"Wedding Preparations: Olive Branch (Trunk and Root - Heck, the Whole Tree!)" Personal Log, Counselor Tempest Rainbird 0207.08 1605 h Haven't gone yet. Picked out twenty possible dress styles, organized seating and invitation list. Quarters very clean. Personal Log, Counselor Tempest Rainbird 0207.08 1625 h No more to clean and computer solitaire growing dull after 58 hands. Considering reading text book on Herpetology purchased after meeting with T'Kirr. Personal Log, Counselor Tempest Rainbird 0207.08 1635 h Herpetology text worst thing ever written ever. Exerpt: Amphisbaenians are limbless squamates whose pectoral and pelvic girdles have been significantly reduced or are absent. Usually they have a distinctly annulated pattern of scutellation and rather short tails. Amphisbaenids are adapted to a burrowing life style and accordingly, their skulls are heavily ossified and their brain is entirely surrounded by the frontal bones. In contrast to other limbless lizards or snakes, which have a reduced left lung, the right lung of amphisbaenians is reduced in size. Going to see Brooke now. Can always quote Herpetology text in self-defense. Personal Log, Counselor Tempest Rainbird 0207.08 1700 h Oh, wow. I just mean. wow. Okay, I can't believe - I just - okay, start at the beginning Tempest. You're a terrible journaler. You can't just babble; you actually have to tell the story even if it's so exciting. Right. Okay. My hand was SHAKING when I started to ring Brooke's chime. I mean, SHAKING, like literally, fingers all a twitter, heart all a twitter, almost seeing double, and I'm holding my breath full of butterflies and cursing Kathryn for her advice when who walks down the hall to see me standing like an idiot with my hand shaking like a leaf a foot away from her chime? Brooke. Dressed in athletic garb. Sweating a little. "Hi Counselor," she said. "Can I help you?" "Do you have a minute?" "Sure." She opened the door, slung her shoulder bag on the ground, did a quick, agile little stretch and sat down on the couch. "What can I do for you?" It has been FOREVER since I've been in Brooke's quarters, literally since old Atlantis. It was comforting to see they hadn't changed that much. Same furnishings, even the same smell. "Zuriyev and I are finally going through with it." I twisted the diamond nervously on my finger, watching the light plays refract around the room. "And I - we've been through a lot, Brooke." She nodded, waiting for me to get to the point. I looked down. My hand had stopped shaking, but the calm was utterly deceptive. If I'd had slightly more presence of mind I'm sure I would have been fantasizing colorful ways to torture Kathryn for putting me in this position. "I miss you, Brooke. I still remember the good times. The really good times, and they were damn good." I smiled broadly. "Remember Carnegie and that ridiculous play?" She whuffed slightly, a cross between laugh and exhale. "Oh, God. Yes. That was RIDICULOUS." "The costumes -" "Green velvet SHOES?" "And, of course, a few of the voices." ".not that I'd name any names." This was going fairly well. She was sitting in the corner with a wry smile, rubbing kinks out of the muscles in her calf. "And Kathryn. We have Kathryn in common." I reached out to her involuntarily, one of those gut-wrenching gestures that comes spontaneously from the heart. "I have her, and I have you to thank for that. So many fragile twists of fate led to that. A single moment lived differently - and she might be dead or lost to her own internal chaos. I owe you for that, Brooke. It's one of the most important things I've ever shared with anyone." I took a step closer, boldly appealing. "I miss the way we used to be." The moment of truth. Breathles. Waiting. God damn, I was tense. You know, like sweating tense. My back was stiff, my arms were stiff, my thoughts were racing. Even my heart was pounding. And the moment seemed like forever. ForEVER. And then she opened her mouth, her dark brows knitted, and her eyes flashing with some emotion. Was it anger? Regret? Annoyance? Sincerity? Her voice rang into the silence, like a knell - "Me too." Her pale lips were smiling gently. "What the hell are we feuding about anyway?" We embraced, smiled, embraced again. "Brooke, will you be the Maid of Honor at my wedding?" She said YES. I am so friggin' happy. Kathryn is getting a. I'm not sure what I can buy her that she really wants, but if there is something, she's getting it. I'm utterly excited about my wedding!!!!!! And now I'm going to drone happily in this journal about how excited I am because. I have this warm feeling in my gut and I want to grin and dance and it's perfect because I'm GOING to be grinning and dancing in white silks and lace with flowers and friends - and it's a moment to celebrate! It's like all the good things in my life are coming together on this day! I have Kathryn and Brooke and Julia and Minx and Geileiss and Alexi! And I'm going to wear white silk and lace that pools around my hips and ankles and makes me feel like a graceful angel floating along the cloud of the aisle to my own private heaven! It's all coming together! I made another decision. I'm going to mount a picture of Gerta and her mother at the back of the hall, and wreathe them in lilies and light. Right at the back of the hall where I can see them while I'm taking my vows. So they can remind me about the importance of life and seizing the moment. And making peace. I am so lucky to have such people in my life. Kathryn, the cynical, but the brilliant, who always fights for the truth and can see through deception with laser vision. Brooke, the aristocratic, the righteous, the just, with her sense of humor that could swallow Mount Everest. Alexi, my stoic love with a core of peace in his soul that can always quench my thirst. Thank you, world. I'm getting married!