Authors: Misty Reigenborn
She stood back for a moment, watching him.
He came over and took her hand, shrugging nonchalantly. "My cousin was diagnosed eight years ago next month. I've been volunteering here for a while now."
She squeezed his hand, turning to the man that had appeared in front of them, dressed in khakis, a canvas shirt and hiking boots.
He reached out and took Luke's hand. "Good to have you back, Luke. The kids love to have you."
He introduced Sierra to the man; Marvin Samson, who had two children with juvenile diabetes himself, now into their teens. He’d been a strong advocate for the founding of the camp which catered to juvenile diabetics and their siblings.
They spent a busy day, helping out with arts and crafts, helping watch over the kids as they swam in the indoor pool.
Sierra marveled at how the children all sat so patiently before lunch time, having to have their blood sugar tested before they could eat.
She turned her head into Luke's shoulder when it came time for the after meal shots to be administered, not being able to watch as the children, some who seemed to be as young as five had to have their carb covering injections.
"It's okay babe. They're used to it. For most of them it's routine by now."
She chanced a glance up and saw that he was right. After needles had been disposed of in the sharps containers, the children were indeed ready to go again. Ready to run and play as all children should she thought.
During the afternoon they attended an informational but fun class, explaining to the children and their siblings who were new attendants of the camp; that while diabetes must be taken seriously, it was also very important for a child with juvenile diabetes to be treated first as a child and a diabetic second. Then there was a loosely organized game of kick ball with time for free play afterwards and a showing of a cartoon that was newly released to DVD.
They sat with Luke's cousin during the movie. Trinity was a beautiful, willowy eleven year old with long dark hair and beautiful blue eyes, that her wire rimmed glasses were unable to hide the startling color of.
Luke kissed the top of Trinity's head when it was time to leave, having said a drawn out goodbye to the rest of the children, some whose parents had already arrived to pick them up.
Sarah rolled her pretty eyes at him. "Don't kiss me like I'm a baby, Luke."
"I never said you were a baby. Sierra likes it when I kiss the top of her head and she's hardly a baby."
"Yeah." Trinity once again rolled her eyes at him. "But she's your girlfriend so that hardly counts."
Sierra laughed. Trinity's mom arrived then and Sierra was introduced to Luke's aunt Teresa, the tall, elegantly beautiful sister of his mother. She could see where Trinity got her looks from.
After Luke promised Mr. Samson that he would return the next month to help out with a daytime field trip and the only overnight that the kids spent at the camp, they walked hand in hand to the car.
She stopped him for a quick kiss as he unlocked the door for her. She winced as she slid onto the hot seat of the car.
He got into the car, cranking his window down.
"Trinity was really diagnosed when she was only three?" she said as he started the car, turning on the radio.
"Yeah.” He paused to light a cigarette as he turned onto the road that would lead them back to the highway. "It was quite an adjustment at first. But kids are so versatile. Hell, I don't think I could have dealt with at as well at the age of fourteen that I was when they found out, let alone at the age of three that she was."
"You are such a softie.” She put a hand on his leg.
"Move that hand a couple inches to the left and you'll see what a softie I am."
She squeezed his leg, then moved her hand back to her lap. "It was a nice day. The kids sure love you."
"Good old Uncle Luke." Something in his voice stopped her, keeping her silent for the rest of the trip back to the bed and breakfast.
They ordered in, enjoying a dinner of spicy Mexican food. They didn't talk much during dinner. Luke turned the TV on after, flipping aimlessly through the channels before settling on a horror movie that Sierra had seen previously and hadn't liked the first time.
They went to bed early that night without making love. Though Luke took her into his arms that night; she could feel the space between them and slept fitfully.
When Sierra awoke early the next morning Luke wasn't in the room.
She went into the bathroom and not finding him there, she returned to the bedroom after having used the toilet and brushing her teeth.
She lit a cigarette from the pack he'd left on the table and switched the TV on though she wasn't really in the mood to watch.
He returned several minutes later carrying a plastic bag and a styrofoam cup of coffee. He tossed the bag onto the bed, not looking at her. "I got you a damn diet soda, though I still don't understand why your skinny ass needs to drink that crap. There are muffins in the bag."
He took the remote from where she'd left it on the table and started flipping through the channels.
She put a hand on his chest. "Is something wrong Luke?"
He brushed a hand over her hair. "No baby."
But she could tell he was lying, so she reached to unbutton his jeans, distracting him in the way that she knew only sex could.
They took a shower together afterwards and the usual easy, carefree air between them was somewhat restored.
They took the bags out to the car. Luke went inside to check out.
She put her sunglasses on, and slept most of the way back home, waking when he reduced speed to pull into town.
She expected him to take her back to his house and was a little disappointed when he stopped in her driveway.
He grabbed her bag out of the backseat and came around to open her door and help her out of the car.
He gave her a quick kiss. "We'll do something this weekend. That'll give you some time to look for a job."
She stood in the yard and watched him drive away, and then finally went to the house with a sigh. Her mother and Timothy seemed to be out, something of which she was grateful for, not being in the mood to deal with their questions and probable teasing or chastising about sex.
She went upstairs to her room, after having grabbed the classified section of the paper, determined to take her mind off of Luke for the time being by trying to find a job.
She found a few possibilities, though she decided to wait until the next day before putting in any applications. She was in a lousy mood and didn't want to face anybody.
Her mom and Timothy arrived in the middle of the afternoon. She ignored her mother's voice calling up the stairs, asking if she home, by pretending to be asleep.
She logged onto the internet for a while, catching up with some online friends. She sighed when dinner time drew near, knowing that she would have to face her parents eventually.
She went down stairs a few minutes before six and found them in the kitchen, the TV turned to the local news. She picked at her salad, giving them one word answers to their questions about her trip whenever she could. Sierra was glad when they didn't try to stop her when she went back to her room after finishing only half her dinner.
She went to bed early, falling asleep clinging to the teddy bear that Luke had won her.
During her job search the next day, she was surprised and rather pleased when she got the first job she applied for, a thirty hour a week job in a clothing store at the mall.
She started Wednesday and would be off on Sundays and Tuesdays. She wanted to call Luke and tell him her good news, but he's said he'd call her that weekend.
Mid afternoon she was bored with trying to read a book that she'd bought months ago. She reached for her cell phone, thinking that it would probably be safe enough to send Luke a text message.
The worst he could do was ignore her she thought.
Her phone chimed a few minutes later. She grabbed it, breathing a sigh of relief as she read ‘Congrats. Take you out to dinner to celebrate. Sleepover Saturday?’
They chatted back and forth by text for a while after that. Though Sierra would have liked it if he'd picked up the phone and called her, she felt much better about the state of their relationship.
She found that she liked her job, didn't mind the sometimes fussy, sometimes downright obnoxious, children that were dragged in by their mothers to shop for summer clothes. She thought that she'd adjust well to teaching children and felt more confident in her choice of career.
Things quickly went back to the easy, comfortable, though always sexually charged way they had always been between Sierra and Luke.
She spent virtually all her time off with him. Some weeks she spent more nights at his house than she did at home.
Her mom and Timothy didn't seem to totally approve of her nocturnal activities. But they gave her freedom as she was paying for her own gas and insurance and besides that was managing to put money she made away for school.
She spent a very tense Thanksgiving with Luke and his parents as her mom and Timothy were out of town again, on a cruise this time, holidays not having been a big occasion at their house for years.
Her young age seemed to bother Luke's parents who were both very uptight. Oddly enough Sierra thought his dad had an almost prissy air about him that would have been laughable if Sierra hadn't felt herself being so closely appraised by Mr. and Mrs. Stone. She almost felt as if they were expecting Luke to announce any moment that Sierra was pregnant and that they were eloping.
She breathed a sigh of relief when they pulled away from his parents’ house. Luke laughingly promised her that he wouldn't subject her to spending Christmas with them.
After having an early Christmas Eve dinner with her parents, she drove to Luke's house, excited to give him his present. It was a fancy leather bound binder that she had had monogrammed with his initials for him to put his songs in.
She wondered what he had gotten her. The image of an engagement ring again loomed uneasily in her mind.
He was thrilled with her gift and showed her some of what he'd been working on.
She was a little uneasy, as some of his music seemed a little dark, lonely almost, but put it off.
He gave her a beautiful gold locket which held a picture of them together that had been taken at her graduation party. On the other side there a picture of her with her mom and her father which she'd forgotten existed. When she thanked him, a sentimental tear dropped down her face.
They made love in the living room, underneath the steadily blinking lights of his fiber optic Christmas tree.
New Years was spent at a rowdy New Year's Eve party at Luke's house, reminiscent of their first party together though thankfully she held her liquor this time.
As the days passed, it nagged at Sierra what steps their relationship would take when she went away to school, though nothing was spoken of it.
Time passed and still nothing was mentioned as to the state of their relationship. When summer drew to a close, she'd enrolled in school, been given her room designation and the name of her roommate.
Lately, Sierra had found herself fighting with Luke for little or no reason. When they were seemingly at peace, she still felt as though you could cut the tension between them with a knife.
They'd just finished having sex three nights before she was set to leave for school, and she was rummaging in her purse for a cigarette when Luke grabbed her hand.
He took his hand away, not saying anything. She went back to digging in her purse, finally finding her cigarettes, a habit her mom was very unhappy about her taking up.
He closed his hand over hers as she lit the cigarette with a shaking hand. She pulled away again, blowing out smoke and giving him a dirty look, giving him another irritated "What?"
"Sierra, love, we've got to talk."
She rolled her eyes at him, blowing a smoke ring at the ceiling. "That's all we ever do Luke, is talk. Talk and fuck."
"Damn it Sierra, I'm serious."
She let out a harsh laugh. "And so am I."
"Is that all I am to you? A good fuck?"
"Better a good fuck than a bad fuck.” She shrugged her shoulders at him. He glared at her, reaching for a cigarette of his own, brushing against her hand as she put hers out in the ashtray.
"What the hell do you want from me Luke? A white picket fence, two point five kids? I'm nineteen years old for God’s sake." As soon as the words were out of her mouth she regretted them, but there was no taking them back.
He nodded silently to himself. "Maybe you should go."
She snatched her clothes from the floor, hurriedly stepping into her shorts, pulling her t shirt over her head, shoving her bra and panties into her purse.
She didn't look at him as she slipped her feet into her sandals, leaving the room and quickly making her way through the dark living room towards the front door.
She unlocked her car door with a hand that wouldn't stop shaking. She sat for a minute, putting the key in the ignition but not starting the car yet, turning the key enough that she could roll the window down.
She rolled it all the way down, breathing the cool night air in for a minute, reaching for her purse.
Though she didn't usually smoke in her car, she dug out a cigarette and lit it, taking a deep drag.
She glanced toward the house and thought she could see a faint glow beside the window. To her it meant that Luke was standing at the front window, smoking and watching her sit there like an idiot.
"Shit," she said, then "Fuck, fuck." She pounded her hand that wasn't holding the cigarette on the steering wheel, jumping when she accidentally hit her horn.
She waited for a moment, almost wishing he would come out so she could tell him that she was sorry she was such a fucking idiot, but he didn't. Soon the glow from the cigarette faded. Though she wasn't sure it signaled the fact that he had moved away from the window or just that he had finished the cigarette, she took a deep breath, and rolled her window up. She started the car, turning the music on so loud that it almost immediately sent her head to pounding, and pulled out of his driveway.
She drove aimlessly around town for a while before she returned home, occasional tears slipping unchecked down her face.
She was glad that her parents were already in bed. She went to her room, taking a long hot shower.
She tossed and turned for a while and then cried herself into a fitful sleep. Her tears were absorbed by the tacky stuffed bear that she clutched to her chest like it could bring Luke back to her.