It's nearly midnight and rain is pouring around me. The black hood of my sweatshirt is pulled up around my long chestnut colored hair, providing some shelter from the bullets of water shooting from the clouds. My dark wash jeans are plastered to my legs and my vans are soaked through, feet swimming. I don't know where I'm going, but I know I can't go back home.
After I've been wandering for what seems like hours, I find myself in the most unexpected place possible. For a second, I consider walking on, but I can feel that my lips have turned blue and my body has started to tremble uncontrollably. Slowly, I make my way to the side of the slightly run down white house, having to hop a fence in the process. After wrestling with a trash bin, I'm finally in front of a dimly lit window. The shades are cracked open just enough for me to see into the cluttered room, and a well built, medium sized figure sitting up on the bed. I take a deep breath and raise my hand up to tap on the window. The light knock is barely audible to me, the rain drowning it out, but I see Daniel's head snap up. He looks at his window for a moment before going back to playing with his phone. I tap again, only harder this time. He sets his phone down and cautiously moves toward the window. Momentarily, he vanishes from my view. I stand on tip toe, trying to see where he went. Suddenly, the shades fly open and Daniel is standing in front of the window, a cricket bat gripped tightly in his hand. I know there's a glass shield between us, but I stumble back, surprised. He squints out at me and I timidly step closer. He realizes who I am and drops the formidable weapon, tugging his window open quickly.
"Annabelle? What are you doing here?" he asks, leaning on his forearms and poking his head out the opening. Seeing him there in front of me, I almost chicken out.
"Um... Well, I know we don't really know each other and I shouldn't have just shown up at your window in the middle of the night without warning but I need a place to stay and you can say no but I wound up in front of your house and I don't have any other options so could I spend the night?" I hurl the words at him quickly, not taking a breath. I look up from my hands and find him staring at me curiously. There is a moment of terrifying silence where I think he is going to turn me away. I look back down, expecting him to tell me to go, and feel my world closing in.
"Okay," I look up at him and can't stop the shocked expression from coating my features. He laughs. "What? Did you think I was going to say no?" I'm ashamed to admit to myself that I thought, without a doubt, he would say no. I give him an embarrassed smile and he just shakes his head. "Well then I guess this is a pleasant surprise," he steps away, motioning me in. I hoist myself up stiffly, tumbling onto the piles of clothes and various items of entertainment that reside underneath the window painfully. I scoot over onto bare floor to avoid getting anything wet and tug off my shoes. When I get up, I realize Daniel isn't in the room with me. I feel weird just standing there, but I don't want to move and drip on anything. Fortunately, he comes back quickly, gently shuting the door behind him, a towel in his hand. He goes to his dresser and pulls out a pair of sweat pants and a t shirt. When he hands the stack to me I have to fight the urge to kiss him with happiness. Before I can ask where I should change, he tells me he will turn around while I switch clothing. Just to be safe, I face away from him. Peeling off my sopping clothes proves difficult, even more so than it normally would have because of the thick gashes on my back and shoulders. When I was walking I didn't realize how badly I was injured, the freezing rain numbing my pain away. I towel off my legs and pull the warm sweat pants on before starting with my sweatshirt. I don't even get an arm out before I let out a quiet gasp, the rough material grating against my skin.
"Annabelle? Do you... do you need help?" Daniel asks gently. I consider turning down his offer, wanting to maintain some dignity and avoid questions, but I realize that's not an option. I turn to face him before saying yes, trying to hide my back. Daniel steps toward me and I can't meet his eyes while he grabs ahold of the cuffs of my sleeves while I wiggle out slowly.
"I need you to pull the bottom up, but try to keep it away from my back if you can," I tell him, and he obliges silently. I'm grateful for the fact that I chose to wear a sports bra today. He picks up the towel and shirt while I tug my head out, and hands them to me.