The doc told me to take it easy on her. Haven’t exactly been living up to that. She’s tired and shaken. I’ve scared her, and I’ve hurt her. All I can do is hold her. She hasn’t run, or pulled from me yet. That, and she loves me back. Keep hearing it in my head. A whisper, her deep voice a soft growl in my ear as she said it. Cutting through every shred of anger left in my head. She loves me back.
Carry her back to bed. The doctor’s last shot for pain. She didn’t want it, but she was dizzy. Doc warned me about it. Of course, he also said to take it easy on her. Stay with her until she’s asleep. Go find Dog. He’s hiding, seems I scared the hell out of him too. He’s more than happy to curl up with her. I’d be more than glad to, myself, but we’re close to the outpost. If it was earth, it would be a truck stop in the middle of nowhere. Didn’t even have a name, just a number. Outpost 17. Just waiting in orbit for nightfall. I’ll be bringing her with me. Can’t exactly do that during the day.
17 has a short day, about four hours, too hot for anything to be open. So everything runs at night, the other twenty hours. Artificial rotation, to hold a twenty four hour day. Not even a moon. A chunk of rock held by mining giants in the system. Artificially dragged out here, to serve as a recreation facility for miners, out of the way, so they won’t cause trouble on other planets. A merc wouldn’t last a day there, so it’s safe, for the both of us. Not a nice place to take her though. Which is why she’s coming with me.
I wake, fuzzy headed and slow, barely stirring. Barely a movement, and he’s sitting beside me, taking my face in his hands, asking if I’m dizzy. If I’m all right. A few deep breaths. I’m fine. I still feel weird waking up pain free. It’s disorienting. A soft kiss. Says more than what it’s saying. More than we’re ready to say right now. That’s all right.
Get cleaned up, get a cup of coffee. Nice to just sit with him, quietly, his hand absently stroking my arm. The broken chair is gone, the drops of blood from his cut hand cleaned up. Like nothing happened. His silence, his constant contact with me. A silent question, to say nothing. Rest into his hand, and be comforted by him.
The planet, can I even call it a planet?, is dark now. The little light there is, is dim, and easily averted, by looking down. Makes it a little hard to see where I’m going. Hardly an issue, considering Riddick has his arm around my waist. Hand resting on my hip. A comfort to me. A warning to others. Strange that after all this time being owned by others that I should find such a possessive touch so comforting. Perhaps it’s just a different sort of possession.
His whole being is suffused with violence. Tightly controlled. I’m not in any way afraid of him. His arm tightens on me, when anyone passes. Slip my arm around his back, he pulls me closer. My hand bumps the shiv tucked into the small of his back. He’s made no attempt to hide that he’s armed. I should be frightened. I’m not.
We move into the darkened alcove of a shop. Stand in the doorway, in the dim half light. Turning me towards him, his hand under my jaw. His gentleness at odds with the air of menace swirling around him. His lips, soft, just a graze over mine, before skipping to my neck, up to my ear.
“Don’t say anything, Anise.”
There is no scent of fear on her at all. Just her sweet musky smell. She keeps her eyes down. The lights dim here, not going to hurt her eyes, but it’s bright enough that keeping them down is easier. Doesn’t notice the attention she’s getting. The glances from men, on those occasions when she does look up, her shined eyes, iridescent, beautiful. Hold onto her a little tighter. Try not to smile.
The shop, like so many here, is nameless. Known only by it’s owner, Ahmed. I wrote out a list, before I left the ship. Supplies for the ship. Weapons. Extra credits laid down, with another slip of paper, folded. Information. I haven’t let go of Anise, and she hasn’t said a word.
Ahmed looks Anise over, avoiding my eyes. Calls out to someone in the back. Her silver eyes flicker to me. A stroke of the arm enough to settle her again. Her hand resting on the outside of my thigh, as though just touching me made her less nervous.
“Relax my friend. Something for your lady friend, my daughter wants to know. Says she has just the thing for her.”
I doubt Anise has ever been shopping. A nod of the head to Ahmed is enough to let him know it’s been allowed. A young woman, not much older than Anise, comes out from behind the counter, taking Anise by the arm. A whisper in her ear, before she’s pulled away by the young woman.
“I’ll be right here.”
The shop is small, she’s never out of my sight. Looks up every once in a while, her beautiful eyes catching mine. Nervous, but not afraid. Ahmed’s daughter doesn’t speak english. It’s not necessary, she’s not asking Anise anything anyway. I get the feeling from the way she’s fingering Anise’s clothes that she’s pretty much figured Anise is incapable of dressing herself, and has decided to do it for her. Any other situation, and I’d intervene. This is harmless. Even has me smiling, when I hear her laugh, looking up at me, and blushing. I’ve never seen her blush before.
Some things are the same, no matter where you go. The daughter packaged up things for Anise, still blushing. Didn’t ask Anise if she wanted them, just put the wrapped packages down. No room for argument. Anise, quiet now, not because I’d asked her to say nothing, but because she’s flustered and shy. She’s cute again.
Ahmed’s daughter comes out quickly again, with another package, before we leave. She has a package for Anise. Puts it in her hands, over the arguments of her father. Anise peeks. Another of those “women…” moments. Her quick shy smile, looking down, but taking the daughter’s hand quickly before we go. She doesn’t let me take the package, to add it to the cart that Ahmed’s delivery boy has out in the front of the shop. Holds it in both arms, like a little girl would. It’s so easy to forget that Anise has probably never had any of these experiences before. Never gone shopping, or had to choose things herself.
Stop her outside, in the alcove again. Kiss her again. Give her what I bought off Ahmed, while she was kept busy. A smaller pair of goggles, like mine, but a little more delicate. About to thank me, before we head back to the ship.
“Your smile is enough.”
© 28 Jan 2006, 15:43