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Love is Fleeting

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Liam swiped through most of the films that Ryder managed to pick up from the Nexus, there were tons of films on agriculture and some random feel good movies sprinkled in. With a small smile he turned on his communicator, “Hey Ryder, what do you think about The Wizard of Oz?” There was a grunt on the other line and Liam just nodded his head, “I’ll take that as a yes then.”

“Wait no- I don’t want to watch something that’s going to make me cry!”

“How is that going to make you cry, Ryder? You’re such a baby, Jaal needs to see a movie that will show him the awe we feel of being in this galaxy. And it’s his first movie Sara, it has to be special.”

“If you say, Sara, I don’t think we are in the Milky Way anymore, I am going to drop a crate on your---”

“Sorry, Sara? I can’t hear you.” He cut off his coms and then started moving around the clutter in his room before he invited his two friends for a good old fashioned movie. Liam touched the sensor once more before he nudged the film player into place. “Jaal, come to my room, I picked a movie.”

“I’ll be there shortly.”

“Sara? Get your ass down here.”

“Excuse me? I thought you couldn’t hear me?”

“Jaal’s already on his way, hurry up.” Liam smiled to himself, there was some satisfaction in getting Ryder riled up over the little things, it was a good distraction to the troubles she was having as a pathfinder, even if Lexi told him it wasn’t a healthy distraction. He dusted off a cushion with his hand as Jaal entered the room, “Here.” He pointed as he sat on the other side of the couch.

“I still don’t understand, what are we doing?”

“Watching a movie, a classic .” Liam started turning on the device as Sara walked in, “It’s like, moving stories, like those children’s tales you told us except recorded and people act out the part in the story to teach those lessons in a different way.”

“That seems, ineffective.” Liam’s brows furrowed as Jaal spoke.

“Where the hell am I supposed to sit?” Sara crossed her arms as Liam patted the small space between himself and Jaal. “You’re fucking kidding me right?” She shifted her weight between her legs and frowned slightly.

“There is plenty of room for you here, I mean, I can’t sit in the middle and you wouldn’t ask that of our newest friend would you? Such a cruel thing to do to someone you just met.”

“This is exactly why I always drive the Nomad.” Sitting between the two men, she kept her arms crossed. “I just know you’d pull some rude shit like this.”

“Oh come on, Sara, it’s cozy.” Liam pushed Sara into Jaal before playing the movie. “Don’t be so grumpy.”

“I’m not grumpy, you’re grumpy.” Sara let out a small sigh before putting her feet on the table, if she was going to be squished between her two friends, at least she’d try to find other comfort. Most of the movie was spent with Liam talking over it, explaining the cultural references to Jaal and trying to explain to him the significance that it switched from black and white to technicolor.

“As I suspected, this is overly complicated for a simple lesson.”

“It’s not just about the lesson, it’s for. . . entertainment as well.”

“I see, that makes more sense.”

Jaal adjusted how he was seated and as he settled back into his position, Sara’s body fell towards him. “Ryder?” Jaal leaned forward slightly to see her face and saw her eyes were closed.

Liam looked forward as well and smiled, “Aw, she fell asleep.” Jaal thought for a moment before leaning back into the couch and adjusting Sara so he was comfortable as well. “You’re comfortable like that?”

“Does it matter?” Jaal looked at Liam for a brief moment before looking down at Sara, “She clearly needs the rest.” The two men returned their attention to the movie, but Liam kept glancing over to see if Sara was waking up. As the movie ended, Jaal looked confused.

“All of that, and she wished to go home?”

“It wasn’t that she wanted to go home, it’s that she wanted to be with her family.” Liam explained, “She had an amazing adventure and made some friends but when it all comes down, friends come and go, but family is special.”

“Ah, yes.” Jaal nodded his head, “Family is very important to angarans as well.” Sara moved as he spoke and Jaal’s voice became hushed.

So .” Liam rubbed his chin as he watched the way Jaal looked at Sara. “How long has this been going on?” He waved at the other side of the couch, Sara seemed perfectly comfortable cuddled up under his arm and Jaal showed no interest in moving her to her own bed or rather, any other place than right where she was.

“What do you mean?”

“How long have you two been together?”

“For a little over an hour, you were here.” Jaal seemed confused and Liam smacked his own forehead in frustration.

“Romantically, Jaal.”

Jaal froze and moved his arm away from Ryder, “We are not.”

“You’re doing an awful lot of cuddling to be not involved.” The alien looked uncomfortable as Liam pressed him for details, “I mean it’s okay if you’re not together, but if you are interested, I’d do something about it soon.”

“I, I am not sure.” Putting his hand on his head, he looked down away from Liam’s gaze. It wasn’t something often did as he often characterized it with dishonesty or distrust. But in this case, he simply didn’t want Liam reading all his emotions from his expressions.

“Dude, Jaal. You’re not the only one checking her out.” Jaal scowled and Liam held up his hand, “Not me, some ass at Kadara Port was sweet talking her while buying her drinks. That contact your friend sent us to. Uh . Vidal, I think his name was.”

“She wouldn’t be interested in someone like him.”

“It’s people like him who get the girl when the nice guy doesn’t make a move.”

Jaal thought about what Liam had said but he it was hard to make sense of what he was saying. His thoughts drifted to his last relationship, the last women to break his heart and embrace another. It was disheartening to think he didn’t even have a chance with Sara. His confidence was shaken. The man sighed before looking at Liam again, “What should I do?”

“We are arriving in Havarl in five minutes.” SAM’s voice was blaring in the coms and Sara bolted upright.

Fuck , SAM volume control. Fuck- fuck .” She shook her head for a moment and then looked at her surroundings. Sara’s hand was on Jaal’s thigh and she quickly moved before looking up at him, her nose brushed against his before she pulled away. “Sorry- I didn’t mean- I mean-”

“It’s alright, Ryder.”

“Good, I mean you were really comfortable, and warm - I mean, ah.” Sara scratched the back of her head and she struggled to stand, “Sorry. Just, ugh.” She started to move quickly to the door.

“When are we heading back to Kadara? Don’t we need to get a settlement down?” Liam said quickly as to get Sara to stop running.

Placing a hand on the doorframe she looked at Liam, “In a week, Reyes called and said that her highness is throwing a party and asked me to be his plus one.” Sara shrugged before moving out of the door, “Even if I don’t get her to agree to a settlement, at least I’ll get some free booze.” Liam frowned and rubbed his chin again. “Both of you get ready, Jaal we’re going to finish this with Akksul.” The door closed behind her and Jaal rubbed his forehead.

“You my friend, have one week to win that woman’s heart before that smooth bastard sweeps your girl off her feet.” He stood up and grabbed Jaal’s shoulder. “Come on, I got your back.”