Continued from Plague Life – Part IV
The next few days passed with little but Joyce’s shifts to tell one from the other. When Joyce was off, Megan made herself scarce giving mother and son time together. When they had enough of that, Tommy might ride down or they’d both stroll down to see what Megan was working on. She was not light on projects and living alone in the house for at least the time being, gave her room to spread out. Her on-line classes were going as well as they could and she was actually finishing art, which had been tough to do when the world was spinning.
That morning Megan opened her eyes with a start, looking straight into the pear tree. The spare room that she uses on overnights looks out into the backyard-the tree specifically. Joyce was horrified when she found out that Megan slept with the blinds open-she could never do that. But then, her schedule made it impossible to contemplate. She herself had black metal blinds in her room-which brought darkness at the pull of a cord.
It was just before six, well over an hour before Joyce would be home. She lay still, sleepily trying to recapture the dream. She remembered Joyce in it, nude, pushing against her. Had they been in bed? No, she thought they were standing…Joyce was rubbing her backside… Megan pushed her basketball shorts down and rolled onto her side to run her hand across her bottom as Joyce had in the dream. Then she slipped her finger lightly between her legs finding herself swollen and damp.
It had been a dream and dreams are unbidden, so she didn’t feel guilty about it. Now though, she was awake sliding her finger into herself while thinking of Joyce. “Nope”, she said out loud. “Nope. Nope.” She threw back the covers and sat on the bed, shorts still at her knees. She stood, stepped out of them and walked the two paces into her private bath which is the best thing about this room. Still, she rubbed her bottom where dream-Joyce had and felt a weakness in her legs.
She peed and stepped into the shower for a quick freshener from the neck down, then brushed out her hair before slipping it into a ponytail. If she had dreamed of someone else would it have been okay to touch herself? She was ready for it, that’s for sure. She promised she’d take care of herself later, at home. But not now. Not here. A touch of blush on the cheeks and she was set. For reasons she didn’t want to explore too deeply, she cared about how she looked when Joyce got home. Not like that, though! Not really. She just didn’t want to be appear tired or drawn or anything that might concern Joyce.
There was no way Megan could know it, but what she was doing did work. Somewhere, between leaving the hospital, driving home or coming out of the shower, for a moment, or a flash of a moment, Joyce would look forward to seeing Megan. Not getting home. Not eating. Not having a glass of wine. But seeing Megan. Joyce didn’t let the thought linger and flower, but it was there-albeit forced fleeting.
Joyce, clean and damp, walked into the kitchen sniffing at the air. “Now that smells good…” She shuffled barefoot to the stove and peeked over Megan’s shoulder. There was a pounded chicken breast simmering in olive oil and lemon alongside a half dozen spears of asparagus and a smattering of capers.
“Asparagus? Where did you get those?”
“Had them at home. Picked them up over the weekend…”
“The chicken was…”
“You had it in the freezer. I split a breast, so there’s another left. I’ll pick some up next week. And there’s still quinoa-that shit lasts forever.”
“You’ve seriously expanded the breakfast menu”, she said squeezing her arms from behind before going to her place at the table.
“It’s not breakfast for you. You’ve been up all night…For breakfast, when Tommy gets up, you’ll have…” She opened the refrigerator door and pointed to a bowl sealed with plastic wrap. “Pancake batter-with chocolate chips…”
“When did you do that?”
Megan shrugged lightly, “A little bit ago.”
Joyce sipped at the orange juice that had been set for her. “You do a lot for us…”
“Well, maybe. But then, there’s the fact that I have fuck all else to do”, she said grinning.
Joyce wadded up a napkin and tossed it at her. “Brat!” She smiled weakly, the fatigue of the shift settling now that she was home. She leaned back to allow the plated meal to be set in front of her. Hunger kept her from picking-she dug in.
“Delicious”, she said closing her eyes, savoring. “I know you snuck some butter in.”
Megan turned to face her and leaned against the stove, dish towel over her shoulder. “That’s why it’s so good.”
The silence between them was natural. Joyce ate, Megan cleared the counter and washed the pan.
“So”, Joyce asked picking up an asparagus spear with her fingers. “What do I call you?”
“Someone asked today about Tommy. And who watched him. You were his babysitter for a while-still are really. Then you were a friend. Now with all this…and the shopping, and the…everything. I’m not sure what to call you.”
“Not Personal Assistant.”
“No not that…something to do with the house…I don’t know…”
“You better not say ‘maid’!”
“No”, Joyce scoffed. “How about Gal Friday?”
“What the hell is that?”
“I forget how young you are…”
“If we ever plan a caper.”
“How about ‘Squire’, said Megan with a cocky head tilt.
“Sure. They lived to serve their knights. To do whatever they could do to ensure the knight was at the top of their game. Right?”
“I’m a knight then?”
“Were there female knights?”
“You definitely didn’t watch Game of Thrones.”
Joyce shrugged. “Naw. I’m more of a King Arthur girl…”
She finished off the last bite of chicken. “Hello. I’m Doctor Joyce Maples. And this is Megan, my squire.” She grinned widely if groggily, “That has potential.”
Continued here Plague Life – Part V