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Jen blinked as she stepped out of the tint, her head tilting to the side. ‘What in the world is that?’ Cautiously, she approached the small brown box that had been placed beside her mailbox. She certainly hadn’t ordered anything, she didn’t have the money to, so what could it be? Several thoughts ran through her head, each more gruesome than the last.
What if it’s a bomb?
What is it’s Strychnine?
Oh god, what if it’s glitter?
Jen shuddered at the thought, recalling the time that Jimmy had sent her godmother a glitter bomb one Winter Fest. Even five years later, they were still finding glitter around the living room!
Her green eyes scanned the ground around her, finding a rather long stick that had fallen from one of the many trees. Standing as far back as she could manage, she poked at it – gently at first before giving it a firm hit with the stick.
Only slightly convinced that it’s safe, she kneeled beside the box, carefully tugging the tape off of it. Inside was a small digital camera the shade of sapphires. Her face paled, ‘Oh no, what if it was delivered to the wrong place by mistake? I just opened someone’s package… that’s illegal, isn’t it?’
With shaking hands, she tilted the box to inspect the sides. The shipping label read:
The Empty Plot of Land
The Island, Windenburg
Her brow furrowed. ‘This feels like something out of a Plarry Hotter movie… but it IS addressed to me. There’s no return address, either.’ Pulling the camera from the box, she held down the power button until the screen lit up. ‘I wonder how good it works…’ She lifted it up, finding the perfect shot before pressing the shutter.
“Beautiful…” she breathed as her eyes scanned the picture. Normally, pictures only reflect about ten percent of the world’s natural beauty, but this camera seemed to reflect at least twenty. ‘Hey, wait a second, I bet I can make money selling pictures!’
She still felt a bit uneasy about the sudden package, but the thought of earning money from it made her feel a bit better about the situation.
Her phone vibrated in her pocket, but no one has her number, mainly because she doesn’t know anyone. Well, that’s not completely true – she knows the crazy lady that talks to plants, and the scarecrow which still hasn’t returned to his tree, oh and that game-crazy little boy from the library.
A bead of sweat rolled down her cheek. ‘Maybe I should try a bit harder…’ Although she figured it was just someone trying to sell something, she still checked her phone – one unread message from an unknown number.
✉ [Good morning, my dear. I do hope you slept well. I sent you a small gift, I do hope you enjoy it and find some use for it.]
Her brow furrowed as she read the message, then re-read it before reading it for a third time. [‘What?’], was all she could think to reply back. Within just a few moments, another message came through.
✉ [My apologies, this is Caleb Vatore.]
The man from yesterday flashed through her mind, making the tips of her ears heat up as she remembered his beautiful smile. How had he gotten her number? He put his into her phone… had he messaged himself while doing so?
She replied, ‘[That really wasn’t necessary…’] And then she worried that she sounded ungrateful, so she sent another message quickly. [‘Not that I’m not grateful because I am! It’s just kind of unexpected and it looks expensive… we only just met, I don’t really understand why you would gift me something. Ah, but I’m really happy to have it, thank you!’] She groaned, wanting nothing more than to hide under in her tent and never come out. Did she have to sound like a raging lunatic?
✉ [Haha, you’re quite alright, I didn’t think you were ungrateful. You don’t seem the type. You’re quite welcome!]
✉ [I’m feeling quite hungry. Would you be inclined to join me for breakfast at SimDonalds?]
Her face burned, ‘I-Is this a… a date??’ Before her brain could take control, her hands flew across the onscreen keyboard. [‘I would love to!’] And she immediately regretted it for several reasons. The biggest reason being that she needed to be at work soon and didn’t have the time to spare that it would take to get there, wait for a table, and then wait for the food. The second biggest reason was that she couldn’t wrap her mind around why he wanted to go out with her.
She quickly shook her head. ‘It’s probably not even like that. He just feels sorry for me because of my situation, that’s all…’ Even so, she couldn’t help the twinge of excitement that was boiling up within her.
Jen arrived at the fast-food chain feeling more nervous than she had in a while, her hands clammy as her fingers fiddled with the hem of her jacket. Her eyes scanned the various sims heading toward the restaurant for breakfast, but none of them were who she was looking for. What if this is a prank and he plans to stand her up? He might be nearby laughing at her desperation.
“I do hope you weren’t waiting too long, my dear?”
Her eyes snapped to the side as Caleb came walking up to her, smiling softly.
“Ah, n-no, I just got here…” She cleared her throat, turning her attention to a snail that was slowly inching across the sidewalk. Looking into his eyes made her feel lightheaded – it wasn’t a bad sensation, but with her nerves shot, it made her worry.
“Brilliant. Shall we go inside, then?”
Jen nervously looked at the menu, wondering what she should do.
“Do you know what you would like to order, my dear?” Caleb inquired.
“A-Actually… um…” She bit her lip. ‘Should I tell him that I can’t stay? Will he be angry? He came all this way…’
He frowned, resting his hand on her forearm. She could feel the cold through the fabric and she sucked in a breath. “Tell me what troubles you,”
“Promise you won’t get mad?” She mumbled, suddenly feeling more like a child than the young adult that she is.
Caleb chuckled, a melodic sound that made her heart leap. “I could never be angered at you. I would like for you to feel comfortable talking to me.”
“Right… well…” She kept her eyes on the snail and she briefly wondered if he would move faster if Eye of the Tiger started playing. ‘Stay focused, idiot!’ “You see… I have to go… to work…”
He tilted his head in confusion.
“Like, really soon…”
“Oh,” Realization clicked in his mind and he hid his smile behind his hand. “Tell me, why did you accept my invitation?”
Yeah, why did she accept the invitation? Her body had acted on its own without stopping to consult with her brain. It made no sense. She frowned, “I like… the way I feel when we talk…” ‘Oh god, tell me I did not just say that out loud,’
His hand rested on her chin to force her gaze to his, the corners of his lips twitching upward. “I’m pleased to know that the feeling is quite mutual.”
‘Does that mean…?’
“Now, head on to work. I wouldn’t want you to be late on my account. I promise you, we shall spend more time together in the future.”
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