PHD #432: Shut Up And Stop Thinking
PHD #432: Shut Up And Stop Thinking
Summary: Khloe and Vandenberg have a clandestine rendezvous.
Date: 04 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Now What?
Khloe Vandenberg 
Somewhere In The Bowels Of The Ship
A forgotten causeway somewhere where there are no cameras. Thanks, Elf. >:(
Post-Holocaust Day: #432

Note: This log contains light "relationship RP" that folks might find unappealing or inappropriate for work. Please enjoy at your own discretion.

Off hours, in a forgotten, seldom-traveled corner of the battlestar, Khloe waits at a causeway junction that's more full of crates and unrestricted supplies than anything else. Actually, she's pacing, slowly back and forth, arms folded across her chest; she looks mildly anxious, occasionally checking a watch that she keeps in her pocket rather than wear around her wrist. And every so often, she pauses to produce a rectangular box from her other trousers pocket, cracking it open and peering inside, but always returns it to her pocket again.

The hatch at the other end opens a crack and Natalie's face appears, peering in Khloe's direction. Spotting the Viper Captain, the Marine grins. Her whole face brightens and she slips through the hatch and closes it behind her. She tries not to beam too much. She's moderately successful with it. "Hey, Khloe," she says quietly, moving close and looking up to Khloe with a hopeful smile.

Khloe turns suddenly at the sound, looking like a thief caught in the act. "Hi," she says simply, folding her hands behind her back. At the shorter woman's brightening smile, she can't help but mirror it, but only slightly; it takes a while for the ice queen to melt. "I was starting to wonder if I was in the wrong corridor."

Natalie shakes her head. "No. Sorry I'm late." She makes a short face and glances back at the hatch. "Same reason I haven't been able to see you since.. well.." She turns back, a bit red in the face. "Planning for Sar- The Gemenon mission. We're calling it Saratoga. Putting the finishing touches on it." She fidgets with her hands, wanting to reach out for Khloe but she opts to hold her hands together in front of her. "So! I finally got all healed up? Annnnnd I got promoted. The CO gave me a shiny to go with it but.. Got a few. Pins mean a lot more!" There's hardly restrained excitement. She's probably been waiting a week to tell Khloe in person. "Thanks, too! I wasn't really Captain material before. Still trying to work through some things but you've been a big help in kicking my butt, Khloe. I couldn't have done it without you."

Glossing over the Gemenon information, "I didn't do anything," Khloe quietly protests. "All I said was for you to shut up and stop thinking so much, and do what you're told," she says with a growing smirk. "But Captain… that's something. I heard, you know. I… got you something." That rectangular box is produced again, looking very time-worn. Resembles a box that jewelry might come from. She awkwardly holds it out, grinning like she can barely contain herself. "Here."

Natalie chuckles, scrunching her nose. "'Lieutenant? Shut up. Do what you're told.'" Its not a mocking tone, just a teased repeat of what Khloe had told her all the months she had been aboard. "Well regardless, it helped I think. I feel better. A little less crazed. More focused. I honestly feel like things are finally coming back together in a managable and quite awesome little setting. I wonder if I might be able to pin the rest of that on you, aye?" She winks up at the Viper pilot but seems surprised at already knowing. And the box? A box?? "You got me something??" she whispers, inhaling quickly. Natalie is positively glowing. "Khloe.. Awww thank you!" She reaches out to take it carefully and lift the top with the same gentle movements.

Cracking open the box reveals a necklace, not particularly elegant or pretty. The top half is a regular silver chain, width and weight appropriate to be worn by a woman; the lower half made of fine, tiny plates of silver and white gold overlapping in a sort of criss-cross pattern, growing in size as they plunge lower. If worn and arranged properly, the plates would be largest around the breastbone. at most a quarter inch in length. It appears to be cobbled together from two different chains. "I bought this aboard the Elpis about a week and a half ago. Been looking for an excuse to give it to you." And that would've been before the kiss, so she's clearly been thinking about things for a while.

Natalie opens the box and -stares- at the contents as her eyes well up. The woman is quite honestly breathless, her free hand coming up to cover her mouth. "Ohmigods," she sighs. Her green eyes lift back up to Khloe hopefully, as if making sure this gift is really for her. Maybe she just doesn't quite believe it. She looks back to it, fighting tears of joy. "This- This is the nicest thing I've ever.. It means.." She can't find the words to finish a thought, much less start one effectively. Her hand drops and she falls into Khloe's arms, chin lifting for the kiss. Its nothing epic or passionate, but the warmth and love there is unmistakable - felt far more than words could ever convey. Her one free arm drapes around Khloe while the other hand holds to the open box for dear life.

Khloe awkwardly accepts the embrace, a little stiff - she's not in the habit of gifting people or receiving this reaction when she does. "It was the only thing not… super-girly," the Viper pilot murmurs, grin a mixture of embarrassment and pleasure in response to Natalie's reaction. Then, licking her lips as she considers her next action, she dips her head down and hesitantly presses in for a careful kiss - although it doesn't stay that way. Natalie's passion seems to be a bit overwhelming for Khloe and she's quick to snake her arms around the shorter woman's waist, drawing her tightly against her.

Natalie lingers in the kiss, sighing happily. Eyes, closed, she isn't kissing another woman. She isn't kissing a Viper pilot. Just someone that in this instant has made her sublimely happy. Feeling the arms around her, too, she melts against Khloe before dropping her chin to rest her head on Khloe's shoulder. The pilot can probably hear the smile in her voice. "Its beautiful. And its okay to be girly if you want to be, Khloe. Whatever makes you happy, darlin, I'm okay with. But this?" The box is lifted once more so she can look it over more. "This is amazing. I- I don't even know what else to say." Lifting off, she lofts her brow up to the other woman with a grin. "Put it on me, please??" Her other hand is already coming off to gather up her hair.

Khloe shrugs lightly, the shoulder that Natalie was not resting against. "I'm… not good at girly," she admits, although it's no surprise to anyone - the woman owns nothing besides official military garb, and doesn't own any cosmetics. "But… it won't bother me if you were. I mean, just a little. Don't want you to lose your edge, Captain." At the request, she gladly takes up the chain and drapes it around underneath Nat's chin. As she brings her hands together to fix the chain's clasp, fingertips linger at the nape of her neck for just a moment. "There," she says softly. Easily able to lean to the side and peer at the Marine's front, there's a hint more of her smile coming through. Gasp, teeth? "I like it. It looks good on you. Not quite regulation gear, though."

Natalie smirks up at Khloe and tilts her head. "Its fine, Khloe." She lifts a hand to tap Khloe on the nose gently with a single fingertip. "You be yourself and I'll be me. And yes, I am girly, damnit. I don't think that will detract from my edge, though. I'll just apply my feminine wiles and cunning to work in little ways." She can't help the grin, dipping her hand forward. With the touch to her neck, her eyes close and that smile lingers. She stands like that until the pilot speaks once more and she looks down. The Marine is wearing her duty greens so she unbuttons the top just enough see how it falls across her. Its not quite metal to skin with the tanktops as they are but she seems -quite- pleased about it. "Khloe, this is just great. I, ah, heh. I've never gotten a necklace before. Well- not since college. And that was cheap. This.." She holds it in both hands before gently laying it down to feel the weight. "I think it looks great, too." She looks back up and grins. "Not quite regulation? Well I think I could probably get away with it under my tanks. Cuz lady, you are out of your noggin if you think I'm taking this off ever again."

Khloe frowns slightly. "If you wear it during duty, you might break the chain. It's not practical to wear jewelry when it might get damaged or it might get in the way," she states. So much for breaking out of old patterns. She realizes this too late, and sighs, shaking her head. "I'm… sorry. It's yours, now. You can do with it what you like."

Natalie smirks at the response and takes a breath. "No, you're right. I'm not thinkin properly. I'm just excited. I'd.. I don't think I'd forgive myself if I lost this. It means a lot. Especially from you, Khloe." She looks down at it again, suddenly wishing for a mirror for the first time in weeks. The Marine preens just a smidge at the thought of it, though. She takes a breath then and looks up. "So I had wanted to come down here and talk about us. I know you're not very good with opening up and I'm okay with that. But I'd really like to know if this is- Well the necklace speaks volumes. But I've gotten some advice from people and wanted to se where we stand." She glances to the side with her words, worded softly. Its clear Natalie isn't about to take the necklace and run, though. "Shall we sit? I can go first if you want."

"Advice… from people?" The Viper pilot looks skeptical, eyes narrowing. "I thought we were going to try and keep this quiet? The last thing I want is other peoples' opinions muddling things. Plus, the respect of my squadron is extremely important to me. They don't have to like me, but we woldn't work well as a team if they didn't respect me. So I'm a little… concerned… that they might think I'm going soft." She pulls one of the many crates over - fortunately, it's mostly empty - and perches her rear on the edge of it. "So, what about… us?"

Natalie nods slowly. "I know. I have similar concerns. I, ah. With this rank bump? I'm trying extra hard to prove I've earned this. Being more professional, et cetera. Unit cohesion should take priority. Duty first, Khloe. I mean that just as much as you do. We can't let this effect our work. What we both do is too important. But I think this is also too important to just pass over." She smiles sweetly with the words, parking her rear on a crate that is pulled right up beside Khloe's. "So far its quiet. Heh, sorta. Gunnery Sergeant Constin caught us on tape last week. Took me aside in private, talked it over with me. He's buried the tape. He won't say a word. I think the man is genuinely happy for the both of us - as happy as he will get anyway. But I also talked about someone I was interested in with a Raptor pilot I know and trust. I didn't mention who this person might be." She takes a much longer breath and steels herself. Okay Natalie, time to put yourself out there. Her knee bounces slightly. The Marine is fine to face down hordes of Cylons but this.. "Us. Yes. Look, I've never really done something like this before. I'm nervous. A little scared. I've always dated guys. I still like guys, ya know?" She fidgets nervously with her hands, looking at them. "Its just that this is new and more than a little exciting. Someone that, well, that makes me happy. That cares. Someone strong that I look up to and have loved and worried over, myself. Not a guy. I'm not about to start stalking you or coming by your berthing. I know you don't want that and its okay. I understand that. I just.. I want you to know that I really think this is something I want. Something I want to pursue and see what happens with us. From the moment I met you I was infuriated with you." She looks back up to smile meekly. "I was so damned jealous. I wanted to know what made you tick. How I could hold up like you have. The more I learned, the more I realized that I just wanted more. To get to know you. To remind you in little ways that were bonded by more than just this crew." Cancerans. "And after that visit while I was in recovery? I knew that it still wasn't enough." She seems like she might go on before cutting herself off and looking back to her hands.

Khloe doesn't interrupt, at all. Her brow creases slightly at the mention of Constin and the security tape, but it doesn't seem to bother her enough to interrupt the other woman. In fact, the more she talks, the more it's clear she needs to get it all out, so Khloe just listens. At the end, she nods her head. "Okay. That's a lot. Um." She looks at her own hands, fidgeting with them as they pick at an imaginary cuticle, so she shoves them into her trouser pockets. "I've had… er, been with. Only men. Once at Tau Garrison, the other time at the Academy. Before then…" She shakes her head. "I'm not going to go there. It's not for now." She clears her throat, glancing away briefly. "I suppose I'm attracted to men, but I've never really enjoyed, ah, you know." Her cheeks are reddening. "And I've never really considered women before. So I suppose we're in the same boat. This is new to us both. And I think what caused me to become, well, interested… well, damn. I really don't know how, or why. Something just clicked. I don't know when. It wasn't a conscious decision… being impulsive is really not my style." She shrugs, trailing off, at a loss for more words.

At Khloe's mention of not 'going there' Natalie just nods in support. She isn't going to press - its for another time. At the other woman's blush, Van does as well and she nods once more. "Its not about that, darlin. It doesn't have to be if we don't want to go there. Like you said before. We should go slow and let this find its own path." She clears her throat before continuing. "Yeah this wasn't impulsive on my part. It just kinda happened. That realization wasn't something that just popped into my head. I thought about it for a few days and I realized a few things. Applied it to my own life. A lot made sense." Nat wets her lips and looks back up. "I know we are both concerned about how this will look to other people. Thinking we've gone soft. I. This Raptor pilot told me that I should just not care. That the only people that mattered were myself and the other person. All other opinions are unimportant. I kind of agree with it but I'm with you about being.. Well I'm nervous. The problem is that if we want to pursue this, and Gods I would love to if you'll tolerate me.." She gives a troublesome little smile that is rife with mirth. It fades, though. "But eventually its going to come out. Its a battlestar."

"It's going to come out if I keep blowing up every time someone suggests something off-color and I immediately jump to conclusions," Khloe mutters, glaring off to the side. "Certain people are good at being maniuplative and giving double meanings to things." She doesn't elaborate, only turning her gaze back to Natalie, which immediately softens. "Well, what are your expectations? I mean, I've never really… dated anyone." She glares again, looking downward, scuffing her shoe against the deck. "It's always just been sexual, first. How exactly does one 'date' on a battlestar?"

Natalie gives an understanding smile to Khloe and reaches over to take her hand in her own. "Hon?" she offers quietly. "Remember that picture I gave you? With everyone lined up behind you and following you to your planes? Look at the faces in that picture." Her head dips slightly to catch the other woman's eyes if she can. "You're hard. You're demanding. But you're human and forgiving, too, and I swear those aren't weaknesses. Being excessively harsh is a bad sign of stress. What if someone brings it up, next time just try telling them you'd appreciate them keeping it quiet. Nothing wrong with owing favors, yeah? If they don't want to listen to Khloe being nice, the Khloe can explode everywhere to her hearts content." She winks. To the last, she shrugs. "Never been stationed on a ship before. First time there, too. But I know those liaisons, too. We're okay. I trust that we're doing this right. Its not in everyone's faces. We're taking our time. Just being people. Normally I'd suggest we go get beers buuut.." Where this might tick at Van about the differences, she just smiles. "How about we skip the stupid drinking. We go on a date. I can teach you how to rock climb? Maybe ride the zipline we use for airborne training?"

Khloe laughs, almost a bright sound. "Rock climbing? Zipline training? Those are dates? I thought dating was going to dinner and a movie and the park and other 'couple' things." She gives Nat's hands a warm squeeze. Smile settling into a quirky grin, she states, "If that's what dating means, then sign me up. To hell what people think." A beat, and her voice quiets. "If we keep the 'relationship' stuff quiet, maybe that'll be enough." Relationship stuff, meaning, of course, the intimacy.

Natalie's face brightens immeasurably with hearing Khloe laugh like that. So much hope and life in her eyes - the qualities lacking in the little Marine for so long. "Well I'm more than happy to cuddle with you on a couch if you want, but that's a little public. Besides, I always pegged you for the more adventerous type." She seems quite sure of that, returning the squeeze. "I'll pick rock climbing for this first date thing, okay? You can pick the second. If nothing comes to mind, I'll pick again. But no fair making me pick them all." She leans over to rock her shoulder into Khloe's playfully. "You gotta pick some, too. Even if that means askin' for suggestions from friends." Its worded almost like a dare. But the last gets a quirky nod. "Maybe. Maybe not. But I'm playful, hon. I might try and sneak a kiss when nobody is looking, but I know better with certain things. We have our concerns. And for the more serious end of that 'stuff'?" Natalie looks every bit the nurturer. Perhaps odd for the Angriest Marine. "Ain't nobody else's business but our own. Sound okay with you?" She tilts her head a bit.

Khloe presses her lips together, perhaps in an attempt to contain her near-constant smiling and grinning while in Vandenberg's presence. She gives a few quick nods at the blonde's words. "All right. Sounds good. All of it." Letting a chuckle escape, she asks, "Why does it seem like we're planning our relationship out like it was some sort of military strike? We're frakking hopeless." She gives a return nudge with her shoulder, and then follows through by 'slyly' slipping an arm around her waist, her other hand disengaging from Natalie's and circling around across her midsection to meet her other hand at Natalie's hip. "Military strategy always did give me a certain giddy feeling. Kinda like what I'm feeling now." Sometimes Khloe's delivery sounds a bit wooden, like now. But at least she's trying.

Natalie chuckles more and slides closer as the arms come around her. The hand on that side comes to rest on Khloe's own and she leans her head to the other woman's shoulder. "I know the feeling." She can't help her own stupid grins. "I'm okay with hopeless, though. Makes it more exciting." Her other hand moves out to rest on Khloe's knee. "But I think this will be a lot of fun. At the very least, I've got someone I care a lot about that feels the same, hopefully," she gives a little playful nudge with her elbow, "even if it is mixed in with telling me to shut up and stop thinking." She's obviously still smiling. "At the most, this works for both of us down the line. Right now I'm a-okay with all of it."

"Let's not worry about tomorrow, okay? That's going to get us both killed," the brunette murmurs, dipping her chin down and inching her face closer. Not moving in for a kiss, but instead to nuzzle gently at the side of Natalie's face, at the sweet spot between ear and jawline. "It's bad enough I'm letting myself be distracted by you," comes her throaty whisper, lips brushing beneath Nat's ear. "I used to think duty and regulations were enough. Now I'm not so sure."


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