The rose gives her pause, since Arden's been sleeping in her quarters off and on the whole trip from Osiris... but this isn't really his style. Nika picks up the flower and puts it to her nose, inhaling the fragrance for a long moment. Then she puts it into a small glass of water and goes looking for the man who left it, starting with his quarters.
In fact, Christian sits in his bunk, reading a copy of the Story of O on his datapad. He's dressed in a pair of boxers (red silk) and a black, short silk kimono.
When she knocks, Nika waits for his invitation to enter and then steps into the room. Her blue eyes on him are wary and still shuttered. "Thank you," she says quietly. "It's lovely."
Christian glances up. "You deserve it." He says, softly. He presses a button to mark his page and then sets the datapad down. He moves, slipping to the side on his bed so there's space for Nika to sit without being smooshed up against him.
Shaking her head a little bit, Nika doesn't take the proffered seat, choosing instead to lean against the bulkhead next to the bed instead.
Christian pauses, considering his words. "I went too far before. I pushed too hard and I'm sorry."
Leaning against the wall, Nika puts her head back against it as well turning it sideways so that she's looking in his general direction but not quite directly at him. "Too far is... a bit of an understatement," she replies softly. The hurt of what she percieves as what he said runs deep. "You're entitled to your opinion, though, and I did ask you to say what you meant. So if I don't like what I hear, I got nobody to blame but myself."
"I didn't mean what you heard, but that doesn't excuse what happened." Christian's voice is gentle. "That's the problem with human interaction. Words don't always mean the same thing to the person who hears them as they do to the person who says them. I never meant to imply you were a whore, Nika.
Now she does look at him. "Arden is very clear with me about his feelings, and I've been very clear with him about mine. I both like and respect the man, and he is not a replacement for anyone. No matter what you think," Nika says quietly and clearly. "The fact that you think I'm using him somehow bothers me far more than it ought to. I /thought/ you knew me better than that. But maybe I've become overly reliant on your judgment of people."
"We never know ourselves as well as we would like. Our motives are never as clear as they should be." Christian says, "Who knows. Maybe part of what I said was to cause a wedge. Maybe I'm jealous. It is possible."
Nika eyes him, clearly skeptical. "That's ridiculous," she scoffs gently. "You have to have far deeper feelings for someone than you do for me to be jealous."
Christian shrugs his shoulders. "I'm postulating. It is possible. I'm not always sure how deep my feelings for you go."
"I don't understand you," Nika finally says quietly. "On the one hand, you seem so sure of people. And now you're theorizing on your own motives. That doesn't precisely inspire confidence."
Christian chuckles. "It is always easier to define someone else's motives than it is your own, Nika. You must have figured that out by now. I'm guessing it was always easier to know your sister than to know yourself."
Nika eyes him and finally moves to settle in to sit on his bunk, still outside of range to (for example) rest her head on his shoulder, but at least it's a start. "My concern is that you think you know what I want and need, and Rina thinks /she/ knows what I want and need, and the whole damn lot of you are underestimating Arden and getting involved in a relationship that.... really isn't anyone's business. And if it keeps being an issue, I'm just going to have to put an end to it... and I would regret having to do that before Arden and I are both ready for it."
"I don't know what you want or what you need." Christian says, "Except this. You need to question yourself and your motivations. You need to examine why you are doing this. Sex is never just about sex. Even for a Companion. That is all I want. All I have ever wanted you to do in this."
She looks sideways at him. "I feel comfortable enough with my own motives in this and his to continue on as we are for now," Nika replies. "But if you're going to keep at me about Brian, it's going to drive a wedge between me and you. Whatever I have with Brian is what it is. What I have with Arden is not the same relationship, and I wouldn't want it to be -- but it satisfies both of us right now. And it's not merely about the sex, though that's nice enough to have."
Christian nods his head. "Okay." He smiles, "As long as you've looked into your heart and mind and soul about this and you're sure, I'm satisfied."
Nika studies him. The hurt hasn't entirely gone away and likely won't for some time. But she's willing to forgive.
"I'm sorry that our argument went public the way it did," she says mildly. "It's been festerin' for quite some time. Guess I better call off the Russian hit squad," she quips with a faint grin.
Christian laughs. "Public?" He says. "It was caught on video for posterity, Nika." He reaches out and pats her hand. "Don't worry. I can take a little public humiliation."
Nika blushes visibly. "Yeah.... that was just not well handled. I don't...." She hesitates and then confesses with a small smile, "I'm not exactly in best form when I'm right pissed off."
Christian smothers a smile. "Just tell me you forgive me and I'm content."
"I'm gettin' there," Nika tells him with a grin. She can tell he's trying not to laugh -- not like she doesn't know most of her own flaws, after all.
Christian winks and says. "Now, go on. Get out before you're tempted to do something wicked and disrespectful. I'm in lingerie, for gosh sakes!"
Nika rolls her eyes and climbs off the bunk, heading out of his room. "Night, Christian," she says with a smile.