Green with Envy and Destruction
By: Breanna Leslie.
“What do you mean you haven’t seen him?” asks Aidan, frustration clouding over his sunny disposition.
“Well, why should I know where he is? What the Hell has your panties in a bunch anyway?” asks Andromeda with a rosy blush emerging from underneath her yellowy-green complexion.
“James told me he was going to the galley with you. And that was over an hour ago!”
“And I’m telling you, I haven’t seen him. I haven’t even spoken to him since last night.” Andromeda shrugs to once again convey her innocence and avoid being thrown into the middle of a heated lovers’ quarrel.
“Fine. I believe you, but I have to find him. It’s not like him to avoid me like this. He never does…” A fury bubbles inside Aidan as his suspicions grow.
Aidan’s thoughts pilfer through a Rolodex of unsavory positions he might find James in and his quickening steps pound down the shiny silver hallways of the drifting ship. He flies past the viewing windows, completely ignoring the glimmer of the stars outside.
His trembling hand comes to rest on the first of three scanners that allow passage into the engine room. Only two containment hatches stand between him and the most recessed section of the ship. Aidan thinks that if he were to plan the most severe deception, he’d definitely do it here.
Each scanner takes its time verifying the grooves of his palm and the agony of the wait eats away at him. In the last hatch, he sways back and forth, his skin vibrating with anticipation. Beep. Finally clear of the heavy steel standing between him and the truth, Aidan slows his steps as dread replaces adrenaline.
Between the drone of the nuclear engine and the soft clicking gears turning deep within the belly of the ship, Aidan can hear James and Calliope speak in subdued voices. Even with their words muffled through a wall of glass and background noise, Aidan makes out the searing phrase “You promised me you wouldn’t!” seethes James.
“Go ahead and try to stop me. Then, everyone will know exactly where you stand,” says Calliope in a venomous gloating laugh.
“No one will believe your diluted ramblings.”
A sharp crack within their hatch alarms him. Screams follow and heavy clatter soon after. Aidan abandons his fantasy to rush the glass door. Even with this betrayal, he couldn’t bear to watch James sustain injuries.
Through the safety glass, he spies James and Calliope fighting. They both push and claw for a metal chest held between them. James is strong, but her tenacity is a challenge for even the strongest male. She scratches his eye with sharpened nails and blood seeps down his face as he continues to struggle.
Aidan breeches the door with the captain’s code he stole months ago and rushes both parties, sending Calliope to the ground where her temple makes contact with the sharp edge of the control tower to the final hatch, the last barrier between them and the vacuum of space. A blaring alert sounds and both men sprint to security behind the glass door, James grabbing the chest on the way.
It’s much too late to grab her when they turn around and realize Calliope lay unconscious on the hatch floor. She’s sucked from the ship as they look on, helpless and torn between guilt and victory. Aidan can’t deny the satisfaction he feels.
“What were you doing with her? How long, James?”
“What? You think we were━”
“Yes, what else would I think?” pleads Aidan.
“You could think that I’m a faithful partner and not a manipulative cheat. But I guess that’s too much to ask.” James’ face sours and his emotion towards Aidan cools.
“Then, tell me what the Hell that was. She’s dead. What is so important that you would risk everything being back here with her?”
“She stole our last bounty. Stole it right from the captain’s quarters and I wanted to expose her. It could have earned our passage off of this metal deathtrap. Both of us.”
“Forget it. I have no reason for escape now.” James heaves the chest onto his broad shoulders and trudges away, through the automatic decontamination mist and machinery.”
“But…I’m sorry,” sobs Aidan through watery eyes and thick impenetrable shame.
Days pass without words for either of them. Aidan has heard nothing of the stolen chest or the illegal use of captain’s codes, so he assumes James did his best to sweep it under the rug. Again and again, they pass each other in the galley and ignore each other as they pass in the sterile metal hallways. Aidan watches James’ reflection in the mirrored walls, but neither offers to look back and face the heartache.
Finally, late at night under the glowing red nightlights, Aidan makes the slow guilty walk to James’ quarters. He doesn’t expect to be welcomed with open arms, but the shame will eat him alive if he doesn’t try. He left a stain on James’ heart and a woman is dead, which weighs on him, even if she had sinister plans.
Before he came round the corner, he hears the soft padded steps of bare feet coming towards him. He holds his breath as the captain will dock his pay if he catches him out right now. “It’s a security risk,” he would say.
But, no, he finds the shimmer of golden skin, messy curls, and sorrowful eyes staring back at him. James looks up with wistful eyes and a quivering bottom lip. They stand an arm’s length apart, unsure of what comes next.
“No, let me start. I’m sorry I let my jealousy cause this. We’ve been together since we left earth. We saw the nastiness of this business and we’ve survived it, together. That’s the only way I could have made it. With you, and only you.”
“I know. And you were wrong for doubting me.”
“So wrong,” says Aidan, his voice shaking and tears wetting his cheeks.
“But I’d probably be dead if you hadn’t come back there. She would have done anything to get that bounty.”
“Maybe, but that doesn’t excuse my━”
“Aidan, stop. I forgive you. We’ve gotten through worse and we’ll get through this. And dammit, we’re going to get off his ship. Neither of us deserves to belong to Captain and we can do this if we trust one another.” James reaches his arm around Aidan’s shaking shoulders and calms his cries, soothing him in the strongest embrace. “Like I said, I forgive you. Now let’s move on and get off this damn ship so we can start our real lives together.”
Written By: Breanna Leslie
Breanna Leslie is a former therapist turned aspiring writer. She earned a master’s in psychology in 2015 but ultimately decided she would like to be more present for her family. Currently flexing her writing skills as a stay-at-home mother of two toddlers, she has been published in the literary magazine Write Bitch Write and Lulu Publishing’s Share Your Scare anthology. In her spare time, Breanna enjoys blogging, painting, running, and drinking an absurd amount of coffee. Her goals for 2020 include gaining experience in the freelance world, more short-story publications, and finally submitting her YA novel for consideration.
Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.