All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
As her fall was broken by a large hay bale directly beneath us she looked up at me stunned, then giggled.
“That was fun!”
I smiled, only a Pieter girl would find something like this fun.
We had done it; running free over the large expanse of unused paddock we skipped and giggled with delight.
Constantly running or walking, just moving in general for hours and hours eventually brought us to an old run down barn.
Running my hand over the rough wood of the barn I pushed against the large red doors, they creaked as they swung back on their old rusted hinges. Looking around, there were horses in separate areas; sheep in another, cows, chickens and above them all; a loft with hay; Our bed for tonight. Alexis followed my gaze, looking up she sighed.
“I’ll go first.” Not needing to reply I simply followed her. This is how we were going to be living from now on.
“My life on the run” I breathed
“Our life” she whispered to me.
Moving over to the far corner we attempted to find a comfortable position to sleep in for tonight. No matter how I lay a strand of coarse hay managed to stick into my skin through my clothes. Grumbling to myself I turned over and attempted to close my eyes for another few minutes. Just as I was drifting off into blissful sleep I heard the smallest, most insignificant creak, but it was enough to instantly put all my senses in overdrive. Snapping my eyes open I forced my self not to move a muscle, looking around the now darkened barn I couldn’t see a thing, I shut my eyes and put all my concentration on my hearing willing them to pick up the slightest sound, taking a deep, silent breath in I separated the common barn smells from the more foreign smells. Like a nice smelling musky aroma. The smell brought a smile to my lips, not knowing why but it smelt familiar, it wasn’t strong enough to directly trigger my memory but it was enough to know there was a memory.
As a shadowy figure came into my line of sight, I protectively put my arm around Alexis, trying not to wake her. I heard a creek as a foot was placed on the lower rung of the ladder. Judging by the creak of the rung the un-sub is about 74kg, which makes them about six-two, so most likely a male. Slowly rising to my feet, I stood protectively in front of Alexis, ready to defend her to the death.
“Hello?” A young masculine voice was heard in the darkness.
He sounded nervous, as if he didn’t know who was here. That means it’s not one of the officers looking for us.
I replied in my most vulnerable voice.
“Who’s there?” Purposely adding a tremor.
It worked, he responded reassuringly.
“I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
I smiled. “I’m sorry, my sister and I needed a place to stay for the night. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course not, but its cold out here. Come up to the house and I’ll get you some food and something warm to drink, you can stay in the spare room for as long as you like.”
We had to avoid forming close relationships with anyone, but how could I turn down a warm bed and hot food? I mean, Alexis needed it as bad as I did.
Just as we were climbing a hill walking towards the house, I happened to glance out of the corner of my eye. What I saw stopped me clear in my tracks.
“Are you ok?” glancing at the man who had just found us, I took in the all too familiar features of brunette hair, incredibly good looking and green eyes. It was Julian.
I coughed to cover up my gaping mouth which was practically scraping the ground.
“Umm, yeah. I think I just swallowed a bug or something.” Alexis giggled.
“We’re not supposed to eat bugs!”
Suddenly remembering I had Alexis with me I urged her on.
“Are you cold sweetie?”
“Woah, since when do we have nicknames for each other” Julian winked at me.
“Not you, I was talking to Alexis, but are you cold too Julian?”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I willed my mouth to open back up and swallow them whole. I realized the mistake I had made and instantly started thinking excuses.
He looked at me. “How do you know my name? I haven’t told you.”
I giggled nervously. “Woah! Did I actually get your name right? Umm, I have a good guess, my friend looks really similar to you and his name is Julian, I suppose I just thought you looked like a Julian. Woah, I still can’t believe I actually guessed your name. Try guess mine.” I realized I was rambling and so I shut my mouth.
“Hmmm, you look kind of like a Lucy, or maybe a Jen?”
“Nope and nope. My name’s Sierra and this is my sister Alexis.”
He put out his hand, a true gentleman.
“Pleased to meet you Sierra”
Bending down to Alexis’ height he chucked her under the chin.
“And pleased to meet you too Alexis”
She giggled shyly and wrapped her arms around my leg.
“Now shall we go in, the fire is going in the lounge, go pull up a couple of chairs and thaw yourselves out. I’ll bring us some milo.” He looked at me and smiled, holding out his arm he ushered us into the warm kitchen.
“Thank you kind sir.” I responded playing along.
Ensuring Alexis was settled and comfortable in a large plush chair pulled close to the fire, I returned to the kitchen to help Julian with the milo.
Leaning against the door frame I looked at his tall build and smiled, when I first met him I never thought he would be a farmer, he didn’t have the tell-tale smell of hay or animals just a strong musk smell.
Feeling my eyes on him, he looked at me. His lips quirked up on the left hand side, something fluttered in my stomach, he was so good looking.
I walked towards him.
“Want some help?” I giggled like a school girl.
“Well, I don’t think milo needs many people to make, but if you’re offering conversation I’m in.” His voice had a slight rustic drawl to it.
As I spooned some of the milo into a mug I started casual conversation.
“So do you live here by yourself?” He stiffened.
Crap, I’ve struck out on round one I thought, slowly he began to relax.
“My brother runs the farm, but he’s… out at the moment. Some convict escaped from the local prison a couple of miles away from here. Apparently they’re dangerous. His line of work is extreme to say the least. But he’s always looked after me, ever since our parents passed.” He swallowed back the pain and emotion threatening to overcome him.
“Alexis and I have had a similar upbringing, I’ve been looking after her since she was a year old, and I was thirteen.” He smiled sympathetically,
“Let me guess, you didn’t want others involved?”
“How did you know?”
“My brother, Xavier was the same. He wanted to be independent. I remember times I was so hungry that when I did eat I would just vomit it back up. Xavier would always give me his portion, he was like the father figure I never had.”
I sighed, we were so similar. Back in the lounge I sat on a seat next to Alexis and was passing her milo when I saw her head hung limp against the edge of the chair. Her blonde hair covered her delicate face. I smiled,
“I think she’s asleep”
Watching as Julian put his mug on a coffee table he walked towards Alexis and scooped her up into his strong arms, she wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled into his chest. I smiled, this was nice, I felt like I could trust Julian, he was the closest thing I had to a friend. And the fact that Alexis is comfortable around him proves a lot.
Following Julian and Alexis down the dark hallway I took in my surroundings out of habit, just in case we had to make another fast escape. As Julian turned into a room on the right hand side, Alexis’ eyes fluttered in her sleep and she mumbled something under her breath. He flicked on the light, and my eyes adjusted to the light, I glanced around the room. It had the typical set up of a spare room, not that I had seen many spare bedrooms in my life time, but I wasn’t ignorant to the way the other half lived. It was well furnished, with two single beds, one on either side of the room, a large mirror in the middle of the wall between the beds, a painting of an ancient Colosseum hung on the wall above the bed on the left.
“Julian, this is beautiful! I can’t say thank you enough.” He just smiled in reply and gently placed Alexis under the covers of the first bed, pulling the covers up around her shoulders he ran a gentle finger across her forehead. Curious I looked at his face, emotions were flitting across, happiness, sadness, joy and most of all, pain.
He took a breath to steady his voice and wiped the open emotion off his face. Turning to me he smiled,
“She’s gorgeous, like her sister.”
I felt warmth flood across my face, I’m not used to receiving compliments. Turning hurriedly I walked out the door and turned right.
“Sierra.” He placed his hand on my arm, I stiffened but forced myself to relax.
“Yes” I put on my most carefree voice.
“Your going the wrong way.” He whispered to me, amusement in his voice.
“I knew that, I was just testing to see if your brain was working considering your eyes clearly aren’t.”
“I know what I see, and I see beauty.” Pulling away I walked into the lounge and sat back down in the plush chair. As I sat looking around the cozy warm room I glanced into the flames flickering, making patterns on the walls, I felt my eyes getting heavier. Mentally shaking myself I forced my self to stay awake; I can’t fall asleep in a perfect strangers house. Just as I was rinsing out my mug in the sink, Julian walked in, leaning against the door frame he looked at me.
“I’m not used to seeing women in the kitchen.”
I laughed, this time a pure, heart felt laugh.
“Now that’s something I haven’t heard before!” As he walked towards me water droplets glistened in his hair, he just had a shower. Talking around a yawn that escaped my lips I asked.
“Oh, by the way, what’s the time?” I giggled, remembering the first time I met Julian.
He looked at me sharply, as if that triggered a memory, a confused look crossed his face but as fast as it appeared, it disappeared.
“It’s 5.30, are you getting tired?”
“Yeah I am a little” I admitted.
“There’s another bed in the spare room. Further down the hall on your left is a bathroom, it has a shower and toilet. There are towels in the cupboard under the sink. Help yourself.”
“Thank you. Goodnight.” I hesitated as I passed him, stopping under the door frame I turned and flung my arms around his neck.
“really, thank you.” As he wrapped his arms around my waist he whispered into my hair.
“really, your welcome.”