USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Talking After Midnight

Posted on Sat Jul 8th, 2017 @ 11:14pm by Master Warrant Officer Lucinda Ingham

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Deck 5; Deck 18
Timeline: MD 92; 0300

The witching hour was come. On a good night for Ryland, that merely meant expending his second or third wind with whomever was under the bed sheets. His partner of late, the comely Belgian from Security, certainly seemed up to it. In fact, after their night of passion spent in the Shuttlebay, she had yet to turn him down.

While he lay there, Ryland found his thoughts wandering to the last few days. He had impersonated the first officer with a dying crewmember's family; he'd been kicked out of Sickbay; he'd gotten into a barfight that spilled out into a corridor before Security could be alerted. Lots of fun times added to the bitter pile of memories that, without the warm flesh embrace of a willing woman, would drown him. Among those bitter memories was meeting up with Lucinda. The sight of the lady doctor running away in tears was particularly haunting him.

As he stared down at the top of her sleeping head near his shoulder, Ryland heard the stern words of their agreement run through his head. "No attachments." It had sounded sexy when she had said them with her accent, but at this late hour, they stung.

Carefully and deliberately as not to disturb his not-girlfriend, Ryland slipped out of her bed in search of his clothing. Most of them were in a trail leading to her bedroom door, though his flight jacket was in the middle of the main room. Most times he would stop to assess himself in the mirror, but he felt the overwhelming urge to get out of there.

The turbolift was a good step away from Emilie's quarters, but Ryland felt like he floated to it. He needed closure in life. Healing was too much to ask for someone like him, but maybe not closure. When the turbolift doors opened, the empty space drew him inside.

"Deck 20."

His voice sounded like a prison sentence. What was he doing? What was he really doing? He had left a naked stone-cold fox in order to wander back to his own quarters in the middle of the night. Again, his thoughts turned to the lady doctor.

"Computer, cancel. Deck 18."

There were over two hundred eligible ladies on board the ship, and Ryland knew where the most attractive of them slept. Good reconnaissance was vital for any mission, and had paid off more than once with supposedly chance meetings that had blossomed into erotic encounters.

Ryland stepped off the turbolift and counted off the door numbers on the deck until he came to the one he wanted. 29. He ran his hand over the chime, not quite sure what he was going to say, yet unable to move away.

Lucinda grumbled and groaned in her half asleep state as the chime echoed around her quarters. The family cat was asleep on the floor beside her - and Lucinda narrowly missed tripping over him as she slowly made her way over to her dressing gown which was draped on her chest of drawers. Normally Lucinda would have been sharing quarters with someone else but because she had Lorelai they were allocated slightly larger quarters.

Reaching for her practice guitar as she silently walked up to the door - just in case it was an unwanted visitor - Lucinda reached the door and reached for the button. The doors swished open and Lucinda glared at Ryland whilst clutching the guitar by its neck.

"What the fuck do you want?" Lucinda said quietly.

The lady doctor's glare punched a hole through Ryland's heart which drained away his words. "I'm sorry," he said at last. "I came to tell you I'm sorry."

Tightening her grip on the training guitar - more out of frustration than desire to use it to strike Ryland because of the numerous consequences that would result from it - Lucinda continued to glare at the man.

"You're damned right you're sorry. You made me feel like something you stand in and as if I was just someone to replace a less glamorous or desirable candidate for your date - or rather a quick one you can then throw away and then move to the next one. And before you ask no you can't come in" Lucinda responded.

"I wasn't going to," Ryland said. He looked down at his feet long enough to let Lucinda's words wash over him. "You're right. I felt... vulnerable. And I don't like feeling that way, so I did the only thing I know to do when I feel vulnerable."

Ryland turned his face back to Lucinda, his eyes barely meeting hers. "I pressed the attack. Either I'd... win... or you'd retreat. I never meant to hurt you. Forgive me?"

Lucinda's face showed she looked unconvinced.

"Please."

Lucinda rolled her eyes before continuing. She wasn't really convinced about what Ryland was saying - even if he was admitting he was basically wrong and hadn't been as respectful as he should have been.

"Do you think I'm going to just forgive you straight away? My boss isn't very fond of you right now and I'm very close to going up to...Captain Ainscow and telling her about you impersonating Commander ben-Avram in sickbay. Lieutenant Sjet heard you as well so don't think I'm not being serious. Why are you so keen for me to forgive you?" Lucinda asked.

"I don't know," Ryland said, sounding just as surprised and unconvinced as she did. "I really don't. That wasn't the first joint to toss me out on my ass, and you aren't the first heart I've broken either. I just..." He spun halfway around and toed the floor with his boot.

"You know that hot date I mentioned? It went well. Real well." Ryland grinned at that. "We've been together every night since. And..." As he trailed off, his face turned pained. "Despite it all, I can't shake this one off. Whenever I think to get frisky, all I can see is your cryin' face, and it makes me feel... bad." Ryland shrugged. "I don't know what to do with myself. Even left a hot bunk to try and make things right. What... what can I do to make things right?"

"Heartbroken? My fiancé died when our daughter was one. I just don't understand why you're here wanting to make peace with me when all of a sudden when you've obviously left a far more appealing and interesting woman behind in hers or your bed. Making things right with me will not involve anything more than you actually treating me and others with the respect they deserve" Lucinda replied.

At that moment the Ingham family's cat walked up to the door and sat down on two legs next to Lucinda. He was a curious animal and usually joined Lucinda at the door whenever she went to answer it - the probable reason for his delay this time was due to the time of night.

Ryland looked down at the cat and offered a wry smile. The cat hissed in response.

"Seems legit." Ryland tried to stow his hands in the pockets of his flight jacket only to realize he had forgotten it. He slid them behind his back and spread his feet apart.

"Look, Doctor Madlove, I don't know what I'm doing here either, other than I can't find peace myself until I make peace with you. Your fiancé dying is a real tragedy -- genuine tragedy that might give me tears when no one's watchin' -- but that has nothing to do with me, here and now, begging your forgiveness. I don't want nothin' from you other that, not even the satisfaction of a tease." He muttered under his breath, "Seeing as how badly that backfired before."

Lucinda reached down and picked the cat up - placing him gently over her shoulder where he quite happily stayed. The tabby cat had been chosen by Lorelai as a family pet a couple of years ago and he had been a faithful companion ever since.

"Alright fine. I forgive you - but it doesn't mean I'll forget it" Lucinda replied.

"Fair enough." Ryland shrugged again. "I'll, uh, let you get back to the rack. Sorry for disturbing you."

Lucinda nodded. "It's alright. If you want me to help you in any way as your doctor then I will do so. I might specialise in hands on medicine but I'm a good listener. People just assume I'm human and I'm a good listener...but it comes naturally to me. I'll arrange some private sessions for you if you feel it's something you want to consider"

Ryland stifled a surprised chuckle. Forgiven, and how! "I think it might be a little soon for all that," Ryland said. "Seeing as how you've just forgiven me and all, I think I'd better be careful about being alone with you." He looked down at his feet again to avoid the bright and sincere eyes staring back at him. "I just know myself."

"It doesn't have to be right away. It can be in a week or two weeks - or whenever you are ready. I'm aware of a note on your file where Counsellor Maera has asked you to have a couple of sessions with her - however if you'd feel more comfortable with me then fine. Just be aware it would be on a professional level and not in my quarters or sickbay - seeing as Doctor Sjet wasn't happy about...you know what" Lucinda replied.

The mention of the incident in Sickbay made Ryland laugh deep in his chest. "I really riled up that old Russian pork roast, didn't I?" He knew Lucinda would probably not be amused, but he didn't care. It felt good to laugh.

"As for your offer? I'll think about it." Ryland fidgeted between staying and going for a moment, then asked, "So, what is your name, anyhow? Besides Lady Doctor Ingham."

At that moment the cat on her shoulder decided he wanted to go back to the comfort of Lucinda's bed so he hopped off her shoulder and ran back into her bedroom.

Lucinda smirked. "Doctor Ingham. You'll find out my name if you need to"

"Sure thing, Lady Doctor." Ryland laughed, though he corrected himself. "Doctor Ingham. Have a good... rest of the night."

"All two and a bit hours of it. I'm up at 06:00 to make sure my daughter is ready for school and I have time to get something to eat before my shift. I appreciate the apology - and keep my offer in mind. I don't mind waiting for you to make a decision but don't leave it too long" Lucinda responded.

Ryland dipped his head. "I really will give it some thought. Promise."

Lucinda nodded. "Good. Goodnight Mr Dedeker - and don't go breaking any more hearts or otherwise in the meantime. I don't want to be treating you for various facial or...'other'...injuries again"

"Love is a fickle mistress, Doc." Ryland tried to grin again. It was half-hearted at best, so he backed away from her door. "Never can tell what she will do. I thank you again, though."

"Any time" Lucinda replied.

With that she disappeared back into her quarters and got back into bed for another couple of hours or so before she got up. Lucinda was unhappy about being woken up but she did appreciate Ryland's apology and hoped that would be the last time it was mentioned by anyone.

Before long Lucinda had fallen asleep again.

 

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