Life was... well, crazy. While she was always told that it had its ups and downs, how it could be one big roller coaster of events unlike any sort of ride at an amusement she'd ever experienced, Ellie didn't exactly picture it the way it's been over the past few months. For a little while, she wondered if there was ever going to be a moment where she could actually breathe! However, it wasn't like she was complaining. Not exactly. Yes, there was no denying that things back home have shifted quite a bit. After all, with Donovan gone, it almost felt like a piece of her family was missing. Though the were was a lot like her brother in that he hardly shared much about what was going on in his personal life, that didn't mean that Ellie hadn't always viewed him as her second older brother. On the contrary, she adored the man! So, it had been hard to hear that he was going back to their old stomping grounds, going back to his roots in search of something that he needed to find on his own. Of course, Lazarus hadn't said a thing to stop the were, they didn't even share one of those "bro hugs" that the young woman was used to seeing on her college campus or in those clichÃ© hallmark movies â€" or even in movies like Fast and Furious. They exchanged a few words, both men with hands in the front pockets of their baggy jeans as if showing any sort of love for one another was just not manly. How typical of them. However, it did warm the honey-blonde woman's heart to hear Lazarus tell Donovan that the were would always have a place here with in Sacrosanct with them. That was the most gentleness the huntress had ever seen out of the man. And oh, how her heart swelled in that moment! She'd be the first to admit that her glacier blue gaze had gotten glassy with tears at that moment, especially when she'd thrown her arms around Donovan in one final goodbye hug â€" despite his groan of protest at the forward affections she simply couldn't hold back.
And yet, their home was hardly lacking a third person for long. It was perhaps only days after Donovan left for his journey back to Elk Grove that Lani ended up on their doorstep. Ellie had been surprised at first, especially considering the fact that Lani had never been by the townhouse before. Perhaps the huntress had given the slightly older woman her address before for one reason or another. Not that it mattered in the least how it was Lani ended up knocking on the front door well into the nighttime hours. All Ellie noticed were the tears in her friend's eyes, her arms wrapped around herself as she asked if there was any way that she could stay for a little while. Her heart had broken for the way Lani looked, and it went without saying that the honey blonde had been more than happy to usher inside and set up a cot for her. Yet, what she hadn't expected in the least was the story to come as she cooked dinner for the two of them, Lazarus having been out doing who knows what. She remembers watching as Lani broke down into tears as she told the huntress about how Andras hadn't truly cared for her the way that she'd cared for him. She remembers listening to how Lani didn't want to stay in that apartment alone. And, though there had been something dark behind those hurt eyes, Ellie didn't dare press the matter. All she could think to do was wrap Lani up in her arms tightly and tell her that everything was going to be okay in the end, regardless of what had happened. She promised to keep going and checking on Chika and the apartment until Lani felt ready to go back to her own home."I'll take care of everything. You don't have to tell me what's happened, but if you ever want to, just know I will help you in every way that I can"... Those had been the words she'd vowed to her broken friend.
So, despite the long hours of school and lack of sound sleep due to the nights where she was shocked to wakefulness in the middle of the night from Lani's night terrors, Ellie kept her promise. She paid the small rent on the apartment, stopped by and checked on Chika, kept things dusted and neat should that day be the day Lani wanted to come home. If anything, it was almost sad for Ellie when the blue-eyed blonde said to her a few days ago that she was ready to return to her own residence. The huntress had gotten so used to having a helping hand around the townhouse with chores even though she'd never asked Lani to."I want to help, though. I owe you so much for being there and taking me in... it's the least I could do". Just remembering those softly spoken words from the blue-eyed blonde had Ellie smiling tenderly as she walked down the street on the south side of the city and towards Hyde Park. She almost wanted to ask her sweet friend to move in! But, she also understood that Lani had her own things to attend to, and that was perfectly okay. However, that definitely wouldn't stop her from checking in every day for a little while. Especially since she usually walked right by the apartments to and from school anyway. Although, thankfully, today was the one day each week where the honey-blonde huntress didn't have any classes to worry about. It had been so long since she'd been able to take a break and do something a little out of the usual routine, like going to the park and enjoying the sunshine. How lovely that sounded! Maybe I'll see Frost there, she thinks to herself as she finally arrives at the beginning of the walking path which led into the depths of one of her absolute favorite places in the city. She missed seeing her friend, even though one the few accounts where she'd met up with him, people would always give him strange sideways and almost wary glances. One of these days, she'll have to ask him why strangers give him such strange looks. But first, she wanted to enjoy her trip to the park before she thought about texting the man and seeing what he was up to.
A contented sigh escapes the honey-blonde woman as she walks along the trail, dressed in a pastel yellow spaghetti strap and white shorts with a leather shoulder bag slung over her right side, reveling in the sunshine and soft summer breeze that blew through long, golden hair. Naturally, she would smile to those who passed her by and met her gaze. As she expected, most would seem to act like they hadn't seen her there at all, but one or two of them were warm enough to smile back and usher a brief "hello" or "beautiful day isn't it?", these people in particular illuminating her eyes of winter frost with delight as she happily answered back. When it came right down to it, Ellie just couldn't bring herself to be as cold as the rest of the city. It just wasn't her. So, whenever she would come across someone who was friendly or kind, it was more or less impossible to expect that the honey-blonde would not get excited to have a genuinely friendly interaction with someone she knew nothing about. She watched the children running and playing, their laughter almost infectious to the young huntress as she continued on at the same leisurely pace, only stopping when at last she came to a park bench beside one of the many stone fountains. Here, there is an old oak towering over it, casting a cool shadow and providing a pleasant shelter from the summer sun, its boughs thick and lush with emerald green foliage. And, those branches, so alive with birdsong that it was almost as if this spot were meant for the young woman to find. A perfect place to do some reading. She settles herself there, placing the back on the seat beside her and reach into it to pull out a water bottle she'd brought along with her mother's old cook book. Some might think it strange to be reading a cookbook in the park, but she had yet to come up with an idea of what to make for dinner tonight, so it was just as good a book to be reading as any â€" at least, that's what Ellie would say in typical Ellie enthusiasm. It is here that the huntress decides to enjoy her afternoon, and whatever else were to come her way. After all, she was always up for making friends or finding herself on some unexpected adventure.
Elain Chase Daray
image by etienne beauregard riverin