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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Day to Remember
By Ann


Alice smiled as she opened the door to her apartment. She'd finally broken through Tasha's tough exterior, and the two were definitely making some progress in their relationship. There were still major obstacles to clear, but the blonde was pleased with the way things were progressing thus far. Today, they'd spent the entire morning and afternoon together, just laughing and enjoying each other's company.

She'd been seeing the MP for a couple of weeks now, and each time the two were together, there were fewer disagreements and more easy conversations. They'd both realized that they'd never agree on the war issue, so they'd more or less just decided to agree to disagree, only ever mentioning the topic if it was absolutely necessary.

Sitting at her desk, the blonde booted her computer to check on the progress of her chart, anxious to add another connection to the growing network of relationships. The familiar Windows logo popped up, and Alice bided her time, waiting for her desktop icons to make an appearance.

The clock appeared in the lower right hand corner of the screen, alerting the blonde to the time. As was her usual custom, she moved her mouse over the display to check the date, and she froze when the computer obediently showed the month, day, and year: March 12, 2007.

All breath escaped her lungs as her eyes remained focused on the display. The rest of her icons dutifully popped up, but the blonde could only see the date as she stared at the information, wondering how she could've possibly lost track of time.

Tears began to stream down her cheeks until a sob finally broke free, and covering her face with her hands, the blonde began to cry uncontrollably, taking intermittent gulps of air for necessary breath.

Her earlier euphoria was immediately replaced with feelings of immediate loss as memories of one year earlier filtered into her thoughts; the images so vivid, she could feel herself sliding down the wall of the intensive care unit when she saw the nurses removing the various tubes from her friend. She'd known the minute she looked into the nurses' eyes that Dana was gone.

Alice had thought of her friend often during the first few months after her death, but with the encouragement of others, she'd finally gotten on with her life. Now, she felt nothing but guilt for seldom giving Dana another thought. She knew her friend wouldn't want her to spend the rest of her life grieving, but Alice was sure Dana would've hoped that she'd think of her from time to time.

A pair of arms encircled the blonde pulling her near, and Alice closed her eyes and continued to sob, imagining Dana had somehow found a way to console her. She leaned back into the strong embrace and concentrated on the softly whispered words.

"Hey. It's okay, Alice. Don't cry; I'm here now. I've got you. Everything's going to be just fine. Relax, sweetie."

Alice clung to the strong arms wrapped around her as she continued to cry for her friend. She missed her so, and the loss she felt today was just as devastating as the day Dana had died. Holding onto the lifeline being offered by another friend, she allowed herself to grieve.

Helena tightened her embrace on the blonde. She had no idea what was wrong with Alice, but she continued to offer words of comfort, waiting until her friend had cried herself out. She'd find out what had happened soon enough, but right now, she just concentrated on providing the support Alice needed to get through whatever was causing her pain.

Finally, the blonde had cried her last tear and slumped into her friend's arms, drawing strength from the brunette's embrace. Releasing a cleansing breath, she offered simply, "Thanks, Helena."

Slowly releasing her friend, Helena led Alice to the couch and took a seat. Putting her arm around the blonde, she pulled her into her side and asked, "What happened? Did you and Tasha have a falling out?"

Alice placed her head on the brunette's shoulder and shook her head. Sighing, she replied, "No, we're fine."

Confused, Helena asked softly, "Well, then what's the matter?"

"Dana died," Alice responded with a slight hitch in her breath.

"Oh, Alice. What brought this on?"

"Today's the anniversary of her death. I never once thought about her all day long, Helena. I just went along my merry way having a great time with Tasha, and I never once gave her a thought," Alice explained as a few more tears made new tracks down the smooth cheek.

"Oh, sweetie. I'm so sorry. I didn't realize," Helena offered, pulling the blonde impossibly close.

Alice burrowed into the brunette's side and whispered, "What kind of a friend am I, Helena? My best friend died, and I don't even remember her on her anniversary."

"Alice, Dana would understand. She'd be so happy that you'd found someone. She wouldn't want you to feel guilty; she'd want you to move on."

Wiping the errant tears, Alice replied, "I know. I know that in my heart, but, damn it, I should've remembered."

"Okay, well, you've remembered now. Do you want to do something special for Dana? Is there something I can do to help?"

Silence ensued as Alice wracked her brain, trying to come up with some way to remember her friend. Suddenly, she looked up at Helena and smiled. Rising from the couch, she moved over to the entertainment center and glanced through the various VHS tapes. Grabbing one from the stack, she placed it into the VCR and returned to the couch.

Taking Helena's arm, she placed it over her shoulder as she leaned into her friend once more, and pointing the remote towards the TV and VCR, she turned on the power and pushed play.

Soon, an image of Dana in her last tennis match filled the screen, and the two women watched the beautiful brunette serve and volley her way through game after game. Not a word was spoken between the observers until the last set of the match had begun.

Smiling, Alice whispered, "Dana really kicked her ass, didn't she?"

Running her fingers through the blonde's hair, Helena replied, "Yes, she did, Alice. She most certainly did."

Nodding, Alice snuggled closer to the brunette as she was reminded of the strength and courage Dana had displayed during that last match. This was how she wanted to remember her friend. A person who'd fought hard until the bitter end, never giving up despite the odds stacked against her.

Closing her eyes, Alice offered up a brief prayer of thanks to Dana for showing her what it meant to love and to be loved.

Returning her focus back on the screen, the blonde fondly remembered her friend.

The End

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