"Ha!" I threw a superior glance over my shoulder toward David. "Just broke 2,500."
This little Mahjong tournament we were doing turned out to be a nice way to get things back to normal. It took a while for that look to totally abandon David's eyes, but he seemed like his carefree
self again. The only difference now was this top secret mission that required him to be gone several hours in the day, and that he became much more paranoid when he left. He made sure to tell me to
secure all the locks once he was gone, and he made me promise not to open the door for anyone. Which just made me more curious about what took place at that meeting of his. The only scenario I
could imagine was that there was some high terror alert, but that idea didn't completely fit with his behavior and attitude. As long as David seemed more normal though, I figured it couldn't be so
"No way," he said in disbelief, materializing beside me and crouching down.
"You must have..." He stopped when I turned to find his face mere inches from mine. Staring into his eyes, I knew that Mahjong was suddenly the last thing on either of our minds.
After a few seconds, the distance separating us shrunk considerably and I honestly wasn't sure which one of us moved or if both of us had. I probably wouldn't have thought about it at all had David
not so abruptly restored the space between us wearing that startled look and focusing on the computer monitor in a glaringly obvious avoidance maneuver.
"You must have cheated." His tone was way off the mark from the playful accusation he was probably going for, but I was just glad that he couldn't see the embarrassment coloring my cheeks since he
seemed set on never tearing his eyes away from the screen again.
"Well, why don't you try and figure out how I did it then." I didn't get anywhere near my usual banter tone either, but all I could think about was putting more distance between us. I quickly
evacuated the chair and went to the window, anxious avoid this just like we avoided every other awkward situation and act as if nothing happened.
I stared out the window without seeing anything, furious with myself for all the typically feminine feelings that were suddenly impossible to ignore. For the first time in my life, I felt
inadequate and I couldn't help wondering what I'd done wrong. Common sense was telling me that it didn't matter. I didn't have to prove myself worthy of David or anyone and that I hadn't done
anything wrong. But my wretched mind kept trying to pinpoint something and I couldn't stop berating myself for the clearly wrong assumption that David somehow shared my feelings.
Of course he didn't. Why would he? As far as he knows I'm nothing special. I thought I liked the fact that according to him, I was pretty average, but now I wasn't so sure.
One of the things I liked best about being around David was all the new things I was able to feel - real friendship and genuine acceptance with the possibility to be more. Freedom to be someone
totally different and of my own choosing. But this bitter taste of rejection was something I could have lived without. It was making me wonder if the rest of it was worth it. Maybe it was smarter
to keep people at a distance the way I had my whole life. No emotional entanglements meant that no one could hurt you.
It was most assuredly best for my situation since I wouldn't be able to stay here forever. Even though I had no earthly clue how, I was going to have to leave David sooner or later. That alone made
it wise to keep things light and as uncomplicated as possible with him.
Stuffing down the feelings as best I could, I decided to do an actual assessment out the window before going to hide in the bedroom for a while.
The streetlights provided enough illumination that the descending darkness wasn't much of an issue as I hastily scanned the people scattered down below.
Just as I was about to push away from the window, my eyes landed on a lone figure, standing in the shadowy patch across the street and my breath caught in my throat.
He was inconspicuous and I nearly missed him, just barely spying the small briefcase at his feet. If not for my perfect vision, I probably would have missed it entirely.
My fingers dug into the window ledge as I willed the man to lift his head. Squinting into the near darkness, I saw that it wasn't a cell phone in his hand the way I'd hoped. It was a small,
rectangular object I'd seen before. And he looked about ready to press the button.
No, no, no! I propelled myself backwards, knocking the phone book from the end table and sparing a quick glance toward David who instinctively turned at the noise.
He couldn't be allowed to see what was about to happen! Who knows what he would do?
Deciding that explanations could wait, I turned toward the bedroom, but I knew I wouldn't make it in time.
Sure enough, before I could take more than two steps, I crumpled to the floor, trying in vain to block out the assault on my ears.
I was aware of movement and that David was saying something, but I wasn't able to focus on him in the slightest until the awful noise subsided. Surprisingly it didn't take that long for that to
happen, but when it did, I knew before I even opened my eyes, this was not going to be good.
David held me up by my arms and I reluctantly met his perplexed, anxious gaze, allowing my hands to fall away from my ears.
He watched me for a minute before seeming to realize that I was going to be as forthcoming as usual.
Before he could finish, it hit again and I hoped I was only imagining screaming from the unexpected second round of torture.
When it stopped again, I opened my eyes trying to think of some plausible excuse to give him, but I was surprised that he was no longer in front of me.
To my complete horror, I saw that he was picking up the phone, no doubt ready to call 911.
"NO!" I launched myself off the floor, ignoring the lingering headache and hastily wobbled across the slightly spinning room.
David paused dialing long enough for me to reach him, but refused to relinquish the phone.
"No, please," I begged. "I'm fine. You can't call anyone!"
"You call that fine?" He shouted, incredulous, trying to pry the phone from my grasp.
"It's not a medical problem!" I feared that he would overpower me and do it anyway. "They can't help! You'll only tell him where I am!"
That made David seem less determined, but he clearly wasn't convinced. "What is it then?"
"It's..." I hesitated, still not willing to share the truth but unable to think of anything that would satisfy him.
"Tell me everything or I'm calling the paramedics."
When I only watched him helplessly and didn't respond, he tore the phone away from me, ready to press the last button.
"Okay!" I cried. "I'll tell you! Just please don't."
He turned the phone off but my relief wasn't as great as it might have been had that suspicious look not returned to his face.
I dropped my eyes, wondering where to start. I was stuck. David finally reached his limit with me and I knew he wouldn't let it go now. He was going to know if I tried to lie. That is, if I could
begin to think of a lie that would even make sense.
Making my way back to the window, I peeked outside and learned that my nightmare was still down there. I wasn't sure if I'd prefer it that way or not. At least I didn't have to wonder if he was
about to barge through the door. But it didn't bode well that he didn't look lost. On the contrary, he seemed very relaxed and sure he was in the right area. How long until he managed to deduce my
David came up behind me and I turned to look at him. I was grateful to see that his curiosity was greater than his suspicion at this point.
"I'm not...normal." I decided to just get it out there. Beating around the bush was never my thing anyway. The fact that David didn't even crack a smile at my statement, spoke volumes about how
serious he was taking the situation.
I gestured for him to join me on the couch so I could organize my thoughts, in hopes that this wouldn't sound completely insane.
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