• The Urge

    Chapter Three
    It turned out that Corina caught the flu. When I showed up at her house, her mother let me in to visit, then shooed me out the door.

    “I don’t want you to catch sick too, dear,” she said.

    I went downtown and wandered around the mall for a while. It’s not really a happening place these days. After Wal-Mart opened up, smaller businesses went to bigger cities with more varied clientele and a wider market.

    Nick was sitting outside, smoking a cigarette. “Hola,” he said.

    “Hey,” I replied. I sat next to him. It was a little awkward. I didn’t really interact with Nick unless Corina was around, and I didn’t get to know him at all until they started dating. He was two years ahead of us in school, so I never paid him much attention.

    “I’m going to sneak in and visit Corina. Want to come?”

    I shook my head. I felt like being alone. “I might stop by later though,” I said.

    He nodded. “Can I give you a lift anywhere?”

    I thought about it. “Take me to the gas station.” My solitude could use some junk food.

    After he dropped me off, I meandered around the station. I grabbed a bag of chips and turned the corner, running right into a soft body.

    “Oomph!” he said. Chips went flying everywhere.

    The manager, Mr. Fletcher, came over. “Haddy, you can’t be banging into customers like this! Even if you’re off-duty.”

    “Sorry,” I said. I turned to the guy I ran into. “Oh!” I said, startled.

    “Hadrianna, right?” Samuel asked.

    “Nice to meet you again, Mr. Gardner.”

    Annoyance flitted across his face. “I told you to call me Sam.” He turned to Mr. Fletcher. “I’ll pay for the chips. It was my fault for not looking where I was going.”

    Mr. Fletcher threw up his hands. “Fine! Fritter your money away on my employees!” He stomped back to his office.

    “Thanks,” I said, “but you really don’t have to. I get an employee discount and everything.”

    “Please! It’s only five percent.” He paid for his things and for my chips, and I followed him outside.

    “What do you do for a living?” I asked. I felt a little awkward around him. For one thing, I had been caught stalking him, and for another, the only real adult I talked to much was Nick, and he only sort of counted.

    He leaned against his car. “Nothing.”

    “You can’t do nothing. How do you pay for your apartment? And food?” I crossed my arms. I knew I was letting my fascination and need for information get the best of me again.

    “I’m in a special rehabilitation program.”

    “Really?” I hadn’t expected him to be that open with me. “What for?”

    He grinned. “None of your business.”

    I rolled my eyes. “Fine then. Don’t tell me. I’m sure you have things to do today, so I’ll be on my way.” I turned to go, but he caught my arm.

    “Don’t,” he said. I looked into his eyes and saw a familiar loneliness in them. “Stay and talk with me a while.”

    I swallowed the urge to say, “Yes, I’ll stay. I’ll stay with you forever,” and instead told him, “I barely know you. Why should I waste my time with you?”

    He winced. “Okay, I’ll give you that, but what if I want to know you?”

    The offer was tempting. He was setting a banquet of attention before a starving orphan, and I think he knew that. “What do you want to know?”

    “Are there any good parks in this city?”

    “Um,” I thought for a moment. “There’s one my dad used to take me to every Sunday.”

    “Fine by me. Let’s go.”

    It was my turn to stop him. “Wait,” I said. He looked at me curiously. “Could we walk there?”

    “Sure,” he said. “Mind if I ask why?”

    I blushed. “I just like to walk.”

    Our conversation started out slow, but, by the time we were at the park, we were much more comfortable with each other. The sky was gray, and the weatherman had predicted snow this morning, but neither of us was worried about the weather.

    “So when do you turn eighteen?” Sam asked.

    “July fourteenth,” I told him, “and I can’t wait.”

    “Big college plans after high school, or what?”

    I sat down on a swing and rocked back and forth. “Not really. I mean, maybe I’ll go to technical college, but I don’t really have definite plans.”

    “Then why are you so excited?” He came up behind me and pushed the swing.

    “That’s none of your business.”

    His hands pressed firmly against my back for a second. “I deserve that.” His hands were big and warm. My coat had ridden up, and every time he touched me I could feel his hands burning into my skin.

    My father had small hands. I noticed that when I was little. They were feminine, but scarred from long hours of work. My mother’s hands were cracked and dry from working at the hospital.

    I stopped the swing. “What do you think of my hands?” I asked.

    Sam came around to my front and grabbed my hands. He pulled off my gloves and slowly examined them, turning them over in his own.

    “They’re soft,” he said quietly, “and they remind me of my mother’s.” He sighed. “Or at least I think they do.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “She died when I was twelve.”

    When he killed her, I thought. I reminded myself that I was with a killer. I shouldn’t be nearly this comfortable with him.

    I pulled my hands away. “I should get going,” I said. “I told Corina that I’d visit her today.” I didn’t move.

    Sam’s eyes were lonely again. “Can I drive you?”

    “No. It’ll be faster to walk from here.”

    “Can I see you again?”

    “Maybe. I’m kind of busy with work and school right now.”

    “I see,” he sighed. He helped me out of the swing. “I’ll visit you at work sometime.”


    He reached up and brushed my cheek, and I realized too late that he’d brushed off my concealer. “Maybe then you’ll tell me who did this to you.”

    He walked away then, and I couldn’t help longing to follow him.


    “Ohmygosh, that is so creepy!” Corina said. She did not take to being sick very well. Her hair was greasy and knotted, and her nose was bright red. A pile of used tissues surrounded her.

    “Shush!” I said. “Do you want your mom to come in here and chase me out?” I’d climbed in through the window. Nick had been thrown out half and hour ago.

    “You totally have a psycho stalker!” she squealed, ignoring my plea.

    “And how is that different from any other boy?”

    “Don’t be so cynical.” She waved her hand at me. “You’re just afraid to get your heart broken.”

    “You think?”

    “Oh! C’mere and give me a hug!” She held out her arms.

    “No.” I backed off. “You’re sick!”

    “So?” she pouted. “My psych teacher says that humans need a certain amount of physical contact to remain mentally stable.”

    “I’ve had my quota for the day. Thanks, though.” I gave her a quick hug anyway. “I hear your mom coming.”

    “Shoo then! I don’t want you banned from the house again.”

    I shimmied out the window and dropped the short distance to the ground. As the weatherman had predicted, it snowed. I liked to be the first person to leave my footprints on the sidewalk. When I turned onto Sam’s road, my heart sped up, and I cursed it. It sped up more when I saw that his lights were on. I toyed with the idea of knocking on his door and running away, but told myself that flirting with him would be inconsistent with my previous statements, much as I wanted to.

    Dad was passed out when I got home, so I was free to go straight to bed. The heat in our house isn’t very good, but I wrapped up in my comforter and got somewhat comfortable. My last thought before I fell asleep was almost one of Sam, but I commanded myself not to dream about him, instead focusing on the way Corina’s blond roots were beginning to show.


    Sunday I worked. Anyone who has a part-time job knows that Sundays are slower than any other day of the week. It’s a day for families and naps and quaint crap like that. I am not a Sunday person. I’m a Monday person.

    Monday is the only day of the week I’m more cheerful than everyone else. While everyone is moping about being back in school, I have a new skip in my step because they’re all miserable. Sundays are my Mondays. They drag and stumble along like a retarded, paraplegic alcoholic after a rough night with a hooker. This Sunday was a particular drag, so that’s why Sam found me drooling over my register.

    “Is that supposed to get wet?” he said, after tapping my shoulder several times.

    “Huh?” I looked down. “Oops.” I wiped it off. “What are you doing here?”

    “I told you I’d visit you at work. Plus I have a craving for chips and dip.” He held up a bag of Ruffles and a container of French onion dip.

    I rang them up for him. “Anything else today, sir?” He burst out laughing. “What?”

    “I’m sorry, it’s just that your face has an impression of the register on it.”

    I took a makeup mirror out of my purse. “Ew.” I grabbed my concealer pad and powdered it up. “Better?”


    I propped my elbows up on the countertop and rested my face in my hands. “Why did you want to see me so badly?”

    He mimicked my posture. “Why do you keep running away from me? I know you like me.”

    I scrunched my nose. “Am I that obvious?”

    He grinned. “Yup.”

    “I’ll answer your question if you answer mine first.”

    He rolled his eyes. “Fine. I like you. I know I’m probably moving a little too fast, but I wasn’t exactly raised in the usual social environment. I’m not used to the concept of a ‘normal’ relationship yet.”

    “What kind of environment were you raised in?”

    “You don’t want to know. I answered your question, now you answer mine.”

    I shivered. “All right. I run away from you…because I’m scared.”

    “Oh, that’s not vague at all!”

    I glared at him. “Oh, so cryptic mumblings about mysterious childhoods are specific?”

    He glared back at me. I should have made him leave. We were getting loud; Mr. Fletcher could probably hear us in his office, and I thought there was another customer wandering around the store.

    “You should go,” I said after a while. “Maybe you can find a whole lot of nothing to do instead of bugging me.”

    “Maybe I will.” He turned and walked towards the door, but took his sweet time doing it.

    I saw my dad coming for the counter with two six packs of beer. My heart hit my stomach. Why was he here? He always bought his beer from Wal-Mart. Sam was still dragging his feet to the door.

    My dad plopped the beer down in front of me. “How much?”

    “Sorry, but I can’t sell you alcohol. I’m a minor.”

    “What?” His face turned red. He was getting mad.

    “If you’ll wait just a minute,” I said, talking fast, “I can get my manager out here.”

    He calmed down a little. “Make it snappy.”

    I glanced at the door, and my heart sank further. Sam had left. I don’t know if I had wanted him to stay and save me or what, but his disappearance gave me such a great sense of regret that I had to remind myself again that it was for the better.

    The rest of the day was much more boring. It was snowing when I walked home, but I didn’t take any pleasure from it. What did I have to look forward to at home? An absent mother? A father who was either drunk off his a** or passed out? A friend who may or may not call, depending on mad she is? Or the man I wished to let into my heart?

    I stopped on the bridge and lifted myself onto the second rung. I had always been too scared to go to the third and final rung. I was always too scared to remove the last barrier between me and my freedom. I thought about making that last step now, but all I could think about was the reasons not to. I could fall and die, or almost die and end up as a vegetable.

    I thought about Sam too. I shouldn’t like him. He was a murderer. He was probably mentally unstable. He was secretive. I kept picturing his face: his dark eyes held loneliness, and curiosity, and secrets I shouldn’t want to know. I did, though. Whenever Sam was around, I felt warmth in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to know everything about him, and wanted him to know everything about me.

    I sighed and watch my breath puff into the air and dissolve. My feelings were too strong. I was only attracted to him because I fixated on him as a child.

    “He’s only going to hurt you,” I said to myself. A car drove up and pulled over.

    “You okay?” the driver asked.

    I got down from the bridge. I’m sure it looked like I was contemplating suicide. “Yeah, just enjoying the view.” I waved goodbye to him and went home.