In His Command

In His Command by Rie Warren

Book: In His Command by Rie Warren Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rie Warren
Tags: Romance
live. Did they? Did you? ”
    Blondie didn’t flinch, and he wasn’t holding back the tears either.
    I wiped my nose on my sleeve and pinched my wet eyes shut. “That night, she was unconscious but still crying. Her body seizing in pain, her face screwed up, so small. The kicker was when blood started running from her ears. Where was the Company then? Where was the FUCKING CURE?”
    I could barely make the words come out. “Erica died at exactly 17:39 on August sixth, 2059. I will never forget that, because for the last two hours of her life I held her through the seizures, watching the minutes on the D-P count up with every glug of her lungs, wishing her breaths would speed up in time with the clock instead of slowing down.
    “I couldn’t put her on the doorstep to be carted away. I washed her up, and…I sang to her. I don’t know what it was, some tuneless crap probably. I put her in her favorite outfit, not that there was much to choose from. I kissed her, right below the little peak of hair she’d always complained about, where I used to flick her forehead when she pissed me off, and her hair was shiny, brushed the way she liked.”
    My fists punched the ground. My head hanging, I rasped, “I tore apart the shed, used the planks to make a coffin. Probably wasn’t pretty. I put a locket around her neck that held a tiny picture of all of us, and I buried her.
    “I buried my little sister.”
    Using my shirt to wipe my face, I sat back, facing the sky again. At least the stars were visible out here. Erica had been right. I did like the Wilderness. It was better than the stomach full of hurt and my heart overflowing with grief. At least there was a sky and trees and flowers.
    “Then I joined the Corps. End of story.”
    “Why do I get the feelin’ there’s more to it than that?” He huddled next to me, running one firm hand up and down my arm.
    “Well, that’s all you’re getting from me.” I pretended to yawn and stretched out, knocking his hand away in the process. “Never knew how tired spilling my guts’d make me.”
    “You get used to it.”
    “I’ll make a note not to.” I unrolled a blanket and lay down, flat on my back.
    He took the hint and retreated to the tent, where he tacked down the sides. “Why don’t you come in here?”
    “Used to roughing it.”
    “Just because you’re used to it doesn’t mean you have to.”
    “Yeah, it does.” Because my lack of creature comforts was my own personal torture device, like the horsehair shirts I’d read about once. My reminder I was a hypocrite, doing the Company’s dirty work when every part of me was disgusted by them.
    Still, my fucking motormouth decided it wasn’t time to turn in. “Erica always thought there was something better. I couldn’t afford to think that way.”
    Stepping around the hot coals of the fire, Blondie stood over me with his hands on his hips. “Maybe you can.”
    I rolled onto my side, lifting my head to meet his gaze. “You suggesting you’re that something?”
    “That’s exactly what I’m suggestin’.” He was defiant. There was no smile to relieve the seriousness on his face. His dimples had been MIA all night long, and I wondered if I’d ever see them again. “I’ve been beaten by the same stick, you know? Guess I’m just an idealist.”
    He turned back to the tent with a shrug, leaving me with a few words that were nothing near the good night I wanted to hear. “But I understand where you’re comin’ from.”
    Where I was coming from wasn’t a place I wanted to revisit. This thing unfolding inside me was taking up a lot of space. It felt like hope, hope I hadn’t tasted in a long time, and I wasn’t willing to give that up yet. Leaping to my feet, I followed him into the tent. His shirt was halfway over his head, his back to me.
    I ran one knuckle down his spine, watching chills rise and collide along his sides. His motions halted with his head still stuck inside the shirt.

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