To Feel, A Modern Tale (08.08.11)

CHAPTER ONE <Click here for all of CHAPTER ONE.>

CHAPTER TWO <Click here for all of CHAPTER TWO.>

CHAPTER THREE <Click here for all of CHAPTER THREE.>

CHAPTER FOUR <Click here for all of CHAPTER FOUR.>

CHAPTER FIVE <Click here for all of CHAPTER FIVE.>

CHAPTER SIX <Click here for all of CHAPTER SIX.>

CHAPTER SEVEN <Click here for all of CHAPTER SEVEN.>

CHAPTER EIGHT <Click here for all of CHAPTER EIGHT.>

CHAPTER NINE <Click here for all of CHAPTER NINE.>

CHAPTER TEN <Click here for all of CHAPTER TEN.>

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Chloe sat upon the rocks, staring at the sunlight seeping between the branches of the trees enveloping the sky above her. She wondered just what her friend would be doing right now. Surely, Ecker would be feeling awful about what happened. For weeks, she had stayed with this nice couple who had opened the doors of their home and their lives to her yet she still felt all alone and out of place.

“Chloe!” Lu cried out. “It’s time for breakfast!” The woman popped her head outside of the front door and scanned the front yard, but the young girl was nowhere to be found. “Hal? You, too,” she trailed off, tucked her head back inside, and shut the door swiftly.

From the corner of Chloe’s gaze, the young girl could sense someone watching her. It was Hal. The chubby little man approached her slowly. “What are you doing up there?”

Chloe quickly stepped down off the rock. “Just thinking about my friends. Back home,” she said meekly and gathered up the belongings she had begun to accumulate over the many weeks while staying with them, items she now watched over faithfully and brought out to the rocks with her. She prepared herself to re-enter the home but not before Hal stopped her and reached out gingerly to touch her arm.

“Chloe, you’ll see them someday. I’m sure of it,” he said softly. “I see you bring out your things here every day as you sit on this rock, and I just wonder why that is. Have you heard from your friends? Are they coming back for you?” Hal pulled back his arms and placed his hands on his hips now as he leaned against the rocks, awaiting her reply.

“No, Hal. I haven’t heard back from anyone. How would I do that anyway? They don’t even know where I am,” she said with a nervous laugh, yet she continued to feel his gaze on her as she looked away and down at her belongings at her feet.

“Okay,” Hal said and shot her his big toothy smile. “Just checking,” and with that, he turned around and marched back to the house for their Sunday morning meal. The family would soon be getting ready to go to church down in the village, and he didn’t want to make them late.

Chloe grabbed her satchel of things and trudged after him into the house, looking up into the sky again off and on along the way. She didn’t want to miss any chance that her friend or another person from school might be coming back to CarthMoore to rescue her. As she stepped inside, Lu snapped at her quickly. “It’s about time! Get in here, young lady, and help me cut the fruit for the table.”

Chloe set down her satchel of personal items and obliged, grabbing the knife and cutting up the cantaloupe into smaller wedges, laying them carefully on a white china platter that Lu had chosen. She loved the smell of the juicy melon and its rich texture and sneaked in a few bites of one smaller wedge as she prepared the platter. She didn’t think Lu had noticed. She never liked it when Hal or Chloe would do that.

“Come on, ladies, let’s sit down quickly or we’ll be late for church this morning,” Hal said and motioned to both women to join him at the table as he began reaching for the bowl of scrambled eggs and dish of sausage links to fill up the plate before him. Chloe headed to her seat at the right of him and set the fruit platter on the table before sitting down. Lu followed soon after with a tea kettle and potholder, and laid both down on the table before taking her own place directly across from Chloe and to her husband’s left.

“Hal, will you please say grace for us?” Lu picked up her linen napkin and lay it gently in her lap then reached out both her hands for her family’s at the table. The three linked fingers, and Hal cleared his throat and closed his eyes.

“Oh, Lord, we thank you for the food we have here in our home and for looking over all of us, especially dear Chloe whom we care for deeply,” he sneaked a peek at Chloe who was staring down at her plate and then shut her eyes quickly when her eyes met Hal’s. “Lord, we hope you will continue to bless this family, our home, our friends and the lives of all of the people of CarthMoore. We honor you, oh Lord, amen.”

“Amen,” Lu and Chloe quietly agreed as the three separated their hands from one another, and the two then proceeded to pile the breakfast feast before them onto their own plates. Hal leaned toward Chloe and touched her left hand. “You know, we really do care about you and want you to find your family and friends again, but we hope you can at least feel at home here until you do.”

And with that gentle touch, both with the brush of his hand and those soft-spoken words, Chloe realized that she could not have been any luckier to meet up with Hal and Lu that morning already so long ago. This was home. For now. And for however long she was going to be living life in CarthMoore.

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