Adrian: Same Old, Same OldMature

"Adrian!  Will you come down here, please?"

I sighed.  I turned my head to the side, focusing my eyes on the red numbers on my clock.  I closed my eyes and put my hands up to rub the sleep out of them.  I tossed the covers back and dragged myself downstairs.  Katie was in the kitchen, whisking a bowl of eggs vigorously. 

"What?"  I asked, sleeping slurring my voice.

"Sara called in.  She won't be here this morning.  Would you help make breakfast?"

Another sigh.  "Sure, Katie."  I walked passed her and grabbed some fresh fruit out of the refrigerator.  I brought those to the sink and began rinsing them under the cold water.

"Thank you, Adrian," Katie said with a relieved sigh.  "I hate asking you to do this --"

"It's fine," I said. 

"Espeically because it's your birthday and --"

"Katie!" I said, spinning around.  "Stop already.  It's fine.  I don't mind doing this.  And my birthday isn't until Sunday."

"Well, the celebration is today."

I ignored her and began chopping the fruit into smaller pieces.  Katie and I continued like that, in silence.  She whisking away at the eggs, me washing and chopping fruit.  A little while later, I could hear the pitter patter of little feet upstairs.  I knew they could hear eggs frying in the pan.  Soon enough, one by one, the little kids started trickling down the stairs.  My eyes scanned the crowd, looking for one little girl. 

"Adrian!"

I turned around, and there she was.  My little girl.  She threw her arms around my waist, and pulled my down to her level.  I wrapped my arms around her and gave her a tight squeeze. 

"Hey, Angel," I said.  "Sleep good last night?"

"Mm," she said. 

"Mm?" I asked, repeating her.  "Could you go a little more in depth with that?"

"I had a dream about you," she said. 

My eyebrows pulled together.  "What about me?"

Angel turned her face up towards me.  Her golden eyes were looking at me with a sadness I'd never seen before. 

"Nothing," she said.  "I'll tell you later."

Then she turned away and joined the rest of the orphans at the breakfast table.  Katie sat at the head and I sat at the opposite end; Angel sat on my right. 

"Let us pray," Katie said.

Everyone at the table grasped hands, and Angel gently placed her small one in mine.  My eyes were shut tightly as I waited for what I knew was coming.

"Dear Lord," Katie began. 

It hit.  As soon as Katie said those words -- as she did everyday -- a tight, buring pain gripped my chest.  It was like a fire, an unrelinquishing inferno that started at my heart and spread throughout my entire body; burning me from the inside out.

"Amen."

"Amen," the rest of the table murmered.

"Amen," I grunted.

"Adrian?"  Angel's soft voice brought me back.  My hands were shaking, Angel's hand was being crushed inside my own.  I pulled my hand back, stood up suddenly and raced to the bathroom.  I slammed the door and leaned over the sink.

It was different this time.  Even after the prayer had finished, the raging flames had not subsided.  They continued, even now.  I stared at my reflection in the mirror.  Beads of sweat decorated my face and plastered my curly black hair to my forehead. 

My hands grasped both sides of the porcelin sink as I fought the fire inside me.  Eventually, the flames seemed to settle and I was able to extinguish them entirely.  I turned the faucet on and splashed it's cool water over my face. 

I stared into the mirror one last time. 

In time to see five other faces fade away.

The End

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