…And I’m back from my great adventure :) I had such an amazing time…But more on that later, as I plan to blog about it :p For now, I present to you…The next instalment of HEAT. This will take you to the end of the section, but not to the end of chapter two. I am really dragging this out, aren’t I? It’s all part of my master plan…First, get you to like my novel. Next, get it published and get you to buy my novel. Third…WORLD DOMINATION. Sounds about right, yeah?
Thank you so much for your comments, tweets and encouragement. It means more to me than you will ever know. I love and appreciate every single one of you. My heart skips a beat every time I read a comment that says you are enjoying the story, that you like it, or even, heaven forbid, that you would actually buy it. It feels surreal. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.
But I’m going to keep saying it anyway.
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.
TITLE LYRICS: ‘Was It A Dream?’ by Thirty Seconds To Mars
If you need to get caught up, you can do it HERE.
I stuffed them into the pockets of my sweater and entered the kitchen, not wanting to hear any more of their conversation.
“Aurora,” Maria said, looking surprised to see me. “I didn’t hear you come down.”
I mumbled something incoherent in response, watching as Arthur carefully pulled shards of glass from his palms.
“What happened?” I asked softly.
“Damn cheap glass shattered in my hand,” Arthur grumbled, wincing as he pulled a large shard from the side of his thumb.
“I don’t understand how you broke it,” Maria said, getting a first aid kit down from the cupboard above the fridge. “I’ve told you before that you need to be more careful. It probably had a crack in it. You must have set it down too roughly.”
“I did no such thing,” he objected, getting up and turning on the tap in the kitchen sink. He held his hands under the cold water, washing away the blood.
“Clearly, you did,” Maria said, looking pointedly at the bloody shards on the table. She pulled a plastic bag from the cupboard under the sink and began cleaning up the mess, carefully putting the broken glass into the bag. I stayed in the corner, watching silently. Arthur cursed as he tried to pull another shard from his right palm, wincing as he sliced open his thumb on the protruding edge.
Maria looked up, shaking her head disapprovingly.
“Come here before you hurt yourself even more.” She retrieved a pair of tweezers and several Band-Aids from the first aid kit.
He switched off the tap and walked over to her, placing his hands palm up over a tea towel she’d set down to protect the table. He continued to mutter curse words under his breath as she used a pair of tweezers to remove the remainder of the glass and finish cleaning the cuts.
“Some of these might need stitches,” she said, frowning at the steady flow of blood oozing from his thumb.
“I don’t need stitches,” he said, grimacing as she applied pressure to the worst bleeders. “Just bandage me up.”
She shook her head, rolling her eyes at him. “Honestly Arthur, you’re worse than a toddler. Always refusing to go to the doctor, even when it’s obvious that you need to.”
He scoffed in response, muttering indistinctly.
“Anyway Aurora,” Maria said pleasantly, ignoring him. “This is my husband, Arthur. You’d already gone to bed when he got home last night, and we didn’t want to wake you for an introduction. Sorry you didn’t meet him at a better time. He doesn’t normally curse this much.” She paused, looking at him sceptically. “Well, actually he does.”
“Are you finished now?” he asked curtly, pulling his hands away from her. She nodded, giving an exaggerated sigh and tossing the soiled cotton wool and remaining glass fragments into the plastic bag.
“It’s nice to meet you,” I said as politely as I could.
“Nice to meet you too,” he said stiffly. Maria nudged him. “So, you ready for me to take you to school?”
I nodded. “Yeah, but… Are you going to be able to drive?” I looked pointedly at his Band-Aid covered hands.
“Oh he’ll be fine,” Maria replied before he had a chance to answer. “He has to take himself to work, anyway, since he refuses to go to the hospital to get stitches.”
“I told you I don’t need any damn stitches!”
She rolled her eyes at me, smiling as though this was how they always interacted. She didn’t seem bothered by his gruffness towards her.
“If you give me directions, I am happy to walk…”
He perked up at the mention of my walking and he looked at Maria expectantly.
“She can walk, can’t she? The fresh air will do her some good.”
Maria glared at him.
“I really think it’s better if he takes you,” she said to me, still glaring at Arthur. “At least for today. I don’t want you getting lost on your first day. If you want, after he has shown you the way today, you can walk from tomorrow. It’s quite nearby.”
I nodded, realising there was no point in arguing. “Okay.”
Arthur scowled, glaring back at Maria.
“Alright then. We’d better get going.”
He stood up to get his keys, and I started to follow him to the front door.
“Wait,” Maria called, following me with a brown paper bag. “I made you lunch.”
I stopped and slowly turned to face her. I hesitated, afraid to take my hands out of my pockets.
“Well here you go!” She thrust the bag towards me, waiting for me to take it. I held my breath and eased my hands out of my pockets, breathing a soft sigh of relief when I saw that they had returned to their normal hue. A horn beeped outside. Arthur was getting impatient.
“Have a great first day, honey,” Maria said, handing me the bag and patting me on the shoulder. “And ignore anything that Arthur says to you. He’s a grump.”
I gave her a faint smile and put my lunch into my bag before heading out the door.
* * *