Hardships Come With Love

Chapter 3

Thomas's POV

I'm lying on the hard floor inside the shed with Brenda in my arms. I prefer the floor to sleeping in the sand. It makes me too itchy. I'm not exactly comfortable now either, especially with someone sturdy like Brenda holding me down with her weight. I close my eyes, and am exhausted of my feelings tearing me apart and also from running and all the stress of being me. I want to sleep, but something keeps me awake. I hear a voice and jolt up, almost waking Brenda. I don't catch whatever someone said. Was it Newt or Brenda? My imagination?

I hear it again, but listen to the words carefully: "It's me, Tom. Are you there?"

I'm suddenly very awake, every nerve in my body electrified. It couldn't be her. Could it?

I'm shocked once again when I hear her beautiful voice: "I really need you right now. You're probably not even there though. Even if you are there, you have every right to choose to not respond. After all, I could be betraying you again. What's the point of ever listening to me again, much less trusting or forgiving me? I'm so stupid. Goodby-".

"No!" I whisper, desperately.

"Is that yo-u?" she asks.

I think of all the things I could tell her: how much I miss her and can't stop thinking about her, that I might even love her, a feeling I've never felt before. I wouldn't be lying if I said these things.

Instead, I reply with a simple: "What's wrong?"

"It really is you!"

I pause, my hurt feelings towards her taking over, making me want to seem cold and distant.

"I'm sorry to be wasting your time right now, Tom. I have a lot of things to tell you. Are you somewhere safe right now?"

"Yes, go ahead," I say.

"Well I just realized that Wicked did not have the intentions I truly thought it had at heart. They put me in a really tough position and decision to make, so I ran away. I know it's not good to run away from your problems like that, but I needed to get out of there. And now I'm all alone with nothing to survive, in the middle of the goddam desert, at who knows what time. It's so dark out here and I'm scared, Tom."

Touched by her words, holding onto the belief that she was just brainwashed by Wicked into hurting me, I reply with more than a couple emotionless words: "Everything's going to be okay, Teresa. I'm somewhere in this desert too. I will come find you. But, tell me, how are we speaking like this again?"

"I stole this pill that I found and-"

"I've missed hearing your voice in my head, startling me at odd times."

"That's what I'm here for," she says, laughing.

"I haven't heard you laugh like that in forever," I say.

"Yeah well, I haven't been happy in forever," she says in a sadder tone.

"Anyways...is there somewhere you can go to be safe for the night? I can try looking for you when it's light out."

"I'll find something. And thank you for listening to me. I don't know what I would've done, or would do, without you."

"Good night, Teresa."

And like that, her voice disappears from my head, like she was never there.

Four hours later

Brenda nudges me awake, a gesture that isn't needed, since I haven't gotten any sleep after Teresa communicated with me.

"You okay, sleepy head?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. There's something I need to tell you and Newt. Meet me out front," I say, standing up.

I walk over to Newt who is still sleeping and kick him in the side.

"Wake up. I have something important to tell you," I say frankly.

He moans, but gets up and follows me outside.

I stand before him and Brenda, "Teresa's here."

"What do you mean?" Brenda immediately asks.

"She communicated with me and said that she ran away from Wicked and is lost alone somewhere in this desert. She needs our help."

"Don't be so eager to help her. Remember what happened the last time you trusted Teresa," Newt says cautiously.

Brenda nods in agreement, crossing her arms. She adds, "Teresa risked all of our lives, Thomas."

I look down, unable to meet their eyes. "If you don't come with me, that's your choice, but I have to find her. I promised."

"She made a promise before too, and it didn't stop her."

Ignoring Brenda's comment, Newt says,"You know I'll follow you, no matter what," stepping to be by my side.

Brenda stands there silently before giving in, "Fine," she says through gritted teeth.

"So," Newt says, his voice fading into silence.

"What's the plan?" Brenda asks, with a fake over exuberant smile.

"Give me a minute," I say, reaching into my mind to call upon Teresa.

"Teresa?" I think, forming the words in my head.

"Teresa? Hello? Can you hear me? Are you okay?"

What if I'm too late? What if Wicked got her again? But then my frantic thoughts cease once she responds, "What the heck are you doing up so early?"

Dismissing her comment, I ask, "Do you have any clues to give me as to where you are?"

"Well, I'm currently surrounded by sand since this is a desert and am following a little stream."

"There's water?" I ask, my throat scratchy from being dry.

"Yes, and I see some mountains not too far away and the rest around me is just desert."

"Okay well can you still see Wicked?"

"Just barely."

"Okay, we can see Wicked and mountains too. You can't be that far away."

"Just head toward the mountains and try to stay out of sight. Wicked is probably going to search for you as soon as possible. Oh and don't stray from the water."

"Staying out of sight is going to be a problem since there is no shelter nearby."

"Yeah...we will go as fast as we can on foot, which will most likely be a while."

"Us?"

"Newt, me," I pause before adding, "Brenda."

"They hate me don't they?"

"No," I say in a wavering tone.

"I thought so. I'll see you all soon. Safe travels."

"You too," I say, wanting to continue talking with her and hearing that voice that makes me feel complete inside.

Newt jerks me back to reality when he says, "What did she say?"

"We can meet her somewhere between here and the mountains alongside a stream. Piece of cake."

"Sounds good," Brenda and Newt reply simultaneously.

We start our journey towards the mountains that we just came back from because that was where the Safe Haven was. Hopefully, when we find Teresa we can refresh at that stream she was talking about. Then, we can all finalize the plan to attack Wicked and get our friends back. It would be a shame to die from dehydration after all that we have been through together. With every foot in front of the other, I motivate myself with knowing that I am getting closer to Teresa, in more ways than one.

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