"I'm heading out for a while," David said from behind me. After
seeing my panic that first time he left me alone, he'd taken to
announcing when he was going somewhere. It wasn't necessary any
longer but I thought it was a nice consideration.
"Okay." I set my book down on the coffee table and turned around.
"Hey, can you pick up some-" The sight of David in his uniform
shocked me into stopping short.
"I thought you were on leave." I felt the panic well up inside of
me. I understood that he wouldn't be on leave forever, but he was
supposed to have a few months, at the very least. What would I do
if he was deployed again so soon? My ankle was much better than
before, but it wasn't completely healed. Even if it was, I still
had no idea where to go.
"Supposed to be." He made a face as he adjusted his cuff before
looking up and noting the fear in my eyes.
"They assured me I wasn't going anywhere," he said quickly. "It's
just a briefing. Some special situation or something."
"Oh." I relaxed.
"Did you want something?" He reminded me of what I'd been about
"Just some milk and butter. There's no more." I always felt a
little guilty asking him for things. But at least, I reasoned it
wasn't just for me. He was using it too. I wouldn't have
hesitated giving him the money I had as payment for everything,
but my future was so uncertain, I couldn't afford to do that.
Especially since he hadn't asked for anything yet.
"Sure." David nodded. "I'll see you later."
Once he left, I read for a while longer, but as had become common
in the last few days, I began to feel restless.
I was beyond grateful that I had a safe place to stay, but it was
hard to ignore the fact that my sanctuary was also my prison.
Without knowing how I was found on those cameras, I couldn't risk
doing more than looking out the window. Which I did so often that
David didn't even bat an eye anymore when I suddenly stopped
whatever I was doing to go peer through the curtains.
Obviously I wouldn't trade my situation for what it had been
before, but it didn't escape my notice that I had about the same
amount of freedom as I did while under Wescott's watchful eye.
The only difference was that I wasn't locked in or guarded around
the clock. But I was still basically imprisoned by him. It was
just in a slightly different way.
A few hours later, I found myself at the window for the third
time today, seated on the small ledge and looking down on the
street below. I hadn't experienced much envy in my life, but now
watching the clusters of people hurrying about their normal
activities, completely unaware of me and my situation, I felt it
alright. I almost hated them for their easy existence and
probably boring lives. The young mother who already had too many
kids, trying to juggle them all along with her groceries. The
teenagers who were obviously skipping out on school for the day.
The businessmen hurrying by, talking on their phones.
My eyes landed on a familiar army man, making his way down the
street, and a small smile replaced the scowl on my face, the
irritation and jealousy fading away. Maybe my situation wasn't
all bad, I mused. I never would have guessed that a random
stranger on the street, with whom I had almost nothing in common,
would wind up being the first man I started falling for. But
falling, I was. It was almost impossible not to see David that
way after everything he's done for me. Specifically over the last
few days, when he offered security and comfort from my nightmares
without knowing any details.
After falling asleep in the movie the other night, he woke me up
a few more times in the middle of the night when I was having
some particularly traumatizing dreams.
I knew my feelings weren't one-sided either. For some reason,
even as the completely needy and emotional mess that I was
turning out to be, David seemed to reciprocate my budding
feelings. There was nothing monumental yet. Mostly it was just
looks and small comfort things like when he put his arm around me
the other night, but it was pretty hard to miss.
Trying to view myself from his perspective, I couldn't really
understand it. In his place, I would have found someone like me
to be obnoxious and a burden. But maybe he just liked being
needed. Which was ironic considering a few months ago, I didn't
need anything from anyone.
My perusal out the window left me satisfied that I was still
secure, so I decided to get started on some sandwiches for a late
lunch while I waited for David to arrive.
Finishing up with the ham, I heard the telltale sounds of the
door being closed and locked, and a few minutes later, David
stood in the doorway of the kitchen as I topped the sandwiches
with slices of bread.
I was about to make some clever remark, but changed my mind when
I looked up and saw his serious expression.
"Hey," I said instead, wondering what was wrong. I couldn't
identify his mood, other than knowing that something had clearly
His answering greeting was a clipped hi as he looked at me
strangely. He almost seemed angry, but not quite.
I could be sure that whatever had upset him had nothing to do
with me, since he was fine when he left and because he brought
the things I asked for. Whatever it was that they called him in
for must have been bad to put that look on his face and my mind
immediately jumped to one conclusion.
"You're not leaving?" I asked worried.
"No." Again his answer was short and he seemed nothing like his
usual self as he stood there watching me oddly.
I decided to do what he normally did with my weirdness and act as
though nothing were wrong. After all, if he wasn't going anywhere
and wasn't angry with me, not much else worried me. Besides, he
would probably appreciate the distraction the way I always did.
"You know, I beat your score in Mahjong yesterday." I put the lid
on the mayonnaise jar and then twisted the bag of bread closed
before I glanced at him again.
"You kind of suck."
Apparently my diversion worked. David smiled slightly and let out
a heavy sigh.
"Well it's been a few years since I played on this computer. I'll
have to give it a shot again. I'm sure I've improved."
Something was still off, but at least he seemed a little more
like himself. I was dying to know what was on his mind, but I
knew he wasn't allowed to tell me and wouldn't disregard his
orders that way. I was obscenely curious though. To my knowledge,
things never really bothered David. I would just have to try to
keep the atmosphere light and hope this wasn't too serious.