Chapter 19

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Hi everyone! This is kind of like a filler. Anyway, thanks for all your brilliant ideas and enjoy this next chapter.

Ana x


Maisie wakes up again and helps herself to the huge amounts of food we have crammed into the bag. I watch as both of them—my mother and my little sister—slowly get their strength back.

Joshua sits with his knees tucked into his chest a few metres away from us, like he's left out and feels like he doesn't fit in. But I've barely known him for a few days. I don't know, maybe I can't trust him but right now, trust is the only thing I have.

He looks up and notices me watching him. His eyes catch mine and they don't let them go. He's holding onto me, pinning me like a weight against a page on a windy day. The memory of melting chocolate comes back. I watch it, rich and flowing. It softens me.

There's one question going through my mind at the moment. It's What now? Who knew a simple two-letter question could provoke such uncertainty and lead to a chain of other questions like What happened with the storm? Was it a freak storm? Was it intentional? And what are we going to do now?

The safe answer to all those questions is: I don't know.

"What do we do now?" Joshua murmurs. I glance back at him and shrug. I don't know, I want to say.

Mum sits up and brushes her hair from her face. "Good question," she muses. "Well, the storm's gone. My husband's gone. What do I do? Let's see. Make some tea?"

She smiles feebly. I smile with her. At least her humour isn't gone.

She gets up and pulls Maisie up with her.

"Careful," I say, reaching out to steady her.

She brushes me off. "No, I can manage."

I'm surprised at how much strength she's gained. Just a few mouthfuls of food and she's already feeling better.

Then she beckons for us to follow. "Nice shirt," she says with a smile, eyeing my shirt with footballs on it that Josh supplied at the house.

"I'll change," I reply, and slip into my old room.

We troop downstairs once I'm done and she moves swiftly to the counter to turn the kettle on. It rumbles and the thought of some warm tea makes my stomach groan.

Mum turns to Joshua. "What's your name?"

"Joshua," he replies, nodding his head. "Nice to meet you."

She seems impressed by his politeness and turns to the counter where the kettle has finished boiling. "Do you want some tea too?"

He shakes his head. "Yes. But any chance of going to the loo first?"

She nods and then turns to me. "Yes. Amelia, show him where the toilets are."

I move out of the room and down the hallway to the nearest toilet. I can hear Joshua's footsteps behind me. We stop at the door. He doesn't enter. He's staring at me, like I own three heads.

"Joshua." I say softly. "The loo is that way—"

I get cut off when he whips me round, grabs my arm and slams me into the wall. My back hurts and searing pain races through it. I cry out.

"I know where the loo is," he whispers, his voice low. His face is inches away from mine and I struggle to breathe.

He relaxes my arm, shakes himself down. "Look, Amelia. I'm sorry."

I yank my arm away from him. "What the hell was that?"

He shakes his head. "Amelia, I've got something to tell you. This storm—"

"You can tell me after we get tea—"

"No. I need to tell you now. I don't think there's much time left," he says cryptically.

"Much time left for what?" I ask, confused. I rub my arm from where his tight grip was a minute ago. I still can't process how angry he was. "Josh! You're confusing me!"

He looks me in the eyes. Melting chocolate meets me. "Amelia. Hear me out first."

I pipe down.

"Amelia," he murmurs. "I know what caused the storm."

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