The First Time
John kept a running total of first times in his head. The first time they just sat and chatted (about stars); the first date (had she pierced her ears for him?); the first time he thought about kissing her (she smiled and bit her lip at the same time, he was a dead man); the first time he held her (in a room that stank of death); the first time he wanted her (her couch was lumpy, he wished he were in bed with her, but she didn't ask, so he would stay out here and hope she didn't have nightmares); the first time he did kiss her (she kissed him like she had a thousand times); the first time he told her he loved her (through a viewscreen, because he was an asshole); the first time they went to bed together (how had he waited three years?); the first time he woke up beside his wife (she was more beautiful than she'd been the night before); the first time they'd had a real fight (he would have told her eventually); the first time he rubbed her stomach (his son); the first time they walked into their new home together (it smelled of lilies).
John released her, looking at her for the last time. Then he turned and walked away.
The Captain had messaged her, giving her a location – The Fresh Air – and a time – twenty-hundred hours. Delenn had purchased a dress and watched videos showing her how to style her hair appropriately for a more formal function. She had told herself to stop thinking silly thoughts, the Captain had likely only accepted her offer out of politeness. She took the dress off and put her robes back on. She walked halfway to the restaurant, returned to her quarters, and put the dress back on.
By the time she arrived, she was nearly ten minutes late, but Captain Sheridan was nowhere to be seen.
Delenn sat at a table in the very back, self-conscious, her big Human ears burning so hot she actually put a hand up to one, perplexed, until she remembered reading about blushing. The waiter brought some bread, a glass of water. It would be unconscionably rude to eat before the Captain arrived, so she let the bread sit and grow cold.
She did not know how long she sat, but at some point, Delenn decided that the Captain had simply forgot. It was, perhaps, understandable. The dinner had been a rather last-minute decision, and he was quite busy. Still, she could not keep from feeling hurt, and not just in the metaphorical sense: her stomach ached, and she was unsure how to interpret the sensation.
The waiter asked her a question she didn't hear. Delenn stood, murmuring something gracious and forgettable, and walked out of the restaurant. She was keenly aware of eyes on her; her ears burned again.
She heard him running before she saw him. He was pulling on his jacket, and his wide-eyed expression when he saw her was enough to make her forgive him instantly. “My God,” Captain Sheridan whispered, looking her up and down. Delenn smoothed her hands over the strange fabric, and now the skin from her nose to her breasts was on fire. “You look beautiful,” he said with a crooked grin. Delenn forgot for a moment how to breathe.
“They may have already given our table away,” she said, trying to keep her tone light. He still looked stricken, though, and opened his mouth to explain. She raised a hand. “It doesn't matter.”
“I guess I'll just have to make it up to you, then.” They waited until another couple leaving the restaurant passed them by, and then the Captain came up and took her hand. Delenn couldn't keep a smile off her face, but then again, neither could he. They started walking, maybe to find something to eat, maybe not.