<USS Banshee> "Sweet Bitterness"

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 16:30:18 -0800

“Sweet Bitterness”
by Lt. Commander Joshua Asper
& Lieutenant Telsia Ehling

Telsia and Cameron were sitting on the living room floor. Cameron was attempting to color a picture for Josh but Tel had to laugh at the little boys effort. The picture was just a bunch of lines and color blobs, nothing really tangible as a picture. Tel smiled at her son and was silently praying that Josh would like the picture Cameron took so long to make for him.

It had been, literally, the shift from hell. If there was a record somewhere for the amount of things to go wrong on a standard shift than he was sure that he'd not only broken it, but obliterated the remnants of it. He ran a weary hand across his eyes and stepped out of the turbolift. Down the hall he dragged himself and finally made it to the door. Walking in his sanctuary he took two steps and planted himself firmly on the couch face down without a care in the world. "I'm home."

Before Tel was able to great Josh properly, Cameron ran to his father with the picture in hand. He stood next to Josh, holding out the picture proudly. Telsia smiled, "welcome home Josh. Your son has something for you that he's worked on most of the night."

Turning his head over he stared at his son and took the picture with a smile, "oh, wow, look at all the pretty colors. Nowadays you can sell this on the black market and make millions. Thanks, Cam." And he handed the picture back to his son and winked at Telsia. Sighing, he rolled over again and buried his face into the corner of the couch.

Cameron took the picture back from his father half heartedly and looked up at his mom, a sad, confused look on his face. Tel, figuring that Josh had had a long, bad day bent over and picked up her son. "Come on honey, Daddy will look at the picture closer later, he's just tired right now," she tried to explain as she carried Cameron into his bedroom, hoping to give Josh some peace.

"Look at it closer? Do you want me to get sick? It's like putting a targ in a blender. Our son may be gifted in the arts someday, but today he just merely doesn't grasp the concept," Josh laughed as he leaned over and looked at the retreating form of Telsia. "Our son will be a great doctor someday, I'm sure. We can use that picture as one of those ink blot tests."

Telsia set Cameron down and shooed him into his room before turning around to look at Josh. "I know that the picture is just a bunch of color blotches but we need to encourage him from a young age at anything he does. Your son has been working on that picture for you for over an hour and was excited to give it to you and all you did is glance at him, give an unmotivated compliment, and gave it back to him. You should have seen the look on his face." Sighing, Tel realized that she was lecturing Josh again on Cameron. "Look, I'm sorry, I know you've probably had a long day, it just would have been nice if you had shown some emotion or told him you were going to hang it up but whatever, I'm going to go finish playing with him for a while."

"Why do you do that?"

"Why do I do what?"

"Insist on rubbing it in that you know more about raising a child," he leaned up, "it's quite annoying."

"I'm not rubbing anything in, I'm trying to get you involved in your child's life," Tel said, trying to make Josh understand how bad it hurt Cameron and herself when he took a passive role in raising Cameron. "I don't know any more then the next person does about raising a child, I'm just trying to be the best mother I possibly can and give the best family life I can and I just feel like sometimes you don't help at all, that you don't care about him." At this point, Telsia had moved fully back into the living room and was standing near the sofa.

He bolted upright, "are you kidding me? I don't care about him? Every time that I try and do something loving you do this. You should do this, Josh. You should do this too. Why'd you do that?" Josh laughed as he flailed his arms all over the place, "I am trying my best, if you hadn't noticed, but you forget that I have a job on this ship to do. As much as I don't want to say it, my first priority is this ship and its crew."

"Oh and I don't have a job on this ship, I don't have responsibilities to this ship and the crew!" Tel argued back at him. "No, I just sit here in our quarters all day long playing with Cameron and thinking of things I can tell you to do to be a better father, that's all I do! I don't spend half of my day in Sick Bay taking care of sick and injured patients. I don't have emotionly draining or exhausting days where all I want to do is come back take a hot bath and sleep but instead have a son to raise. No Josh, I don't have to deal with anything like you have to deal with. Your life is so hard." With that Telsia turned and stormed into their bedroom, her cheeks flushed with anger.

Josh stared after her, "You're damn straight it is. Why don't you try working on the bridge with Captain Ambiguity and Commander Warp Theory! My job deals with the weapons and the defense of this ship, our home! One wrong move and this could all be gone. We could all be specks of space dust, Cameron too!" He stood up, fighting the urge to pace, "and then I get to come home to this? You're nagging and incessant whining about my parenting skills?"

"Well you know what, if it's that bad then you don't have to be here," Tel yelled back at him. "It was your choice to come and so far it's been your choice to stay, so if you don't want to deal with any whinning or nagging from me because of the way in which you ignore your son, then you can leave, you know where the door is." Telsia throwing the shirt that she had just picked up off the floor onto the bed, frustrated and angry with how they both were dealing with the situation and upset because she knew that part of what Josh was saying was true.

"I wish I make a living analyzing your argument habits!" Josh stood up and moved to the doorjamb, "you always throw the leaving card in my face. I'm not going to leave, but you constantly point out my faults isn't helping! I'm doing my best, Telsia, you have to know that. I never really remember having a good father figure. It's all a blur and I'm piecing the pieces back together, albeit slowly."

"So why can't you become what you always wish you had had?" Telsia asked him pleadingly. "I know you didn't have a good father figure, so why can't you think of what you would have wanted in a father and be that for Cameron. Our son loves you and wants your attention so badly."

He groaned, "I try, Tel, I really do. There is just a lot going on right now and it's hard to give him the attention he deserves."

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Telsia sighed. "I know, I have a hard time spending as much time with him as he needs." Tel stood back up and continued cleaning up their bedroom. "Look, just forget I said anything, we'll pretend none of this happened and I'll stop getting on your case about Cameron."

"It's not going to go away, Telsia." Josh said, sitting down beside her, "we need to get off Banshee for a while. We need to just get out."

"Are you talking about a leave or a transfer?" she asked, thinking about the possibility of either.

"Leave, for starters. I know we'd been talking about Jerrad's graduation, but if it doesn't get any better then maybe a transfer. Someplace like a science station where security isn't so bad and medical is just to same. Where we can settle down, enjoy Starfleet, and have a family." Josh sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "When I said I put this crew first, I wish I didn't have to say that. With a transfer, we may have that."

Thinking for a moment, Tel stared off into space before nodding her head. "That sounds smart. I want this family to work, I want us to be happy but I don't want you to give up anything you don't want to, including this ship."

"I know, but sometimes it happens."

Telsia, placed her hand Josh's knee and looked at him. "I'm sorry that you have to deal with my bad attitude every time you come home from work."

"Me too," he said jokingly, "but it's not you. It's the situation."

"Yeah," just as Tel was about to say more, Cameron walked into their bedroom playing with his favorite toy, a model of the original USS Enterprise. Telsia smiled as her son made flying noises.

Josh stood and moved over, snagged the toy out of his hand and tossed it on the bed. Lifting him up, Josh swung the young boy around in a circle and made the flying sounds that his son was making. The boy laughed and giggled as he held on for the ride. It felt good to hold his son and it made him feel better to hear the innocent laughter. It made everything seem perfect.

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