I hit the floor for what felt like the millionth time that night, clipping my head on the corner of the small table beside my bed.
"Damn." I muttered, lifting my head and squinting against both the pain in my head and the bright light filtering through the useless sheet hanging over the window.
Slowly, I stumbled to the door and out into the hallway, making it to the fridge without further problems. I peered into its industrial depths (it was a relic from the early days of my uncle's business here on the Allen Farm), looking for something to eat while I drank orange juice straight from the carton.
"Eeeee!" screamed a high-pitched voice, just as something grasped my leg and tried to hide between it and the refrigerator, scaring me into spraying orange juice over half the wall.
I looked down and recognized the younger of my twin cousins.
"Jeez, Aidan! Don't scare me like that!" I exclaimed, wiping the juice off my face.
"Shhhh, E!" the three-year-old whispered in that three-year-old way, where they just make their normal voice raspier. "Kyle looking!" he pointed toward the hallway where I faintly heard the light patter of his twin's small feet.
"Right." I said to myself, and grabbed a few slices of pizza left over from last night's movie night and shut the fridge. "Coming, squirt?" I asked Aidan, who was still clinging fearfully to my leg.
He shook his head and I saw his eyes flicker briefly back to the hallway before he took off in the opposite direction. Laughing to myself, I followed him into the living room where he was now hiding behind his sister, my cousin, Scarlett, whose face was, as usual, buried deep within the pages of a thick book.
"Hey Scar," I said, tilting my head to read the title of her book. The Lord of the Rings. Fantasy. Figures. "What's up with that bed you've got me sleeping on? It's like a handicapped ramp."
"I'm not a character from The Lion King. And your head looks funny when you do that. Dan and Alex were in charge of getting it through the door. They figured it wouldn't matter if two of the legs were gone." Figures. Dan and Alex were the two oldest children in the family and were both notorious for their stupid stunts.
"Ahh. Where are your parents?" Scarlett was ridiculously responsible and motherly for a fifteen-year-old, but it was still suspicious that she was the only one in the house. I plopped down next to her on the couch and finished off the last of my pizza.
"Making deliveries," she flipped a page, "Dan and Alex are out too."
"Everyone's out? Why?"
"Hurricane's coming." She said, pointing over her shoulder to the bay window, through which I could see the ominously purple clouds hovering over the neighborhood.
"Damn." I said for the second time that morning.
"Hey!" Scarlett exclaimed, my foul language finally tearing her eyes from the book. "Keep it rated G, please!" her eyes shot back to where Aidan was hiding in the curtains behind the couch.
"Oh. Yeah, sorry." I apologized.
"Sure you are." She said, her green eyes rolling and returning to the book. "Dad said your delivery instructions were on the walk-in."
"Thanks, Scar." I said, smiling at her childhood nickname.
"No problem, Emmy." She spit out my old nickname with all the venom of a rattlesnake. I let out a booming laugh and walked back through the house to my room.
I pulled a pair of worn jeans and the standard white Allen Farms uniform shirt from my drawers and pulled them on as I thought about how I'd ended up making deliveries for my Aunt and Uncle in Nowhere, North Carolina during my break.
It was unbelievable, really, that a few…altercations at school should earn me a two-month sentence in my own personal hell, but that was my parents for you. My other friends had just gotten a few weeks of phone-less car-less chores, but I got to deliver gallons of milk, cartons of eggs, and sacks of flour to various locations across eastern North Carolina with my idiot cousins. Big fun.
As soon as I was fully dressed, I headed out the back door to the outbuilding that held the walk-in fridge and freezer. I entered through the back door, wandering through the stacks of supplies until I got to the walk-in. There, taped to the sturdy gray metal, I found my instructions written on the back of a grimy old cell phone bill.
I need you to make a special delivery to the Morehead City Hurricane Shelter. Their regular supplier can't make deliveries this early, and I promised to send them at least a half-load before the storm hits. I'll give you a bonus if you do me this favor.
Underneath was a list of the needed supplies and an address for what I assumed was the Hurricane Shelter.
Great, I thought, moaning out loud. Morehead was at least an hour and a half away on a good day, and with the storm about to hit, driving was not likely to be a blast.
Nevertheless, I began loading the last van with as many supplies as I could fit. After every carton, jug, and sack had been secured, I slammed the double doors and glanced out of the windows of the garage doors, stopping in my tracks. Shit. Sometime during my packing frenzy, it had begun to rain. And I mean rain. The downpour sounded like bullets pounding on the metal roof, and I was shocked I hadn't noticed it before.
Make delivery. Get bonus. Go home. I thought, using this as motivation to get into the driver's seat and start the van. Delivery. Bonus. Home.
RAIN! The more rational part of my brain thought.
C'mon. It'll be fun. Thought the other part. The part that had led me to convince three of my friends to put a condom on every one of Mr. Franklin's chubby fingers as he snored at the front of our Health class.
You're the reason we're here in the first place. Don't do it, Emmett. The rational part retorted.
Oh come on. What's a little rain gonna do?
A LITTLE rain?! That is way more than a little rain. You won't be able to see—
"SHUT UP!" I roared. Call the white coats. Talking to the voices in my head. And letting them make my decisions. "I'm only doing this for Uncle Ben." I told myself. And, if I was being honest, the voices too.
Good choice, Emmett!
"I said, shut up!" they were finally silent as I hit the button to open the garage doors, and as I pulled out slowly onto the long, dirt driveway that was slowly turning to mud.
It took nearly all of my concentration to navigate my way through the potholes and toys still littered around from the twins' birthday last Friday, but I still managed to spot Scarlett running through the torrent with a big black bag, waving her arms over her head. I stopped the van with a jolt and stared at her with the look I usually reserved for Dan and Alex. She didn't seem to notice, however, and wrenched the passenger door open, leaping into the seat with more grace than I expected.
"Hey." She said, slightly winded, and wiped the dripping strands of dark blond hair away from her face. The bag was bulging in odd places as she set it on the seat between us.
"Hey…" I said after a pause. The what-the-hell-are-you-doing look was still on my face. "What's in the bag? Dynamite?"
"No." she said, oblivious to my humor, "clothes."
"Clothes? For what?"
"For you, dolt." She stated, rolling her eyes. "I know Dad's having Dan and Alex run to a few shelters and figured he'd only trust you with the Morehead one. Dan would get hopelessly lost and then drown in a ditch and Alex would probably offend someone, get in a fight, and not be able to drive back."
"And…" I prompted after a few seconds of silence.
"And, have you seen this rain?!"
"No, I was just staring really intently at the windshield before." I rolled my eyes, "Of course I've seen it, Scar. So what? I have to make this delivery."
"I figured you'd say that, but it's only gonna get worse, Em. Category onewhen it left the Gulf. It's supposed to be a two when it reaches Morehead at noon, but that only makes it worse. You're not going to be able to make it back before next week at the least. I think it's best if you just stayed at the shelter. At least you wont be on a lopsided bed." She grinned, and I was shocked for the second time in less then ten minutes. Scarlett had always been a bookworm, so I'd never really taken the time to talk to her, assuming she was just another arrogant know-it-all. There was obviously much, much more to Scarlett Allen than I'd always believed.
"Well thanks, Carlie." I said, calling her by her preferred nickname for the first time since I'd arrived. "I didn't think you cared whether or not I went flying off the flooded roads."
"Chalk it up to motherly instinct, Emmett, but I'm not always the person you think I am." As soon as the sentence was out of her mouth, she had hopped out and was sprinting back towards the house, where I could see the twins' faces pressed against the kitchen windows. I waved and their faces broke out into identical grins as they waved back.
Family had never been as important to me as my friends, mostly because the only family I lived near were my parents, and they were always either at work or yelling at me. I'd never really stopped to think about the kind of people my family were, or that they could be friends too. Well, I thought, pulling out onto the highway, there's a first time for everything.
Hello all! Hope you liked the first chapter in Emmett's POV of TEOTS. Anyways, if you're interested, there are 5 other authors with whom I'm working on this story--and they're each doing a different point of view on the same story. So, the authors are myself, book2romantic, shaps, Madame Meg, gatorzgurl07, and luvvampluvdog. Any part of the story can be found by searching the title "The Eye of the Storm."
Good day fair readers, and don't forget to review!