#BOAW: The Beauty That Is… Me!

Find more Beauty of A Woman posts by clicking the icon.

This post is part of August McLaughlin‘s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest …an annual celebration of beauty in all its forms…for more, here’s August herself! =D

What makes you feel beautiful? What’s helped you embrace your body/appearance as it is? What area are you still working on—or should you? What makes you feel sexy? What helped you embrace, rather than shame, your sexuality? What’s stopping you? How do you define real beauty or sex appeal? Who epitomizes beauty and sexiness, IYO? What advice would you give your younger self or a girl in your life about beauty and/or sexuality? 

I’ll admit it. When I say that I know I’m beautiful, I still find myself resisting the urge to turn around and look over my shoulder. You see, I was raised to believe that it was immodest, and therefore undesirable and maybe even wrong, to compliment myself. I was told that it was bragging or ‘fishing for compliments’.

Well, I am beautiful. And I don’t think it’s bragging or unseemly to say so. My beauty is an accomplishment, a tribute to years of learning, work, healing, and self-discovery. I’ve delved beneath the layers and levels of conditioning, drained and stitched festering old wounds, and adjusted my inner and outer vision until I could see not only the beauty all around me, but also that which has been within me, all along.

Yes, I look back now at pictures of me as a little girl, and as a young woman – and I see someone beautiful – without the confidence to see or know her own beauty, or her own strength.

I first realized it by accident, a few years ago; I was at my parents’ house, when my attention was caught by one snapshot of a lovely young girl with long wavy blonde hair, sitting on a picnic table with her legs drawn up beneath her. I stared at her for minutes, trying to place her.

She was me. I’d been about sixteen then, and deeply insecure about my appearance. That wavy blonde hair? Wouldn’t do a thing I wanted it to. This was the 80s, the decade of big hair and oodles of hair spray to hold it. Only, my thick hair simply would not be tamed, insisting on doing its own wild thing…

At nineteen, with Aviendha. Thin, but unhappily embroiled in an abusive and toxic relationship.

I thought I was too skinny. I’d been a late bloomer, and held onto the image that I was a scrawny girl, long after I wasn’t anymore.

When I saw that old picture, I saw a beautiful girl smiling or laughing at something long forgotten…

Caught in that unguarded moment of not caring how I looked, I was beautiful. And that was the beginning of healing, for me.

As I’ve healed and grown and explored my own inner terrain, bits and pieces of it rise to my surfaces. No, I’m not sixteen anymore – but there’s more light and love and life in my eyes now. I don’t spend a lot of time considering how I look to other people – there’s too much else to think about, and see, and do. I’ve found not only my beauty, but my strength. I spend my time in a way that delights me, surrounded by people I love.

Brand new mom with two day old Jeremiah.

Sure, I’m no longer the thin young girl I once was – but the thickening of my body is the result of nearly forty-six years of life, almost eighteen years of being married to a mighty fine chef (I don’t just mean that he cooks for me; he actually IS a professional chef). It’s a consequence of having carried and given birth to three children in the space of four years. To some extent, I’ve been thickened by grief – the grief that comes with the loss of our second child twelve days after his birth.

I’ve found joy, and purpose, in the aftermath of that tragedy. There’s something beautiful in that – in embracing love and life and possibility, when I might’ve chosen a different path – one of bitterness, or rage, or betrayal…

With my kids in Lake George, NY, fall 2013. I’m beautiful when I’m happy and fulfilled!

I’ve found a beauty that comes from my deepest places, my most intimate self. And, by bits and pieces, I’ve given it the space to shine through. The more confident I grow in myself, the more beautiful I grow.

My hair? It’s darker, now, and scattered liberally with silver. It’s still as wild – but now, I see that as a reflection of a more elemental part of my own nature, and I love it. It suits me. So do the new lines in my face, the roadmap of my own personal history I wear with pride of ownership.

Mine may not be a ‘classic’ beauty – but it is my own, born of my history and my personal journey, and I claim it for my own.

What makes you beautiful?

Find more Beauty of A Woman blogposts here!

Making my own dreams – like being a published writer – a priority in my life makes me beautiful!

WIPpet Wednesday: Storms and Snares

Come WIPpet with us! =D

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

I’m returning to Chameleon’s Dish (which may or may not become Never Doubt I Love) – to reconnect with Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee…

In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk the Bard’s words and Hunt her lost identity.

This month I’m sharing the opening lines from each character’s Inciting Incident, as they’re currently written in revised first draft scenes. We’ll be on vacation when this posts, so I may be slow making visits and returning comments – but I’ll get to as many as I’m able to.

Today I offer you Henry’s opening. He’s a boy on the cusp of manhood, who’s been fending for himself far longer than a child should need to. He’s currently occupied with assuring he can survive the winter…a winter that’s not going to be anything like what he expected…

Note: I’m still struggling a bit with Henry’s specific voice and language. I need to do more research; that will come before Draft 3. For now, any suggestions appreciated! He’s also likely going to be a little older by the final draft – fourteen or so.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is February 18, 2015.
  • Math: Adding the digits of the year: 2+0+1+5 =8. Subtract that from the date: 18-8 =10. for a total of 10 longer paragraphs.

The rutting musk of a fallow buck, blended with the sweat of his labors, were rank and unpleasant in Henry’s nose. He hastened as much as he dared, wanting to have done with this snare line. He wanted to be home before full dark, and he was thinking that he would heat a bucket from the creek over the fire, and have a good washing later, to cleanse the noisome scent, and warm his chilled bones.

Seven rabbits filled half of his hempen carrysack, their bodies stiffening with death and cold alike. It was meat for himself, and for Goody Cooper and her brood of hungry young, and their furs, so close to the coming of snow, were rich with winter growth. Spring would find him with need of the coin they would bring, to replace the supplies he used over the winter.

Thoughts of a washing, and the venison stew, cheese, and bread awaiting him, roused his spirits, and his feet, needing no trail, were lighter upon the ground beneath his snare line, despite his burden -almost too much for his body, still small for his twelve years. He smiled at the call of a winterbird, and gave back an answering whistle, pausing a few beats, head tipped, to listen for a return call. That it did not come told him that he hadn’t quite the mastery of the call.

He’d have ample time to practice, soon enough. Henry lifted his eyes to the heavens; the clouds were growing heavy and full; the air held the tang of growing chill and coming snow. He was of a mind to remain within doors, on the morrow. He could skin the rabbits, and begin his stew, and some meat for drying -he might even have one for spitting and roasting.

Best I tend to these snares, then, while I still have the ease to walk on solid ground, and so do the rabbits.” He liked his lips, and ran a hand through his tangled curls to press them back away from his eyes.

It was an odd habit, this way he had of talking to himself, and he hoped none of Verity’s children were lurking about, ready to tell their mother all they saw and heard. Mayhap, she would think him ensorceled, or mad, to speak so where none were near enough to answer. In the foundling’s home, he had scarce spoke; to speak wrongly might gain a slap, hard labor on his knees, and, oftentimes, even worse. It were best, there, to be small, silent, and willing to do as he was bidden.

Now, he lived as he chose, and spake as he would, and wondered if that made him a madman. He sang, softly, as he walked his snare line, gauging his pace by the number of snares unchecked, and the lowering of the sun through branches and gathering clouds. Aye, there would be time enough, if he did not tarry about the tending.

Only a dozen snares between him and the pleasures of his home, now, and Henry’s mood was fine, when he came upon a sprung and empty loop of leather cord. It had not been escaped – there were broken branches, and bits of fur clinging to them that bespoke struggle, and the scent of death clung like a shadow.

The snare was unbroken; something had slipped the carcass from the loop, leaving him the cord, but no meat. And so it was with full half of the next six – the rabbit gone, unbroken snare left behind.

Ah, a mystery – and less meat than Henry expected. What or who is robbing his snares? Will he survive the winter? Catch the thief?

Well…

C’mon, you really didn’t expect me to answer, didja?

See you next week – and, hey, while you’re here, here’s the link to more delightful WIPpet Snippets; assorted genres and styles to choose from! =D

 

February 15, 2015: Looking to the Horizon…

ROWin’ merrily through the snow! =D

ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Goals can be changed at any time, when life or interests change. And, for me, it’s Anytime…again!

Our vacation is upon us, and, in the spirit of being with our family, and enjoying life, I’m minimizing my goals, until the end of the month, and perhaps through the first week of March.

I’ve been adding blog posts to my queue, so that I can relax and still connect and share. I’ll be online less, through the coming weeks, and I may be slow at answering comments – but I will still be here! As far as my writing goals, I’ll be focused more on some of the offline goals, during my time away. Writing, planning, and revision will feature largely, during those times when I’m free to do as I will, and have the creative impulse (historically, I to be much more in input than output mode when I travel, but who knows?).

I may not post updates for the rest of the month…or I might.  Hard to say…so much depends on how things progress..but I will be back with revised end-of-round goals early in March. 

How bout you? Do you have faraway family you’d love to see again? A favorite or fantasy vacation locale? Goal adjustments?

You mean I have to say goodbye to all this (plus the foot and a half or two we’ve gotten since)?!

The bigger picture:

February Accounting (Revised List):

  • Goals attained: blue with strikethrough.  9

  • Goals in progress: green. 20

  • Goals-in-waiting: red. 8

February Update #1:

Focuses:

  • Oregon Trip: Planning and execution.

  • Revisions: Chameleon’s Dish; The IDIC Romance.

  • Write1Sub1: Several written; “Slow Jazz Awakening”.

  • Bloggy Stuff: Love Is In Da Blog,and, of course, Beauty of a Woman; Original and Girl Boner editions.

Writing:

Write1Sub1:

Write rough draft “Tuesday Afternoon Tea” – next chapter/story in “Monday Morning Coffee” series.

  • Reread/highlighted story/character notes.
  • Began character sketch (name/role/occupation/ physical description).

February: Submit “Soft Jazz Awakening” to Ad Astra.

  • Compilation Draft 1.5 completed!
  • 2/19 short scenes highlighted for revision.

Kifo Island Chronicles:

Complete rough draft of Terrance’s story (for Kifo Island Chronicles). 

  • Copied WIP from 750words to LibreOffice file.
  • Reread existing material.

Star Trek Chronology Project

Rewatch Season 1 of Star Trek: Enterprise; taking notes for Story -a-Day May.

  • Review character backgrounds.

The IDIC Romance:

Submit first story, “Slow Jazz Awakening”.

  • Progressing.

A-Z travel posts:

Write intro post.

  • Set dates through April 20 post.

Trueborn Warp/Weft series:

  • February: Review background information.

Write at least 750 words daily:

Use 750words.com for freewriting and to chart progress.

  • 13/28 days. Missed my third day of the year. Still over 750/day, on average.

Editing Bliss! =D

Editing:

The IDIC Romance:

Slow Jazz Awakening” – Complete draft.

  • Moving along.

Write1Sub1

Slow Jazz Awakening” – Complete revision passes.

Social media in our kitchen!

Social Media:

Blog Maintenance:

Maintain regular posting schedule, comments, and visits.

  • Moving ahead, trying to get all posts completed for the duration of our trip.

Build blog queues:

Write at least 1 Coffee and Conversation post.

  • Tomorrow’s post set up.
  • Next two weeks’ post in the idea stage.

Blogging Action Plan:

  • Rough draft revision.
  • Review Lovely Chaos Sidebar; make list of desired changes.

Twitter and Facebook

Visit Facebook twice weekly.

  • 2/2.

Visit Twitter thrice weekly.

  • 2/3.

Pinterest, LinkedIn, WANATribe, ect:

Visit at least one weekly.

Share posts – mine, and others’:

Share 5 items a week.

  • 5/5: Links shared via reblog; Second Serving Sunday; and RT.

Blog views and followers:

Continue goal; increase to 50 (at least 10 times this month).

  • Feb.11: 24
  • Feb.12: 51
  • Feb.13: 19
  • Feb.14: 31
  • 6/28.
  • I think these totals are reflective of the fact that I’ve been building queues, rather than focusing on interaction.

Uh…..home-eating?!

Hometending:

Personal Administration:

Maintain inbox below 100 messages twice weekly.

  • 1/ 2 for the week, a serious sort/purge.

ROW80:

Keep visits up-to-date.

Lifetending:

Oregon vacation:

Do them.

  • Many balls still in the air; the juggling’s getting easier….nearly ready to go!
  • Make it So!”

Kindle ebooks:

Write reviews for 2 books on my Writers I Know list, and post to Amazon.

NNWM local group:

Continue attending write-ins whenever possible.

  • Virtual write-in via Twitter, due to inclement weather. Fun! =D

Interact at least weekly online.

  • 1/1.

Meditation:

Experiment with guided/unguided meditation at least once a week.

TBR Stacks:

Read 1 book from bedroom TBR pile.

Smart Change: 

  • Make a list of goals to focus on, using the methods in this book.

My beloveds:

One on one time with each, at least five times each, doing something of value to us both.

  • Accomplice: 6/5
  • Annalise: 6/5
  • Jeremiah: 4/5
  • Couples’ time; vacation talk; shopping; playing with our new phones; chatting.

And away she goes!

Fitness and Nutrition:

Workouts:

At the Y or a strenuous activity twice weekly.

  • 3/2: Snow shoveling; firewood carrying.

Wii Fit at least once weekly, for 15 minutes minimum.

Walk, dance, swim, or physical play:

With children, spouse, and/or dog at least weekly.

2/1: played ball with dog; shoveled and played in snow with Annalise.

Intuitive Eating:

  • Read.

Cooking/ Food Preparation:

Maintain weekly nutritional quotas; adapt as needed.

Weight:

Maintain or reduce weight; continue monthly checks.

Take a ride on the ROWboat!

Seeking Inspiration on Another Shore…

#LoIsInDaBl Day 13: Carnage on Love’s Battlefield

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Today, Bee prompted us to write about violence in love, perhaps using this Pat Benatar song as an inspiration.

When I first heard, “Love is a Battlefield”, as a high schooler, I thought of it only in terms of romantic love, and I wasn’t sure I agreed. I imagined a chessboard that took over an entire landscape, rolling over mountains and valleys. It was there that the battle was raged, each time I heard the song- the male and female warriors constantly driving against one another, trying to win.

It would be nearly two decades before I realized that romantic love doesn’t offer the only killing ground. It can be there in any purportedly loving relationship, when someone puts their wants ahead of another’s need, or uses greater power, capacity, or authority to menace and force others to their will…

I couldn’t see it when I lived on the battlefield, but I was raised with the certainty that love can and does hurt, that the powerful would dominate the weak, and that it was self-preservation to always, ALWAYS be wary of the people around you, and the circumstances, because guarded truces and cease-fires could end with no warning at all. Annihilation of spirit and assaults to the body were givens- always just a matter of time.

Our home was love’s battlefield, and the wars couldn’t be avoided.

It’s hard to understand that, if it’s all that you’ve known. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I began to realize it. Without any intention of doing so, I’d dug trenches, armed myself, and designated front lines in my own home, with my own husband and little children. I didn’t know, really, that it could be another way for us.

I also didn’t know how strongly certain defense mechanisms were embedded in me, and that, when one was triggered, I wasn’t capable of responding with logic or compassion. Nope, it was straight-on fight or flight, just as it had been when I was a kid, and had no way out. Afterward, I’d be sorry – but there was so much I didn’t know that it would happen again, and again.

One of the best things I’ve ever done to learn to build a lasting peace -in my home, my family, and my life – was to read Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, by Thich Nhat Hanh. It helped me to see my rage in new ways, and to pay attention to it, and what it was trying to tell me, rather than hide from it, or be controlled by it.

When I realized that I was triggered by my husband sighing because my father had often sighed just before he launched into a fit of rage that could end with me on the floor trying to avoid his blows, I was also able to realize that my Accomplice sighs when he’s content, or frustrated, or angry – but that he’s never once laid a hand on me in anger. When we argued, and he stood in the doorway, I wasn’t reacting to him, so much as the old terror of being a trapped child who couldn’t escape what were often untenable and frightening circumstances.

I was unfairly judging my husband on the basis of a family history he doesn’t share and can’t truly understand. And it was causing problems in our marriage, and our family. I’ve since learned that the “fight-or-flight” instinct lasts about 90 seconds. If I can resist it that long, I will be able to think more clearly, and choose more wisely.

It made me see my own responses, and the things that precipitated them, in a new light. It helped me learn to assess each situation only by itself. It’s been a few years, and we now have a far more peaceful home.

Something else came from this learning. I understand my parents in a way I didn’t, before. I think back to my childhood, and wonder how many things each day triggered memories of their own childhoods. There was certainly a “flashpoint” quality to their rages that extended well into my adulthood. I suspect many people may be responding to triggers from their own pasts when they unleash their furies – and that they have no idea, usually, that the problem isn’t nearly so much with the current target of their rage than with the long-ago perpetrator….

I’m estranged from my parents, because there seemed no other way to dismantle the trappings of a battlefield in those relationships. But I don’t blame them for the carnage in my childhood; I think I understand, even if I choose not to engage.

Because there is a choice, for me, now. I don’t have to live out the pattern I was raised within, and love doesn’t have to be a battlefield, here, in my life.

And it isn’t.

It’s a lot more like this (yes, including the wonderful silliness!):

Looking for more Love Is In Da Blog? Find it right here! 

February 11, 2015: Double-Vision…

Merrily ROWing down the frozen February stream! =D

Did you know that ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows you have a life? Or that participants can change or adapt goals anytime?

Well, for me, it’s Anytime…

With our family vacation just around the bend, it’s time to narrow my goals for the next week. I may shift frequently, through the rest of the month, because we’ll be otherwise occupied. For clarification, I’m keeping the link to my original February goals, from which the list will be drawn.

Things are moving along. I’m trying to balance the preparations with blogging – I may not have regular internet access, or the focus to use it, while we’re away – and writing projects. I’ll have to see how that balance shifts and blends, over the next few weeks…

How about you? Are you making progress on your 2015 goals? Making exciting new plans? Pulling assorted pieces and projects together?

The bigger picture:

February Accounting (Revised List):

  • Goals attained: blue with strikethrough. 11

  • Goals in progress: green. 20

  • Goals-in-waiting: red. 12

February Update #3:

Focuses:

  • Oregon Trip: Planning and execution.

  • Revisions: Chameleon’s Dish; The IDIC Romance.

  • Write1Sub1: TBD; “Slow Jazz Awakening”.

  • Bloggy Stuff: Love Is In Da Blog, and, of course, Beauty of a Woman;  Original and Girl Boner editions.

Writing:

Write1Sub1:

Write rough draft – next chapter/story in “Monday Morning Coffee” series.

  • Tuesday Afternoon Tea” – Background complete through Character G/M/C.

February: Submit “Slow Jazz Awakening” to a fan fiction site TBD.

  • Compilation (Draft 1.5) progressing; at climactic scene.

Kifo Island Chronicles:

Star Trek Chronology Project:

Rewatch Season 1 of Star Trek: Enterprise; taking notes for Story -a-Day May. 

  • Review character backgrounds.

The IDIC Romance

Research fan fiction sites.

Choose one for first submission.

Submit first story, “Slow Jazz Awakening”.

  • Progressing.

A-Z travel posts:

Create list of A-Z post topics.

Write intro post.

  • Set dates through April 20 post.

Trueborn Warp/Weft series:

  • February: Review background information.

Write at least 750 words daily:

Use 750words.com for freewriting and to chart progress.

  • 10/28 days. Missed one by 400 or so; but still far ahead on average.

Editing:

The IDIC Romance:

Slow Jazz Awakening” – Complete draft.

  • Moving along.

Write1Sub1: http://www.write1sub1.com/

  • Slow Jazz Awakening” – Complete revision passes.

Choose story 4/5 for 2015 revision.

Social Media:

Blog Maintenance:

Maintain regular posting schedule, comments, and visits.

  • Finally caught up, and moving ahead.

Build blog queues:

Write at least 1 Coffee and Conversation post.

  • Used the one I had this week.
  • Idea stage for next four posts.

Write 1 “special” WIPpet.

  • Posted today; next two WIPpets in drafts.

Blogging Action Plan:

  • Rough draft revision.
  • Review Lovely Chaos Sidebar; make list of desired changes.

Twitter  and Facebook:

Visit Facebook twice weekly.

  • 2/2.

Visit Twitter thrice weekly.

  • 1/3.

Pinterest, LinkedIn, WANATribe,  ect:

Visit at least one weekly.

Share posts – mine, and others’:

Share 5 items a week.

  • 2/5: Links shared via reblog; Second Serving Sunday.

Blog views and followers:

Continue goal; increase to 50 (at least 10 times this month).

  • Feb.8:   29
  • Feb.9:   40
  • Feb.10: 36
  • 5/28.

Hometending:

Personal Administration:

Maintain inbox below 100 messages twice weekly.

  • Tuesday – serious sort/purge.

ROW80:

Keep visits up-to-date.

Lifetending:

Oregon vacation:

Make list of what needs doing.

Make schedule for accomplishing list items.

Do them.

  • Many balls in the air; juggling a bit frenetically….progress being made.
  • Make it So!”

Kindle ebooks:

Write reviews for 2 books on my Writers I Know list, and post to Amazon.

NNWM local group:

Continue attending write-ins whenever possible.

  • Virtual write-in via Twitter, due to inclement weather. Fun! =D

Interact at least weekly online.

  • 1/1.

Meditation:

Experiment with guided/unguided meditation at least once a week.

TBR Stacks:

Read 1 book from bedroom TBR pile.

Smart Change: 

  • Make a list of goals to focus on, using the methods in this book.

My beloveds:

One on one time with each, at least five times each, doing something of value to us both.

  • Accomplice: 5/5
  • Annalise:      6/5
  • Jeremiah:      4/5
  • Couples’ time; vacation talk; M*A*S*H; shoveling snow from trampoline; shopping; playing with our new phones; chatting.

Paying it Forward:

Fitness and Nutrition:

Workouts:

At the Y or a strenuous activity twice weekly.

  • Snow shoveling.

Wii Fit at least once weekly, for 15 minutes minimum.

Walk, dance, swim, or physical play:

With children, spouse, and/or dog at least weekly.

2/1: played ball with dog; shoveled and played in snow with Annalise.

Intuitive Eating: 

  • Read.

Cooking/ Food Preparation:

Maintain weekly nutritional quotas; adapt as needed.

Weight:

Maintain or reduce weight; continue monthly checks.

Take a ride on the ROWboat!

WIPpet Wednesday: “…Claim Me As Your Valentine”

Do you like to WIPpet?

 

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys! First up – I’ll be in Oregon next week and  the one after.  I’ll schedule my posts, but might not  get back to answer comments or visit.  I’m gonna miss you guys!

Guess who’s back, just for this week, to tempt and tease?

Disclaimers: T’Pol, Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful! Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

This snippet from The IDIC Romance, my Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, occurs during the climactic Season 3 episode, Zero Hour – February 14, 2154.  After a year of trauma, rifts,  and personal crisis,  TnT are finally growing closer again. T’Pol just floored Trip with a sudden and irresistible seduction…and now, the aftermath…and after the snippet, I’ve got another sweet treat for you! <3

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is February 11, 2015.
  • Math: None, except that it’s a Valentine’s Day story….and you’re welcome.

Warnings: A mite spoilery, as in we see some of how the relationship might progress. Also quite first-drafty.

T’Pol recovered herself to find Trip was watching her. He seemed both very pleasantly surprised, and worried. Perhaps other things, as well.

“You feel so much, at once. Doesn’t it confuse you?”

“You’ve met me, right?” He grinned, but studied her closely. “I’m doing this a bit ass-backwards, but, are you OK? You had me scared for a minute or two, there – I think you fainted – and then you made me forget that I was scared…”

“I am – perhaps more ‘OK” than I have been in – in far too long.” She pulled him in for another deep kiss. “I have missed this…t’hy’la.”

“Mind if I point out that you could have had it, anytime?”

“Only if you will accept my word that it’s not true in the sense you believe.”

“I’m suddenly getting the idea that there’s a lot I don’t know here.” His touch was gentle, and his concern deepened. “Am I making things worse again?”

“You are offering perhaps the deepest of healing.”

**

She meant it. He could almost feel it – the release of all that desperate control, the crumbling of the walls she’d held.

He wanted to charge in, storm the castle, and claim the lovely princess for his own…

But this was no fairy tale – and she’d been through hell – might still be in hell, even now, beneath the flush of release. At best, she was fragile – and in command. Aww, hell.

Trip found himself chuckling. “The Captain expects you to keep me in line, remember?”

“Perhaps, then, I should evaluate your performance, and give him a comprehensive report?”

“Aww, pepperpot.” He embraced her, settled her head on his shoulder, and sighed. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”

Damned if he was even gonna try to pin her down on this one. Nope. This time, he was just gonna enjoy the moment, and not try to make one thing out of it that it wasn’t. Besides, soon, she was going to get up and get back to work – and he wanted her to be able to do that without worrying about him.

Now, she craned her neck to look at him upside down. “You’ve used that appellation before. I find myself – most curious as to its origin.”

“Good. ‘Bout time I had you wondering about something, ‘stead of the other way ’round. Hey, what time is it?”

She glanced at her monitor, and then he felt her start to gather herself. “We were due in the Command Center fifteen minutes ago,” she said, and stretched against him with a decadence that made him groan. “We are quite late – I had forgotten.” And still, she didn’t quite seem to be able to pull herself away ….she kissed him again, and her paired fingers caught at his, in that delightful kissing that didn’t look like kissing, and her quiver made him wish, for a minute, that they were the two lowest peons in the chain of command, instead of the highest.

She seemed to have forgotten again, already, judging by her dreamy-sultry eyes. “Hey, pepperpot?”

“Mmmn?”

“You. Me. Clothes. Work.” He held her shoulders and formed each syllable distinctly; she seemed to need that. Whatever had broken down those walls she’d had up for so long seemed to have her feeling a hell of a lot more than thinking, and he hoped he hadn’t made it impossible for her to do her job.

T’Pol actually made a face as though she’d eaten an especially tart lemon whole. She met his eyes; hers held a teasing light. “Awww, hell.”

That sent Trip into raucous laughter; she gave him that special little head tip that said she thought his sanity was in serious question, and got up smoothly – just as the comm signaled. “Bridge to T’Pol.”

“Damn, pepperpot – they caught you.”

“This is true.” She walked, stark naked and delicious, to the comm. “But only you, Trip, can claim me as your Valentine. T’Pol here.”

She was all business as she acknowledged the call – except for that smoldering way she was looking at him, and the brazenness of the way she stood there, unabashedly nude.

What‘s next? Will their tryst be discovered? Will T’Pol actually write an evaluation for the captain? Will Trip be able to resist a naked and smoldering Vulcan who’s finally open to passion again?

Well, you’ll have to keep guessing, at least for a while…but I did promise another surprise, and here it is:

Second Serving Monday: The Double Feature Edition

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, from my little corner of the blogosphere

So, I kinda vanished last week. Sorry about that! It was just – well, life. I can’t get more specific than that; I really don’t know anything except that I ran out of day long before I ran out of things to do. And with vacation looming ever closer on the horizon, that’s not that likely to change for a while.

To make up for my absence; I’m offering a more streamlined Second Serving that will play catchup, and usher in February a bit late, but with sincerity.

Last week in life:

  • Snow, writing, new boots, new ideas, growth, hometending, and other bits and pieces.

My last Second Serving Sunday post: The Final January 2015 Edition. 

  • Check here to access the previous week’s posts and news.

And now, features from the last two weeks

Coffee and Conversation:

WIPpet Wednesday:

  • Can You?”T’Pol has a plan, but Trip resists the logic of it.
  • Father?”: A young girl awakens alone in a forest – or is she still dreaming?

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

  • Dance Lessons?:  Jonathan Archer decides to ask T’Pol to dinner, only to find her in Trip’s arms, with an improbable explanation.
  • When Trip Met T’Pol” (Movie Night): T’Pol’s exploration of a human concept called love includes Harry, Sally, Trip – and contradictions that define.

Just Jot It January: A daily post on the current prompt, all month long.

  • Kids: Who Owns Their Sexuality?: An exploration of what parents can control, and whether we should try.
  • Of Zucchinis and Condoms: An impromptu question sparks experimentation and new learning.
  • Vulcan Biology – As In Reproduction: How DO Vulcans choose their mates? A foray into the fascinating fictional reality of pon farr, the Vulcan mating imperative.
  • Inter-Species Relations: A flash fiction account of T’Pol telling Trip about a life-or-death matter.
  • Sex in the Big City: An adventure to the Big Apple, and into sexuality and friendship.
  • Who Owns My Sexuality?: Is it me? The government? My spouse? Society? I have ideas.

Love Is In Da Blog: A month-long celebration of love; with weekly themes and daily prompts.

ROW80: The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life.

Variety’s Spice:

We like trains!

What’s Next:

February Focuses:

  • Oregon Trip: Lots to plan and do to get ready for our upcoming vacation.
  • The rest of life – blogging, hometending, family, other writing…

This week, on the blog:

  • For Coffee and Conversation: A tribute to my Accomplice, and the life we’ve lived together.
  • For WIPpet Wednesday: A sweet surprise.
  • Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), a #LoIsInDaBl/SoCs combined prompt.
  • ROW80 Updates: My progress on my January goals for A Round of Words in 80 Days;
  • Love Is In Da Blog: A daily post on the current prompt, all month long.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Life Stuff:

  • With our vacation getting closer, most of the focus will be on getting ready to go.

Aglow in the snow!