Through the Night [EverlyxCardiacKid]

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That Which Once Was
Original poster
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Preferred Character Gender
  1. Female
Fantasy, Modern, Romance

"And now for the top story of the evening. Stoggton Springs is on high alert tonight after reports of a break-in on Oak Street last night have come up with no leads. Police say that they believe it was a single intruder, though they are not ruling out the possibility that it was a pair. Over one thousand dollars was stolen in cash, along with several electronics. The home was also vandalized. Currently the family is staying with a local friend until repairs can be done to the home. Police are asking anybody with information to contact them.."

Ana stared at her television even after she had turned it off. From her perch on the couch, she could see her reflection on the black screen. Curled up, with her chin on her knees as she tried not to panic. Just because she lived on Oak Street didn't mean that somebody was going to break in here tonight, right? Right. That was stupid. She slowly stood up and looked around the dim room, then made her way out into the entryway to double check that the door was locked. Once she was certain, she headed upstairs.

The house was not massive, but Ana felt it was too large to live in on her own. There were three bedrooms, though she obviously only used one. Her parents had lived here, and her brother too. They had all died in a car accident five years ago, right after she graduated high school. Since then, she had slowly stopped leaving the house. Her social life died quickly and soon she was leaving only to get groceries. Though she had internet access, she did not communicate with her old friends. None of them seemed to understand or care. The only people she spoke to were the ones in the grocery store. She only knew the name of one - a guy she had gone to school with, who was the only person she could even come close to calling a friend anymore.

She padded across the ivory carpet of her bedroom and slid into bed with a sigh. For all she knew, the burglar had been captured seconds after the broadcast. Maybe even now he was being hauled in for questioning or something. She closed her eyes, only to have them pop open a moment later when she heard a dog barking across the street. What if the dog was barking at a passing stranger? What if she was next? She didn't have a gun or anything, and even if she did, she could never shoot somebody. Would she just hide? What if they were violent? She grabbed a pillow and tugged it over her head, attempting to quell the rising panic in her mind.

Just go to sleep.. just go to sleep.. it's nothing.. relax..


Next door, a trash can had toppled over. That did it. Ana yelped and grabbed her phone off the small table next to her bed, quickly starting up a fresh text message to her one friend. They texted each other about once a month about random things, and this was probably going to be super awkward, but she was desperate. She just needed somebody else in the house. That was it.

Hey.. want to come over and watch movies? I have popcorn and a spare bedroom.

That sounded weird. She hesitated, biting her lower lip. He wouldn't think this was completely bizarre, would he? Maybe she was better off suffering in silence. She laid there for another twenty minutes before she finally added on to the text that was still waiting to be sent.

The whole burglar thing freaks me out..

Ana sighed and hit send. What was the worst that could happen? Well.. he could say no. Then what?
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Gabe hadn't been home from work very long that night. Even though he worked a double-shift, surprisingly he wasn't tired at all. He turned his tv on just in time to catch the news report.

"And now for the top story of the evening. Stoggton Springs is on high alert tonight after reports of a break-in on Oak Street last night have come up with no leads. Police say that they believe it was a single intruder, though they are not ruling out the possibility that it was a pair. Over one thousand dollars was stolen in cash, along with several electronics. The home was also vandalized. Currently the family is staying with a local friend until repairs can be done to the home. Police are asking anybody with information to contact them.."

After hearing this, Gabe quickly turned off the tv. He was lucky enough to live on the edge of Stoggton, but he still felt uneasy about the whole situation. He didn't have much as far as valuables, but what he did have, he wanted to keep. But he didn't have much to worry about right now. It would be a while before anyone got to where he was at, and when they did, he would be ready for them.

Since it was just him at home alone, he didn't have to worry about how he dressed. Having already thrown off his work clothes, he put on a pair of gym shorts to lounge around in. Not even feeling tired, he grabbed a beer out of the fridge and opened up his laptop. He had a story he had been slowly working on, but he usually worked better when he started drinking. He had just started typing, when he heard his phone go off. Wondering who in the hell could possibly be texting him this late at night, he grabbed the phone. When he saw who it was, he was a little surprised.

"Hey..want to come over and watch movies? I have popcorn and a spare bedroom. The whole burglar thing freaks me out..."

Poor Ana had it rough. She was right there on Oak Street, too. He didn't even think twice about his answer, and he replied as fast as his thumbs would allow him to.

"I got you. Just got home from work. Be there in 20. Keep locked and lights off until I get there, and I'll call when arrived."

As soon as he sent the text, he put his phone down on the desk for a minute, then grabbed a bag and started to put some things in there. He grabbed a couple of shirts and an extra pair of shorts to sleep in. Then he reached into his desk and grabbed the small 9mm pistol he kept inside. He threw that in the bag and grabbed both the magazines that he had for it. After quickly throwing on his shoes and a shirt, he grabbed his bag and went into his car, heading out toward his friends house.
The faint ding of an incoming text message made Ana yelp. After internally scolding herself for being a paranoid idiot, she read Gabe's message and hopped out of bed. There was no way she could just sit still and wait. Instead, she spent her time double checking that all of the windows and doors were locked and there wasn't a single light on. The end result was that her house was very dark. A crescent moon did not help much, and her house was at an odd angle from the road. It prevented streetlights from pouring in. She looked around, using her phone as a flashlight as she crept along. Somehow the lack of lights made everything more noisy.

First it was a creak in the kitchen. She bolted to the living room, nearly have a stroke when she heard the faint honk of a car passing by. This was insanity. She kept pacing, not even daring to make popcorn or get out some movies. Instead, she moved back upstairs and crawled into bed to hide under the covers. It took a good ten minutes before she realized that staying in there would not work - how was she supposed to let Gabe in? Reluctant as ever, she dragged herself back out and tiptoed down the stairs.

She resumed her pacing, then finally gave in and went to the kitchen. Once she was certain nobody was in there, she put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and set the timer. At least that would be done by the time he got here. She stood there, watching the bag slowly spin around as she pondered. Did Gabe even like popcorn? She had no idea. This kid was basically a stranger to her even though they went to school together. He was nice, she knew that, but she didn't know details. What sort of movies did he like? She had a little of everything, so that should be okay, but what if he was one of those strange people who didn't like movies? What then? And would he be comfortable sleeping in her brother's bedroom? It was still full of Thomas the Tank Engine decorations. She hadn't changed a thing in there since the accident. Even the bed was still unmade. Now that she was thinking on it, she didn't know if she wanted anybody else in there.

Too late now.

The popping of the popcorn made her jumpy, so she left the kitchen and went to stand near the front door to wait in the entryway. Hopefully he arrived soon, she didn't know how much more of this her frazzled nerves could take.
Even though there was a robber on the loose, the streets were rather empty. Most of the time, empty was a good thing, because it allowed him to get to his destination faster. This time, however, it made him nervous. Even though it wasn't planned that way, he felt it an odd coincidence that there were no cars really on the road to keep this guy in hiding.

Gabe had only been to Ana's house a couple of times, but he remembered where it was at. As he made the turn onto her street, he went slower than normal. Yeah, he had been in a hurry to get there, but he also wanted to make sure that things were quiet in the street. He didn't care if he was the one that caught this bastard, but he certainly wanted to make sure that there would be no issues when he got there. He kept the radio turned down low, just loud enough to make sure he stayed awake behind the wheel.

As he saw her house off to the side, he turned off his lights and coasted to a stop outside. He didn't call her right away, though, because he wanted to make sure there wasn't anybody around. Pulling out the pistol from his bag, he walked around the house, doing a quick search. Once he determined that it was clear, he went back and grabbed his bag out of the car and pulled the phone out of his pocket to call Ana.
Ana heard a faint slam outside. Adjusting her position slightly, she lingered in the shadows of the entryway while peering outside. She could barely make out the shape of a car in her driveway. Was that Gabe's car or somebody else? She doubted the burglar drove around like that, just pulling into driveways. That would be too suspicious.. or would it? It actually made sense. They had to have some way to carry everything they stole. Maybe they just drove up to houses as if it was normal. Nobody would look twice unless they knew what their neighbors drove and paid attention. She frowned at the thought. It could be anybody.

Ring! Ring!

She yelped in alarm, ready to bolt until she realized the sound was her phone. Gabe's name flashed across her screen and she just stared at it for a moment. Oh. Well, now she felt ridiculous. He had told her that he would call when he got there. Obviously that was just his car and she was just jumping at shadows. If he heard that, he was probably going to poke fun. Great. She sighed and pressed the green button on her screen, putting the phone to her ear as she walked to the front door.

"Hey," she said, her voice quiet as she unlocked the deadbolt and the regular lock. She turned the knob and carefully pulled the door open, looking up to find him standing on the other side. He had a bag and looked prepared for a sleepover. In fact, he looked exhausted. Had she woken him up? She hadn't given much thought to the hour, but it was quite late. Now she felt bad. If he had to work early in the morning, he really should be sleeping already. Behind her, the microwave was beeping, signalling that the popcorn was ready.

"Come on in."
As soon as Ana opened the door, Gabe could hear the microwave beeping. With how late it was, that could only mean that the popcorn was done. She looked really scared, even if she wasn't going to admit it to him. This whole burglary thing really had her on edge, and to be honest, it had him a little on edge as well. Before he walked inside, he hit the alarm button on his key ring, activating the security feature on the car. He didn't think anyone would break in, but if they tried it, they would be met with a very loud alarm, probably waking up the whole neighborhood.

After the car was locked, he walked inside and gave her a quick and gentle hug. "Thanks for calling me." After he spoke, he put his bag next to the couch and took his shoes off, going back into the relaxed state he was in. Even though he was worried about the whole thing, he had to act calm and try to keep her calm as well. It wasn't going to be easy, but it was something he had to do.

The place was as he remembered it from the last time he was there, which was right after the accident. While they weren't the best of friends, he always liked when she texted him, even if it wasn't all that often. It let him know that she was still at least thinking about him as a friend, even if it was times like this, when she wanted him there for safety and comfort. He did hope that this situation would be resolved quickly, though. Not because he didn't want to be around her, but because he didn't want either of them to be too uncomfortable with the situation.
Ana hugged him back, not expecting the close contact but not minding it. She locked the door back up quickly, unwilling to linger there in the open for too long.

"Thanks for coming over.. I'm sorry about texting you so late, I didn't realize what time it was. I was just watching the news and they were talking about that guy or guys or whatever and I guess.. I kind of got really freaked out. Things keep making noise. It'll be nice having somebody here," Ana explained, biting her lower lip uncertainly after realizing that she was saying way more than she needed to. Great. Honestly, she wasn't used to having company. This was the first time since the funeral and memorial services that she had even had somebody in here apart from the lawyer that had come to have her sign paperwork a week afterward. That was it. Gabe had been here though, she remembered that. He had come to the services and been very nice.

"Uh.. I'm going to get the popcorn. The t.v. is over there," she said, pointing, then pointing to the cabinet beneath it. "Movies are there. There are a couple hundred, I think. Just pick whatever you want, I've seen them all already."

Leaving him to his own devices to pick a movie and settle in, she wandered off to the kitchen. She already felt a little better. Surely two people in a house was better than one when it came to the risk of being robbed, right? It was better to have Gabe's car in the driveway. That would ward people off. Without a car, it looked like nobody was home. She poured the hot popcorn into a big bowl and glanced at the clock. Nearly midnight. She frowned guiltily and sighed. Well, if he hadn't wanted to, he wouldn't have come. Right? Right. She couldn't feel too badly about it now.

"Find one?" she asked, coming back out into the living room and taking a seat on the couch before placing the popcorn bowl next to her so that it would be in easy reach for both of them.
"Don't even worry about it." Gabe waved her off when she talked about the time. He didn't care about what time it was, all he wanted was to make sure she was safe. He didn't have work tomorrow anyway, and he had already decided that if he got called in, he would turn it down.

It wasn't too long before he began to feel the effects of his double-shift. Even though he waned to sleep, he was going to have to force himself to stay awake. Having a movie to watch would help, and if he got too tired, he could always just munch on some popcorn. Not even thinking about much else, he picked up Saving Private Ryan, knowing that it had plenty of action in it to help keep him awake. He also knew the movie well enough to not let the little noises distract him and make him think something was wrong.

After he put the movie in, Gabe sat next to Ana. He was very carefully listening to sounds that weren't either the movie playing or one of them eating popcorn. He hadn't heard anything out of the ordinary, but any time there was a noise that came from outside, he always glanced over at his bag, remembering that he came armed just in case there was an issue with anything.
Saving Private Ryan. That was a good movie. Ana munched on a small handful of popcorn, alternating between watching the movie on the screen and glancing around the room to make sure no shadows were moving. It was harder to tell when a movie was going. She kept thinking she saw something only to find it had been the way the colors shifted on screen. Sitting on the soft couch wasn't helping either - it made her extremely tired, and she was soon fighting the urge to nod off. Her arms curled around her legs and she rested her cheek on her knees, gazing at the television.

Must not sleep.. must not sleep.. a burglar could come.. must not sleep..

The thought of a possible break-in occurring the second that Ana allowed herself to fall asleep kept her motivated to stay awake. She lingered between sleep and full wakefulness, in a drowsy little daze, too tense to truly drift off. The movie took her attention completely and she zoned out gazing at it, no longer paying attention to shadows or flicks of light cast by the screen.
Even with the high action that the movie contained, Gabe still found it hard to stay awake. The only thing that really kept him going was the fact that he was there for a reason. While he watched the movie, his eyes couldn't help but wander around. He would look at the window, then he would look at Ana, then he would look back at the window, then at the door, before finally returning back to the movie. The whole process took about 5 seconds, but he did it multiple times throughout the movie. He could almost feel the nervous energy in the room because of this whole shitty situation.

When the movie ended, he stood up and stretched, not wanting to get any more comfortable than he already was. Wanting to make sure everything was still alright outside, he went and grabbed the pistol out of his bag. "Stay here. I'm gonna go check outside...see if everything is still alright." After he spoke, he unlocked the door and opened it, closing it behind him when he went out. He knew his check wouldn't last very long, but he hoped that Ana was cautious enough to lock the door behind him.
Ana flinched as Gabe stood up, having been nearly asleep and not paying attention. She sat up straighter and rubbed her eyes, then looked over at him as he walked to the door and explained that he was going to check outside. Her mind immediately balked against the idea. Why was he going out? Had he heard something? It was so late! She glanced at the clock. The sun would be coming up in just a couple of short hours. Even now that she was panicking about him leaving, she still felt exhausted.

She stood and carefully went over to the door after he was outside. Still dark out. She could still see the faint outline of his car in the driveway. Her fingers traced the lock briefly but she left it alone after realizing he had no key to get back in. She lingered by the door for about a minute, then trudged back to the couch with a yawn. He would be back soon. In the meantime, she would sit and wait. She curled up on the couch, watching the movie credits drift by for less than a minute before she ended up falling asleep.
Gabe did a quick circle around his car first, since it was right there. He hadn't heard the alarm go off, but he wanted to make sure that nobody or nothing was hiding around it to set it off. Once the car was clear, he walked around the side of the house, poking around at the bushes and the trees. He was going to make this the last patrol of the night, so he wanted to make sure that it was clear before he went back inside. He was very slow and deliberate with his movements outside, checking every possible place that someone could hide.

Once his search was finished, Gabe went back inside, only to find Ana asleep on the couch, with the credits just finishing on the screen. He quietly locked the door behind him, then put his pistol back in the bag and walked over to her. He took a blanket that was nearby and covered her up with it, then walked over and put another movie in. He didn't want to sit back on the couch, because it was really comfortable and he didn't want to risk falling asleep too quickly, so he sat on the floor in front of her, leaning up against the couch for support.
As the second movie started, a sudden noise on screen startled Ana awake. She raised her head and blinked sleepily, looking around as she slowly realized that she was covered by a warm blanket. After a few seconds, she noticed she was sitting up, her chin on her knees. Gabe was sitting in front of her, his back within easy reach. That meant she wasn't alone. Comforted by the thought, she gently shifted to lay down on the couch, staying close behind him and trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb him. As soon as she was down, she fell back to sleep with ease.

The next morning, the sound of a police siren passing by woke her. She rubbed her face and yawned, stretching along the couch. It was early, but she felt rested enough. She got up, carefully avoiding Gabe if he had decided to sleep on the floor. Since he had stayed, she figured that she should at least feed him breakfast. She felt guilty about the entire situation now. There had been a break-in, that was it. Why had she felt the need for a babysitter? She frowned at the thought, making herself uneasy. Maybe Gabe thought of her that way too - incapable of being alone. Cowardly. She sighed and started to cook pancakes, silently brooding to herself about it all.
Gabe hadn't realized it, but he ended up falling asleep where he was sitting. All he did was lean his head back against the couch and he was out. It certainly wasn't the most comfortable position for him to be sleeping in, but with how tired he was, coupled with how late it was, comfort wasn't a very big priority for him. He really didn't want to sleep at all, but he knew that he would fall asleep at some point, and he also knew that Ana was safe for tonight. The outside was clear, the door was locked, and she was all snuggled up on the couch sleeping.

Had it not been for the police siren, Gabe probably wouldn't have woken up the next morning. He didn't see a pressing need to be concerned, though. It was morning, so there probably wasn't going to be anybody trying to break into the house in broad daylight. Even still, he thought it would be a better idea to keep the doors locked, just in case. As he sit there rubbing out his neck, he didn't realize that Ana was already awake. The smell of pancakes was what made him realize that fact. "Hope you were able to sleep well last night with everything going on." With a small groan, he got up from his spot and called into the kitchen, not wanting to startle her.
"I slept alright. Did you?" Ana replied, carefully flipping over the pancakes to cook the gooey other side. They already smelled pretty good. She set the spatula down and got out a couple of plates and forks, then wandered over to the fridge to pull out butter and syrup. It was getting close to her monthly shopping trip time. She always dreaded it. It meant going outside, something that she really wasn't comfortable with anymore. Still, she had to deal with it if she wanted to eat. Going outside meant survival and danger all rolled into one awful package. She made a face to herself and finished up the pancakes, putting a small stack on each plate.

"I made pancakes. I thought you might want breakfast before you go."

[Sorry for the short reply, I'm sick and feel like crap x.x]
"I could have slept better, but it wasn't too bad." Gabe slowly walked into the kitchen, stretching and cracking his neck. Even though he was tired, he felt a sense of security, knowing that he was doing something to help out a friend. Still, he hadn't stayed in a house that wasn't his in a long time, so he felt a little unsure of himself. He didn't want to seem like he was intruding on her if she had plans of her own. All he wanted to do was make sure that she felt safe, even if that meant that he had to stay again that night.

He was a little surprised when she mentioned him leaving. Yeah, he hadn't really planned on staying for the whole day, but the thought of leaving hadn't really crossed his mind. "Oh...thanks. You didn't have to do that, though. And I don't have anything planned for today...I don't know if you wanted some company...or if you want your space, that's cool, too. I don't want to be in the way or anything."

[I know that feeling. I've been fighting it for the past few days myself. You don't have to rush a reply to this, I just hope you feel better. :)]
Ana nodded a little as he responded, picking up her own plate. After shutting the stove off to make sure that she didn't set the place on fire or anything, she got them out some silverware and started buttering her pancakes. It wasn't until she was dumping syrup on that Gabe mentioned he could possibly stay. She hadn't really considered that. The news would be coming on in about an hour and she assumed that it would be good news. That police cruiser that had gone by with the siren blaring earlier probably meant they had caught the idiot who was breaking in everywhere, right? So the danger was over. She pondered that, picking up a fork and turning to face him.

"I wouldn't mind you staying, but I will probably be busy today," she said thoughtfully. "Today is the day I usually do cleaning and laundry and stuff. It tends to be pretty busy since I put it off all week long. Not fun. But.. if you wanted to come over some other time and we can do a movie again, that would be cool."

It felt awkward to extend such an invitation to him like that. She obviously wasn't one to do any sort of 'hanging out' since she didn't really have friends anymore, but she did like Gabe as a person and wouldn't mind spending more time with him if he wanted. He was nice, and it was sweet of him to come over last night. She really did have a lot to get done, but at some point in the future, a movie time spent not being terrified of a burglar would be fun.
He nodded at her when she spoke. He hadn't expected her to say yes to his offer to stay, so he wasn't even upset at her when she told him that she was busy. Him having to leave wasn't a bad thing, though. It meant that he had time to make sure he was more prepared for if something like this happened again. It would also give him a chance to sleep in a more comfortable position when he got home. His neck still had a few kinks in it from last night, but that could be helped with a nice hot shower when he got home.

"No, it's fine. I'll certainly think about coming over again and hopefully, things will be a little more enjoyable for both of us. Not that last night wasn't enjoyable, but...the scenario was not...pleasant." He started to blush lightly as he fumbled with his words at the end. He then hid his face and quickly started eating, embarrassed that he was having such a hard time with his words this morning.

Ana nodded immediately. Last nice definitely wasn't pleasant. Well, Gabe's company was fine, but the idea of some creep lurking outside was enough to keep her from enjoying it too much. Still, she did appreciate that he had come over, and he hadn't been one of those annoying people who talk too much. All in all, he was somebody that she wouldn't mind inviting over again. He was a good movie buddy - and he even liked popcorn. That was a plus. She hoped that the next time he visited, they weren't both on edge about a burglar. Maybe then they could have some sort of a conversation that wasn't terribly tense and awkward.

"I think that siren earlier was probably a cop who picked the guy up. It's probably over now, so.. Next time will be better," she murmured, giving voice to her thoughts as she finished off her breakfast. Once she was done, she began to do the dishes out of habit, but she was in no way rushing him to finish. That would be rude. She just liked getting things done instead of letting them sit around.
"I hope that's the case. I can't stand the thought of that creep being out another night." He said, slowly finishing his plate of food. Even though she had started cleaning and doing dishes, he didn't rush to finish his food. If nothing else, he could clean his own items before he left. He wasn't lying to her, either. Even though he wasn't in immediate danger, he didn't like the thought of criminals running free.

When he finished, he stood up and slowly walked into the kitchen. He saw that she was almost done with the dishes, so he set his plate on the counter so that he could clean it when she was done. "Thank you for breakfast. And thank you for texting me last night. I'll...always be here to help...if you need it." He felt a little nervous saying that, but he didn't have anything to worry about really. Even if he was at work when she contacted him, he was cool with his boss, so he could always just take off early if he needed to.
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