WARNING: This story is unfinished and will remain so, unless the author comes back to complete it.
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‘How long has she been there?’
‘I don’t know. Couple of hours, maybe?’
Both Lieutenant Green and Captain Scarlet were standing by the Observation Lounge door, quietly discussing the almost motionless Captain Ochre, who was hunched in a chair by the window, seemingly gazing at the sunset. Scarlet was right; she had been there for several hours, and it had struck him as odd that the, usually, active Ochre was choosing to sit still for such a long period of time.
‘What do you think is-’
Without even turning round, Ochre exclaimed, ‘Just get lost, you two! You’re starting to annoy me!’ before falling silent again.
Green narrowed her eyes, staring at the back of Ochre’s head, as if she was trying to see inside. This wasn’t right, though it was a relief to hear some of the normal ‘Ochre speak’. She couldn’t stand around much longer though.
‘Paul, I have to do my shift. Maybe you should just… leave her?’
‘Yeah, sorry. It was just strange…’
Green and Scarlet set off in different directions, the Lieutenant being the only one to give the Lounge a back glance. Something was wrong.
As she turned the corner, Green practically walked straight into Captain Magenta, throwing out her arms and stopping herself just in time. Magenta grinned, placing one hand on her shoulder.
‘Serena, you want to get close, yes? Because, if you do, I would-’
‘Mario, please. I’m late for duty. Try to chat me up later!’ Green broke away, hurrying along the corridor, and eventually out of his sight. Magenta grimaced. How come none of the girls liked him? Try and chat her up later… if he did, she’d probably just make another excuse to leave.
Still scowling, Magenta neared the Lounge, musing over his failure with the women of Skybase. Destiny was with Scarlet, Green liked Blue, and vying for her attention over the said Captains was pointless . The other girls were mostly single…
Passing through the sliding silver door, Magenta noticed the dark figure of Ochre over by the window. She was standing at ease, gazing out of it, in a way that the Colonel had been seen to do often. She didn’t turn or show any signs of recognition that he’d entered.
Forgetting the cup of strong coffee he’d been looking forward to, Magenta crossed the room, wondering temporarily whether to slip his arms around her waist, but deciding against it. She’d just hit him. Again.
Instead, he stood to her left side, mimicking her pose, hands behind his back. He opened his mouth to say something witty and, no doubt, flirtatious, but closed it again when he noticed the definite glassy look in Ochre’s eyes.
‘Elaine, what’s wrong?’
‘Nothing.’ Her abrupt answer came without any further motions, not even a bored rolling of eyes. Something was definitely up. Magenta lowered his voice.
‘You can tell me. What is it? Have… have you been crying?’
‘No! Shut up!’
That meant she had then. Ochre sat down heavily, pulling her legs up until her knees were under her chin. She wrapped her arms around them, sighing. Magenta frowned. He may have a reputation as a wannabe womaniser, but it did hurt him to see someone like this. He looked down at her, and eventually she looked back at him.
‘Something’s worrying you. Please tell me what it is. If you truly don’t want anyone else to know, I promise I won’t tell.’
Ochre smiled slightly; a promising sign. ‘You sound like a school kid. I would tell you but there’s nothing really to tell.’
‘Okay.’ Magenta sat down. And waited. Five minutes. Ten minutes of sitting in silence, being baked in direct sunlight. Then…
‘I got my jaw and nose broken fifteen years ago today…’
‘Really?’ Magenta couldn’t help smiling a little. He knew she’d tell him ultimately. He then felt incredibly guilty, as Ochre’s eyes bored into the side of his head, obviously wondering why he was smiling at such grim news.
‘Sorry. Carry on.’
‘That’s all I was going to say!’
‘Okay…’ Magenta got up, fetched a hot cup of black coffee, and sat back down. It took until he reached the cold dregs of coffee at the bottom of the cup before she spoke again.
‘There was blood everywhere, and I got completely knocked out. But it was okay in the end because the guy who did it got arrested.’
Magenta was shocked. This was what Ochre had been brooding over? This was what had made her cry? How come she’d never told anyone before, simply to get it off her chest?
He couldn’t exactly say these things. Instead, he settled with…
‘Did… erm… did anyone help you?’
Ochre laughed. ‘I was ten, of course they helped! You’re not exactly going to let a ten year old get beaten up, are you?’ As soon as she’d said it, Ochre closed her eyes, silent. She shifted on her chair, allowing one arm to drape along the armrest, but keeping the other around her legs.
‘Elaine… who was it?’
She turned round so quickly her neck cricked. Rubbing it, she muttered, ‘You don’t need to know that.’
Magenta was getting a rather sick feeling in his stomach. Why was she protecting this person? After what they’d done to her?
‘Did they hurt anyone else?’
‘Yeah. A few. Bridget. And Andy. And I guess Siobhan and Miles were upset and everything…’
‘Who are they?’
‘Just my mother, brother’s friend, sister, brother. I don’t see why it matters.’
‘What injuries did they get?’
‘Will you stop asking questions!?’ Ochre snapped, her hands automatically curling into fists. Magenta saw. Usually, he would have stayed quiet, turned away, ignored her anger until it disappeared. But this time he couldn’t. He grasped her lower arm.
Ochre struggled to pull it away, her face contorted, wondering what he was doing. Magenta held on. She may be strong, but she wasn’t going to win.
At long last, she reluctantly smoothed the fist into a hand. He smiled, holding onto the fingers off this newly relaxed appendage. Ochre rolled her eyes. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Just holding your hand. Make you feel better.’
‘Make me feel worse more like.’ Ochre sighed again, but she didn’t try and remove her hand. She leant her head back against the chair, the orange light of the sunset basking her face and turning it yellowish.
‘Why haven’t you tried to flirt with me yet?’ Ochre asked quietly, swinging their joined hands.
‘Didn’t feel like it.’ That was true. For some reason, Magenta really hadn’t wanted to.
‘I appreciate that…’ Ochre tilted her head and smiled at him. Magenta felt his heart rate increase slightly, and he smiled back, praying that no one would enter the Lounge.
‘Listen. I understand if you feel bad about whatever happened, but I stand by what I said. I won’t tell anyone if you wish to enlighten me further.’
Ochre looked from their hands to his face. He did mean it. But she still couldn’t say. It was as if there was a word limit, and she’d reached it. She shook her head gently, her hair falling forward and partially hiding her face. Magenta nodded.
‘Okay. Do you want me to go?’
This time it was Ochre’s turn to nod. Magenta got up, flexing his fingers as Ochre’s fell away.
He had almost reached the door when she called him.
He turned round, to find Elaine just behind him. Reaching up, she kissed his cheek, keeping her balance by placing her hands on his shoulders. When she’d finished, she whispered, ‘Thanks,’ and sat back down by the window. Magenta only just managed to say ‘Don’t mention it.’
He left the Lounge, thinking. He hadn’t found out who had hurt her, but, somehow, he didn’t need to know. He had enough ideas. It must have been so awful for her to lock that away inside for so long.
Was he closer to Ochre? He supposed so. Maybe she trusted him more. She’d kissed him. Magenta smiled. He knew how to please her. It was strange that even women like Ochre needed sentiment and understanding. Shaking his head, he walked towards the lift. He needed to think… and refine his technique.
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