Sunday, June 2, 2013
Mom continues to improve. When I walked in this morning, she gave me a tiny half-smile and whispered, “Hi Shalia.” I proceeded to jump up and down like a human pogo stick, laughing and crying all at once before I kissed her entire face. She knows me. Mom knows who I am.
Drs. Dad and Ginna were quite pleased with this development. Then they reminded me not to tire her out. She’s still got a long way to go to recover, but damn it, we’ve got real hope now. I can’t even begin to say how over the top happy I am.
Weln scored a day off, and sweetheart that he is, he spent a good part of it sitting with me and Mom. Mom still sleeps more than she’s awake, so Weln was mostly stuck with me. I was finally able to put in a good word for Dusa and Esak.
“You don’t have to tell me how great they are,” he grinned. His face went red. “I’ve stopped seeing all my other clanning prospects, in fact.”
“Well, that will certainly make Dusa and Esak happy,” I said.
Weln’s eyes went wide. “Really? Do you think they’ll seriously consider me?”
I snorted. “Who do you think asked me to talk to you about them? They think you’re the perfect Imdiko for their clan.”
If Weln had smiled any bigger, everything above his upper jaw would have fallen off. Okay, he’s too big and masculine to be anything like a little girl with a crush, but he came as close to it as a six-and-a-half-foot-tall alien can. I was both amused and touched that he was so thrilled over my news. His whole body wagged like an overeager puppy. I had to laugh.
“I know, I’m acting stupid,” he said, ducking his head as he turned redder than ever. “Clanning is a big deal, though. As an Imdiko, I need people to take care of and watch out for. It is not easy to be alone when you have so much of that need to give.”
“Weln, you give of yourself all the time to plenty of people,” I pointed out. “Look at where you are on your day off. You could be outside, taking a walk, enjoying yourself, hanging out with your friends. Instead you’re sitting here with me and Mom, watching over us. Don’t you ever relax?”
He shrugged. “I need to be needed. Taking care of others makes me feel good. Without it I feel empty.”
I wonder if there has ever been as sweet a man as Weln. He really meant what he said.
“Thanks for making me feel like a selfish, self-absorbed person,” I teased, smiling to make sure he knew I was joking. “I can barely stand most people. I usually can’t get away from them fast enough, though there are a few exceptions.”
Weln patted my shoulder. He said, “You’ve had a terrible time of it, Shalia. Too many have hurt you, so it’s no surprise you can be distant at times. If I’d had your experiences, I probably would feel the same.”
I couldn’t imagine it. Weln seems made to be everyone’s darling. I said as much.
“I had very caring parents. They provided an atmosphere that supported everything I wanted to do with my life.” He seemed a little sad as he looked at me. “I actually envy you, believe it or not. Your struggles have made you strong. I constantly worry that if I was faced with something really bad I wouldn’t be able to handle it. That’s why I signed on as an orderly for the fleet’s medical corps, so maybe I’d finally have challenges that would force me to be tougher.”
“You got more than you bargained for, didn’t you?” I asked.
Weln shrugged. “Not really. Not yet. The men in charge of this place keep us in Medical and invalid care almost as well protected as you Earthers. But seeing some of the trauma your kind has suffered has taken me out of my comfort zone. I think I am becoming mentally stronger as a result, but more gradually than I thought would happen.”
“Don’t rush it,” I advised him. “I hate the thought of you not being the gentle soul you are. I think you’re perfect.”
Weln looked surprised. And touched. “Thank you, Shalia. That’s very kind of you to say. It’s no wonder Dusa and Esak are in love with you.”
That was like a splash of freezing water over me. “They’re not.”
The Imdiko snorted. “Like hell they’re not. They’d give anything for the rank and status to make you their Matara. From what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be adverse to it either. You’re an amazing woman.”
My lips were nearly numb. I mumbled, “They told me they would clan me if they were able, and that they care for me. They never said anything about love.”
Weln gave me a rueful smile. “Then maybe I spoke out of turn. They do love you, Shalia, with every ounce of their beings. Right now, their greatest concern is that you get to Kalquor to find a clan worthy of you. It’s making Dusa crazy that you might end up with less than what you deserve.”
I had no idea what to say to that. I mean, I know a few days ago I was wishing I didn’t have to leave my sweethearts, that I might even seriously consider being their Matara if it was possible. Now I’m back to thinking I’m not quite ready to join any clan. I don’t know that I ever will. Don’t get me wrong; I adore Dusa and Esak. I might even be in love with them. But they still lack maturity, something that I really need them to have. Sometimes I feel more like a den mother than their girlfriend. That’s not the way I want to feel for men I’m romantically involved with. I want us to be equals.
Plus the fact that clanning is forever kind of freaks me out. Kalquorians don’t do divorce or de-clanning, as they call it, except in the most extreme situations where a clan member is a threat to another member’s life. Or in the case of royalty, when someone important objects to a match. I’m not royalty, and Dusa and Esak would never hurt me. If I take that step, if I join a clan, there’s no turning back. Quite frankly I’m afraid to not have an out.
Yeah, I’ve got some things to work on before and if I ever decide to tie the knot with Kalquorians. Right now, I’m going to concentrate on enjoying the short time I have left with my sweeties and getting Mom to Kalquor so she can be cured. There’s really nothing else to think or worry about.