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Story Notes: Direct sequel to Let Me Help.

Night Shift


When Lila O’Donnell woke up and saw Selleck lying next to her, the guilt hit her so hard it was as if she had been kicked in the face by a mule. She reached over and lightly touched his shoulder. “It’s morning.”

“I am awake.”

“Good. Selleck, would you take the bridge today? I’m going to get some extra sleep and take the night shift. Change of pace. You know.”

“Of course. May I…”

“Use my shower? Sure. Just leave some hot water for me, okay?”

“Of course.”

------------------------------

That night, Lila was alone on the bridge. When everything was peaceful like this, the ship pretty much flew itself. All that was really needed was one person to hang around and keep an eye on things. If something happened, it was easy to slap the intercom and ask for some help.

Lila heard the turbolift door slide quietly open, and soft footsteps sounded on the deck behind her. She didn’t turn to look. She already had a good idea who it was. Her greeting was short and simple.

“Hi.”

“Hello. Is everything all right?”

“Everything’s fine. I don’t need any help.”

“I was referring to you.”

“That’s a nice thought, but I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“It seemed that you were avoiding me today.”

She straightened from the console readout she was pretending to watch, and looked at him for the first time since he had entered the room. She sighed.

“I guess I was. Sorry. Was it that obvious?”

“I was not the only one who noticed.”

“I was afraid of that.”

“I would like to know why.”

Lila took a deep breath and grasped both his hands.

“Selleck, there is something you need to understand. I hold myself to a very high moral standard. It’s something I take pride in. Last night, I had no choice but to compromise that standard. I was forced to ask myself: ‘Of the two evils placed before me this night, which is the lesser? What is more wrong “ to make love to a man who is not my husband, or murder?’ The answer was clear.”

“Murder?”

“Yes. Doing nothing, from my viewpoint, would have been tantamount to murder. I do not regret having done what I did, and were I to live it over again, I would make the same decision. Nevertheless, my actions were not without some undesirable consequences. This morning, I had a major attack of guilt for breaking my moral code as I did. And that’s why.”

“I understand.”

“Thanks.”

“Lila, there is something else I would like to know.”

“Yeah?”

“Please understand, what I am about to ask is not because I wish to alleviate your guilt, nor because it is simply the right thing to do, although both of these things are true, but because it is what I truly want.”

“Okay. So what’s the question?”

“Will you be my wife?”

Lila was visibly stunned for a few moments, then she looked up into his eyes and smiled.

“Yes. I will.”


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