Balance

“No no, why don’t you take a shuttle up to station tonight? You know the Fed Navy always makes sure I’ve got those nice atrium-facing rooms”

She smiled flirtingly to herself as she listened to his response on the sat-link and felt her cheeks burn.

“Ok babe, I’ll dock up soon and see you in station in a bit.”

A pause, the flirting grin again

“Love you too.”

She disconnected the link and rolled her eyes at herself. “you are such a tool” she muttered at herself.

What had become of her? Tough, independent, rolling stone Sophia was now hopelessly trying to balance her capsuleer career with a guy; a planet-sider no less!

She smiled and shrugged to herself as she started to recall her drones and coax the lumbering Orca to turn and allign to the Federal Navy station. She couldn’t help it; introduced through mutual friends after one of his shows  up at station, they’d seemed to have found instant recognition in each other. God her mother would’ve killed her, dating a musician. She could practically hear the “With your education! You should be going after one of those doctahs!” coming out of her mother’s regional accented mouth.

So here she was, carefully trying to balance the two; her career, and the boy. Truth be told, he seemed to be having a pretty good effect on her as a capsuleer. She’d done some changing, cleaned house a bit, and started some new directions.

For one, she’d finally decided to respond to the diplomatic relations people at Fed Navy and Roden Shipyards who’d been yammering for her employment for months now. At Jared’s urging, she’d taken them both up, and after some well-played missions and some well called in favors, she’d quickly risen in both companies to level 3 clearance missions. Not a bad way to make some money really.

She’d also made a change in flying style, and even though that had no direct relation to Jared, she liked to think him in her life had played a subtle part. Shed traded in her native gallente hulls for the sleek, gleaming plating of the Amarrian ships, and was rapidly becoming profficient with her new laser weaponry.

Her thoughts were interupted by the coms buzzing. Rory. She rolled her eyes and and shook her head, wondering for the 300th time why she’d ever accepted a request to join his private coms channel, created by him, of course.

“Heya Soph!”

She cracked a smile inspite of herself; you just had to love Rory.

“Rory, dearest, how are you” she responded, already the detecting the sarcastic direction their conversations usually went.

“Not bad, not bad…so you ditch the tool yet?”

She could practically hear Rory grinning like an asshole on the other end of the coms. He loved giving her a hard time about Jared.

“Well Rory I can see this is going to be another stimulating conversation, but I’m just about to dock up in Fricoure here and have a drink before my tool shows up for dinner so I’m gonna cut this one short I’m afraid. ”

She loved throwing it right back at him and cracked a grin.

“Fed Navy station in Fricoure? I was just about to jump clone there from null for some new headgear. I’ll meet you at Shay’s place for a drink, I’ll buy.”

“Rory” she rolled her eyes again, “we both know I’ll be the one buying your underage ass a drink you punk.”

She could hear Rory cackling on the other end.

“So it’s a date huh?”

She sighed, “fine, meet you in there in 20.”

====

“So you ditch the square yet?”

She slugged Shay in the arm and took a big first pull of her beer. Rory about fell off his stool laughing.

“Watch yourself there KID” she said to Rory, stressing the last word. Shay made an exagerated “I didn’t know!” face at Rory before passing him a fresh pint.

“Aww now why you gotta throw the kid under the bus Soph? If he wasn’t my favorite minor I might’ve even gotten upset there” he winked at Rory, who raised his glass in appreciation.

“Besides you know we kid cause we love ” he said, giving her a playful poke of the arm. “But really, how’s the boy?”

“The MAN” she huffed back, “is excellent, thank you for asking.”

“You know I still think he’d make a good pilot” Rory piped up.

They all had to laugh at that one. Jared was talented at many things, but when it came to being a capsuleer, to say he “needed some work” was an understatement. He’d joined and then either quit or been kicked from the training program 5 times now, which she was pretty sure had to be some sort of record.

“They ever settle that mess about him shooting at the Concord Captain one week and then the station the next?” Shay choaked out through laughter.

“Uuugh, you guys are terrible! Yes! Every-thing’s cool with that now. Luckily the Captain had a sense of humor about having his battleship shot at by a rookie ship, and the station directorship isnt pressing charges, seeing as his tracking and falloff were so bad he didn’t even hit the station”

Rory spit beer through his nose and actually DID fall off his stool this time.

“Laugh it up, ass” she grinned at Rory. Shay cleared his throat and gave a sarcastic salute over her head. Smiling, she turned around to see Jared coming through the front door giving Shay an exagerated salute back.

“Hey! It’s the sharpshooter himself!” Rory exploded, cracking up at his own joke. Sophia rolled her eyes at Jared appogetically

“Ahh…right right, the station thing” Jared smiled at Rory. “yYeah I think they’re still a little sore about that one, but no harm no foul right? Sorta like underage drinking eh buddy?” he winked at Rory

“Dude, why is everyone on my a..”

Rory got cut off by the rest of them laughing.

Jared threw some isk on the bar “his next ones on me Shay, but for now I’m stealing this lovely lady away for some dinner.”

Shay shook his hand warmly and made an exagerated bow to Sophia, who curtsied extravagantly as she let herself be led away.

“Night guys!” she threw back over her shoulder.

“Go get em eagle eye!” Rory belted out as he and Shay disolved into more laughter.

“I’m never gonna live that one down am I?” Jared chuckled

“No, no you aren’t handsome, but buy me some dinner and I’ll forget the whole thing”

Hand in hand, they walked off to the dining district.

-Sophia

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