argyle_princess: (just Hannah)
[personal profile] argyle_princess

Hannah decides to run to the mall today. (Literally.) She'd planned to turn right around and go home, but when she gets there . . .

She needs a break. Not from the running, she could run miles yet before needing a break, but from whatever's coming after the running. So she finds an out-of-the-way table in the food court, sits down.

She's been there maybe 20 minutes when Sam drops into the chair next to hers. "You look beat."

Hannah picks her head up off the hand she's resting it on and gives him an eyebrows-raised, is-that-so look. "Beat, huh?"

"Hey, don't get me wrong. You look good. But you look beat."

"I'm a little tired," she admits. "Lot going on."

"You always seem to have a lot going on."

"Usually," she says, trying to make it light -- a joke -- but there's an undercurrent of something else.

Sam looks at her. "You're a pretty complicated kind of girl, aren't you?"

"You have no idea," she says, and there's a moment of very awkward silence. She knows he wouldn't mind having a much better idea of just how complicated she is and can be.

"Come on," Sam says. It's brisk, a subject change. "Let me buy you a cup of coffee."

"I don't know, Sam," says Hannah, "I really . . . I should--"

"It's just coffee. Half an hour. Come on, Hannah."

"Okay," she says, after a moment's consideration. "Just coffee."

It's a good just-coffee. She hadn't realized just how much she needed the break from . . . from everything. A real break, as opposed to sitting alone and thinking about it.

It's easy and comfortable to just sit and let Sam talk, ask the occasional question or put in an appropriate comment every so often, but let him do all the heavy lifting of the conversation.

What's left of her second cup is starting to get cold, and he's telling her a long, involved story about Lucas and Jonathan, his five year old brothers. It's probably both longer and more involved than it needs to be, but it's made her laugh.

"And then what happened?" she asks, to make some kind of contribution.

"Well, I told Jon that you can't change the past, but--"

Hannah has gone stiff and pale, setting her coffee cup down quickly before she can drop it.

"Hannah?" Sam says, with the puzzled look of someone who knows he's said or done something wrong, but couldn't begin to tell you what.

"Would you take me home, please?" she says. "I'm sorry, Sam, I'm just -- I'm not ready for this."

The puzzlement increases. "Not ready for what?"

"Any of it. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, just please take me home."

"Yeah, of course," he says.

There are a hundred questions he wants to ask right now, but she looks alarmingly like she might start crying, and if she does, he doesn't know what he'll do. So he just walks her to his car and then drives her home. She says, "thank you" and "I'm sorry" (again) and "I'll see you in school."

And then she's gone.

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Hannah Griffith

June 2009

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