Sunlight on the table; it is dawn. The kitchen is empty again, and clean
except for a few still-damp patches of linoleum and fresh grease spattered
around the stove.
Voices float down the short hallway to the living room. A bare silence
is in the air, hovering around three plates of toast and meatless
bacon. There are also pancakes, with chocolate chips, and syrup, and
juice. Rosie has poured all her anger and fear into cooking, now that the
boys have returned. It all tastes slightly off.
Rosie sits at one end of the small table, burning with anger which used to
be relief that they were all right. Frank can guess that she did not know
what happened and is nostly angry that they might have been dead. He has
been with her for almost en years; he is better at this. Marc is new and
young and afraid of her, and is trying very hard to finish eating before
The tension increases as Rosie finishes and glares at Frank. He puts
down his fork and clears his throat and Rosie yells "Where
wereyou you could have been killed!" Marc's fingers are
gripping the edge of the table; he is amazed that he is still in his
seat. There is a loose chocolate chip at the edge of his plate.
Frank clears his throat again. "I'm sorry. We should have called."
"Damn right you should have called! Where were you?" The
chocolate chip is small, it ssurface pitted from the intense heat of the
frying pan. It cowers against the plate's ceramic rim.
Frank brushes a fistful of loose hair behind his hear. His voice is
tremendously calm. "We were doing a cutting on Marc's arm and the blade
went too deep. I took him to the emergency room just to be on the safe
side, but he's fine."
Marc is sure the chip is about to melt under the pressure of all the
energy in the room. It all eases up a little with Frank's statement, which
is good because a little puddle of chocolate is beginning to ooze out. He
puts out a fingertip and pushes it gently into the chip, slowly flattening
Rosie is unwilling to give up her fury just yet. "His arms look fine to
Her italicized anger is as fiery as her hair, which is dyed. Marc
reluctantly stops playing with his food and pulls his shirt off to show
her the bandage up on his left tricep. He lifts it off carefully, exposing
a very red cutting of a wolf's profile. "It's supposed to have an eye," he
mutters, covering it back up.
"But Marc passed out before we could finish," Frank says cheerily,
ignoring Marc's furious blushing.
Rosie sighs. "You should have let me do it. I've had more experience
Frank fidgets, knowing this is going to come out wrong but saying it
anyway. "We wanted it to be just a guy thing. Sort of like an
initiation. I showed him how to do most of it himself anyway."
"Oh, my god," Rosie sighs again. "All right, the pair of you can do all
the dishes. And then you need to get some sleep, especially you, Marc. And
promise that the next time you will call me!" She is enjoying
this actually, on one level, getting to take the parental role over
them. She gets a certain charge from ordering Marc around, even though at
twenty-seven she is nearly as young as he. Even so, the smug comfort they
have in each other against her anger makes her uncomfortable, as if she
risks losing them in each other. She barely has a relationship with Marc,
other than that of "the boyfriend's girlfriend" or "the dangerous
one;" suddenly she is afraid of what might come from all this love.