A quick flash piece I wrote today for a challenge on deviantart.com, it's set in the time of a rebellion in a futuristic oppressive setting.
The chair was not uncomfortable, but the intense feeling of discomfort caused by guilt was working its way up her spine. She shifted her position, attempting to lessen the pressure, to release herself from the weight. She tried to move her shoulders back and forth, around and back again without drawing too much attention to her restlessness. She bit her lip and avoided meeting his warm brown eyes with her nervous, agitated ones. She risked a glance at his solid, lightly scarred face and immediately regretted it. This was the face of a man she hadn't meant to love, and she hated him for it. Damn him, damn his crooked smile, damn his warm eyes.
He leaned forward to sip from his glass of white wine. As the glass met his lips she flinched, and a look of concern spread across his face. He set the glass down on the table again, and she latched her gaze onto his rough hands. Avoid the eyes. You can do this. It's just a job.
"Are you alright?" he asked, his deep voice reflecting the grit of the neighborhood he'd grown up in. "You're not feeling ill, are you?"
She hated his concern for her.
"I'm fine," she said quietly. "I'm just... worried about my sister," she lied. It was a soft lie, gently told and easily believed. She'd sculpted a life to bait him in. Everything about the game had been soft. She eyed the clock. The game would swiftly become brutal. She hated him. Damn him, she hated him. It was a painful lie, hard to believe.
"You don't need to worry about that," he said in a calming voice. He relaxed visibly. This was something he could handle. This was fine. Nothing was wrong. She let her eyes return to him as his fears sank, drifting somewhere below and she couldn't see them anymore. She didn't want to see them. Didn't want to see them anymore.
"I made sure she's safe, believe me. Julie, She'll be fine," he continued. "She's got more security on her than our major weapons cache," he added with a chuckle. "Julie" bit her lip again. A bad habit, she knew. She'd read somewhere that chewing your lips would make them thin. Something to do with collagen. Maybe it was true. She shifted her position again; the pressure was building as the clock was ticking.
"Thank you," she whispered. "For everything," she said louder, trying to bring the strength back into her voice.
The chuckle faded from his face, slowly replaced by a serious and thoughtful stare. She withered beneath it. He picked his wine glass up, leaned back into his chair and gestured towards her dinner. She nodded and started eating, though her stomach churned and the thought of wanting food was the farthest one from her tumultuous mind. She took a moment to glance around the room as she chewed. It was a dark place, wood and dust and occupied by crates. They sat in the middle of the room, in an island of candle light. Two chairs and a small, round table were crowded by towers of crates covered in candles. Idly she wondered what the chances were that they would burn.
She wanted to burn.
After a few moments of determined chewing she became aware of his eyes on her. He was looking thoughtful again, sipping wine and cocking his head to gaze at her. She squirmed and gripped the fork tightly. The clock ticked.
"I want to make you happy," he said quietly. It hurt.
"I am happy," she said automatically. She realized how flat she sounded, and he looked unconvinced.
"I know how I can make you happy," he continued. "I mean, I hope," he added, barely audible.
"I am happy," she repeated firmly. She took a large forkful of mashed potatoes for emphasis. "This makes me happy. Us."
"You don't know how glad I am to hear that," he said with a strange mix of relief and tension. "I have a question," he said loudly. He coughed and blushed slightly, as if painfully aware of his sudden rise in volume.
Her heart stopped. It felt like it did. She could have sworn it did. She wished it really would. Stop, just stop. The air was thick, the candle light was unsteady and her stomach was full of fire and guilt. He slid out of the chair and knelt, unsteady, on the floor. Then he grunted and realized that the table was in his way. He stood up and moved closer to her chair, then knelt down very close to her. She wanted to scream at him, "stop, stop, please stop, you don't know what I’ve done," but something bubbled up in her throat and sealed all words off. She could barely breathe.
"Juliet..." he began, reaching into his jacket. "Will you marry me?"
"William..." she whispered, trembling.
Something worse than hate and guilt surged from her stomach to her throat and somehow made its way to her eyes, spilling out. Hot, angry tears brimmed and boiled and slipped down her cheek. Angry at him. Angry at her. Yes. Oh damn you, I wish I could say yes.
She opened her mouth to say no. No, I can't. No, you don't know me. The clock ticked. The door burst open. A sea of police flooded the room, pouring through the crates and candles. Juliet crumpled into her chair as they seized him and pulled him roughly, brutally away from her. His beautiful, warm eyes filled with confusion as she shook with sobs.
"I love you," he whispered. The black bag slipped over his head and he was pulled out of the room. She knew no one would see him again.
A single enforcer remained in the room.
"We'll bring down the rebellion because of your help," he said. "Why cry?"
“Because I loved him too.”