Elida was lying in her bed, eyes closed, yet not asleep. She just couldn’t get any rest. What was it? The upcoming battle with Lazaro? Yes, that could be it, but that’s not all. Something else is bothering her. She just couldn’t figure out what it was.
So, she decided to go take a stroll around the ship to clear her head. As she was walking around, she bumped into Isaac, who also noticed her.
“Well, hello, El,” Isaac started. “Couldn’t sleep either, huh?”
“Yeah,” Elida said nodding her head. “I know I should. The battle with Lazaro is coming soon, and I need to be well-rested. But I can’t seem to focus.” She waved her arms around in frustration. Trying so hard to figure out what was the problem.
“Well, who could?” Isaac asked, though it was rhetorical. “This final dishing out with Lazaro has me on edge as well.”
“No,” said Elida. “It’s not just Lazaro. It’s something else. I can’t find out what it is exactly.”
Isaac listened to Elida carefully, then came up with what might be on her mind.
“Could it possibly be our lovely pilot/mechanic?”
“Amae?” Elida turned with a surprised and confused look on her face. “What’s she gotta do with anything?”
“Come on, El,” Isaac started, “You can hide it from her; you can hide it from Winnibot; hell, you can even hide it from yourself. But you can’t hide it from me. I see the way you two look at each other. I know that the both of you care about each other deeply.”
“Of course I do,” said Elida. “We're friends.”
“No, it’s more than that," said Isaac. "The looks you two give each other are far more than mere friendliness. I know that look well. It’s the exact same one Hannah and I gave each other when we first met. You have romantic feelings for Amae. Where I come from, we call it a crush, or infatuation. Except in your case, it's far more than that." He took a couple steps forward. "You are in love with Amae. Look me in the eyes and tell me that I'm wrong."
Elida blushed. She knew Isaac was right. She hated it when he was right. But just this once, she was going to give him the satisfaction of letting him know that. Because it's true. She'd been in love with Amae the moment she first laid eyes on her and she was going to deny it no longer.
"You're right," Elida said while looking out the window. "From the moment I first met Amae, I could tell there was something about her. I didn't know what it was, but as we got to know each other, I felt something grow between us. And I know that she feels it too." Elida then frowned and turned to her friend, "But Isaac, I'm not sure I'm should take that risk. My mother always taught me to trust no one, and old habits die hard. I'm not sure if I can give Amae what she wants; what she needs. I don't know if I can open my heart to her, only to have it crushed. She deserves better than that." A tear fell down Elida's cheek as she spoke.
“El,” Isaac said as he walked over to Elida, putting a hand on her shoulder. "I understand that you're afraid. I know what love is like. Love is terrifying, yet it can be exciting. It can be the most wonderful, rewarding thing you ever know, yet it can also be devastating. It can give you much joy and happiness. But…” he sighed before continuing, “it can also be painful. Hell, it can even destroy you. But the pain of never being loved is even harder than the pain of losing it".
Elida smirked at Isaac’s words. “Since when did you become so wise?”
“Oh, I’m far from wise,” he replied with his own smirk. “I’m just speaking from personal experience.” He continued, “I know it’s scary. But the greatest things in life are worth taking huge risks for.”
Elida was silent for a while. “Isaac,” she finally stated, “I've lost so many people I've cared about: Nim, Hath, my parents. "Losing them was hard enough. If something were to happen to Amae, I don't know if I could handle it. And this battle with Lazaro, there’s a chance not all of us may make it out alive. Hell, chances are none of us will."
Isaac felt his heart cracking on hearing this. He rarely saw this side of Elida. The part that was so broken and afraid. He could understand her trepidation all too well. He knew if Hannah had died, or left him, he'd be devastated as well.
But Amae and Elida were his friends, he saw the way those two had been pining over each other for quite a while, and he'd be damned if he let their fears get in the way of having a relationship.
“All the more reason why you should tell her now,” Isaac finally said. “If I could have just one more day with Hannah, I’d take it, even if it’s our last. Especially if it’s our last. I know that what happened with Nim and Hath and your parents has been difficult, but you shouldn't let it stop you from going after what you want. Life is too short. You need to take the few opportunities given to you, because there may be no tomorrow. ”
Elida thought about this for a moment. She realized Isaac was right, yet again. She and Amae may only have one night, but she's gonna take it nonetheless. Because she truly does love Amae, and she's not gonna let her fears or worries control her again. She's gonna take the risk. “You’re right.” She finally said. “This might be our only chance, but it’s a chance all the same.”
“Thatta girl, El,” Isaac said smiling.
“I’ll go talk to her right now.” Elida said, with a determined tone, but then she remembered something important. “But who’s gonna fly the ship in the meanwhile?”
“I’ll handle that,” said Isaac. “You just focus on Amae.”
The two set off to the pilot’s section, both with smiles on their faces.
Amae was just sitting in the pilot’s seat thinking about… well, actually, Amae was too busy flying the ship to be thinking about anything.
Sitting in the pilot's seat always kept her relaxed. Actually, working at all kept Amae relaxed. Most people would want to take breaks from working, but for Amae Rali, work and relaxation were nearly one and the same. Whether fixing or piloting, Amae always found it most relaxing when she was at work.
It always kept her focused, kept her mind from wandering. Like on the upcoming battle with Lazaro, or on a certain ex-queen for instance, whom Amae totally does not have a crush on. Whom she totally never gives googly eyes at all the time.
There’s no way Amae has a crush on Elida! That’s ridiculous. True, the woman is beautiful, sexy, funny, loyal, caring, not to mention awesome. But they were just friends. Nothing more. And even if Amae did have a crush, (which she totally doesn’t), there’s no way Elida would feel the same way. Nope. Just a purely platonic friendship, nothing more.
Oh, who was she kidding? She was totally crushing on Elida. And not even mere infatuation or lust. No, Amae was totally in love with Elida. She had met many women over the years, slept with some of them, but none of them began to compare to Elida.
They were different but similar: Both were orphans who lost her homes due to war. Both lived to rely on themselves for survival. Even while living on Xija Station, she always felt alone because the people who came to see her were either looking for repairs, a fun time, or both. And every time, they always left and she never saw them again. She had her brother, of course, but Chaz's job as bartender and her job as mechanic kept them from interacting often.
All that changed when she met Elida though. She couldn’t quite figure out why, but there was something that drew Amae to her.
Whatever it was, she was glad it did. Because she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
After that moment with Bew on the Sunshine Express, that was the moment Amae realized that she was in love with Elida. She realized she wasn’t just looking for a fling or one-night stand. No, Amae’s heart was stolen by Elida. And she never wanted it back.
But sadly, her dreams of getting with Elida always seemed to be fleeting. Not because Elida didn’t want it. Amae knew she did. She saw in Elida’s eyes that she felt the same way. That she wanted something too. Unfortunately, anytime it seemed like they had the chance to act on it, something would always get in the way of it.
Amae couldn’t blame her for being hesitant, though. She knew Elida had deep issues with trust. She knew that her mother’s lesson of “Trust no one but yourself” always stuck with her, even after everything. She just hoped that one day Elida would get past it and have a relationship with her.
As the ship neared Arriopa, though, all her hopes slowly began dying. She feared that a future with Elida would never become reality.
Sighing in disappointment, Amae continued flying the ship in silence. It was the only thing keeping her focused on the task at hand.
Just then, she heard footsteps behind. Turning around, she saw both Isaac and Elida.
"Oh, hey guys!" Amae said. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah," said Elida. "I just... wanted to talk with you. Alone. If you want."
“Is there a problem?” the Winnibot asked. Are we having a serious malfunction, or is the ship being invaded by another parasitic…”
“No, no,” Elida said. “Everything’s fine. I just want to talk to Amae. It’s a personal reason.”
“Really?” Amae asked, puzzled. Elida nodded “Um, okay. I just, um, Isaac, would you mind taking the…”
“That’s what I came here for,” he interrupted. “Don’t worry.”
“Okay,” Amae replied. So she got out of the pilot’s seat, with Isaac filling it, then as Amae left the helm area, Isaac said, “El, wait a moment,”
“What?” Elida asked.
“Good luck,” he said. “I know you can do it.”
“Thanks,” Elida said smiling. And with that, she left to follow Amae.
Elida saw Amae on the benches in the main hall. Feeling her heart racing at what she was about to do, she quickly took a deep breath, and went to sit down next to Amae.
“So,” Amae started, with a smile. “What is it you wanted to say?”
Elida’s heart started racing again. How could she form any words with Amae smiling at her like that?
Many things drew Elida to Amae, but the biggest one was her smile. It always left her breathless.
“Well, Amae,” She started, “I, uh…” She took a small breath before continuing. “I wanted to say, that, um.” She chuckled nervously.
This was becoming harder than she thought. She contemplated what she wanted to say, yet actually saying it out loud was harder than she thought.
She felt even more terrified than during the Revolution, and she didn’t even know that was possible.
“El?” Amae asked worried, putting her hand on Elida’s. “Is everything okay?”
It only made things worse. Their hands brushing sent huge sparks through Elida’s body. It was becoming harder and harder to think.
Why does this have to be so hard? Elida thought. Why can’t I just say the words?
Elida quickly pulled her hand away and stood up, not out of fear or revulsion, but to try to help herself focus.
Amae sat there confused, and slightly hurt at the loss of contact. Assuming that Elida was either gonna say something she didn’t want to hear, or nothing at all, Amae said, "You know what? I think I need to check the engine coolant systems," she said as stood up and started to walk away.
Elida panicked. She needed to get it out now, before she couldn’t say it again!
“WAIT!” She yelled, making Amae stop walking.
Amae turned slightly, “What?” she asked, a slight hint of impatience in her tone.
“I… I…” she stammered. But again she couldn’t blurt it out.
“You, what?” Amae asked. “El, if you wanna say something, just say it! You’ve never had a problem speaking your mind before. If anything, one of your biggest faults is always saying what's on your mind regardless of how it makes people feel.”
Elida couldn’t deny that, because it’s true. It is in indeed one of her (if not her most) biggest faults; it's the main reason she often got in trouble. She just hoped that fault would come right back at this moment.
“So, just tell me what you wanna say. I’m patient, El, but even I have my limits, so please stop all this holding back and just…”
Finally unable to hold it in anymore, Elida grabbed Amae’s face and pulled her into a rough kiss, interrupting her talking.
The act took Amae by surprise, but she still returned it, wrapping her arms around Elida’s waist, while Elida put her arms around Amae’s neck, pulling her closer.
After a few long minutes of making out, they finally pulled away. Both with huge smiles on their faces.
“I like you, Amae” Elida finally said, taking Amae’s hands with her own. “Not just as a friend. I REALLY like you. I have feelings for you, and have for a while.”
Amae smiled widely, but let Elida continue talking.
“I think I’ve had feelings for you ever since I first met you. I didn’t realize it at first, but when I started my way to Arriopa to kill Lazaro, I felt like I was leaving behind something important to me: You.”
Amae’s smile grew larger with every word Elida said.
“I mean, Isaac, the ship, the Winnibot; they’re all nice, but what I really felt I was missing was you. I’ve wanted this for a long time. And even though this may be our only chance, I want to take it. If you want it as well."
Amae’s smile became so large, her cheeks started feeling numb.
“I do want this as well, Elida!” Amae said cheerfully. “I’ve wanted this ever since I first met you!”
“Really?” Elida asked, grinning.
“Yes! Chaz told me about you, but very little. But the moment I first met you, I felt so drawn to you. I never could realize why. I care about you, Elida. I really, really care about you! So believe me when I say I want this more than anything!”
Elida’s smile grew larger; she was happier than she had been in years.
“How about we continue this in my room?” She suggested, a huge grin on her face.
“I thought you’d never ask,” Amae replied, mirroring Elida’s grin. After a quick kiss, they both eagerly rushed to Elida’s quarters. After the door was shut, Amae was instantly pushed against it by Elida. The two just stood there, trading lip locks, and shedding off their clothing as if their lives depended on it.
It likely did. Because the following morning, this would be the final battle that would determine the fate of the galaxy.
The next morning, Elida woke up first, seeing Amae’s naked body curled up next to hers. Elida was super thankful that last night wasn’t just a dream. She was finally happy. Happier than she had been for a long time.
She slowly pressed a kiss on Amae's cheek, stirring the young mechanic.
Smiling, Elida continued pressing kisses to Amae's cheek, causing her to wake up.
"Good morning to you, too," Amae said, smiling widely.
"Good morning" Elida replied, smiling as well.
"Last night was so..." Amae started,
"Amazing!" Elida finished, her smile growing larger.
"Yeah", Amae agreed, and pulled Elida down to kiss her more.
After a few more minutes of making out in bed naked, they both decided it was time to get ready. They quickly got dressed and emerged from Elida's/their room, holding hands.
They both walked into the helm room, Isaac still in the pilot seat.
He managed to get some sleep, while the Winnibot took the controls.
“Why, good morning!” Isaac said, noticing the wide smiles on their faces, “I take it that things went well?
“You could say that,” Elida said, blushing. Amae giggled.
"Well," Amae started. "I should be getting ready. See you in a bit."
"Yeah, okay." Elida replied. After sharing a quick kiss, Amae left the room.
I still can’t believe it happened", Elida said, turning to Isaac. I keep thinking I'm gonna wake up and realize it was all a dream.”
“I had that same feeling when I had my first kiss with Hannah,” Isaac said. “I know how it feels.”
“You were right,” Elida started as she sat down in the other chair “Even though this will be our last day, at least we made the most of it.”
“Exactly,” Isaac said, so happy that his advice was taken. “Always take the moments that are brought to you.”
“But remember,” he continued, “This may not be the last day.. The only thing that keeps me going is the dream of one day seeing Hannah and my daughter again. So if you ever start fearing that you're not gonna make it, that this day will be your last, think of Amae. Survive for her. Live so that you can see her when this is all done.”
After serious contemplation, Elida nodded, knowing that he was right yet again. Today will not be their last. They will survive; for each other.