“Captain, I do believe you are trying to get rid of me.” She lowered her voice a bit, “It’s okay, my daughter is a wonderful person and I only want the best for her. If you are interested in her, please, go ahead with my blessing. I have not seen her happier in a long time and I think you are the cause of it.”
“I am glad she is happy here, but it can not be because of me. She has several friends here and I know for a fact that she has been on a few dates with a young Ensign,” he said half in disbelief of this woman’s revelations. She was giving him the green light to pursue her beautiful daughter. He had not even though of giving himself that much leniency.
“Now, Captain, please, you are kidding yourself. My Aria is a wonderful woman. I hope you take my advice,” Claudia said as she turned on her heal and went to talk to the ambassador from Bantana.
That was a first for Picard, a beautiful woman’s mother giving him the go-ahead to pursue her daughter. He could still remember when he was chased out of a girl’s house by her father with a garden hoe. The idea of being with Aria could only fulfill his wildest dreams. She couldn’t be that interested in me, could she? He wanted to give into pleasure, but it was hard as the Captain. Aria’s reputation could be destroyed and she was only at the beginning of her career.
From across the room, Aria watched her mother talk to the Captain. It seemed like it was a very interesting conversation. Were she seeing things correctly, but she though it looked like her mother was hitting on the Captain? Her heart felt heavy as the possibility that the Captain would get involved with someone else, and it was her mother on top of everything else. He almost seemed embarrassed, but that was her mother, direct and was not one to hide her intentions.
The festivities continued on for the remainder of the week. Everyone was very impressed with the events planned. They truly celebrated the accomplishments of the Enterprise.
Before Claudia left the Enterprise to resume her touring schedule, she approached her daughter. “Aria, I have to tell you that I had an interesting talk with your Captain.”
“Yes, mother.” Aria was hoping her mother had not embarrassed her too much.
“Well, you must know that I told him he has my blessings to date you.”
“MOTHER, you what!” she said feeling mortified.
“What, you’re not interested in him? I don’t believe that. I see how you look at him.”
“Mother, that is completely inappropriate. He’s my commanding officer. It is not proper.”
“Don’t worry about being proper all the time and enjoy life.”
“Mother, I have to serve with him and now he thinks I have a crush on him. How am I ever going to seem credible to him.”
“Darling, the way he spoke of you, it looked like he had feeling for you as well.”
“It is because he is telling my mother that I am doing a good job, not that he wants to date me.”
“If you don’t believe me, ask him yourself.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Well, I hope you don’t miss a good thing. He seems like a good man. He would take care of you.”
“I don’t need to be taken care of and he is a good man and a good Captain.”
“My dear, all I want is for you to be happy. Do what you want, but know that he does have feelings for you. I hope you make the right choices. Now, give me a hug because I need to get back to the company. I have a performance in Tantana in two days.”
Claudia Swenson left the ship and Aria was happy to return to her normal life. Her mother’s conversation with Picard scared her. What did he think of her now? She was so embarrassed, how could she ever show her face to him again.
Back in her quarters, she dove in head first to her studies, trying to forget what her mother had done and hoped that the Captain had done the same. At the end of the day her communicator went off.
“Swenson, here,” she replied as she hit the button.
“Lieutenant, this is Captain Picard. I hope I have not caught you at a bad time?” She wanted to run and hide.
“No, sir. What can I help you with?”
“I just got complete itinerary for the conference on Malrata.”
“Have there been any significant changes?”
“No, not that I have seen.”
“Okay, sir. Is there anything else?”
“I just wanted to congratulate you again on doing a great job on this week.”
“Thank you again. I’m glad it was such a success.” She was scared to say too much to him, not wanting to bring up any kind of conversation about her mother or what she had told them both.
“I also enjoyed meeting your mother. She is quite a woman.”
She thought, oh no, he’s going there. All she could say was, “Yes, sir. She is.”
“And I really enjoyed your performance with her. I thought you were actually better that she was. Your performance really moved me. It was like you were really that woman.”
“Thanks. I had done that opera while I was at Julliard so it was easy to prepare for. It was nice performing with mother again. It had been a long while.”
“You are very talented. I’m glad we have you on board.”
“Thank you, sir. I am very glad and grateful to be here and happy to contribute as much as I do. Is there anything else, otherwise I do have to get back to my studies or I will never be ready for the conference.”
“No, I’ll forward a copy of the itinerary to you.”
“Thank you again.”
“I will let you know if there are any changes to the schedule. Picard out.” And he was gone.
“Well, that was awkward,” she thought to herself and tried to get back into studying, but couldn’t get the captain out of her head.