Monday, 14 March 2011

All Grown Up

Thing I wrote, all narrative like...

She irritates me, thought Jack as Corin delicately bandaged his arm.

Taking in her appearance with mild surprise, he noticed, much to his almost parental displeasure that she’d grown into her body as well as her face. That could be seen more as an eventuality of departing from the teenage awkwardness and entering into womanhood than a miracle. No, she was not exceptionally beautiful, hardly anyone that had not undergone the surgical scrutiny of a photo shop tablet could be characterised as such these days, but perhaps she could steal the glance of a grimy Nightstalker.

“You alright?” she muttered offhand, noticing him flinch as she secured the piece of gauze around his forearm.

The flinch had been an involuntary response to the image of a creature crawled over his former student.

“Go take a nap or something,” he responded gruffly, waving off her fingers that had been curled over his form as if eagerly waiting to readjust, to help.

That most annoying flaw had reared its ugly head. Her willingness to follow him anywhere, if only to quench her undying curiosity, would be the end of her. He readied his tongue for a swift reprimand when her fingers curled tightly into a ball and she abruptly left the room.

“Corin,” he called afterwards, weakly echoing the beginnings of his lecture.

Jack didn’t move to follow her. The stubborn man did not follow, especially those displaying such childish petulance. Still, he was unable to mask his shock. Had the curiosity of the unknown been saturated after being plunged into it headfirst, and destroyed with it the puppy dog loyalty he’d always resented? Or had she matured so much in personality that such curiosity had been weathered away by the storm of rationality, at least as much as one could afford in a world such as theirs?

Either way Jack, though he’d deny it, regretted the affect their time apart had had on her. That brief exchange warned him she was in danger of becoming his twin. Endlessly unsatisfied.

Then the door swung open, bouncing sharply against the wall, and Corin stood in its frame with her shoulders tensed.

“What the hell is your problem?” she ground out, fists balled at her sides. “I save you and the only thing you have to say is go take a nap or something,” she mimicked in a dunce’s baritone.

As a child, she’d been bad-tempered and argumentative but in adulthood, she lacked the same baseless impudence. Instead, her words were accusatory, compressed like the aged glaciers of Kilimanjaro with layer upon layer of resentment. Not for him, but for the entire world.

“Don’t you have anything to say to me?” she implored, the meekness in her words barely noticeable.

Jack hauled himself to his feet and limped awkwardly to where she stood, still breathing heavily from her rant. Even over the years, she hadn’t dropped the ponytail or the uniform white t-shirt and black cargo pants. Now they caught gently on the slopes of her hips and the underside of her breasts.

“What do you want me to say?” asked Jack in all seriousness.

Her eyes were glazed over with tears she refused to cry and he was reminded of the same helplessness he was met with five years ago in the mortuary. A busted up little rag doll, the stuffing persistently leaking from its ripped seems despite its best efforts to replace it.

Corin groaned. “Something that isn’t condescending,” she offered up half mockingly. “Comforting? Do you know how to do comforting?”

A smirk tugged up the corner of his mouth before he could prevent himself from being a little condescending. She’d been his kid for so long that it was hard to see her battling him on a level playing field.

“I’ve never been the comforting kind,” he answered, simply, ruffling her hair briefly.

She wrenched away. “I’m going to go now,” she told him. “Make sure you—Y’know what, pretend I never said anything.”

“They’re probably still looking for you,” said Jack. “And they’ll probably find you.”

“No, I’ll be fine in Ryder’s flat-”

“What?” Jack snapped, voice sharply bouncing off the walls like a whip. “The little cunt that nearly got you killed.”

Corin’s eyes momentarily surged with triumph. She’d extracted the reaction she’d wanted. Concern.

“We settled things,” she said, offering no more explanation as she backed away one leg at a time until she’d made it across his apartment and pressed her back against the front door.

He didn’t attempt to stop her, he was still reeling with the information that she kept up any communication with scum such as Ryder McAllister.

However, before she could disappear for the night, Jack spoke up. “You’ll be here tomorrow?”

Corin nodded her head in the affirmative. “You’d die without me.”

“I’ll remind you,” he drawled, not amused in the least, “Half of your teenage years were spent under my protection.”

“Yes sir, I am aware sir!” Corin said sarcastically, before turning the handle and slipping out.

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