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Best Foot Forward

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Tia Coslan
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 20 Aug 2017
Posts: 51
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2949.20 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:07 am    Post subject: Best Foot Forward Reply with quote

It was almost Christmas in 'Frisco, with all the usual hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This year was a special one for Aaron and Tia, as it marked their first Christmas together, and Aaron had made plans to make it even more memorable. Those plans had started with a text message to Tia on Christmas Eve, while she was finishing up work at the book store. [17:40 pm] What time do you get off?

The answer wasn't long in arriving. [17:41] In about 20 minuts. Y?

[17:42] Can u take the train & meet me @ Union Square?

[17:43] Sure. Want me to leave Solo at home first?

It was a minute or two before she received a reply, as though he had to think about that a moment. [17:45] That would probably be best. We won't be gone long.

[17:46] Cool. See you at 6.30 kinda?

[17:47] See you then! 😘

Tia smiled as she tucked her phone away, moving to finish tidying and closing up with her colleagues. It wouldn't take more than twenty minutes to drop Solo home and get to the station, and the trains ran with stunning regularity. Still, she did end up a little later than she had expected. [18:39] I'm here! Where u, Sandwich Man?

Union Square was all brightly lit up, a tall Christmas tree taking center stage right in front of Macy's. Even the palm trees sparkled with Christmas lights. There was an ice rink nearby, though it wasn't anywhere near cold enough for snow. Who needed snow anyway, when you had year-round sun and sand? It was there Aaron was awaiting Tia's arrival, more and more nervous as the minutes passed. Finally, he received her message. Though it had only been less than an hour, it had seemed like forever. [18:40] What took u so long? I'm near the tree! Look for the guy with the Santa hat. 😀

Laughing to herself, Tia craned to see over the bustling crowd admiring the lights. "The guy in the Santa hat," she muttered to herself, laughing as she spotted an actual Santa. "Well, could be him, but probably not." Ducking between the people milling about, it took her a little while to locate Aaron, a warm smile creasing her face as she picked up the pace to join him under the sparkling tree. "Why, Santa, aren't you a little early this year?"

Of course, he no longer had to describe himself to her, but there were still a lot of people roaming around, despite it being Christmas Eve, and it wasn't always easy to find someone in a crowd. He smirked as he tucked his phone back in his pocket and turned to face her. "Hello, little girl. Have you been naughty or nice?"

She laughed at his greeting. "That all depends on what you want me to be, Santa," she pointed out. "I seem to recall any number of occasions when you've positively encouraged me to be naughty. Does that mean you're putting coal in my stockings this year?"

"In a manner of speaking," he replied with that smirk still on his face, not bothering to point out that coal eventually turned to diamonds. He slid his arms around her waist to pull her close for a kiss, the crowd around them not even batting an eye at their public display of affection.

Tia's smile deepened as he pulled her close, curling her arms about his neck as he kissed her. Aaron had come on so far since they'd met - from a man who worried constantly about what he had considered a deficit in himself to someone who was confident enough to give affection in public without worrying at all. "You know," she murmured teasingly, "I think you may have designs on getting me out of my stockings."

"Not here," he murmured back, with a teasing twinkle in his eyes that wasn't entirely due to the bright lights surrounding them. "Come on. I have a surprise," he said, taking hold of her hand and leading her toward the ice rink.

"Ooh, very mysterious," Tia chuckled, letting him lead her by the hand. "Are we going to meet Santa? Because Santa isn't really a thing back home, we have Father Christmas, you know. He only started wearing red when Coca Cola got popular - he used to wear a big green greatcoat, and I'm rambling again, aren't I? I'll stop."

He chuckled, as he often did when she started to ramble. He knew sometimes it was because she was nervous and at other times, it was just because she had so much she wanted to tell him. Either way, he'd always found it adorable, and her talkativeness more than made up for his quietness. "No, we're not going to meet Santa, unless you really want to," he told her as they strolled hand in hand.

"I thought Santa was taking me by the hand, to be honest," she laughed, skipping to catch up and fall into step with him. "Are we going ice skating? Or on a boat ride around the Bay? Or hitching a ride to Lapland on a magic carpet?"

"Lapland?" he echoed, chuckling again. "I think you have me confused with Aladdin," he said, at the mention of a magic carpet. They wandered past a refreshments booth, where people were gathered around sipping mugs of hot cocoa, before turning a corner which lead to the ice rink. "Do you know how to skate?" he asked, stopping just outside the entrance.

"I do, actually." Tia bit her lip, looking slightly guilty through her smile. "I, um, I competed a bit when I was a teenager. Only a little bit!" she added in a rush. "I never won anything, or anything like that. It was just fun, you know? Do you know how to skate? Oh! Is that what we're doing?" It never even occurred to her to ask if it was possible for him, but then, Tia had never treated him as though he was anything less than completely capable.

"I played a little hockey in high school," he admitted, though skating with a prosthetic leg had turned into more of a challenge than had learning how to walk again. "I'm not very good on skates, but I'm going to try!" he told her a little nervously.

"You'll be fine," she promised him fondly, squeezing his hand. "I promise not to do anything outlandish or show-offy. And if you fall, I'm going down with you!" How was that for a promise? A certainty that even if he did go down, he wouldn't be alone in sprawling over the ice.

"I'd like to see you show off!" he said with a chuckle It was good to know there was something she was proud of, even if she was being modest about it, and it also proved that they still had things to learn about each other. "It's going to take me a bit to get ready, though," he added, the smile fading.

"It takes everyone a while to get skating boots on," she assured him with a smile. "I think more people fall over getting to the ice than actually on it, too." She grinned. "I'd offer to carry you, but last time I did that, you wriggled too much."

Skating boots, yes, but it was a little more complicated for him. Still, she had never treated him like anything less than whole. "Oh, very funny," he said, reaching over to playfully tweak her nose. "If it's any comfort, I fall a lot!"

"Exactly, so you're good at it," she beamed back, her nose crinkling under his tweak as she giggled. "Come on, darling. If you're a big brave boy, I'll buy you hot chocolate."

"I was going to buy you one!" he said with a grin. "Shall we give this a try then?" he asked, knowing the worst that could happen was they'd fall on their asses and make fools of themselves. "I might have to hold your hand!" he warned, that teasing grin still in place, though he was half serious.

"I should hope you do, that's part of the fun of skating!" she laughed, ducking into the stall with him to hire boots together. The man behind the counter gave her a slightly startled look when she told him her shoe size, but Tia was used to that by now. She had tiny feet - the world was just going to have to deal with it.

Aaron paid the man for the skate rentals and led the way to a bench where they could change. He knew he was bound to get a few looks when people saw that his leg and foot weren't like everyone else's, but he was somewhat used to the looks. He'd been practicing in secret for weeks now, just for today.
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Tia Coslan
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

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2949.20 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Despite her reassurances that it took everyone a while to put the boots on, Tia was disgustingly quick with her own, even to the point of professionally tucking her laces neatly out of sight. She glanced gently to Aaron. "Would you like some help, love?"

It wasn't as easy for him. In fact, it was quite the challenge, but he had his pride and usually insisted on doing everything himself. It was the only way he was going to master the task, after all, and now that he knew she liked skating, this might not be their one and only visit to the rink. "I'm okay. Just takes a little bit to get it adjusted properly," he told her, focusing on the prosthetic leg first.

"All right." She wasn't going to push him into letting her help, knowing he had his pride. In a habit she'd thought she had forgotten, she raised one of her feet to her knee, sliding off the blade guard to check the blade itself with delicate fingers, slowly becoming aware of a small child staring wide eyed at both of them. Not at Aaron's leg, though that had clearly caught the boy's attention, but at the couple themselves, so oddly comfortable in such an odd situation in the always warm city.

Aaron was so focused on fastening the skate properly that he didn't seem aware of the boy's attention, but he was accustomed to people openly staring at him. Sometimes they would ask questions, but most of the time, they just left him alone.

The boy's mother nudged him even as Tia smiled at the child. He shut his mouth with a snap, ignoring his mother to inch closer and ask cautiously, "Is he a Jedi?"

Tia blinked, tilting her head in surprise at the unexpected question. "What makes you think he's a Jedi?" she asked back, utterly shameless in engaging in the conversation now it had begun.

The boy pointed at Aaron's prosthetic leg, then hurriedly snatched his hand back as though remembering it was rude to point. "Lots of Jedi's got special arms and legs what got lopped off."

The talk of the Jedi was what got Aaron's attention, and once he was finished strapping the skate onto his other foot, he lifted his head to see what the chatter was all about. "I'm not a Jedi," Aaron explained, amicably enough. He was used to fielding questions by now, but had never been compared to a Jedi before. He had been a solider though. "I was a soldier, but I'm not a Jedi, sorry to say."

The little boy nodded solemnly. "Does it hurt?" he asked curiously - and that's all it was, curiosity. Children rarely saw anything wrong with anyone who had a disability; they were curious to know how it all worked, more than anything.

"Sometimes," Aaron replied, honestly enough. "But not as much anymore." He paused a moment before going on. "You remember when Darth Vader cut off Luke's hand?" he asked, waiting for the boy to nod his head before going on. "It hurt kind of like that when it happened, but then it got better." He didn't bother to add how long it took to get better or that he was still haunted by nightmares and phantom pain from time to time. He didn't really like comparing himself to Luke Skywalker, but if it helped the boy understand, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing.

"And you got a special foot so you can do stuff?" the kid asked, seemingly happy with this explanation.

Tia gently curled her hand into Aaron's, glad he wasn't prickly in the face of a child's natural curiosity but a little wary of letting the conversation go on for too long.

"A special foot and a special leg," Aaron explained. "It's not something to strive for though. I'm sure Luke would have rather had his real hand than the ... special one," he pointed out, choosing his words carefully in light of his audience.

"Oooh ... can Santa bring you a real foot for Christmas?"

Tia bit her lip, deciding to weigh in on this point. "Santa can't make hands and feet grow," she explained gently. "And there's nothing wrong with that, is there?"

The little boy shook his head, a bright smile crossing his face as his mother tugged on his jacket. "May the Force be with your Merry Christmas! Buh-bye!"

Aaron said nothing as the boy's mother dragged the little boy away, but sat in quiet thought a moment too long.

Tia nudged him gently, inching up close against his side to kiss his cheek affectionately. "Penny for your thoughts, love?"

He blinked out of his thoughts at the sound of her voice and shrugged. "I was just thinking, that's all," he explained, stating the obvious without really explaining. "What happened to Luke wasn't a good thing, right?" he asked, turning to Tia. They were both huge Star Wars fans and it wasn't unusual for their conversations to wander this way.

"No, it wasn't," she agreed. "I mean, it's brilliant story-telling, it offers up good moments in the narrative, but it's such a prominent part of the story that it gives us a chance to see how Luke considers that loss to be losing a fundamental part of himself. And it's worse that his father is the one who maimed him. It's an awful thing to happen. But he overcomes it." She smiled, kissing his cheek once again. "Just like you have."

"Have I?" he asked, not too sure. The truth was this wasn't Star Wars; it was reality, and it hadn't been all that long ago that he'd survived his own nightmare. But he didn't really want to talk about that - not tonight. "Come on, I haven't showed you the surprise yet!" he said, linking his fingers with hers and changing the subject.

"Ice skating isn't the surprise?" Tia laughed as he wrapped his fingers through hers. She didn't press to continue the former subject - it was his to talk about, or not, as the mood took him, and she never pushed for more than he was comfortable to share or give. At the same time, though, she didn't let him wallow. She was too bubbly for that.

"It's part of the surprise," he replied, grinning playfully back at her, not wanting to give away what the rest of the surprise was. He was just about to start the treacherous trek onto the ice when the boy's mother interrupted.

"Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you," she said, "But I just wanted to thank you for talking to my son ... and thank you for your service."

"Oooh, there's a second part to the surprise," Tia teased him fondly, pausing as the unfamiliar woman came up to them. She hugged Aaron's arm fondly, smiling at the offered words.

From the expression on his face, it wasn't everyday that a stranger remarked on the service - and sacrifice - he'd made for his country and his ideals, and he wasn't quite sure what to say in return. "No problem, ma'am," he replied, hoping that was the end of it, but she didn't seem to be finished yet.

She handed him a slip of paper on which was scribbled a name and phone number. "I'm also an elementary teacher, and if you wouldn't mind, I'd love for you to come in and speak with my students. After the holidays, of course," she explained.

"Oh, that's a wonderful idea," Tia heard herself say, unable to keep quiet in the face of an opportunity she instantly thought Aaron should definitely agree to. It might mean putting off their trip to England for a little while, but she was okay with that.

Aaron glanced down uncertainly at the slip of paper in his hand. He wasn't sure he wanted to put his life on hold for it, but school was in session until summer, and he thought he might be able to squeeze a visit or two in before then. There was only one problem: "I, uh, I'm not sure what I'd talk about."
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Tia Coslan
Young Wyrm
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2949.20 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The woman smiled warmly and touched a hand to his arm. "Don't you worry about that. The kids will take care of that for you. They have plenty of questions," she said, with a soft bit of laughter.

Aaron smiled faintly and nodded. "I'll think about it, okay?"

"I'll make sure he does," Tia added, hugging his arm a little tighter. "Thank you. And Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you, too!" she replied before dashing away to catch up with her family.

"Well, that was unexpected," Aaron remarked, folding the slip of paper in half and tucking it into a jacket pocket.

"But good!" Tia insisted, waiting until he was steady on his blades before they began the walk to the edge of the rink in the heavy boots. "You will think about, won't you? I think you'd enjoy it."

"I'm just not sure what I'd say," he replied, with a thoughtful frown. He didn't really like drawing attention to his so-called disability and talking about it would only do just that.

"Too many people make light of disabilities," she murmured softly. "Educating children is the easiest step to stopping that from happening. If you can help them see how normal your life is, despite your disadvantage, they won't notice how different you might seem at first. That is a good lesson to learn early."

"No one notices until I wear shorts," he remarked, with a half-teasing grin. He hadn't actually worn shorts since before he'd lost his leg. "I'll think about it, Tia, but I'm not promising anything," he added as he stepped as carefully as he could onto the ice.

"Oh, wait!" She caught him before he could step onto the ice, pulling him back. "Have to take the guards off first, love," she reminded him, ducking down to do that for him before rising to unsheathe the blades on her boots herself. "Now you can go skate."

"Right," he replied with a chuckle at his own absent-mindedness, more nervous than he realized and for good reason that wasn't entirely about braving the ice. "Well, I can try, anyway!" he said, once she had removed the guards for him.

"Oh, shush," she laughed back at him, stepping out with confident ease onto the ice to offer him her hands. It might have been a few years since she'd skated, but her muscles remembered what to do. He was in pretty safe hands with his diminutive girlfriend.

He wasn't too proud or self-confident to accept her help, especially where the ice was concerned. "Just go slow, okay?" he asked, at least for starters, though he didn't want to slow her down. He took hold of her hands and eased himself onto the ice, a little wobbly but not as bad as he had been the first time he'd tried it.

She giggled, letting him cling to her hands as he adjusted himself to the strange sensation of being on the ice, gently drawing him out of the way of others attempting their first steps onto the rink. "I'm not going to speed skate you around the rink," she promised fondly. "How does that feel? Confident enough to hold on with just one hand?"

He nodded. It wasn't like he'd never been on ice skates before, but it was like learning all over again now that he had a prosthetic. "I've been practicing a little," he admitted, which was part but not all of the surprise.

Gently releasing his left hand, Tia glided to his right side, letting his fingers tangle with hers as they carefully pushed off. "You're doing really well," she complimented him, impressed with his balance. "Sure you're not a figure skater in disguise?"

He laughed, though laughing made him wobble a little. "Hardly. I never did well on figure skates. I always tripped over that ridge on the front. I learned on hockey skates," he said, which happened to currently be strapped to his feet.

"It is easier on hockey skates," she had to admit loud. "Although the ridge on figure skates is for controlled stops. I suppose not much control is called for when you're so padded you can just bounce off each other!"

"I'm not padded today!" he pointed out, laughing again and losing his balance a moment, a look of momentary panic on his face.

Lucky for him, Tia did have a fair amount of skill on the ice. As he lost his balance, she spun easily into skating backwards, grasping both his hands and pulling him along with his momentum. "Keep both feet on the ice until you've got your balance again," she warned. "I'll steer." Backwards, but she was still steering.

It took him a moment, but he found his balance again, chuckling a little at himself. "It's like learning to skate all over again." He felt a little foolish being pulled around like a child, but at least he hadn't fallen on his backside.

Once he had his balance again, she returned to his side with a grin. "You're better at it than I thought you'd be," she commented impishly. "How long have you been pretending to be doing something else while practicing this, Sandwich Santa?"

"Just since they put the ice rink up," he said, though he'd learned how to skate when he was a kid. "I try to find time to practice almost everyday," he explained further, purposely leading her toward the center of the rink.

"Well, I'm very impressed," she assured him warmly, following his lead easily on the ice. "It's been years since I skated - I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Thank you."

"I didn't know that, though!" he reminded her. Once they reached the center of the rink, he came to a slow stop. A whoop went up from some of the people on the ice, as snow started to drift downward. It was fake snow and it was hard to tell where it was coming from, but it was likely the only snow they were going to have for Christmas. The strains of "Let it Snow" filtered over the sound system, as Aaron was carefully moving to one knee.

The first fall of fake snow drew Tia's eyes upward as she giggled, holding out her free and to catch some as though it were real. Then she felt the pressure on her left hand change, twisting to find Aaron down on one knee on the ice. "Oh my god ..."

People kept skating around them, like nothing unusual was going on, but more than a few heads had turned their way to witness what looked like it might be a marriage proposal. Aaron had pulled something out of his pocket and was sliding something cold and metallic onto the finger of her left hand. "Tia Coslan, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

For the first time since he'd known her, she was speechless. No babbling, no giggling, no random facts about whatever came into her head - Tia was motionless and silent, staring down at him with wide, amazed eyes. "You ... you want to marry me?"

The ring, when she had a chance to look at it, was amethyst and diamonds set in a platinum setting - as sparkly as the stars in the sky above them. For the first time in her life, he thought he might have rendered Tia speechless. "Should I have texted you instead?" he teased. "Yes, I want to marry you. I love you."

Her mouth worked soundlessly for a long moment as she tried to kick her brain into gear. Hello! Gorgeous man you love on one knee asking a very important question! She blinked, shutting her mouth with a snap. "Yes. Yes, yes, I will marry you, yes!" Hopefully Aaron was braced, because she was throwing herself at him.
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Tia Coslan
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

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2949.20 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a moment there, he almost panicked and thought she might say no, holding his breath until she finally answered. "Tia?" he prompted just before she replied, knocking the breath out of him as he got knocked backwards, flat on his back. Thankfully, he hadn't whacked his head on the ice and was laughing up at her as he caught her in his arms, the song still playing on the sound system.

Oh the fire is slowly dying
And, my dear, we're still good-bye-ing
But as long as you love me so
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Sprawled on top of him on the ice, Tia smothered his laughter with excited kisses, surprised, touched, deeply delighted that he'd asked her to marry him even before experiencing her brother and his wife. "Ready to be a doggy daddy, hmm?" she teased between kisses, utterly unashamed of this very public affection in the middle of an ice rink.

"Well, I might like to be a real daddy someday, but a doggy daddy is fine for now. Do you think Solo will mind?" he asked, his arms going around her waist, laughing as she peppered him with kisses.

"Are you kidding? He loves you," she promised him, one last long kiss sealing the dealing tenderly. "I love you. And you must have a really wet arse by now."

"My arse will dry," he assured her, echoing her very English version of the word. He was about to ask her to help him up when a smattering of applause broke out around them.

She grinned down at him, careful not to put her knees anywhere uncomfortable for her new fiance as she eased herself up onto her feet once more. The applause brought a brilliant blush to her cheeks even as she leaned down to help him up. "Was audience participation part of the plan?"

"No, I wasn't expecting a crowd," he murmured back as he let her help him find his feet. He wasn't the blushing sort, but he was glad no one seemed to mind the show. "I did arrange for the snow and the music, though," he admitted.

"It's lovely," she promised, wrapping her arms about his waist as he found his balance once again, tipping her head back to share her smile with him. "I had no idea you were so invested in keeping the strange English girl and her enormous dog around permanently."

"I said I love you, Tia. Did you think that was going to wear off?" he asked, as he found his balance again and slid his arms around her waist, only in part to help hold himself upright. Neither of them was very good at feeling self-confident, but for different reasons. There was no mistaking they were good for each other.

"I hoped it wouldn't." Which was as close as she was going to get to admitting that she'd had her heart broken in the past. She didn't like to dwell on the past if she possibly could; her future was set down now, and she was absolutely delighted that it would be with him. "I love you, Aaron."

He didn't bother to tell her again, choosing instead to back up what he'd said with a kiss that was warm and passionate and lingered a little longer than it should have for being in public.

But that, too, was a sign of how far they'd come together, because of each other. Just a few months before, neither one would have been comfortable to forget they were in public and simply enjoy each other for a lingering kiss, yet look at them now. Tia's lips curved into a sweet smile against his as she drew back, her eyes flickering to the sparkle of amethyst and diamond on her hand. "Oh! It's got butterflies on it!"

"Do you like it?" he asked, a little nervously. She'd been talking about getting a butterfly tattoo for a while now, but that didn't mean she'd want them on her engagement ring. The man at the jewelry store had tried to talk him into a very expensive diamond, but for some reason, he'd been drawn to the amethyst instead.

"They're gorgeous, Aaron." She beamed up at him, hugging close for a long moment. "It's perfect," she promised. "Just like you."

"I'm far from perfect, but I'm glad you like it," he said, a soft smile on his face, full of love and affection. He actually looked happy, and it had been a long time since he'd felt that way. "Now, I want to see what you can do without a cripple hanging on your arm," he teased.

"You're perfect for me," she qualified her statement with a giggle. Despite the tease, she frowned a little at his use of that word to describe himself, but didn't argue right now. "Want me to park you somewhere first?"

"Yes, please, before I fall on my ass again!" he said, but at least, he was laughing. He hadn't even thought twice about calling himself a cripple, though in actuality, there were people who were far worse off than he was.

"Fine." Grinning - mainly because she was genuinely excited about showing off a little - Tia took him in hand, carefully guiding him over to the side boarding where he could hold on while she played a little. "All good? Not going to keel over or anything?"

"No, I think I can manage to stand still without falling down, so long as no one runs into me," he assured her, hoping that wasn't a self-fulfilling prophecy. His jeans were already wet, though thankfully, it wasn't anywhere near freezing, despite the ice and fake snow.

"Two turns around the rink, promise," she grinned, winking as she pushed away from him. One turn to get up speed, it seemed, for the second turn about the rink showed off backwards crossblades, a couple of surprisingly smooth arabesques, and a last spin into a crouch and up again before she returned to him, breathless and smiling.

It was his turn to applaud, it seemed, once she had finished, envying the ease with which she glided across the ice and spun in place. He'd been able to skate like that once upon a time himself. It seemed like a lifetime ago to him now, and the smile he gave her was bittersweet with the memory of it. "You're good! Why'd you give it up?"

"I didn't want to compete anymore," she told him, her cheeks red with the exertion. "And most people don't want a figure skater who just does it for fun." She giggled. "You could learn it, you know. Not the lifts or anything like that, but the dual moves and things."

"I have enough trouble just staying upright," he said, chuckling a little at his own lack of talent. "What do you say we take a break and get some hot cocoa?" he suggested, now that he'd surprised her.

She nodded happily. "That sounds like a lovely idea," she agreed, tangling her fingers with his once again to guide him back toward the gap in the boardings. "I mean it, you know. You could learn how to figure skate. There's no reason why you couldn't."

"It's hard trying to keep my balance," he admitted, frowning a little as she led the way back off the ice. There were a lot of things he still couldn't do that he'd mastered before the loss of his leg, but it hadn't been that long really.

Off the ice, there was a brief pause as she tucked the guards back onto their blades. "It's just a matter of practice," she promised him. "I fell down so many times when I started learning. You just get used to it after a while - even the professionals take horrible tumbles every now and then."

"Should I strap a pillow to my ass?" he asked, joking. He held onto the side while she helped him put the guards back on their skates, hoping this had been a good idea. "I thought about proposing at the movies, but I was worried I'd drop the ring in the dark," he admitted, chuckling again. And what movie was he referring to? The Last Jedi, of course! But that was sort of a surprise, too.

"Elbows, knees, hips, and chin need the padding," Tia laughed happily. She really was absolutely delighted with the surprise outing after work, even more so that it had somehow resulted in becoming engaged to be married. Hand in hand, they headed toward the chocolate stall in their oddly clunky boots. "We'd get thrown out of the movies for being a disruption," she predicted in amusement. "And besides, you hate it when people talk through films."
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Tia Coslan
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Are you saying we should wait for video?" he asked, looking a little confused. After all, this was the biggest movie of the year, at least as far as Star Wars fans were concerned, and that was something they both had in common. Who else would have named their dog Solo?

She tilted her head with a confused smile. "Are you saying you plan on prying this ring off my finger and proposing again in a movie theater?" she asked impishly. "Because I'll tell you now, this is never coming off."

He laughed. "No, I'm proposing we go see the movie, silly! We have time tomorrow before we go to Mom and Dad's for dinner." Or they could pop out later and leave Solo with his parents for a little while.

"Oooh! Oh, yes, let's go before we go to your parents'," she agreed cheerfully. "I'll be able to confuse your dad by being a gigantic nerd all over again."

"He's used to it," Aaron remarked, chuckling again. He laughed a lot these days, and it was all because of Tia. She gave him a reason to laugh and be happy again.

"I still maintain Ben is losing the Trek conversation," she insisted with a wicked twist to her grin. "Although I think I might not be able to drag it out much longer. Your mother might actually throttle me with the oven glove if I start him off again."

"Maybe we should drag him along," Aaron suggested but then thought better of it. "Nah, he'll talk too much." He was glad Tia didn't mind his older brother's insistence on Star Trek over Star Wars, among his other annoying habits. At least she was able to put him in his place.

Tia laughed fondly. She loved Aaron's family, deeply grateful they'd seen something in her that had encouraged them to make her one of them, even before they'd known her. Her own brother was not so predictable, unfortunately; she was slightly concerned Bertrand was going to be unpleasant about the way her life had aligned itself thousands of miles away out of his direct sphere of influence. "This is Star Wars we're talking about, right?"

"Unless you'd rather see something else," he replied, knowing she wouldn't. They were both huge Star Wars fans and had been waiting all year for this.

"I sincerely hope you're joking," was Tia's predictable response. "Like I'm really going to prefer ... I don't know, some awful rom-com over Carrie Fisher's last outing as Princess Leia!"

"There's always Murder on the Orient Express," he suggested with a teasing gleam in his eyes, already knowing what her answer would be to that. "Come on, Princess Leia, you owe me a hot cocoa," he said, taking hold of her arm, only in part to steady himself.

She narrowed her eyes at his teasing, breaking into soft giggles as he slapped that title on her. She knew she was ever so slightly obsessive about Star Wars, so at least she didn't mind being teased about it. "All right, Hopalong," she countered, although there was a faint wince in her eyes at saying that, "let's overload on sugar."

Thankfully, he wasn't offended by the teasing - at least, not coming from her - and laughed at the nickname. When the shoe fits, or something like that. "Sounds like a plan," he agreed, "hopping along" beside her, but not literally.

Giggling, relieved he hadn't taken offense, Tia got them both to the counter to order a pair of hot chocolates, digging in her pocket for her change. She glanced down at Aaron's boots and back to his face with a grin. "You know what? You go and grab a seat, I'll bring them over," she suggested, hoping he would take the out and not insist on trying to carry a cup of something scalding while simultaneously worrying about his balance on the blades.

He nodded his head, looking almost relieved to not have to worry about juggling a cup of hot cocoa while worrying about falling on his ass. Why he'd chosen ice skating, of all things, was beyond him, but there had been a point to it. He'd wanted to show her that despite his disability, he wasn't a quitter and he wasn't giving up. Somehow he thought it was important for her to know that before he asked her to spend the rest of her life with him, but he wasn't sure if she got the whole message. He found them both seats a little way off from the madding crowd, where they could talk in relative peace without too many people gaping at them.

It didn't take long for her to join him, sliding into his chosen seat with a pair of mugs piled high with whipped cream. "I'm reliably informed there is actually cocoa somewhere underneath all this," she assured him fondly, leaning into his side with a soft, contented smile.

"The whipped cream is the best part!" he declared, reaching to claim one of the mugs of cocoa for himself, so that she could sit down without risking spilling them. "I guess it was kind of silly to take you ice skating," he admitted, uncertainly.

She blinked, looking up with cream on her nose. "Why would you think that?" she asked in surprise. "I think it's wonderful. It's even more wonderful that you put so much time and thought into it. I might have assumed that you wouldn't even touch ice skating, with good reason, but I'm so glad I'm wrong."

"My therapist is trying to get me to try new things ... or to try doing things again that I used to enjoy. It's not that easy, believe me, but I don't want to spend my life on the sidelines while everyone else is having fun," he explained.

"Just because some things may be beyond you right now, that doesn't mean they won't be in a few years," Tia agreed with his therapist with a warm smile. "You know I'm never going to think any less of you, don't you? I love you, Aaron. And that means all of you, warts and all."

"No warts," he assured her with a warm smile, though she already knew that. "Just a bum leg." He took a sip of the hot cocoa, grateful for its warmth, though it wasn't all that cold outside. "You know, there are guys with injuries like me who sign up for another tour of duty."

For a moment, genuine fear crossed her face. "You ... you're not going to do that, though. Are you?" She wouldn't stop him if it was what he truly wanted to do, but Tia really didn't want Aaron to throw himself directly into danger ever again.

"No," he was quick to assure her. "I'm just saying that if they can go back to active duty, there's no reason why I can't be re-learn how to do the things I used to like to do," he explained, though he didn't list what those things might be.

"Exactly," she agreed, deeply relieved by his response. "There's nothing you can't do, love, I'm certain of it. It just takes time, that's all. You can do anything you set your mind to."

"I don't know about anything," he said. "I don't see myself climbing Mount Everest anytime soon," he added with a chuckle. "I might never play hockey again, but I'd like to learn to ice skate again." Among other things.

"Then we can skate together," she told him, lifting his arm to tuck herself underneath it. Her gaze flickered to the sparkle of amethyst on her finger, her lips curving in a tender smile all over again. "Do you think your mother would be totally against a themed wedding?"

He arched a brow at her question. "It's not her wedding. Why? What did you have in mind?" he asked curiously, his arm wrapped snugly around her shoulders.

She snickered, tilting her head back to look up at him. "Star Wars?" she suggested impishly.

That brow arched higher. "You want me to dress up as Obi Wan Kenobi for our wedding?" he asked, taking a stab in the dark at who she might have the hots for. Or maybe it was Han Solo ... or Poe Dameron?

"Oh, definitely Han or Anakin," she grinned impishly. "All depends if you'd rather have Leia or Padme standing next to you." She could just imagine the look on Sandy's face - or Bertrand's - when they were informed they had to show up to the wedding in fancy dress.
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Tia Coslan
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Anakin!" he echoed with a laugh. "You just want to dress up as Padme. Anyway, Padme should have ended up with Obi Wan, but then we wouldn't have Luke and Leia," he argued, clearly not a big fan of Anakin, at least before he became Darth Vader.

She laughed. "Well, obviously Obi-Wan and Padme were the natural partnership, but they had to crowbar Luke and Leia into the plot somehow," she agreed cheerfully, dipping her head to drink once again.

"Okay, so why not mix it up? Why do we have to go canon?" he asked, with a smirk. If he were to dress up as his favorite character, it would be a toss up between Han and Obi Wan.

"Obi-Wan and Padme, hmm?" Tia asked, her eyes sparkling at the thought. That would be fantastic, in her opinion. "Think we could get the minister or whoever to dress up as Maz Kanata?"

"Are you sure that's who you want to marry us?" he asked, looking amused at the idea, but not sure if they could get anyone else to go for it. "You realize that means Ben has to dress up as, oh, I don't know ... Qui Gon. I'd suggest Yoda, but he's too tall."

"No one is dressing up as Jar-Jar Binks," she said firmly. "Yoda and Ewoks, I will accept. Gungans can take a running jump off a short cliff."

He laughed at her blunt but amusing honestly. "And here I was hoping you'd want me to dress up as Jar-Jar," he teased, with a nudge of her shoulder.

"That's grounds for divorce," she informed him smartly, a flicker of a grin showing itself on her face. "Is this a thing, then? Are we going to do this?" She bounced hopefully in her seat, only too eager to be a little outlandish. "Unless ... unless you want to get married in uniform?"

"Before we're even married?" he asked, laughing even louder, though her question sobered him a little. "Uh ..." he replied, uncertainly. He had only just proposed and hadn't thought about it much. "Do you want me to?" he asked, not having considered that possibility before. He still had his dress uniform, of course, but he was no longer on active duty.

Her fingers gently touched his jaw. "It's your choice, love," she assured him. "I know a lot of soldiers like to marry in uniform, but it really is a personal choice. And it isn't mine to make for you. If that's what you'd like, then we'll do it that way. I don't mind; either way, I'll end the day as your wife."

He knew his parents would rather have it that way, but what about him? "Do you mind if I think about it a while?" he asked. They were presumably only going to get married once, and he wanted to do it right, after all.

"Of course I don't mind," she laughed gently, kissing his cheek with soft lips. "It isn't as though we're getting married next week." She nuzzled into him for a long moment before pulling back. "We're not, are we?" she asked with teasing wariness.

"Not unless we're going to elope," he said, wondering if that was such a bad idea, all things considered, but these weren't decisions they had to make today. "So, are we still going to see your family or not?"

"In the new year." She sighed. "I can't put it off forever, and it'll be better to have the flaming row with Bert face to face. You'll like his wife, though, and their son. He's just ... difficult to approach sometimes, that's all."

"Flaming row?" he echoed, lifting his brows. "So, should I bring my boxing gloves?" he asked, somewhat sarcastically, though he really did own a pair.

Tia chuckled, shaking her head. "I promise, it will all be aimed at me," she assured him. "I'm the one who skipped the country without warning, after all."

"And you expect me to stand by and say nothing while he lays into you? Why are we even going if he's going to give you a hard time?" he asked, unsure just what her relationship was with her brother, but knowing there was some conflict between them.

"Aaron ... it'll be one big row," she promised him. "Just one, and then everything will be fine. There are things we both need to say to each other, and inserting yourself into it will only make things worse. You don't have to come, but ... I would like to introduce you to them. They're family."

"Why wouldn't I come?" he asked, a puzzled expression on his face. "We're in this together now, Tia, for better or worse." Or they would be, once they said their vows. "Maybe we should just elope," he suggested, only half-jokingly.

She bit her lip, trying not to grin too quickly at that idea. "Would your mother ever forgive me if we did?" she asked laughingly. Sandy was a formidable woman - she certainly ruled her roost of males with a velvet glove.

"I'm sure she'd get over it," Aaron replied. After all, his parents - his mother, in particular - just wanted them to be happy. "But if we elope, we do it alone," he warned. His mother really would never forgive him if they got married in England with her family there to witness, but not his.

"Of course," Tia agreed. "No point in offending just one side of the family, when we can offend all of them." She giggled impishly, nestling into his side. "Solo's coming, though."

"Have we just decided?" he asked, a little surprised. Eloping solved a lot of problems and saved them both from any possible family conflicts.

"I, um ..." She blinked, surprised to find that they actually had. "I think we did," she laughed, curling to hug him. "And we don't need to dress up or do anything ridiculous for it, either. You are a genius."

"I know," he replied, with a teasing smirk, not only because it was Han Solo's famous line. He leaned closer to touch a kiss to her lips. "Just say when, Tia," he told her. Though they had only just gotten engaged, he was ready to get married whenever she wanted.

She grinned into his kiss. "Let's get through Christmas and New Year first, shall we?" she suggested. "I don't want to be the turkey your mother cooks for the big day."

"Good idea," he replied, with a chuckle. "They're bound to notice the ring and ask questions, though," he warned her, especially his mother. "Should we just tell them we haven't set a date yet?"

"That would probably be the wisest course," Tia agreed thoughtfully. "After all, we don't have to set a date right away, and it is only a week until Christmas. Did they know you were going to propose?"

"No, I thought you should be the first to know, don't you?" he replied with a smile that proved he didn't tell his parents everything.

She cackled with laughter, uncaring that the sound carried and drew mild attention to them for a moment or two. "Oh, my hero," she teased, twisting to kiss him properly. "You really do spoil me, you know."

"You're easy to spoil, Tia," he told her, smiling with affection, as he raised a finger in gentle caress of her cheek. He didn't think he was much of a hero, even if he did have the medal to prove it, but he was glad she thought so. "Should we brave the rink again, or would you rather not?"

"Do you want to?" she turned the question around onto him easily. Everything was always about what she wanted, but she was beginning to learn how to nudge him into saying what he wanted to do.

"I think I'd like to walk around a while, take in the sights, if you don't mind," he said, his adventures on ice over for the day. "Maybe we should have brought Solo," he added, thinking the dog might have enjoyed the walk, too.

"He'll live," she grinned, moving to rise. "Come on, love, lets put some proper shoes on and have a wander." The hand she offered was her left, the sparkle on her finger declaring to the world that she was his definitively and without hesitation.

Up he went to struggle once more with the blades, even how that they weren't on the ice. "The next time I suggest skating, talk me out of it," he said, chuckling, as he took her hand.

"Never," she countered laughingly, hooking his arm over her shoulders and her own about his back. "You enjoyed it, admit it. You even managed to get down on one knee on the ice! That is very impressive."

"I had a lot of practice," he admitted, though he hadn't taken up skating solely so that he could propose. He'd taken it up mostly so that he could rebuild his confidence and he'd brought her here to show her he could do it.

"Practice makes better," she nodded with an impish quirk to her smile, letting go of him so he could sit down and start removing his skates while she fetched out their shoes.

Not perfect. No one was perfect, and he didn't think he'd ever be that good at it, but at least, he had proved to both himself and to her that he was capable of more than just sitting on the sidelines. With Tia by his side, Aaron thought nothing was impossible.
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