No Questions Please

"The story you're about to read... not all of us want you to know about it. Please keep it to yourself. Don't let anyone know what you learn, okay? We could get in trouble. Or killed."
A seemingly normal high school student's life is turned upside down. Then so is another's. And another's. Everything weird that's happening- it's connected. Deeper than anyone would've ever thought.

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3. Hunter

We got new neighbors yesterday. It’s a big family. They pulled in kinda early in the morning, like seven-ish, and I saw what looked like a dad and three kids- two girls and a boy. They were moving boxes in for a while, and then the door was shut and I didn’t see or hear any more from them. Which I was thankful for, because there used to be a group of college guys in the house that you could always hear at night and during the day, and would always be coming in and out with their souped-up cars that sometimes would pull me from sleep.

Then, at around two-thirty in the afternoon, I saw the dad pull out in his red pickup truck, and returned about half an hour later with another girl and boy, who carried few possessions. I wondered who they were. Especially because one of them was breathtakingly beautiful.  

I thought maybe they were twins, since they looked rather similar. They both had really thick, wavy, black hair- the girl wore a short ponytail, the boy’s hovered over his forehead. They both had dark eyes and dark freckles and their skin tone seemed to be a natural dark tan that I could never hope to achieve, almost the same copper color as a penny, but not quite as dark. And they were both rather small- appearing almost a foot shorter than the dad of the family from the distance I could peek out at them from my window. But based on their features, they seemed like they were about my age, if not a little bit younger.

My window offered a view into one of their rooms, the one I had decided was the single most beautiful person I’d ever seen. I watched them unpack their stuff through the afternoon, surprised they hadn’t felt me looking at them. Then, my dad had called me downstairs and we had gone out for a couple hours.

I tried to tell myself it was creepy to watch the new neighbor. But, I mean, it wasn’t my fault my room offered a direct view into their room. It wasn’t my fault it was so easy. It wasn’t my fault he was perfect-

Oh yeah. Forgot to mention that it’s the guy that’s so breathtaking.

And guess I didn’t realize I ever felt that way about guys before, and so the fact that I’m super confused about whatever’s going on in my mind is kinda underlying the fact that the newest neighbor boy is the most perfect person I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to go over there for the past four or so days that they’ve lived there and introduce myself and find out what his name is. But, y’know, I was awkward. If I went, I would ruin it. So I backed out and continued to not stalk the new neighbor boy.

It turned out that since my room was on the floor and facing outward, the roof of my house was right underneath my window. I had opened my window and stepped out onto the roof, and I discovered that it was very relaxing to just sit out there and think about things, even though there wasn’t very much of a view because these were two story houses packed tightly together in an urban neighborhood in New York City. And it also turned out that the neighbor boy’s window did the same thing, and the roofs of our houses were almost touching.

Now, it was nearing late evening, but since it was still summer- if only barely- the sun was just beginning to go down. I opened my window and climbed out onto my roof, and as I turned to face outwards, I was both surprised and flustered to see the neighbor boy was also out on his roof.

He locked eyes with me as I sat down, crossing my legs underneath me. I didn’t know what to say. Hi? What’s up? How’s it going? No matter what I said, I was sure I would sound awkward.

He solved the problem for me by saying, “Do you come out here often?”

He spoke with an accent I’ve never heard before, sorta reminding me of maybe an island accent, like people used in Jamaica, but it also kinda reminded me of how my friend Willard, who was from South Korea, talked. This, coupled with the fact that I wasn’t expecting him to actually be the first one to speak, threw me off, and I stammered, “Uh, y-yeah, I guess.”

He nodded, his dark eyes drifting away from me and upwards, as if he were trying to get a glimpse of the sky. After a few seconds of silence that were a lot less awkward and strained than I had originally thought, he said, “Yeah, me too.” Then he turned his eyes back to me, his dark eyes that looked even darker in the dim evening light, and he asked, “What’s your name?”

“Me?” I asked, and immediately regretted it. Yes, me. Who else would he have been talking to? The pigeons?

Before the neighbor boy had the chance to laugh or say something about how stupid I am or insult me, I answered- totally not awkwardly- “Oh, uh, me? Me, I’m Hunter.”

The boy smiled, and it made his eyes just a little bit rounder, a little bit wider, a little bit more noticeable and intimidatingly pretty. He waved one hand and said, “Well, Hunter, aloha. I’m Jake.”

I think the fact that he was so smooth registered long before his actual name. Jake was so confident and sociable and… God, he was perfect. Then I realized he had said aloha. Didn’t they say that in Hawaii? Did that solve the mystery of his accent and his exotic good looks?

I didn’t know what to say. Okay, that’s cool? Like?

“You just moved in,” I blurted. That was worse.

Jake said, “Yeah. My sister and I finally got to move in with the guy that adopted us, so.”

Even though his sentence ended awkwardly, Jake made it work. His eyes turned back up towards the sky again and he sighed, his shoulders slumping back in relaxation.

It was quiet. I couldn’t help but stare at him. He was so beautiful. The lights from the apartments reflected off of his hair, his hair that looked so soft and thick- God! I needed to stop.

Jake turned his eyes back to me and let out another soft sigh. Then he said, “I saw you at tryouts, I think.”

Tryouts. It took a second for me to register what he meant. Baseball tryouts for high school were just a few weeks ago. And, now that I think about it, he was there. Although I hadn’t been paying much attention, since I was with Willard the whole time.

“Yeah, I think I saw you too,” I said. Finally, something had come out that wasn’t embarrassingly awkward.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if we both made it?” Jake asked, and his face spread into a genuinely beaming smile. “Then we could hang out there. And since we live so close, we could go to practice together and stuff.”

Oh my God. Jake wanted us to be friends. Maybe I could handle that, but probably not. But I just said, “Yeah, that would be cool.”

Jake sighed, then said hesitantly, “Y’know, I really like talking to you.”

I sat there, not entirely sure what to say. Jake basically had just given me a compliment. But he continued, “Because we’ve always moved around a lot, uh, because we were in foster care, and I’ve never really had, y’know, friends.”

All I said was, “Oh.” And then I felt like a jerk. Really, Hunter? Not even a little I’m sorry, you’re really cute?

Jake shrugged and gave a half smile. “I mean, how could I if we were always moving? Y’know? Didn’t mean to make that awkward.” He shrugged again, and it was awkward, but on him it was cute. On me it made it seem like my very existence was a mistake. Which, actually, it was, but I didn’t think self deprecating humor was really going to help me talk to Jake.

“Yeah, I get it,” I said, hoping I sounded casual enough for it not to be weird. I’ve been so awkward this whole time. God.

It was quiet again. Small talk was hard to come up with topics for. I wished making friends was easier, that when you met someone who you wanted to get to know you could just skip the awkward phase and get right to the part where you’re talking to each other every day and showing up at their house uninvited like kids always do on TV shows and stuff. But I guess it can’t be that way.

Jake was better as small talk than I was, because he threw out, “Maybe we’ll have some classes together. If we tried out for the same baseball team, that means we’re going to the same school and we’re in the same grade.”

I was glad he explained that, because I probably would’ve asked because I’m stupid. I don’t think I would be able to focus in a class with Jake- I wouldn’t pay attention to anything except him. But at the same time, it would be pretty cool if we had classes together because then I would have the advantage of knowing someone besides Willard on the first day.

I heard my dad calling my name from behind me and apparently so did Jake, because he leaned forward intently. When I turned to look at Jake after looking back at my window, his eyes were filled with the type of confusion where it’s not your business to know and you really don’t need to know anyway, but part of you wants to because it’s helping you figure something out. Like when you see a picture on a teacher’s computer screen and you’re trying to figure out who it is. That kind of confusion.

“That’s my dad,” I told him. “I think I should go.”

Jake nodded, and by now the sun had gone down enough that some stars were beginning to appear. He smiled at me, then said, “Maybe tomorrow I can come over to your house and formally introduce myself.”

“Yeah,” I said. And it took every ounce of courage in my body to add, “And maybe we could meet out here again tomorrow night.”

“Well, duh,” Jake snorted in his exotic and intriguing voice that I was beginning to become more and more used to as time passed.

We both started to stand up, and I really didn’t want to take my eyes away from his. It felt like I would never see him again, even though he lived right next door, and he had even agreed to meet out here tomorrow. But I said, “Bye, Jake,” throwing in “See you tomorrow,” as I turned around.

“See you tomorrow, Hunter,” I heard Jake call. “Have a good night.”

And with him as the last thought on my mind before I fell asleep, I definitely did.

 

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