It was over. She could no longer convince herself otherwise.
The girls had taken a special kind of glee in informing her of Dominic’s defection. They told her – smiling the entire time – of how he hadn’t had the courage to tell her himself and, before heading toward the doorway, left a syringe on her bed. They didn’t leave, though. She could still feel them on the fringes as she contemplated what she would do next.
Whatever that was.
Since they had offered it, she used the syringe. Dominic would have lectured her for using the drug for a purely recreational purpose. But Dominic isn’t here anymore she thought, shoving the needle inside the receptor. In her more lucid moments, she would have marveled at how, regardless of her tolerance or its dosage, fast acting the drug always was. Now, she just let the high wash over her, causing her to laugh so hard that she cried. Before long, the room seemed to be washed in those tears. She would have been happy to drown under their wake. But there was a disturbance in her fantasy. They were talking. She could hear them mocking her through the haze. “Crazy…lazy…buzzing bees. GET THE HELL OUT! You’re not welcome anymore,” she said, her voice slightly slurred.
“Now, now Anemone. You know we can’t do that,” purred the blonde girl. As they approached her bed, she marveled at how they stayed perfectly in step. The members of the Ageha Squad had little identity of their own. They, however, were perfectly happy with that. Would she have been as a happy in the same situation? “You know that Colonel Dewey would like us to sit with you until you come back down. We have to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself. After all, where would we all be without you?”
It was a lie. At the very least, it was a partial lie. They were taking too much joy in her misery. They had always hated her. She knew that they always believed her to be some archaic failure. Her existence was the only wedge between themselves and Dewey. After all, they were the real muscle behind this operation. “Fine,” she said. “But shut up! I can’t listen to your twittering anymore.”
“Sure.” They smiled as they slunk back towards the doorway. They seemed to believe that they had won…whatever that meant. With her current winning streak, they had just enough information to make her look bad in front of her superiors. But she still had some clout. She was the only one who could pilot theEND. Regardless of her frame of mind, they still needed her.
It didn’t matter anymore. The only person who had supported her unconditionally had finally lost faith in her. What more did she have to live for except her final defeat?
Like nearly every other time she took her drug outside of her piloting theEND, she felt the light inside the room grow brighter and burn her eyes. She shut them and asked, “Why did you leave me?”
“It was my time.”
The voice was so familiar. Could it really be Dominic? Eyes still closed, she reached out and felt something solid. The texture of his clothes reminded her so much of Dominic. Maybe it was him? “Why are you here now?” she asked, frenzied. “And what does that mean?”
“You’ll know soon enough,” the Dominic-like voice told her.
“I don’t know how long I have. I need to know NOW!”
“I can’t. Just let me hold you.”
She opened her arms and felt a set of arms engulf her. The body was warm and smelled vaguely of a man. “I miss you. I mean…I…I never told you and I treated you so horribly but I need you.” She nuzzled his neck and quietly kissed him.
That was when she knew something was wrong. Her cheeks stung upon meeting the rough stubble on the man’s cheeks. She had no idea if or how often Dominic shaved. She did know that she never seen him in an unshaven state. She opened her eyes and instead of seeing Dominic, she noticed an unnamed ensign from Dewey’s former guard. His voice squeaked out a stuttered apology and she realized that his voice was nothing like Dominic’s. “Was it all a hallucination?” she mumbled.
Soon, the sharp laughter of the Ageha squad filled the room and she pulled back from the man. For his part, he blushed and ran from the room, pushing one of the hysterical squad girls to the floor. She was laughing so hard she barely noticed.
“Fuckers!” she screamed. She gathered up her pillows and began tossing them toward the doorway. The girls, for the most part, dodged the fluffy projectiles and scampered off down the hallway. It didn’t matter to her. She re-gathered her pillows and followed them. “Fuckers! I’ll see all of you pay for this. You’re nothing but a bunch of simpering idiots. Just you wait until Dewey doesn’t love you anymore and he allows someone else to screw with you. Just you wait!”
And though she was still livid, she realized that she was once again alone. She picked up all of her pillows and took them back to her room. As she rearranged her bed, she realized that they had finally and thoroughly won. She had no one left in her corner to urge her on to her own victory.
Dejected, she gathered up Gulliver from his bed and rocked him as she paced her room. She was still slightly buzzed and agitated but she had nowhere to release this energy.
All she had left was to wait until her final mission. It wasn’t the life she wanted. But it was the only one she was suited for now.