“Be still, Jane. We’re being watched.”
It’s dark out here, in the loading bay. All the chronos have it as early morning. Doesn’t matter much, out here. Time is a little different, when you’re not planetside. It’s quiet, and still, and dark. The view’s nice, looking out into space. We’ve been coming out here almost every morning. The past six years or so. Coffee, that, and I get her completely to myself.
Sitting against the railing, with Jane straddling my lap. Play with her hair, long now, falling in a black wave down her back. It softens the lines in her face. She smiles almost all the time now. Not her huge radiant grin, when she’s getting up to something. Just a soft, quiet smile, like something she’s held inside for a long time can’t help itself but show through now.
Run my hand over her hip in small circles, the whisper of it against the fabric of her cargoes. Up until a few minutes ago, it was the only sound out here, in the stillness. Now, there’s the quiet giggling. Look up at Jane, the both of us willing the other to be quiet, to try not to notice. Jane and I talk to each other all the time, but out here, in the mornings, it’s different. Out here, I just want to be with her. Just about anybody else wouldn’t even know we were here.
I’ve been quiet the past few days anyway, a lot on my mind. Just turned fifty-three. I don’t know how the hell that happened. Never thought I’d live this long, to be honest. I keep thinking back, to that day, years ago, on Outpost 17. On the run, shot and wounded, hurt. Hunted like a fucking animal. The riskiest option, I called it. To let those mercs get me loaded onto a ship, and play it from there. The day I met her, my female pilot with a set of balls on her. Aside from Epsilon 4, the odd trip somewhere, I haven’t left her side, in all this time. Haven’t wanted to, either. I used to get edgy, if I stayed somewhere too long. A lot has changed.
The giggling gets a little closer, and I spot her long hair. I know it’s red, the colour of her mother’s hair. Frank’s little girl, she’s four now. He married that leggy redhead. She was a whore here. I can’t think of her that way anymore. I wouldn’t anyway, it wouldn’t be right. They got married when the little girl was two. She’s not quiet, like her father. Can’t hide her giggling. She has her mother’s smile. She’s pretty now, she’s going to be beautiful when she’s older.
The two kids edge closer. You can’t help but hear her, her hand not able to hold back her laughter. They’re about twelve feet away, before I hear him. I probably wouldn’t, if he was by himself. I hear about it all the time, from people on the station. About him scaring the hell out of them, by just suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Quiet. He knows he’s doing it too. I asked him about it, one day, and he just smiled at me, before walking back to his room, without making a sound. I never told him to stop doing it.
Jennifer, the little girl, pulls him a little closer. Jane and I try to ignore them, pretending we can’t hear them. The two are inseparable, have been for about a month now. It does make it easier to know where he is. You hear that little girl giggle, and you know he’s not far behind, her little hand in his. They’re adorable. Not about to say that out loud of course. I may have gone soft, but I’m sure as hell not going to let anyone know I have. I have a reputation to uphold.
“….you know they came out here for this, Riddick….”
Jane’s voice, the tiniest of whispers, her eyes sparkling with mischief, leans down to kiss me. The sound of both of the kids giggling now, making her grin, her own quiet laugh, deeper, sexier. Sitting back to look up, both of the kids now close enough to reach.
That kid whisper, that’s never really a whisper. Or, at least with Jennifer, it’s never really a whisper. She hasn’t let go of Rick’s hand, pulling him along with her. He’s five now. I was surprised enough when I knew, really knew, that I loved Jane. Nothing could prepare me for the feeling in my heart at this little boy. My son. He has his mother’s crazy grin, and her stubbornness, her determination. Looks exactly like me, just little. When he first opened his eyes, I remember Jane looking at me. That beautiful smile. He has my eyes, she said. Brown. Makes my heart hurt some days, to look at him. Jane holding him. I never got to know my mother.
The kids, being kids, get bored pretty quick with us, and Jane and I watch as they make their way down the corridor to the mess hall. They’re safe. There’s nothing and no one on this ship that would harm either one of them. And, five or not, Rick wouldn’t let anything happen to her. Holding her hand the whole way, quiet, as she talks.
Wait til the kids are out of sight before pulling her to me, and kissing her. A deep searing kiss that leaves us both a little breathless.
“I love you, Riddick.”
The riskiest option.
“I love you, too, Jane.”
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