Finally, she reached her quarters and slid open the door. She’d only be gone for the day so there wasn’t much packing to be done. She threw a bag onto the bed and started to gather what little she needed. A few snacks, a supply of water, a tablet to reference what she found, she could probably borrow a gun from Corra. And of course, before she left, she’d have to make sure everything for Kalli was squared away.
Currently, the little girl was across the hall with Cyrus. Cyrus, who was a whole other can of worms right now. Fleetingly, Addy paused to look out into the hallway and the closed door, a knot in her chest.
They hadn’t fought about staying aboard the Beacon for the time-being instead of returning to Archeti. They hadn’t even talked about it. Gods, they’d barely talked at all since that one awful fight back at Eriaas’ mansion, except about their daughter. Kalli, as always, was the one safe subject, the topic they always agreed on and understood entirely. It only became so blindingly apparent when they agreed on absolutely nothing else.
Neither of them had said anything about how long they would be staying. Neither of them had brought up the fact that Cyrus had quietly chosen quarters separate from hers. Neither of them had commented that they had seemed to be taking their meals at different times. They spoke for over an hour while trying to find Kalli’s lost purple dragon toy, but neither Cyrus nor Addy seemed willing to address the fact that their relationship was quietly falling apart.
Addy was still frozen in place, staring at Cyrus’ door when that very door suddenly slid open and Cyrus emerged from inside. Quickly, she looked away, but not quite quickly enough for him not to notice.
“We got a landspout,” he said, leaning in the doorway. Code for when their tiny tornado had worn herself out into a far lesser threat. Kalli was asleep. Addy smiled.
“What did you two get up to this morning?”
Cyrus shrugged and meandered a few steps into the room, his fingers still trailing on the doorframe. “A spaceship landed on a remote planet covered in dirty laundry and was eaten by a three-headed monster. We avenged it.”
“The usual, then.”
“The usual,” Cyrus agreed, but then his eyes traveled down to where her hand was still halfway in the bag she was packing. “You, uh, going somewhere?”
“Uh, yeah,” Addy answered, hesitantly closing the bag. “Corra’s got this mission, I’m gonna help out a bit.” Cyrus eyed the bag, then her and nodded slowly, his lips held a little too tight to be natural. He was hiding something. Not very well, when did he ever? But there was something he was holding back. Something he was doing a lot lately. Anger, maybe. Frustration? Disappointment? It made Addy’s heart wrench more than she’d anticipated, seeing whatever words and feelings he held go unspoken, unaddressed. And suddenly she did something she wasn’t expecting.
“I was actually going to ask if you wanted to come too.”
Cyrus looked up at her, surprised as she was at the invitation. “Come with you?”
“Yeah,” she said, sticking to it regardless. “It’s a simple thing. Just reading some old books, digging for information, the likes. Nothing all that dangerous, just research.” She let out a chuckle. “All us nerds are good for.”
Cyrus returned the laugh half-heartedly, but shook his head. “I should stay here and look after Kalli.”
Of course he should, that was Addy’s plan after all. In the end, there was no better babysitter than Kalli’s own father while she was away. But without thinking, she shook her head and said, “Alyx can watch her.”
He was now eying her warily. “I don’t know, she might be a bit much for Alyx…”
“Well there’s Daelen or Cai–”
“She’s a bit much for anyone who’s not used to her.”
“Then they can trade off.” Addy dropped the bag back on the bed and walked over to him. “Come on. Come with me. It’ll be fun.”
He wasn’t looking at her at all anymore. Instead, he was staring at her bag with a slight crease in his brow. Finally, he glanced her way and asked, “Do you really want me to come with you?” in the kind of tone that implied he couldn’t possibly believe that she did.
The question drove a spike of pain through her chest. They truly were falling apart. And as little as she’d recognized it lately and as little as she’d allowed herself to care, suddenly she cared. She cared a lot. Cyrus was by no means perfect and as of late, he’d been so far and distant from her, she had started to forget how deep that caring went. Once upon a time they’d been two happy fools falling madly in love as they ventured across the Span, facing danger at every turn. It seemed so long ago now, but for the first time, it occurred to her that maybe she didn’t want to have an adventure in order to get away from Cyrus. Maybe she wanted an adventure to try and get Cyrus, the one she’d fallen for, back.
Carefully, she stepped towards him and took both his wrists in hers. “I do,” she told him, meeting his stare. “I really do.”
She tried not to smile as his cheeks turned a shade of pink she hadn’t seen in years and he looked down at his feet. “I dunno, Adds, it could be dangerous, I mean–”
“A library?” She scoffed. “Dangerous? Cy.” She lifted a hand to his cheek. “What happened to the fearless ‘terror of the Span’ who used to call me from the middle of secret anti-Society missions? Or write me messages from the far edges of space? Or take me on dates to dangerous gang-ridden areas of town?”
Cyrus sputtered his indignation. “That was an accident!”
Addy laughed and cupped his other cheek. “Please, Cy. Come with me. On this daring trip to the library. Please.” The smile dropped a little from her face as she said, “We need this…”
He still looked reluctant. He definitely didn’t look happy. He didn’t even look like he agreed. But finally, to Addy’s great relief, he slipped his arms delicately around her waist and kissed her forehead. “Alright. If it’s that important to you, I’ll come.” She grinned and was about to pull his face towards hers for a real kiss, when he grinned mischievously and added, “But you get to break the tornado warning to Alyx.”