As the sun starts to peek through the shuttered windows, Bill's eyes flutter open and he turns his head to gaze at his wife. This is their first morning in their home. The light is just barely sneaking up onto her body and it is creating small slivers of lightened skin. He feels her chest rising and falling against his side and her light exhalations of breath against his bare chest. One of her legs is crossed over his and her hand remains on his chest. Glancing down, he sees the light catch off of the tiny diamonds in her wedding ring. If he woke up like this every morning for the remainder of his life, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, he knows he can't stay lying in bed forever. Carefully extracting himself out from Laura's arms, he lightly kisses her cheek and then heads to the bathroom. After getting dressed, he goes out to the kitchen to make coffee and some breakfast. Pulling the coffee grounds out of the pantry that some people found in the tropical part of this continent and then ground them, he lights a fire in the fireplace and begins to boil some water.
Just as he is finishing up with the coffee, Laura slowly walks out of the hallway and into the kitchen, putting her arms around him. “Good morning,” she says in her rough morning voice.
“Morning, Laura.” Turning around, he notices she is wearing his robe. “Still can't stay away from my robe I see.”
“Well, I wouldn't want to accidentally be seen not wearing anything, would I?” Laura responds teasingly, one side of her lip curling up in a smile as she barely opens up the top of the robe to reveal that she has nothing on underneath.
“No, you would definitely not want to do that,” Bill agrees and moves towards her as if he is going to kiss her. Just as Laura moves closer to him, he turns around and pours the coffee in two mugs. If she is going to play a tease, so is he. Two can play at this game. Moving away from the counter with the two mugs in his hands, he smirks at Laura and she smirks back, knowing that this is going to go on all day.
After bringing the breakfast bowls to the table filled with porridge and topped with berries, Laura opens all the shuttered windows and then joins Bill at the table. Taking a drink from the mug, she comments, “This coffee is so much better than that algae coffee they were serving.”
“Yes, it most definitely is. Although I didn’t know I missed regular coffee so much until they found the coffee beans here and then gave us some.”
“Yeah, me too. It’s funny because I didn’t even drink coffee before I became president. I was definitely more of a tea person. So, now that the cabin is done, what are we going to do?”
“Well, eventually I thought we could go exploring, maybe take the raptor to different lands at some point. When the pilots were scanning the planet, there was a land up north over the ocean that was incredibly green. There were so many plants and so many beautiful landscapes. But I think we need to wait until you gain more of your strength back. Today I was thinking we could go down to the lake and maybe go swimming. After that we could come back up and put the remainder of our books away.”
“I think that sounds wonderful, all of it. I would love to go up to different lands and explore. Maybe we would be able to see how our people are getting along. The green sounds incredible; it wasn't like that at all on New Caprica or Caprica for that matter. But I agree, I think we should wait. I’d want to be able to walk around and see things, and I’m not up to that quite yet. Swimming does sound incredible today though.”
“Then why don't we finish up breakfast and then we can head down there.”
Once they've finished their light breakfast, Laura changes into a pair of shorts and a tank top and they head down to the lake. Bill carries a large blanket under one arm and holds Laura's hand as they walk. The lake is set back behind a forest of trees and the water is so clear they can see all the rocks on the bottom of the lake. Now that they've made it down there, Bill places the blanket on a large, flat rock and then he takes off everything but his underwear, leaving his clothes sitting on the blanket so they don't get wet. Laura takes Bill's hand and they wade into the water, the slow current gently brushing their bodies. Making their way deeper into the water, Bill lets go of Laura's hand and allows her to swim. Taking a deep breath, she plunges underneath the water and weaves her way through the lake. Coming up for a breath, she lets out a loud cough as she realizes her lungs are not what they used to be. Bill swims over to her quickly and holds her up as he treads water.
Once she is done coughing, she says, “Yeah, I'm fine. Just forgot that my body is not what it used to be. I'm okay now.” Patting his shoulder, she tries to let go but he hangs on. “Bill, I promise, I'm okay.”
He looks worriedly at her but then lets her go. Ducking his head under the water, he enjoys the coolness of it. He was never one for swimming, but with a lake this close to home and Laura enjoying it, he knows he could get used to it. Coming back up, he brushes his wet hair back from his face. Looking over at Laura, he sees that she's laid back and begun to float on top of the water. Standing carefully on the bottom of the lake, he moves over to her quietly, not wanting to interrupt her silence. Her face is turned towards the blue sky, a look of tranquility on her face. It's silent except for the chirping of birds until she begins to speak softly.
“This feels incredible. Outside of the water, I still feel so old and weak. The cancer is gone, but it's almost as if what it has done to my body will never be gone. It feels like I aged thirty years while I was sick. My body is so stiff and not what it used to be. But right now, I don't feel any of that. It's wonderful.”
He remains quiet for another moment and then slowly catches her hand that was moving gently in the water, creating small ripples on the surface. She stiffens slightly at the contact and then relaxes as he begins to run his fingers along the skin of her forearm, then up to her shoulder and back down again. Moving his hand back up, his fingers push more firmly, tracing her bicep and shoulder and working to remove the knots that had settled there permanently while she was still president. Moaning softly, she pushes her shoulder against his hand, wanting him to press deeper until the knots become loose. Trailing upwards once more, he doesn't stop at her shoulder but moves past it, tracing her pale skin. Her breath hitches as he lightly kisses her cheek.
As he moves behind her, he massages both her shoulders at the same time before moving on to her other arm and repeating his actions until she is equally loose on her right side. Running his hand down the length of her body, he allows himself a moment to notice how skinny she became. He hopes that with the cancer gone, she will return to her once healthy weight. His hand moves down her endless expanse of leg and he notices she points her toes as he massages the muscle in her calf. He wonders if she was in ballet when she was growing up. As he notices her humming at his massage, he lightly smiles. Moving over to her left leg, he finishes his ministrations.
Opening her eyes, she realizes Bill is just looking down at her. Turning in the water, she stands and allows herself a moment to regain her balance. Looking up at him, she moves her hands to the back of his neck and leans forward to capture his lips with her own. Tangling her hands in his wet hair, she allows herself to get lost in this moment.
As they move out of the lake, they both lie down on the blanket covered rock to get dry. The sun beating down on them feels nice and not too hot. Laura looks out at the lake and the trees surrounding them and says, “This planet is absolutely beautiful.”
“Yes, it is. But there is something much, much more beautiful than this planet.”
Laura looks at him curiously and raises her eyebrow, waiting for him to continue.
She smiles politely but then looks down, lightly shaking her head. She knows how she looks, and it's not beautiful. “Bill, I'm-”
Using his hand, he gently raises Laura's chin so she is looking at him again. “Laura, yes, you are.” Leaning forward, he gently kisses her.
Once they've dried, they make their way back to the cabin. Laura changes into pants and a shirt and then she goes back out to the living room to help Bill put the remainder of the books away. As she makes her way out, she notices that Bill is looking at one of the pictures on the shelf. Glancing over his shoulder, she sees that it is a picture of the two of them, though not a very happy picture. They only kept it because it is one of the few pictures they have together. It was taken back when the war first started and it was the beginning of their journey together.
Speaking quietly, she says over Bill's shoulder, “No one would have been able to guess how it ended from just that picture. We were so hateful towards each other back then. But look how it turned out. Now we're together and that's how it will always be.”
Bill turns his head so he can see Laura and notices a smile gracing her face. Putting the picture back on the shelf, he gives her a kiss and then says, “Alright, let's get these books finished.”
Alright, here's the next chapter. Hope you enjoy it!