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Jeremy

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Chapter 14

      Jeremy stretched as he walked by the guard, in the opposite direction that he normally would at this hour. He was sore in places he hadn't known the human body could be sore. Growl . . . Gralgiranselhelrarvnir, he forced himself to use his full name, even if there was no way he could pronounce it. Gral had been gentle with him, but but it still had been his first time with another man, and as pleasurable as it had been, even with some of the pain that couldn't be avoided, his body was now telling him that he needed to let it rest before the next time - and there was going to be a next time, there was no doubt of that.

      He was on his way back to his room, for a shower. Gral had suggested they take it in his cabin, but Jeremy wanted to put in an appearance on the station, to avoid drawing to much suspicions.

      "Mister Krommer," someone said behind him, when he was halfway to his destination.

      Jeremy spun. "Commander!" he said when he saw who it was. "Sorry, you startled me. I wasn't expecting to run into anyone at his hour."

      "I understand, I need to get an early start today, otherwise I'd be enjoying a few more hours of sleep. Aren't you heading in the wrong direction?"

      "Ah, no. We worked until late in the night, and I crashed in one of their empty cabins. I'm just going to grab a shower and a change of clothes before going back to work."

      The commander walked to him and placed his hands on Jeremy's shoulders. "Mister Krommer, I know I said that I wanted them off my station as soon as possible, but I didn't mean for you to work yourself to death. You need to take it easy . . .. Are you alright?"

      Jeremy's stomach dropped when the commander mentioned the ship leaving. "I'm sorry," he said, turning. "I think I'm going to be sick." He ran to his room, and leaned against the door as soon as it was closed behind him.

      How could he have forgotten about that? In the euphoria of his day with Gral, it hadn't occurred to him at all that they would be leaving, once the generator was fixed. Gral couldn't stay with him on the station. Even if he wasn't taking into account his duties as captain, there was no way they could have a relationship here. So would he be leaving with them?

      He tried to remember their conversation before they had become sexual, and he thought that the implication he would was there, but he didn't recall it being said, and he had to know. He couldn't deal with the uncertainty that he might be left behind after discovering love.

      He turned and almost opened the door to run back to the ship, but stopped himself. If he did, he would arouse suspicions far more than if he'd stayed on the ship. He closed his eyes and rested his head on the door. He brought up the image of the box and considered putting his fear in it. It had helped him remove the artificial anxiety, but this was real. Even if it could help remove his fear, did he want to banish it away. There had to be another way to deal with this.

      He forced himself to remember what he was to Gral and he to him. He was his Heart, the one his Gods had chosen for him and guided to, across the stars. He wouldn't abandon him. He's said that only when he was with his Heart was he truly alive.

      That certainty calmed him. He would have to talk with him when he went back to the ship, but he didn't have to rush there, and attract attention. He chuckled to himself. It wasn't like they could go anywhere while he was in the shower. They would have time to talk.

      * * * * *

      With his shower done, and fresh clothes, Jeremy headed to the cafeteria hall to get something to eat before heading back to the ship. He grabbed two bottles of liquid meal replacement, he didn't feel like sitting down, he could drink those on his way back. He almost collided with Omar on his way out.

      "Jeremy," Omar smiled, "I haven't seen you in a while."

      "Ah, yeah," Jeremy hesitated. "The pills you gave me are working, and I figured I wouldn't bother you until I needed more." Did his excuse sound as lame to Omar as it did to him?

      "Good, I'm glad to hear it. Why don't you sit down with me and have a real breakfast." He pointed to the bottles. "These things really aren't good for you." He took him by the arm and guided Jeremy back to the line.

      Jeremy could protest, say that he needed to get back to work, but would that make Omar suspicious? He had time, he reminded himself. Gral wasn't going anywhere.

      "Are you treating yourself okay?" Omar asked, "I ran into Kathy and Patrick, and they mentioned that you haven't hung out with them much recently."

      "I've been spending most of my time working on the kelsirian ship. The commander wants them off the station sooner rather than later."

      "Still, you shouldn't sacrifice your social contacts, and they miss seeing you. How is it working with the aliens?" Omar asked, when Jeremy shrugged.

      "It's okay," he answered with a smile, and then cursed mentally, he wasn't suppose to be becoming friends with them. "I mean, it isn't like I'm getting to know them, but they are good workers."

      "If they are so good, why aren't they able to fix it themselves?"

      Jeremy looked at Omar from the corner of his eyes as he ate. Had his tone really been angry? Or had he imagined it? "They're technicians, think of them as your nurses. They can really help, but they couldn't perform an operation on their own."

      "And they really have only one person who can work on that generator? That doesn't sound really smart."

      Jeremy wanted to ask him what the problem was? But he was afraid that he already knew. He force his tone to be casual. "They're aliens, you can't expect them to think like us." He finished his plate. "I should get back to work. How about we meet up tonight? We can talk some more." He didn't wait for the response. He put his dishes in the cleaning bin, and headed back to the ship, forcing himself to walk there, not run.

      * * * * *

      He buzzed Gral's office.

      "Come," he said, and the door opened.

      "I think they've figured out something up," Jeremy said immediately, removing the smile from Gral's lips. He told him about his encounters.

      "What do you think they will do?" Gral asked.

      "I don't know, but considering the extent they went to make sure I'd never feel attracted to a man, I can't imagine it would be good. To be honest, I'm not sure how safe I'd be on the station if they become certain I'm doing more that fixing the generator."

      Gral leaned back in his seat. "You can move to the ship." He said evenly.

      Jeremy wasn't sure how to take the statement, he couldn't read Gral's expression. "Do, you want me to?" he asked cautiously.

      Gral lowered his head. "Yes, I do." He looked at Jeremy. "I can't keep you safe when you're on the station. I know how your people feel about what we have, and I've been worrying about it each time you left the ship."

      "Then I'll move in with you."

      "Do you have much you need to bring?"

      Jeremy thought about it. "No, I've never really accumulated much. A few sentimental things, and my drawings. That's about it."

      Gral nodded. "Then, when you go to the station for your mid day meal, take your things when you come back. Once you're here, I'll be able to make sure they can't get to you.

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