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Waiting

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He had barely moved in over an hour. There were bags under his eyes and a paleness to his skin. There was food in front of him with one or two bites gone, but that was it. Every time the door swung open bringing a cold blast of air into the room, his head jerked up with hope in his eyes. Then he looked back down when the person coming through the door wasn’t the one he was looking for.

Christopher wasn’t dead, Tom told himself. He’s not dead.

But....he fell into the ocean.

He could’ve survived and gotten to shore.

And after that? He would have frozen to death, or eaten by animals, or murdered by thieves, or…

Okay, okay I get it! But he’s not dead.

He was really starting to hate the cynical, pessimistic part of himself, even though it was the part that was usually right. It was the part that told him Christopher’s schemes were usually a bad idea.

The door swung open again. Bringing a blast of cold winter air with it. Tom looked up despite himself. This time it was a familiar face, though not the one he was hoping for.

After brushing off the snow from her coat, Sally walked over and sat down on the bench with a loud thump. Tom looked up slightly, then cast his eyes towards the ground again. He muttered something that might have been a hello.

Sally noted the barely touched food and pushed it towards him. “You have to eat.”

“I don’t feel like it.”

“He’s still alive. You know that, right?”

“Yes...but...It’s just...just…” He looked like he wanted to say something but felt it wouldn’t be in his best interest.

"Just what?" said Sally. She was looking at him with a face that said she knew she wouldn't like what she heard next.

The fire crackled nearby. The warm light flickering and creating dancing shadows on both youths' faces. The general chatter of the inn continued around them, oblivious to the somber silence growing between the two friends.

Tom's head jerked up. "How would he survive?"

Sally opened her mouth and closed it again, not knowing the answer, if there even was one.

"That's what I thought," Tom said curtly and stormed up the stairs.