Her Hero III

by Lea Ebio
They...had been sitting there for hours; consumed with each other's thoughts and what ifs...
Suddenly rain starts pouring. Raindrops soon dripping down on their hair; they are both drenched, yet they seemed oblivious to their soaked state. They both looked up at the pouring sky above them.
Luke managed to laugh. "What the hell!"
She smiled and shakes her head at him.
Then they both laugh.

Anne's high spirits suddenly sank upon reaching home. Her step-mother and her husband had been discussing about her welfare -- and she heard them all: the problem of her attitude inside the house (which she thought was gone unnoticed), the problem of her being additional burden and expense, etc...She could take it no more. She step forward; showing herself and making them know that she heard them right. The two adults both turned, surprised-- and ashamed. Her step-mother is the one to first recover her senses.
"Anne...you are early." Her voice is strained and her face is uneasy.
She decided to get it over with by going straight to the matter. "If I was already becoming a burden to all you, you should have told me earlier instead of talking about it behind my back. I'm more than willing to go." She said angrily then stormed out of the room.
She ran towards her room and angrily rummaged in her closet til she found what she had been looking for - her travelling bag. With heart beating wildly in her chest and tears streaming down her cheeks, she began to store all her clothes and other belongings inside the bag impatiently and carelessly. She never even bothered arranging them--just stored all her things inside. When she looked around and saw that almost all her things were packed, she tug on its zipper, angrily jostling the bag.
She quickly walk outside her room, pulling a very heavy and packed travelling bag with her. Her step-brother was on his way to the kitchen and stopped on his tracks upon seeing her. "What the-"
His words were cut when her step-mother appeared looking distressed and panick. "Anne! What's the meaning of this?"
"I'm leaving, obviously," she retorted without stopping on her progress.
"Don't be silly! You can't get by on your own," she followed her through the main door, her voice shrilly and chastising.
"It's none of your business anymore," she said thru choked voice. She paused and turned to her step-mother upon reaching the door.
"You ungrateful child! How could you say that to me after I've taken care of you!" Her step-mother said, horrified at her behavior.
"Thank you for that. But I'm through here. I don't want to burden myself with you. I can take care of myself. It's best that I leave." Tears are slowly gathering around her eyelids,in danger of falling. She caught sight of her step-brother gawking at them from the kitchen.
"Let her leave if she want.!" It was her step-father who had walked in the living room. "We will not worry about her welfare anymore if she choose it." His voice boomed from where he was standing, giving her a disagreeable look.
"Thank you for keeping me here. I am going now." She looked at them one last time before finally turning towards the gate with her bag in tow.

When she was a great distance from the house, she cried and cried releasing all her emotional turmoil deep inside. She was mindless of the curious stares of the people around her. She just couldn't find time to think of their opinion anymore. Right now, she didn't care.
She sat on the sidewalk and search for her phone. She needed someone to talk to and go to. Henry. Strange, that after he had many times neglected her; she still sought for him at desperate times like this. But she had tried calling him three times and all she hears is the ringing on the other line; obviously, he had not been picking or answering her call. She feel so lost and vulnerable. She then tried to call Amy but the
operator said she was out of reach. She tried again calling her other friends, unfortunately her battery is close to draining its power. She was soon at a loss for help. She feel so helpless that all she could do is cry there in the streets.
She hugs herself, seeking to comfort herself. She remained like that for more than an hour, until someone offers a helping hand in front of her. She look up to saw a worried-looking Luke looking down at her. Concern is written all over his handsome, grave face.
"Need a help?" his gentle voice is a warm change from all the hardships she'd dealt with.
She took it and did the unexpected thing--she cried and clung to his lean body for comfort.
Luke gathered and embraced her in his strong arms. Just hold her like that, letting her pour all her pain and bitterness in life thru her tears. He looks at her gently after she stopped crying.
"I'm sorry. Shouldn't have cry myself on your shoulder like that," she said looking at the ground. She feel so ashamed with herself to look at him. But she heard him chuckle.
"I'm glad I can be qualified as your shock absorber." He said, smiling a little.
She peeked at him thru shy eyes and frown. "Why?"
He look at her again, the smile never leaving his eyes. Yet she feel no resentment towards him for that, for his concern weigh greater than his smile."I dunno. Most of the times you seem so detached. Like you've put up invisible walls around you and I can't get through."
"I don't know I give such impressions."
"Don't worry yourself over it. We still got bigger concerns to deal with."
She look at him, quietly perplexed, then remembered her present situation when his gaze focused on her travelling bag. She sighed...he's right.
"Um...do you know a place where I could spend the night?" She asked apprehensively; she don't know how to tell him she got no money at hand at the present.
He took one look at her worried face and instantly know her situation. He thought for a moment then shrug. "I don't know any lodging place here. But, if you don't mind...you could stay in my place temporarily." He said this in a shy manner, and he look at her with a somewhat shy eyes, which reminds her how a true gentleman he is. And she found herself falling for him even more. All thoughts about Henry forgotten.
"Oh! Thanks! That's a great help indeed." She seemed to brighten up by his offer.

When she was settled in his room, he left her in her privacy. And as she look around her simple yet masculine environment, she couldn't help feeling a little warmth in the place. Like she belonged there. From the double bed with plain gray comforter, to the bedside table adorning only a single digital clock and night lamp. The sofa on the other side and the only object that is connected with his own personality--his guitar, prompted on the wall beside the sofa. The walls are bare and the single and only window is also bare except for the blinds. Yet despite of the simplicity of the room, for her, the room is filled with warmth and his presence. She could smell a faint scent of his perfume, could picture him sitting in the sofa, strumming his guitar. And despite the unresolve issues of her present condition, she soon drifted in a comfortable and fitful sleep.

Luke on the other hand is tossing and turning on the sofa in the living room. He knows what he is doing...saving her, again. Yet this time, it could cause great complications in the morning. What her friends and her boyfriend would say or react is his least worries. Yet what damage it will do to her is his greater concern. But he had no other option but to let her crash in his apartment. Just one look at her, he knew she's homeless for the time being. And his heart couldn't just let her wander around in her distressed state. It's crying out for her , to comfort her, make her happy,keep her safe. The moment he held her in his arms, crying, all his resolve vanished. His mind lost its reasoning. He just wanted to craddle and comfort her. Make sure she is alright.

Morning comes. Anne is awakened by the aroma of coffee and fried eggs. She slowly gets up and quietly check out where the aroma is coming from. She soon found out with his eyes it was Luke. A serious-looking Luke frying some eggs in the pan, his eyes seemed deep in thought, he almost had the eggs burned!
"Watch out! The eggs Luke!" She screamed and hurry towards him to turn off the stove and save the eggs from completely burning.
Luke nearly jumps out, looking somewhat startled and confused at Anne. Then he look at the stove and realized what he'd done. He said apologetically, " I'm sorry. Bad chief." He said meaning himself.
Anne smiled at him thru amused eyes while transferring the eggs to the plate. "Your mind was somewhere else, that's why, I guess." Then she place the plate on the table and happen to glance at the steaming coffee. "Hmm...that smells good." She inhales the aroma with her nose towards the coffee cup.
"I'm glad you liked it...that's my saving grace." He chuckles as she looked at him questioningly. "I just burned our breakfast...quite a change for a surprised breakfast treat."
"Oh!", she had to laugh. "You don't need to apologise, you know. I'm not a complainer." She took a sit at the table as he put the cofee cup in front of her. "Burned eggs will do."
She thought he would only serve her burned eggs, but he opened the fridge and took out a plate of cottage cheese, put it on the table along with a loaf of bread. "I hope this would do," he said shyly.
He looked so cute when he said that. And she did one of the unexpected again--he kissed him on the cheek to their both utter surprised and amazement.
"Let's eat!" She said a little too eagerly; feeling silly about her past actions and hoping to distract themselves and avoid the humiliation.
Luke look at her and a smile makes his eyes twinkle with amusement.
"So...why did our eggs got burned?" she asked him in between a sip of her coffee, hoping to direct his attention elsewhere.
Luke was thrown for a moment, his hand which was absently toying with his spoon stops stirring. He looked thoughtful again for a moment. When she thought he was regretting for letting her stay with them, he finally speaks. " I am thinking...this would sound abusive of me but," he paused and cleared his throat, then finally looking at her, "is it ok for you if I would court you?"
Anne seemed confused and torn with mixed emotions for a moment. Did she hear it right? Luke wanted to court her? She was special to Luke? He was interested in her? And she remembered him unexpectedly turning at her distressed hours, had he been secretly keeping an eye on her? And what about Henry? What would he say about this? Suddenly, his opinion doesn't matter to her anymore. The thought of Henry seems like a faded memory to her now. And she soon feel that his ditching her doesn't bother her anymore. She don't care at all. All she could think of is..Luke. Her savior. The stranger who looks at her with deep, penetrating eyes, and every time she catches him staring. The man who she secretly wish would love her, the reason why she could face the day with a smile. And now..he was proclaiming the want to court her. She had never felt so happier. The world seemed so exciting and fun again. And as she look at him, his face somewhat apprehensive yet at the same time, expectant and a little shy... she thought why not give it a try? She'll give him a chance, though it means she'll have to give up Henry.

.I hope I had satisfied your heart's wishes...Anne finally comes around and will chose Luke...but if you feel the need for a last and final chapter let me know..I'm willing to write it for you..Thanks for reading!
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