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A Little History

Posted on Monday September 2nd, 2019 @ 9:00pm by Tabitha Vale Ph.D. & James Eve

Mission: #1 Prelude
Location: Earth, Vienna - UN Starfleet Headquarters
Timeline: FLASHBACK - 2241.10.18 13h20

Summary: James explains more about his history with Libby to Tabitha.

= BEGIN

“James, forgive me for asking if I’m wrong but this thing between you and Libby… is it some sort of tit for tat counterstroke thing as the Judge said but one thats going to lead up to a grand reunion with tearful smiles, Blue Birds and Pink Fluffy Clouds because if it is then I don't want to be a part of it.“

She spoke in quiet concern, her grey eyes troubled, all signs of laughter far removed.

Immediately he reached across the table for her hand as he exclaimed, “No,” with perhaps a little more force than was necessary but seeing her quick look down at their fingers, removed his hand from hers and repeated himself.

“No, there’s no chance of that. There won't be any reunions.” He searched her face for signs she believed him and added, “Neither of us want one.”

“Are you sure about that?” Tabitha asked having a good idea already that Libby was loathe to see an ending despite what she’d said even if James was.

“Positive,” he replied without hesitation. They observed each other in silence aware that questions hovered unasked and answers waited unvoiced.

“Look,” he said deciding he had to explain. “I can see how this might appear to you but you have to understand that what she did was totally wrong. She could have ended that pilot’s career, stopped it in its tracks with no reason other than to gain another success on her own record.”

He paused, his eyes searching hers for some sign she agreed with his point.

“I do understand that,” she replied quietly holding his gaze with the same intensity but left unsaid the follow on line. James though was there before her.

“But she could say the same,” he filled in. He sat back in his chair and gave a short sigh still watching Tibbs all the while. “There’s a lot you don't know….” he told her leaning closer once again “... and I can explain it if you want.”

Tabitha did want to know. In her line of work the reasons that people did or said things were often far more complex than a first glance might suggest. His explanation that Libby had run a risk simply to enhance her reputation with winning cases was in itself intriguing but alongside that was the strong undercurrent that flowed between these two.

She’d meant what she’d said about not becoming personally involved if a possible reconciliation was likely but he’d assured her that would never happen which left the tantalizing snapshot of an unresolved breakdown which she was still sure was not in equal measure.

It should have been viewed as an unfortunate and somewhat sad situation but her interest in it was more than a passing moment or two. She liked James Eve and truth be acknowledged, she liked him alot and had looked forward to getting to know him more despite the obstacles that peppered their way in that respect. It was also odd to ask about an old girlfriend before a friendship had even been fully founded never mind anything more, almost like running before you could walk.

Perhaps he saw these doubts in her gaze because he solved her need to ask by saying: “We met soon after joining Starfleet, at first part of a study group but we… became romantically involved after a few weeks. That’s the term right?”

He flashed some semblance of his smile at her in an effort to keep things light. Her lips lifted slightly at their corners in response. “We moved in together at the end of our second term and it all seemed fine.” The reasons why it wasn’t took a few seconds to phrase. “There’s a lot of hard work in a Law Degree, exams, reviews, deadlines… targets, limits… you know the type of thing.”

Tabitha gave a single nod, not interrupting him.

“As time went along she began to feel the pressure of it. We all did of course but… she seemed to struggle with it. She couldn't deal with a poor result and anything less than top three was a tragedy. We had a friendly rivalry over it but she took it seriously… really seriously. Coming second, third or more to me or anyone else was the end of the world. She began to slide and that made things tougher of course. It happened so slowly but when she had a major deadline she seemed worse. A couple of times she missed one.”

His words stopped and Tabitha turned her head a little to one side as she waited for him to continue. His attention had dropped to the cup and saucer in front of him but he now remet Tabitha's eyes. He spoke quietly, aware that what he said wasn't for all and sundry to hear. He told of Libby's growing difficulties and how, over time, she had made herself ill in the run-up to a deadline which simply exacerbated things. People noticed, grew concerned, then one morning her instructor made a great fuss of her, full of concern… made allowances.

“I don’t know… it’s… it sounds an odd thing to say but it was almost as though she thrived on the attention. Her timeline was extended she got good grades and it became a pattern of sorts. Tibbs frowned but again, didn’t interrupt.

“In our last year things began to come to a head on a number of fronts. It was a foregone conclusion that she’d be unwell before a hearing… it was unusual if she wasn’t. At the same time we had to decide the paths we wanted our careers to take and she wanted us to apply for combat tours.

"I didn't see myself going that route but once she decided on something it was set in stone. She had all these reasons why we should do it but she wouldn’t hear anything against it. Her idea was right, ‘had’ to be right, that was what we should do. My preferences or opinions didn’t come into it. We had heated exchanges about it… arguments.

“I've worked damned hard for this.” she screamed at me one time ”You can't take this from me!” It was her view that mattered, her career, her dreams her goals and ambitions. I told her I was tired of her pretences, the making herself ill for the effect it had… and some of the tactics she began to employ.”

What they were wasn’t stated but Tabitha didn't interrupt his explanation.

“I told her my plans, what I'd like to do and she had a complete meltdown, accusing me of saying and doing things I hadn’t done or said. I told her we could talk it out when she calmed down that I didn't want to hear her rants anymore and she knew where I'd be.” A slight shake of his head as if even now he couldn't believe it.

“She didn't come. I was surprised but not prepared to beg her and as the days passed I realized it wasn't bothering me as much as it should have. Truth be told the peace was pleasant. We did finals, had time to relax at last, we got results. She applied for a combat tour as she planned. We didn't speak more than a few words. I know she was waiting for me to make the move but…” he shrugged, “... I didn't want to. She’d made her choice and that was fine by me.”

It was one side of the situation but Tabitha chose to believe it, not simply because James had been so open about it but because Libby's little display of temper made it all believable.

“Thank you for telling me.” she said. He tilted his head in a ‘you’re welcome’ gesture.

“You know what I’m thinking?” he asked a few moments later.

“No?”

“I’m thinking that I wish we could have got to know one another in an ordinary straightforward ‘boring’ way. No trips to a naturist beach, no picnics invaded by errant dogs and unbiddable children and no talking about ex-girlfriends over our jam doughnuts.”

He gave her a helpless appealing look which caused her to smile widely then laugh.

“... and I wanted to ask you out… properly… but... I have to leave in exactly…” he checked the time, “fifty minutes… that’s if the flight’s running.”

“Oh… ahh,” Tabitha responded, sounding a little awkward. “Well… if you had asked me I’d have accepted except that I’m catching a flight too in a couple of hours… if they’re running,” she ended echoing his own words.

“Really?... huh… par for the course?”

They smiled ruefully at the timing of it all.

“Perhaps when we get back then?” she ventured.

His smile said it all. “I’ll call you… in a day or so?”

= END

LtCmdr Tabitha Vale, Ph.D.
Psychologist
UN Starfleet Medical Corps


LtJG James Eve
Law Officer
UN Starfleet JAG Corps

 

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