Tara stood before the firepit in the wake of Master Zione’s departure.
Enjoy the rain, he’d said.
Their discussion had touched on that subject which had been such a sensitive spot for her ever since returning, and she did not know if he realized it.
Everytime she talked about her time she spent there, her thoughts always returned to him…
Gan…he’d saved her life, but had also tried to keep her from it at the same time. Still, she did not blame him. She never had. He did so out of caring. Even when he lied to her about her cybernetic arm being broken and then hiding it from her, he saw how much her recent life had pained her.
She found herself staring back at the mountains on the western horizon. Was he still out there? Hiding from the galaxy while he swooned over ancient alien poetry? How could one who had once been a part of her order now be such a romantic? Did he ever stare back towards Veles? Did he ever wonder about her as she did of him? Was he thinking of her now?
Her hand reached into her pocket as the rain continued to pelt down on her. She grasped the old piece of paper that she kept there. It was the one thing she would never tell anyone. The piece of him she kept with her always. It felt old and rough to her fingertips, and brought emotions to her that she would never allow herself to show in front of anyone else.
She had left the gathering place and made her way back to the outpost’s dorms where she wandered around inside for a bit, messing with the stereo to find some music to soothe her thoughts, but finding none, she left again.
Keyan had told her to enjoy the rain…
She went down to the lake’s bank and stood out in the unforgiving weather. Lightning flashed and thunder crashed. Still, there she stood. her hand still grasping the piece of paper in her pocket.
She had talked about him once to Iradtoki. She was perhaps the only one she’d ever mentioned him to. She had thought Tara loved him. It was possible, but she hadn’t thought so until that moment.
Her hand reached up and her fingers touched her lips softly. Her mind wandered to the kiss he had given her. The one she had turned away. His lips were soft and warm, even gentle. She would be lying if she ever said she had never wondered how things might be different had she kissed him back.
Yes, she did care about him too…
Tara pulled the piece of paper out of her pocket and looked at it as the rain splashed down against it. The paper Gan had used to write down the translation of the alien poetry soaked up the rain as she looked at it.
She unfolded the paper and read over the poem again, and she bit her lip. That familiar feeling returned to her chest. She felt it whenever she read the poem. An aching. A longing. She wished to see him again. With everything going on, she wished to run away and see him…
She closed her eyes for a few moments and drew in a slow breath before opening them again.
“Maybe I do love you…”
Tara folded the soaked paper back up and brought it to her lips, pressing them to it long and gently before then letting the poem fall from her hand into the water of the lake near her feet, where it became even more soaked and was eventually carried away.
Tara watched it for a moment, but then turned and headed back to the outpost, silent, her face masking the emotions beneath, whatever those might be.