Daniel and I walked back to the station, he was shaken up understandably, but otherwise unharmed. Simon and Connor stayed outside, worried that their gunshots would attract others. When we got inside Brooke, Will and Andria were sitting around a desk. 'Where did you learn to shoot like that?' I asked Brooke, feeling impressed, and jealous
'I told you before,' she said quickly, 'my father taught me' I wasn't exactly confident in her honesty, but I didn't press the issue, skill like that is what we needed, and I didn't want to antagonise anyone. 'So he's dead then?' Andria said shakily, 'I mean, again'
'Yes,' Will replied before me, 'you don't have to be afraid.' Andria shook her head quickly then got up and left the room before we could stop her 'is she alright?' said Steven, walking into the room, he sounded shocked 'I heard gunshots, Wendy told me what happened, she took over my watch'
'Thats alright, we're all a little jumpy,' Brooke replied, 'someone should go see if she's alright'
'I'll go,' I said quickly, I was feeling guilty about leaving Andria alone with Kyle anyway.
I checked a few rooms before I heard her voice coming from where Nicole had set herself up, 'It's not that I'm scared,' Andria sobbed, 'it's that I'm ashamed, you, Brooke, and Monica have made yourselves useful, you're important and strong,' she put an emphasis on the last word, 'all i had to do was face one zombie and I freak out, I was an absolute train wreck,' she calmed down a bit before she spoke again, 'I was a burden'
'No, Andria, you weren't a burden,' Nicole started, through a crack in the door I saw her put a hand on Andria's shoulder, 'look, out of all of us, your the one who has had the least experience fighting these... things. What you thought we expected you to leap to action and save the day?' Nicole and Andria both laughed at that, 'none of us are heroes, and no one expects you to be, alll we are, is part of a team'
'Yeah,' Andria stopped crying, mostly, 'but I'm not a very helpful part am I?' Nicole hugged her close
'You'll find your place.'
Andria got up and thanked Nicole, some strength returning to her voice, but as she walked out and saw me I saw some panic return, but it subsided and she nodded to me as she walked away. 'You,' Nicole said, suddenly behind me and talking in a tone that made me feel five years old, 'in here, now.' I sheepishly walked in and sat down, as soon as I did I felt a wave of exhaustion as the previous few hours events caught up with me and I held my head in my hands. I went from being chastised like a five year old to feeling like an eighty year old. 'You have to do something,' was all Nicole said as she lent against the desk
'About what?' I asked as a genuine question, I honestly did not now what to do next
'Everything,' Nicole's air of calm and control broke as she slid down until she was sitting on the ground, 'it's just that we've found somewhere to stay, possibly indefinitely, but for most of us when we're not keeping watch we're just sitting around.' Nicole's voice became stronger as she stopped feeling sorry for herself and started to feel confident again, 'we need to give people jobs, responsibilities, and when they're not doing those responsibilities, they need'-
'They need to learn to shoot,' Connor interrupted, neither me or Nicole noticed him come in, and I felt a pang of annoyance at his intrusion, but he was right, so all I did was nod.
Nicole was the obvious choice for a medical role, Daphne volunteered to be her assistant, and Nicole begrudgingly agreed. Will was put in charge of supplies like food and petrol, with Connor helping him out with the weapons side. Brooke was put in charge of the watch and scouting schedule, with me helping out. Monica, Wendy and Steven volunteered to be scouts, people to go beyond what we explored previously on foot to search for survivors and supplies, also to warn us if a horde was nearby. Daniel and Simon were put in charge of the generator and the cars. 'What should I do,' Andria spoke quietly, and only after everyone else was silent. Everyone except Steven, who was on watch, had gathered to discuss what would happen next. It seems the topic was on everyone's minds, everyone was eager to regain some form of structure and individual purpose. Everyone had their skills, even Daphne was able to convince us that she would be a help, not a hinderance, but when Andria spoke up not one person new of a spot available, or a particular skill she possessed that would be useful. 'You can help us out,' Daniel said. finally and everyone felt relief as the awkward situation passed, except Andria, all she felt was guilt and shame.
'There's only one thing left to decide on then,' Nicole said, it sounded like she had rehearsed it in her head, 'we need a leader, someone to organise this, someone to go to with problems so we don't just start fighting amongst ourselves'
'How about you then?' Brooke suggested confidently, 'you did it before back at the clinic, you could do it here'
'No way,' Nicole through her hands up, 'back then we were just holding out until the others returned, we need someone who can actually plan ahead and decide what to do next, that's not me'
'What about Connor?' Will pitched in, though it was more of a question than a suggestion, 'he's a police officer so he's used to making decisions about people's safety'
'Well, I mean I'd accept, if you decide it's the right thing,' Connor replied, trying to find a middle ground between modest and authoritative
'But he doesn't know us,' Daphne said determinedly, 'and we don't know him'
'That's not necessarily a bad thing,' Wendy explained, 'none of us are more or less familiar to him, he'd be unbiased. And as for us not knowing him well, we all know Daniel, it'd be weird if he was our leader' Daniel looked slightly insulted, 'no offense,' Wendy added
'But isn't that why we stayed together?' Simon interrupted everyone jumping on Connor's bandwagon, which I was grateful for, 'friends, people we know can be trusted to do more to keep us safe, their less likely to sacrifice us for their own purposes'
'That was the plan,' Will said quietly, remembering the first days of this... apocalypse
'In that case I think you should do it,' Nicole nodded in my direction
'Me?' I had been expecting it but still I was unsure of how to reply, 'I guess I could do it-I mean if you want me to do it I'- I stopped as I saw everyone in the room looking at me, I hardened my resolve, 'I can do it, I can be your leader'
'I'd follow you,' Will agreed, several others nodded, Wendy, Simon, Daphne
'I think of all of us you'd be the logical choice,' Nicole added comfortingly and Andria and Brooke showed their agreement as well. Daniel didn't say anything but came and stood near Will and Nicole, only Connor remained undecided, but he became tense as soon as Simon started talking, but no that everyone had sided with me we sighed and shook his head, 'if not me, it had to have been you.' I'm not sure whether that was an agreement but I took it, and Will looked at me smiling and added finally, 'it's decided then, from now on all major decisions, plans and problems go through you,' with poked my chest playfully, 'you're our leader now.'