The Girl with the Keys

The Girl with the Keys doesn't have a name. Well-- that's not true. She has many names, but only one is her real name, and no living person knows it but her. All people know is that she always wears a necklace with five keys on it.

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1. Jonathan Hart

The day was a cold, windy, and rainy one, which boggled Jonathan Hart, since it was summer. He held an umbrella over his head as he darted into an uncrowded coffee shop. After the door closed behind him, he dusted himself off, although rain wasn’t the same thing as dust. He looked around, running a hair through his hair, and setting his umbrella by the door, hoping nobody would take it. There were about three people in the room, not including employees, so he figured that he would know if someone was trying to take it.

Jonathan Hart was 19 years old, and it was his last summer before college. He was your average straight-A student, but he wasn’t a nerd-- at least not by looks. He had sharp blue eyes, and black hair that looked like Logan Lerman’s, or so he was told. He was also on the school’s  lacrosse team, and was on the front line. 

His eyes scanned over the room once again. There was an old couple that sat together in a booth, and there was a girl that looked about his age. She had wavy blonde hair that was purple at the bottom, and as far as he could see, she had brown eyes. She also wore a necklace around her neck, with... keys on it? As soon as she spotted him, her eyes lit up and she grinned, her hand coming up from the laptop on the table, waving him over.

“John! Over here!” she called. He was perplexed. He’d never seen her before in his life, and had never even set foot in this town before. And how did she know his name? He unsteadily walked over to the booth she sat in and slid in to the seat across from her. She gave him another quick smile. “I was beginning to think you would never come! You’re...” she checked her computer screen, “forty minutes late!”

“Uh, um,” he stuttered. 

“But it’s fine,” she continued. “Anyways, I have something for you.”

“You have something for me? I don’t even know-” he tried to say, but she cut him off.

“So I know how you’re dad’s making you go into the family business-”

“He’s not making me! I want to!” John exclaimed, forgetting for a moment that she shouldn’t even know about that, because he had never met her before. She waved his words away.

“Shh. As I was saying, he’s making you go into the business, and making you go to the college for it, but I’ve been researching for you- what a good friend I am! And look what I found!” She reached into a tote bag that was on the seat next to her and pulled out a plastic bag, sliding it across the table to him. He slowly opened it, and took out a yellow folder that was inside.

“What is this?” he asked.

“An application for an art school. They’re still taking applications, you know. It’s not too late. It’s never too late to follow your dreams,” she answered, a twinkle in her eyes. He was dumbfounded.

“But I don’t even like art-”

“Oh, stop. You do. Just because your dad has made you think that you want to do the business and stop thinking about art doesn’t mean you have to listen to him. Look!” She grabbed the folder and opened it, pulling out a sheet of paper, that looked like a printout from wikipedia. She handed it to him. 

“Your parents say you won’t make a good living by being an artist, right?” she asked. He nodded while reading the article. “Well that same thing happened to Claude Monet. It doesn’t say that in the article, but it does say that he wanted him to go into the family grocery business,” she continued.  He noticed a part highlighted in green marker, and sure enough, it was the sentence that said so. “And your father wants you to go into the family business, right?” John nodded again.

“Look at all the wonderful things he did. He tried to be an artist although his father didn’t want him to be. He didn’t give up. Now tell me John, do you really want to go into your family business? Is that what you want to spend the rest of your life doing?” she asked, staring into his eyes. He looked closely at Monet’s paintings.

“No,” he whispered. “I want to do this. I want to be an artist.” She smiled, and handed him back the folder.

“Look through the application. You should apply. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“T-thank you,” John stuttered.

“Anytime.” She looked pleased. 

“Who are you?” he finally asked, remembering that he didn’t know her.

“A friend.” At that, his eyebrows furrowed.

“What’s your name?” Suddenly she checked her laptop screen.

“Oh my god, I’m late!”

“Late for what?” Instead of answering, she closed the computer and shoved it into her bag, standing up.

“Goodbye, John. It was nice seeing you. We’ll meet again.” She smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “Good luck with the application. I hope you get in, and don’t fall for your father’s tricks. He’ll try to discourage you, but don’t let that happen. You know what you want more than he does,” she said. As she left, he noticed she was wearing a dress, and he noticed how pretty she was. 

She was already out the door before he realized that he wanted to be able to contact her. He shouldn’t let a pretty, smart, and mysterious girl get away. He jumped up and ran out the door, without his umbrella, but she was nowhere to be seen. She had vanished. After a few seconds of standing in the rain, he headed back inside the coffee shop, feeling utterly confused. Who was she and how did she know so much about him? He went up to the counter and a middle-aged woman greeted him.

“Hello, what can I do for you?” she asked sweetly.

“I’ll just have an iced coffee, please.” She got the coffee for him and as she was ringing him up, he asked, “Who was that girl?”

“The one you were talking to?” He nodded. She gave him a sad smile. “I’m sorry, hon, but if she wanted you to know, she would’ve told you. If it makes you feel any better, she rarely tells anyone her name. We all just call her the Girl with the Keys.”

“Why?”

“Because she always wears a set of keys around her neck. Five keys.”

“Does anyone know why?”

“Not that I’ve heard of.”

“Oh. But... How did she know so much about me? And how did she have exactly what I needed with her?”

“She’s good at reading people, and honestly, I’m not sure. She does what she wants.”

“That still doesn’t explain how she knew my name, though. I’ve never seen her in my life, yet she knew my name.” The woman smiled.

“She’s got exceptional observation skills. I’m sure she noticed you set down that umbrella when you walked in.”

“What’s the umbrella got to do with it?” John asked.

“It says John on the handle.” And she was right, it did. He thanked her for the coffee and paid, and then went and sat back down at the booth, feeling weirded out. Even if he had never seen her before, he wanted to see her again. After all, she said that they would meet again. He hoped that day was soon. But in the meantime, he might as well work on the application.

“Where to start?” he muttered to himself, opening the folder.

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