“It’s not a date”

This is a scene from my novel-in-progress. I wrote it last year, or maybe the year before. I like writing “people moments” – the moments, interactions, that arise between characters after I’ve done some behind-the-scenes work in defining characters and who they are. This scene came to me in a spontaneous moment of inspiration.

Last November during NaNoWriMo I interviewed the characters in this scene (and in others). As the author, having written the character definitions and the overall plot outline, I know the general direction the characters will take, and will not take. However, one of the characters surprised me when she revealed to me something that I had not known.

I wanted to post this excerpt today. As I reviewed it prior to posting it, I thought it needed a little bit of rewriting, so I’ve revised it a bit from my original draft, though not as much as I thought I’d need to.

The characters:

  • Ensign Ian Green, ship’s navigator and youngest crew member.
  • Lieutenant Gaba Quarette, ship’s helmsman. She is several years older than Green.

It was the end of alpha shift. Quarette’s and Green’s replacements arrived on the bridge. Quarette headed to the turbo lift to leave the bridge. Green followed behind her. As she got on the turbo lift she muttered, “I am so hungry!”.

Their shift had been uneventful that day and felt really long. Green nodded in agreement. It was one of those “I can’t wait for the shift to end so I could get something to eat” type of days. As the lift doors closed Green suggested they get something to eat in the Mess Hall.

Quarette agreed. After a moment of silent travel she halted the turbo lift and selected another destination.

Her sudden action caught Green off guard and he looked at her, puzzled.

She explained. “I’ve decided I’d like to go to my quarters first and change into something more comfortable.”

Green said he’d come get her in, what, half an hour? Gaba agreed.

Half an hour later, maybe more, Green walked down the corridor towards her quarters. He was carrying something behind his back.

Gaba opened the door when he called on her. She had changed out of uniform into an attractive outfit. She had also put on some kind of scent, Green noticed.

Green had changed too. He was out of uniform and wearing a casual but nice shirt. As if he was going on a date.

When he noticed that Gaba too was dressed as if for a date he said, “I wasn’t sure if I should have gotten these or not, but, well, here” and he handed her the flowers he had been carrying behind his back.

She shook her head. “Come in,” she told him.

He stepped in.

When the door closed behind him she said, “No, you shouldn’t have got these. Thank you, they’re nice. Please don’t do it again.” She went off to put them in a vase, water, etc.

“So we’re not on a date then?”

She looked at him in an appraising way. A slight grin appeared on her face as if she wanted to smile but was holding back.

“Listen, ensign,” she said. “I think you’re nice and I like you. It’s going to be a long trip. I want to enjoy myself when I’m off duty and I want to enjoy your company too, but as friends.”

“You’re a really nice smelling friend to have, lieutenant,” he told her as he sniffed in her direction appreciatively. He spoke playfully, and was suddenly mindful of not only their difference in rank but in age as well.

Her smile broke out. She stepped towards him and gave him a light peck on the cheek. “Thank you,” she told him.

“Just so I don’t get confused about mixed signals, what does that kiss mean?”

“It’s not a kiss. It’s a peck on the cheek. It means you’re a sweet guy and don’t expect anything else. Now, are you ready to show a lady a good time in the Mess Hall?”

“Just as a friend,” he told her.

“Just as a friend,” she repeated and linked her arm through his as they stepped out of her quarters.

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5 Responses to “It’s not a date”

  1. Jaye's Brain says:

    Always good to make a distinction between a kiss and a peck on the cheek! More!

  2. Maria S. says:

    nicely written

  3. Maria S. says:

    that nicely written comment is by me david, somehow im on as my daughter. these computers are so confusing

  4. Pingback: MiniWriMo: Day 1 | Journey of a Creative Playful Explorer

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