Life was going pretty good. I still wasn’t happy with plants but there was a bit of a thrill in making things grow. Almost like creating things! But more boring. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on equipment to make things. I had some scraps and plenty of ideas written down. I just needed a place to put them together.
When I was feeling particular antsy, I’d call in to work and see if there was anything extra I could do. Sometimes they asked me to type up reports or do some research which I was more than happy to do. Anything I didn’t understand, I looked up and taught myself what it meant. Depending on who the report went to, I changed my writing style slightly. Dr. Elliot loved buzzwords so I tried to throw as much as I could in. Especially ‘extrapolate’, he loved that word.
I started brushing up on other things I’d need to know. I read more and more books about mechanical things, reading about which wrench was best in which situation. It wasn’t the best thing to do–learning from a book–but I figured it was a good place to start.
I also spent some time by the river that ran through town. I read about water, and elements within the water. I already knew quite a bit but it was always good to learn more.
“Well, Miss Danevbie, everything is clear.”
I swung my legs off the examining table, looking at the linoleum floor under my dangling feet. I slid forward slightly and stood up, stretching my arms and glancing at the dots lining my inner arm from all the needle pricks from where they withdrew blood. I hoped I wasn’t arrested or anything, they’d probably think I was a druggie.
And I sorta am, I thought, turning to look at Ms. Flunce. I did have some drugs in me but that was my job. I had been undergoing a new drug that was supposed to affect the nerves so I wouldn’t feel pain. The first prototype didn’t work but this time when they poked and prodded at me, nothing hurt. Not even the zap of electricity.
“This is working out great!” Ms. Flunce said excitedly. “Thank you for your cooperation.”
“It’s my job,” I laughed as I went over to my clothes. “Is there anything else I need to do today?”
“Nope,” she replied. “But tomorrow you need to report to Dr. Elliot. He wants to test how this electronic parachute works.”
That sounds safe, I thought, but kept my mouth shut. This was my fourth week on the job and I knew that soon I would get promoted. Dr. Elliot had mentioned it once or twice and I hoped that after helping him out, I’d get promoted.
I started spending a lot of my free time at the junkyard. I was always either here or at the library when I wasn’t at work. I usually threw on some old jeans and an old shirt, and the new pair of gloves I had bought. I often gravitated towards the old shirt that Kyle had bought me when he was in France. It was super comfy, quite old, and getting slightly small. So I didn’t mind if it got too dirty.
Mmm, treasures. At least I thought they were treasures. Well they were pieces of treasures. I couldn’t wait for the day when I could start molding them together. I had already looked up prices of everything I’d need. I figured that by the end of summer I might be able to afford everything. If I didn’t get a car instead. Which perhaps I should get first…
Soon I felt a presence behind me. Someone was standing over me. Before I could feel nervous, they spoke. It was a voice I had never heard before but he didn’t sound as if he wanted anything in particular (like my money) so I continued rooting through the junk.
“Hey,” he said, obviously waiting for me to reply. When I didn’t, he continued. “I’ve never seen you around before. You new in town?”
“Yep,” I replied, squinting at a piece of metal. I tested its pliability and strength then put it in my tote.
“Well! Welcome to Riverview.” There was a pause and when I was silent, he decided to talk some more. “I guess I’m interrupting your work. Should I go?”
I put some more stuff in the tote bag and then stood up, brushing my gloves off on my pants. “Nope,” I said, turning to face him. “I’m going.”
“Hi,” he said, looking slightly shy which confused me since he had been speaking so cheerfully a moment ago. “My name’s Kellen.”
I stared blankly at him for a moment, wondering why he was telling me this. “Yeah,” I said, not really sure what else there was to say.
“You collecting junk for any particular reason?” he asked, smiling at me.
I frowned and started to reach up to rub the back of my head when I remembered I was wearing dirty gloves. I just let my hands fall back against my thighs. “Not at the moment,” I replied honestly.
“So then what’s a beautiful girl like you doing in a place like this?” he asked, cracking a rather strange smile.
“Excuse me?” I demanded, suddenly having an idea as to why he was talking to me.
“Um, ah–” he began but I cut him off.
“Are you hitting on me?” I asked incredulously. A light blush spread across his freckled face and it soon grew darker. I gulped slightly as fear crept up my body. The last guy who had hit on me had expected quite a lot. He was the one and only guy who had ever asked me out. When I started high school, a lot of the guys seemed excited at the fact that Tempest Danevbie had a little sister. Maybe she’d be more willing to be loose. I had been pinned in a hallway and his hand strayed to a place that, at the time, wasn’t very well endowed. Still, I had kicked him where Orion had taught me to kick and ran off.
Ever since then guys avoided me which was fine with me. I saw no point in flirting, or even dating. “Excuse me,” I said breathlessly, “but I have to get going.” I pushed past him and took off.
“Hey!” he called after me. “I didn’t mean to upset you! I’m sorry!” I was sure he’d just keep talking so I said nothing, just walking away and down the street. I wished my house was closer or I had transport. I suddenly began worried he was going to follow me. I began walking faster, clutching the tote. Finally I yanked off my gloves and took my cell phone from my pocket, calling Orion. I figured if that creepy guy was following me, he’d be deterred by the sight of me talking. And when there was no answer, I just chattered away to Orion’s voicemail.