Jenny Delaney sat in the far corner of the mess hall. It was Prixin.
In honor of the occasion she was respendant in a spagetti strapped, red satin gown. Slit to the thigh and molded to her body like a glove. She was surrounded by about a third of the crew. At her side was Joe Carey.
Like a queen holding court she held the group's attention.
At the other end of the room sat Kathryn Janeway, she too was dressed for the occasion in a cream pant suit. She was Captain of Voyager, as Captain she held the crew's lives in her hand. But for tonight, Jenny Delaney was queen.
Those of you who don't know Jenny might pass her in the corridors and not give her a second glance. At 5'4", 130 pounds, auburn hair and brown eyes. 36-28-38, a petite athletic frame. Nothing you wouldn't see on any Federation vessel. Until she smiled or was out of uniform, then well...
Jenny learned a long time ago that her smile and body were something to be displayed sparingly. So most of her time was spent in uniform, with her smile contained to a composed, polite, curve of the lips.
Joe Carey knew the power of that smile. It had been focused on him less than two days before.
"Joe Carey, you are a Nolithian slime toad! I need you!" Jenny hit the bulkhead with flat hands. Joe winced as those tiny, manicured hands hit the wall. He remembered after all these years how it felt to be able to old both those wrists in one hand. He shook off the thought.
"Jenny, you are asking me to break my word to my class and yours."
"They are not here and besides we won't tell the parts that still have outstanding charges. I checked there are only two. The one concerning the Sayrian ambassidor's son and the one concerning Zephran Cochran's ship. The first can't be prosecuted without the injured parties present. The other well... Hell! who would have known that Tango Squadron would carry out their threat. I didn't think they could get her powered up let alone take her out for a run. Shit! They brought her back. Besides everyone knows about that. As long as we don't mention any names it's speculation from a close source. Tuvok can't Brig us for that."
Her voice had dropped from excitement to that low sultry drawl that caused men to shiver and women to gather their men close. She walked over to him and pulled him down by his shoulders so she could look right into his eyes.
"Please Joe?" She pleaded. "It's been almost five years. You know, I know everyone on board knows that something is going on between them. If it's just friendship, I want a shot at him. She can have him during his duty shifts and I can have him the rest of the time."
Tears threatened and Jenny blinked them back. She would not use them on Joe. He was one of the few people who knew her and she knew him. Tears would cloud his choice and she wanted him to make it without duress.
Joe stood and looked at Jenny. He saw her fight back the tears and smiled. She was doing her best not to cry. That in itself helped him to make his dissicion. 15 years since Terry had been killed and she was still looking for someone to come home to. She had done so well in therapy and had been looking forward to being on Voyager. But now she was reverting back to her old patterns. Yet, in all her promiscuity she had never been late or allowed the behavior to interfere with her duties.
He could also see what she saw in Chakotay. In all her dating she had been attracted to the same type. Stronge, sure, commited to a goal, a leader. Even on Voyager she had been drawn to that type. Paris, Kelton and a few others. Not that she would turn down a likely date but she pursued the above. She can and did date the pack but... truth be told and it was occasionally, on boys night out. Jenny was an puzzle. She was beautiful, charming and fun to be with both in bed and out. (Mostly out it had also painfully been acknowledged.) You just couldn't get past those eyes.
Joe had been accused of cheating on his wife because he was one of the few people that caused Jenny's eyes to light up and that smile to be full blast.
Jenny herself had put down the rumor in a fit of fire and ice. She called everyone on it during dinner one evening. She also broke Lt. Hanson's nose and blacked an eye before Megan and security had stopped her.
"I don't fuck my best friend. He's faithful to his wife and always has been! Because he is my best friend I can relax around him and be myself! Sorry I don't have that same friendship with you, but you are neither the man or the friend that Joe is!" Jenny spat her tirade over her shoulder as she was dragged from the mess hall.
She was disciplined without saying one word in her defense or allowing anyone else to say anything. Later Joe had gone to Chakotay and explained the whole situation to him and Jenny's record was ammended.
"OK Jen, I'll help you tell the story. You never get it right anyway, you always rush over the good stuff to get to the juicy parts."
She pushed him away from her, laughter bubbling out like a spring from the ground. "You are a Nolithian slime toad!" she gasped.
He grabbed her wrists and pulled her into a bear hug. "And you Jenny dear are the only one who could get me to do this."
He kissed her on top of the head. Their laughter mingling through the hall.
Chakotay walked around the corner, drawn to the laughter. He stopped at the sight in front of him. There was Joe Carey and one of the Delaney sisters. He couldn't remember which, laughing and talking to each other.
He drew in a slow breath and let out a low whistle. Even in the harsh no nonsense lights of the corridor she was radiant. The simple sleeveless shirt had to be silk from the way it clung to her and the flowered pants accented her slim waist and hips. She flung herself at Joe and he caught her up and whirled her around once.
"Thanks Joe! I owe you! If this works you get all the credit. If not you can space my ashes."
Chakotay remembered about the encounter in the mess hall and realized that this had to be Jenny. For a moment he wished that he was on the receiving end of that hug and smile. He cleared his throat as he began to walk toward them. Neither showed any embaressment at their behavior and that more than anything confirmed that they were friends.
"Morning Commander." Said Joe.
"Good morning Commander." Drawled Jenny the smile fading.
"Good morning. It's nice to see someone having a good day. Carry on."
"Thank you sir. Excuse me." Said Joe, "Bye Jen."
"Thank you sir." Echoed Jenny. "Bye Joe and thanks again." She smiled forgetting Chakotay for a moment. "Joe!" she called as he neared the corner. "Don't forget hot fudge and vids tonight."
"See you there." He called as he turned the corner.
"Hot fudge and vids?" Asked Chakotay. "Sounds like a dubious activity."
Jenny spun around, her smile gone in an instant. "Sorry sir, it's not as bad as it sounds. A group of us get together every two weeks and eat an exotic treat and watch some of the videos that we got when we went back in time. This time it's hot fudge sundaes."
Chakotay watched her go from uncomfortable to sincere as she talked.
"It's great to forget for a while. Keeps the Delta Blues at bay for a couple of hours at least. Would you like to come? Every one is welcome. All we ask is if it's a space story you don't cut apart the technology and that you leave two credits for the pot. Oh, sorry you don't know about the pot. We use it to supply cards for birthdays, anniversarys, Mothers day and Fathers day. We hacked...oops learned everyones dates and send the cards. Another blow to the Delta Blues."
"So you're the ones."
"Yes sir. It's no secret."
"So, do you have an anniversary?"
Jenny paled and stepped back. Chakotay stepped forward a hand on her arm to steady her. "Are you ok ?"
"Fine sir." She said shrugging his hand from her arm and drawing herself almost to attention. "Haven't been asked that in a while. I assumed that everyone on Voyager knew that I was single. Sorry about my reaction. I just need some sleep."
"Lt. Delaney that question should not have caused such a reaction. I thought you were going top pass out."
"Forgive me sir. I was engaged. He was killed. Fifteen years ago, tomorrow would have been our wedding day. Your question just took me by surprise. Now if you'll excuse me." She turned and began to walk away.
"Lieutenant!" His voice was sharp and commanding.
She did a perfect about face. He could see her fight for control and get it. Her eyes held tears and were focused at a point above his shoulder. He hadn't know that she had been close to tears.
"Forgive me? I didn't know." He said quietly. She blinked and continued to keep her eyes averted and her manner professional.
"Nothing to forgive sir. You aren't the type to cause others pain."
"Am I still welcome tonight?"
"Of course. Anyone is welcome. 1930 in confrence room two."
She had relaxed a bit with the apology but was still keeping her eyes off his.
"Thank you, I'll see you tonight."
"You're welcome sir."
"Lt., do you think you could relax and drop the sir while your off duty?"
Her eyes dropped to meet his and saw the warmth and concern there. She relaxed and smiled. "I guess that I could try Mr. Chakotay if you would like."
"How about just Chakotay?" His smile answered hers.
"Sorry sir. I don't know you well enough to take such liberties. Now if I may be dismissed?" The smile was gone.
"We'll have to work on you getting to know me then. Dismissed."
She did another perfect about face and walked away. Chakotay watched her go and shook his head. Hot fudge and videos sounded like something he needed. That and to hear Jenny Delaney call him by name.