The Knowledge Seeker - Chapter 3 - The Party | Penana

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The Knowledge Seeker
Writer Imascribble
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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The Knowledge Seeker
A - A - A
Chapter 3 - The Party
Aug 16, 2017
17 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!prGOMShpP5dn4S4f6Eipposted on PENANA

"Man," Vance said, leaning back in his seat and stretching his right arm out the passenger window, "I can't wait for this party!"copyright protection67PENANA9LzgwvuUSU

I glanced away from my driving for a brief moment, giving him a questioning look. "You realize your ex-girlfriend is likely to be there, right?"copyright protection67PENANAVilB77uoxj

Vance laughed and shook his head before punching my sleeve. "Aren't you a party-pooper! Look, you really think Anna's gonna invite the both of us to this thing?"copyright protection67PENANAtKGxCKNJp5

I knew he was right. In fact, I knew it wasn't a party at all. Although she hadn't told me, I knew that Anna had only contacted her closest friends to hang out casually at her place for her birthday. One friend, Samantha Medine, she wanted to introduce to Vance. The other girl, a childhood friend by the name of Jess Bolinsky, was like a sister to her and she wanted her to meet me. I knew I could not tell Vance this information, though, so I let him continue thinking this was a big event. I learnt long ago to keep things secret.copyright protection67PENANA8yQHOncji5

Vance continued talking excitedly beside me, reminiscing about his previous relationships and comparing them in the most off-putting of ways. I ignored him like I usually do when he gets lewd and focused exclusively on my driving. Besides, I already knew the stories he told me, either by hearing him tell them or gathering them through other means throughout years of friendship.copyright protection67PENANAddoyPvGjUd

As I drove through the suburbs of Barrhaven, following the spoken directions Anna had given me, I contemplated my meeting with this girl, Jess. I was unable to discern from Anna exactly why she wanted me to meet this girl. Was she trying to set me up with her? What am I supposed to do in this situation? Should I be glad that Anna believes she is helping me find someone, or should I be offended? Why am I so nervous and disturbed about this?copyright protection67PENANADnYkVB5Iku

My thoughts were interrupted by Vance throwing his hand in front of my face with intense purpose and imitating a false fanfare. I followed the path of his extended digit to see a small townhouse bearing the address she gave me.copyright protection67PENANAOs3FaS3nbl

"There it is! We're here!" Vance said, releasing his seat belt before I even had finished pulling into the thin driveway.copyright protection67PENANAtoyRXonDHh

He jumped out of the car and moved in front, waiting for me to get out. As I turned off the car and moved to undo my seat belt, I hesitated. Why were my hands so sweaty?copyright protection67PENANARlFQGArLjM

Vance waved me over, hurrying me along, and I wiped my hands on my jeans before opening the car door and stepping out into the fresh air. A nice breeze was blowing, feeling cool on my sweating brow.copyright protection67PENANAg8fkOpcRNo

Vance saw my discomfort and chuckled, patting me on the back as I walked past him towards the homely front door. "You really don't do well with people, do you?"copyright protection67PENANAcgMK8K8woQ

"You have no idea..." I muttered under my breath as I walked up the few short steps to the front door. An old fake wreath left over from Easter hung there still, the colours fading from the summer sun. A straw mat on the ground in front said 'WELCOME!' in big bold lettering. I sighed, stretching out my shoulders and reached for the small doorbell on the side.copyright protection67PENANANgct6S4yDn

Before I could reach it, the door swung open suddenly and a familiar face appeared in the doorway. She was wearing a simple white sundress and her hair was back in a ponytail. She was without makeup, and looked more beautiful than I had ever thought possible.copyright protection67PENANAkUwAekZqbN

"Hey, Anna." Vance said, pushing his way inside the house. Anna smiled her thanks and stepped aside to let us both in.copyright protection67PENANAPn3C8cmgIK

Vance stopped inside the door, looking around. "Where's all the people at?" he asked, and I covered my mouth to hide a smile at his confusion.copyright protection67PENANA7w0jZ7b3FP

"Well, I'm not a big fan of big parties," she admitted sheepishly, much to Vance's shock. I stifled a small laugh. Maybe I should have told him so he wouldn't make a scene. "I do have someone I wanted you to meet, though! Come on!" She grabbed his arm and firmly but gently dragged the reluctant Vance into the living room. The sight of her holding on to my best friend's arm filled me with jealousy as I followed a respectable distance behind them. I tried to focus my attention on the house itself, but was unable to pay attention to anything other than her soft hand on his arm.copyright protection67PENANAr0JXAXhAos

In actuality, it was only a few seconds of torture for me, despite it feeling like an eternity. Her hand only lingered on Vance only for the few steps it took to walk through the eastern doorway into the well lit living room. The room was small but homely, with a glass cabinet displaying intricately decorated teacups and pictures of Anna's family. A large flat-screen TV perched on a small flat table, and a bookshelf filled with DVD's stood against the wall beside it. A comfortable recliner sat in one corner of the room. She released Vance from her grasp, moving towards a black leather chesterfield on which a smaller willowy girl with dark hair sat. She eyed us keenly as we entered the room.copyright protection67PENANAndQrPYDcfm

"Vance, Graham," Anna began, "This is my friend Samantha."copyright protection67PENANAXmSXGS5RVL

Vance stepped forward to shake Samantha's hand, eyeing her coyly. "Pleasure to meet you, Samantha," he said with a smile.copyright protection67PENANAHnLqlmoCWN

I rolled my eyes as he moved aside to let me shake her hand. Her skin was calloused, like she spent her whole life working hard, despite her small size, but the physical touch rewarded me with more information. Sam has known Anna since grade seven. She studies biochemistry at the University downtown and works in the lab there. Her older brother is a drug addict and a street thug. She finds Vance attractive.copyright protection67PENANA5k1WLQUp3a

I forced myself to stop the handshake after an appropriate amount of time, and I turned to face Anna. "No one else?" I ask simply.copyright protection67PENANAL0wEYdw35s

She drooped a little. "Nobody else could make it, and Mom's showing a house today. Even Kristina is out with her boyfriend." I allowed myself to relax, figuring I'd overthought things earlier.copyright protection67PENANAOMQAcbWBOT

Vance flopped down on the couch beside Samantha, leaning back and stretching his arm suavely across the back, behind her head. "Well, shall we get this party started?"copyright protection67PENANAoUeqQZgLpk

Anna giggled delicately, sending a shiver down my spine. She walked towards the bookshelf, where one DVD was pulled slightly forward. "Wanna watch a movie?"copyright protection67PENANAVbksPiFmmK

I took a step forward and leaned in for a better look at what she had chosen, and was not at all surprised.copyright protection67PENANAOawELJPIlE

Vance was.copyright protection67PENANABKyPaoPr9f

"Are you kidding me?" he complained, "That movie?"copyright protection67PENANAL5q5xfocBK

Anna threw her shoulders back and gave him a haughty look. "Of course! It's a tradition in my family to watch Batman on your birthday!"copyright protection67PENANAXqVu4GeUoA

Vance groaned and rolled his eyes. "Does it have to be that old one, though? Why can't it be one of the good ones?"copyright protection67PENANAy0k7QuvGWF

"I think it's fine..." I quietly interjected, but my voice was lost in the raised voices of conflict.copyright protection67PENANAVHKlNiBcvc

"Fine! Then what do you think we should watch?" Anna challenged.copyright protection67PENANAWsCSXHybCX

Vance got up and looked over the DVD shelf. "Hmmmm..." His eyes scanned the movie choices available to him. Suddenly he grabbed one and held it out towards Anna with a big grin on his face. It was The Ring.copyright protection67PENANALbX6iOBOux

"Fine," she said, snatching it from his hand while Vance cheered victoriously.copyright protection67PENANAtpfeL3wmf1

Samantha laughed as Vance returned to his spot on the couch, but I watched Anna as she hesitantly put the DVD in.copyright protection67PENANAycub4rTDDv

I glanced briefly over at Vance as he flopped on the couch, making himself comfortable, and found myself angered by his rudeness. Rather than confront him, however, I focused instead on comforting Anna. I walked over to her and spoke in a low tone, ensuring that those on the couch could not hear me. "It's your house and your birthday. Why didn't you tell him to like it or leave?"copyright protection67PENANAAoGyvYm6NQ

"He would have left," she answered simply and quietly, not looking up from her task.copyright protection67PENANAEggTv1W1nb

"And you didn't want him to leave?" I asked, confused.copyright protection67PENANA2Wox7tY06B

She straightened up as the DVD drive slid back into the player and her eyes met mine. "You would have left too." She smiled weakly.copyright protection67PENANAwH0cgvbCCY

"Hey, lovebirds!" Vance made a shooing motion with his hand. "We're trying to watch a movie here!"copyright protection67PENANAtgfK9KL5L8

"Shut up." I snapped coldly back at him, and Anna blushed and looked away. She moved past me and collapsed on the couch beside Vance, who kept inching closer to Samantha. She squished over to make room for me.copyright protection67PENANAhO4Glc9jdg

I sat down on the chair.copyright protection67PENANAVJXVVdr7Q3

"Hey," Anna whined, "there's enough room here for you!"copyright protection67PENANA6kkl4t5PzR

"With his shoulders, I doubt it," Vance mumbled under his breath, drawing a laugh from Samantha.copyright protection67PENANAYRG3x1gHlt

Anna shot him a dirty glare, then turned back to me quickly. "Graham, come sit down here," she pleaded, her full lips in a slight pout. Perfect lips. Kissable lips. Addictive lips. That's why I had to keep away.copyright protection67PENANAXhcUd88EgZ

I begged my body not to, but it stood up almost by itself and sat like a willing slave at her side. Her allure and her intoxicating power over me was too much to handle. I found myself drawn to her, yet repulsed by the thought of touching her - tainting her with my wretched curse.copyright protection67PENANAImk2IowNe5

Anna leaned into me, her head resting gently against my shoulder. I stiffened instinctively, simultaneously enjoying the contact, but fearing to read anything more from her. I angled my face away from hers to avoid any part of my skin touching hers.copyright protection67PENANAFdXlhunxcJ

Samantha noticed my awkward movement and shifted to get a better look at me. "What's wrong, Graham? Are you too hot with that long-sleeved shirt on?"copyright protection67PENANA090d4dmdSD

I chuckled nervously and nodded, trying to inch away from Anna, who was pressed close against my side.copyright protection67PENANAcAZxDHV9va

Vance laughed and gave a dismissive wave. "Don't worry about him, girls. I've known Graham for years and I've never seen him wear short sleeves. He doesn't get hot."copyright protection67PENANAfbncxEHUcT

"Really?" Anna asked, looking up at me through her eyelashes.copyright protection67PENANAEd2Fr6TNkL

I felt my face flush and knew I had to get away. I managed to stand up without invoking my curse against Anna's skin.copyright protection67PENANAqwmq308Z9D

"He looks like he's getting hot now!" Samantha said, drawing a laugh from Vance.copyright protection67PENANAaoPxBmciho

I glared at him before storming off.copyright protection67PENANAcVBfB2muQG

"Graham, wait!" Anna hurried after me, grabbing my shoulder as I exited the room and turning me to face her. "Graham..." Her eyes looked up at me, concern and pity etched into her face. "Are you okay?"copyright protection67PENANAghdDHhDPgN

I looked away, unable to meet her gaze. "I'm fine," I said, rubbing the back of my neck sheepishly. Why did she always make me feel like such an idiot?copyright protection67PENANAtqciYNFb6W

She released my shoulder and stepped in close, so close I could smell her shampoo. The scent of peppermint hung around the air around us, and I was too afraid to even breathe it in. She looked up at me, her eyes full of concern. "Are you sure?" she asked as her hand gingerly reached up to touch my face.copyright protection67PENANAziRbyseUX5

I turned away from it and stepped backwards, breaking the spell. "Yeah."copyright protection67PENANAAdmNQ34uTl

For a moment I swore I saw pain flash across her face, but she closed her eyes and smiled. "I'm glad," she said. She turned to walk back to the living room, but stopped as though she'd hit a wall.copyright protection67PENANAhnMuFKhkWo

"Well," she said, pointing at the Vance and Samantha, "maybe we should give them some space."copyright protection67PENANAhvH8HfBW9z

I did not argue as I spotted the two figures intertwined, making out on the couch. Anna turned back to me and giggled as I rolled my eyes.copyright protection67PENANA1JMnxDrB8l

"I knew they would get along," she whispered, "but I didn't expect them to get along this well!"copyright protection67PENANAXpIJUoucJq

"We should leave them to their movie," I agreed, moving to walk through the opposite doorway. Anna nodded hesitantly and followed me.copyright protection67PENANAA0Wi9DxLAH

I found myself in a small kitchen, with a table to eat on occupying part of the room. Cupboards and shelves lined the walls, covered in all sorts of memorabilia - mostly Batman iconography. There was a cookie jar with the bat symbol on it and a few figurines on the higher shelves. As I sat down in a chair at the table, Anna made herself busy by reaching into a cupboard and pulling out an unpopped bag of popcorn. Throwing it in the microwave and pushing the button, she grabbed a serving bowl and waited, turning to me.copyright protection67PENANAkBr6ZYKrAS

"I knew you loved Batman," I said, looking around in awe, "but I didn't expect this."copyright protection67PENANAMxiugcTLoC

She giggled, leaning over the top of a chair casually. "My whole family does. Mom said it's how her and dad met."copyright protection67PENANAbZD7hMLPxl

"Oh?" I inquired. I had already found out this story through other means, but it felt necessary to hear it from her own mouth.copyright protection67PENANAwSXYZWWJnx

"Yeah," she started, staring off distractedly, "they both went to see Adam West and Burt Ward back in the late 80's when they were doing signings in Toronto. They stood in line forever and got talking."copyright protection67PENANABa4UFl6y6v

"Sounds like a match made in heaven," I said.copyright protection67PENANAbivOpMBbC9

"It was," she admitted, looking down at the ground and leaning heavier on the back of the chair.copyright protection67PENANAw91u70q4JO

We both sat in silence for a moment until we were interrupted by the microwave's incessant beeping. Anna seemed startled by it, as though she was lost in thought and forgotten she had put popcorn in. She moved quickly to it, however, carefully opening the bag and pouring its contents into the serving bowl. Moving around, she unceremoniously plunked it on the table as she took the seat to my left.71Please respect copyright.PENANAqT3BXJPfsS
I grabbed a handful of the still hot snack and ate it, content with the silence. Anna, however, was intent on watching me. I raised an eyebrow at her as I caught her staring at me.copyright protection67PENANABlYGgD2mc9

"Sorry," she said, shaking her head, "I was just wondering something."copyright protection67PENANASnrnbRaN2N

"What is it?" I asked, my nerves racing.copyright protection67PENANAWzWX34Yu8H

"It's just, what Samantha asked. I noticed you were wearing long sleeves all through summer, but I didn't want to ask about it..."copyright protection67PENANAiK3grjUtG6

In response, I rolled up each of my sleeves in turn to show my pale arms underneath. "Unscarred," I stated blandly. "Is that what you were wondering?"copyright protection67PENANACzt4WFV7tY

She grew visibly flustered, and I felt bad for being so up front. "I mean," she stammered, "when someone doesn't show... I mean... You know..."copyright protection67PENANAUpxQnBVl53

I found myself smiling as I rolled my sleeves down. She was cute when she was uncomfortable. "Relax," I started, "it's fine. If you want to know something, ask me."copyright protection67PENANA3nO6EfqyI7

"Why do you wear long sleeves, then?" the inevitable question came.copyright protection67PENANAFlG9qDPlKi

I sighed and braced myself, stiffening and taking a moment to calm my racing heart before answering. "Not all scars are external."copyright protection67PENANAjFHRw4srpx

She shook her head. "I've known you for months now, Graham. We've met at the same bar every Friday night for weeks, but I still don't feel like I know you at all."copyright protection67PENANAutVjAAy09h

I shrugged and looked away, growing increasingly embarassed. It was true, I rarely told people about myself and my personal life. It was kind of ironic how little she knew of me considering how much I knew of her. It made me feel like I was cheating her. Using her. Forcing her to unknowingly and unwillingly give me all of her secrets while revealing none of my own.copyright protection67PENANA7ODOX3rMoc

But I couldn't reveal my scars, not even to her.copyright protection67PENANA5IRMzoR2Ph

She leaned in close to me, looking up at me with those kind blue eyes. "So what are your scars?"copyright protection67PENANAAkKwDk6bkf

I covered up my uncomfortableness by grabbing another handful of popcorn and eating it slowly. My mind raced. I could not tell her. How could she even believe me? My own mother didn't believe me, until I showed her...copyright protection67PENANAts36h19IOx

I choked on a kernel momentarily as the bad memories rushed into my mind. I forced them back out with the skill of an expert. No, I told myself, I can't risk telling her.copyright protection67PENANAVTgMGQaxS0

"Why didn't you stick to your guns with Vance?" I asked in a painfully obvious attempt to change the subject. "He'd understand if you say it had to do with your father."copyright protection67PENANAOtkzZYT59e

Anna pouted. It made my heart sink, knowing I'd hurt her by avoiding her question. I knew, however, that telling her would hurt a great deal more.copyright protection67PENANAlDHoJYqSHf

"You didn't answer my question," she said simply, and I found myself amazed as I watched the set of her face change to pure determination. She was going to get me to talk.copyright protection67PENANAqC9HpPxAnq

I decided to compromise. "My dad walked out on me and my mom when I was little," I said, "so it was always just me and my mom growing up."copyright protection67PENANAAcTVLSTFY3

"Awww," she teased, unable to hold back a smile, "you were a momma's boy!"copyright protection67PENANAUjGBIpA9ih

"Yeah," I felt my face flush, and I shifted awkwardly in my seat.copyright protection67PENANAoJUxqjnXUL

Before I could react, Anna put a comforting hand on mine, resting beside the bowl on the table. I found myself recieving information I thought I knew. I relived her last phone call with her dad, where she berated him for not leaving work on time for the third time that week. I was given the feelings of fear as her mom recieved the phone call after the accident. The sadness of his funeral. The terror she still feels every time the phone rings.copyright protection67PENANAnuXhqJajo9

"I'm sorry your dad left," she said, her eyes fighting back tears, "I know what it's like growing up without a dad."copyright protection67PENANAmis3UbtukL

The emotions I was recieving from her, coupled with my own anxiety and my hatred for myself and my curse was too much for me to handle. Standing up, I dragged my hand away, my heart racing.copyright protection67PENANAMJuGhUZESU

"Come on." I commanded her as I started walking into the living room. I heard her behind me grab the popcorn bowl and follow me out.copyright protection67PENANAqfonxP7H8v

I was angry, and I didn't know why. Perhaps it was because of the intense emotions I had somehow drawn from Anna's memories. Perhaps it was because I realized I had, in opening up myself, pulled these emotions foremost in her mind. Perhaps I was legitimately pissed off at Vance's earlier actions. It did not matter.copyright protection67PENANAQvOjyIu2dP

I stood in front of Vance and Samantha, blocking their view of the TV. Too intent on their snogging, they didn't even notice me. I manually ejected the DVD and threw it at them.copyright protection67PENANANZyhFPcFu4

Anna gasped from the doorway. Vance looked up at me horrified. "Dude," he complained, "what the hell is your problem?"copyright protection67PENANAzUkYiRNpzW

"We're going to watch Batman." I said, my tone leaving no room for discussion. I turned and found the DVD still sitting on the edge of the table where Anna had dropped it. I could have sworn I saw her smile out the corner of my eye, but I was too upset and flustered to take full note of it.copyright protection67PENANAVqrKK0sf2G

"What the hell, Graham?!" Vance stood up. He never was one to back down from an argument.copyright protection67PENANA4QFD8ltk0X

I drew myself up to my full height, a full head taller than him, and looked down at him with one eyebrow raised.copyright protection67PENANApASJzbBmBb

Still he did not back down. He sure was stubborn.copyright protection67PENANAjwCLgmMJCP

"We were enjoying that movie!" He complained at me, stepping uncomfortably close.copyright protection67PENANApGF5kNqN8r

"Yeah, you sure looked like it." I rolled my eyes. "You're going to enjoy this one."copyright protection67PENANALx2DhBPSXq

"But-"copyright protection67PENANA4hWG2d3OWF

"Listen!" I said, summoning a commanding tone of voice, "you are going to sit down and watch this movie with Anna! She invited us here for her birthday, and even if she wanted to watch a chick flick, you would be happy. Her house, her birthday, her rules. Do I make myself clear?"copyright protection67PENANADmmirG6Rte

Vance sized me up for a moment. I squared my shoulders, challenging him to try something. Vance had only been in one fight before, back in high school. He was a scrapper, but I had experience, size, and strength. If I needed to, I could take him down.copyright protection67PENANAjfLlS2WHVU

He must have realized that. Feigning disinterest, he turned and waved dismissively. "Fine, whatever," he said, resuming his position on the couch beside Samantha.copyright protection67PENANA7Zb4GehJ2e

"Good." I waved Anna over to take a seat on the couch as I inserted the movie. As the movie began, I returned to the comfortable chair I sat in before, glancing over at Anna. She had been watching me, and our eyes met. Her lips mouthed "thank you."copyright protection67PENANAoFALY1r4TV

I felt my face flush (why did I blush so easily with her?) and I smiled in response. As she turned her head back to watch the movie, I could have sworn I saw a tear run down her cheek.copyright protection67PENANAjda5y38vL3

Comments ( 4 )

Lunassandra Hughes - 'Anna believing' is missing an 'is' toward the beginning of the issue, but that's the only error I caught. I've really enjoyed your story thus far. The only thing that gets me is how centered on the small group of characters the story is, no outside conflict being brought in. It cuts them off from the world a bit and I wish I had a greater view on the world in general. Do others have similar curses? Do others have greater/worse gifts? That sort of thing. But I've enjoyed it this far and will read more should you continue. :)
10 months agoreply

Imascribble - Thanks again for catching the error! Funny you should mention it, but I actually intentionally want it to be a few isolated individuals in an isolated point in time and space. I can tell you, however, that people born with these "gifts" are extraordinarily rare. Graham has never touched anyone with any other kind of abilities.
10 months agoreply

IcePrincess - This is getting really good!! :)
1 year agoreply

Imascribble - Thank you! Glad you're enjoying it! :)
1 year agoreply