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Thread: Familiar Taste of Poison - Holding on to Smoke

  1. #21
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    It annoyed the living hell out of Lorna that she was more scared of destroying her partnership with Grace than ending in a hover chair. It was ridiculous. She had always bounced back from one place to the other, her Jaxes her only permanent companions. She wasn't the kind to get attached, her imperial youth had made sure of that. When the hell had it happened?

    She was grateful for the Director not to pick up on her slip up, and appreciated the bit of humor.

    When her partner had the chair adjust to make her more comfortable, she couldn't help grinning, though not before giving a look at the brunette. She got the message loud and clear. She loved that they were both women of action rather than of conversation. It was one of the reasons why they worked so well together. They had always been upfront when it came to communication but they had little interest in grand speeches, focusing instead on actions.

    She was ready for the debrief with Admiral Vane, although she did sneak a few bites from one of the appetizers when it wasn't her turn to talk. That was also why she had made sure not to get any warm food so it could mostly wait until the end of the debrief.

    Once the meeting was off though, all semblance of manners flew outside the proverbial window and she dove into the rest of the food with unbridled relief.

    "I hope the doc will let me out now because there's no way in hell I want to stay stuck here longer than needed,"
    she admitted in between bites.

  2. #22
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    The debrief went well as Vane had plenty of time to review their notes and abridged report. The Bothan Admiral had a few questions of importance to fill in some details that command needed right away, otherwise he expected their reports tomorrow at 1300.

    Grace also expected Lorna to eat like a ravenous grazer, but she was far more attractive than the spiky blobs.

    Grateful that she was reviewing messages received during the meeting, her concern brows knitted together wouldn't appear odd. It looked like the she was just concentrating on what she was reading.

    Grace never noted appearances so plainly unless pushed to describe a comely being by another. Then she would only agree that a member of that being's species would find them attractive, but Grace freely thought the doctor was attractive all on her own.

    "Oh look!" She cued up Berat's message as distraction. "Doctor says the mouf can be discharged. Just stuck to quarters until your surgery, doc."

    With elegance, Grace held out a napkin and circled it in the air, pretending to wipe Lorna's face. "Should clean up first. I mean ..."

    There was sauce dripping down her cheek, fingers were sticky with food, and there was a piece of something green stuck in Lorna's teeth. Unable to explain further, Grace just busted out laughing.
    Last edited by Miranda Tarkin; Mar 7th, 2021 at 07:22:56 PM.

  3. #23
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    Lorna was relieved that the debrief unfold without any issue, although she hadn't been expecting any, despite her notes still being unpolished. She knew that she would have everything finalized without any problem by 1300 on the following day, even with the upcoming surgery. She didn't have extensive work left to do on it.

    She grinned in the middle of scarfing food down her mouth when the Director showed her that she had been discharged until the surgery. Even though it wouldn't be her home back on Jovan wither her beloved furry companions, it was better than being stuck in a hospital room longer than required.

    She quirked a brow at the brunette's next antics - for that was how one would call it which was a side of Grace she rarely saw but had always appreciated, given her own sense of humor.

    "Oh," she realized as she fetched the napkin and began to clean up the mess she was. Maybe she should have been utterly embarrassed but making fun of herself as well was a coping method good as any other.

    She worked on being presentable and discreetly did her best to clean her teeth to with the dratted third napkin.

    "Alright, is that good enough to exit this room and go check out my temporary quarters?"


    She had asked that in a little over-theatrical way; but she shamelessly clung onto the goofiness of the moment. Her tired and medicated brain even came up with an extra joke about the whole thing.

    "If this ever needs to be reported, please wrap it up in all the red tape available, will you?"

  4. #24
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    Grace got up with slow controlled bits of laughter to tidy up the plates and utensils for the staff to clear out - even balling up two of the soiled napkins and tossing them right into the garbage can from afar.

    It was more antics to keep the doc distracted.

    "Yeah, no." She grabbed the napkin Lorna just used to clean her teeth, flipped it around to the clean side, and wiped away a spot of translucent yellow sauce stain from the doctor's chin.

    She fought the urge to rip the napkin apart in anger at Lorna's predicament. Grace was a creature of control and anything out of sorts in keeping that status, anything that made her feel helpless, stirred up feelings long suppressed since willingly leaving the academy. There was nothing she could do to help Lorna. Nothing. Grace hated this feeling and shrugged away a glimpse of power that wanted to entice her.

    "So ..." She casually crumpled the napkin with one hand and tossed another basket, ignoring the dark allure, "I can't promise strings can be pulled this time, doc."

    A finger pointed out the cameras in the room. "Med staff now know you're a certifiable ... messy ... eater."

    The smile didn't quite reach her eyes after enunciating the last key words, but Grace waved Lorna to follow. "C'mon. Let me show you to your quarters. And I promise no detours this time."

    If the doc needed any help walking along the way, Grace would help, but not before. Nor would she offer. She would respond by slapping a hand away or giving a death glare. Lorna's would undoubtedly be the same. She just hoped the pain meds would be enough to get the doc there without issue.

  5. #25
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    If Lorna's mind hadn't been caught between painkillers and her own potential debilitating fear, she might have noticed fleeting changes about Grace; but her body language reading skills weren't as good as usual. What she knew for sure was that she was grateful for the brunette's antics that kept the mood lighter than it would normally be under the current circumstances.

    She quirked a brow but didn't move as the Director cleaned up on last spot on her chin. She couldn't help laughing about the certifiable messy eater shenanigans.

    "Well, here goes my reputation," she retorted with a smirk before she got up, with a bit of a struggle.

    She could tell her back was quite pissed despite the meds and that her range of motion didn't feel like what it should be; but at least she could walk by herself. Dr. Berat had insisted she took a cane with her just in case, which she retrieved on the way out; but so far tucked under her arm. It wasn't that she thought ill of herself if she needed to use it; but not only was she stubborn, she also wanted some sense of normalcy, and her pride wanted to maintain a semblance of ability.

    As they made their way out of the medbay, she winced a couple of times; but it felt weirdly good to be stretching her legs after the past hours. She knew that she wouldn't sustain a hike and even less a run for the foreseeable future; but it still helped her spirits a bit.

    "It's ironic,"
    she suddenly say, musing out loud.

    "I can be a homebody in between missions and work; and don't get me wrong, I'm glad I don't have to stay at the medbay until the freaking surgery; but I had weirdly hoped to see more of the city during this pit stop."


    And maybe she was just batshit scared of facing her own mind stuck on her own; but she wasn't going to admit it.

  6. #26
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    As they walked, Grace side-eyed how silly Lorna looked with a cane tucked under her arm. She wasn't the only one to take notice. Some Alliance staff and military personal took note of the ginger and slow gait of the doctor.

    "It looks like you're trying to impersonate one of those high roller affluent snobs, looking all dapper with a cane all tucked in strutting about," Grace said to lighten the mood and pull away from people staring.

    When the director spoke, eyes tended to look elsewhere in hopes she wasn't talking to them. It worked, though now she was captivated by Lorna as she spoke and immediately frowned. The plan was after debriefing, Grace was going to show Lorna around town since the doctor never had time to before. Bothuwai was a quick stop before heading out because as soon as they were back, Lorna had to leave for Jovan Station. Selfishly Grace wanted to pull strings and get the doc on her team full time, but that was out of her jurisdiction. Sure she could make a deal with the med corps, but there was no reason to do it. Lorna's work was valued there and alongside the director.

    Sadly, Lorna's health got in the way of the surprise but an intelligence officer always had to be creative.

    "Well... not like you have to go out and about walking around. Could always get a speeder and I'd drive you around. Sight see and such. Then stop only for dinner before heading back." She gave Lorna a hopeful look, enticing her with a half smile. "I'm far more fun than brooding alone in your room."

    Then she chuckled. "And that's saying a lot."
    Last edited by Miranda Tarkin; Apr 11th, 2021 at 04:43:55 PM.

  7. #27
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    Lorna couldn't help laughing at Grace's teasing about the way she was carrying her cane around. Even though her body felt beaten up, she played it up just a tiny bit.

    "What can I say? It compliments the bags under my eyes and my half-crumpled clothes."

    She winked to the brunette, grateful that her partner was keeping her distracted from what was going on. In the back of her mind, she knew that she might lose what mattered most to her; but she hadn't got that far to just waste away and give up. Whatever time she had before the surgery, she didn't want to feel sorry for herself.

    She felt the pull to spiral down still tugging at her thoughts; but she forced herself to stay present, focusing on Grace's words. She smiled, trying not to feel bad for the Director taking time away from whatever duty she might have on her plate. She chose not to apology for taking some of her time. If Grace was offering it, she knew what she was doing. And she knew quite well how making her change her mind was likely to go as well as pulling a teeth from a wampa without anesthesia.

    "I'd like that,"
    she answered before chuckling at the brunette's last words.

    "I'd be happy to see the city and I trust you to find good hole-in-the-walls diners. Granted that one on Tatooine placed the bar quite high."

    She was still surprised that Van-Derveld had dragged her all the way to Tatooine for lunch; but it had been a fun trip, and had allowed her to glimpse into off-duty Grace. It was easier to chat and relax when not in the middle of saving the world.

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    "It's settled then," she confirmed with a nod. "We'll make sure your quarters are sufficient and then head out."

    Sufficient quarters was code for take a break. Grace knew the doc was struggling and hiding it well. A few minutes reprieve before walking to the speeder bay would allow Lorna to conserve her energy and if needed, take medication to tide her over until they returned. Lorna's discomfort was hanging in the air that physically made the director feel uncomfortable - right down to a phantom twinge. Her eyes focused on Lorna then flashed a toothy smile, hiding any emotional discomfort.

    "Not sure about hole in the walls here, but if you like seafood, I know a fancy restaurant that's impossible to get into."

    What just left her mouth?

    "Reservations are booked for months, but they'll let me in."

    And why was she showing off?

  9. #29
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    Lorna nodded, and continued to follow Grace to the aisle that would have the temporary quarters she had been assigned. She had gone through so much shit by herself and she trusted with great difficulty; but she had trusted the Director since their first mission and not just because they had to in order to save lives. It had been a quickly-earned respect and a partnership that had only grown in the following months. And Lorna was so freaking grateful that she wasn't going through this terrifying shit alone. She didn't want to let the other woman know how terrified she was but she definitely drew on Grace's strength and presence to keep pressing forward.

    She gave a slightly shocked look at the brunette when her partner suddenly boasted about that fancy sea food place. It just wasn't Grace's style, unless she was undercover. That was new... And kinda sexy, and it was probably the drugs getting her mind to go weird directions.

    She couldn't help grinning though. She didn't know if that day would come again. She didn't know if they'd still be partners two days from now.

    "I love sea food! I probably spent a significant portion of my paycheck at The Mischievous Shell on Ithor back in the day. So I will happily enjoy you pulling strings for us to have dinner there!"

    As they reached where her quarters were located, Lorna was happy for the short break. She had gone over how they would be set with what Grace had showed her; including the medical aids and accessible bathroom, but it was nevertheless more spacious than she had expected. She noticed that her small bags she had had with her on the latest mission was set on a bench by the bed. She sat down at the desk and retrieved some medicine from her jacket's pocket and popped the next couple of them for the upcoming hours.

    "Thank you. I miss the little cannock jumping on the darn hover chair but otherwise it's nicer than I expected. You could say that working in humanitarian nonprofit for years had made me used to minimalist accommodation."

    She allowed herself a few moments to gather her strength. She would get out of this mess. She wasn't sure how, but she hadn't got all this freaking way to just have her body give up on her, even by her own doing.

    "Alright, if you can put up with me being a messy eater again, I'm ready to find your speeder so we can get out of here. Seeing the outdoors for a bit will be nice."

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    She smiled appreciatively. Grace was well aware of Lorna's food preferences and she was determined to give the doc a splendid night instead of dwelling the unknown future. Yes, that was why she was showing off. To put the doc at ease. It made sense in her mind now.

    "I'll call once we're in your room and you're good with it. Don't want to make a reservation and we'll be late if we need to make a few calls to get the room in order," she said.

    Grace could see that Lorna was surprised by the room. There was no way the doc was going to recover without comfort in case the worse were to occur. She kept telling herself she would do this for anyone on her team - which was true. Yet the director knew that she was going all out for Lorna like she would for Dasquian and Bryna. That made Lorna special.

    She tucked that thought far, far away into her subconscious and laughed. "No hover chair in this room. I wasn't going to jinx your surgery. But ..."

    Her head rocked back in forth mischievously. "... I can make no promises that you'll be recorded again on how terrible an eater you are."

  11. #31
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    "I appreciate it," Lorna replied with a smile although the words died quickly. She felt a lump in her throat and busied herself looking around the room.

    "During some of my morning runs on Jovan, I used to pass by a small shop that had little cannock toys. They always reminded me of you."


    Oh fabulous, the meds were making her freaking loopy now. Food, Grace had talked about food.

    "Alright I'm good to go to potentially embarrass myself stuffing my face with delicious sea specialties, so you should make that call."


    She grinned to her partner, feeling the medication kick in and giving her a bit of a second wind.

    "I also hope that they don't have some fancy dress code as I didn't pack for it."


    And truth be told, she appreciated comfortable clothes right now.

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    Grace's head jerked with surprise. "Really?"

    She threw Lorna a lopsided grin. "Cannocks are pretty memorable after all. Though you don't usually see me chowing down on metal."

    It didn't count how many metallic tools dangled from her mouth when working. Or chewed on.

    "Seafood on the other hand ..." It looked like Grace produced a comm unit out of thin air from Lorna's point of view. Of course it could be the pain meds. "... definitely. And since it's me, they won't care what we wear as long as we're decent. Doesn't need to be anything fancy."

    The agent went through her personal contact list as she added another thing. "Oh ... and so it doesn't freak you out after surgery ... your furballs should be here when you wake up."

    She couldn't help crinkling her nose. Grace was not a fan of pets.

    "Didn't want the nurses yelling at me if you had a heart attack seeing Poky and Rory in recovery. And don't worry about them. I made sure they're not in some loading bay but in crew quarters being tended too."

    Cost her quite a few credits and a favor to do that, but Lorna wouldn't want her pets being checked on every couple of hours inside a secured container without some contact.

    Before Lorna could respond, Grace was already on the call setting up reservations at the Giska Vel, which meant blessed sea in Bothese.
    Last edited by Miranda Tarkin; Apr 19th, 2021 at 02:02:24 PM.

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    Lorna laughed at Grace's reaction and following comments. "Yeah you never chewed on my equipment, which I appreciate."

    She let out a sigh of relief when her partner said they didn't have to abide by any dress code. "Well I'm not stuck in an hospital gown so they should let me in."

    What Grace said next had Lorna stare at her in shock. She probably looked ridiculous but she couldn't do anything about it. She couldn't wrap her mind around what the Director had done for her. That was unebelievable and even in her state, she knew it must have been an expense and a lot of extra logistics.

    She had no words and Grace didn't give her time to respond anyway by calling the restaurant. She was still trying to realize her fur babies would be there when she woke up and when she recouped.

    She got back to her feet by the time the brunette hung up though and she walked up to her.

    "You can blame it on the meds,"
    she warned before hugging Grace.

    "Thank you."

    She wasn't crying but she didn't have the appropriate words to convey her gratitude, so a hug it was.

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    Grace secured them a reservation for two in casual attire citing no time to change post mission - which was stretching the truth just a little bit. Bechan was gracious to fit the director in on short notice. The Bothan hostess was always accommodating.

    She did notice that Lorna was on the move as she lowered the comm unit, erroneously assuming the doc was excited for a nice meal. Being cooped up with bad news since landing, Grace would be eager to get the hell out of here too.

    But that wasn't it at all. Lorna stared blankly at Grace, who was still as a statue trying to understand what the doc was feeling. She couldn't help pick up traces of awe and surprise, but there was also a small thread of appreciation that felt deeper.

    It had to be the medications, which Lorna verbally confirmed.

    She had a retort on the tip of her tongue before it was squashed out of her with a fierce hug. Reflexes made Grace plant her feet apart so they wouldn't topple over and snaked an arm around Lorna's waist. The contact briefly heightened Lorna's feelings within Grace's mind and to fight back the unintended intrusion, she all but crushed the link.

    Yet the doc's appreciation tempered her abilities and was able to focus on Lorna's gratitude. This is what she wanted ... Lorna to find some happiness in this uncertain time. The two furballs could do that and she was glad to do this for the doc.

    "Yeah ..." she said hoarsely, slowly beginning to properly return the hug. "You're ... you're welcome."

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    Lorna was relieved when Grace didn't nudge her off right away. She hadn't expected her partner to return the hug, and it was a lovely surprise. She knew this display of affection could seem weird but that was the best way she could convey her extensive gratitude for what the brunette had done.

    She honestly could have stayed there for a while longer, but she didn't want to either make Grace uncomfortable or end speaking too much that was on her mind and should stay there. She once again told herself not to read things that likely only existed in her drugged up head.

    She stepped back, giving a light squeeze to her partner's arm before she reinstated space between them.

    "I hope I can.... do things right by you. Make it through that fucking mess and still be the partner you deserve."

    She bit her lips and went to put her jacket back on, pausing for a moment, but it wasn't as uncomfortable. This last round of meds was more helpful than the previous ones, which was good as they were headed out.

    "I heard someone mention sea food and casual outfits?"

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    Lorna was not officially the fourth person in Grace's post Imperial life that she gave a damn about hugging. She blamed the Force being a pest as of late, prodding her abilities to awaken more fully. Yes ... that was it.

    Lorna self-deprecation snapped Grace out of her introspection and turmoil that she felt coming from the woman she briefly held in her arms.

    "Wait.. are you..." she paused and blinked several times with confusion. "Are you fucking serious?" Grace tucked the link away before crushing it in anger this time because Lorna was talking like a crazy woman. "Look... I can only accept the drug excuse for so long but what the hell, doc?"

    She blocked the exit and crossed her arms. "You've got a medical issue that's not your fault. Whether or not this goes to shit, doesn't make you any less of a partner to me."

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    Grace's reaction wasn't what Lorna had expected, even though she should have. It wasn't the fucking meds that had messed up her head but her fear of messing up the life she had finally got. Her partner's anger ignited something within her as well and she felt her hands curling into fists.

    "Yes I am fucking serious," she snapped back when she watched the brunette block the exit.

    "I'm scared this whole thing is going to see me stuck in a hover chair and I don't want to just be in a lab for the rest of my days. And yes I worry it could end our partnership."

    She cursed again and stuck her hands into her pockets, resisting the urge to just pace around the room.

    "I don't regret one thing I've done in my career since leaving the Empire. I'm proud of of my humanitarian work and even what I've been doing on Jovan, but the field work I've been doing with you? It's better than all my previous jobs. You are the best thing that has happened to me."


    She closed the distance between them, still holding Grace's gaze.

    "And universe damns me but I've fallen in love with you."

    She cupped her partner's face and kissed her, more softly than when they had posed as girlfriends; but this time she wasn't playing games.

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    Here came the anxiety and fear. It radiated off of Lorna naturally so one didn't need the Force to see it. The doc looked like she was about to punch something but Grace stood her ground as Lorna went off on a much needed rant. This was for the best in case there was a scene at the restaurant. Of course one look from Grace would silence any complaints and force eyes elsewhere.

    Even if Grace couldn't understand what it meant to lose the ability to walk, she knew how debilitating feeling helpless was. Lorna was faced with the unknown. So did Grace after being forced out of university. Thank the Force for Keth watching and waiting for the right time to approach her and recruit her into the Rebellion. If she were permanently stuck behind a desk due to injury, the director would be lost. She was a woman of action, like Lorna.

    Now the doc wasn't moving much and looking like a thermal detonator waiting to blow. And did she! Every point Lorna rattled off resonated with Grace. She left the Empire and had a successful career fighting and now maintaining the freedom of the Alliance. It was difficult and bloody with countless sacrifices but she regretted nothing. Which surprised her. She wallowed in her passive aggressive way when Dasquian returned and there was no time to explain her feelings for him. He needed space and just when their lives started to slow down and weave back together once again - work separated them and Grace picked out what should have been a temporary partner.

    She lowered her arms and grimaced. "Doc ..." but Grace couldn't finish because Lorna quickly approached her, eyes determined and focused.

    Then time slowed, allowing Grace time to comprehend what was happening but she was unable to formulate words or actions - two of her best qualities. So she stood there dumbfounded as Lorna kissed her.

    She had never allowed anyone to kiss her that was not part of an ops and what happened on Corulag didn't require kissing. Her heart raced with panic as she stood there wide-eyed, unable to register what to do. With great effort, shaky hands came to Lorna's shoulders as she gently forced the kiss to end. Her eyes were closed and breath rapid as she attempted for find the right words to explain why she pulled back.

    Swallowing hard, Grace's eyes fluttered open. "You ... you've got no idea how bad of an idea this is."

    She worked her jaw, trying to find the words to explain herself but the quick witted director only panicked. "You got no idea how fucked in the head I am. And I'm not talking about the shit talking behind my back. I'm certifiable if I can't keep it together. Because if I don't ... I'm going to end up like my brother and destroy everything I've worked for. You ..."

    She gritted her teeth and looked down at the floor, uncharacteristically vulnerable. "...you don't need my shit, Lorna."

    Grace didn't let her go just yet, afraid that if she did, Lorna wouldn't let her back. "And you've got no idea how much shit's on my plate ..."

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    The moment Grace's hands came to her shoulders, Lorna ended the kiss, respecting her partner's cue. She knew there was no turning back from that moment, and no matter what would come, part of her knew that confessing the unexpected feelings was the honest thing to do. She watched the brunette's reactions with scrutiny.

    She didn't know what to expect. It could have been nerve-wracking but she felt almost at peace. She was standing in the eye of a storm she thought would always elude her, having chosen to close herself from any sentimental entanglement after having forsaken her imperial youth. However Grace responded, she would have to deal with it.

    The tension and the vulnerability unraveling before her was difficult to bear witness to; but she was glad that at least her partner was willing to open up. She didn't comprehend everything Grace was referring to but she pieced together what she could, including the fact that she had a brother of the monster variety. And knowing Grace, Lorna knew she was being damn serious about the severity of it.

    She let her speak without interruption, respecting what her partner chose to share. She pondered on it for a while before replying.

    "You are right to say I don't know how much shit's on your plate. I can't disagree there."


    But, it didn't deter her from having faith in the possibility of their partnership going beyond the deep friendship that had developed. After all, Grace hadn't directly told her the sentiment wasn't shared.

    "What I know is that I've seen you deal with a lot of shit that most people couldn't have handled even half as well as you did. I don't willingly trust others with my life; but I trust you. I have since our first mission."

    She paused, trying to find the best way to put it all. She wasn't naive to even entertain one instant that if they took things further, there would be no added issues cropping up. Life gave and took, especially the latter option.

    "I don't know what's behind your red tape the way you do what's behind mine."


    She offered a sad smile, knowing that per her job Grace knew about her imperial youth, how she had been branded a traitor even before she entered formal Alliance service on Jovan station a couple of years before. Even when keeping a low profile in humanitarian missions, trying to atone for even having grown up imperial, no matter how often she had got in trouble for questioning practices, she had spoke at multiple research events and published papers that denounced in details imperial scientific inhumane values. She knew it could cost her a lot sooner than later; but it was the path she had chosen.

    "Even without any personal shit you're dealing with, I know your job itself would scare most people away. Thing is that I've seen my share of shit, some willingly, some unwillingly. Most of us don't need the shit we're dealt; but it doesn't change what I just told you."

    Gods, that whole feelings thing wasn't comfortable but here she was.

    "If you want to keep things the way they are, I will respect your decision."

    She valued and loved Grace; and if she had to bury these feelings back, she would.

  20. #40
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    When Lorna was done talking, Grace stared at her as she digested every word. Lorna didn't judge or shy away from what little she revealed. Shit on one's plate was a galaxy of possibilities and Lorna just looked at her with calm acceptance as they both continued to stand together closely.

    Doc wasn't making this easy for Grace at all. She could feel Lorna's sincerity and love through the Force so fiercely that Grace was forced to break eye contact. This was not usual for her at all and it scared her. The closest she came to feeling anything like this was with Bryna, but her daughter was able to calm the bond between them when it cropped up since she is a Jedi. Her abilities were subtle and nuanced so clearly there was a reason why it's behaving like a prat. Just what would she do about it?

    She lowered her hands and ran one through her hair while taking cleansing breaths.

    "Okay," she began tentatively to no one in particular and pulled out her link. "Hey, Bechan? Yeah, it's me again. I need to change up the reservation a bit. No, no. Not cancelling. Just want a more private setting there. Yeah."

    She was nodding during the one way conversation. "Yeah, that would work. I'll bring my own but I appreciate that. See you soon."

    The call ended and Grace shifted to partly gaze at her partner. "So ... since this ... happened, I got a private area at the restaurant. So we can ... talk."

    Grace hated being awkward yet here she was treating this like a date without saying it was.

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