She had watched the sunrise over the water and felt at peace now. She liked the sound of the water gently lapping against the pier, and the sight of the seagulls wheeling and diving overhead. It had been an exceptionally long night, and she was glad to see the morning.
He stood beside her but he wasn’t watching the miracle that was a new morning as she was, he was just shooting glances sideways at her that he thought she wasn’t noticing. He assumed she was smiling at the sun, but she was smiling at his lack of subtly. “What’s on your mind kid?” She turned to him and he quickly diverted his gaze to a seagull that had alighted on a railing a dew yards down. He shook his head self consciously. “Thanks for the clothes kid.” She nudged him with her elbow.
He had taken her to his house and loaned her some of his clothes. They fit surprisingly well even if they weren’t exactly her taste. She liked a little more colour than he did, clad in mainly black and greys. He had also given her money from his mother’s purse. It hadn’t been difficult to take as she had passed out at the kitchen table, smelling strongly of whiskey. This had explained why he had been able to stay out all night without fear of being missed. It also explained his willingness to stay out. She hadn’t asked him for the money, he had simply given it to her, knowing that she had nothing. And a loan, she assured him, it was; she fully intended to give them back.
“And thanks for looking out for me too, kid.” She added. He just shrugged his shoulders. The sound of water lapping filled the silence, as did the occasional cry of the birds.
After a few minutes he worked up the courage to speak. It seemed harder to converse with her in the sunlight. It was harder to believe that she was what she was, and harder to believe that she was real at all and not just a figure of his imagination. “I’m not a kid you know.” He tried to inject as much maturity as he could into his statement. She nodded her head slowly and put a hand on his shoulder.
“I know you’re not, I’m sorry. What’s your name?”
He frowned slightly at the idea that they hadn’t exchanged names yet. Wanting to seem as adult as he could, he held out his hand for her to shake. This made her grin. “Noah.” He answered.
“Well Noah, my name is Delia. Nice to meet you.” They shook hands and then both turned back to the water, content with the strange bond that they had made. Delia took a final deep breath of the salty sea air and sighed. “I better go if I’m going to catch this bus Noah.” She told him.
He frowned again. He didn’t want her to leave. If she left it would mean that he would have to convince himself that she was real, that she had existed at all. He never had been good at convincing himself of anything.
“Stay safe kid.” She said in a very motherly way and tousled his hair. He watched her walk away. As he did he realised that he didn’t want her to stay, he wanted to leave with her.
Delia took one last glance at Noah before he was out of sight. The sadness of his eyes made her chest ache and just as her gaze shifted an unfamiliar thud radiated through her; her heart had taken its first beat.