Between The Buried And Me - Nathan's Quarters

Posted Jan. 4, 2020, 9:32 p.m. by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Assistant CNS/ Child Psychiatry) (Steven Sigle)

Posted by Ensign Chloe Kendrick (Nurse) in Between The Buried And Me - Nathan’s Quarters

Posted by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Assistant CNS/ Child Psychiatry) in Between The Buried And Me - Nathan’s Quarters

Posted by Ensign Chloe Kendrick (Nurse) in Between The Buried And Me - Nathan’s Quarters

Posted by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Assistant CNS/ Child Psychiatry) in Between The Buried And Me - Nathan’s Quarters
Spartan was most likely what anyone would call Nathan’s quarters as he entered them. He hadn’t arrived more than two hours onto the Outpost, but it had already become one of his top ten worst days of his life. Irony was that almost all of the top ten days had only happened in the past year, to the day in fact. Taking a large breath Nathan looked around as he nodded silently to himself. He had a large family quarters, four bedrooms of empty space that seemed like haunted memories as he looked around at his new surroundings.

To the right of the entrance the few things he had brought had been stacked up, three boxes and a duffel bag. Seeing as the Loki had never been to him home, he never brought a lot with him. For Nathan his childhood home he had grown to hate as a child became a beacon of love as he shared his life with Chloe. That world though had been shattered in the past year, or longer if Chloe had a chance to tell her side. Choices made that set worlds aflame created a chasm that neither seemed to be able to cross. No life between Nathan and Chloe now felt more like living ghosts passing and fading as the world moved on around them.

“Computer… dim the lights 40%…” came Nathan’s request as he moved the bag from the top of the boxes as he began opening up the boxes as he searched for the treasure he needed most in this moment. The clink of glass on glass was the sign he had gotten to what he needed, as he pulled out the bottle of Grecken 72, far less in than there was a few months ago as he grabbed the soul glass he had brought with him as he walked over to the couch as he flopped in. This time the springs felt firm and new, time would change that as the bottle got more and more empty.

Seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to eternities. That is what it felt at least to Nathan as he stared at the dark empty walls, the scars of his past seemed to follow him everywhere and the barrenness of the room seemed to fuel his sorrow as every burning drop he drank seemed to force away all emotions he kept, bottled inside like his own dark secret that would never be opened. To open that bottle might shatter everything else around Nathan, and he could only shatter so much before nothing was left and a husk was all that remained.

Nathan Harland

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Two days later.......
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A home was made up of two things: scents and sounds. When one arrived home from an extended trip, you knew it based on inhaling the air when you stepped into the room. Things like the occupant’s perfume or cologne often soaked into the fabrics on a couch, chair, or bedding. The air might carry traces of lavender, vanilla or spices from candles burned to change the ambiance of the room. Foods enjoyed by the individuals often left their scents to seep into the walls and counters of the eating area. All of this combined to make the individuals entering feel like a soft blanket was draped over their shoulders. Sounds were the second part of knowing you were home. For families, it allowed the individual entering to know whether they were walking into a war zone or the idyllic dream they signed up for. Still crying toddlers, laughing children, or rambunctious preteens screaming pew pew as they ran through the house all signified life in a home. Nathan’s quarters contained none of this.

As Chloe entered the quarters she stood in the doorway letting her eyes adjust to the lighting and the deafening silence contained between the four walls. It was so low the room seemed almost black. Not having the ability to see however did not mean Chloe was unable to gauge what was going on in the room. Inhaling deeply she knew exactly who lived here and for how long. The cloying scent of bleach and a gym locker room vied for the top position in her senses. The bleach and antiseptic scent came from the cleaning crews who prepared the room for its next occupants scrubbing all remanents of those peoples lives from the space. The locker room fragrance came from someone who had not showered due to either a sporting event or from someone on a bender that simply did not care. Choe knew it was the latter and scanned the room until she found what she was looking for. Sprawled on the couch was Nathan with one hand slung over the back cushions and one leg half falling off the couch. On the floor beside him was an empty bottle. Chloe knew there would be no stain on the carpet because it was drained long before it left his hand.

A knot filled her throat seeing him like that but she did not have the strength to fix him even if she wanted to, not today of all days. Raising a hand to her nose she closed her eyes focusing all her energy on remaining standing. If she gave in and joined her husband by lying in a crumpled pile on the floor of the dark representation of hell he had created here, Chloe would never be able to get up. Sniffing back her nose she ran her fingers through her hair and headed to the kitchen area. She did not care about the tears that slipped from her eyes. Her cheeks had been stained with them since she had awoken that day. More would fall: there was no reason to wipe them away.

Her hands shook as she replicated all the foods she needed. She had to get through this simple task but the simplicity of it was what tore at her soul the most. One year ago today the day started the same with breakfast. Only the end was what had changed. From that moment forward in her life, there were no giggles of roughhousing as Saturday holotoons played with Nate announcing it was time for breakfast and to get to the table. Using the knife she began to dice and chop all the things she needed into bite-sized pieces. She could have replicated this but it was good to stay busy and complete tasks that had beginnings and ends. At least that is what every counselor had told her since January of last year. The chopping of the onion echoed like a heartbeat in the room cutting through the silence with a dull clack clack as it left the soft flesh of the vegetable and encountered the hard surface of the counter. As the tears fell down her cheeks Chloe felt a small sick smile cross her lips as she realized she had no idea if it was from the syn-ropanethial-S-oxide of the onion or the memories that refused to leave her head causing her to cry. Peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms were tossed in a pan and as they began to sautee among hunks of crumbled up sausage to add flavor. Chloe whipped up three eggs, began to toast the bread, and started several slices of thick-cut bacon to cook. The more she prepared the more she wanted to cook. What was supposed to be a simple meal was turning out to be something far grander than she planned.

Chloe Kendrick

Stirrings of life could be heard from the couch as Nathan’s slumber began to be broken from the sounds and smells of life that began to permeate throughout his home. Slow and carefully eyes began to blink into awareness as he moved like a bear coming up from their hibernation. The smell seemed to startle Nathan more than the sounds, as it was a scent he had smelt more than once in his life, from countless mornings as he woke to Chloe and her hangover treatments. The reality was had little to do with any true treatment, the grease soothed the soul as the mind processed the absence of everything the alcohol drained from you. Cause in the end that was all a hangover was, your body’s reaction to a loss and making sure you knew just how angry it was that you took away from it what it needed most.

Still, smells aside as Nathan got erect he couldn’t help but feel a sense of confusion wash over him. His eyes blurred, but the smell wasn’t the only oddity before him as the silhouette of Chloe shaped and grew in front of him as he tried to wipe away the regret and guilt from his eyes. The truth was despite all these sights and smells of his paste Nathan was acutely aware this wasn’t how it should be. Never had he lived with Chloe in a Starfleet home, sterile and gray as if the Federation was afraid to have a personality or an opinion.

The sounds of cushions crunching indicated life in some form was returning to the couch. It would have been absorbed in the abyss of darkness if Chloe wasn’t listening for it. Her body tensed. Every instinct told her to stop what she was doing and leave. They had spent so many days in this position: staring at the others back or locking gazes as cruel actions and heartless words were slung like arrows between them like to enemies on a battlefield destined to never die. Opening and closing her fist several times helped her focus her energy in not running away. Tomorrow she could run to the farthest reaches of the universe but not today. “I made breakfast,” was the first thing she said shattering the silence between them. Her voice echoed in the room like it came from an amplifier causing her to wince slightly. The mundaneness of her words caused her eyes to well up. The lids filling in an unstoppable rush she would never contain so Chloe did not try. Calvin’s words to her blared in her mind like a klaxon. No one really cares if it doesn’t affect them so give them something to believe that will ease their discomfort in the situation.

“Hmmmm.” came a low grunt of acknowledgement as Nathan felt more of the world come back to him as his eyelids began to feel less and less heavy.

Living as a wife and mother had taught her to do this effortlessly. Nathan might be able to pick apart anyone across the desk opening them up raw yet she was not his patient. She was his soon to be ex-wife. Like all husband’s this meant Nathan was just a mere mortal and only saw what he wanted to most of the time. “How are…you feeling?” These four words had to be forced out of her throat like a splinter lodged deeply under the skin. It was painful causing Chloe to bit her lip hard to stop the shaking in her voice. “Think you…can eat…something?” Five words this time and it was becoming easier. At least the physical act of forming words. Nathan would know how hard the day was but he would accept her causal lie.

“I.. . I am perfectly fine doll face.” Nathan said with a small forced smile, a lie and deceit if there ever was one, but one he had grown so used to over the years. The truth was Nathan had grown to have a strictly professional relationship with deceit over the years, with benefits. It was deceit that forced him to see patients and smile as he felt it all crumble around him, it was the deceit that forced him to live with the lie this big, cause the truth could obliterate them. No Nathan had grown to learn to love the deceit, cause it let the guilt become more bearable as he found ways to live and told lies so big that Congress was in the corner taking notes.

Nathan Harland

“I hate cooking with onions. Nasty things.” Six words carefully chosen to appear as if they were having a conversation and to explain why she was wiping her face as she turned to face him and set the table.

Nathan said nothing as he pushed off the couch, grabbing the bottle as he placed it back on the table before slowly making his way to the table.

As Nathan approached the table, Chloe saw nothing but emptiness in his eyes. It was not unsurprising or unexpected but nonetheless it was shocking to see him this way. “Liar,” she said setting the plate piled high with an omelet, bacon, toast, and hashbrowns at the table. “So when,” she cleared her throat from the ball of phlegm lodged there, “did you start lying…to the rest of the world,” she asked turning to make coffee and get him some juice. The last part was a veiled attempt at civility. It was so hard not to slip into the pattern of the last year.

Chloe

“What do you want from me Chlo Bell?” Nathan asked as he looked down at the plate, smiling ever so slightly as the sight brought so many memories to them. “Did you wanna see me as a mess?” he added as he looked up, whatever sentiment the food had giving him seemed to quickly vanish. “Come to remind me of all the horrible things I did? Not that I really need help remembering… though I do try so very hard to forget.” he said with a slight nod in the direction of the empty bottle that stood on this table.

“I know…” he said softly, she didn’t have to ever remind him, she was well aware he knew what day it was. He could never forget, God’s little accursed creature he was. “And no, you didn’t make this that day… there was grits not hash browns… semantics I know…” Nathan said as he took a bite as he all the memories came flooded, it was in fact exactly one year ago today, and in thirteen minutes everything Chloe and Nathan held dear would be crushed and torn.

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Martha’s Vineyard - One Year Ago
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“Slow down Maddie, take Mara’s hand when you guys walk past the street it’s super slick.” Nathan said as he smiled as his two girls fully dressed in winter garb slowly walked across the street. Only 1 and 3, they were certainly small as their older brother Logan seemed to taunt them from across the road as he was never going to be last.

“Did you get all the food?” Nathan asked Chloe as he closed the door behind him, himself carrying several pair of ice skates draped around his shoulder looking some lost and found for them as he smiled softly at Chloe.

“Okay okay… just checking doll face.” Nathan said as he leaned in to kiss her cheek before turning his eyes back to their kids. Winter was for kids such a magical time, anything could happen once snow was on the ground. Mara was so young but the newness of it all wasn’t lost on her as she carefully let her sister guide her.

Nathan Harland


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