It’s been just over three (Earth) weeks since I met Kaiya, but it seems like we’ve known each other for months. Everything has been like that here; every day reaches its end in what seems like a blink of the eye, but a week ago feels like a month and waking up from cryo feels like another lifetime. Time is funny like that. Anyone that tells you that time is neat and orderly, that every second, hour or day is equally as long as every other second, hour or day, is either lying to you or hasn’t been paying attention.
We were having dinner, talking about nearly mundane things – how teaching was going for her, how helping Kiyoshi start to set up the blacksmith shop and getting my vet practice going was working for me, things like that. “How was your day, honey?” sort of stuff. It felt at the same time wonderful and horrible to again have someone in my life that I could talk to like that. A big part of me hates myself for even starting to think about anyone other than Luana that way, but I honestly don’t think I have a choice in the matter. You can’t make yourself like or dislike anyone; your heart does what it will, regardless of what you tell it.
She kissed me gently on the cheek as she got up to leave. I watched her go, my fingertips where her lips had just been. I hardly even realized what I was doing.
“You look like someone just hit you between the eyes,” a woman’s voice said off to my side. I glanced over, unconsciously rubbing my hand along my jaw and dropping it to the table. It was Elana Pierce.
“What?” I asked, playing dumb and failing miserably.
“Her. I get why you like her, and I certainly get why she’s interested in tall, dark and relatively-handsome here, but what I don’t get is why you act like a love struck teenager around her. Oh, and don’t worry, I’m not flirting with you. You’re not my type.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Inquisitive much? And the answer is I don’t rightly know either, not that it’s your concern.” She shrugged, sipping her drink. “Alright. As long as we’re asking questions here, how ‘bout you answer one?”
“Fair enough. Shoot,” she replied.
“How did it feel to break that world record?” She blinked in surprise, then sighed, twisting her mouth in annoyance. I laughed. “So it is you. I know you must have heard it a thousand times, but those swimming golds? In the Olympics, the one place the WG still let the Independent States go toe to toe with them? They meant so much, to so many people.”
“Yeah, I know.” She sighed again. “I was just hoping that I could leave that responsibility behind and just be…I dunno, a big sister, a citizen, a geologist. You won’t tell anyone, will you?”
“Your secret’s safe with me.” I grinned suddenly. “Oh man, if Gabe were here! My brother,” I explained, “he’s a big fan. Might have made the Olympics himself, if he hadn’t joined the Navy. Man, if he knew I was meeting the Divin’ Dolphin, in the flesh!” I laughed, she rolled her eyes. “All right, all right, I’ll cut it out. And besides, it’s not like we don’t have other things to talk about. Summer and Jai seem to becoming fast friends, for one…”
We ended up talking for hours. Certainly longer than we should have, given all that needed doing. It turns out we have a fair bit in common.