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Cicer Arietinum Interruptus

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Egon was about to bring the fork to his mouth, when the phone rang. Reaching for the cordless by the table, as he usually did, he managed to have his injured thigh press against the table's underside which resulted in some muttered profanity before pressing the “Talk” button.

“Hello...” he growled into the mouthpiece, wincing.

“Egon?” Janine asked at the other end. “I just heard! Are you alright?”

He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose above his glasses, with a sigh. Of course she'd call.

“Yes, I'm fine. Or, I'll be once this heals. Look, I-”

"Oh, I'm so relieved!” she interrupted. “Do you need anything? Any help with cooking?”

“No, I ordered out. I was just about to-”

“Or laundry? Dishes? Cleaning? I really don't mind.” she added, interrupting him again.

He just stared at his food in disbelief and sighed.

“I don't really need anything, right now. I can get around,” he said. “Really, I don't need help.”

Thinking to himself: Plus, the place is a mess, and I'd really rather you don't see me like this.

“What about if you drop something? You have a chemical burn on your thigh...”

“Janine, I'll be alright. I was just about to eat.”

“Oh. I'm sorry if I'm calling at a wrong time,” she replied, sounding disappointed.

“I'll let you know if I need anything,” he added, pushing at stewed chickpeas with the plastic fork that came with his order. He frowned at himself, what was he saying?

“Sure, and I'll be there in a flash,” Janine said, her voice brighter. “So, uh... I'll let you eat dinner, now.”

“Okay. Bye.”

He was pulling the phone away from his ear, barely waiting for her to reply, when he heard her shout: “Egon, wait!”

“What?” he said, working harder than usual at keeping the irritation out of his tone.

“Did... did it hurt?”

He sighed, looking at the ceiling, exasperated.

“It stung? A lot.”

“Oh. I'm sorry,” she replied. “I'll let you go, now. Bye?”

“Hold on!” he said. “If I get any calls, or mail, could you let me know?”

He heard her breath hitch, as it tended to do when she was happy about something concerning him.

“Of course, I'll let you know.”

After they hung up, he allowed himself a small satisfied smile, before resuming his meal.