Weekend by Jane Eaton Hamilton Read Free Book Online

Book: Weekend by Jane Eaton Hamilton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jane Eaton Hamilton
Could she at least acknowledge that the blueprints were changing?
    â€œThose guys aren’t coming over, right? You were willing to stop everything and visit with them,” said Joe, rising to take Scout back. “So visit us instead. Come on. How are you feeling? Still flu-ish?”
    â€œNot flu-ish. It came, it went.” Elliot slumped beside her, brooding and resentful. She watched Joe’s clumsy attempts to get Scout latched and drummed her fingers on the coffee table. Scout fussed when she couldn’t quite figure out the nipple. The milk drips started again which made latching harder. Joe opened her mouth at the baby to mimic what she wanted: wide open, guppy-lipped. And Scout responded. Silence reigned; the baby suckled, and Joe winced at a new pain she supposed was good news.
    â€œWe should watch the latching movie the midwife gave us,” said Joe.
    Elliot drew in a sharp breath.
    â€œWhat I said earlier. You really could think about breast-feeding, Elliot.”
    â€œDo I have to remind you I don’t have nipples?”
    â€œNow you’re being intentionally stupid.”
    â€œI’ll be back at work in the fall,” said Elliot. “You’re off for a year. You have the freedom.” Ell looked small and vulnerablesuddenly. “And Joe, if it’s okay, could you maybe not mention my deficiencies again, please?”
    Elliot suffered phantom pain and numb skin. Can you feel that? Joe would ask, trickling her finger across Elliot’s chest or arm. No, Elliot would say. Now? No. Now? Maybe, sort of.
    â€œGod, you’re crabby. You don’t have to be mean, Ell. I’m just trying to do the best thing for Scout.” She paused, thought, didn’t resist. “Also I don’t see why you have to sleep with Logan anymore.”
    Ell rose. “You asked me to come sit with you and now you’re attacking me. Can I say anything right?”
    Joe thought about that. “Probably not. Probably no, you can’t.”
    Elliot said, “Look, please, for fuck’s sake, don’t pick a fight with me when you don’t mean to.” She tickled the baby’s cheek.
    â€œI might mean to,” said Joe, tears tracking down her cheeks. “The book even says you are not supposed to leave me alone this week, not once, not for an instant. You read it, I know you read it.”
    Elliot shrugged. “You’re not alone alone. I don’t want to argue. I wasn’t trying to do anything against you. Or us. I’m happy about Scout.”
    â€œAbout the baby, but that’s where your interest here stops.”
    â€œWell, I don’t want her to grow up hearing our fights, Joe, I don’t. We’re patterning the experiences she’ll gravitate toward later on. I know you don’t want to hurt her future chances either.”
    â€œI don’t, but—”
    â€œI am pulling with you, Joe. I am. I’m just overwhelmed with some things, some things I wasn’t expecting, that I’m having trouble dealing with.”
    â€œSee? See? I knew it!”
    â€œDon’t go off the deep end now. Don’t. You do this. You explode into a fervour when I haven’t said anything to rile you up.”
    â€œOkay, fine. Okay. What things?”
    â€œNothing things. Work things, some of them.” Elliot shrugged. “ Things, okay?”
    â€œYou need to show me you care, is all,” said Joe.
    â€œDon’t I show you? Isn’t cooking for you showing you?” Ell did almost all the cooking. A lot of the cleaning. She was no slouch around the house. And no slouch as a partner either, most of the time. Most of their years.
    â€œI need you to notice me ,” said Joe. There were small snuffling noises at her breast, but Scout kept falling asleep instead of nursing and coming off the nipple open-mouthed, head canted like a drunk—finally food comatose. Could babies feel the stress between a

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