Bugalu’s First Clue
Day 3 (cont)
Once the turbo lift door opened, Bugalu pounced inside, stopped short in shock. "Woops." Mac lay atop Smythe, both looked dazed. Not only is he still alive, it doesn't look like she's made any effort to stop him. What is going on with her? And him, too! She's a subordinate!
"What in space is going on?" Smythe bellowed as he hastily disengaged from the redhead. "MacDowell-!" Bugalu offered the man a hand, and Smythe looked him over. Can imagine what he thinks, me with no shirt. Do I explain she stole it? No, that doesn't sound good.
"I didn't see you," Mac breathed as she and her unintended victim climbed to their feet. Desperate to be believed, she moved closer. "i swear I didn't see you! I was getting away from Bugs, 'cause I played another trick on him, and ... I didn't see you!"
Smythe backed up against the turbo lift wall; sweat appeared on his forehead. A simple accident brings them in contact, and he's- Well, I knew she had that effect on men.
But what's she doing? She keeps inching closer, like she's daring him to- No, that can't be right. He chewed her out and now she's trying not to be on his bad side? Going about it all wrong. I’d better break this up. "give me that!" he said, grabbing his shirt out of her hand.
She turned her head. Like she didn't realize I was here until now. "You've got to believe me, Bugs, I didn't see him!"
"I believe you." She's practically on his toes. Is Mr Smythe her molehill?
Mac was beginning to babble. "I'm trying to be a good girl, Bugs, I am!" [Blast that father of hers!] "But I can't hit anybody anymore, he won't let me. And Tall Bear asked me out, and I couldn't--" [Bear, already?] "And you took your shirt off, and how could I resist that? But then I ran right into him, and ... and we were on the floor, and he was-"
Doing things that would have gotten another man beaten. Is she admitting-? Not in front of him! He lunged forward and began to tickle her, so that her words were replaced by peals of laughter.
"What are you doing?" Smythe asked. The turbo lift door opened yet again.
Trying to keep her from saying something she should not say. "She's a jokester," he stated. "She's been asking for this since she arrived. Now she'll get it!” Blast! Why doesn't he leave? How long will that door stay open? I've got to get her away from here! He turned to look at the older man. "Good night, Mr Smythe." That should give him the hint!
"Will you be alright, MacDowell?"
"I asked Colleen!" Smythe snapped.
He won't take my word-? Wait. Colleen? I've never heard him call a subordinate by their given name! Bugalu stopped tickling and moved away, leaving her gasping for breath, leaning again the wall. "Mr Smythe wants to know if you'll be okay if he leaves you alone with me, Mac."
Round green eyes stared at Smythe for a long time. And Bugalu stared at those eyes, analyzed what he saw in them. In Matt’s eyes, that would be lust! But this is Mac, so I should see fear, confusion, panic. If this is her mountain, it is a mountain, not the molehill she tried to pretend! She shifted her look to Bugalu. Scared and confused and completely out of her league. Anything more? I don’t know.
Suddenly, she threw her arms around him. "Your place, Bugsy, please!"
He heard the door close, sent the turbo lift to the stop closest to his room. In a few moments, they were sitting on the sofa in his living room, and she still had not let go of him.
They sat for a long time, arms wrapped around each other. Neither said a word. She's not crying, that's good. She's quiet, that's hard to believe. She's trembling fiercely, and that can't be good. At least she's not breaking my ribs, so she's able to think that much. He raised a hand to brush a lock of her hair off her forehead. "You should have told me."
"Told you what?"
She's still playing dumb. Pretend she doesn't have any feelings because Pa trained her they were bad. If I push, she'll retreat even further into that brainwashing. Blast her father!
Or else she really doesn't realize what's happening because of that brainwashing. If she did recognize it, it would mean she's going against Pa's training, and no telling what that would do to her head.
Either way, I don't know what to do next.
Be a friend, I guess. I can't solve all her problems, even if I want to. So what can I do for her right now? She hasn't had any time off in a year and a half, no booze in 8 months ... I feel a party coming on.
"Let me up for a minute," he told her. She reluctantly let go, and he went through his bedroom to the bathroom, tricked the door locks and eased into Tall Bear's quarters. In a moment, he was back, with two bottles. Good thing he doesn't drink much, so he had something I could 'borrow'. Good thing shore leave is only a couple days away, or he would definitely have problems with my borrowing it. I hope he doesn't mind.
Her eyes lit up when she saw the bottles. "I didn't know you had a private stash."
"This is Tall Bear's supply. Be sure you replace it."
"If ... if I don't get shore leave, then what?"
She's still worried about that. "Then I will," he told her. He handed her the open bottle, and sat down again. "Okay. I gather you had a bad day. Tell me about it."