Aria lay there in the sun for a while longer. She almost dozed off; when she noticed something was blocking the sun. She looked up to see her old friend, Gaza Petrill.
“Gaza? Is that you?” Aria asked.
“Yes, what are you doing here?” her friend asked.
“Trying to relax in the sun.”
“No really, are you here for the conference?”
“Yes, I am Captain Picard’s interpreter. I got a transfer from Starbase 12 to the Enterprise three months ago. What are you doing here?”
“That’s great. The Enterprise, wow that must be exciting. I’m Admiral Lackey’s assistant. He finally let me have some free time. I don’t have to check on him until tomorrow. What are you doing for dinner?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I already have plans for tonight. But I was thinking of going shopping if you would like to join me?”
“Yeah, you will have to tell me about all of your adventures on the Enterprise.”
Aria got up and covered herself up. “I’ve been assigned as the interpretor and protocol officer and when we get back, I have to begin going through applications for my new staff.”
“Really, I applied for a position as an assistant interpreter there, but I didn’t know it was for your staff. Your career seems to be moving in the right direction.”
“Yes, did I tell you, with my transfer I also got promoted to Lieutenant?”
“That is great. I figure I am about a year from that.”
The two ladies left the beach and walked to the shopping district. Aria was looking for a new outfit, specifically for that night. There were so many beautiful things there. With her friend’s help, she found a vivid printed purple skirt that wrapped around her slim hips and a white shirt that had a generous neckline. She also found a beautiful scarf for her mother and necklace that sparkled. It was so nice seeing her friend again and being able to share some time with her. They were staying at the same hotel and made arrangements to have lunch together the next day as they headed back to the hotel, carrying their purchases with them.
A few blocks from the hotel they bumped into Captain Picard, who seemed to be on his way to the market.
Aria stopped him, “Captain Picard, I would like you to meet Lieutenant, Junior Grade Gaza Patrill. We were at the Academy together.”
“It is nice meeting you Lieutenant Patrill,” he told her as they shook hands.
“Thank you, sir,” Gaza looked excited to meet him.
“Lieutenant Swenson, I see you are finishing up that shopping you told me about.”
“Yes, Sir. At least for today. And you?”
“Just looking. I do have to get going, Lieutenant.”
“Yes, Sir. I will see you at the conference,” Aria said to him.
“It was nice meeting you Lieutenant Patrill.”
“Thank you, Sir. I hope you enjoy your stay here,” Gaza said.
“Thank you,” he replied with a smile on his face and left the two ladies alone again.
“Aria, you get to serve with him? You are so lucky.”
“Yes, I am. I really like being on the Enterprise. It really feels like home.”
“That’s not what I mean. Captain Picard, he is very charming. What is he like?”
Not knowing exactly what to say to her friend, she said with hesitation, “He’s very professional, but I have enjoyed collaborating with him on a few projects.”
“Is he involved with anyone?”
Trying to get off the subject quickly, “Not that I am aware of, so tell me about your assignment with Captain Lakey.”
They talked all the way back to the hotel and then parted, both going their rooms. Back in her room, Aria took a shower to remove the salt from her hair and body. After toweling off, she laid down on her bed naked. She thought of Jean Luc and the way it felt when he touched her. Her hands touched her body, where only the sun had, thinking of how good it would feel when he touched her. She decided, since she had the time, she would try to take a nap, because something told her that she wasn’t going to be sleeping much that night.
When she awoke, someone had slipped a note under her door. She opened it and read it:
I look forward to seeing you tonight at a seven.
Aria held the paper against her chest and thought of him. She looked at the paper again and studied his handwriting. It was strong and firm, just like the man she was getting to know. She slowly dressed, taking care to not forget a single detail, down to the powder that made her skin so soft and silky. At seven o’clock, exactly, there was a knock at the door. She called for him to come in and could hear Jean Luc enter her suite, while Aria finished getting ready in her bedroom.
She brushed her hair one last time and exited her bedroom. He stood there waiting for her. He looked stunning in a pair of off white pants and a soft white cotton shirt. She walked towards him.
“I cannot believe that you can look more and more beautiful every time I see you,” he said to her as he greeted her with a kiss.
“You are too kind,” she replied as they held hands.
“I am just glad to finally be able to tell you.”
They left her suite and headed down the hall. He offered her his arm and she gladly accepted. Jean Luc held her close to him as they chatted the whole way to the restaurant, not caring who saw them together.
Arriving at the restaurant, they were seated at a small table that overlooked the water. There was a soft breeze coming from the water that blew Aria’s hair around a bit and Jean Luc could smell whiffs of her perfume. It was the same perfume that she always wore, one that lingered in his mind and had made him think of her when he was alone. He smiled at his date from across the table. Neither said much, they didn’t have to. All they did was stare into each other’s eyes and hold hands on the tabletop. Jean Luc ordered for both of them and the food came quickly.
Across the room, a small band had set up and played familiar songs for the patrons, most of them being Starfleet.
When they were finished eating, he asked her, “Would you like to dance with me?”
“Are you sure? There are some familiar faces here.”
“Aria, I don’t want to dance with them. I want to dance with you.” Jean Luc’s eyes stared deeply into her eyes.
“Nothing would make me happier,” she replied as he helped her with her chair and lead her out to the dance floor.
With the music swirling around them, he took her gently into his arms and guided her around to the rhythm of the music. There were several other couples on the floor with them. As the slow song they were dancing changed to an upbeat mambo, Jean Luc was able to change pace and twirl her around to the Latin rhythms. Aria wore a look of complete joy on her face as the two drew attention. She knew how to dance but had never been so successful at it as she was with Jean Luc. It was like they had dance together for years.
Several fast paced songs later, they returned to their table to catch their breath.
As Aria took a long sip of her water, Jean Luc asked, “Are you having a good time?”
“Oh, yes. This has been simply wonderful. I have to admit that I was very nervous about tonight.”
“So was I. What would you like to do? We could stay here or go somewhere else if you want.”
“How about we go to that club that we went to that first night?” she asked, looking for approval.
“Your wish is my command,” he told her as they settled up with the waiter and exited for the loud dance club.