Dinner for Two
Location: XO's Quarters, Achilles
Timeline: PCH-15 1900 Hours
Zach had made quite a fuss with kitchen staff to get exclusive access to the galley. He had to throw his weight around a bit, but eventually they’d relented. He’d spent much of his early evening preparing the meal and transporting it to his quarters in heated dishes. He set up the XO’s quarters as best as he could considering the size of the room and the relative size of the ship. He’d also found an old tablecloth that the old XO had in their storage. He’d cleaned it quickly and spread it on the table. He wore his dress uniform which he had spent time perfecting in the mirror. He knew she was his CO, but emotionally he was sure this was a date. He looked at the clock and realized that 19:00 had almost arrived.
If only he had known the lengths that Catherine had gone to herself in an effort to make the night as special as it could be. Gods they deserved a night of freedom after everything they had gone through of late. She had searched high and low for the right thing to wear, certain that this was no ordinary meal, and had finally used her contacts on the fleet to finally help her, but to no avail. Instead, the logical and safest choice was to wear a dress uniform that someone had scavenged together for her, complete with sash.
She had made as much of an effort as possible with her hair and makeup without going to such lengths that anyone would think of the occasion as being out of the ordinary. With the clock set to strike, she finally appeared at the door to the Captain’s quarters and nodded respectfully to the Marine on station. A bottle of fine wine in hand, she rapped her knuckles on the metallic door.
When he heard the knock at the door, he walked across the room and pulled it open. When he saw her standing there in her dress uniform and he made eye contact with her, his face lit up with a smile. She was beautiful. “Good evening, Major.” he said with a warm tone as he stepped aside to allow her entry. “Is that a bottle of Sorrenson?” he asked when he saw what was in her hand.
“Only the finest for a steak dinner specially cooked by a fantastic chef,” the Major smiled as she stepped inside and took the obligatory look around his quaint quarters. They were not too dissimilar to the ones she had inherited but he had certainly made them his own. “Good day?” she asked before awkwardly cursing under her breath. What a ridiculous thing to ask.
He closed the door behind him as he responded. “None of these days have been good.” he said simply as he approached her. He stopped and stood right behind one of the chairs. “But, if I’m to be honest, having dinner with you has really given me something to look forward to.” he smiled and pulled out the chair, then looked back to her, offering it.
Catherine blushed as she took the offered seat and lowered herself onto it gently. “That’s very kind of you to say,” she smiled sheepishly.
“I try to tell the truth.” he responded simply as he moved toward the cart he had found to transport the food. “So, if anything, you can always rely on me for that.
He picked up the dishes one by one and moved them to the table. “We’ve got marinated strip steaks with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots.” he said with a proud smile as he uncovered the dishes and the most fantastic aroma filled the room. Food like this was hard to come by. “I also brought a bottle of wine, but yours is better.” he said with a flirtatious grin as he looked at her trying to see what she was thinking.
The brunette closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, a great smile plastering her face as the aroma of the freshly cooked meal made her nostrils flare. “What a wonderful smell,” she smiled as she eventually opened her eyes and smiled up at him. He was clearly proud of his accomplishment and rightly so. “One cannot be perfect at everything though Zachary,” she smirked as she pushed his bottle aside and reached for hers.
“You haven’t seen me try to fly a viper.” he said with a chuckle as he lowered himself into his own seat and began to put food on his plate. “I’m not good at everything, no. But I did learn to cook. My mother taught me when I was growing up; my father didn’t like that too much.” His smile grew wider. He looked across the table at her, really taking in the sight. “What should I call you? Major, sir, and ma’am are so formal.”
No one had ever really taken the time to ask her that, especially recently. To everyone she now knew, ‘Major’ was practically her name. It was nice to think she might have someone that could actually talk to her like a person and not a military rank. “Catherine is fine,” she smiled before her expression quickly turned to one of mock
horror. “For the love of the gods, never call me Cathy. That was what my creepy Uncle used to call me,” she laughed as she reached out for a serving spoon and began to dish out her own food.
Zach roared with unrestricted laughter at that. He paused in spooning the mashed potatoes onto his plate and held the unincile full of delicious white goop in the air over the dish. Once his laughter had subsided, after only a few seconds, he moved it onto his plate. “That’s funny. Catherine’s a beautiful name. Cathy, on the other hand….well, I can understand why you don’t want that.”
As he forked a steak onto his plate as well, he asked her a question. “Has anyone ever called you Cat?”
She thought for a moment, that lingering smile still covering her angelic face as she tried to recall if anyone had. “Not that I can recall,” she eventually responded with a gentle shake of the head. “Dare I guess that someone is about to?” She asked as she picked up a different spoon to scoop a dollop of mash on to her plate, but disaster soon struck.
A rogue helping of mash seemed to fly through the air in agonisingly slow motion, and much to the Majors horror, collided with her hosts chest. She dropped the spoon and recoiled as she lifted her hands to cover her shocked face. “Of my gods!” she exclaimed. “I’m so sorry! Here, let me,” and she lent forward to grab a napkin and render him some assistance.
The mash was hot as hell, so much so that he could feel the burn through his dress coat, but he stifled his exclamation and shot up into a standing position. He saw her approaching with a napkin, and kept his mouth closed while she wiped the hot food off of him. “It’s fine.” he said, a smile forming on his face again. “If you didn’t want to be called Cat, you coulda just told me.” he joked, his smile becoming flirtatious.
Catherine, or Cat as she was now known, giggled at the whole scenario as she slipped back on to her chair and placed the napkin on the table top. “Cat is fine. I just didn’t know the strength of my wrist action,” she smiled before realising what a terrible and entirely unintentional innuendo she had made! What was this man doing to the usually calm and collected Colonial?
“We can clearly see that your wrist action is phenomenal, Cat.” he said with a laugh as he sat back down as well. “And I appreciate that you’re willing to help clean up after.”
To say she was now blushing would have been an understatement as the woman lowered her face and looked at her face, but an undeniable grin on her face as she tried to compose herself. With a deep breath and a cough she looked up again and went about cutting up her steak. “So, what do you prefer to be called?” She enquired, desperately trying to change the subject.
“Everyone calls me Zach.”he responded simply as he took up his knife and ran it through the tender steak. He was excited to dig in and even more eager to see if she liked the food.
The Major sliced a small piece of steak off of the edge of a much larger piece and lifted it to her lips. Within seconds of putting it in her mouth it was as if there was a taste explosion going on in her mouth. “Wow...Zach, that’s unbelievable…” she declared.
His smile broadened by a significant degree, but he didn’t respond verbally for a few seconds. “I’m glad you like it.” he said, though that didn’t really convey how glad he was. It was, in honesty, the best thing that had happened to him in weeks.
The dinner had been wonderful and they’d had some very interesting conversation. Once the food was gone, they poured more wine and moved over to the couch to talk.
“So, why in the galaxy did you decide to join the fleet?” Zach asked with interest as he leaned back on the couch.
“Truthfully?” She asked with a cheeky grin, “It was either that or join the family business I guess,” she lamented. “My family ran several small businesses and it was always expected that we would take over from the folks when we were old enough and they retired, but selling sportswear, hunting gear and the like just didn’t appeal to me!” She let out a sigh as she recalled all the facts for him. “You may have heard of our shops.’Wolfie’s Woolies? Wolfie’s in Sheep's Clothing? The Lone Wolf?’” She smirked as she took a sip of her wine.
“Oh my Gods, are you serious?” he exclaimed, his eyes growing wide. “My dad used to hunt all the time with merchandise from those places!” he leaned in a bit closer to her with interest. “He took me along alot when I was young.”
Catherine threw a hand to her face and covered it in mock disgust. “I was hoping you wouldn’t have heard of them,” she admitted.
“What? Why?” he asked, smiling. “I wasn’t that invested in the actually hunting, but I got to spend a lot of time with my dad because of those trips.” he brought the glass of wine back up to his mouth and took another sip before speaking again, his face a question. “Are you embarrassed by all that?”
Wolf mimicked him as she took a sip of her own wine. “Not embarrassed but it's not exactly glamorous work,” she confessed. “Part of the reason why I didn’t want to follow the family line,” she told as she put the glass on the table near them.
“Oh, so you’re a glamorous woman, huh?” he asked, teasing her. “Maybe, once we’re done running from the Cylons, you can start your own luxurious clothing line.”
“You never know,” she smiled, “so what about you? Tell me more about you,” she asked as she got comfortable on the sofa.
“I was born on Libran. My father owned a shuttle repair company.” he began, also getting comfortable. He was definitely starting to feel the wine. “Like many Librans he was very passionate about what he did , so he had me helping him in the shop as soon as I could hold a wrench. I grew up helping him out and, when I was old enough, I became a partner with him. “This is the cleanest my hands have been since I was an infant.” he said with a chuckle as he lifted his clean hands, displaying them for her.
Catherine inched closer to him and slowly lent forward until she was close enough to feel his breath. “We’ll have to see what we can do to get them dirty again, won’t we?” She whispered before moving backwards again and picking up her glass once more.
The smile that crossed Zach’s face was less than subtle, but still controlled and charming. As she moved back from him, he looked straight into her eyes. “I’m sure we can find a way together.” he said. With that, he moved his glass onto the coffee table in front of the couch and, this time, he leaned toward her, his eyes focused steadily on her lips.
Wolf slowly moved towards the man, her eyes locked on the man’s lips and as she lent in, she could feel the chemistry… the tension… the…
“Action stations, actions stations! Set condition one throughout the fleet. This is not a drill. Repeat, action stations, actions stations!”
The Major dropped her head and the sudden realisation of how close they had come to crossing a boundary hit her, along with the fact that something, somewhere, was clearly wrong.
Inches from her face, Zach groaned. They’d come so close to the kiss that he felt the weight of the cliche; it wasn’t as funny when it was happening to him. “What the hell?” he asked, pulling himself off the couch and adjusting his dress jacket, remembering the mash stain from Catherine’s accident.
Catherine pushed herself on to her feet and sorted out her uniform jacket. She walked over to the telephone in the Captain’s quarters and dialled the CIC. “Actual here, go ahead?... Is Solaria responding?...Acknowledge receipt of orders and make jump prep. I’ll be there shortly,” she concluded before slamming the phone into its holster. “One of the Raptors has returned with reports of Colonial debris,” she told the Captain. “Hanson wants us to jump ahead of the main fleet.”
Zach felt a flash of anger that was, for a moment, stronger than his concern for the signal over the interruption they had just suffered. He quickly gathered himself without signaling his feelings and responded. “We should get to CIC then..but we both inexplicably have dress uniforms on and...I think I might be a little drunk.”
“We’ll deal with that when we get there,” she assured, heading for the door. She stopped and looked back at the Captain with a smile. “Dinner was lovely, thank you,” she smiled.
He walked after her when she’d complimented the meal and reached for her hand. He gave it a little tug and guided her into alignment with himself. He then leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. As soon as their lips were together, he felt a wave of passion sweep over him that transformed skillfully to his lips, helped by the liquid refreshment they had just shared.
The Major returned the kiss just long enough to leave him wanting more. She looked him in the eye, a certain glint in hers as a cheeky smile filled her face. As she turned around, she led the way to the CIC and could feel the after effects of the liquid courage they had been sharing.
But, at the sight of several officers running around the halls of the Patrolstar, she somehow and quite masterfully changed her entire demeanour in one facial expression.
For one evening she had felt more like a human than she had in a long time, but now she was back to being the military machine that her job dictated and was ready to do her duty.
But perhaps now there was something worth fighting for?