by Kaye Jeffreys -
"Jereth, what are you doing here?" Kinsee stood at her door, motherly as always.
"You said to drop by whenever I'm nearby."
"I certainly did. Come in, come in." Kinsee stepped back.
Jereth walked in, set his pack on the couch, and surveyed her friendly entertaining room. Some of the best times he'd ever had were spent here with his school mate, Lessie, and her parents, Kinsee and Mitchel.
"You can stay in Lessie's room until she returns. Sit down." Kinsee sat down herself and motioned for Jereth to do the same. "What brings you under the sea?"
"Lessie finally got to me with all her talk about aid work landside. I want to join her team up there."
"Aid work? You, Jereth?"
"Yes, me. Don't act so surprised." He leaned back into the comfy sofa.
"You know that her fiancé is with her?"
"Carter? I introduced Lessie to Carter. He has nothing to worry about from me."
"It won't keep him from worrying." Kinsee shook her head then put her hand on her cheek. "Aid work? You, Jereth?"
"Aren't I allowed a social conscience?"
"You will hate it up there. It's nothing like the contained systems of Avenir and Zirconia."
"Are you trying to talk me out of helping the less fortunate? I'm serious about this, Kinsee. I've raised my own support." He patted his pack.
"I'm trying to help you understand the hazards of going landside for someone like you."
Jereth feigned mild offense. "Someone like me. You mean spoiled?"
"Vulnerable." There was nothing but concern in her voice. No judgement, no condemnation.
"The Landsiders aren't vulnerable?"
"They have built up some natural tolerances that you simply don't have."
"What about the children?" Kinsee had a soft spot. If he brought up children maybe that would make her believe him. "What tolerence do their little ones have?"
"But you doing aid work?"
"Stop saying that. You are starting to hurt my feelings. Yes, Kinsee, I want to do aid work."
He hated lying to her as much as he did his brother. But he hoped it would get him a to a place where he would never have to lie again.