Not Far

Jean is subjected to a rude awakening when she parts ways with her best friend. She makes her way to Washington D.C. before finally running into a group of survivors, but is she in for more than she bargained for? Will she slowly lose her mind in this lonely world of devastation and no hope?

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10. Pup

  My eyes slowly opened after what seemed to be an eternity of slumber. Morning sunlight leaked through the office windows, painting everything with a soft golden hue. The desk where Owen had sat before was now empty, and the blanket was now draped over me. I was in a completely different position than when I fell asleep. When I fell asleep, I was sideways on the bed, with my legs dangling off of the side. Now, I was on the bed completely, my head on the pillows. Normally, I don't move much when I sleep, but somehow I had completely moved, and I had a feeling I knew who moved me.

 

I turned on my side to face the inside of the bed. I was greeted by a head of messy, brown hair. He was facing away from me, but I didn't care, it didn't stop me from wrapping my arms around him and curling into the warmth he provided. With a small groan, he turned over, finally facing me. Slowly, he opened his eyes. My heart fluttered as his confused look faded into a smile as he wrapped his arms around my waist. My hands wandered to his chest.

"Morning, pup." He mused. I arched an eyebrow, interested in where this new name came from.

"Pup?" I questioned. Owen shook his head with a small smile.

"You're cute but I've seen the things you've done. You're like a puppy, you're cute but deadly." I smiled at this reason, looking up at him.

"And I'd use it to help you-protect you-never to hurt you." He smiled at me once again, kissing my forehead.

"Damn right." He muttered. I giggled as I curled up next to him, and everything felt... normal. There was a sense of normalcy to this exact moment. Us waking up, holding each other and laughing to ourselves. It felt as if the apocalypse wasn't happening out there, beyond this building, beyond our room. Of course, it wouldn't last long. He had things to do, as did I.

I slid out from his grasp, sitting up and grabbing my bra and tank top off of the edge of the cot followed by my shorts which resided on the floor. As I peeled out of my black nightdress, I could practically feel his gaze. I didn't completely strip out of the dress, I only took the top part off, exposing my breasts so I could put my bra on, before taking the rest of the dress off. I slipped into my shorts and pulled on my tank top before walking toward the door.

"Jean." He called out. I turned around, glancing at him. He was still laying on his side, one arm supporting his head while the other laid in front of him.

"Don't bother going back to your room tonight." He told me. I smiled, knowing what he meant.

"I'll go get my stuff." I sighed, opening the door and walking down the hall toward an old janitor supply closet that I called home. I dug into my pocket, looking for the key. After I had unlocked the door, I grabbed my black knee-socks and black combat boots, sitting down on the blankets in the small room that I called a bed to put these articles of clothing on, followed by the footwear. I stood, grabbing my bag and opening the door so I could collect the blankets. Although I wasn't showing it, I was ecstatic. Owen wanted me to stay with him.

I was practically skipping down the hall, luckily, barely anyone comes down here. I gripped onto my bag with both hands, my old key hanging off of my finger. I burst through his door, placing my stuff on the floor before standing up straight again. Owen was lacing up his boots, getting ready to do whatever it was he did when we weren't raiding other communities.

He stood up, walking over to his desk, opening one drawer and leaving it open. It was a bit bigger than a regular, pre-apocalypse dresser's drawers. He pointed to the drawer.

"You can keep your stuff in here." He told me, I responded with a simple nod. He then opened a drawer on the opposite side, removing something so rare, something someone would kill over. He removed a bottle of clean water.

"Stay here today. I have stuff to do." He told me as he stuffed the water bottle in a small bag. I furrowed my eyebrows.

"Owen, I'm not going to sit around all day and wait for you, wherever you go I go too." I told him sternly. He shook his head.

"I'm going out to look for supplies. I'll be gone for a couple days, you're in charge for now." My eyes widened. Was I taking over Edward's roll?

"Does this mean I'm your right hand gal?" I asked hopefully. He shook his head.

"No, pup. Edward is coming with me." I huffed, looking away.

"Okay, fine." I pouted, only causing Owen to laugh in response. I ignored his reaction and let him leave, if following him into the hall, outside of the warehouse, and to the gates counted as letting him leave. I'll admit it, I wasn't going to leave his side until he was outside of the fences.

"I won't let you down, darling!" I shouted as he left the base. My heart dropped as he disappeared from sight. I put on my best poker face as I turned around, ready to rule this place with an iron fist. I walked back to our room, head tilted slightly upward for no particular reason whatsoever. As soon as I got to our door, I stopped. Why rule from the room when I could observe what the others did?

I made it into the warehouse, where the guns and stolen food were kept. I noticed that in my absence, another person had taken my position. This raised so many red flags in my head, but me being the moron I was, I ignored them and continued on with my business for the day. I ended up having to kill a man who went snooping near the walker traps, and we just couldn't have that. If one person were to trigger those traps without Owen being here, it'd be game over for the weak ones here.

My last stop of the day would be the gardens. I wanted to talk to Pam again, I still felt bad about what happened, but I can't bring myself to confront Owen about it. I felt as if I were failing her to an extent, but I feared failing Owen more. I want him to realize that I'm good enough to replace Edward, maybe by doing so I could return him to Pam, so they could be happy again. I pushed through the natural curtain the grapevines made and looked around. Pam was nowhere to be found.

"Pammy?" I called. Next thing I knew, I saw her leaving the side of the warehouse with an empty crate in her arms. I smiled widely.

"Jean? What are you doing here?" She asked while placing the crate on the ground. She got to her knees and started pulling up the carrots. Placing each one in the crate next to her.

"I was..." I stopped as I watched her slave over the small patch of dirt.

"You need some help?" I inquired. She stopped for a moment and looked up at me, squinting her eyes as the last bit of sunlight from the reddish gold setting sun hit her face. A friendly smile made its way to her face.

"I'd love some help." She told me. I knelt down with her, pulling up the carrots and laying them in the crate. I looked over at her.

"So you collect this stuff for us. That's generous of you." She chuckles to herself.

"It really isn't that big of a deal. It's just important that we have food, like, more than non-perishables. Something that actually tastes good." She says as she holds up a carrot. I smile to myself and wonder how someone so selfless could end up in a group full of people who were so selfish.

"I suppose I do this for Edward, considering I have no control over what he does anymore. I just want to make sure he eats something that I know is fresh. I can't control what he does and how he lives, that's all I can do." She explains. I felt the guilt again, but I shook it away.

"Welp, looks like we're done!" I exclaimed as I hurried to my feet, trying my best to change the subject. Pam looked up at me with a smile.

"I guess you're right." She states as she stands. She wipes her hands on her beige pants before removing her dark green gardening gloves and placing them on the wooden frame of the carrot garden. She sighs and goes to lift the crate. I shook my head and grabbed it before she did.

"I'll carry it in." I told her. She smiled and opened an old filing cabinet that sat between the fence and the building.

"I'm almost out of seeds. I asked Edward to find some for me but I'm doubting he'll do it." She muttered to herself. 'Next time I go out, Pam, next time. I promise.' I thought to myself. After I had brought the crate of carrots back to the warehouse, I went back to our room. I turned on the small lantern, immediately filling the room with a low, soft glow that was very comforting to me. As I changed, I wondered if I would be able to sleep tonight. How could I sleep knowing he was out there with only one other person? How could I sleep knowing that the love of my life is in constant danger when he isn't here?

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