|A science fiction romance|
“What happened?” Maya set her pack to the side. “I’ve asked before, but I never get a straight answer out of anyone.”
Vach picked up the tote from where he had left it earlier and pulled out some food, followed by a grate that went over the fire. “The ancients produced great technology, similar to your own. By doing so, they angered the Great Mother. They didn't seem to realize that by damaging our world, they harmed her. The priestesses called a council meeting of all the clan members, along with the ancients, but the ancients wouldn't listen to the wisdom of the Goddess.”
He cut up some meat, then carefully worked a skewer through the long, thin pieces. Setting the meat carefully over the fire, he repositioned the skewers so there was some room in between each one. “A battle began. Those in favor of technology against those who supported the Goddess.”
She stared into the fire, trying to picture the meeting in her mind. “Is that what started the battle? The ancients and their technology lost?”
He cut up some veggies and dropped them into a skillet. “Everyone lost, Maya.”
She leaned toward him. “But… your people?”
“We were reduced to an agrarian society. All the old technology was lost when our great cities were destroyed.” He made a wide gesture with his knife. “What you see out there is what happened to our planet after the battle.”
“The desert?” Her heart sank. Something really bad happened here.
“It was wetlands before that battle.”
Maya shook her head. “I’m afraid that’s where my planet is heading. We’re just one war away from annihilation.”
“Let’s hope not.” He poured a bit of oil into the pan, stirring the veggies. Reaching across, he turned the meat over.
“What are you cooking?” She looked the food over. “It looks like shish kabobs and stir-fry.”
“I don’t know what that is.” He flipped the food in the skillet. “It’s just something I like to cook over a campfire.” Bringing out a plate, he served Maya, then himself.
“Good.” Maya nodded, taking a bite.
“You like it?”
“Yes.” She smiled at him. She wondered what else he did that was as good as his cooking. Her gaze was drawn to the muscular chest revealed by the slit in his shirt’s neckline. He looked as if he lived a very active life, but his silk clothes bespoke wealth. Going after her the way he did said more loudly than anything that he liked to have things his own way. Pushy men make bad companions and worse lovers.
“What’s next on the agenda?” He took a bite of the meat on the skewer.
“Get out of the mountains, pack up my stuff from the old building and then go home.” She glanced over to him. It’ll be interesting to see where he lives. “Where did you want me to drop you off?”
He stared at her a moment. “I’m staying with you. Don’t you understand? I’m your servant for a year and a day.”
Maya groaned. “I don’t have room for you. I live with someone.”
“Yes, I know, Momma Roosa.” He stabbed some of the veggies with the three-pronged fork. “She also raised six children and still has the bedrooms to prove it. There will be a bed for me. Although, being your servant, I’ll sleep on the floor of your bedroom.”
“No, absolutely not.” She shook her head. “If I have to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I might step on you.”
Vach chuckled. “I’m willing to take that chance.”
She stared. “I’m not.”
He grinned. “What’s the matter? You don’t want me to see you in your sleeping clothes?”
“Humph, it’s not like my jammies are sexy or anything. As you know, you’ve already seen them.”
“Oh, those pant things.” He wrinkled up his nose.
“Yes, we call them pajamas, PJs or jammies.” She plucked at her jeans. “They’re comfortable to sleep in.”
“I sleep naked.”
“What?” She noticed his teasing grin. Is he kidding? “If you’re sleeping on the floor of my room, you’re not.”
His grin deepened. “So, I am sleeping on your floor?”
“No, I… Huh?” She glanced back to him, her face filled with heat. God, he did it to me again. “Well, if you keep insisting on going home with me, then I guess we’ll see if Momma Roosa has a bedroom for you.”
“All right. Are you done?” He gestured to her plate.
“Oh, yes.” She handed her plate over. “It was very good. I ate all of it before I realized it.”