NAV Lt Diego Ricardo "Doc" Navarro

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NAV Lt Diego Ricardo "Doc" Navarro

Post by Luceo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:13 pm

Table of Contents

1) Putting It All on the Table, with Kimiko Suzuki
2) Weighty Words, with Emily Acacia
3) ¿Por Qué No Los Dos?, with Kimiko Suzuki
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Putting It All on the Table

Post by Luceo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:14 pm

by Jester and Zorro

In the lull after the first battle at Trondheim, following his harrowing adventure and short stay in sickbay, Diego Ricardo Navarro, callsign Zorro, found himself unable to sleep. Before he knew it, he had wandered into the assault bay to acquaint himself even further with the quirks of his new fighter. Expecting the place to be empty, he was surprised when he walked in on Suzuki, clad only in shorts and a tank top, in the midst of washing her Mustang.

Kimiko Suzuki, callsign Jester, looked up at Navarro as he approached, holding a dripping wet sponge in her hand, clearly surprised at the intrusion. She cocked her head at him with a questioning expression, and silence lingered between them until she finally said, “Good to see you on your feet, Zorro.” She resumed her work, resisting the urge to cast curious glances in his direction.

“Sí, I’m fine, but after today, I wholeheartedly agree.” He had been shot down, which was always a blow to a pilot’s ego, the brush with death notwithstanding. Then there was the mandatory sickbay visit after ejecting from a fighter—he was uninjured, but pilots had a saying that there were only two ways to leave a doctor’s office, either fine or grounded, so it wasn’t his favorite place to be, and he wasn’t even lucky enough to be seen by his favorite doctor. “Couldn’t sleep, so I’m here for… I don’t know, to see my new Mustang, I suppose.” Eyeing the sponge in her hand, he added, “Washing the old bird?”

She nodded, continuing to scrub. “Shinigami served me well today, so I am showing my appreciation.” Brushing stray hair away from her face with her forearm, she paused and looked over at him. “I’m sorry for the loss of your ship, but it could have been any of us. It was a hard-fought battle today.” She leaned back to survey her work with a sigh. “I’m almost finished, though. Perhaps you’d like to play some pool when I’m done?”

“Might as well, since sleep is off the table. And gracias, Jester; the León was a good ship and I’ll miss her.” He gestured to the unnamed fighter he’d flown back into the battle after being beamed aboard Atlantis. “But now I must learn to dance with a new partner. There’s not much I can do with her sitting on the deck, though, so do you need a hand?”

Kimiko couldn’t help but perk an eyebrow at him. “You… want to help me wash my Mustang?”

“Sure, why not?” he shrugged. “It gets us to the pool table faster.”

She couldn’t help but accept his unassailable logic, and working together, they quickly completed the job. Kimiko gave Shinigami an affectionate pat as they walked toward the pilot rec room, which was, of course, empty at this time of night. Diego Ricardo racked the balls for 9-ball while Kimiko replicated a pair of stiff drinks before returning to the table and carefully placing the cue ball for her break. Just as she was lining up her shot, Navarro interrupted from his relaxed position leaning against the wall, watching her as he casually sipped his drink. “Care to make it interesting?”

Without shifting from her position bent over the table, she glanced over at him. “What did you have in mind, Zorro? Haven’t you already lost enough today?” Her expression revealed nothing, but he knew her well enough to detect the teasing tone in her voice.

He smirked at the jab, then casually offered, “My new Mustang could use a wash, and since you’re so good at that, I thought you might be the right woman for the job, if you lose. But if you win, I’ll wash Shinigami for you after the next flight.”

She paused, considering. Washing her Mustang after a battle was a kind of ritual for her, but it couldn’t hurt to make this bet. Standing up, she pounded her drink and went back to the replicator for another pair. “Very well. You’re on. Best of five.” She returned with the drinks and once again leaned over the table, carefully lined up her shot, and broke to begin the first game.

Two games and drinks a piece later, Diego Ricardo eyed a juicy combination on the 4-ball that would send the 9-ball into the corner pocket. It was not a trivial shot due to the distances and angles involved, but he was confident that he could make it. “It all comes down to this, Jester,” he taunted, grinning and gesturing at the table with his cue. “I think that you’re going to look damn good washing my Mustang.” He leaned over the table and, after a short setup, made the shot, then looked back up at her with a smug smile.

Kimiko groaned and shook her head, then downed the rest of her drink, the alcohol lowering her inhibitions and defenses. “Guess I’ll be washing that unnamed señorita after all! Assuming you don’t get her shot down first.” Her face was a tipsy pink as she, the one nicknamed for her humorless demeanor, let out the tiniest of giggles at her own joke.

He smirked and finished his own drink. “I’ll try to wait until you’re done, so at least she’ll be clean when she goes down.”

She thought for a moment before responding. “You know, everyone knows you’re a ladies’ man, Zorro. Honestly, I’m surprised you didn’t insist on something like me washing it in my underwear while you watched.” Then, for the first time, Kimiko looked her colleague up and down and truly evaluated him as a man. “Actually, I might’ve played harder, if that had been on the table,” she added with a smirk of her own. “Watching you wash Shinigami in your skivvies might’ve been a better incentive.”

Both hands on his upright cue, Zorro leaned against the table and inclined his chin a bit as his friend’s bold flirtation caused him to regard her in a new light. It wasn’t that he’d never noticed her as a woman before, but that his type tended to be more traditionally feminine, and she was, as a fellow pilot, like one of the guys to him. Now, as his dark eyes took in what the tank-top and shorts displayed of her toned, lithe climber’s body, he had to admit that he was intrigued at where this would go. “Alright, Jester, double or nothing. Loser washes the winner’s Mustang in their underwear, while the winner gets to watch.”

She regarded him again, suddenly much more motivated to win. “I’ll take that bet, Zorro. We’re pilots, after all. We live for danger.” The corners of her mouth twitched upward as she racked the balls and they began their second set of games, this time with much more gusto given what was on the line. As they played, they continued to drink, and Kimiko continued to notice the graceful movements of Zorro’s tall, athletic body and look ever more forward to winning. What she was less conscious of was her own movements, and Zorro’s eyes on her while she played much like hers were on him. They prowled around the table like two predators circling a kill, both growing increasingly intent on victory and its spoils.

The pilots played game after game in their latest dogfight, trading wins and drinking to them, until it came to the final bout. They paused for yet another drink, both thoroughly drunk at this point and aware of the electricity in the air. Kimiko eyed him and took a deep breath, deciding to test the waters. She leaned against the table and casually commented, “You know, maybe we should just play this last game in our underwear so we can see what we’re playing for, hmm? I’ll put the prize on the table if you will, Zorro.”

“All in, then, Jester?” Diego Ricardo eyed her as he chalked his cue; this new side of her was compelling, and he definitely wanted to know what would happen next. “As you wish. I call.” Leaning the cue against the table, he pulled his t-shirt over his head and tossed it onto a nearby chair, keeping eye contact with her as he bared his well-muscled chest. Soon after, his shoes and jeans joined the shirt, leaving only his Starfleet-issue boxers. Feigning a few stretches, he nonchalantly asked, “Like what you see?”

Not to be outdone, Kimiko approached him and undressed along with him, keeping her eyes locked on his. She kicked off her shoes and slid her shorts down her legs, kicking them carelessly off to the side, discarding her tank top in a similar fashion in short order, leaving her standing in her bra and panties. “Funny. I was going to ask you the same thing.” She walked slowly around him, finally breaking eye contact to give him an appraising look. “But my answer is yes.”

“So’s mine. Perhaps you can tell.”

Kimiko could not help but smile at this. Drunk enough to not care about the consequences, she hoisted herself up so that she was sitting on the pool table. “Change of plans, then? Your prize is on the table, Zorro. If you want it…” her voice grew low and hungry, “come and claim it.”

Ordinarily, Diego Ricardo would have wordlessly accepted the invitation, but being this drunk, he first quipped, “We’ll call the game a draw,” before closing the distance to her in a single lunge, repercussions be damned. She drew him into her embrace and lips touched flesh, the electricity of the moment consuming them.

Several hours later…

Kimiko and Diego Ricardo awoke, hung over and in a tangle of limbs and naked skin, in what they soon realized was a storage room off the assault bay. “Unnnnnggggghhhhh… Did we…? We did, didn’t we.”

“We did…” Their eyes widened as memories emerged from the morning haze of the night of wild fucking, which was the correct word since what they did could not simply be called sex or lovemaking, since it was pure, primal fucking. “Whoa, we DID. We really did… was that as good for you as it was for me? Because I think that was the best I’ve ever had.”


They slowly extricated themselves from each other and stood up, gingerly picking up and donning their discarded underwear. Diego Ricardo had to help retrieve Kimiko’s bra, which was somehow hanging from the air vent in the ceiling, gently swaying in the breeze.

“Soooo… what now?” he asked, handing Kimiko her bra.

“Now, I think we go out to the rec room and find the rest of our clothes and hope that nobody else found them first,” she replied, in her usual deadpan.

“You know what I mean.”

She turned to look him in the eye, fixing him with her serious expression. “I’m not really looking for any kind of romantic relationship, if that’s what you mean. I’m happy to just be your friend and colleague. I’ll still watch your back when we’re out there.”

“Agreed. You’re a good friend, and I truly value that, but we almost died out there yesterday, so let’s live a little. After a night like that… I have to admit, I’m wondering why we should quit? What would you say to still being friends… but with benefits?”

It was true that they had almost died, and that the past few hours had been amazing… was this really happening? “What, you mean meet up and …‘wash Mustangs’ every now and then, and nobody needs to know about it but us?”

“Well… yes, that is exactly what I mean, sí.”

“Wait, though, aren’t you sort of chasing after that doctor?”

He shrugged. “Sí, kind of, but I don’t know if she’s even interested in me, so who knows where that goes.”

She laughed, letting her guard down for a moment, which seemed a bit strange considering the fact that she was wearing nothing more than panties. She felt safe with this man, her friend, who had always had her back on their missions. Why not live a little? “Okay, Zorro. I trust you, and I think we can deal with the risks. I’m in. …Though, I think we should… do it again, since we’re sober this time.”

“¿Qué? Now?”

“Yeah. Why not? We’re already mostly naked, right?” she said with a wink, gesturing with her bra in one hand.

Without hesitation, Diego Ricardo picked up Kimiko and carried her to a supply crate on an anti-grav pallet, where they proceeded to vigorously cement their agreement. Afterward, they hastily retrieved their clothes from the rec room, high-fived, and hit the showers.
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Weighty Words

Post by Luceo » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:48 am

by Emily Acacia and Diego Ricardo Navarro

Two grey Andalusian horses galloped through a high river valley of northern Spain, their riders exchanging glances as they passed back and forth. Diego Ricardo Navarro pulled alongside his companion, Emily Acacia, and lingered a moment before retaking the lead, although they were not racing. She was still a mystery to him, but that was part of her allure; they had danced at the ship’s anniversary party, and although they had danced before, this time was different. It had struck him that for the first time he’d seen her in something pretty, even at prior parties she was usually somewhat conservative and closed-off.

In their conversation and dance, Diego Ricardo had found her to be freer than ever before, and felt like there had been a spark between them. That spark was accompanied by something else that he just couldn’t put a finger on, but it wasn’t enough to deter him from finally asking her to a date on the holodeck. Despite seeming surprised, Emily had fortunately accepted, and here they were in the foothills of the Pyrenees, their holographic horses trotting to a stop at the riverside to drink. He hopped down and offered her a hand, though he was certain based on his observation of her riding ability that she did not need it.

Her feet hit the ground before she even noticed his extended hand and she smiled, covering her mouth to half-hide her blush. She followed close by his side, spinning to take in the scenery, “I’ve never seen Earth like this. Not many mountains in Iowa. It’s really something.”

With a smirk, he dropped his offered hand and took a few steps up the river, the familiar landscape triggering fond memories. “Sí, it really is. This is not far from my family’s home, so I grew up out here.” Diego Ricardo removed his riding gloves and, after stashing them in a pocket, knelt by the river and dipped his hand in the cool water, idly wondering if the holodeck got the taste right.

Emily watched him carefully, shifting back and forth on her feet once as she kept trying to convince herself to relax. She stepped up to the river, scooping up a stone and flicking it across the water with a good three skips. As she grabbed a second stone she summoned her inner boldness with a small smirk, asking jovially, “So.. tell me about your ideal woman.”

The question caught him off guard, so he smiled and chuckled as he shook the water off his hand, thinking a moment while searching her expression. Occasionally, women he had dated in the past had asked him this question, and he found that their expectations were that his answer would describe them. Emily seemed more genuine in asking than they had, but he was not sure why. Diego Ricardo stood and took a step closer to her before truthfully answering, “She must be interesting to me. Captivating, in such a way that I find myself needing to know more about her. Beauty,” he gestured to emphasize the word, his hand trailing through the air as if it were tracing her form, “is ephemeral. But witty, smart, interesting people tend to always be so.”

Emily’s smile grew, her eyes trailing his hand through the air, “Charming,” she mused with a smirk, grabbing another rock and palming it as she looked over the water.

“Just the truth, and merely my ideal,” he answered with a chuckle. “I answered you, so you must tell me about your ideal man.”

“There is no ideal man,” Emily wagged her eyebrows conspiratorially, offering a cheeky grin as he laughed in agreement. She then shrugged, doubling back with a more serious answer, “I think that’s a good way to put it—someone who holds my interest. Someone funnier than me,” she half-joked, “Someone who looks at me the way my father looks at my mother.”

“If that is anything like the way my father looks at my mother, then we would all be lucky to have someone like that.” He picked up a worn stone and flicked it across the water, netting three hops; it had clearly been a while since he’d skipped rocks. With a wry grin, he added, “After all, they had eight children, so there must have been something to it.”

Emily flicked a stone and completely whiffed it, the rock landing without a skip and tossing two drops of simulated water a foot upward. She watched the ripples in the water for a moment, her smile gone as her thoughts refused to silence themselves. She inhaled sharply as she could sense that he had expected her to laugh, Diego Ricardo could definitely tell something was on her mind, her eyes darting over and meeting his. She pursed her lips, giving a slow nod, “I… should probably tell you something.”

There it was, the mystery that accompanied the spark between them, or at least he suspected that what she wanted to say would shed some light on the subject. That unknown was just as much of a component to him asking her out as the spark was, so he held off on throwing the rock he’d picked up and turned to give her his undivided attention. “By all means, please do.”

Emily took a deep breath, already partially dedicating her attention to blocking out his emotions, or perhaps the rejection she half expected, so she could focus on her words. They were clear—rehearsed, even, but that never made it easier when it came time to take the plunge, “I’m asexual,” she began, and went on without letting him express his confusion too much, “I don’t experience sexual attraction—I don’t want sex, or particularly like it,” she nodded slowly, powering through the nerves, “I do like you, just.. in a different way, I suppose. but…” she waved a hand, having hit the end of her rehearsed words and searching for her intended ending, “That’s an uncrossable bridge for some people. Which is okay--that’s just… that’s,” she couldn’t help a small laugh, “Why you thought I was holding back.”

Her confession was a surprise, but not a shock. He, like many, was tangentially aware of asexuality, but it had certainly not come to mind as a possibility for what this mystery could have been. Regardless of its implications, the admission was clearly a big thing for her, so he knew that his reaction had to be one that would set her at ease. Offering a warm, reassuring smile, Diego Ricardo quietly answered, “Why, Emily, if that is all that you were holding back, then I’m relieved. It felt like you were going to tell me you had some terminal illness.”

Emily’s eyebrows raised and it took her a moment to believe him, but her sixth sense confirmed what her eyes saw, he was being genuine. Relieved, she cracked a small smile, shrugging and managing a quip, “Well, I do plan on dying at some point. I’d hope you do as well,” finally able to relax, it was like her whole demeanor changed. She grabbed another rock and flicked it, sending it across the water with a small, contemplative smile on her face.

“Of course not, I’m a fighter pilot,” he laughed, and she did as well, finally free and genuine. Diego Ricardo needed some time to think about the notion of a relationship without sex, but the idea of dwelling on it now seemed a bit premature, not to mention presumptuous, and the revelation had done nothing to his interest in knowing her better. “As to what that means for us? This is simply a first date, so it is too soon to know what ‘us’ even means. Regardless, it is not something that would ever cause me to judge you negatively. It’s just you, sí?”

Emily’s smile grew sideways into a crooked, goofy smirk. She nodded again, turning to face him, “Exactly. It’s just the sort of thing that’s best to get out of the way, eh.. before it comes up,” she studied him with that glint of intrigue in her eye, fascinated by the way he seemed to think about things so pragmatically. She scrunched her nose, playfully prodding, “I didn’t even say there has to be an ‘us’.”

“Perhaps, perhaps not. Who knows what the future may bring?” His eyes matched the glint in hers before adding, “Besides, you did accept my invitation here. To tell me this about yourself couldn’t be the only reason for that, or at least I suspect as such, not having your Betazoid gifts.”

“Of course not,” Emily giggled, idling back in the direction of the horses, eyeing the village up the path. Obviously prodding, she added, “I’ve also never been to Spain.”

“You still haven’t,” he answered, following her lead back to the horses. “But this will have to do, at least for now.” Diego Ricardo reached up to the saddle horn with one hand and turned to her before placing a foot in the stirrup. Emily was still enigmatic and captivating, and no matter what may come, it was his gentlemanly duty to show her a good time. Flashing a charming smile, he asked, “Would you care to ride with me to the village for a nice dinner, and then if the mood takes us, dancing in tonight’s festival?”

Emily was back on her horse in one smooth motion, having been riding almost as long as she could walk. She grinned widely in response and gave a nod, reflexively reaching up to twist a curly lock of black hair that was flapping into her eyes back behind her ear. She couldn’t help the admiration showing on her face as she watched him step up onto his own horse, “That sounds perfect.”

Diego Ricardo took the reins and looked ahead to the village, then back at Emily, meeting her eyes before saying, “Then let’s see where this road takes us, shall we?” Time for thinking about this would come later, but for now, nothing had changed. He flicked the reins and his feet to urge the horse into a trot, and shortly after, she was alongside.

Without the weight of unspoken words on Emily’s shoulders, the two had an amazing time. She nearly choked on Spanish food she described as ‘way too spicy’, and she only slipped once on the dancefloor. The next day she was caught smiling at nothing two separate times by her lab techs and barely managed to fend off their curiosity.
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¿Por Qué No Los Dos?

Post by Luceo » Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:59 am

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.”
"Come let us sail the boundless sea..."

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