New York City is so intoxicating.
Leaving Penn station felt like entering a new world. It was the middle of the night and Times square is packed. The sights, smells, lights and noises were overwhelming in the best way. Me and Geillis linked arms like we always do so we don't get separated but this time feels different. It feels like I should be following a yellow brick road with scary corners at every turn and I will have an unexpected destination, even though I know it's not going to be the emerald city.
If only I had to look out for lions and bears; cat callers are so much worse.
Walking aimlessly around the city, we decided that we need to find an affordable hotel. Thank god Geilliis was 18. We talked about maybe getting fake IDs to change our names and so I could be 18 even with my birthday a few weeks away. Geills was having way too much fun choosing a new name. Not that I blame her, her name is Geilliis in 2020 for crying out loud. I mean, I like it, it fits her, or the persona of the witch at least. She listed every single name that starts with the letter G and I kind of tuned her out at some point.
“ GIGI.” she stopped walking, pulling my attention back to the apparently important task at hand.
“ call me Gillian Edgars, Gigi for short.” and she looked me in the eye, almost daring me to disagree with her.
“ it fits. I like it.” I paused, “ Gigi.”
Now, my name is a different matter. I happen to like my name. We argued my name as we walked towards the subway To get to a cheap hotel that we found by cheating. We really plan on throwing out our phones so we can't be tracked and so we can get a fresh start, we just haven't gotten around to it. So we looked up cheap hotels, we really need somewhere to sleep.
And apparently I need a new name.
Geillis, I mean Gigi decided that we can’t pass as sisters, and besties moving to the big city makes sense as a cover story, and well it's partly true. With her long, straight blonde hair and green eyes and small, straight figure, and my dark unruly brown hair, brown eyes, and curvy figure, we couldn't be any more different really.
G laughed, “I know, your last name can be randall after that student teacher you had a giant crush on last year.”
“excuse me G, he had a crush on me according to you, and yes we spent time together that summer because he was working with my uncle and okay maybe he was kind of attractive but…”
“Come on, Clara Randall as a nice ring to it.”
“Clara?” I repeat, raising just one eyebrow to give her my most judgemental stare, even though I probably looked ridiculous.
And yes, i learned that look from G herself because she just returned it, but looked so much better and more confident.
“Fine.” i submitted. “get me a fake ID that says Clara Randall but i will only answer to C or Claire.”
“Sure thing, miss randall.” she winked at me. “ now if i sold fake IDs where would I be…” she wondered out loud.
“Probably where kids that wanted fake IDs live.” I responded.
“GENIUS,” she yelled before running into a pizza shop full of teenagers hanging out.
G always had that confidence to just talk to strangers and be herself she never cared what other people think. She came back out after asking about where to get fake IDs with a location of a store in the same direction as the hotel, and some guys number. (Of course)
We continued walking in the direction of the subway to get to our hotel but made a pit stop for fake Ids.
We walked into a sketchy looking storefront and ended up taking turns getting our photo taken and filling out the information we wanted.
The guy made a bit of fuss over california licenses that say we were eighteen since most people want them to be twenty one but to be honest, i don't think either of us could pass for twenty one. Also G had to do most of the talking since I have a British accent and can barely speak convincingly in an American one even though I’ve been going to school in Boston for over three years.
After leaving that store a few hundred dollars poorer and officially eighteen as Gillian Edgars and Claara Randall, we entered the subway to get to our hotel.
I've been to new york before. But never on the subway. I don't know what i was expecting, but it was not this. It smells like urine. I've been to different countries in all different conditions over the summer with uncle lamb and I've been involved with charity work, but the homeless people on the subway still unnerved me. It never crossed my mind that poverty was just as common here and I could've done more to help yet it was terrifying in a new uncontrolled environment.
I stared at my new ID to keep from falling asleep, G was already sleeping leaning her head on my shoulder, someone had to stay awake.
I was never the biggest fan of my appearance. I could never control my hair. And it was curly and brown and boring. My eyes were pretty enough I guess but also brown and therefore boring. I was pale, not tan and cool. I have a photo of my mom and dad that showed her smiling, her bright blue eyes shining, her curly brown hair perfectly blowing in the wind. She was beautiful, I always hoped I could be pretty like her. My dad stood next to her, arms around her waist, and his light brown eyes looked alive and warm, instead of dull and boring. I often wanted to be like him when I grew up, so sure of myself and poised. But now i'm not so sure if i want to follow in their footsteps, even in looks.
Suddenly, I was fully alert when I felt someone staring at me.
Sitting across from me was a young man, around my age, staring right at me. We made eye contact, but he didn't look away embarrassed like I would've if I got caught staring at someone. His gorgeous red hair was curling around his ears, looking like he was growing it out after cutting it short. He pushed up his thick black glasses that were slipping down his nose with one finger. He had round black spacers in his ears, but they were small enough that they were cool and intriguing instead of gross. The spider web tattoos across the tops of his hands had the same effect of being interesting instead of weird. His backpack on the chair next to him had interesting doodles all over it, and I studied it instead of looking back at the guy, because I didn't want to be caught looking back at him.
He was totally not the kind of guy that I would meet at school.
He was also the kind of guy that I would never think of as cute.
But, he totally was so cute. I hope I'm not blushing.
I pretended not to notice when he stood to get off the train, but I couldn’t help but peak. But he smiled at me and gave me a little wave as he exited.
W H A T
Boys don't notice me. They notice geillis, i mean Gigi. they wave at her , not me. Yet he did.
Even though it should've been the last thing on my mind, I spent the rest of the train ride thinking about that and if I'd ever see him again. Now that would be a miracle.