Venus had consigned herself to waiting for Zaren. She didn’t think her body could handle much more anyway. Since it was Sunday, Dervinias had made plans with friends. Venus promised him she’d stay in the house and he took off.

“So much for watching out for me,” she muttered, though she was happy to see him go. Some Venus time sounded great. And she didn’t need looking after.

Alone for the first time in days, she plopped onto the couch and turned on the TV. After flicking through the channels, she settled on a Mork and Mindy marathon. The main character, Mork, was an alien doof. Much different from any kelarian she’d ever met. Different from any humans, too. The episode running was about Mork being pregnant. “I’m preggers. I’ve got a bun in the oven.” Ridiculous. And hilarious. She couldn’t stop herself from giggling. “Oooh. Eeeen. I just felt a sharp pain. What does it mean? The doctor replied, “It means you’re in labor and I’m playing singles.” It hurt to laugh, but she let herself anyway. She’d seen a couple of the episodes in Earth Studies and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Next to her sat a bowl full of popcorn. She’d popped it in the microwave. Grabbing a couple of the funky-shaped kernels, she set them on her tongue. After chewing and swallowing, she made a face. Venus decided it smelled way better than it tasted. The loose, yellow bits were hard and annoying. 

About half way through the second show, Michael called.

“Venus? Hi, it’s Michael.” He sounded tired. Stressed out. Full of grief.

“Hey Michael. It’s nice to hear from you.” Grabbing the remote, she muted the TV.  She was thrilled to hear from him, but curious why he’d called her. “What’s up?” She tried to keep her voice light. But what she really wanted to do was ask how he was.

“Would you like to get together? Hang out.” She heard a strange quality in his voice like his words were rehearsed.

“Sure, Michael.” Venus waited, crossing her legs. The heel of her boot caught her attention. Thump. Thump. Then a pause. Thump. Thump. She wanted to scream at him, “Fall in love already. I’m going to die.” She didn’t.

He cleared his throat. “Do you remember where we first met?”

Did she remember? He’d slapped her with her first kiss. How could she forget? “Sure, I think so. Why?”

“I thought we’d take a hike and talk.”

How odd.

But his voice had created a pulling in her chest, like her heart was one end of a magnet. Her body wanted him near, longed for his touch. She remembered the way his lips brushed hers, and her skin grew hot.

Don’t go. Stay away, her mind shouted.

Far away.

His calling meant danger. But she wanted to see him. Shutting off the TV, she said, “Yeah, I’d like that. Um, I don’t have a way to get there though.” Maybe she could ask Chev for a ride. That might be for the best anyway, the three of them together. Although Chev might think it was weird he’d invited Venus to hang out. What was going through his head?

“No problem. I’ll come get you.” He paused and blew out a ragged breath. “Where do you live?”

Venus gave him Dervinias’s address.

“Cool, I’ll see you in about ten minutes.” He hung up.

“Cret.” She wheezed as she rushed into the bathroom. At the mirror, she checked her teeth for popcorn kernels and decided to brush them. Then she went into her bedroom and changed into a long-sleeved, red shirt and her heaviest coat. The weather had turned chillier, and the air felt thick, heavy with moisture, like it would snow any moment. Venus figured it’d be even colder in the mountains. There wasn’t enough time to braid her hair so she left it down. Because of her irritating cough, she also put a bunch of tissues in her pocket.

Exiled - Book 1 in the Immortal Essence SeriesRead this story for FREE!