“Well, she’s gone,” he said abruptly and even without looking, Fiearius could feel the judgment in his stance. He knew Cyrus stood with his arms crossed over his chest, frown on his face, a pose he’d seen a thousand times before.
“The Beacon’s just taken off,” he went on flatly. “I brought her most of her things, but if you have anything else, put it in a box and I’ll make sure they get to her later.”
So Leta’s room had been emptied. At some point, he’d have to rid his own quarters of her. She left clothes in there, sometimes. And her books.
“Daelen’s moved into her old quarters and is setting up the infirmary,” Cyrus continued. “He’s going to help you through detox.” A long silence passed, before Cyrus took a deep breath and continued further. “He says you have a couple days left before your symptoms amplify so in that couple days, you need to figure out what we’re doing with the ship for the next few weeks. Where we can dock, how we’re going to eat.”
This time, Cyrus’ pause was even more expectant. He wanted an answer, But Fiearius still said nothing until Cyrus said impatiently, “Okay? Can you do that?”
Numbly, Fiearius nodded.
“Good,” he said shortly. Fiearius heard him turn to walk away. But he stopped a few steps later. “Oh and you can explain to the crew why none of them will be getting paid for the next month as well,” he added coldly before marching off down the hall, his footsteps fading behind him.
– – –
The bar was crowded and noisy, the din of conversation warmly filling the room as drinks were poured and shots were thrown back. Music spilled from shabby speakers in the corner, and as Corra reached for her cocktail, she decided a night out was just what the doctor ordered. Especially since the handsome man at her side asked conversationally, sounding fascinated, “So you’re a ship captain then?”
“Sure am,” she said proudly, raising her glass at him before bringing to her lips. Well, co-captain, technically, though this lot didn’t need to know that. Why ruin it with technicalities? Instead, she went on, “Own the ship myself too. Great, beautiful boat like you wouldn’t believe. State of the art and everything.”
“Maybe I wouldn’t believe it for a reason,” said the man’s friend, who was surveying Corra with disbelief from behind the rim of his beer. Corra just rolled her eyes.
Fortunately, the other man was not dissuaded. “You don’t mean that big one I saw on the docks? Landed yesterday? All smooth curves and light metal?”
“That’s the one!” Corra cheered, grinning at him. “That’s my Beacon.”
“Good gods,” laughed the man in surprise. “That ship must have cost a fortune.”
Corra just shrugged, sipping her fruity cocktail. “Beats me,” she said, an image of innocence before she dropped the bomb. “I stole it.”
It worked just as she anticipated. Both men looked astonished and impressed. Feeling particularly proud of herself, Corra lifted her chin and sipped her drink nonchalantly. She was about to launch into the epic tale of how she’d managed the feat (which would exclude the fact that Cyrus and Leta had done the actual theft), when she glanced across the room and noticed Leta.
She did not appear to be enjoying herself.
Twenty minutes ago, Corra had left her in the company of some tall man with good hair who seemed reasonably witty. Corra thought Leta would’ve enjoyed his company, but it didn’t seem that way: Leta was leaning against the wall, looking more interested in her glass of whiskey than the man who appeared to be droning through a long, self-indulgent story.
Well that wasn’t how this was supposed to go.
Corra had brought Leta out tonight with the intention of having fun. It had only been a week since the Great Breakup, which may have been too early to start hitting the dock bars full of shipchasers and fleeting romances, but Leta had reluctantly agreed to it anyway. Now that she saw the discomfort in Leta’s face, even from over here, Corra knew this wasn’t for the best.
“Another story for another time, I’m afraid,” she told her adoring fans, as she slipped from the bar stool and melted into the crowd of people. When she reached Leta, the woman’s eyes lit up with hope and Corra knew exactly what to do.
“Chicka, come here, I need to have an actually active and interesting conversation with you,” she said loudly, cutting off Leta’s obnoxious companion. Corra cut him a sharp glare. “Unlike some people.” The look on his face made it clear that he got the hint. Not that Corra felt bad. He had one job. One simple job of entertaining her friend and he couldn’t even do that. Useless.
Leaving him behind, she lead Leta back to the bar and nodded to the bartender to get them both refills. “Y’know,” she said at last, “If you didn’t want to come out tonight, you could have told me. We didn’t have to.”
“It’s not that I didn’t want to,” Leta argued. “I thought it’d be a good distraction.”
“It’s okay,” Corra assured her with a smile as the man behind the bar returned with their drinks. “We can still drink, just the two of us.”
“I never really liked mingling in bars,” Leta admitted, and Corra laughed.
“It’s definitely not for everyone. Next time maybe I’ll take you somewhere nicer.” She nudged Leta with her elbow. “Somewhere fancy? Find you some nice classy people?”
“That’d be a dramatic change,” Leta snorted, taking a long swig of her drink.
Corra’s smile faded away. Though she was hesitant to bring it up, she couldn’t help but ask, “Have you talked to him since–you know?”
“No. Not at all. He’s sent me a few messages, but I don’t have anything left to say to him.”
Corra nodded in understanding. “You don’t owe him anything.”
“I gave him enough,” Leta agreed, rolling her eyes dryly to the side. After a moment, she went on, “He’s about to suffer withdrawal,” and flicked her eyes to the rim of her glass. “He’ll be seriously ill. Out of commission for a few weeks at least.”