~ Melani Engleton ~
~ The right side of the bed ~
”Anyone ever tell you how pretty you are, Melly?”
The whispered words from her CO made her breath catch in her throat, and the lingering warmth of his breath on her ear made her shiver. She swallowed, debating whether to turn and look at him, but the decision was made for her, as his strong hands encompassed her shoulders, gently turning her about so that he could look her in the eye. The expression on his face pulled a soft squeak from her, and her bottom lip trembled as he leaned in...
And suddenly, the world began to flash red, with a harsh buzzing cutting through the romantic moment. They both flinched, pulling away from each other as the emergency sirens blared, crimson light strobing in what was once the gently lit common area of the barracks.
Wait...There weren't any emergency lights in there...
Melani pouted as she opened one eye, rolling her head on the pillow to glare at the offending alarm clock. She gave a sound that was half-growl, half-groan and reached a pale arm, decorated with freckles, to shut off the annoying and repetitive buzzer. A sigh left her lips as she stared up at the ceiling in her new bedroom, and she pursed her lips.
”Well, I guess a cold shower's just as good as a hot one...” she muttered before pulling herself out of the bed and toward the bathroom. After a shower that started cold and ended hot enough to lend a decidedly pink tone to her skin, Melani did her morning yoga and dressed herself before opening her door and poking her head out to see if anyone was about. She thought that she'd heard voices out there...
First she saw Isaiah and blushed, then quickly cleared her throat and shoved the embarrassing thoughts to the back of her mind. Then, her world view expanded a bit and she saw Ren standing next to him. Jealousy flooded through her like a hot rage that threatened to blur her vision, and her hand tightened on her doorknob as the smile fell off of her face. In that split second, if looks could kill, then Melani would have faced a court martial.
The emotion was gone just as quickly as it had come as Melly mentally shoved it away, back with her Id where it belonged. In its place, she drew the so-familiar smile onto her lips, the one that so few people could see past. Sometimes, if you lied the same lie enough, it started to become truth, even if it was only a thin veneer of happiness over how miserable you truly were.
She stepped into the hallway, closing the door behind her with a force and volume that one would have to be deaf or truly engaged not to notice, and raised her other hand in a half-wave as she greeted the pair with a chipper, ”Morning!”
That was when she noticed the suit, and she could help the irritated little sigh that left her as she mechanically opened her door again.
”Just a moment. I'll be right back,” she said with a flat cheer, then stepped into her room once more, yanking the suit down from its hanging place and all but slamming her door behind her.
She disrobed quickly, an evil part of her mind (somewhere close to where her Id dwelt, she was sure), telling her that every moment she left them alone in the hallway was another moment for Ren (that bitch!) to flirt with Isaiah. And there was no competition, really. All one had to do was look at the difference in their bodies, and the choice was clear.
She angrily pulling the suit on, with a comical bit of hopping around on one foot and knocking a few things over as she struggled to don the damned thing with as much alacrity as she could muster.
After she was clad in the astonishingly well-fitted suit that reminded her pointedly of just why she was so self-concious with her body, she looked into the mirror, trying to smooth her unruly hair, and felt the world crash down around her shoulders as she stared at her reflection.
"Don't be an idiot, Engleton. Even if there wasn't competition, he'd never go for you.” She turned on her heel, giving her reflection her back, and stared at the floor for a heartbeat before she closed her eyes tightly, clenching her hands into fists and forcing herself to take a deep breath, then another. Three, four, five... she mentally counted, taking the time to impose her control over her emotions once again.
Once her bubbly mask was in place again, smile pasted on right where it was supposed to be, she opened her door and stepped out again, telling herself that something good was going to happen today. There was always at least one little thing to look forward to. One little thing, at least, that could keep a person going. Maybe she'd actually get to review the medical charts today...
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