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((OOC: This JP with Noelle has been in google drive for a LONG time. So it is finally time to post it )) (( Quarters D'Sena )) The announcement about the Vacation planet had been ship wide, so Akeelah had heard it too. She couldn't imagine that the planet was suitable for her visit in the wheelchair and she was not yet stable on her legs. But what had really occupied her mind since then was the invitation towards families. Her own family was too busy to get all the way out here and the only family that she wanted to see even more was across the galaxy on Starbase 118. She sat behind her desk, the small box in her hand open, displaying a Jade ring she had not yet sent back to Jack. It had been surprisingly had for her to do so because it felt like she had a piece of him here. Her mind went back to several months ago when he had sent it to her. (( Flashback - about a year ago )) ((Starbase -118)) There’s a lot of work that goes into planning a wedding. Seriously - like a lot. And with so much distance it’s astronomical. At least for most people. However this was Jack Gard and Akeelah D’Sena we’re talking about. There were things to decide, however, both big and small. Decision of big and little consequence. First and foremost, the ring… something not so easy. Jack had gone to various little shops looking for just the right ring. Something that said… Something that was ‘Akeelah’. Which seemed harder then he had originally thought. They were too small, too flashy, too… everything. Anything. Nothing was right. Computer replicas, by the thousands, took to long to sift through causing him to abandon such endeavors. It was bordering on frustrating. Why couldn’t he find what he wanted? It wasn’t until he received a little package in the mail. In a hand made box with ornate oriental patterns all about it. It was small and could have easily gotten lost, and yet many took care to bring it to his personal quarters, hand delivered. He sat quietly, simply looking at the box. Jack knew who it was from, the only people in his life who would send such a box. What he didn’t know was what was inside it. He took a sharp breath in, held it for a long moment while his hands reached out. One on the lid the other hold still the rest. Like a bandaid, he opened it swiftly. There was cotton-like material stuffed inside. He curiously pulled out the stuffing, a small clater fell on his table top. His heart nearly skipped a beat, as his eyes fell upon the small jade rings laying tied together. Those were the wedding bands that belonged to Tabby’s grandparents, before they renewed their vows and gave each other two new rings. These were old pieces of jewelry, handed down to each generation. It had been discussed that Jack and Jessica were to get them. But he had been stubborn, insisting on something new, bright and dazzling. Believe it or not, but he had been a bit foolish in his younger years from time to time. He swallowed hard, picking them up and holding them in the palm of his hand. They felt… heavy. This was not only approval of the marriage, but also an unspoken question to carry on their tradition, to keep their part of the family apart of his… apart of Tabby’s. He squeezed them tightly as his chest clenched too. It had been a long time since he thought of his passed wife. Was it selfish? Foolish of him to let his mind wonder to her, knowing he was working getting to ready to marry another… he hoped she would be happy for him, that he’d finally moved on and found such happiness and joy. He would send them to Akeelah, seeking her approval. There was no way for him know if she would see the honor or the taboo in keeping the rings. He wrote her a long letter, talking of all sorts of things; his had, how Tabitha was doing, and school. He asked her of her day and her health. And at the very end, before signing off, he asked her about the rings. . ((USS Constitution, Marchlands, Akeelah D’Sena’s personal quarters - a little while later)) It had been a busy day full of work and rehab. Akeelah had finally returned to her quarters. She had gotten used to gauging the distance between the wheels of her chair and the doorframes or the furniture. Such a long time in this thing would do that. As always her first way was to the desk in the corner, where she pressed a button to activate a small holoimage that flickered into existence. The piercing warm eyes of Jack looked right at her, beneath him the sparkling bright eyes of his daughter Tabby. Akeelah smiled gently, running her fingers through the apparition, tickling over her skin as they went right through it. Computer: One message waiting. The reminder of the computer, which had noticed she was around, pulled her out of her melancholy. She missed both of them. D’Sena: Play message. Computer: One delivery for Akeelah D’Sena has been placed on the table. She pulled her brows together and turned her head, noticing the small package on the table top. While she wasn’t a big fan of strangers entering her quarters without her being here, she appreciated that the delivery had not been delayed or taken back to the service offices. Placing her hands on the the wheels of her chair she moved to the table and picked up the small package. Opening it she found a letter first and a smile played around her lips as she recognized Jack’s handwriting on the paper. It was as if she could hear his voice, telling her about his day, all the things that he and Tabby did. Her cheeks flushed at some parts that went into a lot of detail about how much he missed her. She couldn’t pretend that she didn’t feel the same way. As the letter prompted her to open the package inside, she pulled it out and opened the box, revealing two circular objects made of a green shiny stone. She pulled one of them out and noticed that they were heavier than expected, the light from the ceiling reflected on the smooth surface. D’Sena: ::mumbling:: Beautiful… but what is it? She went back to read the letter and her brows raised when she read the explanation Jack had included. Her eyes went back to the rings, forehead furrowed in confusion. D’Sena: Computer, what is the meaning of wedding rings? Computer: In various cultures a wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring that indicates that its wearer is married. It can be manufactured from various materials. Depending on culture, a wedding ring is typically worn on the base of the left or right ring finger. Many spouses wear their wedding rings day and night, causing an indentation in the skin that is visible even when the ring is removed. Certain cultures consider it unlucky to remove a wedding ring once it has been placed - D’Sena: Stop. ::She watched the ring curiously.:: Why is it important? Computer: Due to their design wedding rings are seen as a symbol of eternal love and has been an emblem of love through time, a symbol of devotion and an agreement between two parties to love and cherish one another. D’Sena: Huh… It was the first time she actually had heard about wedding rings. The time off her own home planet had been limited to the Academy, the Apollo and the Constitution. She was aware of married couples, but hadn’t known that they wore something to show their unity. Since Rodulans didn’t marry this was all new to her. She still held the ring between her fingers and in the spur of the moment pushed it on her left ring finger. Raising her hand, she looked at the contrast between the jade green and the dark skin. The heavy material did its own to make her realize that something was on her finger. She could imagine it to be a constant reminder of her bond with Jack. Was this why people wore these? She couldn’t help but smile. D’Sena: Computer, establish connection to Lieutenant Jack Gard, Starbase 118. The computer beeped in compliance and the screen popped into a rotating Starfleet logo. Since it had to go through all kinds of relays she knew there would be a delay but she didn’t mind those few seconds of waiting between answers. Gard: ::somewhat concerned:: Akeelah? ::he scanned her face. He hadn’t expected to hear from her.:: Is everything alright? D’Sena: What? Can’t I call my fiancée out of the blue? His features softened, giving her one of his ‘just for you’ smiles. It was nice - more than nice really. Gard: Fiancée? ::he teased her lightly.:: D’Sena: I looked up the term. I used it right, didn’t I? ::She was worried to have learned the wrong term for a moment.:: Gard: ::a single nod.:: Yes, you did. ::he assured her.:: D’Sena: Good. ::Relief washed through her:: I got your package. Ah, so that was the reason for the call. They were from two different worlds - meaning there were differences and one could make the other uncomfortable if they were cautious. Gard: And? ::he asked.:: D’Sena: Did you buy them? Gard: No, ::he sighed slightly.:: Tabby’s grandparents gave them to me. D’Sena: Your parents? Gard: No… ::he repeated.:: Her mother’s parents. ::hesitantly.:: Akeelah tilted her head ever so slightly, a gesture that anyone but Jack wouldn’t even have noticed. D’Sena: Are these the rings you and your late wife wore? There was no judgement or anger in the words, just sheer curiosity. Gard: No, we didn’t take them at the time. ::curiously.:: does it fit? She looked down to her hand, the ring embracing her finger was out of camera view. With a material like that changing the size would have been hard, and how big was the chance of it actually fitting like that? It was like it was made for her. She raised her eyes again and then her hand followed, showing him the jade ring on her finger in a beautiful contrast to her dark skin. D’Sena: It fits perfectly. Gard: ::better question.:: Are they acceptable? The gaze of her pitch black eyes softened, something only noticeable when one had spend a lot of time looking into Rodulan eyes. She knew he tried hard. Since her people didn’t marry they both didn’t have a script to go by. There was no example on how to deal with these two cultures and traditions entering this kind of situation. All they had was their love and their compromises to make this special for both of them. D’Sena: They are beautiful. He was relieved. Part of it because he couldn’t seem to find anything he liked better and partly because of what it meant to Tabby’s grandparents. Jack offered a soft smile in return. He wished he could see her in person, how he missed her. There was a Terran saying that fit this feeling: distance made the heart grow fonder. He must have gotten lost in thought as she spoke up again. Her voice low with a hint of the emotion that bubbled just beneath her surface. If he hadn’t known her so well, he might have noticed. D’Sena: ::Lowering her hand again:: I will return the box to you, to keep them until we need them. Gard: Is there anything you’d like - something specific from your world or beliefs in regards to the wedding? They hadn’t had much chance to talk about such things in details. So it was a lot of guess-work and trying to find a happy balance. While he’d gone through the process once before, Akeelah was a different woman and her needs were vastly different from his first wife. Something he appreciated. D’Sena: My people do not have traditions or rituals like weddings. ::She thought:: But we have a bonding ceremony. Since I honour your traditions, maybe we can implement some of mine. Gard: Absolutely. ::as if she really needed to ask.:: I just need to know what. Akeelah began to speak of her own traditions and Jack listened to her description of something she wished to bring into their wedding. It would be a mixture of Terran and Rodulan and them. Which seemed more than fitting. He smiled softly as she explained yet another facet of her people’s culture. Gard: I think that will fit nicely. D’Sena: I am glad. He gave a long pause, studying her face. Memorizing her features. It would be some time still till he could be close to her. Before he could hold her again. Distance was a terrible thing in reality. D’Sena: I wonder where your thoughts are. If he had been here, she would know. But this was how things were right now. He had duty to uphold far away. Gard: Hmmm? ::He was pulled from his inner thoughts.:: I’m sorry - I was just thinking about … how much I wish there wasn’t so much distance between us. ::he admitted.:: D’Sena: ::A more open smile, she placed her hand on the screen.:: I wish the same. I can't wait to see you again in person. ((/Flashback )) She took a deep breath and brushed her fingertips over the smooth surface of the ring. She missed him so much it was painful. But it would be worth it in the end. If the time apart had shown her one thing it was that her heart didn't easily change. Maybe someday soon she could tell him in person. ---- Lieutenant Jack Gard Engineer simmed by Lieutenant Commander Nijil Executive Officer Starbase 118 Ops USS Narendra A239202RH0 & LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena Security Officer - Momentarily off duty simmed by Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0