The Measure of a Man (Day 5 - Morning)

There are times when it’s best to simply keep one’s mouth shut.

While Lyen's opening words brought with them the sting of indignation, Dorian chose not to resort to his usual dark sarcasm. He held his tongue as she had her unfettered say. By the time she’d drawn to her conclusions, he’d foregone his wounded self-righteousness. Instead, the nun’s admitted sense of vulnerability and the strength of her underlying emotions left his own outlook veering between a desire to reassure, and a sense of being overwhelmed.

“That’s quite a lot tah respond tah,” Dorian admitted as he turned to face her. “But Ah’ll try. Frankly, Ah could be wrong, but Ah’ve felt a bond between us fah some time…strong enough tah begin a study of tha kind of spirituality yah espouse. Tha underlyin’ motive fah mah interest is not without a bit of selfishness,” he admitted. “Ah can use all this shiny equipment an’ drug therapies…and Ah do, but there is a spiritual component tah healin’ that Ah can observe. Mah interest is genuine,” he continued, “and Ah’d only considah such an undertakin’ with you.”

He allowed his hands to drop to his sides, bringing the palms to rest upon the treatment table as he spoke. “Tah that end, Ah find touch tah be of equal importance. When she’s not eavesdroppin’,“ he said with a subtle smile, “Serena calls this room ‘tha safest place on tha boat.’ That’s exactly tha sort of trust Ah wish tah foster. As medics, we will touch our patients, and at times, each othah. This mornin’, Ah was tha patient…and Ah trusted Yeva tah practice her skills as a medic…which she did. If those had been yah hands workin’ mah back, that trust would’ve been undiminished. It’s that trust between us,” Dorian emphasized, “that means yah nevah have tah knock when we don’t have a patient on tha schedule.”

He paused, allowing himself a breath and the moment to choose his words. “Yah know what sort of man Ah am, Lyen,” Dorian’s eyes dropped as he spoke. “Ah’ve nevah concealed that from tha crew or mah friends. Ah live a dual existence…at least, that’s what Ah try tah do. Mah exploits on land are well known. Aboard, howevah, Ah try tah maintain a scrupulous difference…tha medic, tha dentist, tha man who runs tha ‘safest place on tha boat.' Ah have a strict personal policy against romantic entanglements with any woman aboard.”

"But now, Ah've broken that rule," he shrugged. “Yah can add ‘hypocrite’ tah that list. A couple days ago, Ah did somethin’ fah tha first time in mah life…Ah told Riley that Ah’d developed feelin’s fah her. Last night, she confirmed her reciprocation.” Dorian shook his head. “Ah’m in uncharted territory, Lyen. When it comes tah Riley Thorne, Ah feel a great loss of control in mah emotions. She means so much tah me…Ah’m a little mortified that Ah’ll do somethin’ tah ruin what we have started.”

His eye soon returned to focus upon her. “You’re mah friend. Now, we’re partners in this practice. Ah’ve admired yah work in this room…delighted in yah company…and even enjoyed tha peace of a good drink, or the solemnity of prayah. You and Riley have both awakened parts of me Ah nevah admitted tah…an’ Ah don’t want tah break her heart, or yours.” He glanced toward the ghostly image on the screen, before taking sight of the nun once more.

“It sounds like we’re both on journeys of discovery,” Dorian offered. “Without yah counsel, and yah friendship, Ah fear Ah'll make some regrettable misstep. Ah would be honored if we took them togethah.”

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