Editor’s Note: This is the second chapter of The Lost Prentice, an online serial novel exclusively on the Baltimore Post-Examiner. If you missed the previous chapter please read it before starting this latest installment. Every week we will be posting a new chapter. Enjoy.
The following day, Miles stood in his very white and empty apartment in fear. He held the gum wrapper he had transferred the phone number to, trying to keep his hands from shaking. It was still too early to call her. It was one of the biggest unwritten rules for that sort of thing. Every man knew (even Miles knew) you had to wait three days before calling or texting a girl. But he had to hear her voice again. Just going a day without it was frustrating. He had gone out to jog three times since the moment he met her to try and shake off this feeling of inevitability.
Gwen had him mesmerized. Her sly smile had him infatuated. It wasn’t a matter of if he was going to call her. It was when. And the more time he wasted, the less time he’d get with her. Miles was done fighting himself and what he felt right. He took out his phone from his pocket.
Miles dialed her number and felt his heart hammering each time the phone rang. Finally after the fourth ring, someone answered.
“This is Zelda Keridwen,” said a woman, in a cool official tone. It sounded like Gwen, but it was all wrong. This voice was quick and authoritative. Not at all sly or soothing.
“Uh, is Gwen there?”
“Gwen?” she asked surprised. “Who is this?”
“Miles Hunter. I met her yesterday-”
“Did you now? And just how did you meet my eighteen year old sister-”
“Darn you Zelda!” shouted a voice in the background. There was static and shouts as the two of them wrestled for the phone. “Miles?”
This one was definitely Gwen. “Hey. I’d thought I’d give you a call. Who was that?”
“My big sister Zelda.”
“Just the one?”
“No. I have two.”
“Two?” Miles blurted out. He was an only child and he could find himself annoyed with his own person and living habits. He didn’t know how anybody could handle two.
“Zelda’s the oldest. Then there’s Evie, myself. I’m the baby.”
“I thought you said G names run in the family.”
Gwen laughed which had Miles’ heart flipping like crazy. “You remembered. Okay. There’s Griselda, Genevieve, and then myself. But those names are mouth fulls so we stick to the smaller version.”
“I like Gwendolyn. Would you hate me if I called you that?”
She was quiet but Miles could sense her smile. “Let’s just keep it Gwen.”
Miles laughed. “So how did you know I was a runner?”
“I told you, lucky guess.”
“That was two lucky guesses in a row. You figured out my last name. How did you know that?” Although he really was curious, he didn’t really think all that much about the oddity. In fact, he found it rather amusing.
“I can just tell.”
“You sure? You sure you weren’t just checking me out and decided my awesome muscles were because I was an athlete?” teased Miles. He had never flirted with a girl like that before, but it was feeling natural.
She was laughing before he finished. “I just have a good grasp on a person in general. I’m a good sizer upper.”
“Oh yeah? What else can you figure out about me?”
“Mmm,” the line was quiet for a moment until she said, “you’re always alone.”
Miles’ jaw dropped. How could she have known that after one encounter and a phone call?
“Are you an only child?” she asked thoughtfully.
“I thought so. I can tell. You have very few friends. The same ones you’ve had for years. You can’t handle relationships mostly because you’ve never had one or wanted one,” she finished, letting that last part hang.
Miles gulped loudly, finally feeling a little weary by her knowledge of him. “Were those just lucky guesses as well?”
“Yes,” she said quickly.
“You’re awfully lucky.”
“You just wear your person on your sleeve.”
“I’m definitely known for that. So,” Miles said, shaking off her reading of him. “You like to cook?”
“More than anything. I’m really good at it. And I like to think my cooking is special. I really love flowers. I have my own garden, handed down to me by my father. At home, I mix my flowers and my cooking.”
“You can do that? Eat the flowers?”
“I can do that,” she clarified. “Most of the time, you can’t. You have to prepare it perfectly or it can be ruined. Or deadly.”
“Interesting. Will you cook for me perhaps? I live alone and I’m the worst cook in the world,” Miles joked.
Gwen chuckled. “No.”
“You wouldn’t be able to handle my technique.”
“Ah, a challenge. You sure about that Ms. Keridwen?”
“Pretty much positive.”
“Well I’m not going to take your word. You’re going to have to prove it.”
“I can’t do that Miles,” she said, although she was clearly amused. “I’m not going to cook for you.”
“Come on. You know you want to.”
“I don’t know that! You’re just making things up now!”
“Alright alright. How about lunch?”
Gwen quieted instantly. “That’s against the rules as well,” she said softly.
“You’re already breaking them.”
Miles could sense her smile once more. “You’re a bad influence Mr. Hunter. When and where?”
“Tomorrow? Lets keep it casual. The eatery at Stanford. It’ll be my treat. Shall I pick you up?”
“No. I’ll meet you there. One?”
“Perfect. I’ll see you then.”
“Yes you will. Enjoy the rest of your evening Mr. Hunter.”
Gwen hung up the phone, biting the bottom of her lip to try and suppress a smile. Both of her sisters were standing around her, listening intently. “You girls definitely know how to make things awkward.”
“Who the hell was that Gwen?” demanded Zelda.
Zelda was a curvy girl with a thin waist, wide hips, and breasts large enough to bounce aggressively as she walked. She was currently standing at five-foot-eleven, thanks to her intimidating white stiletto heels which matched the skin tight white pants and ruffling white blouse. Zelda’s hair was thick and straight, and pulled back into a power ponytail.
When Gwen looked into her older sister’s eyes, it was like looking back at her own. Which was like looking back at her father’s eyes. But she pushed that unpleasant thought aside and shrugged.
“Some guy I met at school,” replied Gwen calmly.
She walked into the kitchen and found her best friend Owen standing over the stove stirring the contents in a black cauldron. He was tall and was built to impress the female gender. That was until you glanced at his hands which was a dark olive green and his fingernails which were painted pink. The rest of his body was a creamy white and his hair was a golden blonde. He turned around and tossed her a sympathetic grin. His dark brown eyes were also swimming with sympathy.
“Some guy?” hissed Zelda. “You mean a Normal?”
Gwen shrugged again. “He doesn’t feel like a Normal. There’s a lot of energy stored in him that doesn’t seem to be typical for a Normal. I don’t even think he’s aware of all this raw energy he seems to have built up.”
“Doesn’t matter if he’s atypical or not!” Zelda said, following her into the kitchen. She grabbed Gwen by the arm and forced her to turn around to face her. There was fury in Zelda’s eyes. They were hot with it. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Living!” snapped Gwen.
“Normals are dangerous right now! They’re becoming more observant!”
“Who cares? Our way of life is outdated! And you know it! How many Subtles have already married Normals? It’s happening whether you like it or not!”
“Dad wouldn’t have approved.”
“Dad is dead! And so is Mom!”
The silence hung in the air, thick and uncomfortable.
“This is a bad idea,” Evie said, placing her hand on the dark granite counters. She was small and petite like Gwen but a little thinner and frailer from her dislike of vegetables or food in general. Her hair was long and straight, her soft bangs pulled back in a bump on the top of her head. She was in white short shorts and a white tank.
Feeling ganged up on, Gwen shook her head and yanked her hand out of Zelda’s death grip. “There’s just something about this guy I need to learn. It’s hard to explain and I don’t expect you to understand. I think he needs me.”
“Sexually?” spat Zelda.
“Spiritually,” hissed Gwen. “He’s looking for something. And I’m going to help him find it.” Ending it at that, she gave her sisters her back and joined Owen on the stove.
to be continued…