Running away on a night like this was never going to be easy. As soon as father realises what we’ve have done he’ll send his people after us. “We won’t be able to relax,” I say, “we’ll never really be able to stop.”
A touch of guilt holds my chest tight. It won’t let go as I continue to speak. “That’s half the fun of it though, right?” I grin as I take their hand and we run from the hall.
I can see the expanse of space beyond us through the clear walls of the corridor. The swirling galaxies seem so close it is almost as if I can reach out and touch them. As we near the end of the corridor I can see the sleek black side of Aine’s ship. The last of the guilt almost melts away as I notice the excitement on their beautiful face. We’re nearly at the ship when I see a familiar figure standing there, his mouth cut into a cruel sneer.
“Leaving so soon?”
“Dance with me.” Aine asks calmly, as though it is the easiest thing in the world.
The question seemingly comes out of nowhere, but because it’s Aine asking, it makes sense. I manage a quiet yes before they lead me to the centre of the dance floor.
With my hand in theirs, even I – short, broad, with very little waist – can feel graceful. My dress does billow out beautifully as Aine spins me, but it is still no match for their suit. The two piece looks as if it has been spun from the fabric of space itself. For an event like this, of course Aine brings out their finest. Their long ivory coloured hair is tinted to match their eyes, which today I can see are a gorgeous deep purple.
As we weave in and out of the dancers Aine leans in close to whisper to me, “I thought it would be easier to talk like this. When you dance with someone you make your own world. No one will hear us talk here.”
I smile, not sure what to say.
“So then, Zahli, will you to run away with me?”
“When?” I gasp, not quite believing what I’m hearing.
“Tonight, I brought my own space-craft, we can leave right now if you want to.” Aine watches me carefully, her deep purple eyes never leaving my own.
“Is that you asking me?” I smile wide. My grin almost sly.
“Is that you saying yes?” They mirror my question, a knowing smile on their face.
“If you’re asking, then yes, more than anything else in the world, yes!”
“In that case,” Aine pulls me in to brush a light kiss to my cheek, “I am asking.”
For just moment, I consider what could happen if I did, what would happen if I didn’t. That was all the time it took me to utter a soft, but definite, yes.
After that we run.
We run from the hall, and from any responsibilities held there. My chest feels lighter than it has in days. We make it outside only to see someone standing between us and Aine’s ship.
“Leaving so soon?”
The drawling voice of what I call my father’s second shadow reaches my ears. He’s a cross between my father’s bodyguard and his personal assistant. He is also a galaxy class stickler for the rules.
“That docking station won’t work,” the Shadow says loftily, “I told your father something like this would happen,” he continues, “but he didn’t believe me. No matter, I locked all the docking stations in case.”
He didn’t think I would.
I glance back at Aine but they don’t seem to be concerned. They’ve torn out a panel at the back of the docking station, and they are pulling out the bunch of wires and examining them. The Shadow must not have noticed because when I turn back he is grinning.
I’m about to say something when Aine cries out triumphantly behind me.
There’s a small crack and a fizz as I see a small burst of light out of the corner of my eye. It must mean something good because I watch the Shadow’s smug smile falter and contort to a look of panic.
“Time to go Zahli.” Aine takes my hand again as they press their other hand to the lock on the side door to their ship.
“No!” The Shadow yells out, “You can’t- when your father finds ou-”
“When my father finds out he will be able to contact me, and I will explain then.” I reply with a lot more confidence in my voice than usual when dealing with the Shadow.
We turn back as the Shadow stares at us, mouth agape, and we step inside Aine’s spaceship. The clean white interior of the spaceship calms any anxieties I may have had. The craft is small, so the space feels almost cosy despite all the tech and the white walls.
“Good evening Aine.” The ships AI speaks over the intercom as Aine starts up the ship.
Aine smiles, “evening Bo.”
“Where are you wanting to go tonight?”
“Anywhere.” They reply brightly, then look to me for confirmation.
“Sound wonderful.” I smile, savouring Aine’s bubbling excitement.
“Then please Bo, get us out of here,” Aine takes my hand and gives it a light squeeze, “take us somewhere beautiful.”
Aine is pronounced ‘AWN-ya’
Zahli is pronounced ‘ZAHL-ee’
This was a very fun process! I liked taking the story apart to work out what I wanted to keep, and what I wanted to add before ordering it again. I am happy with the changes I’ve made, I hope they run smoothly for you too!