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Sound Advice

Posted on Fri Feb 21st, 2014 @ 6:46am by Commander Mercia Kavi

Mission: Photons Everywhere
Timeline: Middle of the night after the party

The lift doors closed in her face, and she stood there blinking. What the hell had just happened? She turned and leaned against the wall, recounting the evening. She’d gone there, had some fun dancing, drank too much… she kissed Khelev, crap.

Then she tried to leave and tripped getting Hawkins attention and while he was sweetly walking her back to her room she ran her mouth trying to egg him on.

Swears ran through her head, as she swallowed them back, not wanting to spew them everywhere. “Way to go Mercia.” she ground through gritted teeth. She pushed off the wall and went back to her room chewing on her thumb as she was agitated. Why couldn't she have just flirted like normal and thanked him for seeing her home safe? Why Mercia? Why?

What had she been expecting to happen? She’d told him over and over again this was just fun, he got the message, clearly he did because he tossed that in her face when she was trying to get a rise out of him.

Expecting him to act all territorial was a mistake, even if he wanted to, his restraint in that confused her. Was it respect or indifference?

Was this just fun? Sure she was interested, they’d had some sweet moments together, passionate moments, funny moments, and purely frustrating moments. He’d taken her on a whirlwind already, and just like that everything felt different. Could she go on just having fun with Helaku?

She laughed at herself cynically as she entered her room and closed her door. Her feet carried her to the bathroom, where she stripped and stepped in to the shower. Who was she fooling? If he showed up right then she’d drop anything for some fun. Did she expect more? NO! She wasn't interested in more, and didn't deserve it. As much as that thought made her ache she knew it was true.

Feeling like she had lost her bearings she checked the time after she left the shower and put on a tank and shorts. She was tired, but agitated, already she was going to be short on sleep considering her schedule told her she had a meeting first thing in the morning to see the big guy that had the dog.

She grabbed a tablet and dropped on her bed, pulling a pillow against her, and her angel doll. She checked what else she had going on tomorrow. After the meeting she had trainings to run, a few hours shift on the bridge, and then she had to do a bunch of checking in on the holograms in her department.

She sighed and laid down, hugging the pillow, staring at her faceless angel doll. It wasn’t long before she was growling in frustration. Sleep wouldn’t come and she couldn’t stop thinking about this thing with Helaku. What was wrong with her?

She finally sat up and sat with her chin resting on one knee, the doll still in hand. It was such a simple little thing, but it was her sole source of comfort, and even now it wasn’t providing much.

Mercia needed a safe sounding bored, she needed someone to help her get past this, focus on her job and forget all about this. She looked at the time again, and let out a breath, her counselor through the Refit Project, Lyla would be awake, since she was in a part of the Earth that was day time already.

She tapped her number in and called the woman, she needed to talk.

Lyla, a bright redheaded woman with soft eyes and a friendly face answered a few moments later. “Mercia, I was going to call you later.” she said. “We haven’t talked in a few weeks.” she said. “You look upset.”

Mercia nodded and blinked her eyes a few times, “Yeah… you could say that.” she said.

“You want to tell me whats going on?” Lyla asked unfazed by the fact the fact she looked about to cry. She was one of very, very few people who had ever seen Mercia broken completely. “Are your nightmares back? You should be sleeping.” Lyla said.

Mercia took a deep breath, “Yeah… I don’t know what to do… I made mistakes.” she sighed.

Lyla smiled, “We all do.” she said softly. “So what hideous thing have you done this time?” she joked.

Mercia allowed half a smile as she looked at her counselor, who honestly had become far closer than that in all the years. The woman had a unique perspective on Mercias situation. She was a former slave herself, rescued and rehabilitated through a charity program started a another former slave. Lyla was one of the very few people Mercia fully trusted, and was open with. She’d learned Mercia’s loyalty and Mercia would defend her unto death. Grayson was the only other one she could say that about.

Mercia picked at fuzz on her blanket and let out a long breath, “I got involved with someone I shouldn’t” she confessed.

“Mercia you’ve been there less than a week.” Lyla chided her.

“I know!” Mercia snipped, glaring at her own hands, “It wasn’t my fault though.” she complained.

“Not your fault?”

“No. I ran in to him at a club and we hooked up. I didn’t know he was starfleet!” she said, “Or I would have avoided the hell out of him, but he got my attention and I liked him. He’s different.” she said frowning again.

“Alright do you’re dating again.” Lyla said, “Why do you think this was a mistake?” she asked, ignoring the information on how they met. She’d get to that later.

Mercia winced, and glanced up at the screen before she looked down again, “‘cause he’s the captain.” she said. “And we’re not dating, we’re hooking up… friends with benefits.” she said.

Lyla was clearly surprised as she was silent for a few moments as she leaned back in her chair. “Mercia I would think after your last posting you’d know better than to get involved with a superior.” she commented.

“Yeah I should, but… Helaku is so different… I don’t get it.” Mercia said. “And thats part of it! We’ve been really in to each other, and I got drunk tonight and confessed that there was another guy on this ship that I hooked up with when i was on earth, what are the chances of that? Well Helaku didn’t even care.” she said frowning.

Lyla shook her head wondering how Mercia got herself in to these messes? “You’re just hooking up, why should he care?” she asked.

When Mercia was silent for a while Lyla leaned forward, “You’re not ready to admit it yet Mercia, but just as I’ve been telling you for years, you’re going to start craving more than physical attention. Why are you so upset that he didn’t care if you have a friends with benefits arrangement?” she asked.

Mercia sighed, hating hearing Lylas words, she might be starting to crave it, but that didn’t mean that was ever going to be in the cards for her. “Because he just didn’t care, a couple days ago he was toying with me, trying to make me jealous… so I was turning it back on him, and he just shrugged it off. Its not fair how he manages to expose so damn much in me, but he’s like a damn wall. I think I’ve seen the real Helaku once.” she said. On the beach when he confessed his loss to her. That moment stood out in her mind, and caused so much confusion.

“Nothing is ever fair Mercia, fair is a myth. Fair is built off changeable opinions. What is Just though? Tell me what is Just about this? The right and wrong built off of an unmoving standard.” Lyla challenged her.

Mercia licked her lips, and sighed heavily, she knew the answer and she hated it. “That we’re not a real couple, there fore he isn’t obligated to react to my attempts to push his buttons.” she sighed.

“And what does it tell you that you’re upset by this?” Lyla asked.

“That I’m a moron who can’t keep her mouth shut?” Mercia snapped. “Who just wants to make drama so I can feel like I had some control over him?” she growled.

Lyla laughed, “Well yes, we’ve been dealing with your dramatic tendencies, and we’ll get to that. But the fact you’re upset by his lack of reaction tells me that you’re growing. You might think its about control Mercia, but I know you. If you were trying to have power over Hawkins you would have used the same talents you used to get his attention in the first place. The same talents you use to get your way wherever you are. Did you try to seduce him?” she asked bluntly.

Mercia twisted a lock of her hair and shook her head, baffled. She always reverted to seduction when she wasn’t getting her way.

“why not?” Lyla asked plainly.

“Because it wasn’t what I wanted, even though I wouldn’t have complained.” she admitted.

“What did you want?”

Mercia was quiet for a little bit. “Its not fair how I feel so exposed to him, and he doesn’t open back up! He’s only been open to me one time, and he’s seen me… he saw a nightmare.” she said. “He saw me hiding!” she said feeling more and more agitated.

Lyla arched her brows, she knew Mercia’s nightmares were intense, very intense. “How did he handle that?”

Mercia was quiet, “Well after I attacked him while waking up and then hiding he… I don’t know, he didn’t make me feel ashamed. I was still embarrassed about hiding though.” she said frowning. “But I didn’t feel ashamed.” she said. “But he saw me cry Lyla.”

“You feel exposed.” Lyla said.

Mercia nodded, “And he’s not exposed to me.;” she complained.

Lyla smirked, “Why should he be? Your arrangement doesn’t require exposure on his part.” she said, “Nor on your part.” Lyla smiled, “You’re seeing the difference between a purely physical relationship and a real relationship. You want him to be as exposed as you are. That happens in real relationships, over time. Its part of the beauty of relationship… when you take away the physical attraction and two people are more exposed to each other than when they are with out clothing, then that is something real.”

“So what Do I do?” Mercia complained.

Lyla shrugged a little, “You want my advice?” she asked.

Mercia nodded.

“Stop sleeping with guys you just met.” Lyla said flatly. “Stop using your body to fulfil the needs your emotions have. Now your emotions are getting mixed up and you’re lost.” Lyla leaned forward, “If you make a friend, and connect with him in other ways the physical enjoyment will come, but the relational nuances you don’t have right now will fall into place. That is natural.”

“What if I don’t want to stop hooking up with him?” Mercia asked.

Lyla pressed her lips together, “Then you need to accept the fact that your arrangement is nothing more than that. Don’t try to force him to expose himself emotionally. If he wants to, he will do it. You have no right to demand he does because you two are nothing more than bodies to each other, and eventually, sooner rather than later, that will stop being enough, and it will end.” she said. “And keep your emotions to yourself, don’t let him mess with your emotions. I know Grayson asked Hawkins to be there for you, to guide you, and help you… not to mention you work on his crew, he needs to know he can trust you. I’m sure he’s pushing all sorts of buttons to see what kind of woman you really are.” Lyla said.

“How do you know?” Mercia asked.

Lyla laughed, “Sweetie why do you think it took a month for Grayson to pick your assignment. He knows what kind of man Hawkins is, and he picked him carefully. I don’t like the fact you two are involved, but you’re adults.”

“I don’t like the fact that he’s seeing all this crap in me! One of these days he’s going to have enough and kick me off!” Mercia complained.

Lyla laughed, “I doubt it Mercia, not unless you cause problems for him.” she said. “He is a gracious person, and he has a reputation for pushing and guiding hard luck cases and making successes out of them. Thats why Grayson likes him so much.”

“But its different for us.” Mercia remarked.

“Maybe, but thats the risk you run doing what you’ve done. I don’t know the future Mercia, and If i were you, i’d stop this hooking up thing. Its not going to help, especially since your heart is thawing.” she commented.

Mercia looked at her with questions in her eyes.

“You want more.” Lyla pointed out.

She shook her head fast, “No. I don’t.” she argued.

“Why not, I thought you said he interested you?” she asked.

“He does! He’s interesting, funny, spontaneous, and hot, and frustrating, and annoying, and like a damn wall.” Mercia grumbled.

Lyla grinned, “So if you’re not wanting more, why’d you call me when you should be sleeping? You’ve pushed friends buttons before and they didn’t respond the way you expected… what's different?” she demanded.

“Nothing! I just couldn’t sleep!” Mercia said with a hard swallow.

“You trust me?” Lyla asked.

“Yes.” Mercia replied glumly.

“Then trust me when I tell you what I’m seeing. There’s a part of you that is interested in far more than physical, and you’re frustrated because you’re not willing to let yourself admit that. You’re already becoming unsatisfied with the restriction of friends with benefits. If you were a couple, a real couple, do you think he would have reacted differently?” Lyla asked.

Mercia closed her eyes and nodded, “Maybe.” she said.

“You’re looking for a chink in his armor that tells you he’s interested in more than physical and he’s not caving to it right?”

“No! Because I don’t want more Lyla! I never want more, ever!” Mercia said frustrated.

“Why do you still think that Mercia?” Lyla asked.

Mercia grabbed her doll again, and rubbed the fabric between her fingers, “Because i’m broken. I have nothing to offer a real relationship… I’m nothing but work for someone. God sakes I’ve been nothing but work for Helaku except when we’re… stress relieving.” she said. “What kind of person would want more with a girl who attacks him and then hides under a desk and shaking like a five year old?” she asked.

“Mercia, we all have our pains, and our brokenness. One day you’ll run in to a guy who doesn’t care about that, but cares about you. Someone who you can trust to hold you when you have a nightmare, someone who you will hide in his arms, not under a desk.” she leaned forward, “My husband has had a lot of brokenness to suffer through with me. I’ve been rehabilitated, but I was forced to do all those horrible things half my life, and even still, he will turn the wrong way and I’ll crumble into a pile of fear. He did nothing wrong, not at all, its instinct. Your instinct is to tuck yourself away in the safest place you know how until you feel safe again, because you can’t fight a nightmare.” she said. “Love can change those instincts, but they might not ever fully go away.”

Mercia stared at the screen, after her nightmare she and Helaku had a connection, and they had laid back down, and she had fallen asleep next to him, at ease. That had been a first. “But I’m still broken…”

“Me too Mercia,”

“And I’m not looking for love. I’m unlovable and broken, and no man would be stupid enough to try to love me.” Mercia said, feeling still so lost.

“A man can love a broken woman.” Lyla said. “So stop hiding in your brokenness, that doesn’t make you unloveable. You are not as broken as you think you are. Its another mask”

Mercia stared at her in disbelief. “I still don’t know what to do.” she said.

“If you want more Mercia, then you need to tell him that… if you don’t then you need to accept the fact he is not going to expose his heart to you. Those are your options.” Lyla told her.

“What if he doesn’t want more?” Mercia asked. “Never mind, forget I asked, because I don’t want it.” she said.

“Yes you do, and you’ll eventually admit it.” Lyla chuckled. “And if he doesn’t he’ll tell you, and you will have to deal with the consequences.”

“What if he gets rid of me?” Mercia asked.

“Then you work security for Graysons office.” Lyla said. “This is a unique chance for you to excel Mercia…”

Mercia frowned, “You think there is a chance he will get rid of me, if I ask for more?” she asked.

Lyla shrugged, “I honestly couldn’t tell you. Has he hinted at that?” she asked.

“No… quite the opposite actually… several times I thought he was calling me to kick me off, and he wasn't, said he wasn’t going to.” mercia said.

“Then don’t worry about it.” Lyla said. “Decide what it is you want and make a move or don’t depending on what you decide. but decide something and stop scaring yourself out of it.” she said. “Only you is stopping you from making meaningful relationships Mercia. You can do this, you can have friends, you can even have a boyfriend. You need to make up your mind, and then speak it.” Lyla said.

Mercia sighed, “Relationships are complicated.” she said.

“Yes, but they are worth the risk.” Lyla said. “So… lets talk about your nightmares…”



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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele on Fri Feb 21st, 2014 @ 10:47am

A really powerful post. One of the best I've read for a while.