A grumpy Doc’ was staring at me.
“Lad, you have a lot of courage to come to me twice in the same week.” He threatened me.
“I knew you missed me.” I winked at him, making him smile.
“Ah, I can’t refuse anything to you young one!” He sighed.
I smiled. Doc’ was far too nice to scare me. I glimpsed at Newt. He was standing next to the door, talking to Alvi, explaining what happened to me.
I still could fell his warmth on my hips.
I turned my attention to Doc, feeling my cheek grew hotter.
“Someone has to explain to me why you think you have to open yourself to the bones to come to me.” Doc’ grumbled while taking a bucket filled of water.
“Ouch!” I said when he applied some on my foot.
“This will took away all the dust, then I will be able to apply some cream to make sure it heals properly. But you won’t be able to walk tomorrow. Understand?” Doc’ scolded me, daring me to oppose him even for a second.
“Yes Boss!” I reacted, obedient.
He sighed and continued taking care of my foot, making me protest time to time.
“Ok, sounds like everything is done. Midget, be more careful next time you wanna take a run in the middle of the night. You can stay here tomorrow. You’ll help Doc in whatever you can without moving around.” Said Alvi in a tired voice.
“Understand.” I said. He wouldn’t accept apologies, the best I could do was to obey to him.
He arched an eye brown at my sudden obedience but didn’t pick up.
“Ok time for me to go back to sleep!” Alvi said before disappearing.
“You can sleep here lad. Better than moving you around.” Said Doc’, giving me a blanket.
“Wait!” He got stopped by Newt.
“You should have a look at his ribs. I guess he got hurt before, I felt his bandage on his chest before. Would be better to check everything is ok.” Newt asked Doc’.
I felt my breath getting blocked in my throat while Doc’ looked at me in the same way.
God….he doesn’t know. I felt relieved knowing that Alvi didn’t break his promise, but a tiny part of me felt like I would have prefer him to know that I was a girl.
“Nah, it’s fine, thanks Newt.” I answered.
“Come on. The bandage are pretty thick and you ran like crazy. It could have moved” he crossed his arm on his chest, making clear he wouldn’t change his mind.
I didn’t know what to say anymore. Lost, I looked at Doc’.
“Thank you Newt, I will have a look tomorrow with better light.” Saved Doc’.
I breathed again.
“But for now it’s ok, he just needs more sleep.” Concluded Doc’ before leaving us.
Wow that was awkward I was feeling a bit shy around Newt after bringing this topic.
I observed him puzzled, moving around the room, with a tranquil and powerful step.
“You should go grab some sleep before the sun is up.” I said
“Yeah, I agree.” He looked like he found what he was looking for and he grab a blanket before coming on the bed of fortune next to me.
“Euh…..Newt?” I asked, getting more and more puzzled.
“What?” he answered without looking at me, still busy doing a bed.
“You know you’re bed is not here right?” I asked, wondering if he hurt his head somewhere.
“You’re trying to be funny?” he answered dryly at my joke.
“Is it that obvious?” I complained.
He smiled before sitting with a sight on his bed and taking off one shoes. He stopped and looked at me.
“I am taking off my shoes.” He explained, answering my questioning look.
“Thanks, I saw that!”
“Don’t rush out like crazy again, or at least give me some time to put them on again.” He added.
“Ohhhh shut up!” I threw him my pillow.
He laughed while catching it.
“I prefer seeing you like that, Midget.” He completed.
He threw back the pillow. I felt my cheeks turn pink so I let it slap my face. Perfect excuse. He gently blow away the candle. I waited for my eyes to get used to the darkness and I observed him lie down, an arm behind his neck, watching the ceiling.
I lie down, on my side, my face toward him.
“Newt…. “ I said softly.
“Thank you.” I murmured.
He turned his face, his eyes looking for mine, gleaming in the darkness.
“No problem. I love jogging in the woods in the middle of the night.” He joked.
I smiled and said.
“Not only for tonight. Since I arrived, you stayed with me and took care of me. Thank you for all of that.” I added.
I observed his face freezing. He turns to look at the ceiling again.
“You shouldn’t be.” He said gently.
There were some guilt in his voice that stopped me to ask what he meant.
The silence grew deeper between us. It was not really comfortable this time, his last words pending in the air.
“Midget…You should eat more. You are way too thin for a guy of our age.” He broke the silence.
“….Oh…Yeah … trying my best.” I said, turning to face the other way.
I started to dislike lying to him.
“Hey, you’re ok?” Newt asked.
I heard the sound of him sitting up in his bed.
“Yeah, no worries.” I murmured.
“If your foot hurt, tell me. I will go find Doc’.” He proposed.
“Ahahah to get killed?” I joked.
“I am bloody serious here.” He reprimanded me.
“Yeah I know, sorry. I’m fine, just tired.” I apologized.
He calmed down.
“Your memories…”.he started. “Never mind.”
I took a breath.
“I don’t know. They didn’t really make any sense. I just remembered the sensation of an old routine.” I explained awkwardly.
“Sounded like a bad one to react this way.” He commented.
“….it was.” I just answered.
“…You know, my memories were not that good neither.” He silently added.
I stayed silent. I wanted to ask him more but he made it clear before he didn’t want to open up about it. I continued to lie down, silently staring at the wall.
“I … I don’t like talking about them.” He apologized.
“It’s fine. I understand.” I lied.
“No. What I mean is that I don’t like talking about them with anyone. They are not good memories, and not useful at all. I don’t understand them and that is bloody scary. But…yeah….what I mean is that it is not because it is you or that I don’t trust you.” He explained.
Oh, I was not the only one able to read others pretty well. He had observed me and read on my face my reaction when he rejected me before. I smiled, happy that his words were actually not rejecting me.
“Newt, I got it…Thanks.” I said, feeling unconsciously that he was still trying to find the right words to say.
“This is easy to talk to you. I forgot how it felt to be so comfortable with someone.” He commented, looking surprised.
Yeah, me too is what I wanted to answer. But I couldn’t. I was lying to him. He was trusting me that is why he felt comfortable. How would he felt if he knew I was lying to him? He should never knew!
I let the silence come between us. I was listening to his breath becoming slow and steady before trying to relax. I turn to be on my back, wondering how I was supposed to get to sleep?
“Can’t sleep?” he broke the silence.
“WAH!” I jumped in surprise not expecting him to talk. “I thought you were sleeping! Don’t scare me like that!”
“Here.” He offered.
Hesitantly, he extanded his hand toward me.
“Here what?” I asked in disbelief.
“They say that contact with others scare the bad spirits, sad memories or bad dreams.” He justified himself.
“Really?” I said, not thinking of anything else, trying to calm my heartbeat who became irregular.
“You don’t have to.” He said pulling away slowly.
“No! No I want to!” I quickly reached out and grabbed his hand.
He laughed before squeezing my hand lightly.
“Good night Midget.”
“…Good night. Newt.” I answered.
The warmth and strength of his big hand wrapping mine was comforting and disturbing at the same time, all my attention was focused to it. I throw a glance at him. His other hand was still behind his neck, his eyes were closed and he looked like he already was asleep. His face was relaxed and his thin lips stretched in this small smile that I grew to like.
Wow! I turned back my face toward the ceiling.
What the hell are you thinking?! You’re a guy, a guy a guy A GUY!!! No feelings, no fast heartbeat, no butterfly, no dreams! Stop it you crazy girl!
That was definitely not the moment to start to have feelings for Newt, in the middle of this camp, not knowing who I was. I put some reason into me. When I got sure that I was not thinking of anything strange, I closed my eyes, looking for sleep.
Even if the warmth against the skin of my hand was the only thing I focused on.
I woke up in the morning to find I was alone.
“I made him go to work.” Said Doc’.
“‘morning.” I saluted him.
“Morning Lad.” answered Doc’ while giving me a sandwich
“Let me have a look at this foot.” He added.
“Thank you for yesterday.” I said.
He sat next to me, observing my foot. Grabbing some cream he put it on.
“You should be more careful with your body lad. Woman have tender skin.” He reprimanded me.
I grimaced at his words, not being comfortable being remembered of my gender.
“Also, …. Well … Does Newt know?” Doc’s asked, uncomfortably.
I looked at him in surprise.
“Come on, it is easy to see he is special to you after yesterday evening.” He added.
I blushed remembering our hands joint all night, his warmth, his smell.
“N…no he doesn’t know. And he can’t know! Please.” I begged him.
He pat me on the shoulder.
“Calm down, I won’t tell him anything. But you should keep some distance with him if you don’t want him to realize. He already found out for the bandages.” Doc’ analysed.
I kept silence. He was right. However I didn’t want to put any distance with him. He probably read my face.
“Don’t think about that too much. Just be more careful if you don’t wanna him to figure out.” He sighted.
“…yeah I will.” I promised.
“We are in a pretty messed up place. It doesn’t mean you have to stop living you know that Lad? Newt is a good guy, if you explain to him, he will understand.” Doc’ said.
“It will only hurt him.” I said, stubborned.
“But won’t that hurt him more if he found out by someone else or by himself?” asked Doc’ with wisdom.
I didn’t have anything to answer that. Doc’ pat me on the head and then kept me busy all day long, preparing some crème, potion or whatever he was calling it to be able to treat wounds, headache, stomach ache, ect.
I didn’t see Newt all day.
At the end of the afternoon, Doc’ checked my foot and bandaged them before allowing me to put my shoes back.
“You can walk but don’t push it, I don’t want it to get infected. Apply this lotion every morning and evening, to keep them cicatrising. And come to me if you have any pains or if they start bleeding again.” Doc’ ordered me like a mother.
“Yes Mom!” I answered, raising my eyes to the sky.
“No joke young lad! You better behave if you don’t want me to come check on you every hour.” He answered.
“Ok ok I got it! I will do so!” I laughed at his threat.
“Ahhh sounds like someone is feeling better here!” Interrupted a voice with strong British accent.
I turn my face to see without surprise Newt, leaning against the doorframe, with a big smile on his face. I controlled my heartbeat when I remembered the night before.
“Hi Newt, what’s up?” I tried to ask nonchalantly.
According to the look on Doc’s face, he didn’t buy it. Newt didn’t look like he minded.
“Nothing much, just checking on the sick.” Newt answered with a teasing smile.
“And ditching! Dude you were supposed to be helping me with the dishes today!” Interrupted a new voice.
“Minho! I’m sure you preferred doing them all by yourself.” I teased the newcomer, feeling relieved that Newt was not alone.
“You wish! Next time, you do my part too!” Minho ordered me.
“Ahahah not even in your dreams!” I answered.
Newt was looking at me. I could felt it, but I didn’t respond to his gaze.
“Hey I am so hungry I could eat you! Let’s go grab dinner!” I said with too much energy.
“Ahahah, I see that the ogre in you is back! Let’s go Midget!” exclaimed Minho, enthusiast to the idea of food.
I started to stand up when Doc’ remind me
“Don’t go around, just straight to the cafeteria then back to sleep. That is the only walk allowed for today.” Doc’ ordered, seious.
“Yes boss!” I promised.
I smiled and left my bed, happy to be able to move again.
“Wah, watching your energy, you look like you stayed there forever!” Joked Minho.
“I don’t really like being in close and small place, that’s all.” I answered evasively, surprised how right he was.
“You sure you’re feeling better?” Asked Newt on my left with worry.
“Yeah, Doc’ is a magician!” I answered, jumping around to prove myself.
Not a smart move, but I wanted to get rid of the strange feeling in my stomach. So jumping around like I was getting ride of dust was the only thing I could think of.
“Ola!” exclaimed Newt while grabbing my forearm to stabilize me.
“Ok I trust you, don’t do that again!” Newt added, his hand firmly stopping me.
I felt a rush of blood going to my face. I free myself of his grip a bit too fast. He looked at me in a strange way, probably surprised by my unusual move.
“I am ok, I swear! Now let’s go grab some diner!” I changed the subject, still trying to avoid his gaze.
I didn’t want to hurt him but the more he was staying close to me, the more chance there was. Also, I was worried of the sensation I had every time he was touching me or taking care of me.
Sitting on a piece of wood, next to a small fire I was eating my smashed potatoes with energy, joking around with Minho. Nigel came over, joining us.
“Oy you’re ok?” asked my “roommate”.
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that Nigel. Bad sleep yesterday.” I said evasively.
“No problem. But you scare the death out of me when you run like someone was chasing you.” Answered Nigel with relieve.
“…yeah, bad dream.” I concluded.
“But good god, you are quite a speedy!” added Nigel with admiration.
“…ahah really. Guess so.” I answered, trying to make the topic die.
“Ohhh you’re fast?” asked Minho with interest.
“Hey! Look at that! The cook looks like he has some second.” Said a guy sitting next to us, giving me the perfect escape.
“Seriously?” answered another.
“What? Dips!” Minho run to the cook, followed by Nigel.
I sighted, happy that I won’t have to talk about yesterday anymore.
“Hey Midget….”started Newt
I realized that we were alone next to this fire, all the other guys eating on the others ones, by small group.
“You’re acting…strange.” Newt added with concern.
“No, not really!” I defended myself, not eager to have him focusing too much until I regained composure from what was happening inside me.
Shit, answered way too fast to be innocent. I slapped myself mentally.
“If … I mean for yesterday….I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable you know.” Started Newt, awkwardly.
“Oh, no I know. No worries, we are good!” I rushed to answer.
“I thought about it and it could have look … well awkward. But I meant it as a friend. I didn’t …. I was not hitting on you or anything!” He said, all red.
Surprised, I looked at him. Oh yeah, I was a man on his eyes. So he probably thought I was uncomfortable because men don’t usually do this kind of stuff to each other, holding hands, hugging.
“There are all this bloody rumours around here, but I’m not one of them. I am not attracted to you in anyway. I just wanted to comfort you as your friend.” He tried to explain. Words seemed to defeat him.
That was what I wanted. But it actually hurts more than I expected now that he was telling it.
Not hearing any answers, Newt looked at me. He read my face and frowned.
“Midget….” He said softly.
“Hey Dude!!!! That’s not fair! You got more than I!” Minho sit loudly next to me.
“Ahahah, you should have been acting happier do the dishes last time man!” answered Nigel, happy.
“Man, can you believe that Newt?!” wined Minho.
Newt was still watching me but the scream for attention from Minho forced him to look at his friend. Nigel join them in a discussion about the preferences of the cook –well to be honest it was more Minho and him talking on each side of Newt. I used their unconscious back up to leave without making a noise. I gave my plate back to the cook and went for my hut.
Oh I needed to focus. I don’t know what Newt saw on my face but it was bad. I didn’t control myself back there. Hopefully he will have forgotten tomorrow. But I knew inside it won’t be the case. He was a smart one.
“Oh God!” I said softly to the silent and empty hut.
I was in serious trouble. I really liked Newt and that was not something that will turn out good, I could feel it. I tried to think of a solution, any solutions. The only way out was to get the hell out of here. But didn’t look like something that could happen anytime soon.
I was still looking for a solution when I fall asleep.
The following morning found me grumpy, not having been able to figure out something. The only temporary solution was to avoid him like crazy. For once the goods were with me. Newt was running today. I took care of the dishes and of helping the cooks for lunch and to prepare dinner. When I finally saw him again, it was late afternoon. I observed him arriving from his run, his tee shirt glue on him because of the sweat. He was next to the heavy doors, far from me. I am pretty sure I met his gaze, but quickly went out to help in the kitchen even if I was not on duty.
“Hey you should go grab something to eat.” Said Frypan, the cook.
He was all jelly and maturing, but was the king in the kitchen.
“It’s ok, I’ll grab something later. I need to finish these dishes.” I answered automatically, grateful to keep my mind too busy to think.
“Ok, I’m going to eat something. I leave you the dishes then.” Answered Frypan.
“Thank you Midget!” he said, grateful to be able to have some time for him.
It shouldn’t be easy to be the cook for so many guys, especially that most of us were like Minho, having a black hole instead of a stomach.
He left, leaving me alone in the kitchen. That is what I wanted. I could focus on the dishes without having to think of anything else. Yes I was a coward so what?
For once, I stayed up pretty late, taking my time with my work. The majority of the others must already be sleeping. I stretched myself, repressing a yawn.
“You work pretty late.” Echoed a voice in the silence.
“Wah!” I jumped in surprise and turned to face Newt.
“God you have to stop doing that! Appearing from nowhere to scare people is going to make me die young!” I protested, a hand on my heart to calm it.
“I was not really trying to hide my presence but you looked lost in your thoughts.” He analysed.
“Hummm.” Was the only answer I could manage, considering that my thoughts were about him.
I turned back to focus on the rest of the dishes.
“So? If you’re looking for Frypan, he already went away.” I said, a bit dryly.
“Well I actually was looking for you.” He said coming closer.
“For me? Did you miss me or something?” I tried to keep my voice from trembling by trying a stupid joke.
“Of course.” He answered naturally.
His answer took me by surprise and I turn to face him, mouth wild open.
“What? You’re a funny person to hang out around.” He answered honestly.
I took a deep breath.
“Fuck, you really are going to kill me!” I mumbled.
I threw him a wiper.
“Since you’re here, a little help would be welcome.” I added in a louder voice.
In silence, he joined me, helping me to finish. There was something comforting by working next to him, both focused on the same thing, no strange discussion, just the two of us. I smiled at the thoughts.
“What?” He asked,
“Nothing.” I answered.
He smiled too. We finished working and cleaning the kitchen.
Stretching myself, I followed him out of the hut.
“Thank for your help,” I said, actually grateful to be done with the work.
“No prob’, anytime Midget.” He pat my head before going to the hut he was sharing with 4 others.
I put my hand on my head while looking at his back. Yes, I was seriously going to have to work on my feelings. He was going to be the death of me.