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JP Lt. Shayne and Lt. Pond: Marriage Miscommunication


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((Deck 7, Shayne and Pond’s Quarters, USS Atlantis))

::Something was bothering the love of his life.::

::Shayne’s back complained insistently as he hefted yet another box from the towering stack that still remained in his and Pond’s shared quarters aboard the Atlantis . It never seemed to diminish. They’d been at it for hours, but there was always another collection of things to move, place, or shove forcefully out of the way. Such tedium would normally be demoralizing, but then he would remember the reason for this extra labor, and he would lose his rancor immediately. After all, Isa needed her stuff moved in as well, and Shayne was only too happy to oblige.::

::As he observed her, however, it was clear that she was troubled. She had the look of someone wondering how to best broach a difficult subject. They didn’t normally have issues discussing anything. Secrets were not conducive to romances. Besides that, she seemed highly uncomfortable. She’d look at him when she thought he couldn’t see, and dart her eyes away as if caught in the middle of an uncouth act. He hadn’t seen her this disconcerted since their relatively recent visit to her family on Trill.

((Flashback 1, a few months ago, Pond residence, Leran Manev, Trill))

::Shayne stood in dismay as Isabel disappeared up the stairs, leaving the helmsman alone with her parents. Not even in his worst nightmares had he imagined something like this happening. And now he was left alone to maneuver the treacherous nor’easter of meeting the girlfriend's parents for the first time.::

Raffa: Isn’t she lovely… I am Raffa, and that’s…

Kylani: ::interrupting:: I’m Kylani, very nice to meet you.

::What an odd couple. They seemed well paired, if not slightly adversarial. Raffa seemed content to render Kylani into the shadows, but Kylani herself was not nearly as ready to allow Raffa to relegate her to a corner.::

Shayne: Randal Shayne- a pleasure to meet you.

Kylani: Can I offer you something refreshing?

::Alcohol- at least at this juncture- would be a dreadful idea. He never touched the stuff when his wits were needed, and in this most delicate situation, wits were the only thing that could help end this evening quickly and decently.::

Shayne: Erm, water would be lovely-

::Kylani immediately turned and headed into the kitchen area. Perhaps she was one of those exceptionally energetic people.::

Raffa: So you’re from Earth, right? We lived for a long time there, before Kylani got pregnant. Hence Isabel’s name… I guess you’re in Starfleet, too, aren’t you? Where else would Isa met someone like you…

((End Flashback))

::He shivered at the unfortunate memories, and again turned his attention to Isabel. As she put down another box and straightened her spine, Shayne gently took hold of her hand and looked her in the eye, curious and kind.::

Shayne: Babe, is there something you want to talk about?

::Maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t. But this surely was not any of these matters where one could ask to talk about it. It was much too delicate and too important. One had to voluntarily reveal the opinion of it to be strictly truthful, of that Isabel was sure.::

Pond: Uhm, not really. But I sure hope that nickname isn’t going to stick.

::He hid his embarrassment with a smile. Pond wasn’t the type for cute, silly nicknames, and Shayne had forgotten that in his haste to comfort her against something that wasn’t there.::

Shayne: Absolutely not.

::He continued his unboxing with his face bright red, but still grinning. Something was on her mind.::

::After the matter was settled without coming to any conclusive results about what it was that Isabel bothered, the Trill tried some careful advances from her side.::

Pond: ::casually:: What were you thinking about?

Shayne: The dinner with your parents. I still have nightmares. ::Shaking his head.:: You remember it?

Pond: ::laughing, emptily:: Of course I remember. My dad had known you for ten seconds and already almost blurted out the most embarrassing story of my later youth…

::Too late Isabel realised that Randal probably had already forgotten about that. After all, Raffa had barely been able to start with that before her storming off to the upper floor.::

::He cringed anew as the memories swept through him. Just once, violating the temporal prime directive didn’t sound so appalling- he might be able to redo the dinner.::

Shayne: I was really trying to forget about that…

::There was a way of getting out of it once again, presenting itself. It probably would have been better to get things cleared out right there, who knew what Randal was imagining. However, clearly he wasn’t interested in doing that and Isabel moved on.::

Pond: Oh common, it was nothing. ::laughing:: And it was not the only story that evening that nobody wanted to hear!

((Flashback 2, a few months ago, Pond residence, Leran Manev, Trill))

::After a while, Isabel returned downstairs. She felt quite bad for leaving Shayne that abruptly with her parents alone, but her father’s comment had been just too much. Now, she had calmed down over the nice view of the bay from the bedroom and was ready to face whatever monstrosities her dad’s humour would have in store for her.::

::She found them at the kitchen table. Randal had somehow acquired himself a glass of water while her parents were drinking bajoran wine, as always. The father was just telling some stories from his time on earth, which surely would lead (after a considerable amount of time) to the time when he would meet Kylani, getting married and probably even conceiving Isabel.::

Raffa: … I lived in a district near London, called “Caldwell”. You know, it is one of these places that is in a constant cycle of being considered a bad neighborhood, becoming a place to be and then fall back again. Naturally over a couple of decades, of course. When I arrived, doing the last semester of engineering school on a foreign world, it was just on the brink. Not that bad anymore, but still cheap. Can you believe it, my buddy moving in across the street paid five times as much just three years later! Five times! ::Raffa shook his head, as if he was believing his own exaggerations:

::Shayne applied every scrap of will power toward keeping eye contact with the rambling Trill. He could barely stand to listen to this tirade while Isa was secluded upstairs, the result of Raffa’s insensitive words. But in the pursuit of propriety, he’d wait until she appeared again. After that, he didn’t know what he’d do. It rather depended on Isa’s bearing.::  

Shayne: ::Giving an empty smile.:: There’s something to be said for financial prudence.

Raffa: It was at the graduation party half a year later when I’ve met this young woman over here, just a freshman at the most renowned law schools in the area, but…

::Isabel made as loud of an entrance as possible, shuffling some glasses around while getting herself something to drink.::

::He jerked up, delighted to see that Isabel had reappeared. Her storming away in a huff made him realize just how deeply her father’s words had stung, and until know, he didn’t know if she’d return at all. But it appeared that she had found some sort of inner peace. That was just as well- now Shayne would have someone to share the torment with.::

Pond: Dad, don’t bore my boyfriend with the whole story, that is no way to behave on the first day.

Raffa: ::mocking:: At least better than abandoning him after 30 seconds, mind you.

Shayne: ::Unable to stop the thought from crossing his mind.:: oO Oh, shut up, you insensitive fool! You’re the one who drove her away! Oo

::Raffa glanced at his daughter, obviously judging if there was a chance for her to take the bait a second time. But she appeared to be all calmed down now. However, there was still a slight pause which had to be filled.::

::Shayne was furious, but he didn’t like the way Raffa was looking at his daughter. No matter how much he’d like to loosen the grip on his emotional reins, he knew he had to try and keep focused.::

Shayne: You...were telling me about your marriage.

::If there was one thing he’d learned from this whole mess, it was that Raffa enjoyed speaking. At great length. Whether he wanted him to or not.::

Raffa: ::With a sigh:: Ah well, it is such a lovely story how we were getting married…

((End Flashback))

::Of course, the had been no way to stop Isabel’s father to tell the story anyway. Isabel had to be contented with the mere satisfaction of forcing him to tell the second or third shortest variant.::

::At that point, Isabel had an idea that could lure Randal out into the open. It involved some truth bending on how much she liked that story herself, though.::

Pond: It is a lovely story though, isn’t it?

::He looked at his girlfriend, aghast. What had she said? How could she like the story? She actively encouraged her father to tell the abridged version. He could see his loathing for the whole thing reflected in her eyes. What did she mean?::

Shayne: ::Chuckling to voice his confusion.:: No. It bored the both of us to tears- you remember that.

Pond: Ah well, you remember that, too. ::only slightly getting off track:: But it is about love and passion and after all, I have never seen anybody that happily married.

Shayne: Well, I suppose it had its moments. Are you talking about something specifically?

Pond: Uh noo, not at all. ::Slight pause, then an excited outbreak:: Hey, do you remember the next embarrassing thing? ::now realising that excitement was the wrong emotion, Isabel changed it to something more appropriate.:: We must have won an award back then…

::Shayne cringed as his thoughts continued upon their treacherous, torturous stroll down memory lane…::

((Flashback 3, a few months ago, Pond residence, Leran Manev, Trill))

Raffa: So, Mr Shayne, how long did you say you and Isa are together? I am afraid our daughter is not very industrious while writing letters.

::Isabel gave him a crooked smile, which was her way to take that as a compliment.::

Shayne: Oh, um… it’s been some time. Bordering on a couple of years now, wouldn’t you say? ::Looking at Isa.::

Raffa: Wow, that’s about the time when it gets serious! So when are you planning to marry her?

::His daughter’s eyes went from “I have everything under control” to “and what’s my saying in that?” within a moment, but her mother was quicker on the response.::

::Shayne’s eyes bugged out at Raffa’s statement. This wasn’t possible. Why was he facing this? Why couldn’t Isabel’s parent be more sensitive? Most fathers- in his painfully- were quite protective of their daughters, and would study any suitors quite carefully. Now this man was complaining at him for not tying the knot already.::

Shayne: ::To the universe:: oO You are having far too much fun at my expense. Oo  

Kylani: Darling, remember what we said about approaching sensitive things slowly? ::laughing friendly, now explaining to Shayne:: You know, just because we hit it off right away, he always thinks it must be like that with everyone else. ::again to her husband:: They’re still very young, they have all the time in the world.

::If it weren’t for Kylani, he didn’t know what he’d do. She seemed quite sensible, understanding, polite and sensitive- everything Raffa wasn’t. It was refreshing to be reminded that civility still existed in some capacity.::

Raffa: ::jokingly upset:: Young? My baby girl is… uhm… is 26 already…

Pond: ::whispering, happily upsetting her father even more:: Twenty-Seven

::Shayne’s shoulders dropped even lower.::

Raffa: 27! ::to Randal:: You know, if we had been you, our oldest one had already been walking at this point!

Shayne: oO I doubt it, sir! You would talk him to death long before that could happen! Oo

::Isabel crunched some numbers, leaving her forehead in wrinkles. They really did not add up the way her father was thinking they would.::

Shayne: ::Temple throbbing painfully.:: Well, I guess we’re not there yet.

::Isabel had enough at that point and decided to step in and try to move the conversation to a different topic.::

Pond: You know, enough of that, we’ll figure the right moment out, am I right?

::The sentiment earned his wholehearted support. And as he considered, he realized this was just a minor irritation. At the end of the day, he still had her.::

((End Flashback))

::Isabel smiled and glanced at Randal, judging if he had noticed the convenient point where she had ended her recollection of the events she had been talking about.::

Pond: I guess you have to understand my father, he surely was just making up for all the years he wasn’t able to tease me and for all the ones lying ahead of us.

::Now he was more sure than ever that something was going on. Something that Isabel was hoping he would notice as well. But what? For such a perceptive creature, he felt exceptionally thick at the moment.::

::Isabel cuddled a little closer to her boyfriend, both in anticipation of these years and as a sign for him that she was indeed ready to take these on seriously.::

Shayne: ::Eyebrow raised.:: Well, your father has a way with words. But I guess I can accept that. And nothing is going to spoil my joy of the many years lying ahead. ::Embracing Isabel back.::

::And then a horrible, flimsy wisp of thought came to the forefront of his mind, and a moment’s consideration expanded it so that he could focus on nothing else. The painful recollections about stories regarding marriage, Isabel’s poignant comments…::

::Was she talking about getting married?::

::The whole world stopped. Absolute joy and terror seethed in his heart. Did she want to? Well, she always said she wanted a family some day. He’d never really considered the implications of that desire. Sheer exhilaration coursed through his veins. What did he say? Should he ask to clarify? Should he pursue the topic? Should he run and hide? All of these things sounded quite good at that moment.::

::Being tightly locked in an embrace, Isabel definitely felt a change in Randal’s posture. Some muscles definitely were contracted which normally wouldn’t be in this situation. For a moment, names in an old language flowed through the doctor’s mind, the ones the humans had decided that their muscles should have. Even though painstakingly learned in med school, she remembered only the Trill ones.::

::Maybe thanks to that silly overflow, she wasn’t quite able to grasp that this reaction most likely meant that he had finally understood. This failure in recognition led to her continue beating around the bush.::

Pond: I have no doubts about that! You don’t want anything to change, do you?

::Her endeavour was tricky. She wanted to find out if Randal was ready yet. It didn’t came to her mind that he could not want to get married, it was just that he sometimes could be just a bit too pleased with the things how they are. To find the answer for that question, which could only be “yes” or “later”, was actually the easy part. She could wait, no problem. Not too long, but she could. What Isabel actually was afraid of was that he would take all that banter as a prompt to propose. That would be a problem, because it was a moment, which had to be perfect, maybe even more so than the actual wedding day. And the only way she could make sure that it would be exactly as she imagined it was to do it herself.::

Shayne: ::Now thoroughly convinced that she was speaking of marriage.:: Well, not for the present. Aren’t things, you know...good the way they are?

::He said that while cringing inside, desperate to not offend the love of his life. If he was wrong about what she was talking about, it could lead to a huge miscommunication, a possibly a larger argument. What if she wasn’t satisfied with the way things were? Was that why she was bringing this up? Already he could see conflict.::

Pond: Yeah sure… ::looking the other way, out of the window:: Sure they are.

END

Lieutenant Randal Shayne
Helmsman/Ops officer
USS Atlantis 
NCC 74682
G239202RS0 

and 

Lt Isabel Pond
Medical Officer
USS Atlantis
D239212IP0

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