Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friday Fiction for March 12, 2010

Friday Fiction this week is Dancing on Rainbows with Sharlyn. Since St. Patrick’s Day is this coming week, dance an Irish jig over to the rainbow, where MckLinky awaits like a pot of gold, only full of fiction links for you.

No Irish jigs in my story this week, but we do have a guest appearance by one of my favorite characters, and maybe just a glimpse of the end of the rainbow. If this is your first visit to this story, please start at Part 1, or else you’re probably going to find it confusing coming in this close to the end.

If you’re completely new to my blog and my stories, it might help to know the Pod first appeared in my book, Cardan’s Pod. I have quite a few Pod stories here (hence the name of the blog), but a good one to start with would be The Rescue, from August, 2008.

Reef, Her Madness

Part 6

By Rick Higginson

Timothy ate his breakfast, absently staring out over the ocean through the sliding glass door. Teresa sat at the desk with her breakfast, still wearing the Ocean World t-shirt and fidgeting her left hand through her hair.

She’d been talkative until she had tried calling her bungalow. As near as Timothy could surmise, her friend had hung up the moment Teresa had spoken. Her mood and expression had both changed when she placed the phone back in its cradle, and she’d kept her face turned away from him.

I don’t even know what’s wrong, so what could I say to make her feel better? He took the last bite of the raisin toast, and wiped his fingers on a napkin.

The phone rang, and Teresa snatched it to her ear. “Jenny?” she said, and then, “No, no – he’s right here. Let me hand him the phone.” She got up and brought him the handset. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to answer for you. I just thought maybe Jenny was calling back.”

“It’s okay,” he said, as he took the phone from her. He rolled onto his side to take the weight off one arm for holding the phone more comfortably. “Hello?”

“Happy birthday, Timothy,” a chorus of voices shouted from the other end of the connection, followed by assorted whistles, cat-calls, and cheers.

The noise had barely quieted down when a single voice spoke over it. “Even if you’re not here, we couldn’t let your birthday go by unnoticed, could we?”

“Well, I’d kind of hoped you would, Marta,” he said.

“I doubt that,” Marta said. “You’ve always enjoyed previous birthday celebrations, so why should your own be any different?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t really feel like it this year.”

“Hmm, well, I guess I can’t argue much with that. So, who’s Jenny, and who was the girl who answered the phone?”

“Oh, that was Teresa,” he said, and gave a quick rehash of the previous two days.

“Crazy Reef Girl?” she said, and then laughed. “I can hear you smiling when you say that, Timothy. Are you sure she’s only a friend you just met?”

“I’m – not sure, Marta. I – um,” he stammered.

“Hold on a moment. Let me get to my room where I can talk without all the distractions.” There was nothing but background noise for a few moments, until it faded and allowed the sound of her crawling to carry through the phone. When that stopped, she spoke again. “That’s better; now, your hesitation tells me that there’s something more on your mind. Are you feeling something more for this Teresa?”

He sighed, glancing towards the desk where she’d returned to face away from him. “I don’t know, Marta. I really think I could, but – ”

“If you think there is a potential, then what’s holding you back from seeing if she might feel the same way?” When he didn’t answer right away, she pressed further. “Timothy, do you know what’s holding you back?”

“Yes, Marta,” he said quietly.

“Has there ever been anything before that you couldn’t tell me?”

“No, Marta.”

“Then why don’t you just go ahead and tell me what the problem is now, and maybe we can work it out together?”

He could almost feel her giving him a gentle, encouraging touch, just as she had done so many times during his life. “It’s Annette,” he said, almost in a whisper.

“You’re afraid of what she might do if you fall in love with someone else?”

“That, and what Eva might do if I hurt her sister.”

“Do you really think Eva would punish you for following your heart, Timothy?”

“I don’t know. They are sisters, after all.”

“Do you ever remember a time when Eva set aside what was best for the Pod in favor of what one of her sisters wanted?”

“No, but as Annette likes to remind me, this is what Dr. Marcel planned.”

“Eva and I knew Dr. Marcel longer than any other members of the Pod, and I can tell you that, despite how much we loved him, he wasn’t perfect. His plan wasn’t perfect, and he kept changing it as he realized his mistakes. If he’d lived, Timothy, I’m sure he’d have changed the plan many more times. We’re much too far from the last revision of his plan to even think of going back to it now, and Annette should know that.”

“Yeah, well, she sure isn’t acting like she knows it.”

“You just leave Annette to me and Eva, and see how things go with your crazy reef girl this week, all right?”

“Are you sure about this, Marta?”

“If we always waited until we were sure, I doubt most of us would ever find love.”

“I suppose you’re right about that.”

“So, promise me you’re going to do something special and fun for your birthday.”

“I promise.”

“Good; now let me talk to Teresa real quick.”

“You want to talk to Teresa?”

“If she’s still there, yes.”

He held the phone up. “Teresa, she wants to talk to you.”

“Huh?” Teresa turned and looked confused. “Me?”

He nodded, and stretched the phone a bit higher. “That’s what she told me.”

She took the phone. “Hello?” she said. “Marta? You mean, that Marta? You’re really – I – oh my – I don’t know what – yes, ma’am, er, sorry, Marta. Sorry, Marta. Uh huh, yeah? Okay.”

The side of the conversation he could hear gave him little clue as to what Marta might be saying, though he found Teresa being starstruck amusing.

“It is? Ah, I see. Uh huh, uh huh. Sure, I think I can do that. Yes, I definitely will. Really? That would be awesome, thank you. Uh huh, okay, you, too. Bye!” She put the phone back in its cradle, and turned to him. “You didn’t tell me it was Marta on the phone.”

“Who did you think I was talking to, all those times I said her name?”

“I wasn’t listening. I was kind of lost in my own thoughts.”

He smiled at her. “You don’t look quite so sad, now.”

“She said it’s your birthday, and asked me to make sure you go out and do something especially fun today.”

“I should have figured she wasn’t going to just take my word that I would. What else did she say, if you can tell me?”

“I’m supposed to take lots of pictures and send them to her, to prove you had fun today, and that she’d love it if I came out to your island sometime and meet her.”

“So, what are we going to do today, Crazy Reef Girl?”

“Can we break into my bungalow and get some clothes for me to wear?”

“I don’t know about that, but they do have some nice outfits at the resort gift shop. I saw them when I was checking in, and you could just go pick something out to wear until we figure out how to get Jenny to let you in.”

“I really can’t afford the gift shop prices.”

“Don’t worry about it. I can afford it.”

“I can’t let you buy me clothes.”

“Why not?”

“I just – can’t.”

“You’ve been my swim buddy for two days, my meal companion, and you even shared my bungalow last night. You’re not afraid of gossip, are you?”

“No, it’s not that.”

“Are you worried that I’ll expect something in return?”

“Well, maybe a little.”

“It’s my birthday, Teresa. There’s nothing in the world I need or want, and you’ve already made this vacation far more interesting than it would have been otherwise. You told Marta you’d make sure I had fun today, and I would enjoy it if you gave me the gift of letting me buy you something.”

to be continued...

1 comment:

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

I'm guessing a little romance looms near the rainbow's end. Cute lead into the story this week. Hadn't really thought of my blog as sounding Irish, but I see it fits! Haha