Aria smiled as she walked through the mall. She had been away from Rhode Island for what felt like forever, and it gave her a rush of nostalgia being back home. She was enjoying college, but it was not easy. Yale was definitely good for her; she was making a lot of new friends. Because nobody knew her past life on campus, she could start over, and it was more than she could have ever asked for. People didn't look at her weird or ask questions she was uncomfortable answering. Even though it had only been about two month since school started, she felt a lot better about herself. She even looked better. No longer did she have dark circles under her eyes, or a sickly pale complexion. The color was finally back in her face again, and her blue eyes were alive.
She had purchased a few necessary items for her dorm along with some new clothes. When she got on campus, she got a job working in the library. It didn't pay that much, but it provided her with spending money. As she walked through the mall, she wondered if she'd run into Ryker or Ariel. She hadn't seen them in so long, and she was determined to catch up with them before the weekend ended.
A sigh escaped her lips before she decided to take a seat for a few minutes, maybe even text her friends to let them know she was in town. She set her purchases to the left of her and took out her phone. Just as she was about to send the message, she felt someone sit next to her. Immediately, the girl looked up from her phone to see who it was.
He'd been lurking in the mall for hours now, seeking a victim. There had to be someone to take him home, some hopeless soul who couldn't bear the sight of a poor, frightened child. He'd always looked young for his age, and now at fourteen he could pass himself off as twelve, give or take a year. To complete the look he'd abandoned any clothes his parents had sent off with him; everything he wore was a size too large, giving him a shrunken look that only left him looking hungry.
Crouched as he was at the end of the food court, he had a clear view of the benches along the mall. He'd waited so long, but now there she was: a young woman was setting down bags on a bench, retrieving a phone and taking a rest. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his over-sized sweatshirt and tugged his loose jeans up around his waist.
The girl looked young enough to be high school age, his ideal target. The girls at Wentworth all wanted to look good for the boys, and what would be more impressive than helping a poor, lost freshman find his way around town? He kept his head down and took a seat at the far end of her bench, perched cautiously as though he expected to be waved away. From the corner of his eye he noticed her turn, but stayed still and silent, staring at the ground. He needed her to come to him.
Post by ARIA JANE GOODMAN on Oct 18, 2013 13:39:43 GMT -5
Her eyes scanned the young boy sitting not far from her. He looked young, maybe not even in high school. She couldn't help but wonder what he was doing at the mall alone? When she was that young, her father didn't let her go anywhere without an adult or a 'buddy' with her. But her father had always been overprotective, he always thought of the worse case scenario before anything else. The girl was unsure about what to do. If he needed help, she'd surely give it to him, but if he really did want to be alone, she didn't want to come across as weird.
Aria's concentration was interrupted when her phone buzzed, she looked down and saw her roommate had texted her to tell her Comp class for Monday had been cancelled. She replied a quick 'thanks,' before putting the phone in her bag. She inched closer to him, a smile on her face. Now that she had made the obvious first move, she wasn't sure what to do or even say, and she immediately regretted the decision. He was probably a boy who was just out at the mall for fun. But she had made the first move, and she had to say something now.
Awkwardly, she cleared her throat and tried to make eye contact with him. "Hi," she said."You look a little out of place, do you need help finding somewhere or someone?" she asked, trying to sound concerned.
The girl texted on her phone a bit more, then edged closer to him. He had to force himself not to tense up; he needed his space, and she was nearing the danger zone. But he couldn't let that get in the way of what he needed now, his character, so he held still and braced himself for the inevitable contact.
Finally, she spoke. He wasn't sure whether or not it was real concern; if it wasn't, though, he would fix that. He scuffed the toe of a shoe against the ground and stared down at it. "I'm... OK," he replied slowly. "I'm just waiting for my dad to go to work." There. That would do it. It was just enough of a hint to let her imagination take it away, but not enough detail that he was trapped in any one story. Her reaction would decide the details.
Post by ARIA JANE GOODMAN on Oct 30, 2013 13:35:53 GMT -5
As she watched the boy's movements, she couldn't help but feel bad. He seemed almost scared that she was talking to him. That made her wonder if only did want to be left alone. She knew she never should have assumed something was wrong. From her own experience, she should have known some people just wanted to be left alone. Last year that had been her: the girl who was content being lonely. Perhaps this young boy was the same way, and if that truly was the case she didn't want to bother him. But when he spoke, she couldn't help but think otherwise. His answer wasn't very convincing, and his next words concerned her very much.
Aria knew that they hadn't been very specific, but there was enough of a hint in them that made her want to stay around and find out what was really going on. "Does your dad work here at the mall?" she asked. Maybe he was waiting for his dad to go to work so he could fool around, but Aria honestly didn't think that was the case. The other alternative to that was not pleasant, but she wasn't going to jump to conclusions unless she had more to work with. "I'm Aria by the way," she said kindly. "Aria Goodman."
He kicked at the ground and stared at his shoes. "No... he works at a convenience store. At night." That was it. She already looked concerned; he could play that to its end and beyond. He was a vulnerable little boy, waiting for his father to leave so he could spend the night in relative safety in a lonely, empty house. It was a mother's worst nightmare, and from the look of this girl, she was just old enough to care.
At her name, he froze. Goodman. Goodman. Atticus was a Goodman. He'd had a daughter, someone Nicholas preferred not to think about, but now he was dead. Some drunk driver had murdered him and never suffered for it, but maybe Nicholas could find an ally here in his quest for revenge... assuming, of course, that this girl was his daughter. He needed to investigate, but he couldn't be obvious. "I'm Nicholas."
Post by ARIA JANE GOODMAN on Oct 30, 2013 22:31:13 GMT -5
Aria glanced down at her clock when Nicholas said his dad worked at night. It was late afternoon, so if the boy was really waiting for his dad to go to work, he had quite some time. "It's only 3 in the afternoon," she said with a raised brow. "Are you just going to wait in the mall for a couple hours?" she asked. At his age, her father never would have let her wait in the mall alone for so long. It would have disobeyed just about every rule in his rulebook, but clearly this boy's father was nothing like hers. "How did you get to the mall? Did he bring you here?" The boy couldn't be old enough to drive, so unless he walked, Aria couldn't come up with another reason as to how he got to the mall.
Aria smiled warmly when the kid gave her his name. "It's nice to meet you, Nicholas," she said politely. She wondered if there was anything else she could do to help him. If not, she sort of wanted to just stick around until someone came to get him. A child his age, alone at the mall was not safe. Someone could just come and kidnap him if they wanted to. "Is there anything I can do to help? Do you need to call someone or something?" she asked.
Normally he would have shied away from any offer of help, even during his charades; he needed them to believe him completely, and getting too close might give them a glimpse past the curtain he'd so carefully sewn. But Nicholas had never met another Goodman, especially not somewhere so close to home, only an hour or two from his parents' house, and he needed to know.
"No... I'm OK. I just walk from school and hang out here. But it's OK. I do this a lot." He gave her a shy smile, just small enough that it almost vanished behind his nearly-cheerful nod. "He doesn't care as long as I don't buy anything."
Post by ARIA JANE GOODMAN on Oct 31, 2013 22:43:19 GMT -5
From what she could see, Nicholas seemed like an innocent little kid. Aria didn't like the fact he was sitting here alone at the mall, and as he explained himself further the less she liked it."Are you sure?" she asked, still wanting to help him if she could. If he needed something to eat or anything, she'd surely help him. As of late, Aria had been feeling generous. It must have been college or something. Or maybe she was feeling guilty about her bitter attitude she had donned last year. She didn't want to shut anymore people out, and she wanted to help people if she could to make up for it. "Is there anything you need to buy? Like food?" she asked.
She bit her lip and pushed a piece of hair behind her ear. "How old are you anyway?" she asked curiously. "You can't be more than fourteen, and when I was fourteen my dad never let me hang out at the mall alone," she added, her brow raised. Maybe he was just looked a lot younger than he actually was, but his mannerisms and behavior made her think otherwise. He had to have been at the most a freshman in high school.
He shook his head. "I'm OK. I'll eat when I go home." She was falling for it faster and faster. Already she was offering to buy him something to eat; soon she would probably try to take him home like a lost puppy. Normally that was the last thing he wanted, but her last name had piqued his curiosity. They didn't live so far from his hometown, and Atticus hadn't lived close. It could work.
She guessed his age easily enough; he didn't acknowledge that she was correct. "I'm fine, really. He doesn't care. As long as I don't get in trouble, he doesn't care where I go." He tried to make it sound like a happy, independent relationship, but he left just enough doubt hanging to raise the question, which he compounded by dropping his gaze back to his shoes.
Post by ARIA JANE GOODMAN on Nov 24, 2013 21:03:22 GMT -5
Aria nodded."OK," she said. Aria didn't expect him to take her up on her offer, but she figured it wouldn't hurt to offer. Offering was the friendly thing to do, and Aria was trying hard to be friendlier to people. "Aren't you afraid of getting kidnapped or something?" she asked with a raised brow. At fourteen, she would have been afraid to go to the mall herself. If her father wasn't with her, she went with a friend. Her father wouldn't let her go without a friend, and even if she could have gone alone, she wouldn't have.
Awkwardly, Aria cleared her throat, unsure of what to say next. "So, I'm gonna grab some coffee at Starbucks," she said, eying the coffee stand only a short distance away. "You're welcome to join me if you'd like," she said. Usually, Aria didn't extend offers like this. She preferred to drink her coffee alone, but for some reason she was worried about this young boy. He just looked too young to be out alone when there were creepy people roaming the mall. If something happened to him, she'd feel guilty if she hadn't extended the offer.
"No," he replied. "Who would want to kidnap me?" He sounded matter-of-fact enough, but his gaze never left his shoes. This act was one of his hardest, playing such a helpless little thing on top of the innocence, and half of him longed to shout at her that he wasn't such a child that he needed a babysitter. But the other half was in control, the half that knew where he wanted to end up, and that half had him nodding in response to her question.
"Oh, uh... sure. I mean, I'll come with you... if you want." Another old trick, this one designed to reel her in and keep her close. Who wouldn't want such a lonely little boy to follow them around, to remind them how good of a person they were to take him in off the street? Nicholas was the perfect accessory, with his small stature and innocent face, and the mind behind it could be hidden for a few hours easily enough.
He picked up his worn backpack from its place at his feet and shrugged it onto his shoulders, looking almost excited to leave.
ELLEN ELIZABETH WATSON: That sounds familiar. I used to be that way. I still am, but I've learned to let go a little.
Sept 18, 2013 22:33:39 GMT -5
EMMA GRACE DANVERS (GOODMAN): Alec is too good to me, how did I deserve him. I'm such a perfectionist that I am afraid to screw up
Sept 18, 2013 22:30:10 GMT -5
ELLEN ELIZABETH WATSON: Everyone screws up. I've screwed up so many times I can't even keep track, but you just have to pick yourself up and learn to forgive yourself which can be the hardest thing to do
Sept 18, 2013 22:28:38 GMT -5
EMMA GRACE DANVERS (GOODMAN): Thank you so much Ellen. I know Alec is there to encourage me, but sometimes I feel he's put me on this great mother pedestal. I'm afraid of screwing up.
Sept 18, 2013 22:25:29 GMT -5
ELLEN ELIZABETH WATSON: I wouldn't worry too much Emma. You're very maternal, something I never was, and I managed to do it alone. If you ever need to talk about parenting, I'm always here
Sept 18, 2013 22:10:52 GMT -5
EMMA GRACE DANVERS (GOODMAN): I'm just worried about being a good mother. Since my own mother is no longer here to advice me. I just want to do her proud *nervous look*
Sept 18, 2013 22:09:25 GMT -5
EMMA GRACE DANVERS (GOODMAN): well I think Alec will be worried when it comes to that age. He'll probably buy a shotgun and ward off any boy who comes a courting.
Sept 18, 2013 22:08:32 GMT -5
ELLEN ELIZABETH WATSON: -laughs- you don't have to worry about that for a while. I told Victoria when she was going into sixth grade, but I think it also depends on the child
Sept 18, 2013 22:07:23 GMT -5