Circus ~ 28

Corrine sat on the steps that led up to her trailer staring off into the distance, her high-waisted, floor-length skirt billowing around her legs.  She couldn't get the man from the night before out of her head.  It was a little scary that he had come behind the tent after the show but at the same time she liked the attention he had paid to her, she wasn't used to it.  She received attention from Kaleb all the time, but it wasn't returned and it mainly made her feel uncomfortable.

"What are you doing looking so thoughtful?"  Kaleb asked, emerging from their trailer, his shirt half unbuttoned and his hair a tangled mess, having clearly just got out of bed.

"Nothing much," Corrine replied.  "I was just thinking."

"Really?"  He said, jumping off the steps, walking around them and sitting below her.  "Tell me about it."

"I'd rather not," she said.

"We're partners, Corrine," Kaleb protested.  "We tell each other everything.  I thought you would trust in me as your friend too."

"I do trust you," Corrine mumbled.

"Then tell me what's on your mind."  He took her hand in his for a moment before Corrine's reflexes kicked in and she pulled it back.  "What's wrong with you?  It's that man from last night, isn't it?  Did he say something to upset you?  If he hurt you then I'll find him and show him-"

"No, it's nothing like that," Corrine said.  "It's nothing to do with him.  I just don't want to share my every thought with you."  Both Kaleb and Corrine were shocked by the sharpness of Corrine's tone and words, neither knowing what to say.

"I need to clear my head," Corrine said, standing up from 

"Let me come with you," Kaleb said, standing up to follow her.

"I need to be alone," Corrine insisted.  "Please just listen to me this once and stay here."  She walked off without another word and to her great relief, Kaleb didn't follow her.

She was beginning to wonder how much more she could take of Kaleb's adoring looks and constant presence by her side.  Telling him how she felt wasn't an option, not if she wanted to keep him as her partner and if she lost her partner then she wouldn't be able to stay in the circus for much longer.  Kaleb would never leave, he had nowhere else to go and it was much easier for a knife-thrower to find a new assistant than it was for an assistant to find someone to perform with.  Kaleb could perform without an assistant, Corrine couldn't perform without a partner.

Corrine groaned and kicked at the grass.  She was stuck in an impossible situation.  She didn't want to leave the circus, it was the only life she had ever known but at the same time she didn't know how much longer she could endure Kaleb's advances before she had to say no.

The End

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