Day 4

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Ten Reasons Not To Die

Day 4- Mother Grace

                “Sorry about the mess.” I muttered, tossing one of my shirts off of my bottom bunk that I shared with another orphan. “I didn’t expect you to come again.”

                Evan’s rosy red lips stretched into a small smile. “That makes it sound like you don’t want me here.”

                I shrugged. “I don’t, honestly.”

                Evan frowned with confusion. “What?”

                “I mean, I just don’t want you to see what kind of place I live in. I don’t want you to see that I share a room with three other orphans that are at least five years younger than I am.” I muttered truthfully, lying down on my bottom bunk bed.

                All of my roommates were downstairs, either in the dining hall finishing their homework, or watching cartoons in the living room on the tiny television that only played black and white shows.

                Evan lay down beside me, as I tensed up. I mean, I didn’t have a problem with him lying beside me, it was just very intimate.

                “I don’t mind.” Evan whispered, eyes locking into mine. My bunk bed wasn’t the largest out there, so our faces were pretty close. If I moved just a few inches, our lips would be touching.

                “I don’t know much about you.” I said.

                “What do you mean?” Evan asked, warm breath tickling my throat.

                I gulped, rolling my body away from his, so that I was lying on my back. I stared up at the bottom of the bed above mine, licking my dry lips. “I mean, I know you as Evan Woods, the guy from school that everyone loves because of how nice he is to everyone.” I smiled softly. “But, who is the real Evan? Who are you?”

              Evan shrugged, face pale and blank. He cleared his throat, his eyes having a confused look in them. “I don’t know.” He whispered gently. “I’m just Evan, I guess.”

                I sighed with disappointment, turning my face away from his. The Evan everyone saw on the outside was happy and carefree. But, who was he under all of that?

                Suddenly, someone knocked on the door, startling me. I jumped up from my bed, hitting my head on the bottom of the bunk bed above mine. I groaned, rubbing my head. “Come in.” I muttered.

                Mother Grace came in with a small smile on her face. “Dinner is ready.” She told me, as her eyes casted over to Evan. “Would you like to join us, dear?”

                Evan’s cheeks turned bright red, as he shook his head. “I-It’s fine. I was just going.”

                Mother Grace chuckled, shaking her head. “Nonsense! We have enough room for another guest.”

                I punched Evan gently on his shoulder. “Come on. The food here isn’t too bad.” I teased, earning a laugh from Mother Grace.

                The two of us followed Mother Grace down to the dining hall, where all the kids were already seated. Evan and I took the two empty seats beside each other near the front of the table, while Mother Grace took the head.

                “I hope you like roasted chicken?” Mother Grace asked Evan. “If not, we have some leftover sandwiches from lunch earlier today.”

                Evan shook his head, giving Mother Grace a thankful smile. “Chicken is good, thank you.”

                I cut up my chicken into bits, as I took a bite. The dinner that Evan was going to have here wasn’t going to be the best, but the orphanage couldn’t afford to feed thirty children five star meals.

                After dinner, Evan and I offered to help clean up with Mother Grace, while the other kids got a break from their chores today.

                “Remy, I’ve been meaning to tell you something.” Mother Grace announced, as she swept the floor. Evan was washing the dishes, while I helped him dry the plates.

                “What is it, Mother Grace?” I asked, placing a plate on the stack.

               “I’ve known you for a good nine years, Remy. You’re pretty much like a daughter to me.” Mother Grace started off, as I held in my breath, hands trembling. “Your progress from school has always been beyond average, and your teachers have confirmed it. We’ll have to let you go next year, unfortunately. But, we have saved up a fund for you to go to college.”

                My eyes widened, as my head snapped towards Mother Grace. “Mother Grace, you didn’t have to-“

                “Yes, darling.” Mother Grace smiled. “I had to. It’s been sad seeing many families pass up on you, but they’ve definitely missed out on an intelligent, obedient, beautiful girl.”

                Mother Grace’s words made my eyes well up. My vision became blurry, as Evan glanced at me with a worried expression.

                “The nuns that have watched you grow into a beautiful young woman all agree that your intelligence would be wasted if you didn’t go to college. That’s why we saved a fund on you. It’s not a whole lot of money, but it should be enough for a semester or two at a university.”

                I choked back my tears, as I stared at Mother Grace with moist eyes. I gave her a weak smile that meant more than any smile I’ve ever given to someone. “Thank you, Mother Grace. Thank you so much.”

                Mother Grace smiled back at me. “No, Remy. Thank you.” She let out a deep breath of air. “I’m going to check on the little ones now. After you and Evan finish doing the dishes, you two are free to do whatever you’d wish.”

                Mother Grace stepped out of the kitchen, as I bit down on my lower lip. Evan cleared his throat, giving me a gentle smile. With his fingertips, he tilted my chin up.

                “Don’t you see how many people love you?” he asked green eyes engulfing into mine. “Stay alive, Remy. For Mother Grace, she’s invested so much into you.”

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