Characters: Miina Awenata, Apoloniusz “Tass” Tasszhar
The tiny rake was drawn across the sand, leaving little furrows in its wake. It arced gracefully around a flat polished stone and continued to the end of the tray. A shadow fell across the sand from the opposite end that the rake was drawn.
“I think it’s supposed to be for meditation,” Tass said gently, “not cultivation.” Miina smiled, and put the tiny rake down on the table next to the miniature Zen garden that sat in front of her. She sighed softly and raised up from the chair.
“I know,” she said.
“I thought maybe you had planted some magic beans,” he grinned.
“If I planted anything,” she said, purposefully ignoring his teasing comment on her new interest, “it would be the seed of a bodhi tree.” She turned away, feigning annoyance, and the curtain of dark hair that hung down her back echoed her movements, and helped her hide a contented smile.
Tass slipped an arm around her waist.
“And what more could enlightenment bring you?” he asked, pulling her closer. “You’ve already married me.”
She laughed and shook her head causing her hair to ripple down her back.
“Have I told you lately that you’re impossible?” She put her arms around him and looked up at him.
“Yes,” he told her, grinning still, “but I never tire of hearing it.”
Miina smiled and rested her head against his shoulder. She still found it hard to believe the turns her life had taken–especially in this last year. Who on the Phoenix a year ago could have guessed she would be rejoining the ship as an assistant to Dr. Matsumoto? And surely no one could have foretold that she would be coming back happily married…
Married. The word still sounded strange to her. And it didn’t quite seem to go with the precepts of the Rangers. But then again…
“What do you think the crew will think about us getting married?”
“You mean besides the fact that The Most Eligible Bachelor is now taken?”
“Paolo, she said softly, “I don’t think Rangers are supposed to get married,” she told him. “We live for The One. We die for The One. We stand on the bridge and no one may pass…”
“I’d like to see anybody try to get past the both of us,” Tass teased.
“I’m serious,” she protested. He smiled.
“Ah. Having second thoughts, are we?” he asked.
“No! Of course not,” she said, “I didn’t mean that. It’s just that it was different at home. But here…”
“I know,” he said, kissing her gently on the forehead. “Just remember. Entil’zha and Sheridan got married first. We just…followed their lead.” Miina nodded thoughtfully.
Tass motioned to the tray of patterned sand. “Apparently the meditation garden was not a success?”
“It had a calming effect…” Miina sighed, leaning into him, “but if you mean ‘has it helped me to figure out what exactly to ask Yoshino, to say to the Captain–and Dr. Matsumoto, no…but I suppose I’d better think of something, or they’ll be here and gone again.”
“I don’t think there will be a problem making connections,” he assured her. “We don’t exactly blend into the crowd here in Tuzanor…”
“Let me go,” she said, though without much conviction. “I was going to call Yoshino before she leaves the ship. I know should have called before now. I’m sure we will have no problem being reassigned to the Phoenix, but I would just like to know what…”
“Does the phrase, ‘going through proper channels’ do anything for you?” he teased.
“No,” she grinned. “If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from you, it’s that it means nothing. And I told you, I just wanted to…get her reaction, you know, see what she thinks…as a friend.”
“Well,” he said, “I’m sure Yoshino thinks it’s a fine idea, though I can’t say that about the whole crew. Dr. Trassano is probably updating her medical files on us already. I’m sure we each have a big red circle with a line through it right on top of our names.
“Don’t be silly. They don’t know we are here yet. You know I tried to send Yoshino a message– several times–but I never quite said what I wanted to say.”
“I know,” he told her, taking her chin in his hand. “Words are definitely not your strong point.” He leaned down and kissed her.
“I know…” she murmured, kissing him back.
“Mm…that’s why I…went ahead…and sent that last message that you made…”
“You did WHAT???” she asked, pulling away from him.
“I sent it,” he told her. “I knew you would keep agonizing over how to ask, how to make the perfect message, so I sent it.”
“I did. Remember when you sat on the couch and told the computer to pause the message?” Miina nodded. “And then half-hid under a pillow while it played it back? And when it came to the part where I said, “You want impossible, why don’t you ask for a job in Medical?”, you threw the pillow at me?” Miina nodded again.
“You chased me out of the room, and then…we…”
“We had other things on our minds,” Tass finished for her. Miina blushed and grinned.
“Yes, I remember, but that doesn’t…”
“And then later when you were sleeping, you looked so peaceful. I remembered how you had worried about the message, so I decided to send one myself. Then I discovered that your message was still in the “edit” mode, so I just sent it.”
“Tell me you didn’t…”
“Very well. I didn’t.” He grinned. “But I did. See? Problem solved.”
“Can you imagine how it must have sounded???”
“I’ll bet Yoshino loved it. I’m sure she could tell that things are different for both of us now. It’s not like she thought, “It’s that crazy madcap Awenata again.” The comment was so ludicrous, Miina couldn’t help but laugh.
“All right, she managed to say, “Point taken.”
“Anyway,” he said, “I followed your message with an ‘official’ one, so we’re expected aboard the Phoenix in three weeks when the ship gets her new orders.” He paused and kissed her again. “So am I still in trouble?”
“I’ll have to get back to you on that,” she teased. “Words are not my strong point, you know. I might need some convincing…”
Copyright (c) 2002 Judy Caswell. All rights reserved.