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RATING:  PG-13
WHEN TWO ROADS COLLIDE

It was the hardest day of my life. I had already lost my father three years ago when he was killed on a mission for Starfleet. It was hard on me and my brother, but it was hardest on my mother. Her heart broke. She, literally, went to bed for a month and didn’t leave her room. I was the one that was there with her through that whole horrible month. She told me repeatedly that he was there. That he was in the room with her, talking to her. She told me she could feel him touch her. I told her he wasn’t, but she didn’t believe me. Eventually she accepted that he wasn’t there anymore and one day she just got out of bed and went back to work. I think she finally decided that she needed to move on. I know for a fact she never really did. I would always find her looking at a picture of him and crying.
My name is Nora Janeway. It was the hardest day of my life because I lost my mother. The doctor did all that he could, but he couldn’t save her. I was put to the task of sorting through her things. So, we, my husband, my children and I, went back to the house of my childhood. The house I had grown up in, and went through the whole thing, top to bottom.
I started in my mother and father’s bedroom. As soon as I walked through the door I could smell my mother’s perfume, as if she had only been there a few moments before. Her dresser was cluttered with little things that had some sort of meaning to her. None of them meant much to me, except one. The pocket watch. When I was about fifteen she had told me the story behind it. It was always something I wanted to wear, but was never allowed to. I ran my fingers over the shining face and smiled. She loved that watch. I felt tears forming in my eyes and blinked them away. I put the watch into the red velvet sack that it lay on top of and placed it into the box I had deemed “Stuff to Keep.”
I put the box on the bed and sat down next to it with a sigh. I looked around the room, studying everything. The bed, which I sat on, was in the middle of the room. My mother’s dresser was on the wall by the door and her desk was against the wall on her side of the bed, under a picture window. A drawing of a waterfall with two people standing by the pool at the bottom, holding hands, was hanging on the wall above the dresser. In the corner at the bottom the drawing read “New Earth”. It confused me. I had never heard my mother or my father talk about anything by that name, nor had I ever seen this drawing before.
I stood and walked over to the closet. Opening it, I found nothing that surprised me. It was chock full of my mother’s old Starfleet uniforms and a few formal dresses that interrupted the steady pattern of black and red. As I went through the clothes I came across two dresses that were wrapped in a clear garment bag together. I took them out of the closet an lay them on the bed. One was a very simple knee length, white dress with no sleeves. I recognized it as my mother’s wedding dress. But the other dress I had never seen before. It was a light blue color.
I unzipped the bag surrounding them and took them out. The blue dress was made of a light cotton material and was down to my ankles when I held it up. Somehow it looked familiar, but I was totally clueless.
“That’s pretty,” I heard a voice behind me say.
I turned around and saw my fifteen year old daughter, Kathryn, named for her grandmother, standing in the doorway.
“I think so too,” I said.
She came further into the room and looked down at the dress still laying on the bed.
“Is this grandma’s wedding dress?” she asked, brushing the silk fabric.
“Yes. Beautiful isn’t it?”
She nodded and looked up at me with tear-filled eyes. I put the dress I held down on the bed and held my arms out to her. She ran into them and started to cry into my shoulder.
“Sshs, sshs. It’s alright. Come on, Kitten. What would grandma say if she saw you crying over her?” I said, trying to comfort her.
She looked up at me with bright green eyes, just like her father’s.
“She would tell me that it’s just a part of life and that she’ll always be here in some way, in my heart,” she said.
“Either that or she would tell you that you need to be strong for the rest of us,” I said, smiling.
She laughed and I brushed her auburn hair out of her eyes.
“Want to help me clean out the rest of this room?” I asked.
She smiled, more tears forming in her eyes, and nodded. I patted her on the shoulder, the way my mother had done so many times, and she walked over to the desk by the window. She looked over the pictures that rested on the top and picked up one in a silver, lacework, frame. It was of my mother and father on their wedding day. She studied it for a few moments, then ran her finger around the edge of the frame. She replaced it on the desk and started to clear the padds off of it.
I knelt down next to the cedar chest at the foot of the bed. My father had made it for my mother when they moved into this house. I lifted the top up and was bombarded with the scent of cedar and moth balls. There was a brightly colored quilt lying inside. I smiled. My mother and I had spent a whole summer making the squares to tell the story of our generations of family members and sewing them together. I was only ten years old and it didn’t mean much to me back then, but now it did. We never finished it. It needed two more squares to make it a whole quilt.
I took it out of the chest and lay it on my lap. The squares each had a story behind them. There was one for each female in our family. Myself, my mother, my aunt, my grandmother, my great grandmother, etc. Some of them were bright colors and some of them were fairly dull. I was saddened that it had never been finished. Maybe, someday, I could convince Kathryn to add a square of her own that she had made. And then maybe her daughter. When she had one.
Sighing, I refolded the quilt and placed it into the box on the bed. When I looked back into the chest I saw things I had never seen before. My mother had a lot of secrets. There were hundreds of drawings of people and things I had never seen. Sitting on top of all of them sat a leather bound notebook. On the cover was inscribed the words "When Two Roads Collide" in gold lettering. I picked up the book and opened the cover. Inside sat two envelopes. One addressed to me and the other to my daughter.
“Kitten, come here,” I said.
Kathryn walked over and knelt next to me at the chest. I handed her the envelope that had her name on it and she looked at my questioningly.
“Something grandma left for you,” I told her.
She looked down at the envelope and opened it by ripping the side open. I, myself, opened the one addressed to me with haste. It was a hand written letter. It read:

My dearest Nora,

If you are reading this, then I must no longer be there. Be assured that I am happy where I am. I’m with your father again. I know it must be hard for you to move on, but you must. I can’t, very well, come back. I know you hurt inside and that you wish I was still there, but I will always be there, in your heart.
There are, I’m sure, a lot of questions you are asking right now. I know that I kept a lot of things from you, but the truth is, if you had asked, I would have told you anything. But when you got old enough to understand everything, you stopped asking.
I’m sure you have found things that you do not understand or do not recognize. The drawings in the chest, for example. Or the drawing above the dresser. Everything is explained in the book you found the letters in. Everything about my past. Everything about my life before your father and how we met, up till we got married.
Make sure Kathryn reads it with you. She is old enough to know and understand everything. Make sure she adds a square to the quilt also and tell her she can have my wedding picture. She always wanted it.
If your brother ever asks, tell him to read the book. I doubt he’ll want to know, but if he does, tell him. He never seemed very interested in anything about my life, but if he asks, let him know. Tell him that I love him and tell the boys that I love them too.
Do something for me, keep the story going. Keep our family story going. Everything I told you as a child, keep those stories going. Their part of your history, and Kathryn’s. Tell her the stories and tell her to tell her daughter and so on. Don’t let any of them forget where they come from. Remember what your father told you too. Those stories need to keep going too. He would want his descendants to know about their history.
Above all, know that I love you. I am the luckiest mother out there for having such a wonderful daughter. You helped me get through some hard times, just by being there and keeping my head on straight. I love you, Nora. Don’t ever forget that.

Love always,
Mom

I looked up from the letter at my daughter, who was overflowing with tears from what she was reading. For the first time that day, I cried. I mean really cried. I broke down into tears right there in my mother’s old bedroom, on the floor, clutching the letter to my chest as if it were the most precious thing in the world to me. Eric, my husband, came rushing into the room and found me and my daughter hysterical. He pulled me up off of the floor and held me tight till my fit of crying passed. When I regained my composure, I found Conner, my ten year old son, standing in the doorway looking very distraught. He seemed afraid to come any further into the room. I walked out of my husband’s embrace and walked over to my son, hugging him.
Kathryn got up off the floor and picked up the leather covered book as she did so. She looked down at it with anticipation. My mother’s life story was inscribed on the pages that lay beyond the cover and there were only two people who would ever read them. Myself and my daughter.
Conner quietly started to cry as I hugged him and I knelt down next to him so that we were eye level.
“I miss grandma,” he said.
All I could do was hug him tighter and cry right along with him. Kathryn walked over and knelt next to me, laying her forehead on my shoulder. It all turned into a family crying session when Eric walked over and knelt behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist. He didn’t cry, however, he never cried.

* * * * * *

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 48315.6

Today, I met him. The Maquis I was sent to capture. He was hostile when he first was beamed over to Voyager, but he has since become calm. His crew were very unhappy with the decision I made to destroy the array. The young Klingon especially. She was very unhappy about it. When we finally got through the whole destruction of the array I decided that I would make the Maquis captain my first officer. Lieutenant Commander Cavit was killed when the array brought us here, to the Delta Quadrant. Mr. Chakotay is going to take his place. He has agreed to combine our crews. Maquis and Starfleet into one Starfleet crew. I wonder how this will turn out. The Starfleet crew members are already wary of the Maquis crew. They try their best to stay away from them even after I ordered them to interact. I hope in the future this will end. I hope they can learn to get along and learn that they must work together to get the entire crew home.
My biggest worry is if Starfleet thinks Voyager was destroyed. I wonder if they think we are no longer alive. If there were some way to send a distress call.......but there isn’t. I have no way of telling everyone back home that this crew is safe. That we are all, mostly, still here. I miss Mark already. He was the only thing that really kept me going. The one thing that always made me come back home.
The one thing that scares me is my attraction to my new first officer. I noticed almost as soon a he was in the same room as I. There was some sort of electricity between us.  Something that shouldn’t be there. Fist of all, I’m engaged. Second of all, he is my first officer now. I cannot have feelings for him. Ever. Don’t get me wrong, he is a very attractive man and I feel a very strong attraction to him, but there are too many protocols that prevent me from doing anything about it. Not to mention Mark.
          I will have to see how this goes. I hope that the Maquis will adjust to Voyager and that the Starfleet crew will adjust to the presence of the Maquis crewmen. They will have to. Under my orders they are one Starfleet crew. Under my orders, also, they are all to try to find faster ways to get us back home to the Alpha Quadrant faster. I do not want to have to wait another 75 years to get home to Mark. He wont wait forever. I know he wont. I just hope we’ll get home before he gives me up for dead. It sounds selfish, I know, but what else do I have? On my first command I get lost in the Delta Quadrant. I need something to look forward to. And Mark just happens to be it.

End Log

I looked up at Kathryn, who sat across from me at the kitchen table I had sat at with my mother so many times. She was hanging on every word I read from the book, that now lay open on the kitchen table in front of me. My husband and son were clearing things out of the attic while we sat there, so there was no danger of either of them overhearing.
“Grandma had another fiance?” Kathryn asked.
“I guess so. I have never heard of this man before. But I am guessing she loved him very much,” I explaned.
“And who is this man she keeps talking about. The ‘Maquis’? What are they?” she asked.
“I’m not sure, sweety. Do you want something to eat? We’ve been working for a while,” I said.
She nodded.
“Sure,” she said, quietly.
I got up from the table and walked out of the room to see if anyone else wanted something and when I got back, I found Kathryn re-reading the log. It was still hard for me to soak up, but I was doing my best. As she read over the words my mother had written a tear slid down her cheek. I walked up behind her and brushed it away. She looked up at me and smiled weakly.
“Are you sure you want to read this?” I asked.
She nodded abruptly and stood from the chair.
“I like knowing all about grandma. It makes me feel closer to her,” she said.
I smiled. She was right. Just knowing this little bit about my mother made me feel closer to her in some way.
“Come on. Help me make dad and Conner some sandwiches, then we’ll keep reading some more,” I said.
She smiled and helped me make lunch for the family.

“New Earth” day 46

We have been getting gradually closer. Chakotay and I seem to have grown accustom to each other’s presence being the only other one on the planet. We are learning how to deal with each other’s moods and with the situation. Being here for the rest of my life doesn’t seem so horrible anymore. A few days ago a plasma storm ruined all of my science equipment. I have no way of looking for a cure for us any longer. My adjustment to living here for the rest of my life has been hard. Chakotay has stuck by me the whole way though. He is so confident that we can make it. That we can live together and still hold on to who we are.
I have been drawing a lot since we got here. The other day we went out on a hike and had a picnic at the bottom of a waterfall that we found. It was so beautiful that I drew a picture of it from the cliff I found that over looked it. I made a few modifications, however. I added myself and Chakotay into it. My attraction for him had been getting steadily stronger as we have been here. I find myself thinking about him constantly. I don’t quite know where this could lead. In my book I am still engaged, but that does not matter anymore. I will never see Mark again anyway, so why hold out hope that someday I will?
When we got back to the house after our picnic I had some very tight muscles in my shoulders and decided that I would take a bath in the tub that Chakotay had built for me. It gave me a chance to think. As I watched the sun set beyond the river I rethought our situation. I had told him that we had to define parameters about our relationship, but then he told me that story, confessing his love for me. I don’t know if what I feel is love, but I know that it’s something. He is on my mind all the time. No matter what I do he is there. We are no longer in a command situation either. I cannot pull rank on this issue. I need to face it head on.

This time I looked up from the book with a smile. Kathryn and I sat outside on the porch swing my father had built. She smiled in return.
“Well, now we know how they fell in love,” she said.
“Not exactly. We know that he loves her, but, like she said, she has no idea what it is she feels. She is still considering herself engaged,” I explained.
“I wonder what the story is that he told her,” Kathryn said.
“Well, knowing your grandfather it was something very metaphoric and to the point,” I said.
Kathryn laughed at that. Eric and Conner walked out onto the porch carrying boxes full of things from the attic.
“How’s it going guys?” I asked.
“Pretty good. The attic’s almost clear. There’s a few pieces of furniture up there that you should look at though. I don’t know what to do with them,” Eric said.
I nodded. The two of them put the boxes down on the porch and Conner sat down on the steps. Eric walked over to me and Kathryn and Kathryn got up to go sit with her brother so that Eric and I could talk.
“So, what’s this you two have had your noses stuck in while us men have been working all afternoon?” he asked, sitting down next to me on the swing.
“Something my mother left for us,” I said.
He reached for the book that lay on my lap and I picked it up over my head.
“I don’t think so. Girls only. Sorry,” I said, smiling.
He made a face and put an arm around my shoulders. It was really the first time all day I had gotten to take a break. Reading about my mother’s life was not the easiest of things for me or Kathryn. Eric was sweet enough to hold me till I feel asleep. I don’t know what made me so tired, but something had. Probably all the crying.
We stayed in the house that night, but I slept on the sofa with Eric. The kids stayed in my and my brothers’ old rooms. I couldn’t stay in my mother’s room. It felt wrong. Like I was invading her space. Like my sleeping in there would damage something.

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 50518.6
 

I nearly died today. Chakotay and I went on and away mission and were struck by lightening. We tried to get back to Voyager, but wound up crash landing on the planet’s surface. I was knocked unconscious. Chakotay carried me into a cave and resuscitated me. I swear I could hear him calling to me. ‘Kathryn, don’t die. You have to live.’ I know I heard those words. Those words were what made me fight. They made me stay alive and fight the alien that inhabited my mind.
There in itself is another question. Who was the alien? I know what he wanted. He wanted to take me with him. To follow him. To die. But I didn’t. I fought him and won. It was one of the most life shattering experiences of my life. I have never relived the same thing over and over again. Every time I would die Chakotay and I would end up back in the shuttle again. I must admit being choked to death by a Vidiian and having the doctor kill me to have mercy on my having the phage was very unsettling. I know that theses were all things that happened only in my mind, but it all felt so real.
When I finally opened my eyes and saw the Doctor, Tuvok and Chakotay staring down at me, I felt safe again. I admit now that I am completely falling in love with my first officer. It is not a good thing. When he picked me up off the ground and put his arm around me to steady me, my heart skipped a beat. At least I admit that I love him. If that can in any way be a good thing.
We have not had any success still in contacting Starfleet. I have no way of knowing what is going on with my family or with Mark. If he knew that my affections toward him have changed so drastically after only three years I know he would be heart broken.  But one cannot hide their feeling toward another for long, so I have heard. In my case, I will have to. I cannot let my guard down around Chakotay. Ever. Protocol strictly says that I cannot. I must remain myself, the captain.
After I got back on the ship and the Doctor had given me a clean bill of health, I decided I had better get some work done. The Doctor told me to take it easy, but taking it easy usually makes me feel worse. While I worked, Chakotay came to visit me. He told me the same thing the Doctor did. That I should take it easy I had been through a lot. I told him it would just make me feel worse and all he did was smile. He presented me with the most beautiful peach rose I have ever seen. It’s no wonder I fell in love with this man. He is so sweet to me. Always treating me like a princess.
He took me to the holodeck that night to go for a sail on Lake George. It was the most memorable night of my life. I believe I fell in love with him all over again. The program he chose was beautiful. There was a long stretch of beach with a dock. He programed it so that it was night and the stars in the sky twinkled. They shined so bright I felt like I was home again. You forget just how beautiful the stars are when you stop looking. I didn’t even realize I had stopped looking. I had never really seen their beauty in over twenty years.
A small sail boat was tied to the dock toward the end. We walked down the beach and down the dock to the boat. It wasn’t huge, but it was big enough for the both of us to be comfortable. Chakotay helped me step down into the boat and handed me the lantern he had been carrying. He untied the boat from the dock and stepped into the boat himself.
We sailed out onto the lake, far enough that we could barely see the dock. Chakotay popped the cork off of the bottle of champagne. I felt so safe and at home when I was with him. All of life’s problems seemed to fade away. The lake was nice and smooth too, which made it nice for conversation. We really didn’t talk much, just sat in each others’ company. It was comforting, I think, for both of us. I certainly felt like I could have just sat there with him forever.
When our holodeck time was up I reluctantly went back to my quarters. I kept thinking about those few hours we spent on the holodeck and I even had a dream about him. It scares me to think that I am so hopelessly falling for this man. I am not allowed to.
The dream was very vivid. I felt like I had actually lived it. I woke up the next morning unsettled, but happy. I don’t quite know what to do about this situation, but I am sure I can come up with something. We, after all, defined parameter over a year ago on “New Earth”. Oh, how I miss being there. I wish I could go back. Maybe, just maybe, then I would be allowed to act on my feelings. But until we can invent a way to transport over very long distances, I am stuck here, on this ship, alone and feeling the affects of it.

End Log
 

Kathryn looked up from the book a bit sullen. I let her read this passage because it was a long one and I had read the past two. The look on her face almost broke my heart.
“I can’t believe grandma felt so alone. She was on a ship full of crewmen, she was far from alone!” Kathryn insisted.
“Honey, it’s a different kind of alone,” I said.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Now I was stuck with a difficult explanation to a 15 year old who was clueless about love. I sighed.
“Well, she said she is ‘alone and feeling the affects of it’. Basically she is telling us that she feels alone in her love life. She is thousands of light-years form her fiancé and falling in love with another man. She isn’t allowed to have one of them and the other is too far away for her to even talk to. She is ‘stuck’ in a sense. She has no way of getting love from either man she loves and it is becoming hard for her to deal with,” I said.
Kathryn looked at me from the big wingback chair she sat in, in the living room of the house. I sat across from her on the sofa that matched the chair plus the love seat under the big bay window. The peach upholstery gave off a warm glow from the early morning sun. The gold strands that outlined the flowers that were in patterns on the fabric glowed like the sun itself.
I took a sip of coffee out of the metal mug in my hands and waited for Kathryn’s next question. I had a feeling she would ask me another one. Or two. To my surprise, she didn’t. She just kept quiet, thinking over what I had just said. When she finally looked over at me, she had a look on her face that was one I had never seen before. It was a hard look. Like she was angry over something.
I stood and walked over to her. I closed the book, which now lay open on her lap, and took it off of her lap.
“Enough for now. Come on, let’s go finish up in grandma’s room,” I said.
She nodded and stood from the chair she sat in. I placed the book down on the coffee table and walked out of the room and up the staircase to my mother’s bedroom.
 

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 51003.7

We took on a new passenger today. Seven of Nine. A, soon to be, ex-Borg drone. The Doctor is doing his best to remove her implants, but she has a very long way to go yet. My decision on this was not easily made. We were forced with the option of plunging head on into Borg space and traveling through it for months trying to evade the Borg. Or making an alliance with them. They were at war with a species only known as ‘Species 8472' as the Borg call them. The truth about the matter was that the Borg started this war. They went into the 8472s’ realm and started a conflict that could have destroyed the entire galaxy.
Again, I was faced with asking my first officer if he would stand by me and agree with me. This time, however, he did not. We bitted heads on more then one of my orders and he did not agree with me when I said we should make the alliance, but he did as I ordered. He is loyal to me, but now I am starting to think I should have listened to him. After or Borg drone put us into fluidic space, we waged a one on one war with species 8472 and won. They pulled their ships out of the Delta Quadrant and the Borg decided that our agreement was irrelevant and decided to try and take over Voyager. Well, little did they know that my trusty first officer and I had another trick up our sleeves.
This man is full of stories. This time he told me a story about a fox and a scorpion. The scorpion convinces that fox that he will not sting him if he swims the two of them across a river since the scorpion cannot swim. Halfway across the river the scorpion stings the fox. The fox asked the scorpion why he did what he did and the scorpion  said ‘It’s my nature’. This was he subtle way of telling me that the Borg would turn around and assimilate Voyager and her crew when species 8472 were back in their realm. He was right, of course.
He gave me one vote of confidence. In the beginning of  this whole thing I was stuck. We had found a part of space that we called ‘The Northwest Passage’. It was a corridor of space the void of Borg activity. It was void of Borg activity for a reason, the 8472's were coming out of their realm through that corridor of space. I was stuck with a difficult decision. I was not ready to tell me crew that we were turning around. That we were giving up.
Chakotay was there to help me make my decision. He was so sweet. He told me to sleep, which was one thing I was not inclined to do. So, I wound up going to visit the Maestro on the holodeck.. I fell asleep in his workshop while I thought about what I was supposed to do. It’s amazing how well Chakotay knows me after only three years.
Anyway, I slept for about 20 minutes and woke to the sound of the Maestro moving around. He helped me come to the conclusion that I needed to forge an alliance with the Borg. I, however, did not have much success with it. We tried our best, but here we still are. In Borg space.
The one time that I actually felt more then just fear was when I was injured. The doctor had to put me into coma to repair the neural damage I sustained from the blast from the 8472 ship. I honestly thought I was going to die. I pleaded with Chakotay to keep going. To get the crew home. I wish that I could have told him what the other part of my brain was telling me to say. But then again, I am still alive. If I had told him then and there that I was in love with him, then something else would have happened considering that I lived.
When the whole mess was over I admit I was stuck between being happy and sad that I hadn’t told him. If I would have, a whole new can of worms would have opened up. Since I didn’t, nothing has happened or will, for that matter. So, I go back to my life of solitude. I go back to waiting for that day that I am finally allowed to love Chakotay openly. I am, after all, still engaged and still a starship captain. This experience has been another though one to bear. I couldn’t have made it with out Chakotay. He is the one I turn to when I need myself evaluated. I can trust him with anything.  But not this. Loving him is a piece of me. A piece of my soul that no one can ever see. Even him.

End Log
 

I looked up from the book at my daughter, who was lay across my mother’s bed, listening to every word I said, uncertainly. The more I read in this book the worse I felt. The more sorrow I felt for my mother. She was so alone for so long. My father had already professed his love for my mother, but she did not tell him she love him. She was completely emotionally detached. She wouldn’t let anyone into her life unless it were this fiancé she kept talking about.
“Why does she keep saying that Starfleet won’t allow her to love grandpa? Kathryn asked.
“Because they wont. Starfleet has strict regulations. One of them just happens to be that a captain cannot have a relationship with one of his or her crew members,” I explained.
“That’s not far,” she said.
“Yes it is. You have to look at it in grandma’s point of view. If she got involved with someone among her crewmen then she would play favorites and get way too upset if they were killed on an away mission. So, if she got involved with your grandfather, then she would be in a desperate search for him if he got lost or if he were kidnaped,” I said.
Kathryn sighed and rolled on her back. She looked at the ceiling and ran a hand through her hair.
“If it were me.....” she left the sentence hanging for a reason.
She knew I would want to know what she would have done.
“If it were you what?” I asked.
“If it were me, I would have gone so crazy that one day I would have just walked up to him and planted the biggest kiss on him,” she said.
My eyes bugged out of my head. That just came out of my little girl! I admit I really hadn’t noticed how mature she was until that day. I knew she had been doing a lot of reading, but I didn’t know she had picked up a romance novel or two. She tilted her head back and looked at me.
“Don’t look so surprised, mom. I am 15. I know enough about life to know when someone should tell someone they love them and how to tell them. Besides,” she rolled back over onto her stomach. “Grandma gave me a padd and told me to read it. I did and she told me that you wrote it when you were 15. Mom, why didn’t you tell me you wrote a romance novel?”
I was silent for a few moments. She starred at me very intently. She would not give up until she had an answer.
“Well, I didn’t think you would be interested,” I explained.
“Mom, it was so good! I loved it! Did you write any more?” she asked.
“Only stories,” I said.
“Can I read them?” she asked.
I smiled.
“Of course, but let’s finish this first,” I said, holding up the book in my hands.
She nodded.
 

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 51420.4

Today was my birthday. I am now another year older and feeling it. Thankfully the only person who knew it was my birthday was Chakotay. If Neelix had found out I don’t know what I would have done. If there is one day I dread most in my life right now, it’s my birthday. I no longer have anyone to share it with. Chakotay, yes, but I am forced to go another year without Mark. I still love him and always will love him, even though I have completely fallen in love with Chakotay.
He gave me the most beautiful present. A pocket watch. He told me it was from the 19th century. It has mechanical movement and is a replica of the chronometer worm by a sea captain by the name of Cray. He told me a story much like our own. Captain Cray’s ship was hit by a typhoon in the Pacific, throwing them off course. Back in England they were though to be dead, but eight months later Cray sailed his ship into London harbor. There wasn’t much of his ship left, but he got his crew home. The story was much like our own, but not all the same. We are lost and I think Starfleet may thin we are dead, but I have strong intentions of getting this ship and her crew home in one piece. When we sail across the sky over San Francisco I can imagine what the Admiralty will think then.
My confidence that I can resist my urge to allow myself to open up to Chakotay is slowly floating away. I do not think I can keep it up much longer. All it will take for me to let my guard down is one more life threatening situation. I only hope I can prevail when the time comes.

End Log

I smiled. My mother had already told me this story, but Kathryn had never heard it before. I don’t think she had ever seen the watch either.
“Did grandma ever show you the pocket watch grandpa gave her?” I asked.
Kathryn shook her head from where she sat on the floor, at the foot of my mother’s bed. I stood and crouched down next to the box I had put by the door. Lifting the quilt out of the box, I picked up the little velvet sack that lay in the bottom of the box. Untying the drawstring, I pulled the watch out of the sack by it’s chain. Kathryn held out her hand to catch the swinging watch and turned it over to look at the face.
“It’s beautiful,” she said.
“When I was little, I always wanted to wear this, but I was never allowed to. Grandma didn’t tell me why until I was your age. When I finally found out why, I understood why she never wore it and just let it sit on her dresser. It was one of those things that meant the world to her and I think if anything happened to it, she would have been heart broken,” I said.
Kathryn smiled and handed the watch back to me. I put it back in it’s sack and back into the box I had taken it out of.
“Is there anything in here that you want to take with you? Anything you want to keep?” I asked.
Kathryn stood and walked over to my mother’s desk. She picked the silver lack-work picture frame with my mother’s wedding picture in it. She smiled and walked over to place it in the box along with the many things I was taking with me. I had the blue dress I had found and my mother’s wedding dress hanging on a hook next to the door, waiting to be taken back to my home. Now that I knew where the blue dress had come form, I felt that it was one thing I couldn’t let go of.
A knock came on the door and Eric walked through.
“Are you going to look at that furniture up in the attic?” he asked.
“Soon,” I said.
We were only going to stay in the house two more days before we went back into the city. Eric was only allowed so much time off from work, as I was. Granted, Starfleet will allow time off to deal with family problems, but not as much as I think I needed. I guess since my mother was one of the most decorated officers in Starfleet they gave me a little leeway on how long I could take away form the mission I had been assigned to. My first officer had been put in charge of my ship until I could get back. My main concern was that emotionally I would have a hard time recovering. Especially after reading about what my mother had gone through.

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 51501.4

I can’t believe it. He married someone else. After only four years he moved on. I stayed completely faithful to him and he pushed his memories of me out an airlock. I kept every feeling, every emotion, that I had for another man a secret from, not just him, but myself, and what does he do? He marries someone else.
It all started when we got an encrypted message from Starfleet. It was full of data about things happening back home. What I didn’t realize for a bit of time was that letters from everyone back home were contained in the transmission. Seven was only able to salvage so many of them with B’Elanna’s help before the Hirogen shut down their relay network. One of the letters they managed to salvage just so happened to be for me. It was from Mark and it was not news that I needed at this point. He told me all about how he met another woman about a year ago and asked her to marry him. They were married a few months ago and are happy. Well, at least he is happy. It hurts that he didn’t wait for me, but God knows when we’ll be getting back home.
I admit, a part of me is jumping for joy. I am finally set free of one of the constraints that is weighing down my want to tell Chakotay that I love him. Only one big weight is left on my shoulders. The almighty Starfleet protocols. I almost have that wall between us firmly back in place, but once it starts to crumble, it is hard to build it back up again.

End Log
 

When I finished reading that log I didn’t know wether to smile or cry. My mother had been set free of her fiancé, but she was still unable to love my father. I was starting to wonder how they had ended up together. They were married for 36 years before my father died. Now, I was waiting patiently for the log that would tell me he had proposed to her.
“Well?” Kathryn said.
I looked over at her, sitting on an old dresser in the attic, questioningly.
“Well, what?” I asked.
“Keep going!” She said, sliding off of the dresser. “We’re close to grandpa proposing! I know it!”
“I hope so, sweety,” I said.
It was becoming harder for me to read this then for my daughter. She wanted so much to know more about her grandmother. I was starting to wish that I hadn’t started to read this. She was so alone and so sad. I was starting to get mad at my father, before I realized that soon he must step in somehow.
 

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 52940.9

We butted heads again. Not over something minor, something major. We ran into a Federation crew that were using another life form as fuel. I cannot believe that Chakotay did not see my point of view. Captain Ransom was a big disappointment to me. I had always wanted to meet this man and he turned out to be no better then a stray Klingon targ! The man has no decency. Or had, I should say.
After Captain Ransom decided that his crew should live and not himself he blew up on his own ship. I stripped his crew of their ranks and set them to work as crewmen. After the entire situation resolved itself I realized that I was wrong. At least in a few ways. I nearly killed one of Ransom’s crewmen to get information out of him. He was prepared to let himself die to save his crew. I admire him, on some level, but not as much as I would if Ransom and his crew had stuck to their principles. The almighty principles that hold the entire Federation union together. When Ransom violated those principles, he became my worst enemy.
I was forced to strip Chakotay of his rank, briefly. I confined him to quarters for the duration of the end of this mission. The look on his face when I did that was heart wrenching. He was half anger half hurt. I felt horrible after I did it, but kept going with me own plan, my own ideas.
Again, I admit, I was wrong. When the entire thing was over and I reinstated Chakotay, he was right there again. Right by my side. Putting our relationship back together is going to be hard. Right now it has crumbled almost into dust. It looks almost as bad as the Equinox itself.
If we never build up the trust and love we had, again, I don’t think I will be able to live with myself. Our relationship was put in jeopardy by me. If it remains that way, I will never forgive myself.

End log
 

Kathryn looked over at me from the spot she had chosen on the ground, by the big oak tree in the backyard. I sat on the tire swing my father had put up for me and my brother when we were younger. It was the place I had gone to when I wanted to get away from the world or to write my stories or to read a good book. The scent of lilacs and honey suckle always helped in my creative process.
“That is so sad,” Kathryn said.
I had heard part of this story from my father. He told me about the time my mother almost killed someone for information. He also told me that it was a Starfleet captain that had stepped out of bounds before my mother had, but I had never heard her side of the story. Well, now I had and I was not happy about it. She seemed so heartless. Like she would have done anything to keep Ransom from getting back to the Alpha Quadrant. True, what he was doing was completely wrong, but looking at their situation I can see why they did what they did. I can also see why my mother had such a hard time dealing with the reality that someone she held in high esteem was no better then a murderer.
I leaned my chin on the top of the tire and sighed.
“Yes it is sad, but grandma had reasons for doing what she did, I’m sure,” I said.
“Who cares? Stripping him of his duties and then taking on the other crew that had been through so much, having to deal with a captain not fit for duty and stripping them of their ranks? It’s so cruel!” she insisted.
I didn’t comment on that. I felt the same way. There were so many other ways my mother could have dealt with that situation. There were so many things that could have made my father follow her and go along with her word. The result of what did happen was that their entire relationship was damaged. I was still amazed that they had ended up together.
“Should I keep reading or do you want to stop for a while?” Kathryn asked.
I thought about it for a moment and smiled.
“Let’s go make dinner for dad and Conner, then we can continue, okay?” I asked.
She smiled and closed the book as she stood from her seat on the ground.

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 54014.4

   I almost didn’t come back alive. Again. This time it was for a good cause, but I was so scared. I didn’t show it, but I was terrified. My fear of leaving the ship was apparent before I left. Only Chakotay noticed, but it was there. He was there with me before I left. I finally let him see a window into my soul. A little piece of me that no one had ever seen before. I had a sinking feeling it was the last time I might ever see him again so, I held out my hand towards him, on the bridge no less, and he took it as if he had been doing it for years. There was a spark of electricity that passed between us. We both knew it, but neither acknowledged it. When I stood up and tried to pull away form him, he held onto my hand as if when he let go of me I would fade away into nothing.
When I let go of him I felt my whole world fade away. I took one last look at him before the turbolift doors closed and I was on my way to get myself assimilated. When I got to the shuttle bay I still had a knot in the pit of my stomach. A knot telling me that I would never see Voyager alive again. I could feel the pathogen the Doctor had injected into my system coursing through my veins and my mind turned back to the mission. I had to be focused on this mission for it to succeed. If I didn’t, I knew we would fail.
When we transported from the flyer onto the cube, the hazy green glow of the interior of the cube made me feel even more anxiety. The horrible sound of machinery and Borg nodes was eery. That knot in the pit of my stomach was gradually growing larger as we walked further into the interior of the cube. When the drones finally cornered the three of us, I watched as B’Elanna and Tuvok were assimilates, then it was my turn. As the injection tubules plunged into my neck and I felt the nanoprobes flow into my blood stream, victory rose in me. We were another step closer to defeating the Borg and freeing the people of Unamatrix Zero.
When I regained consciousness, I was lying on the floor of the cube. There was a pounding in my head that I couldn’t figure out how it got there. Two drones walked up behind me and picked me up off the ground. They drug me a few hundred feet into a subjunction and stood me up completely. I caught my reflection in one of the nodes on the wall. My appearance was horrid. No color was in my skin. My whole body was covered in metal and circuitry and my head had two big nodes on either side. That was the source of the pounding.
After the drones finished what they had to check out they allowed me to walk away on my own. They must have thought that I had succumb to the collective. They were wrong. The neural suppressant the Doctor had injected along with the pathogen had worked wonderfully. I made my way to the central plexis looking for any hint of B’Elanna or Tuvok. Fortunetly, I only had to try and deactivate the shield generator for a few moments before the two of them came walking up behind me.
B’Elanna’s knowledge of the plexis got us in without notifying the collective of our presence. Tuvok’s neural suppressant was starting to wear off, so, we had to move fast. Unfortunately we did not move fast enough. B’Elanna downloaded the virus, but Tuvok was no longer Tuvok by that time. The queen had gotten to him.  When B’Elanna and I ran, we were cut off by drones on either side of us. The knocked passed her and came straight for me, leaving her lying on the floor.
When I found myself in Unamatrix One, standing face to face with the Borg queen, I didn’t know what to think. I was back to the original me again, but I wasn’t all the same. We fought over wether or not I would tell her how to stop the people of Unamtrix Zero. Of course, I wouldn’t. She started destroying cube after cube where she could no longer hear drones’ voices. I told her she would have to destroy her entire collective to find all of them. That made her extremely mad.
I kept waiting for the familiar feeling of the transporter beam to come, but it didn’t. I told Chakotay two hours, but he took longer then that. The first thought that crossed my mind was that Voyager had been destroyed. The next was that they had just lost the cube momentarily. I hoped the later was correct.
When the queen came to me and told me I needed to go on a diplomatic mission for her, to Voyager, I was already formulating a plan. Not to mention my heart jumped, what was left of it, to hear that they had not been destroyed. When I showed up in sickbay, the Doctor called Chakotay and Seven down and I made it clear that Unamatrix Zero had to end, but not in the way you think. I meant that they had to destroy it completely, so the queen could not get her hands on any of the other liberated drones. Chakotay understood me completely. What got me the most was that he was so surprise to see me in sickbay that he called me Kathryn. He never did that around people, but his mind must have been somewhere else at the moment.
It wasn’t until we were safely back on Voyager that I finally thought about what we had just done. We gave people that had their identities stripped from them the opportunity to regain their life. To find themselves again.
When we were transported back to Voyager and I found myself in sickbay, I think it was the first time that I had taken a breath. Laying on the biobed starring up at the ceiling my mind wandered back to thinking about all of the people that were now on their own. They had to find ways to stay alive and ways to get back to their own kind. As I gradually fell asleep from the sedative the Doctor had given me, I realized that it wasn’t up to me any more. I realized that I needed to let them live their lives and not worry about them. They were on their own and very capable of taking care of themselves.
When I woke up again, finally being myself again I was relieved. I held my hands up to my face just to be sure it was true. I was me again. I lay there for a few minutes soaking up the feeling of finally being myself again and realizing that I was back to being the captain. When the sickbay doors opened and Chakotay walked over to me with a big smile on his face it was almost too much. I was not completely myself yet, but I had my color back and there were no more circuits on my skin. I was flesh and bone again, mostly. I still had no hair and the Doctor told me there were still a few implants that needed to be removed, but Chakotay looked at me in a way that told me I was still beautiful to him. That it didn’t matter what I looked like, he was just happy that I was back alive.
He sat with me for a while and talked to me while the Doctor removed the clamps that were attached to my spine. He staid with me for a little while after that, giving me things to do. He said it was still too early for me to go back to being the captain already, but I insisted that he give me damage reports and every other thing about the ship that had happened while I was away. He did so, reluctantly.
I couldn’t have made it through this whole experience without him. He was my foundation. He kept me stuck to my mission, even though he didn’t agree with some parts of it, but he never does. And, of course, he was right there as soon as I returned, making me feel like a princess with the way he treated me. It’s really no wonder that I ever fell in love with this man. I just wish there was some way for me to show how much I love him without having to step over the boundaries of protocol and principles that Starfleet came up with. Sometimes, I wish there was no Starfleet and no mission that I was put on. But then again, if I had never been put in command of Voyager, I never would have met him at all.

End Log
 

I looked up form the book with the biggest smile on my face. This was the woman I had grown up with. This was the woman that had taught me everything I know. This was the woman that I loved. We had moved down into the basement after dinner and were both sitting on the pool table that was there.
The look on Kathryn’s face was unforgettable. She was happy, but freaked out at the same time.
“Grandma was Borg?” she asked.
“Briefly,” I said.
“Ewe!” she said.
I laughed out loud at that. She got miffed when I did that and gave me the worst look. I just laughed harder.
“Kitten, the reason why she did that was so that she could save the live of hundreds of people,” I explained.
“I know, but still, grandma with no hair.....gross!” she said.
I laughed even harder at that. My husband came down the stairs to see what was going on and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw my lying on my back on the pool table laughing hard enough to give myself a stomach ache. Kathryn had started laughing too, but not as much as I was.
“I think you two need to get off that table and play a little pool instead of reading that book. It’s making both of you distant,” Eric said.
“Hey, don’t dis the book!” Kathryn said, smiling.
“Whatever,” Eric said, turning and going back up the steps.
Kathryn looked over at me and rolled her eyes.
“Men,” I said. “Can’t live with them, can’t shoot them.”
Kathryn chuckled at that.
“come on, I’ll kick your butt in a game and then we’ll get back to reading,” I said.
She raised an eyebrow and hopped off the table.
“We’ll see. Grandma taught me how to play pool too,” she said.
I stood and picked up two pool cues.
“Let’s go. I’ll rack, you break,” I said, tossing her a cue.
 

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate:54058.6

Today was supposed to be a happy day. It was, but I had a hard time dealing with it. I married two of my favorite people today. They were so happy and I was happy for them, but the realization that U am getting older and that I am, as yet, not in a relationship, hit me like a sack of bricks. Sure, I love someone and he loves me in return, but it is literally, a forbidden love.
The lucky two were beaming with happiness as they stood before me. As I recited the Federation marriage ceremony and listened to the vows the two had written for the other, I felt the familiar pang of loneliness hitting my heart, breaking it’s way back in.
After the ceremony Neelix prepared a bit of a party on the holodeck in a program I hadn’t seen in a while. Sandrine’s was just as I remembered it. Same slanted pool table, same comfortable booths and same old Sandrine. I sat by myself for a little while, soaking up my reality and drinking way too much synthenol, until Tom came up to me and asked me to dance. I asked him where his bride was and he pointed toward her, dancing with Chakortay.
Another song came on and Tom went back to B’Elanna. As I walked back to my table, Chakotay grabbed my hand and asked me to dance with him. Alarms went off in my head, telling me not to, but the part of me that loved him so much, locked the alarms up and threw away the keys.
As we danced to the sing, all the barriers that I had carefully put in place over the years between us, crumbled to the ground. He pulled me close and held me so tenderly that my heart melted and my knees turned into jelly. I let the real me show through the captain exterior. I turned into the woman I hadn’t been in four years. When the song ended, he took me back to my table and sat down with me. We only stayed for another half an hour before he walked me back to my quarters. It was a quiet walk, but it wasn’t an awkward silence, it was comfortable.
When we reached my quarters he did something I didn’t think he had enough guts to do. He kissed me. Not just a friendly peck on the cheek, I mean a real kiss, full on the mouth. I confess, I kissed him back. Right now, I’m still on cloud nine and not wanting to come down. I like it here. He is on his way over here for dinner now and I can’t wait to see him again. I can’t wait to be back in his arms. To hell with protocol, I love him and nothing will keep me from him.

End log
 

“Yes!” Kathryn exclaimed jumping up from the porch swing and dancing around the porch.
I smiled at my daughter. It took long enough, but my mother finally got the idea that Starfleet was three quadrants away. She seemed like the woman I grew up with again, not the one I had come to know in the logs.
“Took her long enough, didn’t it?” I asked.
“Yes!” she stressed.
Laughing out loud at that rewarded me a very unhappy look from my daughter and my son coming out onto the porch with a weird look on his face.
“What is so funny?” he insisted.
“Nothing,” Kathryn and I said together.
He shrugged and went back into the house. Kathryn and I looked at each other and laughed again. She sat back down next to me an took the book from me.
“Can I read the next one?” she asked.
“Sure. Go right ahead,” I said handing the book to her.
She turned the page with more anticipation then she had shown the entire rest of the book. She looked up at me and smiled. I could tell the rest of this was going to be happy. At least I hoped so.
 

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 54622.4

I’m speechless. I am also engaged. That’s right. He proposed. It was so sweet. He even got down on one knee. I’m floating through the clouds right now and I can’t bring myself back down onto solid ground. It was the most exciting thing of my life. Even when Mark proposed, it didn’t compare with this. I felt so different, so much in love for this man that I could barely sit there without hugging him to death. I was so happy then and still am now.
We were having dinner at his place and he put on the song we had danced to at Tom and B’Elanna’s wedding. When he asked me to dance I felt like he was going off his rocker thinking I hadn’t figured out that we would dance to the song we had deemed “our song”. When the song was finish and he sat me down on the sofa I was so surprised when he knelt down on one knee that I almost burst from excitement. When he slipped the ring onto my hand I couldn’t believe it. He had replicated a claddah ring, which meant this was totally for real.
This morning when I woke up I was still up in the clouds. I am so happy. I told him we couldn’t tell anyone, although I have suspicions that they know we have been going steady since the wedding. I don’t want anyone to leak anything back to Starfleet about our engagement, so, if we get married while we’re still in the Delta Quadrant, then we will have to tell Tuvok in secret. Telling the crew means some one will leak it to Starfleet somehow. At least there’s a chance of that happening. I really do not want to be shanghaied out of Starfleet for loving the man that I am going to marry. That still sounds so wonderful. ‘The man I am going to marry’. I love it!

End Log
 

Kathryn did her whole ‘yes’ routine again and sat down with a thud on the swing again.
“Okay, this is the grandma I like!” she said.
“Me too,” I said.
She smiled and plucked the book out of my hands.
“Oh no, you don’t! It’s my turn!” I said.
Kathryn pouted and crossed her arms.
“I’ll let you read the next one! I want to read now,” I said.
“Okay,” she sighed. “I think I can live with that.”
I shook my head and took the book back from her, opening it to the page we had left off on.
 

Captain’s Personal Log
Stardate: 54973.4

Another thing I can’t believe. We’re home. I am staring at Earth through the view point right now and thanking whatever god helped get us home a thousand times over. Of course, I am thanking Admiral Janeway the most. She knows what will happen in the future if we hadn’t gotten home. I don’t know what would have happened between Chakotay and I, but I do know what will happen between us now. We are going to get married and live together on Earth. I can’t wait to finally say ‘I do’. That will definitely be the best moment of my life.
The crew are ecstatic that we are home. Seven years is a long time to go without seeing their families and loved ones. I know it first hand, but I have had Chaoktay for the duration. My mother found out the other day that Chakotay and I will get married when we get home. It was difficult to do, considering that Seven was there in the room, but we can keep her in secrecy with us. She won't tell a soul. My mother was so happy. I told her not to tell Phoebe yet, to let me do it myself. She said she wouldn’t say a word and that my niece and nephews were getting bigger and that they should be in the wedding. I told her we planned on having very few people there, considering it had to be kept a secret for as long as the debriefings were going on. She didn’t seem too happy about it, but she got used to it.
I can’t wait to see my family again. What’s more I can’t wait to be married. I love Chakotay so much and have waited so long for this to come that my heart is up in my throat. The admiralty is hailing the ship now, waiting for my response. I have to go, but I want to remember this day forever. We’re finally home.

End log

I smiled the biggest smile I have ever smiled before. Kathryn, by now had perfected her ‘yes dance’ and was strutting around the porch with her father and brother watching her like they thought she was insane. She sat down again with a big smile on her face, exhausted by dancing.
“Come on mom keep going! I want to know the end! We only have a few pages left!” she said.
“Sure you don’t want to read?” I asked.
She shook her head.
“All the dancing made me too winded for me to read and be audible. You read, you do it better anyway,” she said.
“Okay, I will, but can we go get something to drink first? My mouth is a little dry,” I said.
Kathryn jumped up from the swing, pulling me with her as she ran into the kitchen.
 

May 19, 2079

Today was, without a doubt, the best day of my life. Chakotay and I were married today in the field behind my mother’s house. The debriefings were over a week ago and we just couldn’t wait any longer. My mother and sister were present and so was Chakotay’s sister. She looks almost exactly like him. She has gorgeous jet black hair and deep green eyes. She is a bit shorter then Chakotay, but not so tall that I couldn’t look her in the eye wearing heels.
The day was perfect. The sun was shining and the breeze blew ever so slightly as I walked down the field to the big oak tree in the center. Chakotay waited for me and when I reached his side, he smiled the biggest smile I have ever seen on his face. I had never seen more love reflecting in his eyes until today. My mother was crying the entire ceremony. My sister stood to my left and Chakotay’s sister next to her. When I said those two bond-sealing words my heart did a somersault. I didn’t really realize I was married until Chakotay picked me up and carried me off into the house.
He is sleeping right now. I don’t exactly know why I have written in this book so many times over the past seven years, but I know there is a reason. Maybe someday someone will read this after I am gone and continue my story on to other people or other generations. Having children is our next step, but not for a little while. Maybe someday my daughter will read this and understand more about me then she will as she grows up. I know there are things in here that I will not want to tell my children, but someday, it might be the right time for her to find out. If I have a daughter and you are reading this right now, I love you and I am happy you know so much about me now. Never forget me or your father. We both love you and will never forget you, no matter where we are. Our two roads collided seven years ago and we are happy together, forever. I hope another road comes your way someday and the two of you collide and live together happily, like your father's and mine did.

Love,
Mom
 

I closed the book and placed my hands over it on the kitchen table. Kathryn and I sat in silence soaking in all the things we had just read and learned about my mother. She certainly was a very interesting person. More interesting then I thought. No wonder my father loved her. He waited so long to have her and in the end it paid off.
Kathryn stood from the table and walked around the kitchen for a few moments before she sat back down.
“Wow,” she said.
That’s it. That was all I got from her. Eric walked into the kitchen and Kathryn stood up and walked out of the room. Eric walked behind me and put a hand on my shoulder. I put my hand over his and smiled up at him.
“You okay?” he asked.
“No,” I said sighing.
I felt tears forming in my eyes and Eric knelt next to my chair.
“What were you reading? You and Kathryn have been so emotional and distant these passed few days. What’s in that book?” he asked.
“It was the story about my mother’s life. The stuff I never knew,” I said, just before breaking down into tears.
Eric wrapped his arms around me and I cried into his shoulder for about 20 minutes. He tried to comfort me, but nothing would have mad me feel better at that moment. When I stopped crying long enough to look up at him he asked me what I was thinking.
“That I don’t want to leave,” I said. “That I want to live here, where I grew up. I want our kids to grow up in this house. I want to wake up every morning and know that it’s going to be a good day, just because I’m home. I want to live out here, Eric.”
He stood still, motionless and silent for a few moments. I think he didn’t know exactly what to say to me after that. I had taken him by surprise with it. I hadn’t meant fr it to just come out, but it had.
“Well, if that’s really what you want, then why not?” he said.
I looked up at him in shock.
“Do you mean it?” I asked.
“Sure. Hey, you love it here, I love it her, heck even the kids love it here! Why not stay?” he said.
“Oh, Eric, thank you,” I said.
That was the first day of the rest of my life. I sit here, at my mother’s desk, writing this story in a book of my own and remembering when I was young. I am a 74 year old woman now. I have six grandchildren and only one of them happens to be a girl: Kathryn’s daughter, Emily. I know the two of you are reading this now and I want to say, thank you. Thank you for reading this and thank you for being the best daughter and best granddaughter a woman could have.
I know it is hard for the two of you to read this and for you to let go of me, but I am happier where I am. I am with Eric again. I will see you again and I want to tell you that grandma and grandpa are here waiting for you Kathryn. We can’t wait to see you again, but until we do, take care of Emily and your family. Let your brother read this if he want’s to. He has a right to know if he wants to know. Your uncle Colin never wanted to read grandma’s story, but if Conner want’s to read this, let him.
On a final note. I love you both very much. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for either of you. I will never forget you and I will always be there watching you everyday. All you have to do is look up into the sky. I’ll always be there, among the clouds waiting for that day that we meet again. I love you.

Love always,
Mom/Grandma
 

Kathryn looked up at her daughter and smiled. Fifteen year old Emily smiled back and picked up the book that her mother had held in her hands.
“See what happens when two road’s collide?” Kathryn said, standing up from the porch swing her and her mother had sat at so many years ago.
   Her own husband walked out of the house and put an arm about her shoulders. Their two roads had collided 18 years ago and they now lived in the same house Kathryn had spent the rest of her teenage life in. Her children had grown up there and she hoped, someday, that her grandchildren would grow up there as well and learn about her story.
 

 

 
 
Some flowers used to make the contest graphics from