Hello friends! Are you ready for another episode of Aftershock? I hope so!
CATCH UP ON SEASON ONE
CATCH UP ON SEASON TWO
She’d been acting strangely for months. You think you know your best friend, and then she just leaves.
How much of her friendship had been an act?
I shook my negative thoughts away. Lauren had been a true friend to me. Just because she was experiencing something right now didn’t change my feelings toward her.
I wished she would tell me about what was happening. But I had to respect her wishes.
Baby rolled into the room.
“Where’d Lauren go?” he buzzed.
Sighing, I explained what had happened. In his own way, Baby frowned.
Seeing the little droid perked me up a little. He wasn’t human, but he wasn’t entirely mechanical either. I supposed he was like a pet.
My mind wandered back to Lauren. Wherever she was, I hoped she was okay.
After abandoning my team, I went back to the alley and waited for Teddy. I wanted to be sure I was there for him, and I hoped he would decide to meet me. However, I couldn’t blame him if he didn’t. Even orphans were taught not to talk to strange adults.
Teddy didn’t keep me wondering for long.
“You’re here!” he gasped.
At that moment, I felt so bad that this boy hadn’t expected me to keep my promise to him. He had no reason to trust me, and countless reasons not to trust adults to do what they said they would. I knew that feeling better than anyone.
“Of course!” I replied. “I always keep my promises. And I promise that I’m going to keep you safe.”
“How?” his eyes gleamed with uncertainty.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure. If LoS found out about him, I wasn’t sure I could fight off a whole team of supers. Or worse, if my own team was sent to capture him. I didn’t know if I could fight my own friends. But if it came down to it, deep down I knew I would do whatever it takes to protect this child.
“I don’t know. But if someone tries to hurt you, I’ll fight them myself.”
Teddy clung to me. “Thank you for making me feel safe.”
He said those last words in a whispered voice. Growing up, I’d always longed for a place where I felt safe. I never truly had that until I joined LoS and got promoted to my team. Guilt tugged at my heart. Even though it hadn’t been a full day, I already missed Tori and Andy immensely. I wanted to call them and tell them everything. They’d understand, wouldn’t they?
I swallowed. I couldn’t take that chance. If it was just me, I would in a heartbeat. But I had this boy to look after now. I couldn’t let anything happen to him.
Returning my attention to him, I asked, “Do you live in a foster home?”
His eyes drifted to the pavement as he slowly shook his head. “I’m supposed to live in one, but I ran away,”
“You ran away?”
Guilt touched his face as he nodded. “They were afraid of me. I accidentally flooded the bathroom.”
“Where have you been living since then?” I asked, suspecting the answer would be something I didn’t want to hear.
Teddy shrugged. “The streets.”
“That’s not safe!” my voice unintentionally raised. “We’ve got to get you back to your foster family.”
Teddy didn’t meet my eyes. “I ran away three months ago. They’ve probably moved on.”
I gasped. This innocent little boy had been living on the streets for three months?
“Well, where do you sleep? Are you hungry? Do you go to school?” My brain couldn’t seem to pick one question to ask.
“I eat at school. Sometimes it’s nice out and I sleep on a bench. When it rains, I try to sleep in a building.”
Emotions washed over me as I realized the full extent of Teddy’s situation. I had already sworn to protect this kid, but right now he needed something more. He needed a parent.
I checked my purse. Turns out, when work pays for room and board, you can save a lot of money. It would be enough to keep us afloat until I could find another job.
I met Teddy’s stare as I cemented my mind to do what needed to be done.
“C’mon Teddy,” I said, grabbing his hand. “We’re going to get you a new foster mom – me.”
I hope you enjoyed! See you soon with episode 5!
P.S. Doggy bloopers!