Chapter 1: A Storm to Come
A thunderous voice wakes me up from the peaceful sleep I was trying to have. It took me a few seconds to conclude that it is raining - again. I sigh and force myself to sit up and switch-on the small lamp situate on the side table’s chest. My eyes drift towards the small alarm clock resting beside the lamp.
7:08 am. It’s ready seven in the morning?
I look around the room, the only source of light is the lamp or the flashes of lightning which enters my room after every other second.
Maybe my clock defects. How can it be morning when it’s still dark outside?
I frown and curiously step out of my comfortable, warm bed. As soon as my feet touch the floor, a shiver went down my spine. Cold. The floor is just too cold for my liking. I sigh, of course, it is. Winters are just around the corner and this rain isn’t helping much either.
God, how much I hate winter. Everything is just too cold and colorless during winters. The streets and parks go lull, there is just snow all around. Everything goes dull and dry when winters come.
I tiredly step away from the bed and walks to the window. I draw the light-fabric white curtains apart to see it’s raining cats and dogs. I gasp as I look upon the sky – it is overcast with thick gray clouds. I could see the lines of lightning in the sky. The thunder creeps me out. I could hardly see the house in the front – it’s all just too foggy. It is too dark that it looks like its night-time. Yet another louder than before – thunder voice almost made me jump off my skin.
I gasp as I feel my heart in my throat. I step away from the window. I’m not a big fan of thunders, storm and of course darkness.
Three continuous horrifying claps of thunder cause my heartbeat to hyper. I’ve never seen such thunderstorm in my entire life, it’s just something to a new level.
All of a sudden I hear some child’s crying. I gasp, Baron. I turn and hastily walked out of my room, not caring about my inappropriate nightwear. As I walk downstairs I see the kitchen’s light on, I could also hear the television - something about the weather is on. As I reach downstairs, I see Phil sitting on the couch, carefully listening to the news. He didn’t even acknowledge my arrival. He’s still in his knee-length shorts and a white T-shirt. By reading his facial expression, he looks worried.
“Hey baby, it’s okay. Everything’s okay. Mommy’s here.” I attention drifts towards the kitchen, as I hear Haley cooing Baron. My heart sinks as I hear Baron’s weeping and hiccups. Poor baby.
I slowly walk to the kitchen as see Haley trying to feed Baron something. Her back is facing me, she must have sensed me, therefore, she turns around, “Oh look, what have you done, little guy. You woke up Aunt Andy.” She tickles Baron’s chubby neck, causing him to giggle.
I chuckle, “Oh look, who’s up?” I coo him, causing him to launch himself on me. I carefully hold him in my arms and whip off the tear traces off his adorable face.
“Good morning, baby.” I whisper in his ear and kisses his chubby cheeks, “-Not the best morning, I must add.” I add in.
“True. Baron hardly slept. Thunder really scares him. Today’s weather is just too- scary.” Haley says while rubbing her arm.
I nod, “I’ve never seen such darkness in the daytime before. I seriously thought it was the night.” I add.
“Yes, I’ve heard something about the storm on television last night,” Haley informs as she continues feeding Baron, who is still in my arms.
Storm, God - I just want to go back home. Since Haley fell pregnant with Baron, I’ve been spending almost everything weekend here, in Toronto. Though, I live in Mississauga with my mom, dad, and a younger brother.
“Hey, is he okay now?” I snap out as I hear my brother entering the kitchen. “Oh hey, Andy – When did you wake up? You mostly sleep till 9:00 or 10:00 on Sundays. What’s the occasion?” Phil ruffles my, already tangled, hair causing me to hiss. All of my brothers have this insane habit of ruffling my hair.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to do that?!” I squeal, causing Baron to giggle and Phil to chuckle.
Like father, like son. I thought.
“Sorry, Sorry. Force of habit, you see.” Phil surrenders, causing me to roll my eyes.
“Phil, stop teasing her.” Haley scolds him while slapping his arm playfully.
Ow- hey. I already said sorry. It hurts, woman.” Phil squealed dramatically, causing both of us to roll our eyes. “I did say sorry. Didn’t I, buddy? Didn’t I? Didn’t I?” Phil then coos giggling Baron.
“Daddy!” Baron squeals and claps his hands.
“Ha! Look he loves me the most.” He kiddingly mocks Haley.
“Mama!” Baron yells out in his little baby voice.
“You were saying?” Haley mocks Phil with her eyebrow up and her arms fold over her chest.
“Whatever. He still loves me the most.” Phil comments and turns towards me, “Come on buddy, let’s go and play. Mommy is being - well, just mommy.” Phil says jokingly and takes Baron from my arms, before walking out of the kitchen.
I huff. Phil can be a real kid sometimes. I thought.
“He is something.” Haley chuckles, “- but I love him.” She continues with those lovey-dovey eyes.
I chuckle, “Of course, you do.” I reply. Of course, she does, there is no question about it. I hop on the counter stool and pick up the random magazine placed on the counter.
“Oh Hey! I forgot to tell-” in a matter of seconds Phil walk back in the kitchen, he doesn’t have Baron with him – he must be playing in the living area. I twirl my head to see him, he looks worried. “A storm will occur in North till tomorrow morning. There is some cyclone over the ocean. It’s a red alert situation. They say that this rain is just a trailer, there is a lot worse behind it.” Phil says worryingly.
“Oh, God,” Haley whispers horrifyingly.
Oh- no, no, no- I thought.
“What? But- but, I have to get home by today. Tomorrow is Monday- and I have to go to work tomorrow. Maybe- maybe I should just leave now, so that, I will be home before this storm hits.” I exclaim.
“Have you gone mad? Can’t you see how horrifying the weather is?” Haley scolds.
“No, Andy. I’m not letting you leave right now. Call your boss and explain to him the situation, I’m sure he’ll understand.” Phil speaks sternly.
He will understand, sure he will. I thought sarcastically. My boss Dr. Hawks is the worse boss anyone could get. He’s lousy and outspoken, he never thinks twice before speaking. Many of his patients have left only because of his rude grumpy behavior. As his receptionist, I can’t even remember how many times I had to apologize on his behalf, I hate when people get rude for no reason. I’m still working there only because of the good pay cheque, or else I would have left. He would never understand the situation. I know what he’ll say – it’s better if I go back or else I’ll get fired. And anyway, I’ve already taken off for a week last month when dad had an angina attack.
“You don’t understand. You don’t know him, Phil. I have to go or else he’ll fire me. I have to go.” I state worryingly.
“So what? Your life is important than that crappy job. I don’t get it, why do you even work there or-” Phil says irritatingly.
“Phil, I guess you should go and see Baron. He’s alone out there and apparently quite, which he never is, and he just develops a new habit of going through switches. I guess he’s up to something.” Haley injects, apparently cutting Phil off before he says something awful, which he does when he’s irritated or angry.
“You are not leaving, Andy. If your boss won’t understand then I’ll make him understand.” He points his finger towards me and says sternly before leaving the kitchen. I couldn’t say anything. I sigh and nod my head.
After a pregnant pause, Haley put the dried plastic blue bowl aside and sit on the counter stool, “Believe me, Andy, this storm is not the regular storm. It’s much worse than we think it is. It’s better if you stay till storm calms down. It’s about an hour drive home. You don’t want to worry us by leaving in such a situation, do you?” Haley questions and squeezes my hand under hers.
After a small pause, I sigh and nod my head, “I won’t.” I mutter.
“Thank you, Andy. And anyway we could do so much fun stuff when you are here.” She squeals like a teenager. “Now go and freshen up, I’m making chocolate pancakes and hot chocolate with marshmallows for breakfast.” She breaks the news while wiggling her eyebrows.
“You are love, Haley.” I chuckle. Just by hearing such a delicious breakfast menu, my mood lightens up a little. “Do you need any help before I leave?” I ask while hopping off the stool.
“No, now shoo.” She shoos me, causing me to chuckle and leave the kitchen.
As I reach my room, I found my cellphone ringing. I hastily walk by the side table and see mom’s calling me. I slide the icon and receive the call.
“Hey, mom.” I greet her.
“Don’t hey me, Andrea. I’ve been trying you, Philip’s and Haley’s cellphone for so long but, none of you answered. I was so worried, you know?” Mom scolds, causing me to flinch at her high-pitch tone.
“Uh- I was downstairs and my cellphone was in my room. Phil and Haley were also with me, so, I guess their cellphones are also in their room.” I justify. “Anyways, what’s up? I ask.
“Storm. Deadly storm’s up.” Mom replies.
Mom can be really dramatic sometimes.
“Yeah, I know. Phil told me all about it.” I say while scratching my neck.
I hear her sighing, “We are so worried about you all. Please stay at home and do not leave till the storm dies.” Mom lectures sternly.
“Yeah- yeah, Phil already gave me the same lecture. I’m so going to lose my job.” I mumble.
“Young lady, the job isn’t as important as life and anyways-”
“Phil said that too.” I cut her off.
“Yes, because he’s thinking rationally. Now, honey, I have to go and prepare breakfast. You all take care of yourselves. Give my love to Baron. I will talk to you soon. Bye.”
“Bye.” I greet and hang up.
I sigh and sit on my bed with a thud, I go through my messages and see Farrah’s text, I open it.
Farrah: “Hey Andy! We are struck in Sacramento, all the flights to New York have been canceled due to the storm. I saw the news and they said that the storm will hit the north. Are you at home or Phil’s? You guys okay, right?” The message says.
Farrah is my elder sister. She’s divorced and recently shifted to New York with her four-year-old, Katarina or Liah. I really miss them. Farrah is like my true friend.
Andy: “I’m at Phil’s. We are good, don’t worry. Inform me when you reach home. Give my love to Liah.”
As I hit the send button, I lock my cellphone and carelessly throw it on the bed before fetching a fresh towel from the closet and go to the washroom to freshen up.
After taking a shower and brushing my teeth – I warp myself in the towel before stepping out of the bathroom. As I put the first step out a shiver goes through my spine when the chilly air touches my skin. I look out of the window to see it’s still raining but, not as bad as It was before.
I miss summer, already. The warmth of the sun and the color of the blue sky is already being missed. I just can’t wait for summer to come back – alas it’s a long, long wait.
I sigh and hastily fetch a simple blue T-shirt with skin-tight jeans. I change into them before drying my hair.
As I start to put on the lip gloss, I hear a concise knock on my door. After looking myself in the mirror for the last time, I finally open my door to see Phil busy on his phone. He twirls his head to see me.
“Murphy, please hold a second,” Phil says, before lowering his cellphone.
“Andy, Haley’s calling you downstairs. Breakfast’s ready.” Phil informs me.
“Alright, aren’t you coming?” I ask.
“Yes, I’ll be there in minutes.” He nods his head before resuming his talk, “Yes- no, no – don’t do that- boss won’t like it. It’s stressing enough that Mr. V is in the town.” He says and walks towards his study.
Phil looks really tension, I hope everything’s okay.
“Andy! Breakfast is getting cold! Hurry up, already!” I hear Haley yelling from downstairs.
“Coming!” I yell back before walking downstairs.
As I reach downstairs, I see Haley feeding Baron from his ‘Barney the dinosaur’ bowl, his favorite.
“Oh good, you are here. How much time do you take to freshen up?” She says, as I prepare to answer back she shrugs, “Anyways, come on. Breakfast’s ready. It’s getting cold.” She adds.
“Aren’t we going to wait for Phil?” I ask as we settle down on the dining table.
“Uh-” Haley was about to reply but, cut off by Phil.
“Hal, have you see my file which I brought home yesterday?” Phil asks. I twirl my head to see, he’s still on phone with someone.
“The black one?” She asks. In reply Phil only nods.
“It’s in your study. I put it on the desk.” Haley answers.
“But, it’s not there,” Phil replies annoyingly. “Ugh - leave it. I’ll look for it by myself.” Phil snaps. “Yes, Murphy. Yes- I’m on my way. No, I’ll look for it when I’ll come back home. Yes-” He says on phone.
“Babe, you can’t go. It’s Sunday and what about the weather? It will get worse, can’t you see?” Haley says worryingly while walking towards him.
Phil stops and turns around, “I have to go, Hal.” He sighs and embraces worried Haley in his arms.
“Hey! You can’t go. It’s the storm remember?” I interject sarcastically. He told me not to leave the house, and now he’s doing the same. I could have been on my way home right now.
He chuckles, “This storm is nothing compare to the storm that’s already in town.” He says, “I’ll call you when I’ll reach there. Take care.” He kisses her before, walking out of the house while talking on the phone.
“What does he mean?” I ask, still confuse.
“I don’t know,” Haley replies. “I hope everything goes well.” She mumbles.