A MAN OF OPPORTUNITY
"John, where are you going?" She had followed him from Command Center.
He slowed, allowing her to catch up. "Thought I'd stop off at hydroponics. That plant Tony gave to Maya and our recent experience made me think of alternate food sources." He watched as Helena fell into step beside him, "Jeffery Nash told me he's doing some new experiments with soybean."
"How intriguing." Helena smiled and tried not to laugh.
"Yeah, I know." Koenig found himself smiling as well, "Not exactly fascinating stuff unless you work in hydroponics but, since I'm on limited duty …" he gestured to his injured and wrapped arm and shoulder, " … there isn't much I'm allowed to do."
"Then you certainly should go to hydroponics and check up on their progress. Of course," She cleared her throat, "I did arrange to get the rest of the day off duty …" She looked innocently about them and clasped her hands together as they strolled, "Still, I suppose I could go back to Medical Center and catch up on some paperwork. No need for us to …"
"Hold it right there." Koenig rounded Helena as she slowed, then came up on her left side where he could put his good arm around her shoulders. "If I am anything it is a man of opportunity."
"Glad to hear it."
"What do you suggest?"
"Hm." she thought, "Ping pong? Gymnastics? A swim in the pool?" she teased.
"Not a chance." He indicated his arm once again although he knew she knew better.
"Touch football?" Helena further suggested, still smiling.
"I like the 'touch' part." he said.
"No, doctor." He stopped their progress and, noting they were alone in the hallway, Koenig stepped in close to her, "I think perhaps something a little less physical."
"LESS physical?" she wondered, her face now very close to his. "Perhaps a game of checkers or Monopoly?"
He leaned in even closer, "I'm thinking more like a walk to the observatory to watch the stars …"
"Oh, I don't know. It's awfully dark up there." she rubbed her nose against his.
"Mm." His lips touched hers gently, "I like the dark."
She purred, "And I thought you said you didn't want to get physical."
"Like I said, I'm a man of opportunity."
The couple became briefly lost in one another when they heard a clearing of someone's throat.
"Um, John. Helena." It was Alan Carter. The Australian pilot was both amused and a little uncomfortable. "Sorry to interrupt, you two …"
They turned and looked at him.
"We are off the clock, Alan." Koenig said, annoyed.
"Yeah, I know, but you did say when I found out what the problem was with Eagle 2-7, I should come and see you right away."
"I did." Koenig said, resigned, and dropped his hand from Helena's shoulder. "And you know what it is?"
"Hydraulics. It was one of the last Eagles to be retrofitted and the guys, Bradford and Neal, took it up before it was safe. Thank God no one was hurt." Then, before he could asked, Carter said: "Those involved are being punished. Janitorial duty in the Eagle hanger until I think they've learned their lesson."
"Good." Koenig said.
"Anything else?" Helena asked, her tone slightly aggravated. As far as she was concerned it could wait until tomorrow.
"Oh, and Nash from Hydroponics says he has something for you to see, John. When you get a chance."
"Thank you, Alan." Again from Helena. Go away. Could she make it any clearer?
Carter smiled, getting her point, and said: "Have a good evening you two." and turned to walk in the opposite direction.
Koenig's eyes narrowed as he watched the pilot retreat. Quietly, he said "I'm not sure but I think he did that on purpose."
"I'm sure he did." Helena said, knowing Alan's sense of humor well. She refocused on John, "I need to stop off at my place first but I will meet you up there in … a half hour?" Gently, Helena touched his cheek and parted from him, walking down the hall.
Koenig was pleased. It gave him just enough time to get to Hydroponics.
Later, Helena paced the floor of the low-lit observation deck. It was a very romantic place where Alphan lovers came to talk, embrace, and plan their futures. She and John had been here before, during those infrequent times when they had time off together, and she was content.
They had the place to themselves.
It was here that John Koenig first told her he wanted them to be exclusive. Then, he elaborated, explaining what it entailed. He presented well, making sense as only the Commander of Moonbase Alpha would. And finally, after all was said, after he made the clear point that he was very fond of her, wanting to eventually marry her, and felt their bond would only grow, he said the three magic words that sealed the deal.
'I love you.'
She would never tell him but she was putty in his hands after that.
Helena had been in love with Commander John Koenig for a long time, perhaps since the first moment she saw him. She wanted to tell him then but was unsure exactly how to say it. He did not seem anxious to approach her and how else was she to read that other than indifference?
Later, he told her in those early days he was equally as nervous (not to mention really busy) about starting something with her when their futures seemed so unsure. He eventually came to see that his fears were nonsense. They desired each other and, more than that, they needed to allow themselves the outlet; to feel love. They needed to experience it physically and emotionally.
'Being in love mutually was what kept men and women sane!' Helena chuckled to herself. That's what the romantics say, anyway. And, as a doctor, Helena believed that it also contributed to a sound mind and body. Why not?
She then heard him on the stairs, climbing up. "Is that you, John?" she called.
"Coming." he said.
She gave him time. His shoulder was probably aching. She prescribed pain killers but he hated to take the stuff. Told her it dulled the mind. The last thing the Commander of Alpha needed was to be in a medicated daze, he said.
When she finally did see him it was in shadow.
Helena stood at the window, allowing herself to be bathed in starlight.
"You are beautiful and charming." she heard him say, warmly. "Much better than I deserve. You deserve a reward."
As he approached Helena saw that John carried something in his hands, a vase with a lovely arrangement of colorful flowers.
"John, I'm surprised at you!" she said, appreciating the gift. "I thought after Luton I would never see you with another plant or cut flowers again."
"I know it seems peculiar but … feel."
She touched the peddles of something that looked like a tulip and smelled heavenly. She then smiled, "It's fake?" she asked.
"The latest creation in hydroponics. Fake flowers that look and smell like the genuine article."
She took it from his hands. "Well, I'm pleased the boys are focusing their attention on such an important matter." she quipped.
"Actually, these were an exclusive order. I asked Nash if he could do something special."
"The last time you gave me a flower was after we had a rather nasty fight." she remembered in good humor, "It's nice to get an arrangement just because you are feeling romantic." She placed the vase on the window's ledge and allowed him to put his good arm around her. They walked to the sofa together, sat down beside each other, and looked at the flowers. They were back lit by the stars, as Helena had been earlier. "Thank you, John. It's just lovely."
"And it will last forever." he added, "Just like my devotion to you."
"I think that is the most endearing thing you have ever said to me, John Koenig." Slowly, Helena leaned in and kissed him.
His hand lifted to touch her hair.
Commander Koenig, a man of instinct and good common sense, took whatever opportunity the fates of the cosmos chose to give him.
(Thanks to Becky for her advice, suggestions and friendship)