18 March, 2014

Germs and 500WC

The month of germs.

Right after my last post, the Muffin came down with a bacterial sinus infection that spread to his eyes. In a word: gross. Quoting his pediatrician: 'Wow. That's a lot of snot. Gross.'

So, a round of antibiotics finally cleared up that. Then he started teething, one of the fat ones in the back. He's a terrible teether, rash, fever, the whole shebang. Then he developed a staph infection which spread from his face to his whole body.

More antibiotics which were done a week ago and so far nothing else has reared up to complicate things.

I am cautiously optimistic that we may be done with infections for a little while.

Yikes. And poor Muffin. Oh, and a kid bit him at daycare. He hardly cried at all, they said. My brave little man!

But enough gushing about the baby.

This chapter took me a long time to write. Obviously Colton is physically attracted to Renee, but I felt it was more an emotional aftershock of the trauma of the explosion. Now, however, it is time he started getting his feeling sorted out.

Which is why I think I will shift the narrative to Renee. It seems like a good place to alter things. They're leaving the country. You'll see the Colton has started wondering what Renee's real feelings about all this are.

And maybe a change will provide some impetuous.

Here you go!

Word Count: 596

Now that Colton had imagined all the graphic scenarios that were possible, just walking out to the car made his heart race. The palm that steered Renee into the backseat was clammy and shaking. With quick looks up and down the street outside his gate, he slid in next to his wife.

Police cars blocked the lower end of the street, a mass of journalists beyond.

Renee looked amused. “All the mystery is only encouraging them.”

“Best I could come up with.” He clipped, as the car moved toward the gate. The heavy steel moved smoothly inward, achingly slow to Colton’s nerves.

“I should have worn those huge movie star sunglasses.” She continued. “And taken a separate car. Then you should let it leak you’ve fired Alice. The headlines!”

Colton turned to snap at her flippancy. The sharp words died in his mouth. Her smile was bright, but forced. Her brown eyes also darted across the road, her hands gripped together in her lap.

He placed his hand over them, trying to comfort her. Her smile faltered a bit, but she only gave a little laugh and subsided.

Moreno strode up to the lead police car. His grimace was obvious and Colton promised himself he would donate generously to the Policeman’s Fund this year. A legacy, if they could just get to the airport unmolested.

A wave, a fresh blast of sirens and they were off.

As they pulled into the street, Colton saw his overwrought imagination had failed him. There were no flashes of light from the media beyond the barricade. A sea of mobiles held aloft reflected in the rearview. It removed some of the drama and romance from the situation.

Colton had to control his breathing as they followed Moreno along the street so he wouldn’t hyper ventilate. An unexpected laugh bubbled up before he could stop it. He pointed out the tinted window, directing Renee’s gaze to the fashionable house they were passing. An old woman peered out from behind designer shades, a smart phone pressed to her ear as her lips moved rapidly.

“That house listed last year at two million Euros. Three million dollars.” He said, still grinning. Renee understood.

“I’d bet she’s going to tell her back fence neighbor all the details once we’re gone.” She agreed. “People are people, no matter the money, I suppose.”

“You’ve certainly upset the neighborhood. The old guard must be horrified.”

Renee’s smile was fake again. “’American trash,’ is what I’m called today. Another tabloid speculates I’m either some con-artist or a Russian operative. How they came up with both those theories from the same evidence…”

Colton had to bite back another bark of command. Perhaps his hypersensitivity to the possible dangers extended to his wife as well. She was trying to make light of it for his sake, showing a brave fa├žade to cover her own hurt and fear.

Colton had thought of her actions that day ceaselessly since he woke aching the following morning. He empathized with what she had felt, why she had acted. But after? What was she feeling now? Her perpetual cheeriness tended to grate on him. Was that all an act as well, covering up how terrified she was? How terrified she was of him?

“We’re at the main road, sir.”

“Good. Get us out of here.” Colton ordered. Renee stiffened as he slid an arm behind her shoulders. He pressed a kiss to her head, smelling his shampoo in her hair once more.

“Don’t worry, Renee.” He said quietly. “I promise I will keep you safe.”