Deck 3, Mess Hall
"How much do you want to bet they'll be late?"
Jacob Taylor turned to the woman who'd just spoke. "Never known the Commander to be late for anything. In fact, she's almost always early."
"Maybe," Kasumi retorted, "but you've only seen Shepard when she was single. Two people together, they lose all track of time."
Jacob folded his arms and cast a glance at her. "Speaking from experience?"
Kasumi gave him a look of faux-innocence. "Why Mister Taylor, what ever could you mean?"
Jacob shook his head. "Like I said though, no chance Shepard's gonna be late."
Kasumi raised an eyebrow. "This certainty you have, care to place a wager on it? Say, 50 credits?"
"Make it 100 and you've got a deal."
"D—" Kasumi heard a hiss coming from the nearby elevator. "On second thought, I think I'll keep my money."
Shepard rounded the corner only moments later, escorting a rather reluctant looking Liara.
"Hey guys," Shepard said with a rather large smile, "hope we're not too late."
Jacob smirked. "Actually, you're a few minutes early."
Kasumi gave him a sideways glance. "Don't remind me."
Shepard smiled. "I'm guessing there's a story there?"
"Not really," Kasumi replied evasively.
Shepard raised an eyebrow. "You two sure about that?"
Jacob shook his head. "Nothing that interesting Commander."
"I've told you before Jacob," she laughed, "call me Shepard."
"I'll keep that in mind Commander."
"Anyway, I don't think you've all been properly introduced." Shepard turned to face Liara. "Liara, this is Jacob Taylor and Kasumi Goto. Kasumi, Jacob, this is Liara T'Soni –" she paused, "— my Fiancée."
Liara smiled shyly. "It is nice to meet you."
Kasumi and Jacob just stood there, unspeaking.
After a moment, Shepard waved her hands to get their attention. "Guys," she asked, "Everything alright?"
"You're– you're engaged?" Kasumi managed to blurt out.
Shepard smirked. "You're that surprised?"
"It's just a little unexpected is all."
"Can we talk about this over food?" Jacob chimed in.
Kasumi smacked him lightly on the arm.
"What?" Jacob asked, annoyed. "I'm hungry."
Shepard chuckled. "It's OK. Let's sit down to dinner and I'll tell you guys all about it."
"So basically, the deal is: next time I go racing into the jaws of death, I take her with me. Then she said yes!"
Kasumi smiled brightly. "Congratulations."
Jacob raised his glass. "To Commander Shepard and Dr. T'Soni: a love not even death could separate."
"Thank you Jacob," Liara said. "That was very beautiful."
"So," Kasumi started, "Have you decided when you're going to have the wedding?"
Leanna set down her glass and swallowed. "Nothing firm yet, though I suppose we'd want to wait until this business with the Reapers is over."
Liara nodded. "Yes. I do not think we would have enough time to plan a wedding, much less have it while we are dealing with the Reapers."
"Well, I'm sure you two must at least have some sort of idea."
"Well," Shepard looked down a bit, "there was one thing…"
Kasumi raised her eyebrow inquisitively, "Tell."
"Well, I was hoping I could get Councilor Anderson to officiate."
"I take it you're not doing a traditional Asari Bonding Ceremony then?"
"An Asari Bonding Ceremonies is typically officiated by an Asari Matriarch," Liara explained. "It is alright though. I have no desire for a Bonding Ceremony. I want to have a wedding like you showed me."
Jacob cocked his head slightly. "You showed her a wedding?"
"Um, Liara, could we not…"
Liara didn't seem to hear. "Not exactly showed, but I've seen it in her mind."
"Seen what exactly?" Kasumi inquired.
Leanna brought her hand up to her eyes. "Oh god."
"Well, Leanna has had a dream wedding in mind since she was little."
Kasumi turned her gaze toward Shepard. "Is this true?"
Leanna nodded. "I'm sorry to say."
Jacob smiled. "So, I guess the Commander was a girl once."
Shepard glared at her. "Call me that one more time and I shove you out the airlock."
"Just playing Commander," Jacob chuckled.
Kasumi gestured to Liara, "I was just noticing the ring."
"What about it?" Leanna asked, thankful for the change of topic.
"It's just not what I've traditionally seen in engagement rings."
"Stolen a lot of engagement rings, have you?"
"Hey, say what you want, but there's something to be said for the traditional diamond engagement ring."
"If you must know," Leanna grabbed Liara's hand, "it was my mother's. My father gave it to her when he proposed."
"So what does the design mean?" Jacob chimed in.
"It's an Irish design called a Claddagh ring. My father was very connected to his Irish roots. You see," she pointed to the ring, "the Heart in the center represents Love, the Hands holding it represent Friendship, and the Crown at the top represents Loyalty. According to my Mother, it's been in my family for generations. At least, that's what my Father told her."
Kasumi looked at the ring closely. "And you've kept it with you all this time?"
"For the most part. I lost it for a short time, you know, when I died, but I managed to find it when I went to the crash site."
"Well it's in very good condition, having survived re-entry like that."
"It should've been. It was protected by the same thing that protected this." She tapped the side of her head.
Jacob gave a questioning glance. "You mean it was in your helmet?"
"That's right. I used to use it to keep my hair in that ponytail. I'm guessing Miranda didn't know that when they put me back together. She just saw from pictures that I kept my hair up and figured I'd want to keep it that way."
Liara took Shepard's hand. "Not many are aware of Leanna's sentimental side, but she does have one."
Shepard nodded. "I've lost a lot of people over the years — people I care about — but I keep their memory alive in my own way."
The four sat in silence for a moment before Shepard broke it. "Damn. Here we were talking about happy things like the wedding and now I've gone and depressed everyone."
"It is not your fault Shepard. Perhaps it is time we were done for the evening."
Kasumi reached her hand out. "You guys can't go yet. We haven't even had desert."
"Maybe they're in the mood for a different kind of desert," Jacob smirked. He then grunted as Kasumi elbowed him in the ribs. "What?"
"You can be such an ass sometimes."
"Maybe, but I'm your ass."
Kasumi shook her head then turned to Liara. "Well we've heard all about what you too are doing and we know plenty about Shepard already, so tell us about you. What's it like being the Shadow Broker?"
It was another hour before they managed to pull themselves away. Soon though, they found themselves back in the Loft.
"Wow, Kasumi sure can talk, can't she," Leanna said as she flopped down on the bed.
Liara sat down gently on the other side. "I like her. Perhaps we should invite her to be a part of the Wedding party?"
Leanna chuckled. "Liara, if we invited all the people I wanted to be a part of the Wedding party, we wouldn't have any guests."
"I believe there are plenty who would come; at least, plenty who would come to see you."
Leanna sat up on her elbows. "What do you mean?"
"It is just that… I know that I have made very few friends over the years. Even now, I am struggling to figure out whom I would have stand by me at our wedding. You though, you have so many friends that you are struggling to keep the number low."
"Liara, I'm sorry. I had no idea…"
"It is alright. I… I have always been fairly anti-social. Perhaps, as you once said, it was part of my rebelling against my mother. It took your constant visits to get me to come out of my shell. Still, I can count the number of friends I have on one hand."
Leanna grabbed her hand. "Look, the Wedding won't be for a while. You have plenty of time to go out and make new friends."
"I suppose that it true."
"And if it comes down to it, you can borrow some of my friends." Leanna smiled.
Liara returned the smile and the two embraced.
"So," Leanna started, "what do you say we do something fun?"
"We could put on a bad vid and cuddle up together?"
"By which you mean you'll try to find 'Azure' again? You know, if you really want to find it, I could just guide you to it."
"Yeah, but where's the fun in that?"
End of Episode #4