Date Night On A Space Ship
“What are you doing?” Chel asked me as I attempted to sneak into the ship’s greenhouse.
“Shhh, I’m on a mission,” I replied, putting my finger to my lips. I glanced out the little window in the sliding door I had come into to make sure I wasn’t being followed by anyone.
Chel spoke quieter. “Who are you hiding from?”
“Who do you think?” I whispered back. I snuck down the aisles of fruits and vegetables growing in the greenhouse until I reached Chel. “I need a basket or something.”
Chel sighed and pointed to a gathering basket in the corner of the large room.
“Make sure you bring it back when you’re done. Who are you planning to cook for?”
“I’ve got a date,” I replied, walking back down an aisle. I picked some tomatoes, some fresh garlic and basil, and an onion, sticking them all into the basket I carried.
“What are you making?” Chel asked. She picked up her clipboard and scribbled something down. She was in charge of the greenhouse and making sure the plants thrived.
“Homemade pasta. I’m even going to make the egg noodles from scratch.”
“And who are you dragging along for the date?”
“You say that like they won’t be absolutely wowed by me and my impressive homemade pasta,” I replied, faking hurt. Chel shook her head and laughed. “Save some for me?”
“I might.” I slipped Chel a few bucks and snuck back out of the greenhouse, and headed straight for my home. Citizens weren’t supposed to get anything from there. They were supposed to buy from the local stores that owned the greenhouses, but Chel and I had been friends since middle school, so she allowed me to skirt the rules occasionally.
The station wasn’t small by any means, so it took a bit of walking and taking elevators before I made it back to my home. I lived on the ninth floor of the station, which was one of the low-income housing floors. The lower the floor, the cheaper the housing it generally went. The higher the floor, the more shops and stores, and bigger the homes, but again, more expensive. There were 50 floors all together, and eventually, I hoped to work my way up. But that’s a completely different story.
Tonight was date night.
I started working on the tomato sauce first by peeling the tomatoes, crushing them, dicing the onions, then adding in the garlic and the basil. I did the egg noodles next and got everything cooking before I finally decided to ping my date.
“Hey, Jas!” the voice in my ear said excitedly. My heart fluttered.
“Hey, Talia. What are you up to?”
“Nothing at the moment. I’m about to get off work, just waiting on the clock. Why? What’s up?”
I took a deep breath. “Wanna come over for dinner?”
“Yeah, that sounds great!” she replied enthusiastically. “What’s on the menu?”
“Homemade pasta sauce and egg noodles from scratch,” I replied, trying to impress her. “Also, garlic bread, but I bought that from the store.”
She laughed, and I melted a little. “That sounds amazing. I’ll be over in about a half-hour, okay? That’ll give me time to stop by my home and change out of my work clothes first.”
“That’ll be perfect,” I told her. “See you then.”
We hung up, and I strained the cooked pasta, then dumped the noodles into the sauce and set it to simmer. After that, I took a super quick shower, then went to my room and changed into the cute dress I had picked out the day before. It was a red dress, covered in flowers of all colors. I had to look cute for my date.
I went back out to the kitchen and put the frozen garlic bread into the oven. It would only take a few minutes to bake, so hopefully, Talia arrived before too long. I snuck a look into the mirror in the hallway and made sure my hair looked okay before I heard a knock at the door.
“Hi, Talia,” I said, gesturing for her to come inside. She too was wearing a dress, but her’s was black with white polka dots. She smiled at me and made her way inside, and I shut the door behind her.
“Wow, it smells wonderful in here,” she said, sniffing the air. Her beautiful black curls shook around her head as she moved.
“A wonderful meal for a wonderful woman,” I replied. I shut the burners off and checked on the garlic bread, which was perfectly browned. I took it out of the oven and set it on the stovetop, then made two plates.
“Thank you for the invite. I thought I was going to be eating at Jin’s Ramen Emporium again this afternoon,” Talia said as I set her plate in front of her. I took a seat across from her at the small table.
“Well, hopefully, this is a bit better than cheap ramen,” I replied.
“Anything you cook is better than cheap ramen, Jas.”
I blushed as I took a forkful of pasta and lightly blew on it to cool it off. Talia did the same, and our conversation halted as we enjoyed our meal. We chatted on and off about work but mostly just enjoyed each other’s presence.
By the time we were done, we were both full and ready to relax. I quickly put the leftovers into a plastic dish in order to bring them to Chel the next day, and then we took a seat on the couch, and I turned on the television.
I settled on an old Earth romance movie, hoping Talia would get the hint. After a bit of watching the movie, she leaned her head over onto my shoulder, and I took the opportunity to hold her hand. She smiled sleepily up at me, and my heart raced with possibility. Did she feel the same way about me?
Talia and I had known each other for a few years now, having both gone to and dropped out of the same university on the station. Neither of us was very good with studies. She ended up working at a restaurant and me at a retail clothing store. We both lived towards the bottom of the station in cheaper housing and saw each other often, but I had always been too shy to make the first move. Could we finally be on the same page after all this time?
The movie soon ended, and Talia was half asleep on my shoulder. I looked out the window into the void of space around us. It was dark now, and we both had to work the next day. I could easily wake her and tell her goodnight and send her off to her own home, or I could ask her to stay the night.
“Yeah?” she answered sleepily.
“Do you… do you want to spend the night?”
“Sure, that sounds great. Did you get any extra pillows and blankets? I’ll take the couch,” she replied, sitting up slowly.
It was now or never. “No, I mean, do you want to sleep… with me? In my bed?”
“Oh,” she said, looking surprised. “Sure.”
“Unless you think I’m coming on too strong,” I said, quickly backpedaling.
“No, Jas. I said yes.” She took my hand in hers and slowly leaned forward, and kissed me. I sat there, not sure what to say, and she laughed. “I like you too, Jas. Always have.”
I turned off the television and led the sleepy, beautiful Talia to my room. We settled into my bed, huddled close, and I kissed Talia’s forehead as she slowly drifted off. I couldn’t wait to tell Chel about this in the morning when I brought her the leftovers.