“A man like me,” he began tentatively, “hell there aren’t any men like me.” His laugh held pain and self-loathing. “I don’t have a lot of friends, Penny. I can have any woman I want—and have—” his voice drifted off to nothing. “I hate my life,” Wil whispered so softly she hardly heard him. “I hate what I’ve become, Penny. Do you know how many people I’ve killed? I can’t even remember anymore. How many good men and women have died because of me? I can’t remember that either. I’m an asshole of the first order; ruthless, hard nosed, stubborn….”
“Some would say tenacious, willful and strong.”
Wil’s laugh held irony. “Yeah, some would say that. Is that the Politically Correct version of my description, Penny?”
She giggled, trying to lighten his mood. “Yeah, some would say that.” Her smile faded. “Seriously though, Wil, a man can change.”
“You know the expression can’t teach an old dog?“
“That would apply.”
“Wil, you aren’t that old…!”
His expression quelled her protest. “Baby, do you even realize how old I am?”
She shook her tousled head slowly.
“Old enough to know I can’t change. So old, I knew Greyling when she was younger than you.”
Her face froze. Admiral Greyling was nearly sixty, though she hardly looked her age. Wil looked young enough to be Greyling’s son.
“I know. She and I went through officer training together. After a few years, we kinda lost touch.” He shrugged resignedly. “Story of my life in a nutshell. On my tombstone it will read, Wilhelm VanLipsig, He Kinda Lost Touch.“
© 2016 Dellani Oakes