Right now Huck was trying to figure out every sort of way he could jump out of the moving car for his escape and not die, though dying was an acceptable option too.
Huck threw his face into his hands and wanted to groan from anxiety, his stomach trembling and heart pounding into his throat. He looked over at the social worker with pleading eyes, but all he got in return was a side glance.
The boy couldn't even remember the woman's name even though she was the only constant in his life at this point. He remembered it was something Iranian to go along with her accent and her dark complexion. She was the only person Huck felt didn't want him hungry on the street, and he couldn't even remember her name.
Because it's her job, stupid.
This was his least favorite part of it all; the social worker having to drive Huck to a new home after the last one realized what a nightmare he was. The part where he has to hope that this family will be the one to call him son or sport and sign him up for baseball and take him for ice cream cones and care about him. Maybe this one. They always hoped.
Except Huck lost hope a long time ago.
He didn't even realize when the car lurched to a stop and his stomach twisted into even more knots that they were actually there. He wanted to cry or bolt away and make up some excuse to go hide forever. He remembered stories about runaways, and he thought about living in the wilderness where no foster parents or social workers were going to bother you.
"Huckleberry, they are waiting".
Huck knew he was close to throwing up all of the cheerios he had this morning, but he held it in so vomit wouldn't wreck the social workers dashboard. He felt his head spin in all directions with anxiety as he felt his fingers shake and tremor. Huck didn't think that was normal.
When he finally worked up the strength to stumble out of the car, Huck had to lean himself on the door for a few minutes to collect himself and any spare courage he could manage to find. The ebony haired boy realized this was his last chance to make a dash for it, but his legs carried him to the social worker despite his heart climbing into his throat.
"If you're feeling sick you can take an aspirin and lie down when you get inside", the woman sounded more annoyed than concerned as she massaged her temple ,"I figured you'd be used to this process at this point.
The words sting just like the tears wanting to spill from his eyes, though he took several deep breaths to prevent any sign of a break down. The social worker took his hand and began to lead Huck towards the house, no chance for him to run anymore.
To say Huck was impressed would be an understatement. The house was at least two stories and had a fresh coat of white paint with green shingled decorating the exterior. Every windowsill in sight had brightly primary colored flowers, with usually a little gnome or fairy statue for extra homeliness. Huck had to dodge the sprinkler that was watering the freshly mowed grass, wetting the white picket fence in the process. The real eye catcher for Huck was the car, though. A tuff looking 1964 Chevrolet Impala that shined bright red in the sunlight. He wanted to let his fingers glide over the hood, but snapped his fingers back when the social worker shot him a warning look.
Don't get used to all of this. It never lasts.
"Knock, Huckleberry". He almost forgot the woman was there.
Huck took a deep breath and step towards the door, beginning to wrap his knuckles against the wood until he heard shuffling behind the door. No turning back now, he thought.
The woman who emerged from the door was nothing like the boy expected. She had a warm, young smile, but despite that she didn't look young. Huck assumed from her crows feet yet youthful grin that she was in her forties. Her long blond hair was tied up in a high pony tail, wisps of golden wheat drifting into her face. Her pale skin contrasted against the dark beauty marks that were adorned all over. It was her eyes that Huck couldn't look away from, though. They were strikingly blue, like a frozen ocean. Welcoming, yet intimidating.
"You must be Huckleberry Finn", the woman finally spoke ,"it's so great to meet you. I've been so excited all day for this".
Huck let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding a forced a smile ,"t-thank you, ma'am"
"No need to be so formal, sweetie," the golden stranger laughed, taking Huck aback ,"I hope I'm not that old that I can be called 'ma'am' now. You can call me Ms. Douglas".
Huck wanted nothing more than to grab the social workers hand a sprint back to the car as fast as he could, despite the fact that he followed Ms. Douglas into her home with the social worker.
As soon as he stepped through the entrance, the boy knew someone like him didn't belong here. Every wall was decked with Monet and Norman Rockwell and other artists Huck couldn't name. The ceiling was so tall Ms. Douglas's voice echoed as she explained something that Huck didn't bother to pay attention too. A chandelier loomed over their heads and porcelain or china decorative pieces were places on almost every surface. He kept his head down and made a mental note to keep his hands by his sides.
The social worker took Ms. Douglas into the kitchen to talk to her in private, leaving Huck to sway back in forth awkwardly until he worked up the courage to sit on the all too expensive leather couch. He looked out the window and wondered if he should contemplate another escape plan to jump out and run, but stared at his bouncing knees instead. He knew a greasy kid like him didn't belong with this pristine woman and her house. Anyone with a chandelier in their home was too good for him, he thought.
Huck didn't even realize when Ms. Douglas entered the room until he heard the social worker close the door on her way out, not even giving him the time of day to say goodbye. When Huck looked up and saw the woman, his shoulders relaxed and he didn't have to force a smile in return. She had her golden hair down, letting it lay in a shining waterfall down her back. She took off her cardigan and was left in a gray t-shirt and baggy mom jeans and socks. A maternal glow came off of her, and she didn't seems so intimidating anymore.
"Would you like anything to drink, sweetie?" Ms. Douglas said through her impossible bright smile ,"or a snack?"
When he only shook his head in response, Ms. Douglas sat down next to him, causing Huck to tense and continue to stare at his knees.
"To get introductions out of the way I'll start," she began.
"My name is Ms. Douglas, and I live by myself here in St. Petersburg. I work as a lawyer and I write on the side, also helping out with the church on Sundays".
Huck kept quiet.
"The social worker tells me you used to live in St. Petersburg?"
He only nodded in response, still keeping his mouth shut.
"I understand you must be tired, so I'll show you too your room," she ran her finger through the wheat strands behind her ear, revealing dangling dog earrings ,"I want you to take your time, but I do hope to get to know you. Like I said, I'm so thrilled that you're here".
She's lying again.
Ignoring the voice, Huck followed Ms. Douglas to the room he would be staying in. For him, the trek seemed endless, but Ms. Douglas thankfully never stopped chatting about some stuff Huck didn't understand, so that silence didn't find it's way in between them.
"Here you are, sweetie," she smiled and opened the door ,"I hope it's to your liking?"
Huck couldn't stop his mouth from falling open. He's never had his own room before, let alone something like this. There was a full sized bed in the corner with thick warm sheets and blankets atop. A bookshelf filled to the brim with everything from Hemingway to J.R.R Martin. Huck was even afraid to touch the desktop computer near the doorway in fear of getting his 'poor' on it.
"T-this is amazing," Huck finally spoke ,"thank you so much".
"It was the least I could do for you, sweetie", Huck's heart warmed at her words ,"I have clothes for you in the closet, but they might be a tad on the large side, sorry". The size of the clothes were the last thing Huck cared about, because he was so hung up on the fact that he actually had a wardrobe now. And a room that wasn't a walk in closet with that he had to share with someone else.
"If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask. For now, I'm sure you need your rest," Ms. Douglas turned to go, but stopped in her tracks and whipped around ,"oh! I'm sorry, I almost forgot!"
Ms. Douglas reached into her back pocket and pulled out something Huck only dreamed about and almost got teary eyed just looking at it. A brand spanking new cell phone.
"I figured I'd get you one and put you on my plan," she held it out to him ,"don't be shy, it's yours now".
Huck could only shake his head vigorously ,"no no no, I can't. You don't have to spend such money on me, honest!"
Even still, Ms Douglas cupped her hands around his and placed the phone in them.
"Nonsense! A boy your age needs a phone, after all".
As he held the phone in his hand, Huck could only nod as she walked out, telling him to rest as much as he needed. His heart was still pounding out of his chest, but this was by far the nicest woman he has ever met.
She won't last.
Huck mentally shushed the voice once more as he threw himself on his new bed, inhaling the musty smell from the old comforter and pillows. It didn't take much for his eyelids to feel like lead as he fell farther and farther into the blankets, and was finally able to sleep after all this time.
When he awoke to the sound of a door slamming, the sun was still high in the sky, Huck estimating it to be a bit after lunch time. He swung his feet off the bed and let out a yawn, stretching his limbs in every direction they could go. Huck let his head perk up with his eyes when he heard Ms. Douglas call to him, telling him someone was here to see him. He didn't know whether to be confused, annoyed or anxious, so he was a little of all three at the same time.
It was only until he heard the pounding of feet up the stairs that he realized where he was. He was back in St. Petersburg, where the only person who's ever given a damn about him lived. Only one person would visit him as soon as he came back.
The door busted open, revealing a boy Huck's age. His smile threatened to reach his ears and his brown eyes glistened with glee. He had gotten a lot taller since Huck last saw him, yet so had he. His fiery dark red hair was tamer yet still a wild mess, and the small amount of freckles still splashed his pale yet sun-kissed skin.
"T-Tom!" Huck finally managed ,"Tom Sawyer!"
Boyish laughter filled the warm summer air as the two splashed in the river together. They were playing pirate, swinging sticks as swords and chasing each other all along the water with their clothes discarded. The one with the head of flames claimed he was the king of the pirates, and vanquished his comrade by tackling him into the water.
When both boys emerged from the river they couldn't contain their laughter, and Tom grabbed Huck's shoulder and pulled him in close, walking out with him onto the shore. Tom declared he won, winning an eye roll from Huck and a jab to the ribs.
They sat in silence for a moment, taking in the occasional breeze and fiddling their fingers in the dirt. Tom turned to Huck and showed him a toothy grin, if you can call it that with your front teeth missing. Huck smiled back and stuck his tongue out in the process.
"You're my best friend Hucky, and that ain't never gonna change!" Tom declared and pulled his friend into a hug ,"I love you, Hucky!"
Huck laughed and playfully punched him in the shoulder ,"guess you're stuck with me, Tom!"
Silence hung in the air for a moment, Huck's breath hitched as he felt a lump in his throat. His hands and legs began to tremble with realization and anxiety when he began to process who was in front of him. The only person he's missed this whole four years. The only person who's ever uttered an "I love you" to him. Tom Sawyer was standing in front of him and all he could do was stare in awe.
Are you seriously anxious? In front of all people, why are you anxious in front of Tom?
Tom cut him off, smothering him a hug tighter than a vise, almost squeezing the breath out of him. Huck soon melted into his touch, his anxiety diminishing until the feeling and voice were nothing but faint whispers. The ebony haired boy returned the affection, letting his arms wrap around Tom and grabbing onto his shirt.
Tom tried to sound serious, but failed with his giggly tone ,"Huckleberry Finn, you've kept me waiting to long!"