Insubstantially Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 29 (v.1)

Submitted: January 05, 2013

Reads: 121

Comments: 1

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Submitted: January 05, 2013




"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 to ask.
"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 upset him. 
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.

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