He was supposed to me on the rooftop that night. It was late and it was dark. The moon was our only source of light. I sat there, cross legged and barefoot, glaring at my watch and hoping I hadn't gotten the time wrong. He had said it was important.
I blew a stream of air through my lips as I waited. I thought about all of the times we had come here before, ever since we were young, thinking it was haunted. He loved that kind of thing. It had taken me a while, but I had started to see why it allured him so. We were disappointed to find there weren't any ghosts- not in this particular house anyway.
I heard a grunt and a thump as a black pack was thrown onto the roof, followed by Jack. I grinned. "What kept you?"
He frowned and finished climbing up the side of the abandoned old house. "Work. What else?" He took one look at me and grinned. "Hey, Sirena."
I wrinkled my nose. I hated that name and he knew it. My mother, god rest her soul, had had quite the fascination with sirens, the sea, and the like when I was born, and had decided I was so lovely, I must have had a touch of it in me as well. I had none of it. I liked my land legs very much, thank you, and that's the way it was meant to be. "Don't call me that."
"But it's your name." Jack came and sat next to me, opening a can of soda and handing me one. "Wait before you open it. It was in the bag I tossed up."
I heeded the warning and placed it beside me, careful not to let it roll away. "Names? Names? I don't need no stinking name," I smirked.
"Sure you don't." he laughed. "So what's up?"
"Nothing." I said, wiping the sweat from the cold can off onto my shirt. "Just been around."
"I see." he said, his mouth on the silver rim of his soda. "I see."
He looked at me without turning his head, smirking. "Been around."
And it was silent for a few minutes. We didn't use words because we didn't need to. He was my friend and I was his. We often sat in comfortable silences like this.
"I like your name."
"No, really." he leaned back on his hands, stretching his back. "I hate calling you Si, because one, it makes you sound like a breath of hot air-" I laughed, "Or two, it's weird."
"Why did you want to meet me tonight?" I said, changing the subject.
"To see how your day was." Jack answered.
"Fine." I rolled my eyes. "I quit my job today." He didn't look shocked. "I hate hotdogs. I couldn't serve one more without puking my guts up. The smell made me sick."
"That and you're surrounded by wieners." he said dryly.
I snorted, unsure if he was referring to the products or the jerk co-worker who considered me his personal French maid, despite me refusals to even speak to him. "Yeah, you're right."
"I know." He was as smug as ever.
I raised my soda can to my lips and took a sip, the bubbles floating around my mouth, filling it with an odd sensation. I coughed a bit as my swallow went down the wrong pipe, and chased the uncomfortable feeling away with one more sip.
"I found something." he said finally, not looking at me. "It's pretty freaking cool, Sirena."
"What is it?" I tipped the can upside down and drained it of every last drop, smacking my lips when I finished.
"At the lake. It's been there for three weeks, there isn't a soul on it."
Living or dead? I wanted to say, but I kept my trap shut. "Whoa. How big?"
"Jack Sparrow status."
"What's the catch?" I said, itching to go explore.
"No catch." He nodded at my pack. "We're spending the night there though."
"Because I said so." Of course.
"Fine." I shrugged. "Why not?'
I grabbed my pack and he grabbed his. He waited at the bottom of the house while I threw him the bags and then shimmied down the side. He handed me mine and we left, walking towards the lake.
The lake is my favorite spot. Somehow, it connects to the sea so it's a salty lake. It's got black water and is surrounded by trees, a perfect hideaway from reality. I used to hide there after my mom died, just to try and make the pain stop. I still go there whenever life throws me its usual junk. I'm there at least once a month.
"This way." Jack leads me through a grove of trees, and there on the water is a huge vessel.
My eyes popped out of my head. "How did - I didn't know it was able to get here from the ocean! I thought the lake was too shallow…"
"Apparently not." he said, wading into the water and up the side of the ship like a monkey.
"Stop!" I hissed. "What if someone is there?"
"What are you so afraid of?" he called back. "No one's here."
I groaned and followed him. Halfway up, I lost my footing and tumbled back into the water. Soaked to the skin, I made it up the second time. A breeze came by and left me shivering on the main deck. "Si," he half smirked, half frowned. "Didn't you know it's too cold to go swimming?" I didn't care to respond. I just shot him a death glare, which only made his half smirk grow to a laugh. "Silly mermaid." he teased. I just glared harder, if it were possible.
Jack took my bad and put it in the Captain's quarters with his own. When he re-appeared, we explored the ship. The deck was slippery, filthy, and storm ridden. Moss was growing on it and the boards creaked with every step. My nails dug into my palms, a physical sign of my fear of taking the wrong step and crashing through the ship. I still shivered, but refused to admit I was cold. I was having too good a time.
Jack was fascinated by the helm, or rather, where the helm would be if it hadn't broken off. All that remained was a sort of vertical stump. He whistled and ran his hand along the break. "What happened to you, you beautiful thing?" he whispered.
"She's only a ship, mate." I said.
He gave me one of his looks. "Ships are incredible. Can you even imagine how much work goes into making one like this? Especially in the day and age they were prime transportation?"
"Yeah yeah yeah," I mumbled, not really caring.
An hour later, my watch struck three thirty in the morning and I was starting to see things. "Jack- "
"What?" he turned, disturbed by my tone.
I shook my head. "Sorry. I thought I saw something." I leaned against a pole, tired and worn out.
"Si," he said. "Stop hallucinating. That's the third time you've nearly given me a heart attack.
"Shhh." I felt wobbly. My steps were sloppy and I couldn't think straight. I was almost certain I saw a toothy grin in the corner. I blinked a few times and it was gone. I blinked again and it was there. Blink. Gone. Blink. There. Blink. Gone. Blink. Still gone.
I blinked rapidly and it returned. I kept blinking and it didn't fade. Instead it seemed to come closer. It reminded me of the Cheshire cat, always grinning, just eyes and teeth.
"Stop twitching," Jack said dismissively. I pointed and he turned in the direction of my finger. "I don't see anything, Sirena."
"It's there. Keep blinking."
He blinked a few times and then shook his head. "You're nuts. Let's get you to sleep."
I groaned. "No. I'm having too much fun." I took a step away from him, my wobbly steps betraying me. "Darn you." I said to my feet.
"Come on." He lead me to the Captain's quarters. He had already put my sleeping bag on the floor, a remarkably clean hardwood surface compared to the rest of the ship. "It's safe here. No bugs or anything. I checked."
I shivered a bit more as I climbed in. He frowned. "Here." He removed his shirt and handed it to me. "Sleep in this. Change quickly, I'll be right back. I don't want to leave yo u alone in here."
He left and I changed as quickly as I felt like. His shirt was still warm- it was weird to see in on my body. It felt good to be out of my wet clothes though, so I didn't complain. I liked the feel of the fabric against my skin. Every so often, I would turn and catch a whiff of his scent. I never noticed before how good he smelled.
He knocked twice and I said he could come back. He didn't bother to change and just climbed into his sleeping bag, set up across from mine, with our faces meeting in the middle. It was how we always set up for our secret adventures, so we could talk all night long. I didn't want to talk tonight though, I just wanted to sleep. I was so tired.
"I saw it," he admitted. "Big toothy grin, just like you said."
"We finally found one." I was happy and content, drowsy and warm.
"Yeah." Jack answered. "You still want to sleep here?"
"Better than in the lake with the eels."
Jack whispered my name and I opened my eyes. "What?"
"How tired are you?"
"So tired I probably won't remember this conversation when we wake up. You'll have to admit I was right all over again tomorrow."
He grinned, crossing his arms and leaning his chin on them. "I'm not so sure about that."
"You just said I was right Jack- don't start mind games with me-"
He reached out and cupped my chin in his right hand. Still grinning mischievously, he leaned out of his sleeping bag, and towards me' supporting his weight with his other hand. He came to me and kissed me lightly, softly. Just enough to make an impact.
"Um." I said when our lips had parted. "That was… nice."
"Because …" His voice faded and I didn't think he was going to answer me. But then, he did. "Because you look beautiful in the moonlight."
I sat up. "Jack, I am a wet drowned rat with runny makeup wearing your shirt."
"Oh." I said softly. I felt my heart pause and start up again. "Well, goodnight."
"You… you don't have to call me that. You can call me Sirena. I don't mind so much anymore."
In the dark I knew he was smiling. I could hear it in his voice when he said, "We'll see. Get some sleep."
I reached out and poked his shoulder. He stuck a hand out and took mine in his, entwining our fingers and grazing mine with his soft lips. I squeezed his hand.
We didn't use words because we didn't need them. He was mine and I was his. And it became silent, as sleep claimed us, as our comfortable silence grew into a comfortable slumber.