Who is the mysterious co-professor Kathryn is expecting? And why does he share her office at the Academy?
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all! (I think)
As I was thinking of a story for a challenge, this idea popped into my head, and I couldn't get rid of it, until I had finally finished the story at 3 am this morning!
* ~ * ~ *
She couldn't believe it: she was supposed to lecture before 3rd year Cadets in 5 minutes and her co-lecturer still hadn't shown up. How were they supposed to do this together if she didn't even know who the other was, let alone compare notes on how to pull this one off!
The lecture theatre was still empty, and she chose to walk around to see if her voice would carry. Then one by one the Cadets entered, all too much in awe with the legendary Captain who'd brought back her crew after 6 years in the Delta Quadrant. The lectures however were not on the DQ, but on Protocol. Kathryn hadn't the faintest ides how to tackle the topic and secretly hoped her co-lecturer would know.
The Cadets were all seated, when a girl jumped up with a yelp.
"Captain, sir, there's something licking my legs!"
Kathryn had to laugh, and walked up to where the girl was, she kneeled down and found the most adorable puppy.
"Well Cadet, this is an interesting way to bring your pet into the Academy."
"Captain, sir, it's not mine." Kathryn picked up the pup, which immediately started licking her face.
"No? Whose is it, then? Anyone lost this cute puppy?"
No one claimed the little pup, and Kathryn took it down to the lecture area. Her co-lecturer still hadn't shown up. She did notice however a name tag on the dog's collar: 'Kelsfire'. The name sounded familiar, and when she turned the tag over, it read 'Kathryn Janeway'.
"'Curioser and curioser said Alice when looking down the rabbit hole'. Has someone decided to bribe me by giving me this puppy? Please tell me, I won't kill you, I promise."
The constant sir-ing was annoying her, but she knew this was the proper way for Cadets to address her.
"Yes Cadet? Sorry, but I don't know your names yet. What is it?"
"What's the puppy's name, sir?"
"Kelsfire. You know what it means?"
"I know, sir. It's an old nickname that men would give to their soulmate."
"Strange name for a dog then! But explain, please."
"Okay, sir. The first part, 'Kel' means bird, the 's' is like a genitive of, and 'fire' means gold: bird of gold or goldenbird."
"Right, what language is it from?"
But before the Cadet could answer, the sound of a transporter caught their attention: right there in the middle of the lecture area a couch and a table appeared Ã¢â?¬â?? standard Starfleet issue. Before anyone could speak a tall, slim vase, a coffee pot with two mugs, and a photo frame appeared on the table, together with 2 pillows on the couch.
Kathryn walked over to the table and picked up the photo frame: it was a picture of her and Chakotay taken at one of the Starfleet functions they'd had to attend when they came back. It was the last time they spoke because Chakotay was send away on a mission.
"It seems that my mysterious co-lecturer has finally shown up."
The Cadets were all mystified: they hadn't seen the photo, and were wondering why Captain Janeway had a silly grin plastered on her face. She sat down and poured herself some coffee, while making sure that the puppy didn't jump on the couch.
"I guess you're all wondering what's going on here, but honestly, I don't really know. I suggest you make yourself comfortable and we'll see what happens."
"What's the photo of?"
"This was taken at a Starfleet party 6 months ago."
"Aren't you going to tell us more?"
"Nope, I think my co-lecturer will explain. Anyone for some coffee?"
At that moment Kelsfire ran towards the door and started barking. When the door opened, Chakotay walked in, one hand behind his back, and patted Kelsfire on her head.
"Hello sweeting, you missed me already?"
As he made his way over to the couch, the Cadets started whispering. They'd all heard the rumours of the Captain and the Commander, but no one had believed them to be true. And here they were! As he got nearer, he drew his hand out in front and presented Kathryn with a peace rose. He'd never seen her blush this bad, and he couldn't help but to take her outstretched hand to place a kiss on the inside of her palm.
Most of the female Cadets gasped when they saw the very loving gesture, and swooned over the scene in front of them.
"Well Commander," Kathryn had finally found her voice again, and was looking straight into Chakotay's dimple-flashing face, "that was quite a show."
"On the contrary, Captain. It was just to show our Cadets what 'Protocol' exactly is."
"Right," she gave him her half-crooked smile and sat down.
"And Captain, may I add that I would like it if you would address me correctly in the future - as Captain!"
Only now did she see the 4 pips that adorned his collar.
"Oops, sorry Chakotay. I just didn't notice your new rank. Forgive me?"
She gave him her most endearing smile, and the Cadets hoped the lecture could either start or be over soon, because they couldn't stand the ongoing electricity between their professors, not without knowing who would do what next.
"Of course Kathryn. Now, let's begin this lecture."
He sat down on the couch, taking Kelsfire with him, and accepted the coffee Kathryn handed him.
* ~ * ~ *
Meanwhile, Adm. Paris and Lt. Comm. Paris were talking to some Academy administrator. By now they had moved all of Kathryn's office into a larger one, and were trying to gain access to Chakotay's office.
"Admiral, why would Captain Chakotay want to move into an office he has to share with someone else?"
"Mr Rogers, I realise it's hard to imagine this, but it would greatly enhance his performance as lecturer. Please give us the codes, and we'll take care of the rest."
"All right, but I wouldn't do this for just anybody."
"Of course not, and we are very appreciative of your assistance."
When they moved Chakotay's belongings into the other office, B'Elanna was already there to unpack everything. She'd even bought a pillow for the puppy Chakotay had told her about.
"So, the Paris boys in action. Really Tom, if I'd known your father was just as bad as you, I'd never married into this family."
"Don't worry B'Elanna," Owen Paris said, "I'm usually not like this, I just thought Tom's idea was perfect."
"Right, now if you two will move out of my way, I'd like to get started on Chakotay's things."
* ~ * ~ *
The office was larger than their previous offices, and it had 2 separate entrances, just around the corner. Someone standing on the outside wouldn't know the office was combined.
After ordering the transporter to beam the furniture back - Chakotay had already taken the picture -, the two Captains walked back to their respective offices in silence. Kathryn was carrying Kelsfire, who seemed perfectly at peace in her arms. She also had the rose in one of her hands, combined with her lecture padd.
"Well, that went surprisingly well, don't you think?"
"Yes, after they got over their initial shock that is. Say, want to meet for lunch in 15 minutes? I'll pick you up and drop off Kelsfire's stuff."
"She's really mine?"
Chakotay was surprised at Kathryn's question.
"Well, let's see, it is your name on the tag, not mine. So, I'll be there in 15 minutes?"
"Okay," Kathryn was very distracted by everything and barely registered that she was now walking alone back to her office.
When she reached her office, there was a note on the door.
Captain Janeway, Due to staffing rearrangements you are now assigned to office 308B. Our excuses for any inconvenience this might cause you. Academy Office Administrator, M. Rogers
Chakotay found a similar note on his door.
As soon as she entered her new office, Kelsfire wriggled herself out of her arms, and settled on one of the couches. Kathryn didn't have time to look around because another door, one she hadn't noticed, opened to let Chakotay in.
They simultaneously asked the other what they were doing in their office. Then they walked outside through their own door, only to meet up again at the bend of the corner outside.
"This sure is a surprise. I gather you also received notice of reassignment of your office?"
"Yes. Shall we go in again?"
Once inside, Chakotay ordered some more coffee, and they started to inspect their new office.
"You know, you must agree that it's funny the way we're teamed up like this."
"What? O yes, by they way, how did you know I was your co-lecturer? Commodore A'Beln didn't tell me."
"I ran into Admiral Paris at my promotion, and he told me they were looking for a professor for their new course. So when I called the Commodore, he surprised me by saying that I would work with you if I was to accept the tenure ship. That was the main reason why I accepted the job."
"I'm flattered. O, congratulations on the promotion. Starfleet finally found out about your qualities!"
"Yes, they couldn't ignore me any longer."
Just then Kathryn's viewscreen beeped.
"Hello Captain. Good to see you again!"
"I see you've found our surprise then? Are you happy with it?"
"Hello Admiral. Surprise?"
"Yes, Tom and I, with the help of B'Elanna, worked everything out. He told me that he couldn't bear the thought of Kelsfire being confused over living in 2 offices, so we put you two together."
"How thoughtful of Tom."
"Don't be so sarcastic Kathryn. You have more office space than you would've had, and now you get to share it with you colleague!"
"Thanks Admiral. Kathryn and I appreciate the Paris-feel-at-home gesture. She's just a bit confused, and I believe it has something to do with not liking to left in the dark about things."
"Owen, thanks, and tell that son of yours not to come near me in the few years!"
"I will. Bye now you two. Paris out."
"Now we know who was behind the little stunt. You know we can always ask for our old offices."
"I know, but I think I'm going to like this arrangement: we always worked together in one office, and now you at least have your own desk on which you can leave all your clutter."
"Ha, ha, I can recall that you were always the messy one."
Kelsfire, awake from her nap on the couch, ran towards Kathryn and tried to jump on her lap. She picked her up, and the puppy licked her nose.
"Hello there little one, ready to go out?"
The puppy barked once.
"Would you care to join us, Captain? Kelsfire needs to go out, and I want to go to lunch."
"By all means, lead the way. I did promise to take you to lunch, didn't I?"
* ~ * ~ *
Tom and B'Elanna were sitting in a small bar enjoying their lunch.
"B'Ela, look! There."
Tom pointed to a familiar looking couple walking arm in arm with a little puppy on leash trailing behind them.
"I knew my plan would work! Let's invite them over."
"Tom, are you crazy! Janeway probably wants to kill you because of your little stunt, not have lunch with you."
But it was too late. Kathryn and Chakotay walked in, and Chakotay immediately recognised the terrible twosome. They walked over, and Tom was trying very hard not to see them, whereas B'Elanna had already waved them over and was trying to get Kelsfire's attention. "Why, hello Tom and B'Elanna. Fancy meeting you here!"
"Hello Captain, Captain." Tom was looking very meek and humble.
Kathryn had to laugh at his expression, and ruffled his hair.
"Don't worry, Ensign, I won't kill you, at least not until I've eaten lunch."
They sat down at the table and ordered lunch.
Tom found out that Kathryn wasn't upset at him, and she told him she appreciated the gesture. They ended up talking for hours about things, and Tom and B'Elanna regretted not being present at the lecture when Chakotay had put on his show.
"So the rumours are back then? The handsome Maquis Captain really is captured by the beautiful Starfleet Captain send after him?"
"Yup Tom, the rumours are back." Chakotay didn't answer the second part of Tom's question but they all knew the answer.
All of a sudden Kathryn remembered her mother had told her to be home at 7.
"You know, I feel like a little girl all over again: my mother telling me to be home at a certain time!"
"And you wouldn't want to disobey your mom, now would you?"
"Indeed Chakotay, Gretchen Janeway's wreath is something to be afraid of! Anyway, I had a great afternoon, but it's time for me and Kelsfire to leave, I will see you tomorrow, Captain."
They all said their goodbyes, and Kathryn picked up the puppy who had fallen asleep. She walked over to the nearest transport and went home.
* ~ * ~ *
Tom and B'Elanna found out that Chakotay was living on the Academy Grounds in an awful apartment. They decided that their next project would be to get Chakotay to move in with the two Janeway women in Indiana.
* ~ * ~ *
When Kathryn arrived home, her mother took one look at the puppy and fell in love. After finding out who gave it to her, and what the lecture had been like, Gretchen couldn't wait until she would meet the illustrious Chakotay - the man who had so obviously stolen her daughter's heart and soul.
A boring dinner with some of her father's friends had been the reason why Kathryn had to come back at 7. They had all wanted to meet Ed Janeway's famous daughter. Luckily Phoebe and her family had been there as well. When Phoebe found out the name and meaning of the name of the puppy, she couldn't help but start to grill Kathryn about stories. In one evening she found out more about her sister than in the previous six months.
That night Phoebe decided to stay over, and the two sisters stayed up all night talking in bed. The next morning Phoebe weaselled her way into coming to the Academy with Kathryn, and Gretchen had told her oldest daughter that she wasn't allowed back home until she brought Chakotay over for dinner that evening.
Kathryn thought how funny it was that everybody was trying to get her and Chakotay together, whereas she had already decided the moment she saw the photo to never let go of him. All she needed now was a plan to let him know.
As she walked into their office, followed closely by Phoebe and Kelsfire, she could smell the rose and fresh-brewed coffee. Chakotay however was no where to be seen.
"So where is he?"
"I don't know Phoebe. Can I get you something to drink?"
"Yes, some of that coffee would be nice." Picking up the photo, she continued, "he is very handsome, you know."
"Phoebe you can stop the Chakotay promo talk, I know he's very handsome, attractive, cute, o you should see his dimples when he smiles..."
Chakotay stood in the entrance as he heard Kathryn go on talking about him, he motioned to Phoebe not to say anything. He silently walked up behind her, and put his hand forward which held another peace rose, just as he whispered "Goodmorning Kathryn" in her ear.
She quickly turned around, her face now showing all variations of the colour red, while Phoebe was laughing so hard that she collapsed on the couch. Chakotay just stood there smiling at her.
"Yes, I," Phoebe managed between laughing fits, "I can see the dimples now!"
Kathryn couldn't help but laugh too. Twice had he made her blush, completely ignoring the protocol they were lecturing on, and she didn't mind one bit: no, she was going to enjoy this, if you she could repay the 'compliment'.
When they all had calmed down, Kathryn sat down, put the rose in the vase and took a sip from her coffee.
"Chakotay meet Phoebe, Phoebe this is Chakotay."
Phoebe gave him a quick hug, "I wish I was there yesterday. You know, I've never seen my sister lose herself this bad."
"Yes Phoebe: thank you. You can shut up now!"
The door (Kathryn's) chimed.
A nervous Cadet cautiously walked in, and was highly surprised to see not only Captain Janeway seated behind her desk, but also Captain Chakotay sitting on another desk, and a third person, a civilian, playing with a little puppy.
"Goodmorning Cadet, why are you here?"
"Goodmorning Captain, sir, ma'am. I wanted to see if I could still enrol in your course, Captain, sir."
"Shouldn't you ask at Course Administration? They're the ones who handle enrolment."
"No Captain, sir. They told me to ask you personally."
"Well, personally, I wouldn't mind. Chakotay? Ready for one more Cadet?"
"Only if I get to do the couch thing over. After all, this Cadet did miss the first lecture."
"We'll see. Cadet, just show up at the next lecture, and consider yourself enrolled. We'll notify Course Admin that we approve."
"Really? I mean, thank you Captains, sir. I'll leave now."
"Jeesz, Kathryn, you were way too easy on that Cadet!"
"Well, for starters you could've asked him for a reason, and then make him sweat a little."
"I know, but I really don't feel like being the Academy terror. I was always so afraid to talk to professors that I mostly tried to solve things on my own. What you Chakotay?"
"Same here, I've had professors come to me demanding why I hadn't consulted them before doing things myself. That scared me even more!"
"I still think you were too nice. Anyway, my time's up, I have a family that by now thinks I've enrolled in the Academy. Chakotay, it was great to meet you, I hope to see you soon."
"Same here Phoebe."
"Bye Kath, don't forget what mom told you!"
"I won't, bye Phoebs."
They were alone again.
"So, why did you have to go home so early?"
"Mom had invited a bunch of my dad's old friends who wanted to meet me. It was all very boring."
"The great Captain Janeway - bored to death! What a tragic end."
"I would've been bored to death you know, but Phoebe kept me alive."
"I'll have to thank your sister then, when we meet again."
"Which may be sooner than you think. Mom told me I could not come home tonight unless I brought you back with me to have dinner."
"Well, I wouldn't want you to live on the streets, now would I? What time should I be there?"
"No, you'll come with me. Mom would never believe me if I came on my own."
"Okay, but we need to go around my flat, I need to pick up something and change out of my uniform."
* ~ * ~ *
They spend the rest of the day coming up with lecture ideas: this was not going to be an ordinary course. Starfleet had given them the most difficult topic and they were going to teach it in a creative way.
While Chakotay was walking Kelsfire and picking up lunch, Kathryn contacted Tom Paris and her mother. Tom was to pack all of Chakotay's things and move them to her mother's house. Her mother approved of the idea, and even suggested that if they put all his things in the guestrooms, the only place for him to sleep was Kathryn's room. That however was a bit too much. Kathryn knew her mother would start unpacking things and arrange her house to accommodate all his belongings. The only problem Kathryn faced now was how to get Chakotay home without stopping at his empty flat. Tom came up with a plan. He told Kathryn to go along with whatever Chakotay would tell her. He then contacted Gretchen to tell her that B'Ela and he would come for dinner.
They ate lunch and assured another Cadet that he could enrol in their course. By now the number of Cadets had risen to 40 and it was decided that that was the maximum. Chakotay received a message from B'Ela, which told him to take Kathryn immediately to her mother's place, without stopping at his flat, because they had another surprise for her. When told, Kathryn of course agreed, and they left around 5:30 to catch a transport to Indiana.
* ~ * ~ *
Gretchen had indeed unpacked most of Chakotay's things, and she was surprised to find a beautiful woven blanket that fit the perfectly in her couch. When Tom and B'Elanna arrived, B'Ela told Gretchen that the blanket was made for Chakotay by his mother. It was his most prized possession but he'd never been able to put it out because nothing he owned would fit with the blanket. He'd actually once B'Elanna that he was still looking for the perfect couch to go with the blanket. Tom then started talking about all the signs that had appeared around Kathryn and Chakotay, but the two women didn't listen anymore.
Kelsfire ran into the kitchen and announced her arrival. Tom noticed the little pup had already made herself completely at home. After another 15 minutes Chakotay and Kathryn walked in the back door.
"Well, what took you so long?"
"Nothing Mom. Chakotay this is my mother Gretchen. Mom this is Chakotay."
"Nice to meet you Mrs Janeway."
He stretched out his hand, but Gretchen pulled him into a hug and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"That's Gretchen for you. So, where did you go?"
"Kathryn wanted to show me her much talked about tree."
"Right Chakotay. That's what all men say."
"O no, it's you two again. What's the surprise this time?"
"Kathryn dear, why don't you go upstairs and change?"
Kathryn walked into the living room, and was on her way to the stairs, when she discovered the beautiful blanket on the couch. Without knowing why she picked it up and wrapped it around her shoulders, feeling the softness with her cheeks. Walking over to the windows, she stood in a trance and didn't notice that Chakotay had come in. He was completely amazed as he saw his mother's blanket wrapped around Kathryn - the woman he loved more than life itself. Slowly he walked up to her and called out her name softly; he didn't want to startle or embarrass her again.
She turned around and walked towards him. As she stood in front of him, she opened her arms and they embraced.
Tom came in, ready to shout to Kathryn that she had to hurry up if she wanted to eat dinner, when he saw the couple in the middle of the room. Silently he went back into the kitchen completely in awe of what he'd just seen. Gretchen and B'Ela tried to get him to talk, but all he could stammer was "they're together."
Meanwhile, Kathryn and Chakotay were still holding on to each other. Eventually, Kathryn moved back a little, and looked into Chakotay's eyes.
"It's funny don't you think? Here we are: you've been surprising me, and right as I was planning to give you pay back, all I could think of was touching this blanket."
Chakotay just looked at her, finally registering the fact that his mother's blanket should not be here at all.
"Where did you get it?"
"It was draped over there on the couch."
"Yeah, but I mean, where did you get it?"
"O right, where: well, that was part of my pay back. Look around, what do you see?"
Chakotay stepped out of their embrace, and looked around at the room. He recognised some of his own things fittingly mixed with the other items in the house. He was puzzled.
"You know, I think if we go upstairs we could even find you something to wear, except I don't know in which room."
"What do you mean?"
He had moved back to where Kathryn was standing. She moved him over to the couch, and they sat down.
"I don't know where to start. You see, when I first saw the photo in the frame, I realised that you were my co-lecturer. I also realised how much I had missed you. I hadn't been thinking about Voyager stuff much in the last 6 months, and I discovered that I felt empty without you. I then decided not ever to let you get away from me again. Strange, don't you think? I realise I love you and that I am in love with you, and next thing I know you're standing in front of me giving me a peace rose! I thought I would faint when you kissed my hand like that!"
"I would've caught you."
As Kathryn was talking, she moved into Chakotay's arms, and now was comfortably leaning into his embrace.
"At first when I came up with the idea for the couch for our lecture, I didn't know how you were going to react. I was really expecting another 'Let's define parameters' talk, but I could care less when I saw you standing there. You really have no idea what you do to me! I fell in love with you all over again, and when you gave me that crooked smile, then I knew."
"That I love you forever and always."
She turned around in his arms and slowly they moved towards each other. A tender kiss followed, and they both smiled. As they kissed again, it grew in intensity. They pulled back to come up for air.
"So what does your pay back do exactly?"
"Well, I asked Tom and B'Elanna to pack your things and move them in here. Mom unpacked most of it I think, and that's why I found this blanket on the couch."
All of a sudden he got up and lifted Kathryn up from the couch. She let out a scream and started laughing, just as Gretchen, Tom, and B'Elanna came into the room to see what happened.
"Chakotay put me down!"
He moved to the stairs and started to climb it, while holding a laughing Kathryn in his arms. She realised he was not going to let her down, so she put her arms around his neck and kissed his tattoo.
"Mom, where can we find Chakotay's clothes?"
"In the only room I could think of, dear, first to your right!"
Tom looked questioningly at Gretchen, who just shrugged.
"I put all of their things in Kathryn's new room; that's where they would end up anyway." They all laughed and went back into the kitchen.
* ~ * ~ *
Chakotay put Kathryn down on the bed. They were in a large room which had windows on all 3 sides. Chakotay noticed not only all of his things were here, but obviously Kathryn's as well.
"Can you believe her? She actually not only moved your things here, but mine as well! Really, she could've warned me."
When she looked around she did notice however how well their things matched.
"All I can say is that you mother has an eye for interior decorating, Now, where would I find my clothes?"
Kathryn got up and opened a door next to the one they came into. There was a large walk-in closet, and while Chakotay checked to see what was behind another door, he heard Kathryn say "Yup, she put it all here!"
He found himself standing in a large bathroom, and looked at the main attraction: a huge bathtub right in the middle of the room. Kathryn walked up behind him, and put her arms around his waist, resting her cheek in his shoulder.
"Now I see where your love of bathtubs stems from."
"I'm afraid I'm genetically impaired. When I was little, Phoebe and I would be allowed to take a bath in our parents' tub once a week."
He turned her around, "You mean to say this is your parents' room."
"Yes, but mom hasn't slept here since dad died. It's been empty ever since; I don't think Phoebe and Paul even slept here."
"I'd say you've made quite an impression on her."
"I guess, so. Where are our clothes?"
* ~ * ~ *
Half an hour later, they came downstairs again, freshly showered and dressed. Just as they came down, Phoebe and her family came in the front door.
"Hello Chakotay, I didn't realise I'd meet you this soon."
"Hello Phoebe, it seems that Kathryn here had a surprise for me."
He was introduced to Phoebe's husband Paul and their two children, Edward of 2, and Katie of 4½.
Gretchen was already in the living room, and Tom and B'Elanna came out of the kitchen carrying snacks.
Kathryn pulled B'Elanna aside and asked her what the surprise was. B'Ela turned white and ran away from her, almost knocking Phoebe off her feet while trying to make it to the restroom. The two sisters ran after her.
"Well B'Elanna, if it is this bad, you don't have to tell us, you now."
B'Ela came out again, "It's not that it is bad, let's just say I'm going through an inconvenient period right now."
"Kathryn, hello!! Think sis! Don't you think this little stunt sort of gives it away?"
It took a while before Kathryn recognised the symptoms.
"O my god, B'Ela! That's wonderful!"
The two women hugged, and Phoebe went back inside.
"How long have you known?"
"My doctor confirmed it this morning. That's how Tom came up with the next part of you plan."
"Chakotay will be thrilled when he hears!"
"I don't know if it will register. Whatever you told him, it took away his ability to talk."
They laughed and went into the living room. Tom rose to greet B'Elanna and he then asked for silence.
"Now as we all know, B'Ela here is my reason for living, and well,"
"Okay helmboy, what Tom was trying to say is that the reason why we lured Chakotay here to help Kathryn with her pay back plan, is that in 7 months Tom won't be the only baby in our house: I'm pregnant."
Chakotay leaped up to hug B'Elanna and Tom.
"Little Bee, that's the second best thing I've heard all day! Congratulations you two!"
"Only the second best?" Tom asked with a grin.
"Careful Ensign Paris, he might hit you."
"He won't Captain, he likes me too much."
* ~ * ~ *
Dinner was a quiet affair.
After everybody had left, Gretchen had gone to bed. Kathryn and Chakotay were still sitting in a chair.
"I was wondering," he found it hard to concentrate because Kathryn's hands were roaming freely over his chest, and her lips were nuzzling his neck.
"What were you wondering?"
"Well, maybe I should stay in another room for the time being."
She sat up straighter.
"Well, don't you think we're moving too fast?"
"Maybe, but then again, I don't know about you, but I've waited a long time for this, and I don't think I can wait any longer."
"I love you, Kath."
"I love you too, Kotay."
"Yes, you shorten my name, I shorten yours."
"Pay back, right?"
"Yes my love, pay back. Think you can live with that?"
"I think I will manage."
He got up and lifted her up in his arms once again. As he walked up the stairs, a small dog was sleeping in front of the couch.