“Oscar you look really pale, are you sure you’re going to be alright?”
“Yeah, stop fretting about me.”
“I know you do. I’m just thinking about things.”
“Alright. This is going to make me sound like a little child, but are we there yet?”
Oscar laughed. “There’s only an hour and a half to go!”
“Oh thank god. I need my bed, well your bed!”
“So do I.”
“Do you want some more coffee Oscar?”
“Yeah can you pour me half a cup, I’m sure the caffeine boost will do me good.”
“Here, it’s more warm than hot now.”
“Perfect.” Oscar smiled, downing the cupful. “There, I’m re fueled ! I was just feeling slightly tired that’s all.”
“What’s your area like Oscar?”
“Horrible. Hence why I didn’t want you to come originally. I’m glad you’re here with me now and I’m sure we’ll be grateful for that extra duvet tonight.”
“Perhaps. Are you sure that you don’t want me to drive?”
“No you’re fine.”
“You really are a stubborn person aren’t you! Have it your way.”
The pair sat deep in thought, listening to the gentle pitter -patter of the raindrops against the car windscreen. Ava felt her eyelids growing heavier by the second and slipped into a gentle slumber.
“Ava we’re here.”
“W-hat? That was quick!”
“You were asleep for the majority of the second half of the journey.”
Ava gazed at the long row of terraced houses.
“So I was! My goodness It’s a long street! Okay, which house is yours?”
“The one at the end, sods law isn’t it? Don’t worry, I’ll get the bags, you start walking.” Oscar opened the car boot, grasping the suitcases.
“No actually Ava, wait. On second thoughts, stay where you are.”
“Just in case.”
“Of what exactly?”
“Put it this way Ava, we’re not in Chester any longer. Just be careful!”
“Right, I understand. Be aware of dodgy characters, stranger danger and all that?”
“Precisely. I’m not trying to scare you, it’s not horrendously bad. You need to be cautious though.”
“Alright! What happened?!” Ava snapped.
“Nothing to me personally. Our house got broken into a few years back, we’ve all been threatened a few times. I wouldn’t dare go out alone in the evenings in the area, always go out in a large group that would be my advice. It’s the same for everyone in the area, not just us. Come on let’s get inside, you’re shivering.”
“For a moment I thought you were going to tell me another deep dark secret Oscar.”
“In!” Oscar ordered.
Ava nodded, following Oscar who opened the tarnished front door and placed the suitcases into the hallway.
“Sorry we just need some light, there that’s better. You look terrified Ava, don’t be.” Oscar patted Ava’s arm, examining the familiar tiny living room with its small sofa with sunken, crumpled seats. “At least it looks lived in.”
Ava nodded. “Where’s the bathroom?”
“Here I’ll show you and then I’ll take our bags into my room.”
“Just in here.” Oscar beckoned to the small closet-like room, eyeing the mold which clung to the musty tiles. “ I’m sorry, that’s pretty horrible. Normally bleach keeps it under control, but it looks like Mum hasn’t bothered.”
“It’s fine.” Ava smiled gently. “I’ll meet you upstairs in a minute, I need bed.”
Oscar nodded, proceeding to carry the suitcases upstairs. He entered his old room, the tiny-box like structure with its sloped ceiling. ‘This is no place for Ava’ he cursed. ‘Why on earth did you bring her here?’ A small speck of relief came to him when he remembered that he’d packed the small electric heater from Chester. That would help at least. He hastily walked outside with his car, returning with it under one arm and plugging it in at the wall, closing the door behind him in attempt to warm the room. Ava knocked, peering into the bedroom.
“Can we go to bed now? I’m exhausted!”
“I know you are! Of course, I was just warming my room.”
“Was it really that chilly?”
“Yeah, like the Arctic.” Oscar smiled nervously.
“Oh so melodramatic as always.” Ava laughed, stroking Oscar’s hair. “Come on let’s get some sleep. ”
To be continued….