If you haven't read "The Little Prince", get up off your ass right now and do it.
Life in the house after that night was freer. Egan didn’t feel like she had to tip-toe around and avoid Gerard and Gerard didn’t feel the need to remain cordially aloof. The house became more of a home, even if it was inhabited by dysfunctional people. That didn’t mean they couldn’t be happy. They would be dysfunctionally happy, true, but happy nonetheless.
Egan found herself spending most of her time in the third floor library. It held such a fascination for her; the thought of a private library in someone’s home taking up an entire floor of their house was mind-boggling, and she couldn’t stay away. She would wander through the maze, choose a spot at random, sit down and select a book from that particular section. Then she would amuse herself for several hours reading literature on that subject. It was a good system, she thought. One day, she was lounging in the section that contained children’s books. She had happened upon a thin volume entitled “Le Petit Prince”. Underneath the French was the English title “The Little Prince”. She opened the front cover and began to read. Within an hour she had finished the book. She was crying silently as she closed the back cover.
The book was a tale of a man whose plane crashed out in the desert where he encounters a young boy who has fallen from his home planet somewhere far away in the sky where he is Prince. The Prince left behind a little flower which he loved dearly, a beautiful, belligerent, vain, proud flower that had given him her heart, and he had given his in return. He had carried with him tales of all the people he met on his way to earth and a love for sunsets, which he had been able to watch all the time on his planet because it was only a few feet wide. Eventually, when the little Prince had told the man all about his life and wandered with him for several days in the desert, musing on the complications of life and love, he became too homesick and missed the flower which he had given his heart to too much. So the Prince makes a deal with a small golden snake to bite him on the ankle so he can be with his flower again. In the morning, his body is gone. The man still wishes to see him again, the book said, and he requests that if anyone has any notions of the Prince’s whereabouts, they contact the man for he would very dearly like to be with his friend once more.
Egan wiped her face and sniffed once or twice, then heaved herself with a very unladylike sound to her feet. She vacillated between returning the book to it’s place on the shelf or borrowing it from the library. After a moment’s careful consideration she decided she needed to borrow it, as it was too much a good book to be left here for her to forget about. She would re-read it later that evening and return it in time.
Dinner was Chinese take out. Actually, it wasn’t really taken out of anywhere, it was brought in. Getting take out would mean leaving the house, and they still weren’t doing that. No one at the facility or the courts had specifically said she couldn’t leave her sponsor’s house, but that seemed to be an unspoken rule. She meditated quietly on her chances of walking out the door sometime and returning home to a completely calm and content Gerard as she chewed sweet and sour chicken with no sweet and sour sauce. The odds were not good that she wouldn’t find herself in some kind of unwelcome trouble. She had an idea Gerard at least would be whole heartedly opposed.
Since the mutual removal of awkward personal walls, Egan no longer had any qualms about reading to fill the silences that sometimes enshrouded the dinner table. She was once again reading “The Little Prince”. Gerard noticed.
“What’re you reading?” It took Egan a minute to come out of her deep-reading daze. Blinking a couple of times, she turned the book over to look at the title and then shrugged. “The Little Prince” she said slowly. Coming out of a reading daze is harder than it sounds.
“Are you serious? I haven’t read that in years!”
“You’ve read it?” she was still confused. This was exactly why she didn’t like to be disturbed while reading. “But it’s a kid’s book.”
“You’re reading it.” He pointed out. She had no answer to this. Damn it, when was this fog gonna leave? It was killing any and all of her witty retorts she kept on hand for cases just such as these. Finally something came up.
“That’s not the point.”
“Well what is the point?”
“I don’t know. What are we even talking about again?”
“’The Little Prince’ and you were saying—“
“Yeah, yeah, I remember now.” Her Southern accent was coming out particularly strong. Damn fog! She was starting to sound like a hick. “I was just surprised, is all, that you’ve read it. It’s a kid’s book. Then you got defensive.”
“I did not get defensive.”
“Oh, you did so!”
“How did I get defensive? Tell me.” He challenged. She smacked her lips in what she hoped was an imposing sort of way.
“You just did. You got a tooone--”
“I did not get a tone!”
“You most certainly did! You got a tone with me!”
“You’ve lost your fuckin’ mind.” Gerard muttered, surrendering and returning to his Red Bean soup.
“Well darlin’, you’ve just plain lost.” She smiled and went back to her book. Victory goes good with sweet and sour chicken.
Next morning, Egan looked all over the almost-Way room, but she couldn’t find the book. Where had it gotten to? Stumped after several minutes searching, she headed up to the kitchen to find something to eat.
“Of course,” she muttered,” Of. Course. Of course he would drink all the coffee and not make a new pot. God, he is such a boy.” And she couldn’t find the big metal can of Starbucks either. Normally Starbucks didn’t sell their coffee in large cans like Folgers or Maxwell House, but that just went to show what Gerard could do when driven by coffee. She opened all the lower cabinets and rifled through the pantry and refrigerator. No luck. With a sinking feeling, she stretched on her tippy toes to open the cabinet right above the sink. Yep. No way was she getting that on her own. She dragged a heavy metal stool from the island into position, grumbling all the way. She then proceeded to carefully make her way onto the seat of the stool, standing. From there, she gripped the handle of the cabinet and stepped onto the divider between the two sides of the sink; one for washing hands, the other for holding dirty dishes. The divider was two inches at most, so by this time she was into a pretty impressive balancing act. And then disaster struck. She slipped on some water from the faucet and, in a stunning display of involuntary aerial acrobatics, managed to maneuver her feet three feet above her head as she fell the very short distance to earth, now turned partially upside down. All in the name of coffee, she thought as she fell.
“FUCK!” she hollered very loudly as she landed rather hard in someone’s arms. They both fell backwards onto the floor, Egan landing on her back on top. She waited only long enough to breathe in before hollering once more “FUCK!” and then “GERARD!”
“Nope. Frank.” The person she was laying on wheezed.
“Holy shit!” she yelled, rolling off. She’d forgotten the kind soul who had broken her abrupt return to solid ground
“Will the profanity never end?” Gerard said from the doorway.
Author’s Note: Toldja shysmile! Toldja they were coming soon :] And here is the first to arrive, the darling and ever prolific Frank Anthony Iero.