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[personal profile] xiao_meimei
Kaylee watched the other four sitting around the table. Jayne was sprawling a bit, no manner of manners at all, picking at his teeth while he studied the cards. Mal and Zoe both gave nothing away, though she weren’t particularly sure that they didn’t have some sort of system worked out the way they was winning most of the hands between them. Mal was relaxed, least a bit, a little smile on his lips. Zoe, too, looked to be enjoying herself, and all things considered, Kaylee was right glad to see that for a change. Truth was, they all still missed Wash something fierce, but life went on and they had to or they’d stay still an die, and that weren’t a’tall what he’d have wanted.

Of course, it was Simon who kept her gaze the longest. He didn’t seem t’understand the idea of a poker face in the least, every card he got reflected clear on his expression. His bluffing skills weren’t nothing at all, despite the fact she knew for a fact he’d pulled a good one a time or two. Weren’t like he was ever gonna let her die, that time she’d got shot. Even she’d known that, but Mal sure had believed him then. Seemed as if when River’s life weren’t on the line, he lost that skill, though, ‘cause he had to be about the worst poker player she’d ever seen.

“Kaylee, it’s your turn,” Mal said, his voice cutting across her reverie. “Mind you pay a bit of attention to the game, you hear?”

Kaylee knew her cheeks were hot as she looked down at her cards, then around the table again, before tossing another scrap of paper with her chores written down on it into the pile. “I’m in, with dishes for a week.”

Simon frowned more, and Kaylee could tell, sure as could be, that he ought to fold and take his losses. Likely, they could all tell that, but he glanced at her, then tossed a scrap of paper in. “I’m in, with washing out the cargo room.”

Jayne shook his head. “Boy, you really ain’t got a lick of sense, do you?”

It fell out as it had to, with Simon ending up with a mess of chores in front of him, including most of Kaylee’s.

“Don’t worry,” she said, voice low, when the other’s had gone off to celebrate their victory. “I’ll help.”

He shook his head, hand covering hers, just briefly. “No. You take the week and just relax a bit. Spend some time playing with River or doing whatever you want to do. You deserve some free time.”

“I ain’t the only one,” she protested, but his hand on hers was right distracting, and she wasn’t sure she wanted him to take it away, ever.

He didn’t, at least not right away. In fact, he held it a bit tighter and a bit longer, and when he let it go, he was still smiling that smile that made her all warm on the inside and chores and poker were the two last things on her mind.

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Kaylee Frye

November 2008

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