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Moving in

Posted on 21 Apr 2022 @ 10:37am by Lieutenant Isabel Castillo & Lieutenant Commander Ciara Mcclellandi
Edited on on 27 Apr 2022 @ 7:12pm

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: USS Arizona Officers quarters
Timeline: Date 2025-04-21 at 1600

Sitting in one corner of the stateroom was a sea bag. They had rested in the corner since Ciara dropped it off when she arrived

Finally she had time to get in and unpack, the small closet in one side held jacket, dress uniform and civilian/liberty clothing. She would rotate her uniform boots. Next to her dress uniform hat was a brown Stetson, which had been her constant companion since she picked it up on a whim before the rodeo. The belt she had packed still had that silver belt buckle that marked her win that started her naval career.

Isabel leaned in the doorway of the small stateroom she shared with Ciara. She'd arrived a moment after Ciara and wanted to give the other woman a minute to unpack before climbing over her to get to her own bag on the top bunk. "Planning for some Texas fun once we're underway?" she asked the other woman nodding toward the Stetson in the small closet.

"More like I needed a good hat, and this is sort of my good luck hat. I wore it when I went off to the Academy, and also when I earned my money to fly to the Academy." Ciara showed her the silver rodeo buckle, "It's how I paid for what I needed to start my career, 8 seconds on a bronco."

Isabel stepped into the room, peering over the other woman's shoulder at the buckle. "That..." she said with a grin, "is badass." She waited a quick moment until Ciara had returned the buckle to it's spot before scooting around the woman and shimmying up into the top bunk where here own bag sat. Shoving the bag to the side, she resituated so she could peer down at her bunkmate. "You know I don't own one... a Stetson, I mean. We teased Liz about getting her into a hat and spurs back at the banquet, but I'd probably need to find one myself." A laugh bubbled up at the memory. They hadn't gone on the road trip, no time and not enough leave for all 3 of them to be gone at once for that long. Still, she hoped they'd get to someday.

"We will have to fix that." Ciara remarked. "Every Texan should have a bloody proper Stetson." She put up some pictures, the usual one of her and Sofia, one of her family, It was easy to see where Ciara got her looks from as she was a near spitting image of her mother, both her and her sister Sian, had their mother's blonde hair and fair skin, while her brothers, Conner in his priestly regalia and Kieran in his trooper's uniform, took after her father's black hair and ruddy complexion.

Isabel peered over the engineer's shoulder from above, making no effort to hide that she was peeking at the photos. "Next time we're in Texas..." she said, tone a little bit nostalgic. She'd been in Texas for a visit not long before they got their orders, but as with everything there was no being sure of when she'd be back. They operated one deployment at a time and so it was hard to plan very far into the future. Propping herself back up she pulled back the zipper of her sea bag and dug around until she found her own photos. She flipped through them. There was one of with her parents from her recent visit and another with all of her brothers. A third was a selfie of herself and Liam. She'd thought to print it out a while ago... just in case figuring it wouldn't hurt to have it even if it didn't go very far. Worst case scenario she could get rid of it, but the idea of having something had been lodged in her brain and now she was unreasonably proud of herself for her advanced thinking on the matter. Still, Liz was the only person who knew he existed at this point. Quietly she tucked the photo under her pillow.

"Yell when you're done," she called down. "I'll wait to drag my bag down there until you're ready." She set the other photos to the side for posting in her own small closet.

Noting Ciara's shifting, the CHOP shimmied down from her bunk, tugging her sea bag carefully behind her. She popped open her own small closet and began to unpack, sorting through the different elements she had brought with her. She set each item in its place as she worked, efficiency in her movements.

Her hand closed on a small blue bottle, frowning. She didn't recall packing it and drew it forth, turning it to read the label before a small goofy grin lit her features.

There was a brief pause in unpacking as she recognised that goofy, 'I love someone and they did something nice' grin from 1000 feet away. It was Isabel's decision if she wanted to talk about it but she had to ask, "Let me guess, special someone did something special?"

Isabel's eyes shot up to Ciara, but she couldn't keep the grin off her face and there was no point denying it--the other woman would hear about him sooner or later. "Yeah," she said. She wondered for a moment if Ciara could tell by her tone of voice just how new the someone special was. "I've been seeing someone for a few months just... casually... but..." she shrugged, the motion almost self conscious and odd on the typically confident demeanor that Isa wore. "Looks like he stuck a bottle of after shave in my bag." Her eyes wandered back down to her hands. "God, how does everyone do this part?"

"He must be very special." Ciara commented, "The fact you're that torn up, means you must love him quite a bit. Hell we're learning together, when I met Sofia, I was shoreside she got all the fun stuff, fancy dinners, that tour of the Constitution, where I got saluted a few times from the crew, but, this is my first deployment leaving someone behind. We just endure, stick together, keep the aftershave, and when we get back, they'll be waiting for us at the docks." She paused, "if you want better advice ask some of the married crew, but that's my two cents on it."

"He is special, yeah," Isa said after a few minutes of rolling Ciara's words over in her head. She and Liam were so new that words like love hadn't even been hinted at, but she saw where it could go--had an inkling of what could be if they were given time and opportunity. She had been turning the bottle over in her hands slowly, but now she uncapped it holding it below her nose and inhaling the familiar smell as if he were right there.

"Make you a deal," she said, turning fully to look at Ciara, "You ever need a reminder that she's waiting for you back there... let me know? And I'll let you know too?"

"You have a deal."

Carefully she set the small bottle down in her closet before hoisting herself partway into her bunk, snagging the photo she had just placed up there and pulling down. "Here," she said. "His name's Liam."

She paused and looked at the picture, "Ok he's cute. What does he do for a living?"

Isabel's eyebrow crept up slightly at Ciara's comment, but she didn't specifically inquire about her assessment.

That look made Ciara chuckle, "Honey I'm gay not blind."

"He's a mechanic," she said, grin broadening at Ciara's comment. "I met him back in January when my car broke down on a quest for tortilla soup. He was the guy who came when the trooper called for a tow."

"That's an awesome story. Though did you find the soup?"

"I did," Isa responded, grin turning mischievous. "He took me to the place I was looking for the next day for our first date. Granted the soup was 24 hours later than I was looking for it, but it was pretty good."

"Sounds like a great first date."

"It was," Isa responded, remembering the event, the goofy grin finding its way back onto her face. "What about you? I don't know that I ever heard the story of how you and Sofia met."

"It's not that exciting, we met at a New Years Eve party when I went out to Boston for grad school. " Ciara smiled, "our first date was where things clicked. She ended up in the hospital with appendicitis, I guess when you have to stick with her through an ER visit, and explaining to her grandfather, the retired judge, what happened. You realize you're destined. And when I showed up with burgers and Bloodsport to help her recover. It was fate." There was a similar goofy grin on Ciara's face.

Isabel grinned broadly at the other woman, nudging her with her shoulder. "You two do really fit from everything I've seen," she said. "Maybe we should ask Liz how she's managed to not lose her mind after 10 years of leaving the lovesick bookstore guy behind?"

"Who says she hasn't lost her mind, you kinda have to be a bit mad to climb down in to a submarine." Ciara smiled, and put the now empty seabag in the closet, "So who would notice another madman around here."

"Fair point," Isa quipped back with a chuckle before continuing with the unpacking of her bag. It was only another moment or two to get everything settled. She snagged the bottle of aftershave, opening it one more time to snag a whiff before putting it back in the closet.

 

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