Hello story lovers!
Welcome to the newest addition to my new story, presented through the flash fiction group Wednesday Briefers.
Each week we get a prompt to write our chapter/story with a maximum of 1000 words.
This week was without a prompt so I get to write whatever I want.
What’s it like for Arad on board with his new position and life?
Missed the first installment and want to start at the beginning? Click here for Chapter 1
The moment Arad stepped onto the bridge all conversation stopped.
Soft chimes from the instrument panels were the only sounds in the uncomfortable silence. Franc, Torrins, and Daiko sat in their respective seats. As he stepped across the threshold, three sets of eyes followed him. And he thought walking in the hallway was noisy. The short trek felt downright deafening as he found his place next to Torrins. It wasn’t the first time his appearance had quieted the room, but he refused to give them the satisfaction of knowing how unnerving it could be.
“Are we going somewhere?”
Daiko swiveled his chair to face front without answering. The usual cool reception. As Serene’s other half, one would expect drama from the dark eyed man as opposed to the calm disdain he normally exuded at Arad. Apparently opposites did attract in the real world.
“We have some business to attend to.” Torrins snaked his arm around Arad’s waist and brought him closer, snugging him against the captain’s side. He resisted the urge to pull away. After two months, Arad should have been used to Torrins’s public demonstrations—half affection, half possession—but he still found himself off guard with crew members who questioned his role on the ship. Which was pretty much all of them.
Franc cleared his throat. “Should Arad be in here for this?”
“Just set coordinates, Franc. I’ll deal with it.”
With a disapproving look, Franc turned back to his console and began tapped at the control screen. When they’d first met, Arad thought he might have a comrade in the dark skinned helmsman, but like the others on board, he ran standoffish one minute and Arad’s best friend the next. Usually if he wanted something. Such as a night with the cabin boy with the captain’s permission. It was difficult to know if Franc’s mood swings were simply an attempt to keep in the crew’s good graces, but all it told Arad was that he couldn’t be trusted any more than the corporate mercs dismantling the shanties back in the Grey District.
Arad tilted his head to get a better look at Torrins. “So… I need to be dealt with?”
“Poor choice of words, my boy. What brings you up here?”
“I did the maintenance and cleaned up.”
Torrins leaned in and sniffed a blatant line up Arad’s stomach and chest. “Mmm yes. You are smelling awfully fresh.”
A shiver born of equal parts arousal and embarrassment prompted Arad to playfully push Torrins’s head away. “Stop that. I didn’t have anything else to do, so I came looking for you.”
A brilliant, yet lusty smile lit up Torrins’s face. “That’s what I like to hear.”
“I didn’t mean to interrupt. Should I go?”
“No. I like you where you are right now.” Flexing his arm, he gave Arad a gentle squeeze. The move was as much a distraction as foreplay. If things were different and their ranks not cabin boy and captain, Arad might have taken a proper shine to the man. But things were not different, and instead he found himself growing more and more suspicious.
Arad may have been flying high after challenging Serene earlier, but dealing with Torrins required another tactic. Demands were rarely met with success. The captain responded better to subtler methods.
“Did I hear right earlier? You’re charging up for a space fold?”
Arad frowned, almost pouting. “Do we really need to? Can’t we just ride straight through?” There was no joy in bending space for instant travel. It wasn’t done often because it was a wrenching ordeal Arad could live without. He’d puked and passed out for hours after his first experience. The crew found it hysterical.
“We don’t have that kind of time, and sometimes it’s better to get right to business.” Torrins patted Arad’s behind.
Flexing his bottom under Torrins’s hand, Arad reached up and toyed with the small hair at the captain’s nape. Arad knew how to play this game. “Where are we going?”
“No place in particular.”
“Will you warn me before we jump this time?”
“I’ll consider the request.”
“I really hate throwing up.”
No matter how flirtatious he was being, short answers were always a sign Torrins was hiding something. The man liked to hear himself speak, but now he avoided the topic of the fold which meant he was steering the conversation away from their destination. On top of that, even though both men were facing front, there was no doubt Franc and Daiko were listening with full intent.
What could require so much secrecy? Arad knew the ship’s dealings weren’t one hundred precent legitimate. Torrins had all but admitted that the night they met. What was happening here was far more than the typical reaction he’d received on the ship.
Curiosity could be damning. Arad had seen more than one slug vanish for asking too many questions in the past. Even so, the tension floating in the manufactured air left him craving information. Arad searched for parts of the conversation he’d accidentally overheard.
“You said you already lost Go? What’s Go? Should I know what—”
Torrins interrupted him with a finger pressed to Arad’s lips.
“Shh. Everything’s fine. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”
Arad wondered how long Torrins would indulge him. There were limits to the man’s patience and he was edging around them. Time to be penitent instead of inquisitive.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be asking. I’d just like to help if I can. That’s what I’m here for.”
Arad dipped his head to peer through his brow like an apologetic urchin, keeping silent, short of begging. Two months by his side gave Arad as much insight as Torrins was capable of gleaning when he tried. Torrins paused, calculating. The captain’s eyes softened, almost as if he might bring Arad into his confidence for the first time when Franc broke in, his voice lacking his normally collected tenor.
“Torrins. We’re getting a hail.”
Want to start from the beginning? Click here for Chapter 1
Be sure to check out the other Wednesday Briefers!