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    zanoGreen
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WARNING: This story contains graphic content such as sex, violence, death, and derogatory slang.  

Imprisoned - 3. The Date

About a week had passed since my birthday, and the onslaught that followed. There was a funeral, people mourned over the loss of their comrades, their friends, their family. I wondered when this was going to be over. After the civil war was over, we all thought that things would start returning to normal. But they hadn't, they had just stayed the same.

Ryan stopped by and visited medical every now and then, we seemed to be getting closer following the events that took place. I wondered why he kept doing that, why he kept hanging around me. Riley kept pushing me to take the leap, make a move on him.

"I mean c'mon, he's a hunky piece of Texas sirloin and you need to pour your sauce all over him." Riley stated as we sat in the mess hall during breakfast.

"That is incredibly graphic." I replied.

"And incredibly true." Alex said, she and Cody sat next to me. Riley pointed at her in approval.

"See, even Alex agrees!" Riley shouted.

"What are we talking about?" Cody asked intrigued.

"Nothin-" I started but Riley cut me off.

"Ell, and the fact that he is avoiding the obvious chemistry between him and Ryan Riggs." Riley stated. Alex flicked her head in my direction with her mouth open slightly.

"Oh my god! You guys would be so cute together!" She squealed.

"It's not happening." I said with a hint of annoyance.

"Why not? He's a total hunk." Alex questioned. Cody cleared his throat. "Well except for you of course Cody." She added patting Cody on the shoulder.

"And how long has this been going on?" Riley asked. I was glad the conversation was steering away from me and Ryan.

"When Cody left medical after the incident last week, we ran into each other. We had dinner and then.." Alex trailed off, with a grin.

"You guy's played monopoly?" I asked sarcastically. Alex punched me in the arm.

"Well it's about damn time anyways. You guys were annoying, dancing around each other. Kinda like two other people I know." Riley landed his gaze on me. Great, now were back to me.

"Will you just leave it?" I asked, getting slightly annoyed.

"Nope." Riley said flatly. I rolled my eyes.

"Oh, here comes your guy." Alex teased, nudging me in the rib. I followed the direction of her stare and spotted Ryan walking towards our table with two mugs in his hand. He had a slight limp from the arrow he took to the leg last week. A gorgeous smile split across his face as he met my gaze. I saw out of the corner of my eye, Alex and Cody scoot down the bench to make room for him as he drew closer. Riley looked as if he was watching his favorite soap opera unfolding in front of his very eyes.

"Hey Elliott." He said. "Black, just how you like it right?" He handed me a steaming mug of coffee.

"Oh thank you, you didn't have to get me coffee." I said blushing slightly.

"Hmm, he knows your coffee order. Imagine that." Riley said. I shot him a threatening look.

"Well it's the least I could do after your pulled an arrow out of my leg." Ryan stated, taking the empty space on the bench next to me. Our shoulders were touching, and I melted into the warmth of our skin touching. I could feel Ryan relax into me slightly, and I accepted it willingly. Did Alex and Cody leave barely any space on purpose?

"It was no biggie." I shrugged taking a drink of the coffee. There was a moment of silence and then Alex piped up.

"Well I gotta go to the shop and get some work done." She stood up with her tray and eyeballed Cody. Cody gave her a confused look and then realized what was going on.

"Oh! Oh yeah, Riley is gonna go through some gun training with me." Cody said looking over at Riley. Riley gave him a confused look.

"What are you-OUCH!" Riley exclaimed as Cody kicked him under the table. "Fine, lets go." Riley said grumpily as he grabbed his tray and sauntered off with the others out of the mess hall.

I looked over at Ryan, and he looked back at me with those amazing blue eyes. He budged a little bit to his left so we weren't crammed into each other, but he still stayed close enough so I could feel his touch. I noticed he was still wearing that longhorns baseball cap. I loved the way his hair just barely poked out around the sides.

"So what's the story behind your hat?" I asked. I wanted to know more about him, but didn't know where to start.

"Besides the fact that the Longhorn is a state symbol of Texas?" Ryan looked at me questionably.

"Okay, besides that." I grinned.

"My father gave it to me when I was a little boy." He replied shortly. There was a kind of pain, and almost rigidness behind his answer. I didn't know if I should press further.

"Were you both fans of the team?" I pressed. Not knowing how this was going to go.

Ryan gazed down at his coffee mug, turning it in hands. "Yeah, he took me to my first game." A grin split across his face as he recalled the memory. "It's actually what made me go to University of Texas." He added.

"Really? I actually got accepted to University of Texas' medical program." I replied.

"Really, which campus?" Ryan's eyes brightened a little.

"Houston, but I didn't go." I replied. Ryan looked appalled by this.

"What could possibly be better than U of T?" He questioned.

"UCLA." I said with a smile.

"Nooooo." Ryan had a pained look on his face. "Your a bruin?" He looked crushed.

I chuckled. "Yep, you know it! Bruin for life!" I exclaimed.

"Oh man, I wish you wouldn't have told me that." Ryan took a drink of his coffee. "Buuut. I guess I can look past it." He shot me one of his famous smiles.

"I wanted to stay on the west coast. Plus I felt like the SoCal sun would do me some good." I replied. A memory of when I first met James in our first day of med school flashed into my thoughts, and my smile immediately fell. I had almost forgotten that UCLA was where we met, where we fell in love.

"You okay?" Ryan asked, placing a hand over mine. The touch was warm and inviting, and enough to pull me away from my memories.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just memories." I replied, pulling my hand out from under his and then immediately regretting it.

"Walk with me." Ryan said. He climbed out of his seat on the bench and downed the rest of his coffee.

"Where?" I said looking confused.

Ryan laughed, shaking his head. "Do you always need all the details?" He asked.

"How do I know you wont take me out into the desert and murder me?" I asked sarcastically.

"You don't." Ryan replied shortly, shrugging his broad shoulders.

"Fair enough." I said as I climbed out of my seat. I followed Ryan across the mess hall and we put our mugs in the dirty dishes pile before walking out into the hot desert air. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, but that was to be expected in the middle of the desert, during the summer.

We walked through the base and then through the parts of the base that were being remodeled from the ruins of Bakersfield. I was still trying to figure Ryan out, he was a nice guy but they all were in the beginning. I still didn't understand why he was taking such an interest in me. I mean, I know I'm good looking, but besides that he must have picked up on the fact that I'm damaged goods by now. Maybe he was too?

"So lemme see if I got this so far?" I asked as we walked the perimeter fence for the base. "You're from Austin, you went to U of T where you majored in Criminal Justice and you were a cop for the city of Austin until you joined our little slice of heaven over here?" I ran through all the things that Ryan told me.

"Yep, pretty much covers it." Ryan replied. "What about you?" He added, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"There's not much to know about me." I lied, blushing slightly.

"I know for a fact that's not true." Ryan rebutted.

"Well I got my medical degree from UCLA-" I started.

"Yes, we've established your poor choice in school's but continue." Ryan smirked.

"Anyyywaaay." I said with a hint of annoyance. "After medical school I moved to Seattle and worked as a trauma doctor for Harborview, it's a really big trauma hospital probably the best in the Northwest." I added seeing the look of confusion on Ryan's face when I mentioned Harborview. "Then after the Clayton Outbreak I was conscripted into the Army to fight the civil war. Then they offered me the position of Chief Medical Officer for Fort Bakersfield and I took it." I finished, folding my arms across my chest.

"That last thing I already knew, tell me something I don't know about you." Ryan stepped in front of me, his arms still in his pockets.

"Like?" I asked.

"Liiike. Is there someone special in your life?" His brilliant blue eyes flashed at me as he spoke that last line.

"Is this why you brought me out here? To see if I was available?" I asked with a hint of annoyance.

"No. I brought you out here to get to know you. But I feel like there's stuff your not telling me." Ryan stated, folding his arms across his chest.

"Well is there stuff your not telling me?" I asked defensively. Ryan thought on the question for a second and then nodded his head slightly.

"Your right. I shouldn't pry so much." He stated in a slightly defeated tone. I felt bad for being so guarded with him. He turned to start walking again but I reached out and grabbed his forearm, spinning him around to face me.

"No, your right. I need to stop being a dick and so guarded." I stated.

"I never said you were a dick." Ryan had a look of confusion on his face.

"No, I know it's just-" I took a deep breath and exhaled sharply. "I did have someone, but I lost him. I'm not ready to talk about yet though." There was a shakiness to my voice and I could tell Ryan picked up on that. He placed both hands on my shoulders and gave me a sympathetic look.

"I'm sorry. I wont pry so much from now on." He stated. I loved having his hands on me.

"No your fine. Honestly if you didn't pry so much I would probably never come out my shell." I confessed. Ryan laughed and let his hands fall, much to my dismay.

"That's the first time I've hear that, but I'll take it." Ryan turned and began walking along the fence again, and I followed.

We made our way back to the main part of the base and Ryan escorted me back to medical so I could begin my shift. It felt weird but also nice, I had never had a guy walk me to any destination before.

"Well here you are." Ryan stated smiling.

"You know you didn't have to walk me here." I replied.

"Now what kind of southern gentleman would I be if I didn't do that?" Ryan kept his smile.

I rolled my eyes and chuckled. "Your so corny." I said.

"Yeah but you like, don't lie." Ryan replied. I just laughed and shook my head. "So there's been somethin I've been meanin to ask you." Ryan added.

"What's that?" I asked.

"How would you feel about goin on a date with me say, tomorrow?" Ryan asked, looking hopeful.

Wow, was he really asking me out on a date? Every bone in my body screamed yes. "Yeah, I would love to." I replied smiling.

"Great!" Ryan smiled back. "I'll pick you up at your place at 1800?" He asked.

"1800 sounds perfect." I replied. My heart pounded in my chest and I had butterflies.

"Awesome, I'll see you then." Ryan said. "Have a good day at work." He backed away, not breaking eye contact.

"You too, stay safe out there." I said.

"Always am." Ryan replied with a grin, and at that moment he backed into another soldier who stumbled sideways as if they were hit by a truck. "Oh shit, sorry!" Ryan exclaimed.

"Watch it buddy!" The man shouted. I laughed and made my way into the medical tent. Riley and Cody scurried away from the door and pretended, rather horribly to be busy.

"What did you guys hear?" I asked, walking past them in the direction of my office.

"He asked you out?!" Riley shouted.

"And you said yes!" Cody piped in. They both looked energetic over the news.

"That seems to be the consensus." I replied sarcastically. I opened the top drawer of my desk and pulled my stethoscope out, draping it around my neck.

"Oh c'mon, there has to be more than that?" Riley questioned. He rested his hands on the desktop in a wide stance and leaned in slightly. I crossed my arms across my chest and scowled slightly, he wasn't getting anything out of me.

"Fine, don't tell us." Cody said with a pouting expression. I rolled my eyes and grinned slightly.

"You two are ridiculous." I stated, walking around my desk. Riley and Cody stood in front of the doorway in an attempt to block me from leaving. I reached over and grabbed Riley's nipple giving him the ultimate titty twister. He yelped and jumped aside and I pushed past them with a grin on my face.

"Not fair!" Riley shouted.

I turned around and continued walking slowly backward playing a small violin for Riley, who flipped me off. I turned my gaze towards Cody. "Shouldn't you be on your way to LA to take your boards?" I questioned, placing my hands on my hips.

Riley's eyes widened. "Shit! I'm gonna miss my transport!" He shouted. He gathered up his duffel bag and sprinted towards the door.

"You better pass!" I yelled after him as he disappeared outside.

The day went by super slow, with hardly any patients. Sometimes I missed working at Harborview, there was always a gun shot, a stabbing, a car accident, something traumatic to keep my hands busy. With the position of Chief Medical Officer came a lot of bureaucracy and red tape, and running the joint. Which sounds awesome on paper, but if your like me and you can't sit still for more than 5 minutes, it can be a nightmare.

Why did I take the position then, you ask? Well they were going to discharge me from the army because of my years of service. Earning a Silver Star and saving a bunch of my fellow soldiers in the field will get you a lot of praise and a nice discharge home. The only problem being, that I didn't have a "real" home to go back to and I didn't want to go back to that large empty house on Queen Anne. So they offered me this position, at one of the larges Army bases in the Pacific Republic, as a reward and thanks. If it were up to me I would be out there in the field.

My cell phone started buzzing in my pocket and I looked at the screen.

'Chloe Hernandez' flashed across the glass display, my property manager.

"Chloe, what can I do for you?" I answered, knowing full well what she needed.

"Hello Dr. Pierce, there's a little bit of a problem with your rental. The water heater is going bad, and the tenants want it replaced. Do I have the go ahead to get it replaced?" She asked, she always had a professional demeanor about her over the phone.

"Of course, I'll send the payment right away. Just message me the details." I stated.

"Excellent, have a great rest of your day Dr. Pierce." She replied in a chipper voice, then she hung up.

I couldn't bring myself to get rid of the house yet. James loved that house, and it took us months to find one that we both liked. So instead of selling it I rented it out, thinking one day I would be able to go back. That day hasn't come yet.

My phone buzzed again and it was an invoice from Chloe for the water heater. $1,500 for a new water heater?!

I apprehensively sent her the payment and tucked the phone back into my pocket.

The doors swung open and in walked Ryan. Carrying a brown paper bag. I smiled when I saw him.

"Figured I would find you here." He said setting the paper bag on the counter.

"What's that?" I asked gesturing at the bag with my pen.

"Lunch." He replied. I glanced at the clock, it was 12:15. "Did you forget what time it was?" He asked.

"I guess so." I replied. I pulled out the chair next to me and Ryan plopped down in it. He pulled two chicken salad sandwiches and 2 waters out of the bag. He handed one to me, and began opening his own. I stared at the chicken salad, I wasn't particularly fond of chicken salad but I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

"Don't tell me you don't like chicken salad." Ryan asked, already devouring his own.

"Weeellll." I started, trying to think of what to say. Ryan raised his hand to stop me.

"Before you say anything, try it. It's my Mommas recipe and she would be crushed to hear that you didn't try it." He said. I grinned at how he said "Momma" it was adorable.

"What are you grinning at?" He asked with a little grin of his own.

"Nothing." I lied unwrapping my own sandwich. Ryan watched expectantly as I took a bite.

It was like nothing I had ever tasted before. I don't know what his mothers secret was but it was delicious.

"It's delicious!" I exclaimed. "This has got to be the only chicken salad sandwich I have ever liked." I added, taking another bite.

Ryan beamed at me and took another bite. "Told ya." He had a hint of pride in his voice.

It was nice to see that Ryan was able to enjoy a family recipe. I don't think my family had any special recipes, as a matter of fact my mom didn't really cook at all that much growing up. She was too busy working, so was my dad.

"So what are your parents like?" I asked. Ryan's face fell slightly. He took a drink of water and swallowed the bite of sandwich he had in his mouth.

"My Momma is great. I call her at least once a week, if I didn't she would probably come over here and rip me a new one." Ryan chuckled and I laughed. "My daddy." Ryan started, shaking his head slightly. "He was a son of a bitch. He drank all the time, beat my Momma even beat me a few times." He took another drink of water and continued. "He died when our house caught fire. Good riddance if you ask me." Ryan had a hint of spite in his voice at the final sentence.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that." I replied.

The reaction he had at breakfast when I asked him about his dad and his hat all seemed to make sense now. My heart went out to him, although I didn't deal with abusive parents I often took of pediatric patients in Seattle with abusive care givers. I even had a best friend in high school with an alcoholic father who used to beat him.

"What about your parents, what are they like?" Ryan asked.

"Their boring." I said shortly.

"C'mon really?" Ryan said, not seeming to believe me.

"No really!" I exclaimed chuckling slightly. "We never went on family vacations, I was always put on the back burner because my sisters caused so much mayhem that my parents had to deal with them. My mom worked a lot, my dad was checked out half the time. Pretty typical white suburban household." I finished. Ryan's mouth was ajar slightly.

"That sounds awful, you were like the invisible one in your family." Ryan said.

"It really wasn't that bad. I had to mature fast and learn how to solve my own problems. Because of that I turned out better than my sisters." I laughed taking a drink of water.

"Your lack of family love worries me." Ryan joked.

"I have family. Riley, Cody, Alex, and Boomer are my family." I stated. Ryan smiled at that and took another drink of water.

"Lunch is over." He said glancing at the clock. He started gathering up trash.

"Leave it, I'll get it." I said stopping him. Our hands touched and we looked up at each other for what seemed like minutes. I moved my hand away and cleared my throat.

"Have a good rest of your day." Ryan grinned, turning on his heels and walking out the door.

"Yeah you too." I said softly after he had already left.

After lunch we only had one patient come in. A gunshot to the leg. He had to stay overnight for observation, and since the night doc called in sick I was on night shift duty. I didn't mind night shift, it was like a whole different world. The people were usually more snarky and had a dark sense of humor, my kind of people. I was beginning to get tired so I notified the night nurse that I was going to take a nap, and to wake me if anything changed with our over nighter.

I went into my office and closed the door. I peeled off my shirt and collapsed on the cot that sat in the corner of my office. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out.

I woke up to the feeling of something warm and wet below my belt. I opened my eyes and looked down to see Ryan sucking on my cock.

"Ryan, what are you-" I began to ask but he silenced me with a finger to my mouth and continued to work my meat with his mouth. I had to admit it felt pretty good. He was better than Jon.

I grabbed a fist full of his hair and forced him down on my cock more, making him deep throat it. He gagged slightly and I grinned devilishly. Ryan reached up with one of his hands and began playing with one of my nipples which sent a pleasurable sensation through my body like a lightning bolt. I arched my back slightly and moaned, letting the pleasure take over.

Ryan stuck on of his fingers in his mouth and got a decent amount of spit on it before sliding it in between my legs and finding my hole, pushing on it slightly. He continued working my cock with his mouth as he slowly slid his finger into my hole. I moaned even louder this time and arched my back again. I shot a glance at the door to make sure no one heard me, but it was quiet out there.

Ryan made his way up my body, paying particular attention to my nipples, licking and nibbling them. I was close to the edge but I wanted this to go on forever.

"Are you ready to cum baby?" He growled in my ear, nibbling on my ear lobe.

"Mmmm just a little longer." I pleaded. Ryan smiled and continued stroking my cock in his hand.

"I want you to cum for me baby." He said again. He enveloped my cock in his mouth, it felt even better than before if that were possible.

"Oh fuck... I'm gonna... Fuck I'm gonna cum!" I roared as I could feel my balls contract and the cum made it's way out of my cock and into Ryan's mouth.

I bolted upright, gasping slightly. Sweat beaded on my body as I breathed heavily. Did I just have a sex dream about Ryan?

I looked down at the rock hard cock I could feel pulsating in my pants, waiting to be released.

I plopped back down on the cot, my breathing slowly returning to normal. I chuckled to myself slightly.

"That was a hot dream." I though to myself.

That was the first time in a while that I hadn't had the nightmare about James. It was nice to have something different for a change.

"Well, while I still got the image in my head." I thought.

I reached my hand into my pants and began feeling the rock hard erection that was contained within. I felt the tip and it was slick with an exuberant amount of precum. I swiped my thumb across it, getting a decent amount and brought it up to my tongue licking it off. The bitter taste of my precum made me even harder as I slid my pants down around my thighs and began stroking my cock, using my precum as lube.

With one hand wrapped around my cock and the other playing with my nipple, it didn't take me long to get close. I could feel my balls begin to tighten and then a pulsating feeling as I shot ropes and ropes of thick cum all over my chest and stomach. I gasped at the powerful orgasm, not wanting to alert anyone who may be outside my office.

After the throbbing stopped, and the last of the cum leaked out of my cock, I grabbed my shirt and used it to wipe off my body. I pulled my pants back up and tossed the shirt in the dirty clothes bin next to my filing cabinet and relaxed back on the cot.

Sun was beginning to come through the blinds and there was a slight knock on my door. I sat up on the edge of my cot and rubbed my face. "Yeah." I said.

The door opened and Julie poked her head in. "Dr. Pierce? Oh sorry!" She said realizing I wasn't wearing a shirt and pulled her head out of my office.

I chuckled. "What can I do for you Julie?" I asked pulling another shirt form my bottom desk drawer. I draped my stethoscope around my neck and walked across my office to the door, pulling it open.

"Oh, hi! Good morning Dr. Pierce." Julie said nervously. "The patient that came in last night with the gun shot wound to the leg. He is ready to discharge we just need your signature." She handed me a tablet with discharge forms on the screen.

I took the tablet and went to the patients chart. Vitals were normal, labs came back good, no bullet residue. I opened the discharge papers and signed them with the stylus and handed the tablet back to Julie.

"Will that be everything Julie?" I smiled at her. I really liked Julie, she was my favorite nurse.

"Yes, Dr. Pierce that is everything." She said hugging the tablet to her chest.

"Excellent." I said walking past her.

"Dr. Pierce!" She called out and I turned around. "Sorry about coming into your office and seeing.." She said gesturing at me.

I laughed and shook my head. "You have nothing to be sorry about Julie. You didn't see much." I said. Thanking god she didn't come in 2 minutes earlier and catch me cumming my brains out.

I turned around walked out of medical. I began making my way to the mess hall to get breakfast. When out of the corner of my eye I saw a little red head advancing on me.

"Hey there!" Alex shouted, jumping on my back. I caught her and wrapped my arms around her legs carrying her on my back.

"Hey Alex. Have you heard from Cody?" I asked, curious to know how Cody was doing on his boards.

"He called last night after he took his first exam. He's a nervous wreck, but I calmed him down." She smiled devilishly.

"Did you use your god given talents." I asked with a smirk.

"You know I did." She replied with a laugh.

"The kid's taking his boards?" Boomer joined in from the left.

"Yep! Next time you see Cody he'll be a full blown Trauma Physician." I stated proudly.

"If he passes." Boomer said skeptically.

"He'll pass!" Alex and I shouted in unison.

Boomer held up his hands as a sign of peace.

The breakfast hall was packed this morning, voices and laughter could be heard all around. Riley was already there and of course he pressed me with more questions about Ryan. Which I dodged at every chance I could get.

"Just tell me one thing." Riley pleaded holding a hot cup of coffee in his hand. I looked over at him expectantly, waiting for the question I knew was coming.

"Is he a good kisser?" Riley asked. Everyone looked at me waiting for a responsive.

"We haven't kissed yet." I replied taking a drink of coffee.

"Are you serious Ell?" Riley looked appalled.

"I've only known him for like a week!" I exclaimed, laughing slightly.

"You move slower than my 80 year old grams." Boomer teased.

"Shut up." I said tossing a potato piece at Boomer who shielded himself and laughed.

The day seemed to go by even more slowly. I spent some time with Alex in the shop, keeping her company while she worked on a surveillance drone. She didn't press me for juicy gossip about Ryan, but instead had a real talk with me about it. Which is something I really needed.

"So what are you afraid of Ell? Ryan seems like a sweet guy." She asked while she worked over the drone with her tools.

"Yeah that's the problem." I started, I got up and began pacing. "They all seem nice at first and then they only want one thing. Which is fine, but I don't want that from him." I explained.

"Do you think maybe the reason why you won't let go and make yourself vulnerable is because of James?" She asked, still not looking up from her drone. This is what I loved about Alex, she wasn't afraid to ask the serious questions.

"I mean, maybe." I said, Alex looked up her drone and cocked an eyebrow at me. "Okay. Yes." I admitted sitting back down at the stool opposite her. She smiled and pulled her gloves and goggles off, putting them on the table next to her drone.

"Look, I'm not denying that what happened to you isn't completely fucked up." Alex began, "But you need to move past it." She finished looking into my face. I sat there in silence, thinking about what she had just said.

"I mean Ell c'mon!" She threw her arms up and let them fall to her sides. "You were in a gun battle with the guy, he saved your life, you pulled an arrow out of his leg, he's been shamelessly flirting with you since you two met and he's been hanging around ever since. The guy has got mad feelings for you." Alex counted all the things on her fingers as she went.

"I know, I know." I said, putting my hands behind my head. I felt defeated.

"Here's the real question you need to ask yourself." She said pointing at me. "Do you like him?" She added placing her hands on the workbench.

I thought about it for a second. I did like Ryan, I liked his corniness, his laugh, his cute drawl when he spoke and the fact that he seemed like a nice and genuine person.

"I do." I admitted. Alex smiled and pulled her gloves back on.

"Then that's all that matters." She said, and began working on her drone again.

Alex was right. If I liked Ryan then what's the harm in testing the waters?

Later that day I heard from Cody, who was still in the process of taking his boards. He was a nervous wreck and I had to talk him down.

"Cody, I wouldn't have kept you around if I thought you were an idiot." I stated firmly staring at him on the video monitor. I had just gotten out of the shower and I was dripping wet, with a towel hanging loosely around my waist.

"Well the last exam I feel like I bombed it, what if I fail?" Cody had a hint of panic in his voice.

"Well then you better pack your bags because your going home." I laughed.

"What?!" Cody shouted a look of panic crossed his face. Apparently he didn't get my joke.

"Cody, I was joking. You'll be fine, you got this. Just remember everything I taught you." I replied reassuringly. Cody looked over his shoulder at something and then turned back to face the screen.

"My name just got called, I gotta take my last test." Cody looked like he was going to throw up.

"Good luck buddy. You'll be fine." I said. Cody didn't look reassured as the video call ended.

I began drying off and looked at myself in the mirror. I felt like I was gonna be sick, I was so nervous. Ryan was going to be here in an hour and all I wanted was to just disappear so I wouldn't have to face him.

It had been so long since I had been on a date. What if I screw up? What if he realizes he actually doesn't like me? What if he tries to kiss me? That last thought stopped me dead in my tracks. While I have thought of the possibility of kissing him, and the thought alone made me get butterflies in my stomach. I didn't know what I would do if I was faced with the moment.

"You'll be fine." I said to myself as I got dressed. "It's just a date..." I stopped dead in my tracks. "A date with a sweet, handsome Texas boy, who is both rugged and charming..... I can't do this." I panicked walking back to my bedroom. At that moment there was a knock on the door. I spun wildly around for my clock hanging on the wall. It was 6.

"Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic." I repeated over and over in my head as I approached the door. My hand reached out for the handle and before I knew it I was opening the door to welcome a sight I was both looking forward to and dreading all at once.

Ryan was dressed in a pair of jeans, with boots, a nice short sleeve button down that hugged his biceps. Atop his head was his signature Longhorns baseball cap. I smiled at that and stepped aside to let him in. He walked through the threshold and took in my small home.

There wasn't much to it. The front door opened to a tiny foyer, beyond that was the living room which contained a fireplace I never used, a couch and an oversized arm chair I sometimes read in. The kitchen was attached to the living room, separated by a small island that I ate breakfast at. The cabinets contained glass panes and there were stainless steel appliances. There was a tiny little breakfast nook with a small bay window on the far side of the kitchen. Opposite the foyer was the hallway which led to a guest room, my bedroom and the only bathroom.

Ryan looked around with a slight grin on his face. His eyes landed on a portrait of downtown Seattle at sunrise, with the Space Needle in the foreground.

"This is really nice." He said taking in the picture. "Where did you get this?" He asked.

"Oh, I took that." I said with a hint of shyness. Ryan looked at me wide eyed.

"You took this?" He asked, looking surprised.

"Yeah, it was at a park that was close to my house." I explained.

"It's beautiful." Ryan stated, he looked at me and there was a glint in his eye.

"Thanks." I said with a grin. I looked him over again and smiled. "You look nice." I added.

"So do you." Ryan smiled back.

Compared to Ryan I felt under dressed. I was wearing a pair of jeans, with boots, and a plain olive green t-shirt. Which was my favorite color. My mom always told me green brought out my hazel eyes more.

"Thanks." I said again.

Ryan looked at his watch. "We should probably head out, we don't wanna miss it." He said.

"Miss what?" I asked opening the door and letting him pass through, I caught a whiff of his cologne and it nearly made my knees buckle, how did he always smell so intoxicating.

"It's a surprise." He replied, stepping down the front steps and walking towards his truck parked in front of my house. I locked the door behind me and followed him.

He drove a black Chevy with a slight lift on it. Not too much to send off douchebag vibes, but enough that it looked nice. He opened the passenger side door for me and climbed in. I had never had a guy hold a door open for me before. It felt kind of weird. He closed the door and walked around to the driver seat and hoped in. He fired up his truck and we drove off down my street.

I looked around his truck. It was immaculately clean, which was crazy seeing as we lived in the desert. I looked in the backseat and spotted a blanket and two pillows. My gaze paused for a second. He didn't think we were going to be doing anything sexual tonight did he? Did I get thr wrong impression from Ryan?

Ryan turned on a dirt road and began driving out into the blackness of the desert. It kind of worried me that we were going out so far. What was he planning? I looked in the mirror as the lights of Fort Bakersfield got dimmer and dimmer as the night enveloped us completely. The only source of light now was from Ryan's headlights. I glanced over at Ryan who kept looking up at the night sky through the windshield. I tried to see what he was looking at but all I could see were stars, which wasn't anything special. At the Fort we could see them all the time.

"This should be good." Ryan said as he stopped the truck and put it in park. He killed the engine and flashed me a smile. "Just wait until you see this." He added. He hopped out of the truck and opened the back door, grabbing the blanket and pillows. He glanced at me from the back door and noticed I was still sitting in my seat. "C'mon, your gonna love it. Trust me." He said.

I climbed out of the truck and met him at the back, he dropped the tailgate and threw the blanket down and handed me a pillow. He climbed into the bed of the truck and offered a hand for me. I took his hand and climbed up into the bed of the truck with him. He sat down on the blanket and laid down with his head to the front of the truck and placed his pillow under his head. He patted the spot next to him and grinned. I tossed the pillow down and put my hands on my hips.

"Listen, I don't know what your plan is but I don't do this sort of thing on the first date." I said.

Ryan's grin quickly melted and turned to a look of confusion.

"What are you talking about?" He asked.

"Seriously dude? Blanket, under the stars, in the bed of your truck. I'm not gonna sleep with you." I explained.

Ryan started laughing. Why the fuck was he laughing?

"Seriously? Why are you laughing? It's not funny!" I shouted.

"No, it is." Ryan continued laughing.

"Fuck this." I said turning around.

"Wait, wait, wait." Ryan said quickly, springing to his feet and taking my hands. "I brought you out here, to get to know you. In the peace and quiet, where you could feel like you could be yourself without having to worry about who needs saving and I don't have to deal with the pressures from the Fort. That's it, I promise. No strings attached." Ryan explained.

I didn't respond, I couldn't tell if he was telling the truth or not.

"Look up." He commanded, not letting go of my hands. Reluctantly I looked up, and to my surprise I saw two bright objects flash across the sky before breaking up on the horizon and disappearing.

"A meteor shower." I whispered, my mind in awe over the beauty.

"Yeah, this is why I brought you out here. I love meteor showers, and I was hoping that you would too." Ryan explained. I looked at him and he had a hopeful expression on his face.

"Truthfully, I've never seen one before." I admitted.

Ryan looked shocked. "What?! Oh, your gonna love it!" He said excitedly. He let go of my hands, to my disappointment, and laid back on the blanket where he was before. I laid next to him and placed my own pillow under my head.

The sky was absolutely stunning, every star in the sky was out, shining bright and putting on it's best display. A few more meteors shot across the sky. Ryan was right, I loved this.

"Out here I feel a slight freedom." Ryan broke the silence. I looked over at him. "On the base I feel pressured all the time. Being a sergeant of the base police isn't easy. Some of those guys that died last week were men that I patrolled with all the time." Ryan continued looking up at the sky as he spoke. My heart went out to him, losing fellow men had to be hard.

"I'm sorry. That has to be difficult to get through." I said sympathetically.

"It sucks, but it's the reality we live in right? Good people die, and there's nothing we can do about it." Ryan responded. He looked over at me and smiled. "Look up, your gonna miss the shower." He added. I chuckled and looked up toward the sky.

"So why did you leave Austin?" I asked. "I know it's because you wanted to start over, but what were you starting over from?" I added.

There was a long pause and then Ryan finally spoke. "My brother, David." He said softly.

"You have a brother?" I asked.

"Had, a brother." Ryan hung onto the word "had" placing emphasis on it.

"Oh." I said shortly. "What happened?" I asked.

"David and I led completely different paths. He was a little bit of a trouble maker, didn't go to college, worked a dead end job. But he seemed happy, so I didn't think anything of it. Growin up our daddy was more rough on him than me. There was a couple of times I had to save David from our father, take the beatings for him, or pull our dad off of him, that sort of thing. One morning I got a call on the radio, my partner and I were the first to respond. The report was a gunshot, just a single gunshot. We almost didn't go because the call came from some small community in the outskirts of Travis County. I mean it's Texas, everyone owns a gun and a single gun shot could be anything. But we decided to head out there anyway." He paused.

"You don't have to tell me." I said, I had a feeling I knew where this was headed.

"No, it's okay. I wanna tell you." Ryan sighed and continued his story. "So we showed up at the scene. We were out on some country road way out in the boonies and I spotted my brothers truck. My heart immediately dropped, and I knew something was up. I ran to his truck but it was empty, his pack of cigarettes sitting on the dash. I looked out in front of the truck and that's when I spotted him. Lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood, with a gun lying next to him. I ran over to him and grabbed him, holding him in my arms. It wasn't until a few moments later that I realized he had shot himself in the head." I looked over at him, I could see a single tear fall down the side of his face. I had never seen a man as tough as Ryan shed a tear before.

"I had no idea that David was dealing with those demons. I wish he would have told me. But I guess it wouldn't have made a difference anyway." Ryan paused again and then continued. "After that I couldn't go anywhere, I couldn't do anything without thinking about David and seeing him just lying there. So when the Army of The Pacific Republic reached out to me to come over here and lead my own unit, I decided to jump on the opportunity." Ryan wiped the tears from his eyes, he hadn't noticed that I was watching him. Which was probably for the best. "I still have nightmares about that night every now and then. Sometimes my brother will even talk to me." Ryan finished.

I reached over and grabbed his hand, interlocking my fingers with his. His hand was warm and rough, but slightly soft at the same time. Ryan looked down at our hands, then at my face. I gave him a slight smile.

"I'm sorry that happened to you." I replied with an empathetic tone. His pain resonated with me on such a deep level. I don't know if it was his sharing that made me share, or the fact that I felt connected to him that I decided to open up to him a little more.

"That ex of mine that I lost. He died." I said shortly. I stared up at the sky and watched as a couple more meteors passed over. If I was going to tell Ryan this, I couldn't look him in the face or I would probably lose it. Ryan started to turn his face towards me. "If you look at me I won't be able to talk about it." Ryan's face looked back up at the sky and he gave my hand a slight squeeze.

"I had just worked an extra shift at the hospital. I needed all my hours before I could take my boards and they needed the help because of the Northern Flu. I missed our anniversary because of it and James wasn't too pleased with me. He had been feeling sick and neither one of us thought anything of it because nobody knew anything about the Northern Flu when it first emerged. I came home after working a 24 hour shift and found James in the kitchen dead. He had bled out, and went into respiratory distress. I remember thinking why not me too? Why did James get sick, but not me? They tested my blood and it turns out I'm immune. Unfortunately James wasn't so lucky." I wiped a couple of tears from eyes with my free hand. Ryan was squeezing my hand, still staring up at the stars.

"Like you, I sometimes have nightmares about finding James. But it's always the same. I go downstairs, get coffee, go back upstairs and he's dead. Except, he attacks me and I always wake up when he lunges at me." I confessed.

Wow, I couldn't believe I just told him all of that. Any tI've now, he's gonna let go of my hand and tell me it's time to go. Then he's gonna drive me home and I'll never hear from him again.

"Wow. I'm sorry about that." Ryan said keeping his hand interlocked with mine.

Wow, this man surprised me at every turn.

"It's okay. It feels nice to finally open up to someone else about it. The only person I have ever talked to about it was Riley." I confessed.

"I'm sorry." Ryan grinned.

"Hey!" I punched him on the shoulder and he laughed. "He's a good best friend." I added defensively.

"I know, I'm just givin you a hard time." Ryan replied still laughing. I laughed with him and looked back up at the sky and began to see several bright objects start flashing across the sky.

"Hey look! It's starting." I said nudging Ryan. It was incredibly beautiful, each of the meteors shot across the night sky and broke apart, it was like watching a firework show put on my by the cosmos.

"Isn't this the most beautiful thing ever?" I asked in amazement.

"Hmm, well I would say second to something else." Ryan replied. I looked over at him and he was staring at me.

"God, you are so corny!" I shouted, and started to laugh. Ryan just smiled and began moving his face closer to mine.

My breath caught in my lungs as I realized what was happening. He was coming in for a kiss, was I ready for this? Our faces were inches from one another, I could feel the heat from his breath dance across my lips. I mean there was that time at medical when I caught him from falling on the floor, but we didn't kiss that time. Wait was I meeting him halfway? Maybe I was ready for this.

I closed my eyes and I felt his lips softly press against mine. His stubble tickled my face, but I liked it. I parted my lips and invited his tongue into my mouth, which he obliged. Our tongues danced around in our mouths, like they had been doing it their entire lives. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he grabbed the back of my head, pulling me closer to him, his other hand resting on my waist. Kissing him made me feel like I was flying. I had never felt that with anyone else. Not even James.

We broke apart for a second and we looked into each other's eyes. Behind his bright blue eyes I felt like I could see inside him, inside his heart. "Is this okay?" He asked. I grinned and nodded my head.

"It's better than okay." I replied and pulled him into me for another kiss.

Copyright © 2020 zanoGreen; All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for reading! Please comment below and let me know where you would like to see the story go or what your favorite parts are so far. Please note that this story does not revolve around a killer virus, that's just what sets up the events that lead to the story.

If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Chapter Comments

Just found this story today. I’m enjoying it so far , but the radically different chapter lengths is frustrating.  This one is less than 400 words. Also, not sure if the uploading process is doing it, but all the contractions seem to have lost their apostrophes (we’re, you’re) or something.

Look forward to more.

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Well last night I was working on it and it said that it wasn't published and then now its saying it is. So idk.

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Excellent chapter! The date went well and the attraction between Elliott and Ryan is growing in intensity, while they each try to figure out if the other is really interested or just wants a hookup. The pace of development on each major character is perfect. I would still like a bit more depth into how the situation developed and what caused the situation they’re in. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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Writing is really good and the pacing is excellent.  Now that we are away from the medical part somewhat; I am liking the story better.  Eli and Ryan do seem to have great chemistry and they both have tragedy in their past; sometimes it helps if the other person understands that issue in your past isn't always easy to move past.

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It's great to see Elliott and Ryan getting closer! I am really enjoying these characters and their story! Thanks. 

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