The sun is always brighter after a storm. – T. Ross
Chel smiled in her sleep. She couldn’t remember a bed being more comfortable. The blankets were overly soft and warm and the air was crisp, like an autumn morning when one would much rather remain in bed than get up. The night had been, interesting. Lexx was calmer and more talkative. There was something fun about being able to talk freely like that after they’d started out on such bad terms. She was amazed that the things that Lexx spoke about occurred in space.
This whole ordeal about the game, she understood it now, to a point. The part she couldn’t fathom was why anyone would want to play such a game and putting herself in Lexx’s position. She could see why he was so down on everything and couldn’t offer any support other than listening. It was odd. He was really wasting her summer, but she didn’t care.
What sort of summer did she expect to have anyway? The few friends she had were in summer courses, and she’d only come home to watch the house and relax. While she wasn’t a shy person, she wasn’t what anyone would call popular. Her hair was a point of constant teasing in high school. The glasses she had to wear occasionally were also a target. She wasn’t perfect, she was nowhere near it. There was no interest in the things that other girls her age were interested in. Makeup? She could care less. How could makeup improve your hair? Clothing? She liked nice clothing, but stuck to looser baggy clothing. The only thing Chel could think of as going for her was that she had clear skin and was on a spaceship orbiting Earth.
Then, she realized that the air was warm near her face. Opening her eyes, she found herself staring into a dark red and gold snout, … followed by a slathering from the connecting pink tongue.
“Chel up! Chel up!” Zeta bounced backward happily.
“YUCK! ZETA!!” Chel sat up wiping the blanket across her face. The little dinosaur looked pleased with himself, spun on his heels and continued bouncing eagerly around Chel’s knees.
“Lexx say you awake, you come eat! Lexx make breakfast! Smell good!” Zeta swished his tail so hard it seemed to threaten to knock him off his own feet. He abruptly stopped and added, “Then you, Chel, give Zeta bite of food? Zeta hungry!” Zeta of course, had made the assumption that with two eating, there would be twice as many bites for him. Excitedly, he ran to the door and back again, tugging at Chel’s pants.
“Hold on, Zeta… I need to shower and change.” She knelt down to push his head away from her pants before he ripped them.
“Zeta hungry….” He whined plaintively, lowering his head, “But if want clean, go ‘head, don’t need stinky humans ruining breakfast good smell.”
Chel hrmpthed and started toward the bathing room. Lexx had pointed it out for her the previous night and told her how to use it … and what to expect. She got halfway through the door and stopped abruptly. Thud. Zeta ran into the back of her legs. “Oh no you don’t!” Chel turned and pushed Zeta back with her foot, “I don’t need company!”
“Zeta just curious.” He thumped back onto his haunches right in front of the door. “Zeta think silly wear all those things. Zeta not wear those things. Zeta not understand why Lexx wear heavy stuff. Maybe Lexx not wear so much, might not need so cold!”
“Because,… uhm…” Chel stared at the dice uncertainly. Why was she having this conversation? “Wearing things makes it easier to tell us apart.” Yes, that was a good response that wouldn’t require further explanation.
Zeta cocked his head to one side. “Zeta tell you apart by smell! You smell funny, not like Lexx.”
Chel closed the door.
Zeta stood up on the other side, placing his forepaws on the metal and yelling, “You smell like Lexx when get clean?” He yelled.
“I doubt it!” Chel responded, “Now go away, I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
Zeta sat outside the door.
Lexx stood in what served as a kitchen, frowning over the hotplate. The kitchen was more of a small cubby, out of sight of the living area. Several lockers fixed into the walls kept varying degrees of temperature for food storage and a few enclosed shelves. There were two pans on the plate, one covered and one open with a gently boiling creamy looking mixture inside. Something Lexx had picked up as relaxing was cooking; only he wasn’t sure how good of a cook he was. Now, he was watching to make sure everything was perfect. He was also a little bit worried that Chel might not like it. That thought was a little surprising to him. Why did he care what she thought of his cooking? She’d have to eat it or go hungry, so whether she liked it or not didn’t matter.
The timer dinged and Lexx slid the two pans off of it, quickly taking the covered pan and sliding it into the cold storage. He had to move it, but not too hard or it’d collapse. Steam filled the air as it hit the cooler surface of the cold rack. Lexx closed the door and reset the timer.
“Nothing but trouble.” Lexx sighed, leaning against the wall, folding his arms and looking down at the floor. He was getting really tired of the constant conflicts in his head. He didn’t need them. It was simpler when that human was not involved, but he’d been dwelling on that for too long. It was getting in the way. For now, he’d decided that it was better to just accept she was here and not fight it. She was very insistent. His dice were insistent. It wouldn’t be forever. He’d be rid of her in a few weeks and on his way to freedom. She wasn’t actually in the way, and … in a way he enjoyed having someone else to talk to.
She wasn’t like the dice; she could actually carry on a conversation that didn’t end in asking for treats. Dice were intelligent, but most of them were not very intellectual and the ones that were, like Stealth, were also condescending and liked pointing out things to Lexx that he didn’t want to think about.
“It smells good…” Lexx blinked and looked up. Chel and Zeta were standing in the doorway.
“Thank you.” Lexx nodded, then jumped as the timer went off. “Go sit at the table, I’ll bring it out in a minute!”
“Hurray! FOOOOOD!!” Zeta ran a quick circle around Chel and then darted to the couch.
Chel giggled and Lexx … smiled. He had his back turned to her so she couldn’t see. He wouldn’t want her to see that, because he couldn’t help it. That sound wasn’t something he had heard in a long time. He couldn’t consciously recall the last time he’d heard someone laugh, other than the dice and dice don’t usually laugh the way girls do. Free of the burdens of life.
Chel stared at the plate. Breakfast consisted of a large slice of a very thick yellow cake like thing. It wiggled like jello, with a bit firmer form to it. Chel poked it with the flat of the spoon like silverware Lexx had given her. There were some sort of chunky things in it and a creamy white syrup poured over it and pooling on the plate. She wasn’t sure she wanted to take a bite of it.
Then, she realized that Lexx was staring at her and Zeta had his head on the table, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth, looking longingly at the plate. Chel swallowed and licked the spoon. It was sweet and tasted good. Lexx was still looking at her, obviously expecting her to try a bigger bite.
Carefully, she spooned up more and tentatively stuck it in her mouth. It was better than she imagined, like warm ice cream and apple pie. “This is really good, Lexx.”
“I was unsure if you would find it acceptable.” Lexx commented. “I’ve never cooked for someone else. It’s called Cible”
“I like it.” Chel smiled and spooned up more of it, much to Zeta’s dismay. She liked it, drat! He wasn’t going to get any bites this way.
Zeta whined and got a dirty look from Lexx. “Zeta, I’ll feed you later, stop begging.”
With a louder whine, Zeta slunk from the table and laid down underneath it,… until a spoonful of Cible slopped on his muzzle from Lexx’s side of the table.
Lexx stared into his cup. Breakfast was done and now they were just sitting in silence. He didn’t know what to say.
“How do you feel, Lexx?” Chel inquired.
“Not like talking.” Lexx tilted his cup to emphasis his mood. He had no idea what to do now.
Chel scooted a bit closer to him, “We have a lot of free time, right?”
“Yes,” Lexx replied giving her a suspicious look. “Too much.”
“Why don’t we go back to my house for awhile and then watch a movie, … we can pick up that carton of milk we owe Stealth.”
Lexx swallowed hard. He hadn’t expected that sort of a suggestion. “Movie? What for?”
“Fun?” Chel grinned.
“I don’t want to have fun, Chel.” Lexx didn’t feel as though he deserved to in any case.