“I think we should have sex.”
Pratt almost choked on the salmon bite he was chewing. After a coughing spell into his napkin and several sips from his water glass, he managed to regain his composure. Thankfully, the restaurant they were in was in full Romantic Evening Mode with dim lighting, soft music and candles adorning the tables. “Excuse me?” His collar felt a size too small and he loosened his tie.
The edges of Pendrake’s well defined mouth crept upward for the briefest of moments before she adopted a mask of self-assured confidence to the point of being almost predatory. The small black dress she wore did little to dilute the effect. “Let me lay it out for you, Jack. You and I were paired because we were considered compatible personality types. Now, given that we’re going to be in close quarters during training, it stands to reason that sexual tension is going to rear its ugly head at some point.” She casually reached over and stabbed a piece of his fish with her fork. “It would be to our best interests to get that out of the way so we can focus on more important matters.” She pulled her catch from the fork and popped it in her mouth. “I think it makes perfect logical sense.”
“I realize that growing up on a space station meant adopting some alternative moral codes.” Pratt replied, fighting to regain some mental comfort. “But us Darkfallers usually like to observe some old fashioned etiquette beforehand.”
She reached across the table and took his right hand in hers. “You do like me, don’t you? In spite of my lack of subtlety?”
He smiled and gave her hand a squeeze. “Of course, I do, but you could let me take the lead once in a while.”
“If I did that, you’d wait until Graduation Day.” She gently took her hand back. “I hate wasting time.”
Before Pratt could respond, a group of male and female cadets burst across the room and surrounded the table. Heads turned to watch the spectacle until he raised a hand to quiet them. He wiped his mouth and set the napkin aside. “One at a time, please. What’s going on?”
A short, barrel-chested, cadet with close cropped brown hair and sly piggish eyes elbowed his way to the front of the group. “Jack, the base just issued a General Recall. Something’s happened and all Liberties have been cancelled.”
“And the entire squad felt the need to come out and get us, Jenkins?”
“All the Squad Leaders are supposed to meet in the Company Commander’s Office upon return.” Jenkins said. “Since you’re ours….you know.”
Pratt turned to Pendrake while flagging down a robotic waiter. “I guess we’ll have to table what we were talking about.” Without waiting for her, he slipped his credit chit into the robot’s payment slot. “This had better be another surprise drill.” He took one final bite from his meal before standing. A small hand gesture later and he followed Pendrake and the rest of the squad out the door and into the night.