From new short story, Fortress

This night in bed they watch a movie on her laptop, eat popcorn, do what they usually do.  Robert returns to his room. Urbanski, Ozawa and Fischer, a few others sitting around talking computer, playing video games.  The guys razz him with how many times tonight questions and things like that. He gives smart answers and tells them nothing, he won’t do that to Edith.  Urbanski says shut up and get their own girls if they want to know, he gives Robert a Michelob.

Robert at the window, looks out, drinks the beer.  Thinks of her, where she might be, if she still knows him.  Forgets the beer a long time and stares at nothing, he decides to not think about it.

The guys forget Robert, are loud about a game, disagreeing like always.  Urbanski behind him. “Rob?” He doesn’t turn. “You alright? You guys have a fight or something?”

Robert shakes his head.  Urbanski sees his wet cheek in the dim light. “Hey.”  He says quietly.

Robert remembers the beer, wipes his face, doesn’t turn.  “You never saw her, did you, Urb?”

“Edith?  Of course.”  But Urbanski knows, adds.  “No.”

“We should have gotten together the three of us.  It would have been good.” Drains the beer.

Urbanski takes the empty, hands Robert another.  “Yeah.” Pats him on the shoulder, goes back to the group.  Robert thinks it is after midnight, watches a little dog run around the yard across the street.  Dark, frisky animal darting in and out of dappled shadow, knowing nothing of the night.


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