“Alright, I get it,” Addy laughed. “But not all dreams are realistic? What do you want to be doing then?”
“Yeah, now. If you could be doing anything now. Or be in any place.”
“Uh. Let’s see.” Cyrus scrunched up his face in thought. “Honestly? Home.”
The only sound came from the metallic turning of the engine.
“I’d be in Paradiex, designing ships,” he went on, his tone quiet, a little hesitant as though not sure if this was an appropriate topic to bring up. But after a moment, his voice raised warmly and a mischievous smirk danced across his face . “The best ships ever designed,” he added. “Breaking down technological barriers on a daily basis.”
Addy chuckled. “That so?”
“I’d start up my own firm maybe,” he continued, making a frame with his fingers that he squinted through. “Turn away any clients that weren’t pushing boundaries. Oh and I’d live in a state of the art loft over 8th Avenue with a huge workshop of course.”
“That sounds lovely.”
He grinned. “And I’d be making keynote speeches at all the top conferences. Companies would be dying to get my opinion on their latest projects. Engineers would be begging for consultation. People would be swarming me in the streets, asking for autographs — ”
At that, Addy couldn’t contain her laughter. “A celebrity. Right, of course.”
He too chuckled. “What? Not all dreams are realistic, right? What about you? What would you be doing?”
Addy gnawed her bottom lip, her eyes sweeping up toward the ceiling. “Umm, about the same, probably. I’d like to take over my dad’s shop for real.”
“Uh-oh. You’ll be my competition then.”
“Competition? I was thinking we could collaborate.”
For an awkward but happy moment, they both simply grinned at each other. Then Addy said, “D’ya think it’ll ever be possible? Going back to Satieri?”
Cyrus slipped his hands in his pockets, his eyes roaming over the floor. “I don’t know. As it stands right now, I definitely can’t. Maybe if things change. I’d like not to give up on it. Even though the Society makes the prospects a little grim…”
“Right.” Addy’s voice softened. “The Society.”
Cyrus lifted his eyes to meet hers, regret in his face. And then, abruptly, he slapped his hand against his forehead. “Oh gods, I’m so stupid. I forgot why I even came by to begin with. I have something for you.”
Addy was grateful for the sudden change in topic. “You what?” she asked, but Cyrus had already brushed past her toward the main console screen, his fingers flying madly over the keys.
“Hey, are you trespassing right now?” she asked, only half jokingly as she slid off the stool and joined him.
“I figured it out,” he explained as he tapped away at the screen. “I thought of it a long time ago, but there was a hang-up and I couldn’t get it to work, but after what you said, I got it. I figured it out.”
Addy eyed him, confused. “Figured what out?”
“The route,” he answered at once as though this made sense, not taking his eyes from the console. “The route around the roadblocks. It was just a matter of redirecting it to the right places and avoiding the monitored connections. I just need to install this–”
Addy was still lost. “Install what?”
He tapped one final screen and swiped it away. “There,” he deemed proudly, sitting back. “It’s so simple, I don’t know why I never thought of it before. But it’ll work on your CID now, for all outgoing and incoming calls.” He grinned at her. “It’ll make sure the Society can’t listen in or track the source. You can talk to your dad whenever you want.”
Addy couldn’t tear her eyes from the glowing screen.
“You made this?” Her voice wavered with emotion. “So I could talk to my dad. You made this for me?”
In the corner of her eye, she saw Cyrus nod. Heavy silence blanketed over them and Cyrus hurried to fill it.
“Hey, listen, if you don’t want to use it — that’s completely — ” but she didn’t give him the chance to finish. Before she could think, she turned to Cyrus, raised herself to tip-toe, seized the collar of shirt and pulled him in to press the full of her lips against his.
He must’ve been too shocked to move. Even his arms still hung at his sides. Addy held her lips against his, warm and affectionate, and then gently drew back, letting out a an embarrassed, breathless laugh. His face wasn’t exactly reassuring.
“Oh gods. I’m sorry,” she said hurriedly, taking a step back. “I’m just so grateful — “
Cyrus looked utterly dazed. His mouth hung open and his glasses slid down his nose. Just as Addy said, “Really, I’m sor — “ he cut her off and blurted out, “Do you wanna go to dinner with me?”
Addy realized she was still holding his collar. She unclasped her fingers. “What?”
“Dinner. You and me. Out to dinner. Want to? Not tonight. I have to be back for that — but next time. Next time I can convince Fiear to meet up with the Beacon again.”
Addy drew her brow together. “I thought you said it was his decision to come here because –”
“I lied,” he admitted. A small smile was threatening to break over his face.
The smile was contagious. “Well, in that case…yes,” she said. “I would love to go out to dinner with you next time.”