"He's kinda cute. A little shorter than I like 'em, but cute," Rachel said, stepping into the livingroom after the Scott was up the steps and out of earshot.
Corry shot her an irritated glance. "Whatever happened to Bill?"
"Last month." She plopped down in the recently vacated chair, smiling over at her brother with a distinctly wicked look. "Smells good too. Girlfriend?"
"Not that I know of," Corry sighed. He never knew when she was serious or joking, but this little ribbing could be either. Whatever happened to the sweet little girl that used to play with dolls and dress the cats up? He wasn't sure who he was feeling more protective of... his sister or his roommate. Talk about a tough spot to be in. "What about Rodney
?" he asked, drawing the name out with all of the torment he could wring out of the two syllables.
Rachel made a face, shaking her head. "He was too handsy. Practically pawed me every time we went out."
"Did he?" Corry's eyebrows jumped to the top of his forehead. "Maybe he needs a lesson in how to act on dates..."
"No, I got him good. Dumped him in front of the whole school during lunch one day." She smirked, obviously enjoying the memory. "He's an ass."
"He was the perfect man, last time you wrote me. 'Oh, Andy, he's just so nice and sweet, and he even brought me flowers!'" Now it was Corry's turn to smirk. The idea of some cretin trying to make out with his little sister pissed him off, but the chance to get under her skin was just too good to pass up.
"Ohhh!" Rachel stood and pointed an accusing finger at him. "Andy, you're just as mean as you were when you moved out. Do us all a favor and don't move back anytime soon!" With that, she stomped out, muttering a few obscenities loud enough for him to hear.
"Home sweet home," Corry whispered to himself, grinning an evil grin and kicking back to finish reading the local forecast on the news screen. Seemed like they were in a stretch of clear skies, and in the back of his mind he wondered if he could get away with taking the boat out. True, November on the North Atlantic wasn't exactly prime sailing weather, but by the time good weather came around, he'd probably be starting his internship on some freighter.
He wasn't sure about that. He really did like being an engineer, and it was a job he could live with, but he couldn't imagine spending a great deal of time in space. The off-planet scenarios that they ran more often than not only lasted a week or two, and by the end he was always glad to have Earth back under his feet. The trip to the shipyards in orbit of Mars hadn't been bad, either, but the trip to the surface hadn't been nearly the excitement Corry wanted. It just wasn't home.
"What's the forecast like?"
"Four more days of sunny skies, Dad," Corry answered, offhand, then looked up at the figure in the doorway. People always told him that he looked like his father -- the same blond hair and blue eyes, the same tall, wiry build, even the same smile. When he was a teenager, he hated the comparison. Now, he was beginning to appreciate it... there were far worse people to be like than Aaron Corrigan. "How long're you home for?"
Aaron leaned on the door frame, crossing his arms. "I have to head back out tomorrow, but only for a week. I was thinking of stopping by the campus and visiting."
"I'd like that," Corry chuckled, thumbing the power button for the reader off. "We don't have another simulation scheduled as far as I know, so any time you wanna drop by's okay by me."
"Hear you've made it into the top thirty of your class."
"Better than last year," Aaron said, smiling his approval and somehow making it seem less like a sappy-parent thing and more like a respectful-colleague thing. He was in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, which mostly concentrated on planetary architecture. Last month it had been building a life-support station on Amara VI, this month it had been hollowing out mining tunnels on a stationary asteroid, and next it could be anything. "Plan on keeping it up?"
"Long as Scotty keeps letting me copy his notes," Corry replied, grinning. He was only half-joking, but he wasn't about to tell his Dad that.
Aaron shook his head with a low laugh, turning back to the kitchen, and Corry leaned back in the chair and watched the sunlight creeping across the floor. Thanksgiving Day was never hectic in this household, and he appreciated that. Last Thanksgiving had found him trampling around an abandoned space station with the rest of the cadets, working under a time limit and trying to restore more than emergency life-support. This was preferable.
He wasn't really sure how long he was lost in his own thoughts -- about his career, about his family, about Maggie and where she was spending Thanksgiving or even if her family celebrated it, but the call for dinner pulled him away from it. Standing, he slipped into the kitchen and sat down, and Scott was about three paces behind, looking like some kind of animal about to be sent to the chopping block. Corry debated on sympathy and decided to stick to amusement. "See chair. Sit in chair. Scoot chair to table."
"See Corry. See Corry get beaten. See table go flyin'," was the aside-whispered reply.
Corry beamed a smile at his mother, his father, his sister, mostly trying to cover up the fact that he reached over, viced down on the back of the shorter cadet's neck and forced him down into a chair. It may have been a less than kind thing to do, but then, subtlety wasn't one of his better traits. "Turkey smells terrific, Mom," he said over Scott's low grumble.
"Why thank you, Andy, and when you finish mistreating our guest, please say grace," Melinda answered, not even looking up as she finished setting the different dishes on the table.
"She couldn't have seen that. How'd she see that?" Corry asked quietly, not sure if he was impressed or irritated by the fact that she had.
"Dunno," Scotty replied in a sullen whisper as he rubbed at the back of his neck. He still looked like he was waiting for someone to stick a noose over his head. Well, until Rachel gave him a smile. Then he must have forgotten about the noose, because he went from zero to smitten in under two seconds.
Corrigan just shook his head, waiting until they were all seated. It was damn nice to sit down to a home-cooked meal, without having to worry about what sort of insanity would come next in a typical Starfleet day. Looking on as his mother sat down, and his father finished adjusting his silverwear, and his sister made lovey-eyes at his now stupidly grinning roommate, he thought maybe that it really didn't get much better in life than this.
"Dear Lord, we thank You for bringing us all here together this day, for the food that You provide, for the strength that You give us, and for these moments we all share.
"I just don't get it. Not one damn bit."
Corrigan raised an eyebrow, glancing over at Scott, who was strung out on the recliner and staring forlornly at the ceiling. It wasn't like he hadn't tried to warn the other cadet that Rachel would just lead him on, but then, his advice was never heeded. "I told you so."
"Ye're just so sympathetic, I don't even know what t'do," Scotty shot back, sarcastically, then went back to looking heartbroken. Apparently, spending two whole days following Rachel around like a lovesick puppy, only to get the inevitable brush-off, had devastated him for life. At least to look at him, one would think that.
Corry just sighed. He'd tolerated the whole charade, knowing what the outcome would be, and now he was expected to console someone who had just been asking
to get burned. Someone once told him that young love was terribly fickle, and given how his sister and his roommate were both acting, he honestly had to agree. "Look, she's shallow and you're being silly. What were you expecting, everlasting love? Roses and white dresses and a big ole wedding? Cripes, Scotty, get over it." He wasn't surprised when he didn't get more than a 'hrrmph!' in answer. It wasn't hard to offend Scotty... at least he usually got over it fairly quick.
This time the silence lasted a full three minutes before he heard the muttered, "Bastard." That was another way of saying that Scott couldn't stand being left to his own devices for more time, and needed something to keep his interest; if he didn't have a machine to bury himself in, Corry was the second best distraction. There were more than a few times in the past several months that Corry wondered if maybe the other cadet should have been put on medication for hyperactivity. Or, barring that, somehow hooked up to the power grid -- he could likely run half the eastern seaboard.
"Yes, but where would you be without me?"
"Back at the Academy?"
"Still a third-year trying to pass Basic Language, shunned and miserable, and tripping over your own boots every five minutes," Corry laid out, matter-of-factly. "And I'd be a third-year, trying to pass Year Three SS&D, loved and adored, and not tripping over your boots every five minutes."
"Ye're right, it's all yer bloody fault," Scott chuckled, tipping his head back far enough over the arm rest to peer at Corry upside-down. Putting on an almost desperate voice, he continued, "I shoulda known gettin' mixed up with the likes o' you woulda been trouble. Now here I am, just completely devastated and contemplatin' jumping from a cliff, all because--"
"You have melodrama down to a science."
"I'm insulted. This is genuine, pure, complete heartache! I'm dyin' here, Corry, an' ye just have to go an' twist the knife."
Corrigan glanced over, raising an eyebrow. "If you're heartbroken, pal, I'm Surak of Vulcan."
Apparently Scotty was well over his lovesickness, and grinned. "Nice t' meet ye. Did ye know that I happen to be Bonnie Prince Charlie?"
"And here I thought you were Johnny Walker."
"Just happens to be a tolerable whiskey. I suppose that'd work too."
Corrigan rolled his eyes, fairly amused. "Ye're pathetic."