SIM:JP - Ensign Karynn Ehlanii and Lieutenant Ethan Brice - Something Simple
::Karynn paused just before entering Double Shot to adjust her outfit. She'd put on the green top and jeans from earlier, and had grabbed a silver necklace before leaving her quarters. After making a minor adjustment to her shirt, she entered Double Shot and looked around.::
Ehlanii: oOHmm, no sign of Sarah. I guess I'll grab a table and wait.Oo
::She glanced around a bit and found a comfortable table, again near the windows. She grabbed a seat that was convenient for both watching the door and space and settled in to wait. Fortunately she didn't have to wait long.::
::The turbolift doors opened and Ethan stepped out, into the corridor. He ruffled his hand through his hair and breathed a sigh. Why did Sarah want a meeting about her performance now? That was Jack's job, why didn't she just mither him on his evening off?::
::He scratched his shoulder - he loved the t-shirt but it made him itch in several places. All he was looking forward to was the nice, cool pint of synthenol bitter coupled with a nice serving of potato hash... And he'd be a happy man. He walked into the Double Shot and looked around for her. No sign of Sarah but Karynn was there, sitting at a table on her own. She looked like she was waiting for someone, so he walked over.::
Brice: ::smiles:: Counselor, good to see you again.
Ehlanii: oO Counselor? Is that all? Did he forget my name? Oo Why Mr. Brice. Its good to see you too. What brings you to Double Shot?
::Did she really look that... He shook his head mentally, errant thoughts and all.::
Brice: I'm here to meet a mutual friend, actually. Sarah's supposed to be bringing me some evaluation questions down so... kill two birds with one stone.
Ehlanii: oOEvaluation questions? So Sarah is blowing me off? Or is she? What the heck is going on here?Oo Well then, have a seat. We can wait for her together. oOShould I tell him?Oo
::He pulled up the chair opposite and let a hand rest on the table.:: Brice: What brings you here? My dad used to say a beautiful lady should never be dining alone. Waiting on someone?
Ehlanii: :: she smiled at the word beautiful and tipped her face down a bit, letting a wisp of her loose hair fall over her face.:: Apparently we're here to meet the same person. Sarah was supposed to be meeting me for dinner. I guess she must have forgotten about it and made plans with you instead.
::Ethan nodded and looked over to her, watching that strand of hair fall down and wondering exactly what she'd do if he tucked it back... He covered his mouth with his hand, as if wiping a yawn away.::
Brice: Have you tried getting her on the con?
Ehlanii: :: smiling :: No. I just got here about a minute ago.
::He brought his comm. badge from his pocket and pressed it.::
Brice: =/\= Brice to Reed. You've got two in the Double Shot waiting for you. =/\=
::There was a beat of silence and then she responded.::
Reed: =/\= Well, you see Chief I'm kind of busy right now, I've got some manifolds to take care of and a checklist to run through... I really can't be torn away. You two have fun though! Reed out. =/\=
::Ethan slipped his badge back in his pocket and laughed, scratching the back of his neck.::
Brice: I think we know the answer.
::Karynn listened to the conversation between the two engineers and then stifled a laugh as it ended.::
Ehlanii: I suppose we do. She must have been planning this since this morning. Shall we flag down a waitress?
::He smiled.:: Brice: I think we should, I could eat a cow and come back for the horns right now.
::He pressed the small button on the side of the table, notifying the waitress.::
Brice: So, how's work been treating you since we last spoke?
Ehlanii: I suppose it's been fine. I had an appointment today, and spent part of my morning in class. I thought about spending my afternoon reading crew profiles, but I didn't really feel like it. So I just watched another class instead. It's been nice having some free time, but I'm not always sure what to do with it. How about you? How's work been since last night?
::Just then the waitress she'd had earlier walked up.::
Sarion: So, what can I do you for?
::Ethan gulped, inaudibly thankfully, at the sound of crew profiles. Like Sarah had said... Well, the first part didn't bear repeating but the second was a warning of sorts. Either he told her or she'd find out. Simple. He looked over to Karynn and smiled.::
Brice: Ladies first.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: To be honest, I have no idea what I want. ::to Sarion:: Do you have anything with :: she paused:: chicken?
Sarion: Well, I prefer Earth’s Chicken Caesar Salad.
Ehlanii: That sounds excellent. I'd be delighted to have a plate of that. And, I'll have a glass of wine. Whatever you think goes best with... ::she paused forgetting the name of her meal already.::
Sarion: Caesar Salad. It goes wonderfully with a rich red wine.
Ehlanii: Right. That. :: she smiled at Ethan and waited for him to order.::
Brice: ::smiles:: Just simple potato hash for me please, and a pint of synth-bitter.
Sarion: As you wish. I’ll return shortly with your food.
::As she walked away, Ethan lowered his voice slightly.:: Brice: She new?
Ehlanii: ::Karynn watched the waitress leave. She lowered her voice to match Ethan's.:: She mentioned being new this morning, although otherwise, I'd never have known. She seems so natural in here.
::He sat back.:: Brice: I knew the old owner, but then again he's probably moved on and up the Ferengi chain of profit. ::grins:: Look through profiles often then?
::Karynn watched him sit back in his chair and then worried that she might be staring. She shifted her gaze to his left, out to the window next to them.::
Ehlanii: ::picking up a lock of hair and twisting it:: Oh, I started reading them while we were on the last mission. I figured I'd might as well see who I might be dealing with. I read the counseling files first and I was just starting to read recent mission reports to get a feel for whose I should look at next.
::She glanced back at the dark haired engineer across from her.:: Ehlanii: Why do you ask?
::He lifted an eyebrow, looking at the hand that was twisting a strand of hair and then dropping his gaze to the table.::
Brice: Do you ever... ::looks up:: ... find some surprising information on them? Things you didn't exactly realize you didn't know? About people you do know?
Ehlanii: ::a quizzical look crossed her face.:: oO That's an odd question. Although understandable. I suppose the idea of someone you know reading your profile might be a bit worrisome.Oo Well, I haven't really done this much. This is my first posting as a counselor, and I haven't read enough profiles here to run across someone I knew outside the counseling office. So, no, I haven't. That's an odd question, though. :: She looked him straight in his green eyes oO They're green. Kind of like mine... except they're also different from mine.Oo and then glanced away again.:: Are you worried I'd look at yours?
::Inwardly his stomach twisted in knots. Should he tell her? It had no bearing on them right now but could it... He looked to the left, out of the window at the star studded backdrop. Just as he did, Sarion returned.::
Sarion: Here you go sir. I hope you enjoy.
Brice: Thank you... This is very much appreciated.
Sarion: I’m here to serve. And here’s your salad.
Ehlanii: Yes, thank you very much. This looks excellent. :: She picked up her fork and tried a bite.:: And tastes even better.
Sarion: One of my favorites. I hope you like it.
Ehlanii: Thank you, again.
::She watched as the waitress left and turned back to her meal. She ate slowly, savoring every bite, and pausing at intervals to sip her wine.::
::Ethan cupped his hand around the pint glass and watched her for a second. Sod it..:: Brice: I have a son.
::Karynn stopped in mid-bite. It took almost all the willpower she had to not drop her fork. oO Where did that come from? Was that why he was asking about crew profiles? A son?Oo She looked back in his eyes. They were honest, truthful. He didn't seem to be pulling her leg. oO So what am I supposed to say to that? A son?Oo Overcome by the suddenness, her words came out all wrong.::
Ehlanii: How'd you manage that?
::In all seriousness, Ethan looked at her and then as she said it, he burst out laughing.:: Brice: Aren't they supposed to teach you that at an early age?
::Karynn turned bright red. oO That came out all wrong. Awww fudge. Now he's going to think I'm an idiot.Oo She did the only thing she could do: she laughed with him.::
Ehlanii: Yeah, they did teach me that. I suppose I just didn't know what to say. It was the first thing that came out.
::He laughed until only a grin remained. Lifting up the beer glass he took a mouthful and placed it back down.:: Brice: I'm sorry, I didn't mean just to spring it on you like that; not that you had any special reason not to know, or to know in fact...
Ehlanii: Its ok. I suppose I'm glad I know now. So what's his name?
::Quite relieved, Ethan picked up his fork and started the munch.:: Brice: Matthew, he's one now. Looks the spitting image of me with his mother laced in.
::Karynn pondered his statement as she resumed eating. She stared into space, lost in thought.::
Ehlanii: oO I wonder. Should I ask? I suppose I have no right to know... but... No, we're just friends. If that.Oo
::He noticed her distant look and looked down to his plate. Excellent. Really worked out well, didn't it? Stupid mouth.::
Brice: I err, just wanted to let you know, in case you are reading my profile one day and spot the offspring section. ::he chewed the inside of his cheek:: And I didn't want you to find out from anyone else.
::His statement brought her back to the present.:: Ehlanii: No, really, its fine. I'm glad you told me, really I am. I think it would have been disappointing to... :: she paused, not sure if she wanted to continue. She glanced at him, took a deep breath and decided to finish her thought.:: ...to read it instead, especially after having such a fun night yesterday. oO Did I say too much? Should I just shut up?Oo :: she used the opportunity to take another bite.
::Inwardly, he breathed another sigh of relief. At least she hadn't thrown something at him - he still had a sore head from that morning. Back to the issue - she enjoyed herself the night before. Was that something just to bring up for conversations sake or...::
Brice: ::smiles:: I had a good time too. To be honest, I did want to ask you out like this at some point, when our schedules weren't going to collide. I guess my Engineers know me better then I know myself.
::Karynn smiled. oOHe was going to invite me for dinner himself? So he might really want to be here?Oo She looked at him, letting herself look a moment longer than she normally would have.::
Ehlanii: So you would have done this all on your own?
::He smiled and laughed at himself, or the situation, or one of them and looked down.:: Brice: Yeah, I had a really good time last night that I thought if I gave it a couple of days we could... ::he looked up to her:: Well, do this. Get to know each other.
::Karynn felt the blood that had all but gone back to normal rising to her face again. She smiled.:: Ehlanii: I thought that's what we were doing last night.
::He sat back and smoothed his hand round his pint glass again.:: Brice: I thought we didn't get to know each other well enough.
::Karynn met his gaze, looking into his green eyes, and then tipped her head down again. A stray lock, probably the same one that had fallen over earlier, found its way onto her face.::
Ehlanii: Well, if we're being honest here, I was kind of hoping to get to know you better too.
::He looked back to his left, out of the window at the dark universe around them. He knew his cheeks were tingeing slightly pink again so he lifted his pint glass and took another mouthful.::
Brice: Amazing aren't they? Stars, I mean. Sorta constant reminder what's going on out there.
Ehlanii: ::looking out the window:: Yeah, they are quite amazing. I don't think I ever would have guessed that I'd end up out here, traveling among them, when I was a kid.
::Karynn took a few more bites of food, unsure of what to say. On the one hand, it was comforting to know that she wasn't alone in wanting to see him again. On the other, it was slightly awkward, and she really wasn't sure of what to say next. She really wanted to know...:: oO No, that's just too personal. Save it for another time, Karynn.Oo
::He turned back to look at her, lingering on her eyes, the curve of her face, the brim of her nose and looked away again. The one thing about revelations was the awkwardness they imposed afterward. He picked up the fork and took another belt from the hash - he hadn't had it in so long he was sure his stomach was jumping at the feeling.::
Brice: How's that touch telepathy working out?
Ehlanii: :: she took a sip of wine:: It's working out ok, I guess. Its just empathy, but I still don't really feel all that comfortable touching people. I think the only contact I've had since I got here is a handshake, except... ::her voice trailed off:: I noticed in the academy that some of my human counterparts had a tendency to touch their patients. They used small gestures as a way to comfort them I think. I never did get comfortable with that.
::He nodded.:: Brice: Understandably. Terran Counselors have the added bonus of an ignorant frontal lobe. Still, I'm sure you can do a better job then them without resorting their methods. Everyone has a different way of doing things. Its just nature.
::Karynn looked at him over the glass she held delicately in her hands. She noticed his forehead was smooth where she would have expected to see Haliian ridges. oO Only makes sense. He is Terran, not Haliian.Oo it was different but interesting. She remembered the lock of hair that hadn't quite made it out of her face and tucked it behind her ear with one hand.::
Ehlanii: Thanks. ::she smiled:: So tell me more about your son. ::she paused, trying to remember his name. Then it came to her:: ...Matthew.
::The Engineer smiled, glancing at her lock of hair as she tucked it away again maybe for the umpteenth time that evening. It was one of those runaway locks, the ones that didn't like to be cooped up in hiding.::
Brice: He's a character, that's for sure. An old man in a young child's body. I swear, sometimes he thinks he's one going on forty. He's just started learning to walk properly, can about manage it halfway across a room without falling back down.
::Karynn smiled, remembering the young kids that she'd taken care of back on Halii, long before she'd left the Academy:: Ehlanii: Do you get to see him often?
::Ethan nodded and took another belt from the pint glass. Synthenol was better when he had work to be doing.:: Brice: I see him usually when I have a day or evening off, or Rebecca wants to go out with Jack. We get to spend a lot of time together even if most of it is in the office.
::Again, Karynn was at a crossroads. She could keep pursuing this line. She smiled. At least she was learning more about him. But it was getting closer to answering what she both did and did not want to know. What would be important to know if... She cut the thought off early.::
Ehlanii: It must be nice to get to see him. I'm not interrupting what would be father-son time am I?
::He shook his head and scratched the stubble on his neck. He definitely needed a shave. If it hadn't had been Sarah he was supposedly meeting... he'd have positively got rid some of the irritant residing in his follicles.::
Brice: Tonight is Rebecca's turn to have him, besides she wants to turn him into a budding Security Officer I'm sure of it.
::He smiled and sat back, not exactly sure why he was watching her again. He had a million things to look at but he always came back to her lock of hair that kept falling down and her green eyes.::
Brice: So, what's Halii like? The twin suns must make it a pretty warm planet. o0 Great... now she probably thinks you know nothing about Science 0o If not, admittedly, I'm not up on my Science. o0Much better. 0o
::Karynn smiled and savored her last bite of dinner before answering. She picked up her wine glass, which only had a few swallows left, and looked at the man sitting across from her. Her eyes rested on his mouth.::
Ehlanii: oO He has such a warm smile. I like it... Wait! What? What was the question? Oh, right. Halii.Oo I liked growing up there. I suppose if you compare distances from our suns, it would be warmer than a planet at a similar distance from a single sun, but it didn't seem too warm there. Of course, it was warmer in the :: she paused, trying to think of the Federation Standard word:: summer and cooler in the :: another pause:: winter. I think that's fairly common, right?
::He finished off the pint and placed it on the recycler. It disappeared but he was already looking elsewhere.::
Brice: It was on Earth, there's nothing like snow in winter. Everywhere turns white overnight. A very beautiful time of year if you get the chance to go - with a tour like this one, we'll be seeing snow on the holodeck before the real thing for a while.
Brice: I wouldn't mind seeing something like Twin Suns, I've never seen anything like that before.
::Karynn finished her own glass and placed it and her plate on the recycler.:: Ehlanii: It was pretty spectacular. I wish I could show you.
::He resisted the urge to reach over and brush that strand of hair from her eyes, but then again it only added to her...unexpectedness.::
Brice: I'll live with the holodeck until that day comes. ::smiles:: Did chicken and white wine go down well?
Ehlanii :: smiling.:: oO What does he keep looking at? Do I have something on my face?Oo It was excellent. Hit the spot perfectly. How was your potato hash?
::She noticed her stray hair again. oO Won't you stay in place? He'll think I'm unkempt.Oo She tucked it behind her ear for the umpteenth time that night.::
::Her hand was so slender and her touch so unlike any that he'd seen before, so much that even the slightest thing like tucking back that errant strand looked special.::
Brice: ::smiles:: Definitely filled a gap somewhere in there. I haven't had much chance to have dinner of sorts over the past couple of days... o0 ...so being here really is worth it. 0o So, any plans for tonight?
Ehlanii: oO There's that smile again. Its so...Oo No, I don't have any plans. oO I have all the time in the world.Oo What about you? Anything exciting you have to get back to?
::He shook his head and let his hand rest on the table again.:: Brice: Nothing but myself and probably another holoprogram to write. Hot milk, maybe my slippers and some light reading... ::laughs:: A real party animal.
Ehlanii: ::she laughed:: Sounds... exciting? ::Karynn found herself watching his hand. It was rough and calloused but seemed gentle at the same time.::
Brice: ::laughs:: I don't think exciting is the right word. Maybe mildly entertaining but it beats having nothing to do. :: he tilted his head slightly:: Tomorrow evening?
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: Nope, I don't have anything to do tomorrow either. Why? Do you have something in mind?
Brice: Fancy dinner again? Maybe not in here next time? I've got a holoprogram I've been meaning to try out but never really found the right occasion. If you like we could tomorrow.
Ehlanii: ::her face lit up for a moment:: oO A real date? Oo That sounds wonderful. I'd love to help you try that holoprogram. When and where?
::A sudden rush of adrenaline to the stomach and he couldn't help the half-smile. That's what he'd meant to do in the first place. The obligatory few days and then ask her himself.::
Brice: One of the Holosuites and I'll swing by your quarters if you like. Nice walk there and then nice easy dinner testing out the place.
Ehlanii: That sounds great... ::she paused, trying to decide how to address him. Finally, she decided that using his name would be appropriate.:: ...Ethan. ::At that moment, her stray lock of hair decided to drift back across her face.::
::Forgetting the reserve he'd held before he reached over and tucked the loose strand of hair behind her ear, touching her soft skin briefly in the process. It only occurred to him what he'd done as his hand dropped and their eyes met. A moment passed between them, something he couldn't quite find the words for but his own green eyes were searching hers for something.::
::Karynn realized what was happening just before his hand brushed her skin. She felt a tingle and a flood of emotions that weren't her own. The contact was so brief that she could really only make out the ones that were similar to her own: contentment, elation and... attraction. She could barely admit to herself that she was feeling it, but to feel it in the flood... She looked up, into his eyes, trying to figure out what had happened... and what to do next.::
Ehlanii: ::almost whispered:: Thanks.
::He smiled, swallowing at the same time. He couldn't work it out - what was she feeling? Her smile had gone but it was replaced with a look that he couldn't describe. The look, coupled with the charge between them would've made the next step easy but with a small nod, he blinked, breaking the electricity.::
Brice: It's err... ::coughs:: It's all right.
::And with that she could think again. It was almost amusing really, the way one little touch...:: Ehlanii: :: smiling:: I'm glad it wasn't any trouble. This darn strand just won't stay tonight. You must think I'm a frightful mess.
::He frowned slightly then laughed it away.:: Brice: No, I don't. A mess is coming from Engineering after climbing through tubes, covered it stuff I don't like to breathe in then changing. You're... o0 perfect? 0o ... You look beautiful, even with the runaway lock.
::There it was again... beautiful... He'd used it earlier too, and gotten a similar reaction. Her eyelids closed slowly, directing her gaze downward, toward the table between them and his hand resting on it. She felt a warmth in her cheeks as they grew a slight pink. Karynn brought her gaze back up to meet his. She smiled as their eyes met again.::
Ehlanii: You don't look so bad yourself. oO Not so bad yourself? You're attractive? handsome? stunning? I can't believe you'd even consider hanging around me?Oo ::she tried to find the right words, but nothing came. Instead she breathed a laugh.:: Sorry, I seem to have lost my ability to use words appropriately this evening.
::Not unlike himself. He smiled, genuinely, although he was always smiling, now seemed the perfect reason for it. Her eyes were amazing, the flecks of brown just added to their natural beauty. Nothing fake, nothing feigned, just pure and simple.::
Brice: Fancy a walk?
Ehlanii: ::Karynn was excited that the evening wasn't ending after all. She smiled, although it seemed as though she couldn't wipe the smile off her face today.:: I'd love to take a walk.
::Ethan stood up and like he had done on the Nature Deck, he held his hand out to her. The gesture was a simple on, a gentleman's gesture but the connotations it held were not as simple. He smiled, happily.::
::Karynn looked at his face, then at his hand, then back at his eyes. There was an unvoiced question in her own.:: Ehlanii: oO Are you sure?Oo
::Glancing at his smile, she was pretty sure she knew the answer. She reached out, accepted his hand, and rose from the table. In the brief moment before she let go again, she allowed herself to really feel what was coming through. Happiness. Elation. Attraction? She let go.::
::He flexed that hand for a second before slipping it inside his pocket. The brief seconds of physical contact were special - to him at least. It was the one method he could use to express how he was feeling to her without using his vocal cords. They stood and walked from the Double Shot into the corridor.::
Brice: Any specific place you'd like to visit? There's a woodland program on Holodeck One if you'd like to be surrounded by trees again.
::Karynn smiled at the reference. Tag between the plants had been a lot of fun. She nodded.:: Ehlanii: Sounds great.
::She glanced to the side and watched him out of the corner of her eyes as they walked down the corridor to the turbolift. He was so... oO Charming. Yes, that's the word, I think.Oo::
::They walked down the corridor to the end, the turbolift that would encase them inside it's shell for the next few seconds. The doors slid back and they entered, watching out for bumping into one another.:: Brice: Deck two. ::he looked over to his companion:: Have you explored the Ronin much?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: No, not really. I've been to the holosuites and my quarters. I tried exploring a bit today and got horribly lost. I had to get someone to help me get to Main Engineering so I could meet Sarah for a coffee break.
Brice: o0 She met Sarah this morning? No wonder... 0o She's a beautiful ship, full of hidden gems. Well... ::he smiled:: I think so at least. I would, being the CEO. She's very unique in her own way.
::The door slid back again, revealing their chosen deck. Only two holosuites were in use, so tapping the keypad to the side of the door, the doors pulled back revealing the terrain inside. The woods were taken from his home, back in England. He'd taken ideas and images from different forests throughout the small island, lacing them together to form a majestic woodland area for his own reflection and exploration, when he got the time.::
::A bird flew overhead, one that sounded like a kestrel and perched onto the top of a tree that could touch the clouds if it grew anymore. The temperature had optimized itself as they walked through the archway and Ethan felt immediately warm on his bare arms. At least the program protocols were working so far.::
::Karynn's jaw dropped as she entered the holodeck. She watched the bird and then tipped her head to the side to watch it sit on the branch. She pushed up her sleeves slightly as the temperature around her changed.::
Ehlanii: It's... well... beautiful. Where did you find it? I never know where to look for programs like these.
::She sat down on the cool, soft grass on a little knoll not too far from the door and watched the engineer.::
::Ethan looked up and around himself, trying to figure out if anything was particularly wrong with the programming. The grass was green, the sky was blue, the sun was a mix of yellow and orange, the clouds were white... He heard something in the distance, a bleat of some kind but paid no attention to it; one of the wild deer roaming around in the program. He knelt down and touched the grass.::
Brice: I programmed this; it's been a sort of pet project for a few years. It helps me unwind when I need it most, creating my own little space really.
Ehlanii: You programmed this? Wow... :: Her voice trailed off as her gaze flitted from tree to tree and animal to animal. The sounds, the sights, the scents were all perfect. She was awestruck by the sheer beauty of it all. Then she realized that he'd said it was his own personal program, his own little space. She looked over at him, into his eyes, and smiled.:: Thanks for sharing it with me.
::He smiled in return and stood up, brushing his hands against one another. The trees were acting as a canopy, blocking out most of the sunlight but rays were dashing the grass in random spots, only adding to the beauty of the place.::
Brice: I grew up playing in these, running through them and... ::he pointed to a tree:: Climbing those. Should count myself lucky that I survived my childhood years. ::he chuckled:: I hope you like them, that's two nature orientated places I've dragged you to in the past 24 hours.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: I do like them. ::suddenly she got another mischievous thought. She stood up and headed toward a nearby tree, one with lots of branches sticking out in every direction. As she climbed she called down:: Have you climbed them lately?
::The dark haired lad stared in disbelief... though after the night before, he was sure she was capable of anything. He folded his arms and lifted an eyebrow as he watched her climb up through the braches of green leaves.::
Brice: ::calls up:: I haven't lately! Scraped knees haven't been on my list of things to do!
::Karynn giggled. By now she was about a quarter of the way up the tree. She looked for a nice thick branch, one she could rest on comfortably.::
Ehlanii: Well, then start climbing silly. No better time than the present! :: She found the perfect branch to rest on and sat on it, leaning against the trunk, so she could watch him from her own little perch.::
::Ethan looked up and watched her find herself a perch. He couldn't believe he was doing this. He climbed up the first couple of branches and felt his knee, covered by his jeans, scrape along the bark of the tree. She was still a way up. He hadn't done this in years and it was showing. As he got up on the branch lower than her, he disappeared round the back of the tree, out of her view then grabbed her ankle.::
Brice: I'm guessing that you're not afraid of heights then?
::Karynn watched him climb and then watched him disappear around the back of the tree. She half expected him to surprise her, but that didn't make her jump any less at the feel of his hand on her ankle. Her heart pounded a bit in her ears as the adrenaline rushed through her system. She laughed at her own reaction and out of the sheer exuberance that she felt at the whole situation. Before she had a chance to try to sort out one feeling from the next, the touch was gone.::
Ehlanii: Nope. Not really afraid of heights at all. :: she smiled and leaned around the tree to look at him, using her arms and legs to keep her balance:: You're just learning lots about me, aren't you?
::He grinned, standing on the thick branch and holding onto the one above him. Looking up at her, he could see the light from the branches above shining onto her smooth features and he looked back across the glade again.:: Brice: Well, I would be making a bad job of getting to know you if I wasn't learning about you.
::He looked at the tree and stretched out his hand to feel the bark. The heart of the tree nestled deep inside but the bark was akin to a human's skin. Tough, rough and ready for anything, trees weathered anything the weather could throw at them. He thought he had programmed an accurate weather system, something believable at any rate. Whether it decided to kick in or not was its decision. He looked back up at her, at her eyes and smiled.::
Brice: So, come here often?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Here? I just discovered it. :: She shifted over on the branch, making plenty of room for a second person.:: What about you?
::As she shifted, he pulled himself up onto her branch and crossed his legs underneath, holding him in place.:: Brice: I like to hang around when I get the chance. For this kind of approach, I think a tail would be useful.
::Karynn laughed:: Ehlanii: You'll have to bring Matthew here and teach him how to climb trees when he gets older. :: she paused:: So... we're supposed to get to know each other. What do you want to know?
::He cocked an eyebrow. Blunt, to the point... Definitely intriguing.:: Brice: ::laughs:: Are you this direct with all your male colleagues?
Ehlanii: ::grinning:: Nope. Only with my friends.
::And there was that issue of friends again. He half-smiled and exaggeratedly tried to think of something.:: Brice: Your mother's maiden name?
::Karynn watched him:: Ehlanii: Kaldreen. Yours?
Brice: Eddson.. ::he narrowed his eyes slightly, this was a challenge:: Your first pet's name?
Ehlanii: Triya. She was kind of like a Terran cat, but she's native to Halii. Small, fluffy, independent. I loved her a lot. What about you?
Brice: ::nearly laughs:: A pet crab, he was called Lunch. Lived for about a week in a tropical tank. What was the last book you read?
Ehlanii: Do I have to have finished it?
::He ran his thumb over the bark of the branch.:: Brice: No, you can be reading it.
Ehlanii: :: Karynn started swinging her legs back and forth. She grinned.:: I'm reading Falor's Journey... in Vulcan. What about you? What does Mr. Brice read?
::she ran her fingers through her hair in an attempt to smooth out the locks.::
::He thought for a second. What was the last thin he read? He was distracted by her hand running through her hair and for a moment, he couldn't think of anything before his mind dragged him back to reality.::
Brice: Phase II Quantum Physics Manual - sounds boring but it's surprisingly good just before going to sleep.
Ehlanii: :: Karynn laughed.:: Yeah, I have to say it sounds a bit boring. Is it more engineering oriented or physics oriented? :: A butterfly flew past and she was momentarily distracted watching it.::
::He scratched the side of his face and leant back against a striding branch, touching a leaf beside his arm.::
Brice: A bit of both really - I'm trying to get my head around science at the best of times. I'm not terrible, but there's always room for improvement. ::he looked at her:: What's your favorite food?
Ehlanii: I'd probably have a harder time with the engineering part. My favorite food? That would have to be either my mom's Chaleen trell or a good piece of chocolate cheesecake. ::Karynn contemplated for a minute:: I think the chocolate cheesecake wins out by a nose if it has some raspberry sauce drizzled on it. What's your favorite food?
::He stroked his chin.:: Brice: Lancashire hotpot, without a doubt. Nothing beats it.
::Just as he said so, a droplet of water dashed itself on the branch they were sitting on. Followed by another. And another.::
::Karynn turned her face up, toward the rain. It would probably soak them soon, but that was ok with her. It felt so good to feel the water on her face.::
Ehlanii: So did you program in any shelter?
::Ethan smiled and watched her hair start to get wetter. Raindrops were falling from the leaves of the trees and they were semi-covered underneath the canopy.::
Brice: You know, I think I did but I can't remember where.
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: Its ok. It's a nice rain anyway. :: she ran her fingers through her hair, trying to keep it from tangling. She pulled the bulk of her hair over her left shoulder, letting a few strands hang down her back.:: So what now?
::He looked up but the trees prevented him from seeing the sky. He was trying to look everywhere but at her - raindrops on her skin, her smile, her hair... everywhere but at her. He looked down - the branches underneath were starting to get wet.::
Brice: Either we stay up and get drenched, continue talking and maybe discuss the meaning of life or we get down before we're stuck.
::Ethan stood up on the branch, holding the branch above him for balance. The trees design was bulky, a proper old oak tree. He could feel raindrops falling on his head, mingling with his short hair and running down the back of his neck. He dropped down a branch and crossed his arms leaning on the branch she was sitting on. Although, a lot closer then before.::
::He touched the tip of her nose and held it up to her.:: Brice: ::smiles:: Raindrop. It looked to happy sitting there.
::Karynn smiled a soft smile, almost a bashful smile.:: Ehlanii: Thanks. I suppose we should at least leave the tree before we get stuck up here for hours. oO Although that doesn't actually sound bad...Oo
::He smiled again and looked into her eyes for what had to be the billionth time that evening. A second's silence passed between them before Ethan looked down the tree to the bottom and climbed down to the next one.:: Brice: I should've programmed these with turbolift functions.
::His feet hit the ground as he jumped from the tree onto the grass, looking up through the leaves to find her.::
::Karynn climbed down much more slowly than she had gone up. She had been honest when she said she wasn't afraid of heights. She was, however, a tad bit afraid of falling from heights. She had forgotten when she climbed that she'd have to come down again eventually. She clung to each branch carefully, while finding the next branch with her feet. Slowly but surely she made it down to the last branch of the tree, and hopped off.::
::They began to walk, slowly, side by side. Karynn turned her face toward the leaves of the trees above her, smiling peacefully when a raindrop hit her. She decided to break the silence.::
Ehlanii: So you don't mind?
::He lifted an eyebrow and smiled.:: Brice: Do I mind what?
::Karynn laughed.:: Ehlanii: oO Oops. Didn't specify did I? Oo You don't mind my... special sense?
::He moved his hand to hers and gently touched the back of her hand with the back of his fingers.:: Brice: Do you?
::Karynn paused to absorb what was coming through the link. She sighed peacefully, and gently brushed his fingers with the back of her hand::
Ehlanii: Nope. I don't mind a bit.
::He smiled, a slight warmth coming to his cheeks. He moved his palm to hers, only touching the inside of her fingers, letting their wrists touch.:: Brice: Now?
::Karynn paused. On the one hand, she was very much enjoying this, and she could tell that, well, he was definitely feeling interested in her. On the other hand...oO Is it too soon? We barely know each other. How can I share all these feelings when I barely know the man.Oo Karynn pulled her hand away gently and turned to face him.
Ehlanii: No, I don't mind. But... well, I barely know you. I'm very much enjoying the time we've been spending together and I'd like to continue doing that, but I'm just not sure if I'm ready to be consistently sharing your emotions. :she paused, afraid of what he might say next.::
::He smiled and breathed a laugh, scratching the back of his neck before looking up. That was the difference between Terran women and Haliian women... there was a line and he was toeing it. However, he was having a really good time getting to know her, maybe it was his emotions acting too soon, his inability to think before he did anything. She was looking at him expectantly so he had to say something. Think, brain, think!::
Brice: I'm sorry , I just... I didn't think about... ::he massaged the bridge of his nose:: I might as well just stop babbling and start over, huh?
::He slipped his hands into his pockets and smiled, sheepishly.:: Brice: I'm having a great time with you, Karynn.
::Karynn shivered a little as the water from her wet hair and the rain around her dripped down her spine. She put her hands in her own pockets, and looked into his green eyes.:: Ehlanii: I'm having an amazing time with you Ethan. I'm sorry I... :: her voice trailed off::
::He shook his head and smiled.:: Brice: Don't worry about it. A knock back once in a while is good for the soul.
::They started walking back down the pathway, side by side, rain making them drip from every angle. Ethan licked a drop from his bottom lip and looked back to Karynn.:: Brice: So, I drag you out of a bar to a nature reserve, I drag you out of another bar to go to a nature holosuite and you still want to know me?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Can't you tell I love nature? Of course I still want to know you. You're...oOAmazing? Wonderful?Oo ... a joy to be with. I haven't had this much fun in ages. I play kids games and climb trees like a little girl. You still want to know me?
::He grinned and moved to the side.:: Brice: No definitely not, I mean you bring out one of the worst sides in me I've seen in ages. An Engineer can't be having all this fun!
::She caught the joke, but decided to take his words literally. She assumed an exaggerated pout and dropped her shoulders slightly.:: Ehlanii: Ahh, well, I suppose I should let you get back to being a boring engineer then. No more fun for Ethan. ::At this point she couldn't hold back the smile and grinned through her wet hair.::
::He felt cheated and laughed, nudging her shoulder with his own.:: Brice: Well, then, I guess you won't want to be seeing this boring Engineer again then?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Quite the contrary. ::nudging him back:: I'm still hoping to see him tomorrow night.
::Was a smile becoming a permanent fixture on his face? He looked up ahead, his vision slightly obscured by the sun coming out above them.:: Brice: I think he'd like that. Would you mind awfully, if he offered to walk you back to your quarters?
Ehlanii: I wouldn't mind at all. ::she shivered slightly again:: The rain was nice, but I think I need a dry set of clothes.
::He pulled a bit of his t-shirt away from his body.:: Brice: I would give you mine in exchange but as you can see, not exactly bone dry. Computer?
::The computer bleeped in response.:: Brice: Show arch.
::The arch appeared just before them on the pathway and the doors slid back for them, revealing civilization once again. He gestured to her to go first and followed.::
::Karynn inclined her head slightly in thanks as she walked through the arch. She waited momentarily for him to join her in the hallway and headed toward the turbolift.::
Ehlanii: Thanks for the trip to the holodeck. I really have enjoyed my evening with you Ethan.
::He was vaguely aware of the puddles they were making as they walked down the corridor but only noticed them when they entered the turbolift.:: Brice: Deck 4. :: he ran his hand through his tousled hair:: It should be me thanking you. I promise tomorrow evening, I won't be getting you soaked.
Ehlanii: ::grinning:: That would be much appreciated, although its you that's gotten wet both times.
::He smiled at her grin.:: Brice: Maybe I'm just lucky. Two instances of being with you and twice now nature has decided to give me a shower. There might be a hint in there somewhere.
::The turbolift doors slid back and the officers waiting let Ethan and Karynn off before boarding.::
::Karynn walked into the corridor slightly ahead of Ethan and slowed her pace.:: Ehlanii: Well if it is, I can't imagine why. I'm sure you shower regularly. :: she smiled:: Right Mr. Brice?
::He inclined his head in a small bow.:: Brice: Of course, who wouldn't after climbing through this ship's tubing?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Well, then, there you go. So what did you say you're doing for the rest of the evening?
::He scratched his shoulder and blew a sigh.:: Brice: Maybe catch up with that light reading and bore myself to sleep. ::he arched his eyebrow to her:: And yourself? Reading through Falor's Journey in Vulcan?
Ehlanii: That's the general plan. ::she smiled:: Although I'm feeling a bit more musical. I might have to break out my flute for a while before reading.
::He nodded.:: Brice: Delicate tones, I hope? No Klingon heavy metal in there?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Strictly Haliian folk tunes tonight. Unless, of course, I simply decide to improvise.
Brice: I'm sure whatever you decide to play it'll sound lovely. ::he smiled:: I wouldn't mind hearing you some time, I might not look it but I do enjoy music when I get the chance. Whistling doesn't really count as music.
::He glanced over to her and beneath the layers or water logged tresses, her beautiful face hid. Did she just want to be friends? Even if she did, he felt... good... when he was with her. They passed an Officer in the corridor, who took the time to look them up and down as she passed.::
Brice: ::quietly:: I think she's jealous.
Ehlanii: ::looking at him with a puzzled expression:: Jealous? Of what?
::He laughed.:: Brice: Because we're completely drenched - makes a change from being in 'optimum temperature' settings all the time.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Ahhh. I see.
::Karynn saw the door to her quarters quickly approaching. She wanted to slow her pace, or stop altogether, just to avoid reaching it. But reason took over and she kept going at their moderate pace. oO After all, there's always tomorrow.Oo Too soon they reached her door.::
Ehlanii: Thank you so much for this evening. It was lovely.
::Ethan smiled happily. On one hand it felt... difficult? Was that the right word? It felt difficult to turn and go, but they did have the next night. Part of him couldn't understand why she wanted to see him again... There was nothing special about him that she couldn't find in anyone else. Minus the runaway mouth.::
Brice: I had fun, I don't think I've had this much fun in two days in a long while.
::Karynn knew she should do it. But she didn't want to. She didn't want the night to end. Part of her was afraid this was the end of a beautiful dream and when she walked through those doors she'd wake up and it would have never happened. oO Stall. No. Go through the door. You'll see him tomorrow.Oo She continued to look at him while she reached behind her body and tapped the panel. The doors slid open with a whoosh.::
Ehlanii: Tomorrow then? What time?
::What time? What time would be best? He racked his brain for it... dinner, what time was dinner usually at? He had it at such odd times of the day... what was considered normal? He looked back to her, her striking green eyes making the smile on his face stay there.::
Brice: Seven, would that be all right?
::Karynn watched his eyes and wondered if there was as much going through his head as there was through hers.:: Ehlanii: Seven sounds wonderful. Good night Ethan.
::He stepped back and slipped his hands back into his pockets, trying to fixate his mind on which way the warp c... turbolift was. He started walking back down the corridor backwards.::
Brice: Night, Karynn.
::Karynn did her best to resist the urge to keep watching him. She stepped backward through the doorway to her quarters and let the doors close with a soft whoosh. She rested her hand against the closed door and sighed peacefully. Tomorrow would come soon enough. With that, she turned and walked away from the door, ready for a dry, quiet evening.::
::Ethan walked away from her door, down the corridor looking down, thinking about her. He smiled to himself, which probably looked a little crazy to everyone else. He boarded the turbolift and leant against the back wall, being accompanied by another couple of passengers. Her smile, her eyes, the way she held his stare... she was amazing and he was completely astounded by her. How did she do it? As he got off the turbolift on Deck 2, he realized that he didn't have an answer to his own question.::
Getting to Know You
|Ensign Karynn Ehlanii
USS Ronin NCC-34523
That Which Does Not Kill Me
Getting to Know You
|Lieutenant Ethan Brice
USS Ronin NCC-34523
That Which Does Not Kill Me