took my final sips and nodded. We both stood up and walked outside. It was starting to get chillier, with it being the first week of October. We were in the middle of a conversation about our history coursework when I heard my phone ring. I pulled it out of my pocket and saw that it was Adam.

“Lissa, where are you?” His voice sounded excited down the phone. “I think I’ve found something about your visions!”

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