Six hours later
Emily woke up and feeling relaxed but definitely not rested. There wasn’t a lot of sleep that occurred last night but once they were back at the academy there was plenty of time for sleeping. Aside from all the invigorating activities, there was a lot of talk just as intimate. Where they were headed, how they were going to get there, and what they wanted all made Emily wake up feeling slightly anxious. This was exactly what she wanted and where she wanted to be. The anxious piece was getting it all. Life was messy and although she had no reason to doubt anything that was said waking up today felt different. It felt real and less pillow talk. “Ethan,” she said softly turning over to wake up the man beside her or to greet him with a smile and hello if he had been up before her.
What greeted Emily was a soft snore as Ethan was still out cold, sleeping away the exercise from the night and letting muscles that had twisted, turned and stretched in ways that even a rigorous session of yoga that Emily sometimes made him attend in the early mornings before classes, had never managed to achieve.
He was wearing one of his shirts that he had packed and that had, as of when they went to bed, still been in his bags. That small clue would key Emily in that he had been awake before her at some point, and that for some reason he had gotten dressed and then fallen back to sleep.
The reason was clear moments later as the smell of coffee and eggs wafted to them from the corner table where two bags full of early morning takeout breakfasts were waiting for them, with Ethans running shoes discarded sloppily by the door. He had been for a run, already, and on the way back had got them both breakfast, then promptly fallen asleep beside her with a content smile on his face.
Emily took a second to take in the scene. Was this what she wanted? Waking up on Saturday to sneakers in the middle of the floor or close to it. Breakfast made and waiting by a man that was so focused on his career that he couldn’t take a day off and just be lazy? The short answer was yes. Where some women might see the scene differently, Emily saw the future. One day this would be their home with his shoes piled where they don’t belong but he would not be sleeping. Instead, he would be watching morning cartoons with a few mini Nash’s making him crazy. The breakfast would be made but only to wake her so that the kids stopped driving him crazy. Rolling over on her side she saw Nash next to her fast asleep.
“Ethan,” she said in a low tone. “Ethan are you awake?” It was clear the man was not but also equally clear she was just using it as an excuse to wake him up. “Hey Nash,” she said a little louder and bounced on the bed far more than necessary to try and slyly force him from his slumber. “I was wondering if you want to go for round two,” she threw out a sentence. “We have about two hours and I didn’t know if there was something you wanted to do to pass the time,” she spoke in a low soft tone but one acting as if the man were up and getting ready for a run instead of being back in bed.
The soft snores from the man lying in the bed next to her stopped suddenly, but for the next few seconds that seemed to be all the reaction her words caused until one of Ethan’s eyes opened and looked at her sleepily.
“Round two huh?” his face broke into a smile as he rolled towards her, his arm moving to drape over her lazily. “I thought that unless I fed the beast there was this hangry thing that happened early morning, pre-coffee. Lucky I’ve already been out to hunt down some supplies before the beast turns.” With a smirk, he twisted his head to look at the table behind him in the corner. “You like egg rolls right?”
“I like you,” she giggled rolling over to face him with a smile. “Like this much,” she spread her arms shoulder-width apart.
“Whoa hold on there, princess” Nash made a show of examining how far apart her hands were. “You don’t wanna go overboard with that affection there, and make me think that I don’t need to work for it do you? You’ve got to leave a little room to grow.”
“Okay maybe like this much,” she decreased the distance but the action caused the mountain of her north forty to suddenly create a valley right at the top of the sheets. It would be obvious to know what she was attempting to show and it was not the arms spread wide display of love, but rather a pinpoint, laser focus on one section of her body. The way she held her hands at sheet level directed Ethan’s gaze directly where she wanted it.
“That’s, much better.” Ethan nodded automatically but his eyes were locked on a point somewhere between and behind her hands. “Perfect, actually.”
“I thought you liked me but you are dressed and I…I sadly am not. What should we do about that Mr. Nash,” she drew out his name slowly.
Ethan picked up the sheet that covered the both of them and looked under it. Smiling, he looked at her with a lewd expression going with the soft bite of his lip. “Maybe you should go get breakfast from the table, I can watch.”
Giving him a coy smile, Emily threw back the sheet on her side exposing far more curves than valleys. She took her time moving away from the bed and to the table. Ethan said he wanted to watch and she was going to give him a show. The room did not have much in the way of anything fancy however, on the small dresser there was a small tray holding the typical ice bucket and a few glasses. Rooms this cheap did not come with personal replicators. The cups were there for someone to use if they needed a drink. Removing the items from it, Emily placed the breakfast and coffee on the tray in its place. She hung there for a second trying to appear busy as she traced the back of her calf with her other foot. The motion was sensual and a classic pose seen in holomovies all the time by scantily clad women to taunt a male watching her. After holding the pose long enough to ensure Ethan was now wide awake, Emily slowly spun to face him.
He had turned on his side and propped himself up on his elbow to better watch the small show that Emily was putting on for him. The way she moved and the quiet, soft light of the early morning in San Diego left no doubt in his mind that breakfast was very likely going to be had in bed this morning. He found his breathing grow shallow but quick, a response to a sudden urge of excitement that was far beyond his control as he watched her slowly walk away from him, the gentle sway of her hips reminding him of they way they had moved last night. The lack of furnishings in the room itself meant that there was little to distract Ethan as he watched her. Not that anything would have taken his eyes away from her curves as his memories of their touch and the firmness of her under his fingers came back to him. His only audible response, was of letting out a long, slow breath as she turned to him.
“I’m sorry…did you say something there cadet?” It was clear, that Emily was reveling in the attention and reacting to the way Ethan’s eyes moved all over her body. It was just a flirty comment to up the flow of hormones that was filling them like a drug. She felt intoxicated and fuzzy-headed every time his gaze fell on her. The sound of the low growl he used when she tormented him on campus and in public, made her skin break out in goosebumps. For every move, word, and emotion she tossed his way to grab his attention Ethan Nash had a way of catching it and lobbing it back with just a bit more intensity. This created a sensual tug of war that always ended in requiring them to meet up in some closet, back of the library, or sneaking each other into their dorm rooms.
“No Ma’am, not me.” Ethan’s voice was low and distracted, a slightly lopsided grin on his face while he could feel his heartbeat quicken, his head growing lightheaded as blood was redirected like someone had opened floodgates and he had to adjust his position for comfort. Even though Ethan and Emily were not new lovers, in a sense this weekend was very much the first time they could be lovers instead of young adults filling carnal needs when and where they could with limited time and, although intoxicating in it’s own way, risk of discovery. Ethan’s mouth was going dry and his shallow, quick breaths weren’t helping to control his excitement.
“If you were so kind to get the food then maybe I should be the one to serve you breakfast in bed doncha think?” Her words were rhetorical in nature and meant only to see if Ethan could produce a coherent sentence or thought. Emily loved to see him this way. Nash always had every box checked and answer circle in his life. This was good and would provide the stability she ultimately would want in the future. The problem was they were not in the future and Emily hoped to tease the man that planned for everything a lesson in spontaneity. After crossing the room, she placed the tray on the nightstand instead of just handing him a cup or item on it.
“I like that idea,” he answered but his words seemed far away, as if he wasn’t actually paying attention to the food. He reached out and let his fingers lightly brush her thigh while his eyes travelled up her body, slowly, letting each feature etch into his memory like a sculpture that was so exquisite you didn’t want to lose any memory of the details after it was no longer in front of you. His hand gently moved around to her rear as his eyes finally came to a stop on hers.
“How do you take your coffee,” she asked as if she did not know. It was fun playing a waitress in a sense. It allowed her to dote on him in a way that wasn’t possible in the mess hall back on campus. Pausing she looked at Nash and waited for his answer with the cream in one hand and sugar in the other.
“Orally,” he grinned. “Best way to start the day.” As he spoke, Nash gave Emily’s rear end a firm squeeze.
Emily broke out in a laugh unable to maintain her feigned aloofness at the side of his bed. His comment brought a redness to her cheeks and made her look away for a second. Clearing her throat she looked back at him trying to stay in character. “Who doesn’t?” The attempt was about as successful as trying to get a Vulcan to run across a public space screaming I love you. It was the way he was looking at her that made her not able to try and pretend she was only half interested in the man lying in her bed. “You are incorrigable and not en courageable you know that right?”
Now, he smiled and it was an innocent smile that he could have given any member of his or her family. “Baby, only you have this part of me. Okay maybe a couple of parts of me are only for you, but there is no way in hell that you are going to stand there looking like that,” he let his eyes follow her curves slowly as he said it, his hand following, his fingers gently applying pressure where he had found sensitive points the previous night, “and I’m going to keep being this top of class Cadet everyone takes me for. You do this to me, and I like it.”
“You know you are going to need to finish this fast. I have plans for you and it does not involve the public activities I scheduled.”
“I can do fast, but not this morning, put those down and give me your hand, you can tell me about those activities later.” He said as his hand let her go and he held it out for her to take. “I have something important to tell you.”
“I do not want to hear anything you have to say,” she gave him a half-grin knowing whatever it was, was going to be a long conversation. The only long conversations with Ethan Nash seemed to have been carnal in nature. Verbal conversations tended to be more of the universal type between men and women where she talked and he just nodded and grunted a few times to avoid her comment of are you listening to me. Still it was not like she didn’t like to hear him talk in is one way. Extending a hand, after she set the tray down, Emily smiled.
When Emily took his hand, he pulled her towards him and on top of him, letting go of her hand and using his arm to wrap around her body as he rolled the two of them over in a grapple that was similar to what they practiced in hand-to hand combat classes, so that by the end his body was over hers as she lay exposed under him on the sheets. Lowering himself down onto her he let his lips brush hers, then spoke quietly. “I’ve already had breakfast. I just wanted to watch the way you walked for a moment and remind myself of how amazing you were last night.”
He let his lips move down from hers, down her neck and onto her chest. “I’m ready for second breakfast though,” he spoke as his mouth explored every curve and valley they came across in their journey south.
“What are you a hobbit? You are spending way too much time with that guy Darius,” she giggled as he ran kisses down her neck. “
“Shush, my treat. All you need to say is please and thank you Ethan.”
Adjusting her self under him, Emily looked up at Ethan for a long moment. “No…” she slowly corrected him. “All I need to say is more.
Right now I don’t intend to use my manners.”
“In that case I have to resort to plan B if you won’t behave,” Ethan’s eyes narrowed and the corners of his mouth twitched. Letting his body weight press down on her he reached over for the pair of light silky fabric that usually had a different purpose. “If you can’t say anything nice, then you don’t need to say anything at all. Sshhhhhh.”
----------------- 1 hour later--------------------
“How about we get coffee on the way out?” Ethan gently brushed her hair from her face as he lay beside her, though he had to go back and try again as the dampness from their early morning exercise made it stick to her skin instead of move easily. The bed was completely unmade, the sheets in a crumpled pile at the end with the shirt and shorts he had quickly thrown on when he had gone out earlier, lying in a heap beside them.
“How about you get up and bring me coffee. Me bringing coffee to bed had unforeseen consequences. Happy ones but ones that left me without my magical dose of caffeine.” Patting his shoulder, she motioned for him to get up. “Since it will take me longer to get ready and this place does not probably have enough hot water for a joint shower, go. Bring me coffee and then you can get ready. While I loved your debriefing conference this morning, we do need to be ready to be productive members of society and not just members of a nation of two.”
“You said something about having plans for me?” He grinned as he looked at her. By now the sounds of the city around the motel had grown louder, the light stronger but the two of them were lying beside each other letting the morning air cool them from a window that he had opened maybe half an hour ago. As he spoke, he let his fingers run over the same curves that his lips had explored not long before but this time it was a soft intimacy that showed he didn’t want the contact between them to end, even if breakfast had cooled down. Her hair was messily spread around her head, the red locks stunning against the white of the bed sheet in the light of the new day and Nash let his eyes rest on her face. He was unable to remember how things felt when she wasn’t around, but he knew that feeling wasn’t in the ball park compared to what he felt looking at her now, or how he felt when his mind drifted to the thought of spending whatever time he had on, with or for her. This was the woman that he never wanted to be without, the woman that made him better in ways he never knew he could, or needed to be.
One hour later......
Standing outside the small hotel, Emily sent Nash a glaring look which was not the looks he had been getting all morning. This one would be one that he would become far more familiar with in the future to which his only reply would be how it is this my fault.
“How is this my fault?” He asked as he handed her the cup of coffee from the mobile cart that was parked across the street. He had no idea what the look was for, but he had received it enough times after campus escapades in various out of the way spots that resulted in lost buttons or torn seams on uniforms, or lost socks or rank pips.
“Because your yahoo’s are not accounted for,” she made a swirling motion at her men assembled, all of which were prompt, on time and accounted for save one.
Pulling out her communicator as it rang she instantly put on a perky voice. “Director Smith. Yes, the accommodations are good. Ummmm yes, we are out front.” Putting her hand over the speaker she looked at Nash. “Where is Ros?”
“He’s not here?” Ethan asked looking around. Off to the side, Mason, Rico and Darius sat with the recently arrived Duncan drinking their own coffees and eating various breakfast treats that the vendor also sold. Ros was nowhere to be seen.
“Is that your tactical training coming into play that you just noticed that babe,” she said with a slight smirk.
“Babe, after last night another guy is the very last thing I’m paying any attention to.” The smirk he gave her back matched hers. “I don’t care what the training says, he’s off my radar.”
“So you are all about leaving a man behind,” she flirted shamelessly with him. This was exactly why she did not bring her girls. Both she and Nash would have had to be parent’s and chaperones doing hand and room checks instead of having fun. Since Ethan had far more command dreams than she ever did the choice was easy. Make Ethan keep his boys in line.
“Yes yes we will be ready,” she said in a perky tone before hanging up and looking at Nash as she spread her hands saying “well.”
“You’re all early,” the voice of Ros came along with the closing of a car door as he stepped out of a Taxi that had pulled up not far away from the group outside the motel. He was dressed in the same clothes as the previous day but had clearly showered and cleaned up, in fact, he looked smarter and tidier than any of them along with more well-rested. His leather jacket hung open at the front and the collared shirt was open a few buttons down from the top, revealing the leather strap around his neck he wore off-duty.
“Rossssss,” Emily moaned and gestured at him. “Seriously…what if you had missed the bus or we left ten minutes early. Why can’t you be more like…Duncan,” she gestured at the man who had only just arrived thirty seconds before Ros.
Ros looked at Duncan a moment and then looked back at Emily, the look on his face confused as to why that was even a question. “Cause I’m fun.”
“Duncan is fun,” Emily said in a tone as if trying to convince a child that vegetables were as amazing as desserts. “He is just responsible and dependable.”
The sound of a barely concealed snort came from Ethan standing beside her but by the time Emily turned her head to look at Nash, any trace of it was gone and had been replaced by a look of innocence that was accompanied by a shrug and twitch of the mouth that indicated that Ethan had no idea where the sound had come from.
“We were supposed to be here at nine, right?” Ros said nonchalantly. “It isn’t nine yet, I have plenty of time. Besides the walls in that place are paper thin, you two kept me awake and with the sounds coming from your room you were either torturing kittens or practicing late night calisthenics. Or both. I only had another dude for company and there was no way I was lying there listening to that with another guy in the next bed, I went out to the bar.”
“Ahhhh,” Emily squeaked and reflexively hit Ethan on the shoulder. “We were watching that movie....you know the one…with the guy and the battle and…tell him Ethan. Tell him the name of the movie we were watching with the volume up too loud.” Emily had zero issues with anyone knowing she and Ethan were an item but broadcasting their nocturnal activities like Ros was some Bajorn version of the Alligator Hunter made Emily feel like she and Ethan needed an alibi.
“Debbie Did Denver, with the Spiderbait Black Betty soundtrack remix.” Nash didn’t even hesitate. “It’s a classic, especially the battle scenes and I was Denver. We fought all night long, really tortured that kitten.” After he finished speaking, he slowly looked at Emily and it was clear that Ethan was claiming what was his. The smirk matched the one he had just given her a moment earlier.
“Really that is the reply you are going with. Not that I got a charlie horse at 2 am or you stubbed your toe on the nightstand getting a drink? You went straight to confirming you were banging the officer in command of this away team?” Emily wasn’t mad but more interested in seeing this guy’s side of Nash. They all had one but he was so different, like all boyfriends, away from his friends. Maybe she could get enough data on this trip to help finish her Cultural Anthropology paper as well. Twenty Fifth Century Coupling Practices compared to Ancestral Ones. The more she thought about it the more the idea had merit. Why work harder when you could work smarter.
“So where did you get to? No bars are open till morning,” Ethan looked back to Ros noting how tidy he looked.
“So I met some girl, Earth girls are easy.” He winked at the rest of the group in response to snickers and low laughs. “She decided to show me the decor in her apartment.” Ros grinned slowly. “She had great furniture, real sturdy like aaaand,” he emphasized the next point by raising the beer in his hand and pointing it at Emily and Ethan, “she had a working replicator and shower, and that mattress must have cost a fortune. I slept like a log.”
And you will now be called Sor, she thought already formatting the thesis for her paper. Of course, she would change names to protect the innocent but none of Ethan’s friends were really innocent.
“Yes you did sleep too,” Emily looked up at Ethan as if REM’s were some one-up contest. “In fact, Ethan slept so well he went for a run. Besides what is that,” she pointed to Ros taking the attention off Ethan that looked like he hadn’t slept last night but merely napped.
As if in response, Ethan yawned and lazily hid it behind the back of his hand.
Looking at the bottle, he looked back at Emily and shrugged. “It’s breakfast beer. Zero carbs. Gotta keep this figure popping.” He walked past the two of them and took a seat on the low stone wall that the others were waiting on.
“Okay, so what now?” Ethan asked looking at Emily. “Who is this director guy?”
As if on cue a horn blared in the small area as if trying to clear the parking lot which had plenty of open spaces already. The bus was painted mint green with bright blue, pink, and yellow lettering spelling out AUNT POLLY’S CAMP FOR WAYWARD WOMEN.
“Hold my beer,” Ros said looking at the writing. “Stuffs about to get real, you guys have camps for them?” He laughed and pushed himself to his feet, holding out the bottle to Darius.
“Dude, it’s impty. You need to lurn butter trucks.” Darius said as he came to his feet beside Ros but his eyes were on that same bus, and he hadn’t looked at the bottle.
Rolling to a stop in front of the group, the door opened with a groan as if they had never seen a can of WD-40 and were hanging on by sheer will. The woman driving the vehicle was most easily described as a hard-livin’ woman who was about five foot ten and 220 pounds. Her mass of dark hair was pulled up as if by a blind hairdresser who didn’t own a brush. It was held in place by a red bandana. A sports bra or just a very large red bra was clearly visible under and from the side of her black well-worn tank top bearing the slogan That Which Does Not Kill Me Should RUN. With all the grace and ease of someone befitting a name only she could possess, Marge LaRue leaned on the console and smoothly said with a cigarette hanging from her red lacquered bottom lip, “is that breakfast beer?” There was only one person she could have been speaking to and the moment of silence felt deafening as she waited for Ros’ answer.
“Yep, it was.” Ros nodded, looking at the bottle. “Almost time for second breakfast too,” he grinned as he slung his bag over his shoulder, which made a telltale klink of glass on glass. “Hungry?” Ros spoke slowly and let a smile spread across his face as he looked at the driver. Moment of truth, she would either confiscate them or laugh and tell him to jump on.
“Okay is breakfast beer really a thing,” Emily whispered low to Nash.
“How have you never heard of breakfast beer?” Ethan whispered back. “What do you people do in counseling?”
“Well are all you hoty toty pretty boys gettin’ on or should I roll out the red carpet,” she looked at the group of pin-up poster-worthy men around Emily.
“Okay Okay Okay,” Rico walked up to Emily and looked at her. “Are we the entertainment for wayward women? Is this a case of what goes on camp stays on camp, cause you know the brother of my girlfriend is here right?”
“Yes I am well aware of that so I made sure Duncan is going to be on the OTHER side of the camp,” she winked as if she had his back. “He is going to be in charge of art appreciation but I am trying to work you into the lifeguard duty. Oh, shoot,” she slapped her head. You are not covered for that duty. That is Darius.”
Leaning in closer to her, Rico whispered to Emily, “Don’t do this to me, dangle a dream in front of a guy and then crush it.”
“On the bus, now,” Nash said and stood aside. “All of you pieces of hoty toty pretty boys, pieces of fresh meat for the slaughter.” Looking at Emily, Nash shook his head slightly and grinned. “We got a job to do, lets get it done.”
Waiting as they all filed onto the bus, Ethan looked at them and the empty seats, then at Emily. “You going to tell us what’s going on Em? Why are we on a bus heading to a camp for wayward women? Who the hell is Aunt Polly?”
Emily followed the men on the bus as Ethan followed her. “Why we are going to earn our community service hours for the semester dear,” she said sweetly. “Aunt Polly is the one that runs it.” She moved so that Ethan could take a seat as she stood up and grabbed a PaDD. Standing up like she was a tour director Emily decided to explain the details of the weekend.
“Okay, welcome to Aunt Pawwwwwww,” Emily said as Marge floored the vehicle. The sudden lurch forward caused Emily to plow directly into Ethan. Pitching forward, she landed with her face in the middle of his chest and her feet splayed out behind her. She held the position long enough to realize the advice about not standing when the vehicle was moving. On some level, she debated if this was pre-payback for what she was going to put the men in the vehicle through.
Ethan caught her in his arms as she landed on his chest, and thankfully with a hand either side of her on her hips, he was strong enough to hold her steady so she didn’t fall either side from the movement of the bus. “You wanna do this now?” He whispered to her but at the same time, was holding back a laugh. He knew she wasn’t hurt at all, the landing hadn’t been hard so he moved one hand onto the back of her head and applied a small amount of pressure as if he was going to push her head down. “The things I do for you,” he sighed, then let out the laugh that he had been holding. “Baby are you good?”
“Only way I would be better was if there wasn’t an audience right now,” she winked at Nash before slowly straightening herself.
“Dat’s why you need to be sitting at all times,” Marge said over her shoulder as a puff of smoke circled her head.
Emily tried to keep the frown off of her face as she looked at the guys seated as she righted herself with Ethan’s help. “Okay,” she cleared her voice. “So the point of this little weekend away from the academy is to volunteer at a girl’s camp.”
“They are prospective wayward women and your job is to keep them on the path to the straight and narrow. Not jump off a cliff in search of breakfast beer,” she cast a glance at Ros.
Holding her gaze, Ros shrugged and then suddenly looked hopeful. “Prospective? So you mean there is hope that some of them might be more wayward than others?”
“Oh some of them are a lot wayward and need Starfleet’s most up-and-coming best and brightest to put them on the straight and narrow. It might even be a hands-on experience.” Emily knew the men looking at her were definitely thinking the prospects of this weekend were looking up for them. The difference is those prospects looking deep into their eyes, with some at waist level, had completely other intentions. For a small second, she debated about telling them the age ranges of the campers but it was better for the cadets to learn on their feet. Life was not some fictional holovid where the dashing Captain won the day against incredible odds all while only losing a shirt. Life was messy and complicated and this was as good a time as ever for the cadets to realize this. So she refrained from telling them that the camper’s ages ranged from 5 to 25. They would learn this soon enough. Nothing cooled a bout of ‘man she’s hot’ than a five-year-old tugging at their waistband pointing out their shoe needed to be re-tied for the tenth time in an hour.
Leaning forward, Rico’s large palm swept out and clouted Ros in the back of the head. “Listen up you heathen,” Rico muttered, “You’re a role model now, if you don’t act like it, we’re gonna have a conversation.”
Looking back, Ros grinned. “Will that conversation include breakfast beer?”
“Yes, of course it will.” Rico smirked back and looked out the window.
“So I have reviewed your files and I have made a list of your talents and assigned you a post at the camp. “Duncan,” she looked up to make sure the man was paying attention.
“You are in charge of art appreciation.”
“Makes sense, on it.” Duncan nodded and his clipped English accent sounded happy with his lot. Folding his arms and relaxing into the chair, he had visions of taking a session or three on the influential painters or their times and cultural art practices throughout the Federation.
“Rico you will be managing archery. Ethan you are going to be handling the performing arts. Ross, you are in charge of computer technology. Darius, you are in charge of water sports, and Mason you will be in charge of adventure and discovery. The skill level will vary with the campers but you are all leaders or will be. This will be a good chance to learn how to manage those that are not as proficient in skills as others but make it a positive and successful experience.”
“Wait wait wait.” Ethan raised his hand and half stood up, holding onto a seat beside him for balance. “I have a question.”
“Yes Cadet Nash,” Emily tried to remain formal and impartial but the smirk showed it was a losing battle.
“How the hell do I get performing arts? Where the hell was that on my skill list?” He looked genuinely confused. “Darius gets water sports and bikinis, Rico’s got Robin Hood styles and I get performing arts? What even is that? Do they have Holosuites at this camp?”
“Because he comes from an island and who the hell would live on an island and not rock the water sports? Duncan is cultured and his family probably owns more art than the Louvre. Rico has to be able to hit a target and archery is all about a target. I looked at everyone’s skill set.” Emily was not about to admit that she knew the performing arts were so far out of Nash’s skill set it was taking her ability to disarm a mugger but Ethan fascinated her more than any man she had ever met. No matter what task was present to him, Ethn not only completed it but excelled in it. Part of her wondered how far out of his skill set did Ethan Nash need to be to achieve mortal status in her eyes. This however was something she could not admit.
“Okay enough about them, so where did performing arts appear on mine?” Nash raised his hands in question just as the driver turned a sharp corner, and he had to drop both quickly and grab the seat again while his shoulder banged into the wall of the bus beside the window.
“You took Intro to Theater didn’t you for your fine arts credit?” She had a thirty-three percent chance of getting this one correct. All cadets had to take Intro to either Music, Art, or Theater. This flimsy question was pure BS but at times Emily was not the nice girl everyone thought she was. Sometimes she did have an evil streak and the idea of by the book Nash sitting in a circle singing kumbaya made her giggle a little bit inside.
“Music,” Nash said with a straight face. “I took music, and learned how to play chopsticks on the piano.” It almost looked like Ethan was ready to sulk.
“Then make it musical theater,” Emily let out a small sigh.
“Alright, don’t worry about it, I got this. I’ll take those wayward women and we’ll find something to do to make them a team.” Sitting down, he frowned and looked out the window. Whether he was frustrated or deep in thought, it wasn’t possible to tell.
“Dude, you can make them do that Cats musical gig.” Darius helpfully chimed in from the back seats. “That’s popular, right?”
“Not since it was outlawed by the Caitian Embassy for being culturally offensive,” Duncan added. “Do something culturally meaningful like Hamlet. A little Shakespeare never hurt anyone.”
“Except when the Klingons took it over and claimed the adaptations into Original Klingon made it theirs and no longer Earth’s. I am all about cultural appreciation but the use of bat’leths might make the nursing staff freak out.
“That would be, awesome.” Rico leaned forward in his seat, hands on the back of the one in front of him, now more interested in the idea.
“It gives me a migraine,” Ros said turning to Duncan, then turned back to Ethan. “Now what everyone loves is a Burlesque show, am I right? It’s got dancing, music, requires some stage presence. You got a winner with that one E-Dawg.”
“That is the one with the can can dance move right,” Emily looked at Ros. “That might be fun. Maybe you can roll it into an updated Les Miserable thing. That was about a revolution so you can toss in a few of those hand-to-hand movements,” Emily jotted down a few notes humming the theme song to the ancient musical.
“Well, I suppose a Burlesque show can have some of that can-can stuff,” Ros smirked. “Imagine that, a line of girls with linked arms doing the Can Can to the tune of Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men. It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!. To be honest I doubt anyone would be angry watching a line up of wayward women doing a Can Can.” Ros sung the first few lines and to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t bad.
“Akirel, that voice does not mix well with the mental images you are projecting, just stop dude.” Duncan reached over and punched Ros in the shoulder.
As the bus pulled to a stop in front of the camp, the view out of the windows was a hodgepodge of expected and unexpected. Women that were definitely co-eds not from the academy were milling about in tank tops too tight and shorts too short. There was also a large smattering of awkward pre-teens with knobby knees and in the classic pony tail that said they were growing their hair for some reason but not interested enough in styling it for hours because they were more interested in making Pop Tock vids doing stupid dance moves. Underfoot of all of this were the tiniest of females that looked to be part of elementary school.
“What.” Darius leaned closer to the window and looked out. “Why we got children here? That is a complete buzzkill.” He rested his forehead against the Glass, happening to look down and see a handful of the littlest women present running alongside the bus now it had come to a stop, excited to see who was coming out of this one. “Oh my god, they’re swarming us!” Looking over at Rico, he grabbed his friends shoulder. “Tell me you brought the tear gas grenades and riot shields buddy. There’s too many, we can’t hold them back. I’m too pretty to die!”
“Okay, I need everyone in the Bubblebee group over here,” a voice that sounded rather British and rather familiar boomed out. The voice belonged to a blonde wearing a bikini top with a pair of shorts hanging loosely around her hips. While the outfit was not immediately familiar, the visage of the woman was distinctly Rhodes.
“Oh my god. What is Megan doing here?” Rico’s smirk at Darius dropped immediately and he pushed the Kiwi back in his seat as he leaned over him to make sure it was indeed Megan, the sister of Duncan that Rico was dating.
“Not you, that’s‘ for sure.” Nash looked over at Duncan and winked at him, knowing Rico’s clear discomfort at having Duncan around when Megan was in his company.
Next to her was a second blonde that clapped her hands. “Sparrows it is time for spelunking so line up,” Paris called out standing next to Meg.
“Who is that?” Mason pushed Rico back and noted the new blonde. “Isn’t she that chick from Mars?” Darius craned his neck to see, then looked back at Emily.
“I’m gonna go do me some spelunking,” Mason joked. “I’m feeling me some adventure and discovery.” Looking back at Emily, Mason waggled his eyebrows with a crooked smile.
“Alright you lot,” Nash looked at the group. “You heard the lady, front and center, off the bus and look like you want to be here. Mason, maybe not as much as you look now.” Turning to Emily, Ethan stood and straightened his shirt. “Shall we unload baby?”
Emily winked at him and led the group off the bus. While the bus ride might have seemed chaotic, the camp was in a full on state of red alert with people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The smaller kiddos were actually running in circles while the older girls moved with the leisurely pace of someone who had somewhere to go but all day to get there. “Okay hold the guys here until I see who is in charge today?”
“Sure thing,” He surveyed the scene. “I think it might be safer here anyway.” Last time that Ethan had seen a scene like this, was one of the Ministry of Harmony Teddy Bears Picnics that were held quarterly.
As Ethan stepped off the bus a small body slammed into his leg hugging it. She clearly was a lost bumble bee that Megan seemed to be trying to wrangle up.
“Wow!” Ethan said as he stumbled and put out a hand, catching Rico’s as his friend reached out and caught him. “Not so fast chicken,” Ethan looked down, smiling at her. “That legs mine and you can’t have it all day.”
“What’s your name?” she asked looking up at him with two big brow eyes and a smile that showed she was about to lose another tooth. It wiggled slightly as she spoke. “My name is Margene Spunker.
“Spunker huh? Cute name kid. I’m Ethan. Hey did you know your tooth is coming out? You’re gonna get at least a fiver for that one.” Looking back at Rico and the others, Ethan shrugged, at a loss for what else he could do short of drop punt the kid back into the herd.
“Are these all your brodder’s” she asked resisting Ethan’s attempt to remove her from his thigh. She had a grip like iron and was not letting go without possibly a structural engineer’s help. ” I’s got sister here. Four of them,” she removed a hand to hold up three fingers instead of four.
“They sure are, all of them,” Ethan looked up and his eyes landed on Ros. “Even the one with the funny nose, him, see?” He pointed Ros out. “He’s Ros, and there is Rico, Mason, Duncan and Darius. What’s your sisters names?
“Day are Millie, Byrdie, Aggie and Gertie,” announced as if this was need to know information.
“Really? what kind of names are those? You Amish?” Ethan raised his eyebrows and looked back at the other guys who were trying not to laugh.
A loud horn blew as a vehicle moved with a staccatoed rhythm of stopping and starting across the space almost running over Rico but stopping two inches from running him over.
“Hey watch it!” Rico flung his arms wide. “I’m standing here!” Of course, in Rico’s eternal wisdom, he hadn’t seen a need to move out of the vehicles way.
“Golly I am sorry about that,” a person popped out of the driver’s side leaning on the hoodie. “I am just learning to drive and it is like so hard.” The woman looked like she could have been the milk maid for some long gone dairy farm with the two long chestnut colored braids down either side of her head and the small freckles on her nose. Moving around the car, she had a stride that would make most of the men see it in slow motion in their minds. Her cut off jeans looked like the fray was slowly turning them into bikini bottoms instead of a pair of shorts. Her bright white tennis shoes amplified her tan.
“Oh, thats..... ok.” Rico mumbled. “I guess you probably couldn’t see me very well in there anyway.” Turning to Ros, Rico whispered at him, “Dude, next time, push me into the damn truck okay? I thought you had my back?”
Ros looked at him slowly and smirked. “How about I get Duncan to push you next time? I’m pretty sure he would do it right the first time, no matter who was driving the truck.”
“Stuff you, Ros.” Rico muttered.
“Stuff you, Rico.” Ros muttered in reply.
The only thing that stopped a wandering mind from drifting to her holding a pillow and playfully swatting someone with it was the doors opening up in the car and revealing two more of the cars contents. The two exiting the car were also late teens but one had the characteristically Velma look while the other was more gothy with attitude. The last person exiting the car was a blonde wearing a counselor shirt but in all white with a small badge that said camp nurse.
“Rico, hold me.” Ros leaned on the bulky Security Cadet as if he was collapsing. “That one might need to give me mouth to mouth. I think my heart is failing.”
“So, how about we find out where you are supposed to be, huh?” Ethan looked at Margene. “Can I have my leg back? How about you ride shotgun on my shoulders instead so you can see better? Whose team are you supposed to be in kid?”
Nash, Rico and Ros
Looking up she nodded with a large toothy grin. “Okay so let’s pair up,” Emily called out a series of names all except for Ethan. As the groups slipped away she walked up to him. “You have a very special partner.” Hooking a thumb over her shoulder, she walked towards a small A frame building. Entering the space the floor was filled with bean bags and pillows for seating. A small stage was in the back of the room. “You sir are part of the Drama troupe for today. You are romeo. Fitting don’t you think?”
“You know Romeo dies right?” Ethan deadpanned and looked around. The place looked like it was designed by a hippy for a poetry slam night, all that was missing was the heavy haze like smoke that slightly obscured the view and music at the edge of your hearing.
“He also gets to kiss the girl,” Emily stated moving close to him. “Aunt Polly does not allow contact between the counselors. I think I forgot to mention that when I told you to wrangle up your buddies.” Emily ran her fingers over his t-shirt as if smoothing out a wrinkle. “However this would be art so how could she complain right?”
“Okay, I can work with this. So I get to do whatever play or performance I want right? I’m not restricted to the SpongeBob musical or Barney, right? And we need to find out where little Margene here belongs.”
“Um yes but I did mention there is kissing in Romeo and Juliet right,” Emily looked at him with a hint of a smile. Ethan was far more than just easy on the eyes. He was brilliant. “Or is there some other play you learned at the University you were at before you transferred to the Academy?”
“Do you really want to subject a whole generation of young women to the idea that forbidden love and kissing, followed by the death of the lovers, is romantic?” Ethan emphasized the word death, but was grinning. “Cause honey I would die to kiss you but I am not sure that dying after kissing you is a great look.”
Emily let out a small chuckle. “I think you die a little inside each time I say good night,” she moved closer to him and lowered her voice so he would have to lean in and listen more carefully to hear her words. “I think each time I kiss you I take a small part of your heart and soul and the only way you can get it back,” she moved so close to him the tiniest breeze would shove them together, “is to seek me out. Find me,” her lips brushed his neck as she moved them closer to his ear. Rising on her tip toes, Emily swayed slightly trying to get as close as possible but not actually touch him.
A loud whistle rang out from behind Ethan almost directly into his other ear. “Twelve inches cadet,” Marge belted out clasping both hands on his shoulders with a resounding thud. In no way could a rational person describe Marge’s hands as feminine and dainty. Meat mitts might be more apt due to their size and girth. In a one-on-one comparison, they might even be larger than Ethan’s. A thin trail of smoke circled around his head from her cigarette hanging precariously off her bottom lip.
“We don’t want the young ladies to get the wrong idea of how to talk to someone of the opposite sex now do we Ethan,” Marge spoke as if there was a deep bond of familiarity between them squeezing his shoulders slightly in what felt like a non Vulcan attempting a Vulcan neck pinch. “We want to set an exha,” she let out a volley of coughs from the smoke covering his neck in a hot burst of breath. “Ham…ple,” she managed o finally get the word out.
Taking a step back Emily could barely contain her amusement. What this man put up with over and over for her was more like the epic novel of Homer and Ethan was Odysseus tackling all the world threw at him to save humanity or in this case, be closer to the one he loved. Sorry she mouthed the word cringing slightly as Marge moved from behind Ethan to in front of him.
“So you are a smart lad. What else does our Director of Theatrics think would be a good play to teach the girls.” It was clear Marge had just bestowed the title and apparent promotion on Ethan and not Emily.
“Popeye!” Ethan said suddenly and clapped his hands together then finger-gunning at Emily. “Everybody loves Popeye! You can be Olive Oil, Em! That way, we don’t have to die and we still get to kiss. Heck we can even have Popeye an Ensign in Starfleet. What do you think?”
A sharp cuff was applied to the back of Ethan’s head like he was a small child acting up in a church service. “I said no kissing,” Marge looked at Ethan dumbfounded before something else grabbed her eye. The whistle rang out with its piercing shrill ensuring if Ethan was not deafened the first time by the blow the second might do the trick.
“Hey you,” she stumbled pointing to Rico off in the distance talking to a blonde. Seeing Rico was not listening, Marge raised the small megaphone that was slung over her body cross wise like a sachet. “Rocky…Ricky…Robbie…yeah I am talking to you. Step back from that British chick. Her family has enough money to not only bury the body but buy a planet, hire an entire construction crew, begin building a structure just to tear it down to bury a body and re-erect the structure.” Waddling off one could hear Marge mumble, “These helpers are going to help me into the grave before this weekend is over.”
“So Popeye,” Emily stated waggling her head. “Are there skimpy costumes?”
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