Friday, July 6, 2007

Thirty

To Diana's surprise, Amalia put a stop to things before they could even begin.

"No. He's not so well that he can have all you girls down there crowding the sick room, making noise and fussing over him."

"He'll like it," Diana said. They were in their room getting ready for bed. "Macy says all men like it when women pay attention."

"Having you visit was enough of a distraction. He needs to focus on getting well."

"Maybe this will inspire him to hurry up about it." Diana began braiding her hair so it wouldn't tangle.

"He's doing the best he can."

"What's it going to hurt if we take him a few presents?"

"You'll just give him ideas. In fact, I think you've given him enough already. I'm tempted to tell you not to visit any more."

"You've kept me away for more than two weeks, but you can't do it forever. I'm not a child you can order around."

"Robert is my patient, and I can say who sees him and who doesn't."

"You would keep me from seeing him?"

"If you're going to keep teasing him, you don't give me much of a choice."

"How do I tease him?"

Amalia shook her head. "I really struggle to figure you out sometimes."

"If there's anything you don't understand, maybe you should ask instead of making these vague accusations."

Amalia raised her eyebrows at Diana's impertinent tone. "Okay. Are you leading Robert on for a reason, or are you really that ignorant of how he feels about you?"

Diana stared in surprise. "We're friends. He's never made so much as a leading remark."

"If that's the only thing that will convince you, you'll be waiting a long time. Just because a man treats you with respect doesn't mean he's not interested."

Diana dismissed the notion. "All I wanted was to have a party for my friend who saved your life and nearly died, and here you go trying to make something of it." She flung herself onto her blanket and buried her face in the pillow.

Amalia looked at her, nonplussed. Unbidden, she remembered Miguel's words about the need young people had to hurt themselves. What he had failed to mention was how they needed to hurt each other, too. But Diana was nearly eighteen. To keep trying to protect her was insane, impossible, and would ultimately do neither one of them any good.

Amalia sat down. "I'll quit interfering. Just don’t let him misunderstand you. If you like him, fine. But if you don't. . . well, it's easy to think you're just being nice to a man and then later you find he's been reading a lot more into it than you intended."

"He wouldn't do that," came the muffled voice from the pillow.

"Quit lying to yourself."

Diana was silent so long that Amalia wondered if she had fallen asleep, but finally she lifted her head. "So can we have the party for him?"

"No."

"Why not? You said you wouldn't interfere. We're already working on his presents."

"I was serious when I said it's too much excitement for him. You girls will tire him out." She went to her pallet. "Besides, Señora Varamendi is old and doesn't need you young people raising a ruckus in her house."

"We're not going to raise a ruckus. We won't make any messes we won't clean up, and. . ." Seeing the determined look on Amalia's face, Diana stopped. "Okay. No party." She threw herself back onto her pillow.

"I'm sorry. You can still go see him, and you girls can go in pairs for short visits. As for the party, why don't you wait until he's well and comes up here to join us? You can do it then."

"Okay," Diana said, refusing to look at her. She grabbed a blanket and pulled it up to her chin. "Please turn off the light. I'm going to sleep now."


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3 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

So I take it Diana is lying about accepting the no party thing.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Of course she has no intention of obeying. All she needs is accomplices.

Alice Audrey said...

LOL