The book was funny. Of course it was. Rae would have expected no less from Elliot, than to bring her a funny book. Laughter was the best medicine, she firmly believed that, and she spent the next little while chuckling on and off about little comments here and there.
"Given enough time, I guess anything can look good. All it has to do is survive." Rae stared at that sentence for a minute. The appropriateness was astounding. Of course, she wasn't planning on dying here… it would take a lot more than a cold-flu-pneumonia-plague to kill her, after all. But it wasn't just appropriate to her. The rest of the world… it could survive. And because it survived, the new normal would start to look normal, and normal would look good. She smiled to herself, bad mood quashed… at least a little bit. For now. Just my a simple quite, a simple sentence.
She was about to flip the page when she heard a little bit of rustling at the curtain that partitioned her "room." She wasn't sure what she expected, but the first thought that sprang to mind was that it was her father, returning already from his rushed departure because he was worried. She prepared a hurried "please just go" speech, just in case.
However, it wasn't her father.
As a matter of fact, it wasn't Eli or Sarah or anyone else she knew. Arching an eyebrow, Rae looked at the stranger in surprise. It wasn't like she kept herself, her name, who she was hidden. And she had broadcast on the intranet that she fell off a boat in November, so it wasn't like no one knew that she was in here. It was just a surprise… having a stranger, particularly an older stranger, for that matter, visiting her.
To be honest, she wasn't sure what to think of that. A stranger, visiting her while she was fighting back as hard as she could against an illness that could easily kill a weaker person in the world they lived in.
A stranger, who saw fit to call her "kiddo," apparently. Was he a friend of her father's? As horrible as it sounded, Rae didn't know her father to really have any friends… at least not any that he kept after Carnegie fell. Still, it seemed the logical conclusion, considering how guarded and close-to-the-vest everyone kept their lives nowadays. She was quiet for a second, trying to think of the right way to respond. "I'm Rae," she introduced herself in return, hating the way her voice sounded… all haggard and throaty, like she was Kermit the Frog's long-lost, chain-smoking cousin. "But I guess you knew that," she added, still a little bit suspicious of his presence. They were strangers, aside from a post on the intranet that only Laney and that Stone lady had commented on. Unless he was a friend of her father's.
If he was a friend of her father's, though, why hadn't she heard about him? Or at least been made aware of his existence?
His next comment dissuaded that thought. He was essentially a stranger, who'd heard about her dive session on the intranet and was what, altruistic enough to bring her a pair of pink slipper-sock things and a blanket? In today's world… that didn't make any sense. Most everyone (she said most everyone, because she knew of a few people off the top of her head who weren't that way) were only out for themselves.
And yet, here was a relative stranger, who decidedly couldn't be a friend of her father's, bringing her "get well" type gifts.