When She's Lonely (Risdaverse) - Page 21


It sucks.

It sucks and so I keep drinking and drinking. I'm sure they're nice ladies. But just like usual, I don't fit in. The wine's good at least. I'm more than ready to leave, but no one else seems to be going. I finish off my fifth—sixth?—glass of wine and glance over at the doors outside. Rektar—Khex's coworker—is out there holding his baby while Lucy entertains inside. Khex is out there with him and the other men, drinking the occasional brew and just shooting the shit. I have a feeling they're not getting drunk because they're babysitting and are the designated drivers while the women get sloshed. Even now, someone named Casey is cackling with laughter as she talks about some sort of disaster that her child got into recently. The other women find it funny, because they're all cracking up and drinking, but I'm not a mom so maybe I don't get the nuances of kid shenanigans.

A hand touches my back, making me jump.

"Oh! I'm sorry!" Lucy exclaims as she comes into view. "I wasn't sure if you heard me. More wine? More cookies?"

"Yes to both, as long as they're not my cookies." I hold my wine glass out.

She breaks into a huge smile and laughs. "No, ma'am. I baked enough to send extras home with everyone." She heads into the kitchen of her small house and I decide to extricate myself from the noisy group and follow her. The kitchen is identical to the one I have, but whereas mine just looks like a clutter of haphazard items, Lucy's looks like a home. Her bowls are charmingly stacked in a corner, the pots and pans hanging from decorative hooks, and she's even got cute little homemade kitchen towels with embroidery on them. It's clear she's taking pride in making her house something special, and I feel like the worst colonist ever because I haven't bothered.

Maybe I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. What's the point in getting a home set up if I'm just going to be snatched away from it again?

Lucy glances over her shoulder at me as she pours more wine into both our glasses and then holds mine out to me. "It's a bit stronger than the stuff we had back home, but I like it. Rektar tells me it's made with a berry from their planet, which is called Homeworld. Do you miss wine?"

I shrug, taking the glass back from her. She's easy to hear, especially now that we're away from the group. "I miss everything back home."

"I thought I would, too, but I've found that I like it here. I like the fresh air, and I love my farm, and my husband, and my baby." She holds the plate of cookies out to me. "It's not what I imagined for myself, but that doesn't make it bad."

I pluck two of the lacy-looking creations that Lucy's made and pop one into my mouth immediately. They're dusted with something that tastes like a spicy sort of sugar, and it goes great with the tooth-achingly sweet wine. "I guess."

"These men here need looking after,' she says.

For a moment, I think I've misheard her, but then I see the speculative look in her eyes. "Oh. Uh, me and Khex, we're just friends."

"Mmm." She says something as she lifts her glass to her mouth and it's muffled. I can't make out her words. Shit.

I just chuckle, shaking my head as a response, and hope I didn't just agree that Khex is hung like a bull or something.

She lowers her wine glass. "You know, with my husband, when we first met, he was so very polite. I had the biggest crush on him but he never realized it. When they're sent here, it's drilled into their heads that we're all traumatized and they need to avoid making us uncomfortable. That's all I'm saying."

Wait, now I'm confused. I try to piece together what she's talking about. "We really are just friends."

"As long as that's what you both want," Lucy says with a shrug. She plucks a cookie from the tray and eats it with a sly smile, and I curse my bad hearing all over again. What was she hinting at? It's going to bother me all afternoon.

Frustrated, I down another gulp of wine.

CHAPTER 13

KHEX

Ash is drunk.

Silly drunk. All of the women are, but I only have eyes for Ashley. Her hair is in her face, her eyes half-mast as she stumbles out to the air-sled with me. She giggles at everything, and her coordination is so bad that I have to safety-belt her into the sled like a child.

"You're not going to puke, are you?" I ask as I start the air-sled. "I have to warn you, I'm a male with a sensitive stomach. If you vomit, I vomit."


Tags: Ruby Dixon Fantasy
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