Chapter 11 Bonus: To Love

“No way.” Nikkolai shook his head in disbelief. “There’s absolutely no way.”

Corra shrugged and spread her hands helplessly. “It’s true, I swear. We got lunch together earlier and she told me. It was this big romantic thing too. This long wild goose chase on Tarin that ended in his bed.” Nikkolai continued to stare at her as though she’d told him the sky was actually green. She took a sip from her beer and shrugged again. “Leta and the captain are apparently a thing now.”

In fact, they were such a thing that Leta hadn’t been able to join Corra when she’d invited her out for drinks that evening. As her best friend who hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, she was of the belief that she had every right to drag Leta out to Genisi’s finest dives the first night the Dionysian was on Archeti. Fiearius, however, had other ideas.

So Corra had invited Nikkolai instead and they had spent most of the evening so far, as they often did, gossiping about other people’s lives.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Niki finally managed as the shock wore off, “Why would she with him? It’s just–”

“More reasonable than you’d think, actually,” Corra interjected, feeling the familiar sharp urge to defend her friend. “I know it’s odd on the surface, but they’re actually good together. They care about the same things, they make each other laugh, they bring out the best in each other, it’s good. You can’t deny they have a certain chemistry.”

“Yeah, explosive chemistry,” Niki muttered to which Corra frowned.

“Some people like that. It works,” she argued, her tone a little pointed.

Sensing he’d ruffled her feathers, Nikkolai gave her a small smile. “Well I guess opposites attract,” he admitted. “But so do similarities. What do you think about our respective engineers?”

Corra’s frown instantly turned into a grin. “Cy-cy and Addy? Oh I do hope that’ll happen.”

“I heard they’ve been talking a lot the past few weeks.”

“Yeah about engines.” Corra rolled her eyes impatiently. “He better step up his game while we’re on the same planet because who knows when they’ll see each other next?”

“She probably likes talking about engines though,” Nikkolai pointed out. “It’s funny, I never thought I’d meet anybody who actually seems perfect for Cyrus of all people.”

A warm laughed rolled from Corra’s throat. “That’s mean, Niki. Cy-cy deserves a perfect mate probably even more than the rest of us. He’s a sweetie. I’m sure it won’t take Addy long to see that.”

Niki nodded slowly, taking a long sip of his drink. Finally, he asked, “What about you?”

Corra’s eyes widened. “Me and Cy?

“No, you and whoever,” he corrected. “I know that ship already sailed.”

She just shook her head and shrugged innocently. “I’ve been too busy getting the Beacon together to care about that.” She brought the bottle to her lips again and took a long swig.

Nikkolai, however, was unrelenting. “What about Finn?” At once, Corra shot him a glare. “What?” He laughed. “There was that time on Paraven–”

“Yeah, one time,” she snapped. “And I told you, it was nothing. We were just fooling around a little. It’s not like I want him or anything. He’s got a girlfriend. Sort of. I think. And we work together. And he’s not even my type. He’s so annoying.”

A wide grin spread over Niki’s face. “But he’s so pretty.”

Corra regarded him incredulously for a moment before finally, she broke into a laugh. “You can have him then.”

“Maybe I will,” Nikkolai chimed cheerfully, lifting his glass. “A toast,” he declared. “To love. May we all find it.” He paused and considered it for a moment. “Or at least sex. At the very least that.”

Corra giggled helplessly and clinked her beer against his. “I’ll drink to that.”

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