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Belle Journée

Posted on Thu Dec 19th, 2019 @ 6:54pm by Cassandra Leblanc-Reed & Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan

Mission: Promenade
Location: USS Majestic
Timeline: Shoreleave

[Aerponics Bay]

For most of the day, Lilith had been sort of floating along on an invisible cloud. She held fast to the belief that everyone was entitled to have a great day once in a while, and today, the roulette wheel had landed squarely on her number. The colors were a little brighter, the sounds a little sweeter. Coincidentally, a wide smile had been hanging about her visage for most of the day as well, and it was in this rather peculiar state of mind that she found herself hunting for groceries in the ship's aeroponics bay. Besides the infectious good mood, Sullivan also had the unmistakable look of a woman on a mission.

Basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes were among the ensemble of vegetables she had placed into her tote. Freshness was key. Everything that she could acquire without using the replicator, she would. However, one final ingredient could not be found in aeroponics, but a short jaunt over to the adjacent arboretum was all it would take to track down and complete her list.

"Hello my darlings, a pleasant day to you all. If it isn't too presumptuous, I would ask a favor of you?" Lilith queried the assembling masses. "Ah yes, but first, tribute is expected."

A few clucks of excitement and the flapping of wings greeted her generous toss of feed. The ship's chickens had learned over time that the human in the jacket usually fed them. And it was in this way that Lily ended up with a flock of feathered groupies anytime she wandered about the arboretum.

"Now, fair is fair. I required four of your finest eggs," she addressed the bravest hen who was eating out of her hand. "You see, I promised I'd make dinner, and it's for someone very special, so I'll take nothing but your very best!"

The chickens, of course, had no response to the request made of them. Nor did they seem to protest in any measurable way when she grabbed four large eggs and carefully placed them in her bag alongside the vegetables. With one final wave, Lily bid her feathered friends goodbye and skipped her way down the corridor.

The time for preparation was over.

The time for action had come.

[Sullivan's Quarters, One Hour Later]

Working in a blinding blitz of culinary fury, Lily attacked the various dishes she had planned out earlier than day on her PADD. Olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, and freshly ground black pepper whisked together neatly in a small bowl to create a simple vinaigrette. This, once combined with the fresh vegetables acquired earlier from aerponics, would become the foundations of a classic niçoise salad.

In another corner, a large pot of salted water came to a boil while a half cup of olive oil began to shimmer over medium heat in a sauté pan. As best as she could manage with her limited knife skills, she thinly sliced a few cloves of garlic before picking the leaves off and finely chopping some parsley. Lilith dropped the garlic into the heated oil and waited until it had just begun to pick up some color before adding a pinch of red pepper flake. The final step was to mix in the now cooked and drained pasta with the garlic, oil, and parsley. A little squeeze of lemon juice, seasoned for taste with salt and pepper, and the entire process was complete.

"Oh god, please, please, please she has to like my food," she prayed to the culinary gods, hoping they would smile upon her efforts. Everything was ready, to include the cart she was planning on using to transport the meal.

After spending five minutes agonizing over the plating, she grabbed two pints of hand-churned chocolate ice cream, threw them into a cooler, and rushed out the door.

[Diplomatic Offices]

"Ma'am, there's someone here to see you."

Cassie was in deep focus. She was proofreading a short speech Jennifer had written for an upcoming press conference she was to give. She had to admit her assistant was talented: she had even written responses for questions that would most likely be asked.

She started when the young woman entered the office to announce a guest, especially since she wasn't expecting anybody. "Well, let them in," she said as Lilith barged in. "What's this?"

"You know," Lilith's voice carried around the corner before she came into view, "all work and no play makes Cassandra a dull girl," she teased. "I brought you something!"

"No rest for the wicked, unfortunately," Cassie responded, rising from her chair. "What's this something you brought?" she asked as she heard her stomach growl at the faint smell of food emanating from somewhere outside the office.

"Uh, well, if we're being specific, I brought you four things. Sit down in that chair right there, and I'll give them to you," Sullivan disappeared back into the hall and wheeled the cart into the office. "Remember I promised I'd make you dinner? Well, dinner is served."

"Yum, food," Cassie crooned as dinner was served. A classic niçoise and linguine olio e aglio. "You thought about the carbs!" she exclaimed, grinning. Pasta was one of her favourite dishes, to be sure, especially when served with loads of garlic. "But that's only two. Where are number three and four?"

"I got really, really bored and made some chocolate ice cream for dessert, but it's in the cooler bag on the bottom shelf so it doesn't melt and run all over the place. All of this," Lily flashed a mischievous grin as she motioned across the spread laid out on the table between them, "is a thinly veiled attempt to get you to like me. Oh, and to agree to item number four."

"It's been already established that I like you though. This just makes me like you more," Cassie answered, grinning. "What's item number four?"

"You did such amazing work during the mission, I wanted to celebrate," Sullivan paused, reaching into her jacket pocket and retrieving and old-fashioned paper envelope. She placed it on the desk and sat back down to her meal before continuing. "So I have a two day pass to the spa resort on Sapphire Island. It's on the planet that Poseidon is orbiting around. Apparently the locals gifted it to the Federation when they were admitted as a member planet. The reviews are great."

"Oh my goodness that must have cost you a fortune!" Cassie mumbled as she covered her mouth in surprise. She had heard of Sapphire Island, and had read the reviews on various platforms. It was, however, known to cater, with its exclusive services and menu options, to the wealthier classes. For one of the rare moments in her life, she was left speechless.

Across the table and between bites of hard boiled egg, Lilith looked up because she had been caught off guard by the truncated response. She allowed her head to tilt to the side and peered at the ground, unsure of how to fill the silence. Another bite of salad came and went before she began to speak again.

"Well, you can have some time to think about it if you want. I know it's a lot, but you know me well enough by now to know that I don't really half-ass anything. And since you're in a listening mood for a second, I wanted to say something," she smiled an easy smile, shifting ever so slightly in her seat.

"Cassie, I want to be your girlfriend."

The diplomat had only recovered from the first surprise and popped a baby potato in her mouth when she heard Lilith make her declaration. "I thought it was already established that we were dating," she said, her voice muffled by the potato tucked in her cheek, making her look a bit like a squirrel caught hiding food for the winter. "Granted, we haven't seen much of each other outside of work in the past few days..."

"Well, now we have a couple of days to catch up," Lily grinned, trying not to laugh too much at the look of shock on Cassie's face. "I know we've been getting to know each other more these past few weeks, I just," her voice trailed off for a moment as she coughed to clear her throat. "Oh goodness, excuse me! Anyway, like I was going to say, I just wanted to make sure my intentions were clear and that we were on the same page in case there were any doubts floating around after the whole implant situation."

Cassie nodded as she chewed and swallowed her potato. "To be honest with you, I got so caught up in the talks that I stopped worrying about the implants. Has that issue even been resolved yet?" She twirled her fork in some of the linguine and brought it to her mouth. "Hmm, this is really good," she stated as she relished in the flavors: garlic so strong that it could only have been grown, what seemed like olive oil pressed straight from Italy, and a hint of spice. "This is restaurant-worthy, to be sure."

"Well, until that wildly inaccurate statement, I was going to say that the situation was resolved and placed in the ship's log," the teasing reply came. "But yeah, the field that made them all work is disabled now. Pop on down to medical whenever you'd like to have it removed if you want. Or don't. It isn't doing anything anymore, thank goodness," Lilith gestured as if she were wiping sweat off of her brow.

Cassie smiled. "Oh good. One less thing to worry about then. Seriously, this is delicious," she continued in between bites, pointing at the food. "The best stuff is farm to table, or in this case, aeroponics to table. You only get that from the finest restaurants these days."

She pressed a button under her desk, and Jennifer's head promptly popped in. "Could you run down to the wine cellar and get a Sauvignon blanc?" she asked her assistant, who nodded, and vanished as quickly as she had appeared. She returned moments later with the requested bottle of wine, already uncorked, and two wine glasses. The diplomat thanked her assistant and poured some of the white wine in each glass.

"A glass this nice deserves a toast, don't you think?" Lilith held up her glass. "What should we drink to?"

"Well, we've successful helped renegotiate a trade agreement, the implants are inactive, we're in an official relationship, and there's good food on the table. All of it requires a toast!"

"Couldn't agree with you more there. Well, since all of the good toasts have already been written, I'm going to defer to the professionals of writing and channel some William Butler Yeats," Sullivan cleared her throat for dramatic effect.

"Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh."

Sighing on cue, Lily clinked her glass gently against Cassie's before transitioning to laughter and taking a small sip of the liquid inside. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the acidity and flavors of the wine before looking over the bottle.

"You know," she held up her glass to the light, "I disagree with Yeats. Love comes in through the stomach. But he's right about the wine."

Cassie smiled, raised her glass again, and took a sip of her wine. "Cheers to that."

"Oh, and uh, I'm going to mark you down as a tentative yes for this," Lilith held up the envelope and gave it a little shake. "You, me, this, all of it - this is my happy place, and I have you to thank. So thank you."

"I'm glad I could help establish your happy place, but I don't deserve all the credit," Cassie replied. She then delicately snatched the envelope from Lilith's fingers. "So, this. Tomorrow?"

Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan
Chief Flight Control Officer

Cassandra Leblanc-Reed
Diplomatic Officer


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