Dave sat on the end of the bed, wondering what was going on back on the bridge. Was there any new information in the investigation? Had Istanzia ever replied to official inquiries?
Communication was an ongoing problem. The Chʼil Awoshí Station was a conglomerate of fiercely independent entities. Most of them just wanted to live in peace and enjoy free trade with their neighbors. Some were small and didn’t necessarily have someone on call to answer inquiries from the station. However, when it was something important—
“I’m glad Haleola didn’t toss you out an airlock.”
It took Dave a moment to figure out where the voice was coming from. The pile of sheets and blankets behind him moved.
“Don’t stop rubbing my feet!” Tagata said, moving the bedding so she could peer out at him. Dave looked down at his lap, realizing that his hands were indeed on his wife’s feet. “I love it when you’re pensive. You need something to do with your hands, and it’s the perfect opportunity for me to take advantage of you.”
She squirmed, and Dave started massing her feet again. He hadn’t even realized he’d been doing it.
“What about tossing me out an airlock?” Dave asked. He wasn’t sure what time it was. The hotel room was nice, but unfamiliar.
“Didn’t Haleola say something about selective defenestration when she found you still on the bridge?” she asked, squirming around so her other foot was on top.
“Oh, that,” Dave said. “If I had a nickel for every time Hal threatened something like that, we could have afforded a theme suite.”
“That’s not why we didn’t get a theme suite,” Tagata said, grabbing one of the smaller pillows and smacking him in the shoulder with it. “I don’t need a bed suspended from jungle vines with an animatronic jaguar watching us have sex.”
Dave stopped rubbing her feet. “I wasn’t going to get the jungle suite,” he said.
Tagata pushed herself up on her elbows. “No? Wait… the cowboy one, right?”
That wasn’t what Dave had been thinking. There were some interesting themes in the sections with very low gravity, but Tagata had specifically asked for a traditional honeymoon suite with Lunar gravity. She’d lived on Tumbleweed most of her adult life, but she was a Loony at heart.
“How about a cowgirl?” Tagata asked, her tone light and teasing. “I’ve never seen a real horse, but I’ve seen movies…”
She was tossing the blankets aside and pulling him back onto the bed. Dave couldn’t remember what he’d been thinking about. Something about an airlock… he wasn’t thinking straight. He wasn’t sure how much sleep he’d got, but he was still tired. Fortunately, Tagata knew exactly what she wanted from him and the effort required was minimal on his part.
It was dark when Dave woke again. He was completely disoriented, but something warm, soft, and sweet-smelling was snuggled up against him, and suddenly nothing else mattered. He didn’t bother with lights. He forced himself not to ask for the time or do anything else that might disturb her.
How long has it been? Have we been married a whole day yet? he wondered. Wilson normally noticed when he woke up, and tweeted the time to him.
Where did I leave Wilson?
The droid was autonomous, and came and went as he pleased. But Wilson was very attached to his owner, and tended to stay close. Dave wondered if the poor guy was confused about being shooed away for the wedding and honeymoon. He hadn’t sat down and had a talk with him. Maybe he should have.
He was pretty sure Wilson had been with him when he visited the brig. He couldn’t remember having him when he left.
Shenta still isn’t volunteering information…what else is he hiding?
Dave considered grabbing a link and checking up on the status of the investigation. His wife was still asleep in his arms, though, and he didn’t want to disturb her.
They should have started repairs on the cloud, he thought. But some of the collectors are privately owned, some are station-owned, and others belong to one of the utility companies…
His mind continued to wander. He needed to know that everything was being handled in his absence. There were things that needed to be handled delicately, and others that required a firm hand.
“You’re thinking about work, aren’t you?” Tagata asked.
Dave considered making up some romantic-sounding excuse, but all he could come up with was “No, sweetheart, you’re all that’s on my mind,” and he knew it didn’t sound sincere.
Tagata snort-laughed. “I know you,” she said, sitting up and poking him in the chest. “You’re the first officer of the largest station in Earth orbit,” she said. “And you love your job.” She smiled and placed her hand on his chest. “You also happen to be very good at your job.”
She patted his chest then got up and headed for the bathing room, her steps long and loping in the low simulated gravity. “I’ll order breakfast, then you can go check up on everyone.”
“But…I…” Dave was torn. He wanted to check in, just long enough to make sure nothing had been overlooked. But he was on his honeymoon. His long-awaited honeymoon that he was supposed to spend with his wife. That he wanted to spend with his wife.
He followed her to the bathroom. “Was today the day we were going to see that show?” he asked. He didn’t remember what the show was, exactly, but it was one of the things they’d picked out as something they’d both enjoy.
Tagata sighed, coming to him and twining her arms around his neck. “Oh, my darling Dave,” she said. “I know I won’t be able to have you all to myself as long as your brain is still at work.” She tapped his forehead. “And as much as I might claim I love you for your body, I do insist that your brain is part of the package deal.”
Dave wasn’t exactly sure what she meant. Her breasts were pressed against him. They were nice breasts. He liked breasts.
She kissed him. “I’m going to have a spa day,” she said. “Because I took two weeks off from work, and other than reading a few professional journals, I don’t intend to set foot in the lab until next Thursday.”
“Thursday?” Dave asked.
“Thursday. I’m still officially off until the following Monday, but I want to stop in and check on a few things so I’m not inundated as soon as I get back.”
“Oh.” Dave wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do or say.
“Just a few hours, all right?” she asked. “And avoid Haleola. I don’t want her to carry out her threats of defenestration.”