Chapter One: Wake-up
The sound of the telephone was unwelcome though not surprising, Veronica had been expecting to hear from command any day now. Little information had trickled down to her unit but the general atmosphere when she reported for work each morning was one of weary anticipation combined with poised action. She fumbled for the phone on the nightstand, but as she picked it up she realized it was silent.
“Hello?” She looked over her shoulder to see her husband pushing up onto his elbow as he spoke into the phone. Her body wriggled up against his, arms and legs entangling, as she snuggled back into the warmth of the blankets. Jesse was a heater when he slept, and it was by far the hardest part about getting up in the morning. There’s nothing like the warm and sleepy body of a loved one to tempt you to forget the outside world exists for just a few more hours. Especially when that loved one is your spouse and you’re both deliciously naked with your bodies in all the right places.
“Time to get up.”
“Mmmmmmmm…” was her only reply.
“Your phone is going to ring in five seconds to tell you to haul your behind into work.” Jesse replied, sinking back into the blankets. He didn’t need much convincing for a few more moments of snuggles, no one is immune to naked sleepy body heat.
“You’re so warm. Let’s just stay like this until my phone rings, ok?” It rang before Veronica finished and she sat up with a growl, fumbling between the pillows where she’d dropped the offending piece of technology only moments earlier. She barely managed to answer it before it quit ringing. “Yeah?”
“Briefing at 0500, fill you in on the rest then. Jesse coming on this trip?”
“Yeah, he’s on duty today.”
“Good, his ability should come in handy this time. I’ll tell you more about it later.”
“I’ll be there.” It took her a few moments to pull the phone away from her ear. It was always unsettling, hearing that they needed her husband for a mission. It didn’t matter that he’d been doing this job longer than she had or that Jesse was chosen for his position just as much for his ability as for his mundane military skills, her initial reaction was always a spike of fear and nervousness when her husband was called in for a mission. Even more so when he had to be close enough to use his ability during a mission. She pulled the phone from her face and forced herself to relax.
Jesse, like herself, was an Active. His ability to sense the intentions of those around him made him invaluable to the team. Veronica had been on plenty of missions where his ability had proven to be a crucial turning point, allowing them to prepare for or avoid a confrontation. With a sigh, she relaxed and turned toward her husband, wrapping her arms around him and pressing herself into his back. Without seeing him, she knew he was smiling. He sighed and squeezed her hands where they met around him. He had likely been imagining something along the same lines she had been. Veronica let that thought sink in for a moment before she glanced at the glowing red numbers on the Cable box across the room.
“Ugh, it’s 4:10. Hot shower on the double, I’m sore all over.”
“That’s what happens when you spar with someone twice your size,” Jesse laughed.
“Please, I’m at least two thirds your size.” Veronica fell backward on the bed and stretched. The two of them had hit the gym after work the night before and spent at least an hour practicing hand to hand combat before heading home for steaks and beer. Physical fitness was important, especially for her. She knew her placement on the Special Forces Active Division hinged just as much on her ability to hold her own in the traditional SF sense as it did on her ability to manipulate light and the perception of it. Her ability, and the potential it offered, had drawn the eye of some important people… but her formidable skill in weapons, hand-to-hand combat, and survival had sealed the deal.
Jesse understood because he’d been under much the same circumstance, though without the impediment of being a female, and they made it a point to work out together at least once daily if it was possible. The night before had been vigorous, during and after their time on the mat, and when Veronica stepped into the stream of hot water she wasn’t instantly in heaven. Jesse stepped in behind her, slipping his arms around her and pulling her to his chest and the two of them stood under the stream of water, taking and giving comfort and strength.
This was a tradition, it happened before every mission either one of them went on. Each of them built up a reservoir of intimacy and love they could pull energy from in case they found themselves needing it. An alarm sounded in the steam-laden bathroom, a series of small beeps that sounded to let them know twenty minutes had passed; without it they’d have been late leaving the house. Their mornings were routine. Coffee, snack, backpacks, clothing, spare medical kits, water bottles, and any other number of things they might need for the day. Another twenty minutes passed and they were passing through the gate. The ride had been an uneventful one that passed in comfortable silence as they drove through the dark.
“Got your game face on?” her husband asked as they pulled into the parking lot in front of the building. It drew a smile from her and pulled her out of her thoughts. It’s the rituals, she thought as she leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the lips, it’s the little things that you do to make each other happy, to strip away the stress, and to remind them that you’re there and you’re thinking of them. She kissed him again, harder this time. The kiss held a little bit of longing and little bit of frustration it. Instead of giving in to those emotions, she embraced them for one long intimate second, and left them behind as she pulled her lips from his.
“Yeah you do.” Jesse told her as he got out of the car. She followed his example, turning her mind toward what was coming and slipped easily back into the mantle of soldier. She grabbed her backpack and slung it over her shoulder as she walked toward the entrance. Jesse came up next to her, his fingers brushing hers as they walked into a non-descript building that held the headquarters for the bases resident United States Special Active Service.
Stay tuned for Chapter Two… coming soon!
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8550838313/”>LyndaSanchez</a> via <a href=”https://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>