SIM:JP - Ensign Karynn Ehlanii and Lieutenant Ethan Brice - That Which Does Not Kill Me
(( Ehlanii’s Quarters ))
::Karynn wasn't sure what the evening would hold. Knowing what she did of Ethan, she figured it would be both wonderful and different. She sat contemplating her wardrobe before finally selecting a deep blue flowing skirt and a pale yellow top with a wide neck that left much of the tops of her shoulders exposed. oO I suppose there won't be any tree climbing tonight.Oo She smiled, remembering her antics the evening before. oO I'll have to be a bit more ladylike.Oo A pair of strappy sandals and some small silver earrings completed the outfit. After dressing, she brushed out her brown hair, letting it hang in waves past her shoulders. She walked over to her computer and picked up her Vulcan poem to read while waiting.::
(( Corridor, Deck 4 ))
::Ethan knew if he hadn't left Engineering when he did, he would've been late. But, thankfully, nothing was going wrong so far. He'd left what he could with Sarah, handing over most of the shift work to the Beta staff. He ran a hand through his hair as he stood in the turbolift, thinking about the evening ahead. Choosing a simple outfit of black pants, white shirt and black jacket.::
::He was pretty sure his program would be all right, but then again it'd rained in his last. The turbolift doors slid open and Ethan walked out, remembering which of the many doors belonged to her and pressed the button on the side, stepping back and slipping a hand into his pocket.::
::Karynn heard the chime just after she'd picked up the PADD. oO No big deal. I probably wouldn't have gotten far anyway. Oo She checked the mirror one last time, smoothing out a wrinkle in her top, before going to the door. She pressed the button and the door slid open.::
::As the door slid back, Ethan was looking at his shoes, trying to figure out whether he should've polished them again when his eyes traveled up another set of sandaled feet, the deep blue skirt, the yellow top and her soft skin to her perfect face. Just as beautiful as he remembered from the night before, not that he needed much reminding. Was this really the woman that wanted to be going out with him? He picked his jaw up from the floor and managed to pull together some words from his head.::
Brice: You look... ::smiles:: You look so beautiful.
::Karynn felt the blood creeping up to her face. She looked down at the floor.:: Ehlanii: Thanks. You look really good too. Shall we?
::He gestured to the corridor with his free hand for her to go first.:: Brice: That we shall.
::As they started moving, he looked over at her and smiled.:: Brice: How's your day gone?
Ehlanii: It's been slow. There isn't much for me to do right now, despite what you say about the crew. I think it might take a while for them to get used to my presence here. So I spent a good part of the day watching classes again. What about you?
Brice: Just the pre-mission assignment - nothing much, just compiling the cargo records and getting spares of what we can't replicate. You might have more work during this mission. Are you enjoying it, though?
::They reached the turbolift and the doors slid open for them. Karynn walked through first - she was getting used to being the first one through doorways - and waited for Ethan to join her. She paused, waiting for Ethan to give the destination.::
::He made sure to avoid physical contact, after what had happened the day before, he wasn't going to risk it. The temptation had been there. Offering her his arm when they met was one. But, it couldn't be risked.:: Brice: Deck 2.
::The turbolift hummed to life:: Ehlanii: I'm enjoying it pretty well. At least the down time gives me a chance to keep up with class, and I might even have a chance to start working on a research project. And I love it when I actually have patients.
::He grinned.:: Brice: Yeah, I suppose so. But, it does beg the eternal question. Is it better for the ship's Counselor to be busy or not?
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: I suppose its better for the crew if I'm never needed. However, from what you've mentioned and I've seen, I have a feeling that I'm more needed than they're letting on.
::The turbolift stopped and Karynn stepped off and waited for Ethan to lead the way.::
(( Deck Two, Holosuite ))
::They walked down the corridor to one of the holosuites on the level. Once again, only a few were in use. Everyone else would be using the ones on the station or just playing around on the station, either one. Ethan tapped into the panel on the side, loading his program and waited for the doors to part.::
::True, he was an Engineer through and through but every inch of him loved history. Inside the holosuite was a representation, a historical copy of records on file. 1950's Paris in the evening, the sky was dark, the stars were shining and the streets were paved with cobbles. Across from where they stood was the Louvre, lit up in the darkness, shadows and all.::
::The one place he loved that hadn't been tainted by the age of technology. The arch closed behind them and disappeared.::
::Karynn gasped:: Ehlanii: Its beautiful. ::laughing:: You must think I'm easily impressed since I've said that about everywhere you've taken me. But it really is amazing. What is it?
- He laughed.:: Brice: Not quite, I didn't really know whether you'd like this or not but it is one of my favorite programs to date. Over there... ::he pointed to the building:: is the Louvre, an art gallery in Paris, France in 1793. Some of Earth's greatest artistic works are stored in there.
::Karynn looked at the building he pointed out and watched the effects on the lights on it for a while. Then she slowly turned in a counterclockwise circle, to take in the view around them. Her eyes rested on the building behind them.::
Ehlanii: What's that one?
::He turned round and followed her gaze across the cobbled street.:: Brice: That is the Palais Royal, the home of quite a few French royals in it's time. The architecture of the place is fantastic, considering when it was constructed.
::It was slightly breezy considering the evening time. Ethan looked down the street to see some other people, programmed holograms walking around, the fountain not far away from them. He knew the gardens were a short walk down the street.::
Brice: So, where does your fancy take you? Dinner, Madame, or a walk in the gardens?
::Karynn took a moment to finish her circle and turned back to face the dark haired engineer. She considered the choices while absentmindedly playing with a strand of hair in her right hand. Her stomach rumbled a bit.::
Ehlanii: How about dinner first, then a walk?
::He smiled, noticing her hand playing idly with her hair again.:: Brice: Then the Tour d'Argent it is. ::as they started to walk he looked to her:: So, what do you think of the city? I really don't think my program does it justice. The real thing is a sight to be seen with your own two sensors.
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: Its a beautiful city. Your program may not do it justice, but there's no way I could know. It really is impressive.
::She looked at him out of the corner of her eyes, toying with the idea of "bumping" his hand with her own. Part of her really wanted to, but her concerns from the night before hadn't gone away. Deciding against it, she clasped her hands behind her back.::
Ehlanii: So what gave you the idea for this?
::He could see the Silver Tower coming up across the street from them. This would be interesting. He cleared his throat, placing his fist in front of his mouth as he did so before replying.::
Brice: It was Sarah actually - she's been learning French since we were at the Shipyards so I thought this would be a good program to write. She comes here to learn the language when she gets the chance and I come here once in a blue moon to correct something. ::he smiled to himself:: So, this is the first time here for me as a patron.
Ehlanii: :: grinning:: Then I suppose I'll have to thank her. It really is impressive. Where are we having dinner?
::Her eyes flitted from building to building and from light to light. It really was a beautiful city. She was glad she had chosen the flat sandals. Briefly she'd considered grabbing a pair of heels, to bring her at least a little closer to his height, but then she'd decided against it. oO Walking on these streets in heels would definitely be dangerous.Oo She adjusted her path so it veered a bit closer to her companion.::
::He felt her drift that little bit closer and looked up ahead to the eight story building on the corner. Black iron window tresses hung down. He wondered why it was named the Silver Tower when it was white but no matter. Up above, the name of the building was carved into the stone. A waiter stood on the corner of the door, dressed in black and white, opening the door for them as they got closer.::
::Karynn followed his gaze and saw the building and the waiter. It was a charming building and looked like it probably served excellent food.::
::Letting them inside, Karynn first, the waiter closed the door behind them. The inside was finely decorated with the 18th century still artwork and design, low lighting and a Maitre'd behind a podium waiting. The Maitre'd looked up, seeing Karynn and smiled.::
Maitre'd: Tableau pour deux? Venez de cette façon, s'il vous plais.
::Karynn was looking around the room when the man behind the podium spoke. Her attention snapped first to him and then to Ethan, a questioning look in her eyes. She hoped he'd understand.::
::Ethan chuckled and quietly spoke to her.:: Brice: He means to follow him. He's getting us a table for two.
::The Maitre'd led them to a table beside the bay windows, looking out onto the Seine River. He waited until the two were seated before he handed them a menu each, indicating that he would be back in a second or two to ask about their wine order and to figure out whether they both spoke French or not. He was unsure about the female.::
::Karynn looked at the menu in front of her. It was all in a language she couldn't understand.:: Ehlanii: Could you order for me? I have no idea what's what. Besides... I trust your judgment.
::Ethan lifted a cautious eyebrow. She was really putting her faith in him.:: Brice: Are you allergic to anything? Have a particular fancy for something?
Ehlanii: :: smiling:: No allergies that I know of. And I'm not really in the mood for anything in particular. So order whatever you think would be good.
::The Maitre'd came over once more, bustling through the people already dining on their various tables. He stood back slightly, his arms behind his back.::
Maitre'd: Êtes-vous prêt à passer commande?
::Ethan lifted the menu up for the Maitre'd and pointed to the one on the menu.:: Brice: Deux de l'agneau, bouteille de blanc, s'il vous plais.
::He nodded and smiled at Karynn.:: Maitre'd: May I say, Madame, you are looking lovely this evening. ::and walked off.::
::Karynn was surprised when the man switched to English. She was even more surprised at the compliment. The pink color returned to her cheeks.::
Ehlanii: Did you tell him to say that?
::Ethan smiled and laughed, shaking his head. The pink in her cheeks made her eyes lighten slightly.::
Brice: No, I didn't. If I had, he would've said 'Vous êtes toujours beau'. I'm afraid that was all of his own accord.
::He sat back in his chair and once again, let his hand rest on the table. This time he wasn't going to blush, he was pretty sure of it.::
Brice: It means 'You are always beautiful'.
Ehlanii: ::blushing:: So, what did you order for us?
Brice: Lamb and a bottle of white wine, although I'm pretty sure red goes better with the dish. It was the one thing I took the time to really dig my nails into just in case I was hungry walking round the place. Is that all right for you?
Ehlanii: :: smiling:: Sounds wonderful. And thank you. I didn't say it earlier, but thank you.
::He looked at her quizzically.:: Brice: What for?
Ehlanii: The compliment. My mother did teach me to say thank you when someone says something nice about me. :: quietly:: I guess I'm just not used to actually getting them.
::He smiled.:: Brice: Now I know that's a lie. Beauty in it's rare form is hard to find. ::he looked out of the window to the side of them and pointed:: Look, Notre Dame Cathedral. A man made construction, a architects dream then, come inside and here I'm sat with nature's own creation that could rival the very foundations of that place.
::Karynn had the strange urge to hide. She liked hearing she was beautiful, but she really wasn't used to it. She gazed out the window, not wanting to meet his eyes.::
Ehlanii: So tell me about that place. Notre Dame Cathedral?
::He followed her gaze. They could see it on the other side of the Seine, in all it's majesticness.:: Brice: Well, it's a Gothic Cathedral, still standing in Paris. It took 300 years to complete but it's still considered one of the most astounding buildings on Earth.
Ehlanii: Did you program an inside for it?
::A waiter walked over with their bottle of wine, placing it on the table and pouring out two glasses before leaving. He didn't say anything, which struck Ethan as surprising. He'd programmed them to be quite chatty. Or, maybe he hadn't got round to it.:: Brice: I did, one of the first parts I finished off.
::Karynn picked up her glass and held it just below her nose. She swirled the glass and breathed in the aroma of the bouquet.:: Ehlanii: :: smiling:: Do you think we could go see it sometime? ::she took a sip and looked up at Ethan.::
::He picked up the wine glass and took a sip of it. He didn't agree with red wine, but then again it was a rare occasion that he ever did drink the stuff.:: Brice: We could - well, we could go this evening if you like.
Ehlanii: Oh whatever you'd like to do. :: smiling:: You know the best sites in here much better than I do. :: she placed the glass on the table:: So have I asked you why you chose engineering?
Brice: ::laughs:: I don't think so... I umm, I've always taken a liking to it since I was a child - I used to take apart most of the house and forget how to put it back together. I had the remains of two replicators and a holoprojector under my bed before I read a manual.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Definitely sounds like you were destined for it then.
::The waiter returned, this time bearing their meal. He set the steaming plates of lamb down in front of them. Karynn looked at it and then the waiter and smiled.::
Ehlanii: Thank you. :: to Brice:: Thank you too. This looks excellent.
::Ethan looked down at the lamb, honey brazed as it was and considered not even eating it. It looked too perfect. It needed preserving... but the fork and knife were there. It had to be done.:: Brice: ::grins:: This was the one meal my father could cook without burning it.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Then your mom was the cook in the family? :: she picked up her fork and knife and cut herself a small piece. The meat practically melted in her mouth.:: This is really good.
::He followed suit.:: Brice: That's debatable. Cooking wise - nothing was every burnt, it was well-done or crispy. They only ever really cooked for us when replicators were hiding under my bed having spontaneously blown up for no reason. Yours?
Ehlanii: Oh, my mom cooked most of the time. We didn't use replicators much. We had one, but my mom preferred making food just the way she liked it, and she was always fussing that the replicators couldn't do it right. Every once in a while my Dad made one of his specialty dishes.
::Karynn savored a few more bites of the lamb, and then took a bite of the seasoned potatoes next to it. She looked back out at the Cathedral across the river.::
::He noticed where her look was going and followed it out of the window, across the river once more. The great stained glass window was just waiting to be seen from the inside. Lighting it up outside, the floor lights gave it a romantic presence in the city while the evening light made it look exceedingly Gothic.::
Brice: Well... we could always save the gardens for another time.
Ehlanii: :: taking a sip of wine:: Either way. It does look beautiful though.
::He smiled, glancing at her.:: Brice: What do you like about it?
Ehlanii: Its so... well, its hard to put my finger on it, really. It has an elegant strength about it, I guess. Even from here I can tell that it's probably just bursting with surprises.
::He resisted the urge to laugh and stifled it back down, continuing to eat the best lamb dinner he'd ever eaten.:: Brice: o0 Not unlike yourself then... 0o It would be interesting to see it from this point of view, all I see is coding day to day.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: As interesting as your coding might be, you should look at the results more often. Otherwise you miss out on the coolest part!
Brice: Which is why I'd like to go explore it with you. ::he smiled to himself:: Like here, I wouldn't have thought about coming here until now. ::on that note, he changed the subject:: Did you play your flute last night?
Ehlanii: A bit. It was calming, but I'm still not sure how sound proof these walls are, and I didn't want to disturb anyone.
Brice: They're pretty well structured; the walls are sound-proofed quite well so you could be destroying every bit of your quarters and your neighbors wouldn't hear. Security might, but your neighbors won't.
Ehlanii: :: smiling:: That’s good to know. Now I won't feel so guilty about making noise. How was your book?
::He took another sip of the wine.:: Brice: Great, it knocked me straight out. Best night's sleep I've had in a while. o0 Maybe peace of mind as well. 0o How was yours? Or didn't you get round to it?
Ehlanii: Its good. I can only read a bit at a time, but I did read a few verses last night. Its nice to be able to practice my Vulcan. :: she looked back outside at the river and then back at Ethan.:: So how long have you known French?
Brice: I used to learn bits and pieces from my tutors on Earth. When I got to the Academy I read some manuals on the subject so my basic is not so bad. Ask me to explain anything other then food or where the train is and I won't have a clue. :: he took another sip:: I think Rebecca is thinking about teaching Matthew Vulcan when he starts to speak.
Ehlanii: Its a good language. Sensible, yet beautiful. :: she thought a moment.:: So did you have a pet after Lunch the crab?
::He grinned.:: Brice: I, ah, I didn't think you'd remember him. I've had a cat, named him Blue after the water in the tropical tank. Although, his death did scar me for life.
Ehlanii: I can imagine. It was hard for us when Triya died.
::Karynn had been steadily eating and with that statement, she popped the last bite in her mouth. It had been a truly good meal. She picked up her wine glass, which was also almost empty and looked back at Ethan.::
Ehlanii: So you think we'll see much of each other once we're under way again?
::He lifted an eyebrow and swallowed the last bit of his lamb.:: Brice: Are you saying you'd like to? Or is it too early to ask questions like that?
Ehlanii: :: smiling :: Nope, not too early. Although... it would be kind of awkward if I said I'd like to see you more and you didn't feel the same way.
::She looked up into his green eyes, waiting for his reaction.::
::He smiled and placed the wine glass down.:: Brice: I do, I... It might be difficult but I don't think it'll be impossible. Not if we both... understand, you know?
::Karynn smiled and nodded.:: Ehlanii: We're both busy people. You, especially. But we can work it out. Perhaps explore more of this program sometime?
::That did warm up his cheeks a bit.:: Brice: Yeah, I'd like that. I'll have to write some more of it but definitely. I mean... ::he cleared his throat into his fist again:: ...if you'd like to, obviously. I'm hoping I won't get drenched on this outing.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: But what would an evening together be without you getting a bit wet?
::He grinned.:: Brice: An un-wet one, more than likely. This program has no rain function in it, so unless you're planning to chuck me in the River...
::Karynn looked out at the river.:: Ehlanii ::smiling mischievously:: Don't give me any ideas. ::she giggled.::
Brice: ::smiles:: I suppose I should start walking around with a life-raft. ::he finished the glass of wine:: Besides, you wouldn't do that to me. You'd have to drag me out.
Ehlanii: ::after finishing her own glass:: Can't you swim?
::He tongued his cheek.:: Brice: I'm not amazingly good at it, I'll admit that. Why? Would you dive in after me?
::She tipped her head to the side, exaggeratedly thinking.:: Ehlanii: I might ::she laughed:: Perhaps another time. I don't feel much like getting wet today. ::She glanced out the window in thought.:: So... do you dance?
::He leant back in the chair.:: Brice: On the odd occasion, usually with Lt.Cmdr Walker. Why do you ask?
Ehlanii: I just thought it might be fun sometime. ::she smiled at him:: So is there any more to this meal?
::Was she deliberately thinking of things to do with him? No, he shook his head, he wasn't that... was she? No, she was just curious.:: Brice: Got a hankering for chocolate cheesecake?
Ehlanii ::her face lit up:: Mmmm. Sounds great.
::Ethan looked up, catching the attention of the Maitre'd, who walked over.:: Maitre'd: Monsieur? Madame? Is there anything else I can get for you?
::The Engineer looked over the table to Karynn.::
Ehlanii: :: to the waiter:: A piece of chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce please. :: she looked back at Ethan.::
Brice: ::smiles:: I'll have the same, minus the raspberry sauce, please.
::Bowing his head lightly, the Maitre'd replied.:: Maitre'd: Very good, Madame, Monsieur.
::He walked off and Ethan looked to Karynn, still smiling.:: Brice: I swear he likes you better than me.
Ehlanii: Quite possible. ::she grinned :: I am the prettier one.
Brice: ::feigning a French accent:: I don't deny it, Madame. Why, I could show you the highlights of Paris before any Engineer could.
::Karynn burst into laughter.:: Ehlanii: No thanks. I'd rather see it with this dark haired engineer I brought along. ::she smiled at Brice.::
::He grinned.:: Brice: Careful, these people might start to think you like dark haired Engineers that follow you around Paris in the evening.
Ehlanii: :: mock shock:: Well, we can't have that can we?
::The Maitre'd returned bearing the cheesecake and set the plates on the table.::
::Replicated food always tasted like home to him.:: Brice: No we can't, you'll lose all manner of reputation.
::Karynn took a bite of her cheesecake. It tasted soooo good. She sat in silence, savoring each and every bite of her cheesecake.::
::He smiled, glancing up at her from his own. Her hair framed her face perfectly.:: Brice: I suppose I'd lose to the cheesecake in a battle to win the evening with you.
::Karynn laughed:: Ehlanii: Right now, probably. ::She watched him eating his own.:: How is yours?
::He took a bit of it.:: Brice: The same as yours, only not as rasberryish. Just plain and simple.
::Karynn ate a few more bites of cheesecake and looked out the window at the city's sparkling lights. She tried to think of something to say next.::
::The cheesecake was amazingly good, even if he wouldn't admit it. He didn't have a sweet tooth - hot chocolate was about as far as he went usually. He looked over the table to her as he sat back, wondering what she was thinking.::
Ehlanii: So what has been the most disappointing moment in your life?
::He knew what he could say. His Grandfather's death. But, he wasn't going to. He was getting over it, she'd find out eventually if she kept her threat to read his file. He smiled.:: Brice: Ahh if I told you, I wouldn't be very mysterious. How about you?
Ehlanii: ::waving her fork at him:: Nope. If you won't share I won't either. :: she smiled.:: I have to keep the mystery going too, you know.
::She took another bite. There were only a couple left on her plate. She looked around the room, taking in all the artwork, trying to come up with another question for her companion.::
::He grinned to himself, fair play to her. Behind him, in the corner of the room, the drums and saxophones of a small brass band started to kick off, blasting out their tune. A man in a gray suit stood up in front, crooning into a microphone at the front of the small stage. Some kind of 1950's swing music.::
::Karynn slowly finished the last of her dessert, swaying slightly to the music. It was all she could do to not jump up and dance, but the last bites of the cheesecake helped anchor her to her chair, for now. After savoring the last bite, she smiled.::
Ehlanii: Dinner was lovely and dessert was excellent. Thank you, Ethan.
::He noticed her swaying and beneath the table, his foot was tapping all on it's very own.:: Brice: Well, thank you could be accompanied by agreeing to a dance?
Ehlanii: :: smiling:: I'd be delighted. :: she waited for him to offer his hand. This time she was actually looking forward to the gesture.::
::Ethan stood up and wavered between stuffing his hands in his pockets and offering one to her. The night before... Sod it! The night before had been exactly that. New day, new evening and they were dancing. He held his hand out to her with a half-smile.:: Brice: Come on, Madame, before one of these other fellas asks you.
::Karynn's face lit up. She took his hand and stood, absorbing the emotions that came through the contact. His enjoyment and excitement mixed with her own, and his attraction reassured her that she wasn't totally off base. She held on to his hand moments longer than usual, hoping that he might notice. After all, dancing required prolonged physical contact, and she didn't want him to be worried about it.::
Ehlanii: Lead the way, kind sir.
::The two of them walked onto the dance floor, amidst all the other dancing couples that had decided to get up. The song was upbeat, moderately fast-paced. They found a spot in the middle and Ethan stepped closer to Karynn, but looked into her green eyes not exactly sure whether he should be touching her or not. Her hand was still in his, something he had forgotten about.::
::Karynn could see the look in his eyes, and while still holding his hand, she could tell he was confused. She leaned in to whisper in his ear.:: Ehlanii: Its ok. :: she squeezed his hand gently to remind him that she still had it.::
::His other hand found her hip. He felt her hand on his arm and looked into her eyes, deliberately asking without asking if she felt all right being so close to him and what he was feeling.::
::Karynn smiled a peaceful smile. It was nice being so close. She was becoming used to feeling his emotions mixed with her own. She looked into his green eyes as they began to move to the music.::
Ehlanii: I hope I don't step on your toes.
::He smiled, breathing a laugh. She could and he probably wouldn't feel it. The music felt good, being close to her felt... better. He didn't feel uncomfortable, he felt at ease, moving in time with the music. He wasn't a bad dancer, a fact that he knew. The song was something about a kick in the head, or something along those lines.::
Brice: We're doing well so far...
::Karynn could feel him relax and loosen up. She was enjoying the dance immensely.:: Ehlanii: That we are.
::They finished the dance mostly in silence. As Ethan spun her back into his arms, she looked at him with a question in her eyes.:: Ehlanii: Another? Or should we go exploring?
::As she asked, the music had slowed down, and this time the Italian suited singer was now crooning a slow song into the microphone. Couples started swaying to the music that could, effectively, overpower the natural senses. He returned her quizzical look.:: Brice: Entirely your decision. Everything has been up to me so far, I... ::smiles:: I'd like your input.
::She moved slightly closer to him:: Ehlanii: How about one more dance, and then we'll go check out the Cathedral together.
::He felt her coming slightly closer, only by inches but it was enough. The dance didn't require half as much spinning and twisting as the last, just casual swaying and turning on the dance floor. Ethan was sure he was resonating complete contentment and for the first time, he hoped she felt it. ::
::They swayed in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Karynn's own contentment matched what she was feeling from Ethan. She liked the way she felt when she was with him, and she could tell he did too. All too soon the song ended.::
::As it ended, they parted and clapped for the band, the Italian suit taking a bow. They walked back to the table and Ethan slipped his jacket back on, turning back round to Karynn.:: Brice: See? Replicated suits fit perfectly. His pants are too short.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Whose pants?
Brice: ::smiles:: The suit on the stage. May be Italian, but looks French tailored to me.
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: I see. So where are we off to now?
(( Outside, Paris – Holosuite One))
::Ethan and Karynn walked back out the entrance, the waiter holding the door for them as they passed.::
Brice: Pick a destination, there all around us.
::Karynn paused to think. He'd mentioned gardens. The thought was appealing... but they'd been to a lot of nature locations in the past couple of days. There was the palace they'd passed on the way in, the art museum, and... She glanced across the river.::
Ehlanii: How about Notre Dame?
::He tucked a hand into his pocket and ran the other over his head, looking across the river toward the piece of historic architecture. It looked amazing from where they were standing, the lights underneath giving it a Gothic feel.::
Brice: I concur, Counselor. If you'd like to traverse the ancient site then we will do so.
::Karynn smiled and they began walking at a leisurely pace. A warm breeze played with her loose hair, sometimes blowing it across her face. She did her best to keep the hair tame and under control.::
Ehlanii: oO I wonder if I should mention meeting Matthew today. On the one hand, it would be something to talk about but... I can't really tell him how or why we met, so... I suppose I shouldn' t.Oo
::The bank beside the river tapered off to a bridge up ahead. A stone cut bridge, something looking like it should have been passed over with the medieval age but it was still standing, enjoying the glorious view of all the surrounded it. They walked over, Ethan looked over the side to the river below and calculating the depth in his head. At least, if she did push him, he wouldn't drown. The moon was shining it's light onto the water and reflecting beautifully. Natural light was always the best. He looked over at Karynn, at her hair blowing gently across her skin, the slope of the ridges on her forehead and through the small conversation, the sound of her voice.::
Ehlanii: Thanks for dancing with me. I haven't done that in ages, and I've never danced to that kind of music before.
Brice: Old 20th Century Earth music. I never used to listen to it until somebody suggested I try it out - I've liked it ever since. I think they called it the golden age of swing, or something like that. ::he smiled:: Really gets your foot tapping. Besides, you're a really good dancer.
Ehlanii: Thanks. You're a good dancer too... and you're very easy to follow.
::They followed the path around a bend and suddenly the front of the Cathedral loomed above them. Karynn paused to simply look up and stare, her jaw dropping in awe.::
::Ethan followed her gaze up to the cathedral, standing next to her.:: Brice: Amazing, isn't it? It took three hundred years to build all together.
Ehlanii: Its... incredible. ::she took a side-step toward him:: Its... well, I suppose the best I can come up with is incredible.
::He lifted an eyebrow.:: Brice: ::smiles:: Lost for words is always a good sign. Fancy having a look inside or would that lead you to using a more descriptive word?
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: If its anything like the outside, I doubt I'll be able to find more words. Sure, lets take a look.
(( Holosuite - Notre Dame ))
::The large double doors were already open, paving the way for them to walk inside. The beauty of the interior only surpassed the grandeur of its outside appearance. Stained glass windows covered the walls, sending colorful splatters of moonlight onto the waiting stone floor. Ethan walked inside after Karynn and watched her as she looked around. They had been close all evening; even outside she'd stepped closer to him. Was this her telling him she was comfortable? He tucked his other hand into his pocket.::
::The Cathedral was awe-inspiring. Karynn walked slowly down the aisle, between the splotches of colored moonlight drifting through the stained glass. Up ahead, she saw the steps up to the altar. Feeling a reverence she hadn't felt in a long time, she approached the end of the rows of pews and found herself kneeling. She wasn't entirely sure why, but she knew that it was an appropriate gesture for the space. After a moment, she shifted to sitting cross-legged on the floor, gazing up at the towering ceiling.::
::Ethan hung back, watching what she was doing. He wasn't sure whether it was some sort of religious display or she was just taking it all in as part of her Vulcan psychology - one of the only reasons he would assume someone would sit on the floor cross-legged. He leaned against one of the pews and looked up and all around. Taken from images of the cathedral, he'd rebuilt it in scope, thinking about what the structure would be like, what kind of joints would have been employed... what he'd give to be back building ships...::
::There was a chant started above, faintly and sounded like about three voices.::
::Karynn closed her eyes and listened for a few moments.::
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: What are they singing?
::He looked around and tried to see them, but couldn't. It sounded archaic, one of the archaic languages from Earth. It didn't sound French.::
Brice: :::quietly:: I think it's Latin.
::Karynn smiled and rose to her feet. Whatever it was, it was beautiful. She closed her eyes again, as if the lack of sight would help her absorb the sound more fully. After a few more moments, she opened them again and began slowly walking around the spacious room, examining the stained glass and statues scattered throughout the space.::
::The place was beautiful. The whole place was a monument to the work of the 17th century artisans and stone masons. It was a tribute to the people of the time, to how Humans had come through the ages. Ethan watched Karynn walk around, looking at everything that was surrounding them. He smiled to himself, looking into the faces of the statues. They were so human and not human, like the ancestors had known what was happening out in the universe all along.::
::Karynn moved slowly about the room, returning to where she'd started. She walked up behind Ethan.::
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: Its beautiful. It really is.
::He turned a little to the side and smiled at her, the Latin still being chanted up above. She was so close, if he moved only slightly he could brush his hand against hers again. He fisted it instead and flexed it again.:: Brice: ::quietly:: I'm glad you like it.
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: Where'd you figure out how to do all of this?
::He scratched the back of his neck.:: Brice: ::quietly:: I was brought up doing it, programming is... well, programmed into my brain. Plus, being an Engineer does have it's advantages.
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: But how'd you figure out this. Where'd you figure out how to program in the chant? Or the statues?
::He smiled and looked up to the ceiling.:: Brice: ::quietly:: Historical records. I thought make the people as real for Sarah as I could and this... this is all just for me. I wanted to see if I could program real architecture, as it's meant to be. Not logical building, just something real. Something that if you looked at it, it would really take your breath away instead of just the same corridor, or the same Office.
::Standing next to him, and very close to him, Karynn couldn't help but glance at Ethan. She slipped it in while her gaze traveled around the room. Part of her wanted to reach across the tiny distance between him and brush his hand. But then again, it wasn't just her decision. It was really more invasive to him than it was to her. After all, what she felt was protected, but what he felt would become an open book to her. She sighed nearly imperceptibly and decided against touching him. She'd tried to indicate that she was comfortable around him and comfortable with touching him with other little gestures, like dancing or moving closer to him, but she wanted to let him make the next move.::
Ehlanii: I think you succeeded.
::Touch, physical contact was such a big part of a Human's existence but for other species, it was hard to adapt to. Ethan knew he wanted to touch her hand, touch her elbow, her hand, like he had when they'd danced an hour before. He looked up to the balcony area, where the chant was coming from and slowly touched his little finger to hers, connecting the two together. He didn't feel anything, like he knew he wouldn't, but the softness of her skin and the roughness of his own.::
Brice: ::quietly:: Thank you.
::Karynn smiled and slowly took in the new emotions. They weren't really new anymore: she'd felt them a lot over the last few days. She was glad to know that he was comfortable enough with her to risk rejection again. Unlike the previous day she encouraged the contact, wrapping her hand behind his, mimicking his movements in the forest. Their palms and fingertips brushed against each other. She paused and waited, wondering what he'd do next.::
::He slipped his fingers into hers, lacing them together. He didn't feel a thing but he knew she was feeling everything. She'd made the next move as he'd made the first, now he was touching every inch of her hand. He could feel the ridges of her fingers, the contours and knuckles. His fingertips touched the back of her hand and he felt... normal. Everything was normal. He smiled to himself and looked down.::
Brice: ::quietly:: Is this okay?
::Karynn felt a bit of electricity as their fingers intertwined. It was charged with his emotions.::
Ehlanii: ::nodding:: Yeah. Its...pleasant.
::He lifted an eyebrow and flexed his fingers, brushing them almost along the back of her hand.:: Brice: ::quietly:: Pleasant?
Ehlanii: ::smiling at his reaction and whispering back:: Yes, pleasant. I'm not used to it, but I am enjoying it.
::He nodded and cleared his throat, frowning jokingly as he looked up again. The voices, the Latin chanters were starting to walk down the center isle.:: Brice: ::quietly:: Ever held hands with a human before?
::Karynn shook her head:: Ehlanii: ::whispering:: No. Can't say that I have. How about you. Have you held hands with a Haliian before?
::He smiled.:: Brice: ::quietly:: I haven't... so we're both new to this?
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: That we are. At least you're enjoying it too... ::she smiled mischievously::
::He nudged her playfully with his elbow.:: Brice: ::quietly:: Can feel it can you?
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: I can feel a lot right now.
::The chanters walked past them, walking round the Cathedral.:: Brice: ::quietly:: Like what?
Ehlanii: ::whispering:: Like... you're about as happy as I am at the moment. And... you're really enjoying being around me right now. ::she looked up at him, waiting for his reaction.::
::He smiled to himself. If she could feel that, she could feel everything else he was feeling on top of it. Not that he minded, in the least. He looked to the double doors and looked back to her, resisting the urge to step that little bit closer. He indicated towards the door with a questioning but playful look.::
::Karynn saw the playful look and wondered what was in store for the rest of the evening. She nodded and started moving toward the door, retaining his hand in her own.::
(( Holosuite – Outside Again ))
::The double doors opened and outside the cool air whipped round them again. There was only a slight breeze, programmed for summer time in the city. The sun would be rising, the moon would go into hiding and once again summer would reign supreme. However, the night was calm and full of stars in the sky.::
::Ethan looked across to Karynn and squeezed her hand gently, as an indication that she was still holding his hand. It was surprising, firstly that she'd even considered tonight and secondly that she was holding his rough, calloused, Engineer's hand without flinching.::
Brice: I think that's somewhere I'll have to see again, in the daytime.
Brice: Would you like to come with me?
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: Only if you'd like me to join you, Mr. Brice.
::He smiled.:: Brice: I wouldn't mind at all, I'd be glad for the company. Did you like it?
Ehlanii: It's wonderful. I can't believe that anyone could build something that spectacular. ::she looked at him and tipped her head to the side.:: You sure you want me around?
Brice: ::laughs:: Well, if you can't feel it, I'm being very sincere. If you'd like to be around, that is. I mean I'm not... Well, I... ::he stopped:: I'm waffling.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: It's fine. Take a breath and start over. ::she smiled encouragingly::
Brice: Restarting my communications system would be good. I like you, Karynn, and I wouldn't mind seeing more of you. These past few days have been amazing...
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: They've been pretty amazing for me too. I like being around you, Ethan, and I've enjoyed getting to know you. I'd like to keep getting to know you, if that's ok.
::Ethan nodded and brushed her thumb slightly with his own.:: Brice: That's fine with me.
::The pair walked along the path in silence for a few moments.::
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: Sorry, I can't think of any playful way to surprise you today.
::The Engineer laughed.:: Brice: I'm quite glad I won't be plunging into any sort of water body already. Although, seeing you climbing that tree yesterday was interesting. ::he looked down to the river:: It's wet down there.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: That it is. I figured you should be spared from getting drenched three days in a row.
::He stopped and bit his bottom lip.:: Brice: Well, it's twice for me and only once for you. Sure you don't want to take a running jump?
::Karynn grinned and made a show of thinking about it. She looked back at Ethan and nodded her head.:: Ehlanii: Yep, I'm sure. Swimming in this skirt would be a pain.
::He chuckled.:: Brice: Ah, think it would be dragging? Hmm, looks like it could get water logged pretty easily. ::he looked back into the river and clicked his tongue:: Three days in a row could be lucky. Our first date and I manage to get wet... maybe it's a good luck charm.
::Karynn giggled:: Ehlanii: Sounds like you really want me to push you in. I could oblige... ::she released his hand and gently pushed on his shoulder in the direction of the river. It wasn't enough to make him tumble over, but it was enough to say "I'm serious about doing this..."::
::His shoulder turned and forced him to look down again. They weren't high up on the road, but it was high enough. His stomach jumped for a second but he laughed it off, playfully, pushing her back.::
Brice: If I end up in the drink, you're going down with me
::Karynn looked at him puzzled for a second. An odd feeling came through just as she pushed him. What was it? Her puzzlement turned to a grin when he spoke.::
Ehlanii: Alright, alright. No swimming today. If you get drenched, it won't be in the river.
::A thought clicked over in his mind and as they began to walk away from the edge. He didn't think pushing her in would be helpful. Still, it could be funny. She'd probably kill him though... or at the very least, pull him in with her.::
Brice: ::laughs:: And I do like a good swim now and then. Good for the body. Then again, we could get attacked by the French with water pistols...
::Karynn cocked her head to the side.:: Ehlanii: Water pistols?
::Ethan laughed harder.:: Brice: I'll... I'll have to show you sometime. Like phasers only they shoot water instead.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: They sound like fun.
::He nodded, grinning, watching his feet walk along the cobbled street.:: Brice: Definitely, a 20th Century toy but good fun to be chasing senior staff around the ship with.
::Karynn's mind conjured up a picture of the senior staff chasing about on the Ronin with phasers squirting water. She laughed to herself. It was a funny thought. As she was walking, she reached out and played with Brice's fingers with her own, almost, but not quite, holding his hand again.::
::Ethan just enjoyed her playing around with him, messing with his fingers, and it felt nice. It felt good and made him smile to himself. Again, the third night in a row that she'd agreed to see him and there they were, holding hands, playing with one another's fingers, walking down a cobbled street sharing small talk about nothing but nothing that was making them laugh, smile and feel good. Ethan looked up and saw the fountain they'd been heading back toward. That was where they'd came in.::
::A car passed them, dipping the headlights. A Chrysler, Ethan remembered. The black car drove down the street, into the distance and away from them.::
::Karynn saw the fountain they'd passed on their way in and had an idea. She gently and subtly directed their steps close to it. oO He wanted to get wet, right?Oo When they were about 5 feet from the fountain she let go of his hand and ran toward it. Laughing, she dipped both hands in the water and flung it at him.::
::As the cold water splashed onto his face, his shirt, wetting him down, it completely took him by surprise. He looked shocked and for a minute, probably pretty annoyed then scooped his arm into the water and threw it at her.::
Brice: If I'm getting wet, so are you!
::Karynn laughed and ran, but not fast enough. The water caught her across the back, soaking her shirt. She turned around to face him.::
Ehlanii: You seemed disappointed that you weren't going to get wet tonight. Something about bad luck, wasn't it?
::He sat down on the edge of the fountain, on the stone and grinned, running a wet hand over his already wet face.:: Brice: Bad luck? Bad luck is... ::he scooped up another load and chucked it at her front:: ...Now we're equal.
::Karynn laughed and sat next to him. She ran her fingers through her now wet hair and grinned.:: Ehlanii: No hard feelings then?
::He pulled his wet shirt away from his chest and threw his hand up, as in mock surrender.:: Brice: Aye, no hard feelings. ::he held out his hand:: Shake on it? Water truce?
::Karynn smiled and shook his hand.:: Ehlanii: Truce
::He smiled. She looked so different with wet hair but still beautiful. Amazingly so.:: Brice: Good, 'cause I'd hate to have to push you back into this.
::Karynn grinned and edged closer to the outside of the ledge. She looked at Ethan. The water dripping down his face made him even more endearing, if that was possible. She watched his eyes light up as he smiled.::
Ehlanii: So. What now?
::Ethan ran his hands over his mouth to get rid of the excess water and smiled.:: Brice: Well, I can imagine that we're both quite busy tomorrow so this might be the end of the night for us.
::Karynn's smile faded a bit as she nodded. There was a briefing in the morning, and the Chief Engineer probably had work to finish before he got there. She was sad to see the evening end, but she was glad to know that if either of them had any say in the matter, they'd spend another evening together soon.::
Ehlanii: You're probably right. I've been having more and more work to do, so I'm sure I'll have some tomorrow. And, of course, there's the briefing.
::She stood up and attempted to brush the water off her clothes. Realizing that her shirt was soaked, and brushing wouldn't have any effect, she gathered some of the excess cloth up and wrung what she could out.::
::The process made him laugh. He hadn't seen anyone ringing out anything in years but watching Karynn do it had set something off. He stood up and brushed his hand over his head, washing the water off. He took his jacket off and kept it under his arm, instead of letting it get wet with his shirt.::
::Ethan took a look around the holosuite program, quite proud of his own little creation. It wasn't a masterpiece of his, he hadn't devised it, by any means. He was just reliving what they had back in the 50's of Paris. He'd have to make another swing one, that kind of dance really got him in the mood for dancing.::
Brice: Computer, show arch.
::Karynn walked leisurely to the door with Ethan at her side. She tried to come up with something to say, but nothing really came, so they walked in silence. She smiled, reliving various memories of the evening in her mind.::
::He stopped just before the archway doors opened and turned to Karynn, reaching up to scratch the back of his neck as he did in all nervous situations. When he got it into his head to drop the hand, it fell back down to his pocket.::
Brice: I've had a great time tonight, Karynn. ::he smiled:: And I just wanted to say thanks before we go out there and, I walk you to your quarters and we go our separate ways.
Ehlanii: Thanks? I should be the one thanking you. I've had a great time too, and, well, you're the one that programmed all this... and invited me along. ::she smiled:: So thank you Ethan.
::He laughed and looked down.:: Brice: Maybe. But thanks for coming with me and putting up with some French people for the evening. I didn't actually think I'd get anything out of the place but another program on my list. So.. well, you know. Thanks.
Ehlanii: ::laughing:: We're a veritable mutual admiration society tonight aren't we? ::she paused to look into his eyes.:: You're welcome, Ethan. I can't think of a single thing I'd rather be doing right now.
Brice: ::grins:: Really looks that way doesn't it? ::cautiously, he touched the back of her hand with his fingertips as green looked into green:: This is exactly where I'd like to be, covered in fountain water and smiling in the moonlight. I don't reckon any one else is doing this right now.
::Karynn's eyelids fluttered ever so slightly as he touched her and she smiled. She could hear the sincerity in his voice and feel it through his touch.::
Ehlanii: Then we're agreed? We'll have to do it again sometime.
::The young Engineer smiled.:: Brice: I'd like that. I don't think we'll get much chance for something more than dinner during our mission, you'll be busy and I'm most likely be shackled to the warp core. ::he moved the teeniest bit closer to her:: So, this time, you can pick where we're going.
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: I'll have to think about my choice then.
::She felt drawn to him, but she wasn't quite sure why. She moved a tiny bit closer to him and took a deep breath. For the first time, she noticed how nice he smelled.::
::There was a small gap left between them and a desire in their eyes to be closing it. Drawn by the mounting tension, Ethan gently touched his hand over the back of hers, his fingers settling in. Caught up in her deep green eyes, he wanted to say something but it wouldn't come out. The only thing he could think of doing was getting closer and closer until he was leaning in, feeling her breath and...::
::The doors shunted open, forcing Ethan to jump back in surprise. Two female Officers, both looking quite amused at what they'd stumbled on.::
::Karynn jumped as the doors slid open. Her face turned a deep pink and she could feel her cheeks radiating heat as the intruding officers smiled.::
Ehlanii: I...uh... :: she stopped speaking and walked as nonchalantly as she could out the door, hoping Ethan would follow and say something.::
::There was a beat of silence as the two female Officers giggled between them. Ethan felt his face flush and quietly made some form of excuse...:: Brice: ::coughs:: And that is how easy it is to remove something from a Counselor's eye cavity... Excuse me...
(( Corridor ))
::He walked over, acutely aware that his explanation of sorts would go down the grapevine faster then the speed of light. Karynn was just ahead of him and he jogged slightly to catch up, catching the end of her elbow.::
::His touch brought a flood of embarrassment to match her own. Karynn slowed and turned toward him slightly, her face bright red.:: Ehlanii: I suppose it will be all over the ship tomorrow.
::He hinted at a smile at the corner of his mouth. Maybe not letting anyone see them together would be better, was that what she was thinking?:: Brice: I would put my bets on tonight but I could be wrong.
::Finally Karynn was able to laugh about the whole situation. As she laughed the blood began to retreat from her face.:: Ehlanii: I suppose its for the best. They were going to find out sometime, right?
::The lad smiled and playfully pushed her to the side.:: Brice: Aye and if we hadn't been... nearly... ::he cleared his throat:: Mind if I walk you to your quarters again? Or would that be adding more fuel to the fire.
::Karynn smiled and slipped her hand into his.:: Ehlanii: That would be lovely, Ethan.
::He smiled to himself as his fingers laced with hers and they walked down the corridor. Entering the turbolift, it was a closed space but they laughed through most of it. Humor was the best way to get through tough situations when things could keep nearly happening. Though, the moment had gone. Instead, it was replaced by the frivolity they'd had in the holosuite.::
::The doors slid open and they walked through the corridor to her quarters. Karynn could feel herself relax as they laughed, and through their link she felt Ethan relax too. Too soon they were at her door. She turned toward him.::
Ehlanii: Good night, Ethan, and thanks for everything. Its been a wonderful evening - and one I won't forget anytime soon.
::Tucking his free hand into his pocket, a habit of his he wasn't too fond of, Ethan smiled and gave her hand a gentle squeeze before letting her go.::
Brice: I wouldn't mind if the last part did happen to slip through the memory. Very doubtful but... ::he smiled again, despite himself and thumbed over his shoulder:: I better get going that way.
::Karynn nodded and reached up behind her to press the button. The doors slid apart.:: Ehlanii: Yeah, I should probably head inside. ::She motioned with her head to the room behind her.:: Have a good sleep. I'm sure I'll see you at the briefing in the morning.
Brice: ::smiles:: I'll be there.
::His green eyes were looking into hers, stomach was dropping, moment was returning, tension was building, looking from her lips to her eyes and back again before stepping away.::
::Karynn could feel the tension creeping back, but she could also feel the blood creeping back into her face. She stepped backwards over the threshold into her room, keeping one hand in the doorway to prevent it from closing.::
Ehlanii: Good night, Ethan.
::As he'd done the night before, he walked backwards down the corridor and tucking his hands into his pockets, getting one last look at her before the morning. If it was crazy, she made him that way.::
Brice: 'Night, Karynn.
(( Ehlanii's Quarters ))
::As he walked away, Karynn slid her hand out of the doorway allowing the doors to slide together. She sighed, as she had done the night before, and then turned toward her desk. Picking up a PADD, she headed to her bed where she sat down to compose a letter to her sister. If she was going to keep seeing him, Lynnette would want to know. She'd never forgive Karynn if she waited too long before sending the news. OO How should I put this. Oo A few moments more of thought, and Karynn started writing.::
(( Brice's Quarters ))
::Ethan hopped back into the turbolift and up two decks to his own quarters. They were welcome, peaceful and calm, just what he needed. His shirt was wet, his hair was drying out and all he wanted to do was sit down on the sofa and recall exactly what he'd done to that program over the last couple of weeks. He flung the jacket over the back of the sofa. He had other projects to be working on anyway. A smile on his face, he unbuttoned his shirt and moved himself into the bathroom. Three times and he still couldn't wait to see her again.::
Ens. Karynn Ehlanii
Lt. Ethan Brice