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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM. Kaylee's awake and feeling better. Simon finds a friend and ally he least expected, while Mal and Inara get used to living on Sihnon. Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1274 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Call this a peace offering - a bit of fluff amidst all the wonderful angst ... I hope you like it.
Please, please, please keep those comments coming, leaving feedback is good for the soul - I'm pretty sure it's a karma thing!
And again thanks to Leiasky for the beta and everything else.
Best Intentions, ch. 10
Kaylee could hardly wait. Today was the day the cast was coming off her leg, and she was excited. It would make it easier for her to move, allow her to finally take a shower, with help of course, but still.
The week had gone by pretty quickly; Kaylee was still in and out of consciousness, awake more in the past few days than sleeping which everyone, including Simon and Eli, said was a good thing. Of course every time Kaylee awoke or fell asleep, Simon was there and that brought her a level of contentment she knew she couldn’t live without. She still felt terrible for what had happened, for how foolish she’d been, but Simon had been good to his word, staying with her every minute. She needed him, there was no other way around it; would need him even when she was no longer an invalid. He was it for her and while she was ashamed it had taken her so long to figure that out, she was just grateful that she had.
But right now, she really needed him to go. “Simon?” she asked demurely, having regained enough strength to bat her eyelashes.
Raising a skeptical eyebrow to the nurse in the room who was prepping the cast to come off, Simon moved to her side and bent down to place a kiss to her hair. “Yes, bao bei?”
“Can you do me a favor?” She kept smiling at him coyly and Simon’s gut churned with anxiety of what exactly she would ask of him.
“Anything, Kaylee,” he told her truthfully, keeping his hand to her face.
“Can you go get ‘Nara an’ then take a walk?”
Puzzled, Simon looked down to her encased leg and then back to her face, sitting on the edge of the bed. “But, they’re going to remove your cast soon.”
Nodding once, she said, “I know.” She bit her lip, hoping he wouldn’t make her admit why she wanted him to go, but guessing that he probably would. She could already tell he was a little hurt that she’d asked him to leave.
“And you don’t want me here for that?” he asked slowly, not sure why that would be the case.
Nodding once, Kaylee said, “Not particularly, no.” Taking his hand in hers, she smiled sweetly again and asked, “So, can you get ‘Nara?”
“Kaylee,” he said patiently. “I really don’t want to leave you.”
With a sigh, Kaylee said, “That’s real sweet, honey, but I don’t wantcha here when they take off that cast.”
Still confused, Simon had to ask. “Why not?”
Pouting now, Kaylee dropped her eyes to her lap, knowing it was going to sound foolish and petty, but not caring. “’Cause, my leg’s gonna look all gross an’ pale an’ hairy an’ I don’t want you seein’ that.” Rolling her eyes up towards her scalp, she muttered, “It’s bad ‘nough you had to see me with half my head shaved.”
Simon actually chuckled and it made Kaylee laugh as well. Leaning forward he kissed her and said, “I’ve seen worse you know.”
“Well, not on me, ya haven’t,” she retorted, pushing him back playfully and again making doe eyes at him. “Please?”
Sighing with resignation, Simon stood, his hands raised in defeat. “All right, you win, I’ll go find Inara.”
Clapping her hands excitedly, Kaylee squealed and reached for his hand so she could give him one more kiss. “Thank you sweetie.”
“You’re welcome,” he told her, kissing her again. “And you know I think you’re beautiful.”
“Yes, but your opinion could easily change the minute you see that nasty leg,” she told him, pointing at the still cast limb and getting another chuckle from him. Kaylee was fairly certain it was the best sound in the ‘verse.
“I doubt it,” he muttered as he turned to leave the room. Kaylee watched him go, sighing with content and leaning back into the pillows. As Inara entered a few minutes later, River on her heels, Kaylee smiled to them both.
“Mei mei, Simon said you needed to see me,” her friend relayed, concern clouding her features. “Is everything all right?”
Shaking her head quickly, Kaylee said, “No, ‘Nara, it ain’t.” Taking her friend’s hands, she said urgently, “I need your help.”
“With what, Kaylee?” Inara asked, still thinking this was a true emergency.
From Kaylee’s other side, River was studying the end of her friend’s foot as her toes poked out of the cast. “Nail polish,” she said, pointing to the bare toes. Leaning down, she sniffed and then stood, her nose wrinkled in disgust. “And the smell.”
Looking back to Kaylee, Inara saw her friend grimace and nod. Realizing Kaylee was serious, Inara could only laugh and hug her friend. “All right, mei mei. Let’s see what we can do.”
It was early and Mal and Inara were still getting ready for the day. They both liked the idea of living in a fancy apartment, with a real bed and a real kitchen and a real shower; three things they had made more than enough use of, both for each of the places’ intended and, maybe, not-so-intended, purposes.
As Inara sipped her tea, overlooking the city, she felt Mal come up behind her and wrap his arms around her waist. She leaned back into him and smiled at him as he pressed a kiss to the corner of her mouth. “Mornin’,” he said huskily, resting his chin on her shoulder.
“Morning,” she murmured. Things were finally going well. Kaylee was to be released from the hospital later in the day and Mal and Inara were both going to help their mei mei and Simon settle into the apartment her parents had set aside. Inara had already been to the place a few times, being sure to stock the cabinets with Kaylee and Simon’s favorite things, including, of course, strawberries. But still, she knew that while Kaylee was doing remarkably better, caring for her was going to be Simon’s full-time job and she wanted to help them any way she could.
Gazing across the city’s skyline, Inara murmured absentmindedly, “I miss it here.” Immediately she knew her mistake as she felt Mal tense behind her. Trying to rectify the situation, she pulled away from him and turned to face him. “Not here … just … I missed being with you … when you were gone,” she explained lamely. Moving past him quickly, she headed inside, calling over her shoulder. “Are you hungry? I could make some breakfast.”
As she entered the living room, Mal reached the open doorway and called to her, “’Nara!”
She froze, placing her teacup down and slowly turned to face him. As she saw the look he was favoring her with, his wry, who-the-hell-do-you-think-you’re-foolin’-look, she cast her eyes to the floor, feeling her cheeks flush. “I thought we was done runnin’ from each other,” he told her softly, not at all surprised when she still refused to meet his gaze.
Crossing the room to her, he placed his hands on her shoulders and asked, “Ain’t we?”
Nodding once, Inara could not raise her eyes to his face, so Mal did it for her, placing a hand under her chin and gently lifting it up. “So, stop runnin’ an’ tell me what you meant.”
With a sigh, Inara said quietly, “I guess I just forgot how beautiful Sihnon was. It’s been so long since I’ve been here, and when I left …” Inara trailed off, remembering how broken, how fragile she’d been at seeing her daughter all those years ago; her little girl who didn’t know her from any other stranger. It had left her heartbroken and caused her to run. Now that she was back, Inara realized it hadn’t been Sihnon that had caused that pain, it had been herself.
“I love Serenity, Mal,” she told him, fixing her eyes on his. “I do, and I love you.” She inhaled a bit, realizing that she had not told him that before. Expecting him to push her away and hide, like most men would, he surprised her again, when he pulled her to him and kissed her passionately, his lips working over hers, his tongue thrusting into her mouth with need and desire. Inara gave into it, wrapping her arms around his neck, pressing herself against him.
When they parted for air, Mal cradled her face in his hands and whispered, “I love you, too, ‘Nara.”
She smiled at him and kept the silence between them for just a few more seconds. When she was about to say something, he actually beat her to it. “So, you sayin’ you wanna settle? Someplace like Sihnon?”
Shaking her head, Inara told him, “No. At least, I don’t think I do.” With a sigh, she said, “It’s all so complicated.”
“No, darlin’, it ain’t,” he told her, again pulling her to him. “It ain’t complicated in the slightest. It’s just you an’ me an’ we’ll figure it out.”
About to ask him when they had ever not been complicated, a knock on their door surprised them both. Moving to answer it, Inara stepped aside when she saw who it was. As Liliana Serra entered the living room, Mal moved swiftly back to the bedroom to put on a shirt, as Inara offered her mother a seat and some tea.
Once the older woman had her tea in her hand and Mal had again returned, she addressed her daughter. Handing her a slim data stick, she said quietly, “This was all I could find.”
Taking the offered stick with a shaky hand, Inara asked, “And?”
“She’s still on Sihnon,” Lili told her, her eyes conveying a level of sadness that Mal had never seen before. “Her adoptive family is quite nice, wealthy. She has two brothers and a sister, all younger.”
Inara nodded once, rolling the slim rod in her hand, staring at it. When she’d asked her mother for this information almost a month ago, Inara had thought she wanted it, but now that she had it, she wasn’t so sure.
Figuring she had nothing to lose, Lili decided to try one more time to be a good mother to her daughter. Reaching out a hand and placing it against Inara’s arm, she said gently, “Inara, dear, I really wish you’d reconsider.” As her daughter raised questioning eyes to her, Lili continued. “I don’t know what you hope to gain by this, by seeing her. She’s happy, Inara.”
“Without me,” Inara added quietly. She felt Mal rest a hand to her shoulder and she took a deep breath before meeting his gaze. He hadn’t known what Inara had asked of her parents, and when she saw his confusion, she immediately felt guilty for hiding it from him.
Swallowing hard, Lili said, “Yes, Inara, without you. I’m not saying that you don’t have the right to know about her, know that she’s okay, but please, think about how you might upset her life if you pursue this.”
“’Nara?” Mal questioned, his voice low. He wanted answers and he wanted them now. But Inara would not have this fight with him in front of her mother.
Rising, and heading for the door, Lili recognized the sign of dismissal. Giving Mal a sad smile, she followed her daughter to the entryway and placed a light kiss against her cheek. “Just think about what I said,” she told her softly, knowing she had no business offering her child parenting advice, but unable to resist the chance as she was fairly certain it would not present itself again.
Inara nodded resolutely and then shut the door behind her, leaning heavily against it. Her mother was right and that was what irked Inara the most. She didn’t have a right to upset an innocent ten-year-old’s life. It wasn’t her daughter’s fault that she’d had a weakling for a birth mother who’d been unable to fight for her all those years ago.
She looked up sharply and saw Mal standing there, his questions painted on his face. Sighing, she moved past him and said, “I’m going to take a shower.”
“No, you ain’t,” he said quietly, grabbing her by the elbow and whirling her around. Snatching the data stick from her hand, he asked insistently, “What’s on here?”
She held his gaze and knew that keeping secrets from him was only going to get them in trouble. With a sigh, she said quietly, “Information about my daughter.”
Staring at the stick as if it might bite, Mal asked her, “Why?”
Frowning at him, Inara pulled out of his grip and answered hotly, “What do you mean, why? Because she’s my child and I wanted to know-“
“Know what, Inara?” Mal asked. He was angry and he wasn’t sure why. Sure he wasn’t thrilled that Inara had not told him she was waiting on this information, but a lot had been happening as of late and he could forgive the oversight. No, he was mad because he knew what it would do to her to know these details. “Know that she’s had rotten adoptive parents or a hard life so you can rescue her?”
Inara guiltily dropped her gaze to the floor. She had secretly wondered if that might be true; Inara knew that in reality she had no claim on the child, but she’d thought that if she was in a bad situation, than she could save her and love her, as she’d been denied doing for the past ten years. “Yes,” she answered quietly.
“And?” Mal asked, his voice softening as he watched her struggle to come to terms with what she knew to be true.
“And she’s fine,” Inara shot back, her voice rising as she huffed, stalking across the room. “She’s fine, Mal. She has a great life, wealthy parents, siblings. She’s great!” As her chest heaved with hurt and anger, Mal watched a few of her tears fall. Inara was not normally a crier, it just wasn’t in her makeup, but Mal had watched her over the past month and a half as her emotions and her strength had been tested beyond their breaking points. Everybody had a breaking point.
Moving towards her, Mal set the data stick down on the table as Inara sank into an oversized easy chair, her arms wrapped around herself. “She’s fine, Mal,” she repeated, her voice dropping to a whisper as he knelt in front of her. “Fine, fine without me. She doesn’t even know who I am,” she said quietly, her voice breaking as she admitted this last. “And she shouldn’t. I didn’t deserve her.”
Mal reached for her, but she pulled back, biting her lip to hold in her sobs. Laying a hand on her knee and another one to her cheek, he drew her eyes back to his and said quietly, “C’mon, ‘Nara, stop bein’ so damn strong, for once.” As her eyes overflowed, tears spilling down her cheeks, he leaned towards her and whispered, “Let it go, I got ya.”
With first one sob and then another, Inara fell into his chest, crying and grieving for a child she’d never known. Mal held her close and then carefully picked her up, sitting with her on the couch. She curled into his lap, her arms around his neck, her face buried in his shoulder and Mal continued to hold her tight.
“Welcome home, Kaylee,” Simon said softly as they pushed open the door to their penthouse and he wheeled her inside. She was still too weak to be up and walking, but Simon did not mind waiting on her hand and foot.
Kaylee’s eyes watered at the unbelievable view that confronted them as soon as they entered the main room. The sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with reds and pinks and oranges, painting the room in the same pastel hues. Her eyes widening at the sight of all the fancy things and all the space, Kaylee looked around slowly and then tilted her head back slightly and breathed, “We’re really gonna stay here?”
Leaning down to kiss her lightly, Simon told her, “We really are.”
Squealing with delight, Kaylee told him, “Well, c’mon on then, I wanna see the whole place.”
Smiling apologetically to Inara and Mal as they followed them in, carrying what few belongings both of them had packed, Inara nodded to Simon and called after him. “You two take your time. Mal and I will make supper.”
“We will?” Mal asked sullenly, before Inara gave him a sharp jab to the ribs. “Ow,” he said quietly, rubbing where her elbow had hit. Raising his voice he called after them, “Oh, yeah, we will.”
Simon and Kaylee barely heard them as he took her through each room: first the kitchen, then the guest bedroom and bathroom and then the master bedroom and bathroom. Kaylee’s eyes widened more as soon as Simon opened the door to the suite. He’d asked that the roses from her room at the hospital be brought here and he was glad to see that the gesture had not gone unnoticed by Kaylee. “Oh, sweetie,” she breathed, reaching out to finger one of the nearest buds, the petals feeling silky under the pads of her fingers. “You din’t have to have these all brought over here.”
Rounding on her chair, Simon knelt beside her and said quietly, “I know how much you liked them and I want you to have everything you could possibly want.”
Placing her hand over his, she leaned towards him and said quietly, “Well, I already got that.”
He returned her smile and kissed her and then said, “All right let’s get you into bed.”
Wiggling her eyebrows at him, she responded, “I like the way you think, Doctor Tam.”
Chuckling, he told her, “Ha, ha, very funny. You know you’re still too weak for any of that.”
Pouting, Kaylee wrapped her arms around his neck as he lifted her from the chair and laid her on the soft mattress, fluffing her pillows. “Is that okay?” he asked, noting the wicked grin she was still favoring him with. When she didn’t answer him, he asked cautiously, “What?”
Curling her hand in his shirt, Kaylee pulled him towards her and fastened her lips on his, kissing him so hard and deep that he had difficulty pulling away. Simon felt his body respond, as it always did to her touch, but he knew that while Kaylee may have thought she was ready to be sexin’ him again, he knew better. She was still too weak and fragile, and the miscarriage complicated things on a whole different level.
Breaking the contact, Simon sat on the edge of the bed and took her hand in his even as she tried to run it down his chest and over the front of his pants. “Ai ya, you are single-minded,” he whispered, giving her a wide-eyed look of annoyance that didn’t really have any menace behind it.
“Well, you gotta give a girl credit for knowing what she wants,” Kaylee answered, again reaching for him. But this time before their lips could meet she pulled back, her eyes squeezing shut as a stab of pain shot through her head. Leaning her head back gingerly, she breathed in and out for a minute, and Simon immediately adjusted his hold on her wrist, feeling for her pulse.
“What’s the matter, Kaylee?” he asked her quietly, watching as she took a few deep breaths. He also saw that a tear had leaked out of the corner of one eye and fallen down her face. Brushing it away, he asked her again, “Kaylee, what is it?”
“Just a bit of a headache,” she said shakily, glad when the pain passed. Now all that was left was a dull throb, which she could handle. Opening her eyes to him, she frowned and sighed heavily. “Okay, you were right. No funny stuff.”
Smiling at her, Simon placed a hand behind his ear and asked playfully, “I’m sorry, what was that again? I was-"
“Right,” Kaylee repeated, her eyes widening a bit as he teased her. “I’ll be good.”
Cocking an eyebrow at her, Simon muttered, “I highly doubt that,” which earned him a playful pat on the arm. Smiling to her again, he rose and kissed her lightly. “I’m going to see what Mal and Inara could possibly be cooking. I’ll bring you some food in a bit, okay?”
She nodded lightly and then reached for his hand as he moved to go. At the touch, he turned back to her and saw that a bit of fear had again clouded her eyes. “Don’t be gone long, ‘kay?”
Leaning down to kiss her again, he told her, “Just a few minutes, I promise.”
She smiled at him and then watched him leave. It was ridiculous to be so scared, but Kaylee still didn’t like how weak she felt; it wasn’t something she was accustomed to and it set her on edge when she had sharp stab of pain through her head or her leg started throbbing. Plus, her ribs were still healing from where they had been fractured and at times she found it hard to breathe. It just scared her, worried her that maybe things weren’t as okay as Simon had said and silly as it was, if she was really bad off and she was going to die, she didn’t want to do it alone.
Of course, she knew if that were the case the doctor would have never let her leave the hospital, let alone Simon, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something else, something worse was happening or had happened or something. Quelling the feeling, Kaylee let her eyes wander over the fancy room. Sinking back into the soft mattress, even better than the one at the Serras, Kaylee tried to enjoy the moment.
“How is she, really?” Mal’s question was full of concern as he studied Simon. They had finished eating and so had Kaylee and the food had made her sleepy. Leaving her when he knew she was asleep, Simon had rejoined his friends on the terrace to enjoy the night.
Looking to Mal now, Simon sighed heavily and stared into the dark liquid of his rapidly cooling coffee. “Really she’s fine,” he said quietly. “She’s still a bit more lethargic than I’d like and I know her ribs are still bothering her, but I honestly think the physical wounds are going to heal a lot faster than the emotional ones.”
“The baby,” Inara stated needlessly, looking to Simon with real concern shining in her eyes.
He nodded once and then cleared his throat. “I haven’t told her yet, but I know I have to.” Taking a sip of his drink, he wrinkled his nose at the bitterness and then said quietly, “Plus, the whole reason Kaylee ran away in the first place doesn’t have much to do with anything but her emotional state.”
“She ain’t crazy, doc,” Mal told him harshly, not liking the odd diagnosis Simon was making.
Regarding him with a patient look, Simon told him, “I know that, Mal. But she and I … there’s a lot we have to work through in order for this to work, and that would put a strain on anyone.”
“Yeah, well don’t go makin’ it worse,” Mal said, wagging a finger in his direction.
Surprised by his tone, Inara rested a hand to his arm. “Mal,” she hissed, getting him to look at her. “That’s uncalled for. Simon would never hurt Kaylee.”
Sighing, Mal told her, “Inara, I know that. An’ I would never hurt you, neither, but sometimes I do it anyway.” Looking back to the younger man, he told him quietly, “Look, all I’m sayin’ is folks in relationships hurt each other all the time, not meaning too. Just be mindful o’ that, dong ma?”
Simon nodded, swallowing his retort. He, of all people, Serenity’s resident ‘boob,’ did not need to be told about saying things that could inadvertently hurt someone. He’d had plenty of practice; and truthfully, he still lived with the fear that he would say the wrong thing again, especially now. “I’ll keep it in mind,” he murmured.
Rising, he looked to them both and said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but truthfully, I’m exhausted.”
“Of course, Simon,” Inara told him, rising and pulling Mal to his feet. Heading back inside, she said, “Leave those dishes and I’ll be by first thing tomorrow to help you out.”
Smiling kindly at her, Simon said, “You really don’t have to do that, Inara.”
“But I will anyway,” she answered lightly, favoring him with another grin. Heading past Simon again for the door, she added, “Because that’s just the kind of woman I am.”
“I’ll say,” Mal intoned, his voice low. Getting a playful swat from Inara, Simon watched them both leave, and then shut and locked the door. Sighing heavily, he was honestly never so glad to be alone in his whole life. Well, not alone.
Wandering back to the bedroom, he stood in the doorway for a minute and regarded Kaylee’s sleeping form. She was resting as comfortably as he could manage and he’d made sure to give her all the pain meds Eli had prescribed before she drifted off. “Don’t go makin’ it worse,” Mal’s words echoed in his head as Simon moved towards the bed and sat down gingerly, removing his shoes and socks and shrugging out of his clothes. He didn’t want to make it worse, truly, he just wanted Kaylee to be all right; but the knowledge that they had lost a child was weighing heavily on him and he knew that Kaylee deserved to know.
Rolling onto his side, he slid under the covers and propped himself up on one elbow so he could gaze down into her face. Pressing a kiss to her cheek, he murmured, “Sleep tight, bao bei,” before he gingerly laid his head on her shoulder, wishing he could hold her closer, but knowing it would be too painful.
A knock in the middle of the afternoon was unusual for Simon. Inara and Mal usually either came over in the morning or right at supper time, and since he’d just shooed them both away, he doubted it was the couple again so soon.
Going to the door, he answered it and smiled pleasantly when he saw who it was. “Doctor Butler, Eli,” Simon said casually, opening the door wide to allow the man entrance. “I had no idea you made house calls.”
“Only for very special and very pretty patients,” he said. When Simon cocked an eyebrow at him, he amended, “Not you, of course, Kaylee. How is she?”
Nodding, Simon told him. “Pretty good. Did you want to see her?”
“If she’s awake, I’d be more than happy to say hello. Check in on her,” Eli said, following the young man. “How are you doing?”
Glancing over his shoulder, Simon smiled tightly and said, “Just fine, Eli.”
Doubting that were the case, the older man decided to let it go, at least for the time being. As Simon entered Kaylee’s room first, Eli watched as the girl’s eyes lit at the sight of the young doctor and how Simon’s face lit up in return. Young love really was something. “I brought you a visitor,” Simon told her, sliding onto the bed next to her and kissing her cheek.
“Well, hey there, Doc,” Kaylee greeted the man, closing the magazine she’d been reading and placing it on the nightstand. “I din’t know a fancy man like yourself would make house calls.”
“Apparently, it’s because I’m pretty,” Simon told her, getting a giggle from Kaylee and a chuckle from Eli.
“Yes, precisely,” the older man drawled, circling the bed to sit on Kaylee’s other side. “How have you been, my dear?”
Smiling brightly, Kaylee told him, “Right an’ shiny.” Taking Simon’s hand, she looked to him and said, “Simon’s been takin’ real good care o’ me.”
Nodding once, Eli pulled his stethoscope from his bag and said, “I’m sure that’s true, but I’m going to check you out, all right?”
Kaylee nodded, and sat in silence as Eli listened to her lungs, took her blood pressure and checked her pulse. Simon still had a hold of her hand and he was gently rubbing his thumb along the back of it like he always did, lulling Kaylee into a peaceful state.
“All your vitals are good,” Eli told her, replacing his stethoscope. “How’s your head been?”
“Not too bad,” Kaylee said, smiling at him. “A few bits of pain every now an’ then, but nothin’ too terrible.”
“I’ve been administering the diuretic every three hours as prescribed,” Simon informed him, reaching behind him to show Eli the notes he’d taken on Kaylee’s condition. “This is everything since she’s been out of the hospital”
Smiling to Simon even wider, Kaylee looked back to Eli and said, “See? Really good care o’ me.”
The girl was not wrong, as Eli flipped through Simon’s precise charting, he couldn’t help but be impressed. The kid knew his stuff. “And what about everything else?” he asked, closing the book and looking to Kaylee, watching her closely for her reactions. While Simon was paying immensely close attention to every detail, Eli suspected that if something were bothering the young woman, the last person she’d tell would be her attentive boyfriend.
Shaking her head easily, she told him, “Nope, can’t think of a thing.”
Yes, definitely hiding something. Looking to Simon, Eli said quietly, “Simon, I wonder if I might trouble you for a cup of coffee?”
Nodding once, Simon rose quickly, feeling sheepish. “Of course, I’m sorry. I should have asked when you got here. It’ll take a few minutes.”
Waving away the boy’s embarrassment, he looked back to Kaylee and smiled. “Don’t worry about it. You’ve obviously had other things to worry about.”
Simon smiled to her as well and asked, “Did you need anything?”
“Nope, I’m shiny,” she told him cheerfully and with another smile to both his girl and the doctor, Simon left.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Eli turned back to Kaylee and asked her quietly, “Okay, what aren’t you telling me?”
Trying desperately to keep up the act, Kaylee asked guardedly, “What’re you talkin’ ‘bout, doc?”
Leaning closer to her, Eli smiled to her kindly and Kaylee got the distinct impression that this man was a grandfather; one of those really kind, let-you-ride-on-his-shoulders type of grandfathers, kind of like hers. She really liked him.
“Look, Kaylee, I know that this is probably a little scary for you and something tells me that the last thing you want to do is worry Simon.” Kaylee dropped her eyes to her lap and Eli continued. “But sweetheart, if I’m going to help you get better, one hundred percent better, than you’re at least going to have to tell me what’s wrong.” Placing his hand over hers, when she brought her eyes back to his face, he told her, “I can’t tell Simon anything you say. It’s called doctor-patient confidentiality.” Pointing to himself, he affected his most primitive voice and said, “Me doctor,” before pointing to Kaylee. “You patient; talk.”
Kaylee laughed lightly at his joke and then swallowed hard. She did have questions and concerns, but she didn’t know how to talk about them with anyone, let alone this very friendly man whom she’d really just met. But knowing she had to get it off her chest, she asked quietly, “Is it weird to feel kinda empty?”
Furrowing his brow at her, Eli asked, “Empty how?”
Shrugging lightly, Kaylee said, “I dunno. I just feel like something’s missin’, since I came outta the hospital, since the accident, and I dunno what it is.” Looking back to him, she asked with innocent eyes, “You didn’t take out part o’ my brain did ya?”
He chuckled at that comment and smiled wide at her, a look which Kaylee returned. “No, Kaylee, I assure you, I left it all in there.” Pausing for a moment, he asked, “This empty feeling? Can you describe it more?”
Shaking her head, Kaylee closed her eyes for a moment and thought on it. She wasn’t sure how to put it into words; it wasn’t like anything she’d ever experienced before. “It’s like I had somethin’ an’ now I don’t, an’ whatever it was, it was important, ya know?”
Eli nodded once, wondering how intuitive the girl was. If he didn’t know any better he’d think she was talking about her miscarriage. Knowing that Simon had asked that he be the one to tell Kaylee, Eli could only assume she didn’t yet know.
Placing his hand over hers, he said gently, “Kaylee, there are a lot of reasons you could be feeling that way. Experiencing severe trauma like you did can be very difficult to recover from and can cause side effects and feelings that we never suspected.” Smiling kindly to her again, he added, “But I assure you, your brain is intact.”
Laughing at herself, Kaylee said, “I done know that. Ain’t it silly?”
“Not as silly as you might think,” Eli confessed, leaning forward to check the bandage that covered her head. “I had a man once who left the hospital who felt like something was missing, and he was right.”
Her eyes sparkling, Kaylee asked breathlessly, “Well, what was it?”
Looking back into her face, he smiled and said, “His prosthetic leg.”
Kaylee howled with laughter, which made her ribs hurt, but she didn’t care; it felt good to laugh, really laugh. Simon came back then and could only smile at her amusement. “What’s so funny?” he asked, looking between Eli and Kaylee.
“Tell him, tell him,” Kaylee panted, trying to take a breath.
As Eli obliged and recounted the joke, Kaylee wailed again, causing Simon to laugh until tears came. Seeing her smile and laugh brought a lightness to his heart that had been sorely missing. A few minutes later as he walked Eli out, he clapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Thank you so much for stopping by. I haven’t been able to make Kaylee laugh like that in …” Simon paused, having to think and then grinned sheepishly, “Well, ever.”
Smiling to the man, Eli said, “My pleasure, Simon.” Pausing in the doorway, he told him quietly, “You need to tell her about the baby, son.”
His brow furrowing with concern, Simon’s easy manner immediately vanished. “Why? Did something happen?”
Placing a hand on his shoulder, Eli told him, “No, but she deserves to know, and sooner, rather than later.”
Simon nodded reluctantly, knowing the man was right. As Eli turned to leave, Simon cleared his throat and said, “I, I just wanted to thank you, for everything you’ve done for Kaylee and I and our friends.” Swallowing thickly, he said, “It really means a lot to me and I consider you a friend.”
Clapping a hand to the man’s shoulder, Eli said, “Well, the feeling’s mutual, son.” Leaning in he added conspiratorially, “Of course, I’d like to consider you a colleague. My offer still stands, if you’d like to reconsider.”
Simon’s face flushed and all could say was, “We’ll see,” before Eli was gone. Closing the door after him, Simon leaned against it for a moment, before heading back to Kaylee. He knew now, he had to tell her.
Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:18 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:54 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:36 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:37 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006 8:12 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006 9:36 PM
Friday, November 17, 2006 2:27 AM
Friday, November 17, 2006 9:33 AM
Sunday, November 19, 2006 12:03 PM
Sunday, November 19, 2006 4:10 PM
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