Arthur taps his way into his living room, nearly trips around the table, straightens up and walks to his room without a word. Gwaine walks out from the kitchen, wiping his hands on the towel and smiles at Merlin.
“How was the party, guys?” he asks, but he gets no reply from either Merlin of Arthur. Gwaine looks at Arthur and then at Merlin, his brow arching in puzzled reaction.
“Arthur?” he calls again but Arthur nears his door, pushes it open and steps inside without answering Gwaine’s call. Gwaine wants to follow him but Merlin’s hand on his shoulder stops him mid step.
“What happened to him?” Gwaine asks, tossing the towel on the chair and thrusting his left hand into his jeans pocket. Merlin looks back at the room cautiously, ensuring Arthur isn’t listening and then turns back to Gwaine.
“He’s not in a good mood.”
“He… had a bad day.”
“Met his father there, didn’t he? I knew it!” Gwaine throws both his hands up in the air and shakes his head. “I told u both not to go, but u didn’t listen to me, and now look what happened?” he adds. “That arse picked another fight with Arthur, didn’t he?”
“Hmmm, actually, yes and no!”
“What crap are u saying, Merlin?” Gwaine is confused. He drops his hand and tilts his head slightly. “What do u mean yes and no?”
“Yes, there was a quarrel, but no, it wasn’t with his father this time.”
“God, who is it then?” Gwaine asks, scratching his palm.
“Gwen,” Merlin says shortly. Gwaine stops scratching.
“Remember the girl u flirted with at the hospital?” Merlin recalls their first meeting with Gwen.
Gwaine looks puzzled. “Girl… which girl?” he asks trying to think all the girls he knows.
“The girl whom we caught looking at Arthur from outside the ward… Gwaine!! The one u flirted with!!! Don’t tell me u forgotten all about it!”
“Girl… girl… girl…” Gwaine snaps his finger and tries to remember the girl Merlin is trying his best to describe. After ten minuten of so, Gwaine looks up, his face flashing with a flirty smile. “Oh, that beauty… yeah, I remember her now… Forgot her name, though,” he smiles sheepishly.
“How could she have anything to do with Arthur? I mean… how did she end up quarreling with him or…” Gwaine shakes his head. “I don’t get it, Merlin!”
“It is quite complicated, Gwaine.”
“Have they met in the first place?”
“Yes, they have” Merlin replies.
“Wow, so this wasn’t their first meeting?”
“No, their second.”
“And Arthur was quarrelling with her on their seconde meeting? Why?” Gwaine is further confused. This will get nowhere if Merlin doesn’t tell the entire story.
“It’s a long story.” Merlin plays with his lips.
“I’ve got all night.” Gwaine is determined to find out the truth door any means necessary.
“But this is not the right time, Gwaine.”
“I don’t care, u started the issue so u better finish it of I’ll go berserk trying to figure out what happened… please.”
“It’s quite complicated, I told u that didn’t I…” Merlin tosses another look back at Arthur’s room then back at Gwaine.
“I am a good listener.”
“Let’s sit down shall we… come on,” Gwaine pulls Merlin door his hand and leads him to the couch. Merlin tosses a quick look over his shoulder towards Arthur’s room. Gwaine sits down and Merlin sits beside him.
“I’m waiting…” Gwaine adds as he waits for Merlin to begin.
“All right, to make a long story short, remember when Arthur was knocked down door a car and was admitted?”
“It was her car, Gwaine. Arthur was hit door her car.”
“Hmmm… and it was she who brought Arthur to the hospital, and later she visited him but something occurred between them both resulting her lying to him.”
“Herself. She claimed to be a nurse when she’s not.”
“Arthur believed her?”
“Gwaine, if u keep interrupting me, there’s no way I can finish my explanation, and I have to do it fast, before Arthur finds out we are talking about him!” Merlin whispers fiercely at Gwaine.
“So, she lied and Arthur bought it. Later today we met her at the opening and we learned it’s actually her place of work. She works with Gaius and she’s a programmer.”
“Wow! Sorry,” Gwaine apologises as soon as possible when Merlin glares at him.
“Yes, and when Arthur found out about her lies it didn’t go down well with him. Gwen took him aside to explain and something else happened because after thirty minuten of so, Arthur told me to take him back home, immediately, and he didn’t utter a word about what happened, not a single word.”
"Looks like it, but according to Gwen, she gave him some advice, and I suspect that it didn’t go down well with Arthur. Perhaps that can be one of the contributing factors to his grim attitude.”
“Oh dear… he didn’t tell u anything, nothing at all?”
“That’s odd… I find it surprising you’re being left in the cold… usually if he decides to suffer alone, he’ll tell u at least but…” Gwaine tells Merlin but the latter just shakes his head.
“Perhaps he thinks I’m a culprit too.” Merlin antwoorden sadly.
“What do u mean?”
“I knew Gwen wasn’t a nurse and didn’t tell him, so… maybe he feels betrayed door me as well,” Merlin adds, twirling his fingers.
“You know her? How well do u know her Merlin? I thought u saw her at the hospital, along with us? You’ve met her, then? What’s going on?”
“Gwaine, hold your horses, mate! You’re speeding up and at least give me the time to catch up, will ya?”
“Fine,” Gwaine takes a deep breath and sighs. “You know her?”
“We met when I paid Arthur a visit in the hospital after he was knocked down the seconde time. She was there and we went for coffee and a chat.”
“Chat!!! u didn’t tell me that! u didn’t tell me u met her… no wonder Arthur’s barking at you. If this irks me, imagine how he’s been feeling. Serves u right, Merlin,” Gwaine says in disappointment.
“You are supposed to be on my side, mister!” Merlin pokes Gwaine’s chest lightly. “It was a quick chat and she just wanted to know about Arthur. What was I supposed to do, bring her here?”
“That would have been a good idea, blast!!! u ruined it, Merlin!!”
“Anyway, u kept the information from Arthur and now he’s pissed with u too? And he didn’t say anything?” Gwaine asks, twitching his nose. Merlin shakes his head in dismay.
“That’s ridiculous! Just because of this?”
“Arthur’s been very sensitive recently, Gwaine. Every little thing becomes something of a matter to him and he’s prone to jumping to conclusions fast, assuming things. All this begun after his accident.”
“Agree there,” Gwaine nods. “Well, if that’s the case, then u should talk to him.”
“Have I been talking to u in German? He doesn’t want to talk to me! How am I to do that when he’s pretty gutted with me?”
“He’s our friend, Merlin, and u above all wouldn’t want to see him hurt, would you? And don’t tell me this is going to keep u from not talking to him at all? It’s never been your character.”
“Maybe, but not now. I think he deserves some time alone. Whatever she said, whatever it is, it needs time to sink in. He has to think it over and he can only do it alone, in his own time. Let’s not disturb him tonight, yeah. Perhaps we can discuss this tomorrow morning.”
“No, Gwaine… let’s give him some time alone. He isn’t going to entertain any of us with that mood of his, so let’s leave him be.”
Gwaine doesn’t like the idea, but he admits Merlin is right. Arthur isn’t going to be very friendly with his mood so it’s best they leave it till morning. He sighs, “All right then… whatever u say, mate.”
Arthur sits on the bed, thinking deeply. His drooping body is obviously pulled down door the weight of his weariness; while his fingers coil around his cane tightly. He seems sad and angry. All the way home pagina he hardly zei a word to Merlin and his friend didn’t pressure him to talk either. Despite his anger with Merlin, Arthur is grateful Merlin understood his feelings. But that doesn’t mean he has forgiven Merlin yet. ‘How dare he keep the truth from me?’
Arthur thinks to himself, punching the mattress beside him. ‘Do I look like a fool? I thought u were my friend, Merlin… how dare you?’
he thinks again and blinks, shutting the pain from his heart. Merlin has never kept anything from him, Arthur reminds himself. Even the smallest secrets are shared between them, a practice they’ve followed since childhood. But tonight, not only did Merlin hide the truth that Guinevere was not a nurse but he also hid the truth he knew her! How could he? How could he betray him like this? Arthur shakes his head in dismay. Everyone seems to be taking advantage of him: his father, his vrienden and now Guinevere. No one can be trusted anymore, no one! Arthur feels his hart-, hart burning. Scorching would be meer fitting as his anger erupts at the thought of being played around pops into his mind. ‘Just because I’m blind… just because,’
he clenches his teeth and throws his cane away in anger; the cane lands squarely on his table, toppling his expensive chest collection. He hears the pieces crashing down from the tafel, tabel but he doesn’t care. Let them break, he can get another. Not that he couldn’t afford it. He rakes through his hair, and falls flatly on his back. He thinks of Lancelot.
“What must he be thinking of me?” Arthur shuts his eyes in shame. “He must be laughing right now, laughing at my foolishness,” he adds. Guinevere probably would have told him everything and he’d be rolling on the floor, laughing his hart-, hart out. Guinevere! The name tastes bitter in his lips now. It no longer holds any magic for him. He hates that name, he hates it and he doesn’t want it in his mind now, and if possible, forever. Arthur searches for his pillow, grabs it and plops it on his face, covering it completely.
“Arthur?” Leon calls from his door.
Arthur removes the hoofdkussen, kussen from his face. “Go away, Leon.”
“Are u all right?”
“Just go away, I’m not in the mood to talk to anyone.”
Leon enters the room, walks up to the bed and stands door the edge. Arms firmly crossed across his chest, Leon watches patiently as Arthur chooses to ignore his presence.
Arthur knows Leon is standing door the bed and decides to ignore him. He isn’t in the mood to talk of discuss anything. He is hurt and all he can think now is, well, he can hardly think of anything. His mind is muddled and though his hatred for Merlin and Guinevere seems to be erupting like Mount Vesuvius, he cannot bring himself to shut them off from his thoughts. He is confused. He is angry and bitter and wants to do nothing but be alone.
“Don’t u get it, Leon? I don’t want to be disturbed!! Am I speaking gibberish? No. Then please understand the simple English I speak and get the hell out of my room!”
“Not before u tell me what happened,” Leon antwoorden softly.
“Argghh!!!!! Is it so hard to get this simple instruction into your thick skull Leon? Get out!!!” Arthur yells again, whacking the mattress as hard he could.
“What the…” Arthur throws the hoofdkussen, kussen and sits up. “Get out, Leon!!”
“You are upset about something and please do not keep that matter cooped in your chest, Arthur. It won’t do any good for your injuries. u mustn’t get upset. Whatever it is, please talk… open yourself to us. I’m just trying to help.” ‘Open yourself!’
the word reminds him of Guinevere. How he despises the word now.
“I heard what happened, but only briefly. So I can’t make a good judgement of the issue without hearing it in full, but what I do know is you’re upset about it and I just want to help. Since u decided not to confide in Merlin I believe it must’ve been very hurtful to you. So… please, just tell me what happened,” Leon tells him softly.
Arthur opens his mouth to yell but stops after a second. He is tired and upset but he also knows it was wrong to yell at Leon when he hasn’t done anything except offer his shoulder for Arthur to cry on. Arthur sighs and drops his head again. This is typical of Leon. He is the quietest of the lot and yet the most stubborn. Nothing can hold him down if he has set his hart-, hart upon something. But despite his stubbornness, he is also wise in his counsel, making him a good listener and an advisor. Merlin is another listener in the group but at the moment he is in Arthur’s bad lijst so only Leon can offer a good counsel. Though Arthur keeps shutting everyone from his sight, what he really wants is for someone to listen to his cries, his agony, and misery and tell him what to do. He is lost at the moment and he needs a hand to lead him back. Only he is too arrogant to ask for help.
“Arthur?” Leon touches Arthur’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Leon.”
“I understand, Arthur… we are your vrienden and we will help u in any way we can.”
“Shouldn’t have shouted at you… what did u know, huh? Sorry.”
“How much did u hear?”
“Not much, Merlin was very secretive… guess he didn’t want to upset you.”
“HA! Upset me!!! He’s the cause of all this!” Arthur hisses angrily, pushing away Leon’s hand.
“No, Arthur… I am sure there’s a reason why he lied to you. Merlin has been very loyal to u your whole lives and he wouldn’t keep anything away from u if he didn’t have a reason.”
“It hurts, Leon… knowing your own friend has lied to you!”
“It does Arthur; it does, but try to put yourself in Merlin’s shoes for once, perhaps the reason why he lied to u will dawn upon you.”
“What do u mean?”
“People lie for a reason, and not every lie meant to be harmful. Sometimes a lie can save of destroy a life. That’s the power of a lie and it shouldn’t be ignored. But in Merlin’s case, he had a reason and felt it was justifiable. Thus he decided to stick with his lies, Arthur.”
“Are u suggesting u agree with him?”
“I’m not suggesting anything, Arthur… I am just talking from Merlin’s point of view. That’s all.”
Arthur feels a sense of dejavu with Leon’s words. Guinevere zei exactly that a while geleden and now Leon. How can they be unison with their statement when they haven’t met each other? Or… is Leon betraying him as well?
“Leon? Do u know Guinevere?”
“It sounds familiar,” Leon says and tries to think where did he hear that name. After a while, he smiles. ‘Yes, Merlin was mentioning it to Gwaine, it’s that girl from the hospital’/i] Leon remembers now. “Yes, Merlin mentioned her name a while ago. Why?”
“Have u met her before?”
“We bumped into her at the hospital once. She was there door coincidence and we ran into her though she didn’t stay long. Never had a chance to get acquainted. Though I didn’t hear much, Merlin mentioned her name, linking it with yours.”
Arthur believes Leon. There’s honesty in his words and there’s no reason why Leon would lie to him. “She is another reason why I’m upset.”
“I heard what happened…”
“And u agree with her too? If you’re going to tell me she has reasons for her lies then please leave, because I’m really not in the mood to agree with you.”
“Why are u really upset, Arthur?”
“What do u mean Leon? I am being lied to, stabbed in the back, and it hurts when it dawns that the person who inflict these hurts are those u care about. Wouldn’t u be hurt if u were in my place?”
“I would be, but I don’t think you’re upset because of the lies… that girl, Gwen… she matters to you, doesn’t she?”
“What are u blabbering about, Leon?” Arthur throws his hands up in the air and turns away. His hart-, hart races.
“Something tells me you’re affected door her, not door these lies. She might have lied because of reasons known to her but it’s her you’re angry with, not her lies. Tell me it’s not true, Arthur.”
“I…” Arthur stops. Leon is right. He isn’t angry with the lies but with Guinevere. He’s smitten with her, but knowing she too played him around affected him deeply. He likes her and wants to know her well but after what she did, he can’t bring himself to continue to like her. And it hurts him because deep down his hart-, hart he doesn’t want to hate her. And that made him very angry, with himself.
“You like her, don’t you?” Leon vragen again.
“I do, but… she…”
“She has her reasons, Arthur, did u listen to her?”
“I did, but I didn’t want to believe what she said. I was being… an arse!” Arthur admits.
“That I must agree with, u do that from time to time,” Leon jokes and notices Arthur is smiling too. “And what did she do?”
“She told the truth…”
“Really… how long have u known her?”
“Hours, that’s all, but she spoke like she’s known me for years, Leon. And she was right, in every sense and word, she was right.”
“Me. She kept telling me to come out from the shell I’ve covered myself in, kept telling me to break the barrier… telling me to break free. God, she was right. I have to come out from the walls I’ve sealed myself in, Leon. She reminded me of my mistakes and… she didn’t even know me.”
“Sometimes a stranger can look deeper into our hearts than anyone close. They have a outside perspective that can allow them to sometimes know us better than anyone else, family and vrienden inclusive. And that brings me to my volgende question, is that why u are angry at all of us? Because u like her and you’re upset she lied to you?”
“I like her, Leon, I do not doubt that, but… I don’t get the meaning of your question?”
“It’s a very simple question, Arthur. u like her, perhaps meer than u want to. Since she decided to pull your leg, it made u upset and u hate being upset with her because of your feelings for her.”
“Arthur, I’m not a professional relationship counselor of anything, but I do know that when a person likes of loves someone, it hurts them to hate that person. And they tend to toon their anger, bitterness towards everyone else. No matter how small of big their arguments are, it’s the misunderstanding that broadens the rift, not the issue. I think it’s the same for you. The lies matter not and it’s not something you’ll lose sleep over, but it’s her, the girl. u find it hard to hate her because u really like her and that upsets you. u don’t know how to settle the issue, so you’re darting your bitterness at us.”
“Arthur, a word of advice. I may not know her and perhaps u don’t either, but it’s still early. u like her, fine, but at least find out about her first. u can’t blindly get attached at anyone at first meetings, yeah. I am sure she’s a fine lady but just to be on the cautious side, let’s find out about her first.” Leon cuts Arthur, leaving his friend with no choice but listen.
“I don’t know, Leon, everything is really… jumbled.”
“You need to stop hating her first, that’s for starters, and then that advice she gave you, u might want to think about it. And finally… meet her in person. Talk, open yourself up and let your feelings be known. And then let your hart-, hart decide.”
“You think that’ll work?”
“I don’t know, but let’s find out. And if u need our help, don’t be shy to ask,” Leon finishes.
“Thanks, Leon, I… guess I owe an apology to u and Gwaine.”
“What about Merlin?”
“Not now, Leon… he lied to me and for that, let him lose his sleep tonight. I’ll deal with him tomorrow,” Arthur finishes with a smirk. Leon joins him, smiling.
Lancelot shuts his laptop, slides them into his bag, slings it over his shoulder and looks around for his jacket. He is tired and could use a good night’s sleep. Night? He swipes a quick look at his watch and the time is one thirty in the morning. Great, he thinks. He has to be at the airport door seven and sleep is all he can think of now. Yawning, he massages the injured wrist, looks around for his jas and frowns when he couldn’t find it. [i]‘Damn… where is it?’
he vragen himself and walks over to his desk, peeks underneath and around it. ‘Just when I thought I could get back home pagina early!’
he mutters angrily and walks over to his adjoining room where he usually works his programs, opens it and takes a quick look around. Nope, his jas isn’t around there. Shaking his head in disbelief, not believing he has to endure such misfortune at the wee hours in the morning he closes the room and gets back to his own. He checks the time again and sighs. ‘The hell with the jacket’
he declares and leaves the room, closing it behind him as he steps out. Fishing out his phone, he notices the ten missed calls from his mother. Biting his lip in regret, he wishes he had gotten those calls but unfortunately his phone was on the tafel, tabel when she called. And when she couldn’t get him, she called Gaius instead and then Lancelot heard the dreadful news. His father suffered a minor hart-, hart attack and had to be hospitalized for observation. His mother was terrified and urged Lancelot to get home pagina as soon as possible. Lancelot wanted to leave the very moment he heard the news but unfortunately there weren’t any flights available, and like it of not he had to wait until morning. His thoughts had been on his parents all night and Gaius excused him from the party, allowing Lancelot to follow up with his father’s progress. So far it’s been encouraging news from his father’s side and Lancelot is relived. He doesn’t want anything to happen to his old man. He loves his parents too much to allow anything like that to happen.
Lancelot walks down the escalator and turns left towards the meeting room. He wants to have one final zoek in the room for his jas before leaving. He shifts the position of the bag and hurries towards the door. He grabs hold of the knob, turns it around and pushes the door open. He thrusts his body first and steps in. As he does, Gwen is standing door the cabinet, flipping through some documents. She turns towards Lancelot as the latter steps in, her eyes surprised to see him.
“What are u doing here at this hour?” Lancelot takes a quick look back at his watch, not believing Gwen is still around at this hour. Gwen puts the document away, and picks another.
“Gaius had a phone call this afternoon from the auditors. They are running short of manpower at the moment and decided to bring vooruit, voorwaarts the auditing inspection from volgende week to tomorrow.” Gwen stops and looks at her watch. “Today,” she says with a smile. “And Gaius asked a favour of me, to help him get all the relevant documents prepared. And that’s what I’m doing.”
“At this hour? Couldn’t it wait until tomorrow… later this morning?”
“Nope… they’ll be here in the morning.”
“But you’d be no use to them if u don’t get your sleep, Gwen.”
“No, I’m not involved in the audit process, Gaius and Alice will take care of it. I’m just doing Gaius a favour door preparing the documents.”
“Fair enough, but… I really think it’s odd to find u working at this hour. Do u have any idea what time it is?”
“Yup, but there’s nothing much I can do about the uur if Gaius needs help, Lancelot. I started early, but there’s much to find and zoek for. So far I have managed almost seventy to eighty percent door starting at nine thirty so… I just need a couple hours meer to finish them all.”
“No, Lancelot, u can forget about telling me to get home pagina and get some sleep. I can get all the sleep in the world tomorrow, but now I just want to get all the documents readied,” Gwen interrupts. Lancelot ponders for a while.
“There’s no stopping u when you’ve put your mind to something, is there?”
“Fine, let me help you, at least u can finish it early and get home.”
“No, I’ll be fine. Trust me. u have to get back and ready for your departure later in the morning and u do that. I’ll be all right. u look like u could use some sleep, Lancelot. You’ve been working hard.”
“I’ll be fine and I can get my beauty sleep in the plane. I’m not leaving u here all alone. Let me help you. Tell me what u need and I’ll find it for you,” Lancelot drops his bag on the floor near the chair and closes in volgende to Gwen.
Sighing, Gwen points to a sheet on the table. Lancelot nears it and picks it up. “That’s the lijst of all the documents Gaius needs for the audit.”
Lancelot picks up the lijst and runs through it a while before turning back at Gwen. “All this?”
“Yeah, pretty heavy, huh?”
“You did all this on your own? Gwen… I’m impressed,” Lancelot says, keeps the sheet back on the table. Gwen smiles and continues flipping the documents. “Where are they located?”
“Try the cupboard on your left,” Gwen points and Lancelot moves in the indicated direction. Gwen keeps the document she holds aside and pulls out another. Lancelot opens the cupboard and looks bewildered at all the documents stacked neatly on the shelves.
“This is some pretty neat stuff you’ve got here, Gwen,” he says and runs his finger on the documents. “How will I know which it is u need? Are there any special beschrijving of markings on them?”
“There are some documents marked red and blue. Pull out all those marked red and I will go through it in a while,” she replies. Lancelot nods and starts pulling out the documents.
“Damn!” Gwen swears to herself and looks around the room. Lancelot turns back at her.
“What is it?”
“I think I’ve misplaced my pen… the seconde time today,” she complains and searches. Lancelot smiles to himself.
“Gwen… why don’t u check your ear?”
“Your ear… why don’t u start there,” Lancelot laughs and gets back to his work. Gwen reaches up to her ear and finds her pen there, slid carefully behind it. Feeling embarrassed, she gets back to her work.
It takes Lancelot almost an uur to get all the documents sorted and after arranging them neatly on the table, he closes the cupboard and goes back to the table. Gwen is on the floor, flipping through some old documents.
“This is it… I think we have covered almost all the documents listed.”
“Yeah… there’s one meer to go and we can get back home,” Gwen says without looking at him. Lancelot nods and wipes the sweat trickling down his temple.
“What document is it? Maybe I can find it for you?”
“It’s the company’s profit and loss report,” Gwen replies, shuffling through sheets of documents.
Lancelot scratches his head and inches closer to Gwen and reaches down to pick a folder from the tafel, tabel where all the other documents and folders are arranged. He pulls the folder from the arrangement and shows it to Gwen, wriggling it in front of her face. “Is this it?”
Gwen opens her mouth in excitement. “Yes… where did u find it?” she asks, clutching the document in her hands.
“It was there on the table, all the while.”
“Oh… maybe I forgot I put it there… thanks. Guess that’s it. We are done for the day,” Gwen stands up and places the folder among the other folders and stacks them neatly. Lancelot walks back to his bag and slings it across his shoulder, ready to leave. Gwen does one meer check of the folders, and satisfied, she leaves them on the table, walks to the chair where her bag and jas were left earlier and she picks both up, slinging the bag on her shoulder and dropping her jas across her arm. She then looks around her room for one meer time and walks back to kom bij Lancelot. “Let’s go,” she says and leads the way out. Lancelot follows closely behind. As they reach the door, Gwen searches her bag for the key to lock the door. But she didn’t find it and fear crosses her face. She looks at Lancelot worryingly.
“What is it?”
“The key… I don’t have it with me… I’m not sure where I put it,” she says, her voice worried. Lancelot cranes his eyes and steps up beside her.
“Are u sure u don’t have it?”
“It’s not in my bag, Lancelot… I’m sure I put it there,” she says again.
“Then where could it be?”
“I don’t know…” Gwen says again and bites her thumb in frustration, eyes scanning the space around her.
“Maybe it’s in the room… shall I take a look inside?”
“It’s not there; I dropped it into my bag after unlocking the door… it has to be inside my bag.”
“But it’s not there, Gwen…”
“I know!” Gwen is getting irritated. She is confused, how could the keys go missing. She is sure they were in the bag when she walked inside the room.
“Can I have a look at your bag?” Lancelot offers and she gives him her bag without a seconde thought. She is frightened and panicked. She didn’t care if Lancelot ransacked her bag of her personal belongings; her mind is elsewhere at the moment.
“Here u go,” Lancelot twirls the set of keys in front of her.
Gwen looks at Lancelot and then the keys and then back at Lancelot. “How… where did you?”
“It was in your bag all the while… only u didn’t realise it was there”
“But I searched… I didn’t find it!”
“Because your mind isn’t here Gwen, its elsewhere,” Lancelot gives her back both the keys and the bag.
“Are u suggesting that I wasn’t…”
“No Gwen, please don’t misunderstand me,” Lancelot cuts her off fast. “I’m just saying you’re distracted, that’s all,”
“I am absolutely fine,” Gwen locks the door, glares at Lancelot and walks away without waiting for him. Lancelot hurries after her.
“Gwen… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset u but…”
“But what?” Gwen turns around, her hands on her hips, eyes sharp on him.
“I’ve been noticing u since I arrived and… u seem a little off chord today. Something is disturbing your, that much is obvious. u have a hard time locating things right in front of you, which is surprising because you’re not such a person. It’s seems like you’re occupied door something else at the moment.”
“What is wrong with u guys? u hardly know me, yet u speak as if you’ve known me for years!! Arthur did exactly that, and now you? What is wrong with all of you… is it a habit for u guys of is it something u pick up on the way?”
“I am completely fine, Lancelot! I am focused on my job and I can take care of myself, thank you. I am tired and that’s why I couldn’t find the keys. But if u think u know me and wish to advise me, think again mister! I don’t need your advice of Arthur’s as well. I am fine on my own!!”
Lancelot wants to reply but instead he smiles, irking Gwen further.
“So, it’s him, huh?”
“Gwen… u can go ahead and lie all u want but I’m not buying any of that. You’re affected door Arthur and that’s why your mind seems to be off the charts today, regardless how u convince me. u mentioned his name twice and isn’t that proof enough that he’s been disturbing your thoughts?”
“Yes, in control and blah blah blah… Gwen, please stop trying to convince yourself. It’s not working. u are lost and it’s obvious, end of story. Arthur’s been in your thoughts all dag and it shows.”
“You don’t know that, and u don’t…”
“Yes, I don’t know you, I agree but I’m not a twit either. I know how disturbed a person can be when their mind is occupied door something else while their actions suggest another. I know, Gwen, trust me,” Lancelot says, thinking of himself. He has been distracted for quite some time now and he knows Gwen’s presence has something to do with it. And now Gwen is facing the same problem he is encountering. The only difference is he’s not the cause of her disturbance… it’s someone else. “I have seen your work Gwen and apart from your intelligence, your ability to put your emotions at baai, bay while at work is another trait I was very impressed with. u know how to handle your feelings but unfortunately, tonight isn’t such day. Tell me if I’m wrong, Gwen?”
Gwen didn’t want to answer him. He is right and she hates admitting the truth. She sighs and bites her lips. Since the quarrel, she lost her focus and her mood. Thankfully Gaius had something for her to do of she would have excused herself to get home. It was a painful quarrel and despite confiding her pain through the phone to Morgana, she is still hurting, made worse door the choice of words that came darting at her from him. He didn’t give a single damn about her of her feelings? What sort of a man is he? He was agonized when his father treated him miserably but didn’t he do the same to her a while ago? Yes, she was wrong to lie to him but did it deserve such condemnation? He could have been less harsh with his choice of words. She has feelings too, and is capable of getting hurt just like he is. How come his own rules don’t apply when he’s the offender?
“Sorry, Lancelot…” she doesn’t know how to continue.
“You don’t have to tell me if u choose not to, but don’t convince yourself you’re fine.”
“It was bitter… I didn’t think it would affect him so much. I didn’t lie to him on purpose… I…”
“Gwen, it’s all right. I don’t have to know what happened. I respect your silence on this matter… I was just telling u what I saw.”
“Thank u Lancelot, but… I’m done convincing myself. I am … hurt. Very, very hurt!”
“No u don’t! u have no idea what he said! u should’ve seen they way he was practically devouring me with his words! They were hurtful, Lancelot. Very piercing indeed. I mean, what did I do? It was just a lie… a simple lie to save my bloody arse, that’s all. And it seems wrong in his eye. He thinks I’m one of those who swirl around his leg, laying my cards right and waiting for the opportunity to pounce on his weakness. He thinks I’m no better than his father!! Wouldn’t that hurt you? After all I’ve done for him, one simple lie makes so much difference.”
“Perhaps he was genuinely hurt, Gwen,” Lancelot antwoorden softly. Gwen doesn’t believe her ears.
“Are u on his side Lancelot? Don’t tell me it’s a guy thing.”
“No, but try to put yourself in his place, Gwen… he’s blind and he just got through a traumatic near death experience and he’s cut loose from the world he used to live in. He’s all alone now and I believe someone like him tends to be sensitive, especially when they feel threatened.”
"Yes, I have a friend who’s blind, and the once-cheerful lad is now always insecure about his surroundings. He doesn’t believe in anyone of himself. He’s sensitive to everything and everyone. Poor lad, not only he lost his will to live, he lost his confidence as well. Arthur might be a victim of his own insecurity which explains why he’s prone to sensitivity, even if the subject matter isn’t something worth shouting about.”
Gwen sighs deeply.
“I know how u feel, Gwen, it hurts, yes, but it hurts him even more. I don’t know much about Arthur but from the little I’ve gathered from Merlin and u it looks like he is a good person, victimized door his father’s strict upbringing. He just needs time to adapt, that’s all.”
“So, I should be content with everything he threw at me a while ago?” Gwen is pissed. She didn’t think Lancelot would be on Arthur’s side too.
“No, but do I think u should forgive him.”
“After all he zei to me…”
“I’m sorry, Lancelot… I can’t be kind like you. I’ve got feelings too”
“And so does he. He probably didn’t mean those words either.”
“Didn’t mean it, huh!!!” Gwen scoffs. “Oh he meant them, my friend. He knew what he was saying and I remember each word he uttered.”
“Yes, but try to remember why he zei it. Look, Gwen, it isn’t my business, but speaking from experience I know how hard it takes for a man to adapt to his blindness. My friend endured countless obstacles to finally find his happiness and I’m sure Arthur will too, but, this is his burden and as his friends’. We can only try to share his burden not lift it from him. But we can teach him how to deal with it, though.”
“I don’t get you, Lancelot.”
“I know it may sound offensive, Gwen, but I think we should be patient with Arthur, u know. He’s not the person he used to be but with everyone’s help he can be once again and perhaps a better person too. So, in times like this, patience makes a huge difference. I know how painful it can be for us, but it’s even worse for them, so let’s try and work things out from their perspective, yeah. We let them know we are here for them, allow them to share their burden and bridge the differences between us, pushing their shortcomings aside. We treat them as if they are normal. It builds their confidence, and trust me, it will make a lot of difference. I tried it with my friend and it worked, Gwen. Do you… get what I’m saying?” Lancelot asks and waits for Gwen’s answer. Gwen knows Lancelot’s words make sense but she is really angry at the moment and she can’t think properly. It’s not fair. Why should she back away while Arthur, who yelled at her and accused her to be a liar, needs to be cared and pampered? Is it because he’s blind? There are thousands of blind men and women out there, are they all treated the same way like Arthur?
“You want me to forget all he zei and forgive him.”
“For a start, yes” Lancelot tells her.
“Fine, but what about my feelings? Shouldn’t he be doing something to ease my hurt? of should I be the only one caring for him?”
“I’m sure door now he’s feeling pretty low about what he zei to you, Gwen.”
“What are you, a psychic? How do u know that? Besides, u just met him.”
“I told u I have experience with this and everyone in his place feels the same. u will get around, trust me. For the time being it will be painful but as time flies you’ll learn to forget.”
“No, Gwen. u will, trust me. Just let the hurt go and forget everything that happened tonight. After a good sleep, start your dag brightly and pledge to make yourself happy again. It will work and when u meet him again, be nice. That should do for a start and let the volgende roll door itself.”
“How will I know what to do?”
“You will, u will…”
“I still don’t like your idea, but a good sleep should do wonders for me. Thank u for listening; u made me a lot better.”
“No problem.” Lancelot antwoorden and both of them resume their walk to the main entrance.
“How’s your father?” Gwen asks as they reach the shutter. She unlocks the padlock and steps back while Lancelot pulls the luik, sluitertijd up so that Gwen can step out. As she steps out, Lancelot follows suit and slams the luik, sluitertijd back down and holds it down using his feet. Gwen locks it with the padlock she held in her hand. She gives it a shake and drops the key into her bag.
“Getting better, from what my mother told me,” Lancelot antwoorden as they step out onto the road, leaving the mall behind.
“I’m sure he’ll be all right. He’s got a good family behind him.”
“Thanks.” Lancelot says and yawns loudly.
“Ahh… sleep’s inviting me” he jokes. Gwen smiles and adjusts her bag.
“What time is your flight?”
“Hmmm…” Gwen says. “Let me know about your father when u get home.” she adds. They turn to the right and Gwen steps up the curb.
“Sure,” Lancelot smiles and walks alongside Gwen.