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Forever in a Minute

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Javier didn’t know what he was supposed to do. First Amelie was leaving, and then she was pregnant, and now she wasn’t leaving but she wasn’t speaking to him, either. There were entirely too many emotions running through his head.

He was relieved that Amelie was staying and he was elated that they would have a baby and he was in love with her, deeply so. But at the same time, he was terrified. She’d been right when she pointed out that she might not even carry the child to term, that there was no research on pregnancy in space, let alone on a different planet, and that if by some miracle the child did survive, they would never be able to visit Earth. And those were only his concerns about his unborn son or daughter. Javier was well aware of how Amelie was struggling with being away from Earth; she missed her mom and fresh air and sunlight, and she wanted to go home. He couldn’t blame her, and part of him hated that he’d almost forced her to stay. What was the old saying? If you love something, set it free?

The geochemist ran a hand through his hair as he stood, beginning to pace the room. Logically he knew that even though the pregnancy had added an unexpected factor, it had ultimately still been Amelie’s decision to stay at Olympus, but he couldn’t help the fears that flashed through his mind: the woman he loved sinking into a depression, distancing herself from him and their friends, maybe even losing it entirely and following Paul Richardson out an airlock. He groaned aloud and collapsed onto the bed, just as a familiar form appeared in the doorway.

“Javier?” he heard her call softly. He sat back up, propping himself on his elbows.

“Amelie,” he said, a smile already spreading over his face. He couldn’t help it, that was just what she did to him.

She paced towards him and he stood, meeting her halfway. She let him hold her for the first time since she’d revealed she was leaving Mars, and he relished in the way her head rested on his chest and the warm feeling of her body against his. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I should have told you, but… I didn’t want to hurt you. I already felt horrible leaving you behind. I didn’t tell you at a time you could have followed me because I didn’t… I didn’t want you to have to make the same choice I did,” she admitted.

“I understand,” he murmured into her hair. “If this is hard for me, I can only imagine how torturing it is for you. But Amelie?”

She looked up at him but didn’t remove her head from his chest. “Yes?”

“I would have followed you in a heartbeat,” he told her solemnly. “It’s barely even a decision, for me. I told you that I didn’t miss Earth because to me, you are home, and the same holds true for Mars. My love for this planet is nowhere near as strong as my love for you.”

Her expression was full of emotion as she held his gaze. “That’s really how you feel?”

“A hundred percent,” he promised. “Where have you been for the past nine years?”

She laughed a little. “Javier?”


“Thank you,” she said. “I feel… better.”

Javier liked the sound of that. He looked around the room, searching for a way to make her smile again. His gaze landed on the controls for the room’s sound system and he released Amelie from his arms and moved towards it. He pulled up the music menu and scrolled through it until he found a song he thought she’d like. “Let’s dance,” he suggested as the opening chords pulsed through the room. Amelie laughed softly and wrapped her arms around his neck.

Havana, ooh na na
Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh na na
He took me back to east Atlanta, na na na
Oh, but my heart is in Havana
There’s somethin’ bout his manners
Havana ooh na na

The beat was faster than they were dancing, but somehow the two astronauts managed to sway slowly around the room. They didn’t talk but simply held each other, Amelie smiling softly as Javier hummed along.

Oooh, I knew it when I met him,
I loved him when I left him,
Got me feeling like
Oooh, and then I had to tell him
I had to go

The song continued but the couple slowed until they were once again doing nothing but standing there, pressed together. As the song transitioned into an instrumental, Amelie pulled Javier down and kissed him softly. “I love you,” she whispered when they broke apart.

“I love you too,” he responded.

“Javier,” she started, pulling back slightly, “I’m scared. I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, but I know I can’t do it without you. I need you,” she said.

He kissed her again. “I’m not going anywhere,” he murmured against her lips. He pulled her closer, his arms wrapping around her. “I’m not going anywhere.”