The sun had not yet risen, but there was still light outside for some strange reason. The air was a crisp and cool, and grew even crisper as one made their way down to the shoreline. The sky seemed even bluer than it normally was. Every color seemed so much richer as the dew clung to the earth greedily. It would have been a beautiful beginning of the day…if Maxwell Crawford wasn't late for work. Considering he had never been late for anything in his life, including his own birth, this made him quite distraught. He anxiously rushed into his vehicle and raced down to work.
Now Maxwell Crawford was a very punctual man. Despite his young age, his hair had always been a beautiful shade of pearly white, ever since his birth. His skin was naturally a golden bronze being of Native American descent, his blood was almost what one could consider pure. His eyes were shaped like almonds and had a very rich hazel color. He had high cheekbones and a straight and narrow nose. He had soft, full lips that always seemed to smile. His chin came to a soft point. Upon first glance, many would say that he had a fine face to look at.
Scolding himself for being so late, he didn't seem to notice that the streets were deserted. As he was driving down 7th Avenue, a filthy, teenage girl in rags walked around the corner out of an alley. Shocked to see such a pathetic sight he accidentally slammed on the brakes, startling the poor girl and himself. Instinctively, he immediately got out of the vehicle to help her. She timidly backed away as he held out his coat to cover her.
"Easy girl," he said softly, "I'm not going to hurt you."
When she stood still where she was, still terrified of him, he covered the top of her head and shoulders and guided her to his car. Once he got her inside, he looked to make sure no one was around. Resolved to see that no one was anywhere to be seen he got in and headed home. He refused to show the girl that he was rather perturbed by both the sight of her and the fact that there was absolutely no sign of human life on the streets. It was like the bustling city he was used to suddenly became a ghost town over night.
He lived in the penthouse of the Emperor's Hotel, a prestigious hotel that usually housed some popular guests. Being rather wealthy he did seek some form of comfort but not flaunting about his money, due to his innate desire for discretion. Once he returned there, he slowly guided her up to what he knew as home. Timidly, she huddled behind him as he opened the door. He walked in casually with the girl right on his heels. He guided her to a sofa and set her down after he had placed a blanket on the cushions.
"Okay, you just sit right here," said Maxwell, "and I'll be right back. I just need to make a couple of phone calls." I should also get some advice on what to do with you, he thought, first I'll put a meal in that stomach of yours.
As he entered the kitchen, he turned around and watched her as she curled up on his sofa. It concerned him when he thought he saw her grimace in pain. He went to the fridge and started pulling out ingredients to make the girl something for breakfast. He set them on the bar, and then turned to pick up the phone. Nervously, he pinned in the number for a woman that usually helped him decide his future plans.
"Hello, Mrs. Harrison," he said politely, as he talked to his employer, "I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to come to work today."
"Is something wrong?" replied his employer.
"I don't know for sure, but I'll tell you if anything is going on," muttered Maxwell, "I'll see you tomorrow."
With that, he hung up the phone and then started dialing another number.
"Hello," a soft, firm and most familiar voice answered.
"Hello, mother?" Maxwell replied, "I need some advice."
"What's wrong, dear?"
"I found this girl wandering through the streets in nothing but rags. I brought her to my home, and now…I don't know what to do with her."
"Fix her up a bath and have her get in. I'll be there in a minute."
"Okay mother, I'll see you soon," Maxwell replied as his mother hung up the phone.
Maxwell entered the living room to find that the girl had fallen asleep. He stood there not knowing whether to wake her up or to let her sleep. He was too afraid to find out what her response would be if he did. So instead of waking her, he went to get the bath ready. Carefully, he poured in relaxing oils and healing salts into the warm waters that were meant for the young woman. When he was done, he heard his mother talking to the girl.
He grabbed a hand towel to dry his hands as he went to greet his mother. She had wakened the girl and was examining her. When he walked into the room, his mother took the girl and led her to the bathroom. Maxwell went to the kitchen pulled his hair back into a ponytail, and then he began to finally cook a breakfast for the young woman.
His mother came back with the rags, which were once supposedly clothes, in her hands. He watched as she threw them in the trash in total astonishment. She turned to see him standing there with an opened mouth as if to say something.
"Don't you look at me that way," she said, gently pushing him aside.
"But mama," he cried in desperation, "those were all she had to cover her, and they barely did even that!"
"That's why you're going to buy her some clothes," she replied as she cooked.
"But," he argued, knowing he might lose the battle anyway, "I don't know what sizes she wears! What if the clothes I get her are too big or worse, too small?"
"She'll need an extra large shirt, and just get her a large pair of pajama pants," she said, "Also; you might want to get her a robe. Since tomorrow is a Saturday, you can take her shopping for more appropriate clothes."
"Tomorrow's a Saturday?" Maxwell yelled as he slapped his forehead, "I told my boss I'd see her tomorrow."
"I think she knows you're having an off day," she said sweetly, pushing him out the door.
Slowly, he made his way through the aisles of Wally-World looking for clothes for the girl. Shopping for women was a lot harder than he had suspected. Obviously, he shopped for his mother, but she was an entirely different story. It wasn't the same as shopping for a teenage girl, they always seemed so picky to him. How was he supposed to know what her style was, or if she even had one to begin with. He was looking at a shirt when Robin Roberts came by. He hid the shirt behind his back when she saw him.
"Hello Maxwell," she said, barely glancing at his cart, "Since when do you shop for teenage girls?"
"It's none of your business," Maxwell replied in a snippy tone, tossing the shirt into his cart and moving on to the check out lines.
"Okay Crabby-britches," she said, "but you know good and well that your mother might tell me."
He stopped dead in his tracks, knowing she had just spoken the truth. He lifted his head up and then dropped it as he let out a heavy groan. Slowly he turned around halfway and looked at her. Then he remembered that she had two daughters while his mother only had him. That was when an idea hit him that was more than logical in his mind.
"I could use your help," he admitted, "Could you come by my home a little later?"
"Certainly," she replied as she continued shopping.
When he got home, the girl was sitting in front of his television buried under a bundle of towels. He practically leapt out of his skin when he saw the plate in front of her. His mother grabbed the bags out of his hands and escorted the girl back to the restroom. He examined the area where the plate was, and he was both relieved and amazed to see that the area was spotless. He figured that she must have been terribly hungry to not leave any crumbs. Soon the girl came out in a pair of blue leopard print pajama bottoms and a plain white shirt.
He sat down on the couch and she sat on the other side. His mother giggled as she curled up into a ball and pulled his coat over her head. The doorbell rang, and immediately Maxwell went up to answer it. Did she just whimper in pain? He thought, looking back at her.
Robin was standing outside the door as he opened it. She smiled at him sweetly, not realizing that a smile was extremely comforting to Maxwell right at this time. He let her inside and watched as she went over to the human ball. She barely lifted up the coat and then softly laid it back down. She turned around and looked at Maxwell.
"Who is she?" she asked as Maxwell shrugged his shoulders.
"I honestly wish I knew myself," he replied.
He waited until she sat down in a love seat next to the couch before he told her about his trip to work. Nervously, he told her every single detail that came to memory. Watching her every move, he finished his story. He waited for her reaction, but it felt like he was waiting for a bomb to end his life. He held his breath as she finally inhaled deeply as if she had made a decision.
"You'll want to take her to a hospital," she answered, standing up, "Just to make sure nothing happened to her before you found her."
Maxwell nodded, just realizing something could actually have happened to her before he found her. He figured that it would explain why she was so dirty. His mother followed Robin outside the door. She turned around to face him just before she exited.
"Tell me what you know," his mother said, "after you bring her back from the hospital, and don't push her too hard. She's still very tired and weak."
He nodded slowly, watching her walk away. After shutting the door, he picked up the phone and called the hospital. He was relieved to find he could schedule an appointment that very day. He hung up the phone, and then nervously sat next to the sleeping girl. Tenderly, he rubbed her back to wake her. It sounded like she was actually purring while he did so. As she sat up his coat still covered her head. Maxwell couldn't help but laugh, finding it adorable at the time.
"Come on," he said cheerfully, "We need to go to the hospital."
Maxwell waited anxiously outside a hospital room while a doctor was examining the girl. When the doctor came out, he immediately jumped up to face her. The doctor was smiling as she turned to face him. He was extremely relieved and worried about why she was smiling.
"Well?" he asked.
"She is as fit as a fiddle," she replied.
"What? But she came out of an alley in rags and was covered in filth," he exclaimed, looking at the girl walking over to him.
"Yes, that might be so," the doctor replied, rubbing the girl's shoulder, "but she doesn't have a scratch on her. Except…"
"Except what?" he asked.
"There's this scar on the right side of her neck," the doctor said, turning the girl's head and pulling her hair back, "It seems almost like an open wound, but it's healed some time ago."
Maxwell watched as the girl shuddered violently as the doctor's fingers came close to the scar. She didn't seem very happy when she looked at him. However, he couldn't resist smiling at her, knowing she was alright. She walked closely behind him as they turned to leave. It was strange how she waited patiently while he paid the bill, considering patience was a vanishing trait amongst people.
On the way home, he told his mother everything about what happened at the hospital. He noticed that the girl had fallen asleep yet again. When he parked the car, he went to the other side and pulled the girl out of the passenger's seat. It made him worry as the girl slightly moaned as if in pain. That's strange the doctor should have noticed that she was so sore, he thought. He carried her all the way to his residence being sure not to wake her. When he entered his living room, he saw his mother was sitting in the love seat.
Maxwell carried the girl to the guest room. He laid her out on the bed and covered her with a quilt. Being sure not to hurt her in any way, he was extra careful while doing these tasks. He watched her as she curled up into a ball and smiled, knowing she was safely tucked away. His mother was waiting for him, patiently as always.
"Sit down, son," she said as he obeyed, "From the information you have given me, you might not like what I'm going to tell you."
"Okay mother," he replied nervously. Whenever his mother said he might not like what she'll say, she usually was right.
"Did you see the object descending from the sky?" she asked.
"Yes, but I didn't get a good look at it." Should I tell her about the face in the window? He thought.
"Were you late heading off to work?"
"Yes, and it was my first time being late to anything, too!"
"Yes, I know very well that this would be a first for you. You need to take care of that girl. You can't let anybody else do it."
"What?" he exclaimed, jumping out of his seat, "Mama, I don't have time for a teenage girl!"
"Then make time," she replied, getting up in a calmer manner than he had and walking towards him, "You weren't late for nothing. You were the one chosen to find that girl. You are the one who is going to have to care for her."