LM hugged his book as he approached Jeff. He stopped beside him.
Jeff arched his eyebrow.
He unfolded his arms and pushed the book against Jeff’s chest. “You should keep reading this book. It’s very good. It will make you happy.” He looked into the man’s eyes. “Give it a chance. Please.”
Jeff smiled in understanding. “I will.” He took the book. “I never said I wouldn’t.”
His feathers rustled. “Thank you.”
“Are you going to read it with him?” Missy asked.
LM tilted his head. “How could I possibly read it with him? There’s only one copy of that book.”
“That is a weird question to ask when the answer is so super obvious. You could sit in his lap.”
LM stared at her as if she were speaking Swahili backwards.
“But I guess that wouldn’t be comfortable for him.” she said thoughtfully. “His wings would probably keep getting in the way. Or you could sit on the floor with him.”
“Sit on the floor with him. That isn’t anything too weird. I do it with my pretty shirtless Raven any chance we get. It’s very nice and romantic to sit next to him and read the same words as him.”
LM gaped. “Why would I…? I do not have any romantic feelings for Jeff!”
“Oh? So who do you have romantic feelings for? If you say me, Raven would be deeply put out by that. Anyway, I couldn’t possibly return your feelings so it would be a no go, go nowhere at all one-sided deal. I’m all about Raven and no one else.”
LM huffed. “I wasn’t going to say you, anyway. I don’t have anyone I feel that way for.” He frowned slightly. “But I guess I don’t know that many women.”
“Do you know anyone outside of The Institute? It’s actually a good question, but I’ve never given it much thought. Even with Antioch and Capernaum. Did they have any outside interests or friends? I hope they did. It’s sad to think of them having no one else.”
“Capernaum had me!” LM snapped. “Why would he need anyone else? Why wouldn’t I be good enough for him? How dare you imply that I am not enough! I am Capernaum’s LM and you are nothing but an XQ.”
Threads of fire raced through her strands of hair. “I am an XQ, but I am not nothing. I am not nothing to my dad or Raven or anyone else I know. I am not nothing to myself. I am me. Missy Tessa Teresa Farsigh me.” The fire flickered out. “Oh, but this really isn’t about me, is it? It’s about Capernaum. It’s about you. You always liked him and he liked you. I wonder if you were in love with him. That’s not impossible, you know. Look at Robin. He’s in love with a fey guy.”
“In love?” LM calmed down and gave it serious consideration. “No. We were friends. Good friends. Comrades. If anything, I thought of him as…I don’t know. A really great friend.”
Her sympathetic expression made his feathers bristle.”So, you’re going to stick him into the friends compartment. Too bad. I always thought there was something more between you two.”
“Well. You were wrong.”
“I wonder about that. Could we both be wrong?”
He scowled. “That makes no sense. How could we both be wrong?”
“Maybe you weren’t in love with him and maybe you didn’t think if him as just a friend. Maybe you were almost in love with him. Or! You were in love with him being your hero.
In love with him being my hero? I don’t understand this concept at all.
“He saved you from the big bad place and gave you security and home and all of the good things.”
Oh. Is that what it means? Is that how I truly felt about him?
No. He was my friend and that was enough.
“I don’t even know why you think this conversation is necessary.” LM said. “What does it even matter how we felt for each other? Capernaum is dead and gone.” His feathers settled down. “And I don’t want to say anything more about it. I’m going to read ‘Little Women’ with Jeff.”