The movers came the next morning. In and out of the house, all day. They moved in box after box. When they came into my room to dump my things, I hid in the bathroom. They weren't gone until dusk, and I was exhausted by their presence. My mother found me curled, fully clothed, in the bathtub; reading. She shook her head and tsked at me.
"They're gone. I asked them to set up your bed. I couldn't find you, however, so I have no idea if it's where you want it." She offered me her hand, the other resting on her hip. I took it and heaved myself out of the tub and onto the tile.
"Did anyone come over?" I asked, hopeful. "Did anyone ask for me?"
My mother raised a single eyebrow. "No...are you feeling okay honey?" She rested the back of her hand on my forehead and then my chest. I swatted her hand away.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. I met a neighbor kid yesterday. I was hoping he would come back." My words caused my mother to gape at me.
"A boy? Are you interested in him?" A sly grin crept across her mouth. I rolled my eyes.
"Just show me the bed." I said, exasperated. She chuckled to herself and led me out of my bathroom and into my room. The bed, wrought iron spray painted gold, was directly across from the chalkboard. It sat, almost glowing, in front of the large window. I gasped.
"Perfect." I murmured. My mother looked quite pleased with herself.
"Yes, I thought so, too. I'm going to pick up paint, would you like to join me?" In all honesty, I was drained, but I also wanted to see if Tate would show up. I shook my head.
"I'm going to sift through these boxes until I find my bedding, and then I'm going to rest. Will you pick up pale yellow for my room?"
She nodded and turned to leave, but not before turning back to me "Vivi?"
I lifted my head "Hm?"
"Moira won't start until Thursday. I thought it would be nice to give you the house for a few days."
I gave her a small, grateful smile. "Thanks, mama."
She blew me a kiss. A few moments later I heard the front door shut behind her and the car start. I sat in the middle of the piles of boxes and groaned. Why on Earth did I have so much shit?
Slowly, I began opening the flaps of the first box and found my dissembled IKEA bedside table. I had painted that gold, too. It was my favorite color.
"Need help with that?" A voice asked from behind me. I jumped and swiveled to meet it.
"Shit, Tate you scared the beejesus out of me!"
He strode in, his hands shoved into his frayed jeans. Today he wore a green and yellow sweater. A cocky grin was spread across his face.
"I didn't know you scared so easily, Vivi." He voice sounded like warm honey when he said my name. I fought back a shiver and instead narrowed my eyes at him.
He shrugged and sat next to me on the floor. "So, do you need help?" He repeated.
I began pulling the legs and top out of the box and handing them to him without answering. I was still a little bitter that I had jumped. I was not a scaredy cat. Silently, he screwed the legs on and sat it upright. When I moved to open another box, he grabbed my hand. His were ice cold, but gentle. They were surprisingly soft.
"Hey, are you mad at me? I didn't mean to scare you." His dark eyes had lost their prior smugness, filled with genuine concern that I might be angry with him. I swallowed nervously, but could not look away.
"No, I'm not mad at you." I answered hoarsely. His eyes brightened, and he squeezed my hand.
"Good. I couldn't take it if you were."
"Why?" I asked, almost breathless.
"Why what?" He asked. He began rummaging through boxes. He pulled out old records that I used for decoration. I was saving up for an actual record player.
"Why do you care if I'm mad at you? You just met me."
He looked to me, setting the records back into the box.
"Because I think you're nice." He moved, standing only inches away from me. His tousled blonde strands grazed my forehead. I held my breath as I looked up at him. Our noses almost touched. He poked my chest lightly. "You've got a light inside of you. A beautiful soul." He murmured. His chocolate eyes were full of wonderment. I tried to respond but my voice caught in my throat. He grazed the back of his fingers across my cheek. "I didn't think I could feel anything after her..." he whispered, mostly to himself. Abruptly, he took a step back and shook his head. His eyes cleared, but he was still smiling.
"I like your style, Vivi." He seemed unaffected by what had just occurred, but I needed to sit again. I positioned myself between two boxes and took a deep breath.
"Well, most people don't. Not that I mind, I don't really like people, anyway." I offered him a small twinge of my lips. He walked around the room and stopped at the chalk board. He stared at the words still written there, the 'I love you.' Slowly, he erased it with his sleeve. I wanted to stop him, but thought better of it.
"There, better." He mumbled.
We unpacked box after box. I hung up clothes and folded them, placing them in the white dresser I had Tate move under the chalkboard. I set up my shelves on the wall, sporadic and unorganized. I placed my records, face out, on them.
"What kind of music do you like?" Tate asked.
"Lana del Rey, Florence + The Machine, Melanie Martinez. I like oldies, too. Nirvana. Lynyrd Skynyrd. Stuff like that."
Tate nodded appreciatively. "I've only heard of two of those." He admitted. "Nirvana and Lynyrd Skynyrd."
I gaped at him. I grabbed my iPod off of my bed and plugged the aux chord into the speakers on my dresser. I played for him 'Heavy In You Arms' by Florence + The Machine. He listened intently.
"That's morbid." He said, grinning, after the song had finished. I nodded knowingly.
"Exactly." I said.
He made himself comfortable on my lavender bed coverings and folded his hands together.
"Do you like morbid?" He asked. His eyes glinted mischievously. I smirked.
"I'd have to say so." I replied, I sat across from him on the bed, criss-crossing my legs. He smirked back.
"Halloween is almost here. We're going to go on an adventure."
"What makes you think I'd want to?" I asked, challenging him.
"Because you like me." He answered, simply. I harrumphed at him and crossed my arms.
Suddenly, his face was a mere inches away from mine, and his cold fingers grasped my chin. He kissed me, slow and sweet. His rough lips moving adoringly against mine. He snaked an arm around my waist, bringing me closer. When he pulled away, I was breathless, but he was smiling. The glint never leaving his eye.
"It's okay. I like you, too, Vivi."
The front door shut and I could hear my mother moving around downstairs. I pushed against him.
"You've got to go. I honestly have no idea how she would react to a boy in my room." I admitted. He nodded, and kissed my forehead.
"I'll see you tomorrow, then?" He asked. He pried open the large window and perched on the seal, before looking expectantly back at me. I
"Yeah, I'll be here all day." I heard my mom jogging up the stairs and shooed him. He winked and jumped to the ground, landing with a dull thump. I breathed a shaky breath and turned to meet my mother.