"Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet." Cyrus Farivar

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sisterly Care

            He took his time on each step, holding his breath with each footfall. Shuffling along at a pace slower than his grandmum, the double-doors of the residence opened, letting the youngest Royal continue through. Unaware how much the family heard—whether the media had gotten wind and spread word on the news—or if they were all blissfully out of the loop, he headed for his room. In his wake, he left muddy bootprints across the shiny marble. Still adorned with his dirty military fatigues, he paused at the bottom of the stairs and stared up. Unsure if he could convince himself he needed to walk up them to lay down, he leaned against the railing, debating his options.
            “Forget how to go up the stairs, Billy?” Lou wandered into the grand entryway, having noticed he was lingering by the stairs. Straightening slowly as he was torn from his thoughts he smiled to his soon-to-be sister-in-law.
            “Afternoon, Lou. I hope you’re doing well,” James said, keeping one hand on the railing to keep himself somewhat upright.
            “Home early for the dance tonight?” Lou said, figuring that was why he seemed to have come right from training. She glanced at his muddy prints and then back to the young Prince.
            “Yeah, something like that,” he said, barely managing a shrug with a crooked smile. The pain killers had effectively worn off, along with his adrenaline.
            “I’m sure scraping all that mud off isn’t going to be easy for you. Don’t be too long trying to get clean. Adi doesn’t like it when you’re late,” Lou said, smacking his back and poking him playfully. In an instant he was nearly doubled over and pale. Kneeling next to him, she placed a gentle hand on his back. “James, are you alright?”
            “I wish I could say yes,” he said, taking slow, shallow breaths in an attempt to curb his pain-induced nausea. Feeling Lou’s eyes on him, he gave her a half-hearted smile, knowing her mind was full of questions as to his current predicament. “It seems word has yet to reach the palace then….” James said.
            “Word of what?” Lou was not amused at how he side-stepped an answer. Concern in her eyes as she watched her almost-little-brother, she helped him stand up properly.
            “Training didn’t go as expected today. I fell while rappelling down one of our training towers,” he said, placing a hand gingerly on his side; even the slightest bit of pressure hurt. “My ribs broke my fall.”
            “Come on, let’s get you lying down,” she said, putting his arm about her shoulders and helping him upstairs.
            “Lou, really. It’s fine. You don’t need to get mud on your clothes for my sake,” James said in protest, though he knew she was going to help him, no matter the fight he put up. They took the steps slowly, and strolled towards his room. Being eased onto his bed, he watched Lou remove his boots. Without caring, she walked into his closet and dug out a pair of sweats—probably the only piece of untailored clothing he owned—and handed them to him. She disappeared in search of some pain killers and an ice pack. Upon her return, she smiled seeing he was asleep across his bed. Setting the procured items on the bedside table, she put a spare blanket over him and kissed his forehead.
            “Rest well, Billy,” she said, leaving his room to return to Al.

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