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Missed Opportunities - Part 4

"Kathryn, you don't know how relieved I am to see you here. I honestly was afraid that you wouldn't show up," Chakotay said, closing the door behind them as they entered the side room.

"Well, to be honest, I almost didn't." She looked up into his eyes, and saw a sparkle that she hadn't seen there before. Or at least...not for a long time. He was smiling down at her, his dimples in full bloom. Whoever this woman is, Kathryn thought, she certainly has made this man very happy.

"I know my message must have been a little shocking."

Kathryn laughed. Shocking was hardly the word for it. But before she had a chance to reply, Chakotay continued.

"I know this is probably a little too sudden for you, but I hope that you will still consider my proposal."

"Proposal?" Kathryn was a little confused. "Are you talking about me performing the ceremony?"

"Well, I wouldn't exactly say that." Chakotay began to chuckle. He knew that was how she would interpret the message, which is exactly why he had so carefully worded it. His plan was going as scheduled.

"Where is this woman, anyway? I think I should meet the bride before the wedding actually begins."

"She's standing right here," he said, reaching up to caress her cheek. "When I said that I wanted *you* to marry *us*, I was talking about me and you."

Kathryn stood in stunned silence. Attempting to digest what Chakotay had just said. If she wasn't mistaken...

"You to" Kathryn spoke, barely able to contain her excitement. This was so overwhelming and surprising, that she wasn't even sure that it was real.

"There has only been one woman in this entire universe for me, Kathryn. I've wanted to tell you that for months now. I just kept missing the opportunity. When I saw you at the gala with Mark, I thought my chance was lost."

Kathryn's hands had covered her mouth, tears threatening to spill. Could this really be happening?

"But at Tom and B'Elanna's wedding...that girl..."

Chakotay drew back. "Nadia?!? Kathryn, she's one of my cousins! She wanted to meet all of the crew from Voyager. That's why I brought her."

"Your cousin?" Kathryn gasped, not quite sure how to respond. She had been so filled with jealousy and disappointment since that day. If she had only asked, there would have been no need for those feelings. She turned her back to him, wrapping her arms around her.

"Chakotay, I've been wanting to tell you the same thing. I tried at the gala, but you disappeared before I could talk to you. And when I saw you with her..."

Chakotay placed his hands on her shoulders. "It doesn't matter now. That's in the past. We have nothing ahead of us but the future. And I want to go there with you...if you still want me."

She turned back around to face him, her tears flowing freely. He went down on one knee, pulling a ring from his pocket.

"Kathryn Janeway, will you do me the great honor of becoming my wife?"

Kathryn nodded, a huge smile spreading across her face. "Oh, Chakotay...there is nothing that I could want more."

Chakotay slipped the ring on her finger, placing a kiss there. He looked up at her again, grinning. He stood up and pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly to him. "I love you," he whispered into her hair.

"I love you," she answered, her face buried against his chest.

He took her face into his hands, brushing his thumbs across her cheeks. He pulled her lips closer to his, thankful that he was finally going to be able to kiss her the way he had dreamed of kissing her for years. She leaned in closer to him, feeling his breath across her face, longing to feel his lips against hers...

"Excuse! If I'm not mistaken, I believe that you cannot kiss the bride until AFTER the wedding!" Neelix stated, entering the room.

Kathryn and Chakotay turned their heads towards the door to see him standing there with Gretchen.

"See, Kathryn? I *told* you that things would work out!" her mother said.

"You KNEW, didn't you?" Kathryn exclaimed, giving her mother a suspicious glare.

"I'm your mother. I'm supposed to know these things," she laughed. "And I know something else. There is a roomful of guests out here expecting to see a wedding. I suggest that we don't disappoint them."

"But...I don't have anything to wear..."

"It's all been taken care of, Kathryn. Now go with your mother. I'll meet you out front shortly," Chakotay said, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"Not one for long engagements, I see?" Kathryn replied, giggling as she followed Gretchen out of the room.

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