As Aria woke late the following day, she turned her head and saw Jean Luc sitting next to her bed looking as if he spent the entire night there.
“You’re awake,” he said quickly coming to her side and gently taking her hand. “How do you feel?”
“Sore, sir,” she said through her swollen and dry lips.
“Aria, you gave me quite a scare.”
“But the doctor said I was going to be okay.”
“I am so sorry for all of this. I should have been able to protect you better.”
“You did, sir. We got out of there alive. Don’t feel sorry for the things you had no control over,” she said as she tried to reach for a glass of water, but as she reached for it she winced in pain. Jean Luc picked it up and helped her drink. “Sir, how are you? You were injured as well.”
“I’m fine now. I will be back on the bridge in a few days.”
“That is great. Dr. Crusher said that it would be a few weeks before I can return fully to duty. I hope to work out of my quarters until then.”
“Good. I am so relieved that you are going to be fine.”
“Yes, sir. So am I.”
Getting closer, he said, “What did I tell you about all of the formalities.”
“I know, sir,” she said looking deep into his eyes. He looked tired, as if he had not slept much. “Sir, did you get any sleep last night?”
“A few hours. Don’t worry about me. Focus on getting yourself better. Remember, you have a department to run, but now you need your rest.”
“Yes, sir, but you also need to get some rest.”
“I will, I promise.”
Dr. Crusher came over to check on Aria’s condition.
“How am I doctor? When can I get out of here?” she asked the doctor.
“If you promise to rest and wear this sensor, you can go back to your quarters now.”
“Oh, thank you Doctor. It will feel so good to sleep in my own bed again.”
“I will talk to you later Aria. I am glad you are doing better,” Picard said as he left her bedside and exited sickbay.
“He’s been here all night, waiting for you to wake up,” the doctor told her.
“Really? We did spend a lot of time together over the last weeks. So, when can I get back to my quarters,” she said, changing subjects as quickly as possible.
“I will have a tech take you there and I will check on you at the end of the day. If you feel more pain, let me know right away.”
Dr. Crusher helped Aria sit up and swing her legs over the side of the bed. She timidly placed her feet on the floor and stood up.
“Now, take it easy. I don’t want you up moving around too much for the next few days. You don’t want to end up back here.”
“No, ma’am. All I want is to get better and get back to duty.”
A med tech came over with a wheelchair for her. Slowly, Aria sat down in it and he took her back to her quarters. It felt so good to be home. As soon as the tech had her sensor in place and had it transmitting back to sickbay, he left her alone.
Aria turned on a Handle symphony and went into her bathroom. There she stripped off the hospital style gown and climbed into the shower. It felt so good to have the hot water hit her sore body. The water began to work her knotted muscles and washed away the last of the blood and grime from her ordeal. Aria stayed in the shower for forty minutes. All of a sudden, she felt hungry, so she climbed out of the shower and put on one of her favorite nightgown and robe. This nightgown was one of the ones that she wore when she was feeling sick or bummed out. It was ice blue satin and the softness felt so good next to her skin. The gown loosely hugged her curves and nearly brushed the floor.
She looked at herself in the full-length mirror as she brushed out her hair for the first time in what felt like forever. She looked pretty normal, except for the healing bruises above her eye and on one cheek. Aria noticed that her bags had been returned to her quarters so she pulled out her make up bag. A bit of concealer covered up her bruises almost completely and she began to feel a bit better. It felt nice to look pretty, again. A dab of her favorite perfume woke up her senses and cemented the fact that she was in deed home.