Note: This takes place chronologically before the other chapters, but I don’t know where to fit it in yet.
In my mind’s eye, I could see the skyline of G'Kar’s Eye as I collected my dishes and books, the low wide shape of the Federal Library, the tall spires of the final landing craft, and the lake surrounding the peak of the crater. I’d never been there, but I’d seen plenty of pictures, and it was easy to visualise while looking down at the pond in the building’s central garden. It was much easier to focus on than the reading material for my certificate. I slid open the balcony door, moving quietly to not disturb anyone. As I placed my dishes in the common room sink, I observed the sound of papers shuffling from the table behind me.
“Oh, hey Elise.”
“Morning,” she groaned back, flipping through a stack of fliers, presumably for the library notice board.
“We didn’t keep you up, did we?” Haley and I were both aiming to get a suitable certification to work at AER, where we’d both apprenticed two years in a row, so we’d stayed up late into the night studying. I’d crashed before Haley, from what I remembered. Living across the hall, I imagined Elise had noticed.
“Only a bit. It’s a good thing you two were only studying.” I raised an eyebrow a little before she slid a sheet of mycelium paper across the table. “Take a look.”
I scanned the paper. New detached housing development, modular prefabs, available by application to married couples, preferably without children. I looked up to see Elise smiling warmly at me.
“This only applies to married couples. You’re not even seeing anyone, are you?”
“Ha, nooo. Thought you might be interested in it.” She inclined her head to point at the door to the room Haley and I shared. “It’d get you two out of this noise.”
“You know it’s not like that.” Her smile widened as I considered the implications. Elise knowing something I didn’t was certainly on the cards — I certainly didn’t tell Haley about many of the books I borrowed, but Elise was privy to that knowledge. The gears in my mind briefly caught on that thought, wondering what sort of books she might read that she didn’t tell me about, fully aware I’d get nowhere thinking about that.
“Maybe she’d be open to it anyway.” Or perhaps Haley had confided in her? That seemed unlikely, she wasn’t the sort to worry about things like that; if she had something to say, she would’ve said it. Perhaps there were other factors at play that I couldn’t see?
The other option is that it was an innocent suggestion and Elise was of the opinion that Haley would be happy to fulfill the requirements to move somewhere quieter. That option was at least as likely as the other two combined. It certainly wouldn’t be the ideal choice, but I wouldn’t complain about such an arrangement.
“Ground control to Aurelia?” I jolted back to reality. “I’m off to work. Can you check on my plants around lunch time?”
She looked me up and down with a knowing smile. “I’ll leave you to consider my suggestion.”