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Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: @Tae

Her hair drying from the long, hot shower she’d taken after the beating she’d taken with Frank during their earlier boxing match, Enyd set about as a hurricane of motion to prepare for Victor’s arrival. In between replicating dishes, she would decorate this corner or that with small hints of holiday flair, turning her quarters into a hodgepodge of festive flair. She’d had to use some of her “spy” moves on the replicator to get everything as precise as it could be considering their location and resources at hand, but as a whole, Enyd was pleased with the results. Her quarters were now filled with the nostalgic scents of home at the holidays. Likely the scents were wafting well beyond her quarters, making passersby mouths water.

Standing back with her hands curled into balls on her hips, Enyd surveyed the feast she’d prepared for this evening. There were family-style plates to dish out of sitting on every available surface in this part of her quarters. As it was, they would have to sit on the sofa to eat since even her chairs at the heavily laden table had become makeshift side tables. It was entirely too much food for just the two of them, Enyd knew, but she really didn’t know how to make this type of food for only two servings. It just didn’t look right or feel right. But she had every intention of making to-go boxes to deliver to her friends like Valyn and Frank later, to share in the festive feeling and in the fact that her eyes were always bigger than her stomach. Likely Victor’s too.

Enyd took her eyes away from the various steaming dishes to glance at the handwritten menu she’d jotted down from a past letter her grandmother had written. It detailed the traditional holiday meal they shared, with a Bajoran flair her grandmother had learned once Victor had become a permanent feature in their lives. Enyd was so eager to provide a taste of the past for Victor. This was a favorite meal for them both, and though it was nowhere near any Earth holiday that called for such a meal, Enyd wanted to make sure everything was set as it had been the last time they’d celebrated a holiday with her grandmother at Yew Valley Farms in Montana.

• Balsamic and honey roast turkey (enhanced with complimentary Bajoran herbs for Victor) and decorated with orange slices (for Enyd)
• Cornbread dressing with chopped vegetables (and Bajoran herbs)
• Garlic mashed potatoes (make sure there’s garlic to crunch into for Enyd)
• Black pepper white gravy (for the potatoes, or sprouts, or greens, or rolls, or turkey, or on its own for Enyd)
• Cranberry sauce with vanilla, cinnamon, orange, and maple syrup decorated with orange flower petals (from that Bajoran plant Victor gave me)
• Candied yams with marshmallows with candied Bajoran nuts (from that last batch of nuts Victor sent)
• Brussels sprouts with dill slaw
• Buttery mustard greens
• Bajoran spiced beetroot salad
• French dinner rolls
• Cheddar apple pie (for Enyd)
• Cardamon pumpkin pie (for all the other sane people who don’t like cheese in their pies)

There were also set about various small dishes of sliced Bajoran fruits and fresh vegetables that could be dipped into the various sauces popular on both Earth and Bajor that were also set in sauce dishes nearby. She had their plates and utensils sitting on the counter closest to the door, intending on handing Victor a plate and telling him to have at it once he arrived. Much the way meals were treated back home. While they had the formal sit down for the blessing, once that was over, everyone milled about the dining room, dishing up what they wanted and in whatever portion they wanted. Enyd hoped she’d replicated that homey feeling along with the food.

“Thea, what is the time?” Enyd lowered the menu and did another once over for her quarters, half-tempted to leave the holiday-esque decorations up all the time for the way the sight of them warmed her heart.

“It is 1746 hours.”

Eyes widening, Enyd tripped over herself moving deeper into her quarters to change out of her silk bathrobe, “Thea, lower dining area lights fifteen percent and begin Enyd’s Holiday Playlist.” It was a collection of her favorite holiday songs, mixed in with those traditional tunes she remembered Victor had spoken of liking.

“Thea, what is the time now?” Enyd asked as she moved from her private quarter's area back into the general area, fully dressed and appropriately ready to receive her guest.

“It is 1758 hours.”

Enyd gave herself a high five at both her expediency and what looked to be a pleasant evening. Her high-waisted straight skirt of deep green velvet with golden jewels flaring out from the waistline swished as Enyd moved across the room to make the finishing touch to the scene. She wore a matching jewel necked top of the same dark green velvet, also with golden gems lining the hemline and flaring upwards, with the hem stopping just below her rib line and subtly curving upward to reveal just the barest sliver of skin. The flutter sleeves made it easy to move around, but if they visited the observation lounge or elsewhere on the ship, Enyd had a matching hoodless domino cloak with the same golden gem designs flaring out from the neckline down each shoulder with additional bold lines darting down to her mid-back length. Picking up the Bajoran springwine off the replicator counter, Enyd poured two glasses.

To say she wasn’t nervous would be a lie. To say she wasn’t excited would also be a lie. After the difficulties she’d weathered through this past week, and the subsequent “therapy” sessions that had left her needing Elro’s healing touch more than once, Enyd wasn’t certain just how calm and “normal” she’d be this evening. Although the physical exertion from the sparring sessions was helping her process through the latent issues her kidnapping on Qo’Nos had brought back to life, Enyd was still not quite back to her version of normal. However, that was no reason to bail on the perfect opportunity to celebrate life, reunions, and the anticipation of renewed cordiality.

Re: Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

Reply #1
CPO Victor vanVinter | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: @Ellen Fitz 

Victor's surprise at receiving the dinner invitation from Enyd after he'd gone off duty was an utter shock to his system. After their talk only a few days ago, He'd assumed that Enyd had wanted to keep their relationship casual. A dinner invitation for a combined holiday meal was utterly shocking to him, but he adapted quickly. The senior NCO took time to freshen up and shave while in the shower. A long hot rinse using water, a luxury that he rarely indulged in, gave Victor more than enough time to clear his mind and plan things out properly. Victor had no illusions that Enyd wouldn't dress in a charmingly retro motif, so he'd be sure to do the same. Victor moved to stuff his uniform into a laundry hamper but then remembered that He'd been transferred earlier. With a melancholy grin, the Half-Bajoran scooped out all of his yellow undershirts from the locker for removal to the replicator just before he left for dinner.

As it was, Victor would need to make a trip to the replicator anyway for some of the clothing items He had planned out. The only things in his locker that he'd actually use for tonight were a particular vest that he knew would mortify Enyd and a silk tie he'd purchased on Earth years ago. So padding barefoot and indeed entirely naked to the Replicator, Victor recycles his yellow Uniform shirts into white ones and then made quite the dent in his Replicator rations for the month by ordering up a pair of black leather wingtips, argyle socks in a blue and grey pattern, a couple of 1950's North American style slacks in a rich chocolate brown, a button-down shirt in a rich shade of blue twill also in the 1950's style. Retreating into his bedroom, Victor got dressed quickly and efficiently, selecting a set of bronzed duranium cufflinks and tie tack that he'd made along with his rapier many years ago. The cufflinks couldn't be considered jewelry, the work on them was too raw and uneven, but he'd liked their imperfections.

Pulling the vest from his locker, Victor caught sight of a felt box that he'd purchased some years ago. Victor had purchased the box and its contents shortly after his assignment to the Valkyrie Mark III project. A gift that He never thought He'd be able to give, at least until now. The box represents so many years of holidays apart and the life they'd hoped to share. He hesitated before touching it, not knowing just how Enyd had intended this meeting to be, his mismatched blue eyes lingering on the container for a time before he finally spoke to himself.

"If not now, then never." His words carry a sense of finality as he plucks it down from the top shelf of the locker, and Victor finally pulls the vest on over his head. Nearly ready to go to Enyd's quarters, Victor took a quick trip to the head again to make sure his hair looked good. Going all-in on the look simply made sense, though, so he slathered some pomade in his hair and on a comb and ran it through his brown hair, plastering it to the sides of his head. As a finishing touch, a few whiffs of aftershave, some Human variety called 'Old Spice', and then Victor was off, wearing a genuinely hideous knit vest that garnered looks of confusion, offense, and sheer bafflement. His gait was unhurried and casual. His only response to any foul looks sent his way was a raising of the eyebrow, the one that was still hair, letting the passers-by know that Victor would not appreciate the commentary that was sure to follow.

Since the Theurgy was divided up for repairs, Victor entered a Tubolift to deck 12 to take a transporter to Vector 01 from Vector 03. Finding the Transporter tech there, Victor moved to the pad and gave a polite smile to the Ensign operating the station, speaking up in a cheerful tone. "Vector 01, Transporter room 1 or 2 please, It doesn't matter."

Victor just received a blank look back and then wasn't there anymore. He was found himself in Transporter room 01 on deck 05 of Vector 01 shortly after. The Chief in that room gave him a polite nod and then stopped to stare at his vest. Rather than stick around, Victor proceeded to the Turboloft to deck ten and finally to Enyd's quarters. There were more odd looks in the corridors as close as he was to Senior officer Country. The object of what was bound to be Enyd's bemusement was very likely recognized immediately. And Victor blushes slightly at some of the more agape looks. A withering look and scowl of contempt wouldn't work on anyone with more than two pips on their collar. Still, Victor was entirely professional aside from the one particular oddity in his overall appearance.

Victor arrived at Enyd's quarters barely on time from all of the time he'd taken getting ready for the evening, and he knocked on Enyd's door at 1801. The plethora of strong smells leaking from Enyd's quarters made his mouth water. While Victor could cook and knew that Enyd could cook, from the headiness of the aromas, either she'd gone excessive with the spices or had cooked vast amounts of food. His eyes went wide in shock for just a moment before He'd remembered the spreads laid out at the family farm. So Victor smiled then and took a polite half step back from the door, ready and waiting for Enyd to either open it or beckon him inside; either way, she'd be greeted by his smiling face and knitted onto the vest, Captain Siskos.

Re: Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

Reply #2
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Deck 10 | Quarters | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: @Tae

The chime had Enyd jumping into action, twirling to hit the button to open the door at the same time she called out a greeting. And there he stood: roguishly handsome, smelling divine, and smiling with a trepidatious sense of hope coloring the edges of his mismatched eyes. Enyd eyes were quick to travel up and down her old friend, and the laughter bubbled out of her throat before she could stop herself. She’d once written him of looking forward to the time when both Victor and Sisko would be smiling at her, and the time had come at last. How fitting that he would wear this sweater vest on their first dinner together after the unexpected reunion.

“Oh, aren’t you just delightful!” Without pausing to think of the deeper ramifications of such things, Enyd wrapped Victor into a firm hug before shifting back into her quarters and practically dragging him in after her. “I can’t believe you still have that thing!” Enyd pushed at Victor’s arms so he would hold them up at his sides and then pushed again to make him twirl. “I mean, the colors are great on you but,” catching sight of Sisko’s smile once more, Enyd laughed, placing a hand over her mouth, “that face!”

It was only as Enyd sobered from the initial excitement of seeing Victor wearing her grandmother’s gift that the exuberance of her smile waned. Her arms ached to hold her grandmother again, her ears echoing with the silence of not hearing her grandmother’s witticisms or humbling criticisms. Enyd had left much of her grandmother’s gifts in a locker back on Vulcan with her distant clansmen, not wanting to lose even more of her grandmother to the risks that this posting brought with it. She had a few pairs of socks, a scarf, and an old book of poetry her grandmother had written notes in the margins of, but aside from that, Enyd had intentionally left most of what tied her to Earth back on Vulcan. It was something to look forward to, something to work towards.

Knowing that Victor would sense the dampening in her spirits, Enyd sighed but maintained a half-smile, “I miss her.” Enyd took a steadying breath before shaking her head and stepping back to gesture to the whole of her quarters that Victor could see. “But she’s with us in spirit here. I found her old holiday menu and did my best to replicate it. I know it isn’t anywhere close to a decent holiday for either Bajor or Earth, but our unexpected reunion, I believed, was cause enough to celebrate as if it were a holiday.”  Enyd grabbed the Bajoran springwine and held a glass toward Victor. "Before we dig into what I hope is a delicious meal, I'd like to toast our reunion, a most cordial excuse to celebrate life and eat a ridiculously large meal!"

Re: Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

Reply #3
CPO Victor vanVinter | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: @Ellen Fitz 

Victor was wearing a grin on his face nearly a lightyear across with her reaction to the vest he chose to wear. It was exactly what He'd hoped for back when he'd gotten it, with the added bittersweetness of Enyd's Grandmother being deceased, so without a moment's hesitation, Victor pulled Enyd into a gentle hug, letting her take as long as she needed to calm down as required. Victor didn't care if Enyd needed to cry or just needed a brief hug. He'd hold her for as long as she needed to do so.

After the potentially prolonged hug, Victor parts from Enyd and enters her quarters. A smile and grimace fighting for space on his face. Enyd had cooked or replicated far too much food for the two of them. Setting the felt box down, he pulls off the vest, flips it inside, and puts it back on. The interior of it reveals a blue design that seemed to be a knit version of the Bajoran wormhole, with Santa and his Reindeer emerging from the mouth of the wormhole. While it was still an awful pattern, it was significantly different. Victor shrugs in a good-natured fashion and smiles.

"You don't have to say anything, and I miss her too love, it is a comfortable vest, though, so she's wonderful for having made it. Anyway, I brought you something." Victor nodded then and presented Enyd with the box, a bittersweet smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Even looking at the box was difficult, and giving it to Enyd so casually hurt. When he'd purchased it, the contents had symbolized so much more. A few years old, the felt was slightly dry and was cracking a bit. It hadn't responded well to storage, with the way the covering of the box had degraded. Hopefully, the contents inside it had made it through alright, though.

Forgotten until the box is opened, the necklace box contained a short note written in Victor's penmanship. The paper was undoubtedly old and cracked around the edges, the paper hadn't been archival quality, and rice paper never held up for very long.  Combined with the smear of oil and spices across the thin paper, and it would be a miracle if it were intact enough to handle.

"Come what may
I will love you
Until my dying day."


The necklace contained with the message was an old-fashioned, elegant affair. A delicate golden chain set with three stones, opal in the middle in a large teardrop shape flanked by a blue topaz to represent Victors birth month, and an emerald to depict Enyd's, with four black pearls, one on each side of the three gems none of them larger than two carats. A pair of black pearl earrings completed the set, the small shining pearls set on white gold studs. The merchant on Earth Victor purchased it from had said that it was an antique dating from the late 21st century, from the patina on the gold, and the weight of the necklace that was bound to be true. While a mid-20th-century  pearl necklace may have suited Enyd better, Victor had wanted something real and not replicated.

Part of Victor hoped that Enyd wouldn't ever open that box, the wedding present he'd intended to give to Enyd on their proposed wedding day. A small part of him hoped they would completely forget the necklace and the message inside. But as the saying went, hope springs eternal. So, a more significant part of Victor wanted to see the look on her face upon receiving the gift.

"I'd meant to give this to you years ago. You don't have to open it, and you don't have ever to open it if you don't want to. But before you decide on what to you, let me tell you a few things." Victor smiled slightly then and took a deep breath. What he was about to say was several years of pain that had been brought to the surface by their chat the other night, and Victor seemed to have a bit of trouble composing himself.

"I know now why you did what you did when you sent me that second letter before you got my reply. I knew you doing that was quite strange, and you were serving in a clandestine capacity. So that gift I just gave you was meant to be given on our wedding day, and that aside Enyd, even if you do want to remain friends, you deserve to know what that box was supposed to mean. So for all that little box meant from me to you then, I'll let you decide what it means to you now." With that said, Victor forces a smile on his face and plucks up both glasses of spring wine, and offers one to Enyd. Usually, Victor would give a toast, but words seemed to fail him, and he doesn't even notice himself holding his breath for what comes next.

Re: Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

Reply #4
[ Lt Enyd Isolde Madsen | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd giggled as she watched Victor flip the vest to the less obnoxious side and gave him a thumbs up. She really wouldn’t have minded eating with two smiles across the table from her, but having only Victor’s now would be preferred. But when Victor held a box to her with the explanation of why the box and why now, Enyd felt her stomach lurch. She gripped the box tightly with both hands once she took it, forcing herself to maintain eye contact with her kindred spirit as he opened his heart once more to her. Yes, they’d hashed out so much earlier in the week at their unexpected reunion, but this sort of pain was the type that would take years to reconcile and assuredly more than one conversation.

Enyd shook her head at the wine glass when he offered it. If not now, then when? Instead, she turned her shuttered gaze to the box in her grasp. The Enyd of yesteryear deserved closure, as did the Victor of old. And beyond that, they both needed something physically done in the now to continue the momentum of their journey forward. Taking a deep breath, Enyd slowly let it out through her teeth as she opened the box with more trepidation than Pandora must’ve felt. The paper nearly leapt into her palm, and Enyd was amazed only a misting touched her eyes. The flood of emotions was so ragged and swift she half-expected twin rivers to flow from her eyes as she read his scrawling words first, then studied the jewelry placed artfully within the box.

She knew without having to ask what the colored jewels meant and once more the magnitude of thought and love that Victor had put into this gift all those years ago, his excitement of their approaching wedding date, his hope for a bright future shared with her, it all came back to settle heavily on her heart. There was recognizing and understanding the why of a situation, and then there was accepting the reality created by it. Here they stood, residual hopes and dreams of their youth still swirling in the corners of their smiles, yet haunted by the reality of pain. A pain she’d willingly accepted, no, volunteered for, and one she’d forced upon him.

Enyd’s voice was husky with emotion when she spoke, starting then stopping, then starting once more, “They are beautiful, Victor.” She was quick about setting the box down and removing the earrings. They were quickly put in, but she turned and looked back at Victor, a question on her face regarding the necklace. Enyd had to swallow the lump that had taken up residence in her throat before she could continue, “And as for your letter here,” she picked up the letter and waved it in the air between them, “I know without having to ponder it in the wee hours of the night that I too will always love you, Victor. You are as much a part of me now as you were all those years ago.” She offered him a tentative smile as she peered up at him through her lashes. “Thank you for giving these to me, Victor. Thank you for the opportunity to heal with you. I never thought I’d see this day and to have it at last,” she glanced around at the mountain of food she’d prepared and let out a chuckle, “and with all this food! I’m half thinking I’m still asleep and dreaming.”

Re: Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

Reply #5
CPO Victor vanVinter | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: @Ellen Fitz 

Victor let out a breath that he hadn't realized that he held. He was quietly surprised that Enyd had accepted them and put the earrings in almost immediately. He was beyond shocked by that act and was utterly speechless. The only natural reaction was to take a plate and begin filling it with the massive spread that Enyd had laid out.

So it was with a smile on his face that Victor placed down a layer of stuffing and tops that with sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and a few slices of turkey and one of ham. All the while, Victor smiled while serving himself.

"You know, even though my family knew how to cook, we never had this much on the table. My mother was used to less, and dad was usually pretty frugal even when celebrating with the whole crew. Such a spread like this! Please tell me that we'll be sharing this after we finish, yeah? Of course, I can't wait actually to eat this, and you did a marvelous job with all of this."

Victor couldn't help but smile, at least until he tried to find a seat. Finding just about everywhere filled with food, the lanky man stood there looking around for a place to sit down, and not finding one immediately, and he leaned against a bulkhead taking a look around at Enyd's decor. Victor didn't make any particular comments about the decor, but he did want to see how she'd decorated her room.

 

Re: Day 07 [1800 hrs.] A Most Cordial Excuse to Celebrate Life

Reply #6
[ Lt Enyd Isolde Madsen | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd watched as Victor redirected his surprise into action by taking up his plate and moving down the line of serving plates, filling his own until there was no more room for more food. She blushed when he finished and looked around for a place to sit. Enyd had completely forgotten about the need to sit down; she’d been so intent upon recreating the magnitude of the traditional feast that she’d overlooked a basic necessity like sitting down.

“Hold on a moment.” Enyd ducked into her room for a moment before returning with the throw blanket she kept on the end of the bed. “You might recognize this from the ranch.” Holding it up for Victor’s study, Endy spread it out on the floor. “This was the one grandmother kept in the living room, spread over the back of the couch. Always for show and never for use it seemed.” Enyd giggled before disappearing again and, this time, returning with two pillows. She plopped one down closer to Victor before dropping another across from the first.

“I always had a crowd at the ranch house. Do you remember? All the coming and going of ranch hands and visitors and neighbors and tutors for the kids?” Enyd spoke over her shoulder as she followed Victor’s path, filling her plate with her preferred dishes. Once finished, she grinned at him and dropped to sit atop the pillow. “I was just thinking of making little bento boxes to deliver to some of my friends once we stuff ourselves to the gill.” At the mentioning of friends, Enyd tipped her head to the side, “Have you made many friends on board? I’ve only been here a little over a week, and I’ve made about a half dozen or so friends. At least I’d consider them friends.” She carefully avoided the topic of Drauc, and even Alistair. Now was not the time to discuss those burgeoning emotional confusion conundrums. “And perhaps one ‘enemy.’” She shrugged, picturing L’Nari’s scowl with a mixture of sadness and acceptance.

Enyd suddenly reached out and took hold of one of Victor's hands and squeezed. "Before we go any further, I just wanted to say again that I'm so thankful for this time with you, Victor. Just us. I don't know what the future holds for either of us, but I do know that you will always be a part of my heart and as much as possible, I want us to continue to share time and stories with one another. Supporting one another as we have in the past." Enyd squeezed one more time, flashing Victor a broad smile. "Now, let's eat more than we should as we share stories from the past and scheme for the future."

Enyd led the charge into the fray of food, and soon her quarters were filled with the pleasant sounds that accompany two kindred spirits reuniting in the embrace of one another after years spent apart.


FIN





 
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