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Lessons In Love

Lessons in Love (1)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:12 PM

"If I wanted to,
I could do anything right,
I could dance with the Devil on a Saturday night
If I wanted to
I could turn matches to gold,
I could smoke, drink, swear and I will never grow old......."

Miss Racine's voice rang out in the half empty Quark's on Wednesday night.

'How appropriate,' Lee-Marie thought as she remembered her actions prior

Before coming into Quarks, she had ducked into the alley and smoked about three cigarettes in a row. Miss Leonie-Marie was more progressive than most, but she knew which boundaries she could and wouldn't cross in a town such as Voyager City. A woman smoking in public was definitely something that would bring out more than comments. It would have serious repercussions and she couldn't deal with that, especially now. Lee-Marie had no idea what she was capable of doing in the state that she was in now. A confrontation was something that was wise for her to avoid now. After finishing them, she had gone into the bar and found a quiet table in the back, ordered a neat rum and began to drink.

She had lost count of how much she had. Every time her glass emptied, her waitress refilled it almost immediately. Lee-Marie didn't even notice her and didn't care as long as she kept her glass filled and her mouth shut.......

" I wouldn't have to be in love with you,
If I only wanted to......

How she wish that it was true. But the fact was that it didn't matter if she wanted to or not. She was in love with him and he had chosen someone else over her.

The rum slowly began to dull some of the pain.

Miss Racine finished the song and looked over at Lee-Marie hunched over her drink at her table. While she was doing her performance she observed Miss Leeta continually fill Miss Lee-Marie's glass. Miss Lee-Marie and Mr. Chakotay had often come to hear her sing when she did performances at Sandrine's. She knew them well and had always been pleased with the complements that they gave her. Seeing Miss Lee-Marie in that state, Miss Racine did not have to think to hard to know what had occurred. What Miss Lee-Marie didn't know was that the local scuttlebutt didn't think that she and Mr. Chakotay Torres would last because of Miss Kathryn. Seeing the desolate look on Miss Lee-Marie's face, she wondered how long it would take for the news to reach town, then calculated the exact number of minutes it would take Quark to collect the house's stake in the pool. She felt sorry for Miss Lee-Marie. She had no idea what she had gotten herself in the middle of when she fell in love with Mr. Torres.

She turned to her band and made a request. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her pianist roll his eyes. She knew that they hated when she sang that song because of how depressing it was. But they hadn't seen Miss Lee-Marie's state and even if they had, being men, they wouldn't understand. When a woman was experiencing heartbreak, sometimes all she wants to do is to feel bad. Music always facilitated this, especially if it was sung by another sister who understood exactly what the woman was going through. Hearing the blues and listening to another sister belt out her own pain forms a kind of camaraderie among women. It lets them know that loving a man has always brought women pain since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so until the end of time. For every woman who wins at love; another loses. It was the nature of the game. Let her musicians grumble. It was the least she could do for a regular.

Part 2 correction...(sorry :-) )
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 7:55 PM

Love was always supposed to be,
Something wonderful to me,
To watch it grow inside yourself
To feel your heart beside itself,

Miss Racine's voice was smooth and her accentuation made it seem as if she knew exactly what she was singing about. Lee took a long hard look at the singer. She seemed to be singing to her specifically even though there were more people in the room. She also seemed to be singing out her own pain. It reached through the music and embraced Miss Lee. The combination of Miss Racine's voice and the alcohol in her system made Lee-Marie do something that she hadn't done in a long time. She began to remember. She should say that she allowed herself to remember.

This time when the memories came to her, she didn't chase them away. She embraced them, she let the pain from the past accentuate the pain of the present.


Sometimes it hurts to love so bad,
(when you know you've given all you can)
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
(you do your best but still it's much too sad)
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.....

Jadzia knew from the moment that she stepped into Mickie-C's house that something was very wrong. He had asked her to meet him at his house as he wanted to talk to her. That, in of itself, was normal, but the way that Mickie-C was acting was not. For the past couple of days he had been moody and uncommunicative. He kept to himself. They used to do everything together and now she found that she had a hard time even being civil to him. He was just so shut off from her.

She heard the rumors floating about town that he and Miss Jane Riley were becoming an item, but she thought nothing of it. Mickie-C had always come around courting a lot of girls, but none of them lasted.

In the end only one thing did. Their friendship. It was only lately that Jadzia realized that the friendship, which was forged between them ten years ago, had blossomed into love. She hadn't wanted to admit it to herself because of the complications that came along with the realization.

She was a Lady and he a ranch hand. Her mother had come to America with Jadzia shortly after her father died in England to start a new life. She had met, fell in love with and married Mr. Dayton. Her two siblings; Randye-Jane and Donna-May, had arrived soon after. In time when Mr. Dayton had acquired enough money, he had moved west and brought the Q-Beta Ranch where she had lived from the time that she was six years old. Her mother never let her forget her origins and had insisted that she keep her title even though her mother, Judith, had to give hers up when she married Mr. Dayton.

Jadzia knew that she had pushed the envelope of what her mother would tolerate when she insisted that she wanted to learn to run a ranch. Not only in the financial matters, but the knots and bolts of riding, herding shooting and building. She had a feeling that her mother had really allowed it because she figured that one day Jadzia would either get fed up of it or come to her senses one day and take up the life of being a lady. Her mother still clung to that hope even though Jadzia seemed to spend more of her time outdoors and turned away many a gentleman who had come calling at her door.

She knew that her mother had never suspected that anything was going on between her and Mickie-C because of the number of different women that he courted. She figured that Jadzia was safe with him. Not only because of the women but also because his whole family was depended on the Daytons for their income and Mickie-C would do nothing to jeopardize that. And even if he did, she figured that she would put her foot down and would do everything to drive them apart.

Lessons in Love (3)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:15 PM

Jadzia was more stubborn than most women, so if she really wanted to, she could have defied her mother and taken up with Mickie-C. But Jadzia had told herself for a long time that the feelings that were between them were those of close friends. Mickie-C had never made any moves to turn their friendship into anything else so rather than lose her family for someone who may or may not have feelings for her, Jadzia chose to keep their friendship as is.

Besides nothing could tear them apart. They had pledged themselves to be friends forever no matter what happened.

Their friendship would never die.

That's what she told herself right up to that moment.

Mickie-C was sitting by himself in the kitchen of his family's house. A lamp was burning low on the counter by the sink casting an eerie glow on everything in the room. His elbows were on the table and hands were covering his face. Not expecting to see anyone in the kitchen and thinking that she would have had to make her way to the front room, Jadzia made a lot of noise coming in. She stopped short when she saw Mickie at the kitchen table. He didn't raise his head from his hands until she sat down opposite him.

"Mickie, what's wrong? What is it?" Jadzia said in alarm when she was able to get a good look at him. He looked haunted and if she didn't know better, she would have sworn that he had been crying. His eyes seemed large and hollow in the dim lighting.

Mickie hesitated before he answered. He seemed to realize that there would be no easy way to say what he had to, so he may as well just go ahead and blurt it out.

"I'm going to marry Miss Jane Riley", he said silently.

Those words pierced her like a knife. Jadzia forced herself to breathe as the implications of what he had said began to race through her mind. She pushed them firmly away after a minute. Her needs would have to take a back seat for now, it was obvious that this decision was weighing heavily on Mickie's mind there had to be another reason why he called her to his home to tell her about it and why he looked so unhappy.

"Oh" She waited for him to continue, but Mickie had lapsed back into silence. Jadzia knew that she would have to draw the information out of him.

"This is kind of sudden isn't? You've only been calling on her for a month."

"She's pregnant."

It was then that loss of consciousness threatened Jadzia. She swallowed hard and griped the edge of the seat of her chair. Mickie had not told her that he had been sleeping with Jane. It was not that he told her everything about his life, but making love was always an experience that they shared and that they had talked about at length. She found it hard to believe that he would have taken a big step with Jane and not told her about it.


It sounded stupid, but that was all Jadzia would trust herself to say at that time. If she were to attempt to say more, her thoughts might come out.

*No it's not OK. I love you!!!*

Lessons in Love (3)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:16 PM

Those words she could not say. They were too little and much too late. Mickie had made his choice and so it should be. The sooner she accepted it and got on with life, the easier it would be for them all. She just sat in silence.

During his entire conversation, Mickie-C had not looked at her until he mentioned the pregnancy and then he noticed that Jadzia refused to look at him. He knew that he had hurt her deeply, but there was nothing he could do. He loved Jadzia too much to hurt her any more than he was doing now. This secret had to be kept. Jane was a different story. He sighed deeply, he had no choice. He had to do the right thing for all concerned. The story was much more complicated than any one knew.

"When will the wedding be?"

Jadzia finally faced him and he could see her blank look. His heart broke as realized the extent of the pain that he had just inflicted on her, and what her reaction would be. She would withdraw as he had; she would go deep within herself and cover herself in the functional mask that she was so good at putting on. She would smile, do and say the right things, be there for him. But she would not allow anyone, especially him to be there for her. She would deny the pain to others, to him and even to herself. How well had he gotten to know her.

"In about two weeks. Her daddy is anxious to keep this as quiet as possible so he will make it seem as if we've eloped."

That soon.

"Well I hope that you will be happy."

Jadzia got up to leave. She was on the verge of collapse. A scream from deep within was threatening to get out. She wanted to rail, to lash out. To make him hurt as much as she was hurt. She had to get away. To go to a private place where she could take time to absorb what had been said. To come to terms with it.

Mickie grabbed her hand as she turned to go. Finally the two of them faced each other, eye to eye.

"Jadzia, I'm so sorry that I had to hurt you this much, please believe me. If there was any other way..."

"Don't be silly, you were never courting me. I'm really ha............

Jadzia stopped when she saw the tears collecting in his eyes. She couldn't lie to him. She looked down to the floor and muttered.

"I really have to go..."

Mickie -C let her go


True love it has no hiding place
It's not something you put away
It's always there inside of you
And it shows in everything you do....

When she heard the footsteps coming into the barn, Jadzia realized who it was and looked around desperately for a place to hide. She and Mickie-C had avoided each other in the three days following their last talk in his kitchen. She had just finished taking a ride on her favorite horse, Bashir-Jules (BJ for short) and was brushing him down. She quickly spotted a bail of hay and hid behind it.

*Maybe he'll just want something and leave once he gets it

Lessons in Love (4)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:18 PM

She could only hope that she wouldn't be hiding for a long time.

Mickie-C came into the barn. From her vantagepoint, she saw that someone else was with him. She recognized Charlie, one of the hands from a neighboring ranch. She saw both of them look around quickly as if trying to see if anyone would spot them. Jadzia stooped lower. Satisfied that no one else was there with them, Mickie-C turned his attention to Charlie. Slowly, Jadzia raised her head from the bail of hay

Charlie looked as if he had just lost his best friend. Even though they were all of six feet away from her, she could see by the way the light hit his face that Charlie was crying. He looked at Mickie and said in a pleading voice.

"You can't do this."

"I have to." Mickie's voice was calm. Almost like a man who had been given the death sentence and had come to terms with it by just giving up.

"What about us? What about our *friendship*?" Charlie's voice went up a notch

"You knew that one day it would have to end." Mickie's voice still remained calm.

Charlie turned away and Jadzia saw him trying to compose himself. The two men stood in silence for a couple of minutes longer and then Charlie spoke softly.

"Yes I did" He looked up into Mickie's eyes and even from her point of view she could feel the emotion as it went from one man to the next

"It would be best if we go our separate ways now." Mickie put his hand on the man's shoulder.

"Take care of yourself." Charlie responded. Mickie nodded and Jadzia thought that she could see a tear fall from his face. Then Charlie gave Mickie a quick fierce hug and left. Jadzia ducked behind the bail of hay. It seemed an eternity before she heard Mickie's footsteps signal his departure.

When she was sure that he was indeed gone, she came out from behind the bail of hay and sat on the floor of BJ's stall. Finally a lot of things about her relationship and Mickie's began to make a lot of sense. Jadzia had always prided herself of being very aware and of noticing things, but this one had slipped right by her. She didn't even suspected.

Jadzia felt as if there was a stampede going through her head and her heart. Questions, which lead to answers, which lead to more questions ran through her mind. She ran the full gamut of emotions, from rage and jealousy to compassion and surprisingly love. She had no idea how long she sat on the on the barn floor, but when she stood up she had come to some resolution.

It was time to stop avoiding Mickie-C. It was time to confront him. She had questions to which he had to answers. She would ask him and he would answer her. He owed her at least that.

Lessons in Love (5)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:17 PM


He turned to see Jadzia standing at the door to his room. He was sitting on his bed putting his boots on, getting ready to go and meet Miss Riley to iron out the final details on their marriage plans.

"Now is not a good time Jadzia"

"It will have to be. We have to talk. Now."

Jadzia did not raise her voice but looked at him intently. He knew that look. He stood up, but made no motion to get any closer to her.

"So talk"

"Why did you lie to me?"

He looked puzzled. "What are you talking about?"

Jadzia crossed the room and stood one foot away from him. She looked at him directly and he could see the anger blazing in her eyes.

"You did not make Jane pregnant. In fact I don't think that you event slept with her."

Alarm bells were going off in his head.

"Woman what are you talking about? Don't you think that a man knows when he does these things?". He put his hands on his hips and stared at her.

"I overheard you and Charlie in the Barn"

Mickie's face fell and he turned beet red. His expression changed from shock to anger.

"Just what were you doing there? You must have been hiding. We looked around and saw no one. Do you always go around listening on people's conversations?" His voice raised in its anger.

"No. I was doing what we've both been doing these past two days, avoiding. I thought that you were alone and that you would leave as soon as you got what you came for. By the time I figured it out, it was too late for me to leave." Jadzia spoke softly and frankly and did not avoid his eyes. He saw her love and compassion in them. His anger left him. He drew her to the bed and they lay down, arm in arm.

"Now do you understand?" His voice was a pleasant rumbling in his chest.

" A little. Who's the father of Jane's child?"

"Some one in the Cavalry. She wouldn't say who, but he bolted and left her."

"Why you?"

"I just happen to be at the right place at the right time. I was just beginning to get interested in her just when she found out that she was pregnant. She came right out and told me. Jane asked me to marry her. She said that her father and her would treat me real nice if I did. With the thing going on with Charlie, I realized that I would not be able to marry the one that I truly loved. If I ever married, I would have to live a lie. At least this way it starts off as being a lie and it protects Charlie."

Lessons in Love (6)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:19 PM

Jadzia was silent. Mickie continued.

"It also looks good for the Ranch. Ole Mr Riley has convinced Mr Eddington to extend the loan on the Q-Beta. I have a feeling he tried extra hard seeing knowing the favor that I was going to bestow on him by marrying his stained daughter."

"I can't believe Mama and Papa would make you feel like you have to do something like that!"

"They don't even know. That was my own nudging. Mama is really too old to be an effective cook, that's why your mama hired two helpers for her. And Dad's leg keeps giving him trouble. Your folks have been very kind to keep them on as long as they have. If something were to happen and they lose the ranch, I don't know what my folks and I would do. At least this way everyone is safe and relatively happy."

"Except for you."

There was a silence. Mickie-C held her tighter. Jadzia closed her eyes and wished that it could be real, that it could convey the feelings that she wanted it to convey. Almost as if her were reading her thoughts, he said.

"I could never be the man that you need me to be Jadzia. That's why I never officially began to court you. I wouldn't hurt you like that. "

"I never realized that I fell in love with you until a year ago. I never mentioned it. I didn't know what or why, but I knew that you didn't have those kind of feelings for me."

"I love you Jadzia. Never doubt that. I just can't fall in love with you."

"I know" she said softly. "You best get going, you'll be late" She began to rise off the bed. He pulled her down again until she came to rest on his bare chest.

"Don't go, not yet" he murmured in her ear as he wraped his arms tightly around her.

She made no more attempts to leave


Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
(when you know you've given it your best
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
(you feel a thousand miles form happiness)
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.

"Tom, Tom are you listening to me." Thomas Magnum jumped as Cowgirl Vickie waved her hand in his face. He gave a deep sigh.

"I'm sorry Vickie, my thoughts are elsewhere tonight."

"I can see that." Her eyes followed his gaze until they rested on Lee-Marie at her table. She did not look too well, she seemed to be staring at her glass, but Vickie could guess that her eyes were unfocused. She seemed to have had enough sense to stop Leeta on the sixth tumbler of rum (man, that woman could hold her liquor!), but Vickie doubted that she had enough sense to know which way was the door and she was definately in no state to ride.

Lessons in Love (7)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:20 PM

She looked back at Tom. His face held a lot of concern for Lee-Marie. Vickie narrowed her eyes.

"Why are you so concerned about Lee-Marie?"

"Lee-Marie and I used to live in the same town. We were close, in fact we still are."

Vickie's eyes were almost slits by this time. Tom realizing what his statement sounded like looked up and caught Vickie's gaze.

"Vickie," he said softly, "It's not like that. I've known Lee-Marie since she was a teenager. She was like the daughter I never had."

Vickie groaned as she gave a relieved smile. "Are you that old? What does this say about me?"

He smiled. Vickie felt herself beginning to melt.

"Actually Lee-Marie is only in her late twenties."

"Really! I mean she looks that age, but she certainly acts older than that."

"She's had a hard life. I'm worried about her now. There was only one other time when I've seen her drink this hard and I don't want her to be in that kind of trouble again."

Vickie put her hand in Tom's and drew him up from the table.

"Let's make sure that she isn't then" and hand in hand they made their way to Lee-Marie's table.



Lee-Marie looked up. Her eyes hurt as they had to focus on brighter light. Her equilibrium seemed off too. She supposed it was due of the amount of liquid in her system.

"Mr Magnum, Cowgirl Vickie" She acknowledged them briefly and then looked down.

"Are you all right?" Tom sat opposite her and Vickie drew up a chair and sat next to him. She linked her arm in his. They seemed so much of a couple, that it hurt to look at them.

"No, I'm not."

"Did something happen at the Ranch" Vickie asked.

"Yes something did." Lee-Marie answered succintly

"Do you need a place to stay tonight?." Vickie asked kindly. It suddenly struck her what must have happened to cause Lee-Marie to be here by herself and drinking herself under the table.

Lee-Marie silently cursed herself. She hadn't thought ahead enough to make plans for what happens now. All she thought about was getting away from the Ranch. She had to make plans. She was going to have to leave the Delta Q. But where was she going to go? Perhaps.....

Her head swam and she realized that she was in no state to make any plans about her future. In fact she didn't even think that she was in any state to stand without assistance. She looked up at Vickie and Magnum.

Lessons in Love (9)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:21 PM

"I'd be much oblidged." She said sheepishly as she tried to stand. Her legs buckled and luckily Magnum was near enough to catch her before she made an even bigger fool of herself.

"Come on Lee, let's get you to Circle V" Lee-Marie leaned on him as he guided her outside to the carriage that they had taken to get to Quark's

When Lee saw the horses tethered, she remembered.

"JTM?" her words were slurred.

Vickie spoke up, "We'll take him with us, you can return him in the morning when you go to collect your things."

"He's good horse, do you know that? He's somewhat older but he has a certain grace about him, something you don't find in younger stallions. Definitely the best mount that I've ridden since BJ"

It was then that Lee realized that she was rambling and she was quiet for the rest of the ride to Circle V.


Cowgirl Vickie closed the door to the guestroom after she made sure that Lee-Marie was comfortable. She had fallen into bed as soon as she finished drinking three glasses of water which she swore would help her the next morning. Seeing how much alcohol that Lee had consumed, Cowgirl Vickie doubted that it would help fend off the morning hangover that much. Lee-Marie was definatley in for a rough morning.

She made her way to the front room where, Tom was sitting on couch waiting for her. Vickie sat next to him and he put his arms around her. She rested her head on his shoulder

"She asleep?"

"Went off like a baby as soon as her head hit the pillow."

"I hope that she's going to be all right."

"She will be, she just needs time."

"Will you let her stay here as long as she needs to."

"Of course. Still looking out for her well being?"

"I promised her mother that I would look out for her if ever our paths crossed again and they did this time. Seeing her again was the one good thing that came out of me coming to this town."

Vickie raised her head.

"The one good thing?"

Magnum grinned.

"Of course"

"What does that make me" Cowgirl Vickie demanded.

"The best thing that came out of me coming to this town." And his lips found hers.

"Well in that case..." Was all she was able to get out before he began to kiss her.

Lessons in Love (10)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 9:07 PM

"And I solemnly swear that I will

Drink that much again
So help me God"

Lee-Marie muttered these words silently as her lips reached for her fourth cup of Joe. It was only after the third one that she began to feel a little more human and a little less crappy. She sighed. That had to be the national anthems of drunks everywhere. She had heard it being said many times in her presence, but this was only the second time that she had said it for herself.

It was quiet this early in the morning. Lee-Marie had awoken half an hour ago and it had taken her a full five minutes to realize what had happened the night before. She lay in the bed of the guest bedroom at Circle V trying to figure out what she should do now. In the end, her head was still in no shape to make plans for her future so she had gotten up and made herself a pot of Joe. She sat in the dark and silence of the kitchen, trying to clear her head and plan her next move.

She had a couple of ideas, but even with the clarity of the fourth cup of coffee, her mind kept wandering back to Mickie-C. Lee-Marie knew that it was one of the reasons why she didn't like to remember that time of her life. Once she started she couldn't stop. It didn't help that the situation that she had found herself in now paralleled the one that she had been in


Looking back she thought that it would have been so easy to keep her friendship up with Mickie after he had gotten married. But a lot of things began change. For one thing he was no longer living on the Q-Beta and another foreman was hired to replace him. For another, Miss Jane was one jealous woman and did not keep a long leash on Mickie. She had found that in time it was just impossible to keep their friendship. By the time that Jane had given birth, she found that it was indeed possible for ten years of friendship to be undone by one year of marriage.

Jadzia mourned the loss of him. She just stopped doing anything around the Ranch besides riding. Her parents were at a loss to explain what was going on with her. They took her to the doctors who gave her medication, but nothing helped. She drifted that way for about six months until finally she was able to come out of it with the help of her sisters and her parents.

The pain of the loss of that friendship was a constant companion to her though. It never left. Then something happened to rend her world asunder forever.


Cowgirl Vickie was surprised to see Lee-Marie sitting at the kitchen table at that hour of the morning.


"Morning. Have a cup."

"Don't mind if I do." Cowgirl Vickie got herself a cup and poured. She sat at the table and looked at Lee-Marie intently.

"Can you tell me what happened?"

Lee-Marie winced. She didn't want to have to think about it, but she did at least owe Cowgirl Vickie an explanation.

"Mr. Torres has chosen Miss Janeway over myself." She sensed that she didn't need to explain that to Cowgirl Vickie.

Vickie nodded sympathetically. " I had a feeling that's what happened."

"I should have expected it."

"I don't think that you could have. You weren't here for the history of those two. You had no way of knowing what you were putting yourself in the middle of."

Lee-Marie looked at her curiously. "You were involved with him at one time weren't you."

A far off look covered Cowgirl Vickie's eyes. "Yes"

"What happened?" Lee asked.

Cowgirl Vickie's smile took on a sad look.

"It's a long story"

"One of these days, you'll have to tell me about it."

Lessons in Love (11)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 9:09 PM

The two women sat in silence for a time.

Lee sighed deeply. "It is going to be so different not having his type of *companionship*" Indeed it was, she was going to miss him. The pain stirred in her stomach.

Cowgirl Vickie lowered the cup from her lips and said directly.

"The sex was mind blowing wasn't it?"

Without missing a beat, Lee-Marie answered, "Wouldn't know it. I never slept with him."

She had known that Vickie had intended to shock her with the directness of her question. She suspected that it was nothing compared to the shock she had instilled with that revelation. Lee-Marie was right.

The coffee sloshed over Vickie's cup as she almost dropped it from her hands. Lee-Marie grinned.

"You're serious? The two of you never......" Vickie looked at Lee-Marie intently.

"Nope. I may be progressive in a lot of areas of my life, but that does not mean I open my heart up to anyone to trample on it as they please. Trust me, it's never taken this long. I guess deep down in my heart, I knew that he wasn't really all mine."

Vickie gave a wicked grin and then said. "Well don't worry. You'll have to join my Housewives' Club. First meeting of every month is devoted to Mr. Chakotay Torres. When we get to talking about it, you'll feel as if you were there.

It was Lee-Marie's turn to almost drop her cup.

"You compare notes?!?" she asked incredulously.

"Well not exactly. Come to the meeting all would be made clear," Vickie said mysteriously.

"I don't think that I can. I'll be leaving town as soon as I can."

"Where will you go?"

"Don't know yet."

"You know, I'm still looking for a foreman for my Ranch. I told Grendell, not to keep wearing redshirts when he was out on patrol, but he wouldn't listen to me. I've been looking for a Foreman ever since. Tom tells me that you're quiet good and I know that I have heard Tom Janeway and B'Elanna say the same thing. Why don't you consider working and staying here."

Lee-Marie thought about it. She really had no where else that she wanted to go and in a way, she had begun to like this town. It was never boring.

"I'll take it Miss Vickie, but there is one thing about me that you need to know."

She took a deep breath before she continued.


"Mama what's wrong?'

Jadzia had walked into the front room sobbing. She ran to her mother's side. She had never, ever seen her mother cry before. She knew that something terrible must have happened and she had a sinking feeling in her stomach that it involved her stepfather.

"Jadzia.....we're going to lose everything...."

Jadzia felt the blood drain from her face. "What happened?"

"Mr. Eddington is going to collect on his loan....We...we don't have the money to pay him. You Papa has gone to see if he can talk to Ole Mr. Riley to lend him the money. He said he wouldn't at first. Said something about defective goods that he got from us a years back. But we never sold him anything!!! I can't imagine why he would say that.

Jadzia, could and the implications of her being right hit her all at once. She patted her mother's hand.

"Don't worry about it. I'll go and see Mickie and we'll get this all straightened out."

Her mother simply nodded and studied something in her lap as she wiped her tears. When Jadzia looked down she saw it was a picture of the five of them taken in front of the Q-Beta. She knew what she had to do.

Lessons in Love (12)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:13 PM

When Jadzia arrived at the Riley's Ranch, the whole area was deadpan silent. It was if no living creature wanted to disturb the ranch. It gave it an eerie aura. Jadzia recognized her stepfather's horse and buggy in front of the main house. At least she knew that he was there. She dismounted quickly, gave her reigns to the Ranch hand who had come out to greet her, and marched into the house without even acknowledging her presence

"Umm, I don't think this is a good time...." He was talking to the wind.

The door closed silently behind her when she entered the house. She walked around the main rooms, calling out for Mickie as she did so, but she got no answer and she could see no one. Suddenly, she heard harsh voices and loud crash coming from the study. Jadzia took a deep breadth to ready herself for the challenge that lay ahead. It was obvious that Ole Man Riley was in a drunken state and this was going to prove difficult to deal with. But she had to. Her father was there with him and she had to make sure that Riley didn't hurt him as he tended to when he was taken with the bottle.

The door not fully shut. There was a glittery object that blocked the entrance. Jadzia recognized the necklace. It was one of her father's family heirloom pieces. She pushed the door open. The sight that greeted her made her pause momentary and panic to settle in her heart. Her stepfather and Riley were at each other's throats and a vase lay in pieces at the foot of the two men as they wrestled.

"Why don't you just take the necklace......." Her stepfather screamed at Riley.

This seemed to snap her out of her trance.

"Papa, Mr. Riley...STOP IT" Jadzia flung herself at Mr. Riley.

He turned and his hand lashed out at her face. Jadzia felt a sharp pain in her cheek and tasted blood in her mouth. Her head seemed to explode with pain and for a moment she thought that she would lose consciousness.

"Owwww" She staggered backwards and grabbed the edge of a chair to keep her from collapsing. She was dazed, and felt her eyes closing.

"NOOOOOO" Rage built in her stepfather and he turned to Riley and charged at him. Riley went flying backwards and the two of them ended up on the floor at the base of the desk. Her stepfather was momentarily dazed and shaking his head vigorously trying to come out of it. Riley pulled himself up to a kneeling position and reached in his drawer and pulled out an object. Her stepfather charged him again, but in his weakened state he managed to hit Riley off center. It was still enough to knock him down.

Someone came charging in the Room

"Mr. Riley, STOP IT"


The gunshot that rang out was lout enough to force Jadzia's eyes to open. Riley got up slowly over her dead stepfather's body.

"Good riddance to that bad lot." He muttered.

Jadzia and Mickie-C stood transfixed staring at the scene in front of them.

Riley turned to face Jadzia and pointed the gun at her.

"You," he gave his face a quick flick in Mickie's direction as he said that word, "I don't have to worry about."

Lessons in Love (13)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:14 PM

"But her" he motioned to Jadzia. "You should have just stayed home little girl"

"Mr. Riley DON'T. She's just a woman, who's going to believe her. You have nothing to worry about." Mickie all but screamed, his eyes growing wide with fear as he made his way slowly and stood next to Jadzia.

"SHUT UP, you little Girlie Boy. You've made one too many mistakes as it is!!!! You don't ever think do you boy? Of course someone is going to believe her. Judge Magnum is too old a family friend to be brought off!!!" The comment made Mickie freeze in his tracks as Riley swept the gun from Jadzia to Mickie

The gun finally settled on Jadzia.

"I should have known why you were too ready to marry Jane. I should have seen the reason behind it!!!"

Mr. Riley squeezed the trigger




Mickie had leaped in front of Jadzia and taken the bullet that was meant for her. She caught him as he fell to the ground.

"Mickie, Mickie answer me!!!" Jadzia shook him. But he was dead. When she realized it was so, she bent over his body and cried out loud and long.

It was meant as a distraction.

Jadzia had known what death looked like. She knew that there was no saving Mickie from being shot at that close range and the large amount of blood that had collected beneath him, confirmed this. Fury built within her. She knew that she would exact retribution for what Riley had done.

'The Woman' seemed to warm the holster under her skirt petticoats. She had come with it. From the time that she learned how to use her properly, Jadzia had never left home alone without it. When she walked into the study she just didn't think that she would need to use it. She had foolishly believed that with her endeavoring to separate the two of them, they would come to their senses. She was wrong and now two people were dead, paying for her mistake.

The accidental shooting of his son-in-law distracted Riley, and Mickie-C's body partially blocked his view of Jadzia. He didn't see the six shooter come out of Jadzia's holder. By the time he realized what was happening, the alcohol and his previous fights had dulled his reflexes so much that his brain did not register the gun until it was too late.


Her aim was as always perfect. Riley dropped the gun as the blood poured from his right hand.


Jadzia ignored him, rage filling her being and making her oblivious to everything else but her desire for revenge. "The Woman" was still trained at his heart. When Riley saw this he paled.

Lessons in Love (14)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:15 PM


Jadzia recoiled as her gun went off. She felt as if she had snapped out of her rage as she saw Riley slump to the floor. She stared at him for what seemed to her to be an eternity.

Footsteps came up behind her and when Jadzia turned around she saw Mrs. Riley.

"I suggest you leave now!!!"

"I ......"

"Leave Jadzia. He was my husband and I hated him. I'm glad that he's dead. You've saved me the trouble of doing him in myself. But I won't have this family humiliated any more than we already have been. Leave town now and I won't demand that justice be done."

Mrs. Riley was dry-eyed and calm when she gave the order.

Jadzia complied.


"So you see Cowgirl Vickie. You will be employing a murderer as your fore(wo)man."

Cowgirl Vickie was amazed to hear the Lee-Marie's story. She would have never thought that she would shoot anyone in cold blood. But she understood how circumstances might make someone do something that they would not normally do.

"We all have a past Lee-Marie. And the way this town is, we are all guilty of murder. The job is yours if you still want it. But I suggest that we pretend that this conversation never happened. I won't be held accountable for you if your past decides to catch up with you. Fair enough?"

"Fair enough."

"I suggest we get going. We have to return your stallion to the Delta Q and get your stuff as soon as possible. I have plenty of work that needs to get done here, and today is your first day on the job."


Here we are the two of us
So full of love, so little trust
But dying for some tenderness
Buy too afraid to take the step....

"Hello Lee"

Lee-Marie was literally shoving stuff into her garment bags in her haste to leave the Delta Q before Mr. Torres spotted her. She knew that she would have to tell Miss Kathryn that she was leaving, but she was hoping that she could get things squared away without running into him.

She was lucky for the first ten minutes that she was back on the Ranch. She managed to return JTM to his stall and sneak into the house without seeing hide or hair of Miss Kathryn or Mr. Torres. But now he stood in her doorway, hat in hand with a sorrowful look on his face.

Lessons in Love (15)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:17 PM

"Mr. Torres" Lee-Marie acknowledged but did not look up from her packing. She could imagine the look that crossed his face when he heard her address him by his title. Well what did he expect?

"You are leaving the Delta Q?" He asked.

"Yes, I'll be at the Circle V. It was a promotion. I'll be the head fore(wo)man there. It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. My only regret is that I couldn't give Miss Kathryn more notice, but Cowgirl Vickie wanted me to start right away."

"Cowgirl Vickie is going to have all women running her Ranch one day. Pretty soon she wouldn't have any men in there besides redshirt field hand extras."

That got a small smile out of Lee-Marie

A silence ensued and eventually it was Chakotay who broke it.

"Lee, I take it that you found out that I've made my decision." He said tentatively.

"It's Lee-Marie, and yes I found out."

He winced. It was going to be even harder than he thought to talk to her.

"I hope that one day you'll understand, Lee-Marie"

That stopped her packing. She whirled around so quickly that he jumped. Her face was still deadpan as she said.

"That's asking much isn't it. The man that I love has chosen another woman. I don't think that I'll ever understand that one. The day will come when I will stop loving you, maybe even forgive you , but understand, no I don't think that that day will come."

Lee-Marie returned to her packing

An awkward silence filled the room. Chakotay tried again.

"I hope that at least we can still be friends."

*Somebody get a gun and SHOOT him for me. PLEASE!!!!!*

The anger built up again, and then the pain came. Lee-Marie felt her lower lip trembling and bit into it hard. She didn't turn around and didn't answer him. She just continued to move stuff from her bed to her bags.


Chakotay couldn't stand it anymore and crossed the room and put his hand on her shoulders and turned her around. The pain that he saw in her eyes touched him deeply. It mirrored his own at being the cause of it.

"Lee-Marie, I know that I've hurt you more than you ever had a right to be hurt in your life. I know that being sorry and saying it is not going to make it go away. But I am and so I'll say it. I am sorry Lee-Marie. I hope that one day you'll forgive me and I hope that you can move past this and still be my friend."

Lessons in Love (16)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:18 PM

Lee-Marie was biting her lip so hard, she could swear that she tasted blood.

*I am NOT going to cry*

It seemed to give her the strength she needed.

"I would like that, but I would be lying if I said that it would happen today or next week for that matter."

*Or next month, or two years from now, or ever...* She kept that part of the thought to herself.

"I understand." He let her go and walked over to the door.

"Take care of yourself Lee-Marie"

It almost caught in her throat, but she forced herself to say it.

"Likewise, Chakotay."

He shut the door quietly. Lee-Marie dropped to the bed. All of a sudden she felt heavy, empty and drained.

Sometimes it hurts to so love so bad
(when you know what it can put you through)
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
(there's nothing funny if it's killing you)
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.

The words sang by Miss Racine the night before came to her .

After a time, she got off the bed and finished packing.


Lee-Marie finally found Miss Kathryn in the stables. She was giving JTM a vigorous rub down. Lee-Marie felt a little sheepish. She had been so intent on not running into Mr. Chakotay that she had not taken care of her stallion's needs.

Well he was not going to be her stallion any longer.

Miss Kathryn looked up when she heard Lee-Marie enter the stall.

"Lee-Marie" She acknowledged her and went back to her task at hand. JTM seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Periodically, his flanks would give a shiver of pleasure as Miss Kate brushed past his soft spots.

*He's a spoilt one and a little TurnCoat, but I'm going to miss him* Lee-Marie thought to herself.

"Miss Kathryn, I'm sorry to say this, but I have to resign from the Delta Q effective immediately. I know that it's not proper to leave without giving you notice but I think that we both agree that it would be best if I didn't stay at the Delta Q any longer."

Miss Kathryn's head popped up over JTM.

"I think that it's for the best. I wish you best of luck at Circle V."

Lessons in Love (17)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:20 PM

"Thank you Ma'am. How did you know?"

"I was talking with Cowgirl Vickie when you came in."

Lee-Marie nodded and turned to walk away.

"You're forgetting something."

"What?" Lee-Marie said puzzled. Kathryn placed the reins on JTM and then gave them to her.

"Miss Kathryn, I can't take this." She said in astonishment.

"I want you to."

"I don't need any favors." Kathryn smiled a Lee-Marie's stubborn pout. They really were a lot alike. Pride was something that they did not let go of easily.

"Take him. Ever since you've ridden him, only B'Elanna can get him to go anywhere in a decent amount of time, and she still prefers Liberty and Kona. Still she can't ride him as you do. It seems that he prefers you to everyone else. Chakotay is so frustrated with him that he feels that he's ready for the glue factory. And to tell the truth, I think that he doesn't need the reminder. It hasn't been easy for him also you know."

*Yeah right!!* It was malicious, but it was what she thought.

She made up her mind.

"All right, but I'll pay you for him."

"All right. You have two weeks worth of wages coming to you. I'll use that as the down payment."

Lee-Marie took the reigns and lead JTM out of the stable.

"Lee-Marie, thanks for not telling him about Mr. Tuvix." Miss Kathryn called out to her.

"Thank you too, for not mentioning Mr. Riley."

With that she left.


"Where will you go." Jadzia was packing her bags and her mother stood next to her. The two women were in Jadzia's bedroom.

"Defiant City, Terok-Nor Ranch. Mickie-C had some friends who work there. They say that they'll give a job and a place to stay."

"Will it be safe?"

"Well it's far enough from here, and I'm going to take my middle name and your maiden name. Leonie-Marie Peters. How do you like it?"

"It suits you."

There was silence as Jadzia continued to pack.

"Your sisters are going to miss you when you go."

Lessons in Love (18)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:22 PM

Tears threatened Jadzia but she was dried eye when she said.

"I'll miss them too. I'll try to write as much as I can."

"The message came from England. When you turn twenty-one, the money that your father left for you will become available. It's yours whenever you need it. Just get in touch with me anyway you can, when you need to. Use your house seal."

Her mother pressed the stamp in her hand.

"Thanks Ma."

"I also wanted to give you this." Her Mama held the necklace in her hand.


Jadzia stared at the necklace. All at once it made sense to her. She knew that she hadn't fired the shot that had killed Mr. Riley. Now she realized who had.

Her mama looked at her with tears in her eyes.

"I'm so sorry Jadzia. I didn't think when I shot him through the open door. I just came over to make sure that things were all right. I sneaked in through the kitchen and didn't see anyone and then heard the commotion in the study. When I saw what he had done......I couldn't let him get away......"

Jadzia gathered her mother in her arms and held her as she cried. Only one or two tears made their way down her own cheeks. She had to be strong now, more than ever.

"I understand Mama, I do. I'm still going and it's best if everyone thinks that I did it. You have to be there and be strong for Donna-May and Randye-Jane."

After a time the two women separated.

"I know." Her Mama said and then kissed her on the cheek.

"Jadzia, I love you. Take care of yourself."

She nodded, as she didn't trust herself to speak

Jadzia finished packing and brought her things outside. Her sisters were waiting to see her off, trying hard not to cry and not understanding why their elder sister had to leave. She hugged her sisters and her Mama once more before mounting BJ. With a final view of the Q-Beta, she left.

As she reached the big gates, she realized that Jadzia Dayton had just died.

And Leonie-Marie Peters was born.

Lessons in Love (19)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:23 PM

I know if there is any chance
For us to find our happiness
We've got to learn to let it go
Forget all the pain we know

Lee-Marie sat by herself watching the sun set and thinking about what had happened in the past week and a half. Things were going well for her at Circle V. She found that Cowgirl Vickie was a good boss, fair and expected to her employees to give a 100% to their jobs. That was just fine with Lee-Marie. She didn't' crowd her either. She had invited her to do things with her, but gave her space, knowing that she needed time to heal. Having Mr. Magnum in her nearby also helped. He and Cowgirl Vickie were practically inseparable and Lee-Marie was certain that he was going to take up permanent residence in either Voyager City or Circle V, within the year.

During that week, she had good days and bad days. Today was a bad day. She had run into Miss Kathryn and Mr. Chakotay in town and they were walking hand in hand. It seemed to Lee-Marie that all the healing she had done in the past week had become undone and she was back at square one. It was all she could do for the rest of the day to concentrate on her work and not break out into tears.

"Hey Lee"

"Hey Tom, have a seat" Lee-Marie looked at Tom Magnum as he came up to join her.

"How are you?"

"OK, I guess." Lee-Marie lied.

"Vickie told me that you ran into Miss Kathryn and Mr. Chakotay in town today."

"I did"

"It must have been hard for you."

Lee-Marie tried to answer, but she felt her throat constrict and the heat rise from her stomach. The burning sensation in her windpipe and the back of her eyes told her that the tears were threatening and she tried to force herself to block them.

Surprisingly the tears escaped her eyelids.

Tom was watching her and when he saw her tears begin to fall he put his arm around her.

"Let it go Lee." He said gently.

The cry that came from Lee-Marie began softly and became louder and louder. She howled at first and then began to sob uncontrollably. Eventually she just buried her head in his chest and cried, her body shaking with sobs. Tom wrapped both arms around her and held her tightly as she sobbed it all out. He didn't say a word, because he knew that there was nothing that he could say. He could only be with her in her pain. He would admit that he did have one or two stray thoughts of going to the Delta Q and throttling the man who was responsible for hurting her that much. Her cries pulled at his heart


Vickie watched her lover holding her fore(wo)man from a distance. She had just come riding up and saw the two horses. She dismounted and when she came close enough she heard Lee-Marie's cries.

She understood.

She left silently, so as not to disturb them, and returned to the Ranch House.

Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.