Amalea had arrived and spent most of her time in Maya's quarters, as I'm sure they had lots to catch up on. I spent my time running some missions for the owners of the station we were staying in, with hopes to lower the mineral tax for refining here. I've been stockpiling my ore for that reason, but again I hear of more changes to the whole refining and industry systems from the subspace network coming next month. Not sure how I can swing two Plexes this month for the Nao sisters to keep mining with me. Perhaps I will solo it for a while if they don't mind sitting a month out.
Maya's license is dwindling down to it's last couple of days just as she trained up some PI skills. She hadn't deployed anything on any planets yet, probably because of her uncertain future, but I am unsure about letting go of my Orca pilot. I was thinking of flying solo for a bit, perhaps be more involved with corporate fleets, but bad luck seems to follow me again and we were wardecced. Now I'm contemplating jumping back to my private corp, which the management don't seem to mind in this new corporation. It's nice to be a part of a group that doesn't force you to fight if you don't want to, but it still feels a bit wrong. I should at least try.
My sister said she was training to do some manufacturing along with her station trading, but she chose to move to Jita again to trade while she waited for her training to finish. She thinks she can find a station close to the trade hub to manufacture in, but I have my doubts. We all have to learn somewhere, I suppose.
I had the chat after that confirmed my fears. With me having to pay to rescue Amalea, Maya did not want to have me to rush to find the ISK to pay for her PLEX, and opted to let her license expire and contract over my orca and other assets. She was fine to just stay in station with Amalea, or maybe even fly with her on her ships, something I've never considered before. It reminded me of the inside of my Freighter and the concept that our ships are crewed, and I wondered why that wasn't something I contemplated more often. It felt like it wasn't a big deal to me. I'm sure the crew get's compensated somehow. I don't pay them, but maybe the government does? Or perhaps it's a part of the price of the ship? Again, I oddly do not think of it to be important now.
Again Amalea is not speaking to me. I don't think she realized I was in the room when she called Maya right after she woke up. I'm not sure of what it means, but she only seems to talk to Maya. Maybe she's using her internal comms to talk to her while still in the same room, a sort of private conversation. I don't know why though, it's not like they can't trust me at this point.
There seems to be some arguing at times. We normally hang out in someone's Captain's quarters or in the station bar. We normally sit in an isolation booth but when I get up to get drinks, they start chatting feverishly when I clear the field and can't hear, abruptly stopping again when I returned. I played along with the guise of ignorance, making them think that I didn't notice their behavior, but eventually my patience started to wear thin. I caught a glimpse of the true nature of their secrecy when a Gallentian Exotic Dancer entered the bar and began setting up a small stage to work on that caught my attention. When my gaze finally returned to my companions, I was met with expressions of disgust from Maya, and what seemed like hurt from Amalea. No wait. That was raging jealousy. I've seen that before...
How the hell was I supposed to know?!
"What?" I asked, fearing the worst. I had somewhat of a read on what was going on, but I was running on so little information, this situation could go either way. The uncertainty worried me.
"Enjoying the 'view'?" Maya asked sarcastically. I glance over at the Dancer. A couple of Amarrian pilots got up and left in disgust as she began dancing to music he assumed was playing in the bar, but they couldn't hear because of the isolation booth. Apparently, the innocent glance was a mistake, because Amalea looked away from me with a spiteful look and Maya became more annoyed.
"View?" I reply sounding uncertain. I knew perfectly well what she meant, but again, lack of information and whatnot.
"You like Exotic Dancers, Sain?" Maya asked, the venom thick in her voice. I felt like I was in trouble, but not sure why.
"Sure. They're alright." I reply, taking a sip of my drink. I paused then added, "Do you like Male Exotic Dancers? Maybe they'll have some in next week." There was a brief pause and her face flushed red for a moment, then she composed herself. I thought I saw a brief smirk from Amalea, but she quickly went back to the hurt expression from before.
"We're talking about you here, not me." she snapped.
"We are? What for?" I retorted.
"Why are you looking at other women?" she demanded. Amalea remained silent.
"Other? Other than you?" I ask, "What are you talking about? Why can't I look?" I paused and leaned closer as if trying to let only her hear, regardless of the isolation booth, "Are you interested in me? I had no idea."
Again she turned bright red and turned to Amalea with confusion on her face. I could hear their hushed whispers plainly.
"You said you told him!" Maya whispered.
"I said I was going to! When the time was right!" Amalea whispered back. I leaned back and lifted my glass again to drink my eyebrow raising as I looked the two over, pretending not to notice the Dancer's top go flying across the room to land comically on another Gallentian's head. The silent cheers and whistling were a mild distraction as patrons clapped and waved but Sain sat calmly thanking his luck that the girls had their backs to the stage and their view obstructed from the now topless dancer.
"Tell me what?" I asked, setting my empty glass on the table. Maya seemed embarrassed now and the redness on her face hadn't completely gone away.
"I thought....well....aw crap." She sighed, hanging her head in her hands.
"What?" I ask again. It was starting to annoy me now. What the hell were they talking about?
"I like you Sain." Amalea suddenly spat, forcefully it seemed, and with her eyes closed. She kept them closed for a while, wincing, as if anticipating a blow of some kind. I felt a little surge of adrenaline rush through my chest and stopped staring at her. She dared to peek at me and seemed to relax slightly as she saw me sort of freeze in my seat, staring down in my glass at rapidly melting ice. The gyrating motions of the sinful display of flesh on the stage went unnoticed to me as did the rest of the room. I was only brought back to the table by Maya's words.
"Sain, say something!" she demanded. I looked up and opened my mouth, yet nothing came out. I oddly wished there was a skill book I could inject that gave me the ability to deal with something like this, but something like romance wasn't in mind for the capsuleer program.
"I...I...." One letter came out. Nice. It's a start at least.
"Are you okay?" Maya asked, "She needs to hear more than that."
"But why?" I finally said, "We've known each other for less than a month by your point of view. You barely, if ever, talk to me. I know nothing about you besides what Maya says about you. Did you just not talk to me because you were shy?" Amalea turned a deep shade of red and nodded.
"Y-Yes." she squeaked.
"Why are you shy around me? You're acting like a teenager. Haven't you had a boyfriend before?" I ask. She shook her head.
"N-No." she muttered. Maya was looking angry again. What the hell did I say wrong now?
"Sain, Amalea grew up on a backwater world in the Gallente Empire. A planet in low security space." Maya said.
"Maya, you're Caldari and she's Gallente, how are you sisters?" I ask. It's been something I've wondered for a while but I assumed it was like my sister and I. Osiph was Gallente and I was Caldari. It's an odd pairing, since Caldari and Gallente are supposedly at war. I've heard it's more of a 'relative peace', which is why men from all factions can sit here in this bar and partake in the common pleasures of life.
"Getting off topic here, Sain. I was saying that she didn't have the opportunity to meet another boy let alone date. There was segregation and the men and women were separated for everything. It was for population control."
"So you've never met a male before me?" I asked surprised. Maya sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.
"My family adopted her as a young child and raised her in space on stations. She has Androphobia because of the guards on her planet and we even had to request an all female staff to do the procedure to become a capsuleer. She was hoping that being in a capsule would help isolate her from other people enough to handle at least talking to a male over ships communications. She was planning on becoming a sort of pod hermit."
"So she's been afraid of men all this time?" I asked.
"It hasn't been long. Amalea turned nineteen about six months ago." she said, "When she became a capsuleer.
"So I've been the very first man that she's had any contact with?" I ask. I wasn't sure to be flattered or insulted at this point. Amalea had folded her arms on the table and buried her face in them, but I could see her ears were bright pink. She was probably embarrassed beyond belief. It was oddly refreshing to realize that such things as this were important to people in such a harsh and brutal universe. Wars are fought, lives are lost, factions were gaining and losing sovereignty over space. Ships were build, sold, bought and destroyed. Most people's focus are on their wallets and the almighty ISK, yet human nature prevails after all this time and things like romance and teenage lust remain.
Now, I don't claim to be an expert in this, but taking into consideration the situation I was unsure of the girl's feelings. I felt I needed to be responsible about this as it was a delicate situation from what Maya said she came from. Yet, the heavy silence in their booth hung like a suffocating blanket over them and he had to say something.
"Amalea, I think I know how you think you feel, but I think you're not experienced enough to know if that feeling is love." I said.
"Like! I said like, not love!" she exclaimed without moving. A finger meagerly raised in the air to make her point.
"I know what you meant." I said, "I'm not declining you, but I think you really need to think about what you are feeling and understand it a bit better."
"Sain, what are you expecting from this?" Maya asked suspiciously, "She just said she likes you. She didn't say she wanted a relationship or anything. Why are you making this out to be a sort of confession of love?" A sort of panic washed over me as I realized I may have just read the situation a little wrong. Maybe she just wanted me to know that even with her condition, I've become a male she can trust and like. As a friend. Yeah, that makes more sense...
"Right. You're right. Sorry. I must have thought wrong." I stammered, sipping the melted ice water in my glass. I felt something land in my hair and I slowly lowered my glass to see the entire bar staring at me and laughing. The Dancer on the stage was waving at me and blowing kisses. I reach up to remove the object from my head and the girls at my table laughed as I held up the Dancers thong.