She was right about one thing: it did all start one night at a club. What she didn't know was that I had started watching her weeks before we actually met.
Something about this girl intrigued me. I had seen her around school, but I hadn't paid much attention. At school she was the nerd, the goody-goody, the perfect little girl that got picked on by everyone else. I kind of felt bad for her in a way, but she didn't seem to mind it so much. It was one night I was at a club that I saw the real her, though. Pete and Griff had dragged me to a club, saying that's where all the hot tail was. I just laughed at them. We usually hung out at this same little dive bar, and I did just fine with the small selection of girls there. But I came with them anyways, figuring it would be easier to just go along then point out that the girls weren't the problem when it came to them not getting any. Not feeling very comfortable in a room with a disco ball and radio-popular music, I hung out in the dark corners and just watched. That was when I saw her, a small girl with slight curves, moving on the dance floor like the music was coming from within her. She looked like an entirely different person, moving gracefully against the awkward guy I recognized as Ross, the football star. What was a girl like her doing in a place like this with guys like him?
I continued to frequent the club, night after night, watching her from the shadows anytime she came in and feeling numb anytime she didn't show. Pete and Griff couldn't figure out what was up with me. They had gone to the club with me a couple times, but realizing they weren't having any better luck, they were ready to go back to our old haunt. I refused, making up excuses about the drinks being better, which they weren't, or claiming that I liked the DJ, which I didn't. Not being the brightest of guys, they agreed and tagged along, trying their best to find a little love on the dance floor.
Tonight wasn't all that different, at first. I was leaning against a wall, not far from the bar, where I was now known by most of the bartenders well enough that I only had to nod and they handed me a drink, and close enough to the dance floor that if she showed up, I would surely be able to see her. Then there she was, across the room, unknowingly mirroring my actions. I watched her lean against the wall, casually stirring her drink while her eyes moved about like she was looking for someone. For a second, I let myself wonder if maybe all this time, she had really seen me watching her when I thought I had been so well hidden. Maybe she was looking for me, like I had been looking for her. But I shook off the hope that was building, watching her eyes settle every so often on different people. No, she was looking for someone, but it wasn't anyone in particular.
Then her eyes caught with mine. I couldn't move, standing there like I was pinned against the wall by her icy blue eyes. She looked me over and then started to move in my direction. I couldn't believe my luck. I thought about trying to meet her in the middle, but that would mean the dance floor, where I refused to go no matter how good looking the girl was. Plus, in case she wasn't looking to come my way, I'd look like a total idiot if I showed up in front of her. No, I'd play it cool and hang by the wall. I was watching her make her way through the crowd when Ross came out of nowhere and got a hold of her. With a groan, I watched as she turned towards him. About to give up hope and look away, I saw her pull back from him and casually bump into another couple, starting a domino effect that ended with drinks getting spilled all over Ross. I made my way towards her, not caring about how uncool I looked, as she giggled and backed away from Ross. At the edge of the dance floor, she backed straight into me.
"Not bad," I tried hard to act nonchalant as she whirled around gracefully to face me. She was so close to me, that if I just bent my head down I could… no! Got to stop daydreaming here and pay attention.
"Excuse me?" she sounded kind of ticked, and only then did I realize that I was rudely looking her over. I couldn't' help myself, my eyes had a mind of their own as they traveled up and down her slight curves, appreciating every little bit of her.
"You managed to cause quite the little scene and still get away," I decided to clarify on my last statement and pretend like I hadn't just been mentally undressing her. I pointed my index finger over her shoulder to where Ross was now in a fist-fight with a couple of other guys.
"I was just trying to…" I looked down and noticed that her face was flushed and she seemed anxious, like she was feeling guilty about it. There was no need to feel guilty, Ross deserved whatever he got.
"Yeah, some guys don't like the word no," I laughed, trying my best to smile in a not creepy way. I didn't want her to think I was that kind of guy, when I was just trying to comfort her. "Maybe a girl like you would be better off tucked safely in your bed."
"Are you offering?" she suddenly leaned in and purred. Whoa, this girl was full of surprises. I had been picturing her sound asleep, looking totally innocent and peaceful and here she was putting all kinds of other images in my head. I needed to get a grip here or I was going to need an ice cold shower pretty soon. I told myself she was probably just testing me, making sure I wasn't some creep that would act like Ross and throw myself on her.
"I'm just suggesting you stay away from places like these with guys like that. A little girl such as yourself isn't safe around here," I mentally high-fived myself, thinking that sounded pretty gentlemanly and protective. That had to have aced the creep test.
"I'm not a little girl, and as you can see, I can take care of myself," she spat and her eyes narrowed as her hands settled on her hips. I couldn't believe this. She was ticked when I was just trying to be a good guy. Didn't every girl want the white knight that came in to save her ass riding on a white horse and didn't expect a little action in return? What was up with this girl?
"Hey, I'm being kicked out. Let's go," Ross had worked his way over at just the wrong moment. I was about to apologize and assure her that I knew she could take care of herself, but that I wanted to be there for her. Instead, I worked up a glare and threw it at the damned football star.
"She already turned you down. Take a hint," I grumbled, setting my drink off to the side and preparing to gather my fists.
"Mind your own business," Ross stepped between me and the girl. I just about knocked him right then and there, but he had a tight grip on her, and I didn't want to send him flying into her.
"Why don't you both get a clue," she shook Ross's grip from her and started to move away.
"I said let's go," she had been too slow and Ross was on her again. She was obviously struggling, but the guy was man handling her like a pro. That was it, I had to do something. Balling my hands into fists, I could feel the ground beneath listen to my commands, jostling the football player, and unfortunately the girl. Ross fell back and let his grip loosen as he tried to use his hands to brace himself against the wall. Without Ross to steady her, she was about to fly headfirst into the wall. I was about to stop the quakes and lunge after her, cursing at myself for not coming up with a better strategy when I saw her… slip straight through the wall? What the hell?
"Where did she go? What did you just do?" Ross rubbed his head and looked at where the girl should have been. I didn't even bother with him, I made my way through the crowd, pushing people aside as they all scrambled for somewhere safe to hide from the earthquake. If I hadn't been so freaked out I would have laughed, thinking if they only knew what had really just happened. Luckily, it didn't take me that long to reach the door, unfortunately Ross was right behind me. I looked around, but the street was practically empty besides the bouncer and several empty cars. Ross was behind me and saying only who knows what, as I wasn't paying much attention.
"Just shut up! What do you care what happened to her? Just go back inside and leave her the hell alone!" I growled, finally having enough of him. He stood there in shock and just pointed behind me. I whirled to find the girl sprinting past us and down the street.
"Hey!" I yelled after her lamely, realizing I didn't even know her name. I was about to go after her when Ross grabbed me by the shoulder and aimed a right hook at my nose. I was able to block it easily, but now I was going to lose time trying to catch up to the girl. Without another thought, I flung a couple punches his way while defending myself from whatever he could manage. He gave up after I landed a solid fist against his eye and another that cut up his lip.
"Whatever, freak. I'm not fighting a mutant over some piece of ass," he grumbled. I threw him a dirty look, my fist at the ready, and he flinched. I turned my attention away as Ross went back inside, and immediately began searching for her. I ran in the direction she had gone, but soon found no trace of her. She could have gone anywhere. I figured my best bet was a bus stop, and raced to the nearest one I could think of. There she was, the doors closed just as I caught a glimpse of her, slouched in a seat near the front. She looked miserable, and all I wanted to do was race after that bus. But instead, I watched dumbfounded as it pulled away. She had fallen straight through that wall back in the club. Was she like me? A mutant? I made my way to my jeep, parked a couple blocks from the club and drove myself home, forgetting all about Pete and Griff who were probably back at the club wondering where their ride was.
"Have a good night?" I opened the door to find my dad waiting for me.
"Uh, it was alright I guess," I shuffled my feet over to the chair across from him. Dad was pretty cool, so I knew something had to be up if he was waiting for me. He knew I went out, who I was with, where I was, and what I was doing, but he just shook it off as normal teenage boy behavior. His wife, my stepmom, wasn't so pleased, but that was more because she didn't want me to rub off on her precious kids, my half-siblings.
"Just alright? Not seismic?" he raised an eyebrow and I knew I was toast. My mutant abilities had shown up about a year ago, and it had been utter chaos. My stepmom had wanted to send me away to have me studied and fixed, afraid that I was contagious and would spread my terrible disease to the rest of them. Dad had stood firm though and helped me through it all. He had found ways to help ease the headaches, calm my nerves when I found myself accidentally shaking up the house, and he even made excuses for the quakes to anyone that looked at me warily. He had been great about the whole thing, but it had been under one condition, that I didn't use my powers to get into trouble.
"About that," I started, but he shook his head, flicking on the television where the news was reporting about the quake live from the club. I noticed Pete and Griff in the background looking pissed. They must have finally realized I was long gone. They, besides my family, were the only two who knew about my abilities, so they were probably the only two at the club that knew what really happened. I reminded myself to apologize for ditching them, especially since they took the mutant thing in stride and would probably only congratulate me for starting that kind of mass hysteria.
"It's all over the news. They're wondering if Northbrook is on an undiscovered fault line," Dad frowned. "Patricia is hysterical. It interrupted her Conan."
"I can explain. See, this stupid football player Ross was there, and he wouldn't let this girl go and…" I started to ramble to try to explain to my dad what had happened, but the more I talked the sillier it sounded to me.
"Lance," my dad cut me off. "I'm not questioning why you needed to do something. I'm questioning why you had to use your powers? Couldn't you have done something else?"
"Yeah, I know. I realized it was stupid right after I used them. Look, I'm sorry," I got up and turned off the TV.
"If you do something like this again, I'm going to be forced to send you away. I don't think either of us wants that," he got up and took my sore knuckles in his hands. "Put some ice on these. What'd you punch? Brick?"
"Close enough," I muttered and headed for the kitchen. I put a few ice cubes in a plastic baggy to rest on my knuckles before heading up to my room, where I laid in bed and thought about the girl who could move through walls until I finally fell asleep.