Monday, August 21, 2017 – Approximately 9:00 AM
"I'm here! I got four pairs of eclipse glasses since I didn't know who was all going to be here!" Mia happily said as she walked into the living room. She saw Sylvester, Cameron, and Kenton all sitting down with concerned looks on their faces.
"...What's going on?" Mia asked.
"Just don't ask." Sylvester replied as he rested his head in his hands.
"You know that girl that got Sylvester kicked out of California?" Cameron asked. Mia nodded.
"You know that girl that was looking for me yesterday?" Cameron added. Surprised, Mia jumped back a bit.
"Yeah." Cameron finished as Sylvester sighed.
"But… how? She was in Hollywood? How did she get all the way to Oregon?"
"A girl that young was getting rides from truckers and God-knows-who-else?!"
"Yeah… she's apparently she was too scared of the alternative."
"We've got to do something…" Sylvester quietly said.
"Like call somebody. If she's been missing a missing person since last April, and we're caught harboring her, it's going to be trouble for everyone involved!" Kenton said, now knowing the complete story.
"But, it sounds like she manages to get away every time! Wouldn't it be better to keep her with us until she agrees to go with the authorities?" Mia suggested.
"I don't think there's any way to convince her. The day we left to come back here, she promised me that she was going to turn herself in. You see how well that worked out." Sylvester replied.
"Oh, that's just nice." Cameron said with a slight growl as he picked up Sylvester's confession on breaking his rules on that day.
"I'm sorry..." Sylvester muttered.
"Sorry? Every time we try to help you, you manage to screw up everybody else's lives! There's no sorry this time! I'm telling your mom everything that's happened and then you'll be stuck in a boarding school and I'll never have to see your arrogant ass ever again!" Cameron said, almost screaming. Mia cowered back once again.
"Man, calm down. We're all in this together." Kenton quietly said as he got up and patted his best friend on the back.
Before anyone else could talk, the door to the living room opened and Maya walked in wearing some of Sylvester's clothing.
"I'm… sorry for being such a bother." Maya sheepishly said. Cameron sighed before walking over to Sylvester.
"Twenty-four hours. If you don't figure this out by then, I'm washing my hands of this." he quietly said into his cousin's ear. Sylvester sadly nodded.
"Mia, do you work tomorrow?" Cameron asked. Mia shook her head.
"Good. I'm going to need your help dealing with this."
Mia thought for a second and nodded before standing up.
"Cameron, can I talk to you in the other room for a second?"
An hour later, the skies were darkened as the moon was almost in place to disrupt the Earth's receipt of sunshine. Cameron and Mia walked into the living room with a laptop.
"Damn WiFi. Connect already!" Cameron uttered as he clicked and swiped around on the touch pad. After a few seconds, a chime alerted the group to an incoming video call.
"Hello!" Cameron asked after clicking connect and seeing the picture of the other person.
"Thanks for having this call on such short notice, Lucas." Cameron said.
"It's no problem. From what you've told me, it's very important. Besides, I have nothing better to do than babysit these contractors." Lucas said as he tilted his tablet around to show a brand-new front bay window being installed in the house of the cousins that adopted him.
"Lucas is a friend of ours whose parents were drug makers, too. They were arrested and he was adopted two years ago." Mia explained before turning the laptop towards Maya.
"Hello!" Lucas said with a cheerful smile as he waved.
"Hi..." Maya sheepishly replied.
"I've heard all about you, Maya." Lucas said. Maya had nothing to say, so Lucas continued.
"I know exactly how you feel, Maya. When my folks were taken in, I was happy to be rid of them, but I was still extremely terrified because I didn't know where I was going to end up."
"I can't do it. I can't wake up with an entirely new life surrounded by strangers."
"I know. But it's not like you're guaranteed to be stuck with strangers. My new parents are really my distant cousin and his wife. Granted, I didn't know them before, but for some reason, it's didn't matter. Time passes, and now it feels like I've been with them all of my life. I still have my friends from before, as I'm sure you can see, but I have the benefit of having a loving family, too."
"Would I still be in California?" Maya quietly asked.
"Well, that I don't know. My cousin lives here in Arizona. So you'll probably end up whereever your new parents live… I guess." Lucas replied.
"Then what would be the point?! Stuck in a weird place with people who would pretend to love me while being kept away from the people who truly love me. To hell with that!" Maya yelled while starting to cry. Before Lucas could reply, she slammed the lid to the laptop shut and leapt over the table.
"Maya!" Sylvester called out. She ignored him and ran out of the front door. Cameron, Mia, Sylvester, and Kenton ran outside in pursuit.
"Shit, she's disappeared." Cameron grumbled as they looked around.
"Sylvester, you go that way. Cameron, you go down the alley there. I'll take the road that way. Mia, head that way. We can catch her if we hurry!" Kenton said, taking control of the situation. The four of them split up and took off.
After a few minutes of solid running, Maya stopped and caught her breath as the tears rolled down her face. She looked around to see if anyone was coming for her and felt a bit of relief when she saw no one.
She continued to walk at a slow pace for a few more minutes as she noticed the sky was starting to lighten up as the moon was moving away from the sun. She looked forward and saw the guard-rail of a nearby highway.
Was it worth it for her to continue her life as a vagabond? What was life to her if she knew that Sylvester was never going to be with her again? She looked down the road to see a single car coming down the road at seventy miles-per-hour. What she couldn't see was the distracted driver trying to catch a glance at the concluding eclipse through his glasses.
She took a deep breath and decided to let fate take it's course. She walked out into the lane and waited for the impact. She heard the squeal of the brakes and everything went blank as she felt a push.
With a thud, she fell to the pavement and lost her breath.
"Oh shit! Oh my God! Oh no!"
Realizing that she was perfectly fine, she got up and turned around to see the tears pouring down the driver's face as he dialed 911. Time slowed down as she looked down to realize someone had shoved her out of the way only to receive the full impact.
"Name? I don't know… you! Do you know who that is?" the driver frantically said as he gestured to the person lying on the ground.
"...All I know is that she's named Mia."