The weather is beautiful for a while. Bright sun peaks through thin clouds, making the palm trees and ocean water seem especially vibrant. I ditch the sweatshirt I have been wearing. I can't tie it around my waist with one free hand so I end up tossing it over a bridge into the ocean. Oh well, red was never really my color anyways.
Chelsea and I don't talk much, as we have to strain our voices to shout over the loud engine. I feel as if we are both trying to act like we have forgotten about the mysterious way we ended up there in the first place, and are now treating this like a black-and-white getaway from an old movie. I'll even go as far to say I am having fun. Just as I am wishing I had a pair of sunglasses, the clouds become more dense and plentiful. I began to regret throwing my jacket aside as a light mist turned into a downpour, coming down by the sheet.
"We should stop!" I yelled into Chelsea's ear as the wind blew the motorcycle slightly closer to the edge of the highway. "Is the wind too much for this bike?"
"No! We have to get home. We just hit Georgia!" was Chelsea's answer.
"Georgia! We still have forever to go. Let's just find a public place to wait out the storm!"
We find a large mall and pull into the parking lot. The wind is blowing the rain sideways, hitting me in the face as I get off the bike. We enter the mall, soaked to the bone with rainwater. A security guard tries to stop us, telling us we can't come in like that.
Chelsea practically spats on him. "What do you suppose we do, huh? Wait out in this . . . this . . . hurricane!"
The security guard looked a little offended. "I was just going to offer dry clothes from the lost and found . . ."
Sounds like a plan to me. Chelsea picks out a tight blue striped t-shirt and a pair of jeans one size too big. Luckily they had belts too. How anyone loses clothes in a shopping mall is beyond me, but I don't complain as I change into an oversized floral sweater and, like Chelsea, a pair of jeans. Alright, so the clothes aren't photoshoot-worthy, but at least they're dry and warm.
The mall is open, and full of people who were shopping at an earlier point but are now just wasting time before the storm dies down and they can make it to their cars without ruining their new merchandise. We duck into a Yankee Candle store, as it looks to be the least crowded, and act as if we are browsing. The girl at the register notices us and asks if we need help with anything. We say, "No thank you," and continue blankly staring at the shelves, picking up random candles and sniffing the wax.
The girl eyes us again. "We're not here to steal from you, we're just trying to wait for the rain to stop," I snap at her.
The girl, who's nametag reads "Kayla", laughs and says "It's not that . . . it's just I used to own a shirt exactly like your friend's, but it disappeared on me."
"It's probably yours, I got it from the mall's lost and found." Chelsea tugs on the end of her . . . erm, Kayla's, shirt.
"Oh, right, I was running late one day and had to bring my uniform into work and change in the bathroom. I must have forgotten about my other shirt and left it in the stall. No worries though, feel free to keep it." Kayla says as she pulls back her short brown hair into a baby ponytail. She is very friendly.
We stay to chat, and end up telling Kayla all about our wacky, impossible day. She doesn't judge or call us crazy. Actually, she wants to . . . help us. She informs us that her brother, Will, drives a pickup truck and is due to pick her up from work in about an hour, and insists that they'd both love to take part in our adventure to return to Connecticut.
"Really?" My eyes widen. "You'd drive us home?"
"Sure! I'm off tomorrow, I don't have anything better to do!" Kayla answers cheerfully.
Perhaps I should just stay in Georgia. People are much nicer down here. I quickly shake that thought. We must get home, at all costs.
TO BE CONTINUED