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   Chapter 7 A Starry Night

Broken Past By Arathi Characters: 16694

Updated: 2018-08-04 07:33


Exhaustion from the day's events hit me like a huge sack of flour, and my feet feel like they were dragging the rest of me to my room. As soon as the door swings open, my eyes latched onto the bathroom door. Too tired and weary to even contemplate the chore of undressing and re-dressing, I look away. The door slams close behind me, and my bag slides off my shoulder and plonks to the floor.

Although still messy from the morning, my bed lures me with promises of comfort and revitalization. Without bothering about the laces, I step out of my shoes and crawl into bed. A sigh escapes my lips as my head rests on the somewhat lumpy pillow. Within seconds, my eyes closed and a dreamless slumber welcomes me.

Only minutes later, a loud banging wakes me from my afternoon siesta. Groaning as I fling the covers, my eyes dart to the clock on the bedside table. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! I passed out for hours!

Panic engulfs me, and I scramble out of bed. Promptly, I find myself nuzzling the floor. If only my feet weren't entangled in the covers, I would kick myself. It truly has been a day full of clumsiness!

Another banging finds me rushing to the door. As I open it a crack, I drown in cheerful chocolate brown eyes.

"Was that the sound of you falling out of bed?" JT asks a playful smirk dancing on his lips.

My parents often commented on how easily I blush. And true to my nature, I feel my cheeks getting hot. I must look like a mess!

With apologetic eyes, I try justifying my tardiness and ask for a tiny extension to piece myself together.

"I'll wait in the lobby, " JT says waving his hand and turning around. "Don't be too long, " I hear him say over his shoulder as he turns the corner.

Turning from the door, my eyes scan the room. Now where in sweet damnation did I leave my bag?

As my toe stubs against the object of my search, my mind screams, found it!

I roll my eyes and bend down to rummage through my bag. Quickly grabbing a comb, lipstick, and eyeliner, I step into the bathroom. Instead of showering, I splash water on my face and clean my arms with a wet a washcloth. As my hands lift my shirt, I grimace at the scratches reflecting in the mirror. These will takes weeks to disappear. Oh well, I think and begin gently wiping them clean.

Combing out my hair, I frown at its determination to not fall neatly around my face. I quickly pull it in a neat pony and leave it at that. No time to fuss with it, I remind myself. I slap on a thin layer of eyeliner and whisper a quick thank you when it refuses to smudge. At least I got this much right. As I roll the lipstick over my lips, I focus on my next dilemma. What to wear?

Living out of a suitcase is no fun when one is not inclined towards washing clothes in a bucket. And admittedly, I have procrastinated ever since learning that the rest-house had no laundry service. I scrutinize all my shirts and occasionally sniff one to gauge its cleanliness. My nose registers many offensive smells, and I figure my clothes were probably dirty enough to warrant being burned. Deciding to go with a sweater over my current shirt, I pray JT doesn't notice. Tomorrow, I shall shop.

Clean or not, I slipped into my only other pair of jeans. That I couldn't do without. There was no hiding the mud and grass stains on the pair I had donned earlier that day. Satisfied that I looked more presentable, I pick up my bag, and make my way to the lobby.

"There she is, " JT says as soon as he spots me. His eyes roam over me quickly, and for a split second, I feel conscious. "You clean up well." He says nodding his approval.

"So where are we off to?" I ask, smiling inside at the success of my clean-up attempt.

"I hope you like bonfires, " he replies. His dimple plays hide and seek with every smile he throws my way, and I can't help but stare.

"Absolutely!" I reply flashing a grin.

He walks me to the grounds behind the rest-house, and I find it impossible to hide my confusion. "The bonfire is here?" I ask.

"Mhmm, " he replies pointing at the group of people standing around the un-lit woodpile. "I invited some army buddies and their plus ones. I didn't think you'd feel up to a huge unfamiliar crowd."

He was right. When he first mentioned a bonfire, for some reason, I thought it'd be more exclusive. The prospect of meeting a whole group of new folks left me feeling rather sweaty on an otherwise cool night. As we near the crowd, I begin falling back. JT notices I'm no longer keeping pace with him and he turns to face me.

"What's wrong?" He asks. This time, confusion reflected on his face.

"No, I just…" And it started. Words began failing me as panic began rising. "I'm not…" I try again, and still, find myself unable to complete my sentence. My lips tremble as I search desperately for words. "Not exactly a people person, " I rush out. My chest is heaving with the effort it takes to breathe, and I am sure I can feel sweat collecting on my brow.

"Really? You c

ne trees that littered the mountainside. Beyond that, in the horizon, there would be rows and rows of mountain tops, some dark and some covered in snow – with lazy clouds floating in between. In the early evening hours, that same mountainside had been covered in lights from houses. Now that everyone had presumably gone to sleep, the mountainside was dark. And quiet. I shiver and wonder why he thought the black void was beautiful, but I didn't dare ask.

The sky, however, was the complete opposite. I have never seen a sky so brightly lit with stars. Between the polluted London air, the looming skyscrapers and the brightly lit streets, stars were impossible to spot. Here, on top of this little mountain slope, the sky was breathtakingly beautiful. Every inch was covered in little twinkling lights. Never having developed an interest in astronomy, I didn't know the names of all the constellations.

Despite my ignorance, I could clearly see the three bright stars that made up Orion's belt. And I think I spotted the big dipper… or perhaps it was the little one? Oh, I was so hopeless at these things! The silence stretches out, and I'm scratching my head thinking of how to break it.

"About tomorrow..." I start.

"Mhmm, " he replies still lost in his thoughts.

I pull at the sleeves of my sweater trying to hide my fingers from the cold. "The cleaning crew…" I prompt.

JT finally turns to look at me. "Right … right that, " he says finally coming down to earth. "They'll probably be at your property early. What time will you be in?" he asks.

"Not sure, what time do I need to be there by?" I question.

"Six be too early for you?"

"You mean a.m.?" I ask him surprised.

He laughs. "I believe so, " he said.

I groan.

"I'll take that as a no, " he says smiling at me.

"I ah… actually thought I'd do some shopping before I get to the house." That's the best excuse I could come up with. Well, it was partly true. I did need new clothes.

"Right…. shopping, " he teases me.

"What... it's true!"

"Sure, Miss-sleep-a-lot!"

I glare at him, and he laughs some more. "Come let's tuck you into bed. I'm sure it's past your bedtime, " he teases, and I feel like a little child.

We walk back to the front of the rest house in silence. As I enter the giant glass doors, he stays put.

"So this is goodnight, " he mumbles, and I nod.

"Thank you for a great evening, " I say.

His eyes light up, and he looks at me for a second. "You're not just saying that are you?" He questions and I shake my head. "I had fun, " I replied wrapping my arms around me.

"Great!" He fumbles with the zipper of his jacket before continuing. "So then I'll be off." He says pointing at the road behind him. Another short awkward silence passes between us. I feel like there's something more he needs to say, and I give him the time to gather his thoughts.

"Oh and if you don't see me for a few days don't worry. I have some training stuff to complete."

I feel sad for a minute, almost abandoned. He must have noticed for JT quickly adds, "But you have my number. You can call if you need anything." That reminder brings a smile to my face.

"That I do."

"Good night, " he says taking a step back as if to leave.

"Good night, " I reply as I turn from the door and head towards the stairs.

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