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Just Friends? or...

Posted on Fri Mar 3rd, 2017 @ 4:08am by Commander Andrew Knight

Mission: The Space Between
Location: Promenade Lower Level - Soon to be Northern Lights Memorial Park
Timeline: MD 2 - 1530


Cara had been down in Engineering making some last minute requests for the Medical Facility. Still not familiar with which turbolifts went where she took the wrong one and ended up on the lower level of the Promenade. "Stepping out of the turbolift she swore under her breath and when she realized where she was. The turbolift she wanted was on the other side of the Promenade so she headed in that direction, dodging busy workers wielding power tools of all types. As she approached the center of the Promenade she saw Drew speaking with an Engineer. He was standing under one of the trees being put in place in what would be a park. Smiling she walked over but stood back so as not to interrupt the two men's conversation.

Drew was speaking with a Chief from the structural engineering division when Cara paused her approach. "I'd like it in the center of the park. That small triagular area. Will that be doable Chief?"

The chief looked at the spot and then his notes on the PADD he had in hand. He looked up at Drew and nodded. "Roger that sir. Probably be a week to ten days before we can get it put up. Two on the outside."

"No rush Chief." Drew spotted Cara standing nearby and it appeared to him she was wanting to speak with him. He looked at the Chief and nodded. "Carry on Chief."

The Chief turned and went down one of the pathways in the park.

Drew turned to Cara and walked forward, his arms stretched out to give her a friendly embrace. "Hey Cara."

Cara smiled and gestured to their surrounding. "It's going to be beautiful," she said. "Congratulations on your promotion. It's about time."

Drew reached up and touched the third darkened pip on his collar. "Takes some getting used to I guess. I've actually been in the primary zone for it for months though."

"So...," Cara pretended to find interest in the leaves of the tree they were standing under. "...I haven't seen you in a while. Anything new going on in the world of Andrew Knight?" she asked, innocently, as she reaches out and feels of the leaf.

Drew looked around and shrugged. So many things were happening since their arrival at the FOB, he really had no idea where to start. He decided to go with his most recent decision. "Well, I was just speaking with one of the construction workers. I want to erect a memorial in the center of the park, dedicated to those lost at the Battle of Starbase 900."

Cara sighed. "Nice," she said. "I'm sure their families will appreciate it. Anything else?" she pressed.

Drew gave Cara a curious expression. He had been friends with since almost the moment they had met at dinner with Austin, Meredith and Ashley nearly a year ago, so he knew when she was fishing for information. "There something specific you want to inquire about Cara?"

Cara plucked the leaf off of the tree and threw it at Drew. "You're a brat," she said with a giggle. "Yeah. I hear you and your new neighbor are exchanging googly eyes at each other. I just wondered if the rumors are true?" she asked, looking at him with a quirked eyebrow.

Drew sighed and shook his head ruefully. "That is only a rumor that is half true. I have been the one googly eyed. Ambassador Waddington...probably not so much."

"You?" Cara asked. She had hoped that Ashley had exaggerated. "I thought you only had eyes for your job."

Drew's face took on a pensive expression as he thought about Cara's comment. It was true that he had spent years focused on his duties as a Special Warfare Officer. Now...he wan't sure what to think. He just shrugged. "Well, not sure she feels the same way I do, sooooo. I'll still be focusing on my career in Starfleet for the foreseeable future."

Cara looked down at the artificial turf they were standing on and rubbed the toe of her boot against the blades of synthetic grass so the change in nap created an arch. "Sounds like you want her to feel the same," she said, softly, without looking at him.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that." Drew had been staring off into space when Cara made her comment. He now looked at her and immediately picked up on her not looking at him. Something that was completely uncharacteristic about his friend. "What is it Cara?"

Cara looked down at the grass a few seconds then looked up at Drew, smiled and said. "Then you should go for it. You deserve to be happy." She looked up at the transparent dome that would soon be displaying holographic Northern Lights then took in a breath. Looking back at Drew she continued to smile as she said, "gotta go." With a friendly shoulder punch she said, "the park will be beautiful," and hurried off to find the right turbolift this time.

Drew had known Cara long enough to realize when something was off with her. She had become his first real friend during their tour at Starbase 900, despite Austin's and Meredith's attempts to play match maker for the two of them. There had been the weekly dinner at his brother's and sister-in-laws, as well as, the weekly poker game. They had both palled around in the holodeck and playing dom jot or pool in some of the bars. He seeming reticent behavior was uncharacteristic for her. He took off at a jog and caught up to her just as she reached the turbolift, slipping in just before the doors closed. "You OK Cara?"

Cara was surprised as Drew slipped into the turbolift car. "What are you..." she began then shook her head. "You nut. Yes. I'm fine," she said. "Medical," she instructed the turbolift and it began its ascent. "Why wouldn't I be fine," she asked. "Anchorage is starting to look like home, my medical facility is going to be hot damn gorgeous, Ashley is growing up to be an awesome young woman, you're crushing on is good....right?"

Drew wasn't buying it. His job often entailed reading microexpression in people, and he simply knew Cara well enough to figure out when she was holding something in. He fixed her with his uh huh...right stare. He placed a hand on her shoulder and gave it a friendly squeeze. "Something is bothering you. Something I can tell you want to get out. I'm your friend, you can tell me."

Cara sighed and rolled her eyes. "Why can't you read me like that when we're playing spades?" she asked. "You are the worst spades partner," she said, trying to deflect the subject.

Drew brought up his other arm, resting his hand on her opposite shoulder. His expression now one of deep concern. "Your my best friend Cara. If something is bothering can tell me."

Cara chewed on her lower lip while she contemplated whether or not to say anything for a few seconds then said, "turbolift pause," and the car came to a stop. "You're like a dog with a bone. You're not going to let this go are you?" she asked then said, "fine. Can I ask you a question?"

Drew nodded. "Of course. You can ask me anything."

Cara didn't want to ask. She would have preferred to let it go. So it was with great reluctance that she asked, "Is my age the reason you only see me as your," she made quotation marks in the air, "sister?"

Drew found the question easy to answer. It was Cara's body language and microexpressions he was finding harder and harder to discern. "Of course not. Like I said, you're my best friend, your family." His own expression was one of mixed concern and mild astonishment as to why she thought her age mattered to him.

Cara shook her head and sighed. "Yeah. I'm everybody's buddy," she said and thought, why didn't I leave well enough alone? "Turbolift resume," she said and shook her head again. Then she pursed her lips in an expression of frustration and said, "no. Belay that," and, when the car stopped she turned around...placed her hands on his cheeks...pulled him to her and laid a lip lock on him.

Several second passed as the two were locked in a kiss, then suddenly the doors opened and a voice was heard. "What the hell is the hold up with the...."

Cara broke free from Drew...smiled slyly at him...then turned and strutted out of the turbolift, her red ponytail swishing back and forth in rhythm of her steps.

Drew's face was flushed and his heart was threatening to break free of his chest as the enlisted tech stepped in to the turbolift.

The tech cast a worried glance at Drew. " OK sir? You need me to get you a doctor?"

Drew blinked repeatedly, as if his brain were performing a cold reboot. He looked at the enlisted tech with a blank stare for a moment before turning and hitting the stop button. The doors opened and he stepped off the turbolift with a belated answer to the tech. "That was the doctor."



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