CPA Muse Award Winner
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Posted on February 14th, 2001 by Chloe Tiernee
‘Of Family and Friends’
One would think that time had began turning backwards. The cottage-like home of the Tiernee’s, nestled on an emerald green hill near Dublin, was a piece of ancient history. The birds chirped and the grasses grew as tall as a child and let flow a sweet fragrance.
The transport had flown away just minutes ago, the shuttle pad only half a mile from her childhood home. Chloe removed her shoes and trod barefoot through the soft grass. It reminded her of child-like adventures and moonlit romantic rendezvous. It was among the soft grasses that her womanhood blossomed with her first true love.
She had hoped Allen could accompany her to the house, to finally meet her family, as he was so special to her, but it seemed they had more time apart than together and it made her melancholy. She tried not to think about how sad it was, and how she didn’t want them to drift apart before they had really even started. Such was the life of a Starfleet officer, though … sacrifices, even of love.
The door to the cottage home opened and her beloved family, the Tiernees, filed out. Their Irish accents were as thick as hers, and their voices cheerfully chattered. They all embraced and Chloe felt herself ushered into her childhood home, surrounded by the love of her family. And everything seemed okay for the moment.
“Go on .. eat it all up, Chloe dear .. you look like you need it.”
Chloe glanced up at her mother, who looked just like Chloe, just older with classy streaks of grey on her hair. She looked down at her youngest daughter. She was always worried about her, since she was the only one in the dangerous occupation of a Starfleet Officer. Chloe smiled a bit, “Mother, I am nearly fully. You can’t stuff me like a turkey.”
Her mother poked at her daughter’s ribs, “You need it, dear .. you have definitely lost some weight.”
“Mother, you really don’t need to worry about it.. I’m fine.”
She nodded, glanced at Chloe’s father, who usually chose to stay out of this and they continued their meal, together, as a family .. something they hadn’t done in a long time.
Chloe tossed and turned in bed that night. She would be there for nearly 3 days. The bed seemed foreign to her, and empty. She missed the rare times that she could turn over and curl against Allen’s warm body. It made her feel safe and cozy. This bed seemed too big ..
She missed him. And the Atlantis, her friends. Hell, they were her family in a way. Two families could prove confusing .. and Chloe was wondering where exactly her home was.
‘Conversations for the Future’
The soft quilt, made by Chloe when she was just a young teenager, nearly drowned Chloe’s willowy body in it’s cozy goodness. She sank into the mattress, and despite her trouble trying to sleep the night before, had finally entered a somewhat peaceful slumber.
The bed, however, still felt too big and empty for her.
Outside the window, the morning sun peeked over the emerald green hills of Eire (Ireland) and began to creep it’s way into her childhood room. The walls were splashed with reflection jewels of rainbow, and soon the rays of light leveled to her eyes and it made Chloe squint. She stirred, a strap of her nightgown slipped down her bare shoulder, and soon, she sat up … just for a moment wondering where she was.
Oh, yes, back home .. at her parents’ home. It almost made her feel disappointed. She was used to her adult home on the Atlantis, and also, used to the prospect of finding Allen Zinthys curled up against her some mornings.
She sighed. Allen. She missed him.
“Chloooooeeeee..” a voice rang out from the next room. Her mother. She could remember her mother’s voice heading down the hallway and waking her in the morning for chores as a child. She grabbed her robe and slipped it on, wrapping it around her just as her mother opened the door and peaked in.
“Good morning, Mother.” Chloe smiled, seeing her mother already primped and dressed for the day. Her mother smiled and walked over, placing a few clean towels on the disheveled bed.
“I see you are awake with the sun this morning, dear .. I bet you don’t get that on that boat of yours..” her mother mused.
Chloe grinned, “Ship, mother … it’s a starship. No.. I don’t, but I have become accostommed to it. I don’t miss going blind each morning ..” she chuckled, rubbing at her eyes. Her mother laughed and headed back towards the door.
“Ye have a point, dear .. go get cleaned up .. and by the time you come out, everyone will be ready for breakfast together.” Her mother whisked out of the room and Chloe grabbed the clean towels and headed for the Tiernee Family’s old-fashioned shower room.
It was decorated with pale blue walls and pink flowers in pots all around. Her mother, a decoration fanatic, was obsessed with the 20th century and just had to have a shower and bath in their home. Chloe could agree that sonic showers had nothing on this. She leaned over, starting the water running, on hot .. the steam lifted into the air, and somehow, the whole room smelled of pale roses.
She reached up, slowly letting both straps of her nightgown slip off her shoulders. The gown fell to the floor in a puddle of creamy white at her feet. She stepped out of the ‘puddle’ and into the path of the streaming water of the shower. Chloe’s golden blond hair, now wet, slicked down her back, pressed against her skin, as if it were a part of it. The water, the heat, felt good on her body, her bones, and she bathed in it’s sensation.
Her mind wandered, living fantasies of true love, passion and adventure. She became lost in it … the steamy room adding an ambiance to her imagination. Only the sound of a knock on the door interrupted her.
She sighed, slipping out of the shower and into some dry clothing. A pair of khaki pants, a white tank top and some sandals …and she was ready to face her family at the breakfast table.
“When are we going to meet this boy of yours, Chloe?” her sister chimed at her. Chloe smiled and shrugged, taking a bite of her sweet sausage daintily.
“Yes .. I would love to meet him. Are ye planning on starting a family together?” her father asked. Chloe nearly choked on her food.
“We are just dating .. we barely have enough time for each other because of our work .. let alone to even think about marriage, family.. all of that. I am quite content just dating him .. ” Chloe murmured, glancing around at her family, who was giving her expectant looks.
“We just worry about ye, Chloe.. worry that ye won’t have a normal life …especially with the work you do.”
Chloe’s brother glanced around, the only one uninterested in this, “Don’t ye all think we should just let Chloe decide what she does with her life? Ye are all a bunch of woodpeckers, pecking at her for information..”
“Well said ..” Chloe grinned at her brother. The rest of the family gave a collective sigh and breakfast was over. Chloe was left alone at the table, her food half eaten ..to think about the future.
‘Decisions and Revelations’
The sunset was gorgeous. The hues of red, yellow and blue melted together in a great pool and made all these vibrant colors. Chloe loved the twilight. The time between day and night, it was magical to her. There was an ambiance of romance, passion and comfort. It was a time during the day that someone could do their deep, personal thinking with a perfectly clear head.
Her family had given her a lot to think about. Family .. would she ever want to have one of her own. Granted, the idea of getting married to Allen was appealing to her. Sometimes she felt as though their relationship was stuck at this one level; dating each other, but not very serious, but serious enough to be intimate. Stuck with their careers keeping them apart. Life on a starship was hazardous to someone’s social life.
The question on whether to quit Starfleet had come up in her mind, and in conversations with her mother. Chloe guessed she was anxious to have a homebody daughter who would give her grandchildren. But Chloe felt as though she hadn’t even lived her life yet. Not that she didn’t want children. In fact, the idea of having children brought a smile to her face. But first, she would have to be in a completely serious and committed relationship. And she was enjoying the courtship with Allen.
As the sun disappeared over the horizon, Chloe smiled. It was beautiful and she had missed sunsets. But she missed the passing stars outside her window of her quarters. The beautiful streaks of white-blue as the ship sailed gracefully in warp. The feeling of accomplishment as she treated the sick and the wounded. Sure, it was a hard life, and very much tiring. But she loved it. She loved being an officer and she knew she couldn’t give it up.
Chloe had a revelation. By being an officer, she wasn’t putting her life on hold .. she was living it to the fullest. She knew where her home was, and it was on the Atlantis .. for that was where her heart resided.