The Stars Blue Yonder

The Stars Blue Yonder by Sandra McDonald

Book: The Stars Blue Yonder by Sandra McDonald Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sandra McDonald
“You’re getting a sunburn.”
    She hooked her arms around his neck. “I don’t care.”
    He laughed and kissed her nose. “You say that now, but you’ll be sorry later. Go on. I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
    The private beach was mostly deserted on this midweek afternoon, with many of the resort’s guests off at the pools or saunas, or getting massages, or eating in the fine restaurants. Jodenny didn’t notice the man and two children standing on the shore until she waded into the shallows. They were dressed oddly for a day at the beach—heavy clothes, boots, and were those goggles on the girl’s head?
    â€œGood morning?” Jodenny asked, just to be polite, though she didn’t like the way they were looking at her—with sadness, maybe, or perhaps it was resignation.
    â€œWe’re really hungry,” the girl said.
    The boy pinched her arm. “She’s not going to feed us, stupid.”
    Jodenny frowned at them. “Are you guests here?”
    â€œNo,” the man said. “We’re just passing through.”
    She continued past them, wondering if she should alert hotel security. Out in the waves, Osherman floated backward with his face turned to the sky. The strange man was steering the kids away from the resort and toward the trees. They’d find nothing in there but jungle, snakes, spiders, and monkeys.
    She grabbed her tote bag and said, “Hey, wait up.”
    They waited until she caught up to them. Jodenny offered the bag. “Here. There’s some sandwiches and water.”
    The man winced, but the boy grabbed the bag and held it tight.
    â€œThanks,” the man said.
    â€œWhere are you going?” Jodenny asked.
    The little girl said, “We keep jumping through time.”
    â€œJo!” That was Osherman, striding out of the surf with water glittering on his torso. He gave the three strangers a thorough look. “What’s going on?”
    â€œDoesn’t matter,” the man said, and steered the kids toward the trees again.
    Jodenny wanted to follow them, to talk some sense into the man. As the adult he shouldn’t be dragging those children around with those heavy clothes on. But Osherman said, “Refugees, probably. I hear there’s a bunch just moved into town. Come on, let’s go inside before you get really sunburned.”
    Later, standing on the balcony of their room, she looked at the dark jungle under the nighttime sky.
    â€œWhat are you doing?” Osherman asked, his hands sliding up around her waist. He smelled good, like dark spice. His lips brushed the back of her neck.
    â€œJust thinking,” she said. “I wonder who they were.”
    Out in the darkness, a blue light flashed.
    â€œRepeat after me,” Captain Balandra said. “I, Jodenny Katherine Scott, do hereby take this man as my lawfully wedded husband . . .”
    Jodenny’s hands were sweaty on her bouquet, the lace collar of her dress made her neck itch, and the sun was slanting at an unfortunate angle through the trees over Providence. The summer day was achingly gorgeous, though, and all nervousness aside, she was happy to be standing in the middle of town with an appreciative audience and Sam Osherman at her side.
    It had been ten years since their shipwreck on Providence. Ten years of Osherman gradually overcoming the trauma of his Roon captivity. His voice had come back after three years. He’d stopped prowling the town at night after four. By year six he’d proven himself to be a valued member of the community and by year eight, after he’d started dating one of the junior officers from the ship, Jodenny had realized just how much she and her daughter Lisa missed him from their lives.
    And so here they were, standing under the sun, getting married. Osherman stood in his best pants and a white shirt that had been ironed. Lisa, her dark hair frizzy in the humidity, wore a

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