17: Virginia

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They drive for an hour, Autumn giving up trying to relive the peace of the ocean and Adrian's sunburn somehow lightens on his face. Autumn ignores it and strikes up a conversation. By the time they reach their next destination, they're both laughing over the most random things they can think of. 

"Your sandals are untied," says Adrian. 

"But I have an asparagus named Marcia!" says Autumn.

"Does Marcia like gummy bears?"

"She does if they speak Pig Latin,"

"Oh, I see..."

They pull up to a large stone building, where Adrian parks and replaces his smile with an apprehensive look, and looks Autumn in the eye. "You. Are going to love. This."

Autumn laughs once, then steps out of the car. 

She gasps. 

In front of her is a building of two stories, with the words "American Writer's Museum" is painted black on a glowing sign. 

"I... I didn't know this even existed..." she says breathlessly. 

Adrian only smiles. He offers her his arm. "Shall we enter,"

She takes it. "We shall,"

They saunter into the building like that, Autumn's eyes flicking around to take in as much as possible. Reading and writing being the two things she loved in the world most, she couldn't wait to see what lay inside. 

Beyond the double doors, Autumn discovers everything from Mark Twain to records of the first libraries in schools. She absorbs every last word, mesmerized beyond speech. 

When they reach the end, Adrian hates to pull her away from her heaven, but they have to leave eventually. Autumn is so in love with the museum that she doesn't speak until they get to the hotel. She is silent until she is on her hotel bed, with the lamp by her bed still on, and Adrian hears her whisper. 


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