I know it sounds a bit melodramatic, but I think I must be. Not the crazed, knife-wielding, want-to-kill-her kind. It’s more the can’t-stop-looking-at-her, changing-my-life-to-match-hers, accidentally-quoting-poetry, type. But I don’t think that makes it better: stalking is stalking after all.
To be honest, I was fine until I spoke to Cassie. I lived unhappily enough in my little box; doing as I was told, thinking what I was supposed to, waiting for my chance to get out. I shouldn’t have talked to her after the exams – that was my first mistake. When we’d never spoken I could pretend that Cassie was just like everyone else, perhaps a little prettier, more intelligent, but she was certainly one of them. But now I was stuck.
Going on the early rotation at the Clinic hasn’t helped me at all. I’d promised myself it would be a few days – a week at the most – and then I’d get back to work on my plans to get out of the Family Quarter. I think I knew I was lying to myself even as I was making these arrangements in my head…But once we got here and Cassie began working with Joel I’ve found it impossible to leave. It’s stupid really – although I’m almost certain she doesn’t like him as anything more than a friend, I can’t stay away from her just in case I’m wrong. It’s nearly two weeks on from my initial decision to join Cassie on her placement at The Clinic and I’m still only managing to see her for a short while at lunch and sometimes at either end of the day if I’m lucky enough to get the timings right. Yes, I think I’m definitely a stalker.
So here I am. Sitting in the sixth floor labs trying to ignore the incessant babbling of my placement partner, Olivia, and daydreaming about the beautiful girl with the clever green eyes, who I’m not absolutely sure I can trust. Perhaps there’s only one way to find out the truth about Cassie and maybe myself? If I could get her alone somewhere, away from prying eyes, it might give me the chance I so desperately need.
Oh dear – if that doesn’t make me sound like a stalker I don’t know what would.
Balik appears in Hope’s Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones, available now. (And no – he’s not a stalker – well, not much!)