LM stopped outside Missy’s hospital room. He raised his fist to knock on the door.
But it wasn’t his fist. It was Capernaum’s.
He raised his other hand, transforming it back into his own. He uncurled his fist and compared the two very different hands. One, slim with slender fingers. The other, broad with decidedly masculine fingers.
LM wrapped his arms around himself.
So solid. So strong feeling. Strong body. Strong heart. Capernaum should have lived forever.
He released himself.
But humans are humans. Stupidly, insultingly weak. So easily broken and why?
He knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Jeff called out.
LM glanced around the hall. No one was about. He quickly transformed into his true form and entered the room before anyone else could see him. He closed the door and took in the scene.
Raven was still knocked out. He’d slumped down in his seat and had leaned his head back. His arms lay limp at his sides. His feet were set flat on the floor.
Jeff sat in the seat next to Raven. He frowned as he read ‘Little Women’.
LM wondered which part he was on and why he was frowning with such disapproval at it.
Maybe he’s on the part where she refuses Laurie. If so, I can’t blame him for making that face.
He cautiously approached the former vampire hunter. “I’m back.”
“Uhm.” Jeff turned the page.
LM’s feathers bristled. “Well, I am. I’m back. I’m here. I don’t know what else you want from me.”
“Huhn?” Jeff looked up at him. “Oh, you’re back.”
“Yes. What do you want me to do? Please give me something to do. I can’t be idle. I need to do something. Anything. I’ll sweep the floors. I’ll scrub your car. Just don’t let me waste another day on nothing.”
Jeff closed the book and set it alongside his leg. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing! I feel restless and I have nothing to do and nowhere to go.”
“Didn’t you ever learn to relax while you were at that Institute?”
“Of course I relaxed. After a full day’s work.”
Jeff smiled and it wasn’t a bad smile. “Of course. Honestly, I don’t have anything for you to do. I’m just waiting for Missy to come back. The nurse took her for another walkabout. They should be back soon.”
“What are you going to do when she returns?”
Jeff sighed. “I’m gonna have a conversation with her about something I’ve been thinking about doing.”
LM didn’t prod and Jeff didn’t explain.
“So? Where am I supposed to go while you have this whole conversation with her?” LM asked.
“You can stay in here. It’s nothing earth-shatteringly secret.”
Again, LM didn’t pester for more details.
Jeff chuckled. “So, you aren’t interested in what I’m going to discuss with her.”
LM shrugged. “It really isn’t any of my business. If you want to tell me more, I won’t stop you.”
“But you won’t ask.”
“Interesting. Are you curious?”
LM shrugged. “If I were, would you tell me?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
He frowned. “I feel like we’re going through loose loops and empty tunnels with this conversation. I don’t know what you’re hoping to accomplish. Do you really want me to be curious about matters that don’t concern me?”
“It wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
LM’s gaped in outrage. “What is wrong with you? I mean it. What is literally wrong with you? Asking me to pry into your personal affairs for no good reason.” He jabbed a furious point at Jeff. “You don’t make sense.”
LM reclaimed ‘Little Women’ and retreated to the chair near the window. He sat and hugged the book to his chest.
Foolish, strange human. And here I thought he was bad before. Now, he’s even worse!
“Maybe I don’t make sense.” Jeff said. “I’ve been so down and unhappy. But…she’s alive. My little girl is alive and that is the most amazing thing. Oh, I’m sure the unhappiness will hit me again.” He shrugged. “It does that. But I’m going to try to hold on to that happiness, that knowledge that she is alive. I can see her. I can talk to her. I can…just be with her.”
LM frowned. “Did I miss out on some big epiphany?”
Jeff chuckled. “Maybe. I talked to Missy and she got me thinking. She said that it’s easy to focus on all of the sad things. Both she and I have known plenty of sad things. But sometimes you just need to just change the subject.”
“Just change the subject.” LM frowned. “That isn’t easy for everyone, you know.”
Jeff gave him a sympathetic look. “I know.”
There was a knock on the door.
“Come in!” Jeff called out.
The door opened. The nurse led Missy back into the room.
LM watched Jeff jump out of his seat and hurry to help the nurse assist Missy with getting back into bed.
Maybe….Maybe he isn’t that bad. Maybe he’s just like me — hurt and lonely for what he can’t reclaim, for everything he’s lost.
LM brought his feet up on the chair and balanced his book on his knees.
Maybe I could learn to get along with him. It wouldn’t be easy. We might not get along all that well. Is it worth the needless drama? Is he worth it?