Even as her knuckles met the solid wood of the door, Janet asked herself what the heck she was doing. She was normally a very sensible woman, not a risk taker. Security and stability were a part of being a good mother, something she prided herself on being.
Knocking on the door of a man you've only known for a couple of days - a man you've been thrust into a creepy, deadly Orwellian game with - was pretty much the opposite of sensible. Especially at 1:30 in the morning, in her PJ's (not really hers, but the ones that magically appeared in her room).
She hoped he didn't get the wrong idea.
"What?" came a mildly disgruntled - but more curious- sleep heavy voice from beyond the door. She couldn't blame him for being cautious, as you never knew when the next sick test or trial was about start. Also…the unknown 'They' had wanted her to kill him and, though she obviously hadn't, she had confronted him with a loaded gun.
"Joe?" she called hesitantly, placing a hand flat on the cool door. Now that she was here she was feeling exceedingly foolish. A grown woman should not be running off for company simply because she couldn't sleep.
But before she could reconsider any more, Joe replied, "Janet?". That was followed by the audible thunk of the key turning in the lock before the door swung inward.
The psychos running this place had given Joe a pair of plaid flannel sleep pants, blue where hers were red, but, while she had a t-shirt, he was bare chested. She'd seen it before, during his Moira directed strip down and sedative implant search on Main St., but then she'd been sore and drugged and beyond scared, not exactly the best condition in which to appreciate the view.
Now however, she had no such distractions. In fact, she was looking for one and Joe's shirtless, fuzzy chest was a good one.
"Janet." He repeated her name, resting a hand on the door frame. Her eyes followed its path and, for an indulgent moment, she wondered how those hands, callused, rough knuckled, working mans hands, would feel on her body.
Shaking herself, she said, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have…."
She took a step, preparing to leave, more apologies on her tongue, when he held up his other hand. "Woah. Wait a minute. You okay?"
Briefly, she considered lying, then flailed and admitted, "I just couldn't sleep and I kept thinking…."
"About your daughter."
It wasn't a question and she saw his eyes dart to the pictures of Megan she had clutched in one hand. They were the only tangible, physical connection she had to her baby in this hell and she hadn't let them out of her sight since they'd arrived.
"Yeah," she replied softly, tilting the pictures so he could see them more clearly in the dimly lit hall.
"She's a cutie," Joe offered, a slight smile on his face. Not for the first time, she wondered what he might look like if he really grinned. Of course, there wasn't much cause to grin here.
"She'd my life…I just…I miss her and I'm so scared for her." The words came out in a jumbled rush. She knew she'd said the same things countless times but it just kept bubbling up and bursting out.
Not that it helped alleviate the pressure any.
Joe simply nodded and ran a hand over his short, bristly hair. "Wanna talk about it?" The question was hesitant, as though he was unsure if he was actually asking the right question. Most men sounded that way when confronted with their mortal enemy: Expressing their feelings.
"Okay," she said, equally emotionally wrong footed. She stepped towards his room just as he stepped out and they proceeded to do a little dance around each other until they ended up back in Joe's room.
He led the way, giving her a glimpse at the small sunburst tattoo on his upper back. It was old, fading, perhaps a reminder of a wild youth.
Joe took a seat on the foot of the bed, at the bottom of the rumpled side and waved an arm to offer a seat. Of course, the room was virtually identical to her own, but for the men's clothes visible through the open closet door.
For a moment she considered taking the chair. After all, when one found oneself alone in a virtual strangers room in the middle of the night, the chair was surely the sensible option. But what the hell would a sensible woman be doing in the room of a strange, attractive, half naked man in the middle of the night?
Ah, screw it.
She sat on the bed, beside Joe but not touching. In a very basic way, just sitting close to another human being was comforting and she felt her spine relax slightly as she became aware of the heat his body was casting off.
They sat there quietly, listening to the sounds of the building, creaking, settling in the night and the almost imperceptible whir of cameras and electronics that ceaselessly monitored them. God, those cameras. She and the other women (not that the men were thrilled) were all unhappy about the cameras, especially the ones they knew were there but couldn't locate in the bathrooms. The thought of the creeps that had brought them here being all Peeping Tom while she was showering was yet another violation.
Unsure what to say, she glanced at Joe out of the corner of her eye. He was sitting, sort of hunched over, elbows on his knees, hands dangling motionless. His head was bowed and his eyes shut. There were lines of weariness on his face, lines she knew to be mirrored on her own. This place was not conducive to getting a good nights sleep. Every time she began to nod off, she was afraid someone was going to grab her again….
"Can I sleep with you?" The moment she said those words, she wished she had phrased it differently. Joe's eyes popped open and he turned to look at her in dumbfounded surprise. "Not like that!" she quickly qualified, "I just…I…They might come again. Every time I close my eyes, I wonder if I'm going to wake up someplace worse."
Initial confusion fading, Joe had begun nodding with her words. Clearly, that train of thought was not foreign to him. With no fan fare or fuss, he said, "Sure."
Bothe exhausted, they managed to get into their respective sides of the bed with a minimum of awkwardness. After Joe turned out the light, Janet relaxed, curling onto her side. Joe was on his back, breathing evenly but clearly not yet asleep.
Hearing the sounds of another person was soothing and, as she felt Morpheus's approach, Janet murmured, "Megan loves angels, butterflies, birds, fairies…I didn't know why until recently, but she told me it's because they can fly. She wants to fly. I had to keep telling her not to jump off of the playground equipment because she can't…."
She didn't know why she chose to share that particular snippet of Megan's personality, but she did and thinking of her baby with her little balloon wings and halo made her voice waver.
In the dark, Joe's hand closed around her wrist and startled her out of her memory. He had turned to look at her, eyes serious as he said, "When we get out of here, I'll take you both flying, okay?"
"You're a pilot?" It was all she could think to ask, as the assurance that they would escape buoyed her spirits.
He smiled, a little broader than usual. "Among other things."
"You're a regular man of mystery, Joe."
He gave her wrist a reassuring squeeze before releasing her and letting his eyes drift closed again. "Sure. A real 007."
Man of mystery or not, Janet felt safe enough to get some actual restful sleep that night…and hey, she was a grown woman. If she happened to wake up spooning with a hot, half naked guy she knew next to nothing about, well that was no ones business but her own.