6. Infernos & Storms

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It's only been 2 days, but I'm finally back on my feet. I feel like a brand new man. I picked Marissa up a "thank you" present before I went to her house. Her dad must have been at work, because I didn't see any cars in the driveway. I knocked, begging for escape from the harsh, windy, rainy elements. I'm not used to this shit. Marissa opened the door and I rushed in.

"Someone feels better. I bet you miss the Nevada sun." She joked. I went over to the fireplace and sat down. 

"Fuck this." The flames became my best friend. Marissa took my hands and rubbed them. 

"It's not that bad, you drama queen." She taunted.

"How are you doing?" I held her hands. 

"Slowly dying like everyone else." She said. 

"We'll die together." I played along. I was rewarded with a smile. 

"How are you feeling?" 

"Back to normal, thanks to my nurse." 

"I felt bad for you." 

"I'm good now. Did you go to school today?" 

"No, it was the last day. I didn't feel the need to say bye to anyone." 

"What about your friends?" 

"You mean friend, Ian. I can say bye to him anytime." 

"How old is he?" 

"18. He graduates this year." 

"Are you going to his graduation?" 

"Of course. I can't miss that. Then, he's going to LA to dance." 

"Is he moving out there?" 

"No, he's going there to feel things out and see what he can do. I think I'm going to move out there." 

"When you graduate?" 

"Maybe sooner." She tossed something into the fire. Her energy changed, like something instantly brought her down.

"This may be an odd question, but it's summer, why do you have the fireplace going in the first place?" 

"I was burning some things." 

"What?" 

"Paper, old memories."

"You-"

"Not Trent." She quickly looked at me to deny. I tried to decipher the look on her face. 

"You seem distance." I examined the blankness in her eyes. "Are you okay?" "I'm fine."

"What were you doing before I came over?" I'll accept any answer except drugs. 

"Sitting here thinking about my mom." 

"Do you miss her?" 

"No, I was thinking about something she said. Something about my future." She tossed something else into the inferno.

"Your future?" 

"Yes. The unknown makes me nervous." She turned her head my way, but wouldn't look at me. "I want something out of my future that she doesn't believe in. Maybe she doesn't believe in me."

"What do you want out of your future?" 

"Peace of mind." Marissa answered sincerely, but with some sense of disbelief or embarrassment by the naive wish.

"First, you have to find what gives you peace." 

"Dancing. I feel free and peaceful when I dance. I feel uplifted." 

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