Birds chirping outside the window woke Clare up very early in the chilly morning. She glanced over at the clock on the night stand. It read five o'clock in luminous red digits. Exhausted, yet tired of lying around, she welcomed the wakeup call. She dragged herself out of bed. Surprised her body was agile so early in a winter's morning. She walked into the bathroom and turned the cold tap full on and stood listening to the whooshing water, still reeling from the shock of the past day.
She felt around the wall for the light switch, and turned it on. The immense mirror adorning the entire length of the wall reflected her face, extenuating the loneliness that had surrounded her.
The occasional traffic whizzed past the manor, and all Clare could think about was to run off to some place familiar. To someone familiar! Brandon.
It was too early. Visiting hours wouldn't start for four hours. Memories of days just gone flashed in fluorescence in her mind. As bright as the light streaming from the light fitting above her head. All the moments she had shared with him played over. The most astonishing and heart-wrenching moment came back to her: Brandon collapsing in a heap. She shut her eyes and saw the image again. Please, let him be okay.
Opening her eyes, her reflection stared back. She sighed, and splashed icy cold water on her face. Numb to its biting chill.
Brandon lay in bed, eyes shut, patiently listening to the murmur of the twilight hour, the humming of the hospital. Among all the sound, he could make out the ticking off the clock hands above on the opposite wall of the room. Clare's phone number played on, looping itself, like some far-away transition in his head. He didn't know how long he'd been awake. He flicked on the light and looked over at the clock. Quarter to six. He had been awake for almost three hours with only one thought, Clare. She had asked him to call her. He was itching to pick up the phone and dial. Had it not been for Maggie spying on him, he would have called up Clare instantly.
Its nearly six, he thought, not too early. Without a second thought he pushed himself up, grabbed the phone and dialled. Soon, the ringing started on the other side. Come on pick up, pick up! The call went through to an answering machine. Brandon hung up, and then a moment later dialled again. Just when he was about to hang up, a husky, crackling male voice answered. "Good Morning, Peterson residence."
Brandon hesitated. The phone was being answered by a man. Is she with someone? A boyfriend? He considered hanging up.
"Hello, is anyone there?" the voice crackled through the receiver again. "Look, if this is some sort of a prank..."
"Sorry, I was just. Is Clare available?" Brandon asked quickly.
"Miss Peterson can't get to the phone right now..." Henry informed. "If you would like to leave a message, I would gladly pass it on. I'm meeting her this afternoon".
"No, that's alright, wasn't that urgent" Brandon paused. "Would you please let her know, Brandon McCoy called".
"Sure thing," Henry said, writing the name down. "If you have a contact number..."
"No, I don't have a permanent residence in the city. I'll ring again."
"I'll let her know."
Before Brandon could hang up, Henry's voice rang out again. "I recommend you try to get a hold of her in the evening. The number is..."
After scrambling for something to write with Brandon cleared his throat and thanked Henry. "Sorry about having to woken you this early. You have a good day". He hung up, feeling a little disconcerted.
YOU ARE READING
In Strange Company (**Complete**)Teen Fiction
Clare Peterson is rich, confident and beautiful, but even she knows money can't rescue her from her loneliness. As an unremarkable year draws to an end, she is shipped off to a ski trip in the company of strangers; her father's idea of love, but tor...