Deck 2 – Combat Information Center
Leanna couldn't wait any longer. It was time to face Kelly and talk about what they did. The elevator doors opened.
The crew was going about their business as usual. There was nothing to suggest anyone knew anything more than they should about their Commander's personal life. A few people looked up at the doors as they opened, saw Leanna, smiled or nodded, then turned back to their work.
Leanna breathed a sigh of relief. The confidence she had lost since she woke up was returning. There was just one last thing to do.
"Kelly," she called as she approached the Yeoman's station.
Kelly turned nonchalantly, "Yes Commander?"
"I need to speak with you. Privately."
"Certainly Commander. The briefing room has been fully repaired; we can talk in there if you wish."
"Lead the way."
Leanna followed Kelly through the doors to the Armory. Jacob wasn't in his customary place. Probably spending more time with Kasumi, she smiled to herself. The pair continued through the inner corridor and into the briefing room.
As the doors shut behind her, Leanna thought just how impressed she was at how professional Kelly was acting. That was, until Kelly locked her in a full body embrace.
Leanna couldn't move or speak out of sheer shock as Kelly told her, "I'm sorry Commander; I could barely contain myself until we got here." She then started to kiss Shepard passionately.
It took Leanna a full minute to recover. She gently tried to push Kelly away. "Kelly, please. Stop. I… we really need to talk."
Kelly stopped kissing her, but didn't let go completely. "I'm listening Shepard. I always am."
Leanna struggled herself free. "I think I may have given you the wrong idea."
"What do you mean?" Kelly was now starting to sound nervous.
"I'm just… not interested in you… that way."
"I don't understand."
"I mean I'm not looking for a romantic relationship."
"I'm fine with a purely physical one." Kelly advanced slightly.
"That's not…" Leanna was exasperated, "you're missing the point!"
"The point? I've been… All the flirting! You rescued me! And I know you find me attractive!"
"Of course I rescued you; you are part of my crew! I saved Gardner, and Chakwas, and Ken and Gabby, and everyone else on this whole damn ship! And I know I have a problem with flirting. It's a flaw I've been trying to work on."
"But what about last night? Those things you said?"
"Kelly, I don't remember anything I said or did last night. I had to watch Cerberus surveillance footage just to figure out what we were doing. Whatever I said, whatever I did, I'm sorry but, I didn't mean it about you."
"Is it because I'm a girl?"
"Admit it!" Kelly screamed, tears in her eyes. "You can't stand the fact you woke up in bed with a girl! You're just as close minded as…"
"Goddamnit Kelly! I'm a Lesbian!"
"A Lesbian: I prefer girls."
"I… I didn't know. I'm sorry." Kelly sat in the closest chair. "I shouldn't have leaped to conclusions like that."
"Look, it's not your fault. It's not something they put in Alliance military records, and I've worked hard to keep my personal life separate from… everything else."
Kelly dried her tears on her sleeve. "Why is that?"
Leanna leaned back on the table as she searched for the words to say. "The thing is, I've loved, and I mean head over heels, spend the rest of our lives together love, exactly two women in my life. The first died in front of me, the second had to watch me die."
"Who was it that died?"
"She was," Leanna hung her head, "my commanding officer. I joined her company out of basic training. We were sent to check on a science team we'd lost contact with on Akuze. The camp was a ghost town, but we stuck around and set up camp so we could find out what happened to them.
"Night came, and I went to her tent. I told her how I felt about her, and she told me she felt the same way. We made love in her tent and fell asleep in each-other's arms.
"I don't know how long we slept before the ground started shaking. The two of us ran outside the tent, and that's when the Thresher Maws came out.
"The first to go was the very tent I was supposed to be in. If I hadn't gone to…" Leanna gritted her teeth, "I'd be dead."
Kelly brought her hand up to her now open mouth in shock.
"Every tent was destroyed in a matter of minutes. About five of us managed to make it out in time, but we weren't safe yet. We had to make it to the landing zone and the Maws weren't letting up. They picked us off one-by-one until the only ones left were the Commander and Myself.
"We were about 2 klicks from the landing zone. We could see the shuttle. That was when the biggest Thresher I've ever seen came out of the ground. Bigger than the one on Tuchanka. One look between us and we knew we wouldn't both make it.
"She grabbed me, kissed me, and told me she loved me. Then she gave me the most powerful Biotic blast I've ever been hit with. I landed within five feet of the shuttle. Two marines scooped me up and pulled me into the ship. Then we left."
"That's terrible!" Kelly stood up. "Are… are you crying?"
Leanna reached up to her eye. A single tear had managed to escape. "I haven't… I've never talked about it before… out loud anyway."
Kelly approached her, "What do you mean, 'out loud anyway'?"
"Well, it was a while before I could let someone in again. I had a bad habit of flirting to cover my insecurities, to the point where I wound up misleading Kaidan into thinking I had feelings for him," Leanna smiled lightly, "but then I met her."
"No," Shepard chuckled, "Ash and I were just friends. It was Liara T'Soni. She was so sweet and innocent and I just wanted to hold her tight and keep her safe. But she was so much more than that. The more I got to know her, the more I fell in love with her.
"When I said out loud, I mean I didn't tell her about it like this. When we bonded though, she saw everything. Every moment of my life, laid bare. I gave up all I was to her and she to me. It was like a million nights of pillow talk in just a few minutes.
"And then I died. Two years pass, and I've come back. I'm still the same person I was when I left, but she's changed so much. I can't… I have to…"
Kelly held Leanna. Not a romantic embrace as before, but a comforting one. "I understand."
After a moment, Leann pulled back. She hadn't a single tear since her first, but she appreciated the hug.
"Listen, I want you to know that I'll always be here for you, but I won't stand in your way. If Liara still feels the same way about you, then I wish you nothing but happiness, but if she doesn't, then I'll be here for you."
"Thank you, Kelly."
"In the meantime, I do have some good news for you."