A companion story to Ghosts
Alenka couldn't help but smile as the memory unfolded in her dreams, they had both been so cautious...so fearful...
"Are you sure you don't want another serving?" She found herself already reaching for the dish as Luka brought his last forkful to his mouth.
"I'm sure...I've already eaten way too much." He lay the fork on his plate before sitting back in his chair. "It was wonderful...I don't know the last time I had anything this good. Thank you."
Alenka smiled at the compliment, feeling the blush rise in her cheeks. "Why don't you go have a seat in the livingroom. I'll put some coffee on and clear these dishes away." At the request she rose and reached for his empty plate.
"Here, let me help." Luka rose as well, only to have her wave his offer off.
"You're my guest..go on, I can do it, it won't take a minute." She smiled before stacking her plate on his.
She knew her blush had to be worsening in that moment when he hesitated, torn between arguing or complying, and when he finally smiled then nodded she could do little more then smile in return.
Whatever fears she'd had about his intentions were dispelled when she entered the livingroom not ten minutes later and found him asleep on the couch. That he was sitting with his long legs stretched out before him and the newspaper on his lap, said it was not what he had intended. Setting the tray with the coffee and cookies on the table she unfolded the afghan that lay draped over the couchback beside him, then covered him with it.
He'd mentioned over dinner that he had worked an extra shift when one of the other doctors had called in sick, was it possible he hadn't been home since? As she took a seat in the chair opposite she wondered if she would have the courage to allow herself to fall asleep and risk the nightmares revealing themselves to another. Had he, without saying so felt her trustworthy enough to allow himself to chance that?
She had never thought she would find anyone who would understand what her life was like, but the more time she spent with Luka the more she was sure he would. How many times had they spoke of their time in Croatia only to realize that they could easily have been speaking of the same thing? How could she ever tell him what it meant to not have to explain every nuance of her feelings?
As he began to stir she let her thoughts about what might be fade, and as he rubbed a hand sleepily across his face to rouse himself she couldn't help but smile. "Did you have a good nap?"
A bump of turbulence woke her and she immediately glanced across the aisle to see if it had woken Luka and Maja as well. When she was satisfied it had not she turned her attention to their son, brushing her fingers through his hair. "How's the movie?"
"Good..." He momentarily shifted his attention to her though she knew he was far too involved to keep it on her for long.
"Are you hungry? I brought some snacks." She leaned forward to pull her bag from under the seat with the question.
"A little...but I can wait." He laughed at something on the screen then flicked his eyes back to her as she touched his arm before handing a package of fruit snacks to him. "Thanks, Mama."
With his interest back on the movie she found it hard not to turn her attention to her husband again. While he had barely moved she could see that Maja had, crawling higher so her head now rested on his shoulder, the cat lost as she wrapped both arms around him. There were times she couldn't help but feel jealous of the relationship the two had, but from the moment of her birth it seemed she had him wrapped around her finger. How many nights had she woke to find him standing by the window with her in his arms, whispering quietly of things only they would know? It had been hard not to wonder if he was comparing her to Jasna, but then he might think the same of her and how she looked at Juraj. How could they not look for similarities to their other children in these? As they had gotten older that had changed, but there were moments she knew it still happened, and they would both forever wonder how those they had lost would have grown had the war not claimed them so young. She raised a hand to stop the tears that threatened to fall at the thoughts.
"Mama?" Juraj's hand on her arm pulled her attention back to him. "Are you all right?"
"Yes...just remembering...don't worry." She leaned her shoulder to his and slid her arm around him. "Watch your movie." She kissed his hair before settling back to watch with him. The past would always be part of them,neither could deny that, and she knew she would always revisit it as Luka did his, but their future was here and it was that thought that made the moments of sadness bearable.
to be continued...