[2740 AD; Executive Hotel – Ballroom Number One]
The place was filled with many members of the Iiayikohnian military as Ayanna’s celebration kicked off. Along with the military, Ayanna’s family was there was well. Sorin and Gale entered the ballroom as they watched the two young twin Ansa brothers ran past them.
An older man yelled at the two children. “Get back here!”
He bumped into Sorin, who was distracted by the lights and music.
“Sorry,” Sorin said.
“Ah, you’ve got nothing to be sorry about,” the man said. “Wait, ain’t you that Ameci soldier Ayanna’s been talking about?”
“Who, me?” Sorin asked.
“Yeah,” the man replied. “That soldier… what did she say his name was? Kevin? I have to apologize, boy, my memory ain’t the best around.”
“No worries,” Sorin said. “Also, it’s Gavin, and no, I am not him.”
“Well, Ayanna did mention a couple of other young men,” the man said. “Are you Steven?”
“Sorin,” Gale said.
The old man laughed. “That’s some name,” he said. “In case you haven’t found out, I’m Ayanna’s papa: Thabo Ansa!”
Sorin shook Thabo’s hand, as did Gale. “Nice to meet you, sir,” Sorin said.
“Gale Kunigunde,” she said.
“So what’s got you coming here?” Thabo asked.
Gale explained to Thabo about how they were invited by Mina. “She was insistent about it,” Gale said, “And we kind of wanted to come, too.”
“So it was that Mina girl who invited you,” Thabo said. “That girl, I tell you… She can really put it away!”
He laughed as Sorin tried to join in. “Yeah, it really does seem that way,” Sorin said.
“A big surprise coming out of a girl like her,” Thabo said. “That Mina, she makes other ladies jealous by how fit she is!”
“I think we get it, Mr. Ansa,” Gale said. “Have you seen Ayanna, by the way? We’d like to congratulate her.”
“She’s just out on the balcony,” he replied. “Apparently some guy wearing a fancy hat and crutches just came up to her and started yakking to her.”
“Sounds like Law,” Sorin said. “Thank you, sir.”
“No problem, Sorin!” Thabo replied. “I’m about to head back to my lady Amira, so if you ever want to talk to me again, let me know!”
Gale nodded. “We’ll let you know,” she said. “Shall we, Sorin?”
“Okay,” he said.
They moved past the tables and towards the balcony where Ayanna was listening to one of Law’s tales. He had already taken a seat by the railing while Ayanna stood next to him. While Law wore a gray suit, Ayanna wore a green dress.
“Well, Ayanna, that’s how I ended up winning that game of chess,” Law concluded. “Of course, I managed to get punched in the face afterwards, but it was worth it.”
“I really don’t know what I expected,” Ayanna said. “As for myself, I think I’m going to head back inside…”
She then spotted Gale and Sorin standing by the door.
“It looks like Mina was able to convince you,” Ayanna said. “I’m glad. How are you two?”
“I’m doing well,” Sorin replied.
“Same here,” Gale said.
“Have you met Gavin already?” Ayanna asked.
“We haven’t,” Gale replied, “However, we did meet your father. He was pretty nice to us.”
“Oh, you have, have you?” Ayanna said. “I can only imagine how he managed to mangle your name.”
“I didn’t mind,” Sorin said.
Law chuckled. “That old man gave me a hell of a pat on the back,” he said. “I thought I was about to check into the hospital again! Ayanna, you should really tell your father not to rough me up, because I’m really delicate.”
“You were lucky enough,” Ayanna said. “I don’t think you had anything to worry about.”
“I suppose not,” Law said. “I should be nice to him, anyway, if you and I get married.”
“Out of the question,” Ayanna replied.
“That was a joke,” Law said.
“That really didn’t sound like a joke to me,” Sorin said. “You sounded quite serious.”
“That’s because you don’t have a sense of humor, Sonny,” Law said. “Maybe if you grow one, you’ll understand where I was going.”
“Where were you going with that, anyway?” Ayanna asked. “Really, I am quite curious what you meant by you and I getting married.”
Law grinned. “You know, where’s my bro, anyway? He only said he’d be gone for a minute.”
“Don’t change the subject,” Ayanna said.
“Seriously Sorin, Gale,” Law said, “Can you find him?”
“If you’re that serious, then I will go find him,” Ayanna said. “You two can stay here with him, right?”
Sorin and Gale nodded. Ayanna then went back into the ballroom as Law turned to Gale.
“So I think I might have seen your father,” Law said.
“I don’t really want to ask why,” Gale said.
“Ouch, is it that bad?” Law asked. “I guess I shouldn’t ask. Anyway, it seems like he’s already left the country.”
“He probably wants to go back home to his business,” Gale replied. “That wouldn’t be too surprising.”
“Maybe,” Law said. “What about you? Are you not going back?”
“No,” Gale answered. “I’m going to stay here for a while.”
“Is that so?” Law asked. “Maybe you should stay with me and my bro. I still can’t believe he did that, all just for me.”
“Wait, what did Gavin do?” Sorin asked.
“I guess he hasn’t told you,” Law said. “You see, he went and gave General Cue Ball his letter of resignation.”
“So what’s he going to do now?” Gale asked.
“If I knew, I’d tell you,” Law replied. “I’m sure he’ll find some work around here. That’s what he’s good at, anyway.”
“It’s much better than what you’re good at, anyway,” Gavin said. “Is this how you talk about me when I’m not around?”
Ayanna had re-entered the balcony with Gavin and Mina by her side. Gavin did not bother to wear anything special as he was still wearing his coat given to him by the Ameci military, while Mina wore a red dress with a skirt that reached down to her knees.
“Wow, Mina, I didn’t expect you to come in wearing something so nice,” Gale said. “I kind of wished that I would have done the same.”
“Hey, you see me over here dressed as I normally do and no one’s complaining,” Gavin said.
“Well, bro, that’s because you don’t realize what it means to look good,” Law said.
“Be quiet,” Gavin said.
“I told Mina that it was a special occasion,” Ayanna said, “These don’t come all the time, so she should celebrate while looking good as well. Right?”
“It’s not something I’m used to,” Mina replied, “But I don’t really mind too much… I mean, I do like it so thank you, Ayanna?”
“You’re very welcome,” Ayanna said. “So, Gavin, you’re really going to do this, then?”
“I don’t need to be in any military to prove my worth,” Gavin answered. “I’m sure there’s a calling for me out there.”
He laughed a joyous laugh.
“That’s the first time in forever that I’ve heard you laugh like that,” Law said.
“I’m starting to see what’s so great about this place,” Gavin said. “This is a new opportunity for me and you. Look out, rest of the world!”
Mina looked back at Sorin and Gale. “So, you two are coming to stay over with me, right?”
“You’ve already got a room set up for us?” Sorin asked.
“Of course!” Mina exclaimed. “My uncle has everything set up for you guys, and for Law and Gavin as well!”
“How the hell are you going to accommodate all of us?” Gavin asked.
“Don’t you know, bro?” Law asked. “You guys get your own rooms, and I get to share a bed with Mina.”
“Actually, you, Sorin, and Gavin will get a room while Gale and I can share mine,” Mina replied, “Until you find your own place, I guess!”
“I’ll pass,” Gavin said.
“For once I agree,” Law said. “Although perhaps it’s for the better. I would probably end up being too distracted by your abundant chest to even sleep, Mina.”
Gavin slapped Law on the back of his head. “You should wake up, damn it,” he said.
“Unbelievable,” Ayanna said.
“Sorry,” Law said. “I should really be thanking you guys, honestly. Especially you, bro.”
“I told you that there was no chance that Wihll stood a chance against me,” Gavin said.
“Anyway, I think we should be going,” Sorin said. “I told my father about the party and wanted to meet him here.”
“He was speaking with Henry Randolph earlier by the piano,” Gavin said.
“You saw him?” Gale asked.
“Well, he and that other woman, as well as Tori,” Gavin replied. “Maybe they’re still there.”
“Okay,” Gale said. “Thank you!”
“No problem,” Gavin said. “I assume that we’ll meet again, then.”
“That seems likely,” Sorin said.
Gavin smiled. “It’s far from over, Sorin Wilk,” he said. “If you really want to get stronger, then come see me.”
“Are you sure?” Sorin asked. “I thought that swords weren’t your specialty.”
“You know it takes a lot more than mastery of a blade to be strong!” Gavin said. “I swear, if you try playing smart with me during our training, I will kick your ass!”
“I think I’ll have to decline,” Sorin said. “Mina, maybe I’ll take you up on your offer.”
“Of course!” Mina said. “I don’t think you’ll regret it!”
“That’s interesting,” Law said, “Never thought you would be into that sort of thing, Sorin. Then again, I can see the appeal of having a lady dominate a man.”
“That’s not what I was talking about,” Sorin said.
Law snapped his fingers. “Just kidding!”
“Okay, I think we’re done here,” Gale said. “Thank you again, Ayanna!”
She and Sorin headed back inside the ballroom in hopes of finding Kirk and Eva. As Gavin said, they were talking with Henry and Tori by the piano. Kirk turned and noticed the two walking towards him.
“You two got here early, didn’t you?” Kirk asked.
“Not really,” Sorin said. “Things were already going on when we got here.”
“That sounds about right,” Henry said. “Anyway, how are you holding up, Sorin?”
“I’m feeling a lot better,” Sorin replied. “Actually, there was something I wanted to say to you.”
“What’s that?” Kirk asked.
“This place, Rezar, I want to stay here,” Sorin said. “At least until I can find Rysol. I mean, if you’re right…”
“Well, that is good to hear,” Kirk said. “It’s always good to have another set of eyes working alongside me.”
“Have you already forgotten?” Eva asked. “You’re getting older. Please just consider letting Sorin find him. Wasn’t that a plan of yours?”
“In the future,” Kirk said. “I just honestly didn’t expect it to come so soon. Most of my life was spent finding him, but to hand the baton to Sorin…”
“He can handle it,” Eva said. “He’s your son. Trust him.”
“I do trust you,” Kirk said to Sorin, “Never think that I don’t. Just promise me that you’ll be okay.”
“I will,” Sorin said. “After all, I’ve learned a lot from you on this journey.”
“That’s what I want to hear,” Kirk replied. “You had the potential, and now you’ve realized it. You’ve made me proud, Sorin.”
“Thanks,” Sorin said. “What are you going to do now?”
Kirk rubbed his chin. “Now? Go back to Ameci, I suppose,” he said. “After all, Ameci has its own problems. Me and Eva can try to make some change happen there, if possible.”
“And I would love to help, too,” Henry said. “Military or not, I want to help Ameci too.”
“So are you two leaving tomorrow as well?” Tori asked.
“Sounds like it,” Eva replied. “I have been yearning to sleep in my own bed again, but I guess that the next time I do it won’t be alone.”
“That boat leaves at noon,” Kirk said. “If we’re to get there early, we’d need to get some early sleep.”
“Sorry about that, you two,” Eva said to Sorin and Gale. “It looks like we’ll be heading off now. Perhaps we’ll see you in the morning?”
“We’ll be there,” Sorin said. “I want to see you one last time before you leave, obviously.”
“Then it’s settled,” Kirk said. “We’ll see you in the morning.”
Kirk and Eva then left the ballroom. Henry turned to Sorin and said his goodbye, as did Tori. Gale said goodbye to the two newlyweds as they left the ballroom as well. After that, Sorin looked at Gale and decided that they would spend a little more time at the party before going back to the Port Hotel.
[2740 AD; Port of Iiayi – Morning Shine]
It was a cloudless morning as the sun shined on the ocean. As the ramp to the ship opened, Kirk and Eva were with Sorin and Gale when Henry and Tori showed up. They had their bag ready as Kirk and Eva had their own as well.
“So this is where we part ways,” Kirk said.
“I wish it wasn’t like this,” Sorin said. “There’s still a lot that I want to know about you.”
“Well, if you ever feel that way, don’t be afraid to come back to Ameci,” Kirk replied. “To be honest, it’s funny how we’ve switched places, but I guess I should have seen it coming.”
“There there,” Eva said, “There will plenty of time to reflect once we’re on board.”
“And you two can come to our celebration,” Henry said.
“That would be nice,” Kirk said.
“Henry, I want to thank you,” Sorin said. “If you weren’t there with my father, I don’t know what would have happened.”
“I was just helping my friend,” Henry replied. “Even though we had our difficulties, we kept moving forward.”
“As we always do,” Kirk said. “No matter what happens, it is our nature to keep going. That’s how we’ve managed to survive.”
“Agreed,” Eva said. “I will continue to live for Belkley’s sake because I know that he’d want to see me be happy.”
“It’s too bad that he couldn’t be here to see you off,” Gale said.
“I know,” Eva replied, “Even with his killer dead, it still won’t bring Belkley back.”
“It’s like you said, though,” Kirk said, “You will continue to live for him, as I do for April. Though they’re no longer of this world, our memories of them will continue to live on.”
Eva sighed. “That is true,” she said. “I guess we’ll be heading onto the ship soon, though.”
The horn of the ship blared throughout the ports, as more people arrived to the port. As they started to board the ship, that was when Kirk turned to Sorin.
“I know that we’ll meet again,” Kirk said, “And I know that you’ll meet your brother once more. Just continue to be strong and always have hope.”
“Don’t worry,” Sorin replied, “Because I will do it.”
“Good,” Kirk said. “That’s all I wanted to say. Until next time, this is goodbye.”
Kirk headed off for the ramp as Eva turned to face Sorin and Gale.
“Seriously, thank you,” Eva said. “Even you, Henry and Tori.”
“Why us?” Tori asked.
Eva hesitated for a moment. “It’s… it’s because you were both there,” she said, “It’s always good to have people around just because.”
“Well, I’m glad that we were there for you,” Tori said.
“You’ve been so good for us, Eva,” Gale said, “We should be thanking you.”
“I know,” Eva replied. “I’m sorry, but I have to go. Bye.”
Eva rushed off onto the ramp and disappeared into the crowd with the bag in her hand.
“Your father is a good man,” Henry said to Sorin. “If that’s anything to go by, I know that you’ll be fine.”
“Gale, it was great spending time with you,” Tori said. “You too, Sorin. If you’re ever back in Ameci, you should come visit us!”
“We’ll be sure to,” Sorin said, “And thank you, Henry. I still remember when we first met. Funny how things turned out, haven’t they?”
Henry smiled. “Indeed,” he said, “But it looks like our time is up. We bid you adieu!”
Tori waved her hand to Sorin and Gale. “Goodbye!”
They climbed up the ramp to join Kirk and Eva on the ship. Sorin and Gale could only watch as more people kept boarding the ship until the last few people boarded. The port staff moved the ramp and the ship’s horn blared once more. With that, the ship began to move.
“I guess it really is goodbye,” Gale said. “Now it’s just us…”
“Yeah,” Sorin said. “My head feels like it’s in a thousand different place right now, like I’m still trying to process this.”
“Me too,” Gale said. “I… Well, I guess I only have one chance to really say this: I like you.”
“I like you, too, Gale.”
“You do?” Gale asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
“As in, you like me… more than a friend?”
Sorin took a deep breath and exhaled. “More than a friend,” he said. “Maybe it’s too early to say this, but I really do like you Gale.”
She responded by hugging him, which made him respond by doing the same. Gale had her eyes closed the entire time, but Sorin could only just look down at her.
“Are people looking at us again?” Gale asked.
“Some of them are,” Sorin answered, “But I don’t care.”
“Oh, Sorin, I feel so excited,” she said.
“I do, too,” he said. “This is more exciting, however.”
He reached down to her and grabbed the bottom of her chin. She looked up at him as he moved in to kiss her. Whatever eyes were on them, it did not matter. Sorin was happy, as was Gale. The sun continued to shine on them as neither two wanted the moment to end. It would have to end, though, as their lips separated from each other as they looked in each other’s eyes.
“I don’t even know how I did that,” Sorin said, “It felt like it came out of nowhere… What about you?”
“It was wonderful,” Gale replied. “I mean, it was my first, but it was wonderful.”
“Well, maybe we should do it again.”
“Yeah,” Sorin said, “But do you want to get something to eat first? I really haven’t had anything to eat today.”
Gale smiled. “Of course,” she replied. “What did you have in mind?”
“I don’t know,” Sorin answered, “But I’m sure that we can find something as long as we keep moving forward.”
The End… For Now.
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