Chapter 3

"Ayla."

I knew this voice, just as I had known those eyes. I replied with the name I knew so well.

"Jacoby." 

He was clothed in a pair of faded jeans, and a t-shirt I assumed was once white. Everything except his eyes seemed so jaded, right down to the ash-like stubble that graced his chin. I dug around my rucksack and pulled out a wooly hat, much like mine, but blue. I handed it him and smiled.

"Thanks, Ayla."

He put it on and pulled a face at me. I couldn't help but laugh. Before he had a chance to speak, I removed one of the flasks from my rucksack and poured a little into the cup with which it was paired. I handed it carefully to Jacoby, and said,

"Drink up, before it gets cold."

Jacoby took a few mouthfuls, wiped his chin with the back of his hand, and turned to face me. 

"Why do you do these things for me, Ayla? Why do you help me?"

I smiled at Jacoby, and replied,

"Because no one else does. I want to help you, not through the impersonal giving of money, but by giving you what you need."

He smiled, and before I could stop myself, I was holding the 30-something tightly in my arms.

"We all need love," I whispered, tears rolling down my face, "no matter how hungry, or cold, or lost we are." As I loosed him from my grip,  I muttered, wiping the tears from my face, "That sounded as though it came from some American drama." 

Jacoby heard this statement, and said.

"I thought it was beautiful.

I turned from him and pulled one last item from my rucksack, a blanket, and proceeded to drape it over his shoulders.

"Thank you," he began, "for everything."

"It's not a problem." 

I poured him another cup of minestrone, which he finished quickly, and took back the cup. "Good night, Jacoby, sleep well."

I was half way down the street when I heard him shout,

"And you, Ayla!"

The return journey was as mysterious as the first had been, only faster. It grew colder now, so my mind would not allow me the pleasure of thought.

I arrived home, and looked immediately to the clock.

"Nine thirty, perfect!" I muttered to myself as I pulled off my trainers. I ran to the kitchen and washed the flask, and consumed the soup from the other, before washing that one too. I tiptoed upstairs to my room, and pulled on my pajamas. Finally, with my breath tasting of peppermint, I settled down into bed, muttered a quick prayer and turned out the light. I slept almost instantly.

The End

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