Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Lighthouse; Chapter 2: A Helping Hand

Claire waddled across the road to the beach with a book and sat down in front of Buster, "Hi Mr. Clavell" she sighed, he looked up and chuckled, "How many times do I have to tell you, its Buster" and went back to playing chess. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes and Claire relaxed into her chair and began to read."So, you told him yet ...", Claire answered him by burying her head deeper into her book. Her rapidly reddening cheeks were all the answer he needed. "You know you've got to tell him at some point sweetheart, and you don't have long left, how many days is it now? four?", "Three" she mumbled, still not taking her eyes off the book, she wasn't reading now, her eyes were too cloudy. "Oh sweetheart" Buster reached across the table and squeezed her hand, "Don't cry, whats done is done. All you can do now is concentrate on you and the little mite in your belly". She sniffed and wiped her eyes, "I know, its just, oh I don't know, I thought it would be different, you know? I'm happy I'm having a baby, I really am, I'm just so scared, what if I mess up? I'm all its going to have, I mean, he won't want to know, I can just feel it, and why would he, he probably doesn't even remember who I am" She went back to staring absentmindedly at her book.

No one spoke for another few minutes. Buster moved a chess piece and inwardly sighed. He hated to see Claire all torn up like this. He and his wife Bessie had taken her under their wing when she'd moved there from Appaloosa Plains, just over a year ago. He reminded her so much of Bessie when she was that age, young, green eyed and still untouched by the all the sadness in the world. And he had to admit,  when he was younger he had been just like Jared Frio, a wild one, a rebel, forever on the wrong side of the law but all that had changed when Bessie fell pregnant. He'd straightened up and stayed that way ever since. Every man was different he knew that, but he also knew Claire was right when she said Jared wouldn't want to know. He had a good idea to give him a piece of his mind, and his fist for free but Bessie had talked him out of it. She was probably right when she'd laughed and said it would be him nursing a broken nose, she usually was.

Eventually, Buster spoke, "You know Bessie and I will help you in anyway we can, it doesn't matter what you need, day or night, you just pick up the phone and we'll be there". Claire smiled at him and choked back tears, she didn't deserve this, she didn't deserve them, this was her mess, and she would deal with it. When she'd called her mom to tell her, her reply was typical of her mother "Well, whatd'you go and do that for? you better not bring that little runt back here -" Claire had hung up and her mother hadn't called her back. That was six months ago. No, she didn't deserve them. "You want me to go with you to tell him? I don't mind, I'm itching to see the little toad up close anyway, I've got a few-", "No, it's okay" Claire laughed and shook her head. "I'll be fine, but thank you". She saw Jared's brothers car pulling up into the drive way and decided that now was better than never. "Well I guess now is as good a time as any" she mused, getting up out of the chair. She leaned down to hug Buster goodbye. "We'll call you later sweetheart, if he steps out of line, kick him in the shins" he patted her hand and winked mischievously. She laughed, and waddled across the road. Buster watched her go, his heart aching but also filled with excitement. She didn't need Jared. She'd make a wonderful mother he thought, she just didn't know it yet.