This brisk morning everyone devoured their meal, anticipating the hard work of harvesting the Rock's crops. Every table filled with the harvest crew — all except the table where Leo sat. He breakfasted at one end while half a dozen others huddled at the other. Surreptitious glances in his direction told him several conversations centered on him. He ate with little appetite.
His seat faced the door, and he saw Elijah walk in. The lean doctor scanned the room. As their eyes met, Elijah brightened and beelined to the table, calling out a warm hello. He settled in the seat across from Leo, and conversation in the dining hall quieted. Every eye stared their way. Leo's heart sank lower.
Elijah met the stares, his expression still friendly but his eyes sharp. One by one, the other diners dropped their eyes and turned away. Conversation hummed throughout the room once more. He flashed a wry grin at Leo. "You're the popular man these days."
Leo sighed. "Mrs. Short is making her influence felt. Are you sure you want to sit here?"
"Of course." The question seemed to offend him. "I'm not ashamed to have you as a friend. Besides, I don't lose sleep over not being on Geraldine’s good side."
"Maybe you should. It might be healthier."