"The Promise"

Author: Captain Evans & Lieutenant Commander Bentara
Date: May 14, 2384
Location: Planet Surface

Ryan's arm rested around Karissa waist as if it belonged there. He listened to her breathing and knew she was asleep. The sun was rising, throwing light through the vegetation. Golden light cascaded across them, as he gently sat up, without disturbing her. She moved slightly, as he moved away, sensing the loss of contact between them. He leaned over to see her sleeping. Gently he caressed the hair from her face and tenderly kissed her forehead. Slowly, she stirred. Her eyes fluttered open and she took a deep breath. She smiled as she looked up at Ryan's face.
"Good morning," she said, still a bit sleepy.

"Good morning, sweetie. Sleep well?"

"I did," she replied, "Very well . . ." she added, rolling to her back with a little stretch. "How did you sleep?"

"I slept well." The truth was he didn't. The incident in the pool the day before had left him a bit shaken. "So what do you say we head back to the yacht and grab some breakfast?"

"Sounds like a good idea," she replied, slowly sitting up. A wave of nausea hit her, but she pushed it away with a deep breath.

"You ok? Your not gonna puke are you?" he asked with concern.

She smiled, as the feeling slowly ebbed. "I'll be fine," she replied. "I guess its just morning sickness . . ."

"Well, let's get going then. I'm starving!"

He helped her to her feet and they started toward the yacht. The nausea came back again, but again, she was able to stop it. As they reached the shuttle, she sat down. She watched as Ryan went into the back.

Ryan came out after a few moments with two bowls of breakfast. "Here, try this," he said putting it in front of Karissa. "It's something I ate a lot of at home. They're called Corn Flakes. I have a bowl every morning," he said as he began to eat his.

She smiled and looked at the contents of the bowl. "I'm willing to try it," she replied. Tentatively, she raised up the spoon and looked at the flakes and milk. She sniffed it momentarily and then ate it. She liked the crunch and flavor and nodded. "Not bad!" she replied and she took another bite.

"You can put some sugar on that if you like, to make it taste a bit better. It does taste a bit plain otherwise"

"Okay," she said, as he offered her some sugar. She sprinkled it on the cereal and then took another bite. It really did add to the flavor. "This is great!" she replied, with a smile. "Maybe I'll have to replicate some of these when we get back!" she smiled, as she took another bite.

"So what do you fancy doing today? Hopefully nothing involving too much water," he joked.

"I wouldn't mind seeing the beach, though I doubt I'll go farther in than my waist, if that . . ." she replied, her mind turning to the day before and what had happened. Quickly, she looked at him and smiled. "Maybe we could make a sandcastle!" She laughed. "I haven't made one of those since I was a child!"

"I'd love to," he said. "You're looking at the sand castle master," he added with a wink. "We used to build them all the time when I was a kid back on Earth and have competitions to see which was the best."

"Then that is definitely a must! I have to see what you can do with sand and water!" she said, her dark eyes shining bright.

"Let me finish this then, I'll grab some stuff from the back and we can walk down to the beach." Ryan made sure to bring everything from lunch to towels. but most importantly, he didn't forget to bring Karissa's surprise.

The walk to the beach was an easy one, and they talked along the way about childhood memories involving trips to various sea shores. But as they stepped through the foliage and looked at the beach they both stopped for a moment to admire it. The water was a bright aqua blue. The sand was almost white and dotted with what looked like a species of palm tree and some very large rocks. There was just a hint of a breeze as their feet touched the sand.

"This place has been beyond anything I could have expected," she said in awe.

"It's.. it's incredible!" said Ryan leading the way out onto the sand.

The sand was nicely warm below their feet as they walked. They decided on a place to lay down the blanket and have a bite to eat. Ryan felt the heat of the sand on his back as he lay back on the sand. He looked up into the sky and a bird flew over head. He turned to Karissa and smiled as she rummaged through the food container. Ryan felt the pocket of his shorts making sure his little surprise was still there. As he felt it in his pocket, he lay back again on the sand.

"Now this looks good for a snack," she said, as she pulled out a pomegranate and some green grapes. "Want a bite?" she asked with a gleam in her eye, as she leaned over him and held a grape toward his lips.

Ryan smiled and took the grape in his teeth. He smiled and pulled her down to the sand along side him. "Kari, I've got something for you," he said, as he swallowed the grape.

Curiosity went into her eyes. "You do? What?" she asked.

Ryan put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a small ring.

It was a small gold band with an intricate diamond cut that ended with a ruby, cut in the shape of a heart. She looked at it with surprise. "This is beautiful . . . " she said, practically speechless.

"Kari, this ring symbolizes my promise to you, that I will never leave you no matter what. That I will always love you, and want you no matter what the future brings." He slipped it on her finger. "I love you," he said as he leaned over and kissed her.

Tears misted her eyes, as their kiss ended. She was smiling brightly. As their dark gaze met, he gently brushed a stray tear from her cheek. "I never thought I could feel this way for anyone . . ." she said, "Or that anyone would feel this way toward me . . . ."

"Nor did I," he replied. "But it seems as though we were meant to be together, so let's not waste any minute of it!" He gently moved over her and kissed her again.

She lost herself in his touch as he caressed her face and hair with his hands and kissed her deeply . . . He was right. She knew it in her heart. Regardless of anything else that happened in their lives, this was one thing that was right . . . Somehow planned as if by destiny.

The afternoon passed away quickly as the two of them got round to building the largest sand castle Karissa had ever seen. They also had a game of tennis after setting up a net and drawing out a court on the sand. After they finally exhausted themselves, they collapsed on the sand together laughing. They ended the evening, with a light dinner by candlelight and fell asleep in each other's arms once again, assured of their feelings for one another. That they were meant to be . . .