Tired and afraid, Eloise sat alone in her room. The incessant rain outside was controlling her emotions and so the mood of the room. Eloise had always disliked the rain. Something about today was making it the usual somber feeling that rain had always brought to the environment.
Her arm laid softly against her stomach, her eyes watching as the fan up above spun around and around. She compared them to the swirling clouds in her head. She sighed, closed her eyes, and began to lose herself in her thoughts.
She started thinking about her roommate, her pets, and then her mom––she hoped that all of them were okay. Her roommate was going to be back in the suite from her classes soon, her pets were probably in the living room, and her mom…
Her mom was probably doing fine back at home. Being a stay-at-home veterinarian (a rare yet financially stable job, she claimed), she had all of the pets in the world to comfort her whenever she needed something.
Eloise used her other arm to cover her eyes. The knowing of not-knowing how everything was truly stressing her out. She was hoping that the feeling would subside.
A creaking sound made its way into her eardrum. The noise made her shudder. Eloise’s cat, Sylvester, strolled into her room. The cat was being quite slow, which worried the girl. But it turned out that he was simply waiting for its sister, Terra. Both of them made their way up to the bed, bounding from chair to desk to the cotton-lined mattress.
The pair of them began to crowd around Eloise. Their fur stroked the back of her neck and her elbows.
Terra, being the usual loudmouth she was, let out a squeaky meow. Eloise reached over and scratched behind her ear. This caused the feline to purr quietly and rub herself on the girl even more.
“You are a piece of work, my dear,” Eloise murmured. Sylvester watched from the corner of the bed, curled up as if he was going to take a nap.
Eloise should have done the same.
The turning of a key could be heard from the living room, causing the cats’ heads to jolt up in fear. They stood firm in their positions though, as their owner was usually the one to protect them.
“Oh, thank god,” Eloise whispered, shifting to sit up. Terra meowed in protest, realizing that she wasn’t going to get any more scratches for the rest of the day. Eloise threw her feet over to the edge of the bed, and leaped.
She landed directly into her slippers, which made her feel proud of herself. Sliding into one of her sweaters, she took off towards the living room and left the cats behind.
“Florence?” Eloise spoke, watching the girl set her backpack down. Letting out a long sigh, Florence threw her hands up in the air and immediately began signing.
“I’m okay. I’m just a little stressed,” she signed profusely.
Florence isn’t one to speak––not because she’s unstable or anything. She just doesn’t like to speak. When she does decide to use her words, it’s few and far between. However, when she get emotional, she’ll go straight to sign language. Because of this, Eloise took up learning how to perform sign language in her free time, which had been a fun experience.
“Just a little, huh?” Eloise commented, leaning against the top of the couch. “You usually don’t sign unless you’re really mad. Care to explain?”
“My classes,” the girl paused to think. Her fingers began to fly moments later. “They were hard today. I just want a break,” she exhaled once more. Eloise went over to her and gave Florence a hug.
“It’s going to be okay,” she cooed, pulling back to look into Florence’s pale green eyes. “You’re going to get through this, because you’ve gone through way worse.”
When she first arrived on campus, Eloise was warned about Florence. Her inability––rather, willingness––to speak to others really off-put a lot of people. People started spreading rumors, and before she knew it, Florence became the school’s laughing stock.
However, Eloise knew that the gossip wasn’t true. In fact, when she had found out that they were roommates, she was ecstatic. Nevertheless, Eloise had to comfort Florence about the whole ordeal for days. She didn’t want Florence to fall into a deep depression about it.
And now, a couple of months later, they were the best of friends.
Florence looked to the side, and then nodded. Eloise grinned in response.
A loud mew came from below them, causing the two to gaze down at the ground.
Terra was standing on her hind legs and curling her paws––a signal that she wanted food from either of the two humans. Eloise let out a small chuckle while it was Florence’s turn to grin.
“Alright, Terra. Let’s get you some food––” Before Eloise could finish her sentence, a loud thunder clap slashed through the air outside.
“W-Woah… geez. Florence, did you see that?” Eloise asked her roommate. However, when she looked in the girl’s direction, she was nowhere to be seen. It looked like Florence took up her things and rushed to her room.
She wasn’t one for storms. That was also stressing her out, probably. Eloise thought.
Maybe someone in Florence’s family died… what if she’s hiding something––no, no. Everything’s alright.
The girl sauntered over to the cat food cabinet and pulled out a can of wet food. Terra always ate a can of wet food in the evenings––it usually kept her full until the next day.
Popping the tab and setting it in her food bowl, Terra began eating. Sylvester trotted out of the bedroom and examined the environment. His sister was eating, and that made him content.
“Looks like the thunder didn’t startle you at all, Sylvie,” Eloise bent down to stroke the cat’s back. Sylvester wiggled around, enjoying the physical contact.
Florence re-entered the living room, her brown hair done up in a thick bun. Eloise watched as she reached to the top of the fridge to snatch an oatmeal bar. Noticing that her roommate was observing, Florence quickly scurried back into her room and slowly closed the door.
“Poor girl,” Eloise mumbled, reaching for a snack of her own––an apple from the fruit bowl. Biting into it made her remember that she hadn’t eaten since 9 am.
Maybe I should cook something for Florence… she’ll probably appreciate it.
The rain outside tapped on the window harder and harder.
The lights started to flicker for a second, causing Eloise to look around frantically.
I-Is the power about to go out? O-Oh no, I wanted to cook…
What if the power goes out? Florence will get so scared, and the cats will run around too… I don’t want to step on them…
However, the lights fixed themselves and stayed on. This allowed for Eloise to breath again.
Eloise set a pan out on top of the stove and threw a piece of butter onto it. The sizzling sound made Eloise smile––she was getting somewhere with this.
Breakfast for dinner? The college student classic, Eloise thought. She cracked two––four, she corrected, since she was sharing with Florence––eggs into a bowl. Black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder showered the mixture soon after. Shredded cheese came next––American was Florence’s favorite.
“Oh crap, the butter––” a rumble from outside reminded her of the last element to her master recipe. She whisked the ingredients together and poured them into the pan, letting the eggs cook. Eloise leaned against the counter, her palms resting on the edge of the ceramic top.
I hope Florence is doing alright. I hope that nothing too bad happened to her. Maybe she was assaulted on the way back home, or even worse…
The girl’s gaze eventually met the window in the room. The rain continued to pour down. She could see a lightning strike from afar. The sound, though not emitting in reality, could be heard in her head. Crack! Sizzle! Boom!
Why did this noise sound so familiar to her?
“They’re about to burn,” Florence whispered. Eloise shifted, looking at Florence and then the eggs.
“Shit!” Eloise squealed, picking up a nearby spatula and tossing the eggs around. They were a bit scorched, but salvageable.
Florence smirked, leaning against the doorframe with her hands intertwined with each other.
“I’m sorry,” Eloise said, sliding the eggs onto a nearby plate. She was quick to wash the pan out and place it back on the stove for the bacon.
“I’ve been… getting in my head lately. I worry about things a lot. It’s weird, y’know?” Eloise scratched at her curly green hair. Florence nodded her head, staring at Eloise while she laid ten pieces of bacon onto the pan.
That was a commonality between the two girls––they really did love their bacon.
“Heh,” Eloise laughed half-heartedly. “I know you don’t think it’s weird. It’s normal, just like you and me.”
Florence crept towards the couches of the room, plopping herself in one of the seats without saying a word.
Splitting up the food evenly, Eloise poured two glasses of orange juice and brought it to the circular table. She took a seat for herself and started to eat.
Tick, tick, tack, tick, the rain spoke to them on the glass.
...the silence was killing both of them.
Eloise’s eyes suddenly shook in fear. What if something were to happen right now?
What if Florence were to suddenly disappear?
What if the cats were to fall asleep and never wake up again?
What if my mom got into a car accident and hasn’t told me?
Those worries struck like lightning within Eloise’s head, and her grumbling stomach became the thunder. It was eating her up from the inside.
It became overwhelming to the girl. What if… what if these things were…
Eloise’s eyes caught glimpse of something in the distance, causing her to look up.
“True?” Florence repeated the sign. Eloise looked from side to side, realizing that she had been speaking out loud by accident. Her whole body shivered as she reached to set her plate down.
“It’s not true, none of it,” Florence signed, placing her own plate down.
“I’m here for you,” she spoke, placing her hand on Eloise’s knee. “You said it’s going to be okay.”
Eloise smiled as she wiped the sweat from her face with a napkin.
“Uh, yeah…” she stammered. “Everything is going to be okay.”
“And look,” Florence pointed to the window. Eloise exhaled and faced that direction.
While it still was showering, the rain had slowed to a light pace. It seemed as though the storm was finally beginning to pass.
“Thank you, Florence,” Eloise sighed again, holding her head. “It was only a matter of time.”
“Yes,” Florence signed. “Want to head to the library with me? I’ve got to pick up a book,” she asked.
Eloise took a deep breath, watching as Sylvester strutted to her legs and rubbed herself against her once more.
“Sure,” Eloise said. “I think that’d take my mind off things.”