By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01

  I laughed, out aloud, like some manic idiot.

And then I cried.

And then I began laughing again, only this time, the tears continued to stream down my face. I wasn't sure if it was terror, or the absurdity of it all, or the sheer relief, or the realisation that life had just come full circle.

I swiped the huge soul-cleansing teardrops away from my face with the back of my hand, but then gave up the futile task. The more I wiped, the harder they fell.

I stared down blindly at the padd that shook in my hand, trying valiantly to see the blurry words upon its screen. But I didn't need to see them, not really. For the rest of my days, the mono-toned name would remain burned into my mind, and my heart. It was already etched upon my soul, it had been since the day he had come to me, a long time ago.

As I slowly lowered the padd to the table-top, I felt my eyes, and my memories wander off into the past. Two years. Two, long years had passed by. Two years of waiting, hurting and yearning had slipped past, and now when I look back, those years had flown by, along with the worst of my pain.

Now I feel like I am caught in the middle; did I become the woman that I know he'd want me to be, or did I stay the girl that he'd known?

I have changed, probably beyond all recognition. Maybe he wouldn't even realise it was me. Maybe he wouldn't even want to.

Physically I have grown. My hair is longer, my accent is not as strong as it was, and my body is no longer that of a girl. But inside, nothing had changed, nothing.

Will he remember?

Will he remember us?

I remember him. Oh, God, how I remember him.

Can I do this? Can I step back in time and bring us to the future, to now?

Will he want me to?

Oh, God!

Tears that had eased only moments ago, started again, but this time in earnest. This time I realised that I had been living on dreams, dreams that were soon going to come to an end, one way or the other.

Terror bit into me, holding on as though it was never going to let go. I couldn't stand it if he turned me away again. I barely lived through the first time, and I know I couldn't live through a second.

No, he wouldn't do that to me again, I know he wouldn't. He couldn't. He's two years older. He's about to take on the biggest role of his life, and, he's about to step back into my life.


Oh, God!

What if he doesn't want to, what am I going to do then? Can I be on the same ship, feel the way I feel and pretend that I don't?

Do I turn down my one chance of finding out, of losing not only the job I have trained for for the past two years, but the man that has pushed me to this point without even being aware of it?

I stared down at the padd once more, picking it up and studying the name that stared back at me, taunting me, thrilling me, compelling me to meet him head on, face to face, and heart to heart.

In two days, I was going to step on board the new Starship Enterprise D and meet my Imzadi,

and my new commanding officer;

William Thomas Riker.

My past.

My present.

And hopefully my future.

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