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Ens Femi Cattan & LtCmdr Alexander Williams: The die is cast.


Salkath

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((Arboretum, Deck 9, USS Za))

:: With his belly filled by all the oriental snacks Alex lied down like a well fed Roman of the ancient times. As he laid on his side he looked at Femi again. She seemed happy. Alex assumed she was probably looking for new friends out here too. He wanted to know more about her and thought of several ways to bring up “home” but he didn't want to get to young woman homesick. Even though she signed up for this assignment leaving home, and earth on top of that, it was a big step for someone her age::

::Femi sighed happily. She was glad that they choose to meet up at the Arboretum. The peace surrounding them was nice and Femi felt calm. She looked at Alex who laid on one side. The basket with food was almost empty. Femi made herself comfortable too and laid next to him on her back with her head turned towards her. Her ponytail was in the way so she freed her hair from the strap. Her brown curls fall on her back and shoulders:: oO nothing beats a fresh breeze through your hair Oo

Williams: So, here we are.. In the middle of nowhere, about to discover new life and new civilizations. Who knows.. we might find something like the old Egyptian culture out here… It reminds me about one of my first missions. We found this gateway to a planet that was in a pre-warp state. Best view of our history I’ll ever get. 

Cattan: :: Femi was surprised and intrigued at the same time:: wow that must've been an amazing experience. Only imagine, Earth was once like that.

Williams: It felt like home even though it was far away. Camping in the moonlight, hunting for deer in the morning… Believe it or not… it was the best mission I ever had. 

Cattan: I believe you it sounds… romantic. ::smiles:: camping outside joined by the moonlight watching the stars. ::her eyes were dreamy as if she was living in that moment.:: but I don't think I would join you on the deer hunting. 

:: Alex tried to bring back the memories, knowing the full story about the tense situation in the mine and losing his friend Marcus wasn't  “romantic” at all. It was relaxing at night at the small camp but once trouble found them it was one disaster after another::

Williams: What do you hope to find out here?

Cattan: ::she was quiet for a moment thinking about the right answer since there were many reasons:: I think… learning more about our current and new species and of course the medical treatments used in different cultures. ::she looks at Alex:: And you?

:: That question was easy to answer as it was something that had come up with his bar talk with Baxter a few days earlier::

Williams: A fresh start most of all. Exploring. Living the life on the frontier sounded like a good and welcome challenge for me.

Cattan: ::nods:: it does sound challenging. oO what could he mean with a fresh start. Did something bad happen to him in the past? Oo

::They laid next to each other listening to the chirping birds and it was quiet for a while. Femi did have some “burning” questions but she'd tried to resist herself from asking. But after a while her curiosity won::

Cattan: Alex, ::she turned to her side so she could face him. The space between them was minimised but for Femi it didn't feel strange :: I've been wondering about one thing. ::beat:: Where on earth were you born? 

Williams: hehe.. haven't read my file yet? ::Femi starts to grin. He just played her own joke against her:: I’m from Straatsburg, North West of the European continent. Nice place, but nothing special. Spend a lot of time with my father hiking in the Ardennes and Black Forest and by the time I got to go to high school we moved to Hawaï. My folks still live there.

Cattan: It must be wonderful to be outside in a forest, together with your dad....Never been to those parts of Earth.. oh but I’ve heard from Hawaii before. :: she was careful with asking people about their home. It brings a lot of emotions and memories with it:: Do you miss your home place and family 

Williams: I miss the hiking with my dad at times… ::Femi nodded. She could understand that he would miss doing such activities together with his dad:: but beyond that no, not really. I’ve been on my own for almost ten years now. You?

::Alex said it before thinking about it, and quickly added something to comfort her assuming she was feeling a little homesick::

Williams: … Leaving Earth your age is a huge step after all…

:: Femi got the feeling that he was thinking about those questions too for a while. She wanted to get to know him better and she felt comfortable enough with him to exchange some personal information::

Cattan: ::it was like he was trying to comfort her. She didn't mind talking about home::  it was a huge step as you know. And of course, I miss my family but I'm not homesick…. yet. ::She gave him a comforting smile because she knew he was being considerate:: I enjoy being here, with this crew, it's all I ever wanted.

::she paused for a moment and looked for a second into Alex’s brown eyes.:: But I was ready to leave my home and family behind despite the consequences….

Williams: I sense there is a story behind that answer…. but only if you want too.

Cattan: I don't mind telling you...but it's kind of a long story. And I don't know if it's that interesting ::She smiled at him::

Williams: All in good time.

::She smiled gently. He was interested but not pushy at all and she liked that. He had manners, something a lot Egyptian men round her age were lacking::

Cattan: ::her right side began to ache. She pushed herself up and stretched for a moment:: Let's make it easier...is there something specific you'd like to know about me, my background? ::she picks up a flower:: You're allowed to ask anything 

Williams: uhm… ::The question caught Alex off guard. He looked up towards her assuming she made some sort of bad joke but she seemed dead serious. He thought of something he should or could ask but nothing came to mind::

Williams:  ::he couldn’t do anything else than give her a somewhat sad look as it kinda killed the mood:: It's not an interrogation Femi… 

::Femi was surprised by his answer. She didn’t mean to make him feel uncomfortable with her question. She just wanted to give him an appropriate answer. Somehow the mood changed and Femi felt some sadness overwhelming her::

::Alex could see the disappointment in her eyes. And then he started to wonder what this was all about. ::

Williams: oO Is she looking for something more than a friend? She has done everything I could think off to please me and really wants to open up somehow.  A bit too direct maybe for a first “date”  if you could call it that to begin with. Oo

::  Alex turned his eyes away from her for a moment and looked at the playing children again thinking of a way to get them on the same page somehow::

::Femi saw Alex drift off for a moment. He didn’t respond at all and he had even averted his eyes from her. There was something on his mind but she didn’t know what it could possibly be. Was it because she wasn’t that tactful?:: oO I should really think first before speaking Oo

Williams: oO Should I just ask her? If she says no I make a fool of myself. And what do I tell her if… Oo

::The more he thought about it the more complex it became. As far as Alex was concerned he wasn't really “on the market”. Until a two months ago he’d been dating with Sun. It wasn't a formal relationship and come to think of it they hadn't spoken since his transfer or the holodeck accident on the Constitution::

oO Guess that ship has sailed. Oo

Cattan: Sorry, let me try that again….I didn’t mean to make it sound like an interrogation. :: she looks at him and ask quietly but kind:: Is there something on your mind? ::she looks a little bit worried at him::

::Cattan laid down on her side again with her head towards Alex. As she came to his level Alex caught her eyes. As he looked at them he looked for something. A blink, a sign, anything that could give him more to go with. But he couldn't really tell if “it” - whatever it was-  was there or not. As he kept staring he felt as if he knew Femi for a long time. It felt comfortable yet totally awkward. ::

oO Ugh.. what is this! Oo

::Femi noticed Alex staring into her eyes for a long time. She didn't mind that, but he looked troubled and she didn't like to see that. The sparkle she saw earlier in his eyes was missing::

Williams: No need… My mind is playing tricks on me… I feel like I know you for a long time. Is that weird?

::Femi was quiet for a moment. She did respect him a lot and she did have a great time when she was with him. Yesterday on the ceremony he was the first one to come up to her and they had a wonderful time. She liked his humor, they shared some same interests.   There was just something about him that made her happy and smile :: 

Cattan: I don’t think that’s strange. I noticed, that when I’m with you I feel at ease. You have a great sense of humor... even though you think you don’t and you’re really kind hearted ::she smiles at him:: 

::With the warm compliments out there Alex felt the need to give her some parts of his thoughts::

Williams: It's just that. oO Damn! How can I explain this without hurting her feelings, assuming she has any feelings for me Oo  I was sort of in a relationship when I left the Connybe and …  oO And what? Oo  

::Alex now wished he hadn't started but this time his heart had spoken before his mind. He never dreamed of speaking about his feelings like that, especially not as he brought it up first. But with the start out there he had no chance to run all the scenarios in his mind to make sure it was said the right way::

::Femi saw that this kind of conversations were hard for him. She thought it was very courageous to tell her about his feelings and doubts. She gave him a warm smile and hoped that he would understand that she didn’t mind him telling this. She wanted to give him some time to speak up what's on his mind::

Williams:... and. Sorry I’m not very good at this. ::He took a deep breath. He was about to embarrass Femi or make a total fool of himself. If either was true it could ruin a starting friendship but with the die cast, there was no turning back now::  Well I get this feeling you might see me as more than a friend… and If that’s so I’m not sure if I’m open for it at this point. I mean… it’s going a bit fast with the transfer just behind us and all...

Cattan: It’s oké Alex. ::she gently places her hand on his arm:: There’s no need to apologize. I think you’re very brave to muster up the courage to talk about this. :: she takes her hand from his arm. Now it was her time to answer his question. She wasn't even sure herself.:: How should I say this, I’m not good at this either ::she laughs:: Right now I don’t see you as more than a friend….yet, I think. ::she fell silent for a moment::

oO Gosh! this is difficult. I don't want to give him the wrong idea Oo

Cattan: I have to admit that there is something about you that makes me want to know more about you. Not just your background, I could read your file if I wanted to know more about that ::she was trying to lift the air with a joke::

::She was quiet for awhile. She wanted to tell him that she was willing to wait for him to make up his mind but she was in no position since she didn’t know yet if she was “into him” like that. But something about her was not content with saying to “just stay friends”:: 

Cattan: This might sound weird, and I’m a little bit ashamed, well you had your share too ::she grinned but felt embarrassed at the same time:: I wouldn’t mind giving us a try but I do think that is best for you to take some time, think things over…. just don’t take too long ::she gives him a playful wink::

::With the truth out there for both of them Alex felt relieved. She wasn't hurt, far as he could see, and being honest with her turned out to be rewarding in its own way. As he thought back of the past five minutes he came up with a simple yet encouraging idea::

Williams: You did mention you like to try that spaghettio? How about next week? ::Not waiting for her reply Alex tried some of his humoristic skills again::  You have seen me in my pajamas it's only fair you get to see my cooking skills.

Cattan: ::thinking:: mmm let’s see. Only if you’re going to wear those same bordeaux pajamas again.::she laughs:: next week is fine by me.

Williams: Ha! Don't get your hopes up on those pajamas. I’m confident my cooking is enough to please you.

Cattan: Let’s see if you can beat this :: With his mouth half open to say something she picked up one of the remaining snacks and put it in his mouth. Femi laughed out loud when she saw his surprised face:: sorry couldn’t help it!

::Alex tried to speak but with his mouth full he couldn't. His first thought was to push her over and kiss her but it didn't feel right yet. And with the food still in his mouth it would have been a weird kiss anyway. So instead he picked one of the pink hydrangea flowers that was in his reach and handed it over to her::

Williams: mom always told me to bring flowers to a date…

Cattan: ::she smiled and smelled the pink flower she got handed:: And suddenly this is a date….::she smirked at him::

Williams: Well unless you do this with all the pirates you meet at a bar I’m calling this a date ::He stuck out his tongue which was really immature, but somehow it felt right::

Cattan: ::she laughs:: You should be thankful to be on a date with a Egyptian Goddess. To be in my presence…. to even get a chance as a mere Pirate Captain… :: she stick out her tongue as well:: 

Williams: A Goddess and a Pirate walk into a bar… 

::They laughed and laid down on their backs and looked at the beautiful atmosphere of the Arboretum. Femi was happy and relieved and so was Alex::

Williams: oO Taking that transfer turned out perfectly Oo

::As he lied down and looked at the scene he started to feel something he didn't expect. It was more than happiness. It wasn't the trees or the fresh air. It was her. She was making him feel this relaxed. He felt appreciated again, and it had been a long time since anyone gave him that feeling. He knew that people valued him as a good officer but she was accepting him as a person::

Williams: I could get used to this you know?

Cattan: Please do…

::it slipped out before she knew it. But it was the truth. Something gave her the feeling that he’s worth waiting for. She thought back at the conversation she had with her sister. The difference in age and rank didn't bother her anymore. It wasn't even noticeable in the way they're interacting with each other::  

::It was getting late. The artificial light started to dim and the birds had fallen silent. For Femi and Alex it was time to head back even though they didn’t want to leave at all. They stood up and folded the blanket together. As the pieces of cloth were brought together they looked into each other's eyes again but neither one had to courage to take the next step. The basket was empty, their stomachs full, and their hearts and mind wondering what would happen next. 

Cattan: Thank you for this wonderful day. You did your job well as “food tester” ::she grinned when she looked at her empty basket:: Your turn to impress me…. same time, next week?

Williams: You sure know how to set the bar… but don't celebrate your victory just yet.

Cattan: oO There’s that twinkle in his eyes again. It suits him much better Oo ::Femi just couldn’t resist it. She leans forward to give him a kiss on his cheek. His beard was softer than she expected. She spoke softly into his ear:: You’re a wonderful person Alex

::Alex could feel his cheek turn red as her soft lips gently moved away from him. They could hear the children giggling in the distance as they headed out with a smile on their faces::

================================
With great pleasure written as:

Ensign Femi Cattan
Nurse Officer
USS Za
Z239308FC0

Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Williams
Chief Tactical/Security Officer
USS Za
News Team member
Writer ID:A239006AW0

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