Callie was trudging through the snow to the bus stop on the blustery winter afternoon. Amanda was running through the snow, picking up her knees ridiculously high to get through the thick blankets of white. Her turquoise hair was dusted with crystallized snowflakes. She adjusted the buttons on her coat (one size too small) with some difficulty.
"Amanda, I was looking for you," Callie said, her voice muffled behind her thick scarf she had pulled up just below her eyes.
"Uh, obviously you weren't, because you were walking North. I was South."
"Actually, I'm walking East..."
"Callie, not my point. So!? Winter break!" Amanda smiled. "Thank God, I never thought I'd get out of that hell."
"Oh, calm down," Callie said with an over-exaggerated eye roll. She kicked snow as she shuffled to the stop, sitting down on an ice-covered bench.
"Okay, so, since exams are over - thank God and all his miracles - I'm having a senior party on Saturday," Amanda told her with a huge grin. "There'll be alcohol, cute boys, and my party is titled, 'F You, Exams - an Amanda Lee Production.' I'm gonna get that on a shirt."
"Amanda, you know I can't. I have my art show on Saturday," Callie said, getting a face full of snow when the blue and white City Bus skidded to a stop. They boarded, shaking snow from their hair and beating the ice from their gloves.
"That's why I conveniently planned it after the art show," Amanda told her, with a tone that said, I'm so smart. Look at how amazing my ideas are.
Callie chuckled under her breath, pulling her scarf down from her mouth. "I'll see..."
"Callie Bridges, if you don't come to the party, you will officially be titled 'The lamest grade twelve in all of Westbrook.' I don't want that for my best friend," Amanda said with a pout, giving Callie puppy-dog eyes, her brown irises sparkling. "Pleaaaaaaaaase Callie? Pleeeeeeeeassssse?"
Callie chuckled. "Fine. But you have to drive me. My Mom is working late and my Dad's going to New York to bring my sister back for the holidays."
"Deal, my friend."
Friday night was hectic. Callie laid out nice clothes to wear on Saturday - a nice, silk blouse and black tights. She even dug out her mother's old dress coat that she'd wear instead of Callie's puffy, old one she'd had since tenth grade. Callie went to bed only after deciding what paintings to bring - one of them of course being the one of the eye-catching Reid Thorn. She put them all in rectangular poster boxes that she had stocked up. She labeled them all 'ART SHOW' in beg, Sharpie letters. Still, after boxing about twenty paintings, her art room still seemed stuffy and full. Callie smiled. All the drawings and paintings she had made over the years. She still had them - even a box of drawings from her kindergarten years (but those were packed away in the closet).
Callie walked into her room, keeping a close eye out for her mother's old car, or her father's grey truck in the driveway. Her clock showed her that it was an hour away from midnight. Never had Callie's parents gotten home this late.
Callie changed into her pajamas; soft, white pants with yellow and red spots, and a matching orange tank-top that read 'I'm not a morning person.' (The reason it was so funny was because there was a cartoonish version of the sun saying it.) She moved under layers of blankets, propping herself up on her pillows and watching Netflix. She kept listening for the snow to crunch with the arrival of her parents and their vehicles.
She was three episodes in to season two of 'Paranormal', one of her favourite shows, when she dozed off, curling up in her blankets and falling asleep.
The last thing she remembered before she drifted off into deeper sleep was someone kissing her forehead.
"Callie. Callie, wake up."
Callie looked around, frowning. This wasn't her bedroom. It was... a jungle of some sort, alive with the glow of Pixies and Sprites.
"She's alive. I thought you'd sleep forever," said a low, smooth male voice.
Callie turned with wide eyes. A boy her age towered over her. He smirked a little. "Hello. How are you feeling?"
Callie blinked, unable to understand what was going on, but her words flowed easily. "I'm well. And you?"
"I'm well, thank you." The boy smiled, sitting with her under a canopy of leaves. He flicked an impishly-grinning Pixie from his shoulder impatiently.
"Those damn Pixies... they never leave you alone," he said, exasperated.
"They're very annoying, yes. But they give the jungle a certain magic," Callie said with a smile.
"You have a way with words, Callie," the boy said. His tone was sweet, like honey to the ears. Callie could listen to him speak all day, even if he spoke nothing but nonsense.
"You think? I've never been really good with speaking... or writing... or with words..." Callie said with a frown. "I was never good at it in..."
The boy frowned, and Callie watched as the world grew blurred. He laid her down to sleep, kissing her forehead. When the world was blurred, he was clear. His eyes sparkled gold as he looked at her. Callie reached up to touch him. His skin was soft, smooth... unreal. She caught her hands in his red curls.
"Sleep well, my dear."
YOU ARE READING
Callie Bridges is a normal teenager with a passion for art. She's been painting, drawing, and doodling for all her life. So when her art becomes showcased at a local art show, she's beside herself in excitement. She meets an old woman who gifts her...