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For the remainder of the evening, which followed the kiss Noah and Adelia had shared, they both had a smile neither of them could wipe away. By the time Adelia had returned home from her shift, her cheeks ached and the muscles of her face screamed to be put to sleep. For the life of her, Adelia could not drop the grin of glee sprawled across her face.
Adelia was entirely aware of her irresponsibility and her exploitation of her profession. However, she did not feel an ounce of guilt. In fact, Adelia felt as if she had paraded through a field of daffodils. As if she had sauntered over a mile of silk sheets with the wind brushing through her hair, flowing delicately behind her.
On the other hand, that very same ecstatic feeling lasted only half as long for Noah. Once the butterflies in his stomach had refrained from fluttering their wings at a hundred miles per hour, that was when they had been replaced by a dozen of ten-pound sacks of sand. A hideous wave of guilt and dread had been thrown at Noah, as soon as Adelia left Hemlocks Yard that evening.
Since a year ago when Noah had joined the tight-knit family of Hemlocks Yard, he had found himself getting involved in situations, time and time again, which unravelled in the worst of ways. Since Noah had turned seventeen, he felt as if he had experienced several different types of pain. Noah was unfortunate enough to be served the short straw time and time again. And as Noah had been thrown down by each and every hurdle, as were those involved. Noah was just the same as a baton in a relay race, only if it was a cursed baton. When the baton would be passed along as the relay of life endured, the curse of Noah's misfortune continued to spread.
Noah had felt this way for a long time now. As his experience in life continued to develop, he had been proven even more correct by the day. Except, Noah had not taken action. Until now. Over the past year, Noah proceeded to disobey the law. This resulted in many people of his age to get dragged down with him. Noah had never felt an inch of remorse for those people. In fact, Noah felt relieved when he was not alone in his misfortune.
Strangely enough, Noah's perception had changed when the realisation of the reality behind the kiss he had shared with Adelia had hit him. Unlike all the poor souls Noah had tangled in the law, he could not do the same to Adelia. Noah had never felt an instant wave of guilt when being in one of these situations before. Yet, when Adelia was at stake, Noah did not want to risk it.
Adelia adored her position at Hemlocks Yard and Noah was aware of this. She had created a unique bond with each individual inside the foster home. There was not a reason in the world which would justify Noah tearing that away from her.
Noah was uncertain on the next steps to take due to his sudden change of mentality. He was the type of boy to tear down those who he owed no loyalty to without a care in the world. However, Noah currently had Adelia's feelings sitting in the palm of his hand. The last thing Noah wanted to do was ball his fist together and fracture her feelings into a million pieces. But, how could he avoid that exact consequence?
At this moment in time, Noah wanted to put Adelia before himself. He could choose to be selfish and allow his own desires to get the best of him. Noah craved for a relationship with Adelia. In fact, Noah viewed that as his ticket out of the dark and dingy tunnel he had been trapped inside for the past year. Yet, it was as if Noah could not make an exception for his usual selfishness. For the first time in twelve months, Noah was putting another being before himself.
Noah had never once feared the law. He had never let the law determine his decision and his actions. This was another first for Noah. The thought of Adelia losing her job, her education and her relationship with those at Hemlocks Yard scared Noah to death. This was his one chance at finding happiness but, he was prepared to sacrifice that chance. Noah was unsure whether Adelia would understand Noah's reasoning behind his decision. Yet, either way, she would be torn to pieces.
The morning which followed the kiss between Noah and Adelia had arrived. Two hours had passed since Adelia began her shift and Noah had already avoided her three separate times. The idea of Noah having to avoid Adelia weighed down on his chest. Noah's heart was screaming for him to greet Adelia with a warm smile and demand to hear all about her previous evening. In fact, being with her was the part of the day he looked forward to the most.
Today was different. Today Noah had to let down the only person who had successfully done the opposite for him. This was the last way Noah wanted to repay Adelia.
Only minutes ago Noah had noticed Adelia with bent knees in the living room, collecting the mess of pillows and blankets scattered across the floor. He diverted to the kitchen without giving Adelia the opportunity of catching a glimpse of him in the hallway.
Noah assumed Adelia was delayed due to the substantial mess left over from the previous night. Five children scavaged for bits and pieces to build a fort. With some time on his hands, Noah began to make himself some breakfast.
Noah had yet to make the decision regarding the best way to approach Adelia. He knew he eventually would have to. But, he wanted to speak to her when he knew exactly what to say, word for word.
"Morning, where have you been?" Noah practically leapt from his skin when Adelia's voice ripped through the silence in the kitchen. He had his back facing the doorway, where Adelia had appeared from.
"Sorry." She giggled when she noticed the reaction she had received from Noah. Noah huffed silently, he tried his best to hide his slight disappointment and frustration.