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Awkward Times at the Hound & Bottle

Posted on 22 Jun 2022 @ 7:23pm by Petty Officer First Class Caleb Doyle & Petty Officer First Class Rebecca Robinson
Edited on on 23 Jun 2022 @ 10:10pm

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: Kitsap Naval Base & Hound and Bottle
Timeline: Date 2025-04-07 at 1930

Rebecca had arrived at the parking area where Caleb had asked her to meet him. She was wearing some casual clothes as she didn't want the scuttlebutt to determine something that wasn't true at least not yet. Rebecca liked Caleb, but she knew it could be a problem if the two of them ever acted on feelings. A friendly dinner could not hurt though.

She parked and waited for him to arrive as she tapped her knee nervously.

She got a text message from Caleb a couple of minutes later that he'd be there shortly and then about ten minutes after he finally pulled into the parking lot. He looked anxious and flustered as he popped out of the driver seat almost comically so and closed the door behind him.

"Sorry! I got the random search at the gate," he sighed. "It never seems random."

Rebecca put her arm on his shoulder "Don't sweat it I think it has happened to us all." She smiled and promptly changed the subject as to not dwell on it and sour the evening. "Where do you want to go eat?"

"I thought we had decided on the Hound and Bottle?" Caleb asked.

Rebecca felt like the dumbest person. She visibly facepalmed "We did, yes. I am sorry today has been crazy and I guess I forgot. Sorry about that." She said trying to redeem herself for the dumb question.

"No problem, care to share?" Caleb asked, his eyebrows raising at the reaction.

Rebecca ran her fingers through her hair “I just had a lot of technical work to do today prepping the fire control consoles. Usually it’s not too bad, but I had to get updates installed and deal with some circuits. Just fried my brain I suppose. At least I remembered we were going to eat.” She chuckled nervously.

Rebecca was great at her job and in most cases she had no issues, but today was just a lot of work. The time away from work she was hoping would help and Caleb as company also was a great addition.

"I can understand that," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting underway. It feels like it has been ages since I was submerged. The shakedown cruise doesn't count... too short, too many visitors, just strange. Who's driving?" he asked.

Rebecca shrugged "Im down for whichever, I just know I want to eat." She said with a grin.

The drive wasn’t a short one with lights and traffic, but it seemed to go quick with the friendly conversation between Rebecca and Caleb. It was nice to be able to just let your barrier down for a little bit.

Before Rebecca knew it they had arrived at the Hound and the Bottle. It was one of the nicer restaurants in the area, but you didn’t have to wear a suit and dress to go. The two of them were seated upon arrival. Rebecca looked at Caleb and raised an eyebrow “How I’m a supposed to afford this on a Petty Officer Salary.” She said with a wink and grin as she perused the menu.

"All of the time that we spend under the water with no place to spend money?" Caleb suggested.

Rebecca shook her head disappointed "It was a joke Caleb." She was trying to lighten things up, but Caleb seemed tense and she wasn't sure why. She figured the best thing for her to do was try and make things lighter.

"But a true one," he said, "the food looks fancy." This wasn't the place Caleb would have picked but he was fine with it. Who knows maybe he had an inner snob that he didn't know about. Inner food? Inner something anyway. "Are you familiar with any of these cocktails?" he asked, looking at a list with no description.

Rebecca looked at the drinks and nodded when she saw the two she knew. She wasn't a huge drinker, but she had a few she liked. Some called her sophisticated, which was not true, but that didn't matter. "I have had a Harvey Wallbanger and the Sazerac. The Harvey is a mix of vodka, Galliano, and orange juice. It's ok, but it isn't something I would drink with just any meal. The Sazerac is my go to it has Rye whiskey or Cognac, Absinthe, One sugar cube, and some Peychaud's Bitters." She scrolled back and saw regular drinks. "I think I will just drink some sweet tea tonight. Do you want any appetizers?"

"Sweet tea sounds good," he said, not familiar with any of the things she'd just listed off. "Why not?" he said, moving to that section of the menu. "These two were the ones that caught my eye," he said, pointing to two items in the menu for her to review.

She looked and nodded "The Hound + Bottle Burger is great...well except for the tomato, which I refuse to eat."

"Do you eat tomato sauce?" Caleb asked curiously. "I know a few people who don't like tomato but eat pizza or pasta sauce."

Rebecca nodded "I have always been ok eating anything tomato based, but if you put a tomato in front of me don't expect me to eat it." She shrugged "Guess I am weird in my own special way."

"They're different things I guess," he shrugged. "Like grape flavored things and the fruit."

Rebecca nodded and stopped for a minute. She noticed Caleb didn't seem quite as talkative as her normally was "Is everything ok, Caleb? You seem a bit on edge right now?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, with a shrug. "Are you?" Caleb asked, wondering if maybe something going on with her made her feel he wasn't okay. "It's a little weird, isn't it?"

Rebecca raised an eyebrow "What is weird?" She settled back in the seat "I am doing ok just getting the pre-mission jitters I guess. You would think I would be used to it."

"I'm not talking about patrol, I'm talking about now, this," he said, not sure why she'd point out he seemed on edge now and then default back to their upcoming patrol when he asked her the same question.

Rebecca sighed "Yeah, it is a little weird, but I think it's because you and I know that as we're on the same command it isn't something that's allowed." She looked down at her fingers in a nervous manner. "I am not sure what to do...Caleb."

"That has been on my mind, but all, this is the first time we've ever forced hanging out? It usually just seems natural, this seems different," Caleb said, with a shrug. "I feel like our normal conversation isn't good enough but it's also all we have."

Rebecca nodded "I never thought a forced hang out would feel so weird, but I feel like now I have a responsibility in the way I act compared to when we just see each other." She took a sip of her drink "I am not sure what we should do Caleb."

"I think that we need to acknowledge that we are work friends and move on," he said, with a shrug. "Stop making it weird, just hang like we normally do."

Rebecca nodded "Sounds like a good idea! Are you ready to order? I think I am going to get a burger, but without the tomato."

"And a beer," Caleb said, checking the list for something he recognized.


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