It was time to get on their way before nightfall and the dangers of the jungle returned. The party continued on, but quietly the Shannon's and Taylor escorted Mark and Maddy to the front gate where an armored vehicle awaited them. Taylor had told Jim and Elisabeth where they were headed, and were grateful for yet another kindness from the Commander. The goodbyes were very tearful but happy, and the new couple headed out the gate.
They entered Outpost B hand in hand, exploring its secrets, grateful for the gift of being totally alone together. When they found the bunks, they stood and looked at each other silently. They finally they reached that awkward moment between a new husband and wife, knowing what was next as a result of their love.
Maddy broke the silence as she smiled, "I guess you should unwrap me now! I have a special gift for you. Here, hold this end."
She plugged in some traditional Indian music into the comm system, and began to dance, and said softly, "For your eyes only, Mark."
As she danced in the old ways, she left a trail of material in his hands and across the floor. The unwrapping sari material soon got mixed with uniform parts.
"How long is this, exactly?" Mark asked with mock indignation.
"Nine meters, Mr Impatient...," she teased.
But soon, the sari material was all on the floor and only the dancer and her Mehndi tattoos moved before her husband. He was amazed at the extent and the detail of the artwork, which fit every curve of her beautiful mocha skin, and she ended the dance in his arms and looked into his eyes.
"Mark, I dare you to mess up my tattoos."
"You are pretty feisty for a science geek."
She didn't waste the opening, "Wait until you see the experiment I am planning for you tonight..."
Mocha skin blended with white. Their next movements were together as one, in the wonderful tenderness and care of a newlywed couple.
They treasured their week of solitude together, swimming, enjoying the mountain views, eating together, walks in the woods, and especially enjoying each other. The already strong bond between them just grew deeper and deeper by week's end.
Upon their joyful return from their honeymoon, Mark and Maddy could hardly wait to move into Washington's apartment, even with a tearful goodbye to her parents. They did make it happy again. It seemed that their new home was always full of family or friends celebrating one occasion or another.