Dinner on the Water

Posted on Sat Sep 11th, 2021 @ 8:55pm by Captain Luc Deschaine & Charlotte ("Charlie") Adams

Mission: 2384
Location: Holodeck, USS Sitting Bull
Timeline: 4.9.2384 - 2100 Hours

“Computer,” Luc said, “begin program.” As the familiar grid of the holodeck disappeared, he took her hand and led her across a platform, maybe ten feet across, to a table set for two. The edges of the snow-white tablecloth rippled lightly in the breeze and she could see the silvered edges of the waves moving in the moonlight. He bent close to her ear; she thought that she could hear echoes of his youth in the French Quarter beneath the more familiar sounds of the Starfleet officer he would always be. “I’ve been wanting to do this for months, cher,” he said as he pulled back her chair. “There just never seemed to be a good time.”

“Oh Luc,” she whispered. As far as she could see, in every direction, there was ocean. She heard the waves lapping against the support columns of the platform and the cry of birds overhead. “I recognize this … isn’t this … yes, I think it is. This is the platform they were building that summer your Dad took us out onto the water.”

Luc nodded as he moved around the table to take his own seat across from her. “Right in one, cher,” he said. “I remember you being devastated when my father had to tell you that you couldn’t build a fort out on the platform.”

She pressed her hands to her face, slender fingers overlapping, hiding her laughter. Just when had that become a thing, he wondered, she never used to hide.

“I remember that,” she said around her fingers and he could see, as they remained in place that she was biting her nails. “I wanted to feed the whales and sleep under the stars every night.” She shook her head slightly and shifted so that her hands were folded in her lap. “Silly, I know.”

“Not even a little. Why, I myself, wanted to make it into a pirate fort. It bothered my Dad, you know, your disappointment. He called in a favor, made a few promises, and two nights later, we all had a picnic on the platform. Remember?”

She smiled, her gray gaze straying out over the water. She could hear the distant splash of something diving. Or at least she hoped it was something diving. “I never did get to see the whales, you know. The conference ended and we were on our way back to Risa. Just like that.”

“I found a place for whale watching off the New England coast,” he said, his voice dropping a bit, as he gestured toward the waiters who were standing at the edge of the platform, backs to the railing, with a two-tiered cart before them. “Kept waiting for you to come back so I could take you.” His lopsided grin called up images in her mind of the boy he’d been. “Hard to do when I was ten but later on, I had it all worked out.”

“There was always something that got in the way, wasn’t there? Tutors and school and then that dig on Landris II. One day I was ten and wanting to sleep in the middle of the ocean and the next, I was working with Doctor Mowray, becoming an archaeologist. Living my dream.” She found her attention drawn to the plates and silverware and a small frown creased her forehead. “Wait, I know these … hand-painted floral pattern on porcelain with a lace-like gold finish on the edges.” She smiled happily. “And butterflies. From that museum.” A waiter came up on her right side to lay out her meal while another did the same for Luc and a third poured white wine into two glasses. There was a roasted tomato salad with shaved parmesan and fresh bread and Scallop and Asparagus Alfredo. “Is this …”

“Lucien’s own,” he said. “He insisted we incorporate his recipes into our food replicators. And Mama sent along a few of her own. So I don’t starve, you understand. I’ll make sure we update your replicators before we go.”

Conversation flowed, light-hearted and full of memories, while they ate. She remembered that about him, the effortless way he had with people. How he always made her feel as though she were at the center of the universe. She laughed and forgot for awhile all the work that lay ahead of her and lived, as she always seem to with him, wholly in the moment. And then, when the food was eaten, the dishes cleared, and they were sitting over a glass of wine, the music started. She thought he meant to dance and swiveled in her seat but he was dropping to one knee instead.

“Cher,” he whispered as he pulled a small box from his pocket.

“Oh Luc,” she said softly and tears filled her eyes, blinding her to the stricken look on his face. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t …” She swiveled away and rose from her seat. “I can’t … I … computer, end program.” And then she was running for her quarters and when she looked back, he was still kneeling right where she left him.