SFR Flash Fiction / Screwdrivers eh?

Writing Prompt: Screwdrivers eh?

*****

Tessa Santoclair was happily engaged in scoping out her new environs from the comfort of a barstool in the officers club when the sight of a particularly grim faced senior officer limping through the door caught her attention. 

After a moment eyeing the amount of silver on his shoulders she gave a mental shrug, punctuated it with a sip of her drink-something the bartender had told her was called a Screwdriver, and made a mental note to review the fleet rank insignia again. After a couple more drinks. She decided recalling with distaste the pile of charts she’d been given to study after she’d been assigned to the Crimson Tide–the pile of charts now stacked on her desk awaiting her attention– And after a little more people watching. She told herself as the peculiar duality of the man’s gait drew her attention back to him. It was odd to see such a powerfully built man–he had to be about six foot two and broad with it…solidly muscled in a way that screamed combat branch–prowling along with such assured authority even while simultaneously favoring his right leg. 

Hip and lower back injury. Her professional half chimed while her non-professional, not on active duty yet half admired his quads. Wouldn’t toss him out of bed. She thought irreverently as she hooked her right foot round the stool’s footrest and spun herself around  to better follow his progress. 

Apparently, either unaware, or uncaring of her scrutiny he headed towards the unoccupied stool beside her and pulled himself up onto it with a soft grunt that borders on a groan. Up close she could see that his face was almost grey with exhaustion and that deep grooves of strain lined his mouth and the corners of his eyes. “Looks like you could use a drink!” She blurted without thinking, and knew she was tipsy when he turned to her in disbelief and she felt not one bit of mortification about being the subject of that look. “I recommend the screwdrivers.” She told him taking the opportunity to study his face. Heavy bone structure, thick brow. He must be the half Recessive, She recalled the medical files she’d reviewed in preparation for her new job. That would make him either the marine commander.  She lifted her drink. “Tastes like juice.” She elaborated for his benefit. 

“I see.” Was that a glimmer of amusement in his gaze?

“Apparently it’s very popular amongst the humans.” 

The amusement died and he began to look a little grim around the eyes and mouth as some internal tension pulled at the muscles in his face. He gave her a look. A look that told her he knew what she was about.

Tessa frowned because she had no idea what he thought he knew she was about and then just as swiftly decided she didn’t care. Suspicious man could keep his suspicious thoughts to himself she thought and continued on with her advertisement of her new favorite drink. “But I like it too.” She nodded to lend emphasis to her statement. “I’m going to have to tell my people.”

It was his turn to frown. “Your people?”

Are you daft? Was her first thought and then she reached up to confirm what she’d forgotten in her excitement over her new drink; her hair was down and covering her ears. Which makes sense since you’re in your civvies. She reminded herself acerbically. You are drunk girl! “You know.” She said to the commander rather apologetically tucking her hair behind her left ear to expose the pointed tip.

“Doctor Santoclair?!” He asked disbelievingly.

“We drink too!” She told him a little taken aback by that disbelief. 

He gave her a long look. “I didn’t intend to imply otherwise.” He told her with some care. “Screwdrivers eh?” 

Tessa regarded him over her glass as she took another pull on her straw. “Yes.” She waved at the bartender to indicate she’d like a refill; lifted an inquiring brow at him.

“Okay.” He conceded, and she held up a second finger to indicate she’d be requiring an additional drink. After surrendering her empty glass to a passing barmaid she eyed the way he sat; leaning heavily on the left arm of his chair with his right leg braced on the rail beneath he bar. “You should have that looked at.” She told him airily. Clearly need to drink more to shut up that professional half. 

He slanted her a glance. “What makes you think I haven’t?” There was a hint of amusement in his tone she decided. A whole lot of tiredness and pain, and a bare modicum amusement. Maybe you need two drinks–to catch up.

“Commander–” She leaned closer in order to peer at the name patch on his chest. “Stone. Stone? Really?!” A look up into his face stopped her. Not amused. Definitely not amused. “Er–anyway, you’re here aren’t you?” She gave a little wave to indicate the vicinity of the club. “And at this hour.” She held up a finger to ward off any protest he may have offered. “And even in the unlikely event that you’re the type to begin a shift with drinks over breakfast; the way you’re walking and guarding tells me that you’ve spent hours up and about on that leg.” With a grateful nod she accepted a glass from the bartender and indicated with a tip of her head that the second one belonged in front of her companion. “You should get it looked at.” She repeated and dipped her head to take a sip from her drink. “If ever a man needed a massage,” She added, “It’s you.”

Stone stared at her, unmoving, unblinking. Like a great stone basilisk, she thought suddenly and almost giggled aloud at the image. Stone.  “I’ve just come from sickbay and physiotherapy.” He told her without inflection. 

Tessa blinked; recalled her stack of charts sadly. “Then I see I have a lot of work to do.” She said.

He stared at her a moment longer then turned away and lifting his glass downed it in one go, set the glass down and carefully slid to his feet. “Thanks for the drink.” He said solemnly and nodding once, not unkindly, turned and limped away.

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