Chapter 8

Getting out of the shower, I wrap a towel around my dripping body. My hair sticks to my back as I grab the clothes I set to the side to change into. A hot shower after a long day is always refreshing. At first, it was weird using a different shower, but I quickly let it go and decided to keep an open mind.

I dry off and slip on my clean clothes before taking the towel and drying my hair to the best of my abilities. It still lays damp on my shoulders but I know that is as dry as it will get. Surprisingly I found my clothes unpacked already as if some invisible fairy did it all magically while I was gone.

When I finish up in the bathroom I open the door but immediately close it when I notice Eric in the bedroom. Thankfully he doesn't notice as I peek through the thin crack of space left. Suddenly he takes off his shirt and I look away, closing the door completely. My lips run dry and I sit on the edge of the bathtub. Looking down at my arms I see at the shallow cuts and scrapes, needing to wrap them up again. I didn't want him to see them.

"Isabella?" I hear him call and I quickly open the door, revealing his now clothed chest.

"Sorry, I'm done," I slip past him with my arms crossed but he manages to stop me. Carefully he lifts up my wounded arm and looks at it. "It doesn't hurt too bad anymore, I just have to..."

"Jesus Isabella, how did you manage to do this?" He peers down at me.

"Well, my arms were wrapped around the trunk because the branch I was on cracked, so I just kept slipping down," I explain.

He sighs and runs his hand through his dark hair. "Please, no more tree climbing."

"If it will help you sleep at night then okay, no more tree climbing."

After telling him that I'm going downstairs to get food, I head into the kitchen alone. Turning on the light, I see it's already dark outside.

I stare at the fridge, the cabinets, and drawers with hesitation, not knowing what to do. Should I just open whatever up and see if there's food inside? Obviously there will be in the fridge, so I peek in there first. Overall I see a lot of food, which is good. I swallow and look at the kitchen entrance to make sure Eric is not watching me look like a fool, though I'm sure he is in the shower.

First I grab the orange juice then shut the fridge to find a glass. One by one, I peek into the cabinet until I find one full of glassware. I grab a cup and carefully place it on the counter. Using other peoples things brings me a lot of stress. What if I drop it? What if I spill it? What if it shatters on the floor?

After pouring the glass I put the orange juice back into the fridge and take a sip. Remembering where Caroline found the first aid kit, I go to the bathroom and look under the counter. Thankfully it is there so I take it back to the kitchen.

I simply take the tube of Neosporin and gently place a bit on the larger cuts before grabbing the wrapping. Slowly I wrap it around my arm after holding the end in place with my chin. I do the same on the other arm and hand before closing up the kit and bringing it back to the bathroom. Hopefully by morning most of the little ones will be gone.

Looking up into the mirror, my face falls. I look very tired, but I guess that's what happens when you are tired.

Back in the kitchen, I grab an apple and lean against the counter, looking for time to think. I wonder how Kendra is doing— I wonder if she can sleep. The sounds of her sobs still invade my mind.

The moonlight casts an eerie glow in the kitchen, as I shut off the lights to stare up at the moon. Sometimes when I'm upset I stare up at the moon and think about what space is like, the vast nothingness. The thoughts distract me from my tiny problems. I gaze up at the moon now, yet I am not upset, I am lonely. I shouldn't be, Eric is right upstairs. Maybe I am missing the feeling of being surrounded by people I know? I like to think that we are no longer complete strangers, yet I feel alone.

Biting into the apple again, I look down.

"Sitting in the dark?"

I glance behind me to see him standing there. "Something like that," I say.

He comes closer. "Is there a reason why?"

"The moonlight," I motion up at the full, bright moon hanging in the sky, "it makes everything beautiful."

He looks at me. "It does."

I shy away and turn from the windows, facing the other way. "Where should I sleep? I feel like I haven't slept in forever and it's beginning to drive me a bit insane."

"Wherever you want," he turns also.

"So if I want to sleep outside like a dog I can?"

"Wherever you want, in moderation."

I smile and look away. "Your father, does he live with your mom?"


"How long have they been together?" I ask, curious. In the picture, they look so happy, so in love.

He sighs. "Maybe twenty-five years. Why are you so interested in them?"

"Not so much them, as I am you. I just want to know about your family."

"Okay, tell me about your family. I met your sister and mother, what about your father?" He asks and my shoulders fall.

"He died a while ago, I was younger and I've accepted it now. But I want to meet your father."

He nods slowly. "Tomorrow, we can go over." I smile as he watches me closely. "I wish I could see life through your eyes. You only seem to see the good in things."

I gaze up at the sky— the vast expanse of darkness that engulfs and swallows up the forest. A canopy of stars clutter the space, some shining brightly while others stay dull. The forest always looks different at night, as if the trees are replaced with ominous versions of themselves to scare children away. "If I don't, then I know I'll begin to hate life. I can't let myself become depressed and miserable. As long as I see the good in life, I'll feel good in life." I explain. "People have to stop wasting time trying to change everything, and just accept the world for how it is."

My gaze stays fixed on the moon as Eric looks up at it too. "Every word that leaves your lips... Nothing has made more sense to me."

Looking at him, our eyes connect and my heart slowly begins to beat harder and harder. His hand falls gently against my cheek and my lungs rise, filling to the brim with crisp air. The warmth from his touch seeps into my skin and the entire sensation relaxes my being. Gently, he brushes the stray, damp hairs from my face. We both gaze deeper into each other's eyes; not a word spoken by either of us. I am losing myself in the hypnotic trance of his stare, then he leans down, his lips press softly against my forehead. Before he lets go completely he whispers against my skin, "it's getting late, you should get some sleep."

My toes curl and my fingers scrunch up into fists. Why must he do this to me? How does he do this to me?

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