"What's your name?" I asked.
"Cody Simpson, yours?" he replied. I froze. I haven't told anyone my name in five years. I realized...I don't even really...remember it.
"Malorie Pickman...I think." I said slowly. He gave me a funny look. "I haven't used my name in a long time. Please don't ask why." He gave me another funny look, but didn't ask.
"Okay...why are you at a park at three in the morning?" He asked.
"I could ask you the same thing." I shot back. Cody looked sort of alarmed at my sudden hostility. I couldn't blame him, I was suprised too.
"Fair enough...I'm here because I couldn't sleep, so I went to the beach, and saw you...then...you know," he explained. I nodded.
"Well, I'm here because I was running and just sort of ended up here." I left out the part about me running from him because I didn't want him to turn me in.
"Wait...Malorie Pickman...I think I've heard of you." He said. Oh shit. He saw the news a few years ago when I 'disappeared'. Well, there goes my cover. I decided to at least pretend I didn't know what he was talking about, and maybe he'd believe me.
"I don't know why you would've." I lied smoothly. I've told this story a million times.
"The name sounds familiar. Weren't you like, on the news or something?" I shook my head.
"Nope, just a random girl." I replied. Cody seemed curious now.
"Who are your parents? Maybe they're friends with mine." He prodded. I stood up and grabbed my bag.
"I need to go." I said quickly, unable to suppress the tone of panic in my voice. He grabbed my wrist and turned me back around, surprising me by the close proximity of our faces. He seemed to realize this too and awkwardly took a few steps back.
"Wait. Can we meet again? It's nice to have a somewhat normal conversation." He asked. I nodded reluctantly, mentally organizing a list of regulations that, if followed, eliminated any possibility of accidentally revealing who I was.
"No more questions about my parents or my past though. Tomorrow, right here, one am. If you're late, I'm leaving." I said, then ran away. That night, I slept on the bench at the bus station like your typical hobo. I felt extremely unoriginal, but I was too tired to find a more creative spot. When I woke up, I was hungry, so I scrounged a few quarters out of my bag and went to find a vending machine. The most sufficient source of any kind of nutrition was a bag of chips. I reluctantly inserted my two quarters, punched in E5, and watched as my breakfast slowly rolled forward and then plunged into the bottom of the machine. I was still tired and didn't feel like standing, so I sat on the bench again to eat my Doritos. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a bunch of people with cameras, all surrounding someone. I didn't know who it was, and I didn't intend to find out. Cameras meant pictures, which meant someone would find me. And finding me, while probably viewed as a good thing for the courts, would not be fun for me.
Why am I so keen on not being seen? Well...five years ago, a really, really expensive ring went missing at the jewelry store down the street. My fingerprints were on the case because my mom and I had gone in to look at all of the pretty jewelry that day, so naturally I got blamed. In hindsight, maybe running away wasn't the smartest thing to do...but I can't go back now, or I'd be thrown in jail.
Anyway, enough with my stupid past. I stood on top of the bench, trying to see who these people were surrounding. What the...Cody? He noticed me on the bench and waved a little before going back to trying to push through the crowd. I waved back, then picked up my bag and headed for the park. I don't know why, I just felt like going there. Nobody was there, so I sat on the swings and let my guard down a little. Randomly out of nowhere, two hands covered my eyes.
"Guess who?" A familiar voice said. God, what is he doing here? I slapped Cody's hands away, and he sat down on the swing next to me, just like last night.
"Why are you here?" I asked bitterly. For some reason, whenever I looked at him now, I was reminded of what happened five years ago.
"Mommy look at that one!" I said, pressing my face and hands against the glass case enclosing the most beautiful and possibly the most expensive ring in the entire store. My mom nodded encouragingly and plastering on that fake smile that kids always believe is real.