Bill never returned to his sketches that evening, but he did stay up most of the night. Laura continued to share her stories from the summer spent sailing with Belinda, each one more erotic than the next, arousing him over and over again. He was finally spent, dozing off in their bed shortly before dawn, only to be awakened a few hours later by Laura’s lips on his cock. “Wake up, Admiral,” she says upon seeing his eyelids flutter. “I have a few more urgent matters that need your attention.”
“Is that an order from my President?”
“It most certainly is. And if you don’t comply, I can always handcuff you again or have you sent to my brig,” she threatens.
He pulls her up from between his legs, kissing her lips tenderly, causing her to melt into him. “I didn’t realize you had a brig, Madam President.”
“It’s not a brig in the traditional sense, not at all like the one you put me in. It’s my bedroom on Colonial One, and it’s specifically where naughty Admirals go to be punished.”
“What kinds of punishment are these naughty Admirals subjected to?”
“If you disobey your President, you’ll find out,” she says, almost a dare, one eyebrow raised at him.
“Then it’s a good thing I’m following your orders. I’m wide awake now,” he says lightly tracing his index finger from her temple to her jawline. “Sometimes the Admiral has to make a military decision,” he states, grabbing her around the waist and rolling over on top of her, “and military decisions overrule the president.” His proclamation of taking charge brings an eager smile to her face.
“Just so you know, I love you, Laura,” he whispers, followed by a gentle loving kiss to her lips. “I can never tell you that enough.”
“Bill, my love for you grows every day. If I get to be too much of a handful, you let me know,” she says gazing deeply into his eyes.
“You’re not too much of a handful and last night was incredible. But right now, I want to make love to my wife so that she knows how much I care for her.”
Laura answers a knock at the door shortly after lunch. “Edward! It’s good to see you again! Please come in. Bill’s upstairs but should be down soon.”
“Hello, Laura. It’s always nice to visit you,” he says extending his hand to her. She gently shakes his hand, the memory of him helping her up off Galactica’s deck replaying in her mind. “Do you still relive the moment during the battle whenever we shake hands?” he asks.
“I do, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because it was the first time a Centurion ever touched me in a helpful manner,” she replies with a frown.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories,” Edward is quick to respond.
“No, I know you didn’t. It’s alright, I’m glad you’re here. Feel free to look through some books while I check on Bill to see what’s taking him so long,” she says nodding to the bookshelves. “I’ll be right back.”
Edward stands in place turning his head from one shelf to the next, scanning the titles and authors of the books. He’s familiar with several already, having committed them to his memory banks to be replayed in his mind whenever he feels like it, but one series captures his attention: Picon Boys. He has never heard of that series before and there appears to be a few dozen books. He pulls the first one from the shelf and quickly flips through the pages committing it to memory for later.
“Hi, Edward, sorry I lost track of time. I was going over some sketches in my office. Would you like to see them?”
“Yes, it will give me an idea of where to start.”
They both climb the steps to Bill’s office and spend the next few hours going over the sketches and drawing up new ones. When they have the plan for Bill’s boat fully sketched out, Edward offers to bring materials to the cabin so they can work on the boat in the yard as long as Laura doesn’t mind construction taking place during the day.
“I think that would be wonderful, Edward, and if you want to look through our books while Bill takes breaks, you are welcome to do that. I should let you know that I finished editing my mystery novel last night but it isn’t bound yet. I can either let you look through it now or wait and give you a hardback copy once I get it bound. I promise you’ll get the first one,” she says with a friendly smile.
“I will wait for it to be bound, and if you could write a note to me inside of it, I would appreciate it.”
“I am happy to do that for you,” Laura says, taking his hand between both of hers. The memory of him helping her off Galactica’s deck flashes through her mind again and Edward pauses long enough for her to release his hand once the memory fades.
“Bill, I can start bringing lumber tomorrow morning if that is convenient for you.”
“That would be great! Thank you for stopping by. We’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
Once Edward turns and leaves, Bill asks, “Were you having a memory when you held his hand?”
“Yes, every time I touch him, I relive the same memory like it’s the first time I’m reliving it.”
“Under what circumstances did you have contact with him before arriving here?” Bill asks with concern.
“Oh, it’s nothing like that. During the battle with the Colony, he was guarding sickbay. I got knocked to the deck during a blast and he helped me up. I was shocked that a Centurion would even bother with me, and I almost felt like he was there to protect me.”
“Have you ever asked him about it?”
“Not really. Do you think I should?”
“Aren’t you curious?”
“Sort of. My encounters with other Centurions weren’t so pleasant, so that’s why I haven’t pushed the issue with Edward.”
“Have you relived memories with other Centurions here?”
“No, I haven’t, and I’ve even been around a few of them several times, but I haven’t had the memory recovery like I’ve had with Edward. It is curious, isn’t it?”
“Very. I’d like to be there when you talk with him about it.”
“Are we being a tad bit overprotective, Bill?” Laura asks with a smirk.
“I only want to be there for you in case you have other memories, unpleasant ones,” he responds in a reassuring tone.
“Understood, and thank you,” she replies placing her hand on his arm. “I think you should talk to him and get to know him a little first, maybe while you’re working tomorrow morning. He’s very pleasant to speak with. The first person he met when he arrived here was my father and he told him everything from the time before the attacks right up until his death in the corridor of Galactica. Daddy was astonished at how open he was with him, but he also felt there were certain details he left out, particularly when he discussed New Caprica.”
The next morning at the crack of dawn Edward arrives on a boat he built especially for carrying lumber and construction supplies. Laura and Bill are still asleep in each other’s arms and although Edward is trying to be quiet while he unloads the supplies, he makes just enough noise to disturb their slumber.
“He believes in starting early, doesn’t he?” Bill mumbles to Laura who snuggles into his side and tightens her grip on him.
“Mmm, hmmm, he probably spent the whole night loading his boat and had it timed to arrive right at sunup,” she replies. “He doesn’t sleep, you know. And I think he’s very eager to work with you.”
Bill rises from the bed and walks to the deck overlooking the front yard of the cabin, waving at Edward as he unloads the lumber and supplies. “I’m going to take a quick shower and grab some breakfast, then I’ll help you,” he calls down from the balcony.
“Take your time, Bill. I can unload this heavy stuff myself.”
Laura heads to the kitchen to start the coffee and make some breakfast and after Bill showers, he dines on toast with fresh jam, some scrambled eggs, and a mug of coffee. “Go, have fun,” Laura says brushing a kiss to his lips when he finishes. “I’m going to the market today to speak to someone about getting my novel bound but I should be back by lunchtime.”
Bill and Edward spend the morning unloading and organizing the supplies while Laura peruses the market for new goods and to speak with someone about her novel. She spends some time chatting with Dee at her farm goods stand, then walks along a new row of stands to see what people have for trade. Two Centurions share a space offering to build furniture to spec, displaying samples and a catalog of their work. Laura inquires about where they had the catalog made and then heads to a stand at the end of the row where the Centurions motioned to.
“Madam President – oh, I guess that’s not your title anymore,” D’Anna remarks. “What brings you here today?”
Laura pushes her satchel off her hip, hoping D’Anna doesn’t see that she has a typed novel inside.
“Laura, it’s good to see you,” Tory says appearing from behind the stand. “What can we help you with?”
“I was just walking through the market today and checking out the new stands. What are you trading?”
“I decided to put my journalism and publishing skills to use and Tory has been kind enough to aid me in starting a small publishing company. What do you have in your satchel?” D’Anna asks nodding toward the bag.
“Oh, it’s a novel I’ve been working on,” Laura says trying to downplay that it is finished.
“May I?” Tory says reaching to the bag. When Laura hesitates, Tory gives her a subdued look. “Please, Laura, I want to see if we can offer our services to you, that’s all. I have no ill-feelings toward you.”
“I suppose it won’t hurt for you to look at it,” Laura replies handing Tory the novel.
“Did I see C-159 heading to your cabin this morning?” D’Anna asks. “Oh, I’m sorry, he goes by Edward now, right? I’ll never get used to calling Centurions by their chosen human names,” she snorts.
“Yes, he and Bill are building a boat together,” Laura replies.
“Well, that has to be cozy,” D’Anna says leaving Laura perplexed.
“Just over 300 pages, do you intend to add more?” Tory asks cutting D’Anna off.
“I think other than a dedication page, that will be it for this one,” Laura replies.
“I can have it bound for you in a few days if you’d like,” Tory offers.
“What will I owe you?”
“Nothing. This is on me, Laura. It’s the least I can do.”
“I really don’t think giving our services away for free is a good way to do business, Tory,” D’Anna complains.
“You’re right. May I have an autographed copy, Laura?” Tory says giving D’Anna a side-eye glance.
“You are second on my list. Edward gets the first copy for helping Bill with his boat,” Laura says with a smile as D’Anna appears disgusted with Tory’s request.
“I suppose it only makes sense that C-159 gets the first copy. Afterall, you would have arrived here much sooner if it wasn’t for him,” D’Anna smirks.
Tory looks at Laura who is confused, then shakes her head and shrugs her shoulders to indicate she doesn’t know what D’Anna is talking about. “Ask him,” D’Anna says. “I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you all about how he defied my orders.”
“D’Anna,” Tory says in an annoyed tone. “Why don’t you try being less of an ass? Laura, I will handle the binding myself. How many copies do you want?”
“Is two dozen too many?”
“No, that’s a good place to start. Let me show you our cover and font options,” she says motioning to the back of the stand. “Try working on your customer service, D’Anna, while I help Laura.”
Tory pulls out a catalog and thumbs through a few pages to show Laura her ideas for the cover and binding. They discuss putting an illustration on the front but decide to wait and do that with reprints if any are requested. “This all looks very good, Tory, but my goodness, why do you work with that woman?” Laura asks.
“I feel responsible for her since I helped create her.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to work with her. Maybe just stop in from time to time to offer motherly advice.”
Tory snorts at the thought of mothering D’Anna. “We’ll see how this goes. I might wind up taking over this business myself if she can’t find a better personality.”
“Tory, would you stop by for dinner some night? I’d like to reminisce with you, and I think Bill would like to see you, too. Leave D’Anna at home, though.”
“Thank you, Laura, I’d like that. If we wait a few days, I can bring your books with me.”
“Good. I’m looking forward to it.”