Glory Star rolled her eyes as she glared at the tiny compartment that she'd been given to stow her belongings, which was not wide enough and not tall enough for the suitcase that she had brought along. Honestly, guidelines on how to conduct oneself while on board the interstellar express were hardly useful if you couldn't even bring your luggage along for the ride.
As she continued to struggle with the possibilities of how to fit a ten inch wide suitcase into an eight-inch wide hole, she felt rather than saw something decidedly male brushing past her, his thigh making contact with her ass along the way. She turned with the intention of glaring until she caught sight of the man in question.
"Captain Richards? Excuse me, sir. I didn't realize I was blocking the way."
"Of course you weren't, my dear," he said, smirking. "It's just that your delectable backside was too tempting to ignore while you were bent at such an awkward angle. Here, let me help you with that."
Glory watched as the captain slid his fingers along the side of the cubicle and pushed a button that she should have spotted immediately. Her jaw dropped and her face went red as the width and height of the space both expanded, and her body fell forward as the suitcase slipped neatly into place.
"Thanks," she said, rubbing at the bruise that was beginning to form on her wrist thanks to its unfortunate placement just then. He reached out and caught at her hand, turning it over so he could assess the damage.
"Personal cubicles are always retracted until they are to be used just for the sake of convenience," he explained as he continued the rubbing motion where she'd left off. "You'll get used to little things like that the more you travel for GalactiCorp, Miss Star. I trust you do know which seat is yours so we can get under way?"
Glory's flush deepened as her jaw snapped shut. "Of course I do," she said, trying not to grit her teeth over his magnanimous attempts at chivalry. What part of 'independent woman' had not been clearly understood when he read her resume? "And does the seat have any buttons I need to know about as well? I'd hate to inconvenience you any further."
Richards snorted, the sound somewhere been miffed man and impressed employer. "No, it doesn't. The seats are all self-adjusting on this particular transport shuttle. Some of the other shuttles or ships may still have the outdated equipment on them, but I'll be sure to give you fair warning about those, all right?"
"Yes, please," she said, nodding. "It's awfully difficult to look like a competent repairs specialist when you are woefully uninformed about the unfamiliar equipment you're about to be experiencing."
The captain chuckled. The smooth, low tone of his voice became even more electrifying when he used it in that manner than it was when he was conducting their interview yesterday morning in his businesslike and serious tones. Glory might have known that the addition of cheer to his already enticing vocalizations would not make it any easier to pretend a disinterest that she didn't particularly feel.
"Come, let's get settled in, shall we?" he said then, and Glory followed him down the aisle. Apparently, her seat was right in front of his own, and she was too aware of the man as they each buckled their harnesses and prepared for the upcoming take-off. At least since they were already floating in low-orbit around Regulus Prime, they wouldn't have to endure the mind-numbing pressure of a full exit, just the jarring one normally experienced as their ship broke away from the starbase and headed into deep space.
Glory wasn't too interested in this three day portion of the journey, but rather the arrival at the Captain's starship when they reached the other end. She had been raised at Regulus Base, and she had never left it in all of her twenty years. Now, though, as a fully trained robotics specialist, the captain had just hired her on to help update any and all of the equipment she could get her hands on. They planned to visit every ship in his fleet and do a thorough sweep, and the man had told her he expected her to be brutally honest about the changes they would require.
"Would you like to watch the movies during your trip, Miss Star?" asked the stewardess as she went by.
"No thank you," Glory replied automatically, used to the fact that she didn't have the credits for such extravagances.
"Go ahead and give her a headset," said Richards from behind her. "By the time three days have passed, she might just change her mind."
"Sir?" Glory gasped, flushing once again. "I really don't need them. I brought a book along."
"Don't forget, Miss Star, that you're going to need something to do besides that once we've gotten out there," he reminded her. "I don't really think that there's a huge marketplace full of digital books in the Gamlin Quadrant that you will have access to whenever you like. This set has a universal plug, so you'll be able to use them with that device for music and movies out there. And they could even double for other things which might require a listening device."
"Yes, I suppose you're right," said Glory with a sigh. "You know so much more than me—it's disconcerting really. I was the head of my class, you know? It feels weird to actually be the one needing advice instead of the other way around."
He grinned at her as she looked back at him. The effect of those pearly whites, his chiseled good looks, and the wayward lock of sandy-blond hair falling into his big baby blues as he placed a pillow behind his head and leaned back actually made Glory swoon internally. Of all the sensations and changes she'd undergone in the last day-cycle, she thought that maybe meeting this man and trying to ignore her growing attraction to him had to be the worst. She would go and get her first real job with a guy she found irresistible. That was probably all part of the 'rebelling against your parents' package she'd just signed up for, after all.