The boys had turned into men and were a little harder to dodge. One in particular was very insistent and she finally agreed to a date with him. To her surprise, they had a great time. She was relieved that Cody kept his hands to himself. Lanie agreed to see him again. They became inseparable, and the inevitable moment came when he tried to kiss her. She turned away.
"Lanie, we've been going out for over a month, what's wrong with a kiss?" Cody asked.
First looking at the ground, then looking in his eyes she said, "Nothing. Nothing is wrong with a kiss. I just...I dunno...I don't want a relationship."
"Really? You don't want the dream of a white picket fence, two point five kids and a dog... and a man who adores you?"
She shook her head, "I don't have time for that, I'm going to be a Starship Captain."
Cody took her hand, "Even Starship Captain's have sex." he said smiling.
Pulling her hand away she smiled, "I didn't say I wouldn't have sex, I said I didn't want a relationship."
"I have found my soul mate!" Cody raised his hands to the sky, "Thank you Jesus!" He said laughing.
Lanie laughed too, she felt better that he knew where she stood.
"So can I kiss you now?" Cody asked.
Cody drew her to him and kissed her passionately. As the kiss ended, he smiled and said, "Whadaya think?"
Pushing out her lower lip Lanie said, "Pretty good." In reality, every kiss, every touch would be compared to Azano's.
Their non-relationship progressed, and soon they were sleeping together. Cody was tender and experienced and somehow it just happened. The first time they were together Lanie was surprised when Cody held her close and said he felt honored being her first. Azano did say her body wouldn't be altered, but she had no idea that it was even possible that she would remain a virgin. Several times over the course of their non-relationship, Lanie would make sure that he knew that no strings were attached. He would reply with a very curtly, "All right already! You can do without me!"
She was sure he was the one who wanted the two point five kids' situation. Wasting his time being with her seemed crazy.
They were in their last year of college and Lanie was at the top of her class. Exploration and usage of wormholes were beginning to get them farther into the universe. Still, no life had been found, but signals beyond where they had been, lured them forwards. Lanie knew they were there. She had applied to the Space Academy and was awaiting the acceptance letter. Cody's expertise was in propulsion and he had been accepted at Global Aeronautics. They would soon be parting ways.
Lanie saw it as one-step closer to her goal, but she could see that Cody didn't want their non-relationship to end. She promised to stay in touch and meet again in the future. Not having solidified her plans, she hoped she hadn't jinxed herself.
The mail arrived at the same time every day so Lanie felt she was safe to check it about an hour after the designated time. In the apartment where she and Cody lived, the mail was still loaded into locked cubbyholes. Putting in her code, the mail door slid to the left. She could see nothing was in there, but she put her hand in all the same to make sure, then pushing a button, she locked it again. Climbing the stairs to their second floor apartment, she felt a little disappointed.
As she opened the apartment door, she saw Cody sitting in a chair facing the door with a grin on his face. He was waving an envelope.
"Guess what I found in my mail slot?" He teased.
"I have no idea." She said with a half smile.
He shoved it towards her, "Well, look at it."
She took the envelope from him and looked in disbelief as she realized they had mistakenly put her letter in his slot. Lanie held the letter from the Space Academy she had been waiting for. She ripped it open and began to read it.
"Well?" Cody stood up and tried to look over her shoulder.
'They asked if I would mind missing graduation, and can I come within the week to start my training!" Lanie jumped around the room like a spider monkey. She missed the forlorn look that Cody wore as he watched her.
The rest of the week went fast as she gathered her things to pack. Cody held her a little closer in those last days, kissed her a little deeper. She would miss him, but she had made it clear from the start, no strings attached.
On the day she left, Cody hugged her and told her, "I know I wasn't supposed to fall in love with you...but I did. I wanted you to know that, before you left, because I want you to know I will always be here for you."
Lanie didn't know how to answer him, so she kissed him, and then turned towards the shuttle that would take to the moon base. As she got to the entrance to the shuttle, she turned around to wave, but he was gone.
When she got to her seat, she sent Cody a message. She promised as soon as she was settled, she would videophone him. Waiting for him to answer her, she fell asleep. They would be there within twenty-four hours, since this was a commercial flight, it didn't travel as fast as the Starships.
Later, a Sky Hostess touched her shoulder and asked if she would like something to eat. Lanie shook her head to clear it, glanced at her phone, no message from Cody. "Maybe something light, thank you."
"Soup? Or a salad?"
"Salad's fine." Lanie smiled at the Sky Hostess and adjusted herself for comfort in the shuttle's seat.
Looking out the window, she thought briefly about Cody and why he hadn't answered her. Her thoughts drifted to the new adventure she was starting. After four years of study in college, she would have two more years of study at the Space Academy before they would give her a commendation as captain of her own Starship. Before she would actually be sent on a mission there would be another year of hands on training. By then she would be about twenty-five years old, and ten years since Azano had visited her. Lanie thought of him every day.