Drops in the Sky

One foot in front of the other. That's all I knew. Just keep walking. Get water when you can. Get food when you can. Just keep walking. For 92 days, that's all I knew. And then, I met Amber Jeffries. And, by God, that girl became all I knew. All I wanted to know. But the War was all that mattered. Fighting is all that matters.

In World War Four, 10 billion people were killed. I'm one of the lucky two billion that survived. So was Amber Jeffries. Unfortunately, 1.9 billion people live in Europe. Mostly France, and a couple areas just outside of it. I'm in the hundred million left in what used to be the United States, which is currently in the midst of a Civil War. And I'm right in the middle of it.

We're kind of a mess. My life's messy. But Amber... She keeps everything together.


11. eleven

I sit on Amber's bed, watching as she packs the small backpack she had been given. The rest of the group is having dinner, but I decided to stay with Amber and help her pack for her mission tomorrow. 

It came as no surprise to any of us that she was chosen, although many were disappointed that it wasn't themselves. Although I was slightly upset that I wasn't good enough to be chosen, I'm still happy for Amber. 

It's only a day-long mission, so she's not packing any clothes. Her backpack is filled with weapons, maps, and an excessively massive first-aid kit. 

I hope she won't need it. 

"You didn't have to stay with me," she mutters. "You must be hungry after training today." 

"It's fine," I say. "I can grab something to eat later." 

She checks through her backpack, making sure she has everything, then zips it shut. As she bends over, I notice her wince slightly. She ignores the pain, and sits on the bed next to me. 


"I'm fine, Justin. Just some bruising." 

I bring my hand up to her face, gently cupping her chin in my large hand. I turn her head gently to the side; the bruise where she was hit earlier is purple, blue, and ugly. I turn her head back to face me. 

I can feel her body heat radiating off of her tan skin; her eyes are locked on mine. With the bruise on the side of her face, and her chin practically being swallowed by my large hand, she looks so... small. So easily injured. 

She shakes her head lightly, and I remove my hand. 

"So... You excited?" I ask awkwardly after a few more minutes of silence. 

She shrugs. "Can't tell if I'm nervous or excited," she admits. "It's only been a week and a half." 

"You'll be fine," I insist. 

"I know," she says, but she doesn't sound convinced. 

Right. Amber doesn't need anyone to take care of her. Her stubbornness is a bit annoying, sometimes, when all I want to do is comfort and help her. 

"Marshall seems like he knows what he's doing," I say. 

She shrugs. "Yeah, I guess." 

We sit in silence for a few moments. When I look up at her, I see that she's zoning out, a thoughtful look in her eyes. 

"Amber, you okay?" I ask quietly. 

She snaps her head up, and immediately the thoughtful look is replaced with golden fire. 

"I'm fine," she says. 

I give her a pointed look. 

"I'm fine!" She insists. 

"If you say so," I mutter. She punches my arm. 

By now, I'm pretty sure I have a permanent bruise. 

"Ow," I mutter. 

"Baby," she teases. I roll my eyes. 

We sit in silence a while longer. After a few minutes, she leans towards me and rests her head sideways on my shoulder. I feel my muscles stiffen. My ears turn red at her touch. Her body is warm, and smells like coconut. 

How does she smell like coconut? The cheap shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that are provided here all smell like laundry detergent. 

I glance down at our hands; hers resting on her lap, mine resting on my own. Both of us have knuckles that are split and bloody from fighting, but her hands still carry a softness to them. Mine are calloused and rough and dry from months out in the desert. 

She moved from her position only when we could hear the clamor of the other kids in the group getting back from dinner. She quickly stands up and crouches over her backpack, even though she's already done packing. 

I walk over to my bed and sit, waiting for the group to join us. 

The group barges through the door noisily, and Liam makes his way over to Amber. He slings a heavy arm around her shoulder. I can see her knees practically buckle under the weight. 

"Congrats to our champ!" He bellows. Amber rolls her eyes and slips out from under his arm. 

"It amazes me how a little girl like you can pack so much power in a punch," he whispers in her ear, tracing his fingers down her jawline. I can see her gritting her teeth to avoid showing her pain as his fingers touch the bruise on her cheek. I feel my face flush with anger. 

Man, this guy gets to me. 

"I can demonstrate," she offers. 

He raises an eyebrow. "Please, show us your secrets!" 

She laughs, then punches him in the stomach. Because he didn't expect it, he stumbles back. I bite my lip to keep from laughing. 

The rest of the room laughs at him. His face turns red with anger, and he storms away from her. 

Nice one, I mouth. She shrugs and flips her hair over her shoulder dramatically. 


After breakfast, everyone separates and goes their own ways. Most people go to get in a little extra training, I guess. Amber and I make our way back to our cabin.

In less than thirty minutes, Amber will be on her way to the Service camp. 

In true Amber spirit, she puts on a calm façade and acts as she normally would, shutting down all emotion. 

"So?" I begin. "How are you feeling? How's your stomach" 

We walk towards the truck that soldiers are beginning to pile high with supplies. Why they need so much supplies for such a short trip is beyond me. 

"Honestly? Just a tad nervous," she admits. 

My mouth flickers upwards into a smile when she says tad. It's quite the endearing trait. 

"You'll be fine," I reassure her. 

If anyone else was looking at her, they'd think she was as calm and collected as she always was. But, because I know her, I see the nervousness in her eyes. 

I can't stop myself from reaching down and grabbing her small hand to reassure her; her hand disappears in mine. 

She looks down at our hands, then looks up at me. The expression on her face is unreadable. 

"Sorry," I mutter, pulling my hand away. Our eyes; her gorgeous amber ones, my plain blue ones, remain locked. 

She laces her fingers through mine, and we continue walking towards the truck that will carry her away. 

I can't help but grin stupidly. 

I'm not a very good teenager, I don't think. 

We finally reach the truck. 

"Jeffries!" Marshall calls out. "Let's go!" 

She turns to face me. 

With a casual wink, she hops into the back of the truck, along with three other soldiers. 

"See you tomorrow," she says with a grin. 

"See you tomorrow," I say. "Be safe." 

"I will," she promises. 

Unfortunately, that's not something you can promise. I'll choose to believe it, anyways. 

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