At Cross Roads

Re-entry for the Name on My Wrist comp


5. October 20th 2012 ~ Rome, Italy

Daniel lashed out furiously, unable to hit a mark, incapable of landing a decent blow on the ghosts in his head. They taunted him in Russian, raising their imaginary daggers, waiting to strike. Daniel held his head and screamed.
“They're killing me!” he howled, “They're killing me!”

“In their defence, sugar,” said a softer, more real voice, “you can be a bit of an arse at times.”

Daniel's breathing became a little more controlled, the vision dissipating before him, withdrawing back into the pit of his mind. He held his face and rubbed his eyes, and then looked up to find Amanda standing at the far side of the room in her robe, holding her arm - appearing only slightly bewildered. Already, the horror of the hallucination was slipping away from Daniel, and he was unable to remember the key details of what he had just experienced.
The only thing he knew was that it wasn't a good experience.
Daniel grunted an apology.
“Would you like a drink? Coffee, maybe?” Amanda asked him.
Daniel shook his head.
“You're sure? I was going to get some ice anyway.”
Daniel furrowed a brow, “Ice...?”
Amanda indicated her arm, “I was a little slow to get out of the way.”
“Sorry,” Daniel muttered.
He watched her as she left the room and then swung his feet over the side of the bed. The alarm clock sitting on Amanda's bedside-cabinet told Daniel that is was 5:30 am.
He sighed, still very lethargic, looking around and muttering, “Where's all my stuff?”
He found his clothes lying around messily on the floor and pulled them on one by one. He couldn't find his brace, however, and snarled in frustration. He looked about the dresser and tinkered with some items under the bed. He stepped up to the cabinet and tore open the top drawer.

Daniel was surprised with what he found inside.

He put his hand in, his brows creased, and found a small orange tube of pills.
There was a letter inside and a small, tattered book.
“Oh, um...” Daniel dropped the vial and snapped the drawer shut on hearing Amanda's voice, “Are you... are you leaving?”
Daniel turned to look at her and smiled sheepishly.
“After what just happened, do you really think you should take an early-morning stroll?” she scoffed.
“After what just happened, do you really want to keep me in?” he replied.
“Oh, so you talk, do you?” Amanda said sarcastically.
Daniel sat on the bed and shrugged.
“Where you looking for something?” she asked him. She saw him rubbing his right arm unconsciously and Amanda understood, “You left your arm-brace-thing by the front door,” she sat next to him, pressing a bag of ice to her forearm, “Do you do this with all your one-night-stands? Visit them recurringly after smashing their exes' faces in?”
Daniel smiled - unable to help it - and looked at Amanda. She wasn't the prettiest face he'd ever seen, but she was nice-looking. Her face's beauty was largely complemented by her hair - which was dark and quite luxuriant. Without her hair she would look, in all honesty, like a mouse. But her brown eyes were soft, her gaze intense, her countenance pleasant in the worst of times. Daniel didn't know of he liked Amanda, but he liked the way she behaved with him.

“Do you always irritate yours?” he asked.
“No,” she smiled, “I don't see a point with most of them, seeing as they can be dumb as soup and so aren't fun to annoy.”
“And I, of all people, am?”
“Yes. You're not an idiot... Are you?”
“Well, I slept with you, didn't I?”
Amanda laughed, “Believe me, of the two of us in that scenario, you're not the one that comes off as the idiot.”
Daniel smiled a little broader at that.
“Are you feeling a little better?” Amanda asked.
Daniel took a deep breath, and then nodded.
Amanda rolled her eyes, “Come on, man! Talk to me!” something caught her eye. She squinted and passed a hand through Daniel's hair, finding a long, rough blank patch on his head. Daniel flinched.
“Sorry,” Amanda mumbled, “You just... you have a lot of scars like that on your body too. Were you in an accident?”
Daniel paused, wondering at the back of his mind as to why he was still sitting there, “Would you believe me if I told you that I didn't remember?”
Amanda regarded him, the playful smile gone, “That... That must be very hard for you.”
Daniel shook his head, “Don't.”
Daniel paused, before raising Amanda's sleeve, feeling the straight, white grooves that marked her skin, “You're not short on scars yourself.”
“Only, mine aren't accidents,” Amanda looked away.

“I'm sorry that I... hurt you,” Daniel said after a while.
“It wasn't your fault.”
“I... I, uh, should go,” Daniel said, standing up immediately to leave.
“Are you going to come back tomorrow?” asked Amanda, following him with her gaze.
Daniel paused by the bedroom door, “Yeah, uh. I'll call 'round eight. Wear something nice.”
As he was about to step out, Amanda asked, “Did you just... ask me out?”
Daniel raised his brows, “What, n– I, um...” he turned to face her and considered the idea. A bit of food and wine couldn't hurt, after all. The talking might have done his head in, but Amanda knew when enough was enough, “I think dinner would be... nice, at least before...” he gestured to the bed, “you know...”
Amanda laughed, “You might as well stay for breakfast, sugar, seeing as we're dating now.”
Daniel shook his head, smiling to himself, and left.
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