Touched – Part Two


Taryn McGraw, Staff Reporter


Miles’s voice was quiet and only Mrs.Willis could hear him, but she nodded in understanding, sending Kathrine a quick look of sorrow. Kathrine looked back, appearing as confused as Harper.

“I’m sorry he scared you all. This happens occasionally when someone touches him. It normally lasts close to five minutes, so just let him be and he’ll be fine afterwards.” Mrs.Willis said, standing up. She and Miles made an agreement years ago that she would never tell the full extent of what happened each time, but her fear will always be there. She just wanted him to feel better, but after all these years, it seemed to have taken a toll on the boy mentally, so she desperately hoped that this woman in front of her would be perfect for him. 

Mrs.Willis turned back to Miles. “Are you okay, now?” Miles nodded, feeling too shaken up to trust his voice. Even though he wasn’t shaking physically, his brain was working a million miles an hour replaying the events and the feeling over and over again. 

“Alright, now that he’s okay, we’ll be going now.” Mrs.Willis gestured for Kathrine to go into the car. She complied. 

“Okay. Have a good one.” Harper waved goodbye as the two women drove away. She then turned to her new house mate, who had already gotten up from the ground, but kept his gaze down to the ground.

“Are you ready to go inside? I can show you around.” Miles was grateful she didn’t push him for an explanation like the others had done in the past, so he just nodded and followed her into the house. 

The interior was as nice as the exterior. One could tell Harper took care of her things by how clean it was, with freshly mopped dark wooden floors, dustless cabinets, and window open, letting light make the house seem happier. 

Miles followed silently as Harper led him around the house, showing him the living room, kitchen, her home office and her home library, which Miles took a lot of interest in, scanning through each book carefully with his eyes. Harper had to snap her fingers close to his face to get his attention.

Afterwards, she led him upstairs, showing only three doors, one on the left, one on the right, and one at the end of the hall. Harper explained that her room was on the left and his was on the right, but only opened the door to show hers as to make it a surprise for him that night. The door at the end led to the attic, but Harper said it was dangerous up there and that the door was locked.

Once downstairs, Miles followed Harper’s lead as she took a seat on one of the chairs in the living room; he took the other. Harper leaned forwards in her seat with her elbows on her knees and her chin on her hands, which were clasped together.

Miles leaned back a bit, but didn’t sense any danger when she revealed a bright smile.

“So…” She stretched. “What kind of shows and movies do you like to watch?”

In all honesty, Miles was taken back by the question; he didn’t expect it whatsoever, especially when only trying to read her body language. 

Miles shrugged while shaking his head side to side. Harper gasped.

“What?! You don’t have a favorite?” The amount of exasperation Harper had in her voice and how shocked her expression was made Miles smile. It didn’t get past Harper because she calmed down and smiled at him.

“There’s that smile.” She said kindly to Miles, who immediately reacted and brought back his neutral face. “Aw, you don’t have to hide it. I thought it was nice. It seems like you don’t smile too often.”

Miles shook his head. As if a switch had been flipped in her brain, Harper began smiling brightly and jumping up and down in her seat.

“If you don’t have a favorite, we’re going to binge watch a whole lot of movies.” Harper said excitedly, reaching to the coffee table and grabbing the remote. “Let’s get started.”

Miles didn’t find it in himself to reject her offer, so he just nodded and watched as she picked the first movie.

“Miles?” Harper asked the boy, trying to wake him from his nap. He fell asleep halfway through the fourth movie. It was then when she was finally able to get a good look at her possible future-son. 

She leaned forward, being very cautious as to not disturb him. She first looked at the clothes he was wearing and his glasses, all worn and used and slightly broken; she would have to treat him to some new clothes and buy him a new pair of new glasses. 

Carefully, she reached forward and pulled off his glasses, careful not to touch him as directed by Mrs.Willis. She had been wanting to ask Miles about the backstory on the situation, but she didn’t want to push him right away. 

With the lenses removed, she wore a look of worry and concern. The bags under Miles’s eyes shouldn’t have been that large and dark, so she was glad she didn’t try to wake him too soon.

Harper checked her watch, then stood up and put Miles’s glasses on the table; it was time for her to show off her cooking skills and prepare dinner for the two of them. 

Time had passed. Harper placed the two plates full of freshly made lasagna, she called out Miles’s name. When there was no movement from the chair, she tried again a little louder. That time worked as he began to stir. 

Miles stretched his arms up and out as he rolled his neck out. Then, he realized something as he remembered where he was. Miles couldn’t remember the last time he had slept that peacefully while in a home, let alone in the wide open living room.

“Miles, dinner is ready.” Harper said once she could see the boy looking around. Miles could already smell the food, making his stomach rumble loudly. Luckily for him, she didn’t hear it. He snatched his glasses from the table, wondering how they got there in the first place, before making his way over to the dining table. 

Dinner went well for Miles. Harper didn’t ask any deep questions that would be uncomfortable for him and she was patient for his replies. After dinner, he immediately took the plates and began washing them, which Harper found to be amazing and was grateful for it and began helping.

Afterwards, they both made their way upstairs, going separate ways once they reached the doors opposite to one another. They both bid their goodnight before entering. 

As soon as Miles closed his door, exhaustion hit him like a brick. He slumped forward and tried to locate the bed without having to turn on the lights, the moon’s illumination helping. He fell forward when his knees hit the comforting mattress and once his head hit the pillow, Miles was out like a light.

The next day, Saturday, proved to be very nice and peaceful for both Harper and Miles. Harper, again, asked a couple questions periodically that wouldn’t be too hard to answer and she noticed that Miles’s short, one-word, answers increased by a small amount.

Miles enjoyed Harper’s neverending bundle of excitement and energy. It kept his mood fairly high and there were times throughout the day where he had to resist smiling.

“Now, I’ve been wanting to ask this for a while, but what kind of things do you like to do?” Harper asked excitedly. Miles thought for a moment, holding his chin in his hands and peering off in a direction, lost in thought.

“Um, drawing, reading, and running I guess.” Miles said quietly. He didn’t even think that Harper’s smile could get any bigger, but it did.

“I love running too! I read at times, but I’m more of a painter. We should go on runs and have art times together.” She said, clapping her hands together and bounding up and down on her seat. 

That time, Miles let his small smile show through. “Yeah. I look forward to it.”