Chapter 16: Captainship Pt. 3

She sounded wistful, full of longing. Perhaps he should have gotten Leta on the line after all.

“We’d probably go out to some sketchy dump of a bar,” Corra went on, smiling sadly. “Cy would be too scared to talk to any girl there. Leta and Fiear would argue loudly to mask their shameless flirting. We’d all get drunk. And I’d probably get laid.”

As he sat down beside her, Finn snorted into his drink. Corra swung her eyes at him.

“What?” she demanded.

“Nothin’. You just make it sound so romantic,” he said sarcastically.

Corra frowned at him. “Romance is all well and good for other people. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a good love story any day, but for me? No way. Too messy. I like simplicity.” She shrugged and raised her glass to her lips, but it paused an inch away as revelation crossed her expression. “God, it’s been ages since I last got laid.” In despair, she dropped her face into her free hand. “No wonder I’m so tense.” When Finn chuckled, she cast him a sharp look. “I mean it. Ages, Riley.” Drama filled her voice. “Ages.”

“No, no, that’s a serious problem,” Finn agreed heartily. “I just find that hard to believe. You?” He nodded at her in appreciation. “Not getting laid … “

“Well, according to you, I’m a captain now. I don’t have time to just mess around,” she chided, waving him off like he was being absurd. “And I, unlike Fiearius, am making a vow not to fool around with my crew.”

Finn made a noise of agreement. “Very admirable, captain,” he said and tilted his glass toward his lips, letting the bourbon scald his throat. Perhaps it was the liquor, perhaps it was the long exhausting day that had taken a toll on him — but suddenly Finn found himself saying boldly, “You know what though. Technically, I’m not crew.”

Corra lowered his glass to gaze at him. She looked, more than anything, curious.

“And,” Finn went on slowly, “I’m not really sure what the captain-and-captain protocol is on this ship yet. So … “

A long silence lapsed between them. Well, that was stupid, Finn couldn’t help but think and he was about to retract the comment as a joke when Corra tilted her head to the side. Slowly, a smirk spread over her face. “Are you flirting with me, Riley?”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

An hour later, after the sheen of sweat cooled his skin, Finn released a long sigh out of his bare chest and folded the palms of his hand behind his neck. He lay flat on his back on the dining room table, gazing up at the ceiling with a tired, happy sort of pride — in his humble opinion, they’d found the perfect way to turn this night around.

Beside him, he could feel Corra smirking. Hell, what a weird 24 hours, he thought to himself. He certainly hadn’t expected the night to end this way and he doubted Corra did, either.

“Hey, so … thanks,” she sighed, lifting herself up on an elbow. Her free hand strayed to his hair, smoothing it back, making him grin lazily. “I think I really needed that.”

“Ah, anytime,” he replied absently, as if he’d just bought her a case of beer. After a moment, he amended, “Really, anytime at all,” more pointedly, a grin spreading over his face as he enjoyed the sight of all her bare skin.

Rolling her eyes, Corra sat up and reached for her shirt, which had been tossed across the table, and pulled it on over her head. Taking his cue — he was probably overstaying his welcome now — Finn shifted his feet to the floor and started to gather his clothes. He seized a cigarette out of his jacket pocket and stuck it in his mouth.

“So … we’re okay, right?” said Corra suddenly from her spot on the edge of the table. She looked hesitant. “You know, to…eh…overlook this? Not mention it to our loving and devoted crew? Or Fiearius, or … anyone?”

Finn almost replied normally, but he could not help himself.

“Oh-o, I see what this is now,” he said, his tone muffled from the cigarette. He was full of good-natured accusation. “Your service boy, that what I am? Is that all? Fly the ship, show up in you room? Well now I just feel all cheap-like and dirty.”

Corra smirked. “That sounds about right, yeah.”

If there was any seriousness at all in his tone, it was extinguished the moment he grinned broadly at her. Reaching for the rest of his clothes (his shirt in particular had made it halfway across the room), he tugged it on over his chest and pulled on his shoes and then breathed a sigh.

“Nah, I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry about it. We’re probably going to have to deal with situations a hell of a lot weirder than this, don’t ya think? I mean, definitely wish I could go brag to the all the deckhands right now … and I sure love upsetting Fiear …. but cross my heart, I’ll restrain myself,” he assured her, regarding her in amusement for a moment.

Then, holding his jacket in one hand, he started to cross toward the exit, but not before pausing to lean in toward the table to kiss her briefly on the lips. It was chaste and polite, a clear end-note that lasted only a moment before he went to the door and called plainly, ”Night, cap’n,” over his shoulder.

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