“That’s her!” Harry suddenly found his food very interesting.
Kathryn looked up to see who the young lady was that caught Harry’s eye. “Ensign Jenkins?”
“Shhh,” Harry whispered. “She’ll hear her name.”
Laughing quietly, Kathryn asked, “How long have you been interested?”
“Okay, do you remember the night I was on duty and we found the warhead that turned out to be an artificial intelligence?” He continued as she nodded. “Well, McKenzie was on duty that night and she, well… she gave me a hard time… in a nice way. I’m not sure, but I think she’s been flirting with me ever since.”
“That was two years ago.” Kathryn enjoyed the maternal relationship that she had developed over the years with Harry. He was one member of Voyager’s crew that was never shy about including her in his life. “Don’t you think it’s time to make a move?”
“I know, but she’s in charge of the helm rotation for gamma shift, and I’m often in command of that shift. I didn’t think it was appropriate to ask her out.”
Kathryn empathized with him, but knew he was following the same protocols that she had often recited to herself about dating. Seen in this perspective, it sounded a bit restrictive. “Tell me about her.”
Harry’s eyes lit up as he began to talk. “Oh, she’s amazing…. brilliant, exciting, very funny. Once we were on an away mission and ran into some pretty bad ion storms. I’d never tell Tom, but man, can she fly! It was incredible. Oh, and she’s very athletic. We were in a Volleyball tournament and let me tell you, I was very glad that she was on my team. Did you know she plays the drums?”
“No, I didn’t.” Kathryn was delighted with Harry’s excitement, but she couldn’t believe that there was a crewmember she knew so little about.
“Well, she’s not very good. But she tries hard and she has nice rhythm.”
“Rhythm is half the battle for a percussionist.”
“If not more.” Harry looked around to find the ensign and caught her eye across the room. She was sitting by herself and smiled brightly at Harry.
Kathryn saw the exchange and it was obvious that McKenzie was interested. “Why don’t you go sit with her?”
“I don’t know, Captain.” He tried to think of a feasible explanation as to why not and he came up with, “I can’t leave you here alone.”
“I’ll be fine. Go. It’s time to dive in and see what happens. Don’t worry about the fraternization protocols.”
Harry didn’t have a chance to move as McKenzie Jenkins came up to their table. “Pardon the interruption, Captain.”
“No problem, Ensign.” Seeing Harry’s dumbstruck expression, Kathryn asked, “What can we do for you this evening?”
McKenzie’s attention was directed at Harry. “Harry, I’m not finding tonight’s dinner very appetizing and was wondering if you’d like to join me in my quarters for some good ‘ole replicated home cooking.”
“You don’t like the stew? I think it’s great,” Harry replied.
Kathryn could have kicked him under the table. She tried to help McKenzie by saying, “But ensign, there’s nothing like the taste of home when you’ve forgotten what home is.”
McKenzie added, “I’m feeling very homesick after Quarra and I thought you’d be a good listener since you’re not dealing with the memory loss. Would you join me?”
“Oh, yes. I would love to.” Harry stood a little too quickly and bumped the table. “Just let me recycle this.”
As Harry walked away, Kathryn said to McKenzie, “Not to meddle, but I think Ensign Kim could use a little nudge if you’re interested in dating him.”
Nodding, McKenzie said, “After years of trying to figure him out, I’ve come to that same conclusion. Plus, after having my mind messed with, I feel the need to make a couple of changes so that my life will be more fulfilling right here on Voyager.”
Kathryn could definitely understand that feeling. She wasn’t unhappy before, but now her life felt empty and a little disconnected. “Have a good night then… and take care of him.”
Winking as she walked away, McKenzie said, “Oh, I plan to. Goodnight, Captain.”
She shook her head while smothering a laugh. There weren’t many crewmembers that would have the gall to be that open with their captain. Kathryn found it refreshing and made a mental note to get to know McKenzie Jenkins a little better. Looking around the mess hall, Kathryn realized that there weren’t many crewmembers she could call friend. As the thought began to depress her, she stopped herself and decided that it should motivate her to get to know them a little better.
Chakotay would be pleased, she thought. He often tried to get her to be more open and friendly with the Voyager family. Well, he used to. She didn’t recall any recent recommendations from him to get involved in the crew’s life. Come to think about it, she didn’t recall many recent conversations with him that weren’t strictly about ship’s business. The last time they had gotten together socially was the evening he blew up the deflector dish, and that was months ago.
Kathryn thought back to what Ensign Jenkins said about the need to make life on Voyager more fulfilling. It had only been two days since fully regaining her memories and she was very concerned that she hadn’t remembered Voyager and the people she cared about. She had come to the mess hall tonight because she wanted to be around people and found Harry eating by himself.
Her love life troubled her because on Quarra, she had fallen in love with a man named Jaffen. Now, looking back on the experience, she realized that the traits she loved most about him were the same traits that drew her to a deep friendship with Chakotay. She even remembered touching Jaffen’s temple as if she expected something – perhaps a tattoo – to be there.
In addition, she found herself unsettled by the affect that Chakotay had on her when she didn’t know who she was. Even when she had betrayed him, she couldn’t ignore the strong attraction she felt. When she realized that he wasn’t lying to her, she immediately began to work on regaining her life and memories. She was curious about the magnetic attraction she had felt toward him and whether that meant he was more than the friend he described.
Even after regaining her memories with two days of contemplation,
the situation still troubled her. She decided to do something about
it and left the messhall to head for Chakotay’s quarters. He always
seemed to know how to help her, even when he was the reason she needed
On the way, Kathryn realized that just like Jenkins, she needed to make some changes immediately that would make her life on Voyager more fulfilling. As she rang the chime to Chakotay’s quarters, she decided on a plan of action to drop some hints and see if he would take the bait.
“Come.” Chakotay called out and the door opened. Surprised, he said, “Captain, It’s good to see you.”
“Am I interrupting anything?” She asked as she stepped through the doorway.
“Of course not. Come and sit down. Can I get you anything?”
She shook her head. “No thank you, I just wanted to stop by for a visit.”
“I’m glad you did.” As they sat down together, Chakotay studied her. “Something is bothering you?”
She glanced at him sideways and picked up a wooden box from his coffee table. “I have to pick just one thing?”
He noticed her trying to figure out how to open the box. “It’s a puzzle.” He pointed to it. “You release this block and the whole thing comes apart. Then you put it back together.”
The dozen pieces scattered onto the coffee table and the floor as she followed his instructions. She laughed. “Where did you get this?”
“When we were in the Telara system. There was a vendor in the street market who had all kinds of puzzles made from wood. I bought this one and sketched a couple others that I want to try to make sometime.”
Kathryn picked up all of the pieces and laid them out on the coffee table. She began to organize the pieces by shape. “You’ve had this for six months and I’ve just now noticed it. We haven’t spent enough time together.”
Chakotay sat back and watched her work. “We’ve spent our time in your quarters or somewhere else.”
“Always busy doing something. I want to make time to talk more.”
“I’d like that.”
She smiled as she got the bottom pieces of the box laid out. “May I ask you something?”
“How has the crew been accepting the return of their memories?”
He sighed. “It’s been hard on most. You were all programmed to be happy on Quarra.”
“And they aren’t happy here.”
Chakotay touched her arm until she looked at him. “I didn’t say that.”
She nodded. “I can’t decide if I’m happy here.”
With a reassuring squeeze, he asked, “Do you feel less happy than before Quarra?”
As the carefully balanced blocks fell apart, Kathryn sighed in discouragement. “I don’t know. I think I had accepted my fate, so to speak. Now I feel unsettled.”
She began restacking the blocks. “Lonely captain of a starship lost thousands of light years away from home.”
Looking at him, she said, “You do have all the tricks of a counselor mastered, you know.”
“There you go again. You’re picking one word I’ve said and asking me about it.”
He chuckled. “I’ve had a lot of practice, I guess.”
Returning to the blocks she said, “I know I shouldn’t feel lonely on this ship. We are a very strong community.”
“You miss Jaffen.”
She hummed in thought as she exhaled. “I don’t think I do.” Before he could ask another question, she added, “And I don’t think I miss Mark anymore either. But I do miss being close to someone.”
“Perhaps you’re longing for a family?”
“As in children? No thanks.”
“Why not? You’d be a wonderful mother.”
She groaned. “I’m too old to be a mother, but I’m definitely looking forward to having B’Elanna’s baby around.”
“So no children, but you do want a family, I think.”
The pieces of the box were carefully balanced, but she still had the connecting piece in her hand. “Perhaps I just need to get closer to everyone here, but I don’t know if that would help me feel any less disconcerted.”
“It’s only been two days. Give it more time.”
“Is that what you’ve been telling everyone?” She had hoped that by telling him she wanted to get closer to someone, he would let her know if he was interested in being that someone. He either didn’t take the hint or she had her answer.
“Time heals most wounds.”
“Do you ever feel off balance?” She studied the box carefully.
“Every once in awhile.”
Kathryn turned to look at him. “And what do you do?”
“I go on a vision quest and talk to my animal guide.”
“Ah yes. Does she give good advice?”
Smiling, he said, “The challenge with animal guides is that they don’t give black and white answers. However, I have often been led in one direction over another.”
Kathryn returned her attention to the box and the last piece of the puzzle. “The one time I met mine, we didn’t get much of a chance to talk.”
Chakotay leaned forward and carefully removed one of the puzzle pieces. “You have this just about figured out, but what you don’t know is that it takes two people to put it back together.”
“Unless your species has four hands.”
He laughed. “This is true.” Sitting very close to her, he held the pieces of the box together. “Now lock those two pieces together and slide them in.”
Enjoying his nearness, she did as instructed and the box came together easily. “That is quite a puzzle.” She turned her face to look at him and found her lips tantalizingly close to his.
Chakotay placed his hand on her back and said quietly, “You’re the first person on Voyager who has even tried to tackle it.”
The tension rose as she paused to look into his eyes. When he didn’t make a move to kiss her, she turned to pick up the box. Admiring the woodcarving skill, she said, “It’s very beautiful.”
“Kathryn, would you like to contact your animal guide again?”
“You don’t think it’ll be angry that I haven’t called for six years?”
He smiled. “I think it will be happy to see you.”
Shrugging, she said, “Why not?” She set the box down. “Should I make my own medicine bundle?”
“Collecting the things that are important to you might help you find direction.”
“Okay then, let’s try it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“All right. I’ll get everything ready here.”
When she returned a few minutes later, she found that Chakotay had made the atmosphere more meditative by dimming the lights, lighting candles, and laying a blanket out on the floor. They took off their uniform jackets and boots, and sat on the blanket facing each other.
She laid a box between them. “This is full of keepsakes that I’ve gathered since we’ve been out here. Do you recognize the box?”
He studied it for a minute. “You made it out of insect traps from New Earth?”
She nodded. “To help me remember what is important. About a year after we left I realized that I should have spent those six weeks resting and enjoying our little camping trip.”
“But you didn’t know it would only be six weeks and it would be against your nature to have accepted it as a vacation.”
“I know. But I promised myself the next time we got stuck somewhere beautiful, I would take at least a little bit of time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.” She opened the box and lifted out a rock. “This was from our next stop.”
“Where was that?”
“Hanon IV. This is the rock that Harry used to cut my hair off.”
He laughed. “You saved that?”
“I hung onto it because it was a sharp rock that might have been used as a tool again. I don’t know why I kept it once we got back to Voyager, but I did.”
Suddenly serious, he said, “I still feel guilty about stranding us in that awful desert. There were certainly no roses to stop and smell there.”
“Yes, there were. A very brave friend of mine was able to earn the trust of the native species by risking his life to save a young girl.”
He swallowed hard. “I was the closest person to her.”
“And if you ever jump over a stream of molten lava again, I’m going to have words with you.”
Glad she lightened the mood, he said, “I’ll try to remember that.”
The next item she pulled out was a dried rose that had been preserved in a clear plastic container. “Do you remember this?”
“You saved it?” It was the peace rose he had given her during her recovery from a shuttle crash after which an alien tried to take her soul.
“I certainly did. Being with you that night helped me get through the awful memories of what that alien tried to do.”
“What else do you have?”
“Another rock.” She showed him one that he had etched while they were on New Earth. The etching was similar to a monkey, but not quite.
Smiling, he said, “That monkey never stuck around long enough for me to get a good picture of him.”
“This next item doesn’t have such a great memory.” It was a piece of broken bulkhead.
“What is it from?”
“It’s a part of a bridge bulkhead that was destroyed during the Equinox incident.”
He took it from her and examined it. “Why do you keep it?”
“To remind me that our friendship can survive anything.”
Placing it on the blanket with the other things she had taken out of the box, he said, “And it always will.”
“This one doesn’t bring back such great memories either.” It was a borg ocular attachment. “But I needed to keep it.”
“Perhaps it can remind you of how precious your life is?”
She smiled. “I don’t know about that, but maybe it can remind me that no matter what I get myself into, you’ll always be out there to bring me back.”
“I’ll certainly try to be.”
“This…” She pulled out a wine bottle cork. “Is from that night after you destroyed the deflector dish and then used the temporal prime directive to avoid telling me why.”
“And why did it end up in your box?”
“I’m not sure, but I think you know.”
He chuckled. “How would I know?”
Pointing the cork towards him, she accused, “You were hiding something… and whatever it was, it was big. I could see it in your eyes.”
“Mum’s the word.”
She smiled and pulled out a necklace. “You probably don’t remember this.”
“No, I don’t.”
“When we got involved in the dispute between the Mokra order and the Alsaurian resistance, an elderly man named Caylem thought I was his daughter, Ralkana. He gave me this necklace that was her mother’s.”
“Oh yes, I do remember. The experience affected you deeply.”
“Yes, it did.” She put the necklace on the pile and pulled out the last item. She unfolded a large piece of dusty rose cloth. “This is probably too big for my box, but it’s important.”
“The robe I wore when I was in the Nechesti Order trying to save Kes’s life.”
“You really had me worried when you were down there.”
Winking at him, she said, “Just preparing you for all the other times you’ve worried about me.”
He groaned. “I can assure you that I’m an expert at it now.”
“Will any of these things work in a medicine bundle?”
“They all will and the box is a perfect container.”
She nodded towards his bundle. “Do I get to see what’s in yours?”
Picking it up, he said, “I showed you years ago.”
“You haven’t added anything?”
Chakotay partially opened the bundle and laid it on the floor in front of them. “Well, yes, a couple of things. The blackbird’s wing, river stone, and the akoonah were in here,” He continued as she nodded, “But I’m a little nervous about showing you the other things.”
“Just promise me that you won’t read too much into them.”
He unfolded the bundle all of the way and picked up each item to hesitantly explain. “A lock of your hair from Hanon IV, a vial of sand from the beach on New Earth, and the cork from the bottle of wine we shared on Lake George.”
Emotion swelled inside her as she realized that every item he had added was somehow related to her. She touched his hand, as she asked, “You did notice that most of the items in my box were also moments shared between us, didn’t you?”
Blushing slightly, he said, “Well, yes. Our friendship has taken us through many special moments.”
“But you don’t have anything recent?” When he shook his head, she picked up the cork from her collection and said, “Would you like this? I think you remember why it’s important more than I do.”
Smiling, he took it from her and said, “Yes, I would. Thank you.”
He moved her box to the side and put the akoonah between them. “Place your fingertips on this, the peyote button. Clear your mind and focus on the objects laid before you. Nothing else exists.” She did as instructed and he picked up his sacred stone as he spoke the traditional words. “A-koo-chee-moya, we are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers. We are far from the bones of our people, but perhaps the one powerful being who has embraced this woman will return and give her guidance.”
“Allow your eyes to close. Breathe to fuel the light in your belly and let it expand until the light is everywhere. Prepare yourself to leave this room and this ship, and return to a place where you are the most content and peaceful you have ever been.”
The room faded away and she found herself wandering in an extremely dark cave. She spoke to Chakotay who she knew was still sitting with her on Voyager. “This place is not content or peaceful.”
“Perhaps your guide is there and will lead you somewhere else.”
The only light in the cave came from stalactites that seemed to be glowing with fire. The scientist in her wanted to study the phenomenon that was creating the effect, but she was on a mission to find her animal guide. It was odd, she thought, that the small lizard was on a beach before, but was now in a dark cave. She wondered if that was a metaphor… the ocean a vast expanse to explore and the cave a dark and lonely place. Had her outlook on life changed so much since the last she went on a vision quest?
If she hadn’t been looking up, she probably would have missed the little lizard. It was silhouetted against the backdrop of a glowing stalactite upon which it was crawling. The little amphibian looked at her and then scurried up along the ceiling. Kathryn had to move quickly to keep up. When it stopped at the cave wall next to a ladder, Kathryn assumed she was to climb up the ladder. She climbed swiftly so she didn’t lose her guide.
They came to a hole in the ceiling and Kathryn climbed through it. She followed the little lizard out into daylight and came upon a field of peace roses waving in the wind like a field of tulips. As unnatural as it was, it was still the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She walked out into the field and spun around slowly as she watched the roses sway softly in the warm breeze. “Oh Chakotay… this is beautiful!”
“You’ve found a more peaceful place?”
Amazed that she could smell the roses, she inhaled deeply. “Oh yes. There are peace roses everywhere. Maybe it’s telling me to stop and smell the roses.”
He chuckled. “Perhaps.”
How she saw the lizard in the midst of all the flowers, she didn’t know, but she followed it to a clearing. On the grassy ground lay some of the items from her box and Chakotay’s medicine bundle. The rock Chakotay had carved, the rose in the plastic container – only it was alive and not dried, the two bottle corks, the vial of sand, and the lock of her hair. She also found the puzzle box that they had put together earlier in the evening. As she examined the items, she realized that all of these items were the ones from the times that she and Chakotay had spent together.
Was it possible that her animal guide, her active sub-conscious imagination, was leading her where her heart had found a renewed interest? She wanted so much to act on the rediscovered attraction to Chakotay, but she wasn’t sure that she should. When she hinted at needing to be close to someone, he didn’t bite. She recalled that he didn’t show interest after she received her ‘Dear John’ letter from Mark either. Perhaps he just wasn’t interested and she needed to look elsewhere.
She looked up as she heard a noise. Coming through the roses was a magnificent silver wolf. It came up to her quietly and nuzzled her neck, making her laugh. She had absolutely no fear of the animal because she knew immediately who it was. The wolf was Chakotay’s animal guide.
She spoke out loud. “Chakotay, perhaps you should join me. I believe your guide has arrived without you.”
Sounding surprised, he asked, “She is?”
Kathryn watched as the two animal guides began to toss around the puzzle that she and Chakotay had put together earlier. “Oddest thing, Chakotay. The two guides seem to be playing with the wooden puzzle.”
“Am I going to offend them by speaking about them so much?”
“You haven’t yet, so probably not. Maybe they want us to talk more, as you suggested earlier.”
Kathryn chuckled. “Perhaps.” The lizard stopped playing with the puzzle and crawled upon the wolf’s back. “I think your guide wants me to follow her.”
She followed the wolf out of the clearing, through the roses, and into a wooded area. It wasn’t long before she was led out of the tree cover and onto a precipice. She looked down into the ravine to see a deep blue river flowing slowly and gently as it meandered through the forest valley. She felt a nudge on the back of her leg and looked down to see the wolf nudging her forward. Alarmed, she said, “Chakotay… I think she wants me to jump into a ravine!”
He asked, “And you don’t want to?”
“It’s a big drop to the river below!”
“You’re afraid,” Chakotay stated.
“This is my imagination though. Why do I want to jump off a cliff?”
“I don’t know. Do you want to come out of the vision quest?”
Kathryn looked at the wolf with the lizard on its back, and then down into the deep ravine. She heard a voice behind her that said, “It’s a leap of faith and all will be well.”
“What?” she asked anxiously as the wolf nudged her forward. “Chakotay? What did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything, Kathryn. You’re getting agitated. I think you should come back to me.”
She took a deep breath. “No, I’m okay.” She looked down at the lizard and was surprised to see that it spoke. “A leap of faith. All will be well.”
Kathryn knew logically she wouldn’t be hurt because she wasn’t actually standing here, but there was something about jumping off of this precipice that scared her. Not one to accept fear as an excuse, she stepped back and made a running leap into the air. She extended her arms out and then up into a dive as she felt herself gracefully hit the water. Had it been real, hitting the water would have been extremely painful, but she only felt warmth wash over her.
She came out of the vision quest and slowly opened her eyes. It took her a moment to adjust to the darkness of the room. She withdrew her fingers from the akoonah and rubbed her arms, expecting to find them wet.
“Did you jump?”
Nodding, she said, “I did. It was amazing.”
“Do you need help analyzing any of the imagery?”
“I don’t think so. It’s all very clear and I know exactly what my sub-conscious wants. I’m just not sure it’s feasible.”
“You said my animal guide was there. How did you know she was mine?”
“I just knew… I’m not sure I can explain why.”
“It’s very unusual,” he said.
“Has mine ever appeared to you?”
Chakotay shook his head. “No, but I don’t think I would have wanted it to.”
There was her answer. He had chosen to tell her without coming out and saying that he wasn’t interested. Perhaps he was already dating someone and she hadn’t spent enough time with him lately to notice. Or perhaps he believed as she had, that a relationship wouldn’t be easy because of their command relationship. She touched his arm. “Well, thank you for helping me. I meant it when I said we need to talk more often, as friends.”
“Don’t leave.” He stilled her hands as she began collecting her things. “We need to talk more about this.”
“I’d rather just leave it alone.”
“You said you know what you want, but it isn’t feasible. Why not?”
She struggled with whether or not to share her thoughts with him. He was a good friend, but he was also the object of her affection. Perhaps if she spoke vaguely, he would understand and let her go without making the situation more embarrassing than it already was. “What I want isn’t available on this ship, and I’m not about to bring someone like Jaffen on our voyage just so I won’t be lonely.”
“So the infeasibility has nothing to do with your priorities as captain? It’s not about parameters or…” He paused while he thought. “Or about maintaining distance as captain? It’s only about availability of potential partners?”
Slightly irritated at his questions, she said, “Availability of potential partners isn’t what I’d call it.”
“That sounds like I want to date around and not necessarily with only men.”
His laughter calmed her annoyance. “Okay, I used the wrong words.” He took her hands and more seriously, said, “Kathryn, inviting someone else’s guide into your vision quest is a pretty big indication of how you feel for that person.”
The gentle caressing of his thumbs on the backs of her hands drew her attention. As his words sunk in, her breathing became more shallow when she realized that he wasn’t going to let her out of here without bringing it all out in the open – embarrassing or not. Quietly, she said, “My subconscious seems to be sending out invitations against my wishes. I’m perceptive enough to know when my feelings aren’t reciprocated.”
The energy between them was almost sizzling as he placed kisses on the back of her hand. She swallowed deeply and said, “I think so.”
Chakotay moved around their medicine bundles and helped her to her feet. Cupping her face gently in his palm, he said, “I don’t think you are.”
She felt like she was unable to breathe as his thumb rubbed softly across her lips. “I haven’t invited your guide into my vision quests because I didn’t want to face the pain of knowing we should be together when I couldn’t have you. If you want to be close to someone, I’m more than willing to fill the position.”
“You have doubts?”
“Our guides told me to take a leap of faith and that all would be well, but I was sure that they didn’t know how you felt.”
He smiled. “Oh, I think my guide knows very well how I feel. We talk about you often.”
“But this was your guide in my imagination, not quite the same thing.”
“That depends on your level of belief.” He settled his hand on her low back and drew their bodies close together. “And I believe pretty strongly that if our guides told you to take a leap of faith, then you had better take it.”
She relaxed as she realized that he was definitely interested. Kissing the pad of his thumb as it passed across her lips, she asked, “Are you willing to jump with me?”
“Without a second thought. I love you, Kathryn, and I have for a very long time.”
She tilted her head to press her cheek into his palm. “My experience on Quarra made me realize that I’m in love with you too.”
“I thought for sure that you fell in love with someone else there.”
She turned her lips to his palm. Holding his hand steady, she placed kisses in his hand and on his wrist. “He was very much like you, but I didn’t feel an ounce of the attraction that I felt when you were pointing your phaser at me.”
“Oh?” Her kisses were making it difficult for him to breathe.
“It’s a very good thing that your intentions were honorable, because if they hadn’t been, you just might have had your way with me.”
“I see.” He swallowed hard. “What were you expecting to happen that night?”
She unzipped the back of his shirt and pulled the collar down to expose his left shoulder. The skin was still slightly pink where he had been injured, and she caressed it lightly with her fingertips. “When I came back to repair your shoulder…” She paused as her lips placed loving kisses on the former injury. “I thought you would seduce me and then take me away to work for you on your ship.”
“Yet you came back anyway.” His hands moved to hold each side of her hips.
“Mmmm hmmm.” Her fingertips resumed their caress as her lips moved across his collarbone. “I couldn’t believe how attracted I was. I had to find out more about you and when I realized you weren’t lying about Voyager, I was hoping that you weren’t telling the truth about us being just friends.” Her other hand ascended to his chest.
Drawing his hands higher, he let his thumbs graze along her sides. “Have you been thinking about us ever since?”
She had worked her way up to nibble along his jaw. “Well, except when I was worried about the crew or repairing the ship.” She heard him gasp as her lips found the underside of his ear. “Actually, that’s not true,” she whispered. “I was thinking about you while repairing the ship too.”
“Kathryn, my love, would you like to retire to the bedroom with me?”
She lifted her eyes to look into his. They were very dark and his breathing was shallow. Completely enjoying the effect she was having on him, she molded her body to his and brought her lips up until they were almost touching his. “Will you promise me something?”
Smiling mischievously, she asked, “Are you just saying that to get what you want?”
He groaned. “You are what I want.”
Their lips touched ever so slightly as she said, “Promise me that if I get nervous and start citing regulations about fraternization, you’ll seduce me.”
“Absolutely. I’ve waited a very long time for this and nobody, not even you, is going to stand in our way.” He threaded his fingers up into her hair and pulled her into a passionate kiss. His other hand slid down to cup her bottom, pressing their hips together.
Kathryn took her leap of faith and completely surrendered to the intoxication of his love.
Some flowers used to make the contest graphics from