“Oh it is game on with the kitsch,” Kalani said not letting him let go of her hand. “I am bringing so much stuff you are going to think you are David Livingston in deep dark Africa every time you try to cross your living room,” she promised. Moving towards the space between him and the coffee table Kalani sat down so that she faced him. “You should have thought twice about asking me to move in. Me…I never unpacked since the day I met you in the requisitioning office. The other room where Jarred had his desk was filled with the sounds of some kid program. Elizabeth must have become distracted which was fine for Kalani. She had darkened the tint on the windows when she arrived at his office. Leaning forward, Kalani decided to let Jarred take control of the situation. She would follow his lead. She would follow him anywhere. As her lips brushed his softly her mind drifted back to Vespa and their camping excursion. If she had any doubts about Jarred’s intentions they were gone after that weekend. She put her hands on his thighs and softly but firmly moved her fingers down a bit on his leg towards his knees. Twenty four hours was not a long stretch of time but when you had expectations during that twenty-four hour time frame that weren’t met it felt like an eternity.
Stopping briefly to listen for sounds in the other room, Kalani moved a bit closer to him sliding off the coffee table. Goosebumps covered her arms as her body gave out orders but the logical part of her brain stopped it cold. There was a kid to the right and an engine room to her left filled with crew. Still, Kalani had only one thought on her mind. God she was going to be the worst stepmother ever.
Ensign Kalani Kane science
Jarred couldn’t help but let his mind blank for a split second, before remembering his surroundings. Leaning in he pressed his lips close to her ears as he whispered softly to her. “I am going to show you how grateful I am for all you do tonight…” he said softly to her as he playfully grabbed her ass before biting his lip as he straightened up some. The last thing he wanted was to explain why she was being mounted over his couch by himself to his daughter but he felt that urge bubble up in him.
Jarred didn’t need a cold shower or an emergency to instantly kill the mood between him and Kalani. It only took a single sentence. Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam). Black Betty had a child (Bam-ba-Lam) The darn thing gone wild (Bam-ba-Lam) echoed in the room followed by a loud series of drum and guitars rocking out a fast-paced tempo. Kalani snapped back hard as if she were shoved across the room looking to see where the song was coming from. A second later she found out the source.
“Daddy why are do you always do a backflip before coming to the starting line,” Elizabeth asked flipping the PaDD around to show Jarred the screen. “Nana said it was because it got the crowd pumped up before the race but PaPa said you were just showing off for the girls. Was mommy or Kalani one of those girls,” she asked not caring any more than any other child her age did about interrupting her parents. Crawling up on the couch, Elizabeth sat on Jarred’s lap and held out the PaDD for the three of them to watch the screen. It was easy to see that it was a holovid from at least twenty or more years ago of Jarred.
“Wow you can backflip,” Kalani looked stunned. There was no denying the man had a body that did not stop. You only ever got a hint of it when he was wearing his uniform. In the gym you got a better look see but Kalani was privy to views no one on the crew got take in. If he could do that what else could the man do? Her mind ran to all sorts of situations where she could start testing his skills. She learned a lot about him on her camping trip and yet there appeared to be volumes to still discover. “Can you show me later,” she asked maybe a bit too eagerly.
“He can do it now. My daddy can do anything right daddy,” Elizabeth said looking up at Jarred, her face beaming with pride and the look only a little girl could have for her father. The look that said my Daddy can do anything.
Kalani could not help but grin from ear to ear. No matter what Jarred had done in his life that might have marred his reputation or caused rifts in relationships, he had done right by his kid. She adored her father and for Kalani it made her love Jarred a little bit more. “Yes, he can. Your daddy is amazing. So, babe, should we move the coffee table so you can show us your Olympic Gold moves,” she teased.
“I can help,” Lizzie said extremely eagerly getting ready to wiggle off Jarred’s lap.
“What? No… uhmmm.” Jarred looked at Lizzie then back towards Kalani. He wasn’t sure what just happened in that split but as he focused he remembered the scene. It was old, and not one he remembered well. “I didn’t know them back then sweetie.” Jarred quickly said as he smiled at his daughter as he wrapped his arms tightly around her.
“Oh my god are you in high school,” Kalani said instantly not caring about the lovey stuff and hyper-focusing on the screen in front of her. Her answer was given a moment later as a beep baritone announced for all runners to take their spots. “You are soooo skinny,” Kalani said almost mesmerized at the guy on the holovid. It was Jarred but a tall and gangly version of him. He had to be about 16 or 17 and like all guys that age just starting to fill out from the awkward puberty stage to the adult stage. Jarred sported the broad shoulders and defined muscles of a young man with the promise of turning into the guy sitting next to her on the couch.
“I wasn’t that skinny, I was at least 160 pounds… or so…” he said as he watched, track was always his fathers idea but it still was something he was good at. You do enough early morning drills growing up with a Marine you could run through anything.
“You shack up with a Marine’s son and you are still doing early morning drills but I am still not running without my mug of coffee,” she rolled her eyes. Kalani did not have the body of a security officer but she was not flabby. Spending time with Jarred however, was firming up areas she did not know existed.
“Go baby. Dig dig dig,” a voice yelled once the starting shot was released and Jarred had begun to run. While the song Black Betty was not being broadcast via the stadium’s speakers it was being played but what was probably a group of his friends behind the people taking the video. Jarred’s mother’s chanted and encouragement could be heard clearly in the video but also something else. A voice that was quieter in its praise but there if one knew where to look.
Elizabeth watched the video as if it were something she could not take her eyes off of. “Nana said this was the time my daddy won the state championship for running but he doesn’t’ look like he s going very fast,” Elizabeth said with almost a puzzled tone. He is not pushing it. He can do better. He can take all these kids but a country mile if he dug in deep. A mumbled response of I’m taping could be heard as the roar of the crowd drowned out Jarred crossing the finishing line. If you amplified the holovid however one might hear far more clearly the sound of a man saying “God I am proud of that boy” before he then said something about having to get back to work.
“Oh, I think it is just the angle of the camera love. I am sure he is faster than he looks,” Kalani replied rubbing Jarred’s shoulder. “I mean it he won didn’t he?”
“I did, that… that seems like eons ago sweetie. Maybe one day you can run if you want, or play more of the the soccer you love. Whatever you like baby girl.” he said as he kissed the top of her head. He couldn’t help but feel memories flood back to him as he sat there, he was nervous that day but not cause of the race. Tracy Beaumont was there, Lizzie wasn’t too far off the mark when she said he tried to impress the girls.
“I love that part,” Lizzie beamed watching Jarred being congratulated by his team for breaking his own previous state record by five seconds. “I also love this song. I said “Oh, Black Betty” (Bam-ba-Lam). Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam),” Elizabeth sang along wiggling her butt to the song on Jarred’s lap. “Did you know Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth,” she asked her daddy cocking her head to the side and looking up at Jarred. “Aunt Lucy told me that once. Uncle Peter said you picked that song because you thought it made you faster and inTIMinated the other runners,” she added as if she had seen this a million times messing up the word intimidated.
“I always wondered if your mom named you Elizabeth cause of that sweeite, I never got to ask her but… she was aware. I played it as our wedding dance song. She wasn’t… thrilled.” he said with a small smirk thinking back to that moment when she heard that song begin to blare as he wanted to dance.
“God your legs are white. I thought runners spent time outside,” Kalani teased watching the holovid with a smile on her face.
Ensign Kalani Kane science
“Well excuse me, we can’t all be graced with the skin of a chocolate goddess like you love.” Jarred said as he looked over at her giving a soft wink.
“Can I see your engine now,” Elizabeth asked sliding of Jarred’s lap. “I’m bored here.” Not waiting for his reply Lizzie scooped up Ralph and headed to the door.
As Lizzie followed her dad around the engine room the tour became less and less interesting. She didn’t want to make her daddy think his job was boring but what he did at work was not the engineering things he did at home. There were no bottle rockets or drone flying or building mini robots she could play with. It was just consoles and numbers. The tour was also interrupted every few minutes by someone wanting to meet her or have her daddy answer questions that sounded like the adults were just making up silly words. As the next person came up to him, Lizzie sighed and sat down on the floor petting Ralph. While the small fox adored the little girl, he had not walked in like two hours or at least it seemed like that. Wiggling about he crawled out of Lizzie’s arms so that he could stretch his legs some.
“Ralph come back here,” Lizzie crawled after him on her hands and knees through the legs of the two men standing at their station.
“Lizzie. Lizzie,” Kalani spun trying to find the little girl as she scampered away. With the kid on the ground and the room full of people, it was hard to spot her.
Ralph had had enough of the family outing. He was ready to slink back home and take a long nap in a dark quiet place. He had been to the engine room with Jarred enough times to know how to use the Jefferies tubes to get back and forth from the quarters to Jarred’s office. Luckily for him, Lizzie was too big to follow him on the route he was taking.
“Jarred,” Kalani said feeling her heart start to race. Yes, it was silly. They were on the Saracen and not in a public space but the engine room wasn’t the safest place to lose sight of a kid.
Lizzie could hear Kalani and her Daddy calling her name but Ralph was going to get hurt and Lizzie had to save him. Spying the small fox slipping into the open conduit Elizabeth crawled in after him. She could not let Ralph get stuck. She had to save him. Wiggling as much as she could Elizabeth stuffed her body into the tiny space until her hips were wedged in tight against the sides.
Ensign Kalani Kane science.
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