Seven

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The Hat People did find them on Sunday, stumbling out of the bush. Sigmund was feeling okay about it all, though. They'd eaten rabbit and Fantales and laughed around the fire. Then Sigmund had fallen asleep on the rocks, the day's panic catching up to him. When he woke, he was sore from the ground but less so from his arm. Then Lain had asked if he felt like a badass yet, roughing it in the bush.

Most of the rest of Sunday was spent getting fussed over by doctors and pumped full of ibuprofen for his shoulder. As long as he didn't try lifting anything heavy, or reaching upward, he was okay.

He did have to sign a lot of forms, though. Waivers saying he wouldn't sue the company or speak to the press. Lain scowled at his paperwork for a long time before putting his own name down.

"Do you think there'd be money in it?" Sigmund asked, only half joking. "Suing, I mean."

"No," said Lain. "And I wouldn't try. LB's lawyers are notoriously vicious."

Sigmund signed.

They got driven back in a special car, which Sigmund thought was nicer than the bus, even if he did sleep most of the way. The driver dropped him off outside his house, and he waved good-bye to Lain from the lawn.

By the time Sigmund's keys turned in the lock, the whole trip was starting to feel a long way away.

Apparently he hadn't been missing long enough to be on the news or anything. When he walked into the kitchen, Dad was busy chopping onions and looked up with an "I thought you weren't back until later tonight?"

"Yeah," Sigmund said. "About that." And he told his dad the story.

He wasn't sure what reaction he was expecting, really. What he got was a face full of Dad's oniony apron, and arms crushing him so tight it hurt to breathe.

"Dad," he said. "Dad, I'm okay, really."

But David didn't let go for a very, very long time.

Tuesday morning, back at work after the long weekend. Harrison had emailed, offering Sigmund the day off. He'd declined. His arm was mostly fine and he wasn't dead. Besides, he had things to do.

"How was camping?"

Like this.

"I nearly fell off a cliff and died," Sigmund said. "Then we got lost in the bush and slept overnight on rocks eating Fantales."

Em didn't look up from where she was busy fiddling with her tablet, a Pyre Flash. "Mmm. So I heard. A good time was had by all, then."

Sigmund leaned against the edge of the desk, feigning nonchalance. Em's cubicle was at the end of the row, wedged between a wall and a window. Their nearest neighbor was at least two desks away and busy throwing a tiny football to someone across the partition.

(now or never . . . )

"Em . . . can I ask you something?"

"Is it work related?"

"No."

"Well good. I'd hate to have to do actual work at work. Shoot." She still wasn't looking up, which made the next part easier.

"How do you know if you're, you know. Bisexual."

Em didn't miss a beat. "You find yourself sexually and/or romantically attracted to both men and women."

"Oh." Sigmund thought for a moment. "What if it's, y'know. Not all men and women, just, like. Some."

Em did look up, then, arching one eyebrow above her glasses. "Then maybe you're a two on the Kinsey scale."

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