"One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back"

Author: Captain Evans & Lieutenant Commander Bentara
Date: May 2, 2384
Location: USS Ronin

Karissa was restless. She didn't understand it, but she couldn't seem to sit still. She had tried to eat, but nothing sounded good to her. She had tried to read, but she couldn't concentrate. She had tried to write, but the words wouldn't come . . . The day had been a particularly difficult one for her. She'd had hardly any appointments and spent most of the day on the bridge . . . with Ryan so near she could have touched him.

Every time he looked at her, she was calm and passive, never giving anything away, but in her heart all she could do was cry and remember what they'd had for a brief moment in time.

She'd hardly gotten any of her work done. His nearness was far too distracting, along with the vivid memories that crept into her mind at every sound of his voice, and every nuance of his movements. So she had to complete it after her shift. She didn't know how she was going to continue this, but she would find a way . . . She had to. It had dawned on her, in her reflections, that even if she could request a transfer she wouldn't do it. She wanted to be near him . . . no matter what . . . Even if it meant enduring this pain for the rest of her life.

This was not helping, she realized, as she found herself before the porthole, looking out into the darkness. Maybe some physical activity would help, she thought . . . She went to her console and saw that the holodeck was free. She quickly reserved the time and headed out the door. Something had to work to take the edge off . . .

"Please take me by the hand
It's so cold out tonight and
I'll put blankets on the bed
I won't turn out the light
Just don't forget to think about me
And I won't forget you
I'll write you once a week she said"

Ryan strummed on his guitar while taking a few steps closer to his window.

"Why does it feel the same
To fall in love or break it off
And if young love is just a game
Then I must have missed the kickoff
Don't depend on me to ever follow through or anything
But I'd go for hell for you and
I haven't been this scared in a long time
And I'm so unprepared so here's your valentine
Bouquet of clumsy words, a simple melody
This worlds an ugly place, but your so beautiful to me"
I'll think about the times
She kissed me after class...."

He stopped playing and set his guitar down on its stand. He paced up and down the room for a while before grabbing his guitar and smashing it across the table. As he realized what he had just done, he slumped into a chair and rubbed his head.

*What's the matter with me? No woman has ever affected me like this before... Not even Jess...*

He got up and started picking up the pieces of his broken guitar.

*Pity... this was a nice guitar* he thought as he picked up the pieces. He placed them in a corner to take them to the larger replicators in the morning.

*How can I handle this? How am I going to manage to see her day in day out?*

Ryan replicated a bottle of vodka and a glass.

*I can't stay here... I wonder if that promotion is still on offer... I'll have to speak to Admiral Pike in the morning*

He necked down a shot of Vodka.

"Computer... Music.."

< Please Specify >

"Something 20th century... Rock."

< Compilation Selected >


Ryan slumped back in his chair and downed another shot of vodka as the music began.

If you could only read my mind...
You would know that things between us, ain't right

*That's true* he thought as the music played through

I want you, I'll take you.. I want you bad...
Complete me.. mistreat me... want you to be bad bad bad bad bad...

"Computer, music off" Ryan got up and headed out of his quarters. *I gotta clear my head*

Karissa walked from the water she had been swimming in, the salt water dripping from her body. She wrung her hair out to limit the dampness against her neck and back as she sat down on the towel she had laid out upon her arrival. But as she took her seat and started out at the ocean, that pain that had been encompassing her slowly crept back. There was no way around it. She wasn't going to find away around these feelings. Either she learned to live with them . . . or . . . or what? She thought . . . Transfer? She wouldn't do it . . . She would find a way to live with it, but how . . . With a heavy sigh, she lost herself in the play of the sunlight on the water.

"I wondered who was running my program," came a voice from behind Karissa. She jumped round like a cat to find Ryan casually walking up behind her. "This is a place called Bosherston... it's about twenty miles from my home. I often come here to be alone with my thoughts"

She smiled softly. "Its a beautiful place," she said, meeting his gaze for only a moment before returning them to the ocean.

"So what brings you here?" asked Ryan, sitting on the sand beside her.

"I needed to burn off some steam," she said, the smile never leaving her face. Having him so near was so hard . . . She wanted to reach over and touch him, but she didn't dare. They had agreed to end things. . .

Ryan sat looking out on the ocean. The waves crashed and he could hear the gulls circling above their heads. "Do you fancy a walk?" asked Ryan, eventually breaking the silence

"That'd be nice," she replied, meeting his gaze once again, trying to hide the depth of emotions within her.

Ryan got to his feet first and put out his hand to help her up. She reached out slowly and Ryan pulled her up, almost into his face. *Should I...?* he thought. He hurriedly decided not too, and took a few steps away along the beach. Karissa followed.

"So what brings you to the holodeck?" she asked. "Something on your mind, or did you just want to unwind from the day?" She was only making conversation. She couldn't tell him that she loved him. That she wanted him . . . That she wanted to wake up with his body against hers . . .

Ryan wanted to tell her why . . . but he couldn't give the real reason. He had been hiding how deep his feelings ran for her so well, that since she hadn't read his mind, he doubted she would ever know just how deep they went. "I just needed a bit of fresh air..." he answered.

She nodded. "Sometimes that's just what's needed . . ." she replied. She had never noticed that her life had been so empty before Ryan. Her world had turned gray without her realizing it could . . .

Ryan looked at her.. her damp hair was blowing softly in the breeze... *Damn she's beautiful!*

"So, uhh.. Tyran and Dinara's wedding is in a couple of days... are you planning on going?"

"Yeah, as a matter of fact," she replied. "I even have a gift already . . . though I still have to wrap it. It's sitting on my dinner table waiting for me," she laughed gently. She realized these moments with Ryan were precious and that she might as well enjoy them however she could. She would just have to be careful and not betray her true feelings. But she was sure she could do it. After all, she was a master pretender . . . Always had been . . .

"You have? I'm not much good at getting people gifts... I still haven't gotten one. Any suggestions?" *Why did I bring this up?! We're going to talk about this for hours most likely*

"Suggestions?" she asked. "Depends on a lot of factors . . . But sometimes simplicity is good . . . A simple frame for a picture . . . Or . . . Oh, I don't know . . . " She laughed. " I usually try to get something with meaning . . . "

"Meaningful eh? I really am clueless when it comes to gifts... what have you got them, if you don't mind me asking?"

"I found a cup from Druvaria on DS11. In their culture, during their marriage ceremonies the couple drinks from a golden chalice called, The Cup Of Happiness. If the couple does this, their union is blessed forever with love, understanding and happiness," she explained. "I just figured it would be a good gift." She thought about drinking from the cup with Ryan and immediately turned her thoughts away. Not that she wanted marriage . . . But she wanted love and happiness . . . and she wanted it with him.

*Love and happiness... why can't I have that?* Ryan asked himself. He sighed. Realizing he'd done that, he quickly said, "Should have looked about on DS11 while I had the chance," to cover up the real reason behind the sigh.

Ryan glanced out at the sea, suddenly he fell with a cry... "AHHHH!"

"What happened?" she asked with sudden concern, but as he shook out his foot she had figured it out. He had stubbed his toes on some rocks. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah I'll be fine" he said as he rubbed the sore toes. *Of all the times this could have happened!* Ryan stood up and started walking again. *This small talk can't last forever. It's bound to come up sooner or later... Might as well be now.*

"Karissa, what made you choose my program exactly?" he asked. He knew he was putting her on the spot and didn't like to do so, but this was often his approach of starting meaningful conversations.

She suddenly felt as if part of her mask had been unstriped, but she held the rest in place firmly. "I came here to swim . . . " she explained, "I didn't know which program to pick and then I saw this one . . . and when I saw it was yours . . . " she shrugged. "I don't know . . . I guess I wanted to see the places you like . . ."

She couldn't go into the fact that it was deeper than that. That she had wanted to know more of who he was . . . and that sometimes the places we chose to go said a lot about that. And it was the only way she could be close to him.

"You know, I always dream to come back here... to Wales. When I retire, this is where I'll come back to. These beautiful beaches... I... I just wish I had someone that maybe I could share it with..." said Ryan, trying to bring forth her feelings again. He had pretty much made up his mind now, not to worry anymore about what Starfleet said. To just go for it and be happy!

Her mask was slipping again. "This would be the perfect place," she said, as her voice broke with emotions she was still trying to reign in. Did he want her? She was afraid to hope, but her control over her feelings was slacking. The Master Pretender was losing her grip. Something that rarely ever happened.

Ryan could see her starting to crack now. But he wasn't quite finished. If he could, he would try to corner her into asking him straight out how he felt about her. "Perfect indeed... Kari... I can call you Kari, can't I?"

"Of course," she replied, almost afraid of his next words.

Remembering how he had put her on the spot a week earlier, with the words 'Let's make it easier. No more beating around the bush. Let's get things out in the open. Do you have feelings for me Karissa, or was last night just down to hormones?' He was almost afraid to ask and hesitated for a moment.

He picked up a stone lying on the beach and threw it into the sea. "Kari, do you believe in love at first sight?"

"I didn't . . ." she replied, the last of her control gone. Tears stung her eyes. "Ryan . . . I have to know . . . what is it you feel for me?" She was afraid of the answer . . . afraid that what he had experienced with her had been no more than her pheromones working in his system . . . She wasn't sure she believed that, but it was her biggest fear . . .

"I... I can't really put it into words..." Ryan stopped and came around in front of her. He touched the side of her face with his hand and wiped away a tear that rolled down her cheek. Her watery eyes, gazed up into his. Ryan couldn't explain it.. it was too strong. "Read my mind. You'll find your answers there," he said.

Feeling his touch made her let the breath out she had been subconsciously holding. She closed her eyes as he allowed his mind to be opened to her. Suddenly, as her mind touched his, she was overwhelmed by the emotions there. They were as deep as her own. As she eyes her opened, she realized her tears hadn't stopped. Her eyes met his, and without thinking she caressed his face.

Ryan pushed the hair back out of her face and kissed her. He had been waiting for this for so long.. but somehow, it still didn't seem right to him. "I'm sorry" he said pulling away and walking a few steps closer to the waters edge.

"Don't be sorry . . ." she replied, walking to him and tenderly reaching for his hand. "What's there to be sorry about?" She knew what he felt now. They both felt it.

"I can't help but be sorry" he said pulling his hand away. He turned and looked into her face. Tears even starting to form in his own eyes. "Kari. Every day I see you, I want to be with you more. But... I don't know.. I guess.. I guess I just worry to much. There's our careers to worry about. It's not so much mine, but yours.. I don't want to spoil your life for you. You've worked hard to get here, and I don't want to take it all away from you here."

Ryan sat down on the sand "Kari... I'd give up anything to be with you. But I can't let you give up anything, if you understand me. It just wouldn't be fair on you"

"If you only knew," she replied with a sad laugh, "Ryan, I realized after our time together that my career wasn't that important to me." She tenderly ran a hand through his hair. "I kept to our bargain because . . . I didn't want to jeopardize you . . . Or your career . . . I can always go back to Earth or wherever, and start a private practice, so I was never worried about that . . . But you . . . " She sighed, "I thought how important your career really was to you and to who you are . . . and that was something I would never ask you to sacrifice . . . " Her tears has started again, though she made no sounds.

"It used to be important to me. I felt that I was here for a reason... to make a difference, and when sitting in that chair, you can make that difference. But now... I guess, it's not all it's cracked up to be. I have done nothing so far but fail as a Captain to this ship. But now, with you, none of that seems important now. I have a new sense of meaning... a new purpose. Besides, neither of us knows for sure that beginning a relationship may end either of our careers..." He sighed and looked back out onto the beach. "But there isn't just that... Had I ever told you about what really happened between myself and Commander Owens?"

She shook her head, and sat down on the sand beside him. "No . . ." she replied.

Ryan dropped his head and began playing with the sand in front of him. "We were engaged to be married..." he began. "But one night, at a party, I screwed up big time. My Commanding Officer made a move and I didn't do anything to fend her off. Jess caught us and left. I never saw or heard from her again until we arrived at DS11. I screwed things up... I don't want anything to screw up between us... It would tear me apart"

"You forget one thing . . . " she smiled. "I'm a telepath . . . I would have known what your intentions would have been, had I been in Jess's place . . ." With that, she moved closer to him, and caressed his face. But this time, she didn't stop her impulse to lean toward him. Tenderly she kissed him, putting every ounce of emotion into it.

Still Ryan resisted though. He pulled away and moved just out of reach. "Kari, I just want to know, before we go any further. Before we make any more decisions. You know the risks. Are you willing to take them?"

"That my career might end?" she asked. "For me, its a risk worth taking . . . But only if you're willing . . . You have more to lose than I do . . . " she said, gazing at him, her dark eyes shining in the sunlight.

Ryan moved back toward her and gently placed a hand on her cheek. He moved in for a kiss "Sure?" he asked before reaching her lips.

"Without a doubt . . ." she replied with a tender smile.

Their lips met as they both lay back in the sand. "Computer, seal doors, authorization Evans 5-5-alpha" He looked back down at Karissa's face. "More secure with my codes" he smiled as he kissed her again.

Ryan and Karissa hurried out of the locked holodeck. They were covered in sand, their hair was a mess and Ryan's shirt was hanging out and undone. They suddenly realized their appearance and hurriedly headed to the nearest turbolift. It was still early, and not many people were about, but a few crewmen walked past and gave them an odd look. They soon reached the turbolift and were heading for deck 4. They broke off a kiss just as the doors opened and hurried off in different directions to their quarters.

"See you on the bridge," said Ryan as he ran down the corridor to his quarters.

He hurriedly undressed and took a quick shower. He straightened his hair, had a shave and then dressed into his uniform. With no time for breakfast, he headed back to the turbolift and met up with Karissa heading back to the same lift.

"Good morning, Captain," she smiled mischievously.

"Ms. Bentara" he nodded to her as they waited for the lift.

She resisted the urge to take his hand, but there was no denying that she was the happiest she'd been in days!

As the lift arrived, they entered it. When the doors closed, she took his hand in hers. Just the simple contact was enough to keep her smile bright and bring memories of last night to her mind.

Ryan turned and kissed her. He managed to break off the kiss just as the doors opened and Lieutenant McMillan entered the lift.

"Yeah, I can see your eyes are looking a bit watery. Maybe you should go and see the doctor," he said, hurriedly making an excuse for his closeness to her face.

"I might do that, Captain . . . " she replied, she didn't know whether to be afraid or to laugh. In her wildest dreams she had not allowed herself to contemplate this outcome. She wasn't prepared. "After my shift," she replied, trying to keep the twinkle out of her eyes.

"Morning, Tricia," said Ryan.

"Good Morning, Captain," she replied. "Have a good night?" she asked not meaning anything of it.

"Ohh.. nothing too special.."

Karissa elbowed him in the side quietly. Fortunately as they were standing behind Tricia, she could do it.

The doors to the bridge slid open and the three stepped out. "Good morning, everyone" he said as he made his way down to the lower level.

Kira, gave him an odd look as he sat down in his chair. "Mighty cheerful today, aren't we Captain?" he asked

"I'm just in a good mood, that's all"

Tyran, from his tactical station, noticed Ryan's good mood, the expression on his face and the spring in his stride. He had the same spring and smile after every night he spent with Dinara. He smiled and got back to his scans.

Karissa had still found it difficult to concentrate on her work while on the bridge. Only this time, she was happy. Though she had managed to keep her professional facade in place, she had not been able to stop herself from stealing glances of Ryan every now and then. However, she had made sure that she wouldn't be noticed. And on the occasions their eyes met, volumes were spoken. But they always managed to break their connection before someone caught them.

The doors of the turbolifts slid open toward the back of the ship, and beta shift began filing out onto the bridge. Alpha shift got up and headed for the turbolifts. Slowly the turbolift emptied and left Ryan and Karissa in it alone.

"Alone at last," Ryan said.

She smiled, and with a devilish grin she looked at him. "Your place, or mine?" Her laugh was soft as their eyes met.

"Mine? We seem to have spent a lot of time at yours".

"All right! Yours then!"

The doors slid open and they stepped out. It was only a quick walk from the turbolift to Ryan's quarters. They were soon inside and on the sofa. "Would you like something to eat?" asked Ryan, breaking off a kiss.

"I'm hungry," she said, as her eyes danced, "But not for food . . ." She gently ran a hand through his hair. She loved the feel of it through her fingers.

Ryan smiled and stared down into her eyes. "Ohh yeah... and what else could you want apart from food?" he asked, playing around with the curls in her hair.

She moved herself onto her knees on the couch and without hesitation, straddled Ryan's lap. "Do I really have to spell it out?" she said in a seductive tone, nibbling her lower lip in anticipation. She caressed his face and leaned toward him, kissing him with all the passion that filled her.

With no more need to talk, and no chance of stopping now, for she had pushed him down on the sofa and was lying on top of him, Ryan kissed back and relaxed a bit. This was soon brought to an end. The chime of his door rang and he sat up with a start throwing Karissa off onto the floor.

Karissa pulled herself up and they both stared at the door. The chime rang again.

"That's Admiral Pike out there . . ." She said with surprise and concern.. "He wants to talk with you . . . "

"Darn... umm... quickly... go into my bedroom" he said, pointing the way.

Karissa rushed into the bedroom as Ryan picked up a PADD and sat down on a chair. "Enter" he called.

Admiral Pike walked in and stopped with a curious look as he entered. The ornament on Ryan's coffee table had been knocked over, the cushions on the sofa were either out of place, or on the floor. Then Pike caught sight of the broken guitar lying in the corner.

"What can I do for you?" asked Ryan, spinning round in the chair. Pike's expression grew to one of even more intrigue as Ryan spun around on the chair with his tunic half unzipped, his hair ruffled up and missing a boot.

"Rough day?" he asked, making sure that Ryan understood that he had taken everything in.

Ryan, realizing the scene that Pike had been confronted with nervously cleared his throat. "Uhh... well.. you know... yes.. no, not really.."

"Well, Captain, is it yes or no?" he asked.

~Tell him no~ came a voice in his head as he replied "Yes."

"Personal problems?" he asked, meeting Ryan's gaze, but decided to drop it and turned away for a moment. "We're approaching Terasarr with its five moons. I was curious to know if you were planning on any survey missions while we're here . . ."

"Ohh we are?? Err.. I'll send Wang and McMillan out on the Flier in the morning. I'm sure the Lieutenant would be eager to chart the planet. Maybe gather some supplies or something..." said Ryan, beginning to get a bit more relaxed around Pike.

Admiral Pike nodded. "Very well, Captain, I'll leave you to . . . " he looked around the quarters once more "your problems . . . Perhaps you should see Commander Bentara in the morning."

"I'll make sure I do that," said Ryan. He looked at his PADD, turned it the right way up and glanced back at Pike with a smile. "See you in the morning." With that, the Admiral took his leave and vanished out the door. Ryan breathed a sigh of relief as Karissa came out of the bedroom. "That was a close one," he said.

Karissa looking a bit shaken. She hadn't been prepared for something like that and it had unnerved her. But as she went to Ryan and he reached for her, her nerves began to settle down.

"He suspects something," she said. "He just doesn't know what . . ."

"I noticed too..." he said as he held her toward him. "We're going to have to be more careful in future."

She nodded, as he pulled her down onto his lap. She smiled. For the moment, she wasn't going to worry about it. She was with Ryan . . . That's all that mattered.

Ryan, holding her close whispered in her ear, "Let's not worry about it now."

She hadn't slept at all as she enjoyed the feeling of Ryan against her. She studied his face as he slept. He looked so peaceful and his breath was deep and steady. She loved him . . . More than she ever thought she could love another person . . . As she turned the incidents over in her mind, she knew she was going to have to make a choice that would break her heart. But she wouldn't let Ryan ruin his career over her. She had thought about it long and hard all night, and though she thought she was willing to live with the consequences, she was unsure if she could now . . . Ryan didn't believe that he was a good Captain, but she knew better and she wanted him to have the chance to prove that to himself. And the past day had been proof that their relationship was going to endanger that. They had almost been caught on several occasions . . . but the worst had been with Admiral Pike . . . *He shouldn't have to lie to his superior officer because of me,* she thought. Tears stung her eyes as her mind played over the memories of the last 36 hours. They were the happiest she could remember. She had been thinking about writing to her parents and telling them that she had found someone special, but now . . . now she was going to have to do the most painful thing in her life. She was going to have to break off their affair. Tears glistened in her eyes as she gently brush a stray hair from his face. This moment would have to last her for the rest of her life. Maybe after her current assignment was up, she would consider going back to Earth and starting that Private Practice . . . Maybe she would even move to Whales . . . see that beach for herself . . . If she even stayed that long . . . Being here was going to be a burden on Ryan and she didn't want that either . . . so if she had to leave, to preserve him and his seat as Captain, she would . . .

Suddenly, his eyes opened, sleepily and took in her countenance.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

She smiled. "I'm fine . . . Go back to sleep," she whispered and kissed his lips tenderly.

As she snuggled closer to him, she closed her eyes. His arms went around her and she could feel him drift back to sleep. How was she ever going to live without him and be happy again? It wasn't possible, she thought . . .

She hadn't slept. As morning approached, she had gotten up out of the bed without disturbing Ryan. She had found an old shirt of his and had slipped it on. Then she had gone to the replicator. She needed some raktajino. Without looking in a mirror, she knew she looked worn. Whenever she didn't sleep, her eyes showed it. She didn't require a lot of sleep, thanks again to her DNA. On average, she got 3 hours a night. But if she didn't get any it took it toll . . . She sat down on the couch, after fixing the cousins. She didn't know what she was going to say to him. At this point, he'd hate her . . . She was going back on what she had said, and she knew it would hurt them both. But she couldn't see any other way out of it . . . Ruining her own career was one thing . . . Ruining his was something entirely different . . .

Ryan stepped out of the bedroom, yawned and stretched. He sat down next to Karissa and kissed her tenderly. Although she didn't put in a lot of effort. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"I've been doing a lot of thinking since last night," she said. "About what almost happened with Admiral Pike . . . The little slips we made all day . . . Sooner or later someone will notice and say something . . ." Now that she had allowed reality to enter her thoughts, they dominated them. She sighed and looked into her cup of Klingon coffee, fighting off the tears, she felt.

"I had a feeling we weren't fully over all this," sighed Ryan. "So what are you saying?"

"I'm saying that I think maybe . . . we should break it off." It killed her as the words came out. She suppressed a cry, and fought the tears that were threatening to fall like water. She couldn't even look at him. She knew if she did, she would completely lose it.

"You know what, Karissa. I'm sick of this! All this worry about each others careers. I'm going to go and see Pike right now and tell him what's going on!" Ryan headed into his bedroom and began putting on his uniform.

She followed him. "You can't!" she said, this time the tears came. "You deserve to know that you are a good Captain . . . That you haven't failed at that, and if you give this up because of me you'll never know that . . . Please, Ryan . . . " She sat on his bed and hid her face in her hands as she cried. They had been so happy . . . she thought . . . but there was no way for it to work . . . She couldn't think of any way it would . . .

"A good Captain would have never gotten involved with this" he said as he added his pips to his collar.

"We don't chose love, it chooses us . . . " she said quietly, trying to make him understand that this was not a failure on his part . . .She finally looked at him, trying to maintain some measure of control over her feelings. "Ryan . . . Maybe . . . Maybe I just need some time . . . " she said. "Don't go to Admiral Pike . . . Please . . . Give give me a few days to sort this out in my head . . ." She knew she was just trying to buy time, but maybe with some distance she would see a way for things to work. She wasn't sure. She just knew that at this moment, she couldn't and she didn't want him throwing away everything just for her.

Ryan, now fully dressed, turned and looked at her. She was sitting there, head in her hands, crying her heart out. "I won't go to Admiral Pike" said Ryan softly. She looked up at him with some hope in her eyes now. "If you want some time to think things through, you can have it."

"Thank you," she said, some of her anxiety ebbing. But the tears wouldn't stop. The pain wouldn't stop. She was tired. Her emotions were harder for her to control when she was tired.

"Hey, don't cry. Look, I have to go now. I hope you don't mind me leaving you here. Take a break today. Think things through. Just don't be too hard on yourself. OK?"

She managed a soft smile. "I'll try not to be," she replied. "Don't worry . . . I'll be fine," she said, trying to put on a brave face, but failing miserably. She wiped away some of the tears that were lingering on her cheeks and attempted to stop the flow of more.

"See you whenever..." said Ryan as he got up and left the room

Tears came again, but she tried to calm them. Quickly, she gathered her own clothes and dressed.

She left his quarters after donning her uniform, making sure the hallway was deserted before her exit. She walked quickly to her own quarters. She knew that in her present condition, people would ask questions. They wouldn't know what had happened or what was going on, but they would want to know what was wrong. Something she couldn't and wouldn't talk about. As she entered her quarters, her eyes adjusted to the darkness immediately. She didn't need the lights at all.

"Computer, music. Play Mozart's Mass . . ."

Instantly the haunting music started. It was dark, like how she felt. Without doing anything, she went to her bedroom and flung herself down onto the bed. The tears had stopped, but not the pain. And she was tired . . . so tired . . . As she closed her eyes, she found she simply could not open them again. Within minutes, she had escaped reality by falling into a deep sleep . . .


*** Song Lyrics From ***
*** Going Away To College - Enema Of The State by Blink 182 ***
*** Want You Bad - Conspiracy Of One by Offspring ***