Solaria blinked in surprise. Now, more than ever, she wished she had a mouth. So badly did she want to vocalize her delight with the scene before her. She wanted to shout and cheer and laugh, despite those not being very Talmantri things to do.
She extended an antenna, the bulb glowing pink, toward her partner Tryden. He was too distracted by the room that he hadn’t offered his hand to Solaria. While she preferred to touch her antenna bulbs to palms or the backs of hands, it wasn’t a necessity. She rested the bulb against his shoulder.
She felt nothing from him. Unusual. He was always receptive to her touch. If he weren’t, they wouldn’t have been able to communicate as much as they usually did.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Nerice cried. “This looks amazing! Castra, did you do all of this?”
“I may have gotten a little carried away,” she laughed, her plates glowing yellow with joy. “But the point of today is to celebrate friends, right?”
“I didn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day,” Lorrik said. “Now, I’m going to look like a terrible friend.”
“Never!” Nerice playfully swatted at him. “You wanted nothing to do with this not five hours ago and look at you now. Besides, this can become an annual thing.”
“Right,” he nodded. “And I’m not the only one who didn’t bring anything, correct?”
“Not exactly.” Nerice pulled a small drive from her pocket and hooked it up to Novalight’s speaker system. “I may have pulled something together for this.”
“Now, I truly do feel like an ass,” Lorrik muttered as Nerice’s music filled the air. Hidden in the musical layers, Solaria noticed the gentle vibrations of the music preferred by her own people. They adored low, deep tones that were felt rather than heard. She wondered if the others could feel them too.
Beside her, Tryden remained stiff. She touched him with her hand now, not just her antenna. He didn’t react.
She possessed the ability to enter minds regardless of whether or not she was welcome. She avoided doing that under normal circumstances, but this was starting to feel wrong. She’s never seen Tryden act like this. He was always the first to laugh or joke. He never shied away from her touch or ignored her in any way. Now, it was like standing beside a stranger.
Why will you not speak to me? Solaria whispered against his mind. His mind bristled against her presence. I cannot understand if you do not educate me.
“Educate you?” Tryden scoffed. “You want me to educate you now when you’ve made no attempt to learn from me before?
Solaria blinked in surprise. All other conversations came to a halt around them. Their friends looked on with concerned expressions.
“This…revelry…is an offense to the beliefs of my people.” Tryden placed his hand over his heart.
“How can that be?” Nerice shook her head. “Do the Elndrix not celebrate personal relationships?”
“Not…” he paused, struggling to find his words. In the end, his words failed him. “Not like this.”
He moved away from Solaria and made for the exit.
Wait! She called through her mind, though she was no longer connected to him. I don’t understand!
“Solaria.” Nerice appeared at her friend’s side, palm ready. Solaria touched an antenna bulb, now deep blue with sorrow, to Nerice’s waiting palm. “What happened?”
I don’t know. I don’t understand. I’ve never seen him like that before.
“Does anyone know anything about Elndrix believes?” Nerice asked.
Lorrik and Castra exchanged a look before shaking their heads.
“They’ve kept the knowledge of their customs out of the archives,” Lorrik said. “No one knows anything about them. Not really.”
I have to make this right.
Solaria retracted her antenna and hurried out of the beautifully decorated room. When she stepped onto the lighted walkways of Colossus, Tryden was nowhere to be found.
I specialize in Romantic Fiction including sub-genres such as Sci-Fi Romance, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance and YA Romance I keep a close eye on ebook market trends to learn what sells and what doesn’t. Creating strong foundations for projects is something I enjoy doing. I’m a thorough, detail-oriented planner who ensures open, honest and consistent communication with my clients.
Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla