Mysterious Man

Chapter 7

Diamond trotted over to me in her seven inch heels and air kissed me. Who does that? What’s the point to it? Your cheeks don’t even touch! Anyway, she air kissed me and looped her arm into the crook of my elbow as if we were BFF’s. When I tried to pull away, she just held on tighter.
“What are you doing?” I hissed.
“What do you mean? You’re in our squad now!” she said with a brilliant smile. “Ew, you’re all sweaty.”
“Ha. As if.” I rolled my eyes before shooting a questioning glance at Jamie. “And by the way, sweating is something normal people do when their hot. But then you wouldn’t know, you’ve probably had too much botox done.”
“You are so infuriating!” she replied, forcing a wide smile on her face.
“Hey Lila.” said Jamie softly.
“Hi.” I said bluntly. “Look, this was great and all but can I go now?”
“Well no silly!” said Aubrey.
“We have to plan our next party!” stated Ethel while eyeing me.
“Well that’s brilliant, but I most certainly won’t be going so I’ll just be off now.” I started backing off but Rosalinda and Elise caught my arms.
“Come on, it’s going to be so cool!” Rosalinda squealed. See, the thing is with Rosalinda, is she can be nice at times. She’s the rich one, you would think she’s obnoxious and a brat but no. Our parents used to be friends before the incident and before high school, she would come over with her parents and we would have play dates. They were good while they lasted.
“I’m not going.” I stated. Jamie stepped over to me and gently started leading me away by my elbow.
“I’ll get her to come, don’t worry girls.”
“I’m not going!” I told him coldly.
“Come on.” He muttered. “Adventure day, then party? How could a day get better.”
“How about: lie in bed all day and wish you didn’t exist? Sounds great to me.”
“Stop being cranky. This could be good for you… Forget the past.”
I whirled around, “Don’t pretend to know what’s good for me with your stupid bad boy act! I can’t forget the past! Don’t you understand that? I can’t now and I never will. Just leave me alone for now on. Do the stupid project alone.” I spat. With that, I turned around and jogged, no ran, back to the house on the verge of tears.
Mum was helping Katie with homework when I got back.
“Honey? What’s wrong?” Mum asked as I slammed the door to my room shut. She knocked on my door, seconds later, I brutally opened it, towel in hand. I walked furiously to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I ran the shower and put my music on as loud as I could but didn’t actually do anything. I slid to the floor and rested my head in my hands. I didn’t cry. I refused to cry. I just took long, shaky breaths. After a few minutes I slowly got back up and stepped in the shower. A long shower later, I was out again. I was going to open the door when I froze. There was a mans voice talking to Mum. I listened intently, trying to figure out who this person was. They were whispering so when I couldn’t make out who this person was, I stepped out. Of flipping course. It just had to be Jamie.
“Lila!” Jamie called, hopeful.
“Go away. I told you to stay away.” I glared at him from across the room.
“Come on. Let’s go watch something in my room.” I heard Mum whisper to Katie.
“Look this isn’t for me I’m doing this. Well, a little bit, but it’s mostly for you. You shouldn’t be around me. You know how, in The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel Grace says she’s a ticking time bomb? That’s me. Just ticking away, waiting to explode.”
Jamie took a tentative step towards me. “Lila, I made a faux-pas earlier. I said something that I shouldn’t have. I knew the past is a sensitive topic for you but I still talked about it. I’m sorry, but you don’t have to push me away. This past week, I’ve had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. My life’s lousy too. Maybe I’ll tell you about it one day… Maybe on an adventure day?”
I sighed and flopped down on the sofa. “Why do you want to be friends with me so much?”
“Because you’re worth it.” Jamie replied, sitting next to me.
“Are you sure you want to put up with me? This is your chance to back out?”
“I’m sure.”
I sighed. “Okay. Okay, fine.” After a few moments of silence, I plucked up the courage to asked a question that had been whirling around in my mind. “Tell me about your life?” I whispered, kind of hoping he wouldn’t hear.
“Well, Mum died when I was born. She was young when she had me. Dad blamed me for her death and has hated me for as long as I can remember. For years he’s been going from woman to woman, trying to replace her. He’ll never be able to. I don’t blame him for hating me. Mum did die because of me.”
“That’s not true.” I said, putting a hand on his.
“Anyway, He isn’t violent or anything. It could be much worse. He just ignores me, gives me fifty pounds a month for clothes, school stuff. I just wish he would acknowledge me, you know? Of course you don’t know. That’s why I like coming over here. You’re mum’s so nice. I know it’s weird, but it’s like having the mother I never had.” He snorted. “I’m just getting soppy now. I’ll just go now.” He moved to get up but and held him back.
“Stay for a bit.” I whispered.
We stayed up talking until about eleven pm before we both fell asleep, huddled close on the sofa, a warm blanket wrapped around us.

Mysterious Man

Chapter 6

Dinner that night was, all in all, a very embarrassing experience. Mum just wouldn’t stop asking questions and then, like the embarrassing mother she is, showed baby pictures of me. Naked.
“No! Mum! Put. Them. Away.”
Jamie just laughed and laughed. “Stop laughing. I’m warning you.” I had said after I punched him in the shoulder.
“I can’t believe you!” I said to Mum after Jamie had left. “I barely know him.”
“Do you want to know what I can’t believe?” asked Mum, waggling her eyebrows. “I can’t believe you snuck out last night when you were supposed to be sleeping.” Oh oh. “Yep, I saw you two outside. You weren’t being very discreet to be honest with you.”

So, what I haven’t mentioned because I was too busy talking about Jamie (what is wrong with me, am I right?) is I have been getting too much pity at school. I hate it. Hate hate hate it! Megan has been coming up to me everyday. She doesn’t understand that I can’t deal with my old life. I love her, well I used to, but everything about my old life reminds me of Dad.
So yes, I have been getting a lot of pity but there will always be…. The mean girls. Literally, there are five Regina Georges in my school: Diamond, she’s the queen bee, Elise, who is the on the who makes all the evil plans, Rosalinda, the rich one, Aubrey, the pretty one and finally, Ethel, the one who thinks she’s cool but actually the other girls just keep her around to do their homework, poor girl, but for some reason, she’s the meanest of them all, always ready to insult someone.
“Well, well, well. Look at you, poor little miss kidnapped. Really, you shouldn’t have come back. What if the imaginary bad guys get out of jail?”
“Literally, Diamond, it was all over the news. Oh no, you’re too dumb to watch the news.” I’m not a mean girl. I’m actually quite nice when I want to be but when someone gets on my nerves… Well, lets just say I’m a feisty one. Diamond flipped her hair behind her back and glared at me while her friends just gasped and glared.
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” She straitened her shoulders even more than they already were to make herself higher than me which, really, isn’t that hard. She was wearing heels and I’m already quite small for my age.
“Apology accepted. You heard me, bye now.” She spun me around as I started walking away.
“Don’t you walk away from me!”
“Hello ladies.” Jamie came up behind me.
“Oh, Jamie!” Diamond fluttered her eyelashes.
“Do you have something in your eye? Do you want eye drops?” I said, stifling a laugh. She glared at me again and turned back to Jamie.
“Party at mine tonight, 9pm. Be there.” she winked.
“Sorry, got plans.”
“Plans?”
“Plans.”
“What plans?”
“Got a dinner date.”
“A dinner date? With who?”
“With this little lady in front of you.”
“With her? Ditch her! It’s going to be so much more fun at my party.”
“Sorry Diamond, I’m a gentleman; I don’t ditch. Maybe next time.”
Jamie steered me away before I could ask why he said that.
“You can thank me later.” he said.
“Thank you for what?”
“For saving you.”
“I could have handled it.”
“I’m sur you could have. But you know me, I’m your Prince Charming and all.”
“Are you now?”
“Yes. Do you want to start the project this evening? Catch the sunset, all romantic and all. It could be our first date.”
“Ha, date. You’re a funny one.”
“I’m being serious!”
“Come back and ask me when we haven’t know each other for two days.”
“I’ll come back tomorrow then.”
“No!”
“See you this evening.”
“You are not coming around three nights in a row.”
“See you tonight!”
“Jamie!”
“Bye Honey!”
“Do not call me ‘Honey’!”

“Honey, I’m home!”
“Jamie I have a headache. Please, I’m not feeling well.” I said.
“I know, your mum said. So, instead of adventuring, I’m going to take care of you.” he said, sitting on the edge of my bed.
“Jamie please.”
“I’ll get you some Advil and water and then I’ll go to the shops and get soup, soup always makes people better.”
“Jamie that’s really sweet and all but please just go away.”
Jamie wouldn’t listen. He took care of me all evening through all my protests. When he had finished taking care of me, we watched Netflix together all night. I fell asleep and when I woke up the next morning, I was alone. I had a lie in as it was Saturday and when I came out of my room for some breakfast, Mum and Katie were waggling their eyebrows at me.
“What?” I asked in an exasperated voice.
“Lila and Jamie, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love then comes-”
“Katie! Shut up!”
“-love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage!”
I picked my little sister up and threw her onto the sofa and started tickling her. We had a big tickle and pillow fight and collapsed on the floor in a fit of giggles.
“Seems like you’re feeling better.” said Mum.
“I am actually.”
“Maybe it’s thanks to that medicine your boyfriend brought you last night, and the soup.”
He is not my boyfriend!
“He’s your boyfriend! He’s your boyfriend! Lila has a boyfriend! Lila has a boyfriend!”
“I don’t Katie!”
“Yes you do, yes you do!”
“I’m going for a run.”
I got changed and ran out of the door. I stretched a bit (not because I knew what I was doing, just because I had seen people do it, haha) and started at a slow pace. I had run for around five minutes when, what did I see? Jamie… Surrounded by Diamond and her ‘crew’. The girls were flipping their hair and fluttering their eyelashes and sticking their chests out. Jamie was smirking. I tried to run past them without getting noticed but that didn’t work.
“Lila!”

Mysterious Man

Chapter 5

When Jamie left, around an hour later, I scooped some leftover past out of a big plastic container and brought it to my room. I turned Nextflix on and started eating. My eyes closed seepily even though I had slept several hours that day. I dreamt of a beautiful black bird, pecking at the window. Little did I know, I wasn’t dreaming. There were actually pecking noises coming from the window. I sat up lazily and trudged over to the window, still half asleep. I pulled the curtains open a crack and peaked out of the gap.
What an idiot.
There was Jamie, crouching on the ground, trying to find more pebbles to attract my attention even though he could have easily knocked on the window.
“Jamie!” I hissed. “What the hell are you doing?”
“What do you think?” the boy answered, his eyes laughing.
“Seems like you’re trying to get me in trouble!”
“Never! Come on, I parked the truck around the corner, your mum’ll never know!”
“Yes she will.”
“She won’t.”
“Go away Jamie. You’re already coming over tomorrow for dinner.”
“And maybe I’ll be invited over the day after tomorrow as well.” Jamie flashed a grin at me.
“You’re so annoying.”
“Come on, come down. We’ll stay here. Right here, on this very doorstep. No need to go anywhere else.”
“If I come down will you stop badgering me?”
“Of course.”
“Fine. But I’ll have to come through the window, Mum’ll still be in the living room.”
It was a good thing my house was a bungalow.
I wrapped my pink dressing gown around my shoulders and jumped out of the window. I landed neatly on my feet.
“You’re so annoying.” I repeated. “I’ve only known you for a day and you’re already invited around for dinner and I’m sneaking out for you!”
“What can I say? I’ve got charm.”
“Yeah, you’ve got arrogance too.”
“I won’t deny it.”
We sat down on the doorstep and talked for a while. We didn’t really talk about anything interesting, we were just getting to know each other. We played a game: he asked me ten questions about me and I asked him ten questions about him. Than, he asked me ten questions about him and I had to guess the answer according to what I already knew and vice versa. It was actually quite fun.
Around midnight, I insisted on going back to sleep. Jamie gave me a boost up on the ledge and I crawled inside. I gave him a little wave before closing the curtains.
I lay down on my bed. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
We had just arrived at our new house. It was small, smaller than our house in England. And it was extremely hot and the neighbors were noisy and I had to share a room with Katie which wasn’t so bad; she was quite a good room mate but I was sixteen, I needed my privacy.
“I hate it.” I said to Mum as I banged the bedroom door closed.
“So, that Jamie… Someone special?”
“Mum!” I chocked on my cereal. After drinking a big gulp of water, I stared at her in horror. “I’ve literally known him for one day. One day.
“Well I don’t know. He’s nice. Charming, good looking.”
“Mum! Please, stop!”
“Well I’m just say-”
“Going to be late for school, bye!”
“Don’t forget about dinner tonight!”
“Don’t worry, I won’t.”
I walked at a quick pace all the way to school. When I finally got there, what was the first thing I saw? A black truck, a lean man leaning against it. I, like the anti-social person I am, tried to dodge him. I skimmed the edge of the car park and headed to my first lesson: French.
Bonjour mes enfants, je suis Madame Carolie. Bienvenue à votre premier cours de Français.
A long hour later, I was back in Geography.
“Miss Caro, I hope you are feeling better after yesterday?” said the Professor.
“Yes, Miss. I was just… Taken by surprise.”
“Well let’s hope today goes better.”
“Yeah.”
I took my seat at the back of class where Jamie was already waiting for me.
“Well hello there.” He grinned at me.
“Hey. Listen, do you really have to come tonight?”
“Don’t you want me to come?”
“I would absolutely hate for you to come! It’s going to be so embarrassing.”
“Nah, it’s gonna be cool.”
“It really isn’t.”
“You’ll see.”
“Now, I want you all to buddy up cause we’re going to be doing a group project. Now if you’ll just tell me who you’re going to partner up with so I can write it down…”
Jamie strode to the front of the classroom and said loud and clear, “I’m gonna be with Lila Caro.”
“Okay… Jamie, is it? What’s your last name?”
“Jamie. Just Jamie.”
“Now, I need your last name.”
Jamie ignored Professor Tyler and just walked back up to me. “We’re buddies!” He said.
“I hadn’t noticed. Don’t I get a say in this?”
“Would you like to be with someone else?”
I glared at him in response.
“I rest my case.” He said, smirk in place.

“We’re actually partners for a Geography project.” Said Jamie to Mum as she was dishing up the takeaway pizza she had ordered.
“How lovely! What do you have to do?”
“We have to go somewhere historical around here and do a mock up and essay of it.”
“That’s  great! Where are you going to go?”
“We don’t know yet Mum.” I said exasperated and rolled my eyes.
“Well when are you going to start it than?”
“Can I come with you?” asked Katie.
“Sorry, Katie. This is just for me and Jamie.”
“Oh.” I couldn’t take it, Katie was too cute with those puppy eyes.
“But we’ll take you to that big trampoline park!”
“Yay!”
“That’s very kind of you Lila.” Mum kissed my forehead.
“Mum!”
“What?”
“It’s embarrassing!”
“Oh shush you.”
“I love you?”
“I love you too.”

Mysterious Man

Chapter 4

I hesitated before sitting down. I should have really been in school and it was my first day back. But something compelled me to sit next to him, so I did.
“We should be in school.”
“We should, but we’re not.”
“True.”
“So, do you want to talk about it? You should you know. It could make you feel better.”
“I can’t.”
“You can. You just choose not to.”
“No I actually can’t. Secret Services and all.”
“Oh, I get it.”
I sighed. I really did need to talk about it, keeping all my pain inside me was destroying.
“I used to live here, before I went to Australia. I got into the wrong crowd, owed some money to a friend who had some dangerous siblings. The police only recently found two of the siblings who had escaped.”
“Shit.”
“Yeah. Ever since then, I’ve been having panic attacks.”
“That’s why you ran away.” muttered Jamie.
“What?”
“One night during the holidays, I saw you running. I don’t know why anyone would be running at three o’clock in the morning though.”
“Oh… Yeah.” I ducked my head and blushed. He must have thought I was a crazy person, running away like that. “Jetlag.”
“Ah, I get it.”
We sat in silence for a while, just enjoying the view and fresh air. And before I knew it, I was asleep. I woke up, blanket wrapped around me, head bumping slightly against the trucks window. The stars were out.
“What the hell? What time is it?”
“Don’t worry, it’s half eight. It gets darker in the evening near winter.”
“I should have been home hours ago! Mum’ll be worried sick.” I slapped Jamie’s arm in anger. “Drive faster!”
“Alright, calm down. which house is it?”
“Number 13.”
“Ohhh the unlucky number.”
“Whatever.”
“Come on, it’s eight thirty, not that late.”
“What do you think my mum will be thinking? ‘Oh my god my daughter has been kidnapped again’ probably!”
“It’ll be fine.”
Now, he was really getting on my nerves. “NO! It won’t be fine. Don’t you understand? Mum’ll think the people who took us have gotten out of prison and kidnapped me!” I looked at him and punched his arm. “You’re an idiot!”
“You know, I still don’t know your name.”
“Forget that! Get me home!”
“I’ll stop this truck if you don’t tell me.”
“Lila! Okay? Lila. Now get me home you idiot!”
“Alright, Lila.” He sped up a bit and in a matter of minutes, we skidded up to my front door. I got out, slammed the door shut behind me and shouted a quick “Bye!” before running into the house.
“I’m home! Sorry I’m late, I fell asleep!”
“Lila! I was worried sick! Why- Who could be here at this hour.” She huffed. “We’re not done Missy.” She said before opening the door, and there stood Jamie.
“Oh god.” I muttered. I stared at him, trying to communicate with my eyes. Get out get out get out!
“Mrs Caro, my name is Jamie and I would personally like to apologise for keeping Lila out late.”
“I was worried sick young man.” said Mum sternly.
“Mum,” I said “I had a panic attack, he helped me it’s fine. You can leave now Jamie. Goodnight.” I started to close the door but Mum, of all people, pushed it back open. “You helped Lila?”
“Yes, I used to have them myself, I knew how to help.”
Mum’s face lit up. “Well you must come for dinner one night then! How about tomorrow? It’s pizza night!”
“I would be hono-”
“No! Jamie’s fine Mum, he doesn’t want to stay here longer than he has to. Bye now!”
“I would be honored to come for pizza night, Mrs Caro.”
“That’s settled than. How about you come in for a nice cup of tea and tell me all about yourself.” She started to open the door wider.
“Oh my god Mum stop!”
“Oh shush you.” She said as Jamie stepped into the house.
“I’ll just text my sister, tell her I’ll be late.” He whipped out his phone, wrote a quick message and slipped it back in his pocket. “All done.” He gave a dazzling smile.
“I’ll be back in a minute.” I said and I slipped out of the living room, into my own yellow room. I took my makeup off, slipped some pyjamas on and tied my hair up. I looked into the mirror and banged my head on it. “Why me!” I groaned before walking back out.
“Lila! You’re so rude, getting your pyjamas on when there are guests here.” Mum scolded me.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry.” I turned to face Jamie. “Would you like a pair of mini-shorts and a tank top?”
Jamie laughed “I’m fine thanks.”
“Jamie, do you take any sugars?” Mum called from the kitchen.
“Two, please.”
Seconds later, Mum came back in, steaming mugs of tea on a plateau.
“Can I have tea?” Katie was standing in the doorframe, teddy in hand.
“Katie, you’re supposed to be in bed.” said Mum.
“Come on.” I sat down and lifted her onto my lap. She snuggled up to me and closed her eyes. She was asleep in seconds. I looked up and saw Jamie smiling at me. “What’re you looking at?” I whispered.
“She’s cute.”
“Just like me.”
“Of course.”
I picked my old Winnie the Poo mug and sipped the hot tea.
“Winnie the Poo huh?”
“Yes.” I glared at him “Problem?”
“None at all. Just enjoying learning about you.”
At that moment, Mum came out again, a small mug of tea in her hands. “She’s gone back to sleep that little bugger.”
I was on the plane, on my way to Australia.
“Right, remember: Katie, you’re Isabella and Lila, you’re Molly.”
“We know Mum you’ve told us a hundred times.” I said, clearly annoyed.
“Don’t take that tone with me! It’s not my fault we ended up in this position!”
“I know it’s mine! You don’t have to remind me.”
“Well if you hadn’t taken that money…”
“I said you don’t have to remind me, okay? I’m sorry!”
“Sorry won’t bring your dad back.”
I stared at Mum with shocked eyes for a long moment after that before storming off, into the planes toilet.

Mysterious Man

Chapter 3

“Miss Caro? The Headmistress is ready to see you.” said the secretary.
I got up, didn’t even say goodbye, and walked into the Headmistresses office.
“Miss Caro, it is good to see you again. I hope you had an interesting time in… Australia, is it?”
“Yes, thank you Miss.”
“I have your timetable here.”
“Thank you Miss.” First lesson: Geography was written on it.
“I want to know that if anything is wrong, you come right here okay? I know you have been through some traumatizing times.”
“Thank you Miss.”
“You may go.”
As I walked out, head down, somebody talked behind me, “I never got your name.”
“And you never will.” I said before rushing off to my first lesson.
I was ten minutes early so I took a seat right at the back of the classroom. I was taking my books and pens out when somebody sat down next to me. This stupid, annoying person just had to sit next to me when the whole classroom was empty. Completely empty.
“Nice stuff.” he said. Now, I must admit, I love the beginning of the school year. You get new books, new pens and I LOVE decorating them. So now, laying in front of me were my brand new pens with colorful cellotape wrapped around them and books with drawings and doodles all over the front cover. I slowly lifted my head and glared at the person next to me. Of course, it was Jamie.
“Are you following me?”
“No, I actually have this lesson.”, Jamie laughed when he saw me glaring at him. “If looks could kill, I would be dead right now. Literally, I would have fallen off my chair and died.”
I tried not to, but a small smile crept up on my face, it quickly disappeared.
“I saw that smile. Well look at me, making pretty miserable girls laugh.”
“I’m not miserable.”, I said. That was a lie.
“Yes you are. I can tell.”
“How?”
“Your eyes.” he whispered just as the teacher walked in.
I didn’t really listen to much of the lesson as Jamie kept trying to talk to me. Trying as in, he talked, I would shush him and he would talk again. And suddenly: “You, at the back. Can you answer the question?”
Oh no. The professor was looking at me. Oh no oh no oh no. Not again. Please please please not again. My heartbeat sped up. I couldn’t get air to my lungs. NO! I tried to breathe, tried to get air to my lungs, I couldn’t.
“Alright, come on.” someone put my arm over their shoulder and lifted me off the floor.
“All of you, stay here. I don’t want anybody out of the classroom. Mr…?”
“It’s Jamie. Just Jamie.”
“Jamie, take her to the infirmary.”
“That’s not what’s going to help her.”
“Take her to the infirmary!”
“I know what to do okay!”
After that, I didn’t hear much. All that mattered was getting oxygen in my body. A warm hand was on my back. How did I get on the floor, outside? It was actually quite nice out, the sun was shining, the grass and trees were green. I felt my heart slowly calm down. Air was finally getting into my lungs. Several minutes later, when I finally felt better, I slumped against the persons arm and cried. I had been doing really well. I hadn’t had a panic attack for over a month. The person hugged me and even though I had no idea who this person was, I let them.
“How about we skip the day, huh?” I knew that voice. It was Jamie. I shook my head. “I’ll take you my happy place?”
“What’s that, cigarettes and alcohol?” I said shakily.
He laughed. “No. Let me show you.”
I looked back at the school and back at Jamie. “You’ve got an hour.”
“Brilliant.”
I was wrapped up in a blanket in the back of an ambulance, watching Dad being brought out on a stretcher. I didn’t feel anything. I just kind of felt numb. A policeman was talking to Mum.
“We have some people looking after your daughter. She’s fine, a little shaken up like any nine year old would be.”
Mum was nodding but it didn’t look like she was listening. Her eyes were wide and empty, just like mine.
“Unfortunately, we are going to have to send you away. I will let Mr Lorens from the Secret Service explain what is going to happen.”
At the words Secret Service, Mum looked up.
“Two of Lorenzo’s men got away. Until then…” I stopped listening. Katie was here.
“Katie!” I ran over to her and hugged her. “What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here!”
“I made them bring me, Lila! Where’s Mummy and Daddy?”
They hadn’t told her.
“Daddy’s gone.” I said, the tears building up in my eyes again.
“Gone?”
“Gone.”

“Climb in.” said Jamie.
“Why should I trust you enough to get in your truck? For all I know you’re going to bring me to the guys who murdered my dad.” I gasped and clapped a hand over my mouth.
“Oh.”
I looked at the boy in shock, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and climbed in the black truck. Jamie climbed into the drivers seat. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No.”
“Alright then. Lets go.”
We drove for about fifteen minutes before Jamie parked the truck.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“My happy place.” was all Jamie said as he got out of the truck.
We went into a forest and walked for a couple of minutes before we got to a little pond. It’s surface was glittering in the sun and the trees surrounding it looked greener. There was no other way to explain it. Just greener.
“It’s beautiful.” I said as I looked around.
“That is why this is my happy place.” Jamie sat down on a blanket that was already spread across the floor next to the pond. “Come on then.” He said as he patted the piece of blanket next to him.

Mysterious Man

Chapter 2

That night, I slept with Katie which was a bad idea; I got woken up at 3:35 AM; 11:35AM in Australia by a foot finding its way into my mouth. I crept out into the kitchen to get a glass of water and saw Mum sleeping on the sofa, drawl crawling down her chin. I got a thick blanket and laid it over her. By then, I was wide awake. I crept back into my room, made sure the paint was dry before sitting on the ledge of my window. I gazed out of the windowpane at the dingy street and wondered what I would be doing at that moment if I were back in Australia. What did I usually do in the morning? I would go for a shower as soon as I woke up, then I would eat breakfast and brush my teeth, dry my hair, put some makeup on. Suddenly, I was more awake than ever. I was the most awake since the incident. I got my sports clothes out of my bottom drawer next to my bed, tied my long black hair up and wrote a note to leave on the kitchen table where Mum would be sure to see it.

Gone for a run. Won’t be long, love you xxx

I was about to open the door when I remembered my phone and earphones. I doubled back and when I finally had everything, ran out of the house. The air was fresh, no, cold. I ignored the chill running down my spine and concentrated on the music. The streetlights projected weird shadows on the cemented ground. I ran, ran, ran. Ran until my lungs shriveled up. Ran until my legs burned. Ran until I thought I was going to collapse. I didn’t collapse though, I continued running. I pushed myself harder than ever. Something I had mistaken for a shadow moved and my head snapped towards it, my legs coming to a stop. My chest heaved, trying to get as much oxygen it could into my tired lungs. The sound made the person turn around and I ran for it in the direction I had just come from. People who hung around on the street in the middle of the night were trouble. I couldn’t put Mum through an other incident. I prayed for my legs to go faster. I ran, ran, ran and never slowed down until I got to the front door.

“WAIT! I’m the one who took your money, not Dad!” Dad and the attackers turned to me in shock. “I took your stupid money! Kill me, not them.” I said, tears streaming down my cheeks, hiccupping. The gun turned to me and I closed my eyes, ready for darkness to overcome me.
“She didn’t! She’s trying to protect me!” said Dad, desperately trying to save me.
“Dad, don’t. Please, I don’t know what I would do if you got killed because of me.”
“Someone tell me who took the money or I’ll shoot both of you.” said a gruff voice.
“I did!” said Dad and I, both at the same time.
BANG.
I screamed. Mum screamed. Dad’s head lolled to the side.
“DAD! Dad, please, please wake up.” I cried from the corner, still bound too tight to get to him. I tugged at the ropes again, trying desperately to undo them, desperate to get to my dead father. I tugged and tugged until my wrists became bright red.
“PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN, HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD! YOU ARE SUROUNDED.”

I remembered all of this in the shower, the drops of water burning my shoulders. A single tear ran down my cheek.
“I’m so, so sorry Dad.” I whispered. “So sorry. It’s all my fault.”
“Honey?”
I jumped and banged my head on the showerhead.
“Yes Mum?”
“You’ve been in there for a long time, Sweetheart. There’ll be no hot water for your sister and I.”
I turned to water off.
“Thank you Honey.”
I listened to her walk away.

“Lila? Lila!” It was my first day back to school. I. Was. D-R-E-A-D-I-N-G. It. I turned around to see my old bestfriend Melany run up to me. “O.M.G.! I didn’t even recognize you!”
That was sort of the point, I thought.
“You’ve died your hair and gone all… Gothy!”
I had long black hair that came down to my waist and wore all black clothes whereas before the incident, I had short blond hair and wore bright colors.
“I had a makeover.” Was all I said. What I didn’t say, is I died my hair as soon as we got back so hopefully no one would recognize me. That was a bust.
“What’s your first lesson? I’ll show you to the classroom!”
“It’s fine really. I have to go see the Headmistress.” I didn’t wait for a reply. I didn’t want to hurt Melany’s feelings but I couldn’t deal with her at that moment.
I walked up the hallway, turned left, then right to where the Headmistresses office had always been. I sat down outside the door, waiting for my turn when a boy came to sit next to me. He had to sit next to me when there was five other places he could have gone. 
“Jamie.” He said to me.
“Sorry?”
“My name. Jamie.”
I looked at him. “You don’t look like a Jamie.” He wore black, ripped skinny jeans, a black t-shirt under a black leather jacket. His shoulder length black hair was tied into a small bun at the top of his head. His skin was pale and he had these piercing blue eyes that crinkled when he smiled. He could literally be me in boy form except for the eyes. Mine were an emerald green color.
“Who do I look like then?” he asked.
I frowned. “You look like an Austin.”
“What, like Austin, as in Austin and Ally?” He laughed.
“Yes. Like Austin becomes a rebel cause he’s had enough of being a goody-goody.”
“Well I’ve never been much of a goody-goody so I can’t be an Austin.”
“Anyone can be an Austin.”
“Anyone?”
“Anyone.”

 

Mysterious Man

Chapter 1

I looked out of the airplane window but all I saw was the white, fluffy clouds. I was finally going back to England after three years in Australia. I closed the curtain and leaned my head against the rumbling metal of the plane.
My family and I were having a board game night. Mum was putting on a film and Dad and Katie were making cups of tea while I chose the game. I took Cluedo out of the game box and placed in on the floor near the fire so we could keep warm. I took blankets and pillows and placed them around the board.
“Hurry up! It’s all ready.” I said as my Dad and sister walked in the room, a mug of steaming tea in each hand. I took the two out of Katie’s hands so she wouldn’t spill them and placed them in our usual spaces, backs to the chimney. We all settled down as The Grinch started.
BANG!
I jerked awake and flailed around in my seat, tears running down my face. A voice was speaking in the distance.
“We are currently going through some turbulences. Please put on your seatbelts.”
Mum reached over me and clicked in my seatbelt then, buckled herself in.
“You got that Katie?” she asked my sister.
“I’m ten Mum! I’m not a baby!” Mum nodded and turned back to me.
“The dream again?” I nodded shakily, tears still running down my cheeks and dropping onto Dads old jumper. “I thought you’d stopped having them.” she said while caressing my hand.
“Not completely.” I said shakily. I wiped my face with the sleeves of my jumper and took a deep breath. I looked around and saw everyone stare at me then look away as soon as they saw I was looking at them. “Was I screaming?” Mum nodded.
“It was a year and a half ago, Lila.”
“It’s not as if you’ve gotten over it.” I snapped. Ever since the incident, Mum had frequent panic attacks, paranoia and hallucinations. I had two of them: panic attacks and paranoia. They’ve practically gon now. The nightmares never stopped. Mum’s hallucinations were a side effect from the anti-depressants. She stopped taking them a couple of years ago, but the hallucinations never went away.
Five men crashed into our house. Scary men. Big, scary men. With guns.
Oh no.
Everything was going in slow motion; Katie crawling into her little hiding space next to the chimney before anyone saw her, Dad getting up, ready to protect his family, Mum throwing steaming tea in one of the attackers faces, the attacker howling in pain, both of my parents being dragged out of the house. And then, all was suddenly going fast again. One of the men took hold of my wrists and twisted them behind my back. He pulled me up and started carrying me over to the front door.
“GET OFF ME! LEAVE US ALONE!” I thrashed around, tried to kick the man behind me, tried to bite him, did everything I could to get the scary man off of me. It was no use. There was only one thing left to do. I turned my head to look at where Katie was hidden. She was watching me being dragged away, silently crying, hands over her mouth.
“911.” I mouthed at her. She nodded. She might have only been nine years old, but she was intelligent. My parents had taught her what to do in case of an emergency. She had been taught how to dial the phone. I just had to hope she remembered how to. I got blindfolded and gagged and shoved into the back of a car.
“London Stansted. We hope you have enjoyed your flight with us.”
I slid the curtain up and looked out of the window in shock. We were already here?
The next few hours passed in a blur. We collected our bags and headed home in the car the Secret Services had gotten ready for us.
All our furniture had already arrived so as soon as we stepped in the door, we unpacked. We had all slept on the plane so we weren’t that tired anyway. We finished many, many hours later, late into the night and collapsed onto the sofa.
“Mum?”
“Yes darling?”
“I have a bad feeling about this.” I said.
“Sweety, honey, they’re in prison. They’ve all been found. They are all gone.”
“I know I just… I can’t explain it.”
“It’s going to be fine.” she said before falling asleep, Katie in the arms.
I wasn’t so sure.

It was nearing the end of the English summer holidays so I mostly played around with Katie. I couldn’t stand the sight of my old room anymore. I didn’t know why, it just kind of reminded me of the incident so, I redecorated. I went down to the closest DIY shop and picked up a couple of tubs of paint and painted over the sickly sweet pink with a mustard color. It took five coats of paint but finally, the pink couldn’t be seen through the yellow. After that, when it was all dry, Katie and I painted little flowers along the bottom of the wall. I painted my drawers in white and stuck pictures of me with friends and family all around my walls. It took us about a week to do all of this. When we had finally finished, Mum called for us. We trudged into the kitchen and sat down.
“Mum! We redecorated Lila’s room! Do you want to come and see?” Said Katie excitedly.
“In a moment sweetheart. I got letters from both of your schools. They’ve sent a list of stuff you need and you’re both starting on the first of September. Lila, you have to go in early to speak with the Headmistress.”
“Okay.” I really wasn’t looking forward to going back to school. I didn’t feel like I could face my old school mates but I was going to do it, for Mum.
I was in a dark, dank room and I looked up at ceiling praying to God my family would make it out alive. I tried to pull at the ropes binding my hands together but they were too tight. I abandoned the ropes and groped around for my mothers hand, who was bound just as tightly behind me. I found it and squeezed hard. She was trembling.
“I keep telling you, you’ve got the wrong person!” my father shouted, not taking his eyes off the gun that was pointed at him.

A/N: The title ‘Mysterious Man’ is not definite.