Across The Universe

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Chapter 3 (v.1) - 3

Submitted: May 19, 2018

Reads: 76

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Submitted: May 19, 2018



Five years ago


Waking up, Adrian saw that the alarm clock had seven minutes to go before it would ring.  Stretching, he turned it off, then he turned in the bed and wrapped his arms around Darian, who wiggled closer to him, turning her face slightly when he kissed her temple.  She was a light sleeper, he had no doubt she had woken up as soon as he had moved.



He put his hand on her forehead, feeling that she still had a fever.  She had been sick for over a week, but she insisted that it was fine.  True, she often got sick for no real reason, but the fact that the fever had lasted this long bothered him.


She pulled his hand away from her face and kissed his wrist, her eyes still closed and she moved closer so that their naked bodies were pressed against each other.  "Please tell me there is an hour to go before we have to leave," she mumbled tucking her head down under his chin.


Adrian glanced over his shoulder at the clock.  "Six minutes," he told her, and she groaned, her fingers digging into his side.


"I would be happy just to lie here with you," she told him, brushing her lips across his cheek before kissing his neck.


Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and pretended that in a few short moments they wouldn't be getting out of bed to deal with the first day of the Advancement Program.  That name was stupid and misleading.  They were being privately funded by an eccentric man who had more money than any god, and there was hardly a program, they weren't even organized yet.


The thought struck him again, and Adrian sighed, reluctant to have to voice it to her.


He had the misfortune to meet Darian during a lecture, more unfortunate was the fact that he was at the podium, and she had a tendency to rip apart the speakers.


It wasn't malice, he found out afterwards, but she had torn apart his thesis on forced evolution, questioning everything he said as she stood on her seat to be able to speak over the heads of the audience.


She wanted to learn, to understand, she told him after when he confronted her on the way out of the building.  To her, to learn is to look at the situation from all angles, and if it does not stand after valid questions, she theorized that it wasn't a good supposition.


Rapid-fire questions so quick that he couldn't even think to answer them, angry and nearly crying from frustration, it was no surprise that he didn't feel mollified by her explanation.


He thought she was arrogant and was just trying to make a fool of him, but when he spoke to her personally, Darian apologized deeply and bought him dinner, saying that she thought his thesis was flawed, but easily remedied.  It was not a first date, but they had spent hours talking, drawing diagrams of how to 'fix' what he believed was possible, using roads as a metaphor to get the idea across with each other.


But behind closed doors, her brass tacks mentality disappeared, suddenly she was a lovely and sweet woman, much less rabid than she first seemed.


When the AP was done with either for the better, worse, or neutral, he planned on proposing to her.  He knew she didn't believe in marriage, didn't like the thought of being seen as a half rather than a whole, but he liked the thought of them belonging to each other, of a promise of them always being a part of each other's lives.


That's what made his thought so uncomfortable.  Adrian sat up on his elbow and she opened one eye and peered at him.


"What is it this time?"  Darian asked, as if she wasn't the one who was always nervous.  He almost smiled at the question.  She couldn't even drive, she was so scared of causing an accident.


Sliding his hand down her arm, he took her hand, gently moving her fingers with his thumb.  "We're going to be working together," he said, and stopped as she pushed herself up from the mattress.


"And this is a problem?"  She asked, brushing his hair out of his face.


"Workplace romances don't work," he said, deciding to not mention that was why she never dated scientists, in fact he was the first.


"That's because they start there and you have nothing to talk about," she said, looking away, refusing to address what he was meaning.


"I imagine if you're always together, that could be a strain too," he told her, and turned her face to him.  "I think we should put this on hold until our work's done."


She wasn't impressed.  "That could be months, years," she pointed out.  "You want to say goodbye for that long?"


He half-shrugged.  "No, but I don't want either to suffer for it," he told her.


"You think I can't be professional?"




"Oh, so you think you can't be professional?"  She clicked her tongue and shook her head, leaning against him.  "No, you are worrying about something you don't even know is a problem.  Might be a problem.  When I am with you, I can't even speak right."


"You're one to talk about worrying over nothing," he muttered and she ignored him.


"I don't want to stay away," she said, taking hold of his jaw and gave his face a little shake.  "You are so cute.  And, um, you-"  She started lifting up the blanket and peering under it, making him pull it closed again.  Darian laughed at his reaction and him blushing.  She petted his cheek.  "So innocent!!"  She teased, giving him a gentle slap.  "Shouldn't we see if there's a problem before presuming there is one?"


Looking at the clock again, Adrian saw that they were getting behind schedule.  He got out of bed.  "Seeing your tendency to worry yourself sick over the slightest things, I really-"


"When you asked me out, remember, I was frightened you would make me lose focus in my studies?"  She asked, standing up.  She glanced at him, and he looked away from the tattoo between her shoulders.  It was of a sun and moon commingling, pearls dripping off the sun's rays.  "Hm?  Now you make fun of me for not worrying about work.  No, this time, I worry that time apart even if we see each other most days will keep us apart.  No, we might get tired of each other and we might need our space, but I think we will be fine."


"We won't drift apart," he told her, pulling on a shirt.  "I love you."


"And I love you," she said, hopping as she put on her jeans.


He looked at her.  "I mean it," he insisted, and she frowned at him.


"Oh?  So, it must mean I don't?"  She shook her head.  "Because I have been saying that since before you kissed me, it means nothing, but since you are like the English and the Americans, it means everything?"


Adrian started laughing.  "Like- like the English?  What does that even mean?"


She considered him, her brow raised.  "Very cold.  Very... pale," she said with a nod, rolling her lips between her teeth to keep from smiling.  He opened his mouth to argue, and she cocked her head.  "You are always wearing sweaters," she reminded him.  "Hugging you is like hugging a soft lizard.  Also!  When I first saw you, I thought I was going to go blind, the lights reflecting off you."


Their eyes met and they both started laughing.


"We're going to be late," he pointed out, and she nodded, shrugging into her bra, turning so he could do it up.

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