“Hey,” Kate said. “I play in a coffee bar tomorrow. You said you like my singing, right?”
“Yes, it’s beautiful.”
“You should come tomorrow. Jeffy is going; he can take you with. It’s not a real performance but it’s nice to have an attentive audience.”
Kate left the Evangeline’s household shortly after that. Sora found her brother and friends together in the family room. Shouta lay on the couch with Shiro nestled nearby, quickly nodding off to the drone of the TV. Taryn and Rene sat on the floor together surrounded by a barrier of books, paper, sketchpads and a variation of sketching media. They chatted while working on different drawings, glancing up at the show on TV every now and again.
”Long time no see,” Taryn said. She looked up at the clock. “You’ve been gone for two hours. Aren’t you dead? If I played any sport for that long, I would be dead.”
Sora heard the door open and turned to see Jeffrey walk inside. He took his shoes off then shoved the keys into his back pocket, lanyard trailing behind him as he entered the house. “Hey,” he said when he saw the group in the family room.
“Jeffy?” Rene asked.
The two’s gazes met and surprise flickered across countenances. “Sora, you didn’t tell me the Rene you knew was Rene Redell,” her brother said. “It’s been awhile.”
“Oh, come on,” Taryn said. “Does everyone in my life know you already, Rene?”
“I know Angelique, too,” Rene said. “I got a little curious when you said the names of your siblings, Sora, but I thought it was just a coincidence. I can’t believe you’re actually related to the twins.”
“When we came to America, Angelique and I stayed with the Redells. That’s how we know each other.” Jeffrey said. Forgetting the others, he approached the girl to speak. “How’s your father been?”
They broke off into conversation that excluded the others. Shouta slept fast on the couch, his mouth slightly ajar as his head sagged backwards over the armrest. Taryn quickly lost interest in the conversation and returned to her drawings. Sora took the chance to shower.
Breath escaped Sora’s lips in a hiss as cool water rushed over her head. Skin acclimated to the frigid water. She closed her eyes and tossed her hair back. Her thoughts returned to the soccer game and Kate. Eyes flashed through her mind; she could not shake the feeling of foreboding that overtook her whenever she saw Kate’s eyes. She closed her eyes again and water ran over them.
Then a vision flashed before her. The red eyes were there only, staring at her through darkness. Darkness faded into dim light and revealed the eyes’ owner. A small Japanese boy stared back at her. Cuts and bruises covered his filthy body. The tattered clothes he wore could handle no more strain; they would soon fall apart to rags. She feared if she reached out to touch him, this fragile boy would break. Yet the eyes remained intense and wild as ever.
“I found you.”
Sora’s eyes snapped open and the water rushed over her again. Legs failed and she fell to her knees on the bottom of the shower, shaken by the vision. Several minutes passed until she managed to collect herself and stand back up. Eyes open, she washed her hair and body then turned the water off. Her hands wrapped a soft towel around her body. She savored the warmth that kept thoughts of the vision at bay.