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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Simon makes a choice about his future - as though there was any other.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1120 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
If Simon had been a reader himself he might have been less baffled by how solicitously Auntie behaved towards him from almost the moment that he entered her home and hugged River; he would have seen how, in her mind, the arms that encircled his sister spoke of a love that enlivened every one of his actions and yet bore down upon him with a great weight that Auntie felt moved, even if it was only temporarily, to alleviate.
There was the baby too, and though she did not reach the prediction that River had, that its death was certain, she understood how much of himself Simon had invested in its survival.
So she insisted – after she had fed her grandchildren with a snack of black bread and butter – that Simon eat some of the stew that she had kept from the night before and then persuaded him, with almost visible pride, to use her shower.
“My Alan made it for me,” she told him, as he followed her up the very narrow staircase. “He’s my third. He’s very handy, knows how to fix anything. None of my friends has a shower, you know. And if you’re lucky it can get hot!” – and with these words and a sort of flourish she opened the door on the tiny space that she called a bathroom.
Simon’s grateful yet still sKeptical eye followed the copper piping that led from a jagged hole in the wooden floorboards via an insane network of overlaps and false connections to a shower head that looked a great deal like the spout from a watering can attached to a length of garden hose.
“I’ll get you a fresh towel,” said Auntie, making it seem, as she did everything to do with her home, the most inviting thing in the world. She returned shortly with a sky-blue square of duster-like texture, embroidered all over with daisy-like flowers. “My youngest made this,” she said. “I’m blessed that my children look after me.”
As Simon undressed he realized that, of course, Auntie could not live the way she did without support from her family. Perhaps all of her children were in employment and she looked after theirs in return. And who knew which history of maternal devotion fuelled the continued loving attention of her brood? Unlike – and he thought with pain-masking satisfaction that his parents would be quite alone in their old age. Quite alone and with ample time to savor the bitterness of his and River’s absence.
By some happy coincidence of factors, the water coming from the shower could fairly be described as warm. Simon positioned himself so that it tricked down over his shoulder blades, his buttocks, the backs of his legs. He let out a long breath and swayed slightly from side to side.
A sudden clatter of footsteps on the stairs made him jump and he felt the vulnerability – even though the door was locked – of being naked in a strange house.
“Simon!” River called through the door, and she rattled the handle back and forth.
“What is it?”
“Simon, come out! I’ve got something to show you!”
“River!” – Simon was absolutely exasperated – “Can’t it wait!”
“No! It’s very important!”
Simon huffed and sighed as he turned off the water and reached for the towel. He arranged it so that it covered him front and back and over one hip – the two ends failed by several inches to meet on the other side.
River smiled excitedly when he opened the door enough to show his face.
“This is Libby!” she announced, indicating a young woman just behind her, who appeared almost as embarrassed as Simon himself.
Simon looked from Libby to River, hoping that his sister’s long knowledge of him, as well as her psychic abilities, would enable her to discern his ‘so what?’ without it being discernible by Libby.
“She made that towel!” River declared, and Simon had to hold firmly on to the handle with his one free hand to prevent River from pushing the door open.
Simon made a face which he hoped Libby would understand as ‘sorry’ and River as ‘go away’.
“She’s not married, you know,” River continued.
“Okay River,” Simon said firmly, with a realization that he had been far too subtle. “I’m having a shower. It’s a long time since I had a shower. And I’ll be down soon. And I’d like some time to myself!” River blinked. “Nice to meet you,” he said to Libby as he closed and locked the door.
After his shower Auntie fed Simon again. He then fell asleep on a cot she kept downstairs for her grandchildren.
By the time he woke it was dark. He listened to the noises in the house: River humming, a running tap, Auntie’s quiet voice. The grandchildren must have been taken home and put to bed by now. He didn’t want to move. The baby and its parents would be on their way to Meridian. He could tell that River was calm. The ship – there was nothing to do there, the infirmary and everything else was gone. There was nothing to do at all.
Except – Kaylee.
He hadn’t seen her properly for days. And when he had it had been excruciating. He could see the requirements of the situation: that he succumb to jealousy, on account of his girl having dallied with another. But he just didn’t feel it. He was – upset. And yes, he was sorry. He regretted that apparently things were not going to work out between them. The emotion he felt more than any other, however, he could not admit to himself. It would diminish both parties, as well as what they had shared, for him to name it. For him to show it. So, when he saw her, he did not know what to show. The upset? The regret? But not the other one, the one that would make her feel that he had never really cared for her. When he had; he had cared for her. He did care for her. And sleeping with her: he had been attracted to her, and it had been good, that side of things.
He was aware of it, when he saw her, how she searched his face, looking for the man who had slept with her, wondering when he would declare the depth of his pain at her betrayal and the urgency of his desire for her to stay with him. And he wanted to show that, because that was what she wanted, and that was what she deserved. But instead he hurt her – the opposite of what he wanted to do – with enquiries about her health and the whereabouts of the others and what she had been up to. She searched, found nothing, answered his questions as warmly as she could, before one of them thought of a reason why they had to get on with something else and take themselves elsewhere.
Pricked into motion by thoughts of these encounters, Simon rose quickly from the cot and reached for the sweater he had draped across the end. He followed the sound of River’s humming to the kitchen, where Auntie was rinsing recently-washed dishes under a cold tap.
“Auntie said I can stay here,” said River, who was perched on a high stool in a corner.
Simon looked to Auntie for clarification. Auntie held up a wooden spoon, watched the water drip off it, laughed gently.
“What, over night?” Simon asked.
“Forever,” said River.
“She’s teasing me,” said Auntie.
“You want to stay here?”
“I don’t want to go to Cornelius,” said River, and then, as though she was talking about somebody else: “I’ve been through so much these last months.”
“I know. But – I saw Mal, he said something about moving on. I guess, I can see why Cornelius would be the obvious – When?” River had gone back to humming; she had, she had been through – there weren’t words for it, what she’d been through. “You know, that whatever happens, I’m staying right with you,” he said, and, still humming, River smiled. She could not have noticed, then, that as soon as the promise left his mouth he had thought of what it might mean to his mortally-wounded relationship with Kaylee.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 12:21 PM
Thursday, April 01, 2010 2:52 PM
Thursday, April 01, 2010 2:58 PM
Friday, April 02, 2010 10:28 AM
Friday, April 02, 2010 4:58 PM
Friday, April 02, 2010 6:29 PM
Friday, April 02, 2010 9:41 PM
Monday, April 05, 2010 6:23 AM
Monday, April 05, 2010 8:33 AM
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