I hope you enjoy this week’s scene from Boot Camp and Aeron has been slightly sidetracked instead of heading to class!
As always, please excuse the typos,
Act 2, Scene 3
I was at the memorial wall again and staring at Colonel Black’s name which kept switching to Renee’s name and back in front of my eyes then changing to Bess then Bess would change to B.L then changing back to Colonel Black again. I stood there staring harder, that cold, damp sweat dribbling down my neck. Felt shaky. Felt like I had in Serenity when Yasmin had been hurt. Felt kinda sick.
Another name kept sticking out and moving and that was a guy called Dan Evans. Weren’t sure who he was but his name was quite a few above Colonel Black.
“Shorty, why you gazing at the wall?” Nan asked from beside me and iced me in the ribs. “They ain’t gonna help you get smarter at sneakin’”
I couldn’t take my eyes off the wall. “I can see Renee’s name and I know she’s okay… right?”
Nan smiled. “She’s doin’ better now she’s met you.” She swooshed to my left. “But that mean guy hurt her a lot.” She sighed. “He’s a lot like that boy back home.”
I scowled at her mention of Sam. “I got that from her… that somebody hurt her… I want to ask… I want to help…” I sighed and shrugged. “She don’t need my help though.”
“She sure does, Shorty,” Nan said with a cheeky tone and I felt her cooling hand on my shoulder. “She ain’t on that wall an’ you’ll make sure she never is if that big heart of yours got anythin’ to do with it.”
I cocked my head. “Me?”
“Yup,” Nan said and swooshed to my other side. “But you got to go to class.”
I nodded. “Class, right.” I glanced around and sighed. I had been standing at the wall for hours, again.
I felt Nan fade and focused on the wall then my hand moved to it and I touched Colonel Black’s name.
“The chopper is ready,” a man called in a gruff voice. “We need to head out.”
He stood there and rolled the breadcrumb in his hands, his heart still with her and his guilt still heavy in his gut. He doubted she’d ever come back to C.I.G but he needed to tell her, somehow.
He sighed. No matter what she thought of him, he needed her help, like always.
And, I woke up on the floor. I’d been there for a while if my butt being so cold was anything to go by. I sighed and pulled myself to my feet. Why’d I touch the wall? That was just dumb.
I lumbered my way to where I figured class was but I was pretty sure Sissy could be back in our room ‘cause I’d been out so long.
I found the class but they were in debrief again and I leaned against the door then rolled back to lean against the long metal rails that ran along most walls not sure whether I should bother heading in or just wait and ask Sissy to brief me instead.
I felt somebody in a real bad mood behind me, sighed, and turned around.
“Lorelei, you’re meant to be part of the most elite corps,” Frei shot at me, her scowl in place, her icy eyes glinting with irritation as she slapped the rail. “Why are you late… again?”
Energy shot through the rail and her temper hit me.
“I told you that she shouldn’t be in boot camp at all,” Frei shot into her cellphone. “She’s only making the grades because Lorelei is helping her.”
“She needs to be there,” Lilia said in a patient tone. “And Aeron likes her and we need Aeron to stay on base.”
“You relinquished your position,” Frei said then sighed. “I don’t want her hurt.”
“I know,” Lilia said, again in a patient tone.
“I slept in,” I grunted, trying not to scowl. My mom was telling Frei what to do still? Hadn’t she hurt enough folks by staying away from home? And why was Frei saying that about Sissy? She was real clever. “Sissy is better than that chump who keeps picking on her.”
Frei narrowed her eyes. “You what?”
“I get you got a problem with me but Sissy ain’t done nothin’ to you and she’s way better than the others.” I narrowed my eyes right back at her. “You try getting rid of her an’ I’ll go back home and you can get heckled by Lilia.”
Frei glared down at the rail then her icy blues glinted.
“I seen that you’re a chump and I ain’t letting you stop Sissy following Renee into C.I.G.” I stared at the rail. “I ain’t.”
Frei put her hands on her hips and pulled back her jacket like wings. Her eyes hardened and although her face didn’t show emotion the energy she’d sent down the rail had been enough… and now she weren’t holding it, I weren’t as mad but she had some mood on.
“You shouldn’t be here at all, Lorelei,” Frei said in an emotionless tone.
“That what you telling the others?” I muttered and folded my arms, more to make myself feel better. I didn’t get why Frei was so angry but it felt like she’d been hurt somehow for the pain to make her so mean. “They don’t know Renee is alive.”
“And they won’t,” Frei marched up to me and held my gaze but her voice was low. “You hear me?”
“Why, she deserves folks to know she’s a hero.” I shot back and puffed myself up. Whether she was in charge or not, I weren’t letting her be a chump to Renee. “And we need someone who wants us to do well.”
“I gave you an order,” Frei said and leaned in to glare right into my eyes. “Follow it.”
“I know you need me to stay here and I will leave if you get rid of Sissy.” I glared right back. Frei scared me most of the time but I was still full of her anger. “An’ I’ll tell Renee exactly what you’re doing.”
Frei gripped my shirt. “What did you see, Lorelei?”
Her anger fired through me again—
“I will not let you put her in that position again,” she shot at Lilia. “She is never going to be hurt like that again.”
Lilia sighed. “I know you care for her. You’ve been through a lot but she is capable of handling the situation.”
“Is she?” Frei threw her desk over not caring that the other CIG team members stared at her. “You sent her into that situation. You did. Now look at her. She can’t even see.”
Lilia held up her hands, pain showing. “I know. That mistake was mine, not hers. She should not be paying for it.”
“But she is,” Frei waved her hands, without restraint, without her control. “And you’re not the only one at fault.” She blinked, confused why there were tears in her eyes. “Even so, I’m never letting her get hurt like that again.”
Lilia nodded. “Aeron isn’t going to hurt her.”
“How do you know, you don’t know her,” Frei snapped then threw her hand up and stormed out. She would say it was typical of Renee to ignore orders and head in to help Lorelei but it wasn’t. They’d seen Lorelei released yet she still went back in to assist her. She only hoped Renee wasn’t being lured in again.
Frei snapped her hand away, eyes glinting.
“I would have never hurt her,” I mumbled, hoping she could hear I meant it in my voice. “I won’t hurt her.”
“If you don’t follow orders, you will,” Frei kept her gaze hard but her voice was quiet.
I nodded. “But I ain’t letting you hurt Sissy neither.” I stepped back hoping it would stop her glaring. “I don’t hurt folks… well, intentionally.” I rubbed off my hand.
“I know that now,” Frei said, her eyes still hard but her energy flickered with some kind of gentleness. Must have been affection for Renee ‘cause I was sure she didn’t much like me. “You’ll help her if you just follow orders.”
The classroom door opened and Frei tensed enough my shoulders tensed too.
“I got sidetracked, Ma’am,” I said trying to salute as though we’d been talking. “You want to escort me to the assault course or wave from the window?”
“Oh, I’m going to drill your ass for that,” Frei snapped without hesitation but her eyes flickered with a recognition. “Move.”
“Ma’am,” I shot back and lumbered toward the door. We might not have liked each other all that much but we both cared about Renee and we both didn’t want her hurt. I headed to the assault course with her striding behind. I only talked about Renee to Sissy anyhow and I was sure she thought I was crazy but I could follow orders… even if I couldn’t salute.
I took a breath ready to trundle to the nets but glanced at Frei. She was back to being stoic, hat on, glasses on, uniform slick and unruffled, and her boots shoulder width apart with confidence.
I weren’t sure what kind of hurt made her so mad but she weren’t exactly gonna share. I shook my head and ducked down into the nets. Guess it would keep me busy and away from the memorial wall anyhow.