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Log of the Month for September, 2018

Posted on September 5th, 2018 by Alexis Wright and Kathryn Harper

by Alexis Wright and Kathryn Harper

Breathe. You must remember to breathe!

Alexis was seated in the holodeck, her cello cradled gently between her knees, trying to look more relaxed than she felt. She’d set up the holodeck to look just like the small room in which she used to play with her mother when she was a child, which was an intensely private space for her — but the familiar acoustics calmed her nerves.

Even though she’d been warming up for half an hour, she tried to look as though she’d only been there for a few moments when the holodeck doors swished open, heralding Kate’s arrival. Carrying a small case made of lacquered wood, Kate smiled as she looked around, realizing that the room her new friend had chosen for their musical meeting was far too detailed to be random. “Hello, Lexy.”

— That beguiling pair of eyes had transfixed her while they played. Even then, it had been inevitable.

How close had she come to dying today? More importantly, how much closer had she come to losing her best and only friend? When she had seen Kate on the bridge, she had wanted to jump up and hug her, just to make sure she was real and alive and okay. A part of her still wanted to.

Was Kate more than just a friend? Was she developing… feelings for Kate? If she was, would they be welcome? Was she willing to jeopardize their friendship based on these feelings? How serious was she about them? She wasn’t sure. This was uncharted space.

— Those seemingly far-away tears had stung bitterly, but these are infinitely happier. Blink.

“The truth is that I really care about you. Maybe as… more than just a friend. But our friendship is more important to me and I don’t want to lose it even if you don’t feel the same way.”

Kate’s face seemed to light up, and she swept Lexy into a quick hug. After but a moment, Kate pulled back to meet Lexy’s confused look and gushed, “You really feel that way? I had dared to hope so, since I do feel the same way!”

Lexy blinked at Kate, her heart beating wildly as Risa’s ocean crashed upon the sandy shore near where they stood. She took a step closer so that their bodies were almost touching. “Tell me,” she whispered, meeting those tantalizing green eyes as she lifted a hand and tenderly brushed strands of hair from Kate’s face, “is this body language difficult to understand?” She cupped Kate’s cheek softly and tipped her own chin upward, slowly standing up on her toes, and closed her eyes at the last moment…

— She shivers in anticipation of soft warmth, curved into a smile. Blink.

Lexy wrapped her arms around Kate’s trembling form. “But I do need to,” she said softly, “I want to. I choose this. I won’t pretend to understand the hell you’re going through, but you don’t have to do it alone anymore. You have me, now.” She blinked away tears.

Kate’s wild, wet eyes pulled back and found Lexy’s. “But it is my fault that they are all dead! You said yes because of me, and if you die too, I could not bear…”

“It’s not your fault, Kate. And I am not planning to die.” She pressed her lips together into a grim line. “Like I said, we’re going to make it back home together.”

— Meaningful words that pierce straight to the core of her being. Blink. Yet, she still notices the birdsong.

Kate pulled her close into a reassuring hug. “At the time, I thought you asked that because of our reputation as a species, but now I understand.” Pulling back from the hug to look Lexy straight in the eyes, she continued, “Do not worry. I will commit to you, and only you, as I said.”

Lexy gave Kate a pensive look. “Even though I’m moving so slow? That was his complaint.”

“Mmmm, it is nothing,” Kate purred. “Your ex-boyfriend was a pig, you know. I am comfortable with whatever pace you wish to take.”

Lexy smiled brightly, her eyes shining. “Shall we head back to the house? There’s something there I… think I’m ready to show you.”

— Blink. The light, warm breeze is welcome. Everything is perfect, she muses.

“It’s okay if you don’t want me,” Lexy mumbled self-consciously.

“Oh, believe me, I want you,” Kate growled, her voice acquiring an undercurrent of primal lust as the restraint she had been exercising around Lexy began to crumble. She dropped Lexy’s hands and pulled their bodies together with a surprising amount of force. “As for not knowing how to ‘have the sex with a woman,’ do not fret. I will. take care. of that.” Each staccato assertion was punctuated by a light tap of her finger on the tip of Lexy’s nose.

A shiver of anticipation went up her spine at the sudden huskiness in Kate’s voice and the roughness of the embrace.

— She has never felt more beautiful in her life than she does now, standing with her beloved in this magnificent cathedral of nature.

“I’m fine, though I could use a shower.” Giving Kate an appraising look, Lexy’s brows knitted together with concern. “And you? You’re… all right?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yes,” Kate answered with a relieved smile, then added, “Somehow, after all of that.” The STAR mission was finally over, and it was a near-miracle that they were both unharmed.

They walked silently down the corridor together until they reached Lexy’s quarters; Lexy stepped inside and roughly pulled Kate in behind her, drawing her into a fierce embrace and fervid kiss before the door had even finished closing. Lexy’s heart raced as she clutched Kate close to her, kissing her with an urgent need like that for water in the desert. Her sudden passion caught Kate by surprise, startling her awake from the exhausted reverie that had carried them here. This level of intensity from Lexy was something new. Returning her embrace and kisses with equal ferocity, Kate answered with a fire of her own.

After a moment, Lexy began tugging at the fastener of Kate’s uniform while backing toward the bathroom. “Come on,” she purred, her voice low and husky. “I wasn’t kidding about that shower.”

Kate’s breath caught at her tone, also new and exciting. She reached for Lexy’s zipper, whispering against her neck, “That is good, because this side of you is really arousing.”

“Shut up,” Lexy whispered simply, covering Kate’s mouth with her own.

— The moment feels surreal. Exhilaration juxtaposes with serenity.

Kate was unable to suppress her laughter at Lexy’s wholly scientific approach to the future of their relationship. After a few mirthful moments, she finally answered, “Forgive me, please, I did not mean to offend. That was just so… scientific! And yes, I suppose your analysis is technically correct.”

Quietly regarding Kate, her sober expression unchanged, Lexy carefully considered her situation. Her true feelings ran deep and passionate; she suspected she was falling in love, but chose to keep that to herself for the time being, since she was now fairly certain that it wasn’t yet reciprocated. Her heart ached at the sudden realization, but she forced herself to focus on the ‘yet’. Given all of the variables, Kate was right — it would be better to slow down and build a strong foundation. It was just so hard to wait when you longed to be living in the house.

— Tree-dappled sunlight caresses her bare ivory shoulders. The golden hour.

“I’ve told you this before, but let me say it again. I won’t pretend to understand what you are going through, but please remember that you don’t have to do it alone. You have me now. Okay?” Blinking unbidden moisture away from her eyes, Lexy pulled Kate into a protective embrace, feeling helpless in the face of her lover’s despair over the pilots that had been lost in combat.

It was what Kate had been seeking, if only subconsciously, but the sudden offer of help gave her pause. Her instinct, as it had always been during the years since she had last been in a relationship, was to deflect. Now, she actively fought that urge as she began to speak, her voice tremulous. “Lexy, I am sorry that I have ignored you so much lately; it is not what you deserve. But you… you are not what I deserve, yet here you are. No — ” An abrupt sob and upwelling of tears choked off her sentence until her instinct reasserted itself and she finished, “I cannot do this now.”

Torn between a desire to be gentle to her lover and the fear that she was slipping away, Lexy agonized over how to respond. “Then when? Will it ever be the right time?” She shook her head, tearful eyes searching Kate’s stony face. “Please, please talk to me. If not now, soon. I… I’m so afraid I’m going to lose you.”

— Laced fingers, holding tightly. Blink.

Kate pulled back, offering a reassuring smile as she wiped at her eyes. “I am — well, I will be OK. Even Doctor Endilev thinks so. I just need a little time to sort myself out, but I will be alright.” With a gesture toward the intricately carved model of her lost Mustang that Lexy had given to her for her birthday, she added, “Right now, looking at the Boudica makes me a little melancholy, but overall, I am touched at how thoughtful of a gift this is… especially after how I have treated you lately.”

That’s what love is, Lexy thought to herself, but simply smiled at Kate, not wanting to press the issue. “When I said that you have me now, I meant it, darling. On Earth, there’s an old expression — to be there through thick and thin. Are you familiar with that one?”

“No, but I think I get it,” Kate answered quietly as her melancholia was washed away by a wave of warm affection. “Thank you.”

Lexy bubbled with laughter. “Are you sure you want to thank me? It means you’re stuck with me!” She flung her arms around Kate and hugged her close. “I mean it, though,” she continued once the giggles had subsided, “You have me through thick and thin, and that’s a promise.”

— Gifts are special things when replicators exist. Today, so many had been brought by their friends and families.

Lexy looked over toward where her everything slept next to her in the dark, quietly choking back tears of relief that they’d both survived the ordeals of the past year and were now here together. The comfort that this thought provided, however, was no longer sufficient to ease her mind. Kate was the Captain of the whole ship now, and Lexy’s troubles were obviously unimportant compared to that. Though aching for closeness, she rolled to her side and faced away, berating herself for the desire to bother Kate with her selfish needs. She so desperately wanted their relationship to continue, despite the fact that everything was different now and that this scenario was far beyond anything she was emotionally equipped to deal with… she felt obligated to hide her own struggles in order to be a supportive partner, but lacked the strength of will to do so successfully. I am weak and worthless, Lexy thought angrily. Kate deserves so much more than I can give her in her new life.

— No matter who is watching, those eyes are the only ones that matter. Blink.

“No,” Kate interrupted, since her meaning had not come across correctly. She stepped forward to take both of Lexy’s hands in her own and then began to clarify, “I would like it very much if —” Biting her lip as she found Lexy’s eyes looking up at her expectantly, Kate hesitated as a realization hit her. Since she had stopped drinking herself into oblivion and been able to see their relationship with mental clarity, the reason she was now feeling comfortable enough with it that she found herself about to ask Lexy to move in with her came into focus. Her true feelings were probably obvious by human standards, but her own were a bit more rigorous, and even through her mind’s constant issues with the flowery idioms of the English language, the word to describe what she felt was suddenly unambiguous.

In anticipation of what she was about to say, butterflies flooded her stomach with an intensity that she had not felt since her first relationships as a teenager. Willing her knees not to buckle as she fell into those eyes, Kate finally confessed, “I love you, Lexy.”

With those words, the puzzlement on Lexy’s face was immediately replaced with radiant joy, like a flower opening to the morning sun. Thoroughly unable to formulate words, she squeaked with pleasure and threw herself into Kate’s arms, her elated exuberance proving somewhat detrimental to Kate’s balance and ability to breathe. She eventually pulled back her arms, instead reaching up to cup Kate’s face and look into her eyes, wearing the most incandescent smile of her life. Drawing Kate down toward her until their foreheads were touching, she managed a whisper, “…Could you say it again? Please? I need to make sure I’m not dreaming this time.”

Having said it once, she now was eager to repeat it, or even to yell it, but Kate managed to keep to the tender tone of the moment. Her knees were still weak and her stomach continued to flutter as she softly repeated, “I love you.”

— After all, it was inevitable. They had passed the event horizon long ago. Blink.

Kate’s face fell, being as unaccustomed to rejection in romance as she was to nervousness. The sting was also evident in her voice as it grew quieter. “I do not understand, Lexy. We love each other, yes? At least among my people, this would be enough to live together, but perhaps you are not ready?”

The pain in Kate’s tone cut Lexy to the core, and her hands hurriedly scrabbled for Kate’s. “Please, don’t misunderstand me,” she pleaded, panic creeping into her tone with the conclusion that she had indeed said the wrong thing, “I love you, and I want this so badly that it almost physically hurts. It’s just that there has been a lot of change in the past couple of months, and introducing another variable at this stage is simply bad science. It’s so important to me to have this with you that I’m willing to wait until everything else settles down. Do you see my point? It kills me to do this, believe me, but… I think I should say no today. But please,” she begged, willing Kate to understand her, “Please please please. Ask me again in six months and my answer will be different.”

— Blink. That six months had seemed like forever, but they had passed… and had led to this perfect day.

“Look. You know that I trust your judgment and I would follow you anywhere. Right? It’s just that I don’t trust Vallero.” At this, she locked her eyes back up to Kate’s, radiating earnest sincerity. “I love you, Kate Harper. And if he betrays you… well, I can promise they won’t take you without taking me.”

With a squeeze of Lexy’s hand, Kate smiled through suddenly moist eyes, the unexpected profession of Lexy’s willingness to defend her catching her off guard. “I love you too, but please, do not ever —”

“Whatever you were going to ask me not to do, I’m sorry to disappoint,” Lexy interrupted, her voice soft but matter-of-fact. “It’s absurd to expect me to do nothing if they take you. If you would do nothing in the reverse situation, then I’ve dramatically misunderstood how this relationship stuff works.”

— She would have pursued her to the end of spacetime itself. Blink.

Bill smiled down at his daughter affectionately, almost as if he could memorize her face in this moment, before brushing the hair out of her face with his hands and leaning down to kiss her forehead. “You know, you’ll always be my little Rosie no matter what, but having spent time with your intended, I think you’re making an excellent choice. I’d be thrilled to have Katie as a daughter-in-law, and I know your mother would agree. In fact…” He paused, considering. “…I’ve been holding on to your mother’s wedding ring, but I think she would want you to have it. You can give it to your love when you’re ready to ask her. What do you think?”

Lexy looked at him in surprise, her eyes suddenly brimming with tears. “Oh, Daddy…”

— Blink. She is stunningly, breathtakingly gorgeous in that dress.

“Oh, really?” Kate jabbed. “Not how you wanted today to go? It certainly was not my plan for an ideal day either, so perhaps you should put more thought into how you treat others, Alexis!

At Kate’s words, Lexy suddenly shrank as if stung. She had tried to make their home together into a pleasant space, and this was the thanks she got? “Fine. Have it your way. I’m done arguing about it.” Brushing past Kate, she walked toward the bedroom, pausing in the doorway to cut off Kate’s immediate protest without turning around. “I’m taking your advice — I’m going to my room to think about what I’ve done, Kathryn.” Her flat tone carried an edge of snark, and further argument was thwarted by her disappearance into the bedroom, the door abruptly swishing closed behind her.

Kate angrily flopped onto the couch with her arms folded over her chest, fuming over what had transpired. A few minutes later, her anger had calmed to mere sulkiness, and she reached for the pillow Lexy had been using. Intending to lie down, she instead paused upon finding a wrapped package, formerly hidden behind the pillow. Opening the attached folded tag, she read the hand-written message: “Happy Birthday to my one and only, with love -Lexy”

“Oh, fuck me,” Kate said aloud.

— She is aware of every breath she draws as she wills this moment to pass both more quickly and more slowly. Blink.

“And your Lexy, we worried at first that maybe she was too shy, but when she came to us… she loves you, Kathryn. This is wonderful! Now we will have two daughters!” Jhnal’s excitement was nearly palpable, even through the screen.

“She does love me, yes. Me, of all people! I mean, you two are obviously biased in my favor,” Kate gestured at the viewscreen, “but I had given up on finding actual love years ago. But here… well, here she is.” Kate finished the thought quietly, now having to wipe a tear from the corner of her own eye though her smile remained intact.

Rolik leaned toward the camera, and although he spoke softly, he still maintained an air of gregariousness. “Kathryn… you were never like the other girls. Always with the playing of the sports, and the studying, and the music… but look what you have done with your life as a result. You have made all of Risa proud, not just us. To do all of that takes someone truly special, since such ability and insight is quite rare, indeed. But when you are so different, it is harder to find the right person to settle down with, though the one you eventually find is likely to be as special as you are.”

“Yes,” Jhnal added, nodding, “You and your Lexy are both special people. It is lucky that you found one another.”

— Lucky, indeed. It has all been more than worth it. She really is special.

“Despite our differences, you and I make a really good team when we actually work together.” Lexy paused, then added, “Maybe because of our differences. I guess that’s why we’re doing this in the first place, right?”

— Trembling smile as rings bind them. Lock gazes with her and speak vows eternal. Blink away tears of joy as two hearts spiral together ever faster. Blink.

Admiral Ian Blackthorne’s sonorous baritone resonates through the crowd. “By the power vested in me by Starfleet Command, and as one of my favorite duties, I hereby pronounce that you are married. You may kiss your bride!”

— A passionate, tearful embrace, somehow finding her lips for a breathless kiss. Eyes pressed shut, amplifying the sound of happy cheers that accompany their shared fall into singularity.

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1 Comment

  • Kuari Kuari says:

    Kate and Alexis have indeed been through thick and thin, and this is surely only a summary of their journey’s highlights. This must have taken quite some effort to compile, a labor of love. It’s fittingly ended with their Ian’s words. Well done!

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