That night was cold and dark for both Mitch and Olivia.
Heavy dark clouds hung which seemed to be right above them where the brightest stars and the moon should be. They had gotten to some vegetation which was a good sign. It meant that they were getting closer to the grasslands, and that meant closer to Porter. Without the Jeep, they covered a lot less ground in the rest of that day. It was a long walk, and they both felt like they were both losing their sanity with every step from the blazing heat. Mitch had gotten a sun burn on his back, and nose, but it was hardly noticeable against his dark skin.
The first patch of grass they had come across, Mitch had a little celebration by drinking a huge gulp of Olivia’s water, which she disapproved of. By the end of that day, they had barley anything left in Olivia's canteen. She was slowly accepting the fact that they were probably going to die out here. Her mission hadn’t even started, and already it felt like it was ending.
“Do you want to take a rest for the night?” Mitch suggested, taking a pause from walking, bringing his hands to his knees, panting.
“But we aren’t covering as much ground as I’d like to,” Olivia said flatly, continuing her steady pace. Mitch took in a deep breath, and tried to take another step, but felt as though he was going to collapse.
“I haven’t walked so much in my life,” he said with a laugh and a shake of his head. Olivia stopped walking, and turned around. She looked at his expression of exhaustion, and realized that she was too. She looked around the grassy plain, where the cactuses seemed to be the only thing closest to a tree. Without any protection like a jeep, or rocky mountain walls, it made them very vulnerable, and vulnerability was something you wanted to avoid where they were. She walked to the nearest cactus, and put her bag on the ground below it.
“I suppose maybe, resting for the night is a good idea,” she said.
“Thank the heavens!” Mitch said as he collapsed beside where she sat her bag.
“Before you pass out, help me build a fire,” As Olivia said this, she was already pulling grass from the ground and making a pile. “See if you can find any sticks,” Mitch gave out a groan as he got back up to help her.
The desert was quiet as they collected whatever they could find for warmth. The only noises were the sounds of their footsteps and their breathing. It was odd, since although there isn’t much life in the desert, there’s always some noise. It would be either the wind blowing through the short grass, a howl of a coyote, or the call of a bird flying overhead, but there was nothing.
Once their pile was big enough, with some left over, Olivia went over to her bag to fetch her lighter.
“Doesn’t this silence freak you out?” Mitch asked.
“It means bandits are nearby.” Olivia noted, casually, as she lit the grass. It caught fire easily, and it sent smoke up in the air.
“Then isn’t lighting a fire, a very bad idea?!”
Olivia looked at Mitch and said, “We have nothing to worry about.”
“Why?” Mitch questioned being skeptical, but Olivia didn’t reply. She just pulled out more grass from the ground, making herself a bed beside her bag. Mitch followed her lead, by making a bed beside hers. The fire warmed their sides as they built, and it was relieving in this cold night air.
Once they were done, Olivia sat at the side of hers, and reached out her hands to the fire, warming them. Mitch didn’t sit down quite then though. He stared down at Olivia in curiosity. He watched as she took out her canteen, and took a few little sips. She then looked up to Mitch, holding it out towards him.
“Here, have the last of it,” she said.
“No, you have it,” He answered, sitting down beside her.
“No, I’ll be able to handle not having it. You may not.” Mitch shook his head, but took the water, and drank the last few gulps.
They both stared at the fire, watching it consume the grass and slowly burn up the sticks. Olivia had her knees up to her chest, and pulling out grass with one hand. She made a small neat pile beside her, and once it was big enough, she through it in the fire. The fire devoured it like it was nothing, and it sent sparks up in the air, as well as another puff of smoke.
“So what’s your story?” Mitch asked, still staring at her. She intrigued him. If her heading to a place like Old Town wasn’t enough, but also what she wore, and the way she acted didn’t match her face or body build. She had a heart shaped face on a small frame, with big eyes and an innocent smile when it showed. She didn’t answer him though. She just kept her face composed as she stared into the fire. A slight breeze then hit their faces, sending a cloud of smoke into their eyes. Mitch began to cough, turning his head away. Olivia stayed still, and just closed her eyes so no more smoke would get in them. When the breeze stopped, Mitch fanned his hand in front of his face to get the rest of the smoke away.
“I’m looking for someone,” Olivia finally answered. Mitch turned his head back to her, surprised she even responded to him at all.
“Oh, so you’re just like me,” Mitch joked with a smile. Olivia smirked, but it quickly vanished.
“Who is… Roséa, if you don’t mind me asking,” Mitch took in a deep breath, and then exhaled. He rolled onto his back to look up at the twinkling stars.
“Why should I tell you when you won’t even say who you’re searching for?”
“You’ve been searching a lot longer than I have.” Olivia pointed out.
“Yeah, but the one I’m searching for isn’t in old town,” he joked. She just smiled at this, and breathed in the night air.
“So who is she?” Olivia pried. Mitch was quiet as he thought of the best way to answer this question. Who was Roséa? He wondered how he could put it simply.
“She was my everything,” he finally said. He felt a pain in his chest as he remembered her. He remembered her long curly blonde hair, her blue eyes, and the floral dresses she would always wear. He recalled her voice, and the feel of her skin.
“What was she like?” Olivia asked, interrupting his thoughts.
“She was very sweet, and we spent that whole summer together. She was probably too good of a girl for how I was back then,” He answered with a laugh.
“What do you mean?”
“Well I wasn’t always this clean and good looking in my teenage years,” He said with a laugh. Olivia smiled and shook her head. “I had a goatee and dreadlocks for one.”
This caught Olivia’s attention.
“And I drank a lot more back then,”
“That’s not possible.”
“Apparently it is. But I’m surprised I even made it out alive of some of those parties,” He laughed. Olivia didn’t respond. She just closed her eyes. She could hear another coyote somewhere in the distance. She still had one last question to ask him though.
“How did you two meet?” She asked. Mitch’s smile disappeared from his face as he remembered how they met.
It was unexpected, but almost seemed planned. He could never forget it, although it was a bit foggy. Her face in every scene as he replayed it in his mind never was though. She was perfect, and it was almost as if their destinies were meant to intertwine. He took in a deep breath as he began to tell Olivia the story.