Chapter 4, part 1
Day 7, 2330 hours
Returning to her quarters, Megan immediately took off her dress. She felt so energetic she didn’t feel like sleeping, so she put on her day clothes instead. When she was done changing, she thought she heard a faint splash which had come from Nog’s quarters. It seemed Nog and Ackterial were making out in the pool, very very passionately.
Megan smiled to herself and she hoped Nog was having fun. She then suddenly remembered about her desire to swim, so she picked up her thermal drier device, and her chronometer out of a draw next to the bed, and proceeded to the bathroom. Day or night the bathroom looked the same, she checked the swimming pool and noticed that one end was shallow, stepped and came to about two feet, it then sloped downwards to about six feet at the other end. For a swimming pool inside one’s quarters this was generously sized, it was about ten metres long and six metres wide.
She walked over to the shallow end of the pool, she carefully placed her thermal drier device and chronometre onto the floor, and she then checked what she was wearing. Her blue short sleeved shirt and white trousers were somewhat baggy and very opaque, the last thing Megan wanted was to come out of the pool and the shirt she was wearing became partially see-through. Even in private, she had a strict sense of decency and restraint. With everything sorted out, Megan took off her shoes and socks, and then slowly entered the pool.
The water was pleasantly warm, unlike in the lakes in the Appalachian mountains. Megan walked in until she was waist high, it was a nice sensation feeling her trousers billow around somewhat in the water. Finally the urge to swim became so great, that she dived in and swam close to the floor and right over to the deep end. It felt so liberating speeding through the water, as it brushed against her skin. She rose sharply upwards and her head broke the surface of the water, she breathed in deeply, feeling immensely rejuvenated. She trod some water, before doing some laps at top speed.
After a few dozen laps Megan was sitting on the steps at the lower end of the pool. Her arms and legs were somewhat achy, though she wasn’t surprised, as she hadn’t used those muscles in such a way for years. She remembered that at Starfleet Academy she was something of a swimming champion and she held the academy record for holding one’s breath underwater.
Megan then glanced at her chronometre, she realized she could time herself and see for just how long she could hold her breathe. She did this purely out of vain curiosity, besides she was on vacation and doings mindless things like this was all part of the idea.
Taking hold of the chronometre, Megan decided to see just how water-proof it was. She walked halfway along the pool, where the depth was about four feet. This was important since when holding one’s breathe for so long, she knew it was that vital that the person could simply stand up to resurface. With all the lactic acid in the muscles from low oxygen the person could only do one major physical movement before the muscles seized up from oxygen deprivation.
After readjusting the settings on her chronometre, Megan remembered the techniques she had learnt at the academy to hold one’s breath underwater. Breathing deeply, she then submerged, while her hand loosely clenched the chronometre. She kept her eyes open and became as still as possible, gazing aimlessly at the blurry vision under the water…
Bashir had just left his quarters to visit Megan, dressed in his night clothes. He and Mela had got passionate and made love for a very long time, and physically Bashir felt very content. Though mentally a voice in the back of his head was telling him that this was simply a transitory pleasure, and in a few days time he would not be seeing Mela again…
He brushed that thought aside, right now he was going to Megan’s quarters because Max had told him to keep on eye on Megan and to make sure she was having fun. Bashir thought this was a bit excessive, but as a doctor he valued everyone's physical and mental well-being, and as such was partial to Max's suggestion.
Standing outside of the door to Megan’s quarters, Bashir knocked once. There was no answer, though it was midnight and Megan was probably sleeping. “Megan, can you here me?”
He waited for a moment, there was no response and this worried Bashir, if Megan were sleeping then she would have woken up and eventually responded to the knock on the front door. Against his better judgement Bashir took out a master key (a key that could open all the doors to the hotel's rooms, which he had received from Mela) and opened the door. He knew how Megan valued her privacy, and if this was a false alarm then he was about to get a right mouthful from Megan.
Walking into the living room he looked around and saw Megan wasn’t there, so Bashir proceeded to the bedroom, Megan wasn’t in that room either. Clearly she was in the bathroom.
Cautiously, Bashir knocked on the bathroom door. “Megan, are you in there?”
There was no response, and Bashir started to get apprehensive, unless Megan had left her quarters for some reason she could only be in the bathroom. He knocked again more loudly. “Megan, can you hear me?”
Still there was no response, fearing the worst Bashir decided to enter the bathroom; now he was definitely intruding into Megan’s privacy. He opened the door and looked around, he noticed some rod like device on the left side of the pool. Suddenly Bashir did a double take, there was Megan submerged in the pool and she was simply sitting there. The water was so still, and he could see her figure quite clearly.
Bashir felt himself panicking, there was no sign that Megan was going to surface, and it seemed she had been underwater for a long time. Small air bubbles were coming to the water's surface, so Megan was still alive. There could only be one explanation; Megan was trying to drown herself. But Bashir could not allow Megan to do that, he was supposed to protect a patient’s life, sometimes even against their own wishes. Without hesitation he dived into the pool…
As Megan remained submerged, she suddenly noticed the disturbance in the water, and looking to her right she saw somebody coming towards her. This person then grabbed firmly onto her shoulders and lifted her upwards. Megan struggled with all her might and she was absolutely livid, why had this person just invaded her privacy?
When the two surfaced, Megan turned around and saw it was Bashir. Right now she was so furious at him. “What the hell are you doing in here?” she shouted.
Bashir was sopping wet, but his face looked very nervous. “You were in the water so long, I thought you were drowning-”
“You idiot I was holding my breathe underwater, I was practicing the techniques I had learnt in the Starfleet Academy survival course!”
Realizing his mistake, Bashir looked very embarrassed. “I'm sorry...” he said in a quiet voice.
Some of Megan’s anger ebbed. “You think I was trying to kill myself didn't you?”
Bashir looked mightily awkward. “Well at the time I thought you were.”
Megan bristled with indignation. “However emotionally hurt I may be doctor-”
“Please just call me Julian,” said Bashir.
“Julian, whatever, I am not suicidal! Anyway why did you come to my quarters in the first place? And how did you get inside without a key?”
With every moment that passed, Bashir looked more and more embarrassed. “Well about the key, I've got a master key-it can open up any room I like, just a little something Mela gave me. Now erm... about why I came here... Max asked me to check up on you, that's why I came here just to make sure you won't erm... upset.”
The anger that burned inside Megan faded, Bashir was simply looking out for her, but their timing and actions had been most unfortunate. “That's kind of him, I'm sorry I got so angry, it's just I value my privacy you know.”
There was a long pause between the two, and Bashir was simply staring into Megan’s eyes. Now it was Megan’s turn to feel embarrassed, she realized that Bashir was attracted to her, it was that look of love in his eyes.
Megan hadn’t realized just how close she was to Julian, she was less than two feet away from him. One part of Megan wanted to move closer and kiss his lips, this was the first time she had ever felt intimate with a man since leaving Jack.
Almost as soon as she had those intimate feelings, she quickly quashed them. This was lust not love, and she had to make this clear to Bashir before he kissed her first. Otherwise it would next to impossible for her to resist against him.
“Listen erm... Julian, don't you have Mela waiting for you in your quarters?”
Bashir looked disappointed. “Of course...”
He promptly moved away from Megan, and left the pool. Megan did the same, and kept a certain distance from Bashir.
Bashir looked really awkward, as the water dripped down off his body onto the floor. “I’m totally soaked.”
Megan stooped down, took the thermal drier and passed it Bashir. “Here, use this to dry down.”
As Bashir dried himself, the thermal drier simply evaporated the water as he passed it over his body.
After about a minute, Bashir was bone dry and it looked like the whole pool incident had never happened, he then passed to Megan the thermal drier.
There was an awkward silence between the two, and when Megan was completely dry, Bashir finally broke the silence. “Thanks a lot, Mela would have asked some awkward questions if I had arrived back soaked to the skin.”
“She would probably think that you and I had made love in the pool,” said Megan jokingly.
Bashir didn’t laugh, and he looked seriously into Megan’s eyes. “Erm... back there, in the pool-”
“Nothing happened okay? Whatever you felt, for me romance or an intimate relationship is out of the question, I could be your friend but that is all.”
Bashir recognized the rejection, he looked somewhat forlorn. “Of course, anyway I must get back to my quarters.”
Once Bashir was gone, Megan returned to her bedroom and slumped onto the bed. For a moment back there in the pool she was very tempted to simply kiss Bashir, and to be intimate. All she felt was confusion, after the ordeal of Tau Primia and Jack’s betrayal, she never expected to be intimate with another man so soon.
One part of her was afraid of being intimate, she wasn’t sure that she was ready for an intimate relationship with another man, not after what Jack and Bordak did to her... They had destroyed her ability to trust a man whom she was romantically involved with, it didn’t matter how well-intentioned, honest or truthful that man would be, there would always be that part of her too afraid to trust.
Though another more powerful reason for rejecting Bashir was her strong sense of decency and honour. If she made love to Bashir, then she would be hurting Mela's feelings, and that would be very wrong.
A strange thought entered Megan’s mind, she suddenly wished that it was Max who had entered the pool and not Bashir. She didn’t understand why that thought popped up, and she began to wonder if she had feelings for Max. After a moment’s thinking, she convinced herself that all of this was in her head. She had been tempted by a brief infatuation, which was simply an urge to have sex with Bashir, and she had the decency to restrain herself.