© Sue Vincent
Elio Hudson let out a deep breath as he looked at the idylic scene on the small console monitor. It was a photo he had taken of a field of wildflowers last Spring in southeast Texas, a hundred miles from the Houston Space Center and his other life.
“Hey, you might want to save that for later. Where we’re going has a much broader canvas.” Eledoro Salazar tapped Elio on the shoulder while sitting in the co-pilot’s chair. Although the mission leader and Naval Commander had only met the Spanish computer scientist eleven months ago while they were training for this mission, they had become fast friends.
Hudson removed his restraints and lifted his muscular frame from the pilot’s seat. “Routine systems check complete, Eledoro. Let’s go join the others. Our mission update from Houston is scheduled to come in about five minutes from now.”
“Right you are. Let’s go.”
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John had timed it all perfectly. Renee was at the front reception desk talking with Brian when the flowers were delivered. He watched through the large windows that showcased the lobby as the vase with a dozen long-stemmed red roses (a classic) were placed on her desk. He couldn’t tell what they were saying, but he could guess.
“If you could just sign here, Ms. Stewart.”
“Sure.” She was grinning, convinced that they were from Brian. She didn’t even bother to look back up at him to see the bewildered look on his face.
“Here you go.” She handed the pad and pen back to the delivery guy.
“Thanks. Have a nice day.” He had a good job for the most part, always making people happy.
“Thank you, Bri…” She’d started to stand to give him a kiss and then stopped when she saw his expression. “What’s the matter?”