Running Scared - In Search of Truth Pt1

My NaNoWriMo Entry for 2013.

Sinead and Tom are two like minded spirits who find that love is hard to share. They must overcome the everyday problems they have to find if Pokemon actually survive. From grimy Stockby, their search takes them to Malaysia and the truth, but can they handle the truth and will they be together at the end?

Please note that is not a novel about Pokemon.

Inspired by a conversation around a campfire.

Dedicated to the real Sinead. #iLECT

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2. Dragons Make Everything Better

It had all started a few months ago. I was talking to Ben and Jake at our local Fantasy Games club, the Dragons when Sinead came over and sat next to me. I looked at her through the corner of my eye as I discussed with Ben where I was up to in the latest BugBear computer game. She was sat there leaning slightly forwards. Her hair was light brown and shoulder length. it hung slightly over her face hiding some of her facial features. She wore a dark blue hoodie, bearing the name of a local college and a pair of jeans. She wasn't skinny like most of these anorexic girls who seemed to hang around these days. She wasn't fat either, in my eyes, she was just right. I frowned a little. I was sure I knew her from somewhere. Maybe it was just in the street, but I was sure somewhere in the past we'd met before.

She was still sat there an hour later when the meeting was coming to an end. She hadn't really talked to anyone else. She'd obviously come with a few of the younger members, but didn't really seem to be talking to them. I noticed at times she pursed her lips together as if in thought. At times I thought she was going to say something to me but she just sat there. I admit I was a little shy to talk to her. I'd had a few girlfriends but nothing serious. I was always a little awkward around females.

I was one of the last to leave. Sinead was still sat there as I got up. I said goodbye to the ones who were left and nodded at Sinead, before going to the loo. As I emerged from the loo, she was nowhere to be seen. Waving to Ben, I headed for the door.

It'd got dark since I got there, but it was still warm. Across the street I spied Sinead, stood looking my way. Ah well, in for a penny I'd thought. I crossed the road. She stayed still watching me.

'Hi,' I said hesitantly, 'did you enjoy tonight'

She nodded, 'Yes', she said looking down at her shuffling feet. I'd thought I was the shy one but nothing on this scale.

We stood in silence for a minute, both of us I think willing the other to speak, in a pattern that was to be repeated many times over the next few months. I eventually broke the silence.

'Do you come here often?' I said, immediately cringing at my crass statement, 'I mean, erm, not seen you here before.'

She looked up and smiled. it was as though a light had been turned on. She laughed.

'Came along with a couple of friends, I've wanted to come for a while but not really found the time before.'

‘Boyfriend?'. I asked hesitantly. I'd only just met this girl but already I'd fallen for her. I was hoping there was none.

'No, just friends,' she said smiling again, 'they’re a little immature at times'

'I'm Tom by the way'

'I know, you used to go to the youth club. I was only a kid back then, but I remember you were always good to us younger ones'

Ah, that made sense, I thought, that's where I remember her from. How old was she?

'I'm seventeen', she said, as if reading my mind. 'Left school in the summer and I'm at college.'

'What games are you into', I asked? She reeled off a good number of titles before pausing. She hesitated. She looked up at me again as if looking for my reaction before adding.

'Pokemon'

I half grimaced but recovered as I saw her face fall.

Pokemon was a massive games franchise that had spawned further than games. There was loads of merchandise, an enormously popular TV anime series and a trading card game craze that had swept through playgrounds the world over. You went around the country training up these cute little monsters, who'd then fight each other. It was more fun than it sounded  However it was really aimed at kids, serious gamers didn't admit to playing it. Sure I'd played it to death when I was younger. I secretly still played it, but it was one of those guilty pleasure, one I'd never mention at the Dragons.

'Don't tell everyone', I said quietly looking around to see if there was anyone else there., 'but it's one of my favourites.'

She smiled once again. Every time she did this my legs turned to jelly. She really was an extraordinary girl. I'd never been affected like this before.

'I was sorry to hear about your parents' she said quietly after another one of those damned pauses. If we carried on like this it'd be morning before we'd finished our conversation, not that I was wishing it would be over soon.

'Thanks' It was difficult for everyone. It was the bear in the attic. I was used to being asked how I was coping, how sorry people really were, but I knew people found it really difficult. I'd never get over the disaster that had halted my life. I still woke up with a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking about the phone call from the Police. It'd been a blur at the time, a drunk driver and my life wiped out. It'd taken me ages to recover to the point that I went out in the street, I was that afraid of being mowed over.

'Your mum had been good to me in the past, she helped me out quite a few times at school.' Sinead said looking into my eyes and placing her hand on my arm. I tried to keep the tears back. Normally I shrugged off any enquiry. I know some thought I was cold, but it helped me. She saw the tears forming in my eyes and rubbed my arm.

'Sorry' she said shyly, 'I didn't want to upset you.’

I shook my head. 'It's Ok', I said, 'sometimes it's hard'

She looked at me quizzically with raised eyebrows.

'I didn't mean that' I spluttered out. We both started laughing. The awkward moment had passed. It was though a barrier had been breached and we now fell into conversation much easier. Her hand slipped from my arm and we stood about a foot apart facing each other.

I found out a good deal about her in the next 30 minutes. She was at college studying A-Level Art. She was really into manga and fantasy gaming. She lived at home with her mother, father and 2 sisters. Sinead, like me, shared a deep love of reading. Uncannily she also loved many of the same books and authors as me.

We were in deep conversation when we were interrupted by Jake leaving the pub.

'You still here, Tom?' he said as he walked over towards us. We jumped apart, as though we'd been caught engaged in some clandestine meeting.  He glanced at Sinead and nodded before turning his back on her and talking to me.

'Want to go for a Kebab?' Jake asked, 'didn't expect you around, it's over an hour since you left the pub'

I glanced at my phone, where had the time gone? It only seemed like minutes since I'd left the pub.

'Come on' Jake said starting down the road. I made an apologetic gesture to Sinead.

'Sorry, he's like that, will I see you again?' I asked

'It’s OK, I have to get home anyway, Mum will be wondering where I've got to. See you at the meeting next week?' Sinead said.

'Come on, they'll be a right queue' Jake bellowed from halfway down the High Street.

'Give me a ring,' I said passing Sinead one of the business cards I gave out to clients, 'I'm sorry I'll have to go'

She turned and started off down the opposite way. I watched while she reached the corner, she turned and gave me a little wave and vanished into the darkness. I wished I'd had the courage to turn Jake down and walk her home. I turned and followed the disappearing figure of Jake down the street.

'Idiot!' I yelled at myself, my voice filling the empty street. Why, oh why hadn't I said no to Jake and walked home with Sinead. Shyness again was holding me back. I was Ok communicating over email but face to face.....

 

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