Albert wasn’t having the best morning, then again, no one really enjoyed picking up a sick kid from school. Echo hadn’t even finished her first class before she phoned him at work, asking to pick her up. Now she was seated in the car, quiet and unmoving as they drove down the road.
The silence continued until Albert decided to pay James a visit. Echo looked as though she was dozing off, and he really needed to speak to the man, since their last encounter had ended on such a sour note.
“Where are we going?” Echo asked with a small groan, she began to wrap her arms around her midsection, clearly more ill than she was trying to let on but still not enough to tell Albert what was wrong.
“We’re making a pit stop, I’m not going to be long but I need you to stay in the car.”
“Okay, but can you hurry? I need to lie down…”
As Albert pulled into James’ driveway, he turned off the ignition and sat in place for a few moments. His eyes were transfixed ahead, though he wasn’t really looking at anything. Echo was quiet for a second, but impatiently piped up, “who lives here?”
“Just a friend of mine.”
He had waited long enough, and with a soft click, undid his seatbelt and opened the door to his car, stepping out and closing it firmly. He tapped his knuckle on the car roof as an odd sort of thanks to Echo for being patient as he approached James’ front steps. Then he knocked again, this time on the wooden exterior of his door.
James sighed, his head in his hands as he sat on the couch, staring at the floor. It had taken him a while to get anything out of John. Once the man had had a decent night’s sleep, it all seemed to hit at once and took him a while to compose himself enough to talk about. The house had been quiet, the only words passed between the two being “Good morning” and “Good night.” Otherwise, there was only the sound of coffee being made, food being cooked, and doors closing. John spend his hours often very angry, occasionally bursting out in anger when he thought his friend couldn’t hear. James spent his time close by, waiting for John to talk to him. The loyal soldier, always standing by.
Today, though, he finally spoke up. John had decided to spend his afternoon in the living room, very unlike the routine they’d developed, and James, sensing the oncoming storm, followed suit. As soon as the words had left his mouth, James stared at his friend in disbelief. He didn’t register the small “No,” that escaped his own lips, only that John’s expression stayed angry, staring at the television. The room was silent once more and James’ head dropped into his hands.
It was only a few minutes later that there was a knock at the door. James stood after a moment and went to see who it was. Finding Albert on the other side, he cast a glance at John before opening the door. “Albert? Sorry, it’s not really the best ti—” He stopped, cringing as he heard a door slam shut behind him. “Er … D’you wanna come in, or …?”