SIM:Whale: Razor's Edge
The Razor's Edge of Love & Fear
(( Spacedock Earth - Keldor’s Coffee Lounge ))
:: Really, the only reason Whale was sitting in Keldor’s was that it was the only cafe on this deck that had big, soft armchairs. If it weren’t for the chairs, Whale would not have been there. The drinks were certainly not a draw. He’d tried something Keldor had recommended -- something with far too many syllables and ended with “chino” -- and it had been horrific. So he’d ordered a tea. And it had taken a great deal of explaining to get the man to understand he wanted tea. Just tea. No foam, no steam, no bloody chocolate sprinkles. Just. Frelling. Tea. And Keldor himself wasn’t much of a draw either, the always grinning Bolian male who, for some reason, always insisted on wearing a jet-black shoulder-length woman’s wig. ::
:: But hey, the place had awesome chairs. ::
:: With a sigh, he put up his feet on the coffee table -- something Keldor would no doubt give him hell for, but Whale fully intended on doing regardless -- and began going through the information he’d been sent on the Constitution’s new Search and Rescue Team. He’d made a few modifications to the information already, having been a major part of the SAR Teams back when he was a Marine Captain aboard the Tiger and Starbase 118, but he expected to be tweaking things more and more in the coming weeks. They were being assigned a Marine K-9 unit, which was nice -- he’d been impressed with their work on 118. ::
:: He made a note -- an actual note, since mental notes had a habit of disappearing after a few minutes -- to speak with 2nd Lieutenant Sassilin whenever the man got back from Cardassia. While a SAR Team roster was always in flux, depending entirely on the situation at hand, it still seemed like a perfect fit for a marine medic. ::
:: Of course, there was also the matter of- ::
:: Whale glanced up and froze. And stared. With his mouth slightly open. ::
Shelley: Close your mouth, David, it’s unflattering.
:: She let him stare for another few moments, but she began to feel a blush creeping into her cheeks. ::
Shelley: Do you mind if I sit?
Whale: Uh... no. No, please do.
:: Taking his feet off the coffee table, he indicated the armchair across from him and she sat, but didn’t seem very relaxed about it. The doctor was more perched on the edge of the chair than actually sitting in it. ::
Whale: I don’t understand... is the Independence docked here, too?
:: If it was, he should probably seek out Commander Rogers and buy the man a drink for having dumped the whole Shannon Riley mess in his lap. ::
Shelley: No. No, I left the Independence.
:: “Oh”? That’s all you could come up with? You’ve been thinking about this woman almost non-stop since- ::
Shelley: Do you have any idea how mad I was at you?
:: Whale frowned. ::
Shelley: You left! You just... left! Do you-
:: Her voice had begun to increase in volume, so she stopped herself, casting a furtive glance around to see if anyone had turned to look. Thankfully, they hadn’t. ::
Shelley: We need to talk in private.
:: Frak. ::
Whale: All right. Where do you-
Shelley: I have temporary quarters here on the station.
:: She stood and appeared to be waiting for him to do the same. He held up his padd. ::
Whale: Give me a couple minutes to finish with this. I’ll be right there. Promise.
:: With a nod, she headed out and Whale released a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. Why the hell was life always so complicated? Why couldn’t anything just be SIMPLE for once? ::
(( Shelley’s Temporary Quarters ))
:: When Whale finally made his way to the doctor’s quarters, he found her pacing in front of a fake window, which seemed to be looking out on a lake at sunset. Holographic, of course -- the station was far too large for everyone to have a real window, so most quarters had been equipped with holo-windows. And Whale was noting all of this as a way to avoid thinking about why he was there. ::
:: But then he made the mistake of taking his eyes off the window and he saw Shelley. Saw her strawberry blond hair shining bronze in the simulated sunset, saw her ice-blue eyes staring back him, with... with what? There some something in her eyes, but he had always been horrible at figuring out what women were thinking. ::
Whale: So. You were mad at me.
Shelley: Yes. Absolutely. I still am. You know...
:: She ran a hand through her hair and for a second Whale was distracted by the halo of golden light that framed her. He quickly blinked and looked away. ::
Shelley: ...I had a whole speech planed for this moment. I was going to tell you how it felt when I found out you’d left; how much it hurt that you’d transferred out without even saying goodbye.
Shelley: Don’t interrupt me, David. Not today. :: beat :: It hurt, David. It really HURT that you didn’t even say goodbye. And I was so, so angry with you about that. I even bought a pair of rubber balls for you -- I was going to hand them to you angrily and say “here, I thought you could use these since you can’t seem find find your own.” :: pause :: But then I heard...
:: She paused briefly. She couldn’t tell him that she’d eavesdropped on his talk with Vines, so she left that out and moved on to what she’d found out immediately after. ::
Shelley: Then I heard about how you almost died -- again. Again, David! I mean, my god, twice in the last eight months!
:: Now he had no trouble seeing what was in her eyes. It was fear. And... tears...? ::
Shelley: Now I’m just glad you’re okay. :: beat :: And that makes me just as mad as everything else -- that just knowing you’re all right has somehow made me forgive you for everything.
:: As she wiped her eyes, Whale had to use all his self-control to not reach out for her. ::
Shelley: Look. I don’t know what I said or did to make you feel that you had to leave-
:: What she did...? ::
Whale: Wait, wait.
Shelley: I asked you not to interrupt-
Whale: Well, I’m damned well doing it anyway.
:: Against his better judgement, he put his hands on her shoulders. ::
Whale: You didn’t do anything. I left because...
:: Damn it. Just how honest could he be here? ::
Whale: I left because I needed to get my head on straight. I needed to work out some personal issues...
:: Like falling for a married woman. ::
Whale: And I didn’t want things to get awkward for you.
:: She was looking him in eye. Looking at him very closely. ::
Shelley: Is that the truth?
Whale: Yes. Mostly. :: beat :: And the reason I didn’t say good bye was that... You know what? Frell it. You came all this way looking for answers.
:: Turning away from her, he stepped up to the fake window. The nerves in his left hand -- the hand that was injurred in the Vaadwaur attack -- were twitching like mad and he could feel the cold grip of fear tightening on his chest. Whale was about to take a huge leap and it was all but guaranteed to be a huge mistake that would cost him a dear friend... but sometimes things have to be done whether you want to do them or not. And like Vines said, for whatever reason, Whale was getting a second chance at life. Maybe it was time to stop playing it safe. Maybe he could just tell her the truth and they could go their separate ways, no harm no foul. ::
Whale: I left the Independence because of you, but not because you did anything wrong.
:: Still not looking at Shelley -- trying desperately NOT to look at her -- Whale never the less felt the doctor step up beside him. ::
Whale: Quite the opposite, actually. Everything you did -- everything you do -- is right. Right for ME, I mean. What really surprised me is how long it took for me to realise it and I even get the impression T’tala may have figured it out first.
Whale: Shh, I’m kind of on a roll here.
:: Unseen by Whale, the doctor began, ever so slightly, to smile. ::
Whale: I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming, but there it was. I’d started... :: pause :: I had feelings for you that went beyond our friendship. So I left. I didn’t want what I was feeling to make your life difficult. I mean, you’re married-
Shelley: I’m aware of my marital status.
:: Fear was still tying his internal organs in knots, but it seemed to be loosening its grip bit by bit. Whale had expected the doctor to put some space between them the closer her got to the truth, but she’d actually moved closer and now she... she was holding his hand. Making him turn to face her. ::
Shelley: And I still would have liked a goodbye.
Whale: I wanted to, but I honestly wasn’t sure what I’d say.
:: He smiled sadly. ::
Whale: I may have asked you to run away with me.
Shelley: I may have said yes.
:: Had she really said...? ::
Shelley: Nothing. Forget I said it.
:: Not frelling likely. He’d be remembering those five words for a very, very long time. ::
Whale: I guess I can give you your goodbye now. Then we can both head back to our ships. Go on with our lives.
Shelley: Oh. Yes. About that...
:: Very intentionally looking everywhere but at Whale, Shelley stepped away from him. She was blushing. Whale frowned. ::
Shelley: I, uh... I transferred to the Constitution.
:: Oh frak. ::