Noah had frozen in place, unable to speak. She was just staring at him, and he knew he had really fucked up. He wanted to tell her not to go, beg her to stay with him. But he just couldn’t find the words. They were caught somewhere deep inside of him, unwilling to make them self useful. His worst fears were realized when she finally spoke and he could feel everything inside him start to crumble. “Claire, wait,” He finally managed to call as she turned to leave. “Don’t leave,” He pleaded, trying to reach out and grab her hand, but she was already leaving, the door closing in his face. He grabs the handle, opening the door and stepping outside only to see her pulling out of the driveway. There was absolutely no way he could stop her now, and he cursed himself for not doing more. He cursed himself for even bringing anything up to begin with. He had ruined everything. His stupid, unfounded jealousy had ruined everything. He turned and walked back into the house, slamming the door shut behind him out of his own self hatred.
What could he do now? She was gone and he had no idea where she was going so there was no way he could get in his car and follow her. Was she going to a friends house? Or even worse, was she going to Jesse’s house? That made more sense to him; of course she would go to someone she deserves after he treated her the way he did. He ran both of his hands through his hair, trying his absolute hardest to keep himself together. Claire was the only person he really cared about, with the exception of his sister, and now she was gone and it was all his dumb fault. He wanted to scream, cry, throw something, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t even bring himself to walk away from the door. A thought came to him and he pulled his phone out of his pocket, dialing Claire’s phone number. It rang on and on until finally it reached her voicemail. Of course she wasn’t going to answer; why would she want to talk to him after what he just did to her? He hung up and re-dialed, hoping that maybe she’d answer this time. Still nothing. He left a message. “Baby, listen, I’m sorry. I love you more than anything, you know that. Please just come home so we can talk about this. Please.” he sighed, unsure of what else he could say. He hung up and tossed his phone onto the couch. But then he came to the realization that he didn’t see her leave with her phone. It wasn’t in her hand, where it usually was when she was leaving. He went upstairs to their bedroom and found her phone lying there. He picked it up and sat down on the edge of the bed. She wouldn’t leave without her phone if she wasn’t planning on coming back. But what if she didn’t? What if she sent someone else to come get her things? The thought just about killed him.
The entire drive Claire was eerily silent. The only sounds seemed to come from her; the occasional sniffle or whimper that left her before she could contain it. She didn’t even have enough courage to turn the radio on for fear of hearing a song that reminded her of Noah. It was absolutely terrible and left her with more concerns than she had even begun with. All she could think of was their parting words; ones that had actually surprised her. Why hadn’t he wanted her to go? For a split second, a feeling of hope swelled inside of her. Had he really wanted her to stay? Was he actually not mad at her anymore? Any hope she had was swiftly crushed the longer she thought about it. Different scenarios had begun to race through her mind, each becoming worse than the last. Most likely he had just been wanting to discuss new things with her: like when he expected her to leave, who would get what, or how he no longer wished to have anything more to do with her - that he never wanted to see her again. Surely one of those had to be the reason. It’s no surprise the effect her own words have on her. Another wave of tears consumes her and leaves her breathless. She’s forced to drive her car over to the side of the road and park it for a few minutes. Desperately she tries reining in her emotions yet again, doing her absolute best to compose herself. Trembling fingers rub away her fresh tears before beginning their search through the center console for anything to ease the dull pounding through her head. Gratefully she spots a bottle of ibuprofen, downing two after struggling to open the lid. A few more minutes pass before she’s finally well enough to continue her drive. The medicine helps in getting her mind to clear, allowing her to drive with the tiniest bit more confidence. It’s a small bit, especially with all the doubt and dread slowly eating her from the inside out. The new few minutes pass by uneventfully. She’s reached her destination - Jesse’s house. A sudden bitter taste arrives in her mouth before she forces herself out from her car and up the small driveway.
She makes her visit short and sweet. Jesse’s face displayed his surprise right from the beginning, mainly from Claire’s drastic appearance. But she pays not attention to this; in fact, she can’t even seem to truly recall what she had said. Her mind was somewhere else completely as she confided in the other male. Informing him that he needed to give her some space, that she needed their friendship to lessen - dramatically so. She requests that he tries not to contact her as often, that she truly needed to put their friendship on halt for the time being. She gives him no time to question or argue as she’s quick to exit his house just as soon as she comes in. It’s not until she comes to her senses does she realize where she is, parked at a store’s parking lot. She doesn’t move for hours, eyes merely staring out her windshield. She’s done all that she felt she could. And she knows perfectly well what is remaining. That she needs to go back
home to Noah. But she’s afraid. Afraid of what he will say, of what he will do. Of where she’ll go now, or even what she would do without him. It’s late and dark by the time she gathers enough courage to start her car again, pulling out from the now empty parking lot. Minutes pass before she pulls into the familiar driveway, staying seated in her car for as long as it took her to muster the capability of exiting her car yet again. Shaky legs lead her hesitantly from her car and up the few stars, back to the door she left so hastily before. Wondering if he’d even accept her inside.
Noah laughed again; he couldn’t help it. He just felt so happy around her, and it felt so natural. She could always make him laugh, no matter what kind of mood he was in. That was part of the reason he liked her so much; it’s hard to make him laugh. He placed his hand on top of hers and made a playful purring noise.
"Alright, but the initials go on the shirt pocket. If I’m going to be shining, I’m going to be classy about it," He finally decided with a shrug. "You’re trying to make me go all Rhinestone Cowboy, aren’t you?"
Claire finds herself being incredibly distracted again. She’s certain that it was easily expressed on her features - she wouldn’t be surprised if there was some dreamy, love stricken look on her face. Nearly every single thing he did was deemed absolutely adorable in her eyes; that was just how much she had fallen for the male.
"Sounds like a deal to me," she decides at last, maneuvering herself to hold her hand out. She stinks her pinky out, eyebrow quirked, patiently awaiting his finger in order to seal the deal through their pinkies. The delight is clear on her face as she lets out another laugh. "Rhinestone Cowboy? Oh yes, you definitely caught onto my evil master plan.”
"There’s really no reason it wouldn’t be okay," he said, glancing down at the soda he had ordered earlier. He was glad she didn’t seem to recognize the name, comforted by the thought, " I’m actually not a local. I’m here on work.. My little sister and I do odd jobs across the country. She got me this as a little treat for doing do well on this one, " He said gleefully, referring to the ipad. Charlie was the younger of the two, but she was the one who controlled everything when she was given the opportunity.
He was actually pretty happy to be sitting with someone else. it was nice to have someone to talk with, in all honesty. He was glad she hadn’t just brushed him off. He was so starved of regular non-hunting related conversation that it wasn’t funny.
" Believe it or not, I just have this for the jobs. I actually prefer social interaction, thank you very much. " He said with yet another one of his endless grins. It quickly fell into a slight smirk, " That is if you can put up with me for much longer." he joked.
Charlie always said she didn’t know how anybody could stand him, but she was just a grumpy gal in general and he rarely paid attention to her comments…Plus, she was his sister and that was just how siblings acted. He’d smear nutella on her face, she’d kick him out of the room.
He almost thought it looked like her cheeks were a bit flushed, which made him a bit embarrassed. He wasn’t sure why, but it did. he felt his cheeks heat up a bit and he glanced down again, focusing the ipad for a moment. He had laid it on his journal… he’d been updating the journal with what happened this hunt before becoming immersed in figuring out how the ipad worked.
"Well good! I’m glad." And it was true; Claire really was grateful that he hadn’t seemed to mind her sudden company. There were certain times where the brunette seemed to act before thinking - it was just in her nature to be kind and warm to anyone and everyone. "Oh yeah? That sounds like fun! What kinds of things do you do?" she wasn’t trying to be prying or nosey; she was just genuinely curious about learning more about this stranger. Her eyes glance back to the device again, stifling a quiet laugh. "That was very nice of her!"
She catches sight of his grin, surprised by the smile it brings onto her own lips. “I’m sure I can handle you - I deal with ten year olds every day, so I really don’t think you’ll be much of a challenge.” she teases with another laugh, eyes falling back to the menu. A silence fills the air, one she isn’t entirely sure is a very good thing or not. She tries thinking of something interesting to say, yet it seems like he’s busy with the iPad. So she forces herself to stay quiet, curiously glancing up at him every so often.
"What were you writing?" she questions curiously, head tilting slightly to the side. She had spotted the journal hidden beneath the device and found her curiosity peaked. She was a major reader; seeing anything written down instantly gained her attention. But it was then that the waitress came back to the table, ready for their order. Claire’s distracted for the time being, ordering a soda along with a cheeseburger and fries.
In a split second everything changed. One minute Liam was tapping away at his phone, and the next two men with guns and masks were shouting at them. Phones were tossed to the center of the room as everyone bent down to lay on the ground. Although Liam wasn’t necessarily scared, he realized that the entire situation could get very dire if someone did something stupid.
People that robbed banks didn’t like taking chances. Even the smallest thing could set things in motion.
It took him a moment to realize that the girl next to him looked like she was about to have a panic attack. Her eyes were wide as tea saucers, and the blood had drained from her face. She looked terrified, like a little forest animal cornered by a fox with nowhere to go. Glancing at the men who were piling money into duffels and shouting orders, his gaze returned to the woman.
"Hey," he whispered, sure that they wouldn’t hear, "Don’t panic. Just breathe, this is all gonna be over soon," he assured her. Carefully, he reached a hand out, grabbing hers and giving it a squeeze, "It’s all going to be fine, I promise."
It takes Claire a few seconds to realize the man beside her was even talking to her. She had been too lost in her thoughts and concerns, forgetting that there was even someone beside her. But she’s grateful for the distraction. Her heart had been pounding dangerously in her chest while her breaths were becoming shorter and faster - more panicked.
She does her best to focus on his words. Hazel eyes flit over to him anxiously. His words take a while to process into her mind; and she’s surprised by how they actually seem to have an effect on her. She tries thinking of something to say - anything. “You promise?” she whispers back at last, aware that her bottom lip had begun to quiver. Her hand squeezes his back in return, yet she refuses to let go. It’s as if he’s her lifeline. As if the second she let go, then she’d begin to drown again, lost in the terror and fear that filled her mind.
Desperately wanting to ease the fear swelling inside of her, she does her best to focus her attention somewhere else. She opts for looking at the kind stranger - memorizing the curve of his lips, the color of his eyes, the strands of his hair. She knows that she’s staring; but as long as she isn’t crying, then she thinks it’s all for the best. Her heart continues its erratic beat, yet for a completely different reason now. One she isn’t particularly ashamed of.
[text] … I must find a way to make tea in the wilderness. I require every ounce of your love.
[text] Then I will come find you, put you over my shoulder, and take you with me.
[text] So your options are: Show up at the lake at 7, or I will come find you.
[text] I even have that super fuzzy blanket that you like so much.
[text] Cuddles and kisses are the main reason I’m making you come meet me at 7. Chocolate is just a perk.
[text]: Ooh ooh ooh ugh that blanket is my favorite :/
[text]: Now I really have to come.
[text]: OKAY OKAY I’m on my way, this better be good.