DISCLAIMER: Star Trek: Voyager and Next Generation are products Paramount Pictures and Gene Rodenberry. Thanks for letting me borrow them. Didn't get anything from them except for the enjoyment of bending the characters to my will. All original characters are mine.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This originally started out to be written for the Passion and Perfection IDF What if? challenge but time wasn't on my side. So I decided to add it to Epic Proportions Challenge 2010 instead. It really isn't a true Voyager or Next Generation story although the two characters are from the respective shows but only in name only.
THANKS: Many thanks to my beta Lenara. She was able again to make this story make sense.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Where It All Begins
By Mapsnika


She had just left her father's apartment after another heated argument about her lack of direction in life. She was headed toward her favorite night spot that overlooked the bay in San Francisco. This was her usual destination after a fight with her father or any contact with her mother. The Galaxy Club was a place where she could find a strong drink and a willing companion to make her forget about her problems.

Lt. Commander Ian Andrew Troi had raised his daughter ever since he and his wife divorced over 20 years ago. Lwaxana Troi had decided that raising a half human child was too much of a hardship especially being a high ranking member of the royal council of Betazed and their Official Ambassador to other worlds. Her duties kept her away from home so frequently that caring for a child would be best left to her father. She had seen her occasionally when she was a child when her duties brought her to Star Fleet Command on official business.

Deanna had visited Betazed a few times but found it boring and discovered quickly that she really didn't fit in to her mother's world. Her mother was married before her father and had a 'true' Betazoid daughter, as she secretly referred to her, named Kestra. Her father was killed when he drowned while they were on a picnic when Kestra was just an infant. Deanna never understood why her mother married her father especially since he was human. Ian Troi only told his daughter that they fell in love when she came to Earth on a diplomatic mission. They went back to live on Betazed where he tried to bond with Kestra who was five years old at the time but Lwaxana made it difficult for him to form any type of relationship with her. He hoped things would change once Deanna was born, but that seemed to drive a wedge further between the couple especially since Ian doted on his young daughter. Lwaxana would always bring up in some way about how Kestra was a true daughter of Betazed and was expected to take her place in the Betazed High Council someday. Deanna was always seen as too headstrong and too human to take her place in Betazed society. Her mother's constant reminders of the importance of Betazed heritage and the important role her first born child will play in Betazed society became too much for her father. He asked his wife for a divorce and took little Deanna to live with him on Earth. He felt that she would be able to find her own importance in the world away from the expectations of Betazed and her mother. When Deanna would ask why he married his mother, he would simply state that even after everything that they went through, he still loved her in his own way.

During Lwaxana's infrequent visits with her daughter either when she was a child on Earth or Betazed Lwaxana would attempt to give Deanna lessons on how to use her telepathic skills. They would both become so frustrated and the lessons and visits usually would end abruptly. Lwaxana had a difficult time connecting with her daughter because she lacked the discipline of a full blood Betazoid child.

During these visits Kestra would also accompany her mother. Deanna at first was excited about having an older sister and looked forward to the visits with her mother and sister. Kestra initially treated Deanna like the little playmate she didn't have. As she got older their relationship drastically changed due to her mother's constant and intense teaching about the value of being a full blood Betazoid and her role in Betazoid society. Kestra learned that Deanna would have no place in that society according to her mother. She and Deanna quickly grew apart. Being young and not truly understanding her mother's attitude, Deanna blamed her mother for losing her older sister. Lwaxana never made any attempt to aid in the two girls' relationship with each other although she never made any direct comments about them as sisters. Deanna realized she had the ability to read the feelings and occasionally the thoughts of others especially when the other person was in an elevated emotional state. Because of this she could always sense that her mother was hiding something. She thought it was just that she merely tolerated her and saw her out of obligation. But the emotions of her sister continued to confuse her.

Her father was able to provide a secure home for his daughter especially after his appointment to Starfleet Academy as an instructor in warp core engineering. His appointment at Starfleet Academy kept him located in San Francisco but it also kept him very busy. In order to provide her the most stable and nurturing environment, Deanna spent a great deal of time with her aunt and cousins. This solved his problem of providing her with a maternal figure and children that she could interact with especially since she was never able to form a relationship with her sister. Her cousins were several years older than Deanna which at times provided her with experiences that were beyond her age. She was always a very social child and had the ability to make friends with almost anyone. Her father contributed this to her Betazoid heritage. He wanted her to attend the Academy primary school with the children whose parents were employed at Starfleet Academy but his sister convinced him that her attending school with non Starfleet children would be best for her. Wanting what was best for his daughter, he went along with the idea. As she got older he saw her become less focused and more rebellious especially after she had visits with her mother. As she grew into young adulthood she always appeared to feel more restless and could never settle down to try any one thing. She fought against the push of her father to join Starfleet and her aunt to attend University to start a career. Right now her only plan was staying in San Francisco to have fun and be able to make love to the most beautiful females from everywhere in the galaxy who came to the academy or visit the city.

Deanna and her father had their usual fight tonight about what she was going to do with her life. She had drifted from one job to the next with no real direction or career path. She couldn't even maintain a steady relationship. He had hoped she would enter Starfleet and possibly go into engineering, communications or medicine. She had taken the aptitude test for Starfleet Academy and passed all those areas with flying colors but she still seemed uninterested. She wouldn't admit it to him but she was growing tired of having no direction but refused to go into something because that was what was expected of her. She still hadn't figured out what she wanted to do with her life but wasn't going to be dictated to by anyone.

She walked into the Galaxy Club in search of someone who could help her take her mind off her troubles at least for the night. The club was filled with many fine choices tonight and she slowly walked throughout the club to see who peaked her interest. She could sense the sexual arousal in the room which only added to her own need. She could feel the want of some being greater than others because of their level of loneliness or desperation. She also could sense those that were just looking to get laid. Being able to sense the feelings of others is what gave her the reputation of being a sensitive and skillful lover. She was able to anticipate the needs and desires of her lovers.

Deanna was drawn to one particular woman not by her looks but the emotional vibe of wonder and excitement. That was something that she had not felt in a long time especially in herself.

Sitting at the bar by herself was a dark haired woman about her height wearing a blue, long sleeve silk blouse and black linen slacks. As Deanna got closer she noticed that the woman was very attractive with exotic features and brownish skin. The half Betazoid sat in the empty seat next to her where she saw that she had the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes. She noticed that she had slight forehead ridges and realized that she was half Klingon which only added to her striking beauty. Deanna knew she didn't have the stamina or endurance to be with a full female Klingon even though there were a few she found sexually interesting. Maybe this woman could be the right mixture of fire and softness to be able to mark another species off her list.

"Hello. Can I buy you a drink?" she asked the exotic beauty in her best seductive voice.

The woman turned to look at Deanna and gave her the sweetest smile and she was hit again by the emotions of wonder and excitement. "Hi. Thank you that would be very nice."Deanna was surprised by the softness of her voice but it seemed to caress her like a warm embrace.

"What are you drinking?"

"Andorian Brandy?"

She smiled at her before she turned to get the attention of the bartender, "Bartender can I get two Andorian Brandies? Thanks." Turning back to face the woman she looked deeply into her eyes, "My name is Deanna."

"Nice to meet you Deanna. My name is B'Elanna Torres." She felt shy and hoped that this woman would continue to ask questions because she didn't think she had the ability to carry on a conversation without assistance and mostly she wanted to hear her speak because the sound of her voice was so melodic.

"Are you here by yourself? I can't imagine a beautiful young woman as yourself would be without an escort," Deanna said in a low voice sensing the young woman was interested in her company.

"I thought I would come out and have a drink before my final interview with Starfleet Academy tomorrow. I'm just a bit nervous I won't do well." B'Elanna felt drawn to Deanna's eyes as well to her voice. They were dark like the vastness of space and threatened to draw her into them. She knew she was trying to be charming but found it so attractive.

"So you are going to Starfleet Academy? What are you thinking about studying?"

"I was hoping to study engineering. I've always liked to tinker with engines. It use to upset my parents when they went to go use the replicator for a glass of water and got a cup of chicken soup instead when I was a child," she said with a soft giggle.

Deanna realized how young she was as she looked closely at her face maybe not so much age wise but experience wise. She had a face that was not spoiled by the issues of life and dreams unfulfilled. She appeared that she had not gone through much in her life that would stifle her idealistic ability to envision dreams of a future for herself. For a moment she felt envious of the young woman.

"I bet your parents must be proud of you that you are one interview away from getting into the academy. Do they live on Earth?" Deanna didn't want to give away that her father was an instructor at Starfleet Academy in engineering. If they were to get together tonight she didn't want it to be about a favor.

"I live with my family on Kessick IV. They encouraged me to enter Starfleet. I guess they got tired of me messing with the replicator one too many times and thought I should focus my skills on something more beneficial. This is my first time on Earth. I've lived my entire life on Kessick IV with my parents. Do you attend the academy? Do you live on Earth?" B'Elanna was starting to feel the effects of the brandy as she was starting to speak more freely. She was not used to drinking. Her mother would allow her to have some blood wine during Klingon celebrations when she was younger but she never really cared for the taste. She only ordered the brandy because her friends had told her it would make look more sophisticated and worldly.

Deanna smiled brightly at the young woman's enthusiasm and openness. She wondered if she was ever that young and full of wonder. "My father and I live here in San Francisco. I've spent some time on Betazed when I would visit my mother and sister when I was much younger. And no I don't attend the academy. Wouldn't know what I would study, not sure what I'm interested in or if the academy is for me. It's great that you know what you want to do."

B'Elanna's smile waned as she thought about what she had said about her parents. She couldn't imagine not having her parents in her life. "Do you get to see your mother and sister often? I don't mean to pry but I can't imagine not being with both my parents. You don't have to answer if you don't want to." B'Elanna felt bad that she had asked such a personal question just having met her. She knew that she was attracted to her and didn't want her to think of her as some young naïve child on her first outing in the big city.

"Do you always ask this many questions? You will do great at Starfleet Academy," Deanna laughed. "Don't worry about it. No, my mother and I have never been real close. I don't really remember growing up with her. Same with my sister. It's been mainly me and dad. I did spend a lot of time with my aunt as well. My dad has been great although he's frustrated that I have no real direction with my life." Sensing that the conversation could get heavy she decided to try to change the direction. "Seeing that you have your life figured out, what do you think I should to do?" she asked with a bright smile.

"You're asking me? I don't know, what kind of things do you like to do?"

Deanna got a devilish grin on her face at the question which caused B'Elanna to blush bright red. The older woman chuckled good naturedly and placed her hand on her arm. "You're cute." All of a sudden Deanna wasn't in the mood to hang out at the Galaxy Club but wanted to talk more with B'Elanna. She was unlike the other women she had been with recently. Before she would just give them a few well chosen lines and then it was off to their place or hers. She wanted to spend more time talking to this woman which struck her as odd since she never felt this way about anyone before.

"Hey have you eaten? Want to go get something to eat? I know this really great Cajun restaurant called Siskos in New Orleans. I promise to not keep you out late so you will be bright eyed and bushy tailed for your interview tomorrow. Whadda ya say?" Deanna gave her best puppy-dog smile in hopes that it would be seen as appealing.

'Those eyes, that mouth, that smile. I better be careful. I would go to Mars with her if she asked me to.' B'Elanna smiled and replied, "I have never had Cajun food and I've always wanted to see New Orleans. Sure I'd love to." At this point she would say anything to continue to be in this woman's presence.

"Great let's go to the transporter station. It's not far from here."

As they walked to the transporter station, Deanna directed her attention to various points of interest. She loved this city and was pleased that she had an opportunity to see it through new eyes. When they got to New Orleans, Deanna had decided to walk the long way to the restaurant so B'Elanna could see more of the city sights. She had to work extra hard to not laugh at her enthusiasm as she nearly walked into several people as she was so caught up looking more at the various attractions instead of where she was walking. As they walked to the restaurant B'Elanna would point at something and ask rapid fired questions before Deanna could answer one.

Deanna couldn't help herself from smiling at the young woman as they walked to the restaurant. She had to put her arm around her shoulder to keep her from running into people or things in her path. When they finally reached the restaurant, Deanna had to pull B'Elanna's arm as she started to walk past the restaurant because she was busy looking at something else.

"Whoa! Where are you going? We're here," Deanna said with a laugh.

Feeling embarrassed B'Elanna began to blush. "I'm sorry. I guess I was so excited about being here that I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."

"You're so cute." Deanna could help looking at her and smiling. B'Elanna's blush was becoming a bright crimson red. "Come on, let's eat." She led the young woman into the restaurant by the hand. Deanna requested a table by the window where B'Elanna had a view of the night life occurring on the street.

They ate, drank and talked. The discussed their likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams and everything in between. Deanna couldn't believe that this young woman who had very limited life experience held her attention so completely. They were only eight years apart but since she had spent her entire life in one place it made her appear much younger.

They hadn't realized how late it was until the waitress approached them about getting ready to close.

"Oh B'Elanna I'm sorry. I promised I wouldn't keep you out so late. We should probably get you back to your hotel so you will be fresh for your interview tomorrow." As Deanna stood and held out her hand to help her up, she made a point to pull her close and spoke quietly in her ear, "I'm glad you came to dinner with me. I had a really good time. Can I take you out tomorrow to celebrate you getting into the Academy?" B'Elanna lowered her head at Deanna's words. Deanna gently raised her chin so she could see her eyes and then gave her an adoring smile. Her heart fluttered when the smile was returned and she slowly nodded yes.

They left the restaurant holding hands as they walked to the transporter station. B'Elanna interest was more about Deanna this time then the sights of the city and she found herself stealing glances at the older woman as they walked to the hotel. The walk to B'Elanna's hotel was a short walk from the station and B'Elanna felt it was too short. She wanted to spend more time with this woman.

Once in the hotel lobby, both women appeared to be doing everything they could think of to put off the goodbye they knew was coming. Deanna had decided when they were at the restaurant that she wasn't going to sleep with her… at least not tonight.

B'Elanna decided that she needed to break the spell and end the night. "Deanna, thank you so much for showing me New Orleans and introducing me to Cajun food. Did you really mean it that you wanted to see tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I really want to see you tomorrow. I will pick you up here at 5:00pm. How does that sound?" Deanna responded happily.

"It sounds great. I will see you here. Thank you." As much as she tried to be casual, B'Elanna was failing miserably at hiding her excitement.

As B'Elanna turned to walk away Deanna called her back. She put her arm around her lower back and pulled her into a light hug and spoke softly inches from the young woman's lips, "Good luck with your interview tomorrow." She then closed the short distance and placed a light kiss on her lips. "You'll do great." She then released her and quickly walked to the exit not trusting her resolve to not take the kiss any further.

B'Elanna stood watching the retreating woman trying to will her heart not to beat out of her chest. 'She is so beautiful. I could have kissed her all night. I can't believe she wants to see again.' She stood there a few moments more until Deanna had disappeared completely from sight.

She sighed deeply and turned to go to her room. "Well I better call home to let them know that everything is okay," she said aloud to herself.

"Yes papa. I know papa. The minute I'm done I will contact you, I promise." B'Elanna was lying across her bed on her stomach kicking her feet in the air as she did when she was a child talking to her father. He still worried about his daughter and was trying to get her to divulge everything she has done since her arrival in San Francisco. For this reason B'Elanna was using audio only to communicate with him so he couldn't read her facial expressions.

"Huh? Yes, I am eating. Don't worry. In fact, I met this nice woman and we went out to dinner in New Orleans. Cajun food. It was really good. You and mother should visit New Orleans sometime. Papa I really need to get some sleep. I want to make a good impression. I will call you tomorrow. I promise right after. I love you. Tell mom I love her to. Good night, papa."

Once the call ended she went over to her bag and pulled out the picture that she had wrapped in a soft red scarf. She couldn't bear to travel such a long distance and be without it. She lovingly touched the picture, kissed the face in the halo image and placed it on the night stand as she always did so it faced her and watched over her as she slept. She debated whether or not to take the picture with her to the interview. She laughed at the silly thought and then got ready for bed.

Before she closed her eyes to sleep she looked at the picture on the nightstand and smiled and softly said, "Wish me luck tomorrow. Goodnight SoS."

Her biological mother died in a shuttle craft accident when B'Elanna was only three years old. Miral met John Torres when she came to Kessik IV to deliver plasma manifold parts to the planet. Their romance was intense and they were married five weeks later. B'Elanna came soon after. Miral risked the honor of her house to be with John. They were deeply in love and he was devastated when she was killed. He was grateful that B'Elanna was so young. Her father remarried two years later to a human woman who immigrated from Mars. John Torres felt it important that B'Elanna know about her mother and her Klingon heritage. He made this clear with his new wife and she agreed that it was important as well. Although B'Elanna had the ridges of a Klingon, she never really felt the need to embrace her Klingon heritage but she grew to honor and observe that part of herself and her mother despite being raised to be human by her father and stepmother.

They did their best to try to instill her with the Klingon heritage of her mother and taught her the Klingon language. Her father taught at the University on Kessick IV and enlisted his colleagues and friends to help him teach his daughter about her heritage. She was adept at learning the Klingon language as a child but because she didn't have anyone to speak it with except for the professors at the university, she quickly lost interest. She tried to teach her school friends how to speak the language but it proved either too difficult or too harsh for her friends. They were interested in learning the more colorful words but nothing more. B'Elanna was put to bed by her father telling her stories of her mother and she grew to love her as much as if she were still alive and in her life.

Deanna hummed to herself as she walked home. She was surprised with her reaction to B'Elanna. There was something about her that she wanted to get to know better. Maybe it was her certainty about knowing what she wanted to do with her life, or that her relationship with her family especially her mother was so firm and loving. Maybe if she were to start a relationship with B'Elanna, her father would leave her alone. 'Whoa!! Where did that come from? I've only known her for one day. Slow down Deanna. She's about ready to start her life and you…you don't have a life that's fit to share with her or anyone.'

Deanna was tempted to go back to the Galaxy Club and find a distraction to get her mind off thoughts about B'Elanna. She couldn't be tied down to just one person she thought trying to convince herself.

Instead of going to the Galaxy Club she went to a hole in the wall bar called the Watering Hole to have a drink or several. It was a place she would frequent often when she was just in the mood to get drunk. Everyone who went to the bar was there for the same reason so there was no pretense of anything other than erasing the pain, emotions or crisis of the day. She knew a few of the regulars that frequented the bar. They would sit and drink and solve all the problems of the universe before the bartender sounded last call.

Tonight her drinking friends must have found other entertainment because the bar was sparse. She contemplated whether to sit at the bar or find a table. She opted for a table because she didn't feel in the mood to make polite conversation with the bartender especially since the one working tonight always tried to start up a conversation about his prowess with the ladies with whoever sat at the bar. She found a table close to the back and ordered a strong drink from the lone waitress who seemed annoyed to be pulled away from the patron she was flirting with.

She stared at the melting ice in the glass for a long time hoping that the answers to her life would be found there. Spending most of her life moving from job to job, woman to woman, she never felt the need to be settled. This seemed normal to her. So her reaction to B'Elanna put her into a tailspin. Maybe it was the argument she'd had with her father for what felt like the hundredth time or that she was getting older that was making her think about the direction or lack of direction of her life, or maybe she was growing weary of the same old grind. B'Elanna was like a breath of fresh air to her normal routine of life.

Deanna downed the last of her drink and set the glass down hard on the table. She threw a credit on the table as a tip and walked out into the San Francisco night thinking that tomorrow will sort itself out. After all she had a date with a beautiful woman tomorrow.

Deanna had been so consumed in her own thoughts that she did not see the person enter and sit at the bar. The customer watched her as she finished her drink and walk out.

"Do you know that woman who just left?" the customer asked after Deanna had left the bar.

The bartender looked toward the door and then back at his customer. He assumed he was just another guy trying to get lucky. 'Poor sap.' "Yeah. She comes in here from time to time. She will either drink with some of the other regulars or sit by herself. This is the first time I've seen her in several weeks. Must not have gotten lucky tonight." The bartender laughed at his own joke.

"Lucky, what do you mean?"

"She's known to be quite popular with the fairer sex. If you know what I mean."

It appeared that the customer was contemplating this information. "Do you know where she hangs out when she's not here?"

The bartender began to look at the customer with suspicion especially since he had not removed the hood covering his head and face. "Why you so interested in her anyway? I don't think I should answer any more of your questions, she's a good lady. I don't want to cause her any trouble"

"I think she's cute. Thanks for your time." Throwing a few credits on the counter, the customer got up and left.

The night air was cool which contrasted to the humidity of the bar. Pulling the hood of the jacket down, revealed the short cropped blonde hair of a woman. She looked in the direction of the apartment complex that she knew Deanna lived at and assumed that she walked to. She really didn't need the bartender to tell her where she hung out but just wanted corroboration on the information she had already gathered. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a communication device and activated it.

"It's Tasha Yar. Just checking in. I don't have much information yet but I will check in when I have more." Tasha clicked off the communication device and headed towards the room she rented while she was on the job.

It was easy work for good credits. From what she could tell it seems like this may be a case of a jilted jealous lover. The work was not glamorous but it was easy and got her off of the hell hole that was Turkana IV. Her sister was lucky to fall in love and marry a traveling merchant which took her far away and provided her with security. Tasha was able to leave the planet by offering her services for the right price. She was not above taking most jobs as long as it didn't involve task that were of a serious illegal nature. Their parents were still living on the planet eeking out an existence as best they could. They were happy for their daughters to be away from the colony and have the possibility of a life.

Tasha got her current job without ever meeting the client. Her instructions were sent via a secured communiqué with a large sum of credits. She was supposed to follow Deanna Troi and report her movements and who she interacted with.

It wasn't a bad job to follow a beautiful woman around and report everything she does. This was the first time she took this type of job. She usually preferred to do more physical jobs or those that required her to procure requested item, she felt she wasn't suited for this espionage stuff. Tasha wished she would have been able to catch an earlier transport to Earth to get an earlier start. She was able to gather some preliminary information for her job and it was enough to get started.

B'Elanna practically bounced out of her interview after she was told to report in five weeks to Starfleet Academy induction center to begin her training in the engineering corps. She wanted to tell everyone she saw as she walked back to her room. She promised her parents that she would tell them first. She couldn't wait for dinner with Deanna to tell her the news however she mostly she just wanted to see her again.

"Papa! Is mom there? I want to tell you both." A few seconds later the image of both her parents were on the view screen. "Mother, Papa, I got in. They want me to report in five weeks."

"Oh sweetheart, I am so proud of you. Did they tell what area you will be trained in?" Her mother asked with excitement in her voice and pride written on her face.

"You will both be happy to know that I will be trained in engineering. So when I fix things you won't have to worry," B'Elanna stated with a giggle.

"Little one, I am so happy and proud of you. Will you get to come home before you have to report? We want to throw you a party. I know all your friends will want to give you their well wishes," her father beamed with pride and love.

B'Elanna tried not to blush at the term of affection her father hadn't called her since she was a little girl. "I will arrange for a transport home within the few days or two. I want to see home before I start my training since I don't know when I will get time to see you both."

"Why can't you arrange to leave tonight? I bet there is a transport leaving." B'Elanna's mother seemed disappointed that there time would be so short together.

"Mom, I have a dinner date tonight. I don't want to leave until I see her." B'Elanna paused and looked down not sure if she wanted to say her thought out loud. "I think I could really like her. And this may be the last time I can see her." Thinking to herself, 'I at least want to see if she feels the same about me.' "I will be home in a few days. I promise."

Her father's face took on a stern look in which his eyebrows appeared to join together as one. It was what she usually saw when he was about to give her a lecture regarding her behavior. Then she saw her mother placed her hand on his arm and give him a gentle smile. He took a deep breath and tried to put a smile on his face before he spoke. "Please be careful. We will see you soon. I love you."

"Sweetheart, maybe your new friend would like to come to your party?" her mother asked as she looked from B'Elanna to her father.

"I will ask her. Thank you." The thank you was more for her father's benefit than her mother. "I will see you in a few days. I will call if there is a problem. I love you both so much."

"We love you too. See you in a few days sweetheart." The image on the screen faded as they waved goodbye.

B'Elanna sat on her bed and thought about what her life was going to be like. She knew that things were just beginning for her and that excited her.

She looked at the picture on her nightstand of her mother. "SoS, I hope you are proud of me. I love you." She got up and went to the bathroom to get ready for her dinner date.

Deanna figured that after B'Elanna got accepted into the Academy she would be off to start her new life and things would get back to normal for her. She could spend a day or two in nirvana with the beautiful young woman and they both would have dreams to remember their time together. 'Who am I fooling? I might get one okay night of sex and she would be off to her new life in Starfleet. And I will still be here doing…whatever.'

Sitting in the lobby reading old PADDS about how the Cardassians and Bajorans were once again in peace talks facilitated by Captain Picard was old news. They had been at peace for over a year since the Bajorans' humanitarian gesture to the Cardassian people after the Romulan Revoke. She cursed the hotel for having such outdated news. She at least wanted something interesting to read while she waited for B'Elanna to come down.

Deanna sensed that someone was watching her. She casually tossed the PADD on the table and stood to figure out who was watching her. She hated when her senses worked this way. There were times that she wished she was fully human and felt things like normal people or didn't feel things. But of course when she was with the ladies, it was a plus to be Betazoid, even half.

She walked toward the bar and spotted a blonde woman with short cropped hair apparently nursing a mug of ale trying to look casual. She felt that she was interested in her but not completely in a sexual way. Deanna could sense the blonde's emotions become stronger the closer she got to her. She looked at her chronometer on her wrist and saw that she had 10 minutes until she was to meet B'Elanna. She thought she would have some fun with this woman since she wanted to meet her so badly.

She walked up and stood directly behind her. As much as the woman was trying to remain calm her emotions betrayed her. Deanna leaned down so she was right next to her right ear. "If you wanted to meet me so badly why didn't you just introduce yourself?"

Tasha took a big gulp of air and slowly turned to face the person connected to the voice. 'Shit!' She inwardly cursed herself for allowing herself to be discovered so easily as she worked hard to maintain a confused pleasant expression on her face.

"Excuse me? Do we know each other? Tasha asked trying to appear perplexed by the woman's inquiry.

Deanna slid smoothly in the empty seat next to her and gave her a puckish grin. She got the feeling that this woman had been interested in her for awhile so she figured she would go with her instincts. "Well you have been following me, right?"

Tasha not realizing that Deanna was half Betazoid, continued to play dumb. "I don't know what you are talking about. I just came in here to get a drink."

"Really?" Deanna drawled giving her a flirtations look. She didn't feel any danger from the woman just curiosity and anxiety. She sensed that she felt nervous and scared after being discovered. "Well, can I buy you another ale then?"

"Uh, sure. Why not." Tasha thought this may be the easiest way to get information about her and not alert her to her interest in her.

Deanna ordered the woman another ale. "Do I get to know your name for my efforts?"


"Well Tasha, it's nice to meet you. So why have you been following me? I'm not that interesting."

"I don't know why you think I've been following you. I have never met you." Tasha's façade began to crumble.

Deanna smiled and licked her lips beginning to really enjoy herself. "Well ok you weren't following me but you have to admit that you are interested in me."

"You are very beautiful. If I was following you I would make sure that I found you." Tasha began flirting back with her. "I told you my name, what's your?"

"You mean you don't know. I find that hard to believe. You seem like such a clever girl." Deanna leaned in close where she was a breath away from Tasha's face. "My name is Deanna. But you already knew that."

Being so wrapped up in the cat and mouse game, neither woman noticed the young woman enter the bar. B'Elanna saw what she thought was Deanna kissing a blonde woman. She felt like she had been made a fool of by the older, more experienced woman. 'How could I think that a woman like that would be interested in someone like me?' B'Elanna said to herself as she stared dumbfounded at the two women sitting at the bar.

Deanna sensed a strong emotion that wasn't coming from Tasha. She turned and saw B'Elanna standing with a bewildered look on her face staring at her. She could only imagine what B'Elanna thought. 'If this woman ruined my chance with B'Elanna, I will play more than head games with her,' Deanna angrily thought.

Forgetting about the blonde, Deanna quickly went to B'Elanna hoping that she could explain something to make things alright again between the two of them.

She held her by her shoulders and turned her so back was to Tasha. She gave B'Elanna a quick hug as she gave Tasha a menacing stare over the young woman's shoulder. She pulled back so she could look at her face and smiled. "You got into the Academy, right?"

B'Elanna shook her head yes.

"I knew you would."

"Deanna, who is that woman? Is she a friend of yours?" B'Elanna asked as she looked over her shoulder at the woman.

"Actually, I don't know who she is. She said her name is Tasha. I think she has been following me but I don't know why. I was trying to find out when you walked in." Deanna was never one for hiding the truth and she really didn't want B'Elanna to feel that she would lie to her.

"You don't have to make up a story to protect my feelings. It's not as if you owe me anything. Listen we don't have to go out to dinner especially if you have plans with her. I need to pack and arrange a transport back home anyway. My parents are expecting me in two days." B'Elanna was doing her best not to cry.

Deanna took her hand and led her to one of the sofas in the main lobby of the hotel. She motioned for her to sit next to her. "B'Elanna, I am not making up anything. I have never met that woman before today. I can only imagine what that looked like to you but I swear I wasn't looking for a better date especially since I already have a date with a beautiful woman."

Her declaration earned a strained smile from B'Elanna. "Deanna you just met me yesterday. I know I'm not the type of woman you are usually with. It's okay. I had a good time in New Orleans. Thank you." B'Elanna began to stand to leave.

The swirling emotions were making Deanna feel panic and anger. She reached out to take her hand to stop her from leaving. "B'Elanna please don't go. Sit. I know you don't have any reason to believe me. All I can tell you is that I'm not lying. I don't know that woman and I don't want to know her. I want to spend time with you. Please don't let her spoil our time together."

B'Elanna retook her seat as Deanna tried to explain herself. She didn't want to believe that Deanna would be so insensitive. She reluctantly decided to give her another chance. At the very least, you would get a free dinner.

Deanna felt relief when she sensed the young woman's mood improving. Then a small pang of panic hit her as she recalled that she mentioned that she was leaving for home in two days. "You didn't say you were leaving because of what you saw?" she asked pointing towards the bar. "I want to spend time with you before you have to report."

This earned a genuine smile from the young woman. "No. When I spoke to my parents they said they wanted to throw a party for me to celebrate." B'Elanna looked down at Deanna's hand that was holding hers. "To be honest, I was grateful to have an excuse to leave if you were just toying with me. You're not…toying with me are you?"

Deanna took the hand she was holding and brought it to her lips and gave it a gentle kiss. "No I'm not toying with you. I had such a good time with you last night and I've been looking forward to taking you to dinner all day."


"Really. I would like to spend as much time with you as I can."

B'Elanna looked toward the entrance to the bar as the blonde woman was exiting. She walked pass them and gave them a quick look before leaving the hotel.

"Deanna, what about that woman? Why was she following you? Don't you want to know what she wanted with you?"

"I do want to know what she wanted but not tonight. Tonight my focus is about you. So where would you like to go for dinner?"

"I have only been to the hotel restaurant and the Cajun restaurant. I don't know of any other place," she said sheepishly.

"Okay. What places have you wanted to see before you go back home?"

B'Elanna's eyes got large at the prospect of seeing various places on Earth. She had always wanted to see the where her grandmother was born. She eventually wanted to someday visit the Klingon home world to pay respect to her mother.

"Are there good places to eat in Barcelona or Spain?" As soon as she said it she realized her mistake.

"Gods you are so cute," Deanna laughed. "Barcelona is in Spain. I'll tell you what…we'll have dinner in Spain and dessert in Paris. How's that sound?"

"It sounds like a dream," B'Elanna gushed, the past several minutes almost forgotten.

Deanna stood and held out her hand. "Shall we go? Your dream awaits."

B'Elanna stood and leaned in to give Deanna a gentle kiss on her cheek. "Thank you for being so wonderful."

Tasha stormed out of the hotel cursing and berating herself for made by the person she was hired to follow. Her client was going to be pissed unless she could find a way to savage this disaster. She sat on a bench that faced the entrance of the hotel to try to figure her next move.

"This is why I never take jobs like this. People are so unpredictable. I wonder who that woman was she was with? I guess my first step is to find out who she is." Tasha sat talking aloud as she ran her hand through her short hair. Then she saw the couple exit and walk in the direction of the nearby transporter station. She stood quickly and followed them. She stayed a minimum of 100 feet behind them so she wouldn't be detected. She was grateful that there were many people on the street so she could hide easier. She was not going to have the same thing happen again.

As she followed the couple she wondered why someone was so interested in this woman. Could it be the woman she was with? What was so special about either of them? Deanna Troi was no one of importance. Her father was an instructor at Starfleet Academy and her mother lived off world was all she was able to find out. Did she really need to know this information since all she was instructed to do was follow her and find out who she interacted with?

So far it was just this woman but she had no information on her. They looked as if they were into each other but the young woman looked to be out of her league hanging with Deanna. Actually both women looked out of Tasha's league. She needed to find the other's woman's name.

They got to the transporter station before she had a chance to see where they were going. Fortunately it was an unmanned station. She smiled thinking to herself that she was grateful for her computer hacking skills that she acquired from her past 'jobs'. She stepped inside and accessed a computer panel and began to manipulate the circuits to figure out the last coordinates and set it to transport herself there.

Deanna and B'Elanna stepped off the transporter pad to the balmy coastal environment of Barcelona, Spain.

"I hope you don't mind that I brought us to Barcelona instead of Buenos Aires. The beaches here are so much more beautiful than the ones in San Francisco. There's this restaurant on the beach that makes the best Paella." Seeing the young woman's confused expression she smiled realizing that B'Elanna didn't know what she was talking about. "Are you sure your family is from Spain?"

B'Elanna began to blush and lowered her eyes trying to hide her embarrassment. "Well that's what my papa told me. I never knew for sure. I only saw my grandmother once when I was four."

"Well I think you will love it. Come on its right over here." The couple walked the short distance to the outside restaurant. They were seated at a table that faced the ocean. B'Elanna had a full smile as she looked at the ocean and the all the sights up and down the beach. She laughed as she saw two seagulls fighting over a piece of bread stolen from a newly abandoned table.

"What do you think? It's a beautiful place. I've always loved the ocean." Deanna looked out at the ocean basking in the wonder of its magnificence. She looked over at her companion and said, "I think that's one of the reasons I love San Francisco."

"There are no oceans like this on Kessick IV. Thank you for bringing me here. Do you think we could walk on the beach after dinner?" B'Elanna was giddy as she looked around. Her earlier doubts about this woman had vanished thinking that she must really like her to bring her to this special place.

The waiter came over to take their order. Deanna ordered for both of them, two orders of paella and a pitcher of sangria. The waiter returned in a few minutes with the pitcher of Sangria and two tall glasses.

"I think you will like this better than the Andorian brandy." Deanna filled both glasses, handing one to B'Elanna. Raising her glass in a toast she said, "Here's to your acceptance into Starfleet Academy. I know you will make your family proud."

They clinked glasses and B'Elanna's eyes filled with tears. She reached out and took the older woman's hand and squeezed lightly. "Thank you."

They talked about her interview and her excitement about having to report for training. Neither woman noticed the figure hiding in the shadow of the tropical trees.

When their food arrived, B'Elanna was more intrigued then the evening before. "This is wonderful Deanna! I've never had anything this delightful before."

Deanna smiled brightly. "I take it you haven't travelled too much before now."

The young woman dipped her head to hide her eyes showing her embarrassment. "No. My papa wanted me to stay close to home. I guess he was afraid of something happening to me."

"So why is he okay with you joining Starfleet? That seems the opposite of trying to keep you close."

"I think it was my mother who talked him into it. Although she was comfortable staying in one place after she moved to Kessick IV and married my father, she always said I should see more of the universe. I think they are both happy for me but I guess I will always be daddy's little girl."

Deanna got a confused look on her face. "That seems strange for a Klingon to be satisfied to stay in one place. Your mother must love your father a great deal."

"I suppose she does. But the mother I am referring to is human, my biological mother was Klingon. She died when I was just a toddler. I only know of her from what my father told me." B'Elanna had a hint of sadness float cross her eyes as she looked out at the ocean that was quickly replaced by a twinkle. "I've always felt that she has always been with me. I think she is who gave me the courage to take the entrance exams and come all the way to Earth. I'm the only one of my friends who has ever joined Starfleet."

Taking hold of her hand, Deanna looked deeply into her eyes. This young woman was increasingly becoming more of a wonder to her. How could someone with so little life experience have so much more courage than she ever could?

"I'm sorry about your mother. I just assumed you meant your Klingon mother. You know a lot about your Klingon heritage, not being raised by her."

"Thanks. My parents felt it was essential for me to know about my heritage. My father wanted me to know about my mother. My father is a professor and my mother is a curator at the Kessick Museum of Galactic History. So they knew a lot about Klingons or knew who to get the information from. So in a lot of ways, I got a lesson about the galaxy without having to leave home."

"Have you ever met any of your Klingon relatives?" Deanna asked with a great deal of curiosity.

B'Elanna smiled as she replied, "I've always wanted to but they want nothing to do with me. My mother lost her honor with her house when she married my father." B'Elanna looked at the empty plate in front of her and that hint of sadness appeared again in her eyes before she quietly said, "…especially because he wasn't a warrior."

"Is that why you want to join Starfleet? To become a warrior for your mother."

She tried hard to find the courage to look at Deanna but her statement hit too close to her heart. Deanna realized that she may have over reached in her statement and felt the sadness radiating off of her. She understood how it felt trying to be accepted by a parent but not knowing how. At least B'Elanna knew she was loved by that parent.

"B'Elanna I didn't mean…"

"No. It's alright. I guess I never thought of it like that. I guess maybe…you're right. If I join Starfleet, maybe I can restore my mother's honor."

"Do you want to be a warrior? Or do you just want to know your mother's family?"

"I don't know."

"Hey, you don't have to figure it out tonight. Did you get enough to eat? Wanna go for a walk on the beach so we can make room for dessert?" Deanna asked changing the subject attempting to brighten the mood.

Taking a deep breath and grateful for the change of topic, B'Elanna responded, "I think a walk is a good idea. I'm stuffed."

Deanna left credits on the table to pay for their meal and rose. She put out her hand to help her up and gave her a smile. They held hands as they walked in silence close to the waves as the sun was making its final journey for the day.

Tasha managed to get close to the couple without them discovering her presence. She was able to overhear most of their conversation but was still confused why she was being paid to watch this woman. All she saw was two women on a date. Now that they were walking on the beach it was easier to follow them without being seen.

"B'Elanna, I didn't mean to upset you. I don't want to ruin this evening for you. I hope this won't mess up your…."

B'Elanna turned to face Deanna placing one slender finger on her lips to quiet her. "You have not ruined anything in fact you have given me one of the best days I have had." She leaned in and gave the older woman a soft kiss. "Deanna why do you still look so distressed? I said everything is okay."

"I'm sorry, I guess I was just thinking about you and your mother which made me think about my mother. I think it's great that you have a good relationship with both your mothers." B'Elanna wrapped her arms around Deanna's waist and looked deeply into her dark eyes as she spoke. "I've always wanted that type of relationship with my mother." She stopped speaking suddenly realizing how exposed she was beginning to feel. "You don't need to hear about this."

As Deanna tried to break free of the hug, B'Elanna intensified her grip which surprised the older woman as to her strength. "You let me ramble on. Let me return the favor. Talk to me. I want to know about you. Please?"

B'Elanna released her from the embrace and led them over to a small sand dune just behind where the ocean wave touched the sand. They sat with B'Elanna nestled between the legs of Deanna as she wrapped her arms around her midsection bringing her close to her body. The combination of their body heat warded off the chill of the ocean breeze. B'Elanna leaned back into the arms that held her.

"Tell me about you, Deanna."

With a deep sigh, she opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again. She looked to the horizon where the sky touched the ocean pulling strength from the supremacy of the image.

"My mother never really was there for me growing up. My parents divorced when I was just a little kid. She drove a wedge between me and my sister because I would never be like her."

"I'm sure you both had your own special qualities. You were kids and…"

"No you don't understand, I will never be like her. B'Elanna I'm half Betazoid. My sister is full Betazoid. We have different fathers. She is destined to take my mother's place in Betazed society."

The young woman turned to look at her face as she asked, "Does that mean you can read my thoughts?"

Laughing slightly she responded, "No I don't have telepathic abilities like my mother and sister. I'm just empathic around certain people with strong emotions. That's how I knew when you walked into the bar today and your emotions attracted me to you at the Galaxy Club yesterday."

"I guess we were destined to find each other." B'Elanna had a huge smile on her face as she turned back to face the water. Remembering her comments about her mother and sister she asked, "You can't have a role in Betazoid society because you are half Betazoid? What is your father?"

"My father is human. My mother doesn't feel I have a place in Betazed society. My sister has been raised to assume a role in the aristocracy. Which is fine with me because I don't want to always have to remember what fork to use or not being able to enjoy a good ale or four." Deanna laughed at her joke and then became quiet. "The worst part is that I lost my relationship with my sister."

At that last comment, B'Elanna turned again so she could face Deanna and placed her hand on her cheek. "Your mother can't stop you from having a relationship with your sister, can she? Why don't you just make contact with your sister?"

The older woman gave her a smile reflecting on her enthusiasm that first attracted her. She was seeing it as a simple solution. She felt herself becoming jealous of her relationship with her parent's. In a selfish way she was happy that B'Elanna didn't have any siblings because she knew her relationship with them would be as ideal as it was with her parents.

"It's not that simple. It's been too many years. Do you mind if we don't talk about this anymore?"

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to pry; I just wanted to know more about you. I'm sorry about your mother and sister. Do you want to go?"

Deanna pulled her back into her embrace and hugged her firmly against her body. "Only if you want to. I would rather just sit here with you watching the ocean for awhile. Okay?"

"Okay," B'Elanna cooed as she snuggled deeper into her arms.

Both women sat there for a long while in companionable silence only making small talk about the view every so often.

Deanna finally broke the silence as she leaned forward to speak into B'Elanna's ear, "I promised you dessert in Paris. Ready to go? We can eat a chocolate éclair under the Eifel Tower."

"Mmm, that sounds wonderful," as B'Elanna hugged the arms that embraced her.

Both women stood and brushed the sand off their clothes and walked back to the transporter station with their shadow close behind them.

As the couple walked back to B'Elanna's hotel from their evening in Europe, B'Elanna was talking non-stop about everything they saw and did in Spain and France. Deanna had given up trying to interject or comment and just enjoyed the young woman's enthusiasm and excitement.

Nearing the entrance to the hotel, Deanna felt a sense of someone watching her. She recognized the emotions. Tasha. She silently cursed herself for not realizing that she was probably following them all evening but she was so wrapped up in B'Elanna she wasn't focused on anything else.

Not wanting to upset B'Elanna and trying to get a word in, she stopped their forward progression and turned so they were facing each other; Deanna gave her a passionate kiss. Surprised momentarily by the kiss B'Elanna returned it with the same level of enthusiasm that she had been displaying since their arrival back in San Francisco.

Trying to keep her mind focused on the woman following them instead of the urge her body was making to keep the woman in her arms her only focus, she reluctantly broke the contact with the full lips that whimpered at the loss of the contact.

"Hey. Sweetheart," Deanna softly whispered in B'Elanna's ear. "I want to continue this but I have to take care of something first. Would you meet me in the bar and I will join you shortly," she said in a sultry voice. She pulled her back to her and gave her a quick kiss before leaving and stating with a wink, "Order me an Andorian Brandy."

She watched B'Elanna over her shoulder walk back into hotel in a daze, smiling and pleased as she sensed the emotional impact she had on the young woman. She gave herself a few moments to bask in the loving emotions that flowed from her beautiful companion before turning her attention to the immediate task at hand.

She walked to an area where there weren't too many people so she could sense the woman better. She saw her before she sensed her. Tasha had walked behind a large sign that was on the side of the hotel.

Tasha followed the couple from the transporter station and trying not to have a repeat of earlier, she figured she would wait before entering the hotel. She thought that would give her more time to find out the identity of Deanna's companion and then wait until she left.

The blonde was so busy thinking about her next move that she didn't observe the figure approaching her. The emotions coming from the blonde were assaulting Deanna almost like physical blows. Before Tasha had an opportunity to react, the half Betazoid had her pinned to the sign and was inches from her face with a menacing expression on her face.

"Why have you been following me?"

"I…I haven't been following you," Tasha stammered.

"Then why have you been following my friend?" Deanna growled maintaining her strong grip.

"I don't know you or your friend," she said trying to cover her fear with bravado she didn't feel. She cursed herself for accepting this job.

"Who paid you to follow me? You better not lie to me."

"No one hire…" Her speech and air were cut off by an arm applying pressure to her windpipe.

"I said don't lie to me!" Deanna said through gritted teeth.

Tasha attempted to swallow before speaking again. She quickly came to the decision that the credits she was paid was not worth the effort or her life.

"I don't know the name of the person who hired me." She was able to take a deep breath as the pressure of the arm was eased. "I was contacted over a secured comm and asked to take the job of following you and report who you were in contact with. I was just given a contact number to report to."

"How long have you been following me?" Deanna was doing her best to keep her angry in check.

"I just started a couple of days ago. From what I saw, I don't understand why anyone would be interested in you anyway. You piss off a lover or steal a girl from somebody." Tasha responded regaining her confidence.

"My life is no one's concern especially you. What's the contact number you were given?" Tasha hesitated to respond and Deanna increased the pressure on her throat. "What's the number? I won't ask you again."

"It's in my pocket. The communicator is in my front pants pocket." Tasha grasped out the information through ragged breaths. Still keeping her arm against her throat, Deanna reached in the pocket to retrieve the communicator.

She released her hold on the woman and examined the communicator closer almost hoping it would tell her what she wanted to know. She pulled up the information stored in the memory. Looking at the woman and then back at the device, Deanna couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"Was the person you talked to a man or a woman?"

"It was a woman I think." Tasha looked at her strangely wondering why that made a difference as she massaged her throat.

Deanna walked away looking at the information on the communicator as she flatly stated, "Don't leave the planet, I may want to talk to you again." She didn't turn to see if she responded at all to her demand but sensed the woman's curiosity and had a feeling that she would stick around even though she had no idea of how to contact her.

She called the person that Tasha had called on the communicator. Deanna almost dropped the device when she heard the voice who responded. She immediately terminated the signal and placed the device in her pocket. She didn't want to believe who she heard on the communicator. Maybe it wasn't that person; after all it had been years since she remembered hearing that voice. Deanna had lost track of where she was walking and was surprised that she had entered the lobby of the hotel.

"B'Elanna!" She rushed to the bar hoping that she was still there. Her heart sank when she didn't see her in the bar. She assumed that she got tired of waiting and left. She thought to herself, 'I don't blame her. I would leave me too.'

All of a sudden, arms wrapped around her waist. "There you are. I was just about to go look for you. Where did you go?"

Deanna turned around in the young woman's embrace and gave her a kiss on her forehead. "I'm sorry I took so long."

"What were you doing? I hope everything is alright,"B'Elanna said cheerily.

"B'Elanna can we go to your room…to talk?"

B'Elanna became concerned about her friend. She placed her hand on her cheek and asked, "What's wrong? Of course we can go to my room." She took her hand and led her to the lifts.

They rode in silence as B'Elanna kept her eyes fixed on Deanna as Deanna stared at the wall of the lift. Their silence continued as they walked the few yards to the room.

Once in the room Deanna walked directly to the replicator and ordered a strong alcoholic drink and gulped it down and then ordered another one. B'Elanna just stared at her becoming very concerned. They had just met and things were becoming complicated. But there was something about her that she couldn't resist.

"Deanna, you wanted to talk. Please come sit and talk to me," the young woman requested as she sat on the couch by the window.

Deanna went and sat down heavily on the couch next to her. She was leaning forward with her head in her hands for a few moments trying to center herself before speaking. She leaned her head back against the couch and sighed deeply.

"That woman from earlier today was following us…me."

"Oh no! How do you know?"

"I saw her just as we were about to come into the hotel. That's why I had you come inside and wait for me so I could confront her."

"She could have been dangerous. I could have helped you."

"No I didn't want you involved in case something bad happened. You are just starting your life," Deanna said softly taking the young woman's hand.

B'Elanna looked at her intently before asking her next question. "What did she want? What did she say to you?"

"She said she was hired by a woman to follow me and report who I interacted with. Oh Gods!"


"I'm sorry B'Elanna, I didn't find out if she knew who you were," Deanna said visibly upset.

"What good would that information be to anyone? I'm not even a cadet. I don't know anything or anyone important," she said trying to reassure Deanna.

"I guess I don't want your career to end before it starts." Deanna gave her a weak smile. "I think the good thing is she just started following me. I did get her communicator with her contact."

"That great! Now you can find out who hired her to follow you," B'Elanna said optimistically.

"Yeah that's great." Her response was sarcastic as Deanna leaned forward again placing her head in her hands. "I called the contact…" She stopped speaking in order to regain her composure. "I think the person was my mother. How could she? She has never been interested in my life, why now? I'm no threat to her life. You are the first person I've told in a long time that I'm half Betazoid. I don't flaunt my heritage. It hasn't been a source of happiness for me. My mother could barely be around me and I lost the possibility of having a relationship with my sister because I was a half breed," Deanna almost shouted angrily.

B'Elanna rubbed her back gently doing her best to soothe the woman. She didn't feel it was right to talk about how she was able to find peace with her mixed heritage but she wanted to find something to say that could comfort her but didn't know what she needed to here at this moment. "Did you talk to her?"

She snorted, "I was a coward and terminated the connection when I heard her voice."

"Maybe she had contacted your mother in an attempt to get information about you."

She thought about it a moment before saying, "I wish. That was the only contact on the device."

"Maybe you should talk to your mother and ask her. This may be her way of trying to check on you after all this time. Are you sure it was your mother, could it have been your sister or someone else in the Betazed consul."

Deanna had never contemplated that idea before. She was just so focused on how someone from Betazed would be investigating her especially her family.

"I have come to terms with not having them in my life. I just want to be left to do my own thing…whatever that is." She said her last statement in almost a whisper.

"What do you want to do Deanna? What can I do to help you?"

Looking at the young woman, she felt guilty for turning what should have been a happy time in her life into something that was all about her. She liked B'Elanna a lot and wanted to spend this time showing her a good time before she had to report to the academy. Now she was spending her time trying to make her feel better instead of enjoying herself and she would be going home soon and Deanna was becoming sad that she wouldn't see her again.

"What I want to do is spend what time we have left being together. I'm sorry, I wanted to show you a good time not have you play junior counselor trying to help me with my problems. You know if the engineering thing doesn't work out for you may want to think about being a counselor. You're a good listener and you ask a lot of questions." Deanna attempted to give her best good natured smile.

The two women looked intently at each other for a long while. B'Elanna reached up and cupped Deanna's cheek and gave her a soft smile. "I'm sorry you are so sad. I want you to know that you haven't ruined anything for me. I was able to see places with the most beautiful woman in the galaxy. You have made my time here so special. How can I ever thank you," she said seductively.

B'Elanna then leaned in and gave her a kiss. Deanna returned the kiss at first with tenderness then increasing with fervor as her arousal intensified. As the passion of the two amplified, hands began to roam exploring each other's body. When they had to break for air, their foreheads lightly met and they looked into each other's eyes.

"I want you," B'Elanna said with a low growl that surprised Deanna.

"Why? You could do so much better than me," Deanna responded softly. Deanna tried to keep her irritation in check because she didn't feel B'Elanna was putting a lot of importance to what was happening to her with her mother. And she was feeling sorry for herself.

"Mood killer." B'Elanna playfully said as she kissed her on her nose. "Why would say something like that? I think you are perfect. And I still want you." Deanna's objections were silenced and her mood was drastically improved by the lips that covered hers in another passionate kiss. This time Deanna couldn't help but get washed away with the sexual excitement coming from the young woman. B'Elanna brought Deanna to her feet not breaking the contact of the kiss and gently guided them both to the bedroom. As they approached the bed each began to disrobe the other until their forward progression was halted by the edge of the bed. The two fell on the bed still half clothed as they still continued to explore each other while removing the remaining clothes. Their exploration continued with not just their hands but with their mouths, tongues and teeth. They brought each other to heights that felt as if they were floating among the stars.

After several hours of bliss Deanna rolled on her back spent but sated sporting a satisfied grin. She looked down at the young woman sprawled half across her body using her breast as a pillow. She thought that she was sleep but Deanna was able to make out the words that were vibrated across her left nipple causing it to perk up. "Like I said, perfect."

The two woman lay tangled up with each other softly stroking whatever flesh that was closes to their fingertips. With each touch the level of their arousal increased until they began another round of lovemaking.

The sun peeked through the curtain of the bedroom finding the couple spooned in each other's arms fast asleep.

Deanna awakened first but did not have the heart to disturb the young woman in her arms. Her thoughts began to race back to the previous night. She wished she could have just settled her mind on the beautiful lovemaking she and B'Elanna just recently engaged in but unfortunately her thoughts took her back to the blonde woman that had been following them and the voice on the communicator. At this moment she was grateful that she was the only Betazoid in the room since her emotions and thoughts were beginning to overwhelm even her.

'B'Elanna had suggested that I contact my mother. What would I say to her? It's been over 10 years that I have had a conversation that lasted more than a few minutes. What could cause her to be so concerned about my life? She has known for years that my sexual interest has been women. I've never held a job of any importance. How could I possibly be a threat?' She looked down at the woman lying next to her and smiled. She didn't want to waste what little time she had left with B'Elanna dealing with this mess. 'Maybe I will talk to dad and see what he has to say. I can't believe I'm thinking of bringing him into this. For some crazy reason he still loves her.'

B'Elanna began to stir. She turned and reached up to place a soft kiss on Deanna's cheek as she smiled. "Good morning. How did you sleep?"

"Great, especially since I slept with a beautiful woman in my arms." This statement caused the young woman to blush. She reached up and graced her with another kiss this time on her lips. The kiss threatened to reignite their passion but Deanna's bladder overrode any possibility of anything occurring. She gave the young woman a quick peck before she jumped out of bed to head for the bathroom wrapped in a sheet from the bed.

"Do you want to get some breakfast? We can order room service. I've always wanted to do that," B'Elanna yelled at the bedroom door.

"Yes, that would be wonderful. Surprise me," she yelled from the bathroom. Deanna looked at herself in the mirror trying to come to some resolution about what to do. There was too much going on right now to even think about work. She knew she could talk her way out of going to work especially since she worked with her aunt and uncle in their curio store.

When she exited the bathroom B'Elanna was out of bed with her robe on and passed her going to the bathroom herself. "They said breakfast should be here in 10 minutes," she said as she passed her.

Deanna quickly put her clothes on and waited at the table. Waited for B'Elanna to come out of the bathroom, waited for the food to arrive and waited for a solution to her problem.

As she exited the bathroom, Deanna breath caught in her throat. 'She is so beautiful. I wish this was my life, waking up with her every morning.'

"What?" B'Elanna questioned as she saw the look on her lover's face.

"You are so beautiful. I'm so glad I met you."

B'Elanna again turned a crimson red. She went and sat in the woman's lap and gave her a passionate kiss which was returned with an equal level of passion. Before they began a repeat of the night before, the door chime rang. "Saved by the bell," joked the younger woman as she got up to open the door.

Breakfast took longer than it should have primarily because both women felt the need to feed each other and kiss away any food that happen to drop on the body of the other. B'Elanna had purposely spilled juice on Deanna's shirt just so she would have to remove it which made licking the spilled food off her breast that much more pleasurably. When both women were sated and done eating, they sat looking into each other's eyes caressing each other's hand not needing to say anything to each other with words.

Deanna could feel both love and sadness coming from the other woman. She couldn't bring herself to ask her what was wrong because she knew what was wrong. She was feeling the same way. B'Elanna was to leave in 24 hours to go home and then she was to report to the academy to start her new life. 'My life will be…empty. I have to find out what my mother wants with me. I haven't felt this way about a lover…ever. And now she is going to leave and I have to deal with my mother. Damn her!'

"Hey, where did you go?" B'Elanna softly asked.

Brought out of her reverie, she brought the young woman's hand to her lips and gave it a light kiss. "Sorry I was just thinking."

"Thinking about what?" She held tightly to her hand.

"I'm so glad we met. I know it's silly since we only just met but I'm going to miss you when you leave."

"No it's not silly. I'm going to miss you as well. I am so happy that you chose to talk to me at the Galaxy Club. You are so special even if you don't realize it yourself."

This statement caused Deanna to both smile lightly and blush fully. B'Elanna saw the older woman shift uncomfortably in her seat. She wondered how a woman that projected so much self confidence outwardly could be so lost internally. "Are you going to call your mother and find out what's going on?" B'Elanna asked changing the direction of the conversation. She hoped that maybe if Deanna had something to focus on she wouldn't feel so sad.

The question took her by surprise. What was she planning to do? She thought about talking to her father but talk about what, her mother. "I guess I better if I'm ever going to have any peace or get my life back," Deanna said looking at her hands. Her eyes shot up and looked intensely into B'Elanna's. "When are you leaving to go home?"

"I need to arrange transportation today so I can leave tomorrow. I can stay an extra day if you want," B'Elanna said softly becoming overcome by the sadness of the woman who reached out to hold her hand.

"No I don't want you to stay. I mean I do but your parents are expecting you home for your celebration. I just wanted to know how much time I have with you." Deanna leaned in and gave her a soft kiss.

"I can be with you when you call your mother if you want," B'Elanna offered.

She thought about it for a long moment. She stood up shaking her head as she walked toward the window. "I need to do this on my own." She turned and faced the woman sitting at the table looking at her with kind eyes. "Thank you. But I have to do this on my own."

"I understand," B'Elanna softly replied keeping eyes fixed on the woman staring at her.

"Can I show you the Golden Gate Bridge?" Deanna suddenly asked surprising B'Elanna.

"I have seen it silly," she responded with a laugh.

"I mean show it to you my way. We can see it this afternoon and then you can make arrangements to get your transport home."

This seemed so important to Deanna that B'Elanna couldn't refuse her so she just shook her head yes. She realized that there time together was ending. She wanted to invite her to come home with her, invite her to the party but because of what was happening didn't feel it fair or right to ask her at this moment. Maybe she could send her a message to come once she has completed what she needed to do.

"Alright then. Why don't you get ready and I will be back to pick you up." Deanna walked over to her and kissed her passionately and walked quickly out the door before she could respond.

Deanna walked briskly down the street toward her father's apartment. Today was Saturday and she knew her father would be home. She stood outside of his complex staring at his apartment trying to find the words to talk to him. Her mind went back to the beautiful woman she left in her hotel room. She would have wanted to try with her, try to develop something more meaningful then the series of one night stands that had been the core of her relationships. Something about B'Elanna was special. She had called her special but she really didn't know her. Now her mother had sent people to spy on her. She had asked that woman, Tasha, to not leave town but why. She really had no plans to talk to her again. The man upstairs is who she needed to talk to.

As she rode the lift to her father's apartment, she debated whether she should use her keycard or ring the bell. She attempted to do deep breathing to quell her anger and anxiety. She decided to ring the door chime thinking that would give her more time to gather her thoughts.

"Deanna! What brings you here this morning?" her father happily asked surprised to see his daughter this early on a Saturday morning.

"Daddy, I need to talk to you, please. It's important."

Ian opened the door so his daughter could enter. He had not seen this look in his daughter's eyes in many years. Not since the last time she had a visit with her mother. They went and sat at his kitchen table where he was having his morning coffee reading through a stack of PADDs.

"Honey, what's the matter? What's wrong?" he asked with concern.

Deanna took a deep breath and recalled the past two days about the woman following her and confronting her. She discovered that she was hired to follow her and report who she talks to. She told her father that she took the communicator and called the contact that was programmed into it.

"Who did you speak to?" her father asked with curiosity.

"It was…I think it was mother," Deanna stuttered. "Once I heard her voice I closed the connection. I couldn't speak to her." She was now trying to hold back the angry tears that were threatening to fall. She hated appearing weak in front of her father.

She looked at her father with a pained expression on her face. "Daddy, why would my mother do something like this? I have done nothing to harm her position in the Betazed Counsel or my sister's for that matter," Deanna asked angrily.

After listening to his daughter's tale all he could do was hold her hand as a way of trying to comfort her.

"I don't know why your mother would be so interested in your life after all this time. Are you sure it was her?"

"Who else could it be?" she said as she put her head in her hands.

"How can I help you? What would you like me to do?"

She looked up at her father reminding him of when she was a little girl and would come to him for help. "Can you use your connections to find out what she wants?"

Already planning to contact his ex-wife after listening to his daughter, he agreed to help her.

"Deanna, you and your mother have had a conflicted relationship and you would normally not care about anything she would do. Why now?"

"I met someone. Someone I think I could care a lot about. Her name is B'Elanna and she just got accepted into the Academy. You're right, I wouldn't care but she has her whole life ahead of her and I don't want anything to ruin it for her."

Ian smiled at his daughter, happy that she had met someone that was more than her standard serial relationships. He was concerned that his daughter would never settle down. He was growing frustrated with their on-going arguments about the direction of her life. He was grateful that her aunt and uncle gave her a job in their store but he still worried about her. This was the first time in a long time that she had actually come to him for help other then credits to help her stay in her apartment.

"What?" Deanna said noticing the smile on his face.

"Is this woman special to you then?"

"Yeah. I hope so. I want her to be but…"

"But what?"

"She joining Starfleet and will probably be stationed on a starship far from here, from me," she answered sadly.

"That still doesn't mean you can't pursue this relationship if you truly want it." He reached out and gently stroked her cheek and gave her a loving smile. "Why don't we deal with one issue at a time? Okay. I will contact your mother and see what I can find out. Why don't you come by this evening for dinner and I will tell you what I was able to find out. Ask your friend for dinner too."

"Thanks daddy. I will ask her if she wants to come with me. She has to arrange a transport to Kessick IV for tomorrow. But I will see you this evening. I have to go. I told her I would show her the Golden Gate Bridge."

Ian smiled at this because he knew how she was going to show her the bridge. It had become her favorite way ever since her cousins showed her.

"I will see you at 1800 hours. Have fun with your friend and be careful."

Deanna rolled her eyes at her father's use of military time. "Aye aye sir," she said teasing him. She walked over and kissed him on the cheek before she left to meet up with B'Elanna.

Deanna went by her apartment to change clothes and take a quick sonic shower before she went to pick up Deanna. She was feeling better now that her father was helping her with her mother issue so she could concentrate on showing B'Elanna one of favorite places in San Francisco.

Making her way to B'Elanna's hotel, she found herself humming to herself and feeling happier than she had in a long time. She fought those errant thoughts that floated into her consciousness of tomorrow when B'Elanna gets on the transport to go home where she may never see her again unless she went to a Starfleet function and happen to get a glimpse of her.

Standing outside of the hotel, B'Elanna was pacing back and forth. She looked like she trying to figure out how to say something.

As Deanna got close to the hotel entrance she got an overwhelming sense of someone conflicted. She was brought up short when she realized it was B'Elanna. Panic washed over her thinking that she had regrets about getting involved with her, after all chaos had been the theme of their short relationship.

"Deanna! I thought I would wait outside for you. Will we be able to walk to the Golden Gate Bridge? I thought we could talk."

Deanna felt her stomach tighten as she heard the request to walk and talk. She was only able to shake her head yes.

B'Elanna took her hand and brought it to her lips to give it a kiss. "Lead the way my darling," she said with joyfulness in her voice.

She didn't feel the conflicted emotions that she sensed when she first saw her. Now she only felt happiness from the young woman. Deanna kept looking at B'Elanna trying to figure out why she was feeling so conflicted moments ago.

"B'Elanna, is there anything wrong? I sensed that you were feeling conflicted when I approached you. Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?" Deanna asked worriedly.

The young woman gave her a funny look. "Is this what it's like being with a Betazoid? I don't know if I can get use to someone who can tell how I'm feeling all the time."

"So it's okay you being with me?" she asked surprised.

"Uh…wasn't that me with you last night? Of course it's okay. It's more than okay." She stopped walking and turned so that they were facing each other and gave her a searing kiss to prove her point. "Satisfied?"

Breathlessly Deanna said, "Yes. But maybe I need another kiss to be sure." They spent the next several minutes proving that they were okay with each other.

When they had to break for air, they stood in each other's arms with their foreheads resting together. "Deanna, my transport leaves tomorrow morning. I tried to get one that left later."

"Is that what you didn't want to tell me?" she said softly.

"Yeah. I wanted to spend as much time with you as I can." B'Elanna wanted to ask if they could spend the night together but was too reticent to ask. She knew she couldn't leave without another night with her. She figured that is when she would ask her to come to the party her family was planning for her.

"Are you ready to see the Golden Gate Bridge? We can walk to the transporter that will take us to South San Francisco which is the south end of the bridge." B'Elanna shook her head yes and they continued walking toward the Bridge.

"Are we going to walk across the whole bridge?"

"Only part of it. We won't have time to walk the 1.7 miles across and back again. You're going to have to wait until we get there. I told you I was going to show you the bridge my way. I promise I won't let anything happen to you. Trust me?" Deanna squeezed her hand and then brought it to her lips for a kiss.

"Yeah I trust you. If what you have shown me so far is any indication of your surprises then I'm game." She squeezed her hand back and wrapped her arm around Deanna's as they walked to a transporter station.

"I talked to my dad this morning. He said he would help me figure out what's going on with my mother." Deanna quietly stated looking at the ground.

"That's great Deanna. Maybe this will help you re-establish a relationship with your mother and sister," she replied enthusiastically.

"Are you always this positive? I wish I could be more like you. I don't know what will happen after my dad talks to her. I'm not getting my hopes up for anything." As an afterthought she added, "My dad invited you to dinner tonight."

"That's so great. What time? We should probably get a move on so we can be on time for dinner."

Deanna was surprised by how excited she was about the invite for dinner. "You are going to do so well in Starfleet. You sound like my father. He's always on time for everything and expects me to be on time as well. He's an instructor at Starfleet Academy."

"Is he a hard instructor? I hope he won't think I want any favors from him because I'm friends with his daughter."

Deanna laughed. "That's why I didn't tell you when we met because I didn't want you to be with me because he was an instructor at the Academy. It's good to know that we aren't going to use each other for personal gain." They both laughed.

The couple walked to Fisherman's Warf and had a quick lunch before catching a ground transport to the bridge. Deanna wanted her to see as much of the city as possible in the time they had.

When they reached the beginning of the bridge, Deanna went over to a storage locker and entered the code to gain entry. The locker stood about 3 feet high and 6 feet in length. She ducked inside the locker making a lot of noise as it sounded like she was trying to untangle pieces of metal.

"Do you need any help?" B'Elanna shouted into the entrance.

"No. Stay back. I almost got it. Ugghh! Here we go." Deanna came out of the locker with what looked like two twentieth century bicycles to B'Elanna. She smirked seeing the expression on the young woman's face. "There're in pretty good shape."

"Do you expect me to ride that thing? Across the bridge? Are you crazy?" B'Elanna said skeptically.

"Don't worry. Me and my cousins ride across the bridge like this all the time." She turned around to attend to the bikes as she said under her breath, "…when we were kids."

"You really don't need to impress me. I'm impressed," B'Elanna anxiously joked.

Deanna walked over to her and gave her a tight hug and kissed her forehead. "If you don't want to do this, you don't have to. I just want you to have a view of the city, my city in a way you may never see it again even if you were in a shuttle or starship. We are only going to ride to the first tower. Okay?" she said trying to reassure her.

Looking into her brown eyes she saw love and knew that this woman would let no harm come to her. "Okay. After all I didn't join Starfleet to play it safe. Let's go see your city." B'Elanna leaned in and gave her a kiss.

Deanna took her hand and led her over to the bikes and showed her how to ride and stop. They took a few spins around the park that was at the foot of the bridge. B'Elanna wobbled on the bike at first until she was able to gain her balance. She was pleased with herself considering this was her first time riding a bicycle like this. Deanna had to work hard to gain her bearings so not to look incompetent. After they were both comfortable with their riding abilities they set out for their ride across the bridge.

The couple was riding side by side. B'Elanna was whipping her head so rapidly trying to take in all the sights and vistas that Deanna was afraid that she would her balance. The wind was wafting their hair around their heads. Once they reached the section of the bridge that was directly over the water she yelled to Deanna, "How high are we above the water?"

"We are about 220 feet up. Right up there at that tower that's where we are going," Deanna yelled back at B'Elanna over the wind.

They placed their bikes against the side wall of the tower. Deanna pointed to the front entrance of the tower. As they walked to the door they were met by a short balding man in his late fifties in dirty overalls with a pot belly. He smiled wide mouthed when he saw Deanna, "Deanna, it's so good to see you."

"It's good to see you too Bertrod. How are the wife and kids?" Deanna happily replied as she slapped him on the shoulder.

"My wife wants me to retire and come down off this bridge. Jonah is married and lives on Mars. Sarah is a Lieutenant on the Starship Excelsior. What have you been up to?" he said as he eyed B'Elanna with a wry grin.

She returned his look with a smirk. "This is my friend B'Elanna. This is her first time in San Francisco and I wanted to show her the city. So can you help us out? For old time's sake."

He looked at both women and laughed shaking his very round belly. "Sure come on." Bertrod led them inside the tower to a lift that was not enclosed but surrounded by a metal cage about four feet high. B'Elanna looked around the small room and the lift with trepidation. She looked at Bertrod and then to Deanna. She figured since she trusted this man, she would trust her. He ushered both women into the lift and closed the metal door behind him.

Deanna took B'Elanna's hand as the lift started to rise. Deanna didn't remember the ride being so rocky the last time she was here but thought it best not to let her friend know how she is feeling since she could sense the small waves of fear coming from her.

"You're gonna love this. I promise. Trust me?" she attempted to reassure her and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

B'Elanna looked into her brown eyes and gave her a shaky smile. Deanna put her arm around her waist and pulled her close to her and gave her another kiss. "We are almost there"

Ninety seconds later the lift came to a stop. Bertrod unlatched the gate and waited until the two women exited the lift before closing the gate. Walking over to a metal door he released the locking mechanism and the door rolled back exposing a wide vast blanket of blue. He stepped out on a balcony of metal inviting them to join him with a wave of his hand. Deanna hurried out to the balcony but was cut short by B'Elanna whose feet appeared to be cemented to the floor.

"Don't look down. It's okay B'Elanna. I won't let anything happen to you," she gently coaxed as she wrapped her arms around her and led her to the door. "Just look in front of you until you get use to being here. I promise I will take care of you," she whispered in her ear.

As they walked out onto the balcony, Bertrod looked over his shoulder at the scared woman and chuckled quietly to himself, 'I was never that smooth when I was dating.'

As B'Elanna walked close to the balcony railing, her eyes grew wide as she took in the view. She sucked in a large gulp of air as she exclaimed, Oh my!" Deanna smiled at her reaction.

"I told you," Deanna quietly said in her ear.

"You can see everything from here. It's so beautiful. Thank you for showing me your city. Oh no, I didn't bring a halocamera."

Betrod stepped over to them miraculously producing a halocamera. Deanna had a sheepish grin as B'Elanna looked at her with wonder. "Okay ladies get close together and I will take an image of the two of you with the city behind you. Lovely. Okay, one more."

Just as he was about ready to take the second picture, Deanna pulled B'Elanna close to her and placed a passionate kiss on her surprised but pleased lips. B'Elanna turned into Deanna's embrace and intensified the kiss forgetting her previous apprehension to the height they were standing. When they ended the kiss, Deanna didn't release her from her arms but placed her forehead on the ridged forehead of her companion. Neither noticed that Bertrod had walked to the other side of the balcony.

"I wanted you to have something special to remember your time here. And hopefully remember me," Deanna quietly said.

B'Elanna attacked the lips of her friend with passion and love once more. When the kiss ended, she breathlessly said, "I could never forget you. I will always see these last three days and you in my dreams."

"I wish you didn't have to go home so soon," Deanna sadly stated.

Again a pang of quilt crept into B'Elanna's heart. She wanted to tell her right then that she was invited to attend her going away party but she if she told her that Deanna wouldn't deal with the issues regarding her mother.

"We still have tonight," she softly whispered in her ear. "But first we have to meet your father for dinner."

"Are you ready to leave?"

"Yeah. Do we have time to freshen up before we meet you father?" she asked.

"We could stop by my place. I live close to him." Seeing the concern in her eyes she answered her question. "You could change into my clothes and I promise we will only freshen up…for now," she said with a wicked grin.

The couple made their way back to the bike locker and then to the land transport. As they rode the transport they sat close to each other and cuddled as Deanna pointed out the sights of the city through the windows.

Deanna's apartment was modestly decorated. There was artwork from various parts of the galaxy from her travels with her father. You could tell she didn't spend much time here. It didn't have a lived in feel to it. It was more of a way station.

B'Elanna looked around her apartment and had to ask, "Where do you spend most of your time? Because it doesn't appear you spend it here."

Deanna was surprised by the question. "Why would you say that?"

"There is not anything here that says you in here. It looks like you moved into the show model so you wouldn't have to decorate. Probably works well with the ladies though," she teased.

"I got you here didn't I?" Deanna tossed her some clothes to change into. "The sonic shower is just through there next to the bedroom."

"Wow, I will get to see the inner sanctum. I feel honored," B'Elanna teased as she walked pass her giving her a quick peck on the lips. "You could join me if you like," she tossed the comment seductively as she disappeared in the bathroom.

Deanna stood outside the room staring at the door at war with herself. 'Why would she say something like that if she didn't want me to join her, but if I join her we will definitely be late for dinner. She is in there right now… No I have to be strong. We will have this evening but she is in there right now…No! Well maybe I could…"

As she was engaged in the debate with herself, B'Elanna exited the room wearing Deanna's clothes, black slacks with a white cotton sleeveless shirt. "Shower's free." She went and plopped down on the couch to wait for her companion.

Deanna stood there for a few long moments having lost the ability to form coherent words. She shook her head and awkwardly walked to the bathroom. B'Elanna had a satisfied, wicked grin pleased with her power to cause the older woman to become so off balanced.

Deanna exited the bathroom 15 minutes later after taking a cold shower for over 10 minutes. "Ready."

"I guess we better get going then. I can't wait to meet your father," B'Elanna happily responded.

The couple left the apartment arm in arm.

Standing in front of her father's door, she just looked at the door chime. She knew her father would have information for her about her mother's role in hiring someone to follow her. Deanna wanted to know what he found out but now that she was so close to finding out she was afraid.

B'Elanna lightly touched her arm which brought her out of her rumination. "Are you going to press the button?"


Her father answered the door a few moments after she tapped the chime. He was a handsome man with brown hair with light gray highlights. He stood about 6 feet. He had the same kind brown eyes as his daughter.

"Deanna, right on time. Who's your friend?" he asked with a sparkle in his eyes.

"Dad this is my friend B'Elanna Torres. She just got accepted into Starfleet Academy. B'Elanna this is my father, Lt Commander Ian Troi."

"It's nice to meet you sir. Thank you for inviting me to dinner," B'Elanna politely said.

"It's nice to meet you as well B'Elanna. Maybe I will have the pleasure of having you in one my classes. I'm sure my daughter told you that I'm an instructor at the Academy. Come in and sit down ladies while I get dinner on the table."

"Can I help you sir?" B'Elanna offered.

"No thank you. You are a guest. My daughter can assist me. Make yourself comfortable. It won't be too long," he said with a smile and a wink at his daughter.

Ian took his daughter by the arm and pulled her into the kitchen. Once they were in the kitchen, he poked his head out to take a quick look at the young woman sitting on his couch before speaking to his daughter.

"Deanna, she is very attractive. I see why you are so taken with her. So how did she like the bridge," he asked with a grin.

"She was scared at first but I think she really liked it." Deanna took her own peek at the woman in the other room. "She is beautiful isn't she?"

Her father laughed light heartedly at his daughter. When he looked at her he noticed that her expression had turned serious. "What's the matter sweetheart?"

"She's leaving tomorrow. And then she will start a whole new life that I won't have a place in. I still have to figure out this crap with mother," Deanna angrily said as she tore the lettuce for the salad.

"Sweetheart, you don't know what can happen. You wouldn't be the first person to date someone in Starfleet."

"What do I have to offer her Dad? You know better than anyone that I don't have any kind of direction with my life. She's younger than me and she's got her life more together than me." Ian took his daughter in his arms and gave her a tight hug.

"Have faith little one. Don't give up," he said softly in her ear and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. "We best get dinner on the table before your young lady thinks that we abandoned her."

They gathered all the dishes and brought them to the table. "Dinner is served," Ian announced to B'Elanna.

"It smells wonderful!" B'Elanna replied.

"Sit, Sit everybody. Let's eat" Ian dished up the plates for the two women. The dinner conversation was centered around B'Elanna experiences in San Francisco. They laughed about her reaction to the Golden Gate Bridge. Ian talked to B'Elanna about what Academy training was like. He seemed pleased that she had aspirations to become an officer. Deanna was quiet while they were discussing the academy. She would put on a weak smile when either one of them would look over to her. Mostly she just moved her food around her plate with her fork.

Deanna was grateful when the meal was complete so she could clear the dishes and have an excuse to not be a part of the conversation. Once she had cleared the dishes and cleaned the kitchen she couldn't find any other reasons to not rejoin the conversation. She sat back at the table with her father and B'Elanna.

When she sat down at the table, B'Elanna took her hand.

"I guess you are wondering what I found out your mother," he plainly stated.

"Do you want me to go in the other room while you two discuss this?" B'Elanna asked not wanting to intrude on a private moment between father and daughter.

"No, stay. You already know what's going on. Please," Deanna stated as she squeezed her hand. B'Elanna smiled at her and nodded her agreement. "Okay Dad, what did you find out?"

Ian took a deep breath before continuing. "I was able to speak to your mother personally as well as check with some of my contacts. Your mother is not behind any of this."

"What do you mean? It was someone from Betazed right? Who was it?" Deanna asked.

"Yes, it was. Deanna, it was your sister Kestra."

Deanna was speechless for a long moment and shock was evident on her face. When she was able to speak her voice was shaky. "Kestra? Why? Kestra?"

"Sweetheart, I think you need to talk to your mother and sister. Kestra has been struggling with her role in the Betazed counsel as well as having some personal issues. Your mother has been trying to turn over more responsibility to her."

"Why would Kestra want me followed? We haven't spoken to each other in over a decade. What does she want with me now?" Deanna looked at her father with an intense look in her eyes.

"Deanna, your mother and sister will be here in a day. Your mother is coming for a diplomatic mission and Kestra will be joining her. Lwaxanna thinks that Kestra agreed to come with her to meet up with the woman that was following you." Her father handed her a PADD and took her hand in his when she reached for the PADD. "Here is the information of where she is staying and how to reach both of them. Contact them Deanna. Talk to them."

Ian had always wanted his daughter to mend the rift with her mother. This may be the opportunity to cause them to sit down and talk. He was hoping that his daughter would be able to remain civil enough to actually talk.

"You want me to talk to mother and my sister." Her father nodded and she yanked her hand out of his and then stood up abruptly. "I have to use the restroom."


B'Elanna and Ian watched as the angry woman walked out of the room. "Sir is she alright?"

He shook his head and replied, "Yes, this what she does when she's about to meet with her mother. Her mother usually stays at the Betazed Consulate when she visits Earth but this time she is staying in a hotel. She knows that Deanna would never come see her at the Consulate but she might at the hotel."

"Do you think she will talk to them? I hope so. I know how much she wishes she had a relationship with her sister."

"I certainly hope so," he said with a slight smile. Changing the subject he asked, "So young lady, when do you have to report?"

B'Elanna looked back at the door before speaking hoping that she was okay. "I have to report in five weeks. I am leaving to go back home tomorrow. My parents are throwing me a party the last week I'm home." She looked back at the bathroom door and then leaned closer to Deanna's father and said in a low voice,"I want her to come to my party but I haven't told her about it yet because I didn't want her to use me as an excuse to not talk to her mother. I really like your daughter sir and want to spend as much time with her as I can. So I hope…I want her to come to my party and meet my parents."

"Where are you from B'Elanna?

"My family lives on Kessick IV. This is actually my first time away from home," B'Elanna said shyly.

He smiled at her and patted her hand. "I can tell my daughter likes you a lot. How about we do this, after she talks to her mother and sister I will tell her that you invited her to your party."

"That would be wonderful," B'Elanna happily exclaimed. At that moment Deanna came out of the bathroom.

"What will be wonderful?" she asked flatly.

"I agreed to help her get acclimated when she starts at the Academy," her father quickly covered giving B'Elanna a sly wink.

"Oh, that's great Dad. Is all the information on the PADD?"

"Yes. Her meetings won't start until the second or third day she's here so you should have plenty of time to talk to her, to talk to both of them. Deanna it will be okay, just talk to them sweetheart," he said as he walked over to her and put his arm around her shoulder and gave her a squeeze.

"We have to get going. B'Elanna needs to pack. Thanks for helping me out Dad. I will talk to them," she said in a quiet voice.

B'Elanna stood and put out her hand to thank him for his hospitality. She was surprised when he pulled her into a hug, "It was nice meeting you B'Elanna. I look forward to working with you."

"Thank you sir. I look forward to it as well," B'Elanna said with a smile.

Deanna just walked over to her father and gave him a full body hug. As he hugged her he whispered in her ear, "B'Elanna is a lovely young woman. Give it a try. Have faith."

They decided to go back to B'Elanna's hotel so she could pack. B'Elanna had hoped that they would walk but Deanna flagged a transport to take them back to the hotel. The ride was made in silence. They held hands but did not speak. They barely looked at each other. B'Elanna was growing concerned about her friend but decided to wait until they were in the room to ask her what was wrong.

Once in the room, Deanna went to the replicator and ordered a strong drink and walked over to the window. She still hadn't said anything.

"Deanna. What's the matter?" There was no answer. She just stared out the window. "Please come over here and sit by me for a minute. I want to talk to you. " she said gently as she patted the place next to her.

She looked over at the young woman and slowly walked over to the couch. Sitting next to her and leaned in to give her a kiss. "What do you want to talk about?"

B'Elanna wrapped her arm around Deanna's and snuggled close to her. Deanna reached down and placed a kiss on her forehead. B'Elanna looked up at the warm figure. "I am so glad I met you. I know I told you that already but it's true. Today was magical. I want to see you again that is if you want to see me again."

"You're leaving for home tomorrow and then you will start your training at the academy. I would love to see you again but you have your whole life head of you. I have enjoyed our time together but…maybe it will be best if we could have one more beautiful night together and go…you can start your wonderful life."

Deanna begin to cry internally as she spoke to B'Elanna. Her soul wanted to cry out that she never wanted her to leave her arms. 'What can I offer her? She has a chance to go far in Starfleet like my father, I can't stand in her way. But I don't want to let her leave.'

"What are you saying? Was I just some conquest? Some backward planet girl you were trying to show a good time. I like you. I like you a lot. I thought you liked me too," B'Elanna cried as she pulled away from her.

Deanna couldn't stop the tears from streaming down her face. This was not how she wanted this evening to go. She could have just lied to her but she deserved more than that. 'Why do I care so much about her? I've only known her a few days. But I do care about her more than I thought possible.'

"B'Elanna, please listen. If you were someone I just wanted to sleep with, I would have done that the first night I met you and been done with it. I wanted to spend more time with you. I want to spend time with you." Deanna reached to take her hand and place a kiss in her palm. "I don't know what I can offer to you. You've seen how messed up my life is. You make me forget about my life but you have already seen that it keeps coming back to slap me in the face. I don't want to hurt you."

B'Elanna turned to face the older woman taking her face in both her hands. "Don't push me away. I know the reality of our situation. If we want to see each other, I know we can find away. I know I don't want this to be the end. I understand you may be scared. You say you don't want to hurt me then don't push me away."

"You want to see me again? What about after you start the academy?" Deanna said with a hollow voice.

"I'm willing to try if you are. Do you have faith?"

Deanna's became wide eyed after hearing B'Elanna use the word faith. She thought back to what her father whispered to her before they left his apartment.

"What if you fall for some beautiful cadet?"

Before she could finish talking B'Elanna quickly added, "I thought you weren't interested in joining the Academy."

Deanna couldn't help but smile. She said in a quiet voice, "I think, no I want to try." B'Elanna gave her several kisses on her lips and cheeks.

"Good because I didn't want to get kicked out for going AWOL in order to see you at the Galaxy Club," she teased laughingly.

Deanna's eyes misted over and she looked away. "B'Elanna can I tell you something?"

"Of course, anything."

She wiped angrily at an errant tear before she spoke. "I'm afraid to talk to my mother and sister. I know if I don't I won't be able to move on. I'm afraid it will come between any chance of us."

"Do you want me to stay here in San Francisco while you talk to them?" B'Elanna asked.

"No. I want you to see your family. I have to do this on my own. Thank you for offering though." She then looked at her shyly before asking, "Can I talk to you afterward?"

"You can contact me while I'm on the transport or when I get home. I want to hear how it went." B'Elanna gave her a sincere look. She then stood quickly and asked, "Hey will you help me pack?"

"Are you in a hurry to leave me already?" she said with emotion in her voice. Deanna didn't think that question would bother her so much. The thought of her leaving hurt her more than she thought.

"Gods no. I just want to introduce you to someone."

Deanna looked at her with a confused expression. B'Elanna chuckled at her response glad for the opportunity to change the mood. Her laughter caused Deanna to smile.

"You have someone here?" she asked looking around the room.

"Come on," she said as she pulled the older woman up off the couch and led her to the bedroom.

Deanna sat on the bed as B'Elanna went to her nightstand and picked up the picture that was placed there and handed it to Deanna as she sat next to her. "This is my SoS. Don't laugh but I talk to her every night and sometimes when I have something important going on in my life."

Looking at the picture and then at B'Elanna, Deanna had a bright smile on her face. She touched the picture and then touched her forehead ridges. "I think you look like her. I used to talk to my mother pretending she was tucking me in bed at night after me and Dad moved back to San Francisco. I stopped when I realized she was never going to tuck me in bed."

B'Elanna reached over and took the picture from her hand and placed a soft kiss on her cheek. She rested her head on her shoulder and spoke quietly. "Maybe after you talk to your mother, you might get a hug from her."

"Thank you."

"For what?"

"For being you and for being so kind." Deanna then leaned over and gave her kiss. "Let's get you packed because I want to spend these last hours holding you until you have to leave."

B'Elanna pulled away from her to look into her eyes and with a teasing look she asked, "Just hold me?"

Returning the look she replied, "Well at least right now."

They walked quietly holding hands to where B'Elanna was to catch the transport ship back to Kessick IV. Neither woman knew what to say to each other for each was lost in their own thoughts and emotions. They would occasionally squeeze the others hand or give a light kiss, but words were something that neither could find to speak to the other. But it also felt like words were unnecessary. It had only been a few days but both had felt that it had been so much longer.

Deanna was trying her best to be stoic and do as both her father and B'Elanna had said, 'Have faith.' Although her father was talking about her budding relationship with Deanna, she also knew he was talking about her mother and sister as well. She had to have resolution with her mother and sister or she would not be able to move forward in her life. She thought that maybe she was drawn to B'Elanna for this purpose, to put to rest old wounds and so she could truly begin to live her life instead of rebelling against the life that others saw for her.

B'Elanna began to daydream about her future in Starfleet. She wanted to rise to the ranks of an officer such as Lt. Commander Troi. 'How wonderful would it be if I was able to attend official functions with Deanna on my arm as my wife? I want her to be part of my future. I know we can make it work. Others have made it work. I hope she can deal with the issue of her family so she can join me for my party before I have to report.' B'Elanna looked deeply at Deanna who was staring straight in front of her. 'I think I could really love this woman.' She pulled her hand to her lips and gave it a soft kiss. Deanna looked over at her and gave her a bright smile. She then leaned over and kissed her firmly on the lips.

They arrived at the transport dock ten minutes before the ship was scheduled to leave. Both women were secretly glad that there last moments would not be drawn out. Her luggage was transported over from the hotel before they left. They turned to face each other holding hands.

"Do you want to come with me onboard?" B'Elanna hopefully asked.

Deanna looked deeply into her eyes and kissed her gently on the lips. "I don't think I better. I might not be able to get off the ship."

"Would that be such a bad thing?" B'Elanna said as she laid her head on her chest.

Taking a deep breath, Deanna kissed her on the top of her head. "I may want to hijack the ship so we could go to our own private planet," she softly chuckled. "Besides we both have things to do. Coming on the ship will make it harder for us to say goodbye. I'm already having a hard enough time as it is."

LAST BOARDING CALL. ALL ABOARD. The announcement boomed forcing the couple to face reality.

The couple looked at each other with panic in their eyes and then enveloped each other in a tight hug.

"I'm gonna miss you until I can see you again. I do mean to see you again," B'Elanna stated pointedly with tears beginning to appear in the corners of her eyes.

Deanna smiled sadly and then kissed her passionately. It was Deanna who broke the kiss and pushed B'Elanna toward the hatch of the ship. When the young woman turned to look at her before entering the hatch, Deanna waved and yelled, "I miss you already!" Once she had disappeared inside the ship, the heartbroken woman looked at the closed hatch and whispered, "I think I already love you."

She walked slowly away from the transport dock not knowing what to do or where to go. After two hours she found herself in front of the Watering Hole. She debated for about one minute before walking in the door. She had rarely gone there in the daytime but considering what she had gone through and what she was about to face, liquid courage seemed a reasonable decision.

After spending a few hours thinking and drinking, she realized she had not eaten anything. She thought it wouldn't be a good idea to meet her mother intoxicated. The problem was she wasn't hungry but thought she should eat something. She downed the last of her drink and left to find something to eat. After eating something quick, she with back to her apartment to shower and change before meeting her mother and sister.

After her shower, she laid nude on her bed still feeling quite intoxicated. She had just been sent the pictures that were taken of her and B'Elanna at the Golden Gate Bridge. She stared at the picture touching the young woman's face tenderly remembering the moments they spent together. She couldn't wait to send it to her. But she really wanted to talk to her again but she couldn't talk to her until she talked to her mother and sister. That was the promise she made.

She picked up the PADD off her nightstand that her father had given her. She stared at it for the longest time hoping that it would give her the answers. After about ten minutes she rolled over and looked at the chronometer and then clicked on the communicator on her nightstand.

"Windsor Hotel, Ambassador Lwaxana Troi, audio only," she directed. A few moments later she heard the same voice that she heard the other night when she used Tasha's communicator.

"Ambassador Troi is unavailable at the moment. May I take a message?" the woman inquired.

"Kestra? Kestra is that you?" Deanna asked hesitantly.

"Yes this is Kestra. Who am I speaking with?"

She paused before she was able to speak. It had been so long since she had heard her voice she didn't know what she was feeling. "Kestra… its Deanna. My father said that you and mother were going to be here and I wanted to talk to you both."

There was a long moment of silence before she answered. "Mother said you might contact us today. She is resting right now. I can get her if…"

"No I just wanted to know when it would be convenient to meet with you today," Deanna said interrupting her sister.

Again she was quiet. Deanna assumed that she might be communicating with mother telepathically. "Would you be available to meet for cocktails and then an early dinner?"

"Do you want to meet at your hotel or someplace else?" Deanna asked.

"We can meet at the hotel for cocktails and then make a decision for dinner. We will see you at 3:30."

Looking at the chronometer it read 1:30. She could tell that Kestra was trying to end the conversation. "Kestra, I am looking forward to seeing you. Until then."

"Until then." The communication link was ended. Deanna buried her head in her pillow and screamed.

To deal with her nerves she decided to walk to the hotel even though it would take her over an hour to walk there. She figured not only would it help settle her nerves but the time would also help her sober up. Now she had to figure out what to wear.

Kestra was at a loss as to what to do. Her mother did not tell her that Deanna would want to see them. She only told Deanna that to sound in control. She knew her mother must have been in contact with Ian but didn't think that she would come face to face with Deanna. Her mother hasn't spoken to her sister in several years and she hadn't talked to her in over ten years. She was trying to decide whether she should contact Tasha now or wait until after she met with Deanna. She was sure that no one knew about Tasha

She was nervously pacing back and forth in the living room for over 30 minutes when her mother entered the room. She could hear her thoughts even if she wasn't directly trying to invade her privacy. After speaking to her ex-husband she didn't bother to ask her daughter what she was up to. She knew she would only just spin a tale to try to hide the truth.

"What's got you so troubled little one?" Lwaxana gently asked her daughter.

"Nothing mother. I'm just nervous about seeing Deanna. We haven't talked in many years," she flatly replied.

"It will be alright," her mother said.

"If you say so. I think I may go out awhile before we meet Deanna," Kestra informed her mother.

The older woman walked over to her daughter and rested her hand on her arm. "I think you should stay here. I think we should talk."

"What is there to talk about? I hope you don't think that we are going to squabble like little children. We didn't do that even when we were small children," Kestra said with an angry tone.

Lwaxana laughed quietly to herself thinking of how it would have looked if her two daughters had argued as sisters are prone to do. She turned her eldest so that she was facing her and softly cupped her cheek and looked intently in her eyes.

"Little one, I know what you have done. And so does Deanna. What I don't understand is why you did it. Please talk to me," her mother asked softly. She led her daughter to the couch where they could sit and talk.

Kestra looked at her mother dumbfounded and then understanding came across her face. "Ian? Of course it had to be. Although you two couldn't remain married you still…"

Interrupting her daughter, "It's not important how I found out. Why did you have your sister followed?"

She looked away from her mother and wrung her hands angrily. She knew Deanna would ask her the same question. She knew it would be easier to give her sister an answer than her mother. She had never been able to tell her mother that she blamed her for not having a sister all these years and being led to believe that it wasn't important. She was told she was to take a place in Betazed society because it was her birthright. The image of the little girl who had looked up to her and the look on her face the last time she had seen her when she told her that she no longer had room for her in her life because she was to be a part of Betazed society and Deanna was not. Then she felt no remorse but over the last decade and a half it has been all she could think about.

"Kestra? Answer me." Lwaxana asked telepathically.

She turned and looked at her mother and a flash of anger mixed with hurt appeared in her eyes. "Would you have allowed me to remain in contact with Deanna?" She chose to reply back to her mother telepathically instead of using speech because she didn't know if she would be able to control her anger and didn't want the security agent standing outside their room to hear and come to check on the ambassador.

Lwaxana feared this day. The day she might have to have this conversation with either one of her daughters. How could she explain the importance of the decisions she felt it necessary to make in order to maintain her place and role Betazoid social order and her life traditions.

"I've never denied you from seeing Deanna. You chose to cut off contact with her. I thought that was what you wanted."Lwaxana responded back with her mind.

"What I wanted? I was doing what you wanted mother. Why would you think a child would make a decision like that on her own? You orchestrated the whole thing. You probably drove Ian away too. He liked me. I remember that much about him before you got in the middle of everything." Kestra was actively fighting to keep from crying as she yelled at her mother.

"Kestra! Watch your tone."

"I have been watching my tone all my life mother. I have had to watch everything I ever did in order to take my rightful place in Betazoid society. I am tired of it all. I envy Deanna. She never had to be confined to anybody's ideal of what she was supposed to be like I was." Kestra was crying angry tears now as she purged herself of 30 plus years of pain. "You want to know why I had Deanna followed. I wanted to see what I was missing in my life and whether or not she was happy without me. I guess next time I have to hire a better spy."

"I'm sorry little one. I was only doing what I felt was best for both of you. I love you," Lwaxana gently said as she attempted to caress her mind with love.

"I'm not the only one you have to apologize to," she said quietly as she walked into her bedroom. "It's almost time to meet Deanna. I am going to change."

Lwaxana looked at her daughter as she disappeared into her room. She bowed her head, trying to come to terms with what her eldest daughter said to her. She was also trying to steal herself to what could be another storm named Deanna.

Deanna arrived at the Winsor Hotel 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. She wanted to go the bar but thought better of it considering how much she drank earlier. She wanted to be able to have a rational conversation with her mother and sister. At least a conversation that didn't make her sound like a petulant five year old. So she decided to sit in the lobby and wait for them to come down to meet her. She flipped through the PADDs that were lying on the table as she silently swore to herself. 'Damn! Do all hotels get there PADDs from the same outdated resources?'

Lwaxana and Kestra came down to the lobby followed by their security detail of 8. They made quite the sight as they entered the lobby. Deanna tried to appear small so as not to be seen as a part of the spectacle. Kestra spotted her sister sitting on one of the lobby couches. She was use to being part of this type of procession began to feel embarrassed for Deanna. She looked over at her mother who apparently saw nothing out of the ordinary.

"Is it necessary to have all of the security detail accompany us to cocktails and dinner? I don't think Deanna presents a high security risk," Kestra asked her mother telepathically.

"It's not Deanna I'm concerned about," her mother responded.

"Mother you know you cannot communicate telepathically with Deanna around."

"I know," spoke quietly to her daughter. Lwaxana gave a subtle hand gesture to the security detail who fanned out to flank the room making themselves blend in with the scenery.

When her mother and sister reached her, Deanna stood unsure of what type of greeting to offer them.

"It's good to see you Deanna. I'm glad you could join us for cocktails and dinner. Too bad it had to be under these circumstances." Lwaxana glanced over at her eldest daughter.

"Hello Deanna," Kestra said quietly.

"Hello mother. Hello Kestra. I guess we have a lot to talk about. Should we go to the bar?" Deanna questioned apprehensively.

Lwaxana smiled at her daughter. "Yes we do have much to talk about. I have reserved a private room where we can speak without interruption and enjoy our dinner in peace."

A concierge approached Lwaxana and bowed deeply. "Madame Ambassador your private room is ready. There are servers ready to provide whatever you need. Please follow me." He led all three of them to an elaborately decorated room and held out chair for each of them seating Lwaxana first. "Enjoy your evening ladies." He quietly exited the room and two servers entered the room and stood against the wall waiting for orders.

They sat looking at each other awkwardly for several moments. Not being able to handle the silence, Deanna turned to face one of the servers and asked for an ale.

"Make that two," Kestra added.

"Madame would you care for a cocktail," the server asked of the ambassador.

"Why yes. I will have a Tulaberry wine. Please bring a tray of appetizers.

"Yes Madame."

After the server left, the women engaged in frivolous small talk until the server returned with the drinks and food.

Once Deanna had a drink she took a healthy gulp and sat the glass on the table. "So, are we gonna talk about this bullshit or just continue to play nice?" Deanna demanded as she looked at both women sitting across from her.

"Deanna I…I am…" Kestra stuttered as she slid her finger around the lip of her glass. "I am sorry. This is not how I wanted you to find out. Actually I never wanted you to find out that I was having you followed."

"Then why? Why would you want to have me followed? I have stayed out of both of yours lives. I thought that would make you both happy. After all isn't that what you both wanted?" Deanna was trying her best to keep her anger in check. She felt genuine remorse with her sister but sensed that her mother was hiding her emotions from her.

"Mother do you want to tell her or should I?"

Deanna glared at her mother. She knew her mother couldn't be as innocent as her father professed.

"You lied to my father? You told him that you had nothing to do with this. I knew you couldn't stay out of my life even from 5 light years away." Deanna stood as if she was going to leave.

"Deanna don't leave. Please," Kestra pleaded with her sister.

"Why should I stay? I refuse to continue to be some pawn in your crazy chess game."

"You know I hired that woman to follow you. Mother didn't know I hired her. But it was because of her I did it," she tried to explain.

"What are you talking about? You won the magic key to the Betazed kingdom. I was never pure enough." Deanna looked at her mother as she said this. She noticed that her facial expression never changed and she still could not sense her emotions. Her sister's on the other hand broadcast loud and clear, guilt, remorse, and sadness. She turned to look at her sister and softened her expression as she retook her seat. She downed the remainder of her ale and called for the server to bring her another.

Kestra looked down at her hands as she said in barely a whisper, "I didn't ask for it either."

Deanna looked at her sister for a long moment trying to figure out what was going on. "Were you trying to hurt me Kestra?"

Her head shot up to look at her sister. "No. Never. I would never hurt you. Again."

She felt no deception from her sister. "Then why?"

'I'm going tell her of our conversation earlier mother,' she told her mother with her mind.

'Do what you must little one,' her mother replied calmly.

'Stop calling me "little one." I'm not a child.'

'You are my child.'

Deanna could sense that the two women were communicating telepathically by the way they looked at each other. Her head panned between the two of them. Her anger started to rise. "I hope you two were able to get your story straight," she said bitterly.

"I'm sorry Deanna. That was rude. I don't want to hurt you anymore." Tears began to glisten in her eyes and her voice became shaky. "I have been living with the pain of the last time I hurt you. You were such a joy to me when we were children."

"You decided you couldn't be bothered with a half blood. I was a hindrance to you. Weren't those your words?"

"No those were mother's words. I wanted to play games but mother kept telling me I didn't have time for games. I had to prepare for my place in Betazed society as it was my birthright. I didn't understand why you were different and that's when mother explained about you," Kestra said weeping. She looked at her mother and couldn't keep the anger and hurt from her facial expression and her thoughts.

Deanna winced visibly at the power of her sister's emotions. She noticed that her mother had only a minute response to her daughter's statement. She didn't know what to feel herself. Her sister missed her? How could that be, she seemed so happy to be a part of mother's world. She walked away from her so easily.

Looking at Kestra, Deanna closed her eyes and said, "You want me to believe that you missed me after all these years." She opened her eyes blinking several times to hide back the tears. "You left me! If you missed me so bad, why did you choose now to try to make contact with me?"

"I guess I finally got brave enough to face what I've done. No, what she made me do," Kestra spat pointing at her mother. She turned and looked at Deanna and gently placed her hand on top of her sister's. "I don't know if I deserve another chance to be your sister or if you even want me to be your sister. But I want to try to be the sister I should have been, if you will let me."

Not knowing what to think or feel, Deanna just stared at her sister. Could she really begin a relationship with her sister after all that time that had passed between them. Did she really want to? She thought she had said goodbye to a relationship with her sister a long time ago. What about her mother? She would never stand for someone coming between her plans for Kestra to take her place in Betazed society.

There were so many thoughts and emotions swimming in her mind that she was becoming dizzy. She placed her hands to on either side of her head as she lowered it in her lap. After a few minutes she lifted her head to look at her sister again. "How do you suppose we start over? You don't know anything about me. Oh wait, I guess you do know all about me. I don't know anything about you except that you are a full blood Betazoid and more important to our mother than I ever was!" Deanna began to get angry again not caring if she hurt her sister or mother.

Crying openly, Kestra said, "Deanna please stop. I know I don't deserve anything from you but I only wanted to know about you, to know that you were happy. Are you happy?"

"I taught myself to be happy."

"I'm sorry," Kestra said in a very hushed tone.

"What about you mother? You have been extremely quiet throughout all of this. I bet you are trying to figure out a way to put everything back it nice orderly boxes like it was before."

Lwaxana sat even taller than she was sitting before. She carefully looked from Kestra to Deanna and took a deep breath and trained her sight on her youngest daughter. "My dear, your sister is able to make her own decisions. I know that both of you may never understand the choices I have made. I may never be able to explain to make you understand."

"Why don't you give it a shot? I dying to hear why you were happy to pawn me off on my father and evict me from Betazed," Deanna responded as she stared at her mother.

"It was nothing like that. Your father felt it was best that you lived with him on Earth after we were divorced. You would be able to grow up with your cousins. You have always been welcome to come to Betazed. I have never tried to stop you."

"Oh yeah, I was free to come to Betazed. You hid me away with the servants! I knew more about Mr. Homm than I did you and he didn't even talk." Deanna stood up and walked to door calling for a servant to bring her another drink. A servant was at the door with drinks in hand for all three women in less than a minute. She grabbed her drink off his tray before he came through the door. Seeing the expression on her face he quickly deposited the drinks on the table and left the room. "Why did you marry my father anyway? You knew he was human and any child you two would have be a hybrid. Or was I a mistake?" Deanna said as she retook her seat running her finger through the condensation on the glass.

"Deanna you were not a mistake. I loved your father. I loved you." Lwaxana was speaking softly. She brought her drink to her lips but before she took a sip she added almost as an afterthought, "I still love your father even after all these years and I never stopped loving you."

"You have a funny way of showing it." Deanna took a long sip of her drink not wanting to look at her mother or sister. "You want to make nice like Kestra or are you happy with our established separation."

"Deanna it doesn't matter what mother wants. We can begin…" Kestra began before being interrupted by Deanna.

"No it does matter what mother wants Kestra. She still has the power to control both our lives and what we want be damned. I'm just lucky she doesn't give a damn about me or she probably would have forced me to marry some Betazed male who is the son or cousin of someone she is trying to gain a boon with. How many men has she set you up with Kestra?" Deanna laughed with an aggressive tone.

"That's enough Deanna! I know you are angry at me but that is no reason to be crude." Deanna glared at her mother for a moment and then concentrated on her drink. For the first time that afternoon Lwaxana showed signs of anger. "I may not have been the best mother but I loved my daughters. I would never force a choice like who you love on either of you. Deanna I accepted who you were a long time ago. I may have thoughts about who would be a good choice of mates for Kestra but I have never interfered."

"Is that true mother? You won't interfere in my love life no matter who I choose." Kestra was starting to feel more confident and thought since everyone was starting to clean out their respective closets she would join in too. Her mother nodded her head yes. "That's good because I have been seeing someone for the past year and we have been talking about getting married. I was afraid you would never approve especially when you found out who it was."

Lwaxana looked at her daughter with concern.

Seeing the look on her mother's face a grin began to tug at Kestra's lips. "Mother just to alleviate your concern, it is not a woman. His name is Pel Merris and he's Bajoran. He's the ambassador from Bajor assigned to Betazed."

Deanna perked up hearing Kestra's disclosure. She looked over at her mother and she seemed to be turning several shades of red as she drained the last of her drink. Deanna got up and walked to the door to request more drinks. She made sure to ask for something strong knowing that her mother would really need it. There was a part of her that felt sorry for her mother but only a small part. Both her daughters either not being who she wanted them to be or making choices that didn't fit her mold must have been a serious blow to her ego. Seeing the look on her face took the indignation from her mood and desire to want to attack her. For the first time she saw her as a person who felt pain. It made her want to know who this woman was.

Deanna poured her mother and sister a drink from the bottle that was brought in by the server. After handing each of them their drinks she poured one for herself.

Laughing the young woman said, "Damn aren't we a screwed up family."

Kestra found herself caught up in her sister's laughter and began laughing herself. She finally was able to see the irony in the situation.

Lwaxana found herself staring again at her daughters whose laughter was growing more out of control. She thought to herself how she had let things get so out of control. All her life she had dedicated herself to making sure her family retained their rightful place in Betazed society. She had kept to the old traditions hoping that it would solidify her oldest daughter's place. But watching her daughters now, she thought 'what was the point?' They both seemed so happy. She hadn't seen them that happy since they were little girls. Lwaxana felt her heart seize with emotional pain as tears slowly began to flow down her cheeks for the heart ache she caused her children.

Deanna was the first to notice her mother. She placed her hand on Kestra's arm signaling her to pay attention to their mother. Both woman sobered immediately realizing that the stoic older woman was crying.

Kestra went to her side taking her hand. "Mother what's the matter? What's wrong?" Deanna just sat there on the opposite side as her sister with her arms folded across her chest.

Lwaxana was openly crying now from sadness of how her children felt about her and embarrassment over her lost of control.

"Do you believe that I love you? Both of you." She looked at both her daughters with tear soaked eyes. "I have never wanted to hurt either of you. I never expect you to understand what I have done. Either way, you both will feel hurt by what I have done."

"Why don't you stop telling us what we won't understand and just tell us and let us find out for ourselves," Deanna spat out in frustration. Anger over her mother's continuous need to speak in cryptic messages was starting to wear thin on her.

Kestra retook her seat across from their mother. Deanna refilled their glasses from the bottle sitting on the table. She figured they were all going to need them. Deanna made a conscious effort to slow down in her consumption of alcohol because it was causing her to have less control over her emotions. She also noticed that her sister was starting to sip her drink as well.

Once everyone appeared to be settled Lwaxana took a deep sigh before launching into her tale. She knew she couldn't continue to hide behind the lie she convinced herself was true all these years. "Neither of you never knew your grandmother. That was done on purpose. I didn't want her to do to you what she did to me. But in the end I did the same thing. When I was a small child my mother began to groom me to take her place in the Betazed High Council. I was taught how to perform at all formal society functions and learn all points of law and traditions like being taught a Betazoid children's nursery tale. It was my responsibility to carry on our family tradition and continue to maintain my mother's position in the High Council.

"Kestra, your father was the son of the Prime Minister of Betazed. My mother held the position of first chair on the council which is the fourth seat behind the Prime Minister. I was betrothed to marry his son. Even though it was an arranged marriage, we grew to care deeply for each other. Dextron was a good and honorable man. We both took our roles very seriously since that was all we ever knew. Although deep down, we both wanted to be something different than our positions in life dictated. Before I was betrothed to Dextron I tried to court others but my mother was very skilled at chasing away any would be suitors. For your father, being the son of the Prime Minister, his life was not his own so we were wed in a formal state ceremony. After you were born, I thought things would finally become normal for us. Dextron had no desire to take his father's place and was able to tell his father so. He agreed to take a lower seat on the council so he could be available to his family."

Deanna looked over at her sister and saw that her eyes were glistening with unshed tears. She felt how difficult this was for her to hear although her face remained composed. This must have been from years of training at her mother's side. Her mother was telling the story of her life as though she was talking to the back wall. Eye contact with her daughters appeared difficult for her as it would have caused her to falter and revert back to the closed off stateswoman she apparently was bred to be. Deanna knew this was difficult for her mother to talk about but she was still struggling with letting go of the years of hurt she felt she suffered by her mother's actions.

Lwaxana closed her eyes for a moment and opened them as she stared directly at Kestra for a long moment before continuing. "Those were happy days for us. You were such a happy child and your father adored you. When he died I felt like my world was taken from me. My buffer between my mother was gone. I tried to cut myself off from the world but knew I could not do that to you little one. My mother kept telling me that I needed to throw myself into my birthright. That's how I came to be Ambassador to Earth and met Ian. He was so young and handsome. He was everything that my mother would not approve of. We fell in love and were married on Earth. The Federation had an Embassy on Betazed and he was assigned a post there. We were able to start a home there together. I hoped that because I returned to Betazed a married woman, my mother would have little influence over my life. I was wrong. She began right away. It only got worse once Deanna was born. Ian so tried to be a father to you Kestra but my mother kept telling both of us that Kestra was destined to take her father's place in the high council. I heard it so often that I started to believe it to be true.

"The biggest arguments that Ian and I had were concerning the place you two would have in the high council. I was such a coward." The older began to cry once more. She knew if she didn't finish her story she never would.

"Mother you always said that Deanna couldn't be part of the high council because of being half human. You lied to both of us?" Kestra exclaimed in disbelief. Deanna just sat there and fumed listening to her sister and mother.

Lwaxana looked at Deanna and attempted to reach out for her hand as Deanna pulled it back. "I did it to protect you Deanna. You had a chance to be free of all the obligations that I was subject to. I tried to save Kestra but because her father was a member of the royal court…"

"You were protecting me! You practically threw me away. You barely had anything to do with me. That a funny way of protecting someone," Deanna screamed at her mother.

"You had your father!" Lwaxana yelled back. She looked intently at Deanna as she continued in a softer tone. "I had to push you away. I would rather have you hate me than subject you to a life of servitude."

"So what about me mother? It was okay for me to live a life of servitude. What made me so special?" Kestra said with fury.

Placing her head in her hands, Lwaxana silently wept causing her whole body to shake. Both young woman just stared at their mother trying to comprehend what she had told them.

Lwaxana was able to gain her composure after a few minutes. She took several long ragged deep breaths before she began to speak again. "If I could have kept both of you from that life I would have. Kestra you have to understand I had to contend with your father's family and they wanted you to take your father's place."

"Why didn't you just leave with Deanna and Ian when they left for Earth?" Kestra asked trying to understand.

The older woman looked at the pattern in the table cloth. She appeared to have aged 20 years in the past few hours as she shed silent tears. "They threatened to take you away from me if I protested. Staying on Betazed, I could keep you with me and protect you the best I could. Deanna had her father who I knew would protect her. If she couldn't be with me she still had her father. Your father died and he was the only one that would have fought along with me to allow you to choose your own life direction."

"Did my father know all this before you divorced him?" Deanna asked quietly.

At hearing her youngest question, her tears started anew. "I loved Ian. I still love him. I think he still…" A sad smile appeared across her face at the mention of her ex-husband. "I had to push him away in order to protect you, Deanna. They wouldn't let me leave with him, you and Kestra. I could have left with Ian if I left Kestra with her grandparents. Ian would have never have left me if he knew what was going on, so I had to make a choice to protect you all."

"Who did you choose?" Kestra asked.

She looked into the faces of her daughters hoping they would understand her reply. How do you help a child understand that you sent her away to protect her while the other stayed close to you in order to protect her as well? She kept Kestra close to her so she could control what influences both her grandmothers tried to make on her. She had her take a position in her office in order to give the appearance that she was being groomed for her role. What others did not know is that she sent her on diplomatic missions in order to give her experiences of something other than life in the High Council. Letting Ian take Deanna to Earth was the only way she could protect her baby. She hated having to separate her two girls and depriving Kestra of a man who wanted to be her father but it was the only thing she could do.

"I chose both of you." The simple statement rang loudly in the silence of the room. Both women looked at each other trying to comprehend what their mother could mean by her comment. Lwaxana rose out of her seat and headed toward the door. "Please excuse me, I need to attend to a personal matter. I shall return. I promise." She felt a need to let them know she was done running.

Lwaxana walked hurriedly to the concierge desk and asked for a communication device. She went and sat on one of the chairs provided in the lobby that was situated next to the indoor pond. She gazed at the Koi fish of various colors they swam as though they hadn't a care in the known universe. Looking at the device in her hand willing courage she had lost over thirty years, she contacted the one person she hoped would still be willing to help her.

"Hello. It's good to hear your voice."

"Lwaxana? Is that you? What's the matter?"

"Could you come, Ian? I have a lot I need to explain to you."

"I'll be there in 30 minutes." There was no hesitation in his voice as he quickly replied.

"Thank you Ian." As the connection ended, she softly whispered, "I love you."

She sat there for long moments sucking in large gulps of air that she had been depriving herself since she began to tell her daughters about her life. She contemplated waiting the full 30 minutes until Ian arrived so she wouldn't have to face the girls alone. She took a deep breath and went over to instruct the concierge where to direct Ian to go when he arrived and headed back to finish her conversation with her daughters.

Kestra walked towards the closed door that her mother left through and stood there staring at it for several long moments before speaking. "Deanna do you think mother is telling us the truth?" Kestra asked with her back still facing her sister.

"I don't know. If she is what does that mean for us?" Deanna quietly replied studying her half empty glass.

Kestra turned to face her sister with a hopeful look. She walked over to her baby sister and took her hand in hers. "What do you want it to mean for us? Maybe we can get a new start that we were denied as children," she said optimistically.

Still staring at her glass she began to contemplate her thoughts about the evening. A relationship with her sister and her mother was something that she had reconciled herself that she would never have. Now there was at least the possibility of having a relationship with her sister, possibly her mother. It was all happening to fast.

"I need time to think. This is all so surreal."

"Yes I guess it is." Both women looked toward the door as their mother entered. "Deanna you shouldn't have to decide anything right now. I'm sure you both have more questions for me." Lwaxana sat down in the chair that she vacated ten minutes ago. She tried to give them both a smile but it came out more as an anguished look. "Deanna, I called your father to join us. I figured I owe him the truth just as I owe you."

"Mother you said you chose both of us. What did that mean? How did you choose both of us?" Deanna asked.

"Can we wait until your father arrives before I explain more about that. It concerns him as well." Lwaxana took her youngest daughter's hand and gave her a genuine smile. "Tell me about you."

The question brought her up short. Her mother didn't know anything about her. Had she just let her father take her and she turned her back. Her eyes closed and Lwaxana felt her distress.

"Little one, I know what you have been up to but I would like to hear from you."

Deanna appeared to brighten a bit hearing her mother say this even if she was just trying to make her feel better.

"Please. All the years that you were away from me I know I can never get back but I would like to know you. I don't know if you are in love." Lwaxana looked at her daughter with pleading in her eyes wanting to try to rekindle some small part of what she missed. She sent her all the love that she had been holding back all the years that she had pushed her daughter away from her heart.

Looking at her mother look at her, she had a sudden desire to want to curl up in her lap and tell her all her secrets and fears. She could feel the love coming from her mother in waves.

"Mother do you really love me?"Deanna asked in a small voice afraid of what her answer could be.

Lwaxana was suddenly overcome with emotion and took her daughter in her arms and hugged her fiercely. "Yes my little one, I love you with all my heart." After a few long moments she looked at her other daughter and then gathered her in the embrace as well. "I love you both. You are my heart." Lwaxana cried tears of joy never thinking she would experience holding both her children in her arms.

After a few minutes of hugs and tears the mother and daughters released their grasp on each other.

Kestra wiping the tears from her eyes looked at her sister and asked, "So Deanna are you in love?" She flashed a bright smile at her sister.

She smiled at both her mother and sister happy to think about B'Elanna. "I don't know if I am in love but I know she is special. She's the reason I agreed to meet with you both after I found out you had me followed."

"I'm so sorry about that but at least something good came out of it at least," Kestra quickly replied. "What is her name and where is she now?"

A small smile came across Deanna face. Her mother noticed this and felt the passion her daughter had for this woman. She couldn't help but smile at her daughter's reaction.

"Her name is B'Elanna Torres. She went home to see her family before she has to report for training at Starfleet Academy. I probably won't get to see her again now that she has joined Starfleet," Deanna said in a sad tone.

Her mother put her arm around her shoulder and pulled her into her side. "Don't say that. Does she care about you as much as you care about her?"

"I think so. I hope so. Father said I should have faith but…"

"You should have faith," boomed a baritone voice from the other side of the room.

All three set of eyes focused on the newcomer to the room. Ian's eye locked on his daughter and then on his ex-wife. "I see that you appear to have worked out your differences."

Lwaxana rose out of her seat and quickly walked over to Ian and took his hands in hers and looked intently into her ex-husbands eyes for several long moments. It felt that no time had passed between them. They fell into an embrace that felt so natural to both of them. Deanna and Kestra looked on at their parents. They exchanged a curious look at each other and then back at the couple. Sensing the increasing emotions of the couple, Kestra cleared her throat in order to get their attention.

They turned to face the younger women obviously embarrassed. "Sorry girls. It has been awhile since Ian and I have seen each other." It did not go unnoticed that Lwaxana led Ian to the chair next to hers holding his hand.

"Lwaxana, I came right away. What is the matter? You three don't seem too worse for wear," Ian said with a smile.

Taking a deep breath, she lifted his hand to her lips gave it a light kiss. "I have finally found the courage to tell the girls the truth. I owe you the truth as well." She looked at his dark chestnut eyes as she caressed his cheek. "The truth is…I never stopped loving you. I lied to you to push you away knowing that you would agree to take Deanna with you."

Ian opened his mouth to speak but she raised her hand to silence him so she could continue. She went on to retell the story that she told her daughters earlier. As she told him why she couldn't tell him what was happening at the time, she found herself being pulled into a tight embrace by her ex-husband.

When she was done with her story, Ian lifted her chin so that she was looking at him. "I'm sorry that you had to go through that alone. I have a confession as well…I never stopped loving you too. It's sad that we both wasted so many years."

Deanna and Kestra sat and listened to their parents discussed their long lost love as they forgave each other. As they observed the couple they started to get the feeling that they had walked in on an intimate moment they weren't suppose to witness. Sensing their discomfort, Lwaxana turned the attention to the two young women in the room.

"You see girls I chose you both by doing the only thing I knew to do. It may not have been the right thing, but I did it out of love for…all three of you." Lwaxana hoped her explanation would be sufficient for all of them.

Ian gave his daughter a warm smile, proud that she was able to face the demons of her past. He took Kestra's hand and gave her a gentle squeeze, "It's been too long Kestra. How have you been?"

"It's nice to see you too. I've missed you Ian," Kestra sweetly responded.

Looking at the women in his life, Ian got a satisfied grin on his face. Sensing his air of satisfaction, Lwaxana mimicked his expression.

"Well ladies, where do we go from here?" Ian asked cheerfully. He was feeling happy about his life for the first time in a long time. It made his heart glad to realize that the woman he fell in love with all those years ago still loved him and only left him to protect her family.

"How about we have dinner? That's one of the reasons we came here," Kestra offered.

"Wonderful idea. Maybe you can tell us about your beau Kestra. And I would love to hear about the young lady who has captivated my youngest heart," Lwaxana happily stated.

The newly reunited family sat down to a wonderful meal full of lively conversation and laughter. After they completed dinner, they did not want to separate for fear that they would lose what they have just recently pieced together.

Feeling the closeness of her sister is something she had longed for if she was to be truly honest with herself. She wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. "Kestra would you like to go to the Wharf with me this evening?" Deanna asked her older sister.

"I would love that Deanna," Kestra responded happily.

Wanting to continue to provide more good cheer, Ian slyly said, "Deanna, I promised B'Elanna you would call her after you spoke to your mother and sister."

"I know. I told her I would call her after I spoke with them as well," Deanna stated.

Ian smiled at his daughter and continued what he was saying. "She wanted to know when you would be coming to Kessick IV to attend her party. She said he was occurring the last week she is home. Let me know when you want to go and I will arrange a shuttle for you." Ian was pleased with himself for being able to surprise his daughter.

Deanna sprung out of her seat and gave her father a hug and kiss. She couldn't believe that B'Elanna still wanted to see her. She said she did but she just thought she was being nice. But hearing from her father that she was expecting for her to come to her party, made her heart soar.

"She really wants me to come to her party?" Deanna asked her father as if she were a ten year old child being given their first invitation to a party.

"The other night when we had dinner, she made me promise to tell you that she expects you at her going away party. But she didn't want you to use her as an excuse to not talk to your mother and sister. That's quite a woman Deanna. She going to make a fine officer too," her father responded as he placed gentle hands on her shoulders.

"Deanna we can go to the Wharf another time that way you can contact B'Elanna," Kestra volunteered reluctantly. She knew she didn't have a right to hold her sister to any promises after all that she was put through.

"No Kestra, I want to spend time with you. I also want to introduce you to B'Elanna," Deanna smiled. "Besides that's probably the only way she will believe that I actually talked to you.

"I would enjoy meeting her. Thank you Deanna," Kestra said as she took her hand.

"I'm sorry it's taken so long for my daughters to come back together. I hope you two, I mean you three will be able to forgive me." Lwaxana said as she walked over to Ian and looked deeply into his eyes.

"But at least we have the start of a new beginning now. Thank you mother for being honest with us," Kestra said with a smile.

Deanna was appreciative for her mother's honesty but didn't know if she was ready to let go of all those years of loss and hurt. She was grateful that she had her sister back in her life. Not knowing what to say in that moment she decided to be quiet.

Sensing the emotions that were thick in the room, she felt that a need to change the mood in the room. Kestra felt the emotional longing between her mother and Ian and the conflict with her sister. "Should we be going Deanna? Maybe we can go up my room and you can contact B'Elanna before we go to the Wharf."

Feeling the intensity of the emotions in the room she readily agreed with her older sister, "That's a good idea. I will talk to you later father." She gave him a kiss on the cheek. She then walked over to her mother not sure how to address her. Her mother solved the problem by taking her hands in her own. She looked at the older woman's hands holding hers and felt her eyes become moist. "I hope we can talk again soon mother."

Lwaxana wrapped her arms around her baby and brought her tightly to her chest. "I love you little one. I will never forsake you again. Whenever you want to talk, all you have to do is contact me. Now go and have a wonderful time with your sister. Maybe if your father can't arrange for a transport to Kessick IV, I can take you when I return to Betazed."

"Thank you, mother."

The young women left the room after saying their goodbyes. Ian walked over toward Lwaxana and gave her a passionate kiss which was returned with equal passion.

"Oh my Ian!" Lwaxana said breathlessly when the kiss ended.

"I never stopped loving you Lwaxana. You gave the girls a new start; maybe we can have a fresh start as well. Both girls are old enough to resist your family's influence now. There is nothing standing in our way to have the life we should have had so many years ago. I now know that you truly loved Deanna and were just trying to protect her and Kestra.

"Ian I still love you as well. I would love to start over with you." She then reached up to give him another passionate kiss.

"Would you like to come to my apartment for dessert since the girls are in your room?" Ian asked tenderly.

"I would be delighted."

B'Elanna waited at the transport station pacing back and forth. She had talked to Deanna everyday since she contacted her and introduced her to her sister. She was very happy for Deanna and hoped that this will help her put her ghost to rest and begin again with a lighter soul.

B'Elanna had discussed how important Deanna was to her with her father every since he was told that she was coming to visit. He finally mellowed after he was told that her father was a Starfleet officer who offered to help her with her career.

Kestra and her mother invited Deanna to come visit them on Betazed. Kestra was excited to introduce her to her boyfriend, Pel. She discussed this with B'Elanna and both decided that she would come after she went to Betazed for a brief stay with her mother and sister. They would still have a week before she needed to report to the academy. Although she wanted to have longer with her, she now felt that they still had their future to be together. Besides B'Elanna pushed her to spend the time with her family knowing how important it was.

When B'Elanna saw the transport making its final approach she thought she would jump out of her skin with anticipation. She didn't want to appear too excited because she was afraid it would show how young she was. Her breath caught in her chest when she saw Deanna exit the shuttle. She was wearing a red silk long sleeve shirt, pair of black leather pants and a matching leather jacket. She appeared to float as she walked down the ramp. B'Elanna couldn't contain herself any longer and darted toward the ramp to meet her.

The couple embraced at the bottom of the ramp. Deanna held the young at arm's length so she could look at her just to make sure this was all real. She still couldn't believe how much this woman meant to her and the positive things that had occurred in her life because of her. She looked deeply into her chocolate eyes and was able to see the future in them.

Feeling the growing desire in each of them, Deanna slowly pulled the young woman toward her until their lips were a breath width apart. Not able to wait any longer she softly brushed her lips against hers. The sensation sent electric shocks through each of them. The kiss intensified as their desire for each other increased. Their tongues began to engage in their own erotic dance to claim dominance over the other. In the end they both settled on a waltz where they took turns exploring the taste and texture of each other's mouth using the rhythms of their moans to guide them. B'Elanna's knees felt like they were about to buckle.

Whispering in Deanna ear B'Elanna cooed, "Deanna if we don't stop now, I'm gonna have to take you right here. It might make it hard for my parents to still live here." Both women broke out in hearty laughter realizing the spectacle they almost made of themselves.

"I guess we better get my bag and go to my hotel so we can have a proper hello. Or should I meet your parents first?" Deanna said with a wicked grin.

B'Elanna silently cursed herself for promising her parents that she would bring her by to meet them when she arrived. Her mother wanted to meet the woman who captivated her daughter's heart and her father wanted to meet her to see if he approved of the woman who his daughter was falling in love with. The young woman wondered how she would be able to keep her hands off of her.

"Don't laugh Deanna but I promised my parents that I would have you meet them as soon as you landed."

As she retrieved her bag from storage she looked back at the young woman and grinned, "They want to make sure I'm good enough for their little girl, huh?"

"Maybe they want to make sure I'm good enough for you. Come on let's go face the parental inquisition," she said as she grabbed her hand and led her from the transport station. They made arrangements to have her bag sent over to her hotel.

Deanna sat nervously in B'Elanna's parents' home engaged in a stare-off with Mr. John Torres as B'Elanna and her mother were getting refreshments. Deanna was desperately trying to think of something to end the silence and at the same time not cause her to sound stupid.

"Nice home you have here." The comment was met with a noncommittal grunt. "I bet you and Mrs. Torres are proud of B'Elanna being accepted into Starfleet Academy?"

"Yes we are very proud of Lanna being accepted into Starfleet. Aren't we John?" responded a cheerful Mary. "Deanna we are glad that you were able to attend B'Elanna's going away party. Here's a cold drink and some snacks. What do you two have planned for this evening?"

Quickly speaking up, "I thought I would show her around and introduce her to my friends."

"I thought you two would be staying for dinner tonight," John said in a demanding tone.

Wanting to make a good impression Deanna quickly responded before B'Elanna. "That would be wonderful. I don't get many opportunities to have a home cooked meal." Deanna gave her most sincere smile to both her parents.

"Can I at least show her around first before dinner?" B'Elanna said trying to hide the frustration in her voice.

"Of course honey. While you two are out could you also pick up some items for your party? I will get you the list," Mary happily said as she disappeared into the other room.

Seeing the annoyance on his daughter's face he smiled as he stood and walked over to map he had posted on the wall. He called Deanna over as he started to point out places of interest on Kessick IV. "Make sure my daughter shows you the history museum and the art institute. There are other historical places you should see before you return to Earth. I'm surprised your father never brought you to Kessick IV before."

"After his posting on Betazed he was given a commission as an instructor for Starfleet Academy and he has been there ever since. The only real traveling I have done is to visit my mother on Betazed." Deanna saw his expression brighten at the mention of her father being an instructor.

"Papa I will make sure she sees all the important things. She will be here for five days." Speaking out the corner of her mouth she stated, "I would like to spend some time with her besides dragging her around like a pathetic tourist." Deanna gave her a sly grin.

"Alright, but she has never been here before. And you will be leaving and we don't know when you will ever be able to come back here again. I want you to be able to have memories to take with you," her father said in a softer tone.

B'Elanna had been so excited about Deanna presence that she didn't think about what her leaving meant to her parents and even herself. She suddenly felt ashamed by her actions. She knew this time she was here was important to her parents.

"You're right Papa. I owe it to Deanna to show her the beauty of Kessick IV." Just as she said this her mother returned with the list of items she needed for the party.

"Here you go honey. Be sure to not let Mr. Jenks try to make you get more then what's on the list."

"Be back by 6:00pm for dinner," John stated.

The couple said their goodbyes as they began their day of errands and sightseeing. They were glad that they arranged for Deanna's belonging to be sent to her hotel before going to the Torres house. They walked hand in hand through the main square.

"B'Elanna your parents are very sweet and it's obvious they love you very much." Deanna looked sweetly at the young woman holding her hand and relishing in the time that they were together. She knew she would have other times to be with her that her parents would not since she would be San Francisco. "You know we will have time to be together. This is important to your parents and you. This is your home. Don't throw it away so quickly. You made me face my demons and I now have an opportunity to have a family again. I promise I'm not going anywhere. I will be there every time you are able to see me." She kissed her firmly solidifying her promise.

"I think, no I know I can grow to love you." B'Elanna squeezed her hand as smiled lovingly into her eyes.

Deanna convinced B'Elanna to invite her parents along as they visited the planet the next couple of days after discovering a new found appreciation for family. There days were spent seeing all the highlights of Kessick IV and evenings preparing for B'Elanna good bye party. By the time each day was over, all of them were so exhausted that nobody had any time to do anything else but rest.

The day of the party, the Torres house was a fury of activity. People were arriving from what appeared to be all over the planet. Deanna was impressed by how many people seemed to love B'Elanna. There was food, music, laughter and even some tears as everyone came to give their well wishes and support to B'Elanna and her parents. After several hours Deanna was feeling uncomfortable being around this much attention from friends and family even though it wasn't directed at her. She didn't remember this type of activity at gatherings with her aunt and uncle.

Deanna found Mary Torres and took her aside to talk to her.

"Mary, I think this is amazing. I didn't realize that B'Elanna had so many friends. This is a bit disconcerting for me. I don't know how much she has told you about my family, but big gatherings are hard for me. I don't want to spoil it for her so I think I'm going to go back to my hotel room. Just tell her I had a headache and will see her tomorrow. That way you three can have breakfast like a family before we leave to go back to San Francisco tomorrow afternoon." Deanna said what she needed to say without pause so that the kind woman would not interrupt before she was done.

Mary took Deanna's hand and gave her a gentle smile. B'Elanna did tell her a little about her family situation enough for her to understand her discomfort and know she was not being rude. "I hope your headache gets better. Why don't you come by and we can all go to the transport terminal together," she said with a knowing tone. "I suspect that we will all be family someday." She leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek before Deanna quietly sneaked out the back door.

John came in the room just in time to see the retreating image of the B'Elanna girlfriend. He gave a knowing grunt. "Figures she would pick now to run out on B'Elanna. Knew she was just after one thing."

His wife gave him an irritated glare and she fired off an angry comment at her husband. "Shut up John! You have been after that girl since you met her. She has been nothing but respectful since she has been here. And don't you dare tell B'Elanna that she left, I will do it. She has a headache. I'll explain everything after the party. Now go back in there and try to enjoy yourself." She swatted him on the backside sending him back into the party. She knew why her husband was acting this way. His daughter was his life and having her so far from home and knowing that there was competition for her affection was breaking his heart no matter how happy he was for his daughter. She smiled to herself as she thought that maybe this was a way to get him off the planet to go see her.

The next morning Deanna met B'Elanna at her parent's home. Mary made breakfast late so that Deanna could join them. The meal was a pleasant affair. John found a new respect for Deanna after his wife explained what she had done and why. B'Elanna also was grateful for the selfless act of being able to spend that morning with her parents. The goodbyes at the transport station were tearful and heartfelt. Deanna said her thank you and farewells first to allow the Torres time alone to say goodbye.

When B'Elanna boarded the shuttle it was apparent that she was crying. She refused the seat by a window. Deanna simply opened her arms and B'Elanna fell into them crying on her shoulder. They had been flying for about an hour before Deanna realized that the younger woman had fallen asleep.

Deanna thought back over the last few days that she was on Kessick IV. It had been more than what she thought it would be. She knew that B'Elanna's family was close knit but it was something she never could imagine especially since she only had her family as an example. Spending time with such a loving family almost made up for the lack of intimate time she had with the young woman in her arms. She was happy that they would have 24 hours in San Francisco before she had to report. As she looked down at the sleeping woman, she knew that she would make this relationship work. This woman had given her more than any other woman she had ever been with and only asked for her to be herself. How could a woman so much younger than her be so mature and have a better understanding of life.

After another hour or so the younger woman stirred in her arms bringing her out of her thoughts. She reached up and placed a soft kiss on Deanna's lips. "Sorry I was such a crybaby. I guess I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to leave them. But I'm so glad I have you with me. I guess we didn't have the romantic reunion that we hoped for."

"It's okay. Your parents are wonderful people; I would feel the same way if I was leaving them. I had a good time with your friends and family. Besides I don't think your dad would have ever given us the opportunity to spend more than five minutes alone. He really loves you. Your mother was sweet. I hope you're not mad that I skipped out of your party. It just got a bit tough for me," Deanna quietly explained.

B'Elanna turned so she could face her companion. "I was upset at first until I talked to my mother. Thank you for the time you gave me with my friends and family. My father can be overprotective. I hope he didn't treat you too badly."

"Naw. He just loves you and wants the best for you. After what I have been through with my family he was a teddybear. You know we will be on earth in a few hours and you won't have to report for 24 hours after that."

"What am I going to do with all that time?" B'Elanna cooed softly in her ear.

"Well I can give you a tour of San Francisco. We never saw Golden Gate Park or the Crooked road," she slyly replied with a smirk.

"The only sight I want to see when we land is the inside of a certain someone's bedroom."

Trying to put on a serious face she answered, "So I guess I should try to find out where Tasha Yar lives huh?"

The comment received a hard slap on the arm. "Ouch! I may have to cancel a couple of dates if you're going to be staying with me."

"You are such a funny comedian aren't you? I will get you back for that. I guess you will have to make it up to me."

Not being able to hold in her laughter any longer she reached over and gave the young woman a passionate kiss. "It will be my pleasure to make up for any wrong doing I have done."

"Well if you kiss me like that some more, I might, I might be able to forgive you."

That was the only cue Deanna needed to take the woman in her arms and kiss her soundly. For remainder of the time until they reached Earth the couple spent it kissing and exchanging loving words with each other.

When they arrived in San Francisco, they decided to go get dinner before going to Deanna's apartment.

"Did you want to say hello to your father since we are in town?" B'Elanna asked between bites of food.

"No he's on Betazed with my mother. He had a lot of leave and decided to take it on Betazed," Deanna simply stated.

B'Elanna's mouth dropped open hearing the news. "You mean your father and mother are…"

Laughing she said, "I guess the flame never died between them. They promised my sister that they wouldn't remarry until she and her fiancé, Merris got married first."

"Hmm, interesting. Very interesting," B'Elanna said with a devious grin.

Feeling like she just walked into a trap, she yelled, "What?!"

"Oh nothing. It's just interesting that your sister is getting married and possibly your mother and father. Seems like it is a family trait that's all."

"What are you saying?" Deanna said with fear in her voice.

B'Elanna laughed so hard she was shaking and tears were rolling down her face. "I told you I would get you back for that Tasha comment."

Deanna blew out a deep breath and tried to laugh it off. "Hey are you done eating? Let's go back to my place and you can continue to tease me if that will make you happy." B'Elanna could tell from her tone that she was put out by her teasing.

The walk back to the apartment was in silence. The young woman hoped that she didn't go too far. She quietly walked up next to her and slid her in arm in hers. "Hey are you mad at me? You know I was just teasing you."

"No I'm not mad at you." Deanna became quiet again for a few more minutes. "Would you want to get married someday? I never thought about getting married until you."

"I… uh… I do," B'Elanna stammered.

"Oh B'Elanna I wasn't saying we…I was just talking about the idea of getting married. Knowing that I can care about somebody like you gives me hope that I may someday be able to get married." Deanna was desperately trying to explain.

She looked at her friend and knew that she couldn't see her life without her in it. "I got my schedule and I get my first 48 hour leave two months from when I report. Where are you going to take me?"

Deanna's eyes brightened. She realized they had arrived at her apartment. "Why don't we talk about it inside?"

"Sounds good to me."

Once inside the apartment, Deanna took B'Elanna's overnight bag to her bedroom. The rest of her baggage was sent to the academy dorms. When she walked out of the bedroom she saw B'Elanna staring out the window that overlooked the moonlit Bay. She looked at her for several moments thinking if she were to get married this would be the woman. As she stood there looking at the silhouetted woman by the moonlight she realized that she had not had the opportunity to truly be with her which made her need for her grow and her desire to touch her become overwhelming.

Deanna quietly walked over to B'Elanna and gently glided her hands down her arms. She felt her shutter through her fingertips. Moving her hair to the side she placed a tender kiss at the base of her neck. She could hear the young woman moan softly at the contact. Wrapping one arm around her slender waist she lightly placed her other hand on her forehead delicately running her fingers along her ridges and turning her head so she could have better access to the skin on her neck. She saw B'Elanna's reflection in the window with her closed eyes and mouth slightly opening with a moan on her lips. She thought she was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.

After several minutes of being cloaked in the feel of Deanna's lips and tongue on her skin, B'Elanna turned slowly in her arms so not to lose contact with her touch wanting to taste Deanna's lips. Looking deeply into her chestnut eyes, the young woman licked and nipped her bottom lip slowly and methodically until she needed to captured both lips in a deep passionate kiss. As they kissed and explored the softness of each other's mouth their hands began their own journey of exploration of each other's body removing clothing that interfered with their ability to touch the heated skin.

The need for air caused them to part lips but their hands continued their exploration and their mouths moved to other sensual areas. Deanna took both of B'Elanna breasts in her hands and firmly massaged them until her nipples stood at attention. Not willing to let her nipples go unattended she took an erect nipple in her mouth and sucked and licked around the base while continuing to massage the other.

B'Elanna threw her head back and moaned to the erotic sensation that her lover was giving her. She could feel the heat beginning to rise in her center and the wetness forming between her legs.

Not being able to handle the foreplay any longer B'Elanna nipped at Deanna's ear and whispered seductively, "Either take me to your bedroom or take me here."

This inflamed the already inferno building within Deanna as she pulled her by the waist kissing her all the way to her bedroom. She softly laid her on the bed and lightly climbed on top of her and proceeded to kiss not only her lips but her neck, chest and paying extra attention to her breast. B'Elanna responded to the need of her inflamed sex by straddling the leg of Deanna pressing hard against it trying to get the release she so desperately craved.

Deanna's hand slowly felt its way down her stomach to her thigh to the soft wet curls. She lightly teased the heated area by running her finger along the soft flesh which caused B'Elanna to moan loudly as she called out Deanna's name begging for release. She took two fingers and slowly glided them into her wet center feeling her inner walls snuggly grab her fingers not willing to let go until they completed their task. As she moved her fingers in and out B'Elanna kept pace with the rhythm set by Deanna. As she quicken the pace she could feel the young woman growing closer to her climax.

"Oh Deanna! Yes!" B'Elanna cried as she climaxed. Deanna placed soft kisses all over her face and chest as she held onto the woman as she came down from her erotic high and regained control of her breathing.

"Are you okay baby?" She asked after her breathing appeared to gain a normal rate.

"Yess." She said breathlessly. "Thank you."

Deanna took the young woman in her arms and held her tightly. She reveled in the feel of her skin against her own and the heat she generated. She knew she could hold this woman forever in her embrace.

B'Elanna turned in her arms so she could face her lover. She kissed her soundly. "Give me a minute and I will gladly repay the favor."

Smiling at the woman in her arms she said, "It was not a favor but a privilege and delight. But if you feel you owe me who am I to argue."

The couple stayed in bed most of the next day. They ordered food in so they could spend all their time together not wanting to think about the outside world and next morning. B'Elanna had to report at 0600 the next morning so they knew that they would have to go to sleep early. She tried to talk Deanna out of getting up early and going with her but she strongly shot down.

"I want to spend all the time I can with you. So even if it's just to walk you to 'school' I'll take what I can get," Deanna said teasingly.

"I wish you could walk me to school everyday," she teased back. She was quiet for a long while. "Are you going to go back to the Galaxy Club and find someone else when I'm gone?"

Deanna held her tightly in her arms. "Baby, I already met the person I wanted to meet at the Galaxy Club. You said you will get leave soon so we will see each other plus we can correspond with each other. Hey…I'm gonna miss you but I will never forget you." She kissed her soundly trying to convey how much she meant to her.

"I am going to miss you so much. I'm scared I'm going to make a fool of myself or they will think I'm some young nothing," B'Elanna said trying to hide her tears.

"They wouldn't have accepted you if they didn't think you could make it. You will be fine. You may be young but you are brilliant. That's what attracted you to me."

"So where are you going to take me for my first leave? It's got to be special since I will only have less than 48 hours," she said changing the subject.

Frowning her eyes she appeared to be in deep thought. "Well I thought I would invite your father so we could take him sightseeing around San Francisco."

B'Elanna sat up suddenly and playfully slapped her on the arm. "Don't you dare!"

Laughing she kissed her on her head. "How about you let me surprise you? I've done alright in the past, haven't I?"

"Yeah you have."

They laid together for a long while firmly in each other's arms exchanging soft and tender kisses and words of love.



"I think I could fall in love with you. You think that's silly?" Deanna shyly declared.

B'Elanna knew she couldn't look at her because she really would cry from being overcome with joy. "I don't think it's silly at all. I think I want to ask you to marry me after I become the youngest Lieutenant in Starfleet."

"Yeah? As long as I don't have to wear some frilly dress, but you will look very handsome in your dress uniform."

They spent the rest of the evening talking about their wishes and dreams for their future together until sleep claimed both of them sending them into soft and warm dreams.

The next morning was bitter sweet for both women. They decided to eat a light breakfast so they wouldn't arrive too early making them have to prolong their already hard goodbyes.

They arrived outside the Induction Center and were among other recruits saying their goodbyes to their love ones. Deanna was carrying her overnight bag. She took the young woman in her arms and kissed her passionately. They took one last look in each other's eyes before Deanna quickly gave her the bag and turned to leave. She felt B'Elanna still looking at her so she turned and over her shoulder she said, "Have a good day at school baby and play nice with the other kids."

This caused B'Elanna to laugh as she waved goodbye. She felt that she would now be able to face whatever challenges came her way especially now that she had someone to share her experience with.

Two months later…

Deanna was waiting when she was released for her first leave. As promised, she had planned something special. She arranged for them to revisit the place of their first date, New Orleans. The restaurant where they ate had a special table with candles set up for them. There was a jazz band playing and they danced late into the night until they went back to their hotel in the French Quarter.

"Was this a good enough surprise for you?" Deanna asked.

"Better than the first we were here," B'Elanna answered with a kiss. "I'm just glad you didn't invite my father along."

This comment sent them both into hysterical laughter.

Two Years later…

The couple had spent every available moment they had together as well as communicating constantly. The day finally came when B'Elanna graduated the Academy. Her parents had come from Kessick IV for the ceremony. They even took her father sightseeing in San Francisco. He would get a strange look on his face as the two woman would giggle for no reason when they would take him to a different tourist spot.

B'Elanna was afraid to tell Deanna that she was posted on the exploration ship the USS Butler because she would be gone for months at a time. When she did she was surprised by her lover's response.

"You were assigned to the Engineering Department of a Starship. My father said the Chief Engineer is one of the best. You will probably be able to make Lieutenant under her," she said with a wink.

"Maybe you can come visit me when I get leave?"

"That sounds great if I can get someone to watch the shop for me." Seeing her surprised look she continued. "Oh I didn't tell you but my aunt and uncle retired and gave me their shop to run. So I'm like a business woman now. Not sure how long I can handle it but it keeps me out of trouble."

She smiled brightly as she gave her a hug and kiss, "I'm so happy for you."

"When do you have to report to duty?"

"In two weeks. Why?"

She took her hand as they walked across the Golden Gate Bridge Deanna nonchalantly said, "Well I need a date for my sister's wedding. Fancy a trip to Betazed? Or is it Bajor. Damn I guess I should remember what planet it's on especially since I'm in the wedding."

"I'm glad you and your sister have been getting along so well. By the way it's on Bajor. Your sister invited me six weeks ago. She thought you might forget where it's at since she wants you to wear a frilly dress. So I guess I will get to meet your mother finally?"

"How long have you and Kestra been talking?" Deanna asked surprised.

"For about a year. She's really sweet. I have my Papa and you have your big sister looking out for us. Are you going to invite me to your parent's wedding?"

"No. Before you get upset, Kestra and I weren't invited either. They ran off and got married in New Vegas like a couple of lovesick teenagers. They will be back from their Honeymoon on Risa a week before Kestra's wedding," she said with an annoyed tone of voice.

B'Elanna smiled at her girlfriend knowing that her air of annoyance was an act. She has never been happier since she had her family back. And she has never gone back on her word in supporting her.

Four Years later…

Deanna was sad that she wasn't able to be there when she received her Lieutenant, Junior grade PIP. She was given the promotion aboard the ship. B'Elanna sent her a Holo-image of the Captain pinning the PIP on and another of her and the Chief Engineer. She was so proud of her and wished she could have been there to share in the moment that she had worked so hard for.

She was getting another posting to another Starship but would not tell her which one. The good news was that she had a full month before she had to report as she had to wait for the ship to come to Earth.

Deanna was waiting when her shuttle arrived with an arm full of red roses and a pendant she had made with the symbol representing the Klingon house of her mother. When she gave her the pendant, B'Elanna cried for what seemed like ten minutes. She was so touched that Deanna would do something this special for her she couldn't wait to get her alone.

The next day B'Elanna had arranged a special dinner in Spain at the restaurant where they had their second date. She arranged for them to have the same food and drink.

After they finished their dinner, Deanna reached across the table and took her girlfriend's hand as she gently rubbed her thumb across her palm. "I was supposed to take you out to celebrate Lieutenant." She brought her hand to her lips and kissed her palm.

All of a sudden, Deanna got this panic look on her face. "This wasn't so you can soften the blow. You got assigned to a deep space exploration ship that will take you away for years. You haven't met someone else?"

Not wanting to see Deanna make herself sick with worry, B'Elanna took the hand that was holding hers and went and kneeled next to her. She took a ring out of her jacket pocket and placed it on her finger.

"Remember what I said to you right before I went to the Academy?" The questioning look caused B'Elanna to smile as she kissed her hand. "I said that I would ask you to marry me when I made lieutenant. I love you. Deanna Troi will you do me the honor of being my wife and making me the happiest person in the universe."

Deanna never really thought she was serious when she told her she wanted to marry her all those years ago. But here she was on her knee, putting a ring on her finger and asking to marry her. Her eyes began to flood with tears that she could barely see the ring.

"Yes, Yess I will marry you. Oh baby I love you." Deanna pulled her up into her lap and they kissed passionately. Later that evening they had dessert in Paris. I have to call my parents and Kestra to tell them. We can let Kestra know when we get back but I already told your parents. I had to ask their permission. Besides that's how I got the idea about the ring. Deanna really looked at the ring for the first and noticed that it was the crest of her mother's family. She looked at her confused.

"Your mother sent me the ring to give to you. It belonged to your great-grandmother. She gave it to your mother with instructions to pass it on to her child. She tried to give it to Kestra when she got married but she wanted you to have it."

"Oh baby…" Deanna cried.

"Not that I don't want you to enjoy this moment but I have something else to tell you."

"Okaay…" she said cautiously.

"We have to get married before the end of the month."

"What!! We have to arrange a wedding in a month. Not that I want some big and flashy ceremony like my sister's wedding but a month…Why so quick? You do have a deep space assignment."

B'Elanna kissed her passionately in order to stop her from rambling. "Deanna, sweetheart. The reason we have to get married so quickly is because I want our family to be there before we have to leave."

"Leave? Where are we going?"

"I have been posted to the USS Enterprise. I will be working with Commander LaForge who is head of Engineering." Seeing that she still did not understand, she continued. "The Enterprise is a generational ship so we can be together."

Understanding finally registering, she got a huge smile on her face and kissed her wife to be. Her happy expression then quickly turned to concern.

"We have so much to do in a month. We have to pick a place and then make sure your folks can get here as well as Kestra and her husband and my parents. I have to talk to my cousins to see if they will run the shop. We have to create a guest list, menu…"

Deanna continued to rattle off a list of things to do talking rapidly and walking circles around B'Elanna. B'Elanna just watched the beautiful woman and smiled feeling happier than she has ever felt in her life. She thought to herself, 'And Deanna said that I talk a lot.'

The End

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