Arizona Skies
Author: Isabella Darcy

Chapter 11
News Flash

For the next couple of days, Aubrey doesn't come to school. Neither does he come to Lindsey's to work on the shed. After a week she starts to worry.

"Aurora," she asks, puckering her thinly drawn lips as she hands me a cup of coffee one afternoon afterschool, "have you seen Aubrey Hunter lately?"
At the mention of his name I feel the heat start to creep up my neck. Stop it. Does she suspect? Could she know about that day at the oasis?

"You know, that red-haired boy who sometimes works here. He goes to Wilson, too. You've met him."
I nod as if she jogs my memory. "Oh, him. Um, no. Why? Isn't he at home?"

She looks at me pityingly, then settles down opposite, clutching her mug. "You're so obviously new here. Aubrey," she lowers her voice (as if anyone could be listening), "doesn't have what you'd call a home."

This catches my attention. "What?" I squawk, then tone it down. I seem a little too interested in this boy I barely remember. "I mean, what?"

She nods. "His parents are divorced. His dad left Bitter Springs when he was only a little boy." I would've too, I think. "His mom lives on welfare in a trailer on the outskirts of Bitter Springs. Aubrey's supposed to live with her, but he only drops in occassionally."

Just like Aubrey- the no commitment guy. I can't help feeling sorry for him, though. Then I realize: my Aubrey? I can't believe it. A second later I inwardly smack myself. No, not my Aubrey, the Aubrey.

"Wait, what? Are you serious?" I goggle at her. She nods seriously and sips her coffee.

"Wait, but then where does he live? He has to live somewhere."

She shrugs. "Nobody knows. Aubrey's always been independent." She speaks proudly of him, almost like he's her grandson. He's probably closer to her than I am.

"You're- very fond of him?" I hazard, stirring my drink.

Lindsey nods, her expression softening. "He's a sweet boy. Always willing to help out. And smart, too. Yes, Aubrey and I have known each other a long time."

I can't help smiling as I try to reconcile these two visions: Aubrey, placid and goodnatured, helping an old lady, and Aubrey, passionate and fiery, grasping my wrists and kissing me one minute and hurling curses at me the next.






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