Arizona Skies
Author: Isabella Darcy

Chapter 31
Awakening

When I wake up there's a familiar pouring sound, that pounding of raindrops on windows, and I sguiggle, eyes half closed, in bed. It must be a continuation of my dream. You know, those weird dreams where you dream you wake up but you think you're still in a dream, and the whole thing was a dream. Confusing, right?

As the heat escapes from the covers, my eyes manage to unglue themselves, and the pounding becomes more pronounced. Either I'm going insane from so much dry weather, or it's, God forbid, raining.

I swing my legs over the bed. There's only one way to solve this problem. Kneeling down, I touch the window, and its cold. I can barely see anything, its all gray and frosted. Could it possibly be...? I'm just unfastening the latch when a loud thud! hits the window. I freeze mid-action. Not hail, too.

I wait, crouched on the floor, and soon enough, another. Finally I'm too curious. I swing open the window and a rush of cold air greets me, along with...beautiful little water droplets!! Sticking my torso out of the window, the rain saturates my hair and blows it around my face, cold brushing my lips and cheeks till they feel numb. But there's no hail. So what was that thud?

"Aurora!"

I look down with a start, and almost fall out of the window.

"Aubrey?" I gasp.

He's standing below my window, holding a couple of pebbles. Ah. So there's the explanation for the "hail". The wind is whipping his drenched auburn hair around his face, and he's dripping, but he's grinning up at me with that half-moon smile.

"What are you doing out there?" I squawk. "You must be freezing!"
Aubrey grins. "A little, yeah. I wanted to be the first to show you. Rain for my California girl!"

The way he says that makes me think of Frank, and my smile fades as quickly as it came. But Aubrey's below, happily oblivious, yelling up through the rain.

"Come out here, Aurora!" He spins crazily in the rain that's now increased in intensity, maniacally laughing. "Woo hoo!"

I bite back my smile and shiver. By now I have goosebumps all over my bare arms. "You're crazy, Aubrey Hunter!" I laugh, leaning out to yell into the wind, "Haven't you ever seen rain before?"
But he looks like he's having so much fun, I can't resist. Shaking my head at myself all the while, I jam on some slippers and a sweater and run down the stairs, banging the screen door, and rush out into the backyard to join him. I've barely gone ten feet and already I feel the wetness relentlessly soaking through.

"Aha!" He shouts, running towards me with a huge smile, "There she is!" Then, before I can even protest, he grabs me by the waist and is spinning me around, through the rain in big, swirling circles.

Color and water flashes by as we spin, like a dreidel, all my weight on him. We go faster, the wind twirling us with a hissing sound, and I smile into his ecstatic face and laugh, throwing my head back, water pouring down my neck and soaking the sweater.

"This is amazing!" Aubrey yells as he spins by in a flash.

Then, all of a sudden, with a gigantic cracking sound, lightning illuminates the gray sky, and I fall with a scream into Aubrey's arms. He catches me, holding me close, his eyes lit up like fire in the wet. The smile on his face still lingers in the traces of his mouth, and he pushes my dripping hair behind an ear.

"Are you scared?" He asks, the light flashing above him like Zeus is throwing thunderbolts, the rain now reminsicent of a waterfall.

"Not with you," I say, though lightning has always terrified me. For some reason, with his arms wrapped around me, I don't feel the need to run screaming. Well, at least, not as urgently.

"Darling," he says, and I feel like I'm in an old-fashioned movie as he kisses me in the rain. But then there's another crack and I can't help flinching, and suddenly we start to run, heading for the cover of the porch, laughing with the breath caught in our chests and the wet seeping through.

We stumble into the house, the screen door flying shut behind us, and my hand fumbles on the latch as I struggle to close it for fear it might fly away entirely. But I give it up as Aubrey runs, laughing, up the stairs, with a little cringe for Grandma Lindsey's sake.

"Beat you to your room!" He cries, stomping up the carpeted stairs, water flying everywhere.

"Not fair!" I shriek, running to catch up.

We crash into each other at the top of the stairs, and with a scream of laughter I push him aside and run to my room's door, stretching out a hand to push it open. I just manage to jump in when Aubrey comes careening right behind me, and catches my hand as he trips, pulling us both down.

He falls onto the floor, and I tumble on top of him, which I don't really realize until I'm panting to catch my breath directly above, and sprawled out over him. He catches his laughter, too, and for a second we stare at each other, my hair falling forward and touching his face, dripping water. I can hear my heartbeat in my head, and it feels like it might explode. I'm acutely aware of our bodies touching, and the close proximity of our faces, but all of those thoughts melt away when suddenly he kisses me, and we go rolling right over. My hair is sprawled out across the floor and I can feel my shoulderblades against the wood, but none of that matters because his hand is on my waist and we're kissing like never before, hungry, eager for more.

With a gasp I surface for air, and my startled eyes meet Aubrey's, and they're lit with a look I've never seen before but instantly recognize, searching mine for the yes he's so plainly asking for.

"Fuck!"

With a shout I rise up, and Aubrey goes tumbling to the floor, startled, his hair adorably mussed.

"Aurora, I'm so sorry, I-"

"No," I brush that away and hastily scramble up, rushing to pull off my soggy sweater while looking for a shirt. "No, I mean- what about school?!"

"Oh." He visibly relaxes, the tension ebbing from his body, leaning his elbows on the floor. "What about it?"

"Wha aboww i'?" I incredulously repeat, the sweater stuck over my head. The words don't come out as dignified as I'd intended, but finally I manage to pull it off and turn to Aubrey, flushed. "What about it?!" I try again. "Hello, it's school. My education. Very important."

Aubrey laughs. "Oh come on, Aurora, one day of ditching never hurt anybody."

"You want me to ditch?" I ask, even more affronted, raising an eyebrow.

"Why not?" he asks, but then his eyes flicker to my scantily clad torso, and I flush and grab a shirt, hastily pulling it on.

I talk to distract him, and myself, from the thought uppermost in both of our minds. "Contrary to your belief, the education thing doesn't actually work if you don't come." I say, using my best sarcasm, though its more than a little marred by the deep blush creeping up my cheeks.

Aubrey laughs, shaking his head at me. "Come on. Its raining, and my truck doesn't work in the rain." He winks. "My uncle gave me a cheap one, what can I say?"

"You are shameless!" I say, exasperated, pulling the brush quickly through my hair. He chuckles.

"Please, Aurora?" He gives me his best persuasive smile, and I feel myself start to cave. One look, that's all it takes.

"You're really not going to take me?" I ask, hand on hip, pausing in the middle of my toilette.

Aubrey's smile fades as he takes in my seeming seriousness. "Well, I mean, if you really want to go-"

With a burst of laughter I throw down the brush and run over to him, crossing my legs as I plop down in front of him, holding his face between my hands. "Aubrey, you duck, I'm just teasing you! How could I resist such an offer?" His smile instantly reappears, sunshine out of a cloud. "Plus," I mischeviously grin, "we wouldn't want to risk our safety in this horrible weather by taking a chance with your old truck, would we?"

"Couldn't think of it," he grins, pulling me into a hug, putting his lips against my hair. But I pull away after a few seconds, and get up, chattering on about breakfast, trying to push away the thoughts, how every time I'm near him I feel the blood boil in my veins and that irresistable urge to be close. Aubrey takes the hint, and as we skip down the stairs, the crackling tension between us decreases, is put on hold for a while, as we become nothing but two friends having breakfast- but beneath the surface of our minds it still simmers, traces peeking through our eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

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