Dinner For Two

By

Linda A. Delaney

 

 

The blonde officer, in dress whites waited impatiently at the door of the Restaurant.

The Maitre’D approached, "Lt. Morton, would you like to take the table yet?"

"No, Charles. I’m waiting for someone. They should be here at any moment," the officer smiled, and then checked the time on the clock on the wall. "I’ll wait another ten minutes and then come in. Thank you."

The young officer paced the foyer of the restaurant looking at the door. Finally, after another twenty minutes, the officer turned on heel, and sought out the Maitre’D.

He looked up, "Yes, Lieutenant?"

"Looks like my dinner partner isn’t going to show. I guess his mission ran over… why don’t you just take me…"

"Lt. Morton, Commander Crane is just coming up the stairs now." The officer turned, and found a pair of deep green eyes staring at her. She returned the stare. His arm was in a black sling, in stark contrast to his dress whites. He smiled.

"Hi, Kit. Sorry I’m late." He lifted his arm in the sling. "Had a bit of an accident. Had to stop at the MedBay to see Frank and Jamie. Needless to say, they aren’t happy with me…" He bent over and kissed her lightly on the cheek… He looked up, "Is everything ready?"

"I guess so. Charles has been hovering a bit. Seems to me a bit too much. Me.. I’m just glad to see you… are you really okay?"

"Yep. Just a small fracture. I…Uh… fell. Simple, really. Anyway, I’ll tell you about it after dinner. I’m just happy that I was able to make it here. And on time…sorta…" he grinned and extended his arm to her, and she slid her arm into his. "Let’s have dinner, Kit. We have a lot to talk about…."

Charles came to them… "Commander, Lieutenant…follow me please…"

The restaurant sat on the cliff road outside Santa Barbara, and he seated them at a window, on the water. It was sunset, and the reflection of the sun on the ocean was a blend of reds, yellows, and orange mixing to make soft palette of color. Mixing with the blue and grey of the ocean, the picture was one of warmth and peace. Robert Crane felt for the small box in his pocket, and releasing it, he stood, waiting for Charles to hold Catherine’s chair, and seat her, and then he took his seat. A bottle of champagne sat in ice at the side of the table, and the Maitre’D held it to Robert for his approval.

"Moet Chandon, as you ordered, sir."

"Thank you, Charles." The man nodded and proceeded to open and pour the sparkling beverage into the champagne flutes on the table. Robert nodded thank you, and Charles left, leaving the two of them alone…

"Kit…?"

"Yes?"

"I’ve got something here that I want you to have. I’m afraid I’m a lot like my dad when it comes to things like this…not very good at the words."  He took the box out of his pocket. He took a deep breath and reached for Catherine’s hand. Having the use of only one hand definitely impeded him, and he smiled ruefully, his green eyes looking both amused and sad at the same time.

"Catherine Elizabeth Morton, I love you. You took my heart the first time we met, when you were only a baby and I was a whole eight years old. You have always been special to me… we grew up together. We know one another better than most… you have seen me at my very worst, and I hope at my very best. We have a lot in common, but we are different enough to have our own interests, likes and dislikes. I see a lot of your father, my good friend, in you, and a lot of Matty, too. But you, like me, are also very much your own person. We have grown up in a special world , and have lived lives that are very different than most. Some people live a moment of their life on the edge, we spend all of our lives there. We have the boat, the Institute, and all of our families. We have a lot of responsibility. And we have grown up surrounded by the love of our one family… I guess I’m going on a bit here, but I want you to know what I think, and feel.

“Kit, I want to make this Valentine’s Day a special one for you.  I’d like to ask you if you would do me the honor of becoming my wife. " He opened the silver, heart shaped box and resting in the center, was a small, delicate heart shaped diamond ring. He took it out of the box, and taking her hand, slid it on the ring finger of her left hand, "Will you marry me?"

Her eyes, blue and turquoise, filled with tears.  "Yes…" she whispered, "Yes, Robert Crane, I will be your wife…and yes, you are like your father.  It certainly took you long enough… and I love the ring…"

"It was my mother’s. Dad gave it to me few years after I graduated from the Academy he told me to save it for a special girl. I think he knew then that I was in love with you. But, like Dad was with Caitlin, it took me a long time to realize that the feelings were more than I thought they were."

She smiled at him. "May tell you a secret?"

"According to Caitlin, we shouldn’t have any from one another, so go ahead."

"You know that my mom had this ring for many years?" Kittle asked as she fingered the heart shaped diamond.

"Yes , Dad told me that he didn’t know where it went after my mom died, that he really didn’t care about it. And then, later, Gran told him that she had given it to your mom for safe keeping." He looked at her carefully, and saw her smile.

"Well, one day when I was about six or so, I was playing dress up in Mom’s closet. There was a box with a beautiful white silk Mexican Wedding dress, and rebozo. I didn’t know at the time, that it was the dress that Mom wore when she married Daddy. Buried in the corner was that box with this ring. I fell in love with the ring, and I used to make up stories about the beautiful princess that wore the dress, and the ring. Then mom told me it was her dress, and that your dad had given it to her, that it had belonged to your Mom, and she had never worn it… She never told me whose ring it was, but after that time, it wasn’t in the box any longer."

"I guess she put it in what she felt was a safer place.  Dad told me that Matty brought it back to him a few years after he and Caitlin were married. She thought that he should have it back. He kept it in the safe in his office at home. I never knew about it until he gave it to me…I asked him about it, and all he told me was that it was my Mom’s and I should hold it until I found the right girl… He said I already knew the right girl, and that I would eventually realize it. And that I had better do it soon. He told me that he wanted to have the chance to know his grandchildren."

They both laughed, nervous about the commitment they both were making, and the ramifications of it. Theirs was a first… It would be the first time two children of the Senior Staff married one another. And it would make them all more of a family than ever. Kit Morton leaned over the table, gently kissed Robert .

"I love you, RC. I think I always have. And I want to be your wife, to share your life as long as I live. I treasure this ring… because who wore it, and because of the person who gave it to me." She took her glass and raised it in a toast. "To all who came before us… those we love, and those who had a part in making us who and what we are… and especially to Cathy Connors Crane, whose ring I now wear, and whose son will be my life mate. Thank you ,wherever you are."

Robert touched his glass to hers… "To Mom, Happy Valentine’s Day ! And to you, Catherine Morton… A very Happy Valentine’s Day!"

 

Happy Valentine’s Day… hope that you enjoy this glimpse into the future!
Linda

 

 

 

 

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