This is it! One more week, inspired by the flash prompt: I think you're up to something, and I want to know what it is. Enjoy!!
Fortitude Part 53
“Wildman was here last night. It’s soup without bread for lunch until we can get some more, but he left a gift.” The basket where we usually kept the bread was filled with bits and pieces, metal and gears, cogs and wires.
“He always finds the best stuff.” I rifled through the mess.
“You know, you’re a much better inventor than your father ever was.”
“What he did didn’t interest me.” I shrugged. “This is different. Everything out here is different.” Living at the edge of an ancient city among a lot of other Betas and Gammas was different from the life we’d had before. Modern conveniences were a thing of the past, but I enjoyed coming up with new ways to bring little comforts back into our lives.
“He’s been coming by a lot lately.”
“I guess so.” I shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. “He’s good at scavenging. Besides, this way I feel better about him getting a good meal regularly.”
Teddy narrowed his eyes. “I think you’re up to something, and I want to know what it is.”
“Would I be up to something?” I widened my eyes and smiled.
I put a hand on my chest and staggered backward. “I’m wounded.”
“You’re late for work, is what you are, and you’re going to make me late. Put your shoes on.”
“What would I do without you to keep me on track?” It was amazing the difference in Teddy, when no one looked down on him for his fugues. Whenever I got blocked, he figured out how to fix my problem. We worked better together.
“Be late, anger everyone, and generally make a nuisance out of yourself.”
Our little enclave was secure, but there was a lot of friction between the Betas. Some of them had lost their ability to the king’s machine. Some had gained some measure of power back. Teddy and I had gained more than most, and there was a link between us that hadn’t been tangible before.
We’d yet to explore everything that it could mean, but I had a feeling, one day, it was going to be very important. In the meantime, I was just happy to be with him.
“Before we head off to work, there’s something I wanted to show you.” I laced up my shoes and grabbed my jacket. I reached for Teddy, pulling him in close. “You know, we’ve been together for a year today.”
His eyes opened wide. “We have?”
“Mmhmm. The day we started out life over.”
Teddy wrapped his arms around my back, fisting his hands in my jacket. “Do you ever wish things were different? That we didn’t have to leave the city?”
“If we’d stayed there, our parents would’ve fought to keep us apart if we didn’t hide being together. Here, everyone’s busy just trying to live so nobody cares what’s going on in our private lives. Sure, it might be hard, but I’d rather be here any day.”
“Good. I like it here too.” Teddy kissed me. I leaned into him, deepening the kiss. He was flushed and breathing hard when I pulled away. I loved that look on him. Teddy blinked slowly, finally focusing back on me. “I can never get enough of that.”
I cupped his cheeks. “There’s always more.”
Teddy was gasping by the time I let him up for a breath. “You… said you had… something to show me?”
“Yep. It’s in the kitchen.”
Groaning, Teddy stepped back. “You didn’t try to cook again, did you?”
The door to the kitchen was shut, so he wouldn’t smell what I’d been doing while he was getting ready to head to the city center. As soon as he opened the door, Teddy’s eyes slid half-shut, and he took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “Mmm.”
A pot sat in the middle of the table with two mugs. Steam rose from the spout. “Is that… chocolate?” he asked reverently.
He looked at me with wide eyes. “How?”
“Wildman,” I said simply. “I considered about giving you something like a ring, but everyone knows you’re mine. Instead, I thought about what makes you happy—besides me—and I instantly thought of how much you enjoy a cup of chocolate in the morning.”
“It’s amazing. Wonderful. But”—he looked undecided—“we have to get to work.”
“The harvester can wait an extra day. So instead of putting on my shoes, you’re going to take yours off. We’re going to drink hot chocolate and then… we’re going back to bed.”
“That sounds perfect. I love you, Will.”
“Love you too, Teddy.”
Yep, that's it! Next week will be the start of something new, after just over a year. Woo hoo! Now go enjoy some more flash.