Disclaimer: Unfortunately Paramount owns everything.  I just get to play with their toys when no one is watching.
 
 

Second place in Talent Nights Christmas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rated PG

She sat alone on the window seat staring at the rolling landscape outside, it’s soft white blanket of snow sparkling in the reflected light of the distant stars.  This is what she worked for all those years and now its beauty was lost in the emptiness that was her life.

“Beautiful isn’t it?”  His voice was warm; the gentle touch of his hand on her shoulder meant to be reassuring.

“Yes.”  She covered his hand with her own but didn’t turn to face him.

“Are you going to be OK?  Your friends will be here in a few hours.”

“Yes, I’m fine.”  She turned giving him a sad smile.  “It’s just an awkward time of year for me.”

“I remember last year.”  He nodded, he had been new to this last Christmas but it wasn’t difficult to see her pain. “Kathryn, if it makes you unhappy we can still cancel.”

“I can’t do that.”  She looked back to the freshly fallen snow.  “It’s a tradition.  Every Christmas eve, after the general celebration, the senior staff held a private gathering in the Captain’s quarters.”

“Kathryn, you’re not the Captain anymore, you don’t have to do this for them.”

“We’re family, it’s our tradition.” She turned back a forced smile on her face.  “Don’t look so worried it’s only a little holiday blues—I’m fine.”  She stood up.  “I’ll just check on things in the kitchen.”

“Now, I’m worried!”

Kathryn smiled.  Sometimes it seemed alright and then he would do something, say something like that and the memories would come flooding back.  Was there ever a Christmas they didn’t hurt one another in some way?

Kathryn busied herself around the kitchen as she drifted back almost a decade to their very first Christmas together.  It was a sad time for the entire crew, two crews really, just beginning to blend together.  She thought about that first Christmas eve gathering of the senior staff in her quarters, they were awkward together, each still unsure of their standing with her or with each other.

Kes was the exception. She had been so taken with the holiday and the various traditions.  She and Neelix gushed with cheer and good will like children.  They were an odd little couple but a very happy one and that happiness was contagious.

If Kathryn had had to guess at that point, she would have said Harry and B’Elanna would be the next to pair up. They had seemed to bond through their experience with the Caretaker; it was good they brought out the best in each other.

Tuvok was silent and stoic as ever.  His presence, however, at this small social gathering reassured her of his support and told her he to missed the closeness of his own family.

Tom was loud, the clown of the party boasting to Harry about his latest conquest, yet he attended the party alone.  He too felt the loss.

Chakotay didn’t have family and this celebration was foreign to his way of life, but he dutifully smiled and shared in the celebration. They had become friends over the past months, very close friends and Kathryn knew he would have gladly welcomed more.  Not only was Chakotay her first officer, but she was still engaged to Mark, it just couldn’t happen.  Chakotay wasn’t happy with her decision, but he respected her position on both issues.  It didn’t change the way he felt nor could it protect him from the pain of her constant rejections.

Kathryn had refused to acknowledge the extent of her own feeling, even to herself, but his were already abundantly clear.  She remembered well the look of pain she had seen in his eyes as she caught him watching her with Garth.  It wasn’t anything really but Garth wasn’t a member of her crew, he looked at her like a woman not a captain and he made a delightful diversion.  But she had seen the jealousy in Chakotay’s eyes and it worried her.
 

“Kathryn,” His voice brought her back to the present. “I’m going to bring in more firewood.”  He wrapped his arms around her brushing a gloved finger across her cheek.  “Don’t mess up the food.”

“I’m not messing with your precious food!” Kathryn laughed as he eyed the tray she had just uncovered.

“I know, you’re just wandering around thinking—well don’t think too much and Kathryn...”  He kissed the tip of her nose.  “Don’t mess with the food the caterer spent a lot of time on it!”

Kathryn had to laugh, he tried so hard to lighten her mood she really wasn’t being fair to him.   She moved to the window and watched him make his way through the snow to where the wood was stored.

Another winter came to mind, there hadn’t snow yet but it had been cold enough for a fire at night.  She remembered the time she spent stacking wood, the hours of watching Chakotay chop wood were well worth the sore muscles and the wind chapped cheeks.  They had planned a happy Christmas that year, he was always working to make theirs a happy home.  Chakotay had even showed her the small pine tree he planned on bringing into the shelter for her to decorate.  For months he carved and she painted the decorations, she still had them –packed in a box, never used.  Voyager returned for them before they got to share that very special Christmas, she had seen the little pine waving in the breeze as they were caught in the shimmer of the transport beam.

Her trance was broken by the stamping of feet on the back porch; she hurried to open the door for him.

“Thanks.”  He carried the wood to the other room.  “Feels like more snow out there.”

“Hope not too much.”  Kathryn handed him a cup of coffee and took his jacket.

“Maybe, just enough to turn your blue Christmas white.” He turned and tended the fire.  He knew there was nothing he could do to make this easier.

“I’m going to get changed.”  She just let the comment go; he was only trying to help.

“Need help?”

“You stay right there.”  She shook her head as she climbed the stairs.  “I need to actually be dressed when our guests arrive.”

“Maybe we could do a little resetting of the time line and have time for both.”

“Time travel gives me a headache.”

“OK, but if you change your mind…”

“Yeah.” she laughed “I’ll yell.”

As Kathryn headed for the shower she thought more about time travel, more specifically a particular time loop.  Caught in a time loop and crashing the shuttle over and over—the thought made her laugh.  Only Chakotay could live through the same shuttle crash—what? Four, maybe five times?   His record with shuttles was less than stellar, but that particular one had greater significance, at least to her.

A short time before their ill-fated trip, Chakotay had encountered the Borg—his own personal form of assimilation—a blonde.  Kathryn had been surprised how deeply his liaison with Riley Fraser had hurt her.  She thought herself beyond that; she clearly wasn’t.  It wasn’t until after the shuttle crash when she stood beside him and watched him cry over her dead body that she realized he still held those same feeling for her.

The small glimmer of hope this gave her was quickly dashed when she formed her alliance with the Borg and they were doomed to yet another distant Christmas.

Kathryn finished her shower and as she dried her hair she thought about the promise of that next Christmas.  Voyager had made contact with the alpha quadrant- they received letters from home but it was bittersweet.  While some of the crew rejoiced, for others the news was not all happy.

Chakotay had learned about the loss of the Maquis and she had received a dear John letter.  She remembered how sad it made her, how final it felt.  Mark had married someone else.  It wasn’t that she hadn’t expected him to move on; she was even a little relieved that he had.  It was the letting go that saddened her; she was without a safety net now.  It was frightening but this new found freedom gave her an opportunity too.  She asked Chakotay what she should do and he said she had time—well, he was wrong.  Their slow drift toward one another was halted by yet another blonde.  He claimed not to remember loving her but he had written it down.  Those small words, his hand written pledge, handsome curved letters on an old fashioned writing tablet had told the story; Christmas was cold again that year.

“Thought you might like this.”  He placed the wineglass on her dressing table.  “I’m gonna grab a shower.”

“Thank you.”  She smiled at his reflection in the mirror.  “You spoil me.”

“I love to spoil you.”  He bent and kissed the top of her head.  “But right now I have barely enough time to shower and dress before company.” He lowered his head nibbling at the tender spot behind her ear.

“Ohhh, don’t do that.”  Her soft protest was weakened even further when she tilted her head giving him better access.  “We seriously can’t do this.”  She purred.

“Why am I not convinced?”  He laughed as she stood and turned toward him.

“Get in the shower damn you!”  Kathryn pushed him back.  “If you stay here we will greet our guest naked and sweaty!”

“And that will be a bad thing?”  He chuckled as he backed away.

“Not for us, but think of poor Harry, he would be so embarrassed.”

“Harry is not the green Ensign he was when he boarded Voyager at DS9, no matter how maternal you feel.”

“I’ll give you maternal.  Get in the shower before I spank you.”

“Maybe.  He took a step forward.  “Maybe I’ll just throw you up against that wall and….”

“Go!”

Kathryn listened to the soft sound of the running shower as she dressed.   She smiled at his comments.  He was teasing of course; he was the gentlest lover she had ever known. Their lovemaking was warm and satisfying and yet sometimes she longed for something –different.

Kathryn sighed as she wandered down the stairs. Her thoughts turned to their fifth year in the delta quadrant; it had been her darkest.  She had faced a serious depression early in the year, intensified by their long journey through the void.  Chakotay had tried to ease her through it but she fought him every step of the way.  It put an added strain on their relationship but they were working through and moving back toward their comfortable relationship when he showed up.

Kashyk was dark mysterious, inherently evil and irresistibly sexy.  Kathryn shivered at the memory.  Their mutual attraction was immediate and unfortunately obvious -to everyone.  It was a dangerous and delicious game they played one she had every intention of winning, but first she enjoyed it one victory at a time.  She won a military victory, but their personal battle was closer to a draw and her relationship with Chakotay was nearly a casualty.  That was a sad and lonely Christmas.  Chakotay attended the Christmas Eve gathering but was apathetic and silent.

They were a long time coming back from that one and they had almost made it when she overstepped the bounds again. Their encounter with the Equinox was frightening and she had certainly pushed the limits.  Luckily, Chakotay had been there to restrain her and remind her who she was or it could have been much worse.  Again he put in the majority of the effort into repairing their relationship but they only seemed to drift farther apart.

Then there was Michael.  A hologram for god’s sake and Chakotay was jealous.  Well it was a small comfort to know she hadn’t yet lost him completely, not yet anyway. Kathryn knew he had noticed the changes she made to the program, he had teased her about it.  She wondered if he ever realized most of them were designed to make Michael more like him.

Kathryn smiled, it hadn’t worked quite the way she wanted it to but her time with Michael had been fun.  When he malfunctioned she had hoped Chakotay would offer to step in and take his place.  His reassurance that Tom and Harry would fix Michael was nice, but not at all what she wanted.
 

 The door chime brought Kathryn back to the present. She glanced around the room, made a quick check of herself in the mirror and opened the door.

“Harry!”  She drew him into an immediate hug, surprised at how happy she actually was to see him.

“Merry Christmas, Kathryn.”  He returned the hug as he gently moved her back into the room.

“Merry Christmas.”  Kathryn reluctantly released him.  With a teary smile she touched his wind chilled cheeks before turning to his companion.  “Celes, what ever you do to him, keep it up; he looks wonderful.”  Kathryn hugged the younger woman.  “Merry Christmas.”

“You are quite a sight yourself.”  Harry let Kathryn take his coat.  “I’ve missed you at most of the holiday festivities, where have you been hiding?”

“Busy, I guess.”  Kathryn looked away quickly but not before she saw the knowing look in his eyes.  “Come in by the fire and warm up.  Can I get you a drink?”

“I’ll take care of drinks; you visit with your friends.”

“Greg.” Kathryn whirled around at the sound of his voice. “Harry, Celes you remember Greg.”

“Yes, of course.”  Harry came forward and extended his hand.  “Nice to see you again.”
 

Tuvok and T’Pel arrived next and settled around the fire with the others.  Greg had just delivered a fresh round of drinks when the door chimed again, causing a sudden silence in the room.

“Sit. I’ll get it.”  Greg responded quickly to the flash of panic in Kathryn’s eyes.

“Thanks.”  Kathryn settled back in her chair and willed the conversation to continue around her.  She heard the voices at the door and knew she had only seconds before she would have to smile and greet Chakotay and his date.  As she heard their approach, she stood and took a deep breath.

“Kathryn.”  Chakotay quickly crossed the room and embraced her.  “It’s so good to see you. How have you been?”  The words came out in rush against her hair as he held her close.

“Merry Christmas.”  Was all she managed until he released her and stepped back.

“You look great...”  He held her at arm’s length.  “I’ve missed you.” His eyes held her’s captive for a few seconds too long.

“It’s good to see you.”  Kathryn smiled and touched his cheek.  “I’ve missed you, too.” Kathryn broke the spell by looking away.  “Aren’t you going to introduce me to this lovely young lady?”

“Of course.”  Chakotay reached back and drew the young woman to his side.  “Kathryn this is Sandra…”

“Nice to meet you, Sandra.  Please come in and make yourself comfortable.”  Kathryn inwardly choked on the words but she continued to smile.

“Thank you.  It’s so nice to meet you.  Chakotay talks of you…”  She smiled at the others in the room.  “all of you so often, I feel I already know you.”

Harry jumped up and joined in the welcome, helping to ease the new couple into the circle.  Greg brought them drinks and the conversation began to flow again.  Kathryn silently thanked the spirits for Harry and Greg.

Watching him across the room talking to Sandra reminded her of yet another Christmas the one they celebrated last year just after the debriefings.  It had been Seven at his side than and she wondered if that one had been intentional.  If he had consciously set out to hurt her he couldn’t have chosen a better partner.  It wasn’t as sudden a change as it had appeared, she knew better then anyone how long their relationship had suffered.

Kathryn had known the rapid pace of her relationship with Jaffen had hurt him.  He understood that she was not in complete control, that her memories had been tampered with but after fighting her feelings for him for  so long, she had accepted Jaffen into her life with such ease, it hurt.  Oh he had smiled and told her he understood but she knew he felt betrayed.

What she didn’t know until the Admiral arrived was how much his retaliation-and it certainly seemed like retaliation- would hurt.  And then suddenly they were home and …

The door chimed again, Greg was out back so she answered it herself.

“B’Elanna, hi” Kathryn rushed over to welcome her new guests.  “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas.”  B’Elanna struggled out of her coat. “Tom will be in in a minute he’ just helping Greg with some wood.”

“It’s an excuse.”  Kathryn took her coat and hung it in the closet.

“For Tom or Greg?”

“Greg. We have plenty of wood in here.”  She gestured toward the wood stacked next to the fireplace.

“So what are they doing out there?”

“Tom is just being nice. Greg is avoiding my rather stilted conversation with Sandra.”

“So that’s the latest blonde?”  B’Elanna shook her head.  “What is she twelve?”

“Yes and well maybe fifteen.”  Kathryn laughed “Can I get you something warm to drink?”

“Sounds great. Let me help you.”  B’Elanna followed Kathryn into the other room.  “So is Seven coming?”

“No, said she would be away on some assignment.” Kathryn shrugged.  “Sends her love.”

“Yeah.  Guess she wouldn’t be too comfortable.  I hear it was a nasty breakup.”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“I hardly know myself.  Chak never spoke about it at all. Only know what Tom picked up around the design lab.”

Tom and Greg came in with the wood.  Tom stopping long enough to kiss Kathryn’s cheek on his way through.

“So how are you and Greg?”

“Fine.”

“Fine?  Kathryn, just fine? No details?  No wedding?”

“B’Elanna …”  Kathryn opened her mouth than just shook her head, tuning away to fuss with hors d’oeuvres.  “Greg is a wonderful man, he’s attractive, intelligent and we get along just fine the way we are.”

“Kathryn,”  B’Elanna laughed and turned Kathryn around to face her.  “When did you develop this knack for understatement?  Greg is a brilliant scientist; he is hot as Grethor and completely devoted to you!  What’s the problem?”

“It just wouldn’t be right… he’s too young for me.”  Kathryn offered weakly turning back to fuss with the tray.

“OK, so he’s a few years younger…

“Ten.”

“So big deal.  What it’s OK to live with him but not to marry him?”

“Greg doesn’t live here.”

“Oh, yeah, right. I forgot.  He has that house out by the bay, I remember now and exactly when was the last time he slept in that house?”

“He was… that is he…”  Kathryn laughed.  “OK so maybe its months but …”

“You two are not gonna hide in here all night and leave me with the borg wanna be!”  Celes interrupted them.

“Celes that’s not nice.  Give the girl a chance.” Kathryn tried to keep a straight face.

“You got that right.  The girl seems nice enough but god she makes me feel old!”

“OK, here help me with these so we don’t look like we’ve been hiding.”  Kathryn handed a tray to each of them and picked up the drinks.

When they came back into the room Greg was standing next to Chakotay beside the fireplace; Kathryn wanted to be anywhere but here.

“Haven’t seen much of you in the last few months.”  Greg was glad to see Kathryn return from hiding as he attempted to make small talk with Chakotay.

“Not my fault, you and Kathryn are busy people these day.”

“Holidays and all.”  Greg smiled.  He and Kathryn had done little in the past weeks by way of social functions.  It really shouldn’t have shocked him that Chakotay thought differently.  He looked quickly around the room for a change of subject. His eyes settled on the lanky blonde Chakotay had come in with.  “Sandra is a nice woman, been dating her long?”

“No, actually we only met two weeks ago—introduced by a mutual friend.”

“What are you two up to?”  B’Elanna came to his rescue.

“Not much.”  Chakotay kissed her cheek.  “How’s Miral?”

“Good—full of hell these days.  You really should get over to see us more often.”

“I promise, I will.”

“Excuse me, I’ll help Kathryn.”  Greg took the first opportunity to escape.

“I haven’t met Sandra yet.”  B’Elanna waited but he didn’t offer to introduce her.  “I hear she is a nice woman.”

“She is.”

“Not much enthusiasm there.”

“B’Ella, I’ve only know her a few weeks.  She’s nice.”

“So?  You brought her here – what am I supposed to think?”

“I could hardly come to this stag.” Chakotay looked around at all the other couples.

“You can come here any way you feel comfortable—we’re your friends remember?  Not some review board.”

“Sometimes it feels like a review board besides I’m not sure all of you are feeling so friendly toward me.”

“That’s ridiculous.”  B’Elanna stepped closer and whispered.  “Even you should get it by now.  No matter how many times you hurt each other, she is always going to be your friend.”

“What’s so interesting here?”  Before Chakotay could answer Tom joined them.

“Nothing.”  B’Elanna laughed.  “We’re just discussing Chak’s love life.”

“I think I might be interested it that.”  Tom glanced back at Sandra.

“Looks like I’m missing the interesting stuff.”  Harry joined the small circle.

B’Elanna proceeded to tease Chakotay about the strange assortment of women in his past and the laughter grew louder.

“So we’re into the alien of the month discussion so soon?”  Kathryn correctly guessed the reason for their hearty laughter as she moved toward the group.

“Kathryn, thank god you’re here.”  Chakotay laughed.  “Maybe now they’ll can pick on you.”

“Me?  Please don’t you read my press?  “The virgin captain of the Delta Quadrant.”

“Hardly!”  B’Elanna roared and the others laughed with her.

“Oh, what does she know that I don’t know?  Greg sat in a chair just behind her.

“Nothing dear, don’t pay any attention to them.”  She settled herself on the arm of his chair widening the circle to include the others.

There was laughter amid the coughs and even Tuvok cleared his throat loudly.

“Why don’t we pick on Harry?  Celes offered.  “His love life is always good for a laugh.

“Not me, again!”

“Ahhh, poor Harry.  He had a rough time our there.”  Celes patted his hand.  “But I have him well in hand now.  What about the rest of you?  Kathryn, you’re the Captain you go first.”

“I’m not the captain anymore besides what’s to talk about? Greg and I have been together pretty much since the end of the debriefings, nothing new there.”

“Well, doesn’t that make me sound exciting.”   Greg teased

“Ahhh poor baby.” Kathryn leaned over and kisses him.  “I’m sorry. Should I tell them about….”  She waggled eyebrows at him.

“Kathryn, behave! How did you people put up with her all those years?”

“We never got to see this part.” Harry laughed.  Well, at least I didn’t’.”

“True.”  B’Elanna shrugged. “Well, almost never.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”  Kathryn feigned indigence.

“Oh, come on Kathryn. You have been reading too much of your own press.”

“Well, I think we should focus on some one more interesting than me. Tom, you were the playboy of the Delta Quadrant.”

“In the past –all in the past.  Hey, I’m a respectable married man, lets not endanger my life by conjuring up ghosts.”

“OK, no ghosts.  How’s you love life now?”

“Please Harry, I’m married to a Klingon what do you think?”

“I see your point.”  Harry ducked the swing B’Elanna directed toward him.  “OK, how about you Tuvok?”

“Talk about one extreme to the other.”  Kathryn laughed.

“T’Pel and I have been bonded longer than any of you have been alive.  My ‘love life’ is logically gratifying.”

“True as I am sure that is, I recall that didn’t prevent a certain lady from….”  Tom challenged with a smirk.

“Noss was misguided in her emotions.”

“Maybe, but she sure had the hots for you!”

T’Pel glanced toward her husband eyebrow raised then smiled at the others, but said nothing.

“Be that as it may Mr. Paris, at least my ‘suitor’ -welcome or not- was of a compatible humanoid race.”

“Ouch that’s a pretty low shot, especially for a Vulcan.”  Tom winced.  “Alice was hot, she couldn’t help it she was machine!”

“A machine, that recurring hologram and ummm the murderess now that was a good choice!  Harry teased and they say I had bad luck!”

“Be easy on Tom, remember he is the father of the only children I may ever have.”

Chakotay flinched. Greg smiled as he watched wondering if anyone else had noticed.  Kathryn was right; she did need to do this.  As sad and painful as some of those past years were for her, sharing these memories with old friends always made her smile.  They had a history and a life and try as he may Greg was never going to be part of it.

“I’m sure Greg and Sandra aren’t interested in this conversation…” Chakotay was hoping not to relive every painful memory of their past yet again.

“Oh, I can’t speak for Greg, but I’m finding this fascinating.” Sandra moved to stand next to Chakotay; she noticed Kathryn take Greg’s hand.

“I always find these little gathering to be enlightening.”  He lifted Kathryn’s hand, gently kissing the back of it.  “But, right now I need to see about getting us some real food.”  He stood up.  “Stay put and enjoy you friends.”  He said to Kathryn then turned to Sandra.  “You will learn in time, as they all know.  I’m not being gallant it’s self defense, —Kathryn and food preparation don’t mix.”

Sandra listened to a few more tails of life on the Starship Voyager then wandered into the Kitchen.

“Can I help?”

“Tired of the wild life of space travel already?”

“No, actually, it is quite fascinating to see them as real people. Nice to know they had lives with all they went through out there.”  She began searching the cupboard for plates. “Must be boring for you.”

“In the one on the end.”  He directed.  “No, actually it’s nice to see Kathryn come alive with them.”

“Even if it leaves you outside?”

“Smart lady.”  He laughed.  “You and I, we’ll always be outside.  It doesn’t have to mean we don’t have a place, but we can never really be part of it.”

“Hey, I’m new here so tell me to shut up if you want, but Chakotay and Kathryn…”

“Yes, it doesn’t take long to pick up on that, does it?”

“No, but where does that leave you?”

“Where I’ve been for the past year.  I love Kathryn and we have a damn good life together.  We’ve had no secrets, I have always know I will never have the part of her she gave to him.  They go on hurting each other and I’m here to help her put it back together.”

“And if they ever stop hurting each other?”

“They have a long history of hurting each other.”

“And I think I just became part of it.”

“He doesn’t mean it that way.  He’s just trying to find a way to move on like he thinks she has.”

“And has she?”

“You don’t believe in pulling punches do you?”

“Sorry.”

“No it’s alright.  You could be in this same boat someday, its only fair for you to know…”

“If one of them would make a move, you and I would go straight to the bottom with no life preserver?”

“Pretty much.”  He laughed  “We better get this stuff out there or we will be the next ‘alien of the month’ couple they are talking about.”

“It might not be so bad.”  Sandra smiled and disappeared into the other room.

The conversation was a little quieter now a bit more serious as Greg finished setting up the food and joined the others by the fire.

“Truthfully, I have fallen in love many times over the last eight or nine years.”  Chakotay looked directly at Kathryn and the room got even quieter. “always with the same woman.”

Kathryn could feel her heart beating, she wanted to run but she couldn’t move.  She couldn’t even take her eyes from his. It had been a long time since she had allowed herself to see what he held there and even longer since she was able to show him what she knew her own eyes failed to hide now.  The room was quiet except for the solitary footsteps she knew had to belong to Greg.

“We should eat.”  Kathryn finally choked out.

“Yes, everyone dinner is ready.”  Greg gestured toward the array of food on the other side of the room.  “Please help yourself.”

Greg offered Sandra his arm and they led the way and everyone but Kathryn and Chakotay followed.

“We have a tradition – you and I.”  Chakotay spoke softly. “I’m sorry to say it isn’t a happy one. We always seem to hurt each other most this time of year.”

“Maybe we could work on that.”

“I think we should.”

“I have guests… I have…”

“Yes, we should join them for dinner, but..”

“We’ll talk?”

“Yes.”

Kathryn and Chakotay joined the others and the rest of the evening passed uneventfully.  Gradually the atmosphere relaxed again and except for an occasional stolen glance, it appeared nothing had changed.

Kathryn kissed each of her guests goodbye and they slowly wound down the evening.  Greg was helping Sandra on with her coat when Chakotay kissed Kathryn’s cheek and slipped out the door.  Kathryn stood in the open doorway watching him make his way through the snow.

“Oh Kathryn, I think I’ll use your ladies room before I leave—would you tell Chakotay I’ll be a few minutes?”

Kathryn turned to answer but she was already on her way up the stairs.

“Here.”  Greg put her coat around he shoulders.  “It’s cold out there.”

“Greg?”  Kathryn covered the hand on her shoulder.

“Go on, Kathryn.”  He pulled the coat around her. “He’s waiting.”

Kathryn only nodded then hurried down the steps to find Chakotay.

“Chakotay.”

“Kathryn.”  He turned and glanced toward the house.

“Sandra, will be out in a minute.” Kathryn bit her lip

“OK.”

“Chakotay.”  She moved closer.  “We should get together.”

“Yes.”

“Lunch?”  She shifted nervously.  “Will you come out for lunch on Saturday?”

“That sounds good.  He had no idea what he was supposed to do on Saturday but somehow it didn’t matter. “Shall I bring…?”

“Just us—you and me—OK?”

“I’d like that.”  He smiled, his fingers gently reaching out to caress her cheek. “ I really do miss you.”

“I’ve missed you, too”

Chakotay bent down and gently pressed his lips to hers; the slamming door separated them much to quickly.

“Saturday?”

“Noon.”

“I’ll be here.”  He reached out and threaded his finger with hers. “We’ll start a new tradition.”

The End
 

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