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Dinner and a Movie

Posted on Thu Apr 20th, 2017 @ 9:45pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant JG Amber Zuzan

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Deck 8 - Room 0802
Timeline: MD 75; 18:59

One minute to 1900 hours. Akiva had always heard it was good to be eager, but not too eager, and early, but not too early. When he had arrived at four minutes to the top of the hour, he counted off the seconds until the proper moment arrived. And now it had.

A calming breath stilled the tremble in his fingers as he reached for the chime next to Amber's door. Once he pressed it, those same fingers returned to their death clutch around the bouquet of sweetbriar roses. Biynah had insisted on that particular flower for some reason, and Akiva had no reason to argue.

"She thinks you're adorable," he reminded himself. "Don't faint. She thinks you're adorable."

Amber was busy cooking - and hearing the chime - she downed her utensils for a moment and went over to the door. She'd carefully selected a kosher dish which was coming along well - even if it was her first attempt at cooking kosher food. Amber pressed the button to open the door and smiled

"You're right on time. Come in" Amber said.

Akiva grinned at her compliment of his punctuality. "Thank you," he said. He stopped in midstep through the threshold and handed her the bouquet. "These are for you."

Amber smiled and admired the lovely flowers. She accepted the bouquet and placed it to one side on the table next to her before looking back at Akiva - gesturing for him to come in and make himself comfortable.

"Thank you - they're beautiful - and how did you know they were my favourites? Can I get you anything to drink?" Amber asked.

"Lucky guess." Akiva grinned at the second small victory, thanks in no small part to his daughter. So far, so good. "Anything hot sounds good."

He followed Amber into the interior of her quarters. The kitchenette area was smaller than his own, though decorated and furnished much more. Evidently she got more use out of it than he did.

"It smells delicious," he offered. The spices and seasonings struck a familiar note to him.

Amber smiled. "It's all kosher too - I don't know if you eat it but I thought I'd be on the safe side. We have matzah ball to start with and grilled salmon for the main course - I hope you like those because I didn't really want to spoil the surprise"

Amber had a freshly brewed pot of coffee on the kitchenette area - and after pouring two cups she passed one to Akiva before taking a sip of her own and then returning to the cooking.

" was your day today? I hear the Captain was laid up again - I hope she's alright" Amber said.

Akiva nodded with approval. "This is impressive. And, yes, Captain Ainscow seems to be using up all her sick days. She isn't the only one. If anyone else falls ill, I may have Sickbay look into containment measures..."

As Akiva talked, his eyes took Amber in. Gone was her uniform, replaced with casual attire that flowed and came in at all the right places. The prolonged sight of her took his breath away, and his thoughts along with it.

"Well, uh..." He gulped, trying to remember what he was saying. "I saw you had a recent advancement as well. Congratulations, Deputy."

Amber cooked and giggled - the Captain wasn't having a lot of luck at the moment but she made a note to herself to check in with Becky Fuentes to see how the Captain was in the morning. For now however she had a date with Akiva and she was entirely focused on that.

"Thank you Commander. It's a surprise but I was happy to accept a role working along side Commander Cusack again - I've worked with her before but now it feels great that we're a head and deputy head team instead of last time around" Amber responded.

"I know you'll continue doing an outstanding job," Akiva said. "I've always admired that about you... even before, well, you know." His eyes darted away from the shy grin spreading across his face. "You have much to be proud of in your own right."

Amber hadn't yet started cooking the salmon but the matzah balls were nearly ready. She started preparing the plates for them to be served on while listening to Akiva.

"Oh I know you've always admired me. Your daughter's told me as much quite a few times" Amber replied - grinning.

"You made quite the impression with her when you first met." Akiva relaxed as his attention turned to talk of Biynah. "And, you know, I've never properly thanked you for the way you handled her mischief back then. So, thank you."

Amber smiled. "Biynah is a sweetheart. I think she's quite a handful but she's got the best intentions for you, her dad and her sister. You're welcome - it's better I handled it than a big burly Klingon"

Akiva chuckled as he followed Amber to the stovetop in order to get a better look at her cooking method. This had always been the wife's work back home, and he was raised to be a husband. That meant learning to repair equipment rather than, well, this. But Amber was from a different world -- literally -- and he knew he would have to meet her halfway.

"So... how is this done? It seems simple, but somehow I doubt it truly is."

Amber showed Akiva the PADD she had used to download the step by step instructions how to prepare the starter - which after checking was confirmed as ready. Serving the starter up into two equal portions Amber placed the two servings of maztah balls in front of each of the two stools on positioned next to the worktop which served as a makeshift seating area.

"I'd sit at the table but I kind of need to keep an eye on that salmon. I promise next time I'll be on the table. Tuck in" Amber said.

Akiva grabbed a fresh ball and gingerly bit into it.

"Not bad," he said with surprise. Quickly backpedaling, he added, "I mean, it's actually well done. I always found it easier to reprogram the replicator to these precise settings than to make it myself."

Amber took a few bites of the food and quite enjoyed the taste. She was going to enjoy cooking for Akiva if this was to become a more regular thing. Amber hoped it would be but she knew it wasn't going to be as easy as having a few dates and cooking him some nice food.

Amber tittered. "Replicator? Oh I don't replicate food on a date Akiva - I do it the old fashioned way. My dad taught me a few things in his kitchen back at home although I've had to learn how to cook kosher dishes from our friend in the galley. If we ever get back to Earth I might take you there for the best pancakes you'll ever eat. I'm quite impressed with these though considering I've never eaten them before"

"You're a fast learner in that case," Akiva replied. "Which part of Earth are you from? I've only seen the bay area of San Francisco from my time at the Academy, as well as a few trips to the ancient homeland in Asia."

"Well I did have Paul Foster to help me - he's the only chef that would give my dad a run for his money. I'm from a place called Trenton in the USA - we go back there a few centuries but we originate from the north of England in the late 1900s or so. It was easy for me to return home each weekend but I can't say the same for a lot of other people I was in the same class as" Amber replied.

"I know it was hard for me," Akiva agreed. "But then Hebron Colony is far removed from the current state of the Pan-Semite Union. It felt familiar, but never 'home,' if that makes any sense." He bit his lip and turned pensive. "The more time goes on, the less I know what that word means."

Amber nodded and listened - she didn't know a lot about Hebron Colony and didn't want to pretend she did - but she deeply sympathised with Akiva's feeling of detachment from the place that he once called home. To her Trenton was always going to be home but the longer she was away from it the less homesick she felt.

"Home is wherever you feel it is. I miss home for sure but right now I feel less homesick than I did when I first moved to San Francisco seven years ago. I know exactly what you mean though" Amber replied.

Holding her fork in her left hand Amber reached for Akiva's left hand and rested hers on it - smiling at him sympathetically and rubbing her thumb against the back of Akiva's hand gently.

Akiva's pulse quickened at the gesture. This was the longest sustained physical contact he had ever held with Amber. Small though it seemed outwardly, the emotions roiling within him surged at her touch. He looked into her eyes and lost himself within them yet again. Only now, he did not try to ground himself. He let her bright, loving warmth draw him deeper, never realizing that his face drew nearer to hers until their lips touched.

He flinched at first, thinking to draw away. It seemed so presumptuous.

Amber returned the kiss and withdrew back to her meal. To her it wasn't so nerve wracking because she had been in a relationship before but she accepted Akiva hadn't and it would be at a much slower pace than she was used to.

"That was sweet. Maybe I'll let you kiss me again later" Amber said - slightly flirtatiously.

Akiva gulped. "I'm sorry. I don't normally do that. I..." He turned his head and looked about as if a crowd were standing there casting silent judgment. "I'm glad you liked it," he said with a rub to his neck.

Amber smiled. "Of course I liked it. I like you - I really do - otherwise I wouldn't have invited you here and cooked you dinner. I get this whole relationship thing is new to you and I'll go at whatever pace is the easiest for you. I'll work around you because I know how much Biynah has tried to set us up before - and I'm glad she did"

The mention of Biynah perked him up yet again and banished the bulk of his insecurity. At least for now. He decided to give in and be vulnerable.

"Can I be honest, Amber? I really don't know where to go from here." Akiva leaned back and scanned the room to keep from losing himself to Amber's captivating eyes, face, and countenance. He had to get this out. "Back where I come from, betrothals are crafted by the parents of the couple, and once the pledge is made between the groom and the father of the bride, then the marriage is made. Feelings... feelings don't come into it until after it's all said and done."

He swallowed the lump in his throat.

"I know it sounds crazy, but it's worked for us for thousands of years. Love grows over time because we trust our fathers to choose in our best interests. So... as you can see... I am a fish out of water here. My father will have nothing to do with me, and no doubt the notion he even should must sound absurd to your ears."

At last he turned back to Amber, risking the befuddlement of her beauty to ensure his point was getting through to her.

"I just know of no other way forward, and I'm terrified of going too slowly as well as too quickly." He reached forward to take hold her hand once more, taking again comfort from her touch. It was needed to overcome the inadequacy in his next admission. "The man is supposed to take the lead, but I don't know the way."

Amber listened intensely - taking smaller bites from her meal as she listened to Akiva confessing he didn't know what to do next. Amber's first partner was exactly the same - and her disadvantage then was her lack of knowledge of relationships. At least now she felt confident to guide Akiva through their potential relationship - although of course she would need to be met somewhere close to the middle. That's what relationships were all about.

"I understand you are unsure of the situation and find it difficult to guess where to go next. You aren't the first person I've been with who's been in the exact same shoes as you - but I feel confident this time that I can let you explore your feelings for me at a pace you feel comfortable with. To start with - I would say slower is better so you can dip your foot in the water and see how it is for you - if you feel comfortable then you can get in a bit deeper. Let me guide you in the right direction Akiva - and then I'll let you lead the way when you're comfortable. I'm ready to do this - us - if you are" Amber said.

"Very good," Akiva said. "So, what do we do now?"

"Well - we eat our dinner and then we watch something that we both like from the ship's database. Then I either invite you to stay the night or you decide to head home - whichever you feel the most comfortable with" Amber replied.

The room started to spin before Akiva's eyes at the implication. He had only kissed another person twice outside of familiar relations. Several deep breaths later, he was able to find his voice again.

"I can't wait to try more of your delicious meal," Akiva said at length. "And... then... you can show me your favorite film." He hoped that was an appropriate answer that neither rejected her nor promised more than he was able to give at this time.

Amber smiled reassuringly and finished her starter - placing the fork neatly in the middle of the plate and pushing it forward slightly.

"Well - I like Dirty Dancing - so maybe I'll put that on for us when we're done. It's not a bad film for a first date I suppose so hopefully you'll enjoy it. The salmon won't be too long now so take your time finishing your starter" Amber replied.

"Dirty Dancing?" Akiva repeated. "I've never seen it. Are the dancers outdoors?"

Amber giggled. "No. You'll soon see what happens if you stay long enough to watch it all the way through - all 100 minutes of it. Maybe next time we can watch the adaptation version of it...that's if you like the version I'm going to show you first"

Akiva nodded vigorously. He would follow the sound of her giggle to Sheol. That line actually sounded pretty good, he thought, so he said as much.

"To hear you laugh again, I'd sit through any adaptation."

Amber smiled and took a sip of her coffee - which had now gone a bit cold. So far the evening had gone well and she was looking forward to seeing how the rest of it went.

"Oh, and one other thing," he added. "Call me Kiv."


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