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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:47 pm 
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September 23rd 2014, 20:45

Claire felt nervous. As nervous as she could ever remember being, in fact. The shitstorm in the gym behind them now, she and Caleb had left the base to talk through things. Jack Quinn's, an Irish pub in Colorado Springs, was as good a place as any, and Claire had never seen anyone else from the base there. Sure, O'Malley's was closer, but it was also a surefire way to add to whatever rumours were going to be flying around the base come morning.

They had driven up separately, for purely practical reasons: if things ended on a disappointing note between them, there would be no awkward conversations in the car on the way back to the base. Claire had arrived at the bar a few minutes before Caleb, and was stood waiting in the parking lot, leaning against the hood of her slightly beaten up Nissan X-Trail, by the time Caleb pulled in.

Shoving her hands deep into her pockets, she waiting for him to park up, and walked over, trepidatious smile in place. "You ever been here before," she asked, willing to be that this was the Brit's first visit. "They do a great Irish stew, and the Guinness isn't too bad either." She was babbling, she knew, but Claire didn't want to get into the deep and meaningfuls outside. She wanted to hole up in one of the quiet, cosy little booths in the back and work out what the hell was going on between them.

She only hoped that Caleb wouldn't think that the kiss was a huge mistake, and want to backtrack.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:38 am 
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Caleb followed Claire in his own car, a little ways back trying to calm his nerves. Normally he dealt with nerves in one way, that was to work, work until you forgot that you were nervous about something, it had come in great on a Sub especially when they had dived and one couldn't exactly take a stroll outside.

But this time, this time he couldn't bury himself in a work project, least of all because if he set foot anywhere near any of the engineering areas people would put him on mandatory downtime. It wasn't like it was his fault there was lots to do and he had been at work for near on 12 hours when he had made his way down to the gym.

With him following a little ways back, it meant Claire got there first and was waiting for him, as he pulled up. The sick feeling in his stomach was stronger now he saw her again, the last time he felt like this – this nervous – was when he was telling his parents about joining the navy all them years ago. He had been so afraid that they were going to be disappointed because he didn't want to work with his dad, that he had been completely blown away when they accepted without questioning him what he wanted to do.

Put as he watched Claire come closer, he realised he owed her an explanation, one that wasn't going to be witnessed by a crowd of military guys in sweats. In fact as he turned off his ignition and got out, he had changed into some more comfortable clothing, t-shirt, denim jacket, jeans and trainers, he really didn't want to be discussing anything in whilst in uniform. That would just make both of them uncomfortable and aware of exactly where they were.

Looking up at the place, Caleb realised that it was one place he hadn't actually been, he had heard of it. Good recommendations for some of the food couldn't be passed up, especially with what the Mess served up daily.

Stuffing his keys into his back pocket, he offered her the smile, “Nope never been here before, have heard of the place, but never been here,” and because he couldn't resist he fell back into the flirting “Glad my first time is with you.”

It was easy this flirting with her, despite the feelings the kiss had stirred up – ones he wasn't about to start spouting out in the middle of a car park – it was like he had always done this and whatever happened between them, good or bad, he didn't want to loose that.

“Haven't found anywhere that does decent Guinness so if you say it's good, am willing to listen,” he said, gesturing towards the door. “Shall we?”


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:52 pm 
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Caleb looked every bit as nervous as Claire herself felt, and for that, she was grateful. The whole drive up to Jack Quinn's had been fraught with worry: had she just wrecked a perfectly good friendship by reading signals in the wrong way? She hadn't thought that Caleb had still been joking around with her, but she could have been wrong.

She hadn't wanted to sort things out in public, though. This was definitely something that deserved a private conversation, although Claire found herself feeling more than a little scared about its outcome.

On the one hand, she loved her easy friendship with Caleb. He was fun to talk to, even more to flirt with, and she enjoyed spending time with him. On the other, the feelings that the flirting had stirred up earlier were leaving her a little confused, to say the least. Caleb wasn't her type, not really, but she couldn't ignore the way he had made her feel in the gym.

She could only hope that this wasn't a one sided thing.

His warm smile was back in place as she approached him, and Claire admired how he looked in his civvies. She herself was dressed in jeans and a warm, cobalt blue jumper, topped off with a grey waterproof jacket. Comfortable and practical in mid autumn. She laughed at Caleb's latest flirt, shaking her head. At least that was still in place. "So I'm popping your Quinn's cherry," she grinned. "I'm honoured."

Claire's smile relaxed as Caleb nodded towards the bar. "We shall," she replied, heading inside. The place was good and quiet, and she headed towards the back of the bar, before stopping in her tracks. "Sorry, I should have asked. Bar or booth?" Claire couldn't assume that he'd want the extra privacy. After all, she might have been the one to have read all the signals wrong, and if Caleb was going to set her straight, he might prefer to keep things out in the open.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:20 am 
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Caleb took a moment to look around the place, it was a bit more nicer than what O'Malley's was, and quieter to which was good. This was what they needed, quiet with no other SGC personnel to interrupt them. Bringing his attention back to Claire the smile not having left his face once, the woman definitely had some taste when it came picking out a place to meet.

Of course that might just have something to do with the fact he'd never been here before and anything that wasn't O'Malley's was a step up in his book.

“Booth, definitely a booth for this conversation,” he said, leading the way to an empty booth he had spotted. Hand firmly on the bottom of her back, hoping he wasn't going to royally mess this up.

This was something new and shiny and yeah sometimes there was the possibility to be over enthusiastic about it. He was sure if they hadn't been interrupted in the gym that, that kiss might have lasted a hell of a lot longer and lead to something more. Something that if they weren't haven't this conversation now they might have regretted the following morning.

Caleb had, had his share of one night stands, both parties had known it was just the one night and that it was just scratching that itch. But he didn't want that with Claire, he didn't want just a quick fling and then 'on your bike', he wanted something more and that, that probably terrified him just as much as meeting a Goa'uld. It was that moment of mind numbing fear before the flight or fight instinct kicked in, he was happy to note that the fight instinct was firmly in place right now, and he hoped he could get through this without talking himself in circles and being misunderstood.

He waited until Claire had taken her seat, before sitting facing her, arms resting on the table, his mothers voice of 'no elbows at the table Caleb' ringing clearly in his head. But he didn't want to sit back and make it feel like the table was acting as a wall between them.

“So, about that thing that happened?” he started, smiling softly before there could be any protests. He really hoped that he hadn't messed anything up.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:15 am 
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"Booth it is."

At least Caleb seemed to have the same thoughts as Claire on the need for a little privacy. This conversation could turn out to be awkward to say the least, although Claire couldn't help but feel a little frisson as she felt Caleb's hand land on the small of her back. He firmly steered her towards an empty booth, right in the corner at the back, away from as many prying eyes as possible. Short of having had the conversation in either of their rooms on base, or in Claire's rented apartment, this was as close to private as they were going to get.

The music back here was quiet, and Claire shrugged off her jacket, leaving it on the vinyl seat beside her. A million thoughts were whirling around in her head, a million different potential outcomes to the evening.

She wondered whether Caleb was feeling the same sense of trepidation. After all, however this conversation went, it would decide the course of their relationship with one another from here on in. No matter how it went, Claire hoped that they would at least be able to salvage their friendship.

Her eyes were glued to Caleb as he sat opposite her, leaning his elbows on the table. She looked away, trying to catch the attention of one of the bar staff. A drink would help loosen her nerves, but she could only have the one: she didn't fancy leaving her car in the bar's parking lot overnight and having to get a cab back first thing in the morning to collect it.

However, it seemed as though Caleb wanted to get right into talking about The Kiss. His lips bore a gentle smile, and a sheepish blush stained Claire's cheeks. She shrugged, shaking her head. How could she answer this? She needed to apologise, in case she had fucked up, but leave the door open in case she hadn't misread things. She placed her palms flat on the table, mainly to stop herself from shaking, and looked Caleb squarely in the eye.

"Look, if I misread the signals, I'm sorry. It's... been a while since I've been in a situation like that, and... well, I'm a bit rusty."

There. That was the best she could do without slamming the door on anything other than simple friendship. If it wasn't enough... she'd have to suck it up and deal with it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:02 pm 
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Caleb couldn't help raising an eyebrow when Claire said she was rusty at the whole thing, that kiss was not something he would call rusty, hell it felt pretty damn good to him. “That is not what I call rusty,” he said, hoping to set her mind at ease.

He was going to continue on when one of the bar staff came over offering them a menu and seeing if they would like anything to drink. Caleb put in an order of two waters for now, he didn't feel much like eating at that precise moment, and the water was going to help cool him down. Even if it wasn't showing on his face, he just hoped he hadn't stepped over the mark ordering for Claire. He knew how independent she was.

Caleb waited until the staff member had left, offering them the usual smile he gave most people. It didn't hurt that it just happened to be a waitress that served them, but he realised that it didn't mean anything and when he looked back at Claire that's when his heart jumped a beat.

“Look, what happened in the gym,” he started leaning forwards slightly, “it wasn't intentional, I didn't set out to kiss you.” The words felt heavy on his tongue, like everything he was saying was just going to be the wrong thing, looking at the table he fiddled with the corner of the food menu before looking back up at her.

“But it wasn't a mistake,” his voice dropped lower. “I know from past experience that being Military can cause problems, of course that was just because I spent so much time on a Sub away ftom land and all the secrecy surrounding certain things, and not being able to call every night. Honestly try sharing a enclosed space, at several thousand feet under water with over one hundred men and lets see if I can make a phone call every night...” he paused for breath. Realising he was rambling and probably not making any sense.

Sighing he leant back, rubbing at the back of his neck, he felt on edge like he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. He could only describe it as when you know a storm was coming in, a really bad storm and you were anticipating it hitting your doorstep, that's how he was feeling right then. He didn't know what was going to happen, he couldn't read minds and if he could he didn't think he would be reading Claire.

“What I am trying to say is...” he started, he didn't do these conversations very well. The last time he had, had to have one of these conversations he was breaking up with someone and then it was completely mutual. He was going to have to fall back on old ways and hope Claire didn't think he was joking around.

“Unless you don't want it to happen again, I have every intention of hopefully kissing you again?”


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:48 pm 
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Claire blushed deeply. "Oh, I'm rusty alright. I've not really flirted in god knows how long, and I've definitely not kissed anyone in a couple of years." She sounded gauche and naive at this admission, and her blush grew deeper. "I don't know what came over me."

Yes you do. You've just realised you fancy the arse off one of your friends.

The waitress interrupted her train of thought, and Claire grinned as Caleb ordered water for both of them. "And there goes my plan for a quadruple whisky, then," she chuckled. No whisky tonight, but maybe a wine, or small glass of Guinness. Maybe.

Claire didn't have a chance to dwell on that. Caleb launched into his own backtracking surrounding the kiss, and she felt her heart sink. He had obviously felt as though the kiss was an error, something that had gotten out of hand, and Claire swallowed back her disappointment. She had made a fool of herself, and maybe wrecked a great friendship.

However, Caleb then seemed to do an about face again, proclaiming that kissing her back hadn't been a mistake. Just unintentional. Claire struggled to get her head around what he was trying to say, even as he babbled on about submarines. So it seemed that he didn't regret the kiss after all, and Claire felt a swarm of butterflies taking flight in her stomach as hope came tentatively creeping around the corner.

The sparkle returned to Caleb's eyes, and Claire felt the beginnings of a grin tugging at the corners of her mouth. "I think I can stomach that," she replied, the smile now almost out of control. "And there was I thinking that I'd been a brazen hussy, and ruined everything!"


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:13 am 
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“Well if that is rusty flirting, I look forward to when you aren't,” he said, offering her a wink and a smile. This was good, that they could still flirt like this and if it led to something more then, well he was definitely okay with that as well.

Reaching forward Caleb took hold of her hand, it was probably slightly wet due to having held the ice cold water but he didn't really care he didn't want to loose contact with her now they had kind of agreed upon this whole relationship thing.

“But if you had quadruple whiskey you might miss out on the rest of the evening,” he said, laughter in his voice. “Although that much whiskey could make you see double, and surely two of me isn't a bad thing?”

“So, sweetheart, will you go out with me?” he asked in a very bad imitation American accent, too many late nights watching really bad TV on base and that's what he remembered from most of the shows. It was a silly question, designed to make Claire laugh, that was the main goal every time he had met up with her, long before he even realised exactly how strong his feelings were, it was his job to make her laugh.

Of course looking back over their interactions, he really should have picked up on his own feelings long before now. But some small part of him was glad he hadn't, because if he had he wouldn't have such a close friend and now hopefully partner sat in front of him.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:50 am 
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Claire grinned again, shaking her head as Caleb winked. Oh, the flirting was back, full speed ahead, too, and she was more than a little relieved. It looked as though their friendship was still intact, even if she had completely munted things with regards to anything other than their simple, easy friendship. Perhaps they could put the kiss behind them.

Or not...

The agreement that they would quite like to kiss again, and Caleb taking her hand in his... well, it looked as though they were both on the same page. Claire laced her fingers with his, enjoying the shiver of anticipation as it rolled through her. It had been so long since she had been at the whole "new romance" stage that she had forgotten how heady the feelings could be.

"Oh, two of you would be hell," she chuckled, her voice soft and low. "After all, how would I be able to tell which one I should be kissing?" She decided not to remind Caleb of her capacity for sinking piss. It wasn't uncommon for her to be able to drink most blokes under the table, but it was rare that she had shown this ability since coming to America.

Claire fell into peals of giggles at the question that she hadn't been asked since she was about fifteen. His accent was piss poor - the slight London twang in his voice making it a ridiculous parody, almost close to Dick Van Dyke's attempt at Cockney in "Mary Poppins". "Why yes, darling, I'd be honoured." Her own piss-take of the American accent was probably even worse, but she couldn't care less.

Letting her hand rest in Caleb's, Claire took a small sip of water, grimacing and shaking her head. "You know what, I think we might have something to celebrate here. How about we turn this into a date, and get something to eat, and a Guinness? My treat."


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:07 pm 
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"We could all kiss each other," he said in response to her answer about his two of him question. "No one would be let out then after all."

He was glad to be able to make her laugh, and so glad that despite the new feelings, or rather the now acknowledged feelings, they seemed to be able to still have a laugh and joke. He couldn't help but squeeze her hand back, there were lots of things that he would like to be doing that would get him thrown out of this very nice establishment if he acted on them.

Now that it seemed they were both on the same page, seriously how had they not seen this coming, Caleb felt himself relaxing. He had been so tense on the whole drive up to this place, had been going over and over what had happened in the gym whether it was a good idea to pursue this or hell if even if Claire had wanted to go forward with this that he hadn't let himself relax.

Now, now he was relaxed, as was obvious by the flirting he had done, his thumb was rubbing circles as fingers were laced with his, right up until she answered him back in the exact same silly accent and their quiet booth wasn't so quiet any more.

Caleb hadn't laughed that much or that hard for such a long time, especially with someone that he had announced his feelings to. Plus there wasn't always much laughter at the base, not pure relaxed laughter like had just happened, after all the SGC was a place of work and sure you could have a laugh whilst working but nine times out of ten you had a job to do.

"Guinness, not had one of them for well over a year now," he said, "first date, Claire you're secretly a romantic at heart." He gave her another blinding smile, "Well if you insist on buying the drinks, then how about I buy the food? We can split something?"


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