Driving Home

The whiskey burns the inside of his mouth, and he wants it no other way. The night has become a blurred mess of things he doesn't want to remember. He is miles and years away from his days as a soldier, but he can taste ashes in his mouth tonight.

Just like that, she is next to him. How was she always able to find him? Whether he was in his office, or on the battlefield, or in a dingy bar late at night, she always foundhim. He loved her for it. He hated her for it. Every woman he had ever had in his life had faded away, starting with the mother he could only remember if he closed his eyes and tried hard enough. The women he dated, the ones he charmed and bought expensive dinners for, always ended up leaving nothing but a trace of perfume on his sheets.

To this woman he was not the brave and handsome military man. He was a foster child who wanted to be something better. He was the man who had killed dozens in the name of service. He was the man who had burned the skin off parts of her back.

How is it possible for someone to know him that well and still want to follow him?

"I'll drive you home now Sir."

It's not an offer or a request. It's cue to pay for his drinks and follow her out the door. The streetlights are still on and a few cars illuminate the road with their headlights, but he can still only make out the side of her face. Her eyes focus ahead on the road, and in his stupor he takes a moment to appreciate the complete lack of tension in her expression, and the way her eyelashes rest on her cheek. He is halfway drunk and feeling sorry for himself, but since she's calm he is able to relax slightly because even if he's miserable, she's not.

As she arrives at his address and parks, she turns to him and he knows that under the calm she's concerned. He dips his head low in her direction, and for the briefest moment he rests his head in the crook of her neck, and is able to convince himself that he's going to be alright.

She's under his command, so he can't date her. He can't buy her dinner and take her home with him like he does with other women. He doesn't care. Those ten seconds of resting his tired head on her shoulder before he opens the car door and walks into his apartment mean more than any one night stand ever could.