FICTION FRIDAY – Extract from Running Out of Space – Book 1 of The Sunblinded trilogy

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I felt cold as I leaned towards Wynn, trying to screen him from the monitors. “You haven’t said anything about what really happened in Basement Level, have you?”
Ricco barged between us, bristling with outraged machismo.
“And what d’you think you’re doing, Rubio?” He spoiled his attitude of pent aggression by tipping a plateful of food down himself, then scraped at his smeared tunic, making the stain a whole lot worse, cursing steadily as he did so.
“You better wash that mouth out before you kiss your Mamá with it!” I snapped, as pieces of paella showered down on me. “Quit staling our air, Ricco.”
Giving up on his uniform, Ricco didn’t even look in my direction, too busy trying to eye-slice Wynn into submission. Who leaned back in his chair with his hands laced behind his head, grinning. I felt a wave of affection for him.
One of our hombres would feel honour-bound to square up to Ricco, by now.
“Step away from my intended, sobra!” Ricco hissed.
What!
“This true?” Wynn turned to me, his face now stone cold.
“’Course it isn’t! What d’you take me for?” my furious voice soared over the polite mutter susurrating around the cargohold. I jumped up and turned on Ricco. “What holo-scam you pulling now, hombre?”
Sudden hush dropped like a blanket around us.
What I should have done was slam my mouth shut. Or just head for the door. Preferably both. What I actually did was shout at the top of my very loud voice, “I’m not your intended! Never have been and never will be, Ricco Solana, and you know it!”
Fully fired up, he also lost any sense of propriety. “Don’t you give me that, you holo-hoaxing deceiver!”
“Deceiver!” I spluttered, “What deceit, you wet-head? Have we ever exchanged any promises? No. Any ring? No. Have we even kissed? No.”
“But you knew,” he howled, his face blotched and furious. “It was understood that we’d marry! We grew up together-”
I wasn’t letting him get away with that fuse-brained reasoning. “Sí, you’re right. So we did. I also grew up with five brothers and a pet rabbit. I’m not marrying them, either!”
“But your padre and me – we have spoken of this. He has given his permission!”
I might’ve known it. Papá! You’re the deceiving holo-hoaxer, here, aren’t you?
I saw Ricco’s contorted face through a red haze as my fury nocked up to giddy recklessness. “Oh, fine. Marry him, then. I don’t want you in that way, and I never have!”

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