He was, to put it mildly, driving her crazy. Had Gal Dul told her that her job was to carry one Telarian prince who asked a shit ton of questions across four quadrants, she would have vehemently refused the job. Bemusedly, she figured Gal had known that and that was the precise reason he had neglected to mention that juicy little tidbit of information to her when they’d discussed it over the com.
The Telariains were a humanoid species, the only thing setting them apart from human beings the ridges on temples, jawline, and the bridge of their noses. She had yet to meet one of them who weren’t striking in some way; from their build, to their eyes, to the contours of their faces. It was a little bit infuriating and she tried not to think about it. They were a slightly naïve bunch; empathetic, trusting to a fault, and a people who had no idea as to what the phrase ‘personal space’ meant. It was easy to take advantage of them. Thinking back on it, she supposed that that was the reason she had been chosen to cart him across the cosmos. She was hardly honest. She would have no income if she was, but Dal knew that she could never bring herself to rob or hurt someone like that. She was almost touched. Almost.
The job paid very well. Once completed, there would be enough to pay for a lot of repairs her little ship needed. The fact still remained that he was driving her closer and closer to the brink of insanity.
She hadn’t expected his Royal Highness Dashiell Parr to be so talkative, but he was. It was only an hour and a half into the journey and he had asked about everything on the ship and had followed his questions up by touching the thing he had asked about. Marcee was really trying her hardest to be patient. Not only was he the son of a great king but he’d never been off his own planet before either. Really, it had started out pretty well, but after an hour and a half of questioning things that she surrounded herself with every day in almost child-like wonder, it was getting harder and harder for her not to tear handfuls of her raven hair out by the roots.
“What’s this?” he pointed to a small black rock. She sighed heavily and dragged her gaze up from the port screen in her hand to see what had drawn his attention this time around.
“It’s a volcanic rock… I found it at the last port I put into for repairs…”she paused and added, “The people of that planet live on a molten planet in the lava… They’ve built bridges and stuff so everyone else can get around.” She paused and then said, “Maybe one day you’ll get to see it for yourself instead of hear it in some spacer’s stories…” She almost laughed at the amazed look on his face as he turned and ran a long finger along the rough surface.
She waited a moment to see if he had any more questions before letting her gaze drop back to the small, portable net-screen in her hand.
“And this?” She bit back a groan of annoyance and looked up.
“Glass. I found it on a beach. The surf rubs it and you get these impossibly smooth edges.” She stood and moved over to him, passing him the net-screen. “You can look things up on this.” She glanced at her watch and sighed softly, pushing her hair out of her eyes. “I’m going to get cleaned up. When I get out we’ll eat something, yeah?” She didn’t give him time to respond before turning abruptly on her heel and vanishing into her room.
She took her time in the shower, letting the icy water spill across her body before vanishing down the drain. She hummed idly, scrubbing until her skin was unusually free of its usual smudges and grime. She even took the time to properly wash her hair, carefully picking gnarled tangles loose as she massaged the soap into her scalp. She felt refreshed, almost relaxed, as she stepped out of the shower. Water pooled at her feet as she blindly reached for a towel, her hand traveling the length of her face to slough the access water away.
And then suddenly Dash was there. She didn’t have time to process anything more than the fact that he was suddenly invading her personal space with wide eyes as he pointed to something on her back. “What are those shiny things?” She yelped and yanked the towel over herself.
“Dammit! Don’t you knock?!” It took her a long while to realize that he wasn’t staring at her breasts or anything else that she would consider inappropriate to stare at in a more polite society but at her back. She felt like crying then, the smattered crisscrossing of silver between her shoulder blades and down to the small of her back always a touchy subject for her.
“It’s not customary where I’m from,” he said, oblivious to the discomfort he was causing her. “What’s the shiny?” He crossed his arms over his broad chest and continued to stare. This particular Telarian was stubborn to boot. Great. She went through several emotions in the matter of a few split seconds. Anger, sadness, something close to heartbreak before she met his gaze again.
“It’s a body mod. You’ve heard of those before, right?” He nodded and she hoped they were done with this line of questioning when he piped up again.
“Why did you get it?” She stood up straighter, towel still clutched tightly to her, and squared her shoulders.
“I didn’t exactly have a choice, Dash.” Her jaw was clenched tightly. She could feel the tension racing down into her neck as she reached for a shirt.
“But why didn’t yo-“ She shook her head almost violently and took steps towards him, her shirt balled up her hand.
“Because not all parents give a shit, Dashiell.” She snapped. “Not all of us are lucky to have parents who love them.” He looked shocked at this revelation and she almost felt traces of guilt through the anger for bursting the prince’s happy little bubble. She walked into the room and dropped the towel before yanking on the oversized shirt and stepping into a pair of underwear. She managed not to think about it often. She wasn’t as human as she claimed to be, a wondrous anomaly created by men in lab coats that were cruel and heartless. No one really knew. Maybe they knew bits and pieces but no one really knew and she wasn’t about to tell them now, especially not an entitled prince who had everything handed to him, who never had to work a day in his life and sat in the lap of luxury. Especially not him. “Come and eat before I change my fucking mind and pitch you off the ship.”