Previous Next


Posted on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 @ 6:17pm by Commander Andrew Knight & Lady Catherine Waddington

Mission: The Space Between
Location: Knight Family Residence

Ashley turned this way and that as she studied her image in the full length mirror. She couldn't help but think something was amiss despite the gorgeous dress she wore.

The dress was made of a soft crinkly Benthosian silk dyed a blue ombre that brought out the sapphire blue of Ashley's eyes. The strapless bodice was gathered in diagonal ruching to the waist and the skirt flowed loosely to mid calf. A sheer scarf that matched the darker shade of blue at the bottom of the skirt draped across Ashley's shoulders.

"Here," Cara said, walking up behind Ashley and extending her arms over the girl's shoulders. "One last thing," she said as she lowered a gold and Ilarian sapphire pendent into place at the base of Ashley's throat. She locked the clasp and stood back to look at Ashley's reflection in the mirror over the girl's shoulder.

Ashley looked at her image again and knew in her heart that not a single thing was amiss now. She smiled at Cara's reflection and in turn Cara herself as she touched the pendent. "It's beautiful, but you bought me this gorgeous dress. You didn't have to get me a necklace too."

"I didn't," Cara answered. "That came from your uncle."

Ashley turned and hugged Cara fiercely, partly out of gratitude and partly out of desire to hide a touch of sadness creeping to her face. What she tried to hide on her face she could not as she trembled just a little.

Cara wrapped her arms around Ashley and held her close. "It's OK, sweetie. I've got you," she whispered in the girl's hair.


Drew was replicating the last of the hors dourves for the party when the door chime announced the arrival of the first guest. He quickly wiped his hands on a small towel in the kitchenette and called out. "Enter."

Catherine entered quietly, "I have a gift for Ashley." She smiled.

Drew crossed over to Catherine and took the gift, placing it on a table along the wall. He gestured to the sitting area. "Please, have a seat Lady Catherine. Ashley is just finishing getting ready in her room." He gestured to the sitting area. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"No I am qute all right thank you"

The chime rings again and a small group of giggling teenage girls stand in the corridor waiting for the door to be answered.

Drew called out as he headed back into the kitchen area to get Catherine's drink. "Come in."

The door slid open and the girls stepped in, looking around, a bit shyly. One girl took the lead and, seeing Catherine, walked over to her, with her friends close behind. "Hi. I'm Jennifer and this is Taresal," she said, pointing to each girl behind her. "Courtney, Barbara, but we call her Beebee and Shara-Ann. Where should we put these?" she asked holding up the gifts they brought.

"There's a space over on that unit." Catherine smile. "I bought you your gift as well." She smled as she passed her the paper wrapped parcel

Drew walked down the hallway to the bedrooms and wrapped lightly on the door to Ashley's. "Guests are here. Time for the Birthday Girl to come say hello."

Ashley let go of Cara and stepped over to her nightstand. She plucked a tissue and dabbed at her eyes quickly then nodded at Cara to indicate she was ready.

Anticipating Drew's concern, Cara smiled at him and winked. "We'll be out in a minute," she said and walked over to help Ashley touch up her makeup.

Drew bore a concerned expression for a moment, but a reassuring nod from Ashley sent him down the corridor. "Ashley will be with us in a moment folks, so get something to drink and let's get ready to sing Happy Birthday."

Ashley took one last look at herself in the mirror and nodded to Cara. "I'm ready."

"You look beautiful," Cara said with a smile.

Ashley returned the curtsie and smile. "Thanks to Uncle Drew and mostly you." She looked at the door. "Shall we?"

"After you, ma lady," Cara said and curtsied.

As the ladies entered the living room, Ashley's girlfriends squealed and ran over to her, wishing her happy birthday and the room was suddenly filled with teenage giggles.

Cara joined Catherine and Drew by the refreshment table and watched the girls. Shaking her head but smiling she said, "I must be ancient but I don't ever remember being that age."

Drew simply shook his head and was very glad he was a man. "Half a dozen girls all talking at once...and they all seem to be understanding all of it. How does that happen? I can barely understand what any of them are saying."

"Your guess is as good as mine," Cara laughed. "You got anything stronger than punch to drink?"

Drew took his eyes off the pack of teen age girls and nodded at Cara. He pointed to a cabinet with a key code lock. He leaned in close and whispered. "Day and month of your birthday."

"My...," Cara started to repeat his remark then just blushed.

Drew heard high pitched squeals of laughter and winced slightly. "Do me a favor and make me one too." There came another round of squeals of laughter, even louder than before. "...and please make mine a double."

Cara laughed as she pulled out a bottle of Jamesons and two glasses.

An hour later and the grownups were sitting in folding chairs at the far end of the refreshment table, the cake had been demolished and what was left over didn't resemble a cake anymore and the girls were dancing in the living room to music none of the grownups recognized and giggling.

Cara kicked off her shoes and leaned back in her chair, taking a sip of her drink. "Boys have got to be quieter," she said.

Drew raised a hand to his ear. "What? Music is really loud."

"What?" Cara called back, cupping her ear to show she hadn't heard him.

Drew nodded. "Yes, it would be nice if it were a bit quieter." It was obvious the loud music was preventing him from hearing Cara properly.

There came a pounding at the door before Cara could answer. Drew looked at the door and rose from his seat. He opened the door to see a young marine enlisted man in duty uniform standing there with a stuffed animal in hand. "Can I help you private?"

Ashley spotted Justin and, more importantly, the stuffed animal in his hands. She broke from her group of friends and ran over to the door, pulling Justin inside and taking the toy from him. "Mister Monkey Bunkey! I thought I'd lost him forever."

Justin looked down at the floor. "I ah saw the announcement for your birthday in the base media feeds...and remembered I still had your toy you dropped at the boarding tube during the evacuation."

Ashley acted totally on impulse. "Thank you!" She grabbed Justin's neck and pulled him down into a long kiss.

Ashley not only garnered the attention of everyone in the room...she accomplished the near getting five other teen aged girls to go completely quiet.

Drew blinked as his mind began processing what was happening before him and he slowly started to rise.

Anticipating Drew's reaction Cara stepped between him and his niece and cleared her throat loud enough for Ashley and Justin to hear her.

The girls all head stunned expressions on their faces.

Ashley broke the kiss, but had to admit to herself that it did take some of her breath away.

Justin had been caught by surprise, granted a pleasant surprise, and was starting to smile as he looked at Ashley.

Drew also cleared his throat, but in a way more menacing than the calm Doctor.

Justin caught sight of Drew and the smile disappeared in a snap.

"Do you have a name, young man?" Cara asked, keeping herself between Drew and the private.

The girls giggled and whispered across the room.

Drew took a deep breath as he stepped up just behind Cara. "Yes, I'm curious as to know your name too...private."

Ashley shot both Justin a conciliatory look and Drew an angry expression. "You want to be mad Uncle Drew, you be mad at me!"

The girls' whispers stopped as they looked on with fascination.

Drew cast a glance at Ashley...then Justen...then Ashley again. The strong sense of protectiveness on his face abated and he finally nodded. He looked at Justin. "My apologies marine. I...was out of line."

Justin shook his head emphatically. "Sir. You have no need to apologize. I'm the one that intruded on Ash...Miss Knight's birthday party unannounced."

Cara backhanded Drew on the arm and said, "if you have finished blustering and playing the overly protective Uncle...maybe the young man might tell us his name and join the festivities." She looked at Justin and said, "there's still some cake left."

"Private Winters ma'am. Justin Winters."

"Well Justin," Cara said, slipping her arm through his. "Would you like some of Ashley's birthday cake?" she asked as she directed him over to the refreshment table.

The girls surrounded Ashley and the giggling and whispering began again as Justin was served cake.

Cara smiled as she handed Justin a napkin and said, "Thank you for returning Ashley's stuffed animal."

Justin nodded only, his mouth full of birthday cake as he chewed.

Cara smiled.

Drew disappeared into the kitchen to get a round of drinks for the adults.

Cara glanced around the room and decided to let the teenagers enjoy the party without the adults cramping their style so she looked at Catherine and nodded toward the kitchen then followed Drew. "For going through what she has gone through in the last few months...Ashley seems to have adjusted well," she said to Drew. "I'm glad to see her so relaxed and making friends."

Drew turned to both women, worried expression on his face.

Cara quirked an eyebrow. "Drew? What's wrong?" she asked.

"I'm supposed to be the cool uncle." Drew looked out into the common area. The girls and Private Winters out of immediate view. He looked at Cara and Catherine in turn. "Not the one who is supposed to worrry about Ashley kissing boys...much less...marines!"

Cara walked over and put her arms around Drew. "And you are the cool uncle, my love," she said, kissing the end of his nose. "You are cool enough to have thrown this party so she and her friends can blow off some steam and you are cool enough to be able to not throttle the guy your 17 year old...And very grown up niece kissed." She kissed his cheek. "Ashley adores you, sweetheart. She will always adore you. And how could she not?" She kissed his chin. "You're adorable. Macho, strict, goofy, understanding, attentive...and...," she kissed his lips, "did I mention adorable?"

Drew nodded, a single noise emanating from him that was somewhere between a laugh and a sob. "Yeah, twice."



Previous Next