Posted on September 30th, 2019 by Diego Ricardo Navarro
by Jester and Zorro
Kimiko followed as Doc led her away from the bar to a small table on the periphery, away from the crowds. After a moment of hesitation, she took the chair across from him and placed her half-full drink on the table. Although she was intensely curious and somewhat apprehensive about what he had to say, she simply looked at him wordlessly and waited for him to speak. The silence stretched between them for a long moment, and all was still, save for the seabreeze that pulled at strands from her high ponytail.
Diego Ricardo finally took a long pull from his drink and met Kimiko’s eyes. He really needed to talk to someone, and no one knew this aspect of him better than she did, so he decided to get right to the point and asked, “Do you think you could be in a relationship without sex?”
Finding herself at a rare loss for words, Kimiko blinked at him as she processed what she’d just heard. Was he saying that he just wanted to be friends with her? The sincere disappointment that she felt at this thought actually surprised her. She wasn’t one to get attached to lovers, but Zorro had been like no other lover she’d ever had. If he wanted to end their liaison already… that would be truly unfortunate for both of them, in her opinion. But was that what he was asking?
She seemed speechless. Diego Ricardo wondered if he had been unclear, and upon taking a second to review what he had said, he conceded that she might think he meant their relationship. He raised a hand to clarify, “’My lady doctor,’ as you called her, is asexual. It has been a learning experience for me, let me tell you.”
Again, Kimiko found herself stunned, this time so much so that she was unable to conceal it. “…With you?” she blurted loudly before gathering herself enough to provide some context more quietly, “she wants a non-sexual relationship… with you?”
“Sí,” he nodded. “At least, I think she does. But, to her, it would be just a normal relationship, and I respect that.” Diego Ricardo let out a long breath as he tried to compose his thoughts. “You know just how sexual of a person that I am, so I don’t think there’s anyone better to talk to about this.”
“Hmm,” she said, a small frown of thought curving the corners of her mouth downward. She shifted her gaze to her right, watching the waves crash ashore as she considered his predicament. Finally, she sat back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest, again meeting his eyes. “Personally,” she began, “If it were me, I don’t think I could do it. But romance has never really been an important part of a relationship to me, and without sex or romance, what’s the point? …But perhaps I’m not the best person to talk to about this, because I’m clearly biased. You’re right that I know exactly how sexual of a person you are, but my motivations are selfish, because I want you to show me again. And again. And again.” At this, her lips curved upward in a smirk. “So, you see, there are many reasons you should take my counsel with a grain of salt.” To illustrate her point, she reached for her glass and casually licked salt from the rim before taking a drink.
“I like what we have too, and I don’t want it to stop,” Diego Ricardo quickly agreed. Pausing slightly, he then added, “I don’t think that it should have to.”
She did not immediately respond, but her face quickly returned to its customary neutral expression as she set her drink down and folded her arms across her chest once more. “As far as I can tell, that means one of two things,” she responded, also keeping her voice quiet. “Either you’re not interested in pursuing the lady doctor, or you’re proposing that we carry on in secret behind her back. You don’t seem to me to be the kind of person to suggest the latter, but just in case, I should tell you that I’m not the kind of person to agree to it.”
“There is a third option, and it’s the only one I see working out if I do want to continue pursuing her… and I think that I do.” Diego Ricardo found the solace of his drink for a moment before continuing, “I would tell her about us. I can keep your identity out of it, if you prefer.”
Kimiko raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you think she would agree to such an arrangement? I must admit that I am not personally close with any asexual people that I’m aware of, so I don’t know what they consider acceptable. From my own perspective, it seems natural that she would understand that a sexual person like you needs to have those needs met somehow, but perhaps that’s biased thinking.” And, she thought to herself, I’m not sure how I would feel about such an arrangement. She was both interested in it and uneasy about it, and those conflicting emotions tangled beneath her placid surface.
“I have been doing my homework, ever since she told me. It’s not an uncommon arrangement these days, but there is only one way to know if she would agree. I have already made the mistake once of wishing I had her Betazoid abilities instead of just asking her how she felt. That’s getting ahead of ourselves, though—how would you feel about that?”
Again, she turned her gaze to the waves and allowed the silence to linger as she gathered her thoughts. “I don’t know,” she answered honestly, still looking out at the sea. “I would have to give it some thought. I suppose… it depends on what this is to you.” They had had more than one encounter since that first night, enough to know that their initial spark hadn’t been a fluke. Surprisingly, she found herself rather unhappy at the thought that she was just a means to an end for him, but at the same time, she was uncertain about how she would feel if he wanted more from her. Romantic attachment had never come naturally to her, and she preferred to avoid it, but she found herself still wanting… something. Something more than being simply an outlet. Unable to put these feelings into words, she waited for his response.
Hearing that from her came as a great surprise to Diego Ricardo. It was undeniable that he had developed feelings for Kimiko; after the intimacy they had shared and the things they had done with each other, it would have been difficult for him to not feel anything beyond the camaraderie of someone he literally goes into battle with, then has casual sex with afterwards. He had set those feelings aside, though, based on her professed distaste for romance and his desire to not ruin their relationship that was giving him the best sex of his life. Now, it seemed like she wanted something more, something he had not expected from the unflappable Jester, and it caused a sudden turmoil within him as he tried to reconcile his feelings for both Kimiko and Emily. After careful consideration, he quietly admitted, “I only let it be to me what I thought you wanted it to be.”
Great, Kimiko thought to herself, now I have to be clear about what I want when I’m not even sure what that is. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly before she began. “I like you, Zorro. As a colleague. As a person. As a playmate. I feel a… connection to you, more than I have with most people. Maybe you could even call it love, but it’s not the romantic love I think you need. I guess, in a way,” she said, finally turning back to look at him, “your lady doctor and I are not that different. She can’t meet your physical needs, and I can’t meet the needs of your heart. Neither of us are enough for you alone.” Pausing, she reached for her drink again and took a long pull before setting it back down. “If you only want me to meet your needs while you belong to her, I don’t like the way that makes me feel. Part of me says it might be fun for a while, but the rest of me says it isn’t worth the drama. If you want me to be a part of your life on equal footing… well, I’ve never done that before. But I’m willing to try it if that’s what you want.” Her eyes were calmly locked onto his, but within, she was nervous as the unspoken question sat ponderously between them; she really didn’t want to lose what they had, but she knew what she was asking for was risky.
“Jessie…,” he began, reaching across the table to squeeze her hand, “I wish I had known this before now, but I must confess that I have feelings for you, beyond just our physical intimacy. I never spoke up because I thought you didn’t want an emotional attachment to what we do together. Now, things are more complicated, but not impossible. You mean a lot to me, so if we can somehow arrange things the way you said, then I’m also willing to try it.”
Kimiko looked down at their joined hands, but did not pull hers away. “So… you wish to openly pursue relationships with both of us at the same time?” Again, her eyebrow perked up, indicating her surprise.
“It comes as a surprise to me, too, but yes.” Diego Ricardo smirked, then squeezed her hand again, the gesture feeling somehow more intimate than anything they had done before. “I certainly always imagined being the knight in the fairy tale that sweeps the fair maiden off her feet after their wedding and carries her away to the bedchamber for a night of passion, but if it’s possible, this could be even better. That is, if I possess the ability to give both relationships what they need to flourish.” He let out a long breath, but smiled. “If both of you are willing, then I will give it my best. Either way, I’m a lucky man to have the attentions of two wonderful women.”
“You know your charming words work better on her than they do on me, right?” She said with a wry smile, returning the squeeze before pulling her hands back to her lap. “It sounds like we have the beginnings of an agreement, then. Let’s hope your lady doctor is also on board. But what will you do if she isn’t?”
“I don’t know, and I hope I don’t have to figure it out,” he chuckled. “I’m lucky, though, remember? Shot down twice and still alive to be in this situation, so maybe it will work out.”
“Well. You’ll let me know what she says, won’t you?” She looked out over the surf again, suppressing thoughts of what could happen and instead turning her mind back to the train of thought she had had when she initially approached him at the bar. “In the meantime, the ocean looks awfully inviting.” Turning back to him, she gave him one of her secret smiles that only those close to her got to see. “Just for the record, I know we didn’t plan to get together until tomorrow, but my other plans for this evening have suddenly been cancelled.” Because they worked different shifts, their time thus far had been limited to the occasional stolen evening and was almost always limited by his shift or hers; she’d been looking forward to the two days they had planned together, but running into him today had been a bonus. The idea of more uninterrupted time with him was extremely appealing to her. “Care to go for a swim? I’m already dressed for it,” she added, indicating her simple board shorts and bikini top.
Diego Ricardo finished his drink and stood, flashing a wry grin. “Sure, if nothing else, it gives us something to do until we shower off later.”
Kimiko finished her drink and stood as well, casually remarking, “Oh, I think you may find it quite invigorating. But only if you beat me there!” With that, she took off at a dead sprint toward an unoccupied stretch of beach nearby, and Doc was quickly on her heels, hastily shedding his shirt and slam-dunking it in a recycler as they passed by.
She was fast, but his advantages in height and muscle mass made him faster; he splashed laughing into the surf with her only a heartbeat behind. Together, they waded deeper into the water; once it was up to Kimiko’s chest, she fumbled for his arm under the surface. “Wait. You’re taller, so you can carry me.” She pulled herself to him and wrapped her legs around his waist. “This is much more the conversation I’ve been aching to have,” she breathed, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her lips against his. “Much nicer. Less complicated.”