The Legend of the Blue Eyes

By: B. Kristin McMichael

ONE




“Auntie, I’m leaving now,” Arianna called into the busy diner kitchen from the stairwell. Her dark blonde ponytail bobbed up and down as she jumped back onto the next step to avoid a passing worker. The short, black-haired woman in the middle of the mob of people, dirty pans, and food only nodded. To avoid the early dinner crowd, Arianna hurried out the back door of the diner into the alley. It was Friday, the one day of the week Arianna Grace did not help with the diner run by her guardians, Aunt Lilly and Uncle Dean.

“Don’t forget to come straight home. We need to leave tonight at midnight to catch our plane,” a large man yelled from behind her. Arianna briefly nodded and waved to her uncle as she turned the corner.

Arianna ran to the nearby bus stop and ducked into the bus stop shelter to escape the light rain. Raindrops accumulated on the plastic enclosure and trickled to the ground as she waited. Across the street, an old man shuffling along with his small, black dog waved to her as he continued to be led by a much younger dog. Every Friday, Arianna took the same bus to meet with her friends at the movie theater. As the rain picked up, Arianna rushed from the bus shelter, and darted through the open door of the waiting bus.

“Hi, Fred,” Arianna said to Robert, the portly bus driver, as she swiped her pass.

“Five o’clock movie, Ethel?” he replied with a wink.

“Is there any better time?” she responded as she passed the normal riders: the dark-haired, tall girl always dressed in ripped, purple fishnet stockings that matched the streak in her hair; the clean-shaven, young, bald businessman wearing a suit and tie; the older, gray-haired couple who shopped each Friday near the theater; the two twenty-something boys she always assumed were brothers that went to the gym to play basketball; and the cute blond-haired, blue-eyed boy from her math class that always sat in the back corner. Just like Arianna, they all rode the five o’clock bus to the parking lot next to the theater.

“What’s playing today?” the young black man asked.

“It’s Mary Ellen’s choice,” Arianna answered, sitting behind him. “So, I’m guessing it will be that new teen romance. I dunno the name.”

“Something Roses, I think,” he replied, putting his business papers away at her arrival.

“It’s my choice next week,” Arianna replied. “I’ll make sure to pick something bloody, with a lot of action to make up for this week.” The man smiled and chuckled. To the outside world, Arianna was just a shy fifteen-year-old, but around her friends, she was her normal, bubbly self.

As they neared the parking lot, Arianna walked to the front of the bus. “Fred, can you let me off by the theater before you turn?” The driver nodded as the rain poured down faster. He checked each of her hands. “No umbrella. I didn’t know it was supposed to rain,” she explained.

“Have fun, kiddo,” he replied as he stopped the bus as near to the door as he could get. “Keep dry.” Arianna smiled and waved as she ran from the bus to the theater door. The driver smiled back as he pulled from the curb. Everyone on the bus knew life hadn’t been easy for Arianna, but despite everything she was always cheerful and friendly.

Arianna hurried through the door and out of the rain. She scanned the lobby, but her friends hadn’t arrived yet. As she had each time since she started Friday night movies with her two best friends, Arianna went to the concession stand and ordered her usual large popcorn and small drink. As he had each week for the past six months, the teenager behind the counter filled the empty popcorn bowl that was sitting alone near the drinks instead of one from the stack near the popcorn. Arianna nodded her head in thanks as she took the bowl and carefully swiped her hand beneath the cardboard edge. She cautiously pulled the note from the bowl and slipped it into her sleeve.

Arianna sat down in the lobby and waited for her friends. She was eager to read the note, but she had to be careful. The writer had warned her if anyone found out about the notes they had been exchanging, she would get into trouble. It had been over six months now since she received the first one. In the beginning, she thought it was a prank done by her friends, but both Mary Ellen and Tish had no idea what she was talking about therefore she didn’t respond to the notes. It was obvious the person knew who she was, but not knowing who the writer was, Arianna had only glanced at the early messages. It wasn’t until the person told her that they knew her mother and father that Arianna began to seriously read each one. She had only a very faint memory of her father, who died when she was four, and none of her mother, who died the day she was born. No one, including her aunt and uncle, would talk about either of her parents. Arianna didn’t even know if her guardians were siblings of her mother or father. They were the only family she had ever met, and neither talked about their families or her parents. The complete silence about her past, and lack of any family, often disappointed Arianna as a child. Though she never felt sorry for herself, she couldn’t help but be interested in notes from someone who claimed to know her parents.

Also By B. Kristin McMichael

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