The Legend of the Blue Eyes(4)By: B. Kristin McMichael
“How was the movie?” she asked.
“Okay, if you like love stories,” Arianna replied.
“You just wait,” Aunt Lilly responded. “Someday you’ll fall in love, and your opinion on love stories will change.” Arianna rolled her eyes. Aunt Lilly always preached about the benefits of falling in love and how love can change a person. “Have you finished packing yet? All the laundry is done, so if you need something here, just take it.”
“I’m almost done,” Arianna replied, walking through the small living room to her bedroom. “I can help downstairs after I pack the rest of my stuff.” Aunt Lilly nodded. Lilly and Dean had never asked Arianna to help with the diner, but she always offered. Small tears trickled down Aunt Lilly’s cheeks as her eyes glazed over. Arianna moved across the room quietly and put her arms around her aunt. It didn’t happen often, but when she began to cry, it was a sign that Aunt Lilly needed a hug. “I love you, Aunt Lilly,” Arianna said quietly, as her aunt tried to quickly wipe the tears away.
“I can’t believe it’s been ten years already,” Lilly said as she hugged Arianna back. “Time goes by so fast. I wish I could sprinkle some magic dust on you and keep you a child forever.”
“Now do you really want that?” Arianna teased. “I thought the last time we had this talk you told me how proud you were that I was growing up.”
“I wish I could have both,” Aunt Lilly complained.
“I better finish my packing and get the diner cleaned with Uncle Dean,” Arianna said, letting go of her aunt. Aunt Lilly smiled at Arianna. Arianna might not be her biological child, but Lilly had never doubted for a moment that Arianna loved her like a mother.
Arianna walked into her room and plopped down on the bed. She had already packed everything days before. Because of her aunt and uncle’s refusal to tell her how long they would be gone, Arianna secretly packed everything she couldn’t live without. She fell back into the pillows and began to wonder how long it would be before she would be back in her bedroom in their small apartment above the diner. She studied each familiar crack in the ceiling, these same, comforting flaws that she had spent years staring at. She felt as though her life was about to change, but she couldn’t understand to what extent her life would be turned upside down. Arianna glanced at the clock: 8:52. It was time to meet her mystery friend.
Following the instructions, Arianna offered to empty all the trash bins. As she brought out the last bag, she quietly slipped behind the large, green, alley dumpster and waited. The rain had stopped again, and a fog was beginning to rise. Arianna stared at her watch. One minute to go. Patiently she waited, keeping out of view of the back door. In the light fog, she didn’t see the person nearing her. In just a flash, Arianna felt her knees weaken and her body fell only to be caught by two large hands.
“Who?” she tried to ask, but the hands gently scooped her up and her world dimmed without seeing the mysterious person’s face.
Arianna rubbed her eyes and carefully opened them as she regained consciousness. The old, plaid couch she was lying on was worn around the edges, and the knit blanket placed over her had a distinct blue and green pattern. She didn’t recognize the dim room that came into view. Realizing she was in an unknown location, Arianna bolted up to look around the room more. Across from the couch she was lying on was a TV and an open doorway. Arianna stood to walk to the door, but she immediately changed her mind as the room began to swirl.
“Sorry about that,” a deep, male voice said from the shadows. “I was just going to bring you with us, but they already arrived to escort you to the airport. They could easily track you if you were awake.”
“They? Those people Uncle Dean was talking to?” Arianna asked, as the man moved to sit next to her on the couch. Before she had left the diner to find this man, Arianna had caught a glimpse of several people Uncle Dean was talking to inside the diner. Arianna studied the man’s face while he moved and talked. He was older than she expected. His dark brown hair speckled with gray. Arianna’s gaze stopped on his large, weathered hands.