Archive: Sure, just tell me where.
I saw him walked in through the door. He obviously
wasn't too sure what to expect. He looked in my
direction and our eyes met. I smiled at him warmly. I
was so happy to see him here. I noticed his demeanor
relax in respond to my welcoming greeting. He smiled
back at me with a smile of gratitude. With a nod, I
encouraged him to go and join his son, who was seated
in the corner.
I tried to look busy, minding my own business, but I
couldn't help but keep an eye on the two of them. The
place was empty except for one other regular customer.
I was grateful for that.
"Son," I heard the father say, bring the young man out
of his day dreaming.
"Admiral," the cadet acknowledged snapping to
attention. "I'm sorry, Sir. I didn't notice you come
"It's all right, Tom. Relax. I'm not here as the
'Admiral'," he replied with a grin.
"Sometimes it's hard to tell," Tom mumbled.
"Next time, I'll try to remember to change first," his
father said lightly.
The comment stole a small smile from Tom. It was more
a gesture of politeness, but it was still a smile.
Smiles was hard to come by ever since Tom had lost
three of his best friends in a terrible accident a few
"Can we sit down?" Owen Paris asked.
Tom simply nodded before taking back his seat. His
gaze was downcast on the table top. It was such an
uncharacteristic display coming from this usually
outgoing and social young man.
"You still want to talk about it, don't you?" Tom
voiced a bit accusingly.
"Not if you don't want to, Tiger," his father
reassured him. "What you're going through is very
difficult at the moment. I just want to let you know
that we're there, your mother and I, if you ever
needed to talk. You know that you don't have to be
afraid to talk to us about anything, don't you Son?"
Tom looked away from the table top. He was fidgeting
nervously in his chair. He looked like a small animal
ready to crawl in the nearest hiding corner.
"I can't.. I can't stop thinking about it," Tom
confessed after a long and heavy silence.
"That's understandable, Son," his father told him on a
soft tone. "You survived a very traumatizing accident.
I know it's very difficult to go on after the loss of
our friends. I'm afraid that it will take sometime
before it goes away. But, I assure you that it will
get better with time. You have to grieve for your
Tom shook his head as he tried to find a way how to
voice what was on his mind.
"I don't understand," he utter harshly in a sudden
outburst of anger. He got to his feet and paced
restlessly. "I keep replaying what happened over and
over in my head. I still don't understand. I don't
know what went wrong!?"
"Tell me again what happened," Owen offered. "Maybe I
can help you figure it out."
"I'm tired, tired of retelling it," Tom protested. "I
don't want to think about it anymore. I just want it
to be over. Why can't it be over?"
"I know it's hard, Tom, but we have to know what
caused the accident," the Admiral said. "It's not
going to go away before we do. We owe this to your
friends and their families, don't you think? You owe
it to yourself. Please, tell me again what happened."
Tom fought with himself as he kept pacing.
"What if..." the Cadet trailed off.
"What if what?" Owen prompted.
"What if I did something wrong?"
"Is that what you're afraid of? Do you think you did
something wrong?" the older man asked carefully
maintaining his composure.
"I don't know," Tom answered quickly. He risked a
swift sideways look to his father.
I could see the shameful expression on his young face
as he turned his head back in my direction. My heart
went to him.
"You would be very disappointed in me, wouldn't you?"
"Maybe," his father reply truthfully.
"You'd be hurt," Tom added.
I don't exactly know what prompted Owen Paris get to
his feet and to comfort his son by taking a hold of
his shoulders, although I could make an educated
"Tom look into my eyes and tell me the truth," Owen
ordered. "Are you afraid to tell us all that did
happen at Caldik Prime because you think that it's
going to hurt me?"
Tears escaping from Tom's red-rimed blue eyes were his
Owen pulled his son into a hug as his body was shaken
by uncontrollable sobs.
"It's very... loving of you to try to protect me from
hurt, Tiger," the father told his son. "But, if you
made a mistake, you will have to take responsibility
for it. You know that." Owen gently pushed Tom away so
that they could make eye contact. "Son, I can never be
disappointed in you if you stand for the truth," he
"You'll be there?" Tom wondered worriedly.
"Of course," Owen assured him. "I love you, Son."
Despite myself, I shed a bittersweet tear as I watched
them leave, Tom still wrapped in his father's arm.
"How about another glass a wine?" I suggested to the
only customer. "I feel like making a toast."
Danya agreed somewhat reluctantly.
"I just wish we could have prevented him from going
through this terrible ordeal, Sandrine," she
"I know, ma Cherie. But, but some things are meant to
"Now dry those tears away," I ordered her.
"You're right," she said. "I just hope that this Tom
Paris has such an effect on me..."
"On us all, ma belle. On us all."
Big Thanks to Louise once again.
Thanks for reading
Isabelle S. -