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Paradise Found

Posted on 20 Apr 2017 @ 1:52am by Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Bora Bora
Timeline: Shore Leave

Joey rolled over in bed and stretched with a smile, lifting her head slightly to take a look around. She'd managed to keep their destination after visiting his parents a surprise, and now they were tucked away inside a bungalow over the water with no neighbors near by. Their new surroundings were open to the world around them, but offered more privacy than most suburban areas back on Earth. Outside, a boat was secured to a little dock, offering them a way to get around if they decided swimming wasn't the way to go.

This was definitely her little piece of heaven.

She settled back down and stretched with a groan, the closed her eyes once again. Joey could definitely be lazy in a place like this, but that wasn't the type of person she was. If there was something to be dine, she was going to find it, and like Harvey, she was totally unfamiliar with their current surroundings. That meant they would both get to play the role of tourist, but she did know the surfing was amazing in two different areas. The first being Teavanui Pass, and the other right off the reef out behind Motu Pitiaau. Both were definitely on the list of things to do. For now, though, a little more laziness was in order.

Harvey's eyes slowly opened. The location was quiet aside from the sounds of the ocean coming through the open window. Harvey had never travelled much, and mainly stuck to Betazed and a few other places. But this... this was certainly among his favorites. He laid in the bed, not at all worried about getting up, though he did think about putting on a robe and walking over to the window and enjoy a morning cup of coffee. The view of the horizon was so serene, he could stare at it all day.

He could feel someone stirring beside him. In that moment, he remembered the previous night and how much fun that was, alone in the middle of the ocean without a care in the world. Harvey rolled over to see the face he'd come to love. "Hey," he whispered, knowing she was awake behind those closed eyelids.

Joey cracked an eye open when she heard him. "Hey," she said softly as a smile formed. So far shore leave had been a lot of fun, but the best part for her was getting to be with him. He was so laid back, easy going, and just about on board for anything she threw his way. There weren't many people, men or women, that would be as open-minded as Harvey was. "How did you sleep last night?"

"I haven't slept like that since..." Harvey's voice trailed off, trying to think of the last time he slept for so long, so peacefully, and woke up totally refreshed. "I can't remember when. How about you?"

"Better than I have in a long time," she answered, moving closer to him to slip an arm across his stomach. There was just something soothing, hypnotic and downright relaxing about the sound of the ocean just outside their bungalow. It made her want to have the computer play ocean sounds at night, but somehow they would be able to tell the artificial rendition was nothing like the real thing. "Do you like this place?"

"Like it?" Harvey asked, a playful smile appearing on his face. "I love it," he declared in a gentle tone. "I think we just found our vacation spot." He wouldn't call it a retirement spot since he wasn't ready for that, and he would have liked to have a little bit of land rather than a wonderful ocean view all the time. Maybe they could find a plot on an island somewhere. "How about you?"

Joey smiled. "This, to me, is complete heaven. I could definitely come back here as often as we're able to. Though... being over the ocean like we are now is great, but I think sand and some lush greenery would be in order," she replied, leaning in to press a kiss to his cheek. "You know what makes it even better, though?"

A redness appeared on his cheeks. "What's that?" Harvey asked, enjoying the sensation that rippled through his face.

With the smile still present, she gave the simplest answer possible. "You do."

He couldn't help but chuckle. "Why are you so good to me?" he asked without thinking. Part of him still could not believe their relationship had developed so fast and so far so quickly. Harvey regretted none of it, and was quite thankful for her and everything they'd been through. It was only after his subconscious launched the question that Harvey realized what he said. He hoped it wouldn't change the mood here.

It didn't change the mood... at least not hers. In fact, she planted a kiss on his shoulder and smiled. It was a smile that reached her eyes and beyond as the next words spoken from her mouth were nothing but truth. "Because you're amazing, and I love you. Being good to you is what you deserve, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Harvey still felt like he deserved nothing for the life he'd lived. What he had now, however, was a fresh start, and for that he would not argue. He smiled, thinking about how bold he'd been the last few weeks with her. How confident he'd been, how sure he was of the future even after losing the Black Hawk. "I can only hope I'm half as good to you as you are to me."

"There should be no question that you are," she stated, giving another lazy stretch before she settled down again. Joey couldn't wait to see what the future held for them, and as much as she wished there were some sort of magic wand to wave that would reveal such things, she didn't want to force it. One thing was for certain, life would never be boring as long as they were together. "I'm trying to think of any reason I can not to get out of this bed. Thankfully, it's still early."

"It's late," Harvey remarked with a smile. In his mind, that was true. He was used to waking up early, getting a bit of exercise and paperwork done before starting a shift. Not having any administrative or duty tasks to perform had taken its toll on Harvey in the beginning, but he was settling down.

As for getting out of bed, he wanted to get up, get dressed, and get out to go explore. The desire burned so deeply within to find more beauty in their gorgeous surroundings, but even he couldn't bring himself to abandon the beauty of the moment.

He had a point. She'd gotten used to getting up early with him, having coffee and breakfast, hitting the gym and playing with the dogs while he handled the duties of being a Captain. Being lazy in bed was definitely an unusual thing for both of them, but she wasn't going to complain. How could she? She was currently in paradise with the man she loved, and the ocean was just outside their front door.

"You know what I think we should do?" Joey asked.

"Oh?" Harvey asked, reaching over and stroking her shoulder and upper arm. He could have attempted to guess, but he had a feeling he'd be more than wrong. At this point, Harvey liked to be surprised.

Joey shivered. Her train of thought was on the verge of derailing, but it hadn't gotten to that point just yet. "I think... we should go for a morning swim," she answered. "Or we could stay here and put this great big bed to use if you're interested. Then again... there's always the option of combining the two, but for that, you'd have to catch me." Someone was definitely feeling playful regardless of which option he chose.

"Catch you?" Harvey asked. "I thought you and I were on par in the ocean?" He, naturally, was joking. He might be rather fit, but being out of the gym now for a month and not growing up near and in the water showed every single time they entered the ocean. Still, he prided himself for not being good at everything. He had his skill set, and that was good enough for him.

"For someone who hasn't grown up near the water like I have, you handle yourself very well," she said, leaning in to kiss him just before taking the opportunity to climb over him to settle on the side of the bed. Joey smiled at him over her shoulder. "There's another option, too. I can bring you some coffee."

Harvey didn't get the chance to reply. As they were alone, there was no need to close any doors inside the bungalow, so the place remained open, much like their quarters were back on the Black Hawk. Little Pequeno, who wasn't getting to be so little anymore, entered the bedroom, panting as he trotted. He came up on Joey's side of the bed, hopped up and planted his two front paws on the edge of the bed and yipped twice at her. "I think someone's hungry," Harvey remarked, locking eyes with Pequeno for a moment.

"Are you hungry, fur ball?" Joey asked, stretching out over the bed to scratch behind his ear. She couldn't believe how big he'd gotten in recent weeks, but even she knew he wasn't going to stay little forever. After her kissed her on her cheek, she climbed from the bed to pull her robe on. "Okay, food for you and Rico, and some coffee for Not the Mama. Let's go." She headed out of the bedroom with the pup following behind her, whistling as she went.

He could hear her start working in the kitchen. Aside from the wonderful bonding time with Joey, Harvey was excited the most for drinking real coffee once more. The real stuff had run out in the Gamma Quadrant during the crisis, and the Black Hawk's supply had to be rationed until it disappeared around the time they found the Cochrane and Chimera. He'd have to make sure his next command was adequately supplied.

He rose from the bed, adjusting his shorts as he leaned against the window frame. The aroma coming from the kitchen entered his nostrils, enabling him to enjoy the horizon out the bungalow's window that much more.

Ten minutes later, Joey was walking back into the bedroom with a cup of coffee in her hand and a smile on her face. She loved that no matter what window she looked out of, the view was gorgeous. Of course, there was an even better one standing before her now. "Fresh coffee and a great view. It doesn't get any better than that, does it?" She asked, bringing the steaming mug over to him.

Harvey could argue that it was one step away from heaven, but now wasn't the time for that. He, instead, accepted the mug of coffee and smiled. "It really doesn't," he told her. "I can't think of anywhere where you could literally jump into the ocean from a bedroom window and swim to your heart's content."

"It is beautiful," she said, moving to his side to look out at their view. Breathtaking didn't quite describe it. Joey leaned in and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "I'm going to take a shower so we're one step closer to exploring our little piece of heaven. Who knows... maybe we'll find something while we're out exploring and fall so in love we'll want to buy it." One that note, she leaned in to press a kiss to his cheek as she smoothed a hand over the small of his back, then made her way to the bathroom.

His eyes followed her as he disappeared into the bathroom. He heard the shower start not too long after. Part of Harvey wanted to go join her, but the smell of the ocean was too strong. In fact, he decided to act on an impulse. He placed his mug of coffee on the nightstand and made sure he secured his shorts to his person by tugging on the strings and tied them into a knot. Without any further regard, he stepped back up to the window, climbed out onto the windowsill, and jumped.

Joey heard the splash from inside the shower and smiled. She'd never seen Harvey so relaxed, and it made her feel quite good. He deserved this time away, and she was happy she got to spend it with him. As she showered, she thought back on everything they'd done already. Seeing her family, seeing his family, spending alone time together without interruptions due to emergencies. It just didn't get any better than this.

She finished up and climbed out, making quick work of drying off before she wrapped her hair up to dry it a bit, then made her way back into the bathroom. Joey spotted Harvey's coffee cup by the window and smiled. He was definitely swimming, and she couldn't blame him. It was hard to resist, though she was trying with everything she had.

Grabbing her dress, Joey slipped it on after putting a white bikini on beneath it, then settled down in the bed to pull a pair of black sandals on her feet. She was pretty excited about exploring their new surroundings, but as she walked out onto the open deck and spotted Harvey in the water, she found herself wanting to wait to do that.

After swimming a dozen years or so away from the bungalow, Harvey had settled on swimming laps around the bungalow. It was of a fairly decent size, and Harvey swam at a easy-going space, taking a full minute to complete a lap. He paid little attention to his surroundings, just focused on the clear water he was swimming in. It wasn't until he stopped for a quick breather that he spotted Joey watching him from the deck. Her dress brought a smile to his face, thinking the only article that could complete her ensemble would be a rather large hat and a pair of dark sunglasses.

Harvey remembered she wanted to go explore for a bit, so he swam back to the bungalow, climbed the ladder on the back of the boat and then stepped onto the deck. "I'll be just a minute," he told her, stopping to give her a kiss on the cheek. He'd have done more, but since she just showered, he didn't want to transfer the smell of the ocean water onto her dry clothing.

"We have all the time in the world presently," she said, returning the kiss to his cheek just before she made her way back inside. Thanks to the retractable wall, they'd be able to close off the bungalow so neither of the dogs could get into any trouble. She pulled the towel from her head and began to run her fingers through her hair. "How many laps did you end up swimming?"

"I'm not sure," he said, crossing the bungalow into the bathroom. Harvey was completely honest. He hadn't counted, nor had he realized how quick or how long Joey had taken in the shower. On his way, he picked up his cup of coffee and took a sip. It had lost a lot of its temperature. In fact, it was now lukewarm. How long had he been out there? Twenty minutes maybe.

Harvey hopped into the shower and made quick work of scrubbing the ocean off his skin and out of his hair. A few minutes later, he'd dried off and changed into a pair of khaki cargo shorts and a white polo. He elected to wear a pair of woven sandals, something a bit authentic to their area. Finally, he took a gulp of the cold coffee and rejoined Joey and the dogs in the living area. "Ready?"

With her large hat and sunglasses in hand, Joey nodded her head and looked to the dogs. She hated to leave them behind, but with their toys, food, water and other necessities, they'd be more than fine for a while. Besides, Rico had chosen a spot near one of the windows to bask in the sunlight. "I'm ready to go," she said, grabbing a bag she'd packed for the day just in case. "There are a lot of things we can do. Snorkelling, shark diving, boat tours, shuttle tours, water and jet skiing... the list goes on and on. Or, we can go off the beaten path and do things our own way."

"Off the beaten path works for me," Harvey said, liking the idea of exploring. He'd always preferred to do his own thing, even in his early days of practicing medicine. "Let's head for the boardwalk and see if anything strikes our fancy."

"I think tandem bungee jumping is in our future, too," she said with a grin just before making her way out the door and down to where their boat was docked. She placed her hat on top of her head. "We have some souvenir shopping to do, too, but we can do that as we go."

"Ah, yes," remarked Harvey at the very mention of browsing stores. "Shopping." He smiled. Somehow they'd managed to avoid that particular escapade in their travels, aside from picking up a few random objects here and there. He also knew better than to ask if there was anything in particular she was looking for. For now, he followed her to the boat and helped her climb aboard first before reaching down to untie the rope that anchored the motorboat to the bungalow.

"Don't tell me you don't like shopping?" Joey asked with a smile as she settled down next to where he'd be settled to drive. "I'm also thinking about seeing if there are any tattoo shops to commemorate our trip." She only had four so far, one of which only he had the privilege of seeing. Still, she never hand any plans of going overboard.

The only tattoo Harvey had seen was the one she received back on Razmena. He'd even joked from time to time that the bioluminescent ink had turned Joey into quite the night light whenever the opportunity arose. "What would you add?" Harvey asked, tossing the rope inside the boat and climbing in. "Somehow I don't think a flyover of Bora Bora will look that great."

"I was considering a phoenix. Die by the fire and reborn by the ashes," she replied, setting the bag down next to where she was sitting. In a way, the phoenix made her think of herself and what happened to her back on DS11. Joey still didn't talk about it much.

"Huh," Harvey grunted, actually impressed by the choice as he sat behind the driver's seat. With near-expert operation, it wasn't long before he'd backed the boat away from the bunaglow and pointed it towards the Bora Bora's boardwalk. "It's something that seems to fit us both right now." In fact, all he needed now was that new ship to command and he'd be fully reborn.

"Have you ever given any thought to getting one?" Joey found herself asking as they made their way toward civilization. Even close to the 'mainland' (Bora Bora was one of many islands around the area.), everything was still gorgeous. "They're not for everyone, I know, but each of mine has a very special meaning to me."

"I can't say I have," Harvey replied. "I never had been interested in them, especially since I've barely had anything in my life worthy of branding on my skin."

"What about a hawk?" Joey asked, looking over at him. "Or maybe even a phoenix. Of course, you don't have to get anything if you don't want to." She couldn't help but smile at him, though. He'd been on board with almost everything she suggested, but getting a tattoo... she just didn't see that one happening.

He shrugged. "A phoenix just isn't like me," he replied, slowing down the engine and idling into an open dock. "Now a hawk... I could go for that. What do you think? Maybe up here?" he asked, pointing towards his left deltoid.

"That's a good place for one, especially for a first timer," she said, grabbing the bag again as she prepared to get off of the boat and start their excursion. "If you got one there, it would be completely covered by your uniform. Are you thinking about getting one now?"

He'd thought about the deltoid for that one very purpose, keeping within regulation for when he returned to duty. In fact, as wonderful as Joey's dress looked, there was one thing he missed about regulation clothing. "I'm open to it," he admitted.

"On a scale of one to ten, how much do you wish we were back up there now?" Joey asked, getting to her feet so she could tie the boat to the dock. Once that was done, she adjusted her hat a bit and prepared to climb onto the boardwalk. At some point, she had to talk to him about the things plaguing her mind, but that didn't have to be right now.

Harvey knew better than to answer that. Truth be told, he missed Starfleet, but he was enjoying his time here with Joey. If he told her the truth, that he deeply missed the Black Hawk and exploring the universe. He excited the boat and extended a hand to help her onto the dock. "Coffee," he told her. "I think I see a cafe over there. We should get some coffee before exploring the boardwalk."

With his help, she climbed out of the boat and onto the dock, then slipped her hand into his. "It's okay to miss it, sweetheart. I won't be offended. Space has been a huge part of your life for a long time, and for the time being, it's not. It's definitely a rough transition, and I completely understand," she said, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. "I miss it, too. As a matter of fact, last night after you fell asleep, I made my way out to the deck and laid there for half an hour just staring at the stars."

She took a breath as they moves toward the café. "I love every single second I get to be here with you and do all the new things we've been doing, but I have been missing our life among the stars, too."

"I do miss it," Harvey admitted. "But I wouldn't trade it for the time we've spent together the last few weeks." The truth was, he'd really enjoyed getting to know Joey, her family, and even getting to know his own parents better. Most of that would not have been possible were they still in the Gamma Quadrant or aboard a starship.

"I've been trying to do this thing where I say what's on my mind rather than just let it sit inside my head," she said, as they walked inside the café. Joey ordered his coffee first, just the way he liked it, then ordered her own. Once it was paid for, she stepped off to the side so others behind them could get to the counter. "The time I've spent with you... it's been the happiest I've been in a long time. Even when we were going through all the horrible things we were facing, thinking about you... knowing I was going to get to go home to you... it made dealing with everything so much easier. You're my bright light during those dark days, and there is nothing in this galaxy I would trade for that."

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly before continuing. "I know things between us happened a lot faster than either of us thought it would, and I can only speak for myself when I say I wouldn't change a single second of it. You... you're what's been missing in my life for a very long time, and now i feel whole," she said, swallowing back a lump in her throat. "I love you, Harvey, and I hope you'll give me a lifetime of showing you just how much."

That wasn't anything he hadn't heard before, but the fact that she repeated it let Harvey know something was coming. He was certainly a man of fewer words than she, and even fewer demonstrations. Harvey too hoped he could give her that lifetime, just as much as she would give back to him. "What's wrong?" he asked her, sensing something was under the surface there.

"There's nothing wrong," she answered, thinking back to her conversation with Maggie. Harvey and Joey weren't necessarily a conventional couple, meaning she didn't mind taking the reigns if it fit the situation. She loved him, and he loved her. "Marry me?"

"Harvey... Grissle?" came the call from the barista behind the counter. On another day, the butchering might have illicit a completely negative or impassive response from Harvey. But not today. Harvey was stunned by Joey's question. To say that it already wasn't on his mind would have been a lie. In fact, there were multiple occasions over the last couple of weeks that he nearly popped the question himself. He and his mother had even talked about it, but Harvey wanted to wait for the right time and the right circumstance, two things that often never came in the service of Starfleet.

Then there was the matter of the ceremony. Harvey had an extremely short list of friends, in fact, he imagined Joey's list to be quite longer than the five digits on his hand. She had a large family, and many friends on their former ship, including the Russian yeoman who probably would have taken credit for the marriage, and offense for not being able to attend... wherever she was.

And then there was the fact that he had neither picked up his coffee, much less answered Joey's question. "I..." he stammered. "I don't even the ring yet," he told her. It was not a yes or a no. He had wanted the situation to be perfect, and since he'd spent so much time with Joey, he hadn't even had the chance to look for a ring for the occasion.

"Geisler," Joey said to the barista in a polite tone as she picked up both cups of coffee. She didn't give Harvey his yet for fear he'd end up spilling the hot beverage down the front of him. Truth be told, impulse urged her to ask him the question, and based on his reaction to it, he definitely had no idea it was even coming. "Come on... let's go outside so you can sit down for a few minutes."

She balanced both cups of coffee in one hand, being mindful not to spill them, then slipped her free one around his arm in an effort to escort him outside where there were a few tables settled under an awning. It was an absolute gorgeous day. The blue sky was picture perfect without a cloud around. The crystal blue waters were calm and inviting. Joey could definitely make her way back here some day.

Once she placed both coffees on the tabletop, she gestured for him to sit down. "I shouldn't have blurted that out like I did," she said softly, grateful no one had been close enough to hear it. Joey couldn't help but replay his admission, or maybe shocked response was a better term, about not having a ring over in her mind. Did that mean he planned to ask her? It wasn't like they could just forget she asked. Those two words were pretty huge. Nor, was it something she was looking to make happen in a day's time, though she would have loved it in their parents could be there for such a special occasion.

Maybe a lot of her just blurting it out like she did had a lot to do with what happened to her back on DS11. Living a life without him... that was something she knew she never wanted to experience. Joey quickly pushed those thoughts from her mind. Now wasn't the time to focus on that. "Here... sit down for a few minutes," she said, pulling a chair out for him. Harvey's happiness was a big priority in her life, and it always would be. "You don't have to answer that question. We've got time. Let's drink our coffee and see where the day takes us as far as exploring the island goes. How does that sound?"

Harvey didn't argue. She'd always been the forward one in the relationship. In fact, aside from a few gestures, she'd been the one driving the whole thing. She'd been the first to use "love" and she'd been the one to coax him out of his shell. There was not a soul that couldn't say Joey was not invested in what happened here. Her proposal was further proof. "To be honest," Harvey told her. "I almost asked you that this morning. I almost asked you on Deep Space Eleven. I just.... wanted the time to be right. You've done so much for me... for us. I wanted to do something back."

Joey sat with him, placing the coffee in her hand on the table. The fact he'd almost asked her twice was pretty shocking, and it gave her a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. "Harvey... a ring is just a symbol of everything we already have, but all I need for the rest of my life is you. But... is there ever really a right time?" She asked, reaching out to slip her hand over his. "Your mom asked me what my intentions were with you, and I was nothing but honest. You are who I want to spend the rest of my life with. There is no question about it. After what happened on DS11, you are what helped pull me through. I couldn't leave you behind. I didn't want to leave you behind."

"And you didn't," Harvey said, reaching over and placing a hand over hers. "And I guess it isn't the matter of a right time. I just thought... well... that I'd just beat you to something for once." Then, for the first time, he picked up the fresh coffee and took a drink of the hot liquid. "I, too, want to spend the rest of my life with you. I've lived my life in solitude and self-pity for too long. That day is done. I'm ready to move on."

Joey felt horrible. She'd taken his moment away from him, and there was nothing she could do to make it better, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to try. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I've always been an 'in the moment' kind of woman," she said, toying with the cup in her hand. "I can't take back the fact I asked, but a huge part of me wishes that I could... only so you can have it."

"That's one of the many reasons why I love you, you know," Harvey said. "You being "in the moment" has helped me to be a better man. As for the big question... it sounds to me like we both know the answer. Come on," he said with a small smile, leaving the table and reaching a hand out to her. "The day is young. There are memories to make, and tattoos to get."

Joey smiled as she slipped her hand into his. It looked as though they were going to be getting married. When was still a mystery, but there was no rush to make that happen. The happiness she felt presently... it was so great, she felt as though she would burst.

As Harvey said, the day was still young, and there was quite a bit they could do once their coffee was finished. First on their growing list, tattoos. Joey chose a phoenix on the right side of her back while Harvey opted for a hawk on his left deltoid. Both meant a lot to their respective owners, and she was definitely honored to have been present while he got his first., and quite possibly his last.

Next on their agenda, at her urging, was souvenir shopping which was followed up by food and more sight seeing. She took pictures of everything. It definitely seemed like a bit much, but she didn't know when they'd have the opportunity to come back. It was all about making memories and enjoying the company of the other.

She left him to his own devices for about half an hour as word got to her that a package had arrived for her. Being secretive wasn't something she normally liked to do, but this was one that would be more than worth it in time. She hoped.

Once she'd rejoined him, it was back to the next leg of their journey... a glass bottom boat tour. They were able to see the colorful coral and bast numbers of beautiful tropical fish through the glass-bottom floor, and their guide shared the history and legends of Bora Bora's famous lagoon during the cruise.

There was only one way to end such a great day, and that came in the form of a twilight shuttle tour of the French Polynesian islands.

 

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