Author’s Note: While on the one hand, he’s getting better at these things, he still manages to miss the point. A lot.
“Are you mad at me?”
Luna looked up with a frown. “I thought you went off in search of a lesson or something.”
“I didn’t go far. I didn’t want to go without you, and I was worried about you. I suppose I should have been. You didn’t come out of the store yesterday. Not once.”
She lowered her head, letting it rest on her knees. Her hair was not tipped in black, but it was close, a dark blue that could have been mistaken for black in a different light. He did not like it. He had hurt her too much—she might even have gone back to the medication and doubting that he was real, and all because he couldn’t stop talking about losing her.
He could have lost her by talking about losing her. He felt rather stupid, hating himself for letting that fear dominate their conversation and ruin what they’d had. “Luna?”
“I had a bad night, that’s all. I don’t want to talk about it.”
He knelt down, trying to see her face. “It is my fault, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not. Not all of it. I just… I haven’t managed to stand up to my father about anything, and I don’t like that any more than I like how you won’t listen to me. He kept saying that I shouldn’t talk to you or let you in the store, that I had to give you back your robot—Alvin—and should move on with my life. I’m not really sure what he thinks moving on would be—this store is my job and my inheritance, and I haven’t done much painting since Mom died… And it’s not like there’s a family or anything in the cards for me, but I know he’s got it in his head that there should be grandchildren.”
“This is… out of a need for something to care for?”
She shrugged. “I don’t want to think about my father’s reasons for anything.”
“What do you think of the wizard’s reasons? Do you think he is like the one in the movie, the original book, or that retelling and musical?”
She laughed. “You went looking for a lesson in The Wizard of Oz?”
“I suppose you missed the point of the Tin Man.”
“I think they were too easily pacified by his lies at the end, yes.”
She sighed. “I think you’re being obtuse, but that is how all men are, aren’t they? They complain about the complexity of women, but I don’t know that we’d be so hard to figure out if they ever took the time to listen.”
He frowned. “I thought I listened, but you… You do not agree, do you?”
“You definitely weren’t last time we talked.”
He sat down beside her. “If I listen now, will you agree to continue as my guide and share everything we can? I was thinking of… traveling. I have been in one place for a while, and I think that might be a part of the reason the fear was so bad, the boredom. I was creating problems because, as you claimed, I was restless.”
“So you want to travel?”
“If you will come with me.”
She folded her arms over her chest. “How? Where would we go, and how are we supposed to get there? You said you don’t have a spaceship, so…?”
“I was hoping… a car. I’m not talking about another planet, though I do wish I could show you that. I want to show you a lot more of the universe, but your planet is large and diverse, and there is much we could see. I think a car would be best. I have used them in the past without hurting anyone, and we could take plenty of breaks to ensure that I do not ruin the vehicle, so… every tourist stop and park and overlook… anything we can find. Does that… Does it have any appeal for you?”
“Oh, Tynan, you should know I’d go anywhere with you.”
He smiled. “Then… you forgive me?”
He frowned. “Maybe?”
She smiled, and he was reminded that he would never understand her no matter how much time they spent together.
I understand her feeling understanding ought to be easy if you’d listen; I certainly understand him feeling it never will be. Ah! Women and men can understand each other to a point, but it is far more important to love with or without it.