Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Erin Hazen (Science Officer) in [Pre-sim] Traveling to the Asimov
Posted by Lieutenant Gavin Ryan “Coop” Cooper (Chief Helmsman) in [Pre-sim] Traveling to the Asimov
Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Erin Hazen (Science Officer) in [Pre-sim] Traveling to the Asimov
The hand on knee play. One of the oldest tricks in the book. And yet, Erin felt her heart flutter and the warmth spread on her face. That was a first. How could a simple gesture like him offering her his arm make her forget everything that she knew about the flirting games she was so used to playing?
Looking back at Gavin, Erin’s face was visibly redder. She tried to take her mind off of it by replying to his simple question, but the hand on her knee kept her from it.
Damn… she really is cute! Cooper thought as the redhead turned back to face him. She was breathtaking and he had no intention of moving his hand as she clearly struggled to think.
“OCS?” She looked lost for a moment before realizing what he was talking about. “Oh, yes, sorry. Hard.” Erin smiled. “Gosh, you guys do have to go through a lot of physical training.” She paused for a second, her mind going back to her summer. “First assignment, yes. I never thought I would be doing it myself… but after that internship on the Dresden… I had to come back to space. There’s just nothing like this…” She looked out the window for a second as Starbase 243 was left behind.
“Yes!” Gavin laughed. “They make damn sure their people are in peak physical condition. If you’re not in great shape before OCS, they make absolutely certain you are when you leave.” With a grin, the Capital Ship helmsman nodded. “Believe me, I understand. When you get ready for your BOC’s, I’d be happy to teach ya what I know.”
“BOCs?” Erin tried to remember all the names they had made her learn during the summer, but was clearly struggling with this one.
Gavin chuckled and gave Erin’s knee another playful squeeze. “I guess there’s lots I need to teach you.” He winked coyly. “Bridge Officer Certifications… the first steps before eligibility to take the BOE… Bridge Officers Examination. BOC’s are the quals needed to both work your Department’s Station on the Bridge… the first one you’d take, then Flight Control… ya know, my job…” The wide grin couldn’t be missed. “… then Comm, Ops, Engineering and Tactical. It gives the Officer a complete understanding of the various individual Bridge Stations before… usually as a DH, you take the BOE… which is a monster… and you are Command Certified and can run a Bridge Shift.”
The pink returned to Erin’s cheeks with the knee squeeze. She felt butterflies in her stomach. Her gaze fixed on him as she drank his every word. Finally, she managed to utter “Ah… I might not take those… I don’t really strive to be a Bridge officer… give me a quiet corner in the lab, and that’s me. A socially apt nerd.” She chuckled. “However… you want to teach me how to pilot… I don’t mind you taking me for a ride…” Erin winked, happy that her old self seemed to be finally back, even if behind the flirt talk, her heart still fluttered.
“So… I take it you went through the Academy then? What made you leave and go to USC?”
Smiling, Cooper chuckled as he passed his fingers of his free hand through his hair and his left gave Erin’s knee a teasing squeeze. “Yup… Class of 2390 for me. Bachelors of Military Sciences.... basically a military leadership & management degree with a military history slant.” Gavin paused thoughtfully for a moment before he continued. “Honestly, I’ve always had a knack for engineering but never had the confidence to go after it until I applied for Grad Schools in the fall of ‘89. The Academy was… let’s just say less than conducive…” He winked. “… with the thought of allowing someone not from the Montgomery School of Engineering getting into their Grad Program. Needless to say, USC’s Holloway College was more than happy to have me and the rest is history.”
“Holloway College?” Erin recognized the name. After all, the family was only the owner of the biggest starship manufacturer and cruise line in the sector. “With all the money they have they throw it at USC? Wow. They must really be desperate.” Erin smirked playfully. “If they don’t know what to waste it on, I’d gladly take some! It’s bad enough that I used to share the name but never shared their wallet!” She chuckled.
“Used to?” Gavin looked slightly confused. “What do you mean… used to? You had the exact same name? You sure it ain’t the same family? Why the change?” Cooper asked in rather rapid fire fashion as he wondered if he should remove his hand.
“My sister changed it a long time ago.” Erin said not thinking anything of it. Especially oblivious to the fact that Gavin might have thought she was married. “I was four. Don’t really remember. I just know what I was told.” She shrugged. “We were adopted. Hazen is our adoptive father’s name.” Even though she was clearly not telling the whole story, Erin seemed quite open about the details she was sharing. “Wright is our mother’s maiden name, in case you wonder why Molly’s name is different from mine. Quite useful when you don’t want people to know that your ‘scary-ass’…” She added air quotes “… Intel Chief is your sister because maybe you want the attention of cute guys on 8-Forward.” Erin winked.
“That’s kinda nuts… I did’t think they had any other kids besides the current CEO… Lucas.” Cooper added
“My uncle’s called Lucas!” Erin chirped. “Only our biological dad is a subway conductor, so I am pretty sure it’s not the same. Just some weird coincidence. According to dad and Molly, we were quite poor growing up.” Erin laughed. “Can you imagine though? If we were the same family? I can already imagine the headlines. ‘Lost Holloway Sisters Return Home: A New Era Begins at Holloway Heavy Industries’.” She shook her head, lost in the parallel universe for a second.
Gavin then chuckled. “Well… if you get your hands on any of that fortune and need a boyfriend/husband/male escort… let me know.” Cooper laughed a full laugh before beaming “As for Holloway College, I can tell you this… it’s one hell of a school and technically rivals Montgomery in every form & fashion! As for the Holloways, I only met the dad at Graduation… he was there to present diplomas and I got to shake his hand. Super nice guy…” Cooper seemed once more in thought before he added. “… brought his wife to the Graduates’ Breakfast. They both seemed like they actually were happy to be there.”
“Happy to be at USC. Definitely not my family.” Erin winked.
“So what made you decide to go back to starship life after grad school? Especially if you don’t get to use your masters very often? It kind of feels like a waste of brains… even more so since they didn’t accept you into their own graduate program…”
“I love flying the big boys hun… seriously.” The smile on his face was like he was fondly remembering a long lost love. “I’ve been a certified pilot since I was eight, its just in my bones. Flew with the SFA Flight team in school going to Flight School and got my military wings Junior Year. When I got back, they let me take the Flight Controller Test… finished top of my class… and never looked back. Once you fly a Capital Ship… nothing… nothing in this universe gives that kind of thrill.”
“Since you were eight? Wow, that is impressive!” Erin was finding Cooper’s company both warm and enthralling. Usually the guys she dated didn’t have half the brain that Gavin seemed to have, and she was enjoying talking to someone that seemed to be somewhat on her level.
He paused and with a flirty eyebrow raise, added. “Well… there is… /one/ thing. Let’s just say its the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” Erin would feel another squeeze on her knee as Gavin’s eyes sparkled in the warp light from the windows across the shuttle behind her. “If ya know what I mean.”
“Oh honey… I wasn’t born yesterday.” Erin said, a smirk on her lips. “You might have a lot to teach me, but trust me Coop, that is not one of them.”
Cooper blushed and couldn’t help ever so slightly biting his lip at the thought of a romp… or ten… with the redheaded fox before snapping back to the here & now, patting her knee and asking. “So… what are you most looking forward to out of this first cruise?”
“Well… it’s not exactly my first cruise… I spent a year on the Dresden. But…” Erin sighed. Her left hand landed softly on his left arm as she looked outside the window for a moment. “It’s going to be the first time really far away from my dad or my sister. It’s going to be fun. Space gives you so many scientific research opportunities that being on the ground doesn’t… I never thought of me as an explorer, but maybe I’ll be.” Erin smiled. Her eyes back on Gavin’s. “And of course… I’m looking forward to our dinner on Tuesday…”
Cooper turned to face Erin just a bit more as he teasingly ran his thumb along the seam of Erin’s jeans, making a careful effort to keep his breathing level… regardless of his racing heart. “You’d be surprised how active duty can change your views on that hun. Space can be rather… exciting.”
Once again, Erin knew the move. It didn’t phase her. Her breathing was just as quiet as before. “Oh can it, now? I can’t wait to see exactly how exciting it can be…” Her tone was clearly suggestive.
His hand gave another squeeze before his thumb went back to the teasing back and forth glide. “As for dinner, trust me when I say that I too am certainly looking forward to it. And I do hope you’re up for a little dancing.” His tone was almost a purr. “I know I am.”
“Depends on what kind of dancing…” Erin smiled as her hand slipped on top of his, stopping his thumb’s motion. “I know I’d be disappointed if a smart guy like you turned out to be just like the other guys I’ve dated before…”
“Honey, let me make something very clear.” Coop said without batting an eye or resisting her negation of his playful advance. “I am not some horny co-ed. Do I find you insanely attractive…?” Behind his gaze for a split second was an unmistakable flash of passion. “Of course I do. But I only go where I am… invited… and have not one hesitance in being a complete gentleman at all times. The difference between a boy and a man…” He winked and smiled warmly. “… is knowing and understanding when & where it is appropriate to play.”
Erin smiled. “Good.” She finally said leaning back on her seat. Her hand slipping back up to his forearm and settling there once more. For a moment, she looked back out of the window as if there was something on her mind. After a few moments of silence, she finally asked. “So, what’s the story behind your guitar? Family heirloom that you cary around to woo the ladies?” She smiled.
Coop chuckled softly. “Looks like ya got me…” He patted her knee with a smile. “… just a good’ol boy from Fort Collins roamin’ the galaxy with a beat up old guitar, breakin’ hearts and beds…” Cooper bounced his eyebrows playfully. “… in every Starbase and friendly world.”
Erin smiled the widest smile he had seen so far on her lips. She chuckled.
With a smirk, he continued. “Actually, my dad gave it to me. It’s not as old as it looks… just a lot of rough travel throughout the past six years. I always wanted one and when I made the SFA Flight Team, Dad finally thought I’d earned it. I am quite good at it though…” He smiled that heart-stopping smile once more. “I’d love to play it for you sometime. I’m a better player than a singer, but I can carry a tune and sing along alright.”
“I’d love that.” Erin finally spoke. Her eyes passionately looking at him. He was different. Different than any of the guys she had been with before. He was… deeper. There was something more to him than just the desire for a fun night or two, and for a moment, Erin found herself thinking what she wanted for her future.
Unbeknownst to either party, the man on the other end of that passionate gaze was… in fact… feeling the same long-term musings as the other. By sheer dumb luck, Gavin had found himself not only on the same flight as the woman he had long desired from afar but now intimately close… nearly cuddling… with one of, if not the most, attractive woman he’d ever known. “Fantastic” He said softly.
The stars kept moving outside, streaking the black of the eternal night. Slowly, and without notice, Erin’s fingers slid down his forearm, softly dragging across it as they went, stopping at the back of his hand still resting on her knee. Her thumb rubbed across it for a moment.
The slightest of shiver and the lip bite were an uncontrollable reflex to the seductive touch as Erin’s hand passed from his arm down to his hand. Deep within him, a fire lit and his mind began a weird future scan… breakfasts overlooking the Rockies, romantic evenings in Denver, and passion fueled nights… in her eyes, Gavin was seeing his future. While partly exciting, it also scared the hell out of him.
“So, let me get this straight. You’re a pilot with an engineering degree, that plays the guitar and sings. You’re also a gentleman who likes dancing, and is terrified of my sister. You certainly seem to be full of surprises, Mr. Gavin Cooper. Is there anything else that I should know about you?”
“Not…” His voice caught in a tiny gasp as he felt her thumb tease once more. “… not really. I’m a rather common guy. I was actually about to ask the same of you.”
Erin chuckled. The same passionate gaze still in her eyes. “Well… I’m a scientist, with a biology major. Oh, and I am also a Tri-Delt. Used to cheer but don’t anymore and just like you, I like to dance. I’m originally from New York City, but grew up in San Francisco. I guess that’s Erin Hazen in thirty seconds for you…”
“A New York City girl, cheerleader, dancer and Tri-Delt…” Cooper grinned like an lovestruck fool. “… sounds like I got my hands full with you Honey.” It was the way he said that last word… it was clearly more than a ‘hun’ or a ‘sweetie’, it was said as a true term of endearment. The man was falling… hard… and at this point, he wasn’t gonna even think of stopping it.
Her thumb rubbed the back of his hand once more as her fingers slipped on the spaces between his. In her chest, Erin’s heart pounded almost as if it wanted to leave. Sitting in the small shuttle with the only man that had ever slipped her grasp, feelings that she had never felt came to the surface. What if she did something wrong? What if she screwed it up? For the first time in her life, Erin felt scared. Until now, whenever she found a new date, she found peace of mind in the knowledge that after them another would come. But with Cooper she felt a comfort that she had never felt with anyone else, and whatever this was, she didn’t want to lose it.
It happened without even thinking, without a single warning at all. Ever so gently, Gavin rolled his wrist under Erin’s hand and a moment later his fingers were slipping in between hers. As they did, his hand closed on hers and Cooper looked deeply into Erin’s eyes and in a soft voice asked in a rather loving tone a simple one worded question. “Better?”
Erin didn’t smile, instead, her eyes kept fixed on his. Her fingers tightened slightly on his hand and she leaned forward, almost as some sort of invisible force was pulling her. Her gaze fell on his lips. “Almost.” she whispered. And without warning her lips met his.
It took but a fleeting moment for Cooper’s mind to catch up to what was about to happen as Erin’s fixed eyes began to move closer and her hand tightened on his. His heart immediately raced, not wanting to get ahead of itself, but joyfully anticipating a kiss he had longed for many a nights. Then her eyes broke slightly, a word… completely unheard in the moment over Gavin’s pounding heart… the quick lick of her lips in the final instant before the couple met in a intimate fashion for the first time.
Cooper turned into the kiss, his right hand slipping up the side of Erin’s neck then to the back of her head… fingers loose in her hair but strong as his lips met her’s with relish. It was like the energy from that kiss coursed throughout his body and Gavin couldn’t stop the noticeable shiver from shooting across his skin. He did well to keep his breathing level though, as the desire for more of her shook him to his core.
The kiss was everything Erin had wished for and more. The sweetness and softness of his lips enveloped her as they touched for the first time. As his hands made their way up to her neck, her own hands, now free, roamed to his back, pulling him towards her, deepening the kiss. Her leg slowly making its way over his knee.
After a few more delicious seconds, Gavin let out a barely audible growl as his teeth found Erin’s lower lip and his hand that had been on her head pulled Erin just a little closer from where it now rested slightly down and back from her left breast. As soon as he felt her leg across his, Coop’s hand slipped down to Erin’s inner thigh… just over a hands width above her knee.
Erin’s breathing hastened. Her hunger for more taking over. When suddenly…
Suddenly, the sound of a throat clearing snapped the couple out of the ever intensifying kiss. Gavin broke the kiss and looked up at the Steward, who raised an eyebrow and asked with a smirk. “Chicken or Pasta…? I can see you two already have a preference for dessert.”
Without missing a beat, Erin smiled at the young man as she moved back into her seat. “Pasta please. Also, regardless of our preference, can we still have the… regular dessert? The one I would really like to have today will get me kicked off the shuttle, so I might as well just have two.” She winked at the steward with her last words.
The Steward blushed brightly at the comment and Coop swallowed hard as his mind turned very carnal for just a moment before clicking back to the here & now. “The same.” Cooper squeaked and the deeply embarrassed Steward shot off.
Cooper had his left hand noticeably higher on Erin’s left thigh, where it had stopped when they were… interrupted… and didn’t seem to have any intention to move it immediately. He instead bit his lip and growled softly as he gave Erin’s thigh a flirty squeeze. “Damn girl!” His tone hushed, a coy smile on his lips. “I can’t say I was expecting that but I sure as hell ain’t complaining!”
Erin smiled softly. “I’m sorry… I guess it comes with the territory…” She chuckled. “I… When you’re… popular…” she grimaced. “… everyone has something to say about who you’re dating or who you’re with… and I get really tired of it.” She looked at Gavin. “I was never a shy person, if you can’t tell…” Her tone turned slightly sarcastic and she smiled widely. “… and sometimes it just… spins out of control… I didn’t mean to embarrass you…” Erin was visibly afraid of what he would think about her. “But if you’re looking for a coy well behaved girl… that’s not me. I can point you to my sister though…” She joked.
Gavin looked puzzled for a moment and then smiled rather seductively as he leaned over, whispering in Erin’s ear. “Oh Honey, let me be very clear.” His tone was husky and dripping with desire. “You didn’t embarrass me… surprised yes…” He softly, teasingly, kissed Erin’s ear before continuing. “… but lockin’ lips with a beauty like you?” Coop then stole a soft kiss on the side of her neck. “If kissin’ you is wrong, Baby, I don’t wanna be right.” Coop gave on last squeeze on Erin’s inner thigh as he sat back in his chair with a roguish grin.
As Cooper leaned back on his seat, Erin couldn’t help it but to roll her eyes. Yet, her heart fluttered with each of his kisses and with each of his words, not to mention, that smile… that smile made her heart melt. A wide grin appeared on her lips as she realized how lucky she had been. Silently, as they waited for their meal, Erin’s right hand slid back on Gavin’s left and her fingers intertwined with his once more. She looked at him. Her eyes reflecting her loving thoughts.
A broad smile crossed Gavin’s face as the couple that had, until their untimely interruption, been locked in a rather passion fueled embrace just moments ago… and he drew a slow, deep breath. He glided his thumb mindlessly across the top of Erin’s and looked once more deeply into those shining green eyes. He didn’t say a word… didn’t want to ruin the incredible moment they were sharing and a part of the man wished it would never end. How… how in the absolute frack had the dumb luck of the universe land him, of all people, into the arms of the veritable angel beside him now. One thing was for damn sure, he wasn’t going to complain and sure as hell would take and enjoy every moment he with the firebrand.
Once again, she found herself wondering where the future would take her, and as the food trays were finally placed in front of them, Erin asked casually.
“So Coop, any plans for the future? Or is piloting starships your life plan? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, but… what is there next for you?”
Cooper was taken aback by the question, not that it was a bad question… it was just the first time he could ever remember a woman actually asking him that. Well… at least one outside Recruitment & Retention! “Well…” Coop smiled slightly. “… I have…” He scratched his head for a moment and chuckled softly. “… I have eight courses left on my PhD in Engineering.” Gavin said matter of factly. “At two courses a year… that’s… four years of that…” And then he shrugged. “From what I hear… the Dissertation is a three to four year process to write and defend. So…” He paused. “… I should have my PhD by 35. That’ll get me a guaranteed promotion to Commander if I stay Ship-side and Captain if I take a post at Starfleet Academy.” Then Cooper laughed out loud. “I might do that just to see those smug bastards’ faces when the kid they wouldn’t let in to MSE is a damn Professor!”
“How about you Honey?” Coop asked with a warm smile. “What’s the future got in store for you?”
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