Title – The Beach of Memories
Author – Jaclyn Riker
E-mail address - Jrussell78@aol.com
Rating – PG13
Category – Romance, Angst (lots and lots)
Spoilers – None
Keywords – R/T , a bit o’ P/C
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Not mine. Never were mine. Never gonna be mine. Cause if they were mine the wedding (in the Nemesis movie) would have happened a LONG time ago. Nuff said. Hope you don’t sue me.
Summary – Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you have to go with it, but at what price?

“The Beach of Memories”: Part 1
By Jaclyn Riker

The sun-warmed sand squished between her toes as she ran down the long strip of Sandstone Shore. The rough wind pushed her from behind and blew her hair into her face, blocking her view. She brought her hand to her eyes, trying to get her hair out of the way, but only succeeded in getting sand in there too. She stood there and waited for her eyes to tear and rid themselves of the foreign entities. Wiping the tears away she noticed that it had turned from daylight into sunset. After adjusting to the change in the lighting, twelve-year-old Kelly grinned with delight as she watched her five and a half year old sister being chased by their panting dad along the sandy coast. She turned her head towards the two fading suns and felt their glow warm her face.

Kelly’s favorite time of day was sunset at the shore. The glowing rays spread across the water making it look as though it had been set on fire. When she raised her head to the suns as she did now, she felt as though her skin was soaking up the rays and the light would shine out of her fingers and toes. Another peal of laughter made her eyes open and she caught sight of her sister being swung around in a circle by their dad.

“I wish Mom could be here to see Jessie,” thought Kelly wistfully. Then growing angry with herself, she shook her head.

“She left 5 years ago, forget her already!” She muttered to no one.

Hearing unconfined laughter, she looked again towards the heartwarming sight of her family and tried to quiet her aching heart. Her dad had given up trying to catch her younger sibling and was coming towards her.

“Hey Sunshine,” he called smiling. “ Watch Jessie while I go start dinner, okay?”

“Sure.” Kelly said smiling back. She turned and made sure Jessie was safely away from the rising tide. She needn’t have worried, because Jessie had apparently found a small tide pool and was examining its contents.

Turning back, she asked her usual question. “Hey Dad, what are we having for dinner?”

“Umm...I don’t know. What should we have?” He said trying to act dumb.

“How ‘bout Arcadian barbecue, like we do every Friday night?” She said laughing.

“Righto, Sunshine!” Captain William T. Riker said running towards their beach house that was built a short run up the beach. “Be in the house in about 15 minutes to wash up, okay?”

“Sure.” she said again and watched her dad disappear into the house. She looked up and saw the seagulls dive into the sea and catch their own dinner. Pivoting on her heels she looked again for her sister’s whereabouts.

Just as Kelly spotted her, she noticed that Jessie was no longer admiring the tide pool and was standing very still. She saw that the little girl was mesmerized by something and followed her gaze to what she was staring at. It was a beautiful woman, in a long peach summer dress, with a face Kelly recognized immediately.

“Jessie..… Jessie!” Kelly’s attempt to bring her sister back, did not work. She grew desperate to get her away from the woman, who was approaching.

“Jessica Elizabeth Riker! Get over here, NOW!”

That seemed to do the trick. Jessie snapped out of her daze and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her. When she reached Kelly, she hurled herself into her arms.

“Kelly, do you see her? Do ya? She looks like the picture of Mommy. Don’t you think so?” Jessie said gasping for air.

“Jess get in the house.” Kelly said drawing a sharp breath.

“But… but...” Jessie stammered looking surprised when her big sister ignored her question. Kelly had always prided herself on the close relationship she had with her younger sibling and understood that for her not to answer a question was sort of sacrilegious to Jessie.

“Go on, I’ll be there soon. I promise.” Kelly said in earnest. Then, she noticed that the woman was nearing faster than she anticipated. Giving Jessie a hard push towards the house, she whirled around to meet her oncoming enemy.

“Hello, Kelly. You’ve grown so much,” the woman said softly.

“Of course. It’s been five years. People do grow.” Kelly said keeping her voice even.

“Of, course.” the woman replied her eyes softening and looking as if she were about to cry. Kelly felt the lady’s emotions as if they were her own and felt like she ought to say something, but clamped down on the instinct. Her friends and family often called her empathic sense a gift, but Kelly just regarded it as a curse inherited from the woman she hated.

“How have you been? And your dad and little Jessica?” the woman asked quietly.

“We’re fine.” Kelly said emphasizing the word fine and she wrapped her arms around her stomach as if to protect herself.

“I’ve missed you all so much,” the woman said stepping closer.

“Stop this!” Kelly screamed covering her ears and stepped back counteracting the woman’s movement.

“Stop what, Kelly?” the lady asked.

“This...this false act of caring. You don’t care about us!” Kelly said her eyes starting to water.

“You know that's not true, Kelly. Of course I care about you.” The woman said spreading her hands in front of her.

“What do you want from us?” Kelly said trying not to scream at the woman who had deserted her years ago about how much she hated her.

“To be apart of your lives again,” she replied.

“No, you just stay away from my family.” Kelly said with vengeance.

“It’s my family, too. I’m your mother.” Deanna Troi-Riker said, just as angry now.

“No, don’t ever say that to me. You gave up that title when you left me and Dad with a newborn baby and no explanation.”

“There were circumstances behind that and if you give me a chance to explain...” Deanna said and stepped forward again, but Kelly refused to let her near.

“I don’t want to hear your sorry excuses. Don’t you get it?” Kelly said incredulously, her eyes flashing. “I hate you! Daddy hates you! As for Jessie she doesn’t know any better, but that’s our fault. We never told her the truth. We never told her that her mother didn’t want her.”

“Oh, Kelly.” Deanna sighed, but Kelly went on.

“We told her that her mother had to go away and that it would be just her, Daddy, and me and that’s the way it has been. We don’t need you nor do we want you in our lives. We are doing just fine.” Kelly finished and spat the word fine at her mother. Deanna was about to speak when Will’s voice floated out on the slight summer breeze.

“Kelly, stop, honey.” He said and appeared to her right. “Go into the house and watch Jessie.”

Kelly looked at him as if he had lost his mind and shook her head.

“No, Daddy. I won’t leave you out here with her!” Kelly said stubbornly and gripped his arm.

“It’ll be okay, Sunshine. I need to talk to her alone.” Will said, cupping her face in his hands lovingly and before she could protest again he shooed her towards the house. “Go on.”

Kelly looked at him worriedly, but did as he said. She glanced back only once to meet his reassuring gaze before turning and running the rest of the way to the house.


Part II:

The rough sand that had felt so good to her earlier was now cold and dug into the bottom of her feet as she ran. The sun’s glow was gone and was replaced by the darkness of evening falling over their beloved beach, making Kelly hug herself as she walked up the wooden stairs to the porch. She stopped before entering the house and turned to watch her parents on the beach. Her father was nodding to whatever She-as Kelly was going to refer to her as-was saying. Kelly watched intently as he motioned in her direction and then in utter disbelief as they began to walk back towards the house. Kelly whirled around and stalked into the house, startling Jessie who was sitting at her play table and coloring.

“What’s the matter, Kelly?” Jessie asked running over to her big sister and giving her a big hug.

Kelly looked down into Jessie’s innocent face and felt tears well up in her eyes. “Nothing, Little One.”

“Is Daddy talking to the lady?” Jessie asked and at Kelly’s nod added hopefully, “Is it Mommy?”

Kelly stiffened at the question and wasn’t quite sure how to respond, when the door opened and their parents walked in.

“Daddy!” Jessie cried and let go of Kelly to race over to William. He lifted into his arms and gave her a hug.

“Hey, Baby.” Will said and he turned to face the woman by his side. “Jessie, this is Deanna.”

“Hi,” Jessie said shyly and leaned closer to her as if about to tell her a secret. “You’re my mommy, aren’t you?”

Deanna looked to Will for help and then caught sight of Kelly’s angry face.

Will saw it also and swallowed hard. Finally he nodded and said, “Yes, Jessie. This is your mother.”

“I knew it!” Jessie shouted happily and forcefully leaned herself towards Deanna so that she was transferred into the woman’s arms. Deanna stood shock still for a moment and then hugged the little girl close to her. She looked up at Kelly and saw that the girl was glaring at her, eyes filled with hate.

“Kelly,” Will started, but she cut him off.

“How could you, Daddy?” Kelly asked and without letting him say anything, turned on her heel and ran up the stairs. Her bedroom door slammed shut moments later and both adults downstairs winced at the sound.

“Jessie, go wash up for dinner.” Will said and Deanna put the child down.

Jessie began to head for the bathroom, but looked back at Deanna.

“You won’t leave?” she asked biting her lip in worry.

“No, Sweetheart, I won’t leave. I promise.” Deanna said smiling sadly. The little girl smiled and ran off to do as her father said.

Will sighed and looked up the stairs to where Kelly had disappeared. “I should go talk to her. I'm sorry about that.”

“Will, don’t be sorry. She is only twelve. I have been gone for five years. What is she supposed to think?” Deanna said placing her hand on his arm in a comforting gesture. She wasn’t ready for the shot of pure heat that it sent through her body to touch him again. His eyes met hers and his surprised expression told her that he had felt it too. She let go abruptly and stepped back. He cleared his throat and looked once more to the stairs.

“Well, even so I should...” he began, but he stopped short at the sight of Kelly coming down the hallway with a backpack on and her sleeping bag in her hand.

“Kelly Marie Riker, where do you think you are going?” Will asked, putting his hands on his hips.

“I am going to sleep at Bri’s house. Her mom said it was okay.” Kelly said not even glancing at Deanna. Brianna Landing was Kelly’s best friend and as it happened the Landing’s were their closest neighbors. They owned the beach house about a mile down and Kelly often walked there to sleepover or vice versa.

“I'm going to go see if Jessica needs help.” Deanna said, seeing that Will was going to protest and decided to let the two of them talk it out. Even though Deanna felt it was a good idea that Kelly go, she knew that her opinion wouldn’t be well received by the young girl.

“Well, I'm sorry if you want to go to Brianna’s house, but I want you to stay home.” Will said, after Deanna was gone. He was about to tell her to call the Landings back, when Kelly’s eyes filled with tears.

“Daddy, please.” She whispered and dropped her sleeping bag to the floor. “I can’t stay here with her. Please let me go.”

Will opened his arms and she flew into them, crying into his chest. Will thought hard and finally nodded. He knew that this was all too much for his older daughter and that she would be fine at Brianna’s house. Maybe it would give her some time to think about what was happening.

Kelly said her thanks and picking up her sleeping bag again, she brushed the tears off her cheeks with the back of her hand and kissed him goodbye.

“I’ll pick you up around ten tomorrow morning.” Will said and she nodded. “And no tricks into staying later, Sunshine.”

Kelly giggled and nodded again. Deanna came back into the room holding Jessie’s hand and Kelly’s smile turned into a scowl.

“Where ya going, Kelly?” Jessie said letting go of Deanna’s hand and racing over to her older sister.

“I'm sleeping over Bri’s house. I’ll be home tomorrow.” Kelly said and kissed Jessie’s cheek.

“Don’t you wanna stay home and see Mommy?” Jessie asked, frowning.

“She’s not my mother.” Kelly said icily, making Jessie blink in surprise.

“Kelly...” Will warned his daughter, but she turned a glare on him.

“She can be Jessie’s mother, but she won’t be mine. I don’t have a mother anymore.” Kelly said and with that she walked out the front door.

“Daddy?” Jessie said, her voice small and worried.

“It’s okay, Baby. Come here.” Will said and opened his arms for Jessie to snuggle into. “She’s just scared. It’s been a long time since she’s had a mommy and she doesn’t want anything to change.”

“But with Mommy here, everything will be better.” Jessie said displaying a child’s simple logic.

Will looked at Deanna, who gazed back at him in an almost hopeful stare.

“Yes, Jessie. It will be better,” he said and Deanna smiled at him, and then suggested that they eat.


Part III

Kelly lay on her sleeping bag and stared up at the glow-in-the dark stars on the ceiling. Frowning in deep concentration she blew a large bubble out of the strawberry flavored bubble gum. The loud pop made her giggle as well as her friend on the bed to her left.

“That was a good one.” Brianna Landing said, her head appearing over the side of the bed. Her long blonde hair slid to hang over her face, covering her bright green eyes. Brianna sighed and shoved it out of the way then pointed to Kelly’s other side. “Can you hand me that hair band by your head?”

Kelly turned to look next to her and seeing what her friend was pointing to, picked up the hot pink band and playfully flung it at her.

“Hey! I said hand it to me, not nail me with it!” Brianna said, laughing as she rolled over to grab the band that had whizzed by her head. She quickly put her hair up into a high ponytail, the long golden strands still reaching past her shoulders. Resuming her position so she could look down at Kelly, she sighed again. “I wish I had your hair.”

“My hair? Eww, it’s so dull, Bri.” Kelly said, fingering a lock of said subject.

“Dull?” Bri sat up on her elbows and gazed at her in shock. “Are you nuts? Your hair is gorgeous. Look at it! It’s black as ebony and shines without you ever having to put anything in it. I mean, you brush it then walk out the door and you look great everyday.”

Kelly pulled a piece of her dark hair out in front of her face to try and study it, but only succeeded in becoming cross-eyed. The two girls broke down into giggles again and they tried to stifle it as a knocking came on the door.

“Girls, it is 2250. Lights out and go to bed. You are lucky I let you stay up this late.”

“Yes, Mom. We’re going to bed now.” Bri replied, rolling her eyes at Kelly, who buried her face into her pillow to muffle the sound of her giggles.

“Uh-huh.” Susan Landing said, in the tone that parents often used when they didn’t believe a word their child was saying. “Well, goodnight you two. Love you.”

“Night!” The two of them said with Brianna adding, “I love you too.”

They waited until they heard the master bedroom door shut before they even ventured to talk again. It was silent for a short time, but Kelly soon spoke up. She lifted a strand of her hair again and sighed quietly.

“I get my hair from...her. My blue eyes are like my dad’s, but he always says that I look more like...” Kelly trailed off and Bri bit her lip, before speaking.

“What’s she like?” Brianna asked, curiously.

“I don’t know.” Kelly said truthfully.

“Well, why did she say she left in the first place?” Brianna asked her face puzzled.

“I don’t know.” Kelly said again. “I split when I found out she was staying.”

“Don't you think you should let her tell you why she left?” Brianna asked, gently.

“Why should I let her explain? What could there possibly be to explain? She left us...just up and left one day without saying good-bye. Give me one good reason I should let her tell me excuses.”

“Because there might be a good reason she left. Besides, she is your mom, Kel.” Bri said and Kelly glared up at her.

“Was. Was my mom,” Kelly snapped and Bri’s eyes widened. Kelly sighed and lowered her gaze to where her fingers were entwined. “Sorry.”

“Sokay.” Brianna said and then added, “Wanna change topics?”

“Please.” Kelly replied, pulling the top of her sleeping bag over her.

“Okay...so what’s with you and R.J. Picard?” Brianna asked, grinning as Kelly sat straight up.

“What? What do you mean?” Kelly asked, her eyes wide.

“Rumor has it that you guys are boyfriend and girlfriend.” Brianna said, trying to hold back a laugh at her friend’s shocked expression.

“What? No! I mean...we’ve grown up together. He is my best friend...after you of course. I mean...I call his parents Aunt and Uncle...he is sooooo not...uh...” Kelly stammered and Brianna just nodded her head. Finally Kelly stopped and sighed saying slowly, “No, he’s not my boyfriend.”

“And you don’t want him to be?” Brianna asked, watching Kelly closely.

“No, of course not.” Kelly said, a blush creeping up onto her face.

“Good, so then if I wanted to ask him to the movies or something...” Brianna said slowly.

“Don’t even think about it!” Kelly said too quickly and then she realized that she had fallen right into her friend’s trap. Groaning, she flopped back onto her pillow and covered her face with her hands.

Brianna burst out laughing and leaned over to whisper, “Hey, if it helps, he likes you too.”

Kelly uncovered her face and peered up at Brianna. “Really? How do you know?”

“He told Bobby Sutton, who told Jimmy Patron, who told Helen Shooter, who told me.” Brianna said and Kelly couldn’t help but grin. The two girls looked at each other for a moment before letting out an excited squeal and erupted into laughter.

“Girls!” Came Susan’s voice and Brianna quickly told the computer to shut the lights out. It didn’t help, however, and they desperately tried to calm down, but only ended up laughing harder. After a while, the last of their giggles died away and both girls snuggled into their respective beds. In the dark, Kelly reached up and unconsciously twirled a piece of her dark hair.

“What if she leaves again?” Kelly asked softly, her eyes narrowed. She heard Bri shift in the bed and although she couldn’t see the details of her friend’s face in the dark, she knew that she was looking at her.

“Your mom.” Brianna said, just as softly. It was an unnecessary clarification since they both knew that was whom Kelly was talking about, but she had felt as if she needed to ask.

“What if...” Kelly's voice grew tight and full of tears. “What if I begin to love her again and she leaves?”

Brianna thought quietly before saying, “What if she doesn’t? What if she wants to stay, but you push her away?”

Kelly stayed quiet and didn’t respond to her friend’s question. After a moment of silence she heard Bri sigh and whisper goodnight. Kelly echoed her and closed her eyes, only to open them seconds later. She heard Brianna’s breathing go deep and even and knew that she was already fast asleep. Sleep wouldn’t come easy to Kelly though, as her friend’s question ran through her head. Frowning, she looked up once more to the stars on the ceiling. Maybe what they said was true, maybe the truth was in the stars.

She peered up at them for what seemed like forever, but nothing came to her on how to deal with the fact that her mother was back in her life. Kelly closed her eyes and turned on her side, silent tears flowing down her cheeks as she cried herself to sleep.