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Exhaustion

Posted on 21 Oct 2018 @ 10:25pm by Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alexander Rylan

Mission: Fractured
Location: Sick Bay
Timeline: MD 1 | 2235

It had been an exhausting day in Sick Bay. Everyone on the ship had required treatment for radiation poisoning in addition to the regular injuries of cuts and bruises and broken bones.

With a sigh, Jayla set down the PaDD after finally finishing the report. She was exhausted and out of coffee. But, perhaps that was a good thing; she didn't need coffee directly before bed, after all. She had sent a skeleton crew of medical staff to their quarters for some sleep a few hours ago and they should be back to man Sick Bay for the night at any moment. Once Doctor Road returned, Jayla was heading directly to bed.

No, actually she wasn't. She was far too wired to go directly to bed. Perhaps she would go for a jog or something first. She sat back in her chair and sighed. Yes, it had been a long day.

Alex was bone tired but he'd been in his element all day, so he felt pretty good. Tired, but good. He'd seen Jayla working herself to the bone and helped out where he could. He saw her alone in her office. He smiled. She was tired. Her judgement was impaired. That was the perfect time to strike up a conversation with her. She be less likely to talk herself out of what they both wanted, which was to spend time together outside of work and see what happened...or maybe just sleep together and work it all out later. Most days, it seemed things could go either way, but somehow, they never did. Alex stopped by his own small office and grabbed something in a bottle, and two glasses, and went to see Jayla.

"Hey, beautiful," he said, waiting until he was in her office and had shut the door so none of the staff would hear him refer to the boss as 'beautiful', though she was. He set the glasses down on the table and unstoppered the bottle. He poured a little amber liquid in each glass and slid one over to Jayla. "You were amazing out there today."

"Drinking on the job?" she said, but didn't argue. Instead, she picked up a glass and took a sip, finding some sort of herbal tea inside. "Oh!" she said in surprise and delight. "This is better than rum any day."

"It is in this case," Alex said. "You've been on your feet for almost 24 hours, you've been drinking coffee like it was going out of style, which added to the dehydration you've got going on AND has you completely wired. Tea is hydrating and this blend has very relaxing effects."

Alex drank some of his tea as he took a seat in one of the other chairs in Jayla's office, sighed, and stretched.

"I could sleep for a week," Alex said. Especially if you were in my bed, Alex thought but didn't say. "But a nice solid eight hours will probably have to do, if not six."

"Anything will help," she replied. As long I'm doing it with you, anyway, she thought. "But, yeah, I could sleep for days and not feel guilty."

Alex smiled warmly at Jayla.

"So," he said. "Now that the immediate crisis is over, maybe we can stop avoiding our feelings for each other? I really care for you, Jayla, and I'm extremely attracted to you. I could be wrong, but I think you feel the same way about me."

She hesitated a moment. It wasn't a good idea to get involved with someone with whom you had to work so closely, especially someone to whom you had to give orders. Over the past few weeks, she had carefully avoided Alex while off duty, even going so far as to keep her conversations with him carefully professional.

But, it hadn't mattered. She still found her gaze lingering over long at him. She found herself thinking about him a little too much. It seemed that no matter what she did, she couldn't avoid him, couldn't avoid the feelings that were developing for him.

And after all, hadn't Belar successfully carried on a relationship with his direct assistant? They'd even had six children together. They'd stayed together for the rest of their lives and Liara Pol had managed to effect Kij to the point that no successive host had been able to have a relationship with a woman. Even Jayla had a hard time making girl friends.

Perhaps they could give it a go. Slowly. Perhaps.

After only a few seconds, she gave him a weak grin. "Yeah," she said. "I mean, no. I mean, you're not wrong. I do feel the same way. Or, at least, I definitely have feelings for you. I'm just... I'm worried I won't be able to separate our professional relationship from any personal one."

Alex's heart did a flip and a pirouette in his chest when Jayla acknowledged having feelings for him. Truth be told, he had been presented with many opportunities for a serious relationship over the years. He'd always said that his job got in the way. Being honest with himself now, he realized he'd just been hung up on his boyhood crush, a boyhood crush that was now a beautiful grown woman and even more attractive inside and out than she was twenty years ago.

"I understand," Alex said. "And you make a valid point. But look at it this way. Can you honestly say that we don't have a personal relationship now? I've wrestle with my personal feelings for you while on the job, especially when you're in danger already. Maybe you've had the same issues working with me? It's difficult sometimes, but we manage. I'm a big boy and I spent most of my career doing dangerous things. If you need to send me somewhere dangerous, you can rest assured that I can handle myself, and that I'll do my best to come back to you. Since we're already dealing with balancing our personal and professional relationships with each other, would it be that much different if we moved forward instead of circling each other in a holding pattern, wanting to find out if there's something real between us, yet always hesitating?"

"Good point," she replied with a sigh. It was getting rather tiresome finding ways to actively avoid him. "And for the record, I think you're the last person I'd be worried about not coming back from somewhere dangerous."

Alex chuckled.

"We Raiders are pretty hardy and resourceful," he said. "Comes with the job. So...dinner? Or did you just want me to carry you off, caveman-style, and claim you as mine?"

Jayla laughed. "I think dinner would be safe," she replied. "As soon as Abbey gets- oh, nevermind," she finished, spotting the doctor in question through the partial glass wall of her office as she entered Sick Bay and gave Jayla a little wave. "I guess that means we can shove off. Knowing Doctor Road, she'll kick us out anyway."

"Works for me," Alex said, rising from his seat. "Not sure if they've reopened Talons yet. Quiet dinner at home? Preferably yours since they're bigger than mine?"

“That sounds nice,” she agreed, also standing and giving her back a bit of a stretch. “And you can see my paintings at the same time.”

Alex chuckled.

"Did you just invite me back to your place to see your etchings?" he said, teasingly. "Sorry. Classical reference. Go do shift change with Doctor Road and I'll meet you at your quarters. Do I need to wear a disguise? Or are you okay with a working man visiting you're quarters openly?"

She grinned, successfully stifling a giggle. “No disguise necessary,” she replied. “I’m not a rank snob. I don’t think anybody is really. And if they are, they can shove it up their- well! Anyway, you get the idea.”

Alex feigned shock.

"Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij, MD!" he said. "Such language!"

Then he grinned.

"I'll see you at your quarters in about twenty minutes," Alex said. After he left Sickbay, Alex broke the land speed record for returning to one's quarters, grabbing a sonic shower, and arriving to a date on time. He arrived at Jayla's quarters with a bottle of wine from Lancey Vineyards, wearing something more comfortable than his uniform, but presentable, and rang the chime.

By contrast, Jayla only had time to return to her quarters, take off her uniform jacket and run her fingers through her hair before her chime was ringing. “Come in,” she called, activating the doors to open. “Ah, you’ve brought the real good stuff this time,” she said, spotting the bottle he held. “Or are you fooling me with more tea?”

Alex grinned.

"Nope," he said. Entering. He wanted to lean in and kiss Jayla on the cheek, and after the briefest of hesitations, he did so. "It's the good stuff. Picked it up on a whim and I've been saving it for a special occasion. I think this qualifies. Do you have glasses? Or should I replicate some?"

Blushing ever so slightly at the kiss, Jayla was momentarily at a loss for words. “Uh... I don’t,” she finally stammered. “We’ll have to replicate some. I used to have some, but they got destroyed with the old Black Hawk.”

Alex smiled like the cat who ate the canary when he saw Jayla's blush and took in her momentary fluster.

"Sit," he said. "Relax. I'll get it."

Alex went to the replicator and produced the glasses. He'd brought a corkscrew. He set the bottled down and opened it and let the wine breathe a moment, before pouring both Jayla and himself a significant portion. He brought a glass over to Jayla.

"Um..." Alex said. "You don't follow instructions very well," he said, handing Jayla her wine, a smile on his face and in his eyes. "You're still standing."

"I- I know, I'm..." she stammered, accepting the glass from him. "Sorry. I guess it's been a while since I properly dated. I forgot how to do it."

"You're doing fine," Alex said. "If it makes you feel any better, I never figured it out to forget, so we can figure it out together."

Alex gently, as not to startle Jayla with unexpected physical contact again, slipped his arm around her shoulders and started leading her to her sofa.

"Now," he said. "I see you have this nice, cozy, two seater sofa over there and it looks lonely, like it's feeling neglected. I think that's a crime. Even furniture wants to feel useful. Why don't we sit on it and drink and talk? Once the alcohol and the conversation relax us a bit, we can think about food. Unless you're starving, in which case, I will absolutely feed you."

She grinned at that. "Not starving, no," she replied. "I think just chatting for a moment is okay. Well, and some of my paintings are hanging just there," she added, indicating the wall facing the sofa, "and I did promise to show them to you.

"That you did," Alex said, turning them both without a misstep, so he could get a closer look at her work and she could tell him about it. "And I'm sorry I didn't ask about them sooner! Tell me what..."

Alex stopped. He looked more closely at the painting of a Vulcan man. He saw in the Vulcan's eye an image of a woman...Jayla, unmistakably Jayla.

"The man in this painting," Alex said. "It's Silak, isn't it? And that's you reflected in his eye? Jayla, it's really, really good. I can see how you felt about him. I'm so sorry, again, for your loss."

"Thanks," she replied almost sadly. "It is Silak. He... I didn't realize how much he meant to me, or I to him. I figured this painting would keep him alive in a sort of existential way."

Alex gave Jayla a squeeze with his arm and just held her for a minute, letting her be in that moment, before asking about the other painting. "And this one? The style is cubism, right?"

"Yes, it is," she replied. "It's terrible, really, but I kept it to remind me that failure is perfectly okay. And at least I tried, right?"

"Yes," Alex said. He yawned. "Okay, I have to sit."

Alex took Jayla by the hand and led her to the small sofa. He sat and gently pulled her down next to him. He sipped his wine and just looked at her a moment.

"Talk to me," he said, smiling gently at her. "To quote Tennessee Williams, talk to me like the rain, and I'll lie here and listen. Well, I'll sit here and listen. I'm a little tall to lie down on this sofa."

"I know that play," she said as she sat next to him. "It's a bit... odd. Not my taste at all. A little too obscure, you know? But, yes, talk to you... Uh... I think I am too tired to think right now."

"Then I have a better idea," Alex said. "Scoot over here next to me, I'll wrap my arms around you, and we can cuddle up and get a little drunk. I'll have you know I got excellent grades in both Snuggling and Cuddling at Relationship State University."

Hesitating only the fraction of a second it took for her to decide that snuggling was a wonderful pastime, Jayla slid over to settle next to him, careful not to spill her wine. She tucked her legs up beside her and leaned her head on his shoulder. “It’s been a while since I did this,” she said. “I forgot how comfortable it is.”

Alex slipped and arm around Jayla as promised, not too tightly or too confining, but enough to provide warmth and comfort. He couldn't resist placing a kiss on the top of her head. Alex sighed softly, feeling relaxed and content. He sipped at his wine and let it make him pleasantly lightheaded. He wondered if he should speak, but truthfully, he was just enjoying the quiet time. He decided he'd wait a bit and see if a conversations struck up...or one or both of them feel asleep from exhaustion.

It really was nice just sitting there saying nothing and just enjoying one another’s company and Jayla was tempted to just let it stay that way for awhile. But, ever the good host, she worried that Alex may be bored. Try as she might, however, she could not come up with anything to say. So, she took the last sip of wine from her glass and just sat contentedly next to him.

And promptly fell soundly asleep.

Alex nodded off as well for a bit, a sleepy smile on his face as he heard Jayla softly snoring. He woke up again a bit later and found Jayla still sound asleep. Alex carefully shifted position and stood up, letting Jayla rest comfortably on the sofa. He walked over to her sleeping alcove and pulled back the sheet and blanket so he could place Jayla in bed, because the sofa was too small even for Jayla by herself and she was probably sore enough without having to resort to contortions to get comfortable. Returning to the beautiful sleeping Trill, Alex took a moment and just admired her, his heart doing a little flip as he did. He smiled as he slipped off her boots, loosened her belt (hoping she didn't choose that particular moment to wake up and assume that he was trying to take advantage), and then gently lifted her from the sofa, careful not to let her head sag back, carried her over to her bed and placed her in it. He was about to just pull the covers up, when he hesitated. He shrugged and took a moment to strip down to his shorts and then climbed in with Jayla, who had turned on her side facing the other direction. He slipped up behind her and held her in his arms.

 

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