Anneli was watering the rose plant when there was a knock on the door. Anneli opened the door and Dominic paused for a moment before entering. Anneli knew that Dominic’s occasional glances at him were filled with hostility.
“Hello Castor, how are you feeling?”
“Absolutely terrible. I’ve got a fractured rib it seems.”
Dominic sat on the bed by Castor. “I talked to the leader of the caravans, he wanted me to thank you from him.”
“Really? Even I admit it was a pretty stupid thing for me to do.”
Anneli watched them from the other side of the room. He felt irritated and frustrated by being ignored and left out. No matter how nice Castor was he could never talk about the things that Dominic could talk about, he did not know as many things or had as many interesting stories as Dominic. He could also tell that the feeling was mutual. Dominic would glare at him when their eyes happened to meet, every time Anneli said something Dominic would roll his eyes dismissively, every time they were alone without Castor Dominic would completely ignore him.
Anneli looked away from Dominic and Castor and returned his attention to the plant. It murmured and whispered incoherently but Anneli could hear its weak voice more and more each day. It must be taking root, thought Anneli but he was not confident it would survive the trip to Castor’s home. The way that Castor spoke about it, his home seemed unfathomably far away and would require weeks and weeks of travel.
Dominic roared with laughter and Anneli unconsciously turned to look at them again. Dominic had placed his hand on Castor’s thigh. Anneli could tell from Castor’s face ad the tone of his voice that he felt very uncomfortable. Although this was nothing new, Dominic had used any excuse to touch Castor, touching his leg, ruffling his hair, or putting his arm around Castor’s shoulders and pulling him closer. Dominic’s signature move was to laugh a little too loud at one of Castor’s jokes and swiftly pat him on the back or to touch him on the leg. Dominic turned his head slowly and met Anneli’s eyes. Dominic smiled in the condescending way he always did. Beyond furious Anneli opened the door and left the room without a word.