So an update! yay ...Special thanks to Synesthete .net/u/356352/ for her help (and ideas!)
They all sat around the table the next morning. Jones had gladly cooked the morning meal at West's request. Selena and Hanna were still haphazardly dressed in frilly red, looking like they hadn't actually dressed themselves. They weren't eating-neither was Rachel. Selena's gaze at her mixed with the tension of the past night-along with the fact Mitchell and Clifton were practically giggling and congratulating each other-turned her stomach. Hannah was looking far away as though her mind was elsewhere. Jim and Sergeant Farrell had been taken away the day before as neither had agreed to go along with the 'new policy'. Rachel wondered briefly where they took them-if they were dead now. She hadnt exactly known either very well, but it was still eerie that someone she had sat down with to eat days before was now missing. That night she had spent alone in her room-West had put her in there and a guard at the door for her safety-which really meant so she wouldn't do anything foolish like try to escape-as if she would try.
"Not hungry?" West asked her casually.
Rachel shook her head.
"You should eat anyway." he said a bit louder-more to the whole table. "We need to keep our strength, and not waste our supplies."
Selena scoffed from her seat. West glared up at her mid bite-and she glared back.
Rachel cleared her throat and sat forward in her chair. Hoping, to break the tension, she took a bite of the semolina Jones had prepared-she then had to force it down. Jones had tried to follow her advice on adding honey to the mixture-but he had missed the bit about it only being a touch-he clearly over did it.
"I would eat more but it's a bit sweet for me." Rachel said lowly. Its not that she wanted to be hateful to Jones-but she didn't feel like eating to begin with.. and that was as good an excuse as any.
"Ol'Jonesy here just got a bit excited with the sugar!" Clifton laughed. Mitchell, Davis, Bell and Bedford all laughed along. "Innit that right Jonesy?"
Jones had the decency to blush.
"Dont worry youll get your turn soon enough, Doris." Mitchell grinned.
"Can we not talk about this here?" Rachel spoke up louder than she really excepted her voice to come out.
"I dont see why we shouldn't." Mitchell clearly didn't like her reprimand. "Speaking of which, do we need to work out a rotation schedule, Major?" Mitchell turned his gaze to West.
West looked back at Mitchell.
"See, I figure there's 7 of us-that is, if the major wants to have a go-and 7 days in a week..."
"That's enough Mitchell."
"But then again there is more than one girl-and we should give em a few nights off a week." Mitchell continued as though West hadn't spoken.
"I said 'Enough." West banged the table for emphasis and stood. "Go and patrol the perimeter."
"but I haven't finished my..." Mitchell tried to stall.
"Now." The Major cut him off. Mitchell reluctantly did as he was told. "Jones-start clean up."
"Aye sir." Jones said quickly not wanting to draw the ire of the Major.
"Yes sir." Davis nodded.
"Clifton, Bell, Bradford ...take the girls back to their rooms, and see that they're comfortable." he added. The three 'yessir'd him and stood. Clifton went first to Selena-Bell quickly put his hand on Hannah's shoulder and thirdly-as he was on the same side of the table, Bradford went to Rachel.
"Come on." Bell said nicely to Hannah who stood and followed him.
West had begun to make his way to the door-he was going to go and try to reason with Mitchell-to try and make the young man see that just because they had the power to make the girls submit didn't necessarily mean they had to be cunts about it.
"Stop it. Get your hands off me. I want to talk to the Major." He stopped when he heard Rachel say his name.
He turned around and let Clifton, Selena, Bell, and Hannah move past him. Bradford had a hold of Rachel's upper arm as though she had tried to run away.
"You can let her go." West said, and Bradford did so. Rachel straightened her shirt. "You had something to say?" West asked her, his tone colder than perhaps he would've liked.
"Alone." Rachel said as she eyed Bradford-and Jones and Davis still clearing off the table.
West thought for a moment. "You two can start in the kitchen-" he then told Jones and Davis. They wordlessly, and gladly moved from the room and headed down to the kitchen. "Bradford-go and check on the boiler and the generator."
Bradford wordlessly did as he was told.
After they were alone West stood silent-waiting for her to speak.
"I've been thinking..." she started.
"...And?" West barked at her as if she was one of his soldiers. He had expected this...For her to try and put her foot down, to try and dissuade him today, after the dust had settled.
"...About Mailer." She finished.
"Mailer?" West looked confused. It hadnt been what he had expected. "What about him?"
"I can deal with the infected-out there. Living day to day knowing there are things out there that want to kill me..." Rachel continued. "And I can deal with... whats going on in here. I know what you offer here is precious-its protection. There isn't anything I wouldn't give to not have to go back out there and if my body is that price then so be it-But, I cant do both. I cant be here and be happy and safe knowing you've got one of them chained up in the garden."
"What you ask, I cant give. We need him." West said matter of factly.
"We need that courtyard-imagine getting a goat or maybe some chickens-fresh eggs-fresh omelets."
"I can see about clearing off a patch on the front lawn-if we could find some uninfected lifestock maybe ..."
"You said yesterday you wanted me to accept this-to understand it? If you kill Mailer, you wont have to worry about me-I wont run away or try to help anyone else escape. I'll cook, I'll clean-I'll be yours."
West said nothing. He stood there for a moment staring at her. Then he took out his hand gun, turned and walked away. Rachel for a moment was unsure what to do-then came to her senses and ran after him. He was difficult to catch up to-his long legs and quick pace was much faster than Rachel's.
She nearly caught up to him at the kitchen. Jones and Davis staring at their commanding officer as he walked past -gun in hand.
West went through the red door, almost instantaneously Mailer was on his feet running at full speed toward the sound.
Mailer reached the end of his chain and was sprung back but soon was again at the end of his tether-swinging his arms wildly at the Major. Jones, Davis, and Rachel reached the doorway in time to see West staring, emotionless, down the barrel of his gun at the former soldier. The loud pop reverberated through the brick courtyard, and Mailer fell backwards to the ground.
West re holstered his gun, turned and walked back toward the door way, as Bradford made his way to the door to see what the commotion was.
"Bradford-get Mitchell and clean this up."
Bradford didnt move for a moment-until he realized the Major had been speaking to him.
West moved further in the door and walked past Rachel-but then stopped and turned his head toward her ear. "You'll be staying in my room tonight." he said matter of factly and then walked on.
Thank you! r/r