He remembered the weather of that fateful day. The sky glistened with morning rays of sunlight, and the dews lingered forcefully on the field of clover behind the curtain. Sunny and bright as it was, the atmosphere clung to the hope of salvation, as if the Lord had bestowed upon men the happy and peaceful feeling of a typical night before the storm. The serenity of his surrounding almost made him forget the chaos going on inside his mind. Almost.
He was confused and afraid. Joel Spencer had never been afraid of anything. He was proud, brave, with a frosty touch of arrogance, but definitely not afraid. The life he had before flashed in front of his eyes like jagged videotapes. The mansion, the parties, the girls, all the luxurious in the world at his command, they had mattered every other days, yet at this moment they were worth so much as a dime. He had long forgotten the feeling of his mother’s words when she extended her hand towards the jerk he had turned out to be. He hadn’t cared, nor thought it was worth the time. Now he longed for it in her absence. He craved the warmth of another loved one, he regretted the times he had brushed them all away, and they all had complied, unable to waver his mind. Their absence returned and taunted him every night, so much he could no longer stand to live under the roof of what others would call a broken home. He had left the mansion after the fire, as if it had burned down every single living life force out of him, taking the family he never cared for far away.
He sat under a maple tree, tired and afraid to go any further. He hadn’t cried, not even at the funeral. He had no reason to, no motivation to. What was the point of tears if there was nothing in the world left for him? How could he live when there was no one there? If he had mattered to no one, even after their death, did he even exist at all? The questions were active volcanoes inside his subconscious, erupting every few hours and destroying any thought of an escape. He had left for answers, and he’d find it if it was there.
A maple leaf fluttered from above, his gazed followed the graceful movement before he noticed an opening of a window dozen feet away. The sunflower curtains were pulled back, and there stood a girl with her arms perked on her elbow. She was looking at him in a serene way, as if the sight of an eighteen years old guy sitting underneath a maple tree in the early morning was a scene she had observed every time she looked out the opened window. Her chestnut hair was braided around her shoulder, her eyes held a clouded gaze towards him. Slowly, and involuntarily, he stood and walked toward the girl.
She stood, unmoving as he approached, not a single alert shown in her fluted motion. He stopped several feet away.
“Hello,” she spoke, “are you lost?”
Lost? Was he lost? Daze darted across his eyes. No one had spoken to him with such tender without the knowledge of his identity. Kindness. This was kindness, the affection he had shunned from himself and others. “Yes.” He replied, “Yes, I am.”
The girl lifted her head and opened her mouth as if she was about to speak, but instead she hesitated, not knowing what to do. The boy looked no older than she was, yet his eyes held a certainty among uncertainty, as if he was certain he was lost, but not certain if the word was befitting. A mystery is a contradiction, and in itself, contains the doors of danger and wonder, whichever you choose to open. Her father had always said. Venice Lloyd knows a mystery when she sees one. Yet despite all the time she had spotted them, none had ever made her wary. The boy formed a middle entrance, creating a turbulence of peace and chaos.
“Would you like to come in?” She asked without a second thought, knowing with a feeling that he was less of a danger than the wonder within. Reid will be furious, but the boy obviously needed more help than her overprotective bodyguard of a brother. The smell of apple...
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