Chapter 19 - Epilogue

"No."

"Angie, please listen to us," Susan pleaded gently. "You need help."

Angela Cotton frowned at her sister. "And you want me to just let myself
get locked up by this psychiatrist? I won't be put in a hospital, Suz. I
won't!" She started to pace the living room.

Sam took a breath before walking slowly to Angela, concern on his face.
"Just the opposite, Angela. We want you to see Dr. Harmon so that you
won't be put in a hospital. You have a lot of sides to you, Angela, and
they need to be united. If you remain separated, it could hurt you and
those you love."

She glared at him. "What would you know? You don't even know me."

"He doesn't have to know you," Susan told her, walking over to her and
putting a hand on her shoulder. "He's right regardless." She looked at
her with sad, concerned, and frightened eyes. "I'm scared, Angie.
Sometimes, I don't know whom I'm talking to. I don't know if it's you or
Belinda or Christa or Michael. And that scares the hell out of me. I
want you to be one person - one beautiful, wonderful person. Please,
Angie, at least try. Please."

The room was silent as Angela considered her sister's plea. She seemed
uncertain about the idea, almost frightened. After a minute, she turned
to Susan with frightened eyes.

"What if they don't want to?" she asked.

"They're a part of you," Sam answered the question. "If you decide to go
with it, they will too."

She gave him another frown. "Like I said, you don't know me. Or the
others." She sighed thoughtfully. "Okay, I'll try it."

Both Susan and Sam smiled.

"But," Angela continued, "if I don't like it, I'm dumping the idea like
a hot potato. Got it?"

Sam nodded while Susan hugged her lovingly. "Thank you, Angie. I love
you," she whispered.

"I love you too, Suz," Angela returned the hug. She looked at Sam. "Just
one question. Why are you so concerned about me?"

"I don't want to see anyone in a mental hospital, especially the sister
of a new friend," Sam answered, Al standing behind him with a gentle
smile.

"Well, looks like you did it, Sam," Al told him. "Angela gets
psychiatric help and, therefore, doesn't kill her sister." He punched a
few buttons on the handlink. "She's working with her sister at the same
delicatessen and both of them are very happy. They're both married and
have children."

Sam smiled at him gently while slowly walking from Susan and Angela,
allowing the sisters to talk in private.

"What about you?" he whispered to Al.

"Oh, I sort of become Angela's cheerleading squad," Al told him without
looking at the handlink. "Susan and I make sure that Angela doesn't give
up on herself." His face became somber. "Susan and I still have a
serious relationship and an even more serious break up." He sighed.
"Apparently, my younger self didn't listen and pursued her anyway." He
sighed again, looking at Susan. "Can't say that I blame him, though. She
just looks too damn much like her." He took a deep breath. "I guess some
things just can't be fixed."

Sam looked at his friend with sad eyes. "I'm sorry, Al."

Al raised an eyebrow towards him. "Hey, it's not your fault I was a
stubborn son-of-a-bitch when I came back from Vietnam." He gave him a
smile. "At least we kept Susan from being killed and Angela from
committing suicide. Seems to be you did a damn good job. Time to leap,
Sam."

As he spoke, Susan approached Sam with a smile.

"We're going to go see Dr. Harmon tomorrow morning," she told him. "I
think I've got Angie convinced that it actually will help her. Will help
both of us."

Sam smiled at her. "I think it will." He glanced briefly at Al as an
idea came to his mind. "Susan, I don't think we should see each other."

Al raised his head and looked at Sam with surprise while Susan looked at
the scientist with confusion.

"But we just met," she pointed out.

Sam exhaled. "I know. Butů I'm sorry, Susan, but you look too much like
her and I'm afraid that I might try to mold you into her."

Al closed his eyes gently, realizing what Sam was doing.

Susan blinked at him for a moment. "So that's it? You just walk out of
my life after doing your good deed for the day?"

Sam brushed her cheek. "Trust me, Susan. It's for the best. You don't
want to be around me right now. But maybe some day, we'll look each
other up. After I've gotten over her."

Susan just stared at him for a moment, her eyes still showing confusion.
"What if I don't want to let you go? I mean, you just can't gain
someone's heart and then dump them."

Sam looked into her eyes. "I'm sorry, Susan, but we just are not meant
to be."

She shook her head and laughed slightly. "I don't understand you, Al
Calavicci."

Sam smiled at her. "Don't try to." He hesitated a moment. "How much do I
owe you? I figure I should finally pay for my tab." He reached for the
wallet in his back pocket.

"Keep your money. It'll be a good excuse for me to find you later," she
told him. "So, I guess this means I won't be serving you for a while."

Sam shook his head. "I don't think so."

The room was silent. Sam and Susan looked at each other while Angela
watched from a distance. Al stood to the side and watched as well, his
eyes focused on Susan.

"So, I suppose this is it," Susan finally said.

Sam nodded silently.

Susan leaned in and kissed him gently on the cheek. "I don't know why
you helped us but thanks." She took a step back. "I guess you were right
about one thing. Angie and I needed an objective opinion."

Sam took a breath and nodded to her and her sister. "Good-bye, Susan.
Angela." He then turned around and left the apartment.

Angela walked over to her sister and touched her shoulder.

"What was that about, honey?"

Susan sighed slightly, knowing the personality by the words used.

"Nothing, Belinda," Susan answered. "Just an angel in the disguise of a
Naval officer." She turned and smiled at her. "I think you all are going
to be fine, Belinda. You are all going to be one person again."

"Belinda" smiled gently at her.

----------------

Sam had leaped out hours before and now Al sat in his living room,
lounging with a cup of coffee in his hands. He and Susan hadn't seen
each other since Sam had broken the relationship before it started. But
that didn't mean that the two remained separated.

Al waited, sipping on the coffee as his personal computer made the
connection. Thank gawd for the Internet, he thought as he waited.

He and Susan had finally reunited - in a chatroom. Al wasn't that much
into the Internet at the time. He had just been browsing and found an
interesting room where he thought he could pick up a beautiful woman. He
had no idea that Susan Chambers-Brown would be a regular chatter in the
room. It wasn't exactly the way he had expected to meet Susan years
later but he was glad it had been in a chatroom rather than
face-to-face. He knew that, even after so many years, he still hadn't
completely gotten over Beth's leaving him; it had only become bearable.

The connection finally went through with a beep that brought Al out of
his reverie. He sat up and put his coffee down on a nearby table.

"Susan," he said with affection, his voice easily heard by her hundreds
of miles away.

"Al Calavicci, you still owe me for eight turkey sandwiches and four
bags of chips," she replied with equal affection, a taunt that was now
very familiar to Al.

The two remained embroiled in conversation for several hours to come,
close friends sharing their thoughts, worries, and dreams, helping each
other to one day look at each other face-to-face after so many years of
separation.