Journey's EndBy Paula
Page 1 of 2
d survive. Now they were finally
sure he would live, everyone had relaxed a little, and Jenna had
decided it was time to confront Blake. She wanted to stay, to be a
part of the crew again, even if it meant having to compete with
Tarrant to be Jabberwocky's main pilot, but she wasn't sure how
welcome she would be. Cally was happy to have her back and even Vila
seemed pleased. As for Avon, well, Avon would never like her very
much, nor she him, but at least they could tolerate each other, and he
had told her that he would not oppose her if she chose to stay. She
knew the truth about Gauda Prime now, and while she still resented
Avon for shooting Blake, she felt she could come to terms with it if
Blake was the problem though. She was sure he wanted her back - most of the time. They would be on the flight deck and he would suddenly turn and smile at her, one of his warm, genuine smiles that convinced her she mattered to him. Then, when given a chance to be alone with her, he would find some task to keep him busy. On Liberator she had finally convinced herself that Blake was opposed to personal relationships because it would complicate things unnecessarily, but here she had seen Blake smile with tolerant amusement when Avon and Cally exchanged an intimate look. Blake approved of their slowly blossoming relationship. Why wouldn't he approve of one for himself? Jenna thought about it. She didn't think Blake was gay, but he had never shown the slightest interest in her. She knew she wasn't unattractive. Both Avon and Vila had made tentative passes at her when they had first got Liberator, Avon suggesting it as a practical business arrangement and Vila looking hopefully for a good time. Though Avon was not her type, she found him physically attractive and she had considered it, but something had held her back. She had refused to let herself take Vila seriously, something she had occasionally regretted when she was alone and lonely at night, suspecting that Vila would be skilled and that he would not expect more of a commitment from her than she was prepared to give. But she held aloof and finally she had realised that it was because of Blake. She hated to think she was in love with him like a teenager with a crush, but something drew her to him, and as long as it was unresolved, it didn't seem right to be with someone else. She missed sex, but she'd held out, and waited, and tried to put herself in Blake's way, done everything but frankly proposition him. Only pride held her back from that - it wasn't that she thought herself above making the first move, it was that a part of her feared he would say no, and she couldn't bring herself to fling her feelings at his feet for him to trample on. It was not that he wouldn't be kind, but kindness would be the worst of all.
But now, here on Jabberwocky, it might be different. She felt she had to try, at least to talk to him about it. If she left now, it wouldn't be taken as anything but the fact that times had changed and she had her own plans to follow. It was now or never.
"Come in." The door slid open for her and Blake looked up to see who it was. He had changed into a casual flowing robe that flattered him, and a part of her suddenly wanted to fling her arms around him and throw caution to the winds, but she didn't. Instead, she said coolly, "Blake, can we talk?"
"Of course. Come in, Jenna. It's good to have you back. I hope you haven't come to tell me you don't plan to stay. I thought you were even starting to get on better with Avon."
"As well as anyone can. You must have the patience of a saint."
"It's not as hard for me as it is for you. In some ways, you and Avon are alike."
"If I didn't know that was true, I would be very angry with you." She smiled. "I'm not keeping you up, am I?"
"No. It's been so hectic lately that it takes me time to unwind at night before I can sleep. Since I unlinked from Jabberwocky, I feel rather alone."
Jabberwocky. She had forgotten the ship's computer. It could form a telepathic link with a member of the crew, joining minds, and Blake had been briefly linked after he had rejoined the crew. Cally had arranged that, to help Blake settle back into position as their leader, but now Tarrant had the link. Avon had pointed out, rather disgustedly, that the Federation had originally designed the ship to link with a pilot, to facilitate control, especially in battle. Jenna rather resented that link with Tarrant; as the more experienced pilot, she would have liked to try it herself. But it might have been damned awkward right now.
"I imagine you would," she said. "Blake, I didn't come to threaten to leave. I haven't decided yet whether I want to stay or not, though."
"How can we convince you?"
She took a step closer to him. "I think you could convince me, Blake."
She thought he misunderstood her deliberately. "It isn't Tarrant, is it? He has right of possession and I don't want to put him out. I rather like him, Jenna. He's a good pilot and he's loyal. He may be hotheaded and rash, but he's learning. I want you to stay though, too. I think the two of you could work it out."
"I'm not worried about Tarrant," she told him. "I can handle Tarrant." She shot him a provocative look. "Don't you think I can?"
Blake laughed. "Knowing you and knowing Tarrant, I'll enjoy the fireworks."
She smiled a little too. "No contest, Blake. I'm not worried about him. I'm more concerned about you."
"Me?" He looked surprised and wary. "What do you mean?"
She slid her arms around his neck. "Do you really not know?"
He reached up to lift her arms away. "Jenna, I don't think this is a good idea."
"It's a good idea for Avon and Cally, isn't it? You said you were rather pleased that they were finally getting together."
"I am," Blake admitted cautiously.
"It's just that you're not interested," she said. "You don't find me attractive?"
"Not find you attractive!" he echoed in disbelief. "You can't believe that."
He seemed so amazed that she would think such a thing that she decided to go for broke. Tightening her grip, she covered his mouth with hers. For a moment, he didn't react at all, then, with a groan, he returned the kiss with all the fervour of a starving man. He kissed her as if he had never wanted a woman more, and it told Jenna everything she needed to know. It also made her cling to him, determination replaced with arousal. With a purring sound of contentment and pleasure, she moved her body against his, arching her hips forward as she felt his erection. He couldn't deny he wanted her now. Her hands tangled in his hair as she deepened the kiss, her tongue probing and thrusting. He responded to that, and their tongues twined together. His hands slid caressingly down her back and he pulled her closer.
Then he thrust her away from him as if he were bored with the whole thing.
She stared at him in furious disbelief. "What was that all about if you aren't interested?" she demanded, her chest heaving with the struggle to restrain her anger and to control her breathing.
"I'm sorry, Jenna," he said in a flat voice.
"You're sorry!" She was furious. "What do you mean, you're sorry?"
"You must have realised why-" he began awkwardly.
"Realised what? I'm not a mind reader, Blake. If there's something wrong with me, tell me. I don't like rejection any more than the next person and I don't like being led on."
"There's nothing wrong with you," he confessed reluctantly. "It's me. Ever since the Federation interfered with my mind back on Earth, I haven't been able to..." His voice trailed off, and he avoided her eyes. "I can't make love to you, Jenna. I'm not able to."
"What do you mean?" she asked, startled. "You can't be impotent, not with that erection. Do you mean-"
"Erection?" he echoed blankly. "But I didn't - I can't-"
"Then I've got a wonderful imagination." She dropped her eyes to his crotch. It was gone now, but she had not imagined it. "Blake, was it physical or psychological?"
"It wasn't physical. I went to a doctor back on Earth. They said nothing was wrong with me. It didn't matter as much then, not really. It didn't matter until you came aboard Liberator. Why do you think I held you off? It wasn't because I wanted to."
"I thought you were too wrapped up in your Cause to let yourself become involved with me."
He shook his head. "No, Jenna. I wanted you almost from the first, but I didn't want this to happen with you. It wasn't that I didn't want you. I knew I couldn't make love to you and I didn't want to chance it and fail."
"But if there was no physical cause, then it could have been tied in with the suppressants you were being given or even with your memory loss," she pointed out. "The reasons might not be valid any more. You were reacting to me now until you stopped to think about it. It felt wonderful. Blake, I'd like to try."
"I owe you more than failure, Jenna."
"I don't believe you'll fail. You're not the type who fails. And even if you can't manage it this first time, we don't need to rush. There'll be other times. Just don't send me away. I only wish you'd given me a chance before."
He looked at her helplessly. "A part of me wanted to. But I think I believed that if I failed I'd lose some of my authority."
"You won't," she promised him. "And I won't walk away from you, Blake. I want you."
"And I want you." He pulled her back into his arms and kissed her again.
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