Warning: Sequel to The Moments that Bring Us Together. I totally don't know where this started from, but I enjoyed writing this story. Let me know what you think.
P.S. Warning chapters one and two aren't the happiest.
Albert Heinrich sat quietly in the chair he had claimed as his own the first time he'd entered the house. He was fond of the worn leather and the large soft armrests. Not to mention there was a matching footstool placed perfectly for his height. He read here, usually philosophical literature much of it German, but he did enjoy reading author's like Kafka, Dostoevsky, and Thoreau. The shelf next to the chair was clean of dust, and the books were organized nicely.
He had been reading, until the incomprehensible American modernism of Faulkner had lulled him into a nap. It didn't help that he was tired, having recently returned from helping out a friend of Kozumi's with a couple of men wanting to steal his research.
The job had been a nice challenge, if not draining on his body and mind.
His head was tilted to the right his eyes closed comfortably. In his right hand the volume of Faulkner still propped up for reading. His legs were crossed both feet on the stool. He looked completely relaxed.
This was what Francoise found when she entered the room in search of some company. She smiled at her sleeping husband, he worked so hard these days. There had been no question that he was to take Joe Shimamura's place as the natural leader. Joe, who Fran had loved once upon a time had now been gone for four years, along with Jet Link. The image of their comet like plummet forever ingrained in their surviving comrade's minds.
Fran walked over to Albert, even though she had once loved Joe even her heart had learned to move on. She looked at the book he was reading and frowned at the title, As I Lay Dying. She gently lifted the book from his metal fingers and placed it on the table beside his chair. She then turned the lamp on said table off.
She then proceeded to straighten up the curtains and other little things mindful not to wake Albert. When she was finished she came up behind him and gently woke him up by putting her arms around his neck and burying her face in his silver-white hair. He stirred, "Did I fall asleep reading again?" he asked.
"Yes," He felt her lips smile against his scalp. "You've been working yourself to exhaustion." Fran commented as she moved to sit on the stool. Albert moved his feet for her.
"I know, there's just been so much going on lately. Seems like everyone is looking for help." He sighed running a hand through his hair.
"We can't just quit fighting, as much as we'd like to, there are still remnants of Black Ghost and other evil in this world."
"We really did get the short end of the straw," Albert mused. She nodded.
"Albert, you know what tomorrow is don't you?" Fran's voice grew quiet and sad.
"Of course love," he replied in an equally soft whisper, "The two of us will go alone with some flowers in the morning."
Fran nodded silently her emerald eyes two clear pools clouded with sorrow. Albert stood up and took his wife in his arms. "Everything will work out Fran," he whispered in her ear.
"I know, I just worry," Fran replied.
"I know but don't let the others see you cry, you know how it upsets them." He reminded gently.
"Right," she pulled back reigning in her emotions.
"That's better, now if my watch is correct we're going to be late for dinner."
"It's fine. I'm not all that hungry right now," Francoise turned to the window and looked out at the late autumn day. The trees of the memorial garden were afire with hues of gold and red. A slight wind stirred the jewel toned leaves plucking a few and sending them dancing through the air.
"Fran, please, you know you have to eat," Albert's voice grew slightly stronger.
She turned to him with a slight gleam of hope in her eyes, "How silly of me," she remarked and started for the library door. Albert beat her to it opening it for her. Together they walked down to the dining room where the others were already eating. Doctors Gilmore and Kozumi noticed their entrance.
"My apologies to you two, but we couldn't wait any longer," Gilmore gave a quick disappointed glance to Chang and G.B. as he apologized.
"No need to apologize, we're all adults." Albert replied with a smile. He and Fran took their seats next to each other, Albert across from Gilmore and next to Kozumi at the head.
Fran was quiet through dinner, Albert tried to elicit more conversation from her, but she could not be shaken from these moods of sad solitude.