Just leave me alone
Location: Deck 8
Eli's heart was racing as she left the XO's quarters. Her hand grazed the wall as her pace slowed. The door she had exited hissed closed behind her and she felt herself lean against the wall. She was being stupid, she knew that. She didn't want that. She didn't. She closed her eyes for a moment trying to get herself under control for a moment when she heard the door hiss open. Her eyes snapped open and she shook her head when she saw Logan and continued down the corridor.
Logan exited Missy's quarters and saw Eli standing next to the bulkhead before she proceeded down the corridor. The usually smug and infallible woman seemed quite disturbed by something and he made it a point to find out what it was. "Eli, hold up a moment?" He gathered that she was the type to run away from uncomfortable situations but he was the type that tried to face them head on.
"Unless that is an order..." Eli started as she continued walking. "I just want to go home." By home she didn't really mean her quarters. She didn't know what she meant. She shook her head not wanting to let her mind go down that path.
He fell into pace with her as he wondered if she meant her quarters or not but then again not many people referenced their quarters as 'home'. "What bothered you so much back there?" He let a faint smirk cross his lips. "I realize it was slightly awkward. I shouldn't have stopped by."
"No,..." Eli started with a sigh. "It was clearly me that was the impostor tonight." She couldn't help the tone of her voice that would have given away how she was feeling to any one who knew her. Which was no one. With a shake of her head she plastered a smile on her face that was convincing if you didn't look too closely. "I gotta admit it was interesting to see you with your XO." she stated returning to her normal flirty, teasing tone.
He curled one eyebrow and stared at her. "Nice try. You aren't very good at shifting topics away from yourself, or perhaps just not good with me..." He let that statement hang in the air for a moment. "What really bothered you in there? And don't give me a redirect." He watched her for a reaction. Hopefully, being direct would refocus her efforts.
Eli couldn't help the roll of her eyes at the statement. "You would think you are special." She grinned. She let out a sigh as she eyed him for a moment as she debated on answering. "I have never had what you have." She used her hand to motion out in front of her. "I don't have any one that knows me like that...I always told myself I never wanted that." She paused. "For a moment, I realized that it was something to want and that it is my fault." She reached up wiping away the tear that threatened to roll down her cheek.
Logan searched her face as his expression let up a bit. He didn't expect her to suddenly open up. The short time he'd known her, she'd always been sure of herself. It made him realize that there was more under the surface. "What, between the commander and myself?" He offered a faint, reassuring smile. "We grew up together. We were best friends through the Academy. It was just good timing. And that's something you can achieve too. You just have to be open to the possibility."
Eli simply shook her head. She had been alone for so long. On purpose. She had done it to protect everyone, even the people she hated. Her past was one that she couldn't ever seem to escape. She looked up at Logan for a moment. He wasn't wrong, but he wasn't right. "I don't have any one I grew up with... I went against the family reputation and even my family won't talk to me." She shrugged her shoulders as if to cast it off. "It is fine, I do well on my own."
He wanted to show her that he understood and that it was okay to be alone even when it was hard. He knew that if he coddled her it would come off as pandering. "Of course you do. You've had to find your own way, I'm sure, but that doesn't mean that you can't find those connections. Our career paths are challenging in that aspect but it doesn't have to be that way forever."
"Yep..." Eli said without looking at Logan. She knew his heart was in the right place, but that didn't mean she believed anything he said. She turned her head slightly to catch a glimpse of Logan. He was an attractive man and she hated to admit it but him being this close to her made her pulse elevate slightly. She came to a stop at her door. "I appreciate your attempt to make me feel better... no one ever worries about me." She tucked an errant section of hair behind her ear.
Logan leaned closer and slid his hand to her door control, pressing it to let the door hiss open. He could smell her sweet scent and faint heat from her skin as he pulled back slightly and locked eyes with her. "Nothing stays the same forever."
"Isn't that the truth." Eli replied with a scoff. She didn't miss his closeness to her, but she hoped she was able to disguise her reactions to him. She bit her lower lips slightly before glancing into her quarters and then back at him. "Wanna join me... for a drink?"
Logan felt his heart pick up the pace as it had just like the first time they met on Earth. He probably should say no but what could one drink hurt? He nodded and followed her inside, letting the door hiss shut behind him.
Eli hoped that the relief of his taking her up on her offer didn't show in her posture as she threw her jacket across the room with a practiced ease. It landed just as she knew it would on the chair she had in the corner. "Have a seat." She said with a nod of her head towards the couch as she filled up the small glasses with a warm, amber liquid. Returning to the couch where the man was still standing she eyed him for a moment before a grin crossed her lips. Taking a sip she kept his eyes with her. "Please sit, Logan. I won't bite."
A befuddled expression crossed his face as he nodded and then sat down on the couch. "I didn't think you would..." He grabbed the other wine glass off the table and took a sip. The aroma and the taste was exquisitely sweet and he enjoyed savoring the flavor. "So, here we are again."
"Again..." Eli agreed. "Not often enough." She took a sip of the drink watching Logan. "We both have been a little distant, despite your 'let's see what happens'". She used her fingers to make quotes in the air. "I haven't even slept with anyone else." She laughed remembering the last time he was in her quarters.
He took a sip and slyly said, "Should I be impressed or disappointed?" He figured that she'd find someone to scratch her itch by this point...
"Neither, both." She replied with a shrug. She stretched out her leg, brushing her foot against his leg as she took another sip of her drink. "Doesn't matter much to me, honestly." There she was again, trying to use sex to keep someone at arms length, as ironic as that idea was.
"You're used to keeping people away. Maybe you should try a different tactic..." He took her foot with his free hand and brought it to rest on his thigh and used his thumb to massage the bottom of her foot. "People weren't meant to be alone. It can lead to several problems."
"Oh?" Eli started as she looked from where he held her foot to his eyes. "I was unaware you were a psychologist." She grinned. "Please, doctor, please regale me with the potential problems."
Logan raises his eyebrows in thought as he kept rubbing her foot. He had plenty of experience with foot rubs since it was something he used to do for Betty. It was a way of connecting. He smiles faintly as he replied, "Well, isolation can lead to anti-social behavior, feelings of loneliness, sometimes depression. And the benefits of relationships are very rewarding, even if challenging at the same time."
"I assume by 'relationship' you mean something more than sex." She gave him a knowing smile. "I have had a few, and I can agree that you aren't wrong." She closed her eyes as a sigh escaped her lips. "You are very good at that." She said before finally opening her eyes again.
He kept an earnest look as he watched what he was doing with her foot, a very faint smile crossing the corners of his mouth. "I've had some practice in my time." He stopped working on the one foot and picked up the other and resumed his work.
Eli was a little surprised by the pang of jealousy that went though her. "I am not good for you Logan." She started as if it were just any other conversation. "I am not some damsel in distress that you can save. It will most likely end badly for us."
He smirked faintly as he kept rubbing her foot. "I'm not looking for a damsel in distress. I go after women that can stand on their own." He looked up at her eyes again and added, "Besides, I'll be the judge of whether you're good enough for me."
"I didn't say good enough." Eli started. "I am plenty good enough. I am just," she paused for a moment. "Bad for your health." she grinned. She liked the closeness with him. The fact that he was one of the few men she had ever met that didn't run, nor try and save her. "Does that mean you still want to, uh, try...or whatever?"
He gave her foot a squeeze and gazed out at the stars. "Everything is bad for your health, didn't you know?" He leaned back in the couch. "Sure, let's give this a whirl. I mean, we can go as fast or as slow as we think is appropriate."
Eli took this as an invitation and moved to sit with a knee on either side of his hips. She rested her arms over his shoulders. She looked at him as if he was something to eat. The look on her face faltered slightly. "You don't deserve to be hurt by me." She whispered with her normal confidence shaken by a sort of vulnerability that she almost never felt, let alone allowed someone to see.
He could see the conflict within by looking into her eyes. It felt nice to have her so close but the honesty was just as valuable. He spoke gently, "That's not a very positive way to start things." He placed his hands on her legs and offered a genuine smile. "How about we just take things one day at a time. Let the worry go. It's not very productive, after all."
Eli couldn't speak. She simply watched Logan for a moment before she nodded in agreement. He was right. She didn't like that. The way he looked at her, like she mattered, like he wasn't intimidated by her made her feel... terrified. It was a great and terrible feeling. She wouldn't deny the desire she had to run, but something bid her to stay.
He locked eyes with her and couldn't hide a broad smile inching onto his face. "Why are you looking at me like I'm the Borg?" He knew that she was somewhat uncomfortable with honest relationship talk but at the same time her worry was justified and he was sympathetic to that.
"Aren't you?" She asked as she sank closer to him. Her nose nearly brushing his. Her eyes were moving between the two of his as she almost studied him. "Trying to make me one with expectations?" She added with a sly grin.
He slipped his hands up her thighs to wrap around her lower back and spoke softly, "Well, I'm not expecting you to do anything you don't want to do..."
"I know..." She replied in almost a whisper. "That is what frightens me," she admitted as she touched her nose to his.
He grabbed her tightly around the waist and pressed his lips to hers, savoring her taste on his lips. "I've wanted to do that since we came aboard the ship."
Eli's eyes stayed closed longer than she would have liked. "I missed you..." She stated before she pressed her lips to his quickly and lightly. "That has never happened to me before." Her tone was full of the want she felt for him.
His eyes slid shut as she spoke those words that echoed in his mind. He softly pulled her closer and whispered, "Let's make it a repeating theme."
Commander Logan Barrett
Commanding Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Elizabeth Kelly
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion