Round Three: Down For The Count...
What Lies Within Us
Location: Captain's Ready Room.
Timeline: Current/day 1 after Risa/evening
With his forehead pressed into his arm, Carter Hall leaned on his readyroom's view port window. Alot on his mind, he was looking out yet not really seeing at what seemed to be stars streaking by, when the chime went off, announcing someone was there to see him.
"Come." he nearly shouted and pulled away at the swish of the door, and still facing the window, stressfully rubbed at his forehead.
"You wanted to see me Sir?" Rosalie said as she stepped inside Carter's inner sanctum, the frost oozing off her palpable. It didn't take a genius to see that his presence unsettled her.
Taking in her tone, he slowly turned to face her. He didn't like it, nor did he care for how LeGant took it upon himself to confront him on his personal relationship with his former XO, nor how things were going between him and his new one. None the less, it got him thinking, and now he wanted to make some kind of effort. Looking at her now, her expression, her body language, the very air around her, Carter had to breath in deep to keep himself from responding like-wise. What was it about her that unsettled him so much?
"Would you like something to drink?" he asked.
"No thank you." Rosalie replied, trying to keep things civil. As much as she didn't like Carter, she knew for the sake of the ship that she had to at least try to be polite. As she watched him, flashes of the dream that she had experienced coursed through her mind and she closed her eyes, trying to force the images away. In her dream she had felt happy...loved even but how could she have had such a dream about Carter of all people.? She hated him right?
"Alright." Carter said, breathing in deep again. He could see this wasn't going to be easy. Why was this so hard? "Then have a seat. I insist."
"Yes Sir." Rosalie complied and sat down, crossing one slim leg over the other and placing her hands in her lap as she waited for him to begin. Why in the hell did she feel like every muscle in her body was coiled up like a spring and why was it so hard to breathe?
Carter walked around his desk and sat partially on the edge of it facing her as he held his hands together on one leg "I would like us to start over", he said quietly.
"Start. Over." Rosalie echoed, unsure what he wanted her to say to such a suggestion. Could they really start over given everything that had happened between them? "I..." she lifted her eyes to meet his, a flash of the way it felt to be in his embrace in her dream shooting through her consciousness causing her to rip her gaze away once more, "I...guess." she finished lamely, totally stuck for something to say.
"Is that going to be a problem?" He asked, feeling unsure of her reaction, confused by what he seen in her eyes and then her need to look away. His eyes narrowed, "What is it you want to say to me?"
"Trust me Sir...you don't want to go there." Rosalie replied, "Let's just say that starting over should exclude any personal opinions and comments and be done with it. It'll make for an easier life I promise." she added, wondering what she actually would say if given the freedom to be completely honest.
Carter's jaw slightly tightened, "I disagree, Commander. What I'm getting from this attitude of yours is that you have no real desire to make this work."
"That's just what you'd like to believe isn't it?" Rosalie shot back, unable to remain civil any longer, "Here I am trying to make it work but it's just not good enough for you is it?" she continued, something inside of her snapping, "Well I'm sorry that I'm not some simpering fool who'll just lay down and do your bidding." she added before snapping her mouth shut before she said anything more damaging than she already had.
"Do my bidding?!" Carter growled incredulously at her insinuations. He got off his desk and walked around her, "You can't work along side me let alone show any respect, Rosalie. You're damn right it isn't good enough."
Standing up in an effort to feel less intimidated, Rosalie found herself closer to him than was comfortable as she growled back "Then tell me what you expect me to do! You keep acting like everything I say, everything I do is specifically to annoy you so tell me Sir, how do you expect me to react?" Her eyes burned with anger and she held her ground. Scared as she was right now, she was damned if she was going to roll over and pander to Carter Hall of all people especially as right now in her head he was doing all sorts of inappropriate things to her body. "Not now...." she mumbled to herself and screwed her eyes shut for a split second before resuming her glowering.
Carter watched her and his brows furrowed as he stepped towards her backing her away a few steps before she refused to budge any further. "I expect nothing from you, Commander." he replied with a forced calm, his face mere inches from hers, "In fact, you're relieved of duty."
"What?!" Rosalie looked like she had been slapped across the face, "Just like that?" she could feel his breath on her face as they stood so close, "Because you don't like me? I've carried out every order and done every duty that's been expected of me since I got on board. My work has been exemplary and yet because you..." she poked his chest with her index finger, "Don't like me, you're firing me?"
His face reddened, his purple eyes glaring, Carter quickly grabbed her wrist and tightly held it up "Because you don't like me." he replied. His eyes angrily searched hers, "Why is that?"
A good question indeed. Why exactly was that? Rosalie winced as his fingers dug into the soft flesh of her wrist and tears pricked at her eyes as the whole situation began to overwhelm her. And what overwhelmed her the most was the fact that she couldn't answer his question because she was scared of what the true answer was and it most definitely wasn't for his ears. "You're hurting me." she whimpered as a solitary tear fell from her eye leaving her gasping in panic at its release.
Stunned by his actions, Carter released her at her gasp and unthinkingly wipe the tear away with his thumb as he held onto her face. "Why do you hate me so much?" he demanded, his emotions stirring deep within him, and he felt like an ass. "I admit this is partially my fault, but I think we need to agree that this..." he struggled to say, "...isn't going to work."
Rosalie barely heard what he was saying as she watched in slow motion as he wiped the tear away. With widening eyes, she uttered "Wash your hands right now..." her expression became pleading as she added "My tears...they're, they're..." her voice trailed off for a moment as she tried to come up with an explanation but couldn't so ended up with a lame "They're dangerous."
Angling his head down at her, Carter stared at her momentarily perplexed before a huge dawning came over him. He pulled away as if he'd been burned and stared at his hand.
Without another word, Rosalie turned and fled for the washroom just off to the side of Carter's ready room intent on scrubbing her face and removing all trace of the tears that had escaped her eyes. How could she have been so stupid? All of her life she had been careful to keep herself to herself. Careful to ensure that no man would end up trapped into a life of infatuation as her father had been to her mother. And now she had infected Carter Hall of all people? Feeling panic rising within her she turned on the tap and began to splash cold water onto her face.
Carter had continued to stare at his hand, a fear growing within him, oh grozit... he had thought and quickly followed her.
Now he stood behind her at the sink, impatiently turning in different directions. "Will you hurry up?!"
In response, Rosalie grabbed his hand and shoved it under the cold water before turning away to grab a nearby towel to dry her face. "I am so sorry." she whispered, her expression traumatised as she watched him.
Carter's brows scrunched together as he tried to make sense of the situation. Swallowing down the panic and starting to think straight, he said, "Rosalie.." drying off his hands, and then turning towards her. "There's nothing here to worry about..."
"Yes there is!" Rosalie sounded almost hysterical, "Don't you see? I'm half Elasian!" she added as if it should be obvious to all just what that meant.
Shaking his head, Carter walked up to her, "Half Elasian... Commander. " He grabbed her shoulders and leaned down to look at her as if to get a point across. "and I'm not Human."
"What's the fact you're not human got to do with it? You're still a man!" she shot back, trying to ignore the warmth spreading through her shoulders from his touch.
"I'm a Xenexian man," he said stepping back away from her and not without some pride, "able to fight off what little effects Orion pheromones would have on me." He turned away and walked behind the protection of his desk. Sitting down, he gazed back up at her. "Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the effects immediate?"
"Yes." Rosalie retorted, peering at him warily as if she was expecting him to sprout a new head any second, "How do you feel?" she asked cautiously.
"I feel fine." he said casually, his eyes sweeping over her once before settling on his console, "No different than before you came in here..." He turned it on, before looking back to her. "Dismissed, Commander." And found himself softening to the problem between them. He sat back in his chair. "I won't dismiss you from duty, nor will any of what just transpired go into record, but we need to work out whatever this problem is between us."
Surprised by the last comment, Rosalie asked "Are you sure you're alright Sir? I mean..." she cleared her throat, "Did you just be nice?"
His brows knitting together, Carter slowly nodded, "Yes...I have...been known to be...on occasion. Yes, I'm alright." and really wanting her to leave, "Dismissed...again...Commander."
"Yes Sir." Rosalie nodded casting one last look Carter's way before turning on her heel to leave. She wasn't convinced that he hadn't been affected by her tears. After all, what had those last few sentences been all about? One thing was for sure though, she was fairly convinced that a certain purple eyed Xenexian was going to feature strongly in her dreams again tonight and the prospect of that scared her witless. She couldn't fall for Carter and especially not now that this incident had happened. Besides, she knew that his heart belonged to someone else even if she wasn't around anymore.
With a deep sigh of regret, she exited the room and returned to her duties, shaken to the core over what had just happened.
Commander Rosalie De La Croix
Captain Carter Hall