Characters: Lynne Travis
Lynne muttered something under her breath as she shifted in her sleep. She burrowed deeper under the fluffy comforter.
The young nurse struggled to stay asleep. Carter had kept her working such long hours for so long. There never seemed enough time to give her body the sleep it needed. When Mira sent her to bed, it was like a reprieve from the electric chair. But, her instincts were kicking in and she was waking up fast.
Suddenly, Lynne snatched the pike from under her pillow and extended it. She sat up in the bed, sweeping the area near her with the deadly length of metal. The woman who had woken her up ducked under the arc. All Lynne managed to do was knock a picture off a shelf. “Lights,” Lynne snapped as she heard the crash of breaking glass.
“Hey, Lynne,” the blond woman said, don’t you think you’re over-reacting a little?”
Lynne Travis stared. Her jaw hung slack and she blinked. The pike retracted but her arm stayed extended. The woman on the floor smiled tentatively. “Baby, aren’t you glad to see me?”
“Gail?” Her voice sounded strangled and strained, like she was whispering to keep from screaming. Her arm dropped and her entire body seemed to go limp with the shock.
Gail grinned and hopped up on the bed. Flattening Lynne back onto the pillows, she whispered, “I knew you missed me.” The kiss that followed was hotter than a forest fire, but Lynne still pushed Gail away.
“What the hell are you doing here? How did you get here? I’ve gotta to be dreamin’!”
Gail sighed. She lay back on the bed and folded her hands behind her head. “No dream, baby. I’m really here. I missed you. So, when I suddenly saw you, I thought ‘hideous wonderful.’ I also thought we could spend a little bit of time getting a little some … um … some ….um.” She flashed a devilish grin with her long curly blond hair spread out beneath her head like a halo.
Lynne shook her head in denial. “We can’t, Gail! I’m going crazy and you’re — you’re dead!”
“The hell, it is! You’re Dead! You think I’m ever gonna be able to forget the way you looked in your casket, Gail Bellamy? That picture is gonna follow me to MY grave.”
Her grin faded into a look of intense sadness. “I’m sorry. I never meant to leave you like that. I never meant for you to get hurt.” Gail reached out and gently tucked a strand of Lynne’s red hair behind her ear. “I like the bob haircut. It makes you look like an elf.” She tried to distract her one-time lover one last time.
“Gail, how did you get here?”
“I dunno. But, I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. How did You get here, Lynne? Last thing I knew, you were on Proxima working as an accounting clerk for that construction company.”
Lynne slid a tentative arm around Gail’s waist. When the other woman didn’t melt away, the nurse sagged against her side and put her head on her shoulder. They had spent many a night talking for hours in just this position. “I couldn’t stand it, Gail. Not after you died. Everywhere I went, you were there. I went to nursing college just to get away. Then, I joined the Rangers to run even farther away.” Tears trickled out of the corners of her eyes.
Gail hugged Lynne closer. “I wish to god I had come home on time that day. Then, I wouldn’t have been crossing that street in the dark. There would never have been an accident. You and I would still be in that little blue house on the corner, screaming and laughing at each other.” She stroked Lynne’s hair.
“Yeah, did do a lot of that.”
“Gail grinned and tugged on Lynne’s ear. “But, it was a good time. I’m kinda surprised that you don’t have someone else in this bed with you, baby. It don’t seem right for you to be alone. You’re still not waiting on me, are you?”
“I love you, Gail.” Lynne twisted her head up to look at her lover. “I’ll never forget you, but, no. I’m not pining away or anything. I just don’t have time. There’s always so much to do at work. There’s always so many people who need help. Places I have to go and fight for … or save.”
Gail frowned. “Come on, Lynne, the Rangers can’t be driving their people that hard. There’s always time for love. You and I found each other while we were both student teaching and working full time night jobs to support ourselves. If anybody is too busy to fall in love, it’s a student teacher.”
Lynne giggled. “Oh, it’s not all the Rangers. Just the medical personnel. We’re understaffed, so the ones of us here have to carry more weight just to pull the load. Ya know?”
“No, it still don’t sound right. The medical professions did away with that “work the new guys 20 hours a day for 3 years” hazing thing a century ago! Nobody can be that short staffed? Otherwise all the doctors would be clumped together in a centralized hospital or something.”
“We can’t take the medical staff out of the ships, Gail. These ships go so far away from populated worlds. Sometimes it’s like we’re the only living thing in the universe and the comm channels are the only things that remind me we aren’t alone.”
“But, Lynne, it ain’t — ”
Lynne put her hand over Gail’s mouth and whispered, “I don’t wanna fight.”
“Alright, baby.” Gail kissed Lynne’s palm and watched her lover settle back against her side.
Lynne trailed her fingers down to the navel where she flipped Gail’s bellybutton ring back and forth as she relaxed. She no longer cared how Gail could be here. She didn’t care if it was a dream. She just hoped that she would remember this moment. “Gail, before you have to go, I want you to know … I’m sorry. I know I was being irrational that morning. I didn’t really think you were cheating on me. I just … I was just so afraid of losing you. And in the end, I lost you anyway.”
“I know, baby. I love you, too.” A murmured command dimmed the lights and the lovers lost themselves in the darkness only to find each other.
Copyright (c) 2000 Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.