“I thought you’d take me to one of your shelters.” Robert was fixing his own plate when Stephen spoke again. Robert looked up; there was a note of censure in Stephen’s voice. He took in the paleness and the sweat beading on Stephen’s face; the kid was hurting bad.
“Sit down before you fall down.” Robert ordered as he brought two plates over to the table and put one plate down at the chair across from his. “Is that what you want me to do? Drop you off in a shelter?”
“Yes! No, hell I don’t know Robert.” Stephen sighed and pulled out the seat. “I don’t want to be a bother and there are people out there far worse off than me.”
“I’m rarely here, and the way I see it you’re pretty bad off.” Robert dug into his food; he spoke plainly with Stephen just the way he always did. “You’re broke, you’re homeless and until you no longer look like Satan’s punching bag, you’re unemployed.”
“Thanks for the pep talk.” Stephen’s remark was wryly spoken, but there was a hint of a smile on his face as he hesitantly sampled the lasagna. Apparently it met with his approval because he began to eat with gusto and talking between bites. “Either way, I’m not looking for a handout.”