<USS Banshee> "The Last One to Know"
- From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 14:58:54 -0700
“The Last One to Know”
by Lieutenant Commander Joshua Asper
& Lieutenant JG Telsia Ehling
Slumber hadn't come to him. He sat awake in bed, but it didn't matter. No, not this time. It had been a taxing couple of days and being able to just be near his darling fiancee made the exasperating time not so exhausting. Josh had his arms wrapped around Telsia and they lay silently in the dark with nothing to keep them company but their dreams and their compassion for each other. With his body nestled close to hers he watched her in the starlight. His fingers ran through her hair and down the nape of her neck as she silently slept. God, she was beautiful.
The innocence was interrupted by the pulsating sound of an incoming communique. Slowly moving away from Telsia he stood, gazed at the chronometer, and moved into the living room. Who would call him at three in the morning? Scratching an itch on his bare chest, Josh tapped the button to receive the call.
"Sorry it is so, oh, I must have gotten the wrong coordinates."
Josh rubbed what little slept he had out of his eyes as he stared at the graying woman on the screen. She couldn't have been much past fifty if fifty at all. She looked vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t put his finger on exactly where he’d seen her. "Who were you hoping to reach, maybe I can transfer you."
"Lieutenant JG Telsia Ehling."
"No, you have the right quarters. She's asleep. Can I tell her who called?" Josh wasn't about to wake the sleeping woman and mess up the perfect tranquility that they'd managed to foster during the Banshee's mission; it was, in all honesty, a relentless torment. Turning, Josh gazed back at the prone form lying amongst silk sheets. "I can have her contact you in the morning."
"My baby is there? What the hell is she doing there? Who are you? Where's Eric? Put her on."
Josh's brain went into overdrive. Telsia's mother, perhaps? He didn't recognize her, but chalked it up to the fact that he'd met her only once and that was during a rushed lunch between final exams. Blinking, he put up his hands, "Ms. Ehling - "
"Telsia, wake up. Your mother would like to speak to you!"
Grumbling as Josh woke her up from a wonderful dream she had been having, Telsia rolled over and glared at him. "Why in the world are you yelling Josh? It's three in the morning, come back to bed," she said, her voice still heavy with sleep.
"Tel," Josh started, he was still eye to eye with her very obviously angry mother, "I said that you have a communication. Your mother would very much like to speak with you and she wants to speak with you now. Did you hear that? Your mother."
"Damn!" Tel cursed loudly as what Josh said sunk in. Climbing out of bed, Telsia wrapped a matching robe around her night gown and moved over to where Josh was sitting staring at the screen in front of himself. Looking over Josh's shoulder, Tel was forced to look into her mother's eyes, a woman she hadn't talked to since long before Eric and Tel had broken up. Placing a hand on Josh's back, Telsia placed a forced smile on her face, "hello mother, how are you doing?"
"Don't 'hello mother' me! Who is this scoundrel and what the hell are you doing in his bed? Wait, don't answer that, I don't think I want to know," Telsia's mother began to search around frantically on the view screen, "is Cameron with Eric while you're off gallivanting with strange men?"
"Excuse, Mrs. Ehling," Josh began. Mrs. Ehling? Or, Jennifer?
The woman held up a solitary finger, "you, stop talking. Telsia, will you explain to me what is going on? I tell the communications guru, a very unpleasant man named Chaos, that I need to speak with Telsia Ehling and he gives me these coordinates."
"Mother, if you will calm down and not yell I’ll answer everyone of your questions. But the second you start yelling or saying anything bad about either Josh or I, I'm going to end this communication, is that understood?" Tel really didn't feel like dealing with her mother or explaining all that had happened; she knew it was something she was going to have to do sooner or later anyways but she just didn't feel like it.
Borderline glaring at Josh, she gauged him up and down, "Josh? Ensign Joshua Asper? The one that was in Nova Squadron? The one you dated at the academy. THAT Josh?"
"Yes mother, that Josh, only he's no longer an Ensign, he's gone very far in his career." Tel smiled up at Josh before looking back at her mother. "As for Cameron, he's asleep in the other room, in his bedroom. And, Eric is no longer in my and Cameron's life." Telsia paused for a moment, "actually mom, Josh and I are engaged now."
"What? When was the divorce? Why did he end it? What did you do? He was such a caring man and an excellent father. And now you pull Cameron out of a loving household to be raised by this flyboy? What kind of skills does he have?" The woman was entering hysterics and the tears were already starting to pool on the edges of her eyes. "Cameron won't even know his father!"
Josh knelt down next to Tel and put a comforting hand on her knee, "Ma'am, with all due respect, I love your daughter more than anything. I would hope that you would see that just in my presence. If you don't, I'm not doing my job." He smiled up at his fiancee and squeezed her knee a bit.
"Stay out of this," Telsia's mother fumed looking for the right words, "home wrecker. Why, Telsia, I want to know why."
"Oh mother, you’re so overly dramatic it's tiring," Tel said, slipping her hand into Josh's, needing the warmth of his skin against hers. "As for you calling Eric loving and caring and all the other crap you just said, you don't really know him. Eric was abusive. He used to beat me mother, in fact, Josh is the one that saved me. He found out about Eric's abuse and saved me." Telsia squeezed Josh's hand for a moment. "As for Cameron not knowing his father, you couldn't be farther from the truth. Josh is actually Cameron's dad, I got pregnant back in the academy." It wasn't something that she really wanted to tell her mother but she knew in order to get her mother to stop freaking out, the only way to do it, was if she told the entire truth.
Her mother's jaw dropped through the floor. "And you never told me? Why? Why would you conceal something like that? We always liked Josh - you know that. He made you so happy all the time. I don't even know you anymore, Telsia! You don't tell us things and then I call to see a half naked man sitting at the console. Though he's not bad looking, but that's besides the point!"
Smirking, Josh stood up and walked into the bedroom to pull on a shirt. "I'm sorry for the confusion Ms. Ehling. Just know that I will love your daughter forever and I will not let anything happen to her or Cameron," Josh heard a soft cry coming from their son's bedroom, "speaking of the little devil, I'll be right back."
"What did he do after the academy? Rank? Position? Future?" Jennifer’s mind was obviously racing about a mile a minute. "Is he good for you?"
Telsia smiled as Josh left to go take care of their child. "He's wonderful for me mother, and after the Academy Josh had to leave for a top secret mission. I guess that's why I never told you guys, Josh didn't even know that I was pregnant when he left. But he has an amazing future and he loves me very much and he loves Cameron even more." Telsia smiled even more as she thought about Josh and his love for both her and their son.
"What's his status in Starfleet? Admiral worthy someday?"
"Mother, what does that have to do with anything?" Tel was suddenly remembering why she stopped speaking to her parents unless they sought her out.
"Why do you always accuse me of some ulterior motive?" Telsia's mother's frown shifted into a smile as Josh emerged from the bedroom holding the flailing toddler. "Oh, he's grown so much since I last saw him. You don't come home nearly enough these days, Telsia, we want to see our grandson and our new soon-to-be-son-in-law."
"We'll be back sometime next month because of shore leave and a leave of absence to see my brother graduate. I'm sure that we can make a trip to your house during that time, right Telsia?" He fully expected to get reamed for it at a later date, but it would go a long way to reconnect Telsia and her mother. Josh had lost his connection when he was a teenager and never got it back. He wasn't about to let Telsia make the same mistake whether she wanted to or not.
Turning to glare at Josh over her shoulder, she forced herself to bite her lip and turn back to her mother. "Yes, that is true," she said through nearly clenched teeth. "Josh and I will be going to his brother’s graduation soon." Tel didn't want to give up any dates because she didn’t want to have to deal with her mother telling her to come home and visit. Telsia had hoped to get away without her family finding out she was going to be near home.
"Oh, splendid! Then we'll see you then!" And, just like that, the communications screen went blank and the room was silent again. However, the serenity was gone and it wasn't coming back.
There was something in the air, but Josh shrugged it off and put Cameron back to bed as he'd fallen asleep in his father’s arms. "I'm sorry, Telsia, but she wasn't going to shut up until you agreed to come see her anyway. You'll endure a little bit, won't you? Parents aren't that bad and I know that for a fact. Give them a chance. You will at least have a chance to get to know yours again."
Sitting there quiet for a moment, Telsia wasn't going to let herself get angry at Josh for doing that to her. Instead she stood up and walked back to her bed, slipping off her robe before sitting on the edge of the bed. "I know my parents, Josh; they drive me insane. It was my fear of them that caused me to end up marrying Eric in the first place. I don't want to go see them or spend time with them." Tel's voice had been monotone the entire time she had spoken.
Josh followed her and placed his hands on the sides of her face, "I loved my parents more than anything. I got separated from them and realized just how much I really cared for them and loved them. If you don't reconcile your differences you are going to regret it. As your fiancee, as your soon-to-be husband, and as your friend I don't want to see that happen. Please, see them. For me."
Looking up into Josh's face, Tel knew she couldn't say no to him, not when it dealt with something he cared about so much. She nodded lightly, "all right Josh, for you and for Cameron I'll go see my parents, but you have to come with me, I can't go face them on my own."
"And be subjected to that bitch?" He laughed and then paused, "I wouldn't miss it."
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