Daniela paced the space outside the large sliding doors apprehensively. There had been a flurry of excitement about twenty minutes prior, leading in Aishani and a bunch of other people from the army side of things rushing inside The Bubble and leaving the rest of the ‘civilians’ outside to wait for some form of report.
Daniela had tried to get in on the grounds that it was her Danel suit and so she should be there for any input needed on contamination queries and so forth. But everyone had seemed eerily eager to keep Daniela out of the room which set a tight knot in the pit of her stomach.
Up until this moment she had categorically refused to worry over the concept of Duncan not coming back. It was something that she knew she wouldn’t be able to process properly should she even entertain the thought and she found that Christiana had obsessed about it enough for the both of them. However, since Christiana had had the green light that Connor was okay and there had still been no news on Duncan, Daniela was beginning to feel the worry creep in from all directions.
She kept her pacing up, backwards and forwards, sitting only to get back up again and repeat the process. She found that if she did things in a rhythmic enough fashion she could occupy part of her mind with it. It was a little trick that Jason had taught her. She put it into place here and found a little relief in it at first. However, the worry was still growing the longer she had to wait and she found herself speeding up the pace to compensate for the increase in her anxiety. She was getting to a point of power-walking around area outside the wall and suddenly she was overwhelmed with a need to know what was going on. She turned to the metallic doors and smashed her fists against it with all her might.
“Let me in!” She screamed.
She was suddenly aware that the previous buzz of conversation was now no longer there. She peered around to see that people were now watching her. This, she did not like. She turned her back to them and decided to focus on the door, hoping that if she stayed still long enough, they’d get bored and go back to what they were doing. It worked, the buzz of conversation started up again, albeit a little quieter than before, but it was enough for Daniela to feel comfortable enough to start up her pacing again.
“Er, Daniela?” Christiana’s voice was at her ear. “You okay?”
“I’m fine,” Daniela said. “I just don’t understand why they won’t let me in.”
Daniela shouted the last four words, no longer caring about the staring people behind her. She turned back to Christiana, a sudden panic creeping up inside her.
“I just want to know that he’s okay.” She said. “I feel, I don’t know, like something’s wrong.”
“Of course you’re going to feel like that,” Christiana said. “Trust me, I know how you feel. But Aishani herself said that the team seemed to be complete when she spotted them, you’re fine Daniela. Please for the love of God, come and sit down with us.”
Daniela dropped her head in submission and allowed Christiana to guide her back to their table.
“Wow, I did not think you’d be able to get her back here.” Jason said.
“Shut up and get us some fruit juices.”
“Fruit juices?” Jason asked.
“Squash preferably. We need to decaffeinate Daniela.” She thought for a moment and grabbed Jason’s arm before he headed off. “Bring over a bottle of chardonnay as well.”
“Daniela’s not drinking remember?” Jason reminded her.
“Who said anything about Daniela? That one’s for me.” She turned to Daniela as Jason headed off, shaking his head. “What? I need some liquid courage if I’m going to make Connor feel really sorry about buggering off.”
“I think you might be developing a problem.” Daniela said, in all honesty.
“Ah, probably.” Christiana said, waving it off. “But now that we have super livers, what’s the harm?”
Daniela rolled her eyes at Christiana and began tapping her foot impatiently. Christiana reached over and placed her hand on her knee.
“Enough Daniela, you’re working yourself and the baby up over nothing.”
“The what?” Adam’s voice sounded behind them.
Daniela threw Christiana a warning look, not able to deal with any baby talk right now.
“Robin’s baby.” Christiana spat out. “All that shouting at the door and pacing, it sends out negative vibes. We don’t want her blaming us for any problems.”
Adam looked at them both curiously but didn’t push it any further. Daniela noticed the slight curve of a smile appear on Christiana’s face as she clearly was self-congratulating her outstanding ‘on her feet’ thinking. Daniela couldn’t help but smile at her friend.
“Congratulations, Adam.” She said to Adam, changing the subject. “Most shocking and unforeseen pregnancy in the building. But I guess it makes sense, given that you’re a celebrity.”
“Oh my days,” Christiana said, showing a look of mock surprise. “Don’t tell me it’s all one massive publicity stunt to promote your new film.”
Daniela laughed at that and noted that Christiana seemed practically giddy at the moment, even talking with Adam. She realised that she could probably learn something from her and decided focus on the fact that she will be seeing Duncan any moment now.
Adam however, didn’t seem to respond the joke with much humour. Instead, he directed his attention back to Daniela.
“I just wanted to check that you were okay. You seemed a little anxious at the door.”
Daniela gave Adam a weak smile. “I’m fine, I’ll just feel a lot better when I’ve seen Duncan with my own two eyes. All this waiting around is really doing my head in.”
“You need to quit stressing now, Daniela. For crying out loud, think about the baby.” Jason said, walking over with his tray of drinks.
Adam opened his mouth to say something, but Christiana interrupted him in an overly loud voice.
“Yes, Daniela, think about Robin and Adam’s unborn baby. I’ve told you about those bad vibes!”
Jason clocked Adam standing there and started nodding his head.
“Bad vibes are bad.” He added.
“As much as I appreciate all the over-the-top concern you have towards the baby, I’m sure it won’t pick up on anything from Daniela from the other side of the room.”
“Still, you can never be too sure.” Jason said, grabbing Adam by the shoulders and guiding him away. “Come Adam, you have to introduce me to the little egg. I’m dying to do the stroking of the belly thing while it’s still new and cute enough that Robin doesn’t want to slap my hand away.”
“Okay, well, take care of yourself Daniela.” Adam called over his shoulder as they walked away. “I’m sure everything’s fine.”
“I love that man.” Christiana said.
“Please tell me you’re talking about Jason,” Daniela said. “Because I don’t think my brain can handle any more massive news.”
Christiana laughed her first carefree laugh since Connor had disappeared through those doors.
“Of course I’m talking about Jason!” She said.
Suddenly the sliding doors to The Bubble opened and Aishani came rushing out.
“They’ve been de-contaminated,” she announced. “they’re on their way back in.”
Immediately Daniela was up and she left everyone else behind her as she rushed to the front of the crowd, almost pushing past Aishani to get inside The Bubble. Once she was up the stairs and staring out into the wasteland outside, she clocked the entrance panel at the other side of room. People from the mission were filing into the room and the rest of the crowd started cheering from behind her as they overtook her in a desperate attempt to meet their own loved ones.
But Daniela couldn’t cheer with them, something was wrong. The people coming into the room looked different. They were all dragging their feet, looking tired and greeting those around them with a solemn expression. Daniela felt everything start to fade away around her as she realised that something was wrong, something was very wrong.
Immediately she began looking for the face she needed amongst the crowd. She searched desperately, trying to find Duncan’s ever-existent smile. She listened out for some form of smart-arse comment that he would most definitely be making in a situation just as this. But she saw neither the face she was looking for nor heard the voice.
The people coming into the room started to thin out. She recognised Katie and Dave, Kelly and Gary. She saw other faces that she knew not as well but she didn’t see Duncan’s. Her breathing began to speed up once more as she stumbled forward, praying harder than she ever had that he was okay. She noticed that the forlorn faces of the team seemed to increase at the sight of her. This didn’t bode well. She shook her head in disbelief, pushing their faces from her mind and focusing only on the ground in front of her in order to keep her mind from giving up on her completely.
She continued to walk and noticed that the feet of those around her seemed to part as she walked, walking out of her way and allowing her through. She kept her eyes on the ground until she found a pair of feet that didn’t move away. They stood there opposite her and immediately she knew who’s they were and what they meant.
She let out a small cry and willed her eyes up to meet the gaze of the person in front of her. There he stood, her Duncan.
“Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” He said, his grin firmly on his face. “If I’m not mistaken Davids, you’ve gotten fitter.”
Daniela let out a burst of laughter. Duncan was there. He was alive and staring down at her with such love and affection that she couldn’t stand it any longer. She jumped into his arms and revelled in his tight hold as he kissed her hair.
“I have missed you so much.” He whispered to her, and Daniela could hear the emotion thick in his voice. “I never want to be apart from you again, I love you Daniela.”
Daniela smiled at his words and pulled back so that she was facing him.
“Well I might as well tell you now then.” She said, with a grin.
Duncan grinned back. “What’s that?”
“You’ve knocked me up, you loser.” Daniela said, her grin wide.
Duncan stood there, staring down at her shell shocked.
“You’re pregnant?” He said.
She nodded and suddenly Duncan pulled Daniela close again and spun her round.
“Does this mean that you won’t be leaving me to be a single mother?” Daniela asked.
“I reckon I could stick around for a while.” Duncan said with a smile, then added, “You know, for the sake of the kid and everything.”
“Of course,” Daniela said.
Daniela pulled away to face him once more and leaned in close to kiss the father of her unborn child. However, just as their lips were about to meet, she was interrupted by Christiana’s voice shouting through the room.
“Why are you shutting the door?” She asked. “Connor’s not in, yet.”
Her question was met with silence as all the members of the team looked at her, their faces thick with emotion.