Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to keep writing. Also, thanks to Sue for helping me learn to spell. This story features Serena and a glimpse of the future that I see but haven’t gone into much detail.
Lee stopped just inside the door of the bar, letting his eyes adjust to the semi-gloom of the smoke filled room. The low drone of some random song drifted through the air but Lee paid no attention to artist or the lyrics. He was here on a mission.
He glanced to the bar to find the co-owner and bartender, Margot Dover, watching him. She flicker her eyes to a far corner of the bar and Lee tracked her cue.
In the shadow of the dim lights, his back to the door, a broad shouldered, blond man sat in a booth. Margot wiped down the counter and gave Lee a sad smile. She reached into the pocket of her apron and retrieved a set of keys. Lee silently held out one hand and the dark haired older woman dropped the keys into his palm. Lee pocketed them and glanced once more toward the darkest corner.
Margot shrugged. “About two hours. He’s had four bottles and more shots than I care to count. I took his keys when he ordered the first one. I tried to get him to eat something, but he said he wasn’t hungry. He said he just wanted to listen to the music. Hun, the only music I play here is country and you and I both know he don’t listen to country. I think its girl trouble.”
Lee whipped his head around to glare at Margot. Impossible, Lee thought but he forced himself to ask, “What makes you say that?”
“After the third, I asked him if he wanted me to call Serena for him. He turned to look at me and I swear to you, that man was bleeding from a broken heart. He just stared at me and said, ‘why do you think I’m here?’ Lee, I hope you can straighten this out.”
“I’ll try, Margot.” With that, Lee walked over to the booth and stood quietly just a step behind the blond man. Without turning, Chip spoke.
“Sit down, if you’re going to. I want to finish this.” Chip held up a half bottle of beer then tipped it back, taking a deep swallow. Lee followed instructions and sat down across from Chip.
“There a reason you’re trying to drink yourself blind?” Disapproval resonated in Lee’s voice.
Chip snorted and ignored the tone. “Didn’t you get the memo? All part of the POD.”
Lee arched an eyebrow. “No, I must have missed that one.”
“Oh sure,” Chip began. The sarcasm was so thick you could cut it. A sure sign, if any, that Chip was well on his way to intoxication. “Plan of the Day,” he began, “Paperwork all morning, look over the new upgrades to the navigation system, go home, take girlfriend to dinner, ask said girlfriend to marry you, sweep up the pieces of your shattered ego when she turns you down and leaves you holding the ring. I’m sure I sent it to you. Serena certainly got it.”
Lee could only stare in stunned silence. Serena turned down Chip’s proposal? That made as much sense as hen’s teeth and snake feet. He had to have heard that wrong.
“Serena said no?”
“Lee, she couldn’t get away from me fast enough. Practically ran out of the restaurant. I went after her but I lost her. She must have ducked into an alley or something. I checked her house but she wasn’t there. I search all over for her, Lee. She’s vanished. I can only guess that she doesn’t want to see me anymore.”
Lee leaned back in the booth, trying to make sense of the whole thing. Something wasn’t right here. Serena loved Chip, everybody knew that. She would do anything for him. Lee didn’t understand what could possibly have gone wrong to send Serena off like that.
“Did she say why? She had to give you a reason.”
Chip took a deep shaky breath. “She said I deserved better. She said…she said she couldn’t be everything I needed. God, what the hell does that mean, Lee? How can she not be the woman I love? What more could she be?”
The anguish in Chip’s voice made Lee’s own heart break. Margot was right. What ever had happened, it had broken something inside Chip. His best friend was bleeding to death from a soul wound and there seemed to be nothing he could do at the moment.
Or was there?
Lee got to his feet and wrapped a gentle hand around Chip’s upper arm. “Come on, I think it’s time I took you home,” Lee said.
Chip glanced up at him with bloodshot blue eyes. “That an order?” he asked sourly.
“A request. I want my best friend to make it home in one piece. I haven’t had the chance to be a Best Man yet.”
“Lee, didn’t you hear me? There’s not going to be a wedding. I don’t even know if she wants me anymore. Hell, for all I know, she’s seeing somebody else.”
Lee shook his head. The odds that Serena Harrison was seeing someone other than Chip Morton were about the same as the Van Allen Belt catching fire again! Something deeper was going one here and Lee was determined to get the bottom of it.
Driving a more-than-tipsy Chip back to his house, Lee took the lead and helped the intoxicated exec up the stairs to his bedroom. Chip dropped with a defeated sigh onto the edge of the mattress. Without a word, Lee tugged at the bottom of Chip’s shirt, a hint for him to take it off.
Chip snapped at Crane, slapping at his hands. “You’re not the one I wanted undressing me,” Chip grumbled but acquiesced to Lee’s tugging and pulled off the shirt.
“I’m not undressing you. You are going to get a shower. You smell like a brewery. Come on, pal, bathroom’s this way.”
Chip moved slowly, his head beginning to pound in rhythm to his beating heart. As he let the steaming water wash over him, he found himself counting his heart beats, as if surprised the organ still worked. It shouldn’t. Not after Serena crushed it. His dreams and his heart. All he had left was Seaview…
I can’t be everything you need, Chip. I just can’t. You need someone who can give you what I can’t. It’s not fair to you.
It’s not fair…
Not, it’s not fair. Why does Lee get everything, he gets command of the Seaview, he get the favor of Admiral Nelson, he gets a wonderful wife, he’s got a child on the way, why? Why does everybody else seem happy except me?
Pushing the thoughts out of his head, Chip finally shut the water off and grabbed at the towel. Dried and dressed in pajama bottoms, Chip shuffled back into his bedroom. On the bedside table were two aspirin and a glass of water.
“What? You my doctor now? Nelson know you’re moonlighting? ONI not enough for you?” Chip snapped out, regretting the words the second he said them.
Lee was sitting in the chair next to the closet door. He heard the anger in Chip’s voice but he paid no attention to the words. Chip was more than angry, he was broken and he was drunk. What the hell was wrong with Serena; didn’t she know what she had done? There were very few things on this earth that Chip loved more than Seaview and one of those was Admiral Nelson’s daughter. Everybody knew this, just like they knew the sun was going to rise in the morning.
“Just take them, Chip. They might keep you from having a killer headache in the morning.”
“I really don’t give a damn about the morning,” Chip groused but he tossed back the pills and crawled into bed. He pulled the blankets up over his shoulder and he suddenly remembered something.
“Lee,” he called out. Crane was standing by the door, watching.
“Pocket of my trousers. It’s a gray box.”
Lee rummaged around in the forgotten trousers Chip had abandoned on the bathroom floor. Another sign of Chip’s agitation. Chip never tossed clothes in the floor. Lee tossed the clothes into the hamper. With the gray velvet box in one hand, he carried it back to the bedroom.
“What do you want me to do with it?”
Chip didn’t answer right away and Lee though he had finally drifted off. Finally a slurred answered drifted up from the covers.
“Don’t care. She didn’t want it. Ss’not gonna do me any good now…It’s Gran’s ring…had it sized for S’rena…”
“Get some rest buddy. Things will be better in the morning. I promise you.”
“Makin’ prom’ses ya can’t keep,” Chip slurred before finally dropping off to sleep.
Lee leaned against the door, watching Chip’s still form as he slept. How did things get this way? Lee could count on one hand the number of times Chip had gotten this drunk in public. None of those had been since he’d been made Lieutenant Commander.
Lee flipped off the light and with the small box clenched tightly in his fist, he went downstairs. He passed through the living room and into the kitchen, leaving the lights off. He considered calling the admiral and letting him know what was going on but Lee thought better of the idea. Instead he did pull his own cell from his pocket and dialed home. It rang twice and Wendy picked up.
“Hey, everything okay?” his wife asked. Lee shook his head out of reflex.
“Not unless you call your brother trying to drink himself to death ‘okay’. I don’t suppose you’ve seen Serena?”
There was a pause. “No. She had a dinner date with Chip earlier. I’m afraid to ask, but what happened?”
“From what I can gather, Chip asked her to marry him and she said no, then ran off. I thought maybe she had come to you. She usually does when she’s stressed.”
Lee heard a deep sigh. “Sorry. She hasn’t been here. She hasn’t called either. Lee, I don’t know what to say. If she doesn’t come to me, she goes to Chip. Maybe if you call her?”
“I doubt she’ll answer, but I might give it a try. Thanks. How’s the baby?”
“We are just fine. Don’t worry about us. You look after my brother. I’ll see if I can track down my future sister-in-law. Deal?”
Lee grinned, knowing how futile it was arguing with his wife when she was on the scent. It was one of the things that made her a great head of security.1
“Sure thing. Take care. I might stay with Chip tonight, just to make sure he doesn’t go and try something stupid, like resigning or some other such nonsense.”
“You do what you have to. I’ll see you when I see you. Call me if anything changes. How is he?”
It was Lee’s turn to sigh. “He’s hurting. I hope Serena’s got a good explanation for what she’s done. I’ve seen Chip wounded from bullets, knives, tooth and claw, but this, this is something Jamie can’t cure.”
“Just take care of him. Please?”
“You know I will. I owe him too much.”
Lee disconnected and tried to think about Serena, tried to think like Serena. Like he said, when she was stressed, she usually went to Wendy for support. If Wendy wasn’t available, as her and Chip’s relationship had progressed, she went to him. Only that wasn’t an option now. Where would she go?
Harriman Nelson had just settled in for the evening, for the first time that day he was able to relax with something that wasn’t a report or a file. When the phone rang, he was sorely tempted to ignore it, but when the caller ID said ‘Crane, LB’, Nelson figured he should make the effort.
“Something wrong, Lee?” Nelson said to the receiver.
“Sorry to bother you sir, but we seem to have a small problem. It’s about Chip.”
Nelson sat up. Chip. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Chip proposed to Serena.”
Nelson felt his emotions soar. For weeks he’d been watching the young man dance around him, nervous and touchy. Rumors where running rampant the Chip had bought a ring and was just waiting for the right time. Nelson went as far as to put out very delicate feelers, touching all the local jewelers. He found what he was looking for in a small, family owned business that the Nelson had used in the past when he needed watch repairs or something nice for Angie and a card just wouldn’t cut it. Chip hadn’t bought a ring. He had brought one in for cleaning and resizing. A very old ring, from the sound of it.
Nelson took a deep breath, somehow sensing that not all was as it seemed. “I am assuming there is more to this story?”
“She said no.”
“SHE WHAT? WHAT’S WRONG WITH HER?” Nelson bellowed and nearly slammed his fist down on the desk but managed to show some self-control. He’d save that till he could have a little chat with his daughter.
“I don’t know sir. I am trying to track her down. Seems she ran off after she told Chip no.”
“Sir, I don’t know what’s going on in her head right now but if she should happen to come to you, would you let me know?”
“Once she and I have had our little chat, you’ll be the next person to know. Keep me updated on Chip. How is he handling things?”
Nelson heard a deep breath. “Not well. Not well at all. I left him sleeping and I’ll be hanging around to make sure he doesn’t do something crazy like quit on us.”
“Good idea. I’ll keep an eye out. “
Nelson disconnected as Lee signed off, then got to his feet.
Chip Morton had proposed to his daughter. He couldn’t have asked for a better match. Serena gave Chip a life off Seaview, something to come home to, something more to care for. Chip could protect Serena and give her something she’d been seeking for a long time. Unconditional love.
Nelson tried but after being out of his daughter’s life for all her childhood and most of her adult years, he felt he didn’t come close to how a parent should love a child. There were times he felt he came up short of what he could offer as a father. He had tried to explain to her that Chip was a fine man and what ever the future held for the two of them, Nelson supported it. He had thought that maybe someday Chip would be part of his dwindling family but now Nelson just wasn’t sure.
The doorbell reverberated through the house and Nelson shot a glance down the hall toward the main door.
“Who the devil is that?” he asked out loud as he marched toward the door. With a jerk, he yanked the door open and found himself looking down at his daughter.
Serena was standing on his doorstep, her high heel shoes in one hand, dressed in a stunning green dress with a neckline low enough for the man in Nelson to appreciate but as a father he wanted desperately for her to find a jacket.
“Do you have a minute?” she asked in a small shaky voice.
“I have all the time in the world.” Nelson stepped aside and Serena walked through the threshold, wrapping her arms around herself.
“Are you cold?” Nelson asked, noticing the shiver she tried to ignore.
“It gets damp this close to the sea,” was Serena’s answer. Nelson followed her into the den and snagged a blanket that was folded over the back on a chair. He draped it across her shoulders and motioned for her to sit down. She took her customary spot on the corner of the couch, folding her legs under her like a cat.
“Do you want something to drink?” he asked her. His daughter nodded her head slightly, sending a stray tendril of red hair loose from the combs holding it out of her face. Absently she hooked the strand behind an ear.
“Nothing alcoholic. I’d like some tea, if you have any.”
“Stay here and I’ll be right back.”
Nelson went to the kitchen and worked quickly, filling the teapot with water, setting it on the stove, finding the chamomile teas Serena liked and searching for the small bottle of honey. It seemed to take the water forever to boil and Nelson kept checking to make sure Serena was still waiting for him. Each time he checked around the corner, she was still sitting on the couch, a miserable looking figure if ever he saw one. The phone on the kitchen counter caught his attention and as quietly as possible, he picked up the receiver and dialed Lee’s cell number.
“Admiral?” Lee’s voice picked up on the first ring.
“Lee, she’s here. I’m going to make sure she stays the night. I’ll try to get the story out of her; you stay with Chip. We’ll see if we can get the two of them to work this out, but I think it’s best to leave her with me for now.”
“Alright. Let’s just hope that we can get to the bottom of this.”
Nelson signed off and sat the receiver back in its cradle. Like Crane, he just wanted to get to the bottom of what ever was going on.
Finally the kettle sang out that the water was ready and Nelson set to fixing a mug of tea as his daughter preferred it. One teabag, two teaspoons of honey. Nelson carried the mug back into the den and handed it off to Serena. She grasped it in a tight two-handed grip as if trying to draw warmth from the still warm mug.
Nelson sat down in his own favorite chair and waited. “Is there something you would like to talk about?” he asked, not yet ready to admit that he knew about her and Chip just yet.
Serena sipped at the hot tea, not looking at him. “Have you ever been in a position to have everything you have ever wanted, when everything was just right. But you knew you would be living a lie if you took what was handed to you? I can’t lie to him, he doesn’t deserve that.”
Nelson was afraid to interrupt her but Serena wasn’t making much sense. “Serena, I don’t understand. Who doesn’t deserve what?”
Serena took another sip of tea, this one deeper and longer as the teas cooled. “He deserves someone who can be everything he needs and I can’t be that person.”
Was she talking about Chip? Nelson wasn’t sure. Serena looked ready to break down in tears any minute now and he wondered if she could hold herself together long enough to tell him what was troubling her. “Serena, I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong, sweetheart.”
Serena turned her green eyes to meet his. “Chip. Chip asked me to marry him and I said no.” A tear leaked from the corner of one eye and quickly she wiped it away.
Nelson chose his words carefully. “I thought you loved him. That’s the impression I got at any rate.”
“I do but don’t you see, he needs to find someone else.”
Nelson was on his feet before he knew what he was doing. None of this made sense. Why would she admit she loved Chip but refuse to marry him? It was enough to drive a saint to drink. “Sweetheart, obviously he loves you and doesn’t want anyone else. Why would you say no?”
Serena sat the half empty mug down on the coffee table and pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders. “Was there ever a time when you wanted children?”
Nelson paused. How could he answer that one? Should he say what he thought she needed to hear or just be honest? Never lie to a Nelson, even if it’s not their legal last name.
“I never thought I had time for a family. All my time was taken up with my studies, my work, the research, Seaview. I never thought that I could find someone who could tolerate the lifestyle I was living. I moved around from base to base, country to country.”
Nelson sighed. “Your mother and I, that is… Elizabeth was married. She used me. You know all of this. When she told me she was married, I felt embarrassed and angry. When she left I never in a million years expected anything to come from what we had. It’s not that I don’t want children, it just didn’t seem like my…fate, for lack of better words.”
“But if you found someone, someone who was willing to do anything for you, give everything they had to you and wanted more than anything to stay with you, would you have had children?”
“If such a person had been a part of my life, then yes. I’d have given a lot to have children. A son to carry on my name, daughters I could be proud of,” Nelson risked a smile at Serena who shyly smiled back. “Yes. I would probably have had children.”
“Chip’s no different. He wants children. He told me so, several times. That’s why he needs somebody else. It’s like holding onto something with hands of glass. You can hold on but the tighter you hold on, the better your chances that something will break and shatter. You have to know when to let go. I have to let him go. I can’t marry him and live a lie.”
Nelson sat back down, beginning to understand. He waited. Serena grew quiet and her gaze grew sad and teary once more.
“Serena, why would you be living a lie?”
When Serena spoke, her voice was hollow and sad. “I can’t have children. After the accident, the doctors said I would probably never be able to carry a baby to term. I can be a wife but I can’t be a mother. I can’t marry Chip with him thinking that one day we’ll have children. I can’t lie to him, I love Chip too much to ever lie to him.”
It took some doing but Nelson convinced his daughter to stay the night and led her to the guest bedroom. With her settled in, exhausted beyond words, Nelson gently closed the door to the bedroom and just stood quietly in the hallway.
What a mess. Serena, out of some misguided sense duty and love couldn’t marry Chip because she wanted him to have everything she thought a wife should give but because the of the cave in she was in a few years ago, she couldn’t have children. That was so like Lee, willing to sacrifice his own happiness for the sake of another. Not for the first time, Nelson reminded himself to make sure the Elizabeth wasn’t somehow connected to the Cranes.
Slowly he descended the stairs and reached for the phone once more. He dialed Lee’s number again and waited.
“Lee, you’d better sit down. You are not going to believe any of this.”
Chip woke up knowing that the sun hadn’t stopped shining because his world had fallen apart. Exhibit A: the rising sun coming in through the window was shining right in face, bringing with it a morning that was too early in coming.
Chip raised his weary body out of bed and sat on the edge, his head in his hands, fingers splayed through his short blond hair. The night before was still fresh in his mind. The dinner he so carefully planned, Serena’s dress, the way her auburn hair fell in soft waves, the way her eyes sparkled in the candlelight…the way she paled when he sat the gray box on the table, when he opened the box and as the light caught on the facets of the antique diamond--the same diamond given to his grandmother decades ago…Serena, would you do me the honor of being my wife? Serena’s stricken look, her stammered rejection and the way she took off out of the restaurant. He searched and searched but Serena had vanished into the night. That was how he had ended up drunk, trying to outrun the emotions and the rejection. He remembered snapping at Lee and prayed his friend understood what drove him.
“Hey there. How’s the head?”
Chip grimaced as he raised his head to glance up at Lee. Crane didn’t look resentful or angry. Dressed in a fresh uniform, Lee looked like dragging his drunken friend home from some random dive was an everyday occurrence and he didn’t think twice about it. “Achy. What time is it?”
“Time you were up. The admiral’s waiting for us.” Lee said still leaning against the doorframe.
“Oh, great. Do I look like I can face the admiral right now? What on earth for? He find out Serena said no? Do I need to start packing?”
Lee just shook his head. “No, you’re not moving. Trust me, nobody is in trouble. The admiral just wants to see us, at his place. Up and at ‘um pal, time’s a-wasting.”
It took a cold shower, a clean uniform and a cup of coffee for Chip to reach the level of Homo erectus. Chip was shooting for Homo Sapiens and was on his third cup by the time the made it to Admiral Nelson’s house on the highest point of the institute property. He let Lee take the lead and the lanky commander rang the doorbell. In a few minutes the door opened to a very neutral looking Admiral Nelson. Chip felt his stomach flip when he remembered this could have been his father-in-law.
“Won’t you two come in? We have a number of things to go over this morning.” Nelson back away from the door and Lee entered, followed by Chip.
“Let’s go into the sunroom. I have coffee and breakfast waiting,’ the admiral said.
As the walked though the living room, Nelson spoke again. “Ah, Chip, why don’t you go ahead, I have something I need to show Lee. “
“Yes sir.” Chip’s answer was automatic. He thought nothing of Nelson’s pulling Lee aside for something or another. It was commonplace and Chip never batted an eye as he walked through the kitchen and into the spacious glass enclosed sunroom.
He hadn’t expected anyone else to be there.
She was sitting at the table, dressed in a borrowed blue robe, a coffee cup clutched in her hands. She looked tired and weary, as if she hadn’t slept well. To Chip, she looked beautiful. “Serena…I didn’t know…I mean…the admiral wanted to see us…”
“No, Chip it’s okay. He didn’t mention you were coming. I can leave.” Serena rose to her feet and quickly walked to the door that Chip had closed behind him. She gave the knob a twist but the door refused to open. Then she looked up through the door.
Lee Crane-sneaky ONI agent, commander of the Seaview and blood brother to Chip Morton was standing on the other side of the door. He smiled and gave Serena a little wave. His meaning was clear. He had locked the door, sealing her and Chip in the same room.
“I’ll kill him,” grumbled Chip as he also saw Lee’s little wave.
“I don’t think my father wants to look for another submarine captain.”
Serena wrapped her arms around herself as she walked to the farthest end of the sunroom. Chip noticed that her hair was still damp and fell in loose waves down her back. She had this perfume that smelled like honeysuckle and he loved to hold her, letting the smell of her shampoo and perfume surround him…
“Chip, don’t. I have to tell you something. When you hear what I have to say, you’ll understand that I’m right.”
“Serena, what ever it is, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care. All I care about is you. I love you. I don’t know how I can make that any clearer. I love you and I want nothing more than for us to be together. “
Chip came up behind Serena and rested a hand on her waist. She didn’t turn, but she did place a hand over his.
“Chip, I do love you. I don’t know when or how but I’ve just always known it. I’ve measured every man I’ve ever met against you. Your eyes, your smile, the way you stand with your hands in your back pockets….no one else is you though.” Serena took a deep shuddering breath, again striking a cord in Chip, resonating that overwhelming need to protect. She continued but she wouldn’t look at him.
“Chip, marrying you would make my life nearly complete. I have a perfect job, my father respects me, having you in my life would be beyond anything I ever dreamed I could have. But there is the one thing I can’t give you. You deserve someone who can.”
“You make me laugh, you make me feel human when sometimes I don’t think I can ever feel human again. Sometimes I have to do things that sicken me and knowing I have you to come back to make everything all right again. What ever it is that you think you can’t give me, I don’t care about it. I have everything I could want or need by just being near you.”
This time Chip spun her around to face him. Her green eyes spilled tears down her face as she shook in his arms. With a finger, he wiped the tears from her face.
“Chip, I can’t be a mother. I can’t have children. If you marry me, you’ll never be a father.”
Chip froze, stunned to his very core. So that’s what this was about. Serena thought he wouldn’t want her if she couldn’t have children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trying to convince her of that would be a harder task. Chip needed to show her--with or without words--that the only thing important to him was her.
With one hand on her waist, he pressed the other against the small of her back and brought his lips to hers. He wanted to melt into her, to show her he loved her and that nothing mattered as long as they were together. They could overcome anything. Nothing was more important to him at this moment than the woman in his arms, the woman who held onto him as if he was the last tie to humanity. He wanted the moment to last forever. Finally he broke contact but didn’t release her.
“I don’t care. If we can’t have children, then that’s the way it is. We can adopt, we can foster, it doesn’t matter. I love you, Serena Leigh Harrison, I want you to be my wife. I want to be your husband and take you in my arms never let anything happen to you again. I love you more than anything.”
This time Chip let her go, but took one hand in his two, then sank down on one knee. Serena’s green eyes widened in shock as she realized what he was about to do. Again.
“Serena Leigh Harrison, would you do me, Charles Philip Morton, the honor of being my wife, to have and to hold for the rest of my life?”
With tears of a different nature in her eyes, Serena found herself speechless. She felt herself nodding and finally she found her voice. “Yes, yes I will…”
With a whoop of pure joy Chip jumped to his feet and wrapped his arms around Serena once more, kissing her again. This time she responded and gave back. For Chip there could not be a more perfect moment.
Lee heard Chip’s shout and darted to the sunroom door, not sure what he was going to find. What he saw made him smile.
Chip and Serena wrapped in an embrace as they kissed, oblivious to where they were or who might see. He felt Nelson come up along side and the older man rested a hand on Lee’s shoulder.
“I think they might have come to some agreement, don’t you think, lad?” he asked with an amused twitch to his mouth.
Lee couldn’t stop smiling. He remembered well the last time he saw them this close…
“All we need is a little snowlight*,” Lee whispered, with a sideways glance at his boss.
“Lee, what the devil are you talking about?”
“Long story, Admiral. You had to be there.”
No you haven’t missed anything. I skip around in my universe and as of the timeline of this story, Wendy had transferred as Head of Security of NIMR. She has married Lee and they are expecting their first child.
*See the short story Snowlight.