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What to Do With a Gorgeous Man

Posted on 24 Mar 2016 @ 11:04pm by Ensign Elisha Cherno & Ensign Xavier Hernandez

Mission: Outbreak
Location: Beach on New Risa
Timeline: MD 4

Elisha sat on the beach in a turquoise two-piece, watching a creature that looked an awful lot like a hermit crab trundle along the shore. He made her smile. She needed to smile after that shuttle ride. She'd seen Kelly flirting with Quinn in the shuttle bay just before she had left with Xavier to come to the planet. And why would he pick Elisha if he could have Kelly? Why would anybody pick Elisha if he could have Kelly?

Elisha would feel inferior her whole life, it seemed. She would never be as outgoing as someone like Kelly was, so how could she feel any differently? Never mind, she wold just sit here with the hermit crab. And later, she would get a cat.

Xavier came down the beach wearing a pair of blue swim trunks and no shirt with two tropical drinks which sparkled like rainbows on a tray, along with a local party platter of vegetables, tiny bits of spiced meat, cheese and crackers. He smiled and sat down gracefully beside of her, grateful that she felt relaxed enough with him to wear a bikini. "I come bearing gifts," he said.

Her eyes darted to his bare chest, then to the sand. "Th-thanks," she said, accepting one of the drinks. She was suddenly self-conscious about being in a bikini around him, but resisted the urge to grab a T-shirt. Gosh, he made her nervous. Well, most new people did, so that was nothing new. "I uh... I was w-watching that funny little c-crab," she said, gesturing towards the crab who was still making his way down the beach.

"Elisha," he said softly when she started stuttering again. "I'm not going to bite you. Relax." He looked at the crab. "It probably has more reason to fear me than you do and that's only because I'm bigger than it is."

"I kn- I know," stuttered Elisha. "It's just th- that I get n- nervous around n- new people." She smiled apologetically.

"Then ask me whatever you want," Xavier said as he took a sip of his drink.

"Um..." she said, trying to think of something to ask. "I can't think of anything."

"Nothing at all?" he asked. "Okay. I have one for you. How did I get lucky enough to hear you sing that night?"

She opened her mouth to reply, but closed it again. "The others convinced me to try it because they'd done so horribly at it," she said finally. "Well, Kelly was fine. But, the boys were awful. I thought, oh, it'll shut them up. So..." she shrugged. "I'm not very good," she said apologetically.

"I disagree," Xavier said. "Especially knowing that you took voice lessons. Kelly...Cadet Khan? She wasn't bad, but the song had way too much mixed beats in it and tended to warble a bit. You definitely took home the show."

"I drew an easy song," she insisted, feeling her cheeks burning. "It was luck, that's all."

"You know you're cute when you blush?" he observed. "It lends a rosy hue to your cheeks."

That only made her blush more deeply and splutter incoherently. She dug her toes into the sand and wished she could bury her whole body along with them. "Th-th-thanks...?" she said, but it came out almost as a question.

"Relax, Elisha," Xavier said with a smile. "I'm not going to bite you."

"I- s-so you said," she replied. She glanced at the food he'd brought, but was too nervous to eat anything. Oh, why couldn't he have left her alone with her crab? Where was the crab, anyway? He was nowhere in sight. She thought of running away, but decided that would be rude. And anyway, she had to stop being afraid of humiliating herself. What had Kelly said? Laugh? She gave a nervous sort of half giggle. "I-I've only been bitten by a human once," she said. "I was three and my brother was four. He... didn't like me much."

"I don't know if I should say if he had good taste or bad taste," he laughed. "But I won't. Look, Elisha. I want to tell you something, but I don't want to scare you at the same time. I've always been raised to be forward and respectful in regards to people, so if you ever have any problem with me, please tell me, okay?"

She nodded nervously. "Ab-absolutely," she stammered, terrified of what he wanted to tell her. Hopefully, that was all. She didn't think she could take any more.

"I like you, Elisha," Xavier said. "I want to get to know you, to laugh with you and to go on more adventures through space and time. That doesn't just mean the holodecks, though. I'm not going to push you to make a choice, but I wanted you to know."

"I..." she started, but terror took over and she stopped. Come on, Elisha! she scolded herself. Get it together. You can do this! Just say it. "I l- I like you, too," she forced out. "I just... I get n-nervous. It-it isn't you! It- you're great. I just... I c-can't... I d-don't know how..." she trailed off pointlessly, not sure how to put into words what she went through with people she didn't know well.

"Just do what comes naturally," he encouraged her. "You made it through Starfleet Academy. You're well versed, well trained and can handle any situation thrown at you. Just take it one step at a time, think and then act. I won't laugh at you and I won't run away."

"I can handle star charts," said Elisha. "I can even handle blown power conduits now. But, p-people?" She shook her head and sighed. "I just... I don't know how."

"Okay, then pretend I'm a star chart," he said. "How do you go about reading them so you can give the helm coordinates?"

"Uh... okay," she said. "Well it's mostly just making sure the charts are correct so the ship's computer can take into account the gravitational pull of stars and planets between where we are and where we're going. That way, it doesn't have to constantly scan for everything. It just has to watch out for stuff like large comets, meteors, other ships- stuff like that."

"So assume that I have all the correct information that you would need to navigate," Xavier said. "You know my mass, you know my orbit. What do you do to make sure that I am not giving off any signs of erratic behavior?"

"Uh..." she said, then laughed slightly. "I'm not sure I understand what you mean."

"Use your sensors," he said. "Which is this case is your ears, eyes and mouth. Your mouth, of course asks the interrogatory questions. Your ears sort out the data you receive and your eyes determine if everything matches." He couldn't believe that he was breaking himself down in the form of a star, but she wasn't stuttering and seeming to be nervous. Now if he could get her to act on her own initiative so he could get to know her a little better.

"Um, okay..." she said. She already knew he was into Doctor Who. But, what else could she want to know. "Do you read much?" she asked finally, feeling a bit more at ease. She picked up one of the little bunch of grapes and began popping them into her mouth.

"I do," Xavier said. "Other than Doctor Who, which is much better in a holonovel, I love to read history and science fiction. I find that there are times one seems the same as the other, but they are both fascinating in the fact that they are normally written by someone who has no idea of what actually goes on." He made a sandwich out of cheese and crackers and ate it.

She grinned. "Yeah," she said. "I really like Heinlein and Asimov. I still find it hilarious that Asimov thought that 8 billion people would grossly overpopulate the earth and we're currently living comfortably at over 10 billion. But, I did some research and I think the population at the time he was alive were only about 2.5 billion, so I suppose I can understand where he was coming from. Who are some of your favorites?" She began nibbling on some of the meats and cheeses in addition to her grapes.

"I am a big fan of Anne McCaffrey even though that is more fantasy than science fiction," he said. "But I also enjoy all the wonderful puns that Piers Anthony put out in his Xanth series. I don't believe that I've ever been able to read one of his books without laughing. Have you ever read any of them?" He picked up a native vegetable and sampled it before he gave a nod of approval.

"I haven't," answered Elisha. "I'll have to check them out, though. I like Anne McCaffrey, too. Mostly just the Dragonriders. I read this one about cats in space that I thought would be really good, but it was just kind of cheesy. Oh, there is a really good one called "No One Noticed the Cat" that my brother gave me for a birthday a few years ago. It's really good."

"I haven't read anything other than her Dragonriders of Pern series," Xavier said. "Wouldn't it be wonderful to find a planet where people rode dragons?"

"Yeah," said Elisha with a small grin. "I always wanted a green."

"I think that I would impress a brown myself," he said. "I'm just not bronze material. Why would you take a green over a gold?"

"Because gold riders have too much responsibility," said Elisha. "They've gotta be leaders. I dread leading. I can barely even lead a group of children on a trip to the restroom, much less a Weyr full of people and dragons."

"It is much like the responsibility of a Captain," Xavier agreed. "But the Weyrwoman often depended on the Weyrleader and headwoman and a dozen other, did they not? It was not done alone."

"True, but it's still too much responsibility for me," she said. "Perhaps in a few decades I might be okay with being in charge of Stellar Cartography, but I don't think I'll get too far past that."

"A few decades?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. "I see you running an entire science department in a few years."

"No!" said Elisha emphatically. "I would never be comfortable with that. Not in a hundred years."

"You never know until you know," Xavier said philosophically. "I never thought I'd be in Security, but I am."

"Sure, but being part of a department and being head of the department are two different things," she pointed out. "I can't imagine being Chief of Sciences." She shivered for emphasis.

"Give it two years, then say that," he said. "But enough of business. What do you like to do besides singing and Doctor Who?"

"Well, reading, obviously," she said. "And drawing. I've got some really good prisma color pencils and a great sketchpad. My secondary school art teacher tried talking me into going to art college, but I don't think I'd like to do it for a living. Oh, and base jumping," she finished. "I wonder if there are any good cliffs on this planet...."

"Base jumping?" Xavier raised an eyebrow. "I think there are. I had planned to do some climbing while we are here. Perhaps we could find one for you to jump from while I climb it."

"Or, we could climb up it wearing chutes and then both jump from it," she suggested with a mischievous grin.

"Hmm...maybe," he said. "I've never done that before. We would have to be awfully high, wouldn't we?"

"True," said Elisha. "I mean, I've done it from 100 feet, but it's no fun because you have to pull the chute right away. I like to go with 500 so you have time for some free-fall first. And I've never been real rock climbing before, just those rock walls they build in gyms. I'm not sure if I can climb 500 feet at once."

"It is very strenuous if you are not used to it," Xavier said. "But I have experience to share with you and I brought the gear which is required."

"Hm," said Elisha. "Let's try it. If I get tired, you can carry me," she joked.

He came to his feet and leaned down to put one arm behind her and another under her legs, then stood up and smiled. "I think I could do that," he said with a smile. "You're light enough."

Elisha shrieked, arms going immediately around his neck to steady herself. "What are you doing?" she laughed. "Put me down!"

"You did say I could carry you," Xavier said as he continued to hold her and smiled when she put her arms around his neck. "I could probably jog with you in my arms."

"Oh, please don't," she said, cheeks burning again. "People are looking! Put me down."

Before he could think about what he was doing, he leaned in and kissed her softly, but briefly. "There. Now they can have something to talk about," he murmured.

Elisha blinked rapidly, surprised. Her first instinct was to run, but he was still holding her. And besides, she had decided she wasn't going to run anymore. She let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding and gave him a nervous smile. "O-okay," she said. "C-can you p-put me d-down now? P-p-please?"

Xavier set her back on her feet and took a step back. "I'm sorry...I shouldn't have done that, Elisha."

"N-no, it- it's okay," she reassured him. "It j-just... s-surprised me. It was nice." She grinned sheepishly. "Although, I d-don't really have m-much to judge on," she added.

He smiled. "I don't know what came over me," he said. "But I'm glad you thought it was nice. I promise to restrain myself more."

Truthfully, Elisha didn't really want him to, but she had no idea how to say that out loud, so all she did was shrug and say, "if you want," very quietly. She wasn't even sure he heard her.

Xavier strained to hear her, but figured out what she said. "Just let me know if I make you uncomfortable," he said.

"O-okay," she said. She glanced at the food still sitting on her beach towel. "Should we eat this stuff?" she asked, sitting back down again. "Or did we just want to stare at it?"

He sat back down. "I don't know. Is it art if it's edible?"

"Probably," said Elisha, chewing on some of the meat. "I should have brought my sketchbook with me; I'd love to sketch this beach."

Xavier reached for some vegetables and dipped them in the sauce. "There's time for that," he said. "Besides, it just means that I get more time with you here and now."

Elisha felt her cheeks burning again and she dipped her head. "I c-could have sketched y-you," she said, a slight edge of mischievousness to her voice.

"You could still do that," he said. "I would sit still just so you would let me look at you more."

Her head dipped again. "Stop it," she laughed. "You're making me blush!"

"But you're even more beautiful when you blush," Xavier insisted. "Besides, I cannot help but speak the truth when I'm with you."

"Th-that's sweet," she said. "B-but my brother always says th-that guys always say things like that. He'd w-warn me that you're just after one thing. I d-don't think I'd believe him, though."

"It is true," he said. "All I want is to spend time with you and get to know you."

"Well, th-there's not much to m-me," she said. "I th-think you know everything there is t-to know."

"I do not know your favorite color, your favorite food, or your favorite things to do to name a few," Xavier said. "Therefore, I do not know everything there is to know."

"Green, apples, and you know my favorite things to do," she replied. "Read, Doctor Who Holonovels, and base jumping."

"Now I know a few more things about you," he said. "I love the color orange, mangos and finding pretty young ladies who love puppies and Doctor Who."

Elisha giggled nervously and ducked her head again. "And d-do you m-meet a lot of th-them?" she asked.

"Just one," Xavier said.

"Th-that's... all it takes," she replied bravely, yet very nervously.

"That's true," he admitted. "Which leads to a question that I have on my mind."

"You- it- it... it does?" she said, her voice strained. Remain calm, Elisha. It's not like he's proposing marriage.

"Yes," Xavier said as he reached for one of her hands. "Will you be my novia?"

It was a different word in Spanish than in Portuguese- novia, namorada, girlfriend- but Elisha knew the meaning.

And it terrified her.

Still, he was a nice guy. She liked him. But, girlfriend? She didn't know how to be a girlfriend. What did girlfriends do? What did boyfriends do for that matter?

"I... I could try," she said finally.

"Is that a yes?" he asked her.

Elisha tried to speak, couldn't, and ended up just nodding. What could it hurt? She could ask Kelly what girlfriends are supposed to do.

Xavier smiled and raised her hand to brush his lips lightly over the back of it. "Then I am happy. I want you to let me know if I ever do something to make you unhappy. Promise?"

"P-promise," she agreed nervously.

"Now come on," he said with a smile. "Let's go swimming and relax."

She grinned, still nervous. Swimming with her boyfriend. Yikes. This was going to take some getting used to. "Okay," she agreed.

Xavier got to his feet and offered her a hand. "Then we can come back and dry in the sun, then maybe find someplace good to eat. Does that sound good?"

In fact, it sounded like a perfect day to Elisha. "Sure," she said, feeling less nervous now as she took his hand and let him help her up. "And maybe see what there is to do at night around here?"

"Then let's go," he said and headed for the water.

Elisha followed, still a bit self-conscious at the people who were still watching them. She had a feeling that she would either get used to feeling self-conscious around him or she would eventually stop feeling that way altogether and just relax. She hoped for the later, but had a nasty feeling it was going to be the former.


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