Wolves in the Mist

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Chapter 2

Hello? Emma, you there?”

“Yeah,” I answered. Nathan is back? Since when? “How do you know he’s back?”

“He called me,” Audrey said. “He didn’t say much about where he was or what he did but he’s back for sure. Wait, he didn’t tell you?”

“No...”

“I’m going to beat the shit out of him,” she snarled.

“It’s fine, Audrey. He must’ve had his reasons, probably expected for you to tell me... how- how is he?”

“He says he’s good, sounded like he was. He asked about you by the way.”

“What about me? What did you tell him?”

“That you were doing good. I told him you took a year off before starting college, and started working as a barista. He's glad you're doing well. He told me he missed the good old days when the three of us hung out."

I met Nathan through Audrey during our freshman year of high school. It wasn't hard for me to fall for him. I didn't understand how Audrey didn't, but I guessed that being childhood friends was a part of her reason.

Nathan had it all. He had the looks, the money, and the girls. He could have had any girl without even having to ask, but for some reason he didn't. I lost hope once junior year came around and kept my crush for him a secret, at least between Audrey and I.

The more time we spent together, the closer we got. Nathan and Audrey were a big part of my life during high school, especially after my parents disappearance. I had seen many times that those who others once called their friends suddenly turned against them when they wanted nothing to do with their problems. Audrey and Nathan weren't like that.

“We should be celebrating! No, we will celebrate. Any plans this weekend?”

“Nothing besides work in the morning on Saturday.”

“So you wouldn’t mind meeting up after work? I’ll have to see if Nathan is free also, but I’m sure that after abandoning us he wouldn’t say no.” I heard Audrey chuckle.

“He didn’t abandon us.” I rolled my eyes, knowing she was joking.

“Still, we had a ritual. It was Chuy’s night every Saturday. Nathan left without properly saying goodbye.”

“You make us sound like a cult.”

“You’re impossible, Emma.” Audrey mumbled. I couldn’t help the laugh that escaped my lips.

Audrey had been my best friend since middle school. My parents and I always moved a lot because of their jobs, or at least that's what they told me. We always transferred to a new city or state.

I met Audrey in the seventh grade. I was your typical good girl. School was like religion to me. I was one of the top students, always had straight good grades, always on time to class, never missed school, and always did my work.

Audrey was miss popular all throughout middle school and high school — everyone wanted to be her friend. She always had at least a passing grade in her classes, would always come to school but showed up late to some classes, and talked a lot.

One day as I was walking home, Audrey came up to me. She didn't like the idea of walking alone, so she asked me if we could walk to her mother's office. Her mother was a bank manager that worked about ten minutes away from our school. Audrey said that her mother wouldn't mind giving me a ride home. Wanting to make new friends, I said yes.

As we walked together, we talked about many things — your typical teenage girl things. I was never really used to talking this much with anyone my age especially. I always kept to myself most times unless it involved a group project or activity.

Audrey and her mother were hospitable whenever I walked with Audrey to her mother’s job. At first I was hesitant about the food and car rides home that they offered. I didn't know anything about Audrey or her mother besides the fact that I went to school with Audrey, but they seemed like really nice people. And who could say no to free food and car rides?

I found out that they lived in the same community as I did. In fact, we actually lived near each other — we were neighbors.

With time, we introduced our parents to each other and they got along. Not only did I have a genuine friendship with Audrey, I no longer had to move. At first it was a bit of a shock when my parents said so. I thought something must’ve happened with their jobs or something, but they assured me that it wasn’t anything bad.

We finally had a place to settle in and call our home.

I pulled the phone away from my ear and noticed the time. “Hey Audrey, I have to get to work. I’ll call you another time.”

“No worries! Say hi to Lincoln for me.”

The call ended shortly after we said our goodbyes.

I grabbed my wallet, placing it and my phone in my black bag. I put my bag over my shoulder, grabbed a granola bar from the kitchen before heading out of the apartment.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to move out of Audrey's house. Her family had taken me under their wing after my parents disappearance. Audrey and I were in eighth grade when it happened.

I moved out because I wanted to be independent. I didn't like the idea of staying near my old home. It brought back memories of them. After they disappeared, I had gone through a severe depression.

I felt abandoned.

Audrey and her family did everything they could to help, but it didn't change the fact that I had lost my parents. Every day I asked myself what had happened to them.

Did they leave because of me? Why didn't they come back home? Were they okay? Were they alive?

It has been over five years and I still haven't heard anything. No one had. My parents never got to see me grow through all these years. They didn't see me graduate from middle school or high school. They disappeared my 8th grade year of middle school. I didn't know when I would be see them again or if I would ever see them again.

I was brought back from my thoughts when I noticed I was approaching the coffee shop I worked at. Once I reached the coffee shop, I parked my car at the back of the building and went in through the back door.

"Morning Lincoln," I said as I walked past him.

"Morning Emma," he smiled.

He wore his apron and his signature black clothes. Even if our job had no specific uniform, Lincoln would wear an all black outfit. His hair was black and his eyes were green which always stood out.

I met Lincoln when I started working as a barista three months ago. He was my mentor and taught me the ropes of the coffee shop. Whenever I needed help, he would stop whatever he was doing and help me. It wasn't long before we became friends.

I put on an apron, securing it tightly around my neck and waist, and stood behind the cash register. I greeted the first customer that walked in.


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