Friday, January 31, 2014

Prompt: There are all kinds of touch

Meredith tossed the kitchen towel over her shoulder and leaned against the doorway, watching Jillie jump from chair to chair around the table. Jillie loved their new home’s low gravity. Simon sat on the couch, back straight, hands on his knees, rubbing them slowly back and forth. Meredith dropped her head to the side, letting her hair fall down, knowing it would catch his attention. When his eyes snapped toward her, she smiled and blew him a kiss. He relaxed, marginally, but his eyes flickered back to Jillie’s pre-bedtime antics.

Meredith knew he was thinking of children in the mine fields. She scanned his pulse and breathing. Elevated. Shallow. But acceptable. She didn’t want Jillie to push him too far though. “Okay, my little monkey. Bound over here for a goodnight hug,” she called to Jillie.

Their beautiful, impossible daughter pushed off the closest chair and launched across the room into Meredith’s arms. Their heads dropped together, long black hair mingling with long blond curls. Hari curls, if Jillie followed in her footsteps, Meredith thought, then pushed the idea away. She left the Hari willingly for Simon. He would never accept that life for Jillie.

“Okay, monkey. Go give Daddy a special Daddy-hug,” Meredith said, sliding Jillie down to stand on the floor. Jillie turned to Simon and held her arms wide open, palms flat. She took slow, sliding steps, watching Simon as carefully as Meredith did. If he stiffened up, she would stop. But he stayed calm – for him – on the couch, and held out his hands, palms to the sides to match Jillie’s when she reached him. They clasped hands, and Jillie pushed against his, leaning with all her might into their special open hug.

Meredith had figured it out after they left the Hari. Simon couldn’t tolerate any constriction, nor any light touch. Nothing the Hari had used to seduce him, to break him, to compel him to give up the information they wanted.  She couldn’t hug him, or run her fingers playfully over his skin. Face to face, palm to palm, he could relax enough to accept her body against his.

He had found comfort in her round belly, lying perpendicular to her, with his ear resting against her skin. He said he could hear the baby’s heartbeat, and it soothed him. He slept.

When Jillie was born, Simon cried. He couldn’t hold her without triggering the nightmare memories. Meredith wrapped her tightly in a blanket and when Jillie slept, lay her on Simon’s chest. “Now she hears your heartbeat. Let her know it,” she soothed him. He slept.

Meredith slid slowly away from the doorway. “Okay, monkey. Off to bed with you. Come, I’ll throw you up the stairs.”

Jillie blew kisses to Simon, who almost didn’t flinch as her hands fluttered toward him. He tried so hard. Jillie ran around the couch to Meredith, who grabber around her waist and pitched her up the stairs. Jillie giggled as she floated down to the top landing. “Goodnight, Mama,” she called as she climbed into bed.

Meredith tapped the wall panel for the night sky view. Upstairs and down, the lights dimmed, and the ceilings disappeared, revealing open starry skies. The effects were seamless, worth every Hari-credit Meredith had spent. Jillie fell asleep every night watching for shooting stars. And Simon slept more easily under the open sky, even though he knew it was illusion.

Bah! I had a good initial idea/scene, but I think it's wandered too far afield already. What do you think? Are you interested in Simon and Meredith? Curious about the Hari? Want to know more, or ready to move on? Comments welcome! 

Dogs in house

Mediaeval Baebes

Time writing
40 minutes

January word count

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