This chapter takes place between “Safe” when Simon really started to notice Kaylee and “Our Mrs. Reynolds”. Your idea of “It’s been a while.” may vary from that of a healthy thirtysomething man. Two weeks? Two months?
At the New Dunsmuir spaceport, Kaylee had set up her lawn chair outside the cargo ramp and was watching for possible paying passengers, when Mal squatted down beside her.
“Lookin ta fill up the rest of the passenger cabins, bao bei?”
“If they got money to pay, don’t see why not, Cap’n.”
“Might not be the safest for your doctor and his sister, I’m thinkin.”
“He’s not my….” Kaylee blushed.
“But you’d like him to be, right?”
“He’s real shueah, Mal. An yeah, I’d be right interested if he made a move.”
“Then I guess, I should step back a bit. Give you more space. I can’t say I like the boy, but he is a good doc, and … he’s closer to your age.”
“Oh no, Mal! I don’t want you to step back. And we’ve talked bout this “old man” shit before. You’re in your prime. Y’are prime, ask me.” Kaylee’s wide hazel eyes were direct.
“Look, mei mei. We had an … arrangement and that’s bin good. But you shouldn’t see it as long term or anything to make you avoid findin someone better. I’ll step back and let you see where things go with the doc.”
“Does that mean I can’t come to your bunk any more? Cause that’s been some of the best fun I’ve had on this boat.”
“I won’t say I haven’t enjoyed grapplin with you, mei mei. But mebbe it’s time to stop and let you find someone more appropriate. An I can’t see anyone as proper as the doc makin any move if he thinks we are something.”
“Aren’t we? “ Kaylee pouted. “I kinda thought we were special. Not just that I was the only piece of ass available to you.”
“Kaywinnet Lee Frye! Don’t ever let anyone call you that! If ever does, call me and I’ll caponize the bugger!”
Kaylee’s eyes brimmed. She folded up her chair and took it back into the depths of Serenity.
Mal stared after her. “Idiot.” he thought. “Gorram idiot.”