1.10: Shannon

1

Jason hummed softly, rocking on the balls of his feet. Kayne was fussing, and he hoped he was just cranky and not coming down with colic. “Easy there, fella. Mama’s going to be home soon.” He thought. He was never really sure when she would get back from her mysterious job. Hell, he still didn’t know her name. And he was running out of ones that started with S.

2

Kayne went quiet, and Jason smiled at him. He brought the baby up to his face and touched his nose to Kayne’s. “You remind me of my nephew,” he said in a gentle voice. “His name’s Patrick. I haven’t seen him in almost a year and a half now. My sister and her family moved to Windenburg. That’s a city really far away.” Though he missed his family, he was glad they’d moved. Otherwise, they would’ve been stuck here in this wasteland.

3

Once Kayne’s eyes started to droop, and he seemed to have drifted off, Jason settled the infant back into his bassinet and headed downstairs. Night had fully settled outside; in the silence of the small house, he could hear the buzzing of bugs and the barking howls of coyotes in the distance. The area was peaceful now, not like that night a few weeks ago when he’d fought his way out of a gang of marauders and had his home burned to the ground. No, tonight was very peaceful. Still, it wasn’t safe for her to be out at night. Although she was always oddly sure of herself.

4

He helped himself to a plate of fish, leftover from their earlier meal, and sat down on the couch. Even though he was living with her now, he still felt like he barely knew her. She’d been in a relationship with a man named Gio; she’d mentioned him a few times in passing. She closed up whenever Jason asked about him, though. She closed up a lot. Getting any kind of information out of her was akin to pulling teeth.

Despite the frustration she could cause him, he couldn’t help but be attracted to her. She was so…different. Worlds apart from the women he’d been interested in before. Her “fuck the world” attitude was appealing, though, especially when he felt like that sometimes himself.

Damn, he wished he knew her name.

“What are you smiling at?”

5

He looked up when he heard her voice. He hadn’t even noticed the door open. “Was I smiling?”

“Like a goof.”

6

He snorted softly and took his plate to the sink. “Just thinking about old times. Are you tired?” She shook her head. “You want to play a while then?”

“Yeah, sure. I could use some unwinding,” she agreed.

7

They sat down at the rickety old card table he’d scrounged from a junk yard. She shuffled the pack of cards he’d found in a desk at work and dealt. This was how they passed a lot of evenings now. Either this or at the chess board, though neither of them were very good at that.

“How was work?” He asked.

8

She shrugged and studied her cards. “Fine. Same as usual. How’s Kayne?”

“He was a little fussy, but he quieted down. I think he’s just in a bad mood.”

“Thanks for watching him.”

9

“It’s no trouble. I like doing it,” he said sincerely. He’d always liked kids. Before everything happened, he’d wanted to find someone to settle down with. Now, he didn’t think he’d ever want to bring a child into the world, not if it had to live here.

10

While they played and made idle conversation, he watched her. He watched her toned, supple hands as they held the cards. They were strong but oddly delicate. He watched her oddly colored eyes, the way they narrowed while she studied her cards.

With a sudden burst of inspiration, he said, “Shannon.”

Her head jerked up, surprise lighting up her face. “What?”

11

He grinned slowly. “I guessed right, didn’t I? Your name is Shannon.” Somehow…it fit her.

12

Her lips curled in a small smile. “Yes, it’s Shannyn – with a Y.”

“Shannyn,” he rolled the name around his mouth, enjoying how it felt. Yes, somehow, it definitely fit her. “It’s a lovely name.”

“Thank you.” She laughed a little. “I’d offer you a prize, but I don’t have anything.”

13

“I could think of a few things,” he said, his voice dropping an octave.

She looked at him; he saw interest flash in her eyes. Just as quickly as it was there, it vanished and she put her cards sown. She rose to her feet. “I’m going to go check on Kayne and go to bed.”

14

Sensing that his window of opportunity might close forever if he did nothing, Jason stood up and caught her arm. In a quick motion, he tugged her close to him and pressed his lips against hers.

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