At the meeting with the delegates from Herker, Aria had to interpret for Picard because part of their language included visual signs and hand gestures. It was a chance for him to meet with the Herkers and learn of what they have to offer the Enterprise when they were in need of supplies and of shore leave and in their sector. Herker was a nice planet that was trying to gain a reputation for large ships, thus the purpose of their meeting.
They both knew that when they were in uniform, things were to be strictly business. There was no room for a romantic relationship within the confines of their uniforms. They were professionals and knew their jobs and the requirements that went with it. Neither had no desire to destroy their reputations over it.
On the way back up to their rooms, Aria told Jean Luc about her plans for her time off. All she wanted to do was to enjoy the sun and wonder the shops. They agreed to spend most of the day at the beach and parted to ready themselves.
Inside Aria’s suite, she finally had a chance to herself since she left Jean Luc’s arms. It amazed her, reviewing the events that had happened the previous night. She felt bad for Scott, ending things so quickly with him, but she had a real chance of a future with Jean Luc and knew that Scott would not be devastated by her decision. Aria changed out of her uniform and put on a very skimpy two-piece suit that she had been planning to wear since she found out about the conference on Malrata. She then covered herself up using a large, gauzy scarf that tied into a dress.
While she pulled her hair into a ponytail, there was a knock at her door. It was her new admirer, not so secret any more, waiting to escort her to the beach. Picard wore loose, blue shorts, a tan cotton shirt and sandals. He greeted her with a kiss that made her feel like a true woman. Aria had never seen him dressed so casually before but still thought of him as a very handsome man. She gathered a few things in a bag and they headed off to the beach.
They two arrived at the water’s edge and found a quiet place to relax. They had lounge chairs provided by the hotel and Jean Luc set them up close together. After they both spread out their towels over them, Jean Luc removed his shirt and sandals. Aria was pleasantly surprised by his muscle tone that lay hidden under his shirts for all that time. She fiddled around with some things in her bag, tossing a tube of sunscreen onto her chair and finally removed her cover up to reveal how little she really was wearing. She could feel his eyes, now hidden by sunglasses, going over every curve of her body. It was nice that he almost seemed surprised by her true appearance. All of her running really did pay off as she had amazing muscle tone and only enough extra to give her curves that seemed to draw his attention. Sitting down with her back towards him, Aria liberally applied the sunscreen to her body. Over her shoulder she timidly asked Jean Luc to apply the lotion to her back. Quickly obliging, his hands were caressing it into her skin. When he was finished, she lay down on her back and enjoyed the sun’s rays warm her body, wishing she had a larger back so that she could continue feeling him massage her.
They both lay there quietly in the sun for a while. When she rolled over, their bare legs touched for the first time. It sent shivers through her but she did not pull back. Aria propped herself up with her arms and looked over to her companion. He turned his head to look back at her. She reached over and touched his face. He had such a strong jaw and he reached up and took her hand and kissed it gently making her head swim with desire. Lying now on her side, facing him, he reached out and touched her naked arm. It was softer than he expected and did not want to stop, but a waiter came by to see if they wanted anything to drink.
When he left, Aria said, “The sun is so hot, I am going for a swim to cool off. Will you join me?”
Jean Luc quickly agreed and they headed off to the cooler waters. The waves were calm at this time of the day and the water removed the growing heat from the sun, but not from Aria’s desires. They swam out to where the water was well over their heads, keeping their distance from each other. They were both very good swimmers and were having fun splashing the other and laughing when Aria dove down into the water and came up behind him. At first he did not know where she was until she splashed him again. She thought it funny to see the water run off his face. He returned the favor and splashed her back. They were both laughing and playing. Jean Luc chased her towards the shore. She stopped where she could stand but still be covered with water, ducked down and let him pass over her. When she came to the surface, he was standing in front of her. They weren’t joking any more and looked deeply into the other’s eyes. Slowly, cautiously, he pulled her close to his body. Her skin was slippery and cool from the water and her lotion, but his grip was firm enough so that she could not slip away even if she wanted to. She kissed him with much desire and she could tell through their embrace that he wanted her as much as she wanted him. They cautiously explored the other’s body, admiring each other’s physical condition.
After much exploration, Picard finally stopped her. “Aria, you are driving me crazy. Things are moving a bit fast and I want to enjoy every second with you. Why don’t we head back before things get out of hand.”
Aria agreed and the two walked out of the water together. A few feet before their chairs, he took her hand for the world to see. It was a very brave gesture for both of them. He knew that Aria was concerned about her reputation, and wanted to respect that. All of this was so exciting and terrifying for both of them. The rush of the new relationship made everything so much more intoxicating.
After lounging in the sun for a while, Jean Luc asked, “Do you have dinner plans?”
“I was hoping for an invitation from a handsome Starfleet officer,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
“Will you have dinner with me tonight, and every other night?”
“Yes. I would like that.”
“Good. I was thinking we could go to this little restaurant I saw yesterday, if that is okay with you.”
“Certainly,” she said as gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
He smiled at her. “So that we are given a quiet night, I’d better see to a few things. I want to let Captain Peterson know that I will not be able to meet with him tonight. So I will take my leave of you. Until tonight,” he told her as he kissed her hand and left her alone on the beach.