Monday, 14 December 2009 - 4:23 pm

Fear and intimacy

Last night was awkward. The rain pinned us inside together, so the whole group sat around for dinner and surreptitiously looked at each other.

I didn’t notice anyone seeming particularly guilty among all the furtive glances. There were a lot of unhappy faces, particularly Kostoya who was worried about Conroy. I think he has enjoyed having an assistant, someone to talk to about the scientific stuff, and an able pair of hands that understand the work. Conroy has been in charge of putting the water filter together – they were talking about linking it up to the guttering of the greenhouses to capture more of the rainwater, and then building it into the irrigation system already lacing through the farm. So many plans to make this place work.

Conroy was unconscious for a few hours yesterday, and vomited as soon as he tried to sit up. The head injury made him lose some time but he hasn’t fallen asleep again. He’s on bed rest at the moment and Masterson insisted that someone sit up with him to keep him awake through the night. The doctor isn’t giving much away, but the rest of are are being optimistic anyway.

Bree is delicate but recovering. Mira’s looking after her – those two are very close, and some of the way they talk to each other reminds me of how Bree and I used to be. We were friends like that once. Bree used to suggest to me how to do my makeup just so and what might look nice in my hair. I used to be the person she told everything to, and I shared everything with her. Except that she didn’t tell me everything after all, not until I found out about her sleeping with my boyfriend. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t still sore about that. I wonder if the friendship between her and Mira will end the same way, with betrayal and lies.

When we parted company for bed, we were no closer to figuring out who hurt Conroy and Bree. I know most of the group is looking at Bobby, because he was a Haven soldier and on guard when it happened. But he was riding the bike when the tyre blew out and nearly had a nasty accident. He could have killed himself. If he was responsible for that, he’s either very smart, very stupid, or very lucky.

For my part, I have no idea who to suspect. I can’t believe it was any of the Seekers. Jonah always seemed like a friend, but he was good at keeping secrets. Warren spends half his time rubbing his right arm, which is still in a sling and causing him a great deal of pain. Who does that leave? No-one. That’s all of us. It’s definitely someone I trust.

I don’t think any of us got a lot of sleep. I curled up with Matt and we both felt safer. He has been very attentive since I told him about the baby – our baby – and last night he was all about holding me close and planting kisses in my hair. It felt good, sharing affection without it tipping over into sex. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the sex too, but it’s nice to know that even if he’s not in the mood, there’s still closeness and intimacy. I think he needed it as much as I did.


Today, we split up again to start the work of getting this place together. The supplies crew piled into vehicles – except for the diesel-soaked one – and went back to the garden centre to fetch the equipment we needed. They’re going to look for food on the way there and take the long way back to explore more potential sources of sustenance. The roads around here are pretty clear, so hopefully they’ll be back tonight.

Masterson, Bree and Mira are looking after Sally and the baby, and sorting out the domestic issues. We’re gradually making the place comfortable, though there’s a lot of us to cater for. Iona won’t come out of the main house, but she is helping with the cleaning and tidying effort. She works with a worrying intensity; I prefer her vagueness to the way she focusses on the tiniest thing now.

The rest of us are preparing the greenhouses for planting. Pulling out the dead plants and digging up the soil. We found some bags of fertiliser, and we’re working that through while we loosen up the dirt. Janice is building a compost heap with the detritus we’re taking out of the troughs.

I love the smell of the greenhouses. The more the dead plants are taken out, the more the scent of freshly turned earth rises up under the glass. I hadn’t realised how much that was missing under the rain’s poison. Sometimes, the changes in the After still surprise me, even though the time Before is drifting further and further away from us.

I hope the others make it back tonight – the rain hasn’t started yet, so there’s time. We’re hungry and I know that Matt gave me his share of rations this morning. He’s feeding me and the baby, and that’s touching, but I don’t want him to hurt himself. If he tries to do it again tomorrow, I’ll refuse.

He has started putting his hand on my belly when we snuggle up together. The silent acknowledgement of this thing we’ve made is adorable – he’d hug the baby if he could, and that’s as close as he can get. He does it when he’s thinking about the pregnancy and if I glance up at him, he gives me the silliest stunned grin. Seeing him look like that never fails to make me smile.

He’s so proud of it and growing fiercely protective of us both. He’s excited by the whole thing, and I can’t mind. The depth of his attachment is reassuring; it washes away all my fears of him running away from this, and away from me. He wants this. Matt, who used to distance himself from close relationships so he wouldn’t get hurt, is jumping in with both feet. He wants this baby more than I do; or at least, he doesn’t have reservations constantly popping into his head like I do.

He’s the only reason I can be at all comfortable with this. He soothes me. He murmurs to me at night about how wonderful our family is going to be and he makes me look forward to it too. He makes me feel lucky. It’s only when we’re not together that the doubts and fears creep in.

Our family. When I’m alone, I think about my father. He would want to be here for this. He should be here.

When we’ve got this place sorted out, when this saboteur is found, I need to fix this. I need to bring our family together properly.