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Chapter Forty-One

I remember my first thunderstorm as if it happened yesterday. I was seven years old, and very scared of the clapping thunder that rattled the house. It was pouring; raining cats and dogs, and I remember clutching onto my teddy bear for dear life while I hid under the covers. When the loudest and scariest crash of thunder shook the ground, I slipped out of bed and ran down the hall to my dad's office, my small feet pitter-pattering on the floor. I slowly opened the door and stood at the entrance, one hand on the knob and the other hugging my teddy bear to my chest. My dad looked up from the paperwork scattered across his desk and smiled warmly at me.

          "Hey kiddo," he said quietly, careful not to wake my sleeping mother up. "Why are you up?" He stood and began walking over to me.

          "I'm scared," I admitted quietly, knitting my eyebrows in fear.

          "Scared?" He repeated, picking me up and holding me in his strong arms. "Of what - the rain?"

           I nodded meekly, flinching just as another clap of thunder erupted from the sky.

          "The rain isn't scary," he said softly, trying to coax me into believing him. "Look, I'll show you."

          He walked us over to the window and pulled it up a few inches. He stuck his hand out and let the water fall onto his palm, small splashes of water bouncing out at me. "See?" He said and brought his hand in, wiggling his fingers. "Harmless."

           Curious, I slowly inched my hand out into the rain and felt the cold water massage my fingers. I giggled, gaining  confidence and pushing my entire hand out. A bolt of lightning lit up the sky, and I instantly brought my hand in and clung onto my dad tightly.

          "It's okay, sweetheart," he said as he stroked my hair soothingly. "Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Just listen to the rain. Hear how it sounds when it falls on the window?"

           I carried those three sentences with me throughout my entire childhood, my preteen years, and into today. I remembered my dad's words perfectly, and when it rained so hard that I felt scared, I simply closed my eyes, focused on the sound of the rain hitting the window and the sound of my breaths.

          Pitter-patter.

          In, out.

          Pitter-patter.
 
          In, out.

          I opened my eyes. I came face to face with the window, my hazel orbs focusing on the streams of water that rolled down the glass. It felt soothing, really. The sound of water itself had that ability to hypnotize you and draw you in, like listening to the sound of the waves on the beach, crashing and falling onto the shore. 

          "Lauren, honey?"

          I turned around and saw Emmie peeking her head into my room through the opening of the door. I uncrossed my legs and turned my body away from the window seat. "Yeah?"

          "I thought you'd like some tea," she said, pushing the door open and walking in with a small mug in her hands.

          I walked over to her and taking the tea in my hands, I peered at her through my eyelashes and offered her a small smile. "Thanks," I said quietly. I turned and made my way to my previous spot, where I sat down again and lifted the mug to my lips, blowing into the steam and taking a small, cautious sip.

          "How are you feeling?" She asked me. She sat down beside me and lifted her hand to tuck the loose strands of hair behind my ear. "Any better?"

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