“Thank you for traveling the long distance to be here,” Mr. Graf says, standing and shaking my hand. He’s strong, and it’s almost as if he’s testing my strength. From the look on his face, I don’t disappoint. Strangely, despite growing up with very little to eat, I still had an unnatural strength and size.
“Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Graf. I aged out of the group home and they didn’t have any work for me. I really needed something. You saved me from the streets.” The fear of being left without hope is devasting. I should second guess the generosity, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
As if reading my mind, he answers my internal thoughts, “Once a year, I find candidates that come from less than desirable backgrounds and give them an opportunity to prove their worth. I have a feeling you will do just that. Are the accommodations at the complex sufficient?”
“More than I’ve ever had, sir. Thank you.”
“Enough, you need not thank me yet. The job will be rigorous, but you seem to be built for just that. Now, go along and enjoy the festival.” He sends me out with a handful of cash to spend, so I reluctantly leave and enjoy the day. I don’t know anybody and don’t feel like meeting anyone new just yet, so I pay more attention to the people in the booths selling stuff than those passing around me.
I spot a teenage girl who glares at me. Her long black hair braided and hanging over her shoulder contrasting her pale skin. She can’t be more than sixteen, but she’s lovely, stunning in fact. Well except for the staring at me like I kicked her cat or some shit. I should ask her what I did to make her upset. Instead, I decide it’s better to not even address her, so I walk around with my food and sit in the grass under a tree. Two women come by, and both of them take a seat. “Hello, I’m Tammy, and this is my best friend, Trish.”
“Hello, I’m Alaric,” I answer, putting down my plate on my lap and shake their hands.
“Wow, what a cool name. We’ve never seen you around here before. Are you visiting?”
“I’m new here, just got a job in town.”
“Well, that’s great to hear that you’re going to be hanging around town.” They smile flirtatiously. I’m a good-looking guy, and these girls are cute. I suppose, but I’m not interested. My life needs to be a little stable before I look for a girl. We make small talk, and I see the girl who gave me the death stare. She’s watching the women with suspicion. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I excuse myself from the women and head over to find out what the girl’s problem is, but she dashes off. It’s just getting dark when I spot her again. She’s in line for the Ferris wheel, so I cut in line to stand at her side. “I’m Alaric Jager. You are?”
“Allegra and annoyed. Don’t you have some bimbos to talk to?”
“Don’t sound jealous. I’ve been looking for you for an hour,” I tell her.
“Why?” She doesn’t look appreciative, but more apprehensive.
“Why? Honestly…I don’t really know. I know you’re probably too young for me, but I had to make sure you’re okay.”
“I’m fine. Now you can go.”
The attendant gives us a wave to come along and get on, so I take her hand which she doesn’t pull away from, but gives me a dirty scowl, so I add, “It looks like it’s our turn.” I lead her onto the next car for the ride. She gets on and takes a seat close to the other side, to keep her distance. I’m not into her like that. I don’t even know how old she is. And if she knew the truth about me, she’d probably be a little more comfortable around me. I just get this feeling that there’s something happening that I’m missing.
“How old are you?” I ask her.
She plays with the hem of her sweater, then admits, “Sixteen, you?”
“Eighteen.” Wow, we’re only two years apart, but in the eyes of the law, it’s a lifetime apart. I guess it’s best if I stay away from her.
“Wow, you don’t look eighteen.”
“Well, I guess so. I tend to hear that a lot. So, are you going to tell me what made you mad earlier?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She continues to stare out the side looking at the row of trees. I can’t help but admire her face. If things were different, I’d want to spend more time with her.
“So you weren’t staring at me with murder in your eyes?”
“Sorry, just a case of R.B.F.” I quirk my brow and stare. Then she adds, “Resting Bitch Face.” I broke out laughing, catching her off guard. After a second of looking at me like I was nuts, she cracked a smile before getting the giggles too.