Author’s Note: Really, it was funny when I started. I think someone sabotaged it on purpose.
This lead to me writing “Not Broken.”
Also, these are the socks.
“Is it? I guess it must be. That’s the dawn,” Carson said, grimacing. His neck hurt, a penalty of falling asleep on the couch. They’d played cards until they were both sick of the other “cheating,” and then it seemed like a good idea to sit somewhere more comfortable. Falling asleep hadn’t been part of the plan, but it happened anyway. He didn’t know if she fell asleep before him or not. At least he hadn’t fallen into another nightmare. He did not want to dream about his father, no matter how much he wanted answers.
He stretched, trying to loosen up all of the kinks, get his body back into some sort of shape before the aches got worse.
“Your socks are… how should I put this? Loud might work, or maybe it is more of a bright but those aren’t bright so much as…”
“Awesome?” Carson asked, wiggling his toes and then making the sharks attack the coffee table. “Admit it. These are the coolest socks you’ve ever seen.”
“You are a strange, strange man.”
“I have a thing for socks. Maybe it’s a quiet rebellion sort of thing, but they’re one of few things that can be individualized when one works in a boring, evil office type job. You have to go for the cool socks and ties to stay sane. Of course, they relaxed the tie policy, and that just made the socks get crazier. I used to stick to patterns, tame things, but now… Now I have sharks.”
Mackenna shook her head. “Those are ridiculous.”
“What would you know about it? I bet all your socks are white, aren’t they? Some generic multi-pack type deal where they all look the same and have no personality at all. How can you do that to your feet?”
“My feet are just fine in my socks,” she said, reaching over to muss up his hair. He glared at her, and she laughed. “Man, sometimes I wish I had a brother. You’re way too much fun to tease.”
“I suppose we could ask Mac if he’ll adopt me. Not sure he’d want to. I’ve got so many issues after all. A real problem child.”
“I don’t know that your issues would hold him back. He’s not the most talkative man on the planet, but he can deal with people who have issues. He just kind of… stares or shrugs them into submission. It’s kind of weird. Still, since I can’t talk him into getting a dog, I don’t think we can keep you.”
Carson frowned. “Excuse me?”
She smiled. “I’m not calling you a dog or implying you’d be a pet. I’ve considered in the past whether I’d like a slave or not. Do my bidding, minion… No, that’s not me. I’m not a cruel person, not most of the time, and slavery is just another word for abuse.”
He knew she was trying to be lighthearted, but he couldn’t do it. Not even the sharks could keep him from going where he shouldn’t go. “You didn’t get your warped ideas from your books or watching too much tv, did you? You’re with Mac now because something bad happened to you in the past.”
Mackenna rolled her eyes. “Everyone has a past, and everyone has something bad in it. Some people’s ‘bad’ is worse than others, but no one is immune.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t change what happened, does it?” He didn’t want to do this, so why was he pushing? She pushed him, sure, but he needed to remember. She didn’t. She knew what happened to her and lived with it every day. He could avoid it because he didn’t have all the pieces, could pretend things were better than whatever secret his mind had locked away years ago. “It’s—No, I’m sorry. I don’t have the right to ask or push, and I don’t—”
“Things were bad after my uncle died. My aunt was a mess, and since she had custody of me… It was rough for a while. That’s more than enough said on that subject, okay? Well, I should say my parents were killed in a car crash when I was too young to remember them, but that’s why I was with my aunt and uncle, at least until his PTSD got too much for him, and then it was just her. She wasn’t Mac’s daughter, so I didn’t even know my grandparents were still alive until later, but once I did, I came here and stayed, obviously.”
Carson nodded. “Okay. I’m… I’m glad you told me that much. I promise not to push for more. I don’t need to know.”
She forced a smile. “Yeah. Sure. Um… I should warn you that this is not a house where you can say you don’t eat breakfast. You’re not allowed coffee unless you put something in your stomach first. So… Come find something you want to eat. Mac should be up soon.”
“Stop saying that.”