Chapter 9

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When she got off work, I followed her home again in my Jeep. It was dark out. I didn't like her walking alone like this. But until she lets me drive her, I would just have to do it like this. When I saw Hank, he actually seemed sober. After he went inside, I stayed close to the apartment to see if he would try to hurt her again. I heard glass breaking, but that was it. It was silent after that. I waited about half an hour just to be sure.

When I had tried to connect with her telepathically today, she got a sudden headache. I felt horrible. I didn't mean to cause her any pain. I don't know what I could do about it. I had to reach her somehow. I needed to try and tell her who she really was. I just didn't know what her reaction would be. I was hoping that we could connect on another level beyond words. We used to spend the majority of our time speaking in our minds. We didn't need to talk out loud. It drove our parents crazy sometimes because they felt left out. But they understood our connection. They knew it was special. The first few months after she was gone, I didn't speak much at all. I had nothing good to say. Not without her.

The next day, I noticed a huge difference in her demeanor. She was standing taller as she walked down the hall. And the biggest difference was the green top she was wearing. It wasn't a hoodie! Then as she got closer I could see her eyes. They were focused on me. But they somehow looked more vibrant. Was she wearing makeup? I had never seen her with makeup. Oh my God! I was struck motionless. I couldn't look away. Her lashes were so long. Her cheekbones were perfectly sculpted. She had just a little gloss on those luscious lips. She truly outshined any famous model out there. But I could see the insecurity in her colors. I didn't want her to doubt herself.  She approached me slowly and started to look down as she got closer.

"Amber" I breathed, in a reverent undertone. Her eyes shot up to mine. "What did you say?" she asked. "Oh, I just said your eyes are amber." I babbled. I can't believe I let her name slip. She gave me a tentative smile. "You look beautiful." I told her. Her cheeks flushed crimson immediately. "Thank you." She replied. "But you were beautiful before. You just look more confident today. I like it." I told her honestly. Her eyes lit up and her colors were content. That was good. I noticed guys walking passed with more interest than the day before. They needed to back off. They could have spoken to her any time before I arrived. If they only chose to notice her on a superficial level now, that was their loss.

The girl's dirty looks were worse though. I could see not only jealousy but contempt. Some of these girls were downright nasty. They better leave her alone. I needed to make it clear that they should back off. I waited by her locker while she got her books. Then I walked her to class. We were getting more looks. I didn't care. But I could tell she did.

We were eating lunch together again. I wanted to tell her so much. I needed to ease into it though. "So, if you don't mind me asking, what happened with the accident you were in?" "I don't know much about it honestly. The police assumed I was in the car with my parents. I was thrown from the car. They went over the cliff and the car exploded. Everything was destroyed in the fire. They couldn't identify them. So, I still don't know who I really am. I don't even know my birthday or my name. It's as though everything about me is made up. I don't have any identity. Every once in a while, I get a little flash of things that seem like memories. But I have no idea if they are. "So how did they come up with your name then?" "I chose it. I don't know why. The names just felt important. I suppose they could be my real name, but I have a feeling they aren't." she told me.

"I'm so sorry that happened to you Riley. I want you to know that your name doesn't define who you are. Your personality, your concern for your sisters, your love of art, those are real things about you. Even an accident couldn't change the real you. You may not know where or when you were born, but you know the things you like and the things that make you happy." I reached over and took her hand in mine. As soon as I did, the spark of electricity was visible. The shock went right up my arm to my head. She pulled back with a gasp. We both looked at our hands. She was totally confused. I knew it was our connection trying to be reestablished. Whatever was blocking our telepathy was breaking down. I hope I didn't just hurt her. She put her hand up to her head. "Are you okay?" I asked. "Just a little headache. What just happened?"

"I'm not really sure. But I felt something. I saw a spark when I touched you. I think there is something going on between us.  I feel an electrical current when you're around. Do you feel it too?" I asked.  She just nodded. "Riley, can I touch your hand again?"   She slowly reached her hand over to me. I took it again. The spark and the electricity happened again. This time we didn't let go. I felt the tingles in my whole body now. I could tell she was uncomfortable, maybe even in pain. The electricity got stronger. Then I let go. I didn't want her to be hurting. Her eyes were wide and confused. I needed to explain. "Why don't we go to my Jeep." I suggested. "I'm not sure I should." She said honestly. "I promise I won't hurt you Riley. I just have some things I need to tell you."

She stood and backed away slowly. Her colors were confusion, and fear. She looked around her nervously. Then she took off down the hallway. I blew it. I shouldn't have pushed this. She wasn't ready. I was too anxious. I didn't follow her. I knew she needed time. I had to give her that.

In our next class together, she totally ignored me. She was filled with anxiety and confusion. Also, some disappointment. I felt horrible. I noticed she put a hoodie on over her green shirt that had brought out her eyes. I was disappointed in that more than I should have been. She was starting to come out of her shell and I ruined that. Her friend Maya looked at me in total confusion. I just shrugged my shoulders.  The rest of the day went by agonizingly slow. I didn't know how to fix this.

I still went to her job and followed her home. Hank got back at like midnight. Which I supposed was good for her. I hoped she was already sound asleep. I didn't get close to the apartment because I didn't want her to feel me. Since I stupidly confirmed there was something up with that. I could hardly sleep. I just tossed and turned wondering how I was going to approach her again. I had to help her.

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