Saturday, January 12, 2013

Re-Read: Chapter Forty Seven- Employed

"But if you try cuddling up to me tonight...
so help me, O'Shea."

Kyle and Ian with in the back of the raiding van sorting through the nonperishable items Wanda obtained from a store in Wichita, Kanas as Jared drives down the highway below the speed limit (a source of constant irritation with him). With the addition of Wanda to their raiding team, Kyle complains about the lack of thrills and challenges. The O'Shea brothers continue to bicker as Wanda turns to Jared and wonders about their next stop. The four are headed for Oklahoma City to continue their "shopping" and plan to stop in a dew smaller towns along the way. Wanda realizes that the others were right about Jared; he rarely loses focus while on a raid. 

While previous raids were conducted in darkness and deserted areas, with Wanda, they are able to collect supplies in broad daylight. She simply walks into the stores and pushes her cart up and down the aisles, smiling at the other souls that pass. Her main goal is to stock up on supplies that will last, but she often picks up a few things for the three men left behind in the van (Mint chocolate chip ice cream for Ian and caramel sweets for Kyle). There were times in the smaller towns she could not easily blend into the population, but on those occasions, Wanda carried on conversations with rehearsed lines. The main cover story she utilized involved her traveling with her parter who works as a photographer. Wanda finds nothing in her missions particularly challenging or fearful, but she still keeps the cyanide pill Jared gave her in her pocket, just in case. 

Jared tells Wanda she should pick up new clothes during the next stop to keep up appearances. Wanda dislikes the excess of new clothes, but knows other women back in the caves will be pleased with the extra clothes she will bring back since clothing was never a priority on previous raids. The others back at the caves would also be treated to the gentle soaps and shampoos Wanda had acquired from the stores. In addition to new clothing, the raiding party also began to stop at hotels on occasion to give Wanda time to clean up. They generally did not like making themselves vulnerable by sleeping in hotels and Kyle refused to go in, preferring to stay in the van. 

Though Wanda is pleased she can help the others with supplies, she feels a twinge of guilt at taking so much and giving nothing in return. When she was in San Diego, she only shopped for what she needed and nothing more. She also saw her Calling as a teacher as a way to give back to the community, but now she takes more than her share and gives nothing in return. Melanie reminds her the supplies are for the others and to not dwell on it. 

In addition to gathering more supplies the next day, they would also be stopping by the moving truck they kept hidden no more than a day's reach away. When the van was filled to capacity, they would unload it into the van and continue on for more supplies. Wanda is glad to be near the end of their time on the load. They plan to travel through Oklahoma and New Mexico before driving back straight to Arizona to their home. 

They decide to stop early since the day was such a success and Ian is worried Wanda is wearing herself down. Parking close to the room, Jared and Ian walk straight to the room with their heads down, doing their best to not attract ant attention. Once inside the room, the two relax as Ian lounges on the bed he and Jared would share. Jared passes around their dinner of chicken strips and Ian turns on the TV, commenting that humans had much better entertainment. As Ian continues to watch TV, Wanda focuses her attention on the small park across the road from the hotel. She sees a mother and father with their little boy, no more than a year old, pushing their child on the swing. Jared notices Wanda staring out the window and wonders what has captured her attention. 
"Something I've never seen in all my lives. I'm staring at...hope."
Jared comes to her side and searchers through the window for what Wanda is referring to, but his eyes pass over the family. Taking hold of his chin, Wanda points his face in the family's direction and tells him to look. Jared is still confused as Ian comes to stand beside them. 
"'See? See how she loves her human child?"
Jared is astonished, but confused, wondering how, why, and for long? Wanda does not know how to answer him; she has never witnessed this before. 
"She has not given him up for a host. I can't imagine that she would be...forced. Motherhood is all but worshipped among my kind. If she is unwilling...I have no idea how that will be handled. This does;t happen elsewhere. The emotions of the bodies are so much stronger than logic. No. No one would force the parents if they wanted the child. And just look at them."
Jared and Ian stare in shock at the interspecies family across the way. The three do not speak for the rest of the night, opting to go to bed early with their thoughts. Wanda sleeps alone as Jared and Ian attempt to find their own space on their shared bed. Though Wanda knows they would all be more comfortable if she were to share her space, she knows neither will ask her to. The first night they decided to stop in a hotel, Wanda overheard Ian and Jared discuss the very issue. Ian knew it was not fair to ask Wanda to choose who to share a bed with since she would agonize over the decision. Jared argued with Ian, but finally relented. 
"Fine, but if you try cuddling up to me help me, O'Shea."
"Not to sound overly arrogant, but to the perfectly honest, Jared, were I so inclined, I think I could do better."
With that, the sleeping situation had been settled for the remainder of their time out raiding. After this last hotel stop, they did not need to rest at one again; all of them were eager to return to their home in the caves. Reaching the homestretch of their trip, Wanda and Jared travel together in the van while Kyle and Ian follow in the moving truck with the supplies. At some point during the night, just a few hours from home, Wanda lost sight of the moving truck behind them. Wanda's thoughts are filled with joy and anticipation at being back with Jamie until she noticed the truck's lights reappear behind them. All of a sudden, red and blue lights flood the darkness as the sound of the siren breaks through the silence of the open road.  

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