This piece is for Magpie Tales (that supplied the prompt) and follows on from my Magpies 32, 31 and 29 that you can find by clicking my blog title above. Hope you enjoy...
April dazily opened her eyes and looked out the window to the unfamiliar places and people. The small clock in the car read 3.47PM and she relaxed at the gentle smile of her husband, Jeremy.
"Afternoon gorgeous," he said softly as he stared ahead out the windscreen, occasionally glancing at her tired face.
"Wow," she said, "how long have I been sleeping?"
"Just a few hours," he said, "we're almost there. I'd say about half an hour." April nodded but her heart leaped. Her stomach dropped and freaked out at the thought of meeting with this person after two years. If Jeremy had taught her anything in the time she'd known him it was who to trust under their circumstances. This was the only person.
They both felt unsteady when they stepped out of the car and onto the pavement after the long drive. They'd stopped at a lonely, isolated deli to grab something to eat and drink once, but only once. And when he'd gone in and seen the paper he kept his head down, being careful to not make eyecontact with the old lady reading her own copy of the paper.
"That's seven fifty," she said, holding out a frail hand with her eyes not leaving her newspaper. Jeremy had placed a ten dollar note in her hand and quickly left. He shouldn't have even worried though; It took her long enough to realise he'd given too much, let alone get a look at his face and match him to the face on the front of the newspaper.
But now, at their final destination, hard ground once again beneath them they slowly made their way to the front door.
Three quick knocks on the door with a sweet 'Welcome' sign. Although they hardly showed it the two of them were nervous, they were scared. This was the one person that had always been by their sides, one person they could always trust-no matter what. So why were they nervous? Were they scared it would ruin the trust, that this person had changed. Jeremy thought not. This person was unique, forgave the right people. He'd known this person long, the trust couldn't be broken. They heard a key in the door and the twisting of the knob until it was pulled right open.
Her face lit up, her long hair messily draped over her shoulders. She looked them both up and down until she fixed her eyes on Jeremy. That was when he saw it. He knew she was glad he was here. She would take them in. It would be alright.
She hushed them quickly inside and then hugged him as tightly as she could.
"You mischief maker, I missed you."
She turned to April and hugged her too. She'd taken a quick liking to April two years ago when they'd met.
"Paulie, you've seen the paper?" he asked.
"It's great to see you too," she said, "anyone up for tea." He smiled at the way she took nothing seriously. As far back as he could remember she never had. When neither of them replied she turned back to face them.
"We'll talk about it over some tea," Paulie said in an insisting voice. And with that she turned back around and walked to the kitchen.
"You don't know how much I've missed you," she said as she put on the noisy kettle.
"All the same here," Jeremy said.
"Well, tell me," she said, "tell me how on earth you two did so well for two years."
April sat on a cushioned stool by the bench and Jeremy joined her on one next to her.
"Okay yes, we've got you to thank," he said. She falsely acted flattered.
"The cottage was okay then?"
"It was lovely," April spoke for the first time since arriving, "It was such a shame we had to leave."
"Yes," Paulie said. She reached up to a cupboard and pulled out three mugs.
After the tea was made they all sat down in the lounge.
"So yes," Paulie said suddenly, and softly, "I saw the paper this morning." They all seemed to sit there quietly. Unsure of how to go on. Unsure of what to say.
"The whole country's on a lookout for you now," she said, "they know your faces." Their stomachs turned and April pushed away her tea onto the coffee table.
"And I'm sorry but I don't know what to do," she said, "But you can stay here as long as you need to."
"Thankyou," Jeremy replied.
"I'm just sorry I can't help more."
After dinner April, still extremely tired and her body taken over probably more by anxiety than anything decided on an early night. After reading for a while Paulie went to bed as well and it was 2 the next morning when April woke again. The other side of the bed was unthouched, neat. She slipped out of the bed and opened the door to the pitch black hall. At the end of the hall there was a faint light and she walked slowly towards it, feeling the walls either side of herself. When she reached the end of the hall she ended up at the lounge room.
There Jeremy sat on Paulie's vintage couch. A lamp above him shining brightly on his dreaming mind. A book lay open on his chest. She smiled at her husband despite anxiety running right through her. She sat beside him and lay her head on his shoulder. He woke, startled.
"I'm sorry," she said guiltily, "I didn't mean to wake you."
"It's okay," he said smiling, looking right into her eyes.
She sighed, "What are we going to do?"
"I dont know," he said as he put his arm around her, letting her head sit on his shoulder. They both sat there in silence, both thinking. Despite being searched for by the country they tried to enjoy the moment that was as close to perfect as they would get for a while.
They both felt the heat from the lamp above them and tried hard to see light of the situation.