The transport station was only a kilometer away, an easy walk. Kathryn took her time; the temperature was high and she was quite early. It was such a nice walk and a drastic change in atmosphere for such a short distance. The station was the last in that line, located on the very edge of the city, but from the cottage, you would never know there was another soul in the universe. The last part of the journey was through a short, thick woods, but soon the trail opened to the rolling green of the large front yard, a wide stone path winding through to the porch steps. Chakotay loved this place so much, Kathryn sometimes felt like an intruder when she came here.
"Chakotay?" She called out as she came up the steps into the cottage; the door here was never locked. "Chakotay?"
Receiving no answer, Kathryn quickly checked the kitchen area, neat and clean but empty. She headed up the stairs to check the bedrooms. She was early but she knew he was here. The windows were open and the bags sat at the top of the stairs. Kathryn dropped her bag next to the others.
Deciding on a cool drink, Kathryn returned to the kitchen and poured a glass of lemonade and made herself comfortable in the swing on the back porch. Even the warm moist breeze felt good on such a hot afternoon, as it blew across the dunes ruffling the grass before carrying the salty sweet smell of the sea to the porch. From here, she could look out over the ocean and far down the beach; he was nowhere in sight.
She waited. When the lemonade was gone, she stood to return the glass to the kitchen. Thatís when she saw them. Two dark objects hiding, just at the very edge of the lawn; his shoes. Kathryn cuffed up her pants, kicked off her shoes and headed toward the beach. She ambled across the lawn but when her naked feet came in contact with the hot sand, she ran to the edge of the water.
There was still no sign of Chakotay, so she picked a likely direction and started down the beach. It wasn't long before she came upon his footprints, just beyond the water's reach; she had chosen wisely. Kathryn didn't have to travel much farther before she found them; the smaller set of prints next to his that had been hidden by the lapping waves. So, she was here too.
Kathryn knew she shouldn't feel it and she felt guilty for it, but the disappointment was too strong to deny. It seemed they were always so busy, constantly off in separate directions, she had little enough time with him these days and she hadn't planned on sharing him with her this weekend. Well, there was nothing she could do about it now; she followed the two sets of prints along the shoreline.
Finally, she spotted them, hand in hand, walking back in towards her. Continuing in their direction, she waved and he waved back. As they came together, she looked at him, the sheepish grin, the apologetic eyes; she couldn't help but smile.
"Hi, Kathryn, I didn't expect you so early." He guiltily dug one foot into the sand as he spoke.
"I know, but I snuck away early. I thought it would be nice to have some extra time together." She held his eyes to convey her disappointment while keeping her voice as light as possible.
"I'm glad you did." He smiled at her, knowing she was disappointed, his eyes pleading for forgiveness.
"Me, too." She leaned in grasping his free hand and kissing his cheek; forgiveness granted. "I don't see enough of you."
"Mama." The little hand tugged at her pants, crystal blue eyes sparkling with excitement.
"Hello, angel." Kathryn scooped up their daughter, brushing the damp dark curls from her face as she kissed her. "I thought you were going to grandma's." She glanced sideways at Chakotay; the little girl just giggled. "I see Daddy had other ideas."