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Rocket Man

3rd Place in The Weekly Quickie Round 2, 2012. Lovers part ways …


“I love you.” He drew her in to kiss her.

“Don’t.” She turned her head, turning the move into a hug.

“Don’t what?” He spoke into her hair.

“Don’t say that. Not now.” She rested her head on his shoulder.

“But, I gotta say it before I … go.”

“I wish you didn’t have to. I mean. Why do you have to? It’s not like it’s the end of the world. It’s not like it’s going to save the planet.”

“It’s science. I gotta go.”

“And learn what?” She pushed away from him. “That a man can go crazy living on his own in a tiny capsule, millions of miles from any other people. If he doesn’t explode in a spectacular fire ball on the way up, that is.”

He smiled. “You’re a real optimist, you know that?”

“I’m sorry. My walls are up. I’ve got to protect myself, you know?”

He pressed his lips together. “I know. But, I’ll be fine. You’ll see. Come here.” He drew her back into his embrace. He held her tight. “Years of research has gone into this, honey. The ship is built for this kind of thing. They’ve learned from past mistakes. I’ll be fine.” He believed it. He had to. He was far more worried about going loopy floating in space, alone, for several years than he was about burning up in the atmosphere. But, he had his exercise regime. He had his games. They could beam him some reading material. And he had his work. He would be fine.

His hand trailed down her waist, cupped her bum. That, he would miss. “Let down those walls; for just a little longer.”

“Please, don’t.”

“You sure? You know we won’t be able to …”

“Then don’t go.” She pushed herself away again, but he didn’t let her out of his grasp this time. He still held her wrist. “If you love me …”

“Don’t play that game, Erica. I’ve spent my life preparing for this. I studied, I passed the tests, I kept myself fit. I pushed, and I fought to be here today. Don’t ask me to give that up.”

“But, you’re giving me up.” She pouted. She knew she was being a baby. But, how could he love the thought of being out there, alone, for so very, very long, when he could stay right here; with her?

“I’ll return to you. Victorious.” His teeth gleamed and he drew her to him again. His hands cupped her jaw and he kissed her; a slow, roaming kiss that let him taste each corner of her mouth, her top lip, the tip of her tongue. “I’ll miss you.” He wrapped her in his arms and breathed her in, then kissed her neck, then the dip above her clavicle.

She could feel her whole body humming in reply to his stroke. His arm round her waist pulled her into him, tight. She took a deep breath. She could smell him. His beautiful musk that had first set her … heart a flutter. She smiled. Even now she tried to convince herself it had been love at first sight. But, no. It had been lust. Dirty, insistent lust. If she allowed herself to relax now, he would guide her to the floor, pull off her fitting top. He loved her skin. He always commented how soft it was; how lovely she smelled.

He was kissing the crest of her breast now, heading for her cleavage. She shuddered at his breath tickling her skin.

“No. Stop.” She pushed him back. Yuck. She could feel the dampness in her knickers.

And how would it be if she let him continue? Him hurriedly redressing and taking off to make his final preparations. A flushed wave goodbye? She would dress, and feel him dripping from her for the rest of the afternoon.

He pulled her in again and kissed her under her chin, on her chin, and bit her lower lip. His breathing was rapid. Shallow.

“I said stop.” She pushed harder this time.

He readjusted his trousers, all the frustration evident in his expression.

“I said I can’t, Jason. I won’t.” She stepped back. “I’m- I’m sorry. ” She turned and opened the door.


“You have my number. If you make it back, look me up. But, I can’t promise I’ll wait. You might not even be you by then. I’m sorry, Jason.” She let the door swing shut. The hurt was clear as the diamond on her finger through that little portal window. She waved, then turned her back on him for the last time.

She turned her car stereo to music and turned it up loud and she drove, her teeth clenched together to keep her eyes clear.

Word count: 791