Title: First Meetings
Prompt: The Way You Do That Thing You Do by the Temptations
Author’s Note: I’ve decided to post the writing prompts I’ve been working on for a LiveJournal community I recently joined, simply so I can have them on my personal journal. This first one was supposed to be a character sketch. The characters I used will appear in my next novel as the two co-protagonists. Feedback and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
She appeared on his doorstep one sunny day in April, a teenage girl with a limp and a frightened expression, looking as though she’d rather be anywhere else. He knew immediately who she was without ever having met her. How many other girls had he sent invitations to via email in the past month? For that matter, how many other girls even knew where he lived or cared to come and ensure that he was still alive? Only one that he could think of, and at the moment she was standing in front of him looking as though he was about to pull a knife and slay her.
Even as he spoke a few reassuring words, giving her the choice to enter or not, his eyes took the time to study her. Short, wavy dark hair hung around her face, stopping just past her cheekbones. Almost waiflike in her slimness, the baggy hoodie she wore only accentuated the sharp angles of her cheekbones and her hands. Hazel eyes stared back at him in horror out of slightly sunken eye sockets. She was nobody’s idea of pretty, but unlike most boys her age, he didn’t really mind.
And when her soft footsteps hesitantly followed him into his apartment, he felt a strange stirring in his chest that might have been his heart jumping for joy.
Given the still wary expression on her face, she clearly didn’t feel the way he did. Every few seconds her eyes darted back and forth, almost like she was looking for signs of danger among the furniture. She perched on the very edge of the couch, evidently prepared—despite the thick bandage poking out of the top of her shoe—to bolt if need be.
Not knowing how long she would stay, he tried to be a good host, offering drinks or food. He didn’t expect her to take any, and was unsurprised when she did not. When all else failed, he attempted to start a conversation, inquiring as to what had prompted her to come.
Her voice was quiet when she finally spoke, but steady, without any quavers. There was caution in it, yes, but no outright terror. And the longer she spoke, the less afraid she appeared. Rather, her face was beginning to take on some degree of curiosity. It made him smile to himself when she wasn’t looking, watching her slowly acclimate and lose some of her fear.
By the time she insisted upon leaving, he was loathe to let her go, all the while knowing that it was necessary. If he tried to keep her with him, she would panic and he would never see her again. The very thought was almost unbearable to him. At the door, he forced himself not to take the frail looking figure in his arms and promise to protect her from further harm. Still, the small but genuine smile she threw over her shoulder as she walked out the door was enough to warm him straight through.
He didn’t know that the girl who had been a stranger the second time he saw her would become one of his closest friends. And he certainly didn’t realize that she had swept him off his feet from moment one until at least a year had passed.