Author's Notes:  First off, I better explain a few things.  In 1983,
when RETURN OF THE JEDI first came out and the world heard the truth
about Luke, my first thought was "What was Mrs. Skywalker like?" I
wanted to know HER story.  The same thing happened as QL progressed: 
What was Beth like?  How did she win Al's heart?  I had all sorts of
ideas and stories, including one that would have put her back in Al's
life without a leap (pre-MI).  When the show went off the air, all I had
left was the novels.  It wasn't
until around April 15, 1997, that I had full Internet access and the
chance to look at other fan fiction.  I wish to thank all of the
authors, from the bottom of my heart, because some of your ideas have
smoothed out wrinkles and writer's block in my story.
For instance, I had the hardest time coming up with a reason "Georgia On
My Mind" was
their song (for my version of things) and reading Ms. Walton's short
story "Little-Bit"
gave me an idea (it's her idea, with some modifications).

GEORGE EDWARD PHILLIP WHITMORE-JONES:  This character started out as
plain George Whitmore, but he sort of snow balled out of control as my
imagination ran amok.  Now I
don't have the heart to take him out of the story.  Besides, I couldn't
bring myself to make Chip Fergueson Al's best friend:  he flat out lied
to Al about not letting him take the fall for Marcy's death (even though
she was saved).  Edward St. John V is George's second cousin in my
version, by the way.  My deepest apologies to any real descendents of
John Paul Jones (you'll see).

HARMON RABB (SR.):  I couldn't resist.  This isn't a cross-over, yet,
but since he's technically property of Don Bellisario, I felt he would
fit in nicely. 

WORD OF WARNING !!!  I do intend to have a leap in this story.  At some




                          Christina L. Bartruff

                          Chapter 1:  Friends and Lovers


	Lieutenant Elizabeth Townsend liked Pensacola.  She just wasn't crazy
about Navy pilots.
	"They're not so bad," Lisa Sherman told her sleepily.  It was 0200 in
San Diego and she shift had just ended.  Beth's was due to start.
	"Lisa, you were married to one who cheated on you every time your back
was turned.  How can you say that?"
	"I was referring to Bingo."
	"Who?"  Beth never could get used to the nicknames, or 'call signs' as
they preferred, that the pilots gave one another.
	"You know, the one I was seeing for a while.  The one who dumped me
because I was divorcing Jack."
	"Oh.  Wait a minute.  *You* dumped him, because he didn't want to marry
	"Same thing."
	It wasn't but Beth didn't want to press the issue.
	"Anyway," Lisa continued, stifiling a yawn, "Al's down there now,
probably on sea duty, so you'll get a chance to see for yourself."
	Beth was confused.  "Who's Al?"
	"Bingo.  That's his real name.  Albert Calavicci."
	*Like calla lilies*, Beth thought.
	"George Whitmore-Jones and Harmon Rabb are pretty decent, too, but I
think Rabb has a girlfriend he's pretty serious about.  Helen
Something-Or-Other."  Lisa sounded as if she was speaking with her eyes
closed and her head resting on her arm.
	Beth didn't have the heart to tell her best friend that she wasn't
interested in dating any pilots.  Instead, she said with sincerity, "Get
some rest, Lisa."
	Beth hung up the phone and headed back to her room.  She passed several
of her fellow angels of mercy.
	"Was that Lisa Sherman?" asked Janet Thomas, her Bostonian accent
	"Hmm.  She says 'hi'.  Just finished her shift."  It was doubtful that
Lisa knew Janet.  However, Janet knew Jack Sherman, Lisa's ex-husband. 
Jack 'landed every blonde from here to Norway', as Lisa told her.  Janet
Thomas and Lenora Dubois were just two of the many at Pensacola Naval
Air Station that had shared Jack's bed.  She wondered how many more
there were.
	"Is the divorce final?"
	Janet nodded vaguely, and Beth continued to her room.
	*Gentle man preferred blondes* Beth thought.  She never liked that
saying.  There wasn't anything gentlemanly about Jack Sherman's behavior
toward her friend.
	Picking up her brush, she ran it through her shiny black hair.  Her
hair was the same shade and length as Jacqueline Kennedy's.  Several
people had even stopped her on the streets, thinking she was the
senator's wife.
	There was a light tap on the door and Kelly Hardy, a redhead from
Savannah, Georgia, entered.
	"The carrier group should be back by the end of the week," she informed
Beth ecstatically.  Kelly's boyfriend was an officer on one of the
	Beth smiled.  The young woman contined to chat away about her
boyfriend, Tom Crenshew.  Beth was only half listening as she finished
getting ready for work.
	Two weeks after the carrier group had departed, Beth arrived at
Pensacola.  Kelly immediately became attached to her and appointed
herself as Beth's tour guide and shadow.  Beth couldn't understand why
Kelly did this, but didn't have the heart to tell the enthusiastic
redhead to go away.
	They did not have much in common.  Kelly was born and bred in Savannah,
Beth was born in Greenbelt, Maryland and was raised in Columbus,
Georgia.  They were both nurses and that was about it.
	"Anyway," Kelly was saying,"Bingo promised me he would make seafood
gumbo when he got back, so I'm going to make him keep his promise this
weekend.  Tom loves seafood gumbo."
	"Who?"  She was beginning to sound like an owl.
	"Bingo.  Tommy's friend.  They were in the same year group at
	"Listen, Kelly, I've got to finish getting ready."
	"Oh. OK.  I didn't mean to hold you up," she apologized, heading for
the door.
	The door closed behind her and the room was blessedly silent once
more.  Beth checked her appearance one last time, straightened her
collar, and nodded, satified.
	*Time for another fun-filled day*, she thought.


	"I can't blieve they moved the departure date up two weeks," Janet said
over lunch.  "Two carrier groups departing at once and a third
returning.  This place is going to be a zoo."
	"I know," Lenora sniffed.  "Kelly's on leave, Renee's mother is in the
hospital, Cathy's on bed rest, Margo's on her honeymoon, and Phyllis,
Caroline, and Samantha left for the Nursing conference in Washington."
	Beth continued to munch on her salad in silence.
	"Lenora sighed and continued.  "All those fly boys passing through for
their flight physicals."
	"I've told Commander Layton that I will handle records," Beth informed
them.  She didn't have to look up to know that the two other nurses were
smiling at each other, satisfied.  Records were the worst job and none
of the other nurses would have volunteered.  Beth didn't mind, however. 
In her opinion, jet jocks were a conceited bunch of braggarts and she
would prefer not to personnally handle an entire air wing.  Let Janet
and the others flirt and simper of them.
	"Now, Janet, do you have anything special planned for George's
homecoming?" Janet was George Whitmore-Jones' girlfriend, and according
to Kelly, Janet was frustrated by the fact that she hadn't succeeded,
yet, in secruing an engagement ring.
	Janet made a face.  "No, but I do have a few days yet."  She smiled
wickedly at her friend.  "Is there anyone in particular you have plans
for, Lt. Dubois?"
	Lenora's smile was just as wicked.  "I've always had a taste for
Italian.  Kelly better think twice about her dinner arrangements this
weekend, because Bingo's been at sea for six months and food will be the
last thing on his mind."
	*Not him again*, Beth thought.
	"Good luck," Janet said sourly.  "Phyllis tried for two months to catch
his eye.  She said he wasn't quiet himself since Theresa Cambridge was
reassigned to Norfolk.  Now he spends most of his time with those jets."
	Her curiosity piqued, Beth said, "Will someone please explain to me
everyone's facination with this 'Bingo' person."
	"Well," Janet said, leaning over conspiratorially. "Lt. Al Calavicci
has a reputation with the ladies, if you understand my meaning."
	"He's very polite and always a gentleman.  He will not pressure you
into doing anything you don't want, if you fail to fall to his charm,"
Lenora added.  "He never takes a 'no' personnally.  Before he met
Theresa, he was seeing Samantha Freeman.  Rumor has it that he asked her
to sleep with him.  She said no, but he didn't stop seeing her. 
*She* ended the relationship a few months later when that Marine
	"Also," Janet continued, "he never looked at another woman while he was
involved with either of them."
	"Renee," Lenora added, "tried to catch his eye when he and Theresa
first started seeing each other.  It came to nothing and you know how
gorgeous Renee is."
	So far, Lenora and Janet's story corroborated with Lisa's story about
Al Calavicci.
	"I think he was serious about Theresa, or very close to it," Janet
mused.  "Can't imagine what caused them to end it, other than her
assignment to Norfolk, of course."
	Beth shook her head as she rose to leave.  "See you later.  If anyone's
looking for me, I'll be in records."


	Beth cursed softly to herself.
	Exhausted from pulling double shifts, she had over slept and was
running behind at the hospital.
	Beth had volunteered for double shifts because she believed, wrongly,
that records would be easy enough for all-nighters.
	Now, she couldn't find the file cart and she was forced to carry a
large stack of files in her arms.  Moving briskly, she dodged two
doctors, three pilots in their flight suits, the head nurse, and an
orderly without losing her stack.
	Rounding the last corner with her destination in sight, she couldn't
avoid colliding with another pilot, who wasn't paying attention to where
he was going.
	The files, including the one he was carrying, fell to the floor.  To
her amazement, none of the documentation fell out.
	Beth felt her cheeks turn red in embarassment.  "I'm so sorry," she
	"No, it's my fault.  I should've been watching where I was going," the
pilot said, stooping for the files.
	Beth got a good look at his face before he ducked down.  Hair as dark
as hers, cut to regulation, still had enough of a wave to suggest it was
natrually curly.  He had bushy eyebrows above dark eyes framed with
thick, long, black eyelashes.  He had smiled at her and it was turning
her insides to mush.
	Confused and flustered, Beth joined him.
	He glanced at her reddened and tired face.  "You look like you're at
the end of your rope."
	"Double shifts," she explained.
	"When's your lunch break?" he asked, handing her half of the files.  He
retrieved his own file and put it on top of the other stack.
	Beth realized several things as she watched him.  First,
how....alive... he felt.  Without having to touch him, she could fell
life and energy radiating from him, just like her grandfather.  Second,
that he was a hair's breath shorter than she and he was looking at her
dead in the eyes, with a frank and appreciating look.  Last, he was
waiting patiently for her to do and say something.
	"I....That is...My break is in an hour," she stammered, "but I can't
take too long because I over slept and now I'm behind."  Beth knew she
was rambling but she could help herself.
	"What do you want for lunch?"
	"Just a salad."  The conversation was confusing.  She couldn't
understand why he wanted to know that.  Beth turned and led the way to
the records room.  She was aware, however, that he walked slightly
behind her, just enough to watch the way she walked.  For the first time
in her short Naval career, she didn't mind it in the least.
	He set the stack down on the grey metal desk and took his off the top. 
"I'll go to the snack bar, bring back a salad, and we'll dine in the
hospital cafeteria.  It's the least I can do for knocking you down like
	Beth laughed.  "You didn't knock me over."  She smiled at him.
	For a second, the man stared intently at her smiling face.  "You're new
aren't you?"
	"I arrived in January."
	He held out his hand and she took it.  It was warm and he didn't crush
her fingers like some men did.  She liked the way his hand felt.  In
fact she liked it so much, she almost didn't hear what he was saying. 
"My name's Al Calavicci."
	Beth stiffened.  He released her hand.
	Al raised an eyebrow.  "I see you've heard of me."
	"You've been the topic of choice among the nurses for the last week,"
she replied blandly,
	He nodded thoughtfully.  "Is my lunch plan Ok with you?"
	With one word she could back out, diplomatically and painlessly.  So
far, he was just as Lisa said he would be.  *What would it hurt to have
a quick lunch in a public place?* Beth thought to herself.  A good
reason failed to come to her.  "That sounds good."
	His answering smile took her off guard, again.  "Are you going to tell
me your name?" he asked gently.
	She blinked.  Of course.  She forgot.  "Elizabeth Townsend, but I
prefer to be called Beth."
	"Nice to meet you, Beth."
	After he left, Beth stood staring at the closed door and regained her
equilibrium.  *I hope I'm not making a big mistake*, she thought.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&Continued in Chapter 2:  Lunch (just kidding about
that title, I'll come up with something more