“Why are we hiding Human Friend Steve?” Thrustup asked from where he poised on the shelf over the human.
Human Friend Steve started with a profanity and jerked away from the wall he had been pressed against.
“I’m not hiding!” Human Friend Steve insisted, his stripped skin flushing brilliant colors in turn as the blood flow altered.
“Really?” Thrust Up asked. “I thought that posture and your relationship to the local environments indicated an attempt at concealment. I will have to-“
“Maybe I was hiding a little,” Human Friend Steve admitted, rubbing he primary gripping appendage over his face, sending the colorful stripes there rippling. “I didn’t mean to be hiding. It was just-“
“An instinctive reaction to some threat?” Thrustup asked, his voice going flat as unease made him loose control of his ability to generate sound.
“Not a threat,” Human Friend Steve said with a resigned sigh.
The human angled his core mass so his sensory concentration, his ‘head’, was aimed around the corner.
“Just avoiding another human,” Human Friend Steve confessed.
“Is there a dispute between you?” Thrustup asked, adding concern to his voice.
“No, no,” Human Friend Steve said, adding with a gesture of his primary gripping appendage that the idea was so far from the truth that it ought to be dismissed and not brought up again. “We’re fine. Really. It’s just I was up a little late last night and I don’t want to be stuck next to that chatter box till the coffee kicks in.”
“Chatter box?” Twistunder asked after a pause.
“Human Friend Madeline,” Human Friend Steve explained. “She talks a lot, and she has a kind of high pitched voice. It doesn’t bother me when I’m properly rested, but when I’m still groggy.” He waved his gripping appendage in a gesture of generic confirmation.
Thrustup considered this.
“Why are you hiding then?” he asked.
“I’ m not hiding!” Human Friend Steve protested again. “Not really. I just don’t want to hurt Maddie’s feelings so I’m waiting to go for the coffee pot until she goes out to the gardens.”
“How would you hurt her feelings?” Thrustup asked.
“By refusing to listen to what she his saying,” Human Friend Steve explained as he peered around the corner again.
“Will not your hiding from her over here hurt her feelings in the same way?” Thrustup asked.
“She won’t know about it if people keep quiet,” Human Friend Steve muttered.
“Do you wish me to stop talking?” Thrustup asked. “Or I can lower the pitch of my voice.”
Human Friend Steve loosened and let the broad, bony surface of his head slap into the wall.
“I need coffee for this conversation,” he groaned.