Author's note: I wrote this in a frenzy a few nights ago at about three in the morning after watching The Bourne Identity (which I now own on DVD!). I love the fight scenes in that movie, and I noticed that, at least in the movies, Bourne seems to react on contact. So I was kind of imagining what it might be like to be Marie--because we all sometimes inadvertantly startle the people we live with, right? It's just the difference between whether the person you live with is a professional assassin or not.


Surprises

Marie had learned long ago never to startle him. She had done so only once; he was always so observant, so aware, and she had never been remarkably graceful, after all. It had taken them both by surprise.

It had been a blazingly hot summer day, the heat visible as it rose from the ground in shimmering quavering waves, just after they had first purchased their home in Goa. She had still been unfamiliar with the house, but Jason...well, she knew that he had been intimately acquainted with its layout before he had signed the papers to buy it.

He had been writing fiercely, almost desperately, as though he would lose his tatters of memories forever if he could not immediately secure them in ink, for nearly an hour. It had been closed by the time she had entered the room, but it had been there, forsaken, on the desk before him. He had been sitting silently, barricaded within that impenetrable fortress of thought to which he so often retreated. Even from the doorway across the room she had observed the tautness that held his entire body unnaturally rigid, that was etched into his expression as his unseeing eyes watched fragments of the past rush by in jagged frustrating splinters.

She had padded over to him, her bare feet soundless against the wooden floor. Eager to comfort, she had gently, delicately brushed her fingers across his shoulder.

At the first sensation of being touched, he had exploded instinctively, tearing her off her feet and hurling her into the desk. Before she had been able to react beyond a feeble unconscious cry of "Jason!" he had drawn a gun from God-knows-where, cocked it, and trained it directly at her head.

In less than ten seconds he had realized his mistake; remorse and apology and shame had replaced the rage that had flooded his bearing. The entire following week he had treated her with extra, excessive caution and tenderness. She had worn an ugly, vivid bruise across her side for several days; but from that point on she had never come into a room without first announcing her arrival through some small indication of her presence: a tiny cough, a firmly closed door, an unusually heavy footstep. She had never surprised him since.

Until now.

She gradually slowed the car from its frantic insane rush away from his imagined demons and looked him square in the eye. He began to panic, although paradoxically he did so in the disciplined way only he could manage. She knew that he was not programmed for such a surprise.

Marie listened calmly as he protested that they had no choice, and then she told him confidently, "Yes, you do."


I feel like the story is unfinished somehow. I don't know. Any suggestions as to how to remedy that are appreciated. If you don't feel like making a suggestion, comments are always welcome too.