Memories in the Dust

 

 

 

Chapter Fourteen

Diego and Minta sat in the doctor’s office the morning after their interview with the spiritual advisor, a visit to the chief medical officer a prerequisite to a shipboard marriage such as theirs.  He had just finished examining each of them.  “As I expected, neither of you harbor any organisms dangerous to the union, or any progeny thereof, nor are you incubating anything harmful to anyone on board the ship.  I am approving the request for the union.”  The doctor made the noise with his mandibles that Diego had come to know as laughter.  “I cannot help but think that the latter reason is useless and redundant, since everyone is screened as they come on board anyway, but still, it gives me the opportunity to talk to both of you.” 

Minta and Diego simply grinned at each other.  They had been assured that the examination was a mere formality, but now it was over and the way was clear for their union.  Diego leaned over and kissed her lightly on the cheek, his eyes shining in anticipation of the coming event. 

“Have you ever heard the saying, ‘as quick as a Rantiri union’?” Dr. Klictis asked Minta, breaking into their quick celebration.  She shook her head, although her eyes flashed with a spark of understanding and embarrassment.  “It’s quite common knowledge that Rantiri unions are notorious for their lack of longevity.  And that is what Jerintas will think is happening when he hears you have united.  I also believe that if he thought this union was more serious than a shipboard romance and that you were planning to stay on Diego’s planet permanently with him, he would order you back and probably direct the captain to keep you on board ship when Diego transfers to the long range shuttle.”  The doctor’s bright red eyes gazed deeply into her violet ones.  “That is what you are planning, is it not?”  

“Yes, Doctor Klictis, that is what we are planning,” Diego answered before Minta could say anything.    “We wish to be married in several days or a week, enjoy our honeymoon on board this ship, however long that is, and then Minta will live with me at my hacienda when we get home.”

“May I make a suggestion?” Dr. Klictis asked.

Diego and Minta nodded. 

“I suggest that you not wait to be married.  I suggest that you marry quickly, provided, that is, that you are really sure about this.  I also suggest that you keep your union simple, with no celebrations, elaborate ceremonies or anything that would draw attention to yourselves.  Minta, I do believe that I am not the only one on board ship who is in contact with your director.  Even though he is allowing the one he calls the Designated One to return home, he still wants all the information possible.  And that includes debriefing you upon your return to Rantiri, Minta.  I am sure you have guessed that is the reason I have continued to take various tissue and blood samples from you, Diego.”  The doctor paused for a moment and the medical office fell silent.  Then with rapid clacking, he continued.  “There also had to be some contact with an off world benefactor for both of you to have passage on a luxury ship such as this, with a shuttle available to finish the journey, so I suspect that the captain is at least aware of your presence on board.” 

Minta nodded thoughtfully.  She had been wondering how her meager savings could have provided so well for them on board this ship, which was obviously a pleasure ship that only carried a small amount of cargo. 

“I thank you for your advise, doctor,” Diego said.  “With that in mind, I believe we should do as you say.  Something simple with the spiritual advisor leading the ceremony, and we can also say the Rantiri words of union.” 

Klictis nodded, clacking his mandibles in amusement.  “I talked to the Spiritual Advisor, so I have an idea of what you had in mind for your union, Diego.  “Surely if you have complicated ceremonies and celebrations on your home planet, you can have them after your arrival there.  A renewal of sorts, I suppose.  Of course, you could always wait and be married on your home planet.”

“No, Doctor, for some reason it seems right to unite now, with the other ceremonies later.  I do not know why, I just feel this is what we should do.”  Diego paused, looking thoughtful.  He wondered why he felt that way.  It was strange feeling so strongly about something, but not fully understanding the reason why.  That, he assumed, would come back with full and complete memory.  “Yes, you are right, doctor.”  He turned to Minta, taking her hand and gently kissing it.  “We will have a grand fiesta when we get home,” he murmured.  “We can be married as soon as you wish, mi querida enamorada.”

“Tonight, Diego.  Please?”

Diego nodded, kissing her hand again and looking forward to many days, weeks and years with the beautiful soul he had met across the stars. 

 

 

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Diego and Minta stood gazing into each other’s eyes, their fingers interlocked, their hearts and minds concentrating only on each other, almost missing the Spiritual Advisor’s words.  Behind Diego stood Dr. Klictis.  Behind Minta stood the captain’s representative, who looked something like Dr. Klictis, but stockier with a more human looking head.  The star trails melted and coalesced above them, dancing their celestial dance of joy.  The room had been closed off for the duration of the brief ceremony.

“…In the sight of the Almighty Creator, the One who created all that surrounds us, I pronounce you, Minta Morlif-Brocnor, and you, Diego de la Vega y de la Cruz, united, a couple bonded by love, respect and free choice.” He paused briefly, smiling at the unmoving couple.  “You may now say the words of union that you have chosen,” he added softly.

The advisor’s voice broke into her emotions and thoughts.  She felt as though she were coming out of a dream, one that she didn’t want to relinquish.  “I promise to care, to share, to put your life before mine.  My thoughts will be for your welfare, my loyalty to you, your burdens will be my burdens,” Minta said softly, her voice barely above a whisper, her violet eyes gazing deeply into Diego’s hazel ones.  As he took a breath to say the union words, she found more words in her heart, words beyond those that were normally said at a union.  “I will love you forever, Diego, with a love that will never grow dim.  My soul will be knit with your soul for eternity.”  Despite her resolve to not cry, her eyes grew misty and Diego’s glowing face wavered before her.  She felt tears trickle down her cheeks.

“I promise to care, to share, to put your life before mine.  My thoughts will be for your welfare, my loyalty to you, your burdens will be my burdens,” Diego said softly. He reached over with one hand and gently wiped away her tears, his smile warm, his eyes full of love. “Te quiero y te tengo siempre en mi corazon, siempre será una parte de mi alma.” Minta looked puzzled.  “I love you, I…cherish you, and always you will be in my heart.  Forever you will be a part of my soul,” he translated, almost flawlessly.  

Minta smiled and the tears flowed with renewed joy, tears that she did not even try to stop.  Diego’s gentle fingers lightly touched her lips, and then traveled down her jaw line.  Slowly he raised her chin and kissed her, the gentle brush of his lips becoming more intimate, harder and more passionate.   Then he took her in a crushing embrace, savoring the warmth of her body against his, the feel of her heartbeat in rhythm with his.  He held her for what seemed an eternity. 

Finally, Diego pulled back slightly, still feeling his passions rise until they almost overwhelmed him.  When we are alone….  Minta was panting softly.  Still holding her close, he glanced at the Spiritual Advisor and then at Dr. Klictis.  Happiness welled uncontrolled and finally it found release in joyous laughter.  Turning back to his wife, he said, “Señora de la Vega, it is time for us to leave.  Shall we reside in your cabin tonight or mine?”  

A light tap on his shoulder caused him to turn reluctantly away from Minta.  The Captain’s representative bowed slightly. “Elorim, in honor of your union, we have prepared a cabin suitable for a newly formed couple.  I will show you the way now and tomorrow your belongings can be moved there from your old cabins.  And of course, dinner will be either at the Captain’s table in a quarter of a zelnon or it can be sent to your cabin.” 

Diego smiled happily.  The idea of trying to enjoy the night with his bride on his tiny bunk bed had not been an appealing one.  “Thank you, señor, that would be most…satisfactory.  As to dinner…” he looked back at Minta, but she still had the bemused look of one not quite believing events that had just happened,  “…please bring it to our cabin.”

“Come this way, then.”  Arm in arm, the couple followed the crewman down several corridors, into an elevator, which was just another of the innumerable things that Diego had ceased puzzling over, and down another corridor.  Placing a small device against the opening indention, the crewman punched several small buttons and then stood back as the door opened.  “The door will now recognize both of you.  Have a good evening.”  With a smile, he turned and left them. 

Diego gazed into the room, which appeared to be four times the size of his former cabin.  A large bed occupied the middle of opposite wall, with a coverlet of soft satin-looking material woven in a floral pattern.  Soft lights glowed, not only near the door, but also above the bed and over a doorway to their left.  The décor was more than functional; it was ornate, with pictures on the walls, painted wallpaper lining the top of the wall all around the room and several chairs covered with a deep burgundy material.  Twin nightstands of deep wood or wood-like material flanked the headboard.  A small chest of drawers with golden handles stood against the wall to their right and beside it were chairs and a small table made from the same material as the nightstands and dresser.

“Well, Diego, are we going to stand here and gawk or are we going in?” Minta prodded gently, with a soft giggle.

Diego walked in and peered into the small doorway to his left- a washroom, but larger than the tiny thing in his cabin. As the door closed with a loud whoosh, he turned to his bride.  Slender and lithe she stood there, her white-gold hair cascading like a waterfall over her shoulders.   He felt his heart beating faster in anticipation.  “Señora de la Vega,” he said huskily.  

Minta lowered her eyes, suddenly shy.  Then she looked up at him, her eyes misty with tears of joy.  She crossed the room and threw her arms around his waist, burying her face in the fabric against his chest.  “It is hard to believe what has happened in just one short day.”

Diego ran his hands gently through her hair, and then down the curves of her body to her waist.  “Yes, it is also hard for me to believe what has happened, not only in one day, but the past many days, however long I have been away from home,” he murmured.  “I remember times when I wanted someone with me, close to me, someone to hold, love, talk to . . . confide in so badly, that it was a real ache inside.” 

Minta closed her eyes as his lips found hers, then moved to her neck, traveling down and then back up again, resting momentarily against her ear.  “You have fulfilled my dreams, mi novia.  Querida mia.”  His breath caressed her neck warmly, exciting her, sending tremors of pure joy through her.  His strong hands moved back up her body, his fingers intimately, gently and lovingly touching her. 

She caught one of his hands as it made it’s way toward her neck and she laid her cheek against his palm, feeling its warmth, savoring his heartbeat, the evidence of his reality.  “The Universal Creator knew what He was doing,” she sighed.  “Your temporary misfortune has turned into such joy for me.  Oh, Diego!  I had no idea what happiness could really be like. I didn’t have one tenth this much joy in my other union.”  She gazed into his face.  His eyes seemed to be trying to savor every part of her.  “Are you truly happy, Diego?”

“What a question, querida!” he answered, punctuating his answer with a soft kiss.  “Of course I am happy!  I have you forever, for eternidad.

Minta’s eyes held a slightly puzzled look in them.  “Diego, your native language is coming back to you now, isn’t it?  Those words you have used, they are beautiful.  What do they mean?” 

He guided her to the bed where they sat down on the edge.  It’s softness brought back memories of his home.  It was so much better than the hospital beds he had been subjected to since his kidnapping.  No, not kidnapping-- my opportunity for happiness, he thought.  “Yes, I am beginning to think in my language.  Cara mia, the words I have used are mostly words of love…amor.”  He told her the meaning of every word he had used, punctuating each one with a soft caress or gentle kiss on her ears, on her neck, on her lips, forehead or cheeks. 

Suddenly, Minta began giggling.  Diego had been nibbling on her earlobe.   “That tickles,” she finally said.  With a mischievous look on his face, his fingers began windmilling against her sides, causing her to gasp in paroxysms of laughter.  Then he began to laugh with her.  He continued for a few more minutes until she fell back on the bed to catch her breath.  “You rogue!” she declared, still giggling, tears rolling down her cheeks. 

“Rogue?”

“A rascal, a scamp, someone who finds great pleasure in teasing others—having fun at their expense,” Minta replied. 

“Ah, I believe I have been called that before,” he answered her with a broad grin.  He leaned down and kissed her yet again, deep, full, and long.   Slowly, he lowered himself until he was laying on top of her chest, some of his weight held on one arm, but close enough to feel the strong beat of her heart, the rise and fall of her chest, and the warmth of her flesh.  As he felt every curve of her body, a warmth gathered itself inside him, an overwhelming passion exploding within his body.  Fiercely, Diego kissed her, feeling her lips and body responding.

 

Chapter Fifteen
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