I lay on my bed trying to fall asleep however, it looks like this will take time. “I should not have had that much of caffine this late at night. Looks like I am going to have a terrible morning”, I said to myself. I got off my bed and walk towards my balcony where there is a hint of moon light. With a mild breeze blowing by here I stand at my apartment balcony 6 stories high, looking out into the city. A big flat here out in the states with exotic decor and fine art around. It nice to be an independent women working at the higher ranks of a corporate office. I turn myself and my head towards the floor and I see the shadow my body makes with the light the moon has to offer. You see shadows when there is light however, I remember seeing a white shadow once during the early days of my life. One that haunted me everywhere I went. One that was even visible in pitch darkness. One that made we fear everything around me.

It was few years back I suppose, I just moved to the city to work. From a small town with people you know being just around the corner of the road. But the city was big and roads stretched for miles. People from near and far you would see, someone new everytime on the same street. I had just joined my company right after my community college and that too away from home. I was learning to stand on my own feet, it was me against the big world. I had moved into a place near by the office to avoid the hassle of travel. Learning the ways of my works was like catching the bullet train with a small hook. It would start at dawn and end at night. All I could do was catch up and wait for the weekend so that I could hit my bed before the next week started. Luckily I had few familiar people in the city like my housemate, Emma and few of my college contacts. I would be dead tired and a weekend on my bed looked to be more soothing however, I would head out once in a while. Not because I wanted to but because I would be dragged around by the circle of people I knew.

On one Friday night we all headed out to a local food joint. Random classic hits and dimmed light, the restaurant tried its best to please it crowd however, it was too mundane like the rest I have been to. I always saw my circle talk about their insane week and their insane job and here I am waiting to hit my bed once this meetup was done. While these guys talked someone approached our table. “I think I have seen him before”, I thought to myself. It was another chap from my college. I would have probably met him like few times. People recognized him and he joined in with us, the whole gang then continued with their chatter. “How are you doing, Grace?”, he asked. “Wait, how does he know my name?”. “You probably don’t remember but we had few classes together. I’m Adam”, he said. Apparently he had just moved to the city a week ago. My energy levl was low so I tried to meet the necessary meet n’ greet and headed home to catch on my zzes.

A new week was in dawn and I was back on my usual schedule, running to office and back home. One day while returning home I found my housemate outside our place talking to someone. As I walked closer I got a glimpse of the person. It was that guy from the restaurant. “Hey! Good Evening.”, he said. “Hey Grace, guess who’s is now our street mate”, Emma said. “His office was nearby and he too was looking for a place. We have been place hunting on craigslist and finally we got one. That too just opposite to our place”, Emma was cheerful as now there is someone she can spend time with when she returns home early. “When did you two get so close”, I asked. “Oh I have been in touch with him on Facebook ever since he moved here. That’s how he joined us during last weekend. I told him we were all there. I thought I told you this”. It made sense now but I was too tired to be excited for you. “I hope we get along better”, he said. “Sure. Of course”, I said as I smiled with the few ounce of energy I had and walked into my house.

Now every evening when I returned, I would see these two out talking on the street. They would invite me over for a talk and I tried avoiding it as I was exhausted from work. However, after few days I started to join them after a quick wash to freshen up. They would walk up and down the street where we had few trees and a row of street lights. It was just a casual set of talks and all I did was walk. I had no interest in sharing my life draining office story. I would prefer to lay on my bed and wait for the next day to start. “You know, you shouldn’t lay on your bed once you are back from work. Try going for a walk. It would help you sleep better.”, he said. “Wait, how does he know what I do once I come back from office. Am I that readable?”, I thought to myself. That’s fine I don’t do it always, I said. As we made a final turn before heading home a gentle breeze had brushed off all the trees and us. “Is that lavender I smell”, he said. “Lavender’s are always better than roses. Do you girls also feel the same?”, he said took deep breathe. Asides from the creepy fact that he just sniff out my body wash’s flavor he also seems to know what it was. It’s odd, I just changed the flavor just yesterday. Clearly he shouldn’t be able to guess it out. May be I am just over thinking. “It doesn’t matter which was better, in any case they both are great flowers”, I said as I wrapped up my walk and headed home.

Office work grew a bit softer now. May it is because I am starting to get a hang of this. Also, I was able to meet some pecuilar people in office, interesting ones I must say. For unknown reason I started to jelly quite well with them and now I was part of a pack of 3 people. Truth be told I may call it an achievement based on how I unsually am among my peers. We have a small group in our Facebook messengers and we would crack a lot of silly jokes. It was addictive. I had the habit of texting these guys while I had that evening walk. I would be glued to my screen more instead of interacting with the other two walking with me. “Hey, instead of messaging Blake and Ruby you should look where you are going”, he said. “Hey, don’t you know it not nice to look into other people’s phone.”, I stated. “I just wanted to know what tickled your funny bone. I didn’t mean to intrude.”, Adam said as he apologized for his behavior. I decided to cut short my walk and headed back for the night. As days went by I skipped the evening walk as I was getting more comformtable just texting these two folks. However, Adam started to slowly text me. If only my housemate hadn’t given my number to him that day. Since we cross paths on every other day I would usually drop off one word responses. However, his texts were always creepy. He would ask me if I had my toast and eggs in the morning. He would ask me to wake up early instead of running to office at near office hours. He would ask me to sit up straight and not curl up while I watched netflix. Asked me if I had read my book in the night before I slept. It was weird that he knew my habits so well. When, I asked him how he knows he would say my flatmate said it out when he talked with her during the evening walks. I am not sure if it were true however, she did have the tendency to be an open mouth. It was my mistake to take these things lightly as things started to become a bit too intense soon.

Blake and I kind of started having some kind of chemistry. I didn’t want to rush into it like an idiot but I did feel cupid did float around me. I started to text him a lot privately over SMS and called him too. I didn’t know if he felt the same however, I hoped we were on the same boat. One evening my flatmate called Adam over for movie night. I was not interested however, she dragged me into it as well. I was engrossed in texting Blake and gave very little presence to the people around. “Grace could you stop texting Blake for sometime and try enjoying the movie with us. You two have your date tomorrow right, nothing to sweat about it today”. Adam’s comment swept a shock down my spine. “How did he know I was texting Blake? How did he know we have plans for tomorrow?”, these thoughts ran though my head as I was both angry and scared at the same time with Adam. “How do you know this?”, I exclaimed. “I am friends with Blake too”, I talk a lot with him. We go to same sports arena. Has he not told you this yet?”, Adam said. I immediately checked Blake’s friends list and he was right. I texted Blake asking him about knowing Adam and he said yes. I didn’t know why would Blake hide this nor why Adam know such details. I was worried a bit of my privacy now as Adam knew things and he was the last person that I wanted to know about me. I wanted to tell Blake not to share stuff however, I didn’t want him to think I was a control freak. I decided to let it slide however, I was not happy.

A week passed, me and Blake had plans to watch a movie. It was a comedy movie and the review was bad. Blake let me be in charge of the day plan and I purposefully booked a crappy movie so we would have less people around in the theater so could get a bit more cozy. The movie started and as we got comfortable I got a call. I picked up my phone and checked, it was Adam. I felt annoyed and kept it back. Once the call ended, he dialed again, and again. I got furious and just switched off my phone. Few minutes later Blake got a call. “Don’t pick up his call” I said but, Blake insisted that he picked up. He answered the phone and then, quickly grabbed my hand and we both went out. I was puzzled with his actions. “Emma is hurt and hospitalized”, he said. We both rushed to hospital to see her. Adam stood there and had a rage on his face. I went to check on Emma and avoided him as much as I could. She was unconsious. “She tripped and fell while he was moving things around”, Adam said. “Stop being so obsessed with your own life and answer people’s phone when they call. You are too naive to quickly judge people and their character. For once try to care about others too.”, Adam words were harsh and pricked my consciousness. Adam offered to stay beind and watch over Emma while Blake decided to drop me off home. “May be I am just paranoid with Adam. He might be just a bit too close to people around him.”, I thought.

After Blake dropped me off, he headed to his house. I thought he would give me company however, looks like it did not strike him then. In the end I had a miserable night that day. I couldn’t sleep and to add on it I felt someone breathing down my neck. After being restless for hours I woke up. It was 3am in the morning. I looked around my room cause I felt something was off however, I didn’t find anything. I walked out of my room and down the hall. I found Emma’s phone. I unlocked it with her childish security lock of 1290 which was nothing more than her date of birth which she used for most things. I looked at her notifications and I found a lot of messages, messages from Blake. Wait, Blake told he hated texting on facebook. Even when the group started he had would only join in during the night from his laptop. But he has been texting Emma all the time. Flirting as well. I didn’t know what was going on. I headed back to my room to try and sleep of my confusion for now. May be I will check on this tomorrow. I layed on my bed however, I fell a glare of eyes on me constantly. Eyes that could pierce through my blanket and dead at me. With no sleep seen for minutes I had taken my pillow and headed to the hall where I slept on my couch.

Next day at work I decided to check into Blake’s laptop when he was not around. I quickly opened his Facebook messenger and there wasn’t a single chat history with Emma. “Wait does it mean he talks to her and delete it after that?”. I then found his texts with Adam. It looked like Blake did talk to Adam a lot however, nothing out of the ordinary. However, there was one small set of interactions though. Talking about looking at unsecure CCTV camera. Blake seems to know quite a bit on how to take access of these camera. Looks like Adam found a link about it and Blake knew about it long before. Blake even talked on how there are ways to view webcams as well and how he had done that in college with few of his mates. I started to doubt if I really knew Blake well. First the deleted chats with Emma, now talks about snooping in on webcams. Is he trustable?, I thought. I quickly closed of his tabs and then, deleted the history before I returned back to my place. In the evening I went to visit Emma however, she was still unconsious. We had called her parents and they have decided to take her home to help her recover. I helped them pack her stuff from her room and while doing so I found a shirt that looked like Blake which he worn on our first date. Blake has never been inside our house. Even on that day when he dropped me off. How is his shirt here?, I thought. I hid the shirt and helped Emma’s parents collect here stuff and leave for the night. Now I was in this big apartment, alone with my thoughts that worried about my own safety. I decided to take a shower and then, probably hit the bed.

Once my shower was done I went to my bed. I closed my eyes yet I had too many thoughts for which answers were not there. The feeling of glaring eyes was still there and it was haunting me as well. I felt unsafe in my own house. Few minutes later, the stress was killing me and I was out of my mind. I decided to head home and probably call in sick for the week. I started to packet my stuff and dashed for my door. As I opened the door I found Blake outside. “Hey, I wanted to check in on you. I heard Emma’s parents came by to collect her things. Are you ok?”, he asked. I was not sure whom to trust or what to do. “I am not feeling right. I am going home”, I told and tried to walk past him. He caught my arm trying to calm me down however, fear was the only thing I felt. While stuggling to let him go of my arm, I dropped my bag and also made him go off balance and fall too. I quickly collected my things and just fled the place without helping him. “Blake is probably mad at me right now. I should have at least apologized”, I thought yet I was still walking to the closest bus stop. My natural instincts was asking me to leave this things behind for now. I quickly boarded the first bus that took me to my hometown and left for home.

I reached my home and my parents were surprised that I was here at this hour. I told them I got home sick. I didn’t want them to worry about what was happening. I went to my room and started to unpack. While unpacking I found another phone in my bag. “Wait this belongs Blake. Did I end up grabbing this as well”, I thought to myself. I just landed on my bed with a half unpacked bag on the side. As I tried to close my eyes. I got a message on my phone. “Hey, you went home? What happened? Are you ok?”, it was Adam. “How did he know? There is no ways for him to know this.” I texted him back asking how he knew where I was to which he replied Blake called me just sometime back as he was worried about you. “Which number?”, I followed up. “His cellular number, he has only one phone. Don’t you know that.”, he replied. I quickly flipped opened Blake’s phone and made a call to Adam. Hello, he said. “It’s me, Grace!”, I exclaimed. “Now tell me how you got to know I am at my home when Blake’s phone has been with me the whole time!”, I was furious as I raised my questions. I wanted to stop this game once and for all. “Grace, you should not sleep on your bed in such an awkward position you know. It is not good for your spine”. I was shocked. How???. I slowly got up off my bed as I started to look around my room. “Blake is not good for you. You deserve someone better. Someone who would appriciate you for what you are. For looking pretty even in your blue PJs. I see you for what your are. I always watch over you, Grace”, he said. I slowly turned and looked at my desk. I had a desktop in my room on which I had a webcam. I moved the phone closer to my chest as I walked to it. The PC was locked then, how?. I turned Blake’s phone speaker ON and placed it on my desk. “Grace, I have always admired you every since I met you for the first time. You shined so bright that it was so hard for me to even come close to you. Then, I got a chance to be with you in one of our classes however, the other guys always hovered over you. Those guys never deserved you. I knew you would not fall for their tricks and I was right. You were always so pure. But then, you moved to the city and left me behind. It took a while to track you down. It was nice that Emma had the tendancy to post eveything on Facebook. It was easy to track you from there on. I managed to move to city and kept in touch with her. I got her help to find a place close by so we could be close again. You remember our evening walks. They were so wonderful but then, you slowly started to mingle with Blake. He is not right for you. I know so many things about him that you would never know. Things that he would never share. I tried to make sure you would spend time with me and me alone but you never thought of me did you. Do you know how peaceful you look when you sleep. You sleep like an angel. Its a shame though, Emma ended up knowing about someone visiting your house often in the night. She tried to stop me one day from meeting you but she ended up falling and becoming unconsious in the process. I’m lucky she didn’t see my face. It would have been a shame if she did. Who know what I would have to do to keep it a secret. You also saw Blake’s texts and shirt in her cupboard, right. I told you didn’t I he is not right for you. But now that Emma is gone we two can be together and Blake won’t bother us”. Adam’s words were baffling beyond my dreams and had scared me to corner of my mind. His obsession was something I have read and see only in the movies. I realized he has been stalking me for a long time. Make moves so it looked natural. Planning things to make me think of something else is wrong. With whatever courage I had I confronted Adam. “If you ever come close to me or text me I am going to report you to the cops with this call recording. YOU HEAR ME, DO NOT CONTACT ME EVER AGAIN!”, I said from the top of my voice. “But you are on Blake’s phone Grace, that is a silly phone. That doesn’t have recording feature.”, he said. “ I know but mine had”, I said and pulled out my phone from my sleeves. I had the recording started the moment he started to talk about me being in my blue PJs. I realized he saw me so I had to keep it hidden away so he wouldn’t have to know I had something up my sleeve. I placed Blake’s phone in speaker as I needed his voice to captured as well. “YOU HEAR ME, IF I EVER SEE YOU OR HEAR FROM YOU I WILL REPORT YOU! DO NOT CONTACT ME EVER AGAIN!”, I cut the call and pulled off the cable from the socket for my computer. I also switched off the phones after this. Now, there was finally peace and I dropped dead on the floor with my dead legs. I do hope its done for good now.

Few days later, I headed back to the city. Still fearing he would be there, I was trying to be caution as I reached my place. Emma was back and told she got attacked by someone but she couldn’t see who it was. Adam had left the city and there were no traces of him at the place he stayed. The company he talked about working for never hired him as well. As for Blake, it did not work out in the long run. He may have been nice but he truely wasn’t meant for me. May be Adam was right on that one. It has been 8 years since then. I still wonder what was Adam’s true intensions. He had stalked me out a lot however, he had not hurt me physically or abused me. However, his presence had left a lasting impression on my mind on men and their intensions. I slowly look back into my room and I got a message on my phone. A sense of fear suddenly ran through my spine. Wait, why am I feeling this one again. Is it the paranoia from thinking about my past. I walked slowly to my nightstand that was besides my bed. I picked up the phone which was facing down and slowly turned it upright. I had a look at the screen and finally had a sign of relief. It was my mom texting me Good Night.