That’s all I can think as the swell of heat washes over me again.
The first time it happened was the day she was inducted into the railroad. Seeing her in battle is nothing less than spectacular, it couldn’t even compare to watching her in the shadows, she’s just as deadly as she is graceful. I mean, I wasn’t going into the Switchboard operation blind, but I was never able to see what she could do to up until now.
But damn, was I impressed that I managed to bullshit my way through something again… and for it to turn out so well. That’s about the only thing I’m good at these days, bullshitting everything. But it wasn’t until we returned to HQ to chat up Dez that I felt it.
So you’re in. Now we need to know what to call you. Secrecy is what keeps us alive. Codenames are a part of that. So what’s yours?
Call me Whisper
After Tommy? Or…? Either way that’s very fitting.
Oh yeah, that was definitely the first time. She was already becoming one of us, already giving one the Railroads best agents a type of Lazarus. Giving her Johnny’s gun was more of a persuasion tool on my part, but she—Whisper—if she didn’t actually take it to mean something. That’s the first time I felt it.
The second time. I had been travelling with her for a while now and her skills were more impressive than I could have dreamed of. Lock picking? Simple for her. Hacking? She could do it in under a minute. She was exactly what the railroad needed…what I needed? But those generic everyday tasks were nothing compared to her unbridled devotion towards synths. As much as I hated that BoS boy Danse—god was he cocky—I couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy when he found out the truth. Being the very embodiment of what you vowed to kill? Can’t even imagine. Then again, I’ve called the Institute liars more times than I count, so what does that say.
And she, she stood up for that poor bastard. Willing to protect synths, and more importantly her friends, to any end. I tried to say something, something like how Danse has got a stick up his ass but he’s our friend. Yeah, that sounds like me, I always have to be the jovial one. It keeps my façade from slipping off. But Whisper? She was damn sympathetic. And that was the second time that I felt the peculiar wave of heat flow from my stomach up to my face. It had been happening every now and then, but usually so insignificant that I couldn’t tell the difference between some bad Mirelurk and this undeniable feeling.
Now at this point I felt entirely, I guess the word I’m looking for is ‘at home’ with this girl. Well, I guess that’s two words, but who’s counting? She wasn’t a tool for the railroad any longer, she’s my friend. My best, and….well only friend. So yeah, I went and spilled my guts to her, not literally of course. As much as I wanted to give her the truth I just…
But that doesn’t stop me from spewing some bullshit story I put together. A few truths hidden in there, but most of it just analogies for my life with the railroad, with her. And like always she just looks at me, directly in the eye, even through my damn reflective sunglasses, and tells me she trusts me.
The damn warmth flows through my insides again and it’s like I can’t lie to myself anymore. That’s all I ever do is lie nowadays, but this time I can’t push it out any longer.
I’m in love with her.
There. The confession was like a weight off my back, I’d felt more relieved and more like…myself than I ever had in a long time. But that just made it all the more easy to lie to myself again. The words tickled the back of my throat, kind of like when you can’t hold back that reflexive gagging noise.
But lying was easier. Always was. It was easier than letting those words creep off my tongue. It was easier than letting my true feelings compromise the good thing we had going. She’d smile at me and I’d bite back the temptation to tell her. She’d make a joke and I’d have to stop myself yet again. She would laugh, run, jump, and it got to the point where even being next to her was becoming a burden. A burden that I could easily fix if I just…
I’d been in denial for longer than I can remember. Trying to convince myself that the feelings I had inside weren’t valid. Like they were all lies themselves. I tried repeating the words in my head to see if that would help me move past this horrible phase. That of course didn’t work. I tried saying it out loud to myself next, but that did little justice to this terrifying feeling that kept bubbling inside me.
I think she figured it out pretty quickly. Probably way before I noticed that she did. I mean, she wasn’t exactly secret about her feelings towards me. She always discussed our potential future together posing it as a question at the hopes that I would bite down with all my teeth. She wasn’t going to say it either though, probably because she knew it drove me mad. It would be so much simpler if the words flowed off her tongue than mine.
“Hey Sole,” It didn’t even sound like me. Her name foreign on my lips. I had been avoiding saying to further myself from these damn feelings, but look what good that did me, “can I talk to you.” Even under the crude lighting of the settlement I was just completely entranced by her. She popped the cap off of one of those Cherry Flavored Nuka Colas and turned on her heel to look at me. “Yeah, Dee?”
“Your shoe’s untied!” I say as I curse and scream internally at myself. She looks down and I take the advantage of bopping her on her nose and then walk away nonchalant.
Her shoe wasn’t even untied. Another lie. Damnit Deacon get yourself together. I don’t know who I’m more angry towards. The Institute for making me into the liar I am, or myself for letting them do it to me.
And yeah, another year went by.
The vault dweller and the the mysterious liar. What a team we had become. With both the Institute and the Brotherhood of Steel out of the picture, the amount of synths the Railroad needed to help had finally ran dry. There was literally no more synths that need the Railroad's services. Everything that I built, breathed for , had become irrelevant. I felt irrelevant. But damn Whisper, or I guess Sole now that the Railroad was dispersed, she still wanted me around. Said that she needed me. So of course I stuck around. I was still hopelessly in love with this girl and still hadn’t told her. Never thought I would.
She bent down to unlock some random door, probably in search of some junk that she insists on picking up. I stood right behind her not really paying attention to anything and just feeling in my element. “I love you.”
This is why I don’t get too comfortable with people, I say stupid things. Time slows down and Sole just continues working on the lock, in fact she opens it and scrounges up whatever she can find without saying a word.
She doesn’t say anything for hours! And here’s me, cursing myself and hoping that she just didn’t hear any word of it. If only. “Whisper,” I manage to choke out, covering the shakiness in my voice. “You all, good?”
WHAT? I know that she had to hear me say that, but did she not know it was directed at her? Or worse did she just think it was another one of my lies. Because honestly the latter was worse, because even as much as I hated that I said those words I didn’t regret it. After a little over three years of following her around I had finally accepted the fact that I was in love with her. And god, was it heartbreaking to think that she would believe that I would lie about something of this level of importance. “Oh, no reason.”
“Okay, well let me know.” She smiles at me sweetly and my heart flutters. God, I’m so in love with her.
“I love you.” I blurt out of the blue. This time with all the intention of her hearing me.
She doesn’t say anything again! Acts like I am nothing more than a ghost, or worse, that I don’t even exist. “I love you.” I repeat, hoping that she’ll say something this time. She has too; I know she can hear me. No response.
Is this some kind of cruel game? I’m desperate for her to just say something! Anything! I jog in front of her and instinctively reach out to her shoulders, grabbing them tightly and feeling that she’s real, that all of this is…real. “I love you.” I say looking her right in her eyes, there’s an undeniable spark there but she hides her emotion in the rest of her face. That’s the main reason why I wear these sunglasses. And then I kiss her. I tell myself it’ll only be a short peck on the lips. Just enough to show her that I am serious, more importantly, that I am telling the truth. But then I…can’t…stop myself. She opens her mouth and fully lets me guide her into a fuller, more passionate kiss. The taste of her buzzing in my mouth and then…
She pulls away. Smile on her face and everything. And continues walking. This girl is officially torturing me. “Sole! You know I love games, but this? Yeah, kinda killing me over here.” And she just keeps smiling and pulls me into another make-out session. And when she finally breaks off, leaving me heavy breathed and wanting more…needing all of this that I could have had for the past three years if I had played my cards like any normal person would, she smirks “Yeah I hear everything you say, Dee.”
“Then why aren’t you responding to me!” I say realizing my voice cracking halfway through.
“Because sometimes obvious things are better left unsaid.”
Damn her. She’d been playing me for how long? She knew it all along and never did anything about it. But then she opens in her mouth again and to my surprise, “but the most obvious things should be said repeatedly, everyday, every hour, every second. And I’ve done that since the beginning, Deacon. I do, and always will trust you.”