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We've Got to Stop Meeting Like This

Posted on 21 Mar 2019 @ 12:52am by First Lieutenant Alexandra Jones

Mission: The Trial
Location: Hotel Grande Aldebaran III
Timeline: Current



Summary: Alex and James have a sense of deja vu and Tabitha has her own agenda



“You go on ahead,” Alex told Kaylee as they gathered up their belongings to exit the suite they’d only just the day before arrived at. “I just want to make sure I’m not forgetting anything or leaving anything behind.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kaylee replied, hurrying out with her armload of luggage.

The conciergerie had been taken with Kaylee the minute she arrived at the reception desk the night before and had been willing to do anything she asked. A simple change of accomodations wouldn’t be a problem at all, he assured her, distressed to hear she was unhappy about anything. If they’d manage to sleep one night in their current suite he could have the executive suite ready by morning for them, he’d promised. The smile Kaylee gave him in return warmed his heart and was more than reward enough in his eyes.

Once she was certain she had everything, Alex gathered up her own armloads of luggage and exited the room, struggling a bit to close the door behind her without putting down the luggage, knowing how hard it would be to gather it up properly again.

James had bounded up the stairs three at a time not waiting for a lift to take him one floor up. He rounded the entrance to the corridor and came to a near halt as his eyes rested on Alex and her luggage.
{Again?!} he asked himself but realized that this could only mean she was leaving already which could only be a good thing so he began to walk towards her looking at her tired and drawn expression as he drew nearer.

Alex turned and nearly ran into him, stepping back quickly and nearly overbalancing backwards to avoid hitting him.

(Not again,) she thought, but reminded herself that with any luck at all this would be the last time she’d have to see him.

He slowed to a stop, casting his eye over the bags. {Yes...definitely moving on}
“Leaving so soon?” he asked in a pleasant enough tone, looking down at her face.

“Moving,” she replied, matching his tone as she regained her footing unassisted. “We’ve been offered a different suite and thought it best.”

James gave a nod of agreement hoping it would be in another wing of the hotel.
“I hope you’ll..both..be comfortable there.” he said.

“So long as it has two rooms, a working lavatory, and a table to work at I’m quite certain I’ll be fine.” Alex replied. “And Corporal Wales seems to be able to make herself comfortable anywhere.”

“So…” he replied , his mind running on from what she’d said. She had a yeoman. with her then and was obviously gearing up to the case she’d mentioned yesterday. That could explain her appearance.
“....knuckling down again then.”
Whether he meant it as a comment or a question wasn't totally clear.

Alex nodded. “I’ve a new case we’ll be trying here before reporting to my new post.” she replied. She wasn’t quite ready to talk about the case yet, needing to be certain of all of the details first.

“I’ll be back on board tomorrow.” he replied. “...need to get things moving for my case too.”
He met her eyes and a silence grew.

“Anything interesting?” she asked once she’d finally found her voice, trying to mask the emotions that seeing him evoked with the only thing he’d left between them. Their work.

“Yeah.” he nodded pulling himself back to the present. “ It’s interesting..a bit unusual...something you’d have liked.” he added knowing that she would have.

“Mine, too.” She nodded, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “I think you’d have loved being at either table for this one. A challenge if nothing else. No winners, though, no matter how it comes out.”

“Happens.” he said. “ just finding a resolution. Either way is going to leave people upset.”


“Right. It’s more about closure than anything else.” She agreed. “Though I’m not sure they’ll find it no matter how it turns out.”

“You’ve…...already begun working on it.” he said indicating with a slight gesture at her body implying that something there indicated as much.
To his eye she’d lost a lot of weight since he last saw her, in fact she was bordering on thin.
This though wasn’t unusual.
They’d had countless discussions about it, how she became so wrapped in her work that she forgot to eat or sleep too at times. It had concerned him alot and he’d done his best to persuade her to keep to a regular routine or at least to eat properly twice a day.

Alex looked at him curiously, uncertain what he meant, then frowned as she answered, “I only just came off of another case. They’ve been dovetailing a bit. That’s why Corporal Wales was assigned to assist me. They’ve been moving straight from one to the next lately. I only started looking into this one in earnest a few nights ago.”

“So...she hand feeds you toast then?” he asked and immediately regretted it mentally kicking himself for mentioning it.

Color rose to cheeks and she dropped her gaze, replying, the ghost of a smile upon her lips. “No James. Only you would do that.”

The memory was as clear as though it had happened yesterday. He’d insisted she eat something and had ended up making sure she did. They’d laughed about it. Made it fun from its serious beginning and eventually she’d forgotten about making her notes for quite some time.

“Yeah..right.” he said stepping back and giving the fastest smile as she looked up and met his eyes.

“James?” The quiet voice hung on the air.

“Tibby!” he replied having turned at the sound,surprised at first but smiling now as he saw her standing in her open doorway. Her attention though was on Alex.

Alex looked from James to Tibby, uncertain what to say.

Tibbs said nothing but turned her head to look up at James a question in her expression.

“I’m a bit early...came to see if you'd like breakfast before we set off?.” he said, his smile freezing a little under her gaze.
“Right.” she replied then smiled to him as though nothing at all was out of place.
“That sounds good.” she added. “ Let's do that.”

“I should go,” Alex said, looking away from them both for a moment, then back, straightening as much as the luggage she carried on both hands would allow. “Goodbye, James.”

“You should get someone to help you with all that.” Tibby suggested.

Alex couldn’t help the sad smile that touched her lips. “I’m afraid there isn’t anyone.” she replied then quickly clarified, “I mean… I haven’t anyone from my new crew, and Corporal Wales has already taken hers.” Realizing how much that sounded like a damsel in distress, she added, “I’m fine, though. Really. I can manage.”


Tabitha's eyes shifted to James who held her gaze with a hint of uncertainty.

“We can help you.” Tabitha offered looking at James as she spoke but then turning to Alex and adding a smile to it.” Going to reception?...or?.....”

“Up two floors, actually,” Alex answered, averting her gaze. “Just changing rooms.”

“Ok then.” Tibby replied stepping forward and holding out her hand hearing, she thought, James sigh behind her before he too stepped towards Alex offering to take her luggage.

Unable to think of a reason she might accept for declining, Alex allowed them each to take one of the suitcases, leaving her with the ones she’d held under her arms. “Thank you.” she said quietly, leading the way to the elevator.

James and Tibby followed a step behind her like dutiful aides. When the doors opened onto an empty lift, James placed his case inside,relieved Tibby of hers and moved out of Alex’ way, standing at Tibby's side.Tibby though was having none of it,frowned at him and stepped inside intent on carrying the luggage off at the other end.
James stepped in beside her liking this less and less. Now he was in a cramped space with them both. He stared hard at the handle of the nearest case feeling the lift crawl upwards at a snail's pace.

Alex shifted to give them all the room she could, recognizing James’ move as an attempt to reassure Tibby and remind Alex that he wanted nothing, really, to do with the latter at all.



“You know the room number?” Tibby asked.

“Nine fourteen,” Alex answered, though a quick glance at James’ expression told her he’d rather have his head amputated than help her any further.

Tibby glanced at James expectantly as she reached to pick up a case. He though wanted this over and done with sooner rather than later so took one beneath his arm and one in each hand.


“I can manage them the rest of the way.” Alex told them both, not wanting to impose on James any further, adding softly to him, “You don’t have to do this.”

“I know.” he replied.

“It's no trouble.” Tibby said “Is it?” she added glancing at James who shook his head and replied that it was no trouble at all.

One look in James’ eyes belied that statement, but Alex knew it wasn’t her place to point that out. Instead, she stepped out when the lift opened, noting the room number in front of them, getting her bearings, then lead the way to the new suite she and Kaylee would share, surprised to discover it was the executive suite.

“How did she pull that off,” she asked nobody in particular at the discovery, especially after having been assured that the switch wouldn’t be reflected in the cost of the new room.

Tibby smiled to her setting the case she carried down beside the door.
“There you go.” she said pleasantly.
James stacked his three beside it.

“Thank you,” Alex replied, offering Tibby a warm smile in return. She knew James wouldn’t like it, but she’d been raised to be polite. Besides which, she admitted if only to herself, she was curious to know who this kind and pleasant woman, so much like she use to be years ago, might be. Giving in to the temptation she asked, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”

“Tabitha.” Tibby replied using her full name and even though she knew it asked: “....and you are?”

“Alexandra Jones,” Alex answered as she offered her hand, using her given name as well, though she added, “Though I prefer to be called Alex.”

The door to the suite opened then and an opulent beauty, with chestnut hair and captivating blue eyes, stood there before them.

“Lieutenant,” she said, her voice a balm to the soul,”I was beginning to worry you’d gotten lost.”

She smiled to James and Tabitha before reaching for the discarded luggage pieces.

“Corporal Kaylee Wales,” Alex said by way of introduction, though she gave no hint in her introduction that she’d known either before. “Meet James and Tabitha. They were kind enough to assist me with my bags.” She stepped in past Kaylee to set the bags she had in one of the chairs.

“Thank you.” Kaylee smiled gratefully. “I appreciate that very much. Won’t you come in?”

“We have somewhere to be.” James responded before Kaylee had a chance to move an inch.
“Thanks all the same.” Tabitha added smiling to her then to Alex but at the same time reaching back for James hand folding her fingers with his as his hand closed around hers.

“Then we won’t keep you any longer,” Alex answered before Kaylee could invite them to do anything else. Noting his hand in hers, her voice faltered only slightly as she added,“Thank you again.”

“Pleasure.” Tabitha said with the standard polite reply. They turned away beginning to head back to the lift.
Tibby looked up at James.

“What are you doing?” he asked her unsure if he was reading all this correctly.

“Helping?” she replied as the doors slid open.



***
Alex closed the door and turned back inside, her eyes suspiciously bright.

“Are you o…” Kayle began, only to be interrupted with an abrupt and sharp, “Fine.”

Alex moved to unpack her bag containing her work,having no desire to discuss the past or her foolish reactions to it with Kaylee or anyone else.

“Of course,” Kaylee replied softly,settling into the chair across from Alex with a sigh, knowing in that moment that they were in for a very long day.




***END***


LtCmdr Tabitha Vale
2XO/Counselor
Visek Nor

&

Lieutenant jg James Eve
JAG Officer
Visek Nor

&

Marine 1st Lieutenant Alexandra Jones
Judge Advocate
SFMC

&

Corporal Kaylee Wales
Judge Advocate Assistant
SFMC


 

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