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Capt Waterhouse & Lt Edanza - "There'll Be No Strings to Bind Your Hands"

Posted on 2020-11-08 09:14 by Lieutenant Caterina "Kate" Edanza & Captain Amelia Waterhouse

Mission: Grains of Sand

On the nightstand next to the bed, the PADD chirped. Green ears like small satellite dishes turned towards the sound before the small creature shifted in it's stolen spot between the two bodies under the green sheets and comforter. Amelia made a grumbling growl in the base of her throat as her hand reached for the offending device, having to blindly grope for a moment before clasping it since she didn't make any effort to sit up and look what she was doing. The PADD was turned on as she rolled onto her back and she skimmed the subject line of the incoming message before sitting up in bed. As she sat up, the north facing wall of the bedroom untinted, exposing a view of the city and the retreating fog. Mikey made a small yip and Amelia reached to scratch his neck after she tapped the PADD to open the message.

A second hand reached over to gently rub Mikey's back at the same time. Kate's eyes had shot open the moment the PADD had chirped, waking up in her usual silent jolt. Her time in Intel had caused her to always wake up quickly without making a sound, prepared for the worst. Quickly realizing she was safe, though, Kate took a deep breath and let out a satisfied sigh. She then inched closer to her two bed-mates and kissed Amelia's cheek, which was all she could reach with Mikey in between them. Afterwards her lips curled in her usual mischievous expression, and she spoke with words both suggestive and satisfied at the same time.

"Put that thing away, gorgeous," Kate teased, glancing around for a hint of time it was. "We were out late... we need to sleep in. Besides, who knows when I'll even get see you again?" she added, propping herself up on one arm. Her expression changed subtly after saying those words, hinting at a frown. "It could be... years," she added, looking down and blinking the sleep from her eyes.

"Don't worry, I usually ruffle Brass's feathers enough to end up on Earth every few months for a dressing down—and occasional promotion—so I'm sure it won't be too long," Amelia returned. Her eyes continued to move over the words on her PADD though her lips curled up into a smile. "They've finally seen fit to confirm I am getting a new command, and somehow it's a brand new ship? Not a refit like the last one was, this one's still in the shrink wrap, never been thrown up on. They're saying it's a Golden Gate class?" Amelia held out the PADD for Kate to see, showing off a thumbnail of a ship schematic in the middle of the wall of text.

Kate squinted at the PADD. "Gimme," she said, extending a hand to her erstwhile lover.

Lying back down, Kate began scrolling through the schematics with a lazy finger. "It's nice. A real upgrade," she added as the technical specs rolled by. "What did I tell you? You are on the fast track, my dear." By then Kate had reached the section outlining the ship's complement and placed the device down. She then leaned over Mikey with a playful expression on her face. "And I'll get to tell people: 'I knew her when she was just a Captain! Look at her now!'"

Kate punctuated her teasing by reaching over Mikey to tickle Amelia's side before she could become too annoyed.

Amelia let out what could only be described as a squeak as she batted Kate's hand away. Mikey scampered off the bed at the disturbance, yipping loudly as he hit the floor, his claws making a soft clack clack sound as he ran into the living room. Amelia rolled over, and moved quickly to pin Kate down to the bed.

"I don't want to be on a fast track. I want to be out there, in space, moving and shaking for a long time yet."

Kate smirked as Amelia responded to her tease. She let her body go limp, choosing to not resist Amelia's move in the slightest. Instead, Kate wrapped herself around her lover, relishing the gentle pressure and warmth from above.

"That's fine," Kate purred before kissing Amelia hungrily for a moment. "You just keep on moving and shaking, baby... all you want," she teased with a wink before her tone became slightly more serious. "I am going to miss this, though," she added with a sigh, shaking her head slightly before rolling her eyes at herself.

"We still have some time yet, I gotta look over the crew roster they've started for me — filling in blanks, tossing out the trash. Make sure they didn't try to stick me with any lazy officers who'd rather waste the day in bed." Amelia smirked and leaned in to nip at Kate's ear to emphasize her tease. She then sat up, grabbing her PADD as she did. "I'm hungry, do you want French Toast? I have fresh fruit to go with it."

Kate let out a long sigh and unwrapped herself from Amelia. "Fine. Get up then," she said with mock annoyance. "If we have to get out of bed, then French Toast is a must. Get on that," she said with a giggle in her voice.

Kate rolled on her side and watched Amelia for a moment before speaking again. "You're an amazing woman, Amelia. In lots of ways. Don't do anything too crazy on this next tour. Okay?"

"For all I can figure, crazy is what's keeping me in the Captain's chair." Amelia disappeared into the walk in closet for a moment, and selected a neon green coiled hairband from her array of hair implements. As she headed out of the bedroom, she pulled her hair back in a ponytail and shrugged into a green silk kimono style robe that she only made half an effort to tie closed. When she reached the kitchen, her fingers danced across the replicator controls — two eggs, a measuring cup of milk, and a few small glass bowls of spices materialized. "You're not getting breakfast in bed, so get that tight ass of yours out here. Do you want day old croissants from the bakery down the street, replicated sourdough, or something else as the base of this French toast?"

As she waited for Kate to join her, Amelia collected the promised fresh fruit — strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries that had come home with her when she'd gone to her grandparents' house for dinner the other night. A wide shallow bowl, a frying pan, a whisk, and a spatula emerged from drawers and cabinets.

Kate yawned in response before stretching her arms out as far as they could go. "The croissants are fine for the toast, thanks," she said mid-yawn before slipping out of bed. She pulled a simple white terrycloth robe from her bag and threw it on before catching a look in the mirror. Grabbing a brush, Kate did her best to straighten our her dark, unruly locks, but gave up quickly. She entered the kitchen with a knowing smile and a sigh.

"Yes, I'll keep you company," Kate said before hopping up to sit on the counter next to Amelia's PADD. "Gods only know when we can do this again," she said matter-of-factly, though with a certain amount of regret. She picked up the PADD.

"I wouldn't want to put you out," Amelia quipped, grabbing the top of the PADD long enough to lean in to steal a quick kiss.

"Let's see who's on the manifest, shall we?" Kate asked, thumbing through the device. "Cillian... good, no surprise there," she said before scrolling down. "Hey is that... the Sean Morgan we used to know?" she asked before clicking on his entry. "It is! That's great. He looks like he's doing well. You might actually have a decent crew, here," Kate added with a wink.

"Yeah, Sean's been doing good. Didn't realize he'd transferred to intel, he must have put in for that before he and Teá finally broke up," Amelia returned as she started to slice the croissants.

Glancing back at the PADD, Kate's world suddenly turned upside down. She stared at the device blankly, blinking in disbelief for a moment before bursting out loud with a tired, anxious laugh.

"Very funny, Amelia, very funny." Kate turned the device around to show Amelia the crew roster, which listed Kate as the Chief Tactical officer. "Like that would work," she said, laughing again. "Right? you did this... right?" she asked, her voice fading. "Right...?"

"Did what?" Amelia's eyes skimmed the PADD as she dredged the buttery pastries through the bowl she'd mixed up the custard in while Kate had still been in the bedroom. "I hadn't even looked at the proposed roster yet, and they hadn't asked me about it before this, because I didn't even know for sure if they were giving me a new command." Amelia bit her lip, and turned her attention to her breakfast making. "That's nowhere near final, if you don't want– I can request someone else."

Kate slipped off the counter with an incredulous expression, her eyes fixed to the device's screen. "No... no this can't be. I thought they kept a log of people who have been... involved. That way they don't post them together!" She seemed to be ignoring Amelia's suggestion at first, as her mind was still trying to get a grip on the situation. "Fuck!" she shouted when it finally settled in. This was a problem.

"This would be my first posting as CTO. I can't just turn this down! For what reason? Because I'm hot for the Captain? I'd never be taken seriously again!" she commented cooly, scanning the floor desperately for a way out of this mess. "But if I serve with you, how could that work? Everything I do right, every time I get a commendation or you put me up for a promotion—everyone will think it's nepotism." Her heart sank. "This is bad."

Amelia wiped her hands on a dish towel, then grabbed Kate by her shoulders.

"Stop. We will figure this out." Amelia pulled Kate into a hug. "If you don't want to be posted on my ship, I can request someone new. I told you what I went through with Rik, you know how that mess stands now. So if you aren't comfortable putting us in a similar position, I don't blame you. But you're a good officer, and I would be lucky to have you."

Kate stood with her face buried in Amelia's shoulder for a long moment. Eventually she raised her arms to return the hug, though Kate's embrace felt light and defeated. After taking a long breath and sighing, Kate leaned back to look Amelia in the eyes. A half-smile, half-frown crossed her features before she blinked a few times in quick succession. She looked down as she began to speak.

"It would be... bad... for my career to turn this down. It's the right thing... for my career." Kate paused for a moment to inhale deeply before glancing back into Amelia's eyes. "It just may not be the right thing... for us... you know?" she added, in an uncharacteristic moment of indecisiveness.

Amelia sighed softly, and glanced at the stove to double check she hadn't turned on the burner yet, then wrapped her arm around Kate's shoulders to guide her to one of the couches.

"Okay, let's talk about this. I've been in the position of having to decide if I should accept an assignment that felt at odds with my other goals, knowing that if I turned it down, it would very likely limit my career in the long run." Amelia settled on the couch, gently tugging Kate by her hand to get her to sit next to her. "Let's assume for a minute that if you decided this wasn't a good idea for you overall, I can find a way to get you reassigned without it sitting negative on your record, and look at all the other factors involved — particularly what we're starting to rekindle here."

Kate went along with Amelia and sat down heavily on the couch. Her hand was warm, yet hung limply in Amelia's as Kate listened. After a pause Kate inhaled deeply before speaking again.

"So let's say, best case scenario, I get reassigned and no damage done. But, I haven't seen you for a whole tour. How do we know we will even cross paths in the next one? How can we rekindle anything if we don't know where the other is for years at a time?" Kate knew she was describing the worst-case scenario, but it was still a possibility. "And neither of us want to change careers, so this is going to keep happening. It just seems that all of our options suck."

Kate looked down at the floor for a moment before glancing back up and continuing. "So our options are, what? Serve separately and hope something changes in the future? Or serve together with all those complications." Kate pulled away in order to bury her face in her hands. "I think the least worst option is to serve together, and try to keep things secret." She pulled her hands down and looked at Amelia with tired eyes. "What do you think?"

"So, keeping things secret tends to lead to more trouble than it's worth. And after what happened with Rik, I understand why my father strongly discouraged me from bringing him on as my first officer before." Amelia wrapped her arm around Kate's shoulders and pulled her in close. "Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the reason we broke up when we graduated exactly because of this same conundrum? Even though I hadn't transferred into intel yet, we both knew your assignments were going to be like this and just dealing with it for one person was going to be tricky enough, but now having to do it for both of us? Here are the options I see: one, we get you reassigned and accept that a relationship just isn't going to work; two, we get you reassigned and just do our best with long distance for now, but plan to reassess after a tour or two; three, we accept this recommended posting, and just say fuck it and carry on with our relationship openly; or four, we accept this recommended posting, and decide to just be friends."

Kate took in all of Amelia's ideas with a nod. She swallowed hard and sighed before glancing back. "Thank you, by the way, for being so level-headed about this. Who would have thought you'd be the most sane of the two of us?" she asked with a faint, wry smile. "Like there's any way I'm going to cross you in the corridor and not flirt," she added with a wink. "I don't know if I could be just friends. At least, not anymore." Kate bumped Amelia gently with one shoulder and let out an exasperated moan of frustration. "Against my better judgement... I'm in. I expect you to go hard on me, though, from a professional standpoint. I want you to be blunt and direct in front of others. I don't want anyone thinking I'm getting a free pass at work. Understood?"

Before Amelia could respond Kate threw out another question with a moist wink. "Oh, and do I have to call you 'sir' in bed?"

"You should know me better than that. I fully expect you to shout 'O Captain! My Captain!' at top volume, obviously." Amelia shook her head, bumping Kate right back. "And of course I'm going to be hard on you — if you slip up, you'll be scrubbing the ship stem to stern with your toothbrush."

Kate nodded, agreeing, but without much enthusiasm. "This is going to be hard. Super hard. We might not make it as a couple," she said, her voice and her glance drifting off. "But... it's worth a try." She took Amelia's hand and squeezed it. "Were you making french toast or something? I'm starving. Existential crises make me hungry," she added with a weak smile.

Amelia shook her head with a sigh as she stood up. "No relationship is a guarantee, it's work — to strike a balance, to support each other, to handle what life throws at everyone involved." She lead the way back to the kitchen, keeping hold of Kate's hand. "And even if we make it through the day to day shit on the ship, there will also be the Rik factor to consider, if he ever drags his bum ass out from whatever asteroid he ended up under."

Kate nodded silently, agreeing to the risks. "Lead on, 'O Captain my captain," she teased.

"In exchange for this heavy conversation we had to have before I got tea this morning, I'm going to put you to work. You're going to wash the fruit and replicate some milk tea — the Earl Grey with almond milk and boba." Amelia inspected the french toast that was ready to be cooked, and turned the stove on. "Now, I know we did talk about Rik before we hooked up again, but it feels like we've taken a step towards the more serious... I feel like we need to talk about that again. You're sure you're okay with sharing me?"

Kate unfolded her arms and nodded in response to the request for help, glad to have something different to focus on for a moment. She stepped over to the replicator as she pondered her reply.

"Yes," she said simply, fairly matter-of-factly. "I know you guys have a history, and I'm not trying to break you up. As long as he is okay with me being in the picture, I'm fine with it too." The device beeped softly as Kate punched a few virtual buttons. She then turned to face Amelia with a faint smirk before finishing her thought. "I'm not the greatest girlfriend in the galaxy. If you guys become really serious, I won't get in your way. He seems like a better long-term fit, if you know what I mean," she admitted frankly without any irony in her voice.

"The man who literally fucked off to who knows where without even giving me an option to come with him, a better fit?" Amelia snorted. "If I was logical about this, that would have been a relationship ending move... but you know how it is. Love isn't fucking logical." The frying pan sizzled as Amelia dropped two pieces of the french toast into it. "As for if he'll be okay with it? I honestly am not sure. He was 100% monogamy until he took off. He literally opened the relationship up in the message he sent me after he left. There's not putting that genie back into the bottle, especially not after how he did it. Your feelings mean as much as his, and I'm not gonna break you and I up over him. If he plays the 'it's her or me' game, then he's the one who's splitsville."

Kate nodded as she hunted around for the fruit and then carried it to the sink. "I appreciate that. To be fair, I could have reached out once in a while since the Academy, but I didn't. I've never won any relationship awards either," she chuckled. "But thanks, what you said means a lot to me." Kate considered arguing the point but decided against it.

Before long the fruit was washed and ready. She slid over beside Amelia and slipped her arm around the chef. "Just keep telling me where you're at, and we'll be better off than most," she said, only partly tongue-in-cheek.

"I promise, you won't ever be in the dark where my head's at, unless I absolutely can not get hold of you. And since you'll be on my ship, I suspect that won't be a problem." Amelia turned and kissed Kate on the side of her forehead.

Kate smiled at the contact and looked down at the food as it was cooking. "Man that smells good. Hey, if this captain thing doesn't work out, you could be my personal chef," she teased with wide open eyes. "Seriously."

Amelia laughed. "This and pizza are about the only things I managed to learn from Gram how to cook. If you want good, made from scratch food, remind me to bring you along next time Gram declares she's doing a family dinner — no one in the family dares skip one of these without good reason, and good reason usually means being out of the solar system."

"It's a date," Kate replied confidently, pulling her into a sideways hug. "I can't wait to meet her," she replied with a tinge of both happiness and concern.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Captain Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant Caterina "Kate" Edanza
Chief Tactical Officer
USS Joshua Norton


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