Fun in the Sun
Posted on February 13th, 2009 by Douglas McKnight and Persephone Busard
Doug McKnight and Persephone Busard
“How exactly does the water look clear as the kiddie pool up close, but blue as my fabric softener from here?” wondered McKnight as he rocked back and forth on his bare heels against the pavement and considered the shore some hundred feet distant through his dark glasses. One could argue, of course, that he had more important things to be concerned about. His ship, it seemed, was now a permanent flying hotel for some weasly snitch who couldn’t be trusted with bacon grease. Okay, bad example. Bacon grease seemed to bring a smile to his face just now, but whatever euphemism ultimately seemed best to him, the situation was darn unpalatable, and not just in comparison to deep fried foods. And now, this new guy who claimed to be approximately as old as written language? It was a lot to think about.
“Fuck it.” he declared to no one in particular as he took a swig of his beer and began his trek across the bright white beach sands. When it came right down to it, he was damn sick of having more important things to worry about. The others could handle Mr. Old as Dirt and whatever exactly his problem was. The ship had guards. Hell, the guards had guards. Worrying about all that? Their job. His job was to ponder the color blue, and wonder how the hell he’d been in space so long he’d forgotten the simple pleasure of almost but not quite too hot sand between his toes. Oh, and Percy would probably be expecting him back from the concession booth before HER beer got too warm. Work, work, work.
“Little paler than I usually take it.” he offered by way of greeting as he set the bottle in question down next to her towel before taking a seat himself. “Not bad though.”
Percy had, perhaps inconsiderately, been thinking of many things, but the situation on the ship was not one of them. Early on in the conversation in the restaurant, she’d realized that even if the situation were dire, there was little she could do about it. Percy was not an investigator, and she certainly wasn’t a biologist who would be interested in the secret of extended lifespans. She built and repaired machines, and until one of those became a prime concern, anything she did would probably be getting in the way of more important things. Besides, she’d spent the previous day cutting up and welding a ship while everyone else went shopping. And as selfish as it sounded, she wanted shore leave, damnit!
It was for this reason that after breakfast, while McKnight had found himself some sandals and a new shirt, she found herself a suitably fitted bikini and sunglasses, and was now lounging very comfortably on a large beach towel, looking out at the ocean. It had been too long since she’d seen oceans that weren’t ones she’d programmed into a holodeck.
Taking the beer and trying a sip, she looked over at McKnight, then back at the waves.
“Hell of a view, isn’t it? I mean, Lost Harbor is nice and all, but it just doesn’t compare.”
Chuckling into his beer bottle, McKnight then let said bottle hang loose as he rested his elbow on his knee and turned his head slightly.
“Good thing you made that segue. I’d have felt like a jackass doing that thing where I answer the question but pretend I haven’t noticed the bikini. I love sunglasses, by the way.”
Despite the fact that she had slathered herself with sunscreen earlier, Percy found herself becoming tinted rather bright red, specifically in the cheek area. It wasn’t that she hadn’t WANTED her attire to be noticed, but she honestly hadn’t been expecting something that straightforward. Trying to recover from her surprise, she found herself stuttering a response.
“Oh, er, I uh…” And once she was good and red, “…Thanks.”
McKnight, as his record would indicate clearly to anyone who perused it, was not even the remotest percentage Betazoid. Psi null was the technical term, he believed. And yet, somehow, he swore he could sense some undercurrents of discomfort. Thus, as Percy attempted to make her vocal cords cooperate, McKnight held his tongue. However, it could perhaps be said that the gesture of mercy was imperfect, because though his mouth remained closed save to indulge in another sip of the local brew, it also appeared molded in the shape of a ‘cat that ate the canary’ grin.
That response, at the very least, helped Percy pull herself together a little more. She’d been making a conscious effort for the past couple of weeks to be a little less awkward, and here she was, stuttering like an idiot. She was 34, damnit. It was high time that she started acting like it. After a few moments, she managed to speak again without stuttering too much.
“The shirt looks pretty nice, by the way. Although I’ve got to wonder, how many Hawaiian shirts do you OWN?”
At that, McKnight finally took pity for real, and with one last smile, turned his view back out to the ocean properly as he drained his bottle to the half way point.
“Thanks. And uh…this’ll be fourth, I guess. Hold over from my last job. Cervantes wasn’t exactly the kind of environment that promised a lot of job satisfaction to a marine…hell, they actually gave the Romulans the command codes, if you can believe that. But I’ll admit, I DO miss Hawaiian Fridays.”
Percy chuckled slightly. She’d heard of the Cervantes, certainly, but it seemed to be a much different experience than her previous assignments had been. For the most part, when casual Fridays came around on the ships she’d been on, the guys just wore black t-shirts that had some clever pun or statement on the front. Still, her gaze might have lingered on the colonel a moment or two longer than normal, and she may or may not have leaned a little closer towards him in that time.
“Well, it’s refreshing to see a marine out of uniform and NOT wearing a wife beater and airman sunglasses. And…y’know, it really does look nice on you.”
Under the circumstances, the difference in proximity could hardly go un-noticed.
“You know, the sunglasses trick doesn’t actually work when you let the other person know you’re window shopping. This…actually, this is a little more like flirting, oddly enough.”
The redness in Percy’s face returned slightly.
“I…guess it is. Is that…is that a problem?”
The effect of the lazy smile may perhaps have been a bit spoiled when McKnight decided the conversation had reached a point where at least one of them should probably be able to see the other’s eyes. That purpose was somewhat defeated when, after removing his sunglasses, he remembered why he’d seen to wear them in the first place, and had to shut his eyes against the suddenly increased sunlight. Blinking a few times until his eyes adjusted, the smile took on more of an amused quality.
“Wow, I’m smooth. Okay, pretend you didn’t notice that part. A problem, you ask? I shouldn’t think so. Of course, I suppose it all depends on how you follow up on it.”
Percy smiled softly at that, relieved at least that she wasn’t the only one acting awkwardly.
“I guess awkward silence is right out, huh?”
“Oh, well not that THAT isn’t a time honored tradition, but when I’m silent, it’s because I mean to be. Let’s see if we can’t do a little better.”
With that, his left hand reached out across the remaining distance between the two, slowly so that the engineer could observe what was happening and stop it if she so chose, but without discernable hesitation beyond that. Cupping her chin, he would gently raise her head slightly so that everything would line up properly as he leaned in.
Persephone thought, for a moment, about stopping him. All the normal worries about working together and the consequences that would result popped up for a moment, before they were completely squashed by the realization that she really didn’t care. And with that, she leaned in too, and touched her lips to his.
Naturally, as is always the case the first time this occasion arose between two people, McKnight briefly considered just how long it was appropriate to draw this out. There were certainly some valid points in favor of keeping it brief. Clearly, Persephone was a bit on the nervous side, not that he could claim this consitituted abundantly familiar territory for him lately either. So, perhaps it would be polite to break off quickly, then allow her to set the pace. But then, he hadn’t overstepped his bounds just yet, and it seemed to be working out pretty well, this not over-thinking it bit. Besides, how could one think it appropriate to hurry anything along here, amidst the soothing rhythm of the gently crashing waves and the constant company of the warm sun? He let his lips linger a few moments before he gently pulled back, resting his forehead against the engineer’s.
“I think that was a little better.”
A happy sigh escaped Persephone’s lips once they had broken contact with McKnight, and for a moment, she was perfectly content with simply gazing into the eyes of the man she’d just shared a kiss with. It had been nearly a decade since she’d been able to share a moment like this with someone she cared about, and she intended to savor it as she lifted a hand up to lightly stroke his cheek. After a few moments, however, a mischievous glimmer found itself in her eye. A very light smirk gracing her face, she spoke in a low tone.
“You know, I THINK so, but I think it might merit further examination. After all, that could have just been a fluke.”
“…Well, I’d hate to be left not knowing. The scientific method it is.”