USS Pioneer NCC - 74757


Docked at Starbase Sirius
Speed: Docked
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

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The way to a man's heart

Posted on Sun Jul 28th, 2019 @ 2:26am by Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa & Captain Cornelius Tremble
Edited on on Mon Jul 29th, 2019 @ 11:53pm

Mission: Episode 7 - Home Again
Location: Officers Quarters, Deck 3
Timeline: MD008 1845 hrs
3130 words - 6 OF Standard Post Measure

Tallida stood in her kitchen. Her hands covered in flour and eggs as she finished up the dough for the noodles. She could have replicated the noodles to make the cannelloni's from scratch but what fun was that? The idea to have Neil help her cook the meal had been spur of the moment but she knew that at the very least she had to start the pasta to give it time to hydrate. She was wearing an apron over the eighteenth outfit that she had tried on since she got off work which meant nearly her entire wardrobe was now laying on her bed. She had elected for black boot cut jeans with a teal blouse that tied behind her neck and flared out in an almost ethereal way from the empire waist. She didn't know when Neil would arrive which only added to her nervousness about this. Some many situations were playing out in her head as she calculated the likelihood of each one.

Neil was rushing. He'd rushed back to his quarters and nearly had his skin flayed off after twenty seconds in a sonic shower set to high. Then he'd had to find something to wear.

He'd been wearing uniforms of one sort most of his life. He had little in the way of civilian clothes and those had been tucked in the bottom of his foot locker. Finally, he'd pulled on loafers, athletic cut tan chinos, and a light blue, long sleeved, henley. He automatically pushed the sleeves up as he walked to Tallida's quarters.

He felt positively naked as he hit the enunciator.

Tallida was in the process of rounding the dough when her chime rang out. Her hands were covered in flour when she called out for him to enter. "Hi," She smiled. "Come on in and make yourself comfortable I am just finishing up the dough." She placed the dough on the corner of her counter, covering it with a towel before she moved to wash her hands with her bare back to Neil.

Neil made his way toward the sound of her voice and found her busy in the kitchen. "Hi. Well," he said taking in the kitchen and the obvious signs of her industry, "That looks really good."

Then he grinned, "And the food looks nice too."

Tallida laughed at his flirtation causing an unladylike snort to escape her. "You are ridiculous." she said as she finished up before turning back towards him. "The pasta needs to rest, but I had a crazy idea that I would teach you how to make these." She smiled as she moved towards him almost as if she was going to kiss him, but stopped short. "Would you like some wine?"

"Wine would be great," Neil told her, reminding himself to go easy. He didn't need to add alcohol neutralizers to the chemicals already swimming through his system. "Sure, I'll try anything once. It can't be worse than EOD school," he said as his eyes drank her in.

"It is hard to screw up an Italian burrito." She grinned as she moved to step past him slightly to get two glasses and a bottle of a sweet white wine. She stopped and gave him a quick kiss on his cheek as if she were testing the waters, which she was. "I like this one." She started as she began to open the bottle and fill the glasses. "I love sweets, so be warned." She plucked up her glass and took a sip of the moscato d'asti type wine. "There is an apron in that chair for you if you want to protect your clothes."

He let his eyes follow her as she retrieved the wine and then he sipped it. Neil took a moment to lick his teeth off as he sat his glass down and retrieved a somewhat frilly looking apron. "Just my size too," he chuckled as he awkwardly hung it about his neck, letting the straps dangle.

"I couldn't resist." She said with a laugh as she stepped forward. She kept her eyes on his as she reached her arms around him and tied it behind him. "You look cute." She grinned. She had no idea where this women she was pretending to be came from, but there wasn't much time to think it over. "Sorry," She flushed as she tucked her hair behind her ears. She had elected to not wear her glasses and it made her feel a tad exposed.

"And just the look I was going for too," he smiled. "You have no idea. I don't think I've worn civilian clothes in a couple of years." He'd enjoyed her arms being around him, "What are you sorry for?"

"That doesn't surprise me in the slightest," She replied to his statement on his clothing. She turned away from him slightly to grab the items she had already prepared. "I am not sure, I am not normally this, forward." She answered. This was out of her element and she had no idea why. "By the time we get the filling done the pasta should be ready."

Neil grinned, "Forward would have been wearing only the apron," he teased her slightly as he moved toward the counter. "So, you said something about mixing something?"

"Cheese filling." Tallida started. "Here," She said as she passed him the tray with four cheeses and two eggs. "I figured we would go with simple." She smiled as they started to work. The time flew by, Neil the ever studious pupil making the filling as she began to roll out the pasta. Once she had it cut into large sheets she gave him a grin. "Ready for the burrito part?"

His stomach had been on the verge of betraying him for a while, but it gurgled it's complaints over the food it had been denied all day and was now being teased with. "I think just about every part of me is ready for that," he told Tallida.

The Angosian couldn't help but smile as she showed him how to load the cheese into a piping bag, run it along the edge closest to him and proceed to roll the tubes of pasta. She lined them in the pan when they were finished, covered them in tomato sauce and cheese and set them to bake. Brushing her hands on her apron she turned to Neil. "I have a surprise for you." she started, "But you have to go this on the couch and I will bring it to you."

Neil divested himself of the apron and watched her questioningly for a moment, then walked out to the couch as ordered and slid into it. It was more comfortable than he remembered and he felt himself relaxing.

It had been a long day after all.

Tallida followed him a few minutes later. "We have maybe thirty minutes before dinner is ready." she started as she placed a tray of garlic knots with dipping sauces on the small table. "I figured you wouldn't have eaten and I didn't want you to starve, so I made these a head of time." She bounced back into the kitchen and return with her glass and the wine bottle.

"You are a truly beautiful, thoughtful woman, Taliida," he told her, not sitting on ceremony. His mouth had begun watering at the first scent of garlic and he picked up one of the knots. Neil immediately plunged the unsuspecting bread into the dipping sauce and then popped it into his mouth before it could lodge any type of protest.

"Mmmm," he said, something between a verbal response and a physical one as "Now that's good. I do think you've just saved my life." He told her, picking up another knot of bread.

"Like Merriam always says, a way to a man's heart..." she grinned as she watched him enjoy her food. She plucked up a knot and pulled it apart before dipping it into a garlic butter sauce. "I also figured if you were anything like me, food wasn't on your mind while you were on duty." she smiled taking a sip of her wine for a while before she reached over and pinched him slightly, checking to see if he was real.

Neil's first impulse was to tell her what his first DI had said about finding a being's heart with a knife, but then he was licking the butter sauce from his fingers before applying a napkin and replied, "Food has been a rare commodity, all right. I got a look at some rations just before I called you to confirm." At her comment and pinch, he asked innocently, "Now Tallida, I'd like to hear about those thoughts." He leaned closer then, and gave her a brief kiss.

Tallida's eyes flickered closed as his lips gently brushed hers. "I can't tell if you are real," she whispered her eyes still closed. "Granted, I am not sure I would have dreamed you up." she added teasingly. She let out a shaky breath before her cheeks flushed as she turned to take another garlic knot.

As she turned away, Neil blew in her ear gently then leaned back and reached for his wine glass. Taking a sip, he said "I really wouldn't think I'd be dream material. More like nightmare, probably," he chuckled. "Now my dreams on the other hand were fairly vivid."

"Oh?" Tallida asked missing all implication and slipping into the counselor role. "What exactly were you dreaming about?" she asked taking a bite of her garlic knot. She plucked up her wine and sat, turned slightly so she could face him. "I have to admit I am curious."

"Well, it wasn't so much as dreaming as what was keeping me awake," he told her, taking another sip of the way too sweet wine and setting the glass aside again. "I had these visions of you knocking at my door wearing my t-shirt...and nothing else."

"Oh," Tallida replied her eyes wide as her cheeks flushed a darker red. She watched him for a moment. "Why do I get the impression that you just like catching me off guard." She gave him a nervous chuckled. Her dreams, if you wanted to call him that, were any more innocent than his.

"Because you blush oh so prettily," Neil told her,"And keeping you off guard seems to lead interesting places." He gestured slightly with one hand around her quarters. "For instance, if you'd been on a steady beam, would you have thought we'd be here. Now. Imagining what thoughts were drifting about in each others minds?"

"You mean other than the fact that I wanted to shove you out an airlock." She replied with a grin. His words had their desired affect and her cheeks reddened. She leaned forward and kissed him harder than she had intended. When it ended and she leaned back she looked at him through her glasses. "I am sorry." she said softly. "I should go check dinner." With that she rose to leave the couch.

Neil caught her hand and pulled her back into his lap, saying "Nothing to be sorry for and no running off, Tallida." Then he kissed her firmly, wrapping his arms around her.

This whole situation was surreal. The fact that less than forty-eight hours ago she had wanted nothing to do with the man that was now sending her heart racing. "Sorry," She apologized breathlessly. "This is, new, for me." she hated admitting and it was written across her face.

"New isn't bad," he told her, "There's a first time for everything." Then he winked at her, "And there are the things that are so much fun and so good, that if you do it right, is like the first time over and over."

"Apparently, like Cannelloni," he grinned at her, reaching up to touch her face.

The Angosian bit her lower lip as she smiled up at him. "Speaking of," She gave him another kiss making them both breathless. She moved to stand up tugging him with her. "Come one sleep walker." she smiled. "It is ready." The timer hadn't gone off yet, but she just knew she was right.

Neil got up with her and trailed Tallida into the kitchen. "Just when things were getting interesting," he said, teasing fingers along her back as he moved to take a seat at the table.

Tallida grinned to herself as she retrieved the dish and headed for the table. "Smells good considering the fast that I replicated the raw ingredients." She smiled. "Not that I am one of those snobs that detests replicated foodstuff." she laughed as she took a seat next to him.

The food's scent was nearly as intoxicating as Tallida's was. But, right at that moment, Neil's mouth was watering and his hands were starting to shake in anticipation. "Remind me to show you a run down of the Marine supplements some time." He said as she dished up food in front of him. "This will make twice in a couple of weeks I've had actual cooking, and it might ruin me."

Tallida smiled weirdly disappointed by what he had said. She shrugged before continuing. "You should try orphan rations. I am sure you will find them similar."

Neil dropped a hand atop of hers and said, "That must have been a rough thing. I can only imagine what you've been through."

"No more than anyone else." Tallida smiled up at him. "My story isn't special, but I appreciate the sentiment." She served him a heaping plate of food and sided it with a salad she had made prior. She slid him the heaping plate and grinned. "Based on how you sucked down the garlic bread I assume you are still hungry."

Neil dug into the food with gusto, nodding. "Mmmphh!" but forced himself to slow down and eat like a being. "This is terrific," he said between bites. "And I don't know when I'll get to eat anything decent again in the near future," he said sighing as the first load of carbs hit him and he sat back. "I'm hip deep into this mobile suit training and now I have officer training that's going to get run after hours for the next week or so to get me caught up, so to speak."

Then he paused, setting his fork down and said, "Here I am running off about me..."

Tallida couldn't help the smile that crossed her face "Please don't stop, this is probably the first time you have been straight forward and honest with me since I met you." She began to dig into her less piled plate. Her ears did perk up at the mention of officers training. "Tell me more of this officers training." She asked.

Neil felt a bit uneasy, but forged ahead. "Well, you know I was a Gunnery Sergeant eighteen to twenty four months ago? Well, when I was officially made an officer and gentlebeing by act of the Federation, I was supposed to go through the officer's course at some point...learn the niceties...that sort of thing."

"Oh boy," Tallida replied as she took a bit of her food. So many thoughts ran though her mind that instead of saying something, anything, she said nothing and found herself nodding. "I can't say I have any experience with anything like that, but it sounds fascinating." she smiled again. This was nice.

Neil chuckled at her. "Fascinating is a word. Of course, we won't have our second date until about two or three weeks from now because of it...and I'll probably a full zombie by then."

Tallida didn't know how she felt about not seeing him for two weeks or more. In fact that thought on how she should our shouldn't feel didn't even cross her mind. She smiled at him. "Well, you might forget me by then." she teased as she took another bit of her food followed by the cold sweet wine.

"Or you'll find me curled up next to you when you wake up some morning and I'll sleep for three days," Neil winked at her. "Thoughts of you are probably going to be what gets me through those days."

"You are welcome in my bed anytime." She replied easily until the words finally computed in her mind. Her eyes went wide, "I, uh, meant if you are tired there is plenty of space there are studies that show that humans are programmed to seek a pack or a group so it makes perfect sense." she rattled off the long run off sentence as if she were running out of air.

Neil looked at Tallida for just a moment and put his fork down. Then he stood up, gathered her up in his arms and started carrying her toward her bedroom.

Tallida let out a little shriek as he picked her up. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she let out a light giggle before kissing him. "You are a brute, you need food." She scolded playfully.

Neil nodded conversationally as he carried her into her bedroom. "True, but we can heat it back up."


He viewed her bed with the pile of clothing and looked at her. "You had a bit of a time picking out what to wear?"

Tallida hid her face in the nape of his neck, but not before her cheeks turned bright red. "I don't own much." She admitted as if that explained everything. She lifted her head up look back at him. "I didn't think to put it away yet."

"Well," Neil chuckled, "Forgive the mess...." He abruptly swung her over his left shoulder into a fireman's carry and then grabbed the coverlets corner and pulled, sending clothing cascading to the floor.

Then he half tossed her onto the bed, leaned over and kissed her.

Tallida kissed him back, her heart racing. The giggle from being manhandled easily erased by an action that should have made her worry. The voice in the back of her head told her that this was moving too fast but it was getting drowned out by the pep talk Merriam had given her before he arrived to just enjoy and having some fun. What was the worst that could happen.

He broke the kiss, pushing up just slightly to look down into he eyes, "So," he said huskily, "Desert first or do we return to dinner?"

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa
Chief Counselor, USS Pioneer

First Lieutenant Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer


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