Previous Next

Into The Wind

Posted on Mon Jan 7th, 2019 @ 5:51pm by Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake

Mission: Season 1 Interlude I (E2.5)
Location: Seyann, primary moon of Delta IV
Timeline: ID 25

Three weeks come and gone, yet for Jaya it had been an eternity. They had contacted the Deltan Foreign Ministry shortly after receiving the summons, but in order to maintain appearances, the hearing had been set a few weeks out. For Jaya, that would have been an utter test of patience. Storr, on the other hand, had recommended a scenic trip back to the Deltan system which included multiple stops along the way. A 'second honeymoon,' he called it. Unsurprisingly, Akiva had been more than supportive, having rekindled his own romance with Laena in recent weeks.

As much as Jaya relished their time together away from duty stations and protocols, every day of their journey took them one step closer to judgment day. She only hoped that she could continue to stand strong.

And then the day came when their runabout, the USS Brazos, breached the heliosphere of the 114-Delta system. The M-class star shone brightly with three gas planets in close orbit. As the first terrestrial world in the system, Delta IV, or Seyalia to its denizens, stood apart from all the rest, as the other terrestrial worlds beyond it were either toxic-filled dwarfs or encased in solid ice. Federation citizens inhabited them, as Starfleet seldom left any rock untampered with. As communal beings, Deltans had not colonized beyond their moon. It was that moon, Seyann, that was the runabout's destination.

"It's a bit of a desert compared to the oceanic main world," Jaya offered, her eyes alighting in the nascent glow of Seyann, "but it's home."

"The prodigal daughter returns...with her obligatory boy toy in tow, of course."

Jaya giggled. "Would you care to do the honors? The Control Tower should be expecting us."

"Absolutely," Storr replied with a grin, though not before stealing a kiss from his bride. The last three weeks had been a rollercoaster of emotions for the couple what with the impending trial weighing heavily on their minds, but the Marine doggedly pursued Jaya the entire time to (he believed, successfully) focus them both more on deepening their marital covenant than apprehensively awaiting their destination.

Sitting back up straight, Garlake ran his fingers over the LCARS to begin the orbital re-entry "handshake" with the planetside automated system. One of the advantages of not being on the most recent away team mission was that he was able to get back into the shuttle simulator and refine his budding piloting skills. He was no Chuck Yeager, Hikaru Sulu, William Riker or Tom Paris, but he had put enough time into the sim since the USS Vindex so that he at least wasn't considered a danger to himself/others/small planetoids.

"Seyann Control, this is the USS Brazos,. We're 20 kilometers out from waypoint TEPOS squawking 0844 with information Romeo and requesting a manual entry with lidar following."

The secondary comm display came to life as a bare-chested and baby-faced man with a genuinely contagious smile covered only a quarter of the main viewscreen, preserving the overall picture of the ever-approaching moon, it's swirling color nearly hypnotizing as it hung like a gentle breeze in space. "Copy Brazos,, I have you on lidar and show you now 17 clicks out from TEPOS. Current altimeter is 29.82, winds are 8 knots from the south, southwest, and I show no other manual traffic between you and the spaceport. Again confirm that you're requesting a manual approach?"

Storr nodded. Given the amount of traffic that regularly transited between space and the surface, nearly every mid-sized and above spaceport had regulated approach and departure corridors to simplify and ease the job of both pilots and controllers alike. Many thought that getting from space to land (or vice-a-versa) was simply pointing where you wanted to go and the "big sky theory" would keep them safe, but in even the cursory research into the system (and the tragic failures of it) that the Marine had done proved that that was not nearly the case. Manual approaches avoided these automated corridors for a variety of reasons but required more than a passing knowledge of both piloting and the local environment. He hoped that he had enough for his surprise.

"Affirmative, manual approach. I'll execute the POSH TWO arrival and will report MIDAS but will remain in the vicinity 500 and below for pilot orientation and proficiency." Garlake sneaked a glance at Jaya who gave him a questioning eyebrow raise to which he simply responded with a brow-waggle of his own.

The controller looked down presumably at his radar display and looked back up with another warm smile. "All granted, Brazos,. Report when inbound from MIDAS."

While Delta IV had dashes of lavender in its periwinkle atmosphere, its primary moon Seyann's atmosphere rocked a bubble-gum pink. Once the runabout penetrated it, the color revealed to be partly natural and partly augmented by the planetary shielding. Jaya's description of 'desert' was technically correct in an academic sense in that Seyann had no large bodies of water or river channels, but it nonetheless featured extensive brightly colored flora. It was nothing short of a beautiful assault on the eyes and a far-different approach than the one to Storr's home on Earth.

As the runabout broke from the densest upper layers of pink, the incredibly vibrant scenery nearly took Storr's breath away. The entire moon seemed meticulously husbanded to create the most beautiful landscape possible as buildings, roads, and all manner of technology seemed to flow seamlessly into their manicured surroundings. He could see now why the love of beauty was rooted deeply into Deltan society and how it reflected in its people. Taking in the surroundings, he nearly forgot his altitude and increased power not to bust his floor at the last moment. Transitioning his attention from his altitude to the ground, he searched frantically for a few moments until his concern lifted as he identified his target. Breaking hard to the right and slowing, the Brazos, began a tight circle over a stately manor with a sole occupant out on the large deck.

"That's the commissioner's mansion," Jaya said. "Father has worked for the Meteorological Commission for most of his life, and has overseen it for some time. Everything you see around us... it's thanks to him and his staff." Jaya's enthusiasm wavered just a bit. "I always felt like Riswan took after him more than I did..."

Storr smiled. He had been in contact with Riswan to get the family home's coordinates as he had rightly figured that Jaya had never seen in from the air. A thought that percolated up too quickly to be crushed by his sub-conscious was that he also wanted to make sure that she would have a fond memory of it in case it was the last time.

Completing the circle, the Brazos, straightened out and began the short segment to the spaceport.

While Storr brought them to the designated landing pad, Jaya stepped toward the back to change. Gone were the tasteful robes and sensual sari that characterized Deltan attire when abroad. Instead, Jaya stripped to a stretchy loincloth and stingy strings that left little to the imagination. Looking at Storr, she stopped mid-change, sensing his apprehension. "Oh... did I forget to mention the change of wardrobe? We... dress as differently as we act when we're away from home."

A couple of monosyllabic grunts were all that came from the Marine as his eyes hungrily passed over his wife, his thoughts quickly shifting from lust to terror.

"Do..umm...err...what do I wear?" he replied, afraid of the answer to the question. As she raised up a loincloth by a string that barely met the definition of clothing with a roguish grin, a deep sigh escaped the Afrikaner. "Onse Vader wat in die hemele is..."

Jaya gasped. "Oh. Right. Terran modesty..." She shrugged. "Seyann has more visitors than Seyalia, so it would not be remiss for you to be overdressed. You would simply... stand out."

"No...NO." Storr said with more force and finality than he initially intended, standing from his seat to begin shedding his uniform. "You've made so many sacrifices and done so much work to adapt to our marriage. You've even reveled in could I turn my back on that and say that I'm unable to do the same?" Taking a deep breath, he took the loincloth from Jaya and (barely) covered his naked form. Looking up at his glowing bride and then back down, he suddenly realized that he would need much more than small unit tactics, weapon employment ranges, and baseball to get through the next few days.

Riswan, clad even more scantily than Jaya were it possible, met them at the landing pad. Despite the circumstances, the two sisters met with mutually joyous affection -- Jaya exuding her trademark extroversion and Riswan her customary aplomb. They kissed one another on each cheek, on the mouth, and embraced in at least two different ways.

"It is so good to see you again," Jaya said.

"And you," Riswan replied.

The underlying threat to their family honor seemed to be subdued, at least for the moment. After the sloppy display of amity she shared with Jaya, Riswan's attention, now falling to Storr, felt icy by comparison. "Mister Garlake," she said, brow slightly raised at his appearance.

Garlake was somewhat at a loss. The environment since leaving the shuttle had put his entire being on pins-and-needles, much like after laying odd on his arm overnight and the sensation of "waking" it back up but it penetrating even to his soul. The plants, the birds, the clouds, to the air itself and the cobblestones beneath his bare feet oozed sensuality. This wasn't even addressing the multiple people, couples, and groups they had passed casually enjoying each other in ways that made even the grizzled Marine blush beneath his beard. On the other hand, the pheromones emanating from the "simple" platonic sisterly greeting had his head swimming with all manner of thoughts and sensations (many of them not helpful in the slightest), none of them giving insight with how to even say hello to his beyond-provocatively dressed and alluring sister-in-law. He regretted making that earlier quip about her hitting on him.

"Hello Riswan," the Afrikaner said deeply while returning her smile. The tall Deltan simply smirked and glided over the ground between them, electricity passing between their gazes. She stopped just inches away, Riswan's hands slowly coming up and pressing his firm pectorals, fingers sensuously twirling through his chest hair. "So hairy...exotic...enticing..." her words floated to his ears as notes struck on a perfectly tuned harp. Taking her in his arms, Storr kissed her passionately, fire burning his lips as his hands....


Across from him stood a quizzical Deltan, head cocked to the side and no closer than she had been initially as she assessed the Lieutenant Colonel with (hopefully no more than) mild concern.

"Umm...Hello, Riswan," he replied. Again? Confusion, shame, and excitement all swirled in his head as a small hand entwined itself with his, Storr's thoughts suddenly clarifying and grounding themselves. He breathed deeply before continuing with an authentic smile. "I'm sorry we couldn't visit under...better circumstances but I'm honored to be here, nonetheless. Thanks for seeing us."

Riswan offered a tight smile at Storr's discomfort. The natural empathy of a Deltan clued them in whenever somebody found them attractive. "This should be interesting, if nothing else." Her eyes swept from Storr back to Jaya, ending with a curt wriggle of her eyebrows. "I'll show you inside."

Turning around, Riswan swayed her hips like a metronome as she led them up the winding walkway through the lush gardens of the landing port to the automated hover car nearby.

"She's teasing you," Jaya whispered to Storr. "Think of it like sibling rivalry."

" when I attempted to seduce my brother's wife into bed. Great times!" he retorted with a smirk, forcefully looking away from the siren's call ahead of him. His view landed upon a few too-delightful forms wearing less than either of his current companions, necessitating him to sweep his eyes back to Jaya. Half-pleading, half-ravenous, he drank in her luscious curves and leaned down for both a better view and to better speak privately. "Thankfully I have the most beautiful woman on this planet but we need to get out of"

Jaya playfully slapped Storr on the butt and pushed him toward the hover car.

Once the tight cargo area was loaded with the scant few carry bags they'd brought with them, Riswan allowed them to enter the passenger compartment first before joining them. "Home," she commanded with a single word. In a moment, the hover car was following its preset route back to the commissioner's mansion. Once the hover car was underway, Jaya was the first to break the silence.

"So how it is that you're here?" Jaya gushed. "It is so good to see you, but even so... I didn't expect you in person."

Riswan made a wan smile. "I am on personal leave," she said at length. "Indefinite."

Jaya and Storr looked at one another.

"Why is that, if I may ask?" Jaya knew that Riswan had no cause to dislike Storr, but she still wished to respect her sister's boundaries.

"I have a distinguished career," Riswan said. "I am up for Commander soon, and a first officer post along with it. But..." She looked out the window, her eyes drinking in the grandeur of the terraformed moon. "You know as I do the burden of staying away from home. If I commit to a command post, then I set my fate along a course that I will not be able to deny."

As her sister spoke, Jaya felt tears well up within her eyes. Being so different, Jaya had always felt the burden of her older sister's shadow. But in this rare moment of vulnerability, Jaya had never felt so connected. "I know exactly how you feel." The emotion in Jaya's commiseration was virtually electric. "I'm glad we can be here for each other."

Riswan looked back at them. Mirth had returned to her smile. "As am I."

Storr listened intently as he leaned his head back on the rest, his eyes closed to simply enjoy the warm breeze lightly filtering into the car. That, and to help lower his heartbeat somewhat from the earlier encounter. His arm went around Jaya as the conversation turned emotional, bringing her closer to him as her burden and apprehension for her sister made Storr's throat tighten along with his grip. Jaya loved her sister and despite any feelings of inadequacy, Storr knew that she wanted nothing but the best for Riswan which was why this whole situation was so hard for them all.

Not seeing the need or adequacy of joining the conversation, the Marine was happy to sit and comfort his wife and her sister as the trio finally arrived at the commissioner's mansion.

The mansion did not stand out from the landscape so much as it blended with it. Earth-tone colors were bare highlights in a hodgepodge of neon. Without intentionally stopping and staring, one would be hard-pressed to quickly identify where the gardens ended and the domicile began. With only a loose bureaucracy to govern their society, the mansion doubled as both headquarters for the Meteorological Commission as well as the residence of the commissioner and his staff.

Rather than servants, the grounds were tended to by expert husbandry specialists, all of whom fell silent once Jaya emerged from the hover car. Whispers of "commissioner's daughter" and "Terran" hovered through the air. Jaya pointedly ignored them as she made to unload the cargo compartment herself. Seeing the discomfort, Riswan spared a glance for Storr before saying, "I'll inform Mother and Father that you've arrived."

She sauntered toward the mansion like a vertical snake, leaving the two of them alone.

Shouldering several bags (why so many were necessary for such a short trip and with such minuscule clothing befuddled the man), Storr's steely gaze cut from one Deltan gardener to the other, their focus suddenly finding much more interesting things to see amongst the shrubbery.

"I hope that the outside welcome isn't a portent of things to come...ready for the main event?"

Jaya nodded. "Let's go inside, love. I know Father and Mother will want to meet you."

One by one the staffers made themselves scarce as Jaya and Storr followed the same path as Riswan to the double oaken doors of the main entrance. The entryway opened into an expansive hall with hand-carved pillars in an environment. Draping on a fainting couch with a spaghetti strap top and a v-neck, high-slit, backless maxi dress was a bald Deltan strumming a harp. The melody cut short when Storr held the doors open for Jaya to enter.

"Jaya? Jaya, dear!" The older Deltan arose from her fainting couch like a swan taking flight.

"Mother!" Jaya dropped her bags at the door near Storr's feet and ran like a baby chick to her mother's waiting wings.

The two women embraced and swayed for several minutes, exchanging emotional whispers and tender nuzzles. After the tender moment passed, the older Deltan cast her eyes upon Storr. A faint lick of her lips and a hushed question later, Jaya pulled away and took Storr's hand to introduce him. "Yes, Mother. This is Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake of the Starfleet Marine Corps. Storr, my love, this is Nephele Maera, my mother and the jewel of Seyann."

The Afrikaner couldn't help but smile as he watched his wife invigorated by her mother's embrace. His family loved each other very much as well and while the outward displays of affection were more...muted in his South African home, it was no less dogged. Gently taking the elegant woman's hand, he brought it to his lips and kissed it before returning it down to her waist. It was obvious that she was Jaya's mother as the emotional wave that he experienced felt much like a bronzed echo of his current bride's; equally passionate and desirous, though rhyming in a more mature way. He considered her husband a very lucky man indeed. "The pleasure is mine, Misses Maera. Your name is no lie and your daughter is an amazing facet of grace and beauty herself," he said with a genuine smile.

Nephele turned away from Jaya and cast a measuring if alluring gaze upon Storr. "Well, Jaya, if you were going to restrict yourself to a single individual for the rest of your life, you could have done worse." She gave her lower lip a sultry bite. "Far worse, indeed."

"Am I interrupting something?" The voice sounded more ironic than indignant. An elder Deltan male walked into the room. His saggy body was scarcely concealed by a festive open vest and sheer wind pants that left little to the imagination. "Jaya." There was an underlying affection apparent in his words, but the disdain was still plain to see. When he looked at Storr, the disdain became paramount. "This must be your... guest."

"Father... Storr is not a guest," Jaya corrected, clutching Storr's side like a banner in the wind. "He is my husband."

"Husband," he repeated, the word clearly distasteful on his tongue. "Monogamy." The man said it like a curse word. "Your mother and I raised you as a proper Deltan, and this is the disgrace you bring to our house? Why you cannot be more like your sister I will never know."

All of the repressed fears and pain of inadequacy that Jaya felt throughout her adolescence broke through her years of professional training and experience and flowed from her saline eyes. "Don't say that. Please." She shook her head in futile denial.

"Aker!" Nephele gasped with the faintest break in Deltan equanimity. "Control yourself."

"And why should I?" The short but spunky little Deltan raised his voice in ire. "Our daughter finagled her way around her Oath of Celibacy, and for what? To consort with a simian animal that she boldly and shamelessly parades before her people like the mindless plaything that he is."

As much as Storr expected this, he hadn't expected such fire. And so quickly at that. His brow knitting together he held Jaya closer to his side and positioned himself more between the two than he had before. It was more instinctual than an actual threat; the man posed no true danger to the Marine and Storr wouldn't countenance injuring Aker simply because of an insult. To be fair, he had gone to fisticuffs over lesser insults but it didn't seem right to get thrown out of the house before dinner.

Though nearly a foot shorter than Storr and half his girth, Aker held his own against the Afrikaner. "You, you disgusting, degenerate sexual primitive, have no idea what you have done." He turned his wrath upon Jaya. "But you, daughter, know precisely the shame you have brought upon this family. I should have you thrown out in the gutter this instant, yet I fear the spread of your scandal and corruption beyond this house."

Jaya slowly sank to a squatting position and hugged her knees. Her tears gave full way to sobbing in a relentless, convulsing outpouring of sheer suffering. That her father had virtually disowned her in the presence of everyone she loved was fate as bad or worse as any judgment the Foreign Ministry could render. The empathic onslaught of her grief sent rolling waves of agony throughout the hall.

"Aker!" Nephele raised her voice in turn. The two Deltans met in a clash of wills that broke when Nephele slapped Aker across the face. Her red hand-print was soon filled in by the reddening of his furious countenance. Tension electrified the room. Between Jaya's emotional breakdown, Nephele's indignation, and Aker's wrath, the empathic discord began to foment a hellstorm of conflicting psionic undercurrents.

"ENOUGH!" Storr bellowed, taking one large step forward after scooping up his shattered bride. The tidal wave of red-hot psionic strife was threatening to boil over into a regrettable physical altercation so his reaction was more a defensive measure than anything else, as it occupied his hands. "Scandal or not, she's still your daughter who loves you obviously more than you know and honestly, more than you deserve. We can either be guests in your house or elsewhere, but know that my parents have come not just to accept but love" A pause. "Are you so ready to be beaten by apes?" His final quip was uttered with more provocation than he had meant but regardless met her father's glare with equal mettle of his own.

Aker's wrath slowly eked down his face into a condescending smirk that eventually erupted in a snort of contempt. "Do not presume to lecture a Seyalian on the nature of loving relationships, you overgrown ogre. No, I expect to be the one giving the lectures tomorrow." With nothing further to say, he turned on his heel and returned to his private chambers.

"Your father has always been stubborn and traditional," Nephele said upon the man's departure. She spared a lingering glare at his wake. "He and I have argued before about your... arrangement... but we agreed that we do love you. It's just... he is in a difficult position." She cleared her throat and dismissed the turgid feelings that still clouded the room. "Come, now. Let me show you to your room."

Jaya nodded meekly and let herself be carried away.

Storr gently laid Jaya onto the impossibly soft and silky bed, joining her by enveloping her form into his. After a few moments, he nuzzled her neck like a horse to its sleeping foal.

"Are you sad you married a monkey?"

"Had to marry somebody." Jaya still moped a little, but she favored him with a teasing smile. "Are you sorry you married a love-starved deviant?"

"You say tomato..." he began with a chuckle, letting his hands roam a bit farther than a simple comforting embrace would allow. Her soft purr as she pressed against him let Storr know it was quite well received. "It does have its perks now and then, though."

The morning breakfast and ride to the Council chamber was a blur...a blur of vibrant colors, exotic fragrances, sensual clothes, and even more sensual clothes-wearers to be sure, but a blur nonetheless. As the car came to a halt, Riswan looked over her shoulder at the couple who both gave her a curt nod. Storr squeezed Jaya's hand as he looked into her eyes before leading her out onto the large, open square.

"This is it," Jaya said stoically, far more than she truly felt. "Our future will be decided here."

She grasped Storr's arm, an action that felt instinctual after a year of togetherness--the closest thing to monogamous marriage that Deltans recognized--as she gazed out over the coliseum seating around them. The open forum constructed out of a granite composite material was a tradition which spanned millennia, and with weather-modification technology, there was never any need for public matters to be conducted indoors. Cushioned seating and personal temperature controls were modern highlights, though. Tradition could not hold a candle to comfort.

Storr wasn't sure what he was expecting but it was not this. The stadium architecture seemed to make their upcoming trial seem like a spectator sport and they were the main dish for the upcoming lion pride. Then again, that mental image might not be too far from the truth.

Spectators gathered in the high seats, leaving the ground level open for officials, participants, and other people who were required to be there. The fervor in the air began to palpitate as vast amounts of empathic energies began to roil and bask in the mounting anticipation. When three robed individuals proceeded from the opening on one side of the stadium seating to ascend the raised dais, hushed whispers fell in an anxious climax.

"The robes symbolize justice," Jaya whispered to Storr. "The arbiters do not represent themselves, and so they obscure their bodies with the vestments of truth and justice."

The Afrikaner was familiar with the concept; pastors at his home church wore robes to indicate their position and duty before God so that people could concentrate on the Word, not the man delivering it.

As the arbiters assumed their seats, they pulled back their robes to reveal their faces. To the right was the unforgettable face of Ambassador Kollos, the representative of Delta IV to Earth and the one who had initiated the inquest in the first place. In the middle was a female Deltan, presumably a councilwoman of some type or another from the Deltan homeworld looming overhead. It was the leftward face that shocked Jaya to her core. A gasp escaped her lips when she recognized the sullen face of her father, Commissioner Aker Maera.

Her mother's words from the night before flashed through her mind. "... we do love you. It's just... he is in a difficult position."

Jaya would have never guessed how literal that proved to be.

Storr let out a breath like a deflated balloon. This...was not good. Nothing like having already insulted and potentially alienated two of the three arbiters before the hearing even had begun.

"We have convened here today," began the female arbiter in the middle, "to rule on the matter of Jaya Maera, also known as Jaya Maera-Garlake, and the allegation of Oath-breaking one year ago. It was determined by officials of the Foreign Ministry to suspend the ruling until such time as the claims could be put to the test. Before we render our decision on this matter, we will take statements from the accused.

The woman nodded toward Jaya to begin. Without any advocate this time, Jaya approached the dais.

"Honored arbiters. Ambassador. Father." It took all of her self-control to keep her voice even. "Last year I said that Storr Garlake is the strongest man I have ever known. Today, he stands as proof of that. I have found more fulfillment, joy, and pleasure in the arms of this lone Terran than I have in every past communal celebration combined." Gasps arose from the higher seats, but the arbiters said nothing. Kontos and Aker visibly cringed. "I stand before you an honest woman. Do what you will with that."

When she stepped back to stand with Storr, Jaya bore the weary, resolute look of a martyr.

The arbiters whispered among themselves. "As a party to the alleged Oath-breaking, we call forward Storr Garlake to give his statement."

Storr rose to his full height and made his way before the three seated Deltans. Making eye contact with each in turn, he then stood at parade-rest and focused above them as he spoke. "Honored arbiters...I, Lieutenant Colonel Storr Ingleson Garlake; Star Fleet Marine Corp; of sound body, mind, and spirit; stand before God and this assembly today to state unequivocally that my love, my wife, my bride Jaya Garlake has not broken her Oath of Celibacy and that our covenant of marriage has been the greatest thing to happen in both our lives. I await your decision of the same."

The central arbiter covered the microphone to confer with Ambassador Kontos and Commissioner Maera. Everyone assembled took a collective gasp and waited with bated breath.

Without further ado, the Afrikaner turned about-face and sat down, taking Jaya's hand in his under the table. Storr's outward steadfastness matched Jaya's resolve as the bond they shared flowed with equal parts courage and foreboding through their fingers. No matter the result of the next few hours, they would face it together as one.

At last the tribunal finished their deliberation. "This panel has accepted the statements from Jaya Maera and Storr Garlake, and will proceed with the determination that they have not violated their Oath of... marriage. However, judgment will be suspended pending a psychological assessment from a Deltan expert. For it was alleged on Stardate 47985.4 that Jaya Maera consorted with Lieutenant Lan Koltran while aboard the USS Renown, and due to the circumstantial nature of that allegation, the mental state of Storr Garlake after one year was to be the deciding factor for that final determination." She paused for a moment to look directly at the married couple. "Do you consent to these terms?"

Ambassador Kontos quietly gloated in a sinister victory. The unspoken emotions emanating from him screamed that it was a trap. But after the boasting both she and Storr had made, how could she back out now? "Storr... I don't know," she whispered.

Storr turned and dove into those sparkling brown eyes that had stolen his heart and called him to be a true man...what, had it already been over a year ago now? He flashed a gallant smile before facing the arbiter's table and standing again.

"We do," he replied simply and sternly. Taking his seat again, he re-took Jaya's hand in his and squeezed. In for a penny...


Previous Next