Thursday, June 16, 2016

September 15



With Katrina’s clanning ceremony out of the way, Candy’s focus seems to have disappeared. I catch her staring off into space all the time. She does a lot of sighing, sometimes happy and sometimes not.

She was playing with her food at breakfast this morning, her eyes distant. I’d asked her a question two minutes earlier, and she still hadn’t answered me. She’d gotten as far as “Um.” Then she fell silent as her mind went wherever it tends to vacation these days.

Shaking my head, I put Anrel’s bottle down and pushed my demolished tray away. “Helllloooo. Shalia calling Candy. Come in, Candy.”

She started and stared at me. “Huh?”

I snickered. “I asked you if you’re completely done with Mihi and Ama.”

“Oh. Oh yeah. We said our goodbyes ages ago.”

“Didn’t they come on board last week? I thought I saw you talking to them on the concourse.”

She nodded, her gaze going hazy again. “Yeah. They were on their way to the pleasure club and we ran into each other. Just because we all decided it was best to break things off doesn’t mean we’re not still friends. Except we don’t really plan to keep in touch or ... or...”

Her voice had been fading as she spoke and finally died altogether. She was gone again.

“Where are you?” I asked. I had a suspicion though.

She blinked into the real world again. Her face turned pink and she laughed self-consciously. “Nobek Stidmun.”

“Still? Have you talked to him since we left the space station?”

She blushed more fiercely than ever. “Every night.”

My eyes widened. “That sounds kind of serious, Gal Pal.”

“I know.” She shoved away her tray, looking unhappy. “I haven’t figured out if this is the biggest infatuation of my life or if I’m actually in love.”

“Oh. Well.” I had nothing to say to that.

“Yeah.”

“He’s not clanned, right?”

“Nope.” Candy scowled at nothing. “And you know what? I don’t want him to be. I don’t want to share him if I was to get so lucky as to have him around all the time.”

I think my eyebrows shot all the way up to my hairline at that little nugget of information. “Well, maybe it’s more a matter of you getting shared. Mataras are supposedly the heart of the clan.”

“It’s only part jealousy,” she admitted. “I prefer Nobeks, Shalia. Dramoks and Imdikos are nice enough, but I really have a thing for the warrior-type.”

“Are you sure? Maybe you just haven’t met the right Dramoks and Imdikos.”

Candy sighed, one of her unhappy ones. “Part of why I stopped looking at my lottery candidates was because I never felt a connection with those two breeds. I always adored the Nobeks that were in my most compatible list ... but I could never find any interest in the rest.” She shook her head. “Now it’s only Stidmun. Nobody else compares.”

Man, she had it bad. I felt a wave of sympathy for her. “What are you going to do?”

“He’s got time off coming. He wants to come to Kalquor to visit me. Maybe take a trip or something to explore if we really do have a connection.” Candy’s next sigh had more of the happy tone. “From there? I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”

I managed not to point out all the obstacles to her having a real relationship with Stidmun. The way she acted, she knew the hurdles all too well.

“You’re not making things easy on yourself, are you?” I asked with a wry grin.

She grinned back. “Of course not. I’m looking to your shoulder in the months ahead, Shalia.”

“It’s quite absorbent,” I assured her. “Cry on it at will.”

I would never wish angst on anyone. But a perverse part of me is glad I’m not the only one with issues of the heart.

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