The very first night Boone slept with the Courier, Arcade Gannon didn't sleep a wink.
It was deathly quiet in the presidential suite of the Lucky 38 Hotel and Casino that night, something that was somewhat rare, even for the early hours of the morning. Arcade lie awake, staring blankly at the ceiling, having given up hours ago on fooling himself into thinking he would find rest that night. He tried to keep his mind busy, even talking to himself under his breath, anything to drown out the sound of muffled gasps and moaning coming from the wall beside his bed. For the first time, Arcade found himself wishing his roommates were being their normal, noisy selves.
In a typical evening, Rose of Sharon Cassidy would sit at the long table in the kitchen and down close to two full bottles of whiskey easily, culminating into a lengthy discussion of life and the world between her drunken self and Craig Boone. Correction, it was a rather one-sided discussion with Cass and herself. Boone, ever the mute presence, would simply sit in silence - a dark, imposing form of eyes and ears, giving the occasional grunt to let her know he was still conscious. Arcade knew that Boone was nowhere near as stupid as he looked; in fact, he imagined that the former First Recon soldier was quite intelligent. Rather than contribute to conversation, he listened, and he watched. Arcade liked to think that all that listening and watching could create quite an extensive mental library of information.
The rest of the companions all had their nightly rituals as well. Veronica Santangelo had recently discovered that she liked to knit and usually spent her evenings in the rec room, sitting cross-legged in a chair, her knitting spread across her lap, the radio playing and propped up on the end table beside her. The cybernetic dog Rex seemed to enjoy Veronica's taste in pre-war hits, and liked to spend the night curled in a ball at her feet.
Then there was the Courier. She was an enigma all of her own. She had told Arcade that story of how she had been shot in the head and left to die, but it was the most he knew about her. Two bullets to her brain had completely eradicated any memories of her former life, including the very fiber of who she was. She remembered nothing: where she grew up, how old she was, even her own name. Arcade, however, found it vexing that after nearly 18 months, she had yet to designate herself with a new name. A man of science, of words, Arcade liked order. Everything needed a name, something to be called, a word that you could use to refer to it, but the Courier was just … the Courier. When asked by his colleagues at the Old Mormon Fort who he was traveling with, his response had simply been, "That Courier who's been making a fuss on the Strip." When he asked Veronica who had drank a bottle of his special stash of Nuka Cola Quartz, the reply had been, "The Courier."
And it was "the Courier" and her obsession with health and wellness and early morning excursions who was always the first to bed in the evenings.
So Arcade found it strange that particular evening when, just shortly after the Courier had gone to bed, Boone had stood up in the kitchen, stretched, and announced that he was also going to hit the sack early, and he suggested that everyone else do the same. Even stranger was the fact that when Arcade finally decided to turn in as well, he found Boone lying wide-awake. Of course, it was a little difficult to tell in the near-complete darkness of the windowless guest bedroom they shared that Boone was even there, but once he had undressed and slid himself between the sheets of his own bed, he slowly became aware of the absence of sound. Boone always - always - snored loud enough to wake the dead, and this night, he lie completely silent, his breath all but nonexistent.
Arcade dared to venture toward conversation. "Something on your mind, Boone?" he asked softly.
Well that much was obvious. Arcade craned his neck to see Boone over the edge of his pillow, but could only make out the dark shape of his body. Forget trying to read his face.
Arcade rolled onto his back. If his calculations were correct, he had been living in this apartment for 73 days. It had become the norm for him to share a bedroom with someone he considered practically a complete stranger. The number of words he had exchanged with Boone could be counted on just one hand. Well, Arcade thought, smiling wryly, perhaps that was hyperbole, but only just.
Veronica and Cass were at least decent conversationalists, despite Veronica's naivete and youth and Cass's insistence at being completely sloshed for the better part of the day. Hell, even the Courier could open up once in a while to talk with him, particularly while they were out on the Wastes together. But no, when it came to Boone, Arcade could have better conversations with the dog.
Unfortunately for poor Arcade, this caused quite an array of perverse thoughts to roll around in his mind. Boone's lack of personality caused Arcade's over-active mind to kick into overdrive with thoughts about his inner machinations. What made Craig Boone tick? What exactly was going on in his mind when those dark eyes spent all that time observing?
What, precisely, did he wear under those canvas cargoes?
It was enough to send Arcade's mind into a frenzy. Granted, he was terrified of the idea of Boone ever discovering that Arcade thought about him in the middle of the night, but what was a man to do? Sharing an enclosed space with someone for a long period of time is bound to make your mind wander, he supposed.
It was with these thoughts in mind that Arcade finally drifted into the somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. And it was from this somewhere that he was sharply awakened at the sound of a bed creaking. It took a few seconds of rapid blinking to find consciousness, and another brief moment for Arcade to realize that Boone had rolled out of bed. In the dim light, Arcade saw the sniper's nearly naked form go to the door and disappear out into the hallway.
A second later, he heard the Courier's bedroom door open and softly shut.