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Family Matters: Morning of Regrets

Outpost Phoenix: Personal Com-Net


by Lieutenant Lukas Behr & Doctor S. Vasari
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The sun was a jerk.  It was the first thought that entered her head, though it was some miracle that she managed to identify the groggy inner voice.  The drumming against her skull was beyond any level she’d ever experience in her entire life. It rattled her bones and made her stomach churn.  Jane was sure she was in bed - the cool sheets were barely a comfort against her overheated skin - but the room was swaying.

Why the hell was the room swaying?  Did she manage to hop on some boat without realization?  

A soft groan slipped past her lips, the dryness that clung to her tongue was foreign.  It scratched at her throat and the roof of her mouth. The aftertaste was foul. Surely she didn’t do something stupid - like swallow some unholy concoction created by her fellow surgical residents.  She was beyond that sort of juvenile antics.

The haze of the evening was lost to her.  There was no recollection of what happened.  The last thing she remembered was finding her slumbering roommate on the couch and doing her best to pull him from his depression.  It was the thought of Lukas that gave her the courage to open her eyes. The assault was brutal. The light burnt into her retinas to the point that she was sure she could feel her nerve endings searing in the heat.  

Jane attempted to roll to her back but found the attempt hindered by a warm mass behind her.  She stilled, tensing suddenly. Her hand carefully shifted under the thin sheet and found itself resting on a calloused hand.  The heaviness that rested on her waist was familiar. Carefully, slowly, she turned her chin to regard the body that was nestled perfectly against her back.  Dread and hope were equally matched and she wasn’t sure if she hoped it was Lukas or not.

“Porca puttana,” she hissed.  “Cosa ho fatto? (What have I done?)”

At the sight of her German best friend, she nearly whined but silenced the sound to keep from waking him.  Quickly, yet gingerly, she slipped from the comforts of her bed. The mess of her master suite was telling of their evening.  A lamp had fallen over, her undergarment somehow managed to hang from the ceiling fan. There was no time for embarrassment. Bare feet carried her quickly to her bathroom.  

“Cosa ho fatto?  Cosa ho fatto? (What have I done?)” she muttered under her breath, both to lament her mistake and in an effort to quell the rise of acid that threatened to bubble past her throat.  “Sono un amico schifoso! (I’m a terrible friend!)”

She had meant to simply drink in honour of his family, to be there for Lukas as he worked through his grief.  Instead, she had consumed too much and had fallen into bed with the man. She had selfishly taken her desires when he was in no state to possibly return any affection and Jane was sure she had ruined their friendship in the process.  Lukas was certainly no longer interested in her in that way anymore. Even if he was, she was in no position to offer the devotion he rightfully deserved.

He was in mourning and she had taken advantage of him.

She was a horrid friend.

Regret was heavy and became a companion as she hurried through her morning routine.  She needed to leave before he managed to wake from his whiskey-induced slumber. She needed to avoid the unfortunate conversation that would undoubtedly follow.  The hot shower gave no relief to the tempest that found residence in her stomach. The self-administered medication healed the painful headache but did nothing to ease her guilt.

“Cosa ho fatto?” she whispered as she hurried down the stairs, fingers fastening the pips to her collar.  “Mi dispiace. Mi dispiace. (I’m sorry.)” The whispered words became a mantra as she guided the shuttle to the outpost.

* * *

His dreams were once again filled with the Italian beauty that had unknowingly captured his heart.  The nightmare of the previous day was forgotten about in a mess of limbs, hungry kisses, and shouts of pleasure.  They had used every surface of her bedroom as a playground, laughter filling their ears between shots of whiskey. Pushing away the sadness and replacing it with joy had been the perfect fantasy.

Lukas furrowed his brows as the waking world called to him, helped by the shifting of a body next to his.  He groaned quietly as the dull ache in his head reminded him of reality. His body tensed, his arm tightening over the waist of the woman that shared the bed.  The motion stirred the lingering alcohol that festered in his stomach. A soft grunt slipped from his lips and he withdrew back into the dream.

Maybe he’d imagined that he was curled against someone?  He moved his tongue in his mouth, groaning again at the feel of sandpaper against the roof.  The light that came from the window pierced his brain and he raised his arm to cover his face.  A deep breath filled his lungs with a scent that was not from his bedroom. The thought process slowly kicked into gear and he forced his eyelids open.

He stared at the dresser and focused briefly on the empty bottle on its surface.  Another grunt sounded in his throat and he turned his chin to further take in the space.  It was certainly not his. The strewn clothes and upset furniture was telling of a wild night - one that he had no recollection of.  Lukas glanced down at his state of undress after throwing the covers off. “Scheiße,” he murmured as he sat up.

Slowly, realization came.  He did recognize the space.  He’d built it. This was Jane’s suite.  His brows raised and he glanced around quickly, regretting the movement immediately when his head swam, but found the room empty.  Deep breaths helped to keep his stomach from rejecting the rest of the whiskey that settled in his gut. He barely recalled that the medical officer had mentioned telling the commander he wouldn’t be in for his shift.

The German pushed into motion, stumbling from being tangled in the sheets, but forcing himself off the mattress and to the window.  He leaned heavily against the glass, searching the grounds for the shuttlecraft that they shared. It was gone, the small island landing pad vacant.  Lukas ignored his body’s complaints and turned to look over the room once again.

It was empty.  She’d left him.  Again.

But could he blame her?  He’d lost control of himself, drank too much.  She’d had too much to drink- his heart sank. He’d taken advantage of his best friend.  His years of pent up desire had finally come to a head. Regret hung heavily from his shoulders.  The ache of his loss seemed to grow exponentially.

Lukas staggered back from the window and found his breathing hindered by a lump in his throat.  No matter how hard he tried to swallow it down, the emotion would not budge.

He debated with himself.  It was in his nature to take care of the people he cared for and the mess in Jane’s room was his doing.  But remaining to clean up would force himself on the woman who surely hated him now.

“Was habe ich gemacht? (What have I done?)” he groaned as he pushed into motion.  Lukas found his shorts and pulled them on. He straightened up the space before withdrawing to his room.

A shower could not cleanse him.  Fresh clothes did not relax him. He made his way back down the stairs to the office space.  He busied himself with calculations to keep from letting his regret, remorse, grief, and bitterness overwhelm him.

Jane had left him, but this time he’d pushed her away.

   
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