The sound of rain came first, as hazel-green eyes opened towards the ceiling of a bedroom. “Huh…” came a breath. “Still here… that’s a bit strange.” Sitting up and looking to the clock, the time read one in the afternoon. Looking at the right hand, moving of fingers, then to the same to the left. “Well shit.”
Getting up and heading to the desk, where homework was placed, it had been finished late last night, since going out wasn’t an option with the over-protective detective, watching over like a hawk. And the material was pretty easy to understand, it didn’t take long to finish it completely, and even go a bit further too. That way things would be at least a touch easier on her when things reverted back to normal.
The rain still showed no signs of letting up any time soon, it’d probably continue for at least a few more days with the slow change in weather.
Looking out the window, watching the world go by for a moment before heading to the door of the bedroom, only to pause when reaching the knob to look to the worn guitar that remained in it’s stand near the bookshelf before picking it up by the neck and carrying it down the stairs to the living room where Nina was, sitting on the floor, dressed in a long-sleeved pink and white dress with black stockings. Her hair remained down as she stared out the window that led to the backyard.
“Is there nothing interesting on TV?” Nina turned with slight surprise. “What is it?”
“You’re okay now?” Nina asked rolling on all fours but remained where she was.
Sitting down on the couch with the guitar in lap and gave a slight smile. “Yeah, I’m alright. You didn’t need to worry this whole time for me you know.”
She frowned slightly but her grey eyes fell on to the guitar that was there. “You play?”
With a nod the left hand ran down the strings as the notes came out. “Haven’t in a while though, figured I could get some practice in. Want me to play anything particular?”
She then climbed up on the couch and sat down beside before looking to the guitar. “I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.”
“Well, I have one in mind, might sound a bit sad but considering the weather it seems fitting to play.” Plucking the strings before adjusting the strings and then began playing in silence with a slight smile.
Nina swayed slightly while watching Charla, something about her seemed a bit different, a little more confident but also sad. At least that’s what she could gather the way her hazel-green eyes looked.
“You sure you’re okay? You don’t look to happy.”
Slight stillness before offering the girl a faint smile. “I am fine, just a lot to think about, to figure out. Stuff like that, it’s a bit complicated.”
“Sounds like Dad,” she said.
“Where is your father?”
Nina frowned slightly before shaking her head. “He said he had to step out for a bit, he got a call from the police station. He was real angry too when he left.”
Probably something to do with the ass in the hat from yesterday. “Are you worried, about him?”
“You asked me that once before, when you first came here but yeah… it’s not something that’ll go away. Is that weird?”
“I don’t think so, it’s natural to worry about people you care about, regardless of what job they do, and if that job entails putting their life on the line it only makes much more sense to worry for them. but your Father’s a smart man, he’ll be alright.” When Nina didn’t respond came a question when the second song came to an end. “Want me to do something with your hair? You usually put it up, don’t you?”
Nina just stared before getting up and heading up stairs, and then came back down with a hairbrush, comb and a few elastics. With a smile hands extended to have the little girl sit on the floor as her hair was brushed with such gentleness.
“You’ve done hair before?”
“Once or twice, since it grew out since the surgery I tended to do different combinations, though it wouldn’t be much since I only wanted to hide the scare.”
Nina was silent as she could feel the hair brush running through her hair, before feeling parts of her hair being taken and moved, from what she could tell it was being turned into a braid, then another part being turned into a braid before she took those two braids and placed them to the back of her head and tied together with an elastic that had a flower in it.
“It’s not the best but I think it turned out good. How’s it feel?”
Nina touched the back of her head lightly. “It seems good,” she said before feeling Charla move to be behind her, before resting her chin atop Nina’s head, and encircling both arms around the young girl, drawing the girl into her chest. This was different. But she chose to remain quiet, as Charla’s body slowly began to sway keeping Nina close as she did some, yet something about this felt familiar and comforting.
That’s right… Mom did this when I was little.
“It doesn’t seem like the rain will stop any time soon. It’s been raining since last night.”
“Do you like the rain?” Nina asked.
“I do, I find it vary soothing, even more so when I go for a walk. Not many people seem to feel the same so the stay inside, giving me more to see the world.” Those hazel-green eyes looked down at her. “Want to go for a walk?”
Nina looked up in surprise. “Is that a good idea?” she then followed Charla’s hand pointing in the direction towards the door, where a man seemed to be sitting in a chair that was protected by the roof.
“That man is a police officer dressed in plain clothes. You said your father went out, so that man, and others like him are walking in the general vicinity of the home. So, going outside should never be something to fear. Bad things can happen, but those things should never stop you from trying to see the world. It’s something I used to write to her in a journal time and time again long ago.”
“Who?” Nina asked only to then be given a smile that conveyed secrets that wished to be kept hidden. Charla then helped Nina stand up before taking the guitar and heading back upstairs, only to come back down a few moments later wearing a dark brown leather jacket and the same red headphones that rested around her neck. She then pulled out Nina’s raincoat and a large umbrella before glancing around for something. Nina held up her hand. “Here,” when she placed it in Charla’s hand she added. “It’s your housekey, did you forget where you put it?”
A smile was given. “I suppose I did. Thank you Nina.” Walking to the door and opening it only to surprise the plains clothed police officer. “How are things?”
“Oh, Miss Liebert, is there something you need?”
“I’m just taking my cousin outside for a bit.”
He looked almost puzzled. “In the rain?”
“There’s something I need to get, and I didn’t want to leave her alone, besides, it’s just the connivant store and back.”
Nina grasped Charla’s hand, tilting her head to look outside, she could see another man across the street in a car, watching the house, it was another officer just like the one that remained at the front of the house. She could only guess that there were others around in the area.
“We’ll be right back, besides, exercise is good, even in weather like this, right Nina?”
Nina merely nodded in response and remained quiet.
“I don’t know,” the officer admitted. “Detective Liebert won’t be happy if you did that. He’d probably be angry.”
“Then he can be angry at me, one man isn’t enough to scare me, you should see what the city is like if you think that idiot was bad.” When the man didn’t say anything else, a sigh was given. “Look, it’s just there and back, if you want you can tell the Detective that I took Nina outside for a bit, but being stuck in a house after what happened won’t do any good. Not to mention I won’t let anything happen to her.”
The man then sighed getting the distinct impression that this kid wouldn’t move on this. “Alright fine, but I’m telling the Detective.”
“That’s fine,” then turning to Nina and asking. “You have your phone on if your Father calls, don’t you?”
Nina nodded. “He always tells me to keep my phone with me wherever I go. I never leave home without it.”
A smile came. “Good, that’s smart.” Then looking back to the officer. “We’ll be right back.” The two then left the house, the door being locked before they continued down the road. The rain falling in a slight mist as they walked hand in hand, the sound the droplets hitting the pavement of the road and the umbrella as Nina remained close to Charla. she noticed though that there were a few men and women in their early to middle ages walking around. Ones that she somewhat recognized. “How many do you see?” Nina jumped slightly then looked up. “Well, how many police do you think are walking around right now?”
It was a rather odd question to ask, but one that held reason, Nina looked around, silently counting how many she could see. “Um, I think eight.”
“Close, there’s ten.” Nina then followed the hazel green gaze to a car, where two men sat in the front. “Seems like the whole department is out here protecting us.” Then those eyes looked down to Nina. “Always be aware of your surroundings, not just with people, but to those who you can’t see right away. Be it a house, or cars, even a connivant store. Not all people are bad, but you should never judge them to be enterally good, you never know what might happen.”
“Is it like that in the city?”
A short laugh. “The city is different, it’s much larger then this town though in that place not many people seem to care much about their surroundings, too busy with whatever they are doing. Though I guess it could be said that’s how some people are these days, and it’s what makes them do bad things. Because they don’t care.”
Nina was silent for a moment. “Did you care when you stopped that mean man?”
Those hazel-green eyes became dark for a moment. “I cared about what would happen to you, men like him deserve everything they get from trying to hurt others who can’t fight back. If I were to do it again and again the outcome would always be the same. Your more important then some type of credibility. That’s what Johan always said. Besides, I see a lot of her in you, and I bet she feels the same way.” Then a change in topic. “Come on, today I’ll buy you whatever you want. But don’t tell your father.”
Nina looked up at her. “You’re funny sometimes you know Charla?”
Another laugh. “I tend to get that.” Then those hazel green eyes narrowed and looked around, more officers were around more then usual, guessing that almost the whole department were out and about. The ass in the hat must have escaped. No one would want to have this many guards for a kid and teenager otherwise. Maybe the Liebert family pushed for this? Doubt it, but they might have for the Detective since it’s his kid. That’s a bigger possibility. Eyes narrowed. For all I know he might go to the school, but he’d have to be extra stupid to try that. Then looking back to Nina. Still, if the prick thinks he can walk away from hurting a kid he has another thing coming. With a breath and rubbing of eyes with a quick shake of the head, thinking this crap would do no good. This wasn’t the city. The bastard would have to go into hiding, hell maybe even head back to the city.
Pushing the anger back the two made it to the connivant store as Nina then looked around, mainly in the ice cream in the frozen section, she looked to be having trouble in deciding between butterscotch ripple or mint chocolate.
Though when the little girl had decided the two were then greeted with a torrential downpour of rain, making it look more like a waterfall then actual rain. “Well that’s something…” said with a whistle before grasping headphones and placing over ears. Then began to hum softly to the song that was being played.
As the two stood in the rain waiting for it to stop or slow Nina looked up at Charla, while still grasping her hand she had her headphones on listing to some kind of song on her Ipod.
“What are you listening too?” Nina asked.
“A song by Johnny Cash,” then offered the headphones. “Want to listen?”
Nina smiled. “Sure, but… will they fit?” she asked looking at the red and black headphones that seemed to be handled with great care.
Squatting down and readjusting the size before placing the headphones on Nina’s head. “They will, they’re adjustable after all, had them close to your age so it’s no need to worry.” And before Nina could say anything else the play button was pressed.
The first thing she heard was the strings of a guitar, notes that she heard Charla play before earlier that day. This was one of the songs that she was playing. Then the lyrics came next.
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt...
“I know this song,” Nina said before looking up to Charla. “Dad sometimes play the guitar piece in the car. A lot of people like this song.”
“Some would find it relatable, be it the lyrics or the representation of the song itself or both. I personally know someone who thinks on both.”
Nina listened to the song, again before saying. “You were playing this too back at the house, you’re really good at it.”
Nina pulled the headphones to rest on her shoulders before looking up at her again, her gaze seemed to be far, far away. “What was the other song that you played?”
“It’s from a video game called The Last of Us, but it’s a bit too mature for someone of your age, wait a few years before you can check it out.”
They fell back into silence again, Nina constantly looking at the person who stood beside her almost protectively. There really was something off, but each time she couldn’t think as to what or why. When the rain let up slightly the two headed back to the house, the police officer was still there and Nina began to wonder when her father would come home. Though it wouldn’t be late into the night.
That evening though, she could hear Charla moving around in her room, followed with the faint sound of the window being open, then closed. Nina got up and when to Charla’s room, warily watching the stairs in case if her father came up, like he had before, but he seemed too preoccupied with the conversation he was having over then phone. Silently, Nina peaked into the room and saw that Charla was in bed asleep, before looking to the window which was only left faintly open.
Closing the door Nina moved to stand at the bed, then crawled underneath the covers. Her back was facing her, giving the little girl full view of the scare that peaked out from her hair. It looked like it hurt a lot. She then pressed herself close to Charla’s back, feeling her warmth.
What’s she doing? Came a thought as eyes opened to stare at the wall, then was given an answer when Nina spoke.
“It’s not safe to go out tonight,” the little girl whispered softly. Eyes widened faintly before rolling over to look Nina right in the eye, who looked back without a second thought. “My Dad might think something bad if you do.”
“What makes you think I’d go out tonight.”
“You said so yourself that you do, and you’ve done it before, the first night you stayed here, and a few other times at night when it’s not raining.” Then Nina suddenly asked. “Who are you?”
“You know who I am.”
Nina shook her head. “You’re not Charla, the way you act is slightly different then the way she does. She’s more soft spoken, and the way you speak is different then the way she speaks to me and others.”
There was silence for a long moment, then a sigh. “It’s complicated.”
“Then make it easy,” Nina retorted. “Who are you, where did you come from?”
Easy, she says… “I’m someone that shouldn’t be here, a personality developed after a great deal of stress and other things that came into play. Things I’d rather not mention to a little girl such as you. too dark, and too sad.”
Nina’s grey eyes moved looking at those hazel green eyes before thinking, the gears turning in this little girl’s mind before asking. “Then who are you? do you… do have a name?”
A whisper. “I do,”
“What is it?”
Hazel green eyes looked to the girl, she was a perceptive and determined one. “You really want to know?”
A nod followed with more silence. Only the sound of rain hitting the window could be heard as the two continued to stare at one another in the darkness of the bedroom underneath the warmth of the bed covers.
“My name is…”