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Romance Science Fiction

 “Hold!” Mila cried out as she ran for the zip-lift at the end of a crazy day that had made her late leaving the high-rise on Irola. “What a day to be late!”

“Why?” Judea asked as she joined him. “Do you have some hot date tonight or something?”

“Something!” Mila replied, not wanting to tell him that she did have a date with attractive Ton who worked on the floor below them. And now, it was quite likely that she wouldn’t even have time to shower. She should just cancel. She sighed as she pushed the button for the street level, wishing that the zip-lift extended into the Understory. The two blocks she’d have to run along the street before she could get to that zip-lift would be grueling, and would make her even later!

“I hope you get there on time,” Judea said.

“Thanks,” Mila replied, disappointed, but not surprised, that Judea was one of many on Irola who could read her thoughts.

“Anyone should feel flattered to have a date with you. I’m sure he will forgive you if you don’t make it.”

Mila wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Judea thought she was good date material?

Then the lift brakes slammed on, bringing them to a sudden stop half a second before the lights went out. She was thrown to the floor as the car stopped. The thumps across from her told her that Judea was also now on the floor.

“No!” Mila groaned, closing her eyes. Not that it made any difference whether her eyes were open or closed, she couldn’t see anything. She checked her breathing. Zip-lifts weren’t her favorite place in the world – even when they were working correctly, and now she was trapped in one in the dark.

“Are you okay?” Judea asked.

“Yeah,” Mila lied. The fact that her chest seemed to tighten around her lungs shouldn’t concern him. Lying on the floor seemed a good option right now.

“Give me your hand,” he said. “You aren’t alone.”

She reached for him, glad she didn’t have to admit to the terror she felt. At first, his fingers brushed against hers, but then he clasped her hand and held it reassuringly.

A moment later, he sat next to her, her bent knees leaning against his side.

“You’re sure you’re okay?” he reaffirmed. “Nothing broken?”

“Nothing’s broken,” Mila replied. She knew that much, anyway.

“Good. You know, I’ve wanted to get to know you better,” Judea said, as if he wanted to fill the space with words.

“Yeah?” Mila asked, surprised. He was good looking enough, but had always seemed a little offish to her.

“You’re so pretty and smart… everyone wants to ask you out, but only a few are brave enough… like the guy downstairs.”

Mila didn’t want to talk about the date that wouldn’t happen now. Ton would think that she’d stood him up… that she’d canceled, but hadn’t the nerve to tell him. She tried her PCS link again, but it was dead. “Weird sort of outage to stop our electronics from working.”

“I think it’s something about how they use the integral building energy to boost their power enough…,” Judea babbled.

“You’re making that up!” Mila accused.

“Maybe… Or maybe I’m trying to make you laugh so that you’re not so scared.”

“Have you tried yours?”

“Yeah. I would have let you contact your guy to let him know...”

“He’s not ‘my guy!’” Mila protested, not wanting Judea to think badly of her – or to think she wasn’t available. “Ton’s just a date. And to be honest, I don’t think he’s my type anyway. He leers at me too much. And the rumors are that he prefers to bed his girls on the first date…”

“And you were going to go out with him?”

“I was going to show him that he can’t have every woman just because he takes them out to a fancy restaurant! I would be the first woman to turn him down...”

Judea laughed. “I daresay you might have met your match though – I’ve heard that Ton always gets what he wants.”

“Not this time.” She sighed and repeated herself more quietly. “Not this time...” Given the situation now, she didn’t even have a chance to prove it to herself or anyone else.

“What do you look for in a guy then? If Mr. Randy isn’t your type, by your own admission.”

She giggled a little at his naming of the guy downstairs. She wasn’t sure what his surname was, but it probably wasn’t Randy! “I’m not sure… someone different, I guess. Someone I can be friends with before and after bed.”

“So you’re not rejecting bedtime activities altogether,” he confirmed.

“No! Of course not. I want that as much as anyone, I think. I just want to make sure he’s a good guy – might even want to marry me and have kids – things like that.” Mila couldn’t understand the need to reassure him that she hadn’t rejected the idea of being with him.

“I hear the Balan are recruiting,” he said, reminding her of the notorious gang who recruited wombs whenever they could.

Mila changed the subject. “Tell me about your odd name. There must be a story behind that.”

“Not much of one. Mother read a book from the Other World. There was a place called Judea in it. She met my father soon thereafter. He was trying to recruit her for the Balan, by the way… She conceived me, rejected him after that and she moved to Irola so that we would fall off their radar.”

“So, are you a telepath?” she asked, worried that he could hear her wonder about him. Maybe she could get them off the topic of bed and babies!

“Only a little,” he admitted. “That’s why I was too shy to talk to you,. I thought you’d definitely reject a guy like me. Now, I’m the one stuck in here with you. You can’t get away from me!”

Mila realized her eyes were closed. She opened them, but it was still pitch black. It threatened to crush her again.

“Maybe I am Balan,” he said.

“What do you mean?” Mila asked, thinking it was ridiculous.

“Maybe I planned this outage at the precise moment that it happened – just so I could be alone with you for the first time.”

“Did you?” she asked, worried for half a moment.

“What do you think?” he asked, his voice much closer to her ears now.

“I don’t think you would do that. I think I can trust you.”

“Good,” he breathed, still closer.

Somehow, she wasn’t surprised by the lips that gently pressed against hers. Or even by the fact that she kissed them back.

“Something to do until the lights come back on,” Judea breathed his excuse. “Something to keep you from being afraid. We’re together, in the dark, because we want it that way...”

“Yes…,” Mila breathed in reply, accepting the next kiss… wondering when the power would be restored – hopefully not too soon!

September 11, 2020 13:54

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2 comments

Vj Hamilton
22:39 Sep 19, 2020

Hi Lori, VJ from the Critique Circle - thanks for having a look at mine! So great to see a completely different take of the same prompt. I enjoyed your story - lots of action & romance. And humor!! One small quibble - instead of "offish" I would say "stand-offish"

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Lori Svensen
20:00 Oct 22, 2020

Eh, I don't think I like that word as much, actually - at least not in this case. Put-offish, maybe... Not sure. I'm going to stick with the original this time. There's probably a different word that would have worked better, but there's a limit to how much time I'm going to spend with the thesaurus for a single chapter work. Thank you for visiting and glad you liked it. Sorry that I didn't see your comment until now. I've been concentrating on other works for the moment.

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