Font size: - +
It was all a little surreal. She never imagined that I would be standing at a bus stop, in cold damp jeans and a tattered lace coat that had seen much better days, with Blake Thorne. This was Blake Thorne who was supposed to be dead. But he now looked now like he wished he was. Every breath was a battle for him. She had somehow dragged him to the bus stop but he was growing weaker with every step.
He was wearing a long wool coat that she had found washed up on the shore. Surprisingly, it had already halfway dried in the morning sun by the time she found it. Wrapping it around himself he was able to cover the bloody mess on his shirt. It barely warded off the curious stares of the other passengers.
He was as pale as marble and his forehead was beaded with sweat. She wanted to help him but the closer she got to him, the more terrified she became. His breathing was labored and raspy. As the bus pulled up to the curb, Blake’s head rolled up against her shoulder. She felt his soft, cool breathes brushing up against against her throat, growing weaker and weaker.
“You’re not going to die on me are you?” She whispered fearfully. He barely mustered a chuckle.
“Why?” he asked. “Is this too painless of an end for me?”
“Shut up,” She snapped and playfully punched him in the shoulder. “You can’t die now. You’re going to get your wish of seeing the world outside of River Way. Now, look! It’s a bus.”
Blake opened his bloodshot eyes only long enough to roll them at her. “Oh, it moves, marvelous creature is it dark sorcery?” he muttered sarcastically and went back to hiding his eyes from the midday sun.
The bus stopped in front of them and Vivienne eased him up the steps. With every movement, Blake winced in pain. She wondered what the other passengers thought. Vivienne hoped that they simply thought he was her drunken friend who she was helping home at the wee hours of the morning. She placed Blake in one of the chairs in the corner where he instantly curled up as far into the shadows as he could wedge himself. She paid the fare for both of them. The bus driver gave Vivienne a dirty look as though she was some type of a party girl with alcoholic skirt-chasers friends.
She suddenly wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Vivienne was the English Professor’s daughter. She didn’t do exciting things like going to overnight parties, not unless Allison invited her to one. She felt a twinge of nostalgia and fear. Allison, what had happened to her? It has been so long since Vivienne had seen her.
“You can stay with me until you get better,” Vivienne assured Blake as she took a seat beside him. “My house isn’t like the type of places that you are used to.”
“The kind of places that I am used to?” Blake repeated, narrowing his eyes. “You sound like a snob, Viv.”
“Oh shut up,” She said, angrily. “You can go live in a cave for all I care. You’re coming to my house and you’re going to enjoy it. And that’s that.”
A fondly smile flickered on his face and then disappeared. The wasteland of a beach faded behind them and the bus chugged into the busy main street. Peering out the windows from the shadows, Blake’s expression grew grave again. “I don’t want to be a burden, Vivienne.”
“My parents won’t mind at all,” Vivienne answered. “They’ll love to have you. Maybe a bit too much.”
The two blocks from the bus stop to her house were torture for Blake. The sun had risen higher in the sky and his body felt heavier to her with every step. He had an arm around her shoulder for leverage against his limp but soon, Vivienne felt as though she was dragging him along. He was struggling to keep his eyes open and his breathing was virtually nonexistent. By the time she helped him up the steps to my porch, his normally sharp green eyes seemed to be glossed over. He looked like he was barely registering his surroundings.
Vivienne left him sitting on the steps of our porch as I ran up to ring the front bell. She forgot about Blake for a second. She was home! For an unknown reason, she felt as though it had been a long time since I’ve stood in that very spot.
She must have rung the bell twenty times before she allowed herself to acknowledge that there was something sincerely wrong. The mailbox was stuffed full of outdated mail. The windowsill was covered in about an inch of dust. There were leaves all over their front lawn. No one had been here in ages.
With shaking hands, she found the secret key that her mother hid under a loose brick in the yard. Vivienne used it to open the front door only to find another pile of mail and newspapers jamming the door from being opened completely.
“No one is home,” she whispered to Blake. Vivienne reached out and shook his shoulder. He winced in pain from the movement but it startled him enough to attempt to stand. She felt my panic level rising sky-high.
“You said I lost my memory. If that is true, did something happen to my family? DId I forget?”
Blake’s response to her panicked questions was a puzzled look.
“Viv,” he whispered. “I don’t know.” She wasn’t sure if he understood my question or if he meant to finish that sentence with I don’t know where I am. He was a man on the verge of delirium. He clutched the railing for support and his bad leg seemed to sway in an invisible breeze. She walked over and wrapped my around him. He smelled salty, like the sea.
“Come on,” Vivienne told him. “Let’s go inside and out of the sun. ”