Our cheese covered dishes rattled in the sink as James ran water into them after dinner.
“Ready for bed?” He asked, turning to me with a sleepy smile.
I stretched my arms out behind my back and yawned, nodding as I took a step to be at his side.
We walked towards the bedroom, making sure that the front door was locked and the blinds were closed along the way.
The floor boards creaked as we opened the bedroom door and I laid eyes on the bedroom for the first time.
I shifted nervously as I caught a glimpse of a sign above the bed that read “Always kiss me goodnight”.
James sensed my nervousness and laughed.
“Don’t worry Princess, I’m not going to try to put the moves on you.” He winked at me, trying to hide a half-smirk that tugged at his lips.
“Good!” I piped up with my hands on my hips, “Because that would be awkward.”
He pulled back the red satin sheet and waited for me to crawl in. I did, reluctantly, and began tossing the decorative pillows onto the floor.
“Who needs this many tiny pillows?” I asked incredulously.
“Beats me!” James said as he hoisted himself onto the bed, causing it to shake.
The pillow I held connected with his face as I erupted into giggles as I watched his expression go from stunned to amused.
“No fair!” He yelled as he grabbed a pillow of his own to hit me with.
The bed shook as an all out war commenced, only to be stopped by our pillows falling onto the floor and out of reach.
We locked eyes and collapsed into a breathless heap of sweat as the clock on the wall struck midnight.
“I guess that means it really is bedtime.” I joked, wiping away the sweat from my forehead.
“Aw, just when things were getting good!” He pouted as he gave me one last playful push with the two pillows he’d retrieved from the floor.
“Goodnight, James.” I whispered as he handed me one of the pillows.
He reached over to the wall and flipped the light.
“Sweet dreams, Titania.” He said softly.
The rising sun shone through the separation in the curtains, spilling soft orange light onto the wood floor of the bedroom. I turned over to find James gone and quickly began to panic. The floor was frigid as I rushed to my feet and tried, but failed, to quietly open the door. The smell of food cooking greeted me as I cracked the noisy door open and stepped onto the squeaky floorboards in the hallway. I followed the scent as I made my way to the kitchen.
“Good morning, Princess!” James bellowed as I rubbed my eyes, trying to be certain of what I saw in front of me.
James stood in front of the stove top burner, stirring wildly into a saucepan. I noticed he was wearing a “Kiss the Cook” apron that looked as though it’d be given as a gag gift at an office party.
“Good morning.” I said with a grin as I tried to hold back laughter.
He beamed as he turned the burner off and asked if I wanted breakfast. I muttered a quick, “Yes please.” as my stomach growled and I drowsily stumbled over to the cabinet to look for a dish.
We walked over to the table and I saw that there were several tall stacks of papers on top of it. I leaned over to look at one but James quickly pushed them aside.
“We can deal with this later.” He said as he hastily set the stacks on the floor.
“Okay.” I agreed, though a bit of confusion crept into my voice.
James retrieved the pan from the kitchen and set it on a homemade potholder in the middle of the table. He dished the food out and sat down next to me.
“What is this?” I asked as I stabbed at his concoction, trying to separate a bit and take a bite.
“Well,” He explained, “I found some egg in a carton that wasn’t expired, mixed it with rice and added some black pepper.”
“You are quite the chef.” I teased, taking a sip of water in between bites.
“I figure it is better than nothing.” He said proudly.
I looked out the window and smiled, noticing that James had pulled the curtains open and drawn the blinds.
“It looks nice outside today!” I said happily.
“Yeah!” James agreed, “Good thing too, we’ll have to go fishing today.”
I started coughing after getting some pepper stuck in my throat and James jumped up to pat my back.
“Thanks.” I told him after taking a drink and a few deep breaths.
I took our dishes to the sink after breakfast and placed them next to the ones from the night before. The soap bottle squeaked as I squeezed it into the sink. Bubbles rose and popped as it filled. I left the dishes to soak and rejoined James at the table as he placed one of the stacks of papers back on the table. pulled out a chair for me and we started reading.
James pulled out a chair for me and we started reading.
He pointed at the top of the page where the date was, “These are from the 2030’s, over twenty years ago!”
There were dozens of pages detailing the political uproars from before we were born. Nearly thirty pages detailed the current terrain of the U.S. It had been terraformed from chemical and nuclear attacks during the fallout of the destruction of cold fusion and all the research that had been documented on it. The U.S. started a war by perfecting the science behind cold fusion, something that’d be sought after for decades.
There was disagreement on how the information should be kept safe, during which a war was started with other countries who disagreed with the creation of cold fusion in the first place. Other countries feared it would impact their profits from other energy sources and agreed to come together against the U.S. in order to preserve their leverage over the energy sources they possessed.
Some of the terrain had been hit with radiation attacks and been declared unlivable. The U.S. tried to create special treatments to repair and reverse the damage done, but the results were unpredictable. We lived in an area in which the treatments were successful and the land had been restored, but many other places held starkly differing results. Some were completely barren wastelands and desserts, while others became even more fertile and lush than they had been before the war.
After the war had settled down, the U.S. was weakened. The loss of cold fusion technology (and of those who had perfected it being taken out via assassination) hit hard. Many people feared we would be taken over by another country, and their fear was not without reason.
“I guess that is where you people like you came in.” James said quietly.
We stared at the cover page in front of us with big, bold letters that said “Titan Defense Program”.
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