March 26, 2013
“Lee, what happened?” a soft feminine voice whispers. Emily, my cousin, sister practically. Of course. I had forgot she was coming.
I open my eyes, “Hey, Em’.”
Emily jumped from where she was sitting on the twin bed in my room that she normally occupied during her stays. “Goodness, Leah! What happened?”
I sigh and look around; I’m back in my room with an ice pack on my swollen foot. “Went looking for Sam.”
Mom comes in my room, Seth following like an annoying puppy. Then Dad walks in, muttering to himself. He looks at my foot and up at my face. “They found him. Well actually, he found you and called us to come and get you since you were hurt.”
“What!?” I shout the word and fly out of the bed, throwing on the first clothes I find without a care for who was still watching. It surprised me that Sam hadn’t just came back here, that he wasn’t sitting next to my bed holding my hand when I woke up.
My foot throbs as I sprint down the stairs, out the door and up the road. No one follows me, expecting a reaction like this, I suppose. I got to the mobile homes and slowed down a bit, counting too fast and having to back up. I didn’t pause to knock at the door; instead I ran inside and flew smack into Sam. I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him with a ferocity that exhibited how much I had missed him.
He kissed me back at first then pulled away and spoke. “Wow, Lee.”
I frowned when he didn’t use his full nickname for me. I breathed slowly for a moment, clearing my thoughts. Whoa. Sam’s skin was smoldering hot where he was holding my hands between us; suddenly it burned me, like touching a hot stove.
“You’re skin is like, burning me.”
Sam dropped my hands and looked away. “Sorry.”
I looked at him confused. “Where have you been, Sam?” I said it some what accusingly, but I could not help it, he had been gone for weeks and I had missed him and almost every single day of school in that time. “You’ve had me worried sick.” Even when mom had made me go to school it was like I wasn’t really there without him.
“Out of town.” He still wasn’t looking at me.
“Obviously.” The word came out of my mouth harshly. What was he keeping from me?
“I need to go. You should go home. I’ll meet you later.” Sam said everything without looking back at me.
Then he walked out the door, into the rain that had started up. I stood in his house; watching him leave, walk towards town. The downpour didn’t bother him, although it soaked his hair and skin. I could have easily kept up pace with him, but I let him go, not wanting to make him more upset. I stared after him for a minute and then locked the door and headed home.
Emily and Seth were sitting on the floor in the front room playing checkers when I got home. I smiled at them, happy—despite Sam’s questionable mood—and headed towards the stairs, still limping.
“Oh my goodness! She smiled! She actually smiled! Leah smiled!” Seth jumped up and down shouting his teasing remarks and making Emily laugh.
Mom walked in from the kitchen. “Did you find him?” I nodded, and reached the stairs.
I wasn’t going to tell of Sam’s behavior today; he had acted so strangely and his skin was so blasted hot!
I went upstairs and turned on my iPod, providing a flow of soothing, familiar music floating into the atmosphere. My foot ached and throbbed as I lay down on my bed. My skin still felt torched by Sam’s burning skin. I wonder if he had a fever. That would explain the burn. He could probably stay over on our couch as he had before when he was sick if that was the case. Mom was one of the few ‘doctors’ the tribe had. Although none of them officially practiced medicine, they had the best knowledge of natural healing remedies.
Closing my eyes, I began drifting away to the sweet melody humming in my ears.
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