Jeanne: This Business

Druce turned at Jason's entrance; but he did not speak, for it had not been he who had asked for the pending discussion. The surgeon's words were harsh, not, perhaps, with anger, but with some large and tight emotion wedged in his throat that neither water nor food could push away. Druce watched him warily, saw the light in his eyes cloud and darken, saw his hands unconsciously ball into tight fists against his thighs, saw his lip tremble with the force of those half-suppressed feelings. The words burst from Jason as if he had not wanted to speak them, but could not keep them to himself; and Druce, for all his native blood and sharp eyes, could not see with certainty the meaning behind them.

He waited. There was no sound between them, and the candle on the table flickered impatiently. He thought later that perhaps it would have been better had he kept silent and let Jason clarify, but instead he stirred slightly with a superfluous glance out the window and said in an undertone, "You fear there will be many under your knife after tomorrow?"

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