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JP: PNPCS LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena & Lt. Jack Gard - Promising


Sal Taybrim
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(( Quarters D’Sena ))

:: Thousand. That many times she had gazed to the chronometer, and it seemed as if time was passing torturingly slow. She now stood in front of the window, looking out to the stars passing by. But she couldn’t do that long either. She had possibly cleaned her quarters so much that there was nothing left to ever clean for her. It would be an understatement to say that she was restless … and nervous. ::

:: For hours during her shift she had tried to come up with anything that she could say to not go, but the problem was, she wanted to. That was not really a problem though, but she hadn’t been that nervous in a very long time. Not being able to stand still she walked into her bedroom and took a look at herself in the mirror. She wore a black dress, elegant and simple that went to her knees. It hugged her figure and it came with a lovely small bolero with little zirconias here and that, that blinged slightly in the light, like stars in the night sky. She had pulled back the sides of her hair and put it up in the back of her head, to a half updo, framing her face with single curls.::

.oO Maybe I should change. Oo.

:: She suddenly was filled with doubt, wondering if she was overdressed. He had not specified anything, neither where they would go, no what the dress-code would be. This made things even more difficult. What if he’d taken her to a burger diner in the holodeck? She was milliseconds close to take off the dress and grab something else when she heard the door opening. Realisation hit her, that she hadn’t removed Jack from the access list, so he still didn’t have to buzz. ::

:: Throughout the day, Jack wondered if he would receive a message ending tonight's event. He had figured the plan out in minutes once he had dropped Tabby off at school and started his shift. It was easy though. Now he approached Akeelah's door, in black slacks, black button up and a black jacket left unbuttoned. He didn't plan for it to be anything other than a nice casual dinner.::

:: He was about to buzz the door, it opened. He was surprised he was still on the free to enter list. But it pleased him.::

Gard: Lt Com- ::he cut himself off.:: Akeelah?

:: Akeelah’s heart stopped. Pretty sure it was for a long time, before she finally breathed again and slipping into her black, strappy heels, she then left the bedroom and looked towards the door, seeing him stand there. She swallowed hard. When had she turned into a teenager again?::

D’Sena: Good evening.

:: He was awe struck. The dress, the heels, her legs- ...He shook his head slightly, best not let his mind wonder. But.. She looked stunning.::

Gard: Good evening. ::walking over to her.:: You look beautiful.

D'Sena: ::She brushed over her dress, not quite sure what to do with her hands.:: Thank you. You look good as well.

Gard: Are you ready?

D'Sena: ::Was she?:: I think so. Where do we go?

Gard: You will see. ::a small smile.:: Though you may be ... Overdressed.

:: Jack felt warmth mix with hesitation fill his chest. He had just teased her. It had been a long time that he was anything but serious and literal. And it was all because of her, in a good way.::

:: When he said that, the little voice in her head sang a little taunting song mostly consisting of ‘I told you so’s and ‘nana na na naaaaa’. Immediately her heart sank and she back-paddled. ::

D'Sena: Oh. I can change into something else real quick, it’ll only be a minute.

Gard: No, ::stepping closer.:: What you are wearing is perfect.

D'Sena: ::She had been in the process of turning to go and do it real fast, when he stepped closer. A little unsure she looked at him.:: Are you certain? I would be real fast.

Gard: ::with a reassuring smile.:: Yes I am certain.

D’Sena: .oO Get yourself together, you are not 20 any more. Oo. ::She took a deep breath and nodded.:: As you wish. Then please lead the way, Mister Gard.

Gard: Very well.

::Jack held out his the crook of his arm for Akeelah to hold onto, then lead her out into the corridor. He began to lead her to one of the holodecks. As they walked he noticed other crewman giving the woman by his side second glances. He couldn’t help but feel a tint of pride.::


((Timeskip - Holodeck 4))

:: The Holodeck doors opened and Jack lead Akeelah inside. The program was already running. The lights were dimmed, and they walked out onto a balcony. The pink and purple hues kissed the sky above and around them. ::

:: There was a table that sat in front of them and looked out over the edge of the balcony. Where rainforests and a waterfall could be seen. Big white fluffy clouds drifted over towards the darkening sky. The doors closed behind them, finishing out the scene. Music hummed distantly, from all around.::

::Jack looked at Akeelah, watching her expression for approval ... Or disapproval. The two chair dinner table was fully set, with covered plates to keep the food warm.::

Gard: I hope you are hungry.

:: The moment they had entered and she had seen the sunset she had not been able to tear her gaze fully from the sky. Even though she looked around on the balcony, saw the trees and the waterfall in bedazzling colours, she always returned to this breathtaking sky greeting her. Her heart began to beat a little faster. He had programmed this for her? ::

D'Sena: What? ::She then remembered.:: Oh yes, I do.

:: She followed him to the table Jack pulled out on chair and waited for Akeelah to sit down and pushed the chair in, pulling off the lid as he went to take his own seat.::

D’Sena: It is beautiful here.

:: oO Yes you are.Oo Jack had difficulty pulling his eyes away from her. He wanted to know what had drawn her attention so. But instead remained focussed on her from across the table.::

Gard: I am ... Happy to hear that.

D’Sena: Has it been a lot of work?

Gard: :: Looking around.:: No. I thought of you and it came easily.

:: She blushed at his words and lowered her gaze to the table. He made her feel so young. She thought about asking what they would have when the server already stepped to their table. She jumped slightly, as she had not felt his presence, which was no surprise since he was a hologram. The scent floated into her nose and she recognized it immediately. With widened eyes she looked at Jack. ::

D’Sena: Is that Salmon?

:: Her question made Jack's expression skip. He hadn't asked her what she liked to eat, instead ran off of his own preference. His thought was to share with her. But if it wasn't something she liked he would change it immediately.::

Gard: Yes. Is that alright? I can have something else made for you.

D’Sena: No no, I love Salmon. ::tilting her head:: Have I told you that before?

Gard: ::smiled slightly, proudly.:: No, you haven't. It is one of my preferred items. My intention was to share with you.

:: A wave of positive emotions washed over Akeelah, knowing it came from him. The corner of her mouth pulled up, enjoying that she made him feel good. About himself, about what he had put together. About this evening. ::

Gard: Please, ::he gestured to her plate.:: eat.

D'Sena: You don’t have to say that twice.

::She smiled and began to eat. Slow, so she could savour the taste of the Salmon, the hint of heat by the pepper and mustard sauce, even the fresh spinach was seasoned beautifully with a hint of spiciness. She closed her eyes, the smile dancing over her lips. Even if it was replicated, it tasted wonderfully. ::

:: Jack ate, half distractedly as he watched her. The salmon was prepared classically, though replicated. He was no cook and didn't dare to try. His mother told him that he had the black thumb of cooking.::

Gard: I hope you leave room for dessert.

:: She opened her eyes again, lowering her hands and looked at him. ::

D'Sena: Of course. I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast, just to make sure I don’t spoil my appetite.

:: That it mostly had been because she really had been nervous about his invitation she didn’t say. Well not that one could call it an invitation when he had simply decided, but she still could have said no. So yes, an invitation. ::

Gard: Very good.

D’Sena: Let me preface by saying, that I am certainly not complaining, Mister Gard, but… ::She did not look at him, instead kept cutting and observing her food.:: why now? ::She quickly shoved a piece of Salmon into her mouth to keep herself from elaborating, pretty sure he knew what she meant.. ::

:: “Why now?” Like a loaded gun to the heart. He paused, setting down his fork and laying his napkin across the table. It was a fair question, though one he wasn’t sure if he was ready to answer. It had been five, nearly six years since the death of his wife, and he had not even looked at another woman cross. Unsure if his grieving would ever truly be over. Though before her death, he had only ever looked at her with such determined love. And now… Sitting across from him was a woman who had yet to leave his mind, even if only a faint lingering. He thought about her, about Akeelah. ::

:: But what to say? The same as Jack had with Tabby? Or would that seem to afront? He had always treated each situation with the same thought process and behavior. Upfront and honest, after long deliberations. And yet, there was a stone lodged in his throat, making it difficult to breath or speak. He had a growing fondness for the exotic looking woman, and not just for her looks. What had drawn him in the most was her attentiveness to Tabby. His daughter had a way of winning the hearts around her, but it seemed so different with Akeelah.::

:: But that wasn’t the question, the question was “why now?” Why not sooner or later? But, now. Because he was determined and desired more. And before was to soon, not enough time to think and consider. And any later, he chanced losing her to another who might have swept her off her feet from under him. He wasn’t willing to let that happen without standing a chance.::

:: Now how to say that so the elegant woman in front of him understood…::

Gard: ::clearing his throat.:: It seemed the best time.

:: What could he mean with that? The best time. Akeelah wondered and at the same time caught herself to be disappointed because deep inside she had hoped for something different. Something like that he couldn’t wait any longer and otherwise stupidly unrealistic in other places like romance novels. If her mother would see her now she’d slap her over the head, so she’d stop behaving like an idiot. ::

D’Sena: I see.

Gard: If you are not agreeable to it, it is also the best time to say so.

:: Jack didn’t mean to sound rude. But she was similar to him, at least as far as he had seen. And honesty was the best way for no one to get hurt. What else was there to say? His dazzling blue eyes never left Akeelah’s face, though his expression softened. To know how to continue, he needed an answer. But what she might say…. He mentally shook his head, wiping away the thought. if there were feelings, a hint of them…. ::

D’Sena: ::blink:: I have accepted your invitation. ::Would she have done that if she hadn’t wanted to be here?::

Gard: ::bluntly.:: Tabitha asked me today if I loved you. If I know my daughter, she asked you the same?

:: Her heart stopped beating and played the little drummer boy at the same time, colour shot into her face. A part of her wanted to ask him what he had answered, shake him if she must. But the actual grown up part of her held her back and told her to do it later, after dessert. Never give away a perfectly good desert, even a holographic one. What a weird thought to have in this situation. ::

D’Sena: ::Nodding:: Yes she indeed has. She told me that it is very easy. Love is like a shooting star, her father keeps saying. ::She raised her gaze to him, the side of her mouth slightly twitching to a half smile.::

Gard: Her stories have lead her to believe that love is at first sight. But you and I know, that is not always the case… ::pausing.::

D’Sena: Yes, sometimes it is like a flower that needs a lot of care to open and reveal itself.

:: The music in the air began to change, as was according to plan. The scenery changing slightly, still wooded and with the waterfall, but the balcony they sat at changed into a ballroom styled floor, with an elegant chandelier, that was held up by a tree limb, just over the center of the floor. It glowed warmly as the setting sun finally dipped out of sight. The gems glittered from the only light source, casting a firefly effect around the two.::

(( Holodeck ))

:: The music in the air began to change, as was according to plan. The scenery changing slightly, still wooded and with the waterfall, but the balcony they sat at changed into a ballroom styled floor, with an elegant chandelier, that was held up by a tree limb, just over the center of the floor. It glowed warmly as the setting sun finally dipped out of sight. The gems glittered from the only light source, casting a firefly effect around the two.::

Gard: ::standing.:: Care to dance?

:: Solid black eyes widened in wonder when the surroundings suddenly changed with the music, the floor, the chandelier, the firefly lights… it was magical and it made her heart beat faster once more. He really had gone all out. Finally her gaze landed on him and she raised from her chair placing her hand in his as he reached out for her. ::

D’Sena: I’d love to.

:: Jack smiled softly and Akeelah rose to her feet and took his hand. She was tall, which made it too easy for one to look into those dark pools for eyes and get lost. He brought one hand around to rest on the small of her back, pulling her in closely to him. He had danced for many years, until one night when he had stopped and thought he never would again. It was easier than riding a bike or water skiing. ::

Gard: Wonderful.

:: Following the gentle pull of his hand she found herself right in front of him, looking up to meet his eyes. She waited for his sign before following his lead for the dance. That little nagging voice became louder, he had started with it was the excuse. Finally she decided to ask after all. ::

D’Sena: If I may ask, Mister Gard, what did you answer her?

:: He guided her round the antique ballroom styled floor, enjoying her just being near. Her voice seemed to shake and was small compared to what it usually was. He twirled her around the room in large circles. ::

Gard: ::small smirk.:: Could you not simply read me? Find out yourself.

D’Sena: ::smiling slightly nervous:: It is true that I could do that, but I prefer to hear it from you rather than prodding your mind and causing you headaches.

:: Jack spun Akeelah around quickly, controlling the dance and sending her into a half dip. He locked eyes with her, agreeing with her that a headache would not do the evening well. The symphonic music was the only noise for a moment as he held her there. She had to trust him to not drop her. ::

Gard: What did you answer?

D’Sena: .oO That’s fair I suppose, she asked me first after all. Oo. I said that I like you.

:: He pulled her up quickly and continued to dance. A little more distance between them. The dance that had been more romantic turned to more traditional. His heart dipped a little. People “liked” his work ethic. People “liked” his daughter. Not many have ever said they “liked” him, so it was something. Simply not what he had hoped for. But at least he knew now. And she was still the most fitting influence for Tabby… It was something.::

Gard: ::bowing his head slightly.:: I see.

D’Sena: Well, that was not everything. ::She paused, taking a deep breath, her fingers suddenly felt very cold against his warm hands. Moment of truth. :: I also called myself a liar.

Gard: ::looking more sternly.:: Really? And why would that be?

:: It felt to Jack, that her hands became cold and pulled away, giving him a hot and cold burning sensation in his hand. He didn’t care for liars, but a white lie was sometimes needed. His only question was, who was she lying to. ::

D’Sena: .oO He really wants to know, does he? Oo. Because ‘like’ is … ::Pause. She lowered her eyes to his chin, anywhere to not look into his eyes, helping her to finally say it.:: .oO Be brave, Say it. You are an adult speak your mind. Oo. .. a mere shadow of my feelings towards you. .oO There you and you survived. Oo.

:: His blue eyes, like steel, dared her to retract what she had said. To see if she would lie to him now. And though she kept her eyes cast down, he could almost feel the emotion emitting from her. She had confessed her feelings, and he could do little to refrain from not confessing his. He stopped the dance, bringing his hands down to hold both of hers between them.::

Gard: To answer the question you were truly asking...

:: oO Don’t do it. Oo His strict mind warned, it was not alway wise to jump. Despite the pull of his mind, Jack reacted with his heart. In half a heartbeat he wrapped both arms around her waist and pulled her in close giving her little room to pull away and, almost too controllingly, kissed her. He pulled back, still cradling her waist in his arms and searched her face.::

:: In surprise of suddenly being grabbed she gasped and before she could even react she felt his warm lips on hers. Explosions of the most colorful majestic fireworks filled her insides, from head to toe, overwhelming her just a little so she had to close her eyes. Way too early he pulled away his lips, but he held her close. Slowly she raised her lids looking into his eyes, not able to say a single word, as the vibration of the fireworks still waved through her. ::

Gard: We will see where this goes. But it most certainly ::devilishly.:: looks promising.

:: Her stomach made cartwheels, it felt like after a long way up the rollercoaster suddenly fell towards the ground and just in the last moment the rails shot it back up. Now she was not sure why she had been so afraid to tell him how she felt. ::

D’Sena: Mhm, it does.

:: The music quieted to barely a whisper, as was according to plan. As much as Jack would have love to dance the whole night away… He still had to pick up Tabby when they were done. And of course it was now time for dessert. The ballroom turned back into the balcony and the table for two took center stage. Off in the distant, the stars shined brightly and reflected off of the waterfall in faery like blue shimmerings that bathed the two. ::

Gard: Are you ready for dessert?

:: She was not sure if she could eat anything with the way her stomach had decided that doing the somersault would be its new daytime activity. But she was curious what he had chosen for that. Still holding his hands she nodded slightly. ::

D’Sena: Yes. What will we have?

Gard: chocolate lava cake, with vanilla bean ice cream.

D’Sena: Mhmm, that sounds good.

:: Lead by his hand she followed him back to the table, fascinated by the changes he had integrated into his program. For a moment she wondered what would have happened if things had gone different as planned. Did he have a safe-guard so the scene did not change before it really was time? With him planning so carefully, she couldn’t imagine he’d let that in the hands of coincidence. Not that it mattered. Her mind went back to the kiss and a smile formed on her lips as she sat down again. ::

:: He took the seat across from her and noticed the sweet smile on her lips. It was contagious, despite not knowing what caused her too. ::

Gard: May I ask what you are thinking about?

D’Sena: ::Looking up, she blushed slightly.:: To be honest, I thought of the kiss.

:: He couldn't help it. Casting his gaze to the table top, a warm smile spread like wildfire across his expression. Looking up he met her look, noting the flush coloring in her checks. It only went to enforce his thought, he had been spontaneous in a good way. A very good and promising way.::

Gard: Your thoughts?

D’Sena: It was certainly promising. ::She smirked at him.::

Gard: I'm pleased to hear that.

:: The waiter appeared with a tray. Two bowls with warm chocolate cake and melting ice cream was set down in front of the two. Jack ate his, still keeping his gaze to Akeelah, who enjoyed her dessert visibly. Once they were done he reached his hand and covered hers drawing her attention to him. As much as he wanted to stay here forever, with her. He had another he had to take care of, his precious and remarkable daughter. ::

:: Jack had intended to ask Akeelah for dinner, something nice between two adults. But Tabby's question sparked something and gave him a different focus. Something with the hopes of more. She had been the one to inevitably set them up without even knowing it.::

Gard: I hope you have... Enjoyed yourself this evening.

D'Sena: I certainly have. ::Thinking about his words, her heart sunk a little.:: That sounds like the evening is over.

Gard: I do still have to pick Tabitha up from her friend's.

D'Sena: Oh. Yes of course. I wouldn’t want Tabitha to have to wait for you.

:: She expected that he would leave then, and felt a strange sadness that their ways would part already. ::

Gard: :standing and offering his hand.:: I still have time to walk a lovely woman home.

:: A smile appeared on her usually so serious face, a smile he was able to lure out of her more often than anyone else ever had. She placed her hand in his and raised from her chair. ::

D'Sena: Why thank you.


(( Hallways ))

:: After Jack saved and closed the program, they had left the holodeck and took their time to stroll to the next lift, without letting go of each others’ hand. It had something calming. This evening had been one big surprise after the other for Akeelah. Jack had put a lot of effort in this date. Had it been a date? He had only said dinner but it felt like one. The walk was quiet, but her mind was not. She still relished in the feeling that this evening had caused in her, impossible for her to describe other than bliss. The dinner, the dance… the kiss. Everything. She felt like walking on clouds. ::

:: The walk was pleasant. The silence given Jack time to think more with his head than his heart. To think of the best way to continue with the woman walking next to him. It had been years since he had "dated". And even then he was no Kirk. He stopped just short of Akeelah's door, [...]ing his head as she seemed to keep walking. He held onto her hand, standing still, and letting her drag his arm out until she could pull no further. ::

Gard ::teasingly.:: Have you moved since I picked you up tonight?

:: Hearing his voice, and feeling the slight pull of his hand she stopped walking and looked back, realizing that she had been about to walk past her own door. ::

D’Sena: Oh. Uh no, I didn’t move. ::She smiled and there was that awkward part. What to do? She didn’t want it to end yet, but she also knew that he had to get Tabitha. How to say good night? :: Would you maybe want to come in for a last drink, Mister Gard.

:: A nice, strong, real drink sounded like a perfect way to end the night. But then what would they have to look forward to on their next... Date. It felt strange, in an exciting way, to even think that word. He turned so she was between him and her door, still holding her hand::

Gard: ::leaning in.:: "Jack" ::he corrected.::

::He pressed his lips to hers, and just as when they danced, took the lead, and walked her backwards. Her door opened without question to them and he walked in just far enough that only Akeelah stood just inside her room. He parted with her just slightly, keeping his eyes locked with hers.::

Gard: ::whispering.:: Not tonight.

:: The second kiss had been just as intense as the first, sending vibrations through her whole body. She had followed the gentle push backwards, the swooshing of the doors like a whisper compared to the loud drumming of her heart. That feeling of loss when he parted from her lips made her wish for more, but when he looked into her eyes she knew she’d have to wait even before he spoke. Maybe it was better like this, taking things slow. Even though her body did not completely agree with her mind. ::

D'Sena: Okay. Another time.

::Her voice was a mere whisper, not able to get out anything louder as the kiss still rippled through her. ::

Gard: Soon... ::he promised.::

D’Sena: ::nodding:: Have a good night… Jack. ::It felt strange and good at the same time to call him by his first name, after all the time. :: Please say goodnight to Tabitha from me.

Gard: Have a lovely evening. ::bowing his head slightly.:: And I will.

:: Before he could go, she now crossed the small distance between them and placed a gentle kiss on his lips, stealing that moment before he would leave. ::

:: Jack had let go of her hand and bowed his head once more. But before he could turn to leave Akeelah pressed her lips to his. It sent sweet warmth through him, for her to bring the kiss to him. It only went to strengthen his resolve and determination to see this promising relationship blossom.::

Gard: ::looking down at her.:: Good night, ::devilishly.:: my dear.

:: When the doors closed behind him Akeelah stared at it for another moment. .oO Yes, this starts out really promising Oo. As she finally headed to her bedroom, she was not sure if she would be able to find any sleep at all. ::

:: Once the door had closed between them, Jack was finally able to breath deeply. He hadn't realized just how hard it was to breath around her until he wasn't. And even still, preferred to be close to her. He stood at the door a moment longer, looking at the floor. A smile crept into his features as he practically looked through the door.::

oO Promising indeed. Oo

------

JP written by

Lt JG Jack Gard
Engineering Officer

Simmed by
Lt JG Rustyy Hael
Chief Engineer
USS Conny
A239202RH0

&

LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena
Security Officer

simmed by

Captain Jalana Rajel
Commanding Officer
USS Constitution B
A238906JL0

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