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Danielle Atarah, Kalina Zett | Partnership, Pt 1

Posted on 241803.13 @ 6:13pm by Danielle Atarah

Mission: Reconciliation & Reconstruction [Fleet Plot]
Location: Earth

The shuttle lurched as it came to a landing. It was a tiny lurch, barely there; if the passenger was anyone else, they’d likely not have even noticed it. But it wasn’t just any passenger. Dani noticed. Her lips tightened into a sarcastic judgmental smirk as the shuttle touched down, considering it one more point of proof that Zett was the better pilot. And lamenting, privately to herself, that the Trill was not the one flying the shuttle down to its dock.

The door opened and Dani grabbed her travel bag, hoisted it over her shoulder, and jumped off the small ledge that marked the airlock door, onto soft leaf-covered ground. They weren’t at home. They were…

“Where are we?” She looked around, scratching her head. It was somewhere in San Francisco, so not too far away from where she thought they were going, but definitely not the tall exposed roof of the office apartment, or the lush expanse of grass that surrounded the town house. She narrowed her eyes, searching for clues through the dark surroundings, recognition lighting her brain just as the pilot spoke.

“Le Petit Mouton,” the man said with a gentle smile, gesturing at the round door to their left. “We had to land near the back, there was no room to land up front.”

“I thought we were going home,” Dani muttered, shifting the strap so the bag sat neater on her shoulder.

“Zett asked to get you here first. I thought she told you.” The pilot seemed concerned for a moment, but only a moment, hiding whatever thoughts he dared to have about the manner in which his boss -- bosses -- handled their communication. Dani smirked at him and shook her head, shrugging through her confusion. “I guess we’re going out for dinner. I wanted to pass through the apartment first, dump my stuff, freshen up,” she followed the pilot to the small paved rock road that led to the main entrance, “but I guess it’s dinner first.”

“I’m sure we can arrange for something if you want to go--” the pilot started, reaching the door handle to open it for her.

“Nah,” she waved the end of his sentence off with a smile. “After weeks apart, I’m sure Z can't wait to meet before we go anywhere,” she shook her head and smirked at the man, who smiled back at her, as if sharing a well known secret. “You don’t happen to have some gum or something?” She winked, and he chuckled, leading her into the restaurant.

The restaurant was quiet and warm, and dimly lit, and, most notably, completely empty of customers. Three waiters were involved in the last stages of organizing the small round table in the middle, shifting utensils to perfect positions, stretching the last wrinkles that dared appear on the crisp tablecloth. First to notice her entrance was the younger waiter to the left; he finished pulling the napkin straighter -- an act Dani was pretty sure was merely a time waster, since the napkins were as straight as any non linear object could possibly be at that point -- and bowed his head at her with a smile, reaching to move the chair away from the table so she can sit.

“Zett apologizes about being late,” the pilot’s mouth twisted into an apologetic smile, “she said to tell you she apologizes, and ask you give her a minute, her shuttle is about to land.”

“Sure,” Dani nodded, half listening, dropping her bag to the corner and walking over to the table. “It’s not like she knew my itinerary,” she joked, winking at the waiter who held the chair out for her, and sat, letting him push the chair in.

“Are you joining us, Newhart?” Dani smiled at the pilot, gesturing at the other seat. The man chuckled. “Sure, a romantic dinner with my boss is how I usually prefer to spend any evening.” He joked, smiling, but, Dani noted, did not even pretend to get close to the chair. Zett’s chair.

“You know, there was a time where an invitation to a romantic dinner could land me any guy or girl in the sector, no questions asked.” Dani smirked at him, reaching for the glass of water. They were passing time now, but it was better than sitting there and waiting silently, as if she’s some stuck up queen who’s to be waited on by the staff. Maybe she was, but she was adamant in making the point that she doesn’t mean to be. Even if it doesn’t work.

“Oh, I’m sure that’s still the case, chief,” the pilot smirked and leaned back against the wall, near the kitchen door. It was clear he was readying himself to leave -- probably into the kitchen and out the back door -- as soon as whatever the hell Zett was planning with this dinner started. But -- and she took that as a good sign for the connection she did manage to have with the Bristol crew -- he stayed to chat, relaxed, smiling, despite the slight awkwardness of the obviously private setting. He watched her in amusement for another moment and then shrugged, the smirk expanding to a crooked smile. “But I wasn’t talking about you.”

“Ooph,” Dani recoiled jokingly, shaking her head, “touché.”

The pilot shrugged with a bow, laughing, and Dani joined, shaking her head, sipping from the glass of water. She started thinking about her next piece of small talk when the familiar whooshing sound of a landing shuttle emanated through the window in the back. The pilot noticed it too, and pushed himself off the wall, taking the hint, winking at Dani before leaving through the kitchen doors. Dani nodded at him and turned her attention to the door. “You better have a really good excuse,” she called, projecting her voice towards the tall silhouette that approached, smiling mischievously, winking at the waiter nearest her, “for not picking me up from orbit, and then having me wait here withou--”

But the sentence broke, the words trapped in her throat.

The doors opened, and Zett walked through them, shaking her shoulders, letting her assistant pull her jacket off her, looking at Dani with a smile that was full of yearning and apology.

The smaller woman huffed a chuckle and stood, her legs kicking the chair back. A waiter rushed to grab it before it fell, but Dani didn’t notice. She moved swiftly, covering the short distance to the door and wrapping her arms around the Trill’s shoulders, pulling her down for a kiss.

“I missed you,” Dani finally muttered, when their long welcome was over, looking at Zett and then pulling her in, tightly, placing her head into the taller woman’s neck. Zett reached for Dani’s forehead, brushing strands of hair back gently, holding the woman close. “I missed having you here with me,” she cooed, her other arm firmly holding Dani’s back as if clinging to reality. “I’m sorry you had to wait. I got stuck at this gala event and…”

“No you weren’t,” Dani chuckled, her moving lips stretching into a tightly amused smile, tickling Zett’s ear, “you smell like soap and shampoo,” she chuckled, nuzzling the woman’s colorful hair, “and blueberries…” that was Zett’s perfume, soft but unmistakable, and, quite clearly, freshly applied.

“Eh, well, I,” Zett stuttered, and Dani could feel the warmth spreading on her skin as the woman -- to Dani’s delighted surprise -- blushed. “Okay,” the Trill admitted, “I may have gone home first and freshened up a bit,” and Dani could feel the flush in her skin intensifying. “I wanted to look good for you.”

“Oh, Z,” Dani pulled back and examined her, slowly, grinning, her eyes moving upwards until she met the Trill’s gaze, enjoying the moment of vulnerability that Zett either didn’t manage to control, or wasn’t even aware of. “You always look gorgeous.”

The taller woman smiled, unable to contain the blush, and Dani basked in it, enjoying every moment of vulnerability. She leaned for one more hug, breathing in through Zett’s embrace, and then loosened her grip, leading them both to the table.

They sat, laughed and talked and drank while the waiters fussed around them, delivering the dishes with care and precision, topping their glasses with bright red wine that seemed to never end. Zett and Dani ate, talked, and laughed, their feet touching, palms caressing palms, never once losing contact through the whole meal.

-- To be continued --

Kalina Zett
Earth Syndicate


Danielle Atarah
Earth Syndicate


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