Crimson Fate

In a world, where gods, demons, and humans have learned to co-exist, along with many more of the supernatural, Riku Cinder Sherwood must realize his fate to protect, become the guardian of the daughter of Devil Salem Nightingale, Selene Nightingale, whilst finding his own place in life.

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5. Chapter 4

Chapter 4

 

 

Riku sat at his desk against the wall in his room. He used his foot to push himself and his chair off and on the ground. His arms dangled at his sides as he moved his pen around in between his teeth. He stared intensely at the notebook in front of him. Writers block. It strikes him every time he sits down to jot something down on paper. His biggest problem was thinking ahead. Then going to start off from where he left it, only to become lost again.

In his desperate faze of thinking up plot, he scanned his eyes around the room. Out the window, to the sun slowly setting down. Pictures that sat on his desk. One was of him and Seth and Embry. It was the first time they had hung out together in a few years. Riku had a smoothie and gazed up at the camera with the straw in his mouth.

Another was of him playing in the laundry basket while his mother was folding clothes. The faint sound of ticking from his clock came from above his desk. He stared out the window, hearing nothing, and listening to nothing, but the sound of the clock’s hand. His eyes’ focus were zoomed in on the clouds rolling across the vast orange sky. He was lost in thought, as he did not blink. Though, his mind suddenly, and slowly, began to reel back in to reality. He felt the strong urge to blink his eyes as they began to dry and water. He blinked several times, his eyes’ focus now zoomed on the reflection of him at his desk, and the clock above. Although, it was a mirror image, the time was without a doubt, late.

“Oh, crap! I have to go! Now!” Riku bounded to his feet and rushed to his tossed aside clothing. He hastily pulled on his jeans and yanked on his sweat shirt. He danced as he struggled down the hall to the bathroom, zipping up his fly. He turned on the bathroom light and shut the door. He peered at his reflection, running his hand and fingers around his dark brown hair. He grabbed his tooth brush and tooth paste. No reason why he should go with bad breath. After all, it is a lady’s house. He rubbed his deodorant over his arm pit. Lastly, to go to the bathroom. He never felt brave enough to go to the bathroom at other people’s homes. Especially strangers.

He zipped up his dark gray thin sweat shirt as he walked down the stairs, his grandfather reading the newspaper in the living room. He sat on the couch as he was too short to sit in the one of the chairs. His mother stood behind a blanket of sheets she was hanging out to dry. She hummed an old tune she used to hum to Riku when he was a small child. The gentle breeze blew her light brown hair over her shoulders. She bent down to gather more clothing to dry and spotted her son entering the living area as the outside door was open.

“Ah! Riku! What would you like for dinner?” Kanna asked. Riku stopped in his tracks at the front door to slip on his white sneakers. “Oh. Someone invited me over for dinner. So make whatever you want, mom!” He had to raise his voice as they were on opposite sides of the living room. “Oh? Who?” Kanna asked with a smile as she whipped one of her yellow t-shirts away from her then hung it dry along the clothes line. “Um…” Riku hadn’t thought of that. Who was Selene to him? They really are practically strangers to one another, but saying that may sound rude. “I know her from school.” Yeah. Sure. It was true after all. “Oh? Is she a new girlfriend?” Without hesitation, and as if on cue, Riku swiftly opened the front door and closed it and hastily walked down the side walk.  

“Of course. I knew she’d say something like that.” Riku sighed irritated. He rummaged around in his pocket and removed a piece of paper with her address. He knew where it was partially. There was a ramen shop near there that he visited often on weekends and school breaks. He wiped his forehead, feeling it was slightly sweaty. To be fair, it was slightly warmer outside. Although, it was April. But he mentally refused to remove his sweat shirt. He felt a lot more comfortable wearing it, then having it off. He didn’t feel the same without it.

He put his hand up to shield his eyes from the warm, orange rays of the sun’s light. He checked the time on his phone. It read 6:23. Guess he wasn’t so late after all. Still around dinner time. Or maybe they ate earlier, and he missed it? He gritted his teeth, yet again performing his bad habit of always thinking on the darker side of things, rather than the bright side. His neighborhood was relatively “normal”. People mostly stayed inside, but usually around this time there are a few kids that play around the street, or the occasionally person out walking their dog.

As he was waiting at the stop light, he saw someone across the road. Riku brought his hand up to try and block out the sun, blocking his view. It was Selene. She stood with the hand in her long black hair, starring out across the street. Riku starred for a moment. She wore a summer skirt with a white shirt. Bland, yeah, but there was a certain beauty to it. She suddenly turned her head to gaze in Riku’s direction with dark amber eyes, gorgeous compared to his dark, charcoal eyes.

She tilted her head before cracking a massive smile and shooting her hand up in the air to wave. She must’ve noticed him. He figured he was spotted and brought his hand up a little and waved back slowly and awkwardly. She swiftly strode over to meet him on the other side of the cross walk. Riku watched her approach him. Her hair swaying with each stride her hips made. He shook his head to get his mind out of the gutter, and looked up to her face.

“Ah, Riku!” she beamed a smile at him, putting her hands behind her back, and doing a tiny curtsey. “Uh, hello there. Wow, I’m actually glad you remembered my name.” Riku felt heat rise on his cheeks. He scratched his the back of his head, feeling the awkwardness flowing as if an intense aura of destruction. Selene tilted her head. “Yes. Why wouldn’t I? You did tell me your name.” She leaned her face in closer with a tilt, as if she were an investigating kitten. “You do remember my name as well, yes?” She asked. Riku gulped nervously and nodded swiftly, as to prove he did not so she would suspect he did. “Of course not. Selene.” He said, lowering his hand away from his head. She flashed another smile and straightened  her pose and let out a soft giggle. “Yay! I’m so glad!” She said, excitement coating her words. This time, it was Riku’s turn to tilt his head. She starred at him with her smile still shinning. She suddenly grabbed his hand and turned towards the house behind her. “Come on, silly. I did invite you over for dinner.” She said, as if oblivious to the thick cloud of awkward. Well, she did space out in the middle of the road. Riku stumbled after her as she pulled him to the house.

“You can leave your shoes by the door, please.” Selene told Riku as she opened the large double doors and led him inside. So there was a coincidence. This was the ramen shop. Does Selene own it? She must. Riku saw her enter a door in the back. A light shun and there were furniture. He didn’t think they had this kind of money. He slipped his shoes off and placed them by the door as instructed. Curiosity took over and he began looking around. It was small, not a big time, full on restaurant. He spotted on of those Chinese cat figures that just sat there and never stopped pawing the air. There was a counter for a small bar with several stools. Aside form those, there were only about five or so tables. This got him thinking this must be a side business or something. He picked up an interesting looking soy sauce bottle. It was in the shape of a devil of some sorts. The face looked like a Japanese demon masks you buy at festivals. It had its claws and tail wrapped around a tiny rolled up piece of paper. Riku tilted his head and slipped it out of the demon’s grasp and unrolled it. It was a fortune. Maybe everyone who sat at a particular table would get a specific fortune. This fortune read “Something promising comes your way. Forever cherish it.”. He never understood what the fortunes meant.

“May I help you?” Came a soft voice form behind him. It startled him, causing him to drop the soy sauce bottle. It clattered onto the floor, one of the bottle’s tiny wings to break off. Riku’s eyes widened in horror and immediately knelt down to collect the pieces. “I am so sorry!” He exclaimed. The girl softly giggled and took the bottle and chipped off wing from his hands. “Don’t not worry about it, mister. It was only an accident, I did not mean to startle you.” Her words were so soft, and her voice quiet. She wore what appeared to be some sort of maid uniform. Her silver hair draped just past her shoulders, two long strands casted over her collar bone.

“Are you a customer? Or perhaps…the visitor Miss Selene mentioned prior?” The girl suggested. Riku raised an eyebrow. He found something odd about her speech. He nodded to her question. “Y-yeah, I am. She invited me.” He said. The girl nodded slowly. “Then please come with me.” She said, bowing her head forward. Riku fallowed her into the door Selene had entered before. Two couched were placed on opposite sides of each other, facing a TV that was at least twenty-five inches. He heard commotion coming from the room over. He could smell something. It must be the kitchen. A tall, lean, man walked from the room where the smell drifted from. His long, ruffled black hair bounced off his shoulders as he walked and turned his head towards Riku. Riku gazed back up at him. The guy had to be taller than six feet. Maybe six-foot-four even. He was more slender than Riku had pictured her father to be. But for someone so skinny, he bore some muscle.

“Ah, hello there, son! Are you this Riku I heard about?” This guy wasn’t the type Riku had pictured. He always thought of meeting a father that was huge, bulky and aggressive towards male folk the befriended their daughters. But this man wasn’t like that. He had a gentle voice and seemed very kind. “Uh, yes, s-sir.” Riku still wasn’t sure on how to act around him, though. The man smiled and patted Riku on the shoulder. “Pleasure to meet ya, Riku.” He beamed a smile down on him. Very similar to Selene. In fact, he found tons of similarities between them. They both had dark, amber eyes. The long black hair. Pale, white skin. Gentle tone. Although, Selene didn’t seem to carry over his height. She seemed about four inches or so shorter than Riku. 

“My name is Shepard Nightingale. Selene’s father, if it isn’t too obvious.” Shepard rubbed the back of his head, chuckling awkwardly. Riku raised his eyebrows. He nodded and shook Shepard’s hand he held out. “Please, come and have a seat.” Shepard gestured to the living space behind them. Riku looked over at the two couches and television. He turned around and sat on one of the couches. Shepard sat across from him on the opposite couch. The maid girl from before carried a tray out with her form the kitchen and set down a cup of water in front of Riku and a cup of tea in front of Shepard. “I apologize. I didn’t know if you liked teat or not.”

“No, its fine.” Riku gave him a soft smile, actually glad he didn’t get tea. He picked up the glass of water. He brought it up to his lips to drink, feeling the refreshing cold liquid run down his throat after the hot walk there and feeling so nervous. “So, I hear you saved Selene from a truck.” Shepard spoke. Riku coughed lightly as the sudden speech startled him, knocking him out of his daze from being dazzled by the refreshment. “Yes, sir.” Riku replied. Shepard chuckled lightly. “You can try the formalities. After all, a friend of Selene’s is a friend to the family. It is good to have manners though.” Shepard put up a hand. Riku nodded slowly. He was always taught to have good manners, and show elders respect from his grandfather.

“Selene can be a bit oblivious at times. Like the time after she showered and slipped across the wooden floor.” Shepard couldn’t contain himself from snickering just telling the story. “Sir, you know Miss Selene does not like it when you tell those stories.” The maid told Shepard with her soft voice. Shepard put his hand up and scratched the back of his head, still laughing from what he had said. “You’re right. She’ll be mad for sure, wont she?” Riku just starred in silence. Selene suddenly came striding fast into the room. “Dad, you know I get embarrassed!” A deep shade of red was colored across her face as she stomped her foot and scolded Shepard. Shepard rubbed his hand along her head. “Yes, yes. I know dear.” Selene nipped at his finger and crossed her arms. “Ow! Hey, no biting!” Riku was in awe. Had he never seen a family this…bizarre. Although, he seemed to find entertainment from watching it. He felt a tad bit less stressed from watching them. Selene then turned her attention on Riku and beamed another smile.

“Dinner is almost ready. Would you mind helping Esther setting the table?” She asked softly, the room quieting down from the racket of laughter and scolding. The maid girl waved silently. She must be this Esther. Riku nodded and stood up. “Sure.” He said.  He fallowed Esther to the kitchen. She opened the cupboards and pulled down four plates and turned around to set them in Riku’s hands. The maid must actually eat with the house masters. He always thought they got a smaller meal, or ate after them. This family is surprising Riku more and more. He asked if the plates need to be arranged in certain spots. Esther pointed to the assigned seat where each plate needed to be placed. Riku placed them accordingly. Esther set the silverware on the designated spot on the sides of the plates. Riku folded the napkins into a little, fancy triangle and put them beside the knife and fork as Esther set glasses above the plates. Selene slipped on heat proof mitts and picked up a large pot that was on the stove. She brought it over and set it on a large hot pad in the center of the table. Esther placed a rice cooker next to the pot. By the smell of it, it was probably curry.

“I hope you like spicy food.” Selene said, placing a plate of pita bread on the table. Riku smiled and nodded. “Sure do. I live with my grandpa, after all.” he chuckled. Selene giggled along with him. “Ah, curry! My favorite!” Shepard exclaimed as he emerged from the living area and swiftly sat down, picking up his fork. “Eh? Esther, you’re going all fancy on me now?” Shepard picked up the triangle napkin and held it out to Esther by the corner where it wouldn’t fall apart. Riku felt his chest tighten as his cheeks burned. “I did not do that. It was Riku.” Esther said, both her and Shepard turning their heads to Riku. “S-sorry, sir. I’m just used to what my mom liked, I guess.” He looked down, feeling a wave of shame cloak over him. Shepard chuckled again.

“No, no! Its fine, son. A neat change. Maybe Esther should try it.” Shepard looked towards Esther. She grabbed a new napkin and immediately began to try and fold it into a perfect little triangle. “I don’t mean now.” Shepard sighed. Selene picked the end chair next to Riku and Shepard. “I think it’s rather creative and cute.” She held her napkin in and held the corresponding corners in her finger tips, and blew on it to make it spin, but it unfolded and flew out of her hold. “Oh no! I ruined it!” She gasped and sunk down into her chair. Riku chuckled, amazed she got so apologetic over such trivial things. “No, no! Don’t be.” He picked it up and re-folded it in front of Selene, showing her how he had folded it previously. Selene tilted her head and took the napkin back in both hands.

“Enough drama. Let us eat!” Shepard said, rubbing his hands together, Esther removing the lids to the curry pot and rice cooker, the two smells interweaving in the air. “I wouldn’t really call that drama.” Riku said, picking up his bowl so Esther could dish him up some food after Shepard has been served. “He just likes to make fun of me.” Selene shot Shepard an irritated, pouty face. Shepard chuckled softly and patted her head. “Now we eat, Selene. Don’t make a scene.” Shepard scooped up a large spoonful of white rice, topped with curry and lathered it on a piece of pita bread. Selene huffed and pointed her spoon to him. “You were creating one!” Riku blinked a couple times. He had so much entertainment just watching them. Listening to their conversations. Yeah. This is what he wanted. Something interesting is happening right before his eyes.

“Hey, Riku. It isn’t too spicy for you, is it?” Shepard looked across the table to him. Riku looked up from his food, only to find all eyes were on him. He could hide the smile slowly cracking across his face. “Nope. I like it spicy.” He tore a piece of pita bread apart and used it to scoop up some cure with rice. He felt more at ease now. He felt he could be more of himself around these people. Because these people seemed to do just that. “So how is school? You two are classmates, correct?” Shepard asked, using his napkin to wipe curry sauce off his upper lip. “Huh? Oh, yeah. She sits, I think two chairs away?” Riku said, his mouth half full. Selene nodded and set her bowl down. “Yes. But he has been slacking. Just yesterday he fell asleep in class.” She said. Riku coughed on his food as he swallowed. “I-I was tired! Hey, Cross lectured me already.” Riku said irritably, taking a drink of water. “I rather like Mr. Cross. And you have to deal with him all your time in the school.” That’s right. Riku had forgotten in his school, you get one teach throughout your entire years until graduation to college. He and Selene were already Juniors. And summer break wasn’t too far off. Then they will be seniors.

“I see. So both of you are Juniors also then? One more year. Have you decided what you want to do after graduation?” Asked Shepard. Riku nodded with an immediate answer. “Yeah. I want to be a writer.” Shepard smiled and nodded. “A great career.” Selene wiggled, holding her hands on her lap. “I am still not so sure.” She said, playing with her fingers. Shepard chuckled and rubbed her head. “I’m sure you will in due time.” He said with a smile. Selene softly smiled back towards him.

After dinner was over, Selene walked him to the front door of their real home building. He placed his hand on the wall to give himself balance to slip one each shoe. He exhaled and straightened his sweatshirt before zipping it back up. Selene was nice enough to walk him to the cross walk. “Thanks, but you didn’t have to walk me.” Riku said. Selene shook her head then looked up to him with a gentle smile, her tone just as soothing. “No, it’s alright. I don’t want you to get hurt, or lost, or something.” She said. Riku felt his heartbeat quicken. No one has said such a thing to him before. And from a girl none the less. He smiled back and nodded. He turned to leave, but she reached out, but she pulled her hand back. However, her fingertips grazed his hand and he looked over his shoulder. Selene flushed and looked back. “Um…you know. If you ever need anything, or if just to talk, just walk on over here, ok?” She said. Riku felt as if his heart would explode. He eyed her, and felt his cheek heat up as well. “S-sure. Will do.”

He couldn’t help but smile to himself on his way home. A girl of all people, invited him to her home, and even invited for his company anytime he wanted. But he wasn’t the type to think so greedily, or such. It seemed nice, that it could be a spot to escape reality from. But he didn’t want to seem as if he were bothering them. And they only just now got to know each other more. He sighed to himself, and the sudden remark Selene made replayed in his head. Get hurt? What he get hurt from? He swallowed, suddenly feeling uneasy and picked up his pace, keeping an eye turned to the shadows.  

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