Chapter VIII – Timothy Teller
Timothy didn’t sit down with everyone else at first. He absently rubbed his stomach where Ginger had elbowed him in her attempt to keep attacking Mary Dill.
He watched Anna sitting alone, still keeping her arm held close to her side. She shifted in her seat and a spasm of pain contorted her face.
She’s hurt more than she let on. She must have landed harder than I thought. I hope it’s nothing serious.
He vaguely heard Ginger and answered in the negative. Then, he wondered what he answered in the negative about. Still he watched Anna.
If she’s hurt badly, she needs to tell someone. I don’t know what we’ll do about it, but she shouldn’t just hide it.
He watched her another moment, then decided to take the seat across from her. Anna masked the pain on her face with a somewhat grim smile.
“Are you doing all right?”
Anna started, her large eyes growing wider. “As well as anyone here, I imagine.”
Not sure how to respond, Timothy grew quiet.
Eventually, Anna nodded toward the pregnant woman across the room. “She looks close to her due date. I’d be concerned in her shoes.”
“I imagine that she might be.” Timothy looked back for a moment at the tall woman, seated in a café chair, who gently rubbed her rounded stomach.
Anna tried to shrug, but the act made her wince.
“Do you know her?” He pointed over his shoulder to indicate the expectant woman again.
“Know her? No. I know that her name is Renee, because I’ve heard the waitress call her, but that’s all.” Anna looked at him and cocked her head. “I just realized that we haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Anna Carpentier. You are?”
“Timothy. Timothy Teller.” He glanced around the room in search of the gray-haired woman. He spotted her, still in the same seat she had taken before, her arms crossed. He couldn’t see her face. “You’re here with… Kimberly?”
“Kimberly Liath. I suppose I’m sort of with her, in a manner of speaking.”
Timothy raised an eyebrow at this explanation, but she didn’t volunteer more. He watched her move in her seat and wince again.
Ginger bustled over, placing a coffee in front of Anna rather abruptly. It splashed onto the table, reminding Timothy of his computer for the first time since the explosion.
Anna smiled a tiny bit and thanked her.
“Are you sure that you don’t want anything, Timothy?” Ginger cocked her head and smiled.
Timothy didn’t like the way she spoke to him anymore than he liked the way she smiled at him. He didn’t smile in return, but kept his voice pleasant. “No, thank you. I don’t want anything.”
Ginger pouted and Timothy sighed in relief when she walked away.
“Do you know her well?” Anna asked.
“No!” Timothy hadn’t meant to answer so forcefully. He scratched his head. “I don’t know her at all. My acquaintance with her goes no farther than that of customer to waitress.”
Timothy thought he detected a smile in Anna’s eyes. “I see. I think she would like it to be rather more than that.”
“And I would like it to be rather less. Except, I like this place too much to stay away because of a waitress, who I can mostly avoid.”
“Except when you’re locked in the café with her after an explosion?” Anna smiled a bit.
Timothy shook his head. “Thankfully, we’re not the only two in here and I can still avoid her the best I can.”
“If she lets you.” The young woman’s smile faded into another wince of pain.
Timothy sighed. “Hey, I can tell that you’re hurt. Anyone with eyes can see that you’re hurt.”
Anna looked away.
“It’s no use to try to convince anyone that you’re fine, when you’re obviously not and in a lot of pain. If you don’t tell anyone what’s wrong, no one can help you. Is there anything that I can do?”
“I don’t need help.” She still didn’t look back at him.
Timothy leaned against the table in front of him. “Are you saying that because you really don’t need help or because you’re trying to get me to be quiet?”
Anna slowly raised her eyes. Her voice had gone cold and her bright green eyes, already dull from pain, had lost the rest of their sparkle. “If you insist, I will be fine. I’m not newly injured. It’s an old one causing me pain.”
“Do you mind if I ask what the original injury is?” Timothy wished he could help her, whether she’d talk to him or not.
This time, Anna’s face hardened, as well as her voice. “I do mind and do not wish to discuss it. It is my business and I will survive.”
“And you’re sure that there’s nothing that I can do to help?” He may have been walking on thin ice by asking, but he did it anyway.
The growing steel in Anna’s face softened. “No. Thank you for your concern. No one can help me. I need to be on my own.”
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