Tina stared at the old picture, unsure how to feel. It had been years since the holoframe had been set to project this particular image. She’d even forgotten that she still had pictures of him. It was a reminder of a happier time, teenage love without any complications. He’d been strong, handsome, sensitive, smart, caring…she knew it was an idealized memory, but the worse the present got, the better the past looked.
Sure, Hideki was a self-involved, spoiled, vicious little man, but he was also the son of the Renraku North America CEO, so she didn’t have much choice. Without the megacorp’s support, Thompson Industries was going to collapse. She and her family would end up on the street, scrabbling for existence and prey to even worse scum than Hideki.
And now they’d gone at each other in the club. She’d almost had a heart attack when she saw stalking toward them, as impulsive and chivalrous as ever. Yeah, he looked different from the holo, ever since the Change. But under the horns, dermal deposits and tusks, he was still the same guy that she loved. And still just as vindictive.
This was going to be bad. Very, very bad…
Maya’s question startled her, breaking the reverie. She looked at her friend sadly. “An old regret,” she replied.
“Yum. When are you going to introduce me?” Maya was always a bit oblivious.
“Too bad. He’s hot. Come on, let’s go. We’ve got dancing and drinking to do.”
Tina nodded to her friend and put the holoframe down. She paused for a moment, carefully studying the young man in the photograph. “Good-bye, Ryan,” she whispered, as she touched the delete tab.
“Come on. Let’s go get drunk.”