Friday, September 30, 2005

For One Life 37/38

By M. Blais and J.D.

Chapter 37

Claire found herself looking over what Luka had gotten to eat, but made herself
refrain from commenting on it. The difference between the variety served in the staff tent and the refugees was obvious...the food being mostly carbs...bland but meant to
be filling.

"You know...I can get.."  She made her words trail off, knowing she had to stop trying to tell him what to do, or make offers.

He had picked up his fork to poke at the beans as she spoke and he raised his eyes to her.  "Hmm?

"Nothing, nothing," she said.  She held up her hands, palms outward in a supplicating gesture.  "See?  This is me not meddling."  Her tone was teasing.

He gave her a half smile in response before scooping a bit up and putting it in his mouth.  As he chewed he lay the fork back down on the tray.

She bent her own head a little, playing with the food on her own plate with her fork.

"It's not that bad."

She looked up, quizzically.  "What?"

He broke a corner of the bread off with his comment and gestured towards her tray with it.  "I doesn't look that great but it's not that bad."

She looked down at the plate, realizing what she was doing. "Oh.....yea, it's not.  I know."  She took a small bite of the food, chewing silently.

"Then what is it?"

She lifted her eyes back up, swallowing.  "How is it living with Thomas?"

He shrugged slightly..."All right I guess..."

Claire half-smiled.  "Just all right?"

"Better then the hospital tent...or one of the bigger tents."

"Okay, I'll give you that.  I didn't realize how bad it could get sleeping in the med tent," she admitted.

"Can be noisy..." He realized he was still holding with piece of bread he had torn off, and after balling it between his palms he popped it in his mouth.

"Yea."  She took a piece of bread too, shredding it with her fingers absently.  "But, you have Poppa to talk to as well...and Angelique....and you're doing much better now, with the peumonia almost gone.."

He tilted his head slightly, reading a bit between what she was saying..or rather not saying.  "What's going on?"

Her look was bleak.  "I'm being sent home...for a little while.."

He looked at her a minute.  "Because of what happened?"

A small self-recriminating smile touched her mouth.  "Which thing?" she said, wryly.

He glanced around them...then swallowed..."Any of it...being sick."

"Yea..all of it.."  She dropped the bread onto her plate, brushing her fingers against her jeans.  "Angelique says she can't get my blood sugar to stabilize, and that I'm at a much higher risk for infection here...but, yea, those  other things too."

"Be good for you going back...better food."  He poked at the potato, his appetite, what little had been there, essentially gone.  "Lots of chocolate."

She half-smiled.  "I suppose."

"Your Father will go too?"

She shook her head.  "He's staying here.  In fact, he'd probably like you to stay back in the tent with him...keep him company."

He paused in his assault on the potato.  "So he can watch me again?"

"No, nothing like that," she said, with a small chuckle.  "I think he'd just like someone to talk to."  She paused.  "I'd like that too, for his sake."

"He said that?"

Claire rolled her eyes.  "Of course not.  He told me that I should leave you alone already."

That raised a smile.  "So I am supposed to just go there and surprise him?"

She warmed a little.  "Yea...tell him Thomas snores, and you can't take it anymore."

"My choice to that was the bigger tent...I don't think snoring is a reason to move here."

She sighed, relenting.  "Well, I've already mentioned it to him, and he seemed agreeable.  I'm sure he'll come talk to you on his own, after I've left."

He nodded...looked at the barely touched tray and pushed it away.

"You should eat more," she said, automatically.

"I'm not too hungry."

She rubbed her eyes.  "We sound like a broken record."

"Broken record?"

" know....a record," she started to explain, then realized she couldn't.  "Um.... repeating the same things over and over again."

"Oh...broken record."  He nodded and filed the phrase away.

She smiled at his expression, although hers was wistful.  "I wish I could stay," she admitted.

"Maybe you can come back in the summer...nicer here then.  Or used to be..."  The addition came half under his breath.

She blinked, a little surprised at the invitation, and nodded.  "Sure....I could do that."  She glanced at the forgotten food.  "Neither of us seems up for eating," she said, quiet.  "You want to go for a know, for old times sake?"

"Sure...I'd like that."

To be continued....

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