One bullet. That’s all it would take.
I watch her sleep, her hair fanned out about her in chaos, contrasting the peaceful
look on her face. The moon cuts across her skin in an angle, highlighting her
left shoulder which slips slightly out of her gown. It makes her look even
more delicate and fragile.
I sit up and take the gun off the nightstand. I look back
over my shoulder at her. She whimpers that little sound she makes
at night and rolls toward me. I know she’s looking for me,
even in her sleep; I get up quietly, gun in hand, and make my way
over to the window.
I had nothing, that I remember; but I know I am not part of her world.
My skin and hair are rough compared to hers. Her open smile and the
laughter that comes so easily…all this escapes me. I hold
up my arm and in the moonlight I can see the faint purple line twisting
and curling across my body. In battle, it burns with a feverish delight;
I find that I almost crave it. No, I am not part of her world.
Logic, hard logic, tells me that I should be alone, unfettered, and able to pursue
finding my ultimate design. Yet instead here we are in a new apartment, having
signed some kind of lease. Together.
Common sense tells me that I need no one and am self-sufficient on
my own. And yet…
I hear her moving. She’s out of bed now, and coming towards me. My hand,
so much stronger than hers, grips the gun. One shot, between the eyes, and I
will return to my original self again, able to seek out my world, not bound to
any one place. She’s fragile. It would only take one bullet.
“Jo?” her voice is a whisper, and I cross my arms quickly across
my chest, pressing the gun against me. She slides up next to me, looking up at
me with those large trusting eyes. I can’t bear to look at
them; all logic fades and I look out the window.
“Are you looking at the full moon tonight? Is that why you’re up?” she
asks, following my gaze. “It is pretty, isn’t it?”
“Pretty…” I never think of the moon as pretty. It is the
moon, nothing more.
She steps a little closer now. I can smell her, the faint smell of bath soap
still on her skin.
“Are you… unhappy?” she looks worried. “Do you not
like our new place?”
“No. This place is fine.” I reassure her.
She moves forward, suddenly embracing me. I feel myself tense up
in reaction, even though I know this is not a threat. It’s
my nature, to always be on guard.
“I just want you to be happy. I just want us to be happy.” She
sounds like she is going to cry.
“Meg…” I cannot think of anything else to say. She lets go
and looks up at me. I’ve seen this look before, in moments like this, yet
I don’t understand it. I can feel, somewhere, that she wants
something from me. Her mouth is partly open, yet no words come out.
“What is it?” I ask, hoping this time she will tell me.
“I wish…” she trails off and bites her lip, then sighs. “I
wish…you would come back to bed now.”
The request is too simple, and I know it’s not what she wants
to say. But for now, it will do. She takes my arm, sliding her soft
hands over my skin.
“Jo! Is that your gun under there? Won’t you leave that thing alone
for just one minute? I can’t believe you even take it into the bathroom
with you!” she fusses as she pulls me along.
“Well… you just never know.” I follow her contritely now,
ashamed of my thoughts once more.
“So silly. You don’t need it every second of the day.” She
admonishes, letting go of me and crawling back into bed. “Come on.” She
pats my pillow.
I set the gun down and flop backwards in total defeat. She throws and arm and
a leg over me, claiming a victory far larger than she knows.
“Oh Jo…this is perfect.” She nestles her head down on my
chest. A funny feeling twinges there when she does it, and for a moment I lose
my breath. I don’t understand this, any of it.
She makes that happy little sound and sighs. The sigh seems to wash over me like
a wave, and I feel myself relaxing. I close my eyes.
Perhaps she is the one with the bullet, and I am the fragile one
for letting her rule my life. Her head, nestled softly into my chest,
strikes my heart more surely than any weapon.
I slide my arm awkwardly over her. Handling munitions and mecha comes naturally
for me; this part is all new. My arm tingles again, but differently than when
I am fighting.
This is perfect. I can hear her voice in my head again. Her breathing
is becoming slower as she drifts back off to sleep.
This moment is one of peace. I let myself enjoy it, for I know it
will be fleeting. I was not designed for peace; and one day, my world
will collide with hers.
I make a silent temporary promise to her, one she will never hear.
Until that day happens … until that bullet
comes....I will stay with you, Meg.