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Missed Opportunities - Part 3

"I don't understand this! How could he do this to me?" Kathryn paced the floor of Gretchen Janeway's kitchen. She had played the message for her mother, as it included an invitation for all of Kathryn's family.

"Kathryn, he was your closest friend for all those years. Did you really expect him NOT to invite you to his wedding?"

"He didn't just invite me! He wants me to *perform* the wedding! I haven't spoken to him since we got back! I don't even know who he's..." Her voice trailed off. She remembered the girl she had seen Chakotay with at Tom and B'Elanna's wedding. "Of course...it must be her," she said inaudibly, her voice cracking. The thought of her performing a wedding for the man she loved was breaking her heart into a million pieces.

"I can't do it! It's as simple as that!" Kathryn exclaimed, throwing her arms in the air. "I'll just send him a reply. Surely he'll have time to find a replacement."

"I doubt that, Kathryn. The wedding is this afternoon. In three hours, to be exact!"

"What?!? I don't remember the message saying that!"

"Perhaps you were having trouble hearing past the fact that he was marrying someone else."

Kathryn shot a glare at her mother. She had never told anyone how she had felt. But then, her mother had always been able to read into her actions. Gretchen offered her daughter a slight smile, to which Kathryn broke into tears, falling into her mother's embrace.

"I know it must be hard for you, dear, but you must find courage. Sometimes...things have a way of working themselves out."

"But how? If I go through with this, he'll think I feel nothing for him. And I certainly don't want to tell him how I feel today...and ruin his wedding! How could things possibly work themselves out?" She continued to cry into her mother's shoulder. Kathryn had been bottling up her emotions for four months, and now the floodgates were wide open.

As Kathryn's sobbing began to subside, Gretchen pushed her back so she could look into her daughter's face. She reached up to wipe away another tear that slipped down Kathryn's face. Gretchen smiled again.

"Go get cleaned up. We have a wedding to get to," she said, and before Kathryn could protest, Gretchen walked away and went upstairs. Kathryn simply stared at her mother in disbelief.

"Now what do I do?"

B'Elanna had searched everywhere, but Chakotay was no where to be found. How could he get engaged and plan a wedding...without her finding out about it?

"B'Elanna! I'm so glad you made it. Is Tom with you?" Chakotay's voice boomed from behind her. She turned around to face him, giving him an evil stare.

"What is going on here? Why didn't you tell me about all this? Who are you marrying?" she ranted on. Chakotay placed his hands on her arms to try and calm her.

"Please. You're making a scene. Why are you so upset? I thought you wanted me to find happiness."

She shoved off his hands and crossed her arms in front of her. "I do. I have always wanted the best for you. But I can't believe you didn't tell me! God, we all thought that you were in love with the Captain, and now this?" She clapped her hand over her mouth, realizing that she had said too much.

Chakotay lowered his gaze, attempting to conceal his grin at her blunder. He knew what they all must have been thinking. The longing gazes. The lingering touches. The private conversations. Even *he* thought that something good would have come out of all of that. Still, he intended to go through with this.

"B'Elanna, believe me. This is the best thing for me, and it makes me truly happy. And by the end of this ceremony, I will be married to the woman that I truly love."

Having said that, he excused himself, leaving B'Elanna bewildered...and still quite angry. Tom walked up behind her, startling her slightly.

"A little jumpy, are we?" he joked.

"I still don't understand! There's something going on here...and I intend to find out!"

"Geez, B'Elanna! This is supposed to be a day of joy and happiness."

"I don't care. I think Chakotay is acting irrationally."

"He's not the only one," Tom muttered under his breath. B'Elanna shot him a death stare.

"I was only kidding! Besides, things are about to get really interesting around here."

"How so?"

"Captain Janeway has just arrived." Tom pointed at the door, where Kathryn and her mother had entered the room. She spotted Tom and B'Elanna and immediately started in their direction.

"Have either of you seen Chakotay? I really need to speak to him," she asked as she approached them.

"Yes, he just walked that way," Tom said, motioning over Kathryn's shoulder. "It's good to see you here."

"Well, I didn't have much choice. I've been asked to perform the wedding. I'll be right back."

She walked away, leaving behind two people with looks of absolute shock on their faces.

"Commander...she's here!" Harry whispered, tugging on Chakotay's sleeve. Relief washed across Chakotay's face. His plan was falling into place. Now there was only one more detail to take care of.

"Great! Where is she?" he asked, scanning the room.

"Over by Tom and B'Elanna. Do you want me to go and get her for you?"

"There's no need. I think she's found me," he answered as Kathryn approached.

"Chakotay...we need to talk," Kathryn said, ignoring everyone else around her.

"I should say so, Kathryn. We most certainly *do* need to talk."

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]
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