Sharon’s Note: Teenagers are stupid. I know, I was one. Honestly, we all have stupid moments, regardless of age. Usually they are well meaning moments, and all we can hope is that they won’t be fatal. Sometimes we get lucky and someone else helps look after us. Warning: Seriously, don’t approach strangers messing with your home alone.
“Hey there.” The man inspecting Peter’s lock was so surprised that he fell against the door. Sarah pretended not to see the gun that was under his jacket as he pulled a hand away from it.
“Hi.” His eyes darted around the yard, then focused on her when they didn’t find anyone else. “What are you doing here?”
“You first.” The shutters clacked as she leaned against them. Peter had put them up on the gazebo after a storm ripped off the tarps, but she rarely closed them anymore. “Mr. Bight works at night, so he doesn’t generally have people over during the day.”
“I’m just here doing some work on the house.” His attempt at a disarming smile was horrible. If Sarah had to guess, she’d say he didn’t smile much.
“Well, that’s unusual. He’s more of a DIY kind of guy. He put these up last year. I mean, it took him all day to do it, but I have to admit, they turned out looking pretty good.”
“All day, huh?” He eyes the shutters.
“Yeah. It was so hot, I thought he was going to pass out. He’s not used to being out in the sun. And he’s, like, stupidly stubborn.” Sarah fought not to smirk. She thought of herself as a fairly good actress, and lying was much the same skill set. The way the guy was frowning, she was at least creating a little doubt.
“How long have you known Mr. Blight?”
“You sure ask a lot of questions for a repair man.” She narrowed her eyes at him. His eyes widened, then he looked at the ground.
“Ah, well, I just thought-“
“Oh, you like him.” Sarah laughed as his cheeks turned a satisfying puce color. “Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. He’s a nice guy, but he isn’t the dating type. I keep telling him that it’s time to grow up and stop sleeping around. He told me he found a white hair the other day, and he started freaking out. I think it was a real wake up for him. He can’t be a playboy forever. Maybe it is a good time to talk to him after all. If you stick around, I could introduce you-“
“No, it’s alright. I should get going and come back while he’s here. Thank you for your help. Bye.” The words rushed out as he made his escape around the side of the house. Sarah was almost sad to see him go. She was having fun messing with him, but she let him go. Pulling out her phone, she sat on the gazebo bench and settled down to read for a couple of hours until Peter woke up.
She must have dozed off because she started awake to her shoulder being shaken. “Are you going to sleep out here all night? Come on.”
“Oh, hi.” She interrupted herself with a long yawn. “You missed an interesting day.”
“Did I?” Peter quirked up an eyebrow while waving for her to follow him inside.
“There was a guy trying to get into your house earlier.”
He froze for a second before throwing open the door. “Come with me. I need details.”
“There’s no reason to worry. I got him to leave.” Sarah smirked.
“You. . .” Peter stopped and took a breath to compose himself. “Get inside.”
“I said get inside!” Sarah started. He’d never yelled at her before.
“Okay.” She scampered past him to go and sit in the living room on his uncomfortable leather couch.
He stalked into the room, the look on his face making her nervous for the first time since she’d known him. “Now tell me everything that happened. Spare no details.”
Sarah relayed the events of the day, including as detailed a description of the man as she could manage. When she finished, Peter relaxed and collapsed onto the couch next to her.
“I didn’t screw up that bad, did I?” Her eyes were starting to brim up with tears. Peter sighed and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, giving her a reassuring smile.
“It’s okay. I know who he is. I may have been a little careless in my dalliances and . . .” He trailed off and stared at Sarah with widening eyes. “The comments about me being out in the sun and aging. You know.”
She snorted. “Well, yeah. I’ve known you for like ten years now. You don’t age, you’re never outside when the sun’s up, you did that hypnosis thing on that guy who wouldn’t leave us alone at the park-“
“I thought you hadn’t noticed that.” His head drooped as he turned a sour gaze to the floor.
“I’m not blind.” Sarah rolled her eyes. “Not to mention the herd of people coming and going from your house that always look a little pale in the morning.”
“Oh, they do not. I never drink that much.” Peter winced as he realized his unintentional admission. “How long have you known?”
“Since I looked up the quote ‘I do not drink . . . wine.'” She punched him on the shoulder. “I don’t know why this bothers you so much. I’ve known for years, and it’s never mattered.”
“Maybe it doesn’t matter, but you still spoke to someone who could have been dangerous rather than a prying idiot.”
“Sure. Find a way to turn this back on me.”
“I’m serious!” He ran a hand through his hair, and Sarah believed him. “I want you word you’ll never do that again, and this time I need you to mean it.”
Sarah breathed out slowly. “If I do see someone poking around and I call your cell phone, will you be able to answer it, so I can at least give you a heads up?”
He frowned, but recognized the compromise as the best he was going to get. “I’m only sleeping. If you promise not to put yourself in danger like that again, I’ll promise to answer during the day. Is it a deal?”
Sarah smiled and really promised this time. “Yeah. It’s a deal.”