I didn’t really feel like going back to my tent, but I pretended to go there, then walked by it and away from the whole sight. I didn’t realize how far I’d gone, until my ankle cuff shocked me. I looked back and saw I was well away from everyone else. I sat down and hit the stupid cuff. You run away one time and they put you under house arrest. But then again I did shoot at the boys.
But really it was just so I wouldn’t run away again. I looked at it for the hundredth time. I had actually gotten it off one time, but it set off a silent alarm and got me in trouble. Could you imagine, being married and under house arrest? Not much of a honeymoon when you can’t go more than one thousand feet away from your home. Or three hundred thirty three point three yards. I got bored one day.
I lay back and sighed. I felt a thick wave of guilt wash over me. Then I felt really bad. So I started crying. I didn’t want to not be together. I loved him more than myself. I loved feeling his warm body next to mine.
I loved him with no doubt. And I wanted to marry him, even if the honeymoon would have to be postponed. But I just wasn’t what he needed. It wasn’t even the age difference. Age didn’t exist when I was with him. I guessed he was cussing and pacing back and forth in his tent right now; it’s what he usually did when he was upset. I loved the feeling of the sand underneath my body. I dug my fingers deep into it.
There was a lot of sand here. It matched my hair color, sort of. Sandy blonde, if you don’t include the other colors blended in. The sky matched my eyes during the day, brilliant blue. I’ve always been very proud of my eye color. I know I’m pretty, and I know that has nothing to do with why Danny loves me. Well, it might be part of it.
"So, do you and Danny fight like that often?" Rob called out.
"No, I did it on purpose, just like he said."
"Why? Do you actually like drama?" He sat down beside me.
"No, I was just trying to be immature so he’d realize what he needed. Someone who can understand him better than me."
"You know what would get him really mad?"
"Getting caught cheating on him?"
"How did you know?"
"I’ve already thought of it, and since that offer you made, I could guess."
"Oh, you’re good."
"But I wouldn’t do that to him."
"What offer?" another voice said. It was Danny. I sat up.
"Shit, how long have you been standing there?" I said.
"Getting caught cheating on me. And, well, I heard everything. But I’m curious, what offer has Robby made you?"
"Well, tell him Robby."
"I told her that I’d gladly sleep with her and with me she wouldn’t have to worry about age with me." He said matter-of-factly.
"As if that’s the problem." I mumbled. Danny walked over to him and pulled him up by the shirt. Then he pushed him towards the tents.
"Get out of here you little bastard."
"Be nice Danny." I warned. He watched Robby until he was a good ten yards away. Then walked over to me and looked down at me. I stared at the moon, to avoid his eyes.
"This is ridiculous."
"Yeah, I guess it is."
"What do you plan to do about it?"
"Nothing, I’m just going to relax. I finally don’t have to worry about Shaun anymore. I think I’m going to take a few minutes to just take it easy, and push my unsolved issues aside. I need some peace of mind. I haven’t had hardly any time to myself since I ‘joined the army’. I just want to sleep under the stars one night, and not worry about anything."
"The snakes might come get you."
"What about coyotes?"
"They can join the party." I said lightly.
"They’re invited too." I closed my eyes and sighed contently. I wasn’t worried about desert animals. They hardly came around camp. And if they did happen to come around tonight, well, I think that’d be okay. I was suddenly lifted.
"Put me back down." I whined.
"You wanted me to sleep with you, didn’t you?"
"I was trying to argue with you."
"So you don’t want to?" I opened my eyes and bit my lip. After a moment I shook my head.
"No, not tonight. I just want to sleep on the sand."
"There’s sand beside my tent."
"No, I like it right here."
"Alright." He set me down and walked away. I closed my eyes. I stretched out, shoving my arms and legs under the sand. A moment later Danny came back with blankets and pillows.
"Oh, you didn’t have to do that."
"Yes I did. It gets very cold."
"You don’t have to stay."
"You’re not staying by yourself."
"I can’t run off, it hurts."
"Did you try?"
"No, I didn’t realize how far I went. Besides, I know you don’t like sleeping outdoors. Maybe Robby would like to stay out here with me."
"Over my dead body."
"Careful what you wish for darling."
Danny grumbled something unintelligible. I felt a breeze as he spread out the blankets on the ground. He lifted me and I felt cloth under me a second later. My head rested on a pillow. Then I felt a blanket come over me. Then Danny’s arms were around me. He pulled me close to him.
"Goodnight Rachael. I’ll let you off tonight, but tomorrow we’ve got some things to discuss."
"We’ll see. I might take a week off. I haven’t felt this good in a long time."
"Since you ran away."
"Yes. Except this is better, because you’re here."
I awoke with the sun shining down on my face. I saw Danny was gone. I wondered if he had to leave. I knew he wasn’t much for sleeping under the stars. I sat up. Then I heard someone clear their throat. I turned around to see a large group was looking at me. All of my friends. I wasn’t sure what was going on.
"Um, hey guys. Nice night for sleeping out side don’t you think?" No one replied. "What?" I asked. Then it hit me. It kind of slipped my mind that I should tell them about Danny and I. And after seeing the argument, after what I had shouted… I covered my mouth. "Oh dear God." I gasped. The second time I had been caught. Everyone sat in a circle around me.
"What the hell is going on Rachael?" Harold asked. There were ten of them. Harold, Greg, Alec, Niles, Johnson, Jennifer, Hannah, Alex, Rodney, and Isaac.
"I guess I have some explaining to do. Where’s Danny?"
"He’s been assigned to clean the kitchen this morning." Hannah explained. I sighed.
"So how much did you hear last night?"
"Oh, something about being a baby and immature." Rodney said.
"Something about wanting to sleep with him." Alex added.
"Something about being bossy." Johnson said.
"Something about how you two are together. And that’s all that needs to be said since you haven’t told us about it!" Isaac barked.
"Yeah, so, Danny and I are going out."
"No, really?" Alec said sarcastically. I stuck my tongue at him.
"I think I should…" I stood up and ran. I jumped over Niles while running. He grabbed my ankle and I tripped.
"You’re not going anywhere."
"Does it really matter? We’re going out, there’s not much more to say."
"And when did you plan on telling us? Does your father know?"
"Yes, Father knows. And I was going to tell you, I just sort of forgot." I was still standing, with my right foot on the air because Niles was still holding it.
"Could you let go?" I asked.
"Are you going to run?" he asked.
"No." He let go. I sat down beside him. "It’s hot out here. Let’s go sit in some shade." I suggested.
"Attention, there has been a direct on enemy approach. All soldiers please report to the front lines." The speaker said. Everyone was standing in a few seconds, including me. We all ran back to camp. I quickly found Father, who was getting his gun.
"How many are there?" I asked.
"A lot. Maybe six hundred."
"That’s a hundred more than us." We had a smaller army because we usually joined others to fight. Well, they did.
"I’m coming, I want to help."
"No, I don’t think so. You’re going to stay in the safety of the shelter."
"No, I want to come."
"Are you testing my authority?"
"No sir. I just want to help. You need everyone you can get."
"We’ll be fine, now get to the mess hall. We’ll be back soon." He started running towards the front line. I could shoot (I’d been practicing after the disappointing misses at Shaun), I wasn’t scared, and they needed me. I ran to the gun supply and waited. Everyone was taking a gun and heading toward the enemy. I jumped in line and had a gun in my hand in seconds. I kept my head down, so no one would recognize me. I arrived at the front lines soon.
"Anyone who isn’t fighting please report to the mess hall." The speaker announced. This wasn’t like me, to disobey big orders. But that was what I was doing, and it was too late to turn back now. I was in the third row as I arrived. I loaded my gun with ease, quicker than some.
"Everyone get ready, they’re coming." Father shouted. He started barking out orders, telling us what to do. I saw Danny was in the first row. He was only a few people over. All he’d have to do was look back. I kept my head down. But I had to look up as the enemy approached.
"Rachael, is that you? What are you doing here?" I heard Greg whisper.