“He’ll be fine,” Corra told her, putting her hand on Leta’s back. “If it’s his health you’re worried about — listen, he’s got Daelen. Daelen’s fantastic. He’s got this. And I’m not worried about stupid Fiearius anyway. I’m worried about you. How are you doing? Honestly.”
“I’m okay. Really.” Leta put her chin in her hand. Usually, Leta was not one to divulge her personal life, but they had been drinking for a few hours now. She went on, her voice careful, “Mostly it’s just strange. Waking up in a new room on the Beacon instead of, you know. With him.”
“Hey.” Corra smirked. “I offered to let you stay with me in my quarters.”
“Thanks,” Leta laughed. “I may take you up on that. Not exactly the same, though.”
Corra drummed her fingers against her glass, but did not take her eyes off her friend. “You don’t really miss him though do you? After what he did?”
“It’s not just the lying — it’s what he said to me afterwards. He said that he can’t trust me with some things. If he didn’t tell me about the Flush, who knows what else he was keeping from me?” Leta’s eyebrows shot up on her forehead, as if bitterly impressed. “What a load of shit.” She shook her head, dazed. Then she quickly grabbed for her glass and brought it closer, almost urgently. “Anyway, I don’t miss him yet. But I have a bad feeling I will. Which is why I had to leave.”
Corra stared at her sadly. She didn’t really have any experience of her own in this matter, so she couldn’t totally understand what Leta was feeling or why. All she knew was that, “You made the right choice.” A grin slid across her face. “Leaving the Dionysian was the best thing I ever did. And I guarantee you it’ll be the best thing you ever did. That ship’s a leaky lifeboat. It gets you out of a tough spot alive, barely, but you and me? We don’t need that anymore. We’ve already made it to shore. Time to move on.”
To Corra’s surprise and relief, Leta actually smiled — a real smile that spread across her face. The first one she’d seen in days.
“I’ll cheers to that,” Leta said, tilting her glass against hers.
– – – –
Hours later, Corra was proud that she and Leta were the very last ones still in the bar, talking and laughing until the whole place had emptied out. Arm-in-arm, they’d stumbled back to the Beacon, and Corra waved to Leta as she veered toward her bedroom.
Feeling more sober than Leta looked, Corra went up the stairs toward her own room, but then she noticed that the main lights in the bridge were still on, illuminating the hallway. At this hour? Finn spent half his life in the bridge, but it was still late, even for him.
Inside, Finn was in the pilot’s seat, his feet propped up on the console screen. A book lay open in his lap, and he looked up.
“She returns,” he said warmly. He leaned back in his seat, his palms at his neck. “How was your night out, captain?”
Corra plopped into the seat beside him and kicked off her heels. “A very handsome gentleman bought me a drink and seemed pretty impressed about my ship.”
“Our ship,” said Finn at once, but then he grinned, rather flirtatiously. “Sounds like it went well — you trying to make me jealous?”
Corra rolled her eyes. It was well-established that her relationship with Finn was a professional one. Well. Professional with occasional — nay, regular as of late — extras added in. Still, their trysts was just that — trysts — though this did not prevent Finn from using lines on her. Fortunately, he only did so when they were alone.
“Not on your life, Riley,” she replied, her tone shutting him down, but her smile telling a different story.
“If your night went so well, why’re you home early, then?”
Corra sighed. “Because tonight wasn’t about that. It was about Leta.” Her expression softened. “I’m worried about her. She’s just down, y’know? This whole week, no matter what I do, she’s just quiet and distant…”
“Well, it hasn’t been long since …. ”
“I know.” She pulled her legs up onto the chair to sit cross-legged, laying her hands in her lap. “I only wish I could help.” She fell quiet for a moment as she looked down at her foot. But then she remembered. “She still hates you by the way.”
Finn not look perturbed. “I figured.”
“It was pretty crappy of you,” Corra insisted. “To keep this from her. By all the rules of friendship, I should be mad with you too, honestly.”
“By the rules of friendship? Corra, it’s those ‘rules of friendship’ that kept me from telling her to begin with. If Leta came to you and told you a secret and said not to mention it to anybody else, even if you knew it was hurting somebody, would you?”
Corra’s resolve faltered. “No,” she admitted. “I guess if I promised, I wouldn’t tell…”
“Besides, I did keep a dangerous secret for Leta once. Remind her of that next time she calls for my head on a stake.”
Corra laughed. “And have her mad at me? No thanks.”
Finn sat up, dropping his book onto the dashboard. “Well at least I have good news,” he said, and Corra perked up.
“You do? Did you get us a job?”
Finn nodded. “Callahan got ahold of me today. Says he has a good one lined up for us.”
Though the Beacon had been working with Callahan for five months now, Corra still wasn’t particularly fond of the man. He was slimy, and he was still disgustingly dedicated to the idea that Corra was an ally that belonged to Finn — no matter how many times Finn corrected him. Despite how she’d consistently proven herself to be just as competent as anyone else aboard the ship, he still refused to look at her when they were in the same room. So to Corra, this news was not particularly good.
“Ugh,” she groaned, sinking back into her chair. “Him?”
“Hey, I’m not crazy about him either, but just wait til you hear the pay.”
She lifted her eyebrows skeptically. “How much?”
Finn grinned. “Oh just enough to keep us job-free for two months.”
Corra’s eyes grew wide and she sat back up again. “Wait — what? That much? Why?” She frowned. “What’s the catch?”
Finn shrugged. “No catch as far as I can tell. He’s a little bit desperate for this job. It’s just a ship he needs delivered, like usual. Only the destination’s not exactly a five star resort and I guess the ship is something special. Sounds easy.”
Corra didn’t quite believe it. In her experience on the Dionysian, easy always meant ‘‘too good to be true.’ But as much as she disliked Callahan, he hadn’t lead them astray so far and if he really was paying such a sum, it was worth investigating at the very least.
“So we’re headed to Archeti then?”
“First thing in the morning.” He paused, and added playfully, “If I have my co-captain’s approval, that is.”
“It’s yours,” Corra snorted, giving him a lazy salute with her fingers. Then she pushed herself to her bare feet and stretched her arms over her head. “I’m off to bed then.”
Finn turned back to the console screen as Corra walked toward the door. Before she left, she tapped her finger against the light controls, switching them off so semi-darkness fell through the room. Finn frowned at her, puzzled, but then he seemed to understand completely as Corra said, “You coming with me, or what?”
Corra and Finn, sitting in a tree.
I think they skipped that part 😛