Sequel to Private Thoughts
By Sue James
The anticipated explosion never came.
Just silence! Absolute silence! It hung in the air almost mockingly as he stopped talking. Despite all of his expectations the only reaction to his recount of recent events aboard Seaview was total silence!
A slight frown began to form between expressive eyes; a mixture of confusion and hesitant relief reflected in their golden depths. Across the desk cool blue eyes narrowed thoughtfully but betrayed no emotion as the silence lengthened almost threateningly between them.
Finally, just when it seemed that nothing would break the unnerving quiet the blue eyes focused on the small bandage to the left of the golden eyes and a deep voice spoke, “I suppose that explains the head injury.”
The words were flat, matter-of-fact and seemed to echo around the office before hanging in the air between the two friends.
It’s not a head injury; it’s just a little cut, the defensive words ran through Lee’s mind and the frown between his eyes deepened as he debated whether or not to utter them. Despite the fact that his best friend had not reacted with vocal anger in the way that he had expected didn’t mean that he wasn’t angry; in fact his silence, his almost total lack of reaction, told Lee that Chip Morton was probably so incensed that he didn’t trust himself to react for fear of losing his infamous control on his emotions.
Lee had no wish to invoke his friend’s ire by denying he had any injury when it was obvious that he had so he merely nodded and said quietly, “It does.”
Blond eyebrows lifted in obvious surprise and blue eyes widened at the unexpectedly straightforward response as their owner leant forward, placing his hands on the surface of his desk.
“I suspect that I should be grateful I’m not faced with organizing a double funeral and trying to explain to your mother and the Admiral’s sister how the pair of you managed to get yourself killed on a simple little test cruise.”
The words were softly spoken but each syllable was loaded with caustic sarcasm and golden eyes winced noticeably as the short speech hit home.
Silence descended once more as golden eyes met blue across the desk, each pair of orbs hiding the mass of thoughts running through their owner’s quick minds as they debated how to react to each other openly and honestly with one man fighting guilt and the other furiously angry but unwilling to add to the anguish he knew his friend must be feeling.
It was Lee, always more impulsive, who broke first. He had come to Chip’s office prepared for his friend’s justifiable anger but this silent treatment was driving him crazy and he just wanted to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible.
Tiredness, hunger and frustration leapt to the fore as he stood up and glared down at his friend.
“Okay, that’s enough, Chip. I know you’re mad and I understand why so just say what’s on your mind and we can go eat!”
“Mad? Why should I be mad?” Chip’s voice was dangerously calm. “Just because you and the Admiral agreed to undertake some dumb test cruise with none of the regular crew and nearly got yourselves killed in the process doesn’t give me any reason to be mad. Why should it? I was enjoying my liberty; I had a great evening, thanks for asking!”
“Oh, so that’s what’s bothering you; I didn’t enquire about your evening,” Lee ran a frustrated hand through his dark curls. “I’m sorry but I had other things on my mind.”
“I know,” now it was Chip’s turn to glare and he stood up, leaning across the desk until their faces were almost touching. “Like staying alive! Hell, Lee…” he clenched his fists before stuffing his hands into his pockets “…of course I’m bloody mad; I knew something would go wrong, but would anyone listen to me? No, I…”
“That’s not fair,” Lee interrupted heatedly. “It wasn’t my idea to go ahead without the crew, Chip and you know it.”
“Yes, I know,” Chip nodded, his expression grim, “but you still dismissed my concerns, Lee; like I was objecting over nothing!”
“Well, you were!” Lee scowled. “How the hell was the Admiral to know that one of the scientists was a murderer? The only thing we should‘ve had to worry about was a power failure; not multiple murders and don’t you dare say that you had considered the possibility of murder!”
“I didn’t,” Chip glared, “but someone did try and kill us all before you set out on the damn test so, yes, I did consider the fact that you could end up in trouble without anyone around to help and I was right!”
“You were right up to a point,” Lee conceded with a small smile. “The Admiral and I had each other, Chip and we came back alive; that’s all that matters.”
“It doesn’t make it right,” Chip continued to glare. “I should’ve been there.”
“NO!” Lee slammed a hand down on the
polished surface of the desk. “No, you shouldn’t,” he continued, his voice gentler.
“That would’ve meant three of us at risk of being one of
“Safe?” Chip pulled his hands from his pockets and stood back, his arms folded across his chest. The sudden emotion in his friend’s voice had touched his conscience, dissipating his anger and now he sought to lighten the atmosphere. “Have you met Tarnia Brazinzki?” he enquired with a grin.
“Not really,” Lee shook his head, his eyes widening in amusement. “I’ve seen her but I can’t say I’ve actually met her. Why?”
“Let’s just say that I never had a chance to think about the test cruise all night!” Chip’s grin widened.
“That explains why you look so tired,” Lee laughed delightedly. “And there I was thinking it was concern for my safety that kept you awake! Come on…” he nodded towards the door. “Let’s go eat and you can tell me all about your dangerous evening!”
“I’m warning you, it’ll make yours look tame,” Chip responded with mock seriousness as he reached for his jacket, thrusting his arms into the sleeves as he headed for the door that Lee now held open, “very tame!”
“I can hardly wait,” Lee grinned, relieved that, for now, at least his friend seemed to have dealt with his anger over the news Lee had given him and that they could now spend some time relaxing allowing him to forget the harrowing events he had experienced in the past twenty-four hours.