Mac has a Drink
Day 3 (cont)
Bugalu emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around himself, even though he had told the computer to lock his bedroom door. Nobody here. Good. He toweled off to get dressed; underwear, slacks... He picked up his tunic and stopped. What was that noise? He stepped over to the doorway to the living room and looked out. I should have known.
Female uniform boots were scattered across the living room floor. A barefoot, wild-haired Mac sat at his desk, pouring the better part of a bottle of booze into a large glass. When the glass was full, she began transferring the liquid to her stomach. "Drink your own," he suggested.
She froze where she sat. "Are you decent?" she asked softly. "I mean-"
So she noticed. "I'm better than decent," he returned lightly. "Some women say I'm good." He walked over to take the bottle off the desk and see that its lid was tight. She glanced at him and relaxed. Forget it. Just act like it never happened. Why can't she keep her uniform tunic fastened? "You only left me two fingers, Mac! And you didn't ask! Let's get this straight; I will not supply your habit. You can drink your own stuff."
"I would," she answered, and downed the rest of the glass. "But I don't have any."
"None?" I've never seen her without a stash. Matt, neither.
She ungently put the glass on the desk. "I drank the last about ... eight months ago."
"So you haven't had any shore leave this past year," he breathed. That's the only reason for her not replenishing her stash.
"How did you-?"
"I have my ways," he told her. "It's true?"
"More like 2 years," she answered, and frowned thoughtfully. "No, just 17 or 18 months, I guess. It felt like years." She looked longingly at the little bit of liquid left in the bottle he held. He crossed the room to put the bottle in his cabinet. "I learned all the tricks for coaxing a few ounces of alcohol out of the dispensers. Otherwise, I probably would have gone crazy."
"Well, why don't you-"
"I just spilled my entire month's ration all over ... someone in the recroom."
Ouch! He sighed, pulled the bottle back out and tossed it to her. She caught it, grinned, and quickly added the remaining few ounces to the others in her stomach. "You are so good to me," she purred, climbing to her feet.
"You've finished my whiskey. All I've got left is vodka and tequila. What are you going to drink tomorrow?"
"Maybe I won't need any," she hoped, coming from behind the desk.
"Why did you need it today?"
She rolled her eyes and bent to retrieve one of her boots. "Smythe."
"Did he chew you out again?"
"No, not today." She moved on, one boot in hand.
"What did he do?"
"He was there!"
"Get used to it," he said as she bent for the other boot. "He's a hands-on officer."
She froze, bent double, hand reaching for a boot. "Hands on?" she squeaked.
Well, that was a poor word choice. She doesn't need any sexual tension between her and her superior officer! "He watches all his people. He knows what they're capable of; they can't pull the wool over his eyes. Not for long, anyway."
"Oh." Boot grabbed, she stood up. "That kind of hands-on. For a minute, I thought you might mean-"
She seems too red. "Not Smythe," he told her hurriedly. "You're a subordinate."
She grimaced. "Like that makes a difference."
"It does to him," he stated. Is that a clue about what happened on those tugs? She shrugged and turned for the door. "Mac, who kept you from having shore leave?"
She stopped, but didn't turn, didn't answer for a long moment. "Ultimately, Captain Nash was responsible for everything that happened on the Bartholomew." That simple truth could mean everything, or nothing. Having said that, she tossed a scared glance his way and stepped forward. The living room door opened to let her out.
She whirled around in exasperation. "I am trying to get out of here so you can get dressed for your date!"
"Fasten your tunic," he told her.
She looked down, appalled, slapped her uniform closed haphazardly, then turned and walked out. The door started to close.
The door opened wide again, and Tall Bear walked in. "You two at it again?"
"I told you-"
"I know. And I warned you yesterday to take care what the rest of the ship sees. Yet there you go, letting her walk out of here, looking like-" Bugalu cocked his head warningly, and Bear adjusted what he had been going to say. "-like she just did. Don't blame me if the rumors are flying fast and furious! I tried to warn you!"
"Yes, you did. And I appreciate it. But Mac is Mac; completely unaware of the impression she makes on others. If I tried to keep her from ... looking like that, she'd- It wouldn't be possible. The rumors might fly for a while, but they'll die down eventually."
"Then tell me one thing."
"How long before she gets tired of you? Because I really want to ask her out." Grinning, the AmerInd slid outside and was gone.
Bugalu headed back for his bedroom. And he's trying to accept that we're just friends. Mac is definitely making my life more complicated.