by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
Part 1 of 1 (complete)
Word count: 1133
:: Set in the Berettafly Garden stories section of Polychrome Heroics. Anything I say to explain this part is spoiler for the next, so try to enjoy it as an atypical moment in the series, with promises of more to come, very soon! ::
Haruko carried the lidded container full of fruit salad under one arm, holding the door for George as she maneuvered the glass baking dish sideways through the first cycle of the air cleaning process used in Ashley's new living quarters. “Hey, Ashley,” the young man began, then froze. His last step bumped against George's back as the elderly woman shook her head, making the sapphire blue tips of the bone-white layered cut dance around her face.
“What happened?” George wondered aloud in her rusty voice, “And has anybody called SPOON yet?”
“Why would--?” Haruko began. Then, he caught a glimpse of Ashley's side of the Hab. Bits of popcorn decorated every horizontal surface. A cluster of pale white kernels nested on the brim of Ashley's top hat, even as she glared at the partially dismantled air-popping machine set on the counter which formed the lower half of the barricade between the sections.
“Wow,” he breathed, “and I thought my morning sucked!”
Ashley pointed at the kitchen appliance, torn between laughing and scowling at it. “This one's not my fault,” she insisted. “I'm not sure why the machine isn't working the way the instructions say it should, and it's only been out of the box about ten minutes!” She leaned her right shoulder against the window.
“Just push the mess out of the way,” George suggested. “Right now, there's fresh, hot food, nothing's on fire, and it certainly doesn't sound like you exploded the popcorn machine.”
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