Whilst going through my father’s papers upon his death, I came across this story penned by him. The details contained have troubled me over some period of time, but as I constantly reread his words, I found myself inspired and comforted by them, and now, I know the truth.
~ Cecilie Vale
By Doctor Ageon Vale
The sun kissed her blonde hair, setting off a myriad of diamond flickers through the strands. She had was the most beautiful creature he had ever beheld in all his travels through the cluster. He realized how overused that sentiment must be to some, but to him, it couldn’t have been truer in his mind.
The moment of their meeting had been unexpected, as was the metaphorical stab of pain he felt in his heart at beholding her for the first time. Her hair hadn’t been flowing free, like it was now, but intricately woven into a series of braids, wisps framing her fine-boned face. Her faded blue skirt whirled around her slim ankles as she moved from table to table in the small café he later learned was owned by her father. The crisp white blouse belied her gentle curves, and for a fleeting moment, as her dark brown eyes passed over his, her lips turned up in a smile.
The pang of longing descended into his stomach, and a strange sickness, almost like something he had experienced while training to be a capsuleer—anticipation mixed with fear and nerves—settled in the pit of his gut, unyielding, demanding.
Although not his usual haunt, he sat at one of the spotless tables, fiddling with a menu interface until she arrived, datapad in hand.
“Hello, can I get you anything?”
No music in the universe could compare to the gentle lilt of her voice, punctuated by a delicate accent. Upon closer inspection, he would guess her to be Achuran, with perhaps another bloodline—maybe Gallente—lingering in the intermix of her genetic code. He prided himself on being able to spot these intricate subtilties. A rosy blush etched on her cheekbones from rushing around to serve the patrons. He found himself unable to speak and had to clear his throat repeatedly before asking for coffee, black.
“A man of simple tastes,” she remarked with no hint of malice to the statement. It was as if she approved.
“Yes…I suppose so.”
“I won’t be a moment.” She spun, moving back to what he assumed was the kitchen area, the scent of wildflowers in her wake.
His olfactory senses stimulated a lost memory, a mother he had barely known, a field, a soft voice calling to him. He felt an overwhelming sense of calm descend around his form, the knot in his stomach loosening ever so slightly.
When she returned with his coffee, served in a pristine white mug with a small pastry on the side, he reached out, taking her wrist, the skin smooth underneath his calloused fingertips.
“I am not a forward man.”
She paused and faced him, curiosity flickering in her eyes. “I have heard many propositions before, sir.” Making no move to extract her wrist from his grasp, she waited for further explanation.
“I…would like to…if I may, take you to dinner.” He resembled some bumbling schoolboy, and it irked him to find his confidence so violently shaken. It was a risk to ask, as he had no clue of her relationship status. For all he knew, she could be happily married to the owner of the café and have several children to tend to.
“You aren’t from here, are you?”
He shook his head, the response coming in a gruff whisper. “No.”
Glancing over her shoulder to see if any other patrons required her service and finding all were momentarily content with their fare, she sat in the seat opposite him. “It would be customary to tell me your name first.”
His name escaped him entirely, his mind fixated on the creature before him. “I…my name is…”
Laughter like tinkling bells filled his ears. “You’ve forgotten your own name?”
“Vale,” he finally managed. “My name is Ageon Vale.”
The name suited her, Ageon thought. It sounded like that of a mythical being, something out of the stories the tribe often told while seated in their camps. He had often observed them from afar as a child, never quite fitting in with the rest of the children, his mother being Vherokior and his father Achuran. As soon as he was able, Ageon broke free, undergoing the testing to be a capsuleer as soon as he was able, focusing his studies on medicine, determined to provide aid to those who could not seek it themselves due to monetary limitations.
He saw her watching him as he had remained silent for several moments after she had told him her name. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Celyn Thouron.”
“Indeed, Ageon Vale.” She laughed again, and Ageon’s heart almost flew out of his chest in pure delight. “And in answer to your question, I would love to have dinner with you. However, you must know, I don’t often accept dinner invitations from our patrons.”
Ageon placed a hand over his heart, almost thinking it might actually burst forth this time, and he must contain it. He dipped his head solicitously. “I am honored.”
And that was the moment it had begun. When Celyn’s lips brushed his cheek after that first encounter, Ageon was hers in the completest sense—mind, body, and soul.
Celyn turned in the sunset, the small villa he had purchased for her planetside framed in the background. The swell of her abdomen illustrated the depth of their love as the child inside her thrived. As she moved into his arms, he lovingly ran his hand over her, feeling the baby kick at his palm.
Ageon placed his lips on the top of her head, breathing in her sweet fragrance. “Are you sure you don’t want to know what we’re having?”
“No. I’m sure it seems odd to you, but I want to be surprised.”
Steadying himself, a dark thought crept into Ageon’s mind, and a topic they had long avoided speaking about came to the surface. “If something should happen…”
She turned in his arms, pressing a fingertip to his lips. “If it does, that is what is meant to be, my love.”
Celyn, his one heart’s desire, was not protected from death, like he was. Some would call him foolish for getting himself involved with a baseliner, as they were so often referred to by capsuleers, but he brushed them off. If this was his one chance in an infinite lifetime for happiness, he would grasp it, even if it meant watching her grow old before his eyes while he remained the same. He could never imagine not loving her.