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Durandus sighed, her gaze at the metal tiles on the ceiling. ~Ok. You can do this.~ She repeated the mantra in her head dozens of times as she stood silently. Crewmen passed behind her occasionally, some ignoring her as they attend their business. Others would give a professional nod or salutation. No one noticing how long sheâd been standing there.
~Will you just come in already!~ A voice screamed at her telepathically. ~Iâm tired of listening to you yammer.~
~This is a horrible idea.~ Durandus thought, walking through the entry to see an embodied reflection of herself sitting on the couch.
âItâs about time,â Dr. Kay said, glancing down at the chair across from her as a gesture for her to sit. âHas anyone ever told you how annoying you can be sometimes?â
Durandus rolled her eyes, flopping down on the chair, crossing her legs and slouching to one side. âYouâre very narcissistic.â
âThat wasnât a compliment.â
Dr. Kay winked as Cmdr. Durandus returned to awkward silence, staring past her out the window.
Dr. Kay gave an annoyed sigh, as she got up, carrying an empty glass with her. âYouâre not going to get your mind off this until you talk about it.â She walked up to a bar setup in the corner and meticulously assembled two new drinks. âBesidesâ¦ I already know. Andâ¦â She picked up the glasses and turned to face her â... Iâm the only person left on this ship you can officially talk to,â She sat a drink down on the end table beside her, âwithout risking personal bias on the new chain of command â¦ or B.S. like thatâ¦â she waved her drink around as she spoke, sloshing it about in the glass.
âYeahâ¦ thanks for rubbing it in.â
âYouâre welcome,â Dr. Kay said, raising her glass mockingly. She took a sip, looking down on Cmdr. Durandus who was eyeing the drink, disgusted. âDrink it.â Dr. Kay commanded, getting a glare in response. âDoctorâs orders.â
Cmdr. Durandus hesitated, then took a drink, giving a grimace as it burned on the way down. âWhat in Goddessâs name is this?â
âYridian brandy,â she replied happily, sitting back down on the couch. âDonât ask me where I got it.â She winked again, tasting the subtle sweetness of fruit.
The silence returned except for the clink of ice in Dr. Kayâs glass as she swirled it in her hand.
âI was never ready for this,â Cmdr. Durandus said, breaking the silence like she was ripping off a bandaid. âLosing him.â Her voice trailed off.
Dr. Kay looked at her knowingly.
âHe always does this. Messes with my emotions then leaves me.â Cmdr. Durandus took a large drink, adding fuel to the fire that was growing inside her.
âTrust me. I know what thatâs like.â Dr. Kayâs eyes glazed over, her thoughts fluttering away for a brief moment.
âYou canât possibly know what this is like!â Cmdr. Durandus downed the rest of the drink, setting it down angrily. âI loved him, and he left me. Threw me aside like some summer fling.â Her gaze was still focused on the stars outside. âAll he left me was some vague message and his official leave paperwork. â
âItâs been hard for him. Youâre the first person heâs truly loved since his wife died.â
âYeah. I can tell. That âDear Johnâ letter sure summed that up.â Cmdr. Durandus sneered, waving her hands about.
Dr. Kay rolled her eyes, sipping at her drink as she listened to herself vent. âLook,â she said after Cmdr. Durandus simmered down a bit. âJerrid is likeâ¦ a venereal disease.â She paused, waiting for the confusion to reflect of Cmdr. Durandusâs face before she continued. âAt first he gets you all excited, feeds that passion inside you. But after awhile, the constant rush of adrenaline gets tedious, wears you down. And at some point, after heâs withdrawn and you really take a look at yourself, you realize the damage he did.â
The confusion lingered as Cmdr. Durandus tried to make sense of her rather disgusting analogy. âThatâs disgusting,â she voiced aloud.
âYou know itâs true,â Dr. Kay said smugly, taking the last sip of her drink before setting it to rest on the end table. âIn fact,â she cocked her head, âwhen was your last checkup? Because you should really get a full panel STD test.â
âIâm trying to have a serious conversation.â Cmdr. Durandus stood, getting impatient and feeling a little sheepish for letting her guard down.
Dr. Kay sighed, feeling a little guilty for making light of the situation. âIâm sorry,â she said honestly, standing and placing a hand on her shoulder. âI canât explain why he left, and thereâs nothing I can say or do that will make it hurt any less, but you have a ship to run now. Whether you like it or not.â
Cmdr. Durandus sighed, her back still facing. âI know.â
They both stood quietly, silence somehow soothing the pain.
âIâll be here if you need to talk.â Dr. Kay said, âOr if you just want to drink. Iâve been told I have the best liquor stash on the ship.â
Cmdr. Durandus huffed a small laugh, rolling her eyes and walking toward the exit. âThanksâ