Insula – Chapter 2: Hopeless

Lenio detested wearing casts. They were so uncomfortable – feeling ridged and in-the-way honestly. He attempted to shift the metal contraption covering his left arm without causing any pain. The itch underneath was relentless, tickling deep under his arm where he could not reach. Why was that always the case for an itch? It was like the vexing things chose those kinds of spots on purpose. It was driving him insane – to the point he wanted to just drive a spark-wrench right into the spot and fry the very area as if to render a retaliating torment to the itch itself. Of course, he would only be hurting himself in the end, but still the thought was satisfying.

“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting,” a voice said, entering the room.

It was Dr. Qim. At her entrance, the itching ceased or rather Lenio’s care for it, that is. Vexus – she was gorgeous. The real proof a flower could indeed bloom in the icy reaches of the stars. His eyes followed her as she walked over to him, sitting cross-legged on the stool before him – he in turn was sitting on the edge of an examining table.

“Honestly, I feel like the Revs in a day aren’t long enough,” she went on, looking through the papers on her clipboard.

He studied her while she did. She kept her hair short – a dark brunette color that seemed to perfectly settle around her face, even compliment her luscious, red lips. Was a doctor even allowed to wear lipstick? She didn’t need it though, not to him anyways. His eyes continued to trace along her features within the open flaps of her white lab coat.

She wore a white blouse that gave tribute to her black skirt, displaying her thighs that seemed to reflect the lights or rather was it her own personal glow? Her blouse showcased just enough cleavage to make him blush. Don’t stare! he scolded himself, tearing his eyes away. Vexus, man! You know better.

“So how are we feeling today?” she asking, finally looking up.

Lenio turned to look at her – ensuring to look into her eyes only. “Better,” he said with a weak crack in his voice. Come on, man, he thought. “Much better,” he said with more confidence.

“Good,” she said, “any pain or irritations?”

He scoffed. “Well this whole cast is a vexin’ irritation,” he stated.

She smiled. It was a beautiful, warm smile like bathing in the rays of Solaris. He felt his heart skip a few beats. Could he ever hope to win her over? Was it possible for someone like… him?

Lenio was a large man, not overweight but he wasn’t ripped to the teeth like the Chief. No, he was more of a tall, rounded man. When it came to looks, his face wasn’t completely hopeless. He wasn’t missing any teeth and he tried to keep his hair neatly combed to the side. Of course most would see this as a pointless measure considering the suit’s helmet he wore for drilling would untidy it, but still did she notice his effort? Did he have a chance?

“No, not much pain, but I really want to take this cast off,” he continued. “This vexin’ itch – Isn’t there something better I can wear?”

She jotted a few notes onto her clipboard. “Well, believe it or not, Lenio. Casts have come a long way,” she answered. “You think these are pain? They used to be much worse,” she explained. “They were much harder to apply compared to these, not to mention, they didn’t have any readouts of the fracture’s condition. I’d say these have those ones beat by a mile and some.”

“Wow,” Lenio replied, stunned. He felt a little guilty for complaining now. “I-I guess I have it easier then.”

She smiled again, placing her hand on his leg. “Even so, I think you’re right though. They still have a long way to go to making them better,” she said.

He felt his cheeks flush.

“I’ll see if I can get something for that itching,” she said, walking away.

He returned a smiled as she stood up. “Thanks,” he said softly. He didn’t want her to remove her hand. As creepy as it sounded, he had almost placed his own on top of hers out of instinct. Probably for the best that I didn’t, he thought.

As she left the room, his eyes couldn’t help but glance at her backside. What was he scared of? All he had to do was tell how he felt about her. What was the worst thing that could happen? The least he could do was invite her for lunch or something.

She came back almost instantly.

“Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll need your statement too so I can document the accident,” she brought up. “You were in so much pain earlier that we thought we wait until you settled down. Is that okay?”

He blushed even harder thinking about how much of a child he must’ve appeared during that day. Sure he had fractured his arm, but did she view him any less for it?

“Lenio?” she said, pulling him from his trance.

“S-sorry,” he replied. “Yeah, that’s fine.”

She nodded. “I’ll be back.”

As he waited, his eyes traced around the room. He had been so distracted by that itch earlier that he hadn’t really taken it in; it wasn’t a place he’d been in often or ever actually. It was clean and practically empty with the exception of a heart-reading machine in the corner and a medicine cabinet on the wall. He almost felt guilty being in it, believing his very presence tainted the area. It was so white – almost too white. Even the air felt sanitized unlike the heavy scent of oil and muddy smoke he was accustomed to. Here, it smelled like ointments mixed with honey and… flowers? For some reason, it left his mind feeling numb as if the walls themselves were administrating some form of medication.

Yet, it was relaxing somehow. His thoughts felt clearer. Earlier, he was having trouble recalling the accident, but now he could see it. The event itself was odd.

Bits were still incoherent, but he could see it though. He recalled lending a hand to Faa. He never had a problem helping her when he had the time. She often rewarded his assistance with small goodies. This time, she needed his help to move a heavy container of ore to the back of the storage lot.

The containers sat on the ground level in the facility but after a while the stacks made it difficult to transport anymore through to the back. Sometimes, the third level’s walk-way had to be used – a thin path absent a decent handrail. It was poor designing in Lenio’s mind but it was the only way to get the job done. He could recall, the palette he used jam on something and that was all it took. Before he knew it, he slipped off the edge, narrowly able to grab the handle of the palette. He had managed to keep one leg on the edge but it wasn’t enough to pull himself up.

Just thinking on that moment made his stomach churn. He hated heights and luck would have him facing that fear full-force. Faa seemed to bolt into action below, but in the last few moments, Lenio remembered feeling the container suddenly jolt over the edge, which caused him to plummet. Fortunately, his fall was cushioned by a pipe before he slammed into the ground on top of his arm. He was very fortunate that it was only his arm that suffered.

There was one thing that puzzled him though. As he lay there, he noticed a face staring back at him from above. At first he thought it was Faa. Yet, the face retracted and a second later he saw Faa running from the lift to that same location before he blacked-out. He didn’t understand what he saw exactly: did he hit his head or was that moment imagined?

What puzzled him even more was the face: he was sure that it belonged to Faa, but it didn’t explain how she could be in two places at once.

Lenio was startled by Dr. Qim’s voice in the other room.

“I don’t know what our next assignment will be, Garrett,” she stated loudly. “No. I don’t– Fine– I’ll think about the dinner. Yes… I promise. I have to go now; I have a patient I need to deal with.”

A moment later Dr. Qim returned in the room with a small bottle. “Okay, Lenio. These pills should do the trick,” she said with a smile.

Dinner? Lenio thought. And who was Garrett?

Of course, a woman as beautiful as Qim would have tons of guys lined up to swoon her. She probably had options to any guy she wanted. There was no way she would even consider him as one.

It was hopeless, but the truth.

“Are you okay, Lenio?” she asked with a concern look, seeing his sulking face.

Men like the Chief are the ones that get the girl, not you, he thought. Stick to your station, Lenio.

“Yeah,” he lied with a fake smile, “thanks for the pills, Dr. Qim.”