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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:53 am 
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Claire frowned for a moment, not quite catching Caleb's drift, and then it dawned on her. "Aaaaah," she said, shrugging and smiling. "I don't get to go anywhere exotic very often," she admitted. "I've only done any field work a handful of times over the last year. I'm more use to people in the aftermath, so to speak."

She didn't begrudge those who went offworld regularly, but, just on occasion, Claire would have liked to have gone to some of the incredible places that she had only heard about. Her forays to the Alpha site, and to friendly planets, to help with medical care just didn't cut it. Still, she loved what she did, and could do it just about anywhere. Saving lives was as big an adrenaline rush as any offworld adventure.

She grinned. "That place is terrible for gossip," she chuckled, taking another sip of her Guinness. "I have no doubt that we'll walk in tomorrow and get the stares, and the whispers, and everything that goes with it." And Claire found that she couldn't care less.

Caleb seemed to be giving it some deep thought when Claire asked him to tell her something she didn't know about him, and, if she was honest, she was going to struggle to return the favour. Well, mostly.

Nodding as Caleb explained that this wasn't his first time in America, Claire grinned. "I think I've read something about that in your medical file," she teased. In one way, she was at an unfair advantage in terms of what she knew about Caleb and vice versa, but it would certainly be fun getting to know him properly. She wanted to find out all the little quirks that made him tick, made him who he was.

However, he did manage to elicit a surprised look from Claire as Caleb admitted he couldn't swim particularly well. "You're shitting me," she exclaimed, her tone laced with almost utter disbelief. "I thought it was a prerequisite in the Navy to be able to swim a certain distance in certain conditions?" She might be wrong, but she wouldn't have pegged Caleb for someone who would have difficulties with any physical pursuit.

Caleb looked a million miles away for a moment, and Claire reached over and took his hand again. "And you class me as a quiet one, huh," she chuckled, shaking her head. "Okay, here's something for you. You've seen the tattoo on my arm, right," she asked, a small faraway smile twitching at the corners of her mouth. The moko tattoo that curled gracefully around her right bicep and up onto her right shoulder could hardly be missed. "I don't think I ever told you what it meant, did I?"


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:52 am 
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The thing that Caleb found slightly disheartening was that no one actually got to just visit through the Stargate, even when they went to see how their allies were doing it didn't always end in a nice visit. There was a small part of him, very small and not acknowledge even in the darkest of rooms that sometimes the Gate be used for nicer visits. But that was impossible and he had to be realistic about it.

Chuckling at her comment about the gossip Caleb replied, “You do realise that place is worse than a bored housewife right? The gossip is what feeds the masses, not the Mess Hall cooks, but the gossip.” He offered a small shrug, “Use to some of the stares to be honest, everyone is always interested in what everyone else is doing.”

Which was true, everyone had their own speciality, hence why they had been chosen for the programme in the first place, and well they were a curious bunch. So yeah if someone manages to rig something up from just a piece of cardboard it was going to get stares and being talked about.

Taking another bite of his now cooling dinner, it still tasted brilliant even as it cooled, he thought of how to answer her question about his swimming. Yeah he passed everything, made good time on the swimming part of his training, it was just...it always left him more fatigued than most anything else. So yeah he didn't like swimming, didn't think he was very good at it and for once in his life and his relationship life he wanted to tell someone that.

He wanted to say that look here was something that he just didn't feel very good at doing, this was not a strength of his and yes if asked to do it he'd worry about it. He was a fairly active, fit person and he knew he could swim, knew he could swim quite some lengths if he needed to, he just didn't like to.

“It is a prerequisite for it, and I did it, in good time as well,” he said smiling, “I just don't like it, don't think its one of my strongest points and I never swim for pleasure, ever. Like I said I can still get that panic feeling if I know I have to go in water.” That was the first time he had admitted that out loud, that he wasn't good at something and well it hadn't felt as difficult as he thought it would have been, especially telling it to Claire. It wasn't that he couldn't swim, he could, he did fill the requirements in basic training, had a good time, he just didn't like it which lead to him thinking he wasn't very good at it. So he just didn't do it, if he could avoid it all together then so be it, he liked his feet on solid ground and yes a submarine submerged counted as solid ground to him.

Now Caleb was intrigued at the mention of her tattoo, he had seen it a handful of times, but it wasn't always visible so it was kind of an out of sight out of mind thing. He only remembered she had one when he saw her arm, now that he thought about it he was curious as to what it meant, he had never thought of asking before.

“Oh am sure you can make plenty of noise and be less quiet when you want to be,” he replied smiling, knowing that she wasn't one of the quiet ones at all. “But please, do tell me what does it mean? You've made me curious now.”


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:35 am 
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"Boy, do I know how how bad that place is for gossip," laughed Claire. "Some of the things that go round the infirmary would seriously destroy more than a handful of reputations!" She flashed Caleb a wicked grin. "Well, if it gets too bad, we could always give them something to really talk about..." After all, she'd already kissed Caleb in public once, albeit by accident, and it wouldn't be any hardship kissing him in public again, this time with far more deliberation.

Claire forked up another piece of beef, her plate almost cleared. Placing her knife and fork together, she pushed the plate away. Dessert had already been ordered, after all, and she wanted to make sure that she wasn't too full to enjoy it.

Caleb was looking more than a touch thoughtful, almost uncomfortable, in fact, at divulging something that she didn't already know about him. Claire considered, just for a moment, telling him that it didn't matter, but, in a quiet tone, even though he was smiling, Caleb explained what his problem was with swimming.

Claire wondered whether there was something deeper to it, and she traced her fingers lightly over the underside of his wrist again. "Why the panic," she asked, her tone soft and curious. "Did something happen? You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." It was a topic that could wait for another time, and was maybe not best suited to a first date. That being said, it was something they would have to talk about at some point, so why not get it out of the way early?

She laughed at Caleb's innuendo. "You'll have to find out, won't you," said Claire, her voice laced with flirty teasing. She smiled, nodding as Caleb asked her what it meant. "You know I'm half-Māori, right," she began, taking another sip of Guinness. "Well, the moko - that's the traditional tattoo - tells the wearer's history - tribe, family, that sort of thing. They're individually designed, and can be added to over the course of the life with new sections to denote significant events." It was hard to explain without showing Caleb what each shape meant, but buggered if she was rolling up her sleeve in the pub.

"I last had a bit added before coming to America, a small piece on my shoulder to indicate new adventures, new beginnings." She shrugged, smiling fondly at the man opposite her. "It'll be easier when I show you, I think."


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:33 pm 
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"I don't think they would be able to handle something to really talk about," Caleb replied smiling slightly. The kiss had been unexpected back in the gym and although he was looking forward to the next time he got to kiss her, he didn't want to be doing that in public. Nor did he want a audience for it either. Besides if a real kiss did happen with an audience he was sure that most folks would look away feeling rather awkward, public displays of affection was not that common amongst the SGC staff - no matter how many times people put it down to alien interference - .

Caleb debated with himself, whether to actually bare all to her at her question, he hadn't actually admitted anything to himself about the panic so actually speaking the words out loud, was tough. He had been trained that you didn't really show any weakness to anyone, especially in the Military where you were taught that secrets that were shared could lead to it backfiring. That was even more true he knew now he worked at Cheyenne, all it took was one little secret shared with one person, said person interacting wrongly with a person from a different planet and that's it, your weakness is used against you.

Not that he even thought for one second that Claire would end up in that kind of situation as to have no choice to share any weaknesses he shared with her and he himself would never divulge anything of hers. But it was still terrifying to know that it was going to be out there, in the open, with no way of going back.

Finishing up his meal, he pushed the plate to one side, he leaned slightly forward and answered, "Nothing happened in my past, I wasn't nearly drowned as a kid or anything like that. It is the lack of control over the water itself, of not being able to have any say over what happens whilst in water. That's what makes me panic." He knew that he could be slightly OCD over his work at times, he liked making sure things ran as smoothly as possible, and that seemed to have bled over into the panic of water thing. "So now you know my dark secret, my skeletons are all aired now."

Well he wasn't sure that was exactly true, he was sure there were other things, but well that was the main one he had come up with to share. As Claire explained about her tattoo, Caleb was curious, he had seen the markings on her arm and had always wondered what it meant and now he knew some of it.

"So it's a bit like a story, telling of where you come from, where you been and in a way what you're going to have done next?" he asked. "Does everyone in your family have one? Each telling their own story?"


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:52 am 
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"You're probably right." Claire's voice was soft, the tiniest hint of what may have been regret colouring her tone. "Some things are best saved for when we don't have an audience." What they got up to in private was, at least she hoped, going to be a damn sight more racy than just an unexpected kiss. Still, she hoped that he wouldn't consider a goodnight kiss in the parking lot something that was best saved for somewhere private: after the sparks zinging between them since the gym, Claire didn't think she could stand it if they didn't kiss at least once more that evening.

Claire could see Caleb wrestling with himself, trying to decide whether to tell her something, something that obviously held such deep personal meaning to himself. She shook her head. "Look, don't worry about it, you don't have to tell me," she said, her eyes sincere. "Whatever it is... tell me in your own time."

And then he told her anyway.

Claire's eyes filled with compassion, and she tenderly stroked her fingers over the underside of Caleb's wrist again, hoping that he liked that as much as she did. "You know something, " she murmured, keeping her gaze locked with his. "I'd kiss you right now if we weren't on opposite sides of the table. There's nothing to be ashamed of with that. Let me guess. You didn't grow up by the sea, or in a community that valued the sea, did you?" It was a wild guess, but she'd bet it was right. In New Zealand, even those who grew up inland made the trek the ocean as often as possible, and, as such, grew up as proper water babies. It was something that seemed inherent to Claire, but may not be to Caleb.

"Water isn't something that you can control in its wild state," she replied, her voice quiet and more serious than it had been all evening. "But what about a pool? In a pool, all the control is yours." Claire wasn't someone who swam for the hell of it, but she was good enough, and was more than happy to teach Caleb water confidence if he wanted.

"That's no dark secret," she chuckled, shaking her head. "That's a quirk. I can deal with quirks." As a doctor, there was a lot she could deal with that most ordinary people couldn't. "You ever want some help, just let me know." Claire grinned. "You might just need a real water baby with you."

She nodded, again stroking the underside of his wrist. "That's right, it's like a story," explained Claire. "All fof my direct family are entitled to wear a tattoo like that, as well as any Māori members of my family. That means my dad's family." She might have a little Māori on her mum's side, but she doubted it.

"Everyone's tattoo is a little different." Claire blushed a little, even as she smiled. "One of my sisters doesn't have one at all, but we'd all have the same basic patterns." She grinned again, tossing Caleb a flirty smile. "Considering my failed engagement was the last little bit added... who knows? That kiss in the gym might feature in the next bit!" While it wasn't as literal as that, it was certainly as figurative. Claire hoped that she even got the opprtunity to add Caleb as a part of her moko. He certainly seemed as though he might become important enough.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:40 am 
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Caleb didn't like hearing that hint of regret in Claire's tone, he didn't want her to think that he was ashamed of any audience unexpected kisses they'd had, because that so very much was not the case. In fact it was quite the opposite, he wanted to show her off make her feel special and show that this wasn't going to be one of his many one time things. That despite his own reputation he wasn't going to just have his fun and move on, well not intentionally anyway, he hoped for the best for the future but one could never tell what was round the corner.

In fit of probably pure romance and silly first date stuff – stuff he wasn't going to put a name to just yet – he brought her hand up and kissed the back of her hand. Smiling coyly he said, “And some things we can definitely share with an audience.”

The compassion he saw in her eyes after he had told his 'quirk' of water made him feel something he hadn't felt in a very long time. Something that warmed him through and made the feeling of cold water recede from him and he couldn't be more grateful. “Nope am a true Londoner through and through, we would escape the countryside when going on holidays. London is very noisy and my parents always wanted somewhere quiet.” He explained, not letting go of her hand, his thumb now running over the spot he had just kissed.

“Never really tried in a pool,” he admitted shrugging, “by the time I was a teenager going swimming wasn't exactly on my mind. By the time I joined the Navy pools weren't exactly part of the training.”

The thought of seeing Claire in a bathing suit of any kind, well if that wasn't a strong motivator to get back in the water of his own accord then he didn't know what was. The very thought of having someone like Claire who just told him she was a water baby, next to him was a bit of a confidence boost. Caleb had confidence in spades at times, but he always knew when to take that confidence from others when needs be.

Caleb inwardly winced when she mentioned her failed engagement, she had mentioned it before in the past and he'd always flirted his way past any of the awkwardness that it had brought up at that time. But now, now he knew what his feelings were towards her, it stirred something else inside of him. Like a flame that was determined to keep her for himself and to not let this burgeoning relationship fail, it was a fighting feeling one he hadn't had for a long time. He had tried to fight for his own last proper relationship but it hadn't worked and sitting there across from someone as vibrant as Claire part of him was glad that it hadn't, because he wouldn't be there now sat on a first date.

“So you get to carry your family round with you and certain memories,” he said smiling brightly. It was a nice thought to think that no matter where you went family, memories, etc were going with you. “I would be honoured to go on your arm, there is no finer place to be.”

The smile was cheeky and before he could say anything else, the waitress returned with their dessert, one piece of dessert with two spoons. Exactly what he had ordered with all the chocolatey goodness that one could want on a first date, he thanked the waitress – he was sure they were going to have to leave a decent tip after what they had put that woman through – before turning back to Claire.

Gesturing with his free hand, still refusing to let go of Claire's hand, he said, “Chocolatey goodness, sweetheart, please have the first bite.” His intentions purely selfish at that point, he could normally make a mess with chocolate and well....he didn't want to make that much of a mess on a first date. He nudged one of the spoons towards her, there was one way he would like to share this dessert but again, getting thrown out of a nice establishment like this wasn't exactly high on his bucket list of things to do.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:53 pm 
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Claire couldn't help laughing, a light blush colouring her cheeks, as Caleb impulsively picked up her hand, and in a flash of pure, old-fashioned romance, kissed the back of it. Giving him an exaggerated bat of her lashes, she grinned."Why, kind sir, you have me all a-twitter," she said, a god-awful attempt at a Southern US accent mangling the words. Having his lips on her hand was the best she was going to get for now, so she had to make the most of it.

"I grew up in a small town, just south of Auckland, but I guess even Auckland would seem small to someone who grew up in London," replied Claire. "In New Zealand, it's normal to head out to the beach every weekend, and spend loads of time on the water. My favourite place to go is Karekare. You've heard of the movie 'The Piano', yeah? That's where the beach scenes for that were shot." To Claire, it was the most beautiful place on earth, and the most haunting. She thought that Caleb would love it.

Claire looked at Caleb for a few moments, giving his hand a little squeeze, even as he ran his thumb over the spot he had kissed just moments before. "Then maybe we ought to get you in a pool somewhere," she said, offering him a warm smile. She was renting an apartment on West Cheyenne Road, less than 15 minutes' drive from the SGC, and it was perfect for her at the moment. Doubly perfect, in that it might be able to offer a resolution to Caleb's problem.

"My apartment complex has an indoor pool. If you ever want to try..." She shrugged. "I'm more than happy to spend some time in the water with you."

And not just in a swimming pool in public, either.

She held Caleb's gaze, barely even registering the waitress come back and clear their plates. Her body might be present in the pub, but her mind was tripping over a thousand possible scenarios between she and Caleb. She didn't want to go into something new with him, only for it to burn brightly for a short time, then sputter out, leaving only the ashes of their former friendship behind. She had never been the sort of person who had short term relationships: even her relationships before Tama had been no less than a year. Okay, so there had only been the two, but still... When Claire started building a relationship, she built it to last. She hoped that Caleb was on the same page.

"I hadn't thought about it like that," Claire said, smiling as Caleb put a whole new spin on her moko. Her smile grew, eyes sparkling, as Caleb told her he'd be honoured to play a part in her tattoo. "Well, if things work out... I can't imagine not adding our story to it." She'd have to explain it wasn't quite as literal as that, but Claire was confident that exploring her moko would end up being a lot of fun.

She glanced up at the waitress as the chocolate brownie sundae was placed between them, and Claire grinned at Caleb, doing as he asked, and taking a spoon. "You'll regret offering me the first bite, you know," she said, as she dug in and took a decent spoonful of both brownie and ice cream. The texture was velvety and indulgent, and Claire let her eyelids flutter closed. "Bloody hell, that's good," she said, digging her spoon in again, and offering it to Caleb. "You're going to have some serious competition to get a share of this, you know!"


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:01 pm 
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"You see now you just got me thinking that you want to see me in swim trunks," he replied cheekily to her with a very cheesy wink added in for good measure of course. "You don't have to take me too a pool to get me undressed you know?"

The smile was bright, the seriousness gone for the time being, the way to deflect from a serious conversation that he had no idea how to explain about, flirt. Probably a default setting that had carried him through most of the more serious encounters he had, had. But it had served him well, he was just sure that by now Claire could probably see right through most of that little charade he had put up.

It was a small mask he wore, he had always considered himself easy going, friendly and at least approachable. It just tended to be that the depth to his person was only seen by the people he was very close to and at that moment in time Claire was one person he was getting extremely close to. He didn't want to hide from her, fall back behind that small layer of not showing any weakness or quirks or whatever but sometimes, just sometimes old habits died hard.

"Seriously, I love that you want to do that for me," he said quietly, "Thank you, I might just have to take you up on that some day. You know I've never been out to your apartment."

That was right when she took a bite of the chocolate and well, Caleb was pretty sure that what ever that sounds was she just made was the most sinful thing he had heard all night. His own breath caught, when she opened her eyes and offered him a bite of it, he couldn't resist taking the proffered food.

The taste exploded across his tongue, it was creamy, thick, and so sinfully good, he knew now why she had made that noise. He couldn't keep his own moan to himself either, this, this is what he loved about food in general was that even at thirty eight years of age it could still surprise him. He felt his eyes close as he savoured the flavour, not actually wanting it to end, even as he licked the corner of his mouth.

Opening his eyes, he reached forward with his hand towards the corner of Claire's mouth before wiping a small smudge of chocolate from there and taking it into his own mouth to clean off. Smiling brightly, not one little bit of innocence left in his gaze at that moment, he said, "I honestly don't mind sharing, if you don't?"

The heat that was twisting in his stomach at that moment, it wasn't one he often ignored and it was one that would usually lead to a fairly decent night - if he did say so himself - he just wasn't going to push that on Claire. He wanted this to be as mutual as possible for the both of them, and not just flame out and die within days of it starting.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:34 pm 
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Claire blinked, surprised at just how blatant Caleb was being with his flirting. Sure, it was pretty obvious which direction things were headed in, but she didn't want to take things too quickly, and for their relationship to be a flash in the pan. However, her surprise turned into a challenging smile. "That sounds like an offer to me," she chuckled, shaking her head. "Maybe we should make plans for it."

It was clear to Claire that Caleb was hiding his insecurities behind humour again, and she couldn't blame him. It had taken a lot of courage for him to admit to having issues with water confidence, and she squeezed his hand to reassure him.

She smiled. "You're welcome, and I promise not to push you in the deep end." Well, at least not until Caleb was more confident in his swimming abilities. Claire had to laugh, though, as Caleb said he'd never been to her apartment. "Nobody's been to my apartment," she stated, her tone simple and straightforward. It was her bolthole, where she went to escape the harsh realities that came with working at the SGC, and, until now, hadn't wanted to invite anyone to see it. She needed something that was hers and hers alone. Now, though... well, she couldn't wait for Caleb to see her home. "Well, seeing as date number two is your choice, how about, for date number three, I cook you dinner at my place?"

As soon as she had said it, she wondered whether it had come across as more of a come-on than a dinner invitation, but she didn't think it would matter in the end. They seemed inexorably set on this course now. It was just a case of what happened when.

Claire grinned as Caleb took the bite of sundae, and she laughed at his moan. "If it only takes some chocolate to make you moan like that..." She trailed off, letting Caleb complete the sentence with whatever danced through his mind. Her eyes followed the flick of his tongue as it licked up a trace of ice cream from the corner of his mouth, and something fizzed in her stomach again.

This was starting to get dangerous.

Even more dangerous as Caleb reached out and touched the corner of her mouth, his eyes locked with hers, before licking that finger clean. It was an intimate gesture that left her squirming. "I think I can stand sharing with you," she said, her voice no longer as steady as it was. The food was the last thing on her mind again.

Claire watched myriad expressions play out over Caleb's face as he watched her, and she idly took another spoonful of brownie. "What are you thinking?"


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:13 pm 
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"Am thinking it is a good job there is a table between us right now," he answered quietly. There were a lot of things he was thinking about right at that precise moment, stuff that he wanted to do to and for Claire, none of them actually public worthy.

He had thought for a moment that he had overstepped some kind of invisible line that had gotten sort of subliminally set up between the two, and he had taken it too far. But he knew, just knew that he would be told straight up if things were getting away from them, or at least he hoped to still have enough brain function left to be able to say no if needed to be.

To Caleb in that moment, it didn't matter how big the world was, all his concentration was being focused on Claire right now. He felt his breath speed up slightly, hands were clammy again and the seat was uncomfortable, but not for one moment would he change that for the world. He took another bite of the chocolate dessert himself, barely tasting it as he kept his eyes locked on hers, his hand tightened slightly in their joined hands, as he swallowed.

Everything was seemingly just slightly heightened right then, the joined hands seemed to him to be emitting their own heat, everything seemed to be slowing in time and then speeding right back up again. The nerves about this being a first date and what could happen at the end of the night had him feeling full and empty all at the same time. It was like his own body couldn't make up it's own damned mind and neither could he.

"Claire," he started more seriously than throughout the night, "I really....that is..." he stopped, it was too hot in the resturant. Too warm and his brain had gone to slight mush, too much flirting seemed to leave him without words. The hand gripped in hers, let go of the hand traced further up her arm, hoping she would get his meaning of exactly what he wanted right then.


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