by Doreen F.
Could you believe it? There had been a murder in my street. I would never have thought that was possible. The owner of the tennis centre was found dead in his kitchen. And his new girlfriend had also been killed. Of course nobody really knew any details, but most were really curious and wanted to know exactly what had happened.
Not too long after the discovery of the bodies the police was all around asking everyone if he had seen anything suspicious. The house was at the far end of the road, about 100 metres away from mine, which seemed rather close to me. But I had not seen anything, at least I thought so. The street was rather quiet in the evenings. I did not even know when exactly the killing was supposed to have taken place.
But I was not really surprised when a rather nice police-man came knocking at my door. He wanted to know if I had seen anything suspicious and told me the approximate time of when the murder had taken place.
"I have been walking my neighbourís dog that evening, but I did not see anything out of the ordinary." I told him.
"Did you remember seeing anyone in particular or someone you did not know? Was there anything different from the way it usually was?"
"No, I donít think so. Well, I saw Mr Zimmer and MrÖ well I donít know his name, but his dogís nameís Cherry. Should be easy enough to find out his name, right? Then there was Mrs Miller and a guy I didnít know; come to think of it, Iíve never seen him around here before. He had a small terrier, a westie, you know. My neighbourís dog did not like the other dog, so I went past him quickly. Could he have anything to do with the murder?"
"Maybe, none of the other witnesses has mentioned him so far. Would you mind coming to the station to have a picture drawn."
"No problem, I just didnít really get a good look at him as it was dark, but Iíll try."
"Great, thanks for your help, Miss Elkins.
In the afternoon I went to the police station and did my very best to help create a useful image of the man I had seen. I was quite satisfied since I had not really looked at the man. Suddenly a thought struck me. If that was the man, I might be in danger; he could be a cold-blooded killer. The police did not really think so, but maybe they just did not want to think of this possibility. Probably Iíve read too many police novel.
Back home I called my neighbour whose dog I had been walking that particular evening. He was shocked and told me heíd come over in the evening with his son Colin. I remembered his son, who had been living with his mother ever since his parentsí divorce. When we were young we had been good friends. I had seen him a couple of times recently and I had to admit that he was gorgeous. And he was the one who had given me my first kiss at the age of eight. He looked even better now and was still very sweet and we got along very well. Colin had moved in with his father after he broke up with his fiancťe and since his mother had moved to another city and he wanted to stay here, it had been the obvious choice.
I was living alone since my mother had moved to Ireland to be with her new husband. I was really happy for her, but now I was left alone in my cute little cottage, which I loved. I worked as a project manager at a subsidiary of a big car company.
So when they came over in the evening I told my story all over again and admitted that there was some danger if the man heard that there was a witness, me, if he was the killer. They agreed that there was some risk and living all by myself would not help in this situation. Without even asking his son, my neighbour said, "Iím sure Colin wonít mind spending some nights at your place to be on the safe side and protect you. I did not pay the judo lessons for nothing. Right, son?"
"If you donít mind, Ellie, itís fine by me."
"I donít think I can accept that offer."
"Of course you can, itís for your own safety and you asked for it. Thatís done then, Colin get your things and come back."
"Dad, Iím not a child and Iím not one of your soldiers either" Colin smiled, as he got up. "Iíll be right back."
"Great, thank you." Colin left.
"Heís a good boy, my son. Donít be too hard on him."
"I think heís used to that", I said with a smile on my face", but Iíll take good care of him."
"And Iíll enjoy being on my own again."
"I take it your suggestion was completely unselfish."
"Youíre a clever girl, Ellie", he said with a smile, "I always knew that."
Colin came back carrying a sports bag. "I hope you wonít change the locks, dad, in case I forgot something at your place."
"Iíd never even think of that. Good night, you two."
"Good night" Colin and I said in unison. I could see his father smile broadly as he left.
"Heís completely convinced that he is cupidís little helper, right?"
"He always wanted us to be together, I donít know why."
"Me either. Iíll make your bed, can you fetch us some drinks in the mean time?"
"Sure. I canít help feeling as if he kicked me out of his home."
"Good old Bernie, but donít worry Iíll always have a spare bed for you."
I made the bed in the spare bedroom and when I came back Colin had mixed us some delicious cocktails. We had already eaten, so we sat down in the living room chatting about our childhood and many other things. It was getting quite late and I was kind of tired. Since the next day was a regular work day I did not want to go to bed too late. I usually got up at 6.00. Colin had to work as well and I agreed to wake him when I got up.
My bathroom had the privilege of two sinks so we were able to use the bathroom at the same time. As I was brushing my teeth Colin was washing his hands and opened his small bag that contained toiletries. He took out a small plastic box and a bottle and then I saw him take a contact lens out of his eye. I nearly choked on the tooth paste. Through all these years I had known him I never knew he had bad eyes. Why had I never seen him in glasses? Why had he never told me? I must have been gaping like an idiot because he looked at me irritation showing on his face.
"Ellie, are you okay?"
I spit out the remaining tooth paste and managed "Yes, sorry, I was just lost in thought. I didnít know you had contact lenses."
"Oh, I never told you? They go in first thing in the morning and out nearly last thing at night. Well, itís no big deal, is it?"
"Not at all, I was just surprised, thatís all." I smiled at him.
We continued our washing session said good night with pecks on the cheeks.
In bed I found myself wondering about Colin and why I had not known about his eyes. Did he have glasses? If so, I hadnít seen them. Did his father even know? I did not get much further before I fell asleep.
In the morning I got up and knocked at Colinís door. Nothing had happened in the night. No maniac had come to kill me, thank god. As there was no response from Colinís room I opened the door to find him still sleeping. Was my knocking really that subtle?
"Morning Colin, time to get up!"
He turned away from me, so I pulled away his blanket. That woke him up. He looked right through me.
"Youíre harder to wake than my old granny."
"Oh, Ellie, your measures are cruel" he sighed and got up.
Together we went to the bathroom in silence.
"Youíre not very talkative in the morning, are you?"
"Not until I see properly."
"You could put on glasses that would save you some of the trouble."
"I certainly wonít" he snapped. Wrong suggestion, I thought and continued putting on make-up. I was not a big fan of make-up, but the job required at least some. Out of the corner of my eyes I watched Colin who was putting in his contact lenses. It was strange, if you had never seen it before.
"What do you want for breakfast?" I addressed him. He was just putting in his other lens, blinked a bit then turned to face me.
"Just coffee, if thatís no problem."
"Not at all, I drink coffee myself."
I got dressed and went into the kitchen to make some coffee. Thanks to my new espresso machine the coffee was great.
Colin came after some time dressed up and shaved.
"Iím sorry, if I was rude, but Iím not used to conversation in the morning and you woke me out of really sweet dreams."
"Donít worry, Iím not that easily offended."
We had our coffee and then I left a little earlier than Colin. I gave him an extra key so he did not have to wait for me to come back from work, if he was home earlier.
My day at work passed quickly and I did not have to stay longer than expected, which happened from time to time. I told one of my colleagues and friends about what had happened in my street and she said it was great that Colin was there to look after me in case I had really seen the murderer.
Back home Colin was already there watching the news.
"Hi Colin, how was your day?"
"Hi Ellie! Mine was kind of boring, but it was okay. I came home a bit earlier and I cooked dinner."
"Wow, thatís awesome."
Together we had dinner and it was delicious, Colin was a great chef and I told him so. "Iím glad you like it. My ex always used to complain about the food being too spicy."
"I love spicy food."
"Iím glad you liked it."
"You have to tell me the recipe."
We put the dishes into the dish-washer and sat down in the living room to watch TV. There was not anything about the murder on the news. I was wondering why, but Colin could not explain it either. So we ended up watching a rather bad movie they showed on TV and nearly fell asleep. The next day was Friday. Only one more day to work until the weekend. Colin had actually fallen asleep by the time the movie ended. I switched off the TV and touched his arm.
"Wake up, the movie is over."
"Oh, I must have fallen asleep, Iím sorry, this happens all the time, if I watch something boring."
"No problem, I was having a hard time trying to stay awake. And I actually missed the ending. Letís go to bed, shall we?"
"Sure, Iím really tired."
I got up and went to the bathroom. Curiously I watched Colin take out his contact lenses. This was really fascinating, I thought and had butterflies in my stomach. As I was getting into my bed I suddenly heard a strange noise. I went over to Colin who was only wearing his boxer-shorts.
"Did you hear that?" I asked.
"No, what is it?"
"Maybe Iím paranoid, but I heard a strange noise from downstairs."
"Okay, letís take a look."
He took my hand and we walked down the stairs. Usually I was not scared easily, but this whole murder business made me slightly uneasy. Then we heard the noise again. "There, did you hear that?" I whispered. "Yeah, it was coming from the kitchen, I think", Colin answered. We did not dare to switch on the light and as quietly as possible we got closer to the kitchen. Once we were there Colin switched on the light, but there was nothing unusual. I looked out of the window and saw what we had heard. "How stupid of me, look there are some boys out on the street playing football. They must have kicked the ball onto the houseís wall."
"At least thereís nobody here who wants to harm you", Colin sighed in relief. "Who are these kids anyway and why are they playing football on the street at this time of the day?" We looked out of the window. I did not know them, but one of them looked vaguely familiar. "The one with the blond streaks looks like Mrs Jamesonís grandson."
"I could not tell that from over here without my contacts."
Of course, I had forgotten that he was not wearing his contact lenses. I was wondering of how much help he would be without them. And didnít he have glasses to put on?
"Sorry, I forgot."
"I can see enough to defend you, if youíre worried about that."
"I have to believe you, donít I? Well, I could do with a drink now, what about you?"
"Scotch would be nice."
I poured us the drinks and we sat down in the kitchen. I noticed that Colin was still only wearing boxer-shorts and I was in my satin negligee. He had a great body, well-trained, but not too much. I felt myself blush and hoped he could not see that.
After some minutes we went back to our beds.
"Good night, Colin, uh Öshall I wake you tomorrow morning?"
"Yes, please, but try to be gentler than today. Good night, Ellie."
In the morning, my alarm clock woke me out of sweet dreams about Colin and me. I wanted to know the end of the dream, but I had to get up. I showered quickly and when I was dressed I knocked at Colinís door which was slightly ajar. He did not react. I donít know why, but following a sudden impulse, I kissed his cheek and whispered "Good morning!" He opened his eyes and narrowed them slightly. "Was this gentle enough?"
"I think so Öuh did you just do what I thought you did?"
"Yeah, sorry, I apologise."
"No need for that, it was greatÖerh real gentle, I mean."
"Well, get up then."
Once again we were in the bathroom together, I was putting on make-up, and he was putting in his contacts. I was beginning to get used to it after only two days. What would I do, when he moved out again when the danger was gone? Was it my imagination or did he shoot some glances at me, when he thought I was not watching? I went to the kitchen to make us some coffee, while Colin was having a shower. All fresh he joined me in the kitchen. We chatted a bit, but there was not much time.
At work I my thoughts were drifting to Colin more than once and I was wondering what I was really feeling about him. Was he really just a friend? Hard to say. Did I want him to be more than that? Definitely. What were his feelings towards me? I had no clue, but he did not seem to be offended by the way I woke him up.
I had to work longer than expected and when I finally left work I was really happy that the next day was Saturday and I did not have to work on weekends.
Back home Colin was already there I could smell that he had been cooking again. What a man! To my surprise he was nowhere near the kitchen. I called his name "Colin, Iím back finally. Where are you?"
"Iíll be right there" I heard him from upstairs.
I went up in order to dress more casually. Colin was in the bathroom. Dressed in jeans and t-shirt I left my room only to find that he was still in the bathroom. "Colin, are you alright. May I come in?"
Colin opened the door. His one eye was really red and slightly swollen.
"Whatís the matter, what happened to your eye?"
"The fucking pepperoni, thatís what happened. I was cutting them for dinner and some of it must have stayed on my fingers, although I washed my hands. I had something in my eye and rubbed it, that made it worse and suddenly it looked like that. I took out the contact lens, but it still hurts like hell."
"Well thereís nothing we can do about it now. Did you put cold water on your eye?"
"Uh-hu, but it hasnít improved. It must be some kind of allergic reaction and in my despair I touched my left eye as well and had to take the lens out as well. My vision is worse than usual without contacts." I gave him a big hug and assured him that everything would be fine.
"No, it wonít. Iím sure my lenses absorbed the chilli and will hurt when I try to put them in again. At least thatís what has happened right now."
"Let your eyes rest for some time. Now letís see if the food was worth the pain."
The chilli con carne was really delicious and even Colin managed a smile when I complemented him on the food. Afterwards we sat down in the living-room and I turned on the TV. I wanted to see if there was anything on the news about the murder, if they had found a suspect or anything. I had not heard from the police since I had been at the station. They mentioned it, but nothing new was being said. I glanced at Colin and saw him squinting at the TV and leaning towards it.
"Iím fucking blind. I donít see much of it." He said when he saw me looking at him.
"Donít you have glasses? For emergencies?" I wanted to know
"I do, but I really hate wearing them. I look so stupid, a real dork, you know."
"I wouldnít know until you showed me. Besides you wonít really be able to enjoy tonight squinting all the time."
"Right, but donít laugh at me, promise? My fiancťe never let me wear them without laughing her head off. So I did not wear them as I did not want to be laughed at, you see."
Colin went up to his room and returned seconds later glasses in his hands.
"Are you ready?"
When he putted them on I was really glad that I was sitting because I had really weak knees. I was searching for the right words, but what should I say?
"And, what do you think? I look like a geek, right?"
"You look great and I bet you know that."
"You look hot, alright?"
"Watch your mouth young lady or I might ignore the consequences this has and rush over toÖ" he could not finish his sentence as I was already there and kissed him. It felt great. His glasses were touching my cheeks from time to time and every time they did I felt a rush of blood running through my body. When we drew apart we were smiling brightly and did not know what to say.
Finally I said, "If thatís not what you wanted, Iím sorry, but it was exactly what I wanted."
"I totally agree. Iíve been dreaming about kissing you ever since our first kiss when we were small."
"You remember it? I thought you wouldnít!"
"Of course, I do. I was my first kiss and the best until today. I guess my glasses donít look that bad after all."
"Are you kidding me, they look great on you."
"And I was so stupid that I wanted to avoid wearing them because I thought theyíd put you off. You know, Iím not used to the way I look in them so I feel more insecure when Iím wearing them."
"You donít have to worry about that anymore." I said watching at his dark green eyes behind his rimless glasses.