Rao leaned back against the wall, closing her eyes to gently rub her temples until she was sure Lowell had gone on his merry way. Between the date, the notification from D’aunchel, and now the Lowell confrontation…maybe it was time she called it a day. Or maybe…it was time to prove Lowell that he was in fact, incorrect. Hiking her bag over her shoulder she stepped onto the lift and pressed his floor number. Any other time she’d been on this path it was always under the influence and with Marcus at her side. Now she was alone. “I can do this. It’s nothing. Just knocking on a door, right? I mean, it is MY boyfriend. That’s normal. But what’s normal?- Actually let’s not get into that. Anyway, I can do this.” She forced out a deep breath, straightening up when the doors opened. “Show time.” She whispered. It was a short walk to find his door, but then came the trouble of actually knocking.
Fifteen seconds passed and she’d managed to raise her fist to knock. Another fifteen seconds and she had it hovering over the door. Finally she sighed let her hand fall to her side. It was far too late for all this. She could do this another time. Turning on her heels she almost smacked right into Marcus. “Oh!” Jumping back she gave him a breathless smile. “Hey. I was just looking for you.” Mentally shaking the awkwardness off she forced herself to relax a bit. “Here.” She held up his jacket. “I forgot to give it back earlier before you left.” Did that sound convincing? Hopefully. “Is Sunsan here or can we go inside?”
The second they were inside, Rao gripped his shirt and pulled him down into a deep kiss. “I think- We’ve been- Kind of awkward.” Her words came between lingering kisses. “We have to fix that…”
The following morning Rao woke to familiar soft vibration pulsating through her body. Blinking a few times she ran her fingers over her wrist band to stop it and sat up to find herself in Marcus’ bed. Very gently she peeled back the covers and climbed out of bed to collect her clothes off the floor. Once fully dressed she tiptoed over to Marcus and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek before slipping out the door.
Just as she snuck back into her own room she heard her roommates voice ring clear, “Pleasant evening?”
Rao didn’t even need to look at Zletka to guess her expression. “Yep!” Not bothering to stay and chat she quickly freshened up and pulled on regulation clothing.
“That’s unexpected.” Zletka noted.
This time Rao groaned. “You know, the fact that you can just read my thoughts can be a real time saver and also REALLY irritating.” Rao made sure she had the pads she needed and put her jumpsuit in a bag.
“Just remember to keep your thoughts clean.” Zletka teased earning a devilish look from Rao.
“I’ll try. See you later tonight. I’ll tell you how it goes!”
Zletka was just exiting the dining hall after breakfast when she spotted Tarique standing nearby. “Good morning Tarique.” She greeted him pleasantly.
“Good morning.” Tarique replied in kind. “Did Cadet Rao not accompany you for breakfast this morning?” He inquired; unsure if she left early or simply chose to skip breakfast all together- both of which were logical conclusions given her behavior patterns.
“Not today. She left directly from the dorm to the shipyards over an hour ago.” Zletka explained. Tarique’s expression remained neutral. “Had the two of you arranged to meet this morning?”
“No. I had something I needed to discuss with her.” He replied.
“Do you have an estimated time when she’s expected to return?”
Zletka shook her head. “No. She was summoned directly by Chief D’aunchel, so I’d guess latest 10 o’clock.” At the mention of D’aunchel she noticed the small shift in is micro expressions.
“Thank you, Zletka.” He nodded once in her direction and started on his way, leaving Zletka in her own company.
Garnett was already in the gym, running tirelessly on a moving platform that changed in incline and texture at random intervals. It was one stage of many in a monthly check on endurance that he put himself through in order to keep up with personal goals. Signing off his session he stepped down from the platform to see Lowell waiting.
“Wow, you’re soaked man.” Lowell laughed as the Garnett took a swig of water.
“Aye, gotta keep pushing.” Garnett chuckled while the two walked over the sparring ring. “Thanks for agreeing to partner up with me today. A bunch of the guys are in the infirmary.”
“Yeah…wild stuff. Getting into random shit.” Lowell played it off while suiting up.