take care of now.”
Molly smiled again and held up a data pad, “Oh, you mean this. Hang on.”
The screen went to hold for a minute. Parente still had her pad open but was smiling at him. She is really beautiful!
He jerked his eyes back to the pad, “Yes, sir.”
“I take it that nothing has developed to change your previous evaluation?”
“No, sir, I think you should sign it.”
“Is she there?”
“Hand her the pad.”
She gave him a questioning look as he handed her his pad. Her eyes went very wide when she saw Admiral Jacks looking back, “Admiral, good afternoon, sir.”
“Good afternoon Ensign Parente. Apparently you have made a conquest of my Lieutenant West. He spoke highly of you when we last talked. I pulled your record , and, I too, was impressed. Therefore,” he took the data pad from Molly and signed it “effective immediately you are promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Now if you will hand the pad back to West, I believe the Master Chief has one more thing, and I see I have guests arriving.”
Parente had a blank look as she practically dropped the pad back in Josiah’s hands.
Molly was on the screen, “Yes, Molly?”
She had that smile, “West, tomorrow you are scheduled to spend the day with Commander Phelps. Whenever you decide to break for lunch I want you to give me a call.”
“Ok , what’s it about?”
“Just call, nothing official.” She broke the connection.
Today was turning out to involve an ungodly amount of confusion.
Parente was still standing there holding her pad but looking at him, “What just happened?”
He put his pad away, knelt down, and removed a small case from his bag. He opened it and turned to her, “I have a couple of things that I won’t need anymore. He picked up a first-class pilot’s wings set and placed then over the third-class wings that were auto-stitched on her greens. The cluster of tiny hooks grabbed the threads and held firm, “I wore these for a long time.” He then removed the pair of Lieutenant Junior Grade shoulder boards and replaced her Ensign boards with them, “These have never been worn.”
In spite of the surprising developments in her day, she recovered quickly. She looked at her new rating and rank symbols with obvious pleasure , and then turned a narrow-eyed look on Josiah, “Knowing you is crazy. What else ya got?”
“Ah...well, I would like you to join me for dinner tonight...providing I’m not stepping on any other relationship you may have that I’m not aware of.” Crap, I hope I’m not blushing.
That was...unexpected. Her surprised look turned into more narrowed eyes and a smile, “Why Lieutenant West, I believe you’re blushing.”
She tilted her head back and pointed an unfriendly look at him along her nose, “There are no relationships to interfere with, but why should I go to dinner with you after that nasty trick you just played on me?”
Josiah got an immediate message from her attitude and body language; their relationship had just gone from superior-officer-and-subordinate to boy-girl. Going to play coy, huh? He countered with his own nonchalant attitude, “Well, you did indicate a desire to be briefed about the yellow brick road that led us to this day.” He bent and picked up his bag and started to, slowly, walk toward the terminal building, “A story like that would fit very nicely over dinner, and I’m starving; seems I forgot lunch.”
She dropped into place beside him with her hands behind her back and turned her head toward him, “And you would take a lady to dinner dressed the way I am?”
Still on the coy thing? He stopped and turned to face her, “You are an officer in the Navy wearing a clean and tidy uniform of that organization, and, if I may be allowed a strictly personal observation, you look very good. I was thinking of keeping it informal anyway. I haven’t checked into the BOQ yet, but I hear they have a nice