Maybe he was kidding himself. Maybe he just imagined it. Maybe it was only a daydream.
For a split second though, he thought he saw something pass across her eyes. Something that conveyed she felt the same. He wished he could tweak some invisible antenna and tune into her thoughts.
The chances that she thought of him as he did of her were remote. They were complete opposites after all. She preferred a strict routine; he went with the flow. She was tidy; he was a mess. She built walls; he had a tendency to tear them down. She was beautiful; he was … not. How would anything more ever really work?
Still, he swore he saw something. He knew she could tell he hadn’t said what he was actually thinking. He felt like a coward, retreating like he had. Why didn’t he just say it. “The price I pay!? I risk my heart every time you speak to me, look at me, spend a spare minute with me.” How corny… yet sadly true.
“You, y-ou and your incessant humming…” was all he could manage to sputter on the fly. Awful. Increscent hummer, really?!
She had been kind, not calling him out on his obvious cover. She tried to make him feel better with a light laugh and kind comments about being quiet the strange pair when all their oddities were added up (Orson knew the bulk of them were his).
Usually he had done well at concealing his affection for her. When she wasn’t looking he’d allow himself to look not at her but into her, pondering her beauty. Yes, he was a gorgeous woman outwardly but what amazed him was how far past her skin it had managed to seep.
At that moment, when he saw that look flash across her eyes, he let his guard down. He allowed himself a moment of unabashed adoration as she looked into his eyes. A dream he begged himself not dare hope for, gnawed at him from the inside out.
He couldn’t seem to help himself. “What was life without aspiration, no matter how inconceivable?” He had told himself this all his life. Dreams of exploring space, the untouchable frontier, consumed him as a child. Despite how unreachable that dream seemed, still he went for it. Now he was a leader among his peers, a visionary of the future.
For most, his current dream seemed far more tangible, to love someone and have them love you back. However, when it came to Orson love was more of an unfathomable frontier than space.
About an hour ago Dani had come knocking at his door. As per usual, Tony was the first one to their door. Tony loved Dani. Not in a, ‘I want to marry her’ kind of way but rather a ‘comrade in arms’ kind of way. It turns out that they were moth Army-brats. Even though Orson knew that’s all it was, he was still jealous. It wasn’t that he feared Tony would whisk Dani away (he and Tony had talk about how he felt about her), he was jealous that they had such a strong bond. Sometimes Orson feared that because they really had nothing in common the only thing that really held them together was the mutual enjoyment of each others company. He was sure to ruin that any day now, sooner or later his weirdness would send her off, screaming as she went. Once that happened the brittle thread that held them would snap and he’d be left alone.
If on the other hand, he had something to share with her as definite as “fellow Army-brat’ he might be able to hold on to her longer. He knew there was little to no hope for them to be together as anything more than friends. He had reconciled himself to this near certain truth, made peace with reality of their situation. Still, he couldn’t help himself from wanting just a little more time with her. He knew it was selfish of him but, whatever amount of time he had been granted would never be enough to satisfy the bone deep need to be around her.
(This Chapter isn’t done…)