by Suz email@example.com
Disclaimer - Paramount own the names, if not the characters.
Part ten in the Delta Quadrant 90210 series. Earlier parts can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~SuzVoy/deltaq.html
I *really* wanted to do some more C/7 but I *have* to do this...
Okay, okay. He was fine. He could handle this. He wasn't in the least bit nervous about beeping for entry to her quarters. He *shouldn't* be. He'd practically dragged her onto the dance floor a week ago and they'd had a few unofficial 'dates' in the mess hall in the days since. But that was safe. There they were surrounded by the rest of the crew, a hundred other people. What he was about to propose would be one on one.
God, this was ridiculous. Hadn't he been on enough dates? Hadn't he always been confident around women?
Trying not to crush the plant he held in his hand, he pressed the button requesting entry.
"Who is it?"
Opening his mouth, he froze when he realised nothing was emerging. Clearing his throat he tried again. "Tom. Tom Paris." Raspy, but better.
"Oh. I...just a minute."
He nodded to himself and waited impatiently. After a few seconds the door opened and the Captain appeared, dressed in her uniform and looking a little flustered.
"Mr Paris," she greeted, smiling widely.
Where the hell was his voice? "Captain," he responded in the same tone. Ah, there it was. Thank God. He was finally approaching something resembling a normal tone of voice.
"How can I help you?" She asked in a deceptively light tone that was - at least to his ears - layered in meaning.
Trying not to read too much into it - despite the fact they'd already had sex months ago - he smiled again, easily. "This is for you," he responded, extending his hand and presenting his gift.
She looked down at it, then back up at his face. "What is it? And would you like to come in?"
"Sure," he responded, feeling more confident with each passing second. Stepping inside, he tried not to notice that she was invading his personal space a little too much. "This is a..." oh hell he couldn't even remember the name of it. "...an...alien flower that Neelix managed to procure at his last trade negotiations."
"I remember him mentioning them but I hadn't had the chance..." Bringing the flower up to her nose she inhaled lightly, eyes closed. "Hmm..." She murmured. "Sweet but there's something about it...almost smoky...don't you think?"
"Yeah," he croaked.
Eyelids fluttering open, she smiled and thanked him. "So what is it for?" She asked seriously.
Her question was a little too serious than he felt he was capable of dealing with at that moment. Up went the shields and he nudged the conn into evasive manoeuvres. "For looking so gorgeous."
His compliment fell flat. In fact, he mused as she rose a Tuvokian eyebrow and sighed, it fell so flat that an ant wouldn't even trip over it if it were lying on the floor.
"Tom, follow me." She ordered and promptly turned and sat down on her couch. "Well?" She prompted.
Not wanting to be a recipient of 'the look' he quickly complied, reminding himself that certain synapses were supposed to be firing and he really should be spending his time concentrating on her and not cringing at his own stupidity.
She faced him. "Am I correct in assuming that you came here tonight to ask me on a date? A private date, with no do-gooder Talaxians or interrupting Ensigns?"
He nodded, dumbly.
She nodded, as if that explained everything. "Okay, your technique needs a little work. Started well. This," she lifted the blue flower "was a very nice touch, if a bit of a cliché. But it was nice nonetheless. Then we had," she licked her lips and seemed to be choosing her words carefully "the 'gorgeous' comment. Don't get me wrong, I suppose any compliment is better than no comment. And despite what anyone says, *every* woman is flattered by words such as 'gorgeous' and 'sexy'; it's good for the ego. However, they are not the kind of words that really pull in a woman's interest if she's looking for more than a one night stand. You need to go for something a little more..." She looked directly at him. "...subtle. I know it's not something you do very well-"
"-but we can work on it. 'Gorgeous' and 'sexy' are all well and good but-"
"-it's not what we're looking for," he nodded, wondering how he had ever managed to get anywhere with B'Elanna.
Grinning, she stood and headed towards the bedroom. She returned a few moments with a vase, head lowered as she placed the flower inside. "You're willing to give it a try, then?"
She didn't realise how close he was until his hand lightly grabbed her wrist and the other touched the side of her face. Her head shot up, her eyes wide.
Smiling with a sincerity he had long avoided, he whispered. "You are a magnificent, brave and utterly beautiful woman Kathryn Janeway. Would you do me the honour of joining me for dinner?"
Stunned at his sudden declaration, she nodded her answer.
The cocky grin made a reappearance. "I did good?"
Pulling away from him she rolled her eyes. "Tom-"
"I'm sorry, I screwed it up again didn't I?" He shook his head. "It's just so much easier to-"
"-put on an appearance. I know." Sighing, she reached out a hand to touch the back of his hand that had been resting on her face. "You did good. And I don't mind the cocky grin...that much."
The cocky grin made the tiniest of reappearance's.
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