Gardner Elliot

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You ducked your head as you took the last of your supplies from your shuttle to the connected walkway leading you into East Texas. Your heart hadn't stopped beating wildly since the moment you spied the ever-growing Mars station out your shuttle window. The fact you were here hadn't hit you yet. You set the boxes down in your quarters and let out a sigh, rubbing your aching chest. You looked around your small room and smiled; perhaps for the first time since your diagnosis, you didn't feel like you had an expiration date.

Suddenly, the ding of an intercom and the booming voice of an announcer brought you out of your thoughts.

"All new arrivals and special personnel meet in station 14 to await Dr. Shepard's orientation."

You jumped to attention and looked around for your assignment packet and ID badge. Your face, albeit tired, smiled up at you with "Station 17" scrawled on the bottom above your hurried signature. You held it in your hand as you opened up your assignment packet and tried to figure out the layout of the stations not wanting to get lost on the first day.

With your face buried in the expanded map of East Texas, you glanced up every now and then as you rushed through the halls. You had just turned a corner when you let out an 'oof' after coming into contact with a warm chest, your map falling to the ground along with your ID badge.

"Oh sorry. Sorry. Are you alright?" A kind, deep voice sounded above you, embarrassment seeping through his words.

You blinked back your own embarrassment but avoided making any eye contact. You knelt down and reached for your things just as another hand reached down, touching your hand lightly with his fingers. Your eyes shot up and a blush covered your cheeks. You were met with the most vibrant blue eyes that would rival any ocean of Mars had any. His dark hair was long and just begged to be tussled. He had cute little freckles perfectly dotting his face, making him look younger than he probably was. He gave you a kind smile and your heart flipped.

The both of you would have stayed there a bit longer, just staring at each other if not for the announcer came over the intercom and repeated his earlier message. Quickly you scrambled up your things and stood. The blue-eyed babe stood as well, his own fallen ID grasped in his hand. His tall willowy frame would have put you off but there was something about the way he held himself that you found attractive.

You blinked again and tucked some fallen hairs behind your ear. "Ah, yeah I'm good. Sorry, I wasn't paying attention."

The intercoms went off calling for anyone else one last time. Tall, dark, and handsome looked up at the intercom then back to you. You gave him a shy smile then rushed past him, looking back to give him a small wave as you tried to ignore the smell of his cologne and hint of mint. He smiled back, almost like a smirk, and raised a hand in reply. Your face blushed again remembering the feel of his hand on yours. Shaking your head, you turned forward and made sure not to run into any more people.

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