[Skittles] Five minutes
Posted on Sunday, 25 October 2020 - 11:01am by Petty Officer 1st Class Siana Ilian
Location: Deck 7
Pacing back and forth, her stomach full of butterflies and her heart racing, Petty Officer Elizabeth Healy checked the time. Again. Biting her lip she debated if she should stay or go. Maybe Ella wasn't going to show up. And that would be okay. Ish.
And completely, utterly, understandable after last night.
She paused to stare out at the stars as she remembered dinner the night before. A group of them had headed to the mess hall after shift for food and some drinks until eventually only the two of them were left. And then...
Her fingertips brushed her lips, recalling the hesitant kiss from Ella immediately after her friend confessed her feelings. She had looked so hopeful, so vulnerable, her cheeks flushed as her fellow engineer waited expectantly for Elizabeth to respond, emboldened by the few drinks they'd shared but also managing to look completely and utterly terrified. And then hurt, as Elizabeth blurted out some gibberish and ran out the door.
Just the memory of it made her feel sick to her stomach. Not because of the kiss - that had been, well, really nice. Brief but with definite potential. How she had reacted to it, though, was unforgivable.
This amazing, beautiful woman who was smart and funny and with a heart of gold had kissed her. And she ran away!
And by the time she had stopped hyperventilating in the bathroom of her quarters, it was well passed midnight and she knew it was far too late to seek out her friend and apologise for how she had reacted. All morning she had been leaving messages, in the hope that Ella would agree to meet her here but she hadn't answered. Elizabeth decided to come anyway. Just in case.
And all morning she had been practicing a long, very detailed, speech. Maybe too long. But she had a lot to say. Because after the shock of it all Elizabeth had realised she really wished she had kissed Ella back. It hit her like a freight train, the sudden realisation that maybe she did want more than just friendship too.
After all, she had remembered about this place. Ella's favourite spot, which was why she had picked it out. Ella had said so. Three weeks ago, when they were recalibrating an EPS relay. It was a Tuesday and they had been talking about favourite places to eat back home. And the more Elizabeth thought about it, she realised that she was acutely aware of everything Ella did. What she was doing, who her friends were, the things she liked. The things she hated. The different way she styled her hair depending on her mood, the way her head tilted just so when she was puzzled by something...
"Please come," Elizabeth whispered as she resumed her pacing.
Another five minutes.
She could afford to wait another five minutes if it meant trying to save their friendship, if nothing else.
Finally she heard footsteps approaching and all of the rehearsed speech suddenly went out the window. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, and knowing Ella may very well be angry with her, she rushed forward as Ella came around the corner, practically throwing herself at her as she welcomed her with a kiss.
The kind of kiss she knew she should have replied with last night. And it was amazing.
For a fraction of a second.
Which was exactly how long it took her brain to engage and realise several things at once. The first was that Ella clearly was angry with her, because she was trying to push her away. The second was the sudden, absolute and unequivocal realisation that this woman was not Ella. The blonde hair, the brown eyes...
Eyes widening in horror, Elizabeth staggered back, her hand moving over her mouth to fight the sudden sick feeling that flooded her stomach. "Oh, f -" she clamped her hand over her mouth, backing up a little more and recovering enough to finally speak again. "I am so so sorry! I thought you- I - Oh God... I'm so - "
"Sorry?" Petty Officer Deeson offered after a moment of silence, leaning down to scoop up the tricorder she had been using to track a power fluctuation. She had definitely not expected to find a stranger throwing herself at her.
"I thought you were someone else," Elizabeth all but squeaked, trying to remember how to breathe as her cheeks burned. Could you die from embarassment.
It felt like it. What had she done?! "Ella was supposed to... I think I'm gonna be sick."
Siana frowned, having no idea who 'Ella' was. She didn't even know who this woman was! "Please don't," she pleaded, "it'll take forever to get rid of the smell."
A hint of a smile appeared on Elizabeth's face. "I guess."
Taking a deep breath, Siana stepped forward, holding out her hand. This. This was why she preferred computers. They didn't behave so strangely. "Maybe we could try a more, well, traditional introduction?" she offered. "Siana Deeson."
"Elizabeth, Elizabeth Healy," she answered with a look of relief that the woman wasn't apparently furious or about to report her behaviour. "I really am so sorry. I was waiting for someone -"
Siana frowned, "and who is Ella?"
Her question earned her a sad smile as Elizabeth sank down to sit on the edge of a small ledge. "Someone I should have kissed last night. But I didn't. I messed up."
"Everyone messes up sometimes," Siana shrugged, "doesn't mean it is the end of the world. And maybe it's still fixable. You are an engineer, right?"
"Yeah," Elizabeth nodded.
"Then fixing things is in your DNA. You'll figure it out. Especially if you kiss her like that," Siana assured her. "Maybe just make sure it is her before, you know, kissing her?"
"I really am so sorry," Elizabeth blurted out again.
Siana waved the apology away. "Like I said, it wasn't a bad kiss," she said as she moved to open the access hatch to the jeffries tube. Climbing inside she poked her head back out, "hope it works out."
With that she ducked out of sight and then closed the hatch, leaving Elizabeth alone. She checked her watch and frowned. Another five minutes.
She could wait another five minutes. And another. As long as it took.