2237-09-22 - A Moment on the Panda Express

Kyle and Erin assess their situation, convieniently, before going back down in the direction of flying bullets.

Date: 2237-09-22

Location: Dauntless - Berthings E

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1412

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T-minus 'Hurry Up and Wait'. The Dauntless has FTL'd into orbit over Sagittaron, and ever since before the jump the crew members who aren't being shipped down for already existing purposes have been set into regulary duty shifts and a holding pattern. It's like waiting outside of an Emergency Room. At any given moment, the call could come down and the rush for equipment checkout and Raptor down to planetside could happen. It has a way of making each second on the clock tick slowly, and has left Kyle Costello unsure if she should be sleeping or pacing in place.

A few minutes out of the shower, Kyle has left her boots on the edge of her bunk and is hanging upside-down from her topside bunk. Her ponytail hangs like a high school graduation tassel in front of Erin's bunk. In her dual-colored duty tanks and with tan khaki BDU pants on, Kyle's testing out her upside-down reading skills, leg wrapped about the rung of her bunk, sighing her way through her page turning.

Truth be told, Erin's only known Kyle for a few weeks. And vice versa. For an anxious rodent-like creature, Erin is sort of calm. Sort of: she's never really entirely calm, but her anxiety levels are holding in place. This means that, having done her work out and showered and changed, she's ready to chill out and do something that she finds amusing -- namely, reading a large science tome, trolling it for bits and pieces of interesting lore that no reasonable woman would ever find fascinating.

She sits in her bunk, in her usual state of half-nudity, back up against the bunk's wall, her book's pages lit by some soft incandescent lamp affixed to the bottom of Kyle's bunk. And then, as befits her nature, Erin begins to lightly kick at Kyle's ponytail, making it swing back and forth, and back and forth.

Does the blood rushing towards your head help with reading? Probably not. Kyle's been hanging upside down for whole minutes and it isn't helping her absorb the content of the horror novel she's reading. She turns one heavily dog-eared page after the other, idly chewing at the inside of her cheek. That a foot bats at the hanging pendulum of her ponytail is more than any other good escape to take a break from the conversational scene in the novel that is in between monster attack sessions.

The bunk above Erin's creaks and her toes find empty air as the ponytail slithers back up into hiding. Weigh shifts in the bunk, and Kyle comes down the side ladder and swings into Erin's bunk, rolling to rest her head on Erin's thigh. Shimmying in, she invade's Erin's personal space, then flops her book back open.

"Which book is scarier?" Kyle whispers towards her pages. "The fiction or the truth?"

After a workout and a shower, Erin feels warm and smells pleasant. She still hasn't exited from the teenage years of picking body washes because they smell like fruit or flowers, so being in her space means being invaded by the aroma of pumpkin spice and cinnamon apples. As is her thing, she's also got her raccoon cap and scarf on. Woe be to anyone who tries to take those from her.

"I dunno." Erin holds up her book, and looks at the front for a second. "Don't really find books scary. I mean, unless someone's attacking me with it, then, it's like, bitch, I'm on."

She sets her book aside, and then she stares at Kyle's face. For a moment, there's worry; then, after, there's relief that's signified by a warm, goofy smile of contentment. Aww.

Of course, there's a roiling shitstorm of melodrama and feelings working behind her lovely blue eyes, but who's worried about that? With a Kyle head in her lap, everything is good. Especially when that head is between her legs. The thought makes her visibly twitch. Dirty bird.

"Hey, so, sorry about last night, I -- " She plays with the fringe of her scarf idly. " -- I dunno, something happened in me, so I didn't mean to upset no one."

Pumpkin spice and apples aren't the typical Kyle Costello bait. That is, unless they're wrapped in pictures of barbecue or Caprican faire, but Costello isn't immune to the white-girl-bait of pumpkin and fuzzy racoon scarf; the very one Kyle 'rescued' for Erin. It takes only a second for the brunette to look up and lid her eyes, breathing in softly past the marine-issued soap she uses, trying to find the better air.

"Then you should read this book." Kyle looks back down to the pages and begins a new dog-ear. "This thing pulls people into walls and they're stuck all alone in some dimension of silence...until they're torn apart." Shudder. Kyle slaps the book closed and lobs it past her bare feet to the foot of the bunk.

Kyle's neck muscles tighten as her head's weight presses into Erin's lap. Shoulders flex as she looks up to Erin's face, silently watching...or staring into Erin's nose. Take your pick.

"It's okay. I made a few jokes that I probably shouldn't have." Kyle continues, reaching up to twist a finger around some orange-colored fringe in the scarf, knuckles tapping Erin's. "I couldn't tell if you wanted me to chase you down or let you go. I got a 'let you go' vibe."

"'Snot that." Har har! Nose jokes. "I just -- " Erin shrugs.

She closes up her textbook, and tosses it to join the novel. " -- it's complicated." Everything is. "I met a girl while you were gone. Another one. We had a few dates, shared a few kisses, and she was really into me." Sigh. "She's polite, and nice." Beat. "I think she wanted me to get a haircut, I don't know. But she thought the best of me, and, at the time, any attention was good attention. Especially since Katja was basically not spending time with me."

She looks around for a moment, as if looking to see if other pilots may be eavesdropping.

"Anyhow -- " Erin runs her hands through her hair. " -- I saw her yesterday, and -- well, like usual, we held hands, and kissed, and then I said -- " Deep breath. " -- the woman that I had a thing for was back. And that I wanted to be with her, and see where that went. And she was calm and quiet, until she wasn't, and I just -- " Beat. " -- I know that feeling. The feeling like you were traded for someone else."

Pause. "It sucks. And it hurt."

And she points to Verity's bunk. "And she's right. over. there now."

Kyle trades the fringe of Erin's scarf to reach up past the side of her breast for a lock of her brown hair. As if to say 'this hair?', while Kyle is avidly shushed and listening, she twirls a lock around her index finger and hangs on gently for dear life. Only then does Kyle fully settle in, tilting a foot out of the way that is blocking her view of the 'HARTE' nametag of the bunk in the distance.

"That...explains why you got mad and walked off after I mentioned her last name." Kyle states thoughfully, eyes blurring and unfocusing in their view across the room. "...gods, I'm sorry, I had no idea."

Kyle bends one of her khaki-covered knees and twists her head to look up again. The crown of her forehead rests against the tight lines of Erin's skinny waist.

"Erin?" Kyle doesn't wait for a response. It's a prelude. "You know you don't need to go doing things that'll hurt you for me, right? I mean-" Kyle scrunches up half of her face, nose wiggling. "-there's nothing worth having in life if you have to feel horrible for having it, and I knew you were dating these other girls. Maybe I complicated things by not being this super complicated girl with you but-"

Kyle tugs gently on Erin's hair.

"-whatever your feelings are, Erin, I just know I don't want to end up a bright spot in a string of decisions you regret."

Blink. Erin's lips quirk into a look of chagrin and disapproval, but it is an expression that doesn't last long. Her eyes unfocus to think, and then refocus. And then, she considers what to say next. She, of all people, needs time to do this properly.

"I don't regret saying good-bye to Verity. It would have been worse to let her think that there was nothing between us but a close friendship." Beat. "I mean, what's worse, breaking her heart now or down the road? It would've hurt no matter what, I just -- " Shrug. " -- I don't know, I saw the look of defeat and disappointment in her eyes. And I know that feeling."

She jabs her thumbnails into the tips of her forefingers for a moment.

"I haven't told Katja yet, but she doesn't even know about Verity." Shrug. "So, I guess -- I had to go because I was feeling like I wanted to space-lock. Might've saved some feelings then, but -- " The big girl takes a deep breath, and then lets it out. " -- probably not. So, I have to talk to her, and then I can begin to think, maybe, I'm not such a shitty person after all."

And then comes the inevitable petulant whine. "How did this happen to me? I went for months without people looking at me twice."

If Kyle could braid a lock of hair with one hand, she would have. Erin's hair is wrapped tightly around her finger. Tight enough that at the mere mention of an airlocking earns the Trash Panda a disapproving tug of the strand of hair, right down to the tiniest lance of pain where it connects at the scalp.

"Oh, Erin..." Kyle breathes out with some weight to the tone.

Kyle digs her elbows into the mattress and rolls over onto her side. The mattresses in the bunkhouse aren't nearly as wide as beds in quality hotel rooms, but Kyle somehow keeps from falling off of the bed in her sideways crawl towards the head of the bunk. There, in some manner of mattress breakdancing move, she plants a hand and digs her leg in behind Erin's hips, providing a wall for the woman and giving her little choice in the matter as arms reach out to pull the woman to let Kyle be her frame.

"The fact that you feel shitty means you're not a shitty person, so that's good, right?" Kyle whispers with a wince; the words feel like a small consolation prize and she knows it. "I know I can't help you for shit with fixing this because I'm one of the girls in the equation, but I can tell you two things, okay?" Kyle swallows. "One...I'm patient and totally not stamping my foot at you, and two," Kyle flattens her lips and lids her eyes halfway closed. "When you come back feeling like an asshole, I'm going to take you down to the mess for something hot to drink and I don't need the hard details, okay?"

Owch. Erin winces when she gets hair-pulled. Shorter hair seems to increase pain, dammit, but Kyle probably knows that.

The pep-talk does wonders, or maybe Erin's already accepted the choices she's made. She smiles for a second or two, and then rolls her shoulders. "Guess I'm not so bad." Another shrug. "And, like -- I mean, it's not like a just up-and-forgot about her, like Katja kind of did with me, I feel, I guess." There's probably another story there. "I just -- " Erin looks to Verity's bunk. " -- we spent such a brief period of time, but I learned a lot. A lot about her, about dating, about what and how I've been doing wrong." Beat. "You know when you meet someone who, for no reason, just teaches you things you needed to know? That was her."

Her sigh is less pained. "But you're good to me. Don't know why." Erin tilts her head, and leans it against Kyle's shoulder for a few seconds. "And I know it's not, like -- you're not really asking for anything, but it's just that I feel, I guess, that, like -- you know, I need to try this, I need to do this -- "

And then, winsome smile and eyes and all, Erin looks at Kyle, right in the eyes, and mumbles at her: "I love you."

When Erin slinks in, Kyle slinks out. There's something relishing in the way she stretches her arms out towards the other side of Erin's bunk like two barred arms, ready and waiting. Fingertips splay and flex, then slowly, like a snake about to devour her rodent meal after crushing the life out of it, Kyle wraps her arms around Erin.

As far as cushioning goes, Kyle's a marine. All meat and muscle with the padding of breasts not half as pushed upward and constricted as her civilian clothing once gave her, but a cozy place is found, for each of them.

"I do. I've broken a few hearts and sworn murder in a few diaries. Everyone I've ever dated is like some lesson about who I am." Kyle slowly nods her head and peels a lock of hair back behind Erin's ear, grooming the slightly shorter woman. "Dating's messy; weird. Like falling down a tree until you find the right branch to hang onto. There's a raccoon joke in there, somewhere."

Kyle shifts to make room for Erin and comes face to face with her. She leans a forehead in until Erin's eyes blur out.

"I love you, too, Erin." Kyle's cheek tugs to one side. The edge of her thumbnail scrapes lightly across Erin's cheek, dragging a stray hair towards her ear. Then comes the toothy grin. "You guess you need to try this? You don't even wanna know why I'm good to you, first?"

Hee hee. Girlish giggle. It's like someone made her ten years younger with one fell swoop.

"Oh, I know why," says the trash panda with her usual bravado. "You kidding me? I know everyone likes me." Because she's boyish, and in-your-face, and nicely freckled if you look really closely at her. "It's because I'm one of the cool kids. I'm popular."

Mumbling her response in a restrained way, the thought is finished with a quick peck on the mouth, and a rambunctious, friendly grabbing of breasts. "I know why I like you, though." Snort. "Where did you grow these, and where can I get another pair that I can stick on your back?" Erin laughs through the joke, and then gives a gentle shove, even though she doesn't squirm out of the embrace. "You're making me all warm and sticky, stop it."

Right.

"That and this thing you do with your back when you stretch and t-" Kyle's voice is scratchy and low, restraining her own laugh before she's silenced by trying to return a peck in time and boggling at being PandaHandled. A sharp laugh squeaks out of Erin and she wide-eyes the open curtain. Prying eyes into the cool kids' bunk? Not at the moment.

"Frak you're never getting that wish. Don't you dare ask Arda to ask her boyfriend to make that happen, either." Kyle rolls her eyes and sticks her tongue out of the corner of her mouth. She sucks in her breath to make room for her shirt and conspicuously makes room at the hem of her shirt. "It'd be, like, an extra ten pounds and a second bra, nuh-uh. And a forty pound kit on my back? Not even for your birthday, which you're now required to tell me when that is, by the way."

Kyle rears her chin back, lowering her eyes to Erin with slatted lids, giving her the look. Making a point of it, she sticks one leg out to grab the curtain between her toes and starts to tug it closed with monkey-foot precision.

"So you're telling me to not tell you about how I keep replaying in my head the look on your face when you saw that I was still alive?" Kyle bites down on her own lip, eyelashes fluttering. Stopping? Not. "Or are we changing subjects to less serious stuff, like whether or not if I get back-boobs that you can't steal my bras anymore?"

"Oh, no." Erin lifts an eyebrow, and seizes Kyle in her hands. A quick little push off the mattress, and she can press the other Marine down to bed's covers. "No, see, if we start talking about mushy topics, we'll both end up teary-eyed and maudlin. Not gonna happen."

The raccoon climbs atop to a comfortable, straddling position. "You know, if life's taught me one thing these months? It's that you have to enjoy every moment. Never know when someone you care 'bout is gone." Beat. "Should've learned that after my parents died, and after Michelle left me. And, there I was, wondering if I'd see you again, well, no -- no, no, no." She hisses, and grins. "I'm going to enjoy every frakkin' moment."

She tries to be sexy. It's an okay-effort. She bends down to kiss Kyle on the mouth, but stops just in front of the other woman's lips. Instead, she licks them slowly, and then wiggles her eyebrows. "We'll have to be quiet, but that'll just make it feel better." Dirty, dirty bird.

And then, she straightens up to take off her top. But, see, she installed a small lighting unit under Kyle's bunk. It doesn't protrude much, but it's enough for Erin to konk her head on.

The light goes out. Darkness falls. And then, in the black, there's a hushed hiss and mumble, "I think I need to go to sickbay."

Love hurts.


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