DAD'S BEST ADVICE
By Eileen Fox
This is a gap filler for Learning Curve. My take on the cold shoulder scene in 'Learning Curve' I know it seemed to hit a lot of people's hot button but it just seemed like a typical married moment to me. I just tried to have fun with it. Hope you do too.
I am going to pretend you were going to tell me this sooner or later," Delenn said.
"I was just looking for the right time." John knew he was in hot water. Delenn was struggling with her feelings. "Ten seconds after you thought of it would have been good."
"Yeah, you're right. Are you all right?"
Was that all he could say? "Yes, I think so. It will just take some getting used to," Delenn said uncertainly.
She then turned away from John and took refuge curling the blanket up about her. She could feel John turn towards her and all she could do was scoot farther towards her edge of their bed.
John could not think of anything else to say that would make it okay. No..... that wasn't true, he knew it would be okay, they loved too much to not forgive. But that does not stop the hurt you can cause a loved one when you do the wrong thing for whatever reason. 'Face it, John, you screwed up big time'. He turned and waved the night light off.
Was it hours or just minutes that John spent looking up at the ceiling? It felt like hours, but a quick glance at the chronometer proved his agony was only a few minutes long. He could hear Delenn's even breathing. 'I got to make this right.' Quietly, he slid out of bed and ever so slowly he came around to Delenn's side. Kneeling down so that his face was level with hers in almost prayer like reverence, "Please don't be asleep," he whispered. "My father will kick me in the butt".
Delenn's eyes were still closed. There was a grin however taking charge of her mouth and it could not be stopped from betraying her still wakeful state. 'BUTT.' "There is that word again. And why would your father, who loves you with all that he is want to KICK YOUR BUTT".
"Because I didn't listen to his sage advice." John was almost pleading. The one thing Delenn of Mir, Ambassador to Minbar, former Satai of the Grey Council, and Entil'Zha of the Rangers could not steel herself from was her total love for this man kneeling before her in obvious distress. He had her heart, therefore the ability to make her smile by just being him.
"I want to be mad at you, John Sheridan," she said, opening her eyes to look at him.
"I know and I deserve it but...," he answered, nodding his head in agreement.
"But what or is it Butt the other, you are confusing me now John." She tried to look stern.
"Do you really want to be mad at me?" He brought his face closer to hers.
"What was your father's advice, John?" That grin was once again trying to escape on her.
"He told me that one of the keys for a healthy marriage was to never go to bed mad."
"Did he get much sleep in his life?" the grin finally winning free across her face.
"That was a Ivanova comeback if I ever heard one," John said in mock dismay.
"Well I miss her. We're getting off the subject, John"
"I know but you don't seem so mad anymore." John was pulling out all the stops on his boyish charm routine.
"Your 'DAD' would be very proud of you." With that, she brushed her fingertips along the side of his beloved face.
John was glad he was already on his knees since her touch left him weak. It was getting hard to concentrate. John didn't want to break the spell but he knew it was time to clear the air.
"Delenn, I told you the facts about Elizabeth but you should hear the rest."
"John Sheridan! If you are going to tell me about anymore wives tonight your father should KICK YOU IN THE BUTT."
"No! Nothing like that," John started seriously, until he saw the growing smile on is wife's face. "You're going to make me suffer aren't you?"
"Just a little. It's only fair, after the position you put me in with our new captain."
With that, John sprang from his kneeling position up and over Delenn, grabbed her up into his arms as he passed over, and brought her to rest on top of him. A mock scream came to Delenn, only to end in laughter. They stared into each other's eyes seriously for that split second. Finding each other's mouth, they felt the abandon only true lovers can. John would have happily lost himself in this woman, who was his true other half, but she was not letting him off the hook that easy.
"So what is this 'rest' you were talking about?"
"First off, I love you," his eyebrows were raised, and his eyes were doing their best puppy dog look. Delenn could only look back at him with her head slightly shaking from side to side; "I love you too, John. Now, let's get on with this so we can properly make up."
His jaw dropped open at the innuendo and his most private of body parts was want to snap to attention. He could actually feel himself blush. Would this woman always have this delirious effect on him? He hoped so. He knew so. But first, shaking his head a bit more vigorously to concentrate on what was left to say, he started again.
"Okay, I'm just going to start."
"Good plan, Mister President."
"Play fair." He gave her a pleading look. She nodded in quiet acceptance. "My parents have been married for fifty-five years. I've seen them fight; I've seen them love and every emotion that makes up the in-between. The one constant through it all was their genuine liking of each other. I remember they would kiss for any or no reason at all. Lizzy and me would howl sometimes to stop them but they never would. Down deep me and my sister were both glad they never did stop all that mush."
"MUSH?" Delenn asked.
John kissed her lips and rubbed her nose with his. "This is mush," he replied in a low voice...
"I like MUSH," Delenn whispered into his neck.
Once again John needed to take a gulp of air. "Our folks became Liz and my benchmark. It's what we thought of when we thought how life should be. We didn't know how remarkable our parents really were. They were just mom and dad to us." Delenn snuggled into John closer. "Down deep I wanted what they had, I didn't know how rare it was." With that, he tightened his grip on Delenn. For one painful moment John thought he could lose her if he didn't hold on tight.
Delenn seemed to know his mind, putting her palm softly to his cheek and giving him a smile that let him know she sometimes felt the same way. She kissed him, and for that lingering moment, all was right with the universe.
John caught the breath she took away and smiled back at her. "I have had the (what word could he use) luck, to have had some remarkable women in my life: as family, as friends and as lovers." John took a big breath; Delenn did not move a muscle. With the exception of Anna, John had never shared much of his past love life with Delenn. It never seem to matter, John had never wanted another woman when he was with Anna. In fact it was that pain -- the loss of Anna -- that stood in the way of his acceptance of his love for Delenn for so long. They had gotten through that together. And once that love was set free, his life before that diminished in importance. Which brought him back to Captain Elizabeth Lochley.
"I've told you about Elizabeth and me, but not how I felt when I met her." John took another breath. "During our time at the Academy, Lochley was always in the top ten, me too by the way (he pulled back to grin at his wife). It got pretty competitive. We were at each other's heals in everything from flight training to operation management. She topped me in Physics; I bested her in Astro-dynamics. More or less, it went back and forth like that. By the time we graduated we didn't know if we hated each other or couldn't live with out the other to push ourselves to excel. You throw in a healthy dose of hormones, add my fairy tale belief in married life, and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. We confused admiration and a true respect for each other for love."
"I suppose lust had nothing to do with it," Delenn chirped in. John turned three shades of red in an instant, which only made Delenn melt whatever coldness might have been within her if ever there truly was.
"Yes. Yes, you could say lust had something to do with it," John stammered. "But I... we found out the hard way that sex needs more than lust to keep it special for any length of time. Our life turned into one big loud fight. Not the I hate you kind of fights, just the type of fights about where we wanted our life to go, how we wanted to live it, would you like fries with that." With that Delenn shot her head up in confusion. "Bad earth joke. Forget it." John sneaked a quick kiss to her forehead. "But it didn't take long to figure out we made one hell of a boo-boo." Delenn shot that quizzical look at him again---"we made a mistake." She laid her head back down on his chest. "It took a while to get the paper work together to annul the marriage. As a matter of fact it took longer than the marriage. The only ones who made out were the lawyers; I think they got married and are still happy together."
Delenn peaked her head up once more and cautiously spoke. "Bad earth humor again?"
John beamed a smile at her. "You're getting so good at this."
She playfully batted him in the ribs with her hand, and John squeezed her tighter.
"I felt so stupid. How could I mess up so bad? The last time I saw her, we talked it over, and it seems she felt the same failure. You have to understand too that in Earthforce you keep running into the same people over and over again; we knew we would still have to deal with one another. So the talk was a good thing, we came back to the basic respect we started off with.
Elizabeth Lochley is smart, honorable, and a good person. I would trust her as my wingman any time, and I know she felt she could rely on me in a fight too. We became-- I know this is going to sound corny (he looked at Delenn, she smiled, she knew corny) we became comrades in arms. That means a lot to a soldier." John was quiet for a moment. "We still fought, but now it was over strategy or troop deployment. She is an honest and loyal antagonist. The marriage became hardly a memory. To its credit, it left me with one more person in my life I knew I could trust to be straight forward at all times. It also left me in total fear of my own ability to make a relationship work."
"Well husband of mine, your father would be proud of your ability now. And he will not have to do anything with your butt." Delenn whispered. "That will remain my job."
"I love it when you talk dirty, Delenn." John started to encircle his wife in his arms, only to be put off by a gentle push on his chest.
"John, I understand that we might never know all there is to know about each other -- I don't expect to. And some of my life on Minbar I still find hard to talk about, and some things I am clan bound never to speak of. I know you have accepted this in your way and I love you for your trust. But can we agree that if ever our past has need to move in on us, we will try to give the other good warning?"
"I promise, I promise, I promise," John put his hand over his heart.
"I love you, John Sheridan, and I always will no matter what," she pledged.
"Can we make up now?" John asked with a sheepish look.
"I think that would be wise," Delenn agreed. Putting her hands to his face she moved towards him knowing life with this man would never be boring, never mundane, and never long enough. She would, however, cherish every moment the universe would give to them. They met in a kiss that took all thought of the outside world away. For now that was enough.
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