Things at Gerard's house are certainly different than how it is in the wilderness.
“How are you doing Rain,” I whisper, not wanting to wake Gerard who is in the next room.
She lifts her head up so that I will be able to hear her, “I’m good. I feel safe. Maybe we should stay for a little bit.”
I nod. “We could probably do that. Are you tired?”
My best friend gently shakes her head, rolling over onto her side so I can hold onto her from behind. I trace little patterns on her skin with my fingers as she plays with my free hand.
“It feels weird to sleep with clothes on,” Rain says.
Out in the cold it is better to sleep naked because body heats transfers more easily. Rain and I haven’t slept in clothes for the past few months. In fact, we haven’t slept without each other in the past few months. I’m assuming that’s why she’s here; because she couldn’t sleep by herself.
“Then take them off,” I suggest, hoping it doesn’t sound weird or anything.
Rain giggles as she begins to slide out of the pants Gerard had given her to sleep in. Soft legs press up against mine. My friend must have taken a shower before bed because her legs have no hair and she smells like berries. Although I have no problem with the wild women that the conditions have turned Rain into it’s nice to see her as a girl.
I tug off my shirt, dropping it onto the floor next to the bed. Rain twists around so that she is facing me, propped up on one arm. For a long time she traces my various chest tattoos, humming gently.
Eventually, knowing that we are safe in each other’s arms, the two of us manage to fall asleep.
By the time I open my eyes sun is streaming through the window. It has to be at least mid-afternoon. I’ve not been able to sleep in this long in a while. Usually I would have to get up and go hunting, or do something else to help Rain and myself survive. It’s nice to not have to worry about that for once.
Beside me Rain is curled up into a ball, her eyes squeezed shut. She appears to still be asleep. Instead of waking her up I roll over, beginning to stroke her arm, just enjoying watching her sleep.
About twenty minutes later Gerard appears in the door way, his hair is messy and I can tell that he is still half asleep. He waves and I motion for him to keep quiet, pointing at Rain. My friend nods, tiptoeing over to sit on the floor by the bed.
He makes a heart with his hands, winking at me. I flip him off, laughing a little. Apparently the movement of my body startles Rain. She sits up with a jolt, her eyes scanning over the room.
I wrap my arms around her, rubbing her shoulder with my thumb. Obviously in the night she had forgotten she moved rooms, forgotten that we were now at Gerard’s house safe from the outside. Slowly she goes limp, her head leaning back to rest against me.
For a few minutes Gerard and Rain stare at each other, almost as if the other had intruded on a special moment with me. I really hope I didn’t make a mistake coming here. The last thing I want is for the two most important people in my life to dislike each other.
“Do you have breakfast,” Rain questions pushing herself even closer to me.
Gerard nods, “The generator works so I can make you whatever you want. We can even watch old cartoons or listen to music.”
Rain frowns. She grew up on a farm and free time was very limited. Although her family had luxury items such as a TV and radio, my friend still looks down on those who waste their time with such things, even more so now that the world is changed. I can’t really say I blame her. How can we expect Gerard to be okay with traveling and living off the land when he’s so used to having everything come so easily?
“I’ll make my own thanks,” Rain answers before getting out of bed and heading back towards the master bedroom.
“Did I do something wrong?” questions Gerard, getting up off the floor.
I shake my head, “No, not at all. Rain will come around she just doesn’t like new people too much. Also, maybe keep it down about generators and all that other fancy stuff. You don’t want Rain to change her mind about letting you come with us to New York.”
“Will she do that?”
“If I don’t think you’re fit to come with us,” the dark haired girl answers from the door.
This is the first time Gerard has actually gotten to look at Rain. Although she’s short, Rain knows how to carry herself; she has this aura about her that just emits strength. This morning her dark hair cascades down around her shoulders. The jacket she’s borrowing hangs off one shoulder revealing a bright colored star tattoo and the jeans that once belonged to my friend’s sister fit Rain well. For the first time in a while she actually looks like a girl.
“Well I guess I’ll just have to prove to you that I can make it out there,” Gerard says before brushing past her.
Rain and I follow close behind him. As Gerard fixes up a fire in the fireplace Rain pulls the animals we killed yesterday out of the freezer. Surprisingly enough she had enough patience to show Gerard how to properly skin a carcass and he had no problem with learning.
As the two of them work together to prepare breakfast I look on in mute fascination. I’ve never seen Rain this willing to help another human. Sure she’s got compassion but she’s short tempered and doesn’t like explaining things more than once. Gerard is stubborn and often just refuses to learn.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to just cook them on the stove?” Gerard asks as he twists his stick around the meat at the end cooking slowly.
“Sure, but where are you going to find a stove out in the woods. You need to know how to do this stuff, how to be patient, how to eat half cooked food,” Rain explains, an edge to her tone.
Gerard sighs, glaring down at his partially cooked breakfast.
“It tastes good once it’s done,” I explain, taking Rain’s stick from her.
She smiles at me, resting her head on my shoulder. I can tell that she’s still tired. While we’re here Rain might as well get as much sleep as she can. Once we get back out of the road she’ll get very little of it.
Finally our breakfast is ready. Gerard, who has never eaten anything fresh, nibbles at his rabbit, picking little pieces off here and there, throwing them back into the flames.
“You have to eat it all,” Rain says, gnawing at her hunk of meat.
After everything has been cleaned up Rain leaves Gerard and I alone.
“So how long have you been out there?” Gerard asks, flipping through the stations on his radio. He had turned on the generator in order for Rain to take a warm shower.
“About four months. Rain came to get me and we’ve been out in the wilderness ever since,” I explain. “What’s your situation?”
“Well, the last time we talked I told you my parents were going off to Europe to see the family one last time. I just decided I didn’t want to go. Thinking about it now I’m probably better off. My parents had been planning for this whole thing since the very first day they put it on the news. The whole basements stocked with food, generators, extra fuel, water, blankets all that kinda stuff. I’ve just been hanging out here. The outside has never appealed to me and moving on just seemed unpractical until now,” Gerard explains.
“Have you seen any of the creatures?”
Gerard nods, “They wander through the backyard sometimes. If you ignore them, they ignore you. Then again I’ve only ever seen them through the window.”
I nod, still not believing the things are real. Until I see one they don’t exist.
“So what about you and Rain are you two like together?”
My friend’s question catches me off guard, “No. She’s my best friend, we’ve know each other since diapers. She’s probably the only reason I’m still alive right now.”
“You like her though,” Gerard states.
I smile, “Have you seen her?”
My friend laughs, pushing me in the shoulder a bit. Sure, I like Rain. She’s smart and funny and gorgeous but I’m so far into the friend zone there’s no way I’m getting out. Gerard has more a chance with her than I do.
“I’m gonna give you so much shit,” Gee answers.
“I hope you don’t mind getting punched in the face.”
I laugh, “Naw man, by Rain she fucking hates people giving us shit.”
Just about that time the girl walks into the room holding what looks like a bag of crudely rolled cigarettes.
“You just keep weed under your bathroom sink?”
Gerard chews his lip, “My sister did.”
“Why didn’t you tell us this?”
The dark haired boy shrugs, “I don’t know. Do you want some?”
“Fuck yeah,” Rain answers.
So here’s the thing about Rain, she’s been smoking weed since she was about thirteen when her older brother brought it home. For a while I though I’d lost my best friend. She resurfaced after she got the hang of smoking but I still worry she’ll fade away again.
Before I can object the blunt is already being passed back and forth between Gerard and Rain. She waves it in front of my face until I take some.
The laughter starts and the music is turned up even louder, the window rattling. Rain takes Gerard and me by the hand, dragging us out into the middle of the living room. She dances around, giggling like a wild man. For the time being I let my fear of loosing my best friend to a plant and dance around with her.
It’s good to let loose.
Author's Note: Update! Sorry it took so long I'm in the middle of midterms and just finished the first week of the ski season. Anyway, here is another chapter. Enjoy and don't forget to R&R :)