“He’s higher than a kite,” Beverly laughs, standing at a table with Deanna slicing the remainder of the chocolate birthday cake and placing it onto small plates.
Looking across Ten Forward to the corner of the room, Deanna finds a group gathered. Louis and a few friends from school, along with Wes, are watching Picard explain the difference between fencing swords. Picard had given Louis new fencing gear for his birthday. Louis, three of his friends, Wesley and Picard had spent an hour playing a game of laser tag in the gym for Louis’ tenth birthday. After the boys’ game had finished, they had come to Ten Forward for dinner and cake.
“It looks like he’s had a wonderful party, Beverly. You did a great job,” comments Deanna, helping Beverly clean up the table.
Giggling, Beverly gestures to the back corner. “No, not Louis. Jean-Luc.”
Laughing, Deanna agrees. “Yes. It looks like the captain is enjoying himself, too.”
Light smile on her face, Beverly watches Picard talking to the young boys, every one of them hanging on his every word. The entire party had been Picard’s conception, him wanting to throw his son a fun birthday party. Picard had been upset that he had never been around to celebrate a birthday with Louis. So, Beverly had let him take the reigns, organizing a little celebration that Louis would like.
“He absolutely crashed.” Laughing, Jean-Luc climbs into bed next to Beverly, turning off the light on the table next to the bed.
Beverly, in a satin nightgown, curls up to Jean-Luc, head on his shoulder and hand on his chest. “That’s called a sugar coma.”
Chuckling, Jean-Luc wraps an arm around her waist, settling in. “I reckon so.”
“It was a great party, Jean-Luc. You were wonderful with all the kids.” Beverly rubs circles across his chest.
Pensive, Jean-Luc toys with the silky material of her nightgown. “Beverly, he’s ten years-old and this is the first birthday I’ve spent with my son.”
“I know,” whispers Beverly ruefully.
“Beverly…”Jean-Luc kisses her hair, his hand caressing her stomach. “I want to have a baby.”
Surprised, Beverly’s eyes dilate, and she turns to look into his eyes in the dimly lit room. “Jean-Luc, I am sorry. I’m sorry I kept you and Louis apart for ten years. I can never give you back the lost time, and it kills me.”
Shaking his head, Jean-Luc cradles the side of her face. “No, cherie. I don’t want a do-over. I want to have a baby with you, to experience it all from the beginning.”
Grinning in disbelief, Beverly looks at him in awe. “I would love that.”
Capturing her lips in a long, deep kiss, Jean-Luc slips her nightgown up and over her hips. Briefly breaking contact, Beverly discards her gown over the side of the bed. Jean-Luc hitches his thumbs down her panties and slides them down and off her long legs. Straddling his waist, Beverly bends low, bracing her hands on his chest.
“It’s important we get in plenty of practice.” Jean-Luc poises himself at her entrance.
Moaning as he enters her in a sure stroke, Beverly begins to gyrate her hips, thoroughly pleased with how the day is ending. “Yes. We need tons of practice.”
Jean-Luc buries his hands in her hair, finding a steady rhythm. “I love you.”
“I love you,” echoes Beverly. She drops a kiss to his neck before shifting onto her knees to alter the angle. Focusing on the sensations, Beverly realizes she couldn’t be happier.
“But, it’s not fair!” Louis protests as Jean-Luc tucks him into bed. “Wes gets to fly the shuttles.”
“Your brother is six years older than you, Louis. When you’re older I’ll teach you how to fly a shuttle.” Jean-Luc drops a kiss to the boy’s crown, standing off of the bed.
Pouting, Louis sighs. “It’s still not fair.”
Letting out an exasperated sigh, Beverly stands with her hands on her hips, shaking her head. “Enough, Louis. Stop whining. It’s time for bed.”
Wesley glances up from his PADD from his spot in bed where he’s reading, surprised at his mother’s tone.
At her youngest son’s startled look, Beverly hangs her head in a frustrated sigh. “I’m sorry. Mommy’s tired.” Beverly bends down and kisses Louis’ cheek. “Goodnight.”
“Night, Mommy,” murmurs Louis, confused as Beverly slips out of the room, half-heartedly waving goodnight to Wesley.
Beverly pauses in the kitchen, gripping the counter, taking a steadying breath. Closing her eyes, a hard lump forms in her throat and hot tears burn the backs of her eyes.
“Beverly?” Hand on her lower back, Jean-Luc appraises Beverly in consternation. “What’s wrong?”
Sniffling, Beverly bows her head, her hands holding the counter. “I’m sorry, Jean-Luc.”
“It’s not like you to be short with the boys,” Jean-Luc points out, turning her in his arms. Beverly had essentially been a single mother for fifteen years and has the patient of a saint.
Blood-shot, weary eyes look into his as Beverly shakes in his arms. “I’m sorry.”
“Whatever is wrong, cherie?” Jean-Luc cups the side of her face as her tears begin to fall.
Biting her lip, Beverly tries to articulate what she knows she has to tell him. “I spoke with Doctor Tanner. My test results came in.”
Face falling, Jean-Luc searches her watery eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have joined your conference.”
“She called me, I was between patients. I didn’t have the opportunity to call you,” explains Beverly.
Judging the distraught look on her face, Jean-Luc anticipates Beverly’s conference with her obstetrician specialist didn’t yield positive results. “What did she say?”
Fresh, hot tears cascade down Beverly’s cheeks, her lips trembling. “She was right. Jean-Luc, we’re not going to have a baby.”
As the blow hits him with blunt force, Jean-Luc automatically envelopes Beverly’s sobbing form into his arms, absolutely dumbfounded.
“I’m so sorry, Jean-Luc,” chokes Beverly into his neck. “I…I”
Bringing a hand up to weave in her hair, Jean-Luc kisses her tear-stained cheek, gentle and slow. “It’s okay, cherie.”
“It’s not okay,” blubbers Beverly, absolutely crushed, but somewhat relieved to have finally told her husband the devastating news.
Drawing back, Jean-Luc gazes into her eyes seriously. “My love, I am heart broken. I would have loved nothing more than to grow our family. But, Beverly, don’t ever apologize. We mustn’t dwell on this. We have two happy, healthy wonderful sons that give us infinite joy.”
Reflecting on his words, Beverly sniffles, bracing one hand on his chest. “You’re right.”
Jean-Luc peppers kisses to her forehead. “We must be grateful for what we do have. I feel like I couldn’t be more blessed to have a beautiful, loving wife and two intelligent, caring sons. My family is…the best gift I could ever ask for.”
Exhaling deeply, Beverly presses her damp cheek to his. “You’re right, Jean-Luc. Thank you. I love you.” Closing her eyes, Beverly savours the feel of his warm, strong hands on her back, recognizing the truth in her husband’s words. Jean-Luc opts to focus on the positive and count their blessings, and she will do the same.
“I love you,” echoes Jean-Luc, titling her face to kiss her tenderly on the lips.
* * PAGE BREAK
“Mom?” Louis finds his mother on the sofa in the living room, in casual civilian attire, but reading reports from Sickbay on a PADD.
“Yes, sweetie?” Glancing up, Beverly sets her PADD on her lap to focus her attention on her eleven year-old.
“Ummm…I tried playing Candyland with Shoshana. She didn’t do anything. Mom, she doesn’t talk!”
Smiling patiently, Beverly bobs her head. “She’s mute, sweetheart. She doesn’t speak.”
“But, why?” asks Louis in frustration, tossing his hands up.
Frowning, Beverly straightens. “We don’t know, honey. She hasn’t spoken since the authorities found her on the colony on Dolvan III. I’ve had special doctors examine her and there’s no medical explanation. It’s probably psychological. That’s why Counselor Troi is going to work closely with her.”
Pursing his lips, Louis briefly glances over to the doorway of his bedroom, where a tiny three year-old girl with curly black hair and wide black eyes stands anxiously in the doorway. “You couldn’t have gotten a normal kid?”
Fixing her son with a warning glare, Beverly shakes her head. “If I ever hear you speak like that I’ll be selling you to a Ferengi. Got it, Mister?”
Smiling, Louis nods. “Okay.”
Keeping her voice low, Beverly addresses his question. “Shoshana lost her family when the colony was destroyed. She needed a family that would take care of her, love her. We’re her family now. It’s important we be patient as she adjusts to her new life here on the Enterprise with us.”
“Yeah. I’ll be patient,” agrees Louis as the cabin door opens.
Picard enters the cabin, scanning the room. Smiling, he walks toward Louis and Beverly.
“Hi, dear,” greets Beverly warmly, rising off of the sofa to meet Jean-Luc in a hug.
Jean-Luc pecks her cheek, grateful to be home with his family.
“How was your shift?” Beverly asks, hand on his cheek.
“Oh, fine,” replies Jean-Luc lightly, dropping a hand to her waist. “How’s everything here?”
Feeling a tiny hand tugging at his uniform around his elbow, Jean-Luc peers down at a set of piercing, wide black eyes gazing up at him expectantly. Smiling down at his newly adopted daughter, Jean-Luc crouches down to the ground,putting an arm around the toddler’s back. “Hello, Shoshana. How was your day? Did you have fun with Mommy?”
Nodding tentatively, the three year-old Betazoid girl climbs into Jean-Luc’s arms.
“What did you do today? asks Jean-Luc, already realizing he won’t receive a vocal reply from the small girl.
Picard and Beverly had made the decision to adopt a child after learning that they wouldn’t be able to naturally have any more children of their own. Picard had said that he would be perfectly content with the family they have, but they had decided they wanted to bring a child that needed a family into their home to love and nurture as their own. They had met Shoshana, a rescued toddler from a colony on Dolvan III, and had instantly recognized that they had found their daughter. The Betazoid two year-old had been living with a maternal grandfather, a Starfleet officer, on the colony, when the colony was attacked and the officer was killed. Unable to locate any kin on the neighbouring planets, Betazed or Earth, she had been taken in to custody by Starfleet and taken to Earth. Beverly had immediately wanted to adopt her and bring her home with them on the Enterprise, but it had taken several trips to Earth in order to properly go through the entire adoption process. Now, after an excruciatingly long wait, they’ve finally brought Shoshana home. It is a huge adjustment for the entire family, especially the eleven and seventeen year-old boys, but Beverly couldn’t be more thrilled.
Shoshana holds up a small plush black horse that Picard had given her when they had visited her on Earth, holding it to his chest.
Lowering herself to the ground next to Jean-Luc, Beverly smiles gently. “We’re going to have dinner soon, sweetie. But, if you eat your dinner, maybe Papa will take you to the holodeck and show you the horses in his riding program?”
Lips curling into a smile, Shoshana bobs her head, curling into Jean-Luc.
Agreeing, Jean-Luc strokes the girl’s head. “Sounds good. You in, Cadet?”
Frowning, Louis shakes his head. “Nah. I’d rather go fencing.”
Chuckling, Picard bobs his head. “Tomorrow, Cadet.” Picard begins to realize that it will be quite demanding having three children. Of course, Wesley is self-sufficient, ready to head off to the Academy. And Louis is quite independent. However, both of his sons still need him and Beverly. And, now they have a three year-old daughter who is sure to demand a considerable amount of their attention.
“Come on, honey,” urges Beverly to Louis, rising to her feet. “You can help me get dinner ready. Wes should be home soon.”
Sighing, Beverly’s hands fall to Jean-Luc’s head, trailing a hot trail of wet kisses down her torso as he slips her nightgown up her abdomen. Her head nestled on her pillow as she lies atop the bedsheets, Beverly is thoroughly content after a long, tiring day.
Fingers slipping between her panties, Jean-Luc is interrupted by the sound of a faint knock at the door.
Startled, Beverly jumps upright, her nightgown falling into place.
Groaning, Jean-Luc sits on his knees in his boxers, fixing Beverly with a disappointed look.
With a placating hand on his shoulder, Beverly calls, “Come in!”
The door opens and a tiny girl hesitantly enters the bedroom, clad in a pink nightgown (Beverly’s purchase) and clutching the toy horse between her arms.
Whipping around to share a look with Beverly, Picard’s eyes are wide in the dimly lit room. “What do we do?” Picard had never had young children, but he knows Beverly doesn’t like to have the children sleep in their bed unless they’re sick.
Rolling her eyes, Beverly slips off of the bed. “Relax, Jean-Luc.” Beverly pads across the room to the little girl standing anxiously in front of the door.
“Hey, sweetheart. What’s wrong?” Beverly kneels down, her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Why aren’t you sleeping?”
As Jean-Luc comes up behind Beverly, Shoshana points to the bed in the centre of the room, and deciphering the girl’s meaning, Picard tosses Beverly a questioning look.
Smiling, Beverly rises to her feet and takes her daughter’s hand. “No, honey. We’re not starting that. Come on, we’ll go back to your room. We’ll tuck you back in to your bed.”
With a tiny whimper, Shoshana is led out of the master bedroom and into her own room, where the light on her bedside table is illuminated.
Beverly lays Shoshana back in her bed, pulling the blankets up to her chest. Protesting, the toddler tosses aside the bed sheets, leaping to Picard.
Jean-Luc takes his newly adopted daughter into his arms, settling on the bed. “What’s wrong, cherie?”
Grimacing, Beverly perches on the edge of the bed, putting a hand on Shoshana’s back as the toddler curls into Jean-Luc’s chest. Shoshana had instantly connected with Picard, but the girl had yet to really open up to Beverly or the boys. Deanna had assured that it would just take time, that Shoshana had been uprooted and needed time to get acquainted with her new family. “Are you scared, honey?”
In response, Shoshana buries her head in Jean-Luc’s neck, her tiny hands grasping his bare chest.
“Sweetheart, there’s no reason to be frightened,” Beverly assures her in a soothing tone, rubbing her back. “You’re safe here. This is our home on the ship. You, and Louis and Wesley and Papa and me. We’re not going anywhere. We love you.”
Sniffling, Shoshana turns her head to look cautiously at Beverly with teary eyes and pouty lips.
Jean-Luc kisses the toddler’s temple. “Come now, cherie. Lie down and close your eyes. We’ll stay here until you fall asleep.” Jean-Luc eases her back into the bed and draws the covers up to her chest.
“Is that okay?” whispers Jean-Luc nervously to Beverly as the toddler settles.
Smiling assuringly, Beverly pats her husband’s arm before bending down to drop a kiss to Shoshana’s crown.
“Close your eyes, sweetie. We have a big day tomorrow. Your first day of school. You’re going to have so much fun with the other kids. Let’s get a good sleep tonight, okay?” Beverly smoothes the girl’s black curly hair from her face.
Yawning, Shoshana nods, her eyes heavy.
“Goodnight, honey. Sweet dreams.” Beverly breathes out a sigh of relief as the girl’s big eyes close in exhaustion.
Jean-Luc relaxes as the toddler succumbs to sleep, tired and emotional. “Good?”
Nodding, Beverly stands and takes Jean-Luc’s proffered hand, letting him lead her out of the room and back to their own room.
“Beverly, what are we going to do? She’s not happy here.” Grimacing, Jean-Luc climbs onto their bed, troubled by the girl’s behaviour.
“She is happy here, Jean-Luc,” argues Beverly, sliding onto the bed beside him. “She’s just adjusting to her new life with us. It’s going to take time. It’s a lot to take in.”
“You think she’s alright?” Jean-Luc confirms, wrapping an arm around her back as they settle under the blankets.
Tucking her head between his shoulder and neck, Beverly sighs. “Deanna thinks she’s just fine, she just needs time to settle in to her new home and new family life. Jean-Luc, she is happy. I got her to eat her dinner tonight. You said she loved seeing the horses in the holodeck. She’s warming up a bit to the boys. She’s just a bit reserved, anxious. I think she’ll warm up in no time.”
Exhaling deeply, Jean-Luc rubs his hand over Beverly’s hip. “I hope so.”