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All For You: Chapter 3

White Woods has the most uncomfortably welcoming impression on Reed, Mallory, Geneva, and their father. Reed begins to act unlike his usual self... What could be wrong?
"You know, sometimes, some sort of sound is more assuring than pure silence."

In the morning, it began. Our trip to White Woods. A series of jittery, uncomfortable occurrences.

We left at approximately nine in the morning, so we would reach there by ten. Geneva and I got there along with Dad through his car.

We had just gotten into his white Mercedes Benz when I got a call from Reed. He sounded worried and jumpy. Not like himself, in other words. He told me to pack light and to not worry about anything, which was an idiosyncratic move from his side. He was a rather calm person, whom I counted on. His capricious behavior scared me, concerned me. As soon as he finished, I asked him, "Ace, are you okay?"

He seemingly shrugged it off.

I felt it through my cellular phone.

So, I asked him again. He hung up this time.

I sensed it; something was definitely wrong. Why was he acting this way? I felt my breathing pace quicken. Just a little. My long-sleeved turtleneck felt a bit too hot. A bit too sweaty. Was I imagining this? How was that possible? I felt the beads of sweat trickle down my nape and my temple. That was not possible. At all. I felt the car getting humid. The windows bore beads of liquid. Little droplets of water embedded like a mosaic pattern of some sort.

My pills! I had forgotten my pills. My… My… my pills! I opened my messenger bag and reached for my ashen tub. I ingested two pills hastily and threw the tub into my bag, right in time, when Geneva turned to me and asked me if I needed something.

"You look like a wreck. Take this… here." She tossed me a bottle of mineral water, motioning for me to splash my face with it a little.

A wreck? I struggled and looked into the rear view mirror. The least I could say was that I could not see myself. My face was drenched in sweat. Oh my goodness… my face was drenched in sweat! I used a cloth I found in the car and water to get rid of the icky sweat. How did I not notice my sweaty face? I was feeling horrified. I looked back into the mirror.

I breathed sigh of relief… I looked like my usual self. I looked out the window and in the background, I heard a young woman apprehensively talking about White Woods when my father turned the volume down. "We’re here," he announced as he parked the car under a tree. "Get out, girls. We’re in White Woods."

That went very fast. It almost seemed as though the woods were awaiting our arrival. In a rather strange way.

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I did not know if there were something wrong with me. Other than the usual. Other than what I already knew about myself. When I saw Reed after a few minutes, he… looked like Reed. He was the personification of coolness and equanimity. He approached me, offering to carry one of the bags I was carrying.

"Hey, there… Are you excited?"

I turned my head back for Geneva. She was behind. Way behind. Far from Reed. I relaxed every muscle in my body and replied, nodding, "Yup, I’m very excited. Can’t wait to actually get there. And when is that?"

"In a few minutes, Angel. No worries."

"Why do we have to park outside?"

He looked at me in absolute incredulity and I simply shrugged, "To give us the full experience of White Woods."

"Who told you that?"

"I read the pamphlet. They have a little leaflet on a few FAQs."

I moved closer to him and nudged his arm using my elbow, "So, is it really going to be as quiet as everyone makes it seem?"

He laughed softly, "I hope so. I want to take a break from the noise we have back there."

I was silent. I did not know how to reply. Instead, I asked him how many more minutes did we have to walk to get to the cabin. We were still on a path of cement and bricks, walking for over twenty minutes. My father had called over to Reed and asked him, rather hurriedly, how long we had to walk to get to the cabin. Reed said that we were almost there. Just ten more minutes.

He walked back to me and we continued at a steady pace.

"You know, sometimes, some sort of sound is more assuring than pure silence."

Without looking at me, he continued forward and replied, with an undertone of certainty, "I don’t believe that."

"I don’t want to believe that either."

He led us to a surprisingly big log cabin. It looked quite spacious from the exterior and gave me a bit of hope for the interior. "We’re here, Mr. Hunter."

My father looked impressed. Not that much. However, he was. He was just a little arrogant to say so. Therefore, I made it easier for him. "It looks impressive, doesn’t it, Dad?"

Geneva who had been quiet for the entire walk to this impressive place, said, "It looks impressive, Mal. How’s the inside supposed to be?"

I followed Reed to the front door, "I think we’re going to find out."

He unlocked the door, using the key he had in his pocket and shoved the key back into where it came from. "We can find out now." He opened the door and the smell of lavender marinated me. It was a sweet, welcoming scent, almost.

Dad and Geneva followed us as we entered the cabin. The first word that popped in to my head was rustic. It both looked and smelled rustic in nature, with a hint of all things modern. It looked beautiful and clearly, took Geneva by surprise. I thought, I heard a gasp from her side as we looked around. The entire common room area was lit with a deep apricot shade from the two lampshades. Those were the only two sources of light for that area. There was a fireplace that screamed hospitality and a few chairs that looked very comfortable: they were wooden and had no sort of cushioning for our bottoms. Well, that was great. The coffee table, however, looked more comforting. It was glass and looked scarily fragile.

Reed walked to the dining area that, simply, was a little wooden table and four chairs around it. He was on his phone, texting, agitatedly, "Anything wrong, son?"

Even my father noticed how odd Reed was acting. Reed continued to text, less agitatedly, and replied, laughing, "You never fail to amuse me, Mr. Hunter." He put his phone away and continued, "So, what do you think of this place?"

"I love it! It’s so warm and cozy… we could use better chairs though," I said, struggling to get comfortable on one of the wooden chairs.

"Or maybe a sofa?" Geneva suggested, cynically, "the floor would be better to sit on that one of those chairs."

My father laughed. He laughed hard. Geneva shook her head, gripping my father’s arm and laughed with him. Reed and I looked at each other. He saw my father laughing properly, after a long time. My father’s eyes were stars and his teeth were scintillations of their own.

Reed laughed too. He laughed with them. With us.

Maybe, this was not going to be bad after all.

"You have average ideas in that head of yours," Reed said to me after Geneva and my father went to look at the rooms, leaving us two alone.

I smiled, "This could work, right? He can be happy. Here."

"All of us are going to be happy here."

He gave me a hug and left to check the rooms.

Reed was right. We were going to be happy. All of us. We were going to be ecstatic. But, I was not doing this for us. I was not doing this to keep us happy.

This was for you, Dad. This was all for you.

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Published: 8/20/2014
Bouquets and Brickbats