www.whyville.net Nov 2, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Fallen: Part 7

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Dinner was a thoroughly awkward affair.

After we'd quickly fled up the stairs to my room, my Mom had obviously done some hasty re-arranging. Instead of the shoe-and-purse plates that she'd chosen for the event, our best, somewhat-intimidating-guest plates were set out. Also, she's pulled my chair from it's normal spot, so I would not be sitting next to Azi. (I figured the fact that a boy would be staying in her "baby's" room was upsetting her more than she let on . . . which, was quite a bit.)

The spaghetti was a terrible, gluey mass of noodles and sauce. I quietly pushed mine around my plate, pretending to take bite every once in a while, silently admiring Azi for stomaching it without pulling a face. Mom gave up on hers after a few bites and attempted to make pained conversation.

"So, what's it like where you live?" She asked, as Azi swallowed.

"It is very beautiful."

Mom nodded and let it drop.

The cycle continued until Azi swallowed his last bite. My mom quickly whisked away the plate and directed Azi to the living room while I set up the camp-cot.

The cot was old, and had a tendency to fall apart in the middle of the night if it weren't put together just right. I took my time, making sure that Azi would wake up in the same position he'd fell asleep in.

"Ah," I gasped, yanking my finger from where it'd come between a taut spring and the metal frame. It immediately welled up, leaving a cherry-red stain over the back of my hand. "Darn."

I stood up quickly, ready to make a dash to the bathroom's medicine cabinet for a band-aid, and whirled right into something solid.

There was a quick exhalation as Azi and I toppled into the hall together. His body cushioned my fall, but left me in a somewhat awkward position.

Azi smiled, his face not six inches away from mine.


I blushed. "Sorry . . . I just-"

"Cut your hand. Yes, I figured that out."

Until then, I hadn't noticed that my injured hand had grazed the side of his face, leaving a streak of my blood from his chin, across his lips, ending somewhere near his hairline. It looked like I was bleeding a lot more than I had originally thought.

"Sorry." I stammered again, trying to think of something less-stupid to say. "I didn't see you there."

He laughed, and I was overwhelmed by the smell of scorched cinnamon. "It is alright. I should have made my presence known."

Once again, I tried to formulate a response.

My mother, at the top of the stairs, cleared her throat. "Azi, I thought you had to use the bathroom." It sounded vaguely like an accusation, and I hoped she wasn't about to go super-mom on me.

I scampered off him, nearly tripping over the doorjamb to my room.

Azi's ascent was much more graceful. "I got lost. I intended to ask your daughter for directions, when she injured herself and, distracted, ran into me."

I nodded. Not that my mom was looking at me.

"The bathroom's the third door on the left." She growled.

Azi nodded. "I will remember that from now on. Now, you're daughter is bleeding, and I am sure she would like a bandage."

Blushing furiously, I followed Azi to the bathroom. My mom sighed and clumped down the stairs, muttering furiously.

"I'm sorry. She can be a little . . . twitchy. Can't seem to remember that I'm sixteen half the time." I apologized.

Azi shrugged. "I would have been upset if I were to find my beautiful daughter in such a compromising position."

I didn't miss that he'd called me beautiful, but I didn't acknowledge it. Maybe he didn't know what he'd just said.

My hand was bleeding more than I'd originally thought. I stemmed the flow with a towel and extricated a band-aid from a box on the counter.

However, I ran into a problem when I tried to open the package. I tried a couple time, to no avail.

"Would you like some help?" Azi offered. Without waiting for a reply, he ripped open the band-aid, plucked the towel away, and applied the band-aid to the back of my hand in one fluid motion.


It stung a little bit; I'd meant to put some triple-antibiotic cream on it.

"Much." I lied, promising myself I'd come clean it off the second I got the bathroom to myself.

"Good. Now, if you don't mind." In throwing open the door, his hand brushed my face. The places he brushed tickled pleasantly, and I swear he let his fingers linger for just a second too long before jerking his hand away.

The door shut behind me and I wandered back to finish setting up the cot, more than slightly mystified at what had just passed between us.


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