Going Home (Going Home#1)

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Jade: Out in the world

I’d said my goodbye to Adria last night because I knew that if I’d waited for her to come back from A, I would’ve been late. I’d said my goodbyes to my parents early in the morning and got out of Baskerville towns as soon as I could. My dad came to drop me off at the bus station in DreamTown. Adria had given me her friend’s contact number and had asked me to contact him after the sunsets.

I keep gaping around at the world outside. I haven’t been out of Baskerville towns and DreamTown before, and the world outside is so much overwhelming for me. I keep taking pictures from the narrow bus window, which earns me weird glances from fellow passengers.

An hour after the sun sets, the bus stops at the motel. I call Cyril from the payphone, the friend who Adria had mentioned, and had requested me not to tell him about where she was, or he might leave everything and come looking for her. The way Adria talked about him, I could feel that he was someone precious to her, but why she asked me to keep him unaware of Baskervilles, I don’t know.

“Hello?” He picks up the phone on the fifth ring.

“Hmm, are you Cyril Ackerly?” I stammer.

“Yes, and do I know you?” He asks casually.

“Oh...I mean... Um, sorry, I’m Jade Johnson. Friend of Adria’s!” I hate myself right now, for I’m totally an antisocial person and so awkward around others.

“Adria?” He sounds confused. I rake my memory to recall that Adria had used another name when she’d been with her friend.

“Jia, I’m talking about Jia.”

“Jia?” He asks sharply.

“Yes!”

“Hold on!” He says, and then I hear him say something to someone in the background.

“Where did you meet her?” He asks as soon as he comes back onto the phone.

“I...uh... She sent me to meet you. She gave me this number to contact you.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m...ah...sorry wait, let me check.” Putting my hand tightly around the lower part of the phone, I tap the shoulder of the woman waiting behind me for me to free the booth.

“What?” She growls.

I flinch but ask anyway, “Where are we right now?”

“We’re in a motel half an hour away from Exeter.”

“Thanks.”

“She says we are an hour away from Exeter,” I tell Cyril.

“Oh, okay.” For some reason, Cyril chuckles, and I feel embarrassed. I’m sure he’s heard the woman's tone beside me and at my naivety for being so oblivious regarding my surroundings.

“So can you pick me up? I’ve never been outside my countryside town, and everything is new for me.” I say carefully. There’s no hiding now.

“No problem. Call me from the payphone at the station when you get off.”

“Ok, will do.” Saying this, I quickly end the call and bang my head on the glass.

♡♡

As I get off the bus and make my way towards the payphone, I hear someone playing guitar somewhere nearby. I slowly make my way towards the sound and find few people gathered around a guy a few years older than I am. He’s playing the guitar and singing. His voice is simply amazing. I feel butterflies in my stomach as I hear his voice. His voice is full of emotions, and it makes the hair on my arms stand.

Soon he ends up his song and stands up, totally ignorant of the people who were listening to him and are clapping. He returns the guitar to three guys standing on his left with thanks and starts making his way towards the bus station payphone. I keep standing there and staring at him as people disperse.

I notice that he is wearing a fitting brown leather jacket and black jeans with a white shirt underneath. He is tall and slender and has sharp and angular features, a watchful expression with large, baby blue eyes and tousled dark blond hair. And I realize that I might have my first crush.

He stops outside the payphone and starts pacing around it. I approach him cautiously, and before I can open my mouth to say something or anything, I recall that I should call Cyril, for he must be waiting for my call.

Trying to slow down my frantic beating heart, I open the door to the payphone when that guy stops by my side.

“Are you Jade?” He asks, looking me up and down. Wait, HE’s CYRILL? Suddenly, I’m conscious of what I’m wearing. I swallow before nodding. Who was I kidding when I picked this dress to wear? Gray tank top over blue jeans with a black jacket over it doesn’t look cool now.

“Found you.” The guy smiles and raises his hand for me to shake. I keep staring at him with my mouth open.

“I...uh, sorry.” I stammer as I try to take a step back but trip over my traveling bag’s strap. Cyril catches my arm in an instant, and at that moment, I wish the earth to split up and swallow me whole because I feel so embarrassed.

“Whoa! Watch out! You okay?” He asks.

“Yes, thank you.”

“Where will you be staying at?” He asks as he looks around.

“No idea. Adria just told me to see you. I was...I was in danger back home.” I pray that telling him this much won’t hurt.

“Danger?” He asks curiously.

“Sorry.” I look down sheepishly. I should’ve asked Adria what to tell him and what to keep from him? She’d been so out of it. I doubt she would’ve told me anything.

“It’s ok. Let’s talk in the car.” He picks up my bag and starts walking away. Taking a deep breath, I follow him.

He walks up to his red car and puts my bag into the back seat before opening up the front passenger door for me. Calmly, I get into the car, and he closes the door behind me, engulfing me in a leather smell.

Cyril climbs up in the driving seat and starts the car. He puts on soft music at low volume, and I try to distract myself by looking outside, completely aware of him and what he’s doing.

“So what did Jia say? What happened?” He asks carefully. I guess right away that he is keeping his emotions in check by the slight tremor in his voice.

“She came to us over a year ago, and since then, she’s been living with us. I got into some trouble, and then some people threatened to harm me. To get me out of the town, she told me about you and asked me to get to you as soon as possible.”

“What kind of danger?” He keeps his face straight as he slows down the car at a red traffic light and doesn’t give me a single glance.

“I... I can’t tell. She wrote you a letter. It’s in my bag!” I point at the back seat, and he doesn’t say anything.

“So you don’t have a place to stay?” He asks.

“No. I’m sorry.”
He smiles, “You should honestly stop saying that. I’m taking you over to my friend’s. You can stay the night with her. I’ll see you tomorrow. Also, can you give me the letter?”

I nod and take a deep breath. I’ve made it.

♡♡

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