BLOOD BROTHERS, Part
Julia stared pensively out the open tent flap as the healthy members of their group participated in their usual nocturnal meanderings before retiring for the evening. Alonzo slept contentedly in the cot next to her perch. Beyond the pilot, John Danziger and Morgan Martin competed in a snoring contest, which appeared headed for a draw.
The men had recovered remarkably in the two days since she had found the treatment for the virus. With a strict admonition to remain quiet, Cameron had moved to his own tent just that morning and Danziger and Morgan would most likely only be staying the night, before being allowed back to their own tents as well. The doctor sighed slowly as she reflected on the past week. Julia jumped when a large hand unexpectedly insinuated itself onto her lap to claim her own where they lay clasped together.
"So peaceful, isn't it?" the pilot stuffily observed with a grin.
Sneaking a quick glance at the snoring duo, Julia bit back her own smile and turned in her seat to face Alonzo. As he started to struggle up, she reclaimed her hands to press the pilot back into his bedding. "Lie back. You know the rules by now."
"Well, how can I enjoy the rules in a crowded tent?" Alonzo asked mischievously with a roll of his eyes.
"Alonzo, I'm not kidding. Just, please stay as quiet as possible until it's time for us to start traveling again."
Obediently settling into the cot, Alonzo suddenly sobered. "Julia? What about the Grendlers?"
"What about them?"
"The virus... What about them?"
"I really don't know, Alonzo. If there was some way to administer the serum... The only possible option I can think of is to seed the area with treated blood samples but, even if it were possible, I can't imagine it being ethical. To expose them to what appears to be an almost addicting substance... I don't know what to tell you. I suppose, if it's any comfort, the fact that they tend to travel alone or in small groups should limit the spread of the virus."
Alonzo gathered her hands back to him as he nodded mutely. For a while, they sat companionably in the dim light provided by one of the monitors, each deep in their own thoughts.
"They really loved each other..."
"Your parents. It sounds like they really loved each other. And you, too..."
"Yeah. They were great. I never understood how they could be that way. Like it never grew old." He cradled her cheek in his free hand, brushing her lips with his thumb. "Until now..."
She sighed happily in agreement, enjoying the way he traced her smile.
"If the two of you would like to be alone, I would be more than willing to accommodate." Morgan muttered under his breath.
Julia's head shot up in surprise at the interruption, jumping back in her seat in embarrassment.
"Martin, would you be quiet?! For crying out loud, it's bad enough I have to listen to your snoring." Danziger groused.
Alonzo chuckled under his breath, grabbing at the doctor as she quickly rose.
Resigning herself to yet another busy night of tending three grown men with cabin fever, Julia lightly slapped Alonzo's hands away as she trotted out of the tent with a simple command. "Sleep!"
When we think of those companions who traveled by our side down life's road, let us not say with sadness that they left us behind but rather say with gratitude that they were once with us... P