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Behind Closed Doors

Posted on Sun Oct 27th, 2019 @ 8:39pm by Commander Christine Descharmes & Lieutenant Commander James Barnes

Mission: Between the Pages
Location: Quarters


"James," Christine said, the first word when she walked in and the door hissed shut behind her. She stood just inside, her hands on her hips. She took a quick glance around and let out a sigh, followed by a halfhearted shrug and a smile. "Is there some reason you still want to live like a bachelor?" she asked as she dropped a bag on the floor, indicating that she would be staying the night.

"Gotta keep up appearances, babe," James replied from his study. Without looking up from the PADD he was reading, he reached out and grabbed the apple that was floating by in mid-air. He took a bite before allowing it to float back away. He was reading, upside down, with the gravity plating off in the room. "No one knows we eloped, so I can't just suddenly start acting like a homebody."

"How was your day?" he called out.

"Fine," she replied. At his last remark, Christine just shook her head and laughed quietly. "You know, I moved in with you the last time. If you want your old quarters back, you'll just have to move back in with me. Besides, we, well I was so quick to move in then, they might wonder if something's wrong this time." She paused. "Uh, by the way, Mei knows. Jane knows," she said quickly and then changed the subject. "What are you doing?"

"Oh, just reading some reports," he said in a fake happy voice that belied the fact the reports were relatively boring. He cast a sideways glance in the direction her voice was coming from, her attempt to glaze over the fact she had told others not escaping his notice. They'd circle back to that later. "And I like the view in these quarters better. Rank has it's privileges."

She sighed and shook her head. Christine rolled her eyes. "Of course it does," she said, a bit sarcastically. She moved off towards the replicator. "Have you eaten?" she called out, "I'm starving." She stood with arms crossed, a pensive look on her face. A low rumble in her stomach reminded her that she missed lunch.

"I could eat," he called out, then grinned. "What were you planning on cooking, babe?"

"Is that some kind of joke?" Christine called back and shook her head, not sure whether to be offended or not. "Whatever comes out of the replicator." She contemplated something for a minute. "Gagh? I was hoping you'd give me an idea. Hmm. How about entrée 103?"

James rolled his eyes, adjusting his position in mid-air. "Gagh isn't bad. Have you ever tried it?" he sat the PADD down, tapping a control to reactive the gravity plating. He stood and walked out into the living area. "Entree 103? What is this a Chinese restaurant?"

"Curried chicken with rice and carrots. It's listed as 103 in the replicator menu. When I was bartending, quite a few people ordered it. Did you think I made everything myself?" Christine laughed quietly, shaking her head. "Do you want it or not?"

"No, I'll pass on that," he said, finishing off a drink he had left on the counter, "And no, I didn't think you made everything yourself. I just thought you made....something? Anything?"

She gave him a sideways glance and after ordering from the replicator, took a seat at the table. She eyed the glass he drank from with a raised eyebrow. "You sound worried," she answered, picking at a few pieces of chicken. "You're not going to starve. There's the replicator." Christine pointed at it with her fork, a smirk on her face before she went back to her dinner. She stared down at it, pushing it around on the plate for another few minutes before she finally pushed it away. Maybe she wasn't as hungry as she thought she was.

"A body like this isn't just built in the gym, the foundations are laid in the kitchen," he said, casting a glance at her as he typed on the replicator. A bowl materialized and he started eating out of it while he walked towards the table, another bachelor habit he had never shaken. "What's wrong? You not hungry?" he asked as he set his bowl down, extending his fork in one fluid motion to skewer a piece of chicken off her plate.

Everything was her first thought that came up at the question. "I guess I wasn't that hungry," Christine said out loud instead, watching him eat off her plate. Normally, a move like that would have earned a scathing glare from her but she was preoccupied and she wasn't going to finish it anyway. "Something's not sitting right with me," she said, finally.

Uh oh James thought, stopping almost mid-chew. "What's bothering you?" he asked, starting to chew again.

Christine sighed, noting the brief pause with a questioning look and a quick glance away. "I don't know. Everything. And probably nothing," she answered. She stretched out her legs beneath the table and leaned back in her chair. "My work is being investigated for one reason or another. I flipped out at one of the junior counselors over nothing. More than once and now they're all avoiding me. And that redheaded one keeps looking over my shoulder. Like she's watching my every move."

"Why are you being investigated?" James asked, back to shoveling food in his mouth. He had always been a fast eater, but he was really rolling today. "You're stressed, they're all stressed. I'm sure they get it - they weren't as involved as you were with some of the recent mind-bendy space-timey stuff we had to deal with," he stood up quickly, carting his now empty bowl back to the replicator. "You talking about Isabelle, the new girl? She sent me a message earlier. How is she giving you trouble already?"

"How are you already on a first name basis?" She said quickly, ignoring the rest and focusing on the last part. She sat up, frowning and giving him a long look. "Why'd she send you a message? I didn't know about this. And she's been here a while. She's just new to you."

It was a good thing for both of them, but mainly James, that he was facing the replicator when she spoke. The look on his face, had she seen it, would've ended with them sleeping in separate quarters overnight. "Something about meeting up,"he shrugged, walking from the replicator to pour a drink. "I track everyone who comes on and off the ship, even if they're returning. Do you want something to drink?"

"No," she said, her eyes following him. "I don't feel like drinking." Christine moved to pick up her unfinished dinner to return it to the replicator. She turned around, hands in her pockets and watched him for a bit. "What are you drinking?" she asked curiously, forgetting for the time being the tiny flicker of jealousy that flared up suddenly.

"Gin and tonic," he took a sip, "It's one of those funny universal things. Almost every sentient species that drinks alcohol has a similar tasting equivalent," he said looking at his glass before he leaned on the nearby counter. He was watching her closely, but not obviously, and treading lightly - like a technician who was disarming a bomb. "You never mentioned what you thought the investigations were over?"

She debated telling him everything it was about, but considering who it was about, she kept her answer basic. As basic as she could get it. "I think I screwed up. Apparently Medical doesn't like it when you don't return calls. Or messages. Or orders." She shrugged, attempting to brush it off nonchalantly but it was clear she was worried as she swallowed nervously.

He noticed her nervous body language, but didn't let on. He took a sip from his glass for a moment, crossing his arms as if in thought. "That's not like you to ignore orders. Must have been a big deal."

Christine paused, staring at him. "Yes, it was," she said, taking her hands out of her pockets and shifting from one foot to the other. "I'm not justifying it, but I had my reasons. I just don't like it when my hand is forced. Make one mistake and they dig up anything they can find, no matter how relevant it is." She crossed over to him, standing beside him and sliding an arm around his waist.

"Like it or not, Starfleet is a bureaucracy. Sure, it's a benevolent one with lofty goals, but deep down it still is a bureaucracy. So, someone is always to blame and that blame tends to roll downhill to the lowest reasonable denominator," he slid his arm around her waist, patting her butt, "Were you going to tell me what it is?"

"James," she said in a low voice. She mirrored his move and added a little squeeze of her own as she leaned into him. She glanced up, debating something. After awhile Christine shifted her eyes away and down. "It', actually," she cleared her throat nervously.

"What about me?" he said, sliding away a bit so that he had room to look at her.

Christine took a step to the side, turning to face him. "I just want to get something straight," she said, pulling her hand away. "I'm not blaming you, this is me, this is entirely my fault. They wanted your psych eval and I ignored them."

"Why would you do that?" James asked, a look of bewilderment on his face. "If they wanted me evaluated, I'd have done it, babe. Don't get yourself in trouble for me."

"Well, I think it's too late for that," she said wryly. "I can just see it now: my career exploding like a giant supernova. They'll have my license for this. Probably my commission too." Christine let a sharp burst of laughter. "Maybe I'll do them a favor and hand it in myself." She paused a few seconds and shook her head. "I don't mean that...I think. Sorry. Just a lot on my mind. Everything. At once, it seems."

James put a hand on either of her shoulders, looking her deep in the eyes. "I love you, Christine. More than anything. But you shouldn't have done this...I can take care of myself," he paused, then grinned, "Plus I thought it was pretty obvious I'm good at sweet talking counselors?"

She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. "You mean bartenders. And counselors. Careful, Barnes, I know what your sweet talking usually leads to," Christine said with a smirk. She was annoyed somewhat by his comment but she shrugged it off. Sliding an arm around his waist, she draped the other around his neck and pressed herself against him. "And considering you couldn't take a hint, I'll give you another one, babe," she said, giving him a kiss.


Lieutenant Commander James Barnes
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Shanghai

Lieutenant Christine Descharmes
Chief Counselor, USS Shanghai


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