Going Home (Going Home#1)

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Eric: During Storm I

I stand under the shade of Trade D Crops. The weather is bad, and I can’t go back to my grandmother’s house without getting soaked or maybe even fried just in case thunderbolt strikes me. I consider going back inside and asking Dan to let me stay, but I can’t stand that guy. I keep standing outside with my back against the door and watch the sky. The storm looks unusual, with purple lightning threatening to strike every two seconds.

My mind keeps going back to Adria. I bet it’s a long way to B, and in this weather, it is tough for me to see more than three steps ahead, so I have no idea how she will manage? I barely stand there for twenty minutes when I see someone run towards the shop in black clothes. Adria!

I run towards her as she passes the shop and catch her arm. She struggles to free her arm without turning back to look at me, but I don’t let her go.

“Adria!! Stop!!” I shout to be heard over the storm. At my voice, she stops struggling and turns around to look at me.

She is frightfully pale and keeps looking towards the opening from over my shoulder. When she realizes that it's just the two of us, she slumps down on the road and folds her arms around her legs. The thunder cracks once more, and I look around for shelter. Seeing none better than Trade D Crops, I decide to take Adria to my grandmother’s house or anywhere else other than where Dan can see us. I crouch down and hold her shoulders, “Come on Adria, you will get sick let’s move to some shelter.”
She doesn’t respond but keeps on rocking back and forth.

“ADRIA!” I shout as thunder cracks once more. Adria pushes me back in shock and stands up. Afraid that she will get into more trouble with the condition she's in, I grip both of her arms, “Adria, stop, or I'll throw you over my shoulder if I have to. You are safe here, I’m not going to hurt you, and you have to listen to me. Ok?”
Without looking up, she nods, and I let her go.

“Ok, come on, let’s go!” I start walking but stop when I realize that she's still standing there. I move back and hug her gingerly, “Adria, you are safe. I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
She shudders once and then slumps down against me, “Whoa whoa!” I throw her arm over my shoulders and put mine around her waist to support her, “Lean on me if you have to, but we are moving. I'm already cold, and we have to find shelter before you collapse!”

I can’t think of anywhere to go, but I get us out of the lane to the main road. Suddenly, an idea comes up in my mind, “Adria, we are going to the café. Ok?” She doesn’t reply but takes off her arm from over my shoulders. I don’t pull away mine as she still needs some support. I make us run towards the café last few steps only to find out that it's locked.

“Shit!” I mutter under my breath and start knocking, “Hey, open up! Hey!! HELLO!!”
I think everyone left because of the storm. It's weird, really, it's just mid-afternoon, and there isn’t a single soul to be seen.
I let Adria sit down by the door and go around checking the windows. It is securely locked, and everyone has left. It is not good. I pick up a stone from the sidewalk and throw it hard at one of the windows. At the sound of glass shattering, Adria jumps up again and stares at me, “What....did..you just..do?” She folds her arms around herself and comes to stand by me as I inspect the damage I've done.

“Nothing, just getting us some shelter from this annoying storm! You better now?” She bows her head and lets her thick raven hair hide her face from me.

“Fine.”

Jumping in through the window, I unlock the door and let her in. I look around and run behind the counter to make some hot coffee. At this time, I'd take any coffee as I'm cold and can barely move my hands. I notice that Adria curls up in one of the chairs as I put on the water to boil, “Do you think there will be something to cover ourselves up with? I'm freezing.”

She looks up at me and says nothing. I raise my eyebrow and keep looking back at her, “Uh, ok, I'll check the locker rooms!” I throw up my hands and run towards the rear rooms.

I try to push Adria's eyes away from my mind as I jog down the hallway. It's dimly lit and stinks a little. Thankfully, the locker room and the office are not locked, and by the mess around, it looks like everyone just rushed to their homes when they saw the approaching storm. I find one thick jacket which fits me just fine and a woolen ladies’ sweater in the locker room.

“Look, Adria, I think this will do for you.” She is not sitting where I'd left her, instead, she is standing by the counter.

“I'll make the coffee. You can go rest!” I go and stand by her. She has already prepared two cups. Quietly handing me one, she goes to sit back at the chair she'd vacated. I throw the sweater towards her, which she catches before it hits her face. I cautiously take a chair three tables away from her. We both sit, facing the front of the café and the storm that rages on outside.

The coffee is better than I had earlier. “Coffee tastes better. Did you do something?” I ask her as I fold my hands around the cup to warm up my hands and curl up on the chair. I can barely fit my lanky frame, but it's better than freezing to death. My clothes are dripping wet, but there's nothing I can change into.

“What will you tell the people why you broke the window”? Adria asks me quietly, still looking away from me.

“I was looking for shelter?”
“Don’t mention me, or you'll be an outcast as well. Not that people won’t know you since you acted like a hero!” She calmly takes another sip.

“Why get beaten when you can fight?” I look over at her. She's getting her coloring back. Her hoodie fell off when she'd kicked Dan and had walked away, but I do notice that she keeps her raven black hair tucked away, and they're probably long enough that they haven’t come out of her hoodie. Her eyes are the most amazing pair of eyes I’ve ever seen. As if noticing me watching her, she turns to face me.

“What is your name?”
“Eric Amery.”
“Who is Mrs. Headley to you?”
I chuckle at that, “Scary old grandmother?”
Her mouth turns to ‘o’, but she doesn’t say anything. Returning her gaze outside, she says quietly, “Don’t tell anyone that I was here.”
“I won’t trust me. Ever since I came here, all I've heard is to stay away from you.”
She doesn’t reply just nods her head blithely.

“So is this where you take out knives and kill me or show your fangs and drink up my blood?” I ask her nervously.

I see a ghost of a smile on her face before she turns away again.

“What did you see in the forest?” I murmur without looking at her. I feel her go stiff at my question, but she puts her cup down and stands up.
“I'm going to change into something. I'll look into the lockers.” Saying this, she leaves, and I focus on the storm outside.

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