Thursday, July 16, 2015

Then he gave me a peculiar look, “Are you wearing a new perfume or something?”

  (‘Scent’ Excerpt Chapter 1)

I arrived at the bonfire in Ben’s back yard just before seven o’clock and found a large crowd of young people, between the ages of 12 to 22 already here.

Ben was two years older than me and was a mechanic along with Declan and Uncle Finn.  The garage they worked at was beside the general store/gas station. The boys called themselves ‘grease monkeys’ and played loud rock music all day as they worked on a car or motor bike or boat engine.  Declan may have been an arrogant asshole, but Ben was pretty cool. He was human, funny and charismatic.  He’s been holding bonfire parties in his parent’s large back yard since he was 14 years old.

“Hey Ben.” I greeted him first, since this was his party.

“Hey B!” He smiled exuberantly, as he shook my hand. “Welcome! Grab yourself a soda. My Mom and Dad are over there, doling them out.”

“Thanks.” I walked away to let him continue his conversation before I interrupted.  Ben was talking to Feather, one of the tribe’s prettiest girls.

“Hi B.”

“How’s it goin’, B?”

“Good to see you, B.”

I smiled as I said the expected pleasantries back to the familiar faces that I grew up with as I walked to the drinks table.   I saw Derik was talking to Pan, a boy who was a year older than us.  He noticed my arrival and waved me over.  I waved back and mouthed ‘in a minute’.  He understood and turned back to continue his conversation.

“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Shallow Water.” I greeted, approaching Ben’s parents.

“Hi Bianca.” She smiled warmly.  “How are you? How is your mother?”

“Good thanks.”

“Say hi to her for me, won’t you.” Mrs. Shallow Water said.  “Now what soda would you like?”

I looked at the bottles of root beer, creaming soda, lemonade and cola.

“I’ll go the cola please.” I pointed.

“Wise choice.” Mr. Shallow Water smiled and then he jokingly went on. “It’s a good year and was picked during a good harvest. It has a sweet flavor with a fizzy bouquet. Perhaps madame would like to sniff the beverage before consuming it?”

“Oh Cliff!” She laughed at her husband.  “Take no heed of him Bianca.  Here, enjoy your drink.” She passed me my plastic cup with the soda inside.

“Thank you.” I giggled at the both of them and then I turned around and I was about to head towards Derik, when I almost ran into Daniel.

“Bianca!” his eyes widened.

“Oh, Daniel! Sorry!” I laughed. “I didn’t mean to walk into you.”

“No harm done, you can walk into me any day.” He joked.

OK… I thought that was a bit of an odd thing to say.

“So, what are you drinking?” Daniel asked, looking at my cup.

“Um, cola.”

“Good choice, I think I might have the same.” He looked at Mr. Shallow Water who nodded and poured him a cup.  He passed it to Daniel who immediately took a large mouthful, before he asked, “what have you been up to, B? I haven’t seen you in a while.”

“Oh um, I’m studying a lot.” I shrugged.

“That’s right.” Daniel nodded.  “History, right?”

“Yeah.”

“When was the last time you went swimming in the river?” He next asked.

“Wow, what a good question… um, since ages?” I pondered.

“I’m going tomorrow with the usual gang.” He nodded towards his small group of friends standing off to the side, who like Daniel, were two years older than me. “You should come along.”

“I don’t know…”

“Come on, before it gets cold.” He recommended.

“Um, I’ll see.” I smiled uneasily.

Daniel has never asked me anywhere before, he’s always just been a friendly acquaintance and nothing more.

“OK then.” He half turned away.  “Well, I’ve gotta go back and join my friends.  Feel free to come and say hi to them. You’ll see that we’re actually not that scary.”

“OK.” I laughed lightly.

“See you around, Bianca.” He squeezed my arm and gave a meaningful look, the same kind of look I had seen my Dad give my Mum only half an hour ago…

I stood still to watch him walk off, but as soon as he rejoined his friends he looked back my way.   That IS weird!   Why is Daniel, this older boy who I hardly talk to, who I thought has never noticed me before, paying attention to me now? 

Just then Justin and Leaf walked past to the drinks table.

“Hey B.” Justin greeted.

“How’s it goin’, B?” Leaf asked politely.

“Oh um, what?” I snapped out of it.  “Oh, I’m fine thanks. How are you two goin’?”

“Not bad.” Justin shrugged.

“I can’t complain – no one listens.” Leaf said the old joke.  Then he paused to look on closely. “Are you wearing mascara?”

“No.” I gave him a funny look and so did Jack.

“Oh, sorry!  It’s just that your eyes looked different for a second then.” Leaf blushed and looked down.

“Were you going to try to get some beauty tips or something there Leaf?” Justin laughed and nudged his friend.

“Aw, shut up!” Leaf nudged him back.

“So B, what have you been up to lately? We don’t see you around as much anymore.” Justin asked.

“Studying.” I answered.

“What are you studying?” Leaf asked.

“History.”

“What kind of history?” He asked again.

“All kinds of History. I’m reading about Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece and Rome.” I told him.

Rome? Oh yeah, like gladiators and stuff.” He nodded.

“Yeah, something like that.” I sipped my drink.

“Do you have a favourite part in History that you like?” He inquired.

“Um no, not really.” I shrugged.  “I like all of it.”

“And how did you get interested in that sort of stuff?” Leaf looked on with wide eyes, almost as if he were drinking in the sight of my face.

I looked from him to Justin, wondering what was going on here?  He appeared just as surprised at his friend’s sudden interest in me as I was.   Justin and Leaf were cool guys, who were two years younger than I was.  Leaf was like a little cousin since he was Uncle Ian’s son.  His father was my father’s best friend and another Lokoti Werewolf.  But like Daniel, they were just casual acquaintances.  Until tonight, I had hardly said ‘boo’ to them except for polite acknowledgements at social gatherings such as this.

“How did I get interested in History? Um, I don’t know… I’ve always enjoyed hearing the stories about our tribe.  I also liked finding out about my Mum’s family line from England and Australia.” I looked downwards as I felt antsy to get away.

“So what are you doing tomorrow, B?” Leaf asked.  “Justin and I and a couple of the guys were going to have a game of soccer…”

…but before he could finish, he was interrupted.

“Alright small fry.” Declan suddenly appeared beside me.  “The lady’s taken. Skedaddle!”

Justin and Leaf’s eyes widened by the sudden appearance of the tribe’s most dangerous Werewolf, even if he was in human form.  They quickly turned around and left to talk to someone else.

“Declan!” I whacked him on the arm as I felt my cheeks burn.

“What?” He gave a funny look.

“What did you do that for?!”

“Oh, you mean you like having all the guys at this party fall over themselves for you?” He looked on unimpressed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I felt my cheeks turn from red to crimson.

“No?” He arched his eyebrows.  “Either you’re the most popular girl here that everyone’s inviting to swimming in rivers or to soccer games…but I’m thinking that these guys aren’t exactly inviting you to these events for the sport, or that kind of sport anyway.”

Declan was looking about with his eyes narrowing and I looked around to see what he was looking at.  Beside Leaf and Daniel’s eyes looking my way, I actually noticed two other boys doing the same.

“Your popularity has certainly gone up around here.” He said stroppily.  Then he gave me a peculiar look, “are you wearing a new perfume or something?”

“What?” I took a step away from him.  “No!”

“Hey, don’t flatter yourself princess.” He sneered at my reaction.  “I’m here looking out for my brother’s interests.”

“Excuse me?”

“Derik is just a human so he can’t smell the elevated testosterone around you.” He sneered as he looked about again.

“Don’t be disgusting, Declan.”

“Go and stand with my brother and stop flirting with the other boys, would you?”

“Drop dead Declan.” I said icily before I walked away.

Instead of walking to Derik, I went over to Rachel and Mandy, two girls my age whom I used to hang out with in school and I still got together with.

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