It was a lovely evening, spent in one of the local taverns, just the three of them, as it always was. Paradise was under the watch of the crew, all of whom they had come to trust. They had been enjoying a good laugh when Avi suddenly got to her feet. She pulled her hair over her shoulder, with it’s wild mix of sun and sky, and fidgeted with it for a moment.
She adjusted her shoulders, her wings lowered and tucked close to her back. Her mismatched eyes drifting up to his face then down to the tankard in his hand, to make sure he had enough to drink, in case he did not like what she had to say.
“Captain?” he inquired.
Both sets of eyes were on her. “You are a great Quartermaster and Second Mate,” she blurted the words out, almost too quickly and had to catch a breath before beginning again. “Let me say this without interruption, please.”
She felt the heat rise to her cheeks, perhaps that was from her empty tankard, but she doubted it this time. She was trembling, her stomach dropping and rushing back and heartbeat was in her throat. She knew she needed to say it soon. Her eyes flicked up, again, to his face, a face she had grown fond of and it made her smile.
“You are,” she paused, she had not thought through what she was going to say. Perhaps she had had too much to drink. Her hesitation caused a worried glance between her two friends. “You have been at my side since I almost fled the Songbird.” She winced at the memory but pushed forward. “You have been a shoulder to cry on, and the hands that held me up.” She glanced at Charlie. “As have you, Charlie.”
Charlie gave her a grin but there was still worry set in the first mates eyes.
“N-now, I have been doing a lot of thinking, and I think I am right about this. I-I am still young and inexperienced, but-but-” she drifted off, lowering her gaze. She could see Smeb’s feet move as he stood up. He was going to comfort her, if he did that she would not be able to get the words out. She lifted her head, in the proud way they had come to expect. “I am falling in love with you, Jamal.”
He froze and the world felt like it was spinning around her, ready to crash and break, until a smile spread across his lips. He took her cheeks between his two hands.
“Fatat jamila,” were the only words he spoke before his lips caught hers.
“About time!” Charlie cheered, raising her tankard and taking another swig as she leaned back in her chair.