Arizona Skies
Author: Isabella Darcy

Chapter 3
A New Friend

I awaken the next morning with a more optimistic world view. I am one of those few morning people, and as I shower and then dress in the sundrenched warmth of my room, I feel a bit better. Maybe today I'll finish my drawing.

I don a loose peasant shirt and some shorts and slip on my flip flops. I look pretty today, I think- my cheeks are rosy and my eyes bright. With this happy thought I grab my bag and hurry downstairs to the kitchen where Lindsey is cooking breakfast.

"Hey," she says as I enter the room. "Breakfast?"

"Sure." I sit down and watch as she dishes me up some hashbrowns and eggs with salsa- real Arizona fare, I suppose. At home I'd normally have something quick and easy, like cereal- but, I remind myself, this clearly isn't home.

"So, Aurora," Lindsey sits down opposite me and sips a mug of coffee, "I'm going into town today. I was wondering if you'd want to come- if there's anything you need?"

I shake my head. "Um, actually I'm okay. I was gonna just go out and draw for a while."

She seems relieved. "Oh, alright then. Well, I'll be back around two or so. There's some food in the fridge if you get hungry."

I swallow the remainder of my eggs and jump up, grabbing my bag. "Thanks."

I hurry out into the already stifling heat. The yellow morning light floods the flat landscape like syrup. I take my time as I walk to the rock, occasionally passing a Bitter Springs native. Finally I reach it, but to my surprise someone is already there. This is awkward.

He turns around and I'm greeted by a grinning tanned face surrounded by lively brown curls. He rises with a friendly grin and sticks out a hand.

"Hi. I'm Frank Thompson."

I smile back shyly. Wow. A nice Arizoner. I shake his hand, which is strong and muscular. "I'm Aurora Lark."

He shades his eyes with a hand and gestures towards Lindsey's. "You're Lindsey Lark's granddaughter, right? The new girl."

I shrug with a rueful laugh. "Yeah, I guess."

His eyes take in my bag. "Are you going somewhere? I don't wanna hold you up."

"Oh, no." I blush. "Actually, I just came here to draw."

"You draw?" he seems genuinely interested, and as we both settle onto the rock I pull out my sketchbook and hand it to him.

"I'm working on that one now."

His eyes, which I now notice are a brilliant blue, rove appreciatively over the art. "This is really good." He hands it back and looks at me with a ready smile.

"How long have you been here? I haven't seen you round."

"Oh, I just came yesterday."

He nods. "California?"

"Yeah." I draw my knees up to my chest and stare out at the sunwashed expanse surrounding us.

"So, Aurora..." drawing my attention back to his smiling eyes.

"Yes?"

"That's an interesting name. As in Borealis?"

I laugh. "Sure, why not."

"And so how are you liking Bitter Springs, Aurora Borealis?"

I bite my lip and attempt a smile. "It's okay. I mean," I try harder, not wanting to offend, "it's really beautiful. I just..."

"Miss California?" he suggests sympathetically. I nod.

"I can understand that. Bitter Springs isn't exactly Beverly Hills, and it's not really interesting. Though you," his tone brightens up, "have certainly improved it in that respect."

I blush. Frank continues, his eyes eagerly searching my face. "If you want, after you're done drawing, I could show you around."

I smile. "That'd be great. Thanks."

He flashes me a smile and leans back onto the rock, staring up at the sky, and I put my pastel to the paper once more.

 

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