Lloyd was faintly aware of knocking on the door, but more aware of weight pressing against his left side. He groaned, trying to stretch, only to realize that his arm was pinned on the ground. He opened his eyes and she was there. Her eyelids were a soft pink in the sunlight that was streaming from the skylights overhead, and she was wrapped in his giant afghan his mother had given him before coming to Terminus. He smiled and twisted a lock of her hair with his free hand; whoever was at the door knocking was going to have to wait. This was something he was sure would not happen again.
He pulled her closer, their faces now only inches apart. He felt the coolness of her breath against his arm, tickling his skin. He silently wondered how long she had been here, and more importantly what had possessed her to sleep here. He traced her facial features with his eyes twenty times before deciding that he needed to see who was at the door. He was already forming a grudge for whoever could be on the other side of the door. He gently removed his arm trying desperately not to wake her. Supporting her head and knees he picked her up and gently laid her on the couch. He stretched and his back cracked and popped from another night sleeping on the floor. He realized unfortunately that it would not be long before he would have his own bed back.
Walking stiffly to the door, he rubbed his eyes noting that Susan and Aquara were waiting outside. “Come in guys.” He smiled as they glared at him. How long had he made them wait?
“Good morning Lloyd. Where is Teresa?” Aquara still hadn’t warmed up to him, but that was in her nature more than his character.
“She is asleep on the couch.” He pointed matter-of-fact to where she was still sleeping curled in the afghan. Aquara walked quickly passed him shooting him a glare he would not forget anytime soon. Susan entered afterwards smiling at him.
“Thank you for watching over her.” She patted his arm as if reassuring him that Aquara was just worried. He had to give them the benefit of the doubt that they still didn’t know that she had woken up yesterday afternoon. He had failed to mention it to anyone, so they were still assuming that she was still unconscious. He realized that made the scene look even more awkward than it actually was.
He moved hastily into the room with the others and sat on the armchair across from the couch. “She was awake yesterday afternoon for maybe ten minutes. I had her upstairs in my bed, so the fact that she had to have come downstairs in the middle of the night means she was awake for another ten minutes.” He failed to mention that they were originally on the floor, together. He smiled before continuing,“the doctor said that it would be normal for someone still trying to heal from a head injury to sleep a lot, it would only be dangerous if her brain had swollen, but he was sure it hadn’t.” Aquara tentatively put her hands around Teresa’s head. She determined the doctor was right, and silently praised Lloyd for having the good sense to console a doctor.
“Thank you Lloyd. Curran Territory extends their courtesy for taking such good care of our leader.” Aquara said silkily without making eye contact with him. She was only aware of Teresa in the room, the very person she was aware her world revolved around.
“I did what anyone else would do.” He stood moving to the kitchen, aware it was way passed his breakfast time. “Could I interest either of you in breakfast?” Aquara shook her head no, but Susan was willing. She even moved to help him in the kitchen. It would take him longer to warm up to Aquara than it should have, but she was always making it difficult on him. He knew that she could sense things inside humans that most couldn’t, and he also knew she had to sense his feelings towards Teresa. He cringed as he realized that Aquara was probably super aware of what was happening this morning, even behind a closed door. He focused his entire attention on cooking, even though he was aware that he heard a small tinkle of laughter from Aquara at the turn of his mood, and he knew he had been right.
Teresa woke up right around the time they had finished breakfast. Aquara had laid her head in her lap and had been talking to him and Susan while they waited. Lloyd had gotten nervous, afraid that she wouldn’t wake up after sleeping on the floor. To his relief she woke up and laughed heartily as she realized who she was laying on. “Good morning Aquara.” Stretching she turned, her head swept the room stopping when she met his eyes. They sat there for a moment before her attention was pulled away by Susan.
“Teresa!” She hugged her best friend gently, but you could still see the wince as Susan had hugged just a little too hard. Lloyd immediately wanted to pull them apart, but that would be ridiculous, especially when Aquara was watching over her plenty enough.
“Why are you guys here?” She didn’t seem to be upset, genuinely curious. Lloyd had so hoped to get time alone with her, but that wasn’t looking very promising anymore.
“We almost sent a search party after you.” Aquara replied smoothly. A search party would have entailed the entire territory getting involved, and Lloyd knew that the water people were always very weary of each action they took. Unlike the Dwarves who allowed their emotion to drive their decisions. Teresa was also this way, which always confused Lloyd, because each person was matched with their ideal territory, but Teresa was almost exactly the opposite when it came to decision making. She always seemed to surprise him, especially in these types of situations. Although she seemed to be calm recently he knew she was even more hot headed than he was, and when the two of them were into it, it usually resulted in, well war.
“That was unnecessary.” Now she seemed to be on edge. It wasn’t so much that he saw it across her face, which usually was like a book to him, but that he could feel it too in his bones. “I was fine, Lloyd took great care of me.” A pang went through him as she said his name.
“We still need to know who did this to you.” He found himself saying before he thought of the consequences. Of course she wouldn’t want to talk about this so soon. She sat up on her own, proving to Aquara that she was fine no doubt. She met his gaze as she whispered.
“I don’t know who did this to me.” She was telling the truth, he knew. It unsettled him even more than if she had had a name for him. “I’ve been trying to remember, but each time I tried too hard I blacked out. It’s like whoever attacked me knew exactly where to hit me on my head so I wouldn’t remember anything.” He gritted his teeth and realized that he had dug his fingers into the arms of the chair he was sitting in. He closed his eyes breaking their eye contact. He needed to keep his emotions in check. He wasn’t used to exactly hiding them for an extended period of time. Opening his eyes as Susan spoke, he noticed she hadn’t looked away from him.
“Why were you in Lloyd’s territory in the first place?” Susan was soft spoken, but she was still just as curious as the rest of them. This question almost hurt Lloyd, but he knew that she wasn’t there to see him. She knew where he lived, and if she were coming for a visit she wouldn’t have been so far off in the forest.
“All I remember is running. I was pushing Molls to just run. I think we had walked passed Adam’s house, and the memories just choked me.” She sounded raspy as if she hadn’t had anything to drink in the past month. Lloyd moved to get her a fresh glass of water from the kitchen. He felt her eyes on him as he moved through the living area. He so desperately wanted to know what she was thinking, and wanted even more to ask her why she had joined him in the middle of the night.
“It’s okay. We will just have to double protection and stay within our borders from now on.” Aquara said reassuringly.
Lloyd returned with the glass handing it to her. Her fingers brushed against his, they were so cold. Instinctively he took her hands in his trying to warm them, forgetting for a moment that they were not alone. No longer caring he just looked up at her. She smiled down at him. “Thank you for finding me and Molls.” He knew she meant for not giving their secret away, for not making a big deal of finding her in the floor next to him.
“I’ll always find you, Teresa.” He replied before returning to the armchair away from her, as much as he hated it.