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.


5. five

I wring my hands out nervously. I have my knife strapped to my belt, and my other few belongings secured in my backpack. I glance up at Amber. She sits, as calm and strong as ever, watching with her head cocked slightly with curiosity as I express my nerves. 

According to Thomas's map, we're only a couple dozen miles from the Army base. Less than an hour's drive away. I glanced down and realized I was still wearing Thomas's shirt. Let me rephrase that; I'm still wearing Thomas's shirt, which is about two sizes two small. I feel self-conscious in this shirt, like I'll bust the seams any minute. 

"Nervous?" I blurt out, trying to break the awkward silence between Amber and myself. She stares at me. 

"No. You?" 

"Not at all," I lie. 

"Really? 'Cause you've been wringing your poor fingers out so much, I think they'd care to disagree." 

Shit. Busted

"Okay, fine. Maybe I'm a tiny bit nervous." 

She grins. Not a joking smirk, but a genuine grin. Smile? Grin. "Maybe I'm a tad bit nervous, too," she laughs. 

I like the way she says "tad." It's different. 

I don't know why, all of a sudden, I'm nervous to join the army. It's all I've been looking forward to for months, but now that we're approaching... I just can't catch my breath. Is it because I'm nearing the army, or because I'm nearing it with her? 

"Hey, I never asked," I begin. "Where are you and Thomas from?" 

"Quebec," she says. 

I gape at her. "Seriously? That's so far! And you've driven from there?" 

She nods. "You're from St. Paul, right?" 

I nod. "How long are you guys planning on staying in California?" 

She shrugs. "As long as we need to, I guess." 

Staying in California's smart. It's one of the only states that hasn't been claimed by the GWRPS. Sure, they still have a presence there, but it's minute. It's one of the only areas in the States that are pretty much guaranteed fresh water and food. France is pretty safe, but there are some regions that have been taken over. The majority of California's bordering states, however, are GWRPS territory, however, so driving here is a little risky. The rest of the world, outside of the States and France, are completely destroyed. 

War has wreaked havoc on our planet. I bring myself back to reality. By reality, I mean staring at Amber. 

Amber sits with one arm draped over the edge of the truck, so I can see only half of her face. The setting sunlight reflects off her blonde hair and catches in her amber eyes, turning them completely golden. The light makes her skin glow. After so long in the desert, it's hard to believe she's anything more than a mirage. 

She seems to notice my stare and turns quickly to face me. I jerk my head to the side and find something random to look at; anything to look at that isn't her. I realize I'm staring at the back of her brother's head. I turn back to her in a way that I try to make casual, but probably ends up looking more creepy. Why am I being like this? 

When I finally meet her eyes, she seems to be looking at me with an amused glint in her amber eyes. I smirk, trying to play it cool, which only results in her laughing. To be specific, she's laughing at me. To be even more specific, she is probably laughing at how awkward and weird I am. 

God damn it. 

"Surprised you didn't get whiplash," she says with a laugh and a playful smirk. 

I roll my eyes. Well, at least she isn't tackling me. 

The truck rumbles, then slows to a stop. 

"Tommy? Everything okay?" She calls to the front. 

"We gotta stop to charge," he calls back. 

"Damn it," she curses under her breath. "How long?"

"Couple hours." 

"Damn it!" She curses again, yelling this time. 

"It's just a couple hours," I say. She glares at me. Moment's over. Yep, that's Amber. 

She hops out of the truck and extends the solar panels attached to the sides of the truck. She sets them up so that they're facing the setting sun. 

"Will we be able to get a charge with so little light?" I ask. 

She shrugs. "We'll get some, but not enough to make it there. We can probably charge as much as we can, drive until we run out, sleep the night, and then hike the rest," she suggests. Great. Not looking forward to more hiking after the hike from St. Paul. Hiking is the last thing I want to do, after my past three months. 

"Tommy!" She yells. "Can we fight?" 

Huh? The car door opens and slams shut, as if in answer. He jogs around to the back of the truck. Amber grins at him, rolling up her sleeves. 


"Want me to let you win, this time?" She says with an evil glint in her eye. 

"Shut up, Amber. You know I could kick your ass if I wanted to," her brother retaliates. 

"Yeah, right!" She scoffs. I sit at the back of the truck, my legs dangling over the open end. This should be good. Is her brother seriously going to fight her? He looks twice her size. But then again, she's Amber, so I probably shouldn't underestimate her. Especially since she tackled me to the ground. 

They both get into a fighting stance, jokingly bouncing around each other and throwing fake punches. Thomas is the first to throw a real punch. Amber blocks it with her right forearm and immediately retaliates with a jab to his stomach. He stumbles back, and she takes the opportunity to throw an uppercut to his jaw. He blocks it and steps back, getting read to attack. They switch positions; he's now in offense, while she's defending herself. I can see a mischievous glint in her eyes as she calculates what her brother's going to do next. His weight shifts onto his front foot, and he throws a kick at her. She grabs his leg and throws him to the ground. She immediately pins him down, and throws in one satisfactory punch to the jaw before laughing. 

"I win!" She celebrates. 

"I hate you," he mutters, rubbing the bruise that's already forming on his jaw. I stare at the two of them in awe. 

"Where'd you guys learn to fight?" I ask, gaping at both of them. Well, mostly Amber. Okay, fine. Just Amber. 

They glance at each other. "Uh... We kinda just started hitting each other and trying to fight back," Thomas says. Amber laughs. 

"Nuh-uh. I started hitting you, you tried to fight back, and I knocked you down." Thomas rolls his eyes. 

"I hate you," he mutters again. She jumps on him, ruffling his hair. 

"Oh, you know you love me," she laughs. He throws her off his back and onto the ground, pinning her down this time. 

"Gotcha!" He yells in victory. She smirks, wraps her legs around his back, and flips him over so she's sitting on top of his stomach again. 

"What were you saying?" 

He pushes her off and she rolls onto the ground. 

"What about you, Jay? You fight?" 


"Um... not really. And- Jay?" 

"Justin's too long," she says. "Come on, lemme have a go at you." 

I frown, because I'm pretty sure I could hurt her. She may be strong and lean, but she's still a girl. It's not in my nature to hit a girl. "Uh... sure?" 

"Is that a question?" 

"Sure," I say definitively. I hop off the truck and get into a fighter's stance, hands raised in front of my face, bouncing on my toes lightly. Thomas laughs and goes back to my old seat on the truck. She fakes a punch to my left. I immediately move my head back, as a reflex. She smirks. I throw a punch at her stomach, not wanting to go for her face. She sidesteps and immediately throws a two-punch combo at my face. She hits me, both times. Hard. Ow. I block her third hit and grab her arm with my right hand. With my left leg, I try to throw a kick to her side, but she grabs it with her right arm and pulls, hard. I fall to the ground, on my back. She immediately sits on top of me, pinning me down the same way we were when we first met. 

I won't lie; having her body pressed against my own felt good. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I felt her fist sting my lips. Is she a mind reader, or something? Jeez. I try to throw her off, but she has my arms and legs pinned. I try to sit up using my core, but it doesn't work. 

Damn it. 

She grins and rolls off of me. I groan and sit up, bringing my fingers tenderly to my lip. I feel blood and a sharp sting as my fingers touch the cut. Thomas tosses me a rag. It looks clean enough, but who knows. I press it to my lip, and it comes away red. 

Damn it. 

"Sorry," she says, but the mischievous glint in her eye doesn't look too apologetic. 

"Sure you are," I mutter. 

"I am!" She protests. I stare at her pointedly.

"Okay, fine," she concedes. "But if you're going to be in the army, your opponents won't stop after they knock you down. They'll stop when they knock you out." 

Really looking forward to that. 

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