The winner of the Science Fiction Category in the 2015 Easychair Bookshop Competition is The Trouble With Memories by Eva Lefoy. This category had 26 entries.
Lucy stood outside the door to the viewport room, her body braced and stiff, as if her life might end the second the door opened. In a way, it would. In a few short hours, she’d turn and walk away from the shattered remnants of her dreams. The person who’d ruined her life was Captain California Sykes and in under five seconds, she’d set eyes on him for the very last time.
Her schedule pad beeped, and she made the mistake of glancing down to see the date: February 14th. Fragg almighty, how had she done this to herself? Throughout the weeks of careful planning she hadn’t noticed her planet off-date was freakin’ Valentine’s Day? Their fave holiday, while a couple. Holy dwarf star.
She groaned and curled her fingers around the tray so hard they went numb. Just get this over with. He’s made it clear he’s no longer interested. He still thinks his career comes first.
In fact, he’d made his decision obvious the first time she’d been ordered to bring him breakfast three weeks ago. Giddy with excitement at seeing him in the flesh so long after the Mars Mission, she’d traipsed into the room floating on moonbeams. He’d stared at her, frowned, immediately turned his head, and ignored her, shoulders set in a “don’t bother me” position. Her heart had fallen faster than space dust into a black hole’s horizon. “Way to shoot me down, space jock,” she’d hissed and slunk from the room, heart burning from his rejection. Due to some horrid twist of fate, she’d been assigned to bring him his breakfast every day since. And every fragging day, nothing had changed.
Shoving the heartache into the background she lifted her chin and angled her access badge towards the door’s scanner. The heavy barrier whished open without hesitation, giving her a good view of Cal’s backside. The side she’d seen the most of in the last three weeks as he’d continually ignored her. She clenched her jaw and stepped inside.
Captain Sykes stood in the same position she found him every morning when she delivered his breakfast—next to the high windowed wall watching the sleek faster-than-light fighters he’d once flown roar past on their training runs, engines glowing in the early twin-sun dawn.
As usual, he did not acknowledge her arrival. Didn’t twitch a muscle anywhere on his rigid frame. However, his eagle-like eyes followed every dip and swoop the fighters made as though he could insinuate his consciousness into one of their cockpits by sheer force of will and fly again, if only he concentrated hard enough.
He’d looked at her with the same intensity long ago. But maybe eight months in medi-bay changed a man for the worse. She hadn’t expected him to stick to his guns and choose his career over her. But, he had. He’d never shown even a glimmer of attraction for her—no matter how she’d tried to entice him and remind him of what they’d once had with her dress, her voice, or her body—he only seemed interested in those fragging ships. Long-standing frustration cinched a knot in her stomach. Anger settled over her shoulders like a mantle, causing them to tense. This is it. He’s obviously made his choice. Now I’m making mine.
She glared at his reconstituted mashed potato, sauerkraut and bratwurst breakfast, then at him. How in the hell could he live on such a rotten diet and expect to see the ass end of sixty anyway? Not that she should care. He could grow fatter than a gas ox, she didn’t care.
“Your breakfast.” More quietly she hissed, “Sir.”
When he didn’t respond—not even his usual half-hearted grunt of a greeting—she stepped closer. “I said, your breakfast, sir. Where would you like me to put it?” Her teeth ground together and her mind instantly supplied a few suggestions.
The fighters made another pass and he seemed to sway in their wake. In fact, he closed his eyes as if savoring the moment. Lost in some invisible lover’s embrace like he’d once been lost in hers.
Frozen comet tails. That does it.
“How about here?” She didn’t merely drop the platter, she slammed it downward, adding an extra helping of gravity to the potatoes, mustard, and ketchup, so the tray crashed to the floor and sent ceramic shards scattering. The tray’s destruction echoed off the windows, crooning sweet vengeance to her ears.
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