While Neil had wanted to visit some of Earth’s most famous sites, Lucia only enjoyed a quiet afternoon on the beach. Sun, sand, and water; they were her only requirement for a date with her family. Neil knew that he could protest, but after several years of marriage, it didn’t work. In the end, he would be dawning sandals, cotton pants, and some sort of loose-fitting Hawaiian shirt. One of the few words of wisdom someone had shared on his wedding day was a simple phrase that consisted of two words, “Yes Dear.”
They were simple and yet carried strong meaning. Neil also knew that Lucia didn’t like it, and at times, he meant it more as a condescending phrase. He looked up at his wife, as she motioned to the pile of clothes Tess had left in her wake. The small child had taken one look at the water, and all you could see was a half-naked child running to play.
“Yes, dear,” he replied.
Lucia shot him a look, with a playful glare. Neil only smiled, scooping up Tess’ belongings, “You do realize if you keep encouraging this, we will be getting a call from Security one of these days regarding a naked three-year-old running through the ship,” Neil laughed.
Lucia only giggled, using her foot to splash water up at her husband. “Well then, her father is going to have to leave the bridge and assist his wife,” she added more as a fact, then a question. She smiled, patting him on the chest, and then turned to play with her child.
Neil opted not to reply because he knew she was right. Instead, he plopped down into a nearby chair and looked on as his family played. He watched as Lucia would gently scoop up water, then dump it on Tess’ head. He smiled, but internally he was nervous. He couldn’t help but wonder how this new position would change the dynamics of his family. Their life would undoubtedly be different if he did get a Command. Still, they had always managed to keep what they had and make it work.
He thought back to the day he’d met Lucia. Little did he know that this Hispanic beauty would change his life. She had brought out the best in him and shown him a life that he’d never seen. Pulling out a padd, he started to read a book that had taken him almost 20 years to finish, but he was close. He was going to use this free time to finish this once and for all, finally.
:Back At The Academy:
It was the first day of his life at Starfleet Academy; Cadet Harrington stood in the corner of the room scanning the crowd; the sheer number of Freshman Cadets was exasperating. He hadn’t expected this many people. Walking up to the cafeteria counter, Neil grabbed an apple and a carton of milk. He wasn’t that hungry, but he knew that the rest of the day would be rough, so eat now or don’t eat at all. Scanning the available tables, he saw an empty one near the back of the room. Making his way through the crowd, he sat down and pulled out a book.
At least till the Commanders interrupted him, the only thing he planned on doing was to read. He knew that the rest of his time here would be spent on essays, reports, and tests. So now was the time to read, or he knew that he never would.
Neil replied, “Ulysses by James Joyce.” Sliding over on the bench away from the voice.
“Dear Lord, why?”
“It is a compulsive read; you can’t help but read it,” he turned his back to the figure, attempting to read his book.
“Compulsive or not, Cadet..,” the voice paused, attempting to get his name, “You will be reading non-stop for the next four years. Why start your Academy life with this,” she asked, taking the book; out of his hands.
“Lucia Pineda, Diplomatic Cadet at least for now. I have plans, and I don’t want to be an Officer forever,” she added, “Youngest Ambassador ever, that is my goal.”
“For starters,” he turned to face the figure, interrupting her. “I’d like my padd back, please.” Neil never considered himself to be nervous around women, but she was gorgeous. She had long brown hair that swept over her shoulders. One look at her sent his heart into flutters. “I hmm,…. Well..”
She read a line out loud, “Stately, plump buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” She gave him back the book, “Who in the hell reads this crap.”
Neil snorted, “I do, and unlike most Cadets….” He looked up into her deep brown eyes and just melted. He couldn’t allow her to get any more control over him, “If you will excuse me, I have things to take care of,” he took the book from her and quickly left. He could hear her laughing behind him as he took off.
“See you later, Ulysses,” she called out.
Later that night in his quarters, he spoke with his roommate, “Alex, you wouldn’t believe it. She was gorgeous, annoying as hell. But those eyes.”
Alex laughed, “day one, and already smitten.”
“Whatever,” he tossed his pillow across the room. Neil rested as his mind continued to drift off to Lucia. He couldn’t believe her forwardness. He shook it off; he didn’t like her, he tried to convince himself. He was about to go for a walk when suddenly…
Neil jumped out of the chair, “Oh my god,” he shouted, turning back to see Lucia and Tess holding a bucket formerly filled with seawater. “You two are toast,” he raced after them.
He quickly grabbed the giggling three-year-old, tucking her under his arm. He raced after his wife as she kicked off her sandals and ran down the beach. “No,” she shouted playfully.
Neil only laughed as the water dripped off his daughter’s body running down his chest. “Oh my god, you are so cold and wet,” the father felt a cold shiver run down his spine. Catching up rather quickly, Neil placed Tess on Lucia’s back. The child reached her arms around, holding on for dear life shouting in her ears, “Mommy.”
Neil laughed, letting out a small snort in the process. He stepped backward, still laughing, failing to see a rather large tide pool behind him. Lucia raised an arm to warn him, but it was too late. Neil had been laughing so hard he fell over backward, landing waist-deep in the cold water.
Neil sat there looking up at his family, the lower half of his body completely submerged in water, freezing and wet. Lucia couldn’t help but find it entertaining. Tess raised her hand and pointed, “Daddy all wet,” her small hand covered her mouth and nose as the child laughed.
“Yes, Daddy is,” Neil replied; reaching up, he grabbed Lucia by the hand and pulled both of them down into his lap. “So are both of you, now,” he tapped the child’s nose.
Lucia screamed, but it was too late; her husband had been too fast. “I’m wearing white,” she blushed, “Now, how am I supposed to walk through the ship back to our quarters.”
“Carefully,” Neil replied. He embraced both of them. His whole life changed with one book and a rather forward lady. If he had known how much Lucia would have changed his life for the better, he wouldn’t have waited so long to marry her.
As Tess rested her head on her father’s chest, Neil wished time would slow down to this very moment. He could have spent the rest of his life here. Wrapping his arms around the small child, “my sweet baby girl,” he kissed the top of her head.
Lucia gently massaged her child’s back, looking at her husband. “You are a good father, Neil Harrington, and you will be a fine Commanding Officer. Starfleet will see that,” she could see the fear in his eyes. “Now let’s get back, put someone to bed, and pack,” she smiled, placing a blanket over Tess.