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Chapter 3

“The food is exquisite, you will enjoy it.” Lillė linked her arm with Jaxen’s as they entered the equally luxurious, yet warm atmosphere of the ship’s restaurant, Café Blush. She guided them to a tucked away booth in the back, away from the noisy crowd of travelers. “I travel aboard this vessel quite often, and I usually bring my work with me while I eat. The staff has been kind enough to reserve this table special for me, so I can work in peace.”

Jaxen looked at her in awe, sure that a huge ship like this wouldn’t just reserve tables for a frequent-flier.

At his reaction, Lillė laughed with a smile. “It helps that my father is in charge of imports and exports on Decári, so practically owns the transportation fleets,” she whispered with feigned conspiracy.

“Ah, that makes sense.” Jaxen was impressed by the affluent woman. She waltzed around as though she owned the ship, yet greeted servers and staff as though they were good friends. This, he soon found out, garnered them countless samples of the restaurant’s latest delights, not to mention wine. “Isn’t it a little early for alcohol?” he asked as the server set their glasses down. Not that a part of him didn’t want to drown his sorrows over Mila and Tom.

“Not when we are celebrating,” Lillė countered. “After three years of hard labor on Decári Seven, I think a bit of wine for breakfast is in order, do you not? Besides, Café Blush owns a winery on Vesånga that produces wine purely for the luxury transport lines. It is best to not let a meal go by without savoring a sip or two when it is available, for it really is the best in the galaxy.”

“Sounds reasonable,” Jaxen laughed, finding his suitemate an amenable hostess and enjoyable company. Picking up his wine glass in a toast, despite his angry sorrows, he was also ready to celebrate his new life off of the moon, feeling as though he’d just been released from prison, albeit a voluntary one.

Clinking glasses with Lillė, he smiled. “To the future.”

“To the future, indeed,” she echoed with a soft smile of her own, before taking a sip.

As they ate, Jaxen kept his mind off his pain by querying Lillė about her work and home, soon learning that she was also newly single after a mutual break up. She lived on Decári, though due to her extensive business travels, had homes on both Earth IV and Alpha Bowgdi as well. If he had any notions she was befriending him in hopes of garnering a sum of his newfound wealth, as they were all warned might happen upon going back home, they were dashed as she was clearly even more wealthy than he. Yet, there didn’t seem to be a snobbish bone in her body. The more she spoke, the more he became enamored with her.

The server finally took the last of their dishes, and Jaxen leaned back in his booth, his stomach more full than it’d been in a long while. “That was delicious.”

“I know. I told you it was the best food in the galaxy.” Lillė smirked, fingering the small silken scarf at her neck, finally loosening it completely, revealing her smooth neck.

She was full of truths Jaxen thought, his emotions rising again over Mila and Tom’s affair. Though a part of him wanted to have reservations about whether there was an affair going on at all—that nothing was happening between them. He would find out for sure. “I don’t suppose you could help me get set up on the console in my quarters. I need to check out my accounts and a few things I haven’t had access to for a while.”

“Oh, sure.” She must have sensed his melancholy though, as she gently took his hand across from her and squeezed lightly. “It will all be okay, Jaxen. I will give you whatever space you need to grieve, but if you need to talk or anything at all, let me know.”

He gave her a half-hearted smile, looking back into her serious gold eyes, and felt her sincerity all the way to his bones. She was gorgeous, not only on the outside, but inside as well, and he had the sudden urge to kiss her. Her warm fingers, wrapped around his hand, warmed his broken heart and flowed throughout his whole body, warming him in places he suddenly wanted to be touched—the thought making his manhood harden and his pants tighten.

He briefly wondered if she would be game to have sex with him, once more recalling the rumors of how good Decári women were supposed to be in bed. He hadn’t had sex in three years, and now the woman he’d planned on making love to in five days time was no longer appealing or necessarily available. But Lillė, she was more than appealing, she was comforting.

But, he didn’t want her to think he just wanted sex with her because of his grief over Mila, so he quickly shelved the idea, deciding he would just have to remain celibate for a while longer.

“Shall we?” Lillė finally asked, ready to go back to their suite.

He nodded, still holding her hand. “Thank you,” he squeezed her fingers, “for everything.”

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