AND I LOVE YOU SO
An alternative ending to "The Killing Game."
by PJ in NH email@example.com
Summary: A pregnancy prompts Tom to propose to B‘Elanna. Rated G Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager and its characters. I‘ve only borrow the characters to satisfy my own creative urges.
Archiving is okay, just e-mail me. Please keep disclaimer and my name attached.
Dedicated to the pilot of my heart, my hubbie, Fred.
"I will spare your life, for now—but only because you are carrying a German child." threatened the Nazi officer. "Leave her alone!" demanded Paris as he struggled and broke away from the Nazi/Hirogen guard and approached B‘Elanna. The officer spun away from Brigitte/B‘Elanna towards Tom, raised his pistol, and fired hitting the pilot twice, once in his left chest and once upper shoulder.
Tom‘s eyes widened with surprise, he clutched his chest, and in a cry of pain his knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground.
"You bastard!" roared B‘Elanna and she knocked the Nazi out with one well-placed, long overdue, upper cut to his jaw and rushed to help Tom. Using material she had torn from her skirt, she attempted to stop the bleeding. "Hang in there Tom, we are almost out of here, you‘ll be in Sickbay soon. The Doctor will fix you up." she promised trying to sound confident.
Tom looked up at her through a pain-filled haze, barely cognizant of his surroundings. his hard clutched her wrist. "Help me . . . can‘t. . . breathe," he moaned as his hand slipped from her wrist and blackness crashed down upon him. B‘Elanna looked up and noticed that during this exchange all the holocharacters had disappeared, obviously the Hirogen were no longer in control of the ship. "Someone help us please!" she screamed.
"B‘Elanna, I‘m coming," shouted Chakotay from down the street, "what‘s wrong."
"Chakotay hurry, Tom‘s been shot, help me get him to Sickbay before he bleeds to death." The Commander quickly helped her by hoisting the pilot by the shoulders while B‘Elanna lifted his legs and proceeded immediately to the Sickbay see the Doctor.
"Doctor, you‘ve got to help Tom!" pleaded B‘Elanna as she stood beside the pilot and looked down at his pale face. "I‘m doing my best, this should help him breathe" replied the EMH as the injected a tri-ox compound in the pilot‘s neck. As he activated the medical arch to extend above his patient he explained, "Mr. Paris he has been shot in the shoulder and the other projectile penetrated his left lung which will require an operation. Now Commander please remove Lt. Torres from Sickbay so I can perform the procedure." "He‘s right," concurred the Commander and grabbed a reluctant B‘Elanna by the shoulders and attempted to steer her out of Sickbay. "Tom‘s in good hands now and the Hirogen are gone, why don‘t you get cleaned up and get something to eat. By the time your finished maybe the operation will be complete." Hearing the conversation, the Doctor nodded in agreement. "See, now let‘s go, besides I‘d think you‘d be glad to get out of these maternity clothes," he said with a little grin on his face.
"Your right, I know. Thanks for everything," she said as she have Tom a kiss on his pale forehead and turned to the EMH. "Take good care of him Doctor, or you‘ll have to answer to me," she warned as the Sickbay doors slid shut behind them. After Chakotay escorted her to her quarters, she removed the maternity dress and prepared to take a shower. It felt good to have the warm water cascade over her and to be clean again. After she was finished cleaning up, she changed into her civies and went to the Mess Hall, all of a sudden she was very hungry.
Using a couple of replicator rations she ordered a hot bowl of vegetable soup and a roll and sat down and began to eat. Shortly after she sat down, the chair across from her was pulled out and a very tired looking, red-eyed Harry Kim joined her. "How you doing Maquis?" he asked. "Not well, Harry," she responded not even looking up at him as she stirred the remaining broth. "Tom‘s in the Sickbay being operated on," she explained. "He was shot twice in the chest before we were able to leave the holodeck." The ensign‘s head snapped up. "Is he going to be alright?" he asked worriedly.
"The Doctor thinks so, but I can‘t help it, I‘m worried. I love him Harry," she said in a small voice, "I don‘t know what I‘d do if . . ." "Don‘t even say it," he interrupted, "no bad thoughts okay?"
"Your right, thanks," she said wearily as she reached over to squeeze his hand in reassurance. As she looked up she noticed that he was exhausted and had a large abrasion on his left cheek. "Looks like you should be in Sickbay, what happened?"
"It‘s nothing," he chuckled, "I had a little disagreement with one of the Hirogen."
"At least tell me he looks worse than you do?" "I wish I could. Tell you what, why don‘t you come down to Sickbay with me and we can both check on Tom while the Doc patches me up. Okay?"
"Sounds good, I could use the company."
"Welcome back Lieutenant," the EMH said cheerfully greeting the engineer as Harry and B‘Elanna entered the Sickbay. "How did the operation go?" she asked tentatively not even looking at the Doctor but to the pale figure lying quietly on the biobed behind him.
"It went very well, very well indeed" he boasted obviously quite pleased with himself. "He‘s lost a great deal of blood, and will need a few days to recover, especially after the injury he received last week during the United States of America Civil War simulation. He took a bayonet in the abdomen then," he explained shaking his balding head. It was incredible, he thought, what the crew had had to endure during the last few weeks, but it was fortunate they wouldn‘t remember most of it. "If you like, you can stay and wait for him to wake up, but don‘t be too long he needs his rest," he admonished."
"Thanks for everything Doctor," B‘Elanna said as she proceeded over to Tom, and pulled up a chair to sit beside the biobed and took one of his hands in both of hers. "Mr. Kim, it appears you require medical attention." the Doctor stated as he appraised the ensign‘s condition and reached for the dermal regenerator. In a short period of time, Harry was healed and had pulled up another chair on the other side of the bed and joined B‘Elanna to wait for the pilot to regain conscientious.
Forty-five minutes later.
"Harry, when do you think he‘ll wake up?" asked B‘Elanna for the umpteenth time since they had sat down.
"I don‘t know, it should be soon. . . look." Tom slowly opened his eyes and his gaze immediately fell on B‘Elanna‘s face, totally oblivious that Harry was there as well.
"B‘Elanna?" he said softly.
"Yes Tom, I‘m here, your safe," she explained inching forward in her seat in an effort to hear him better. "I was having a wonderful dream," he murmured as a small smile lit his tired face.
"It was about you."
She smiled, blushed a little, and reached up to brush a few errant stands of hair away from his forehead. <She loved this man so much.
"You were so beautiful . . . and . . . and . . . you were pregnant."
"Yes, Tom." In explanation, she whispered across the bed to Harry "I was holographically pregnant in the last Holodeck simulation." To which Harry nodded.
"You were so beautiful, Bea, you were carrying our baby, we were so happy."
<Our baby? that was some dream. What must Harry be thinking? "Ah. . . that‘s nice" she responded shakily with a little smile on her face "but aren‘t you forgetting something," she laughed trying to keep it light, "we aren‘t even married?" "Okay" he said quietly as his eyes fluttered closed and the smile returned to his lips.
"Okay what?" she asked now confused.
The drowsy blue eyes opened again. "Let‘s get married." "Tom Paris how can we get married," she teased, "you haven‘t even told me you love me yet."
"But B‘Elanna, I do . . I do love you . . . love you. . ." he mumbled as sleep crept, no crashed down upon him again. B‘Elanna couldn‘t believe their little conversation, shouldn‘t it go love, marriage, then babies, not the other way around?
"Well that must have been some dream," joked Harry, but obviously the joked flopped as he looked at the Chief Engineer with her mouth agape.
"Yeah, well," stammered the engineer, "I always hoped I‘d hear those words from him, but I didn‘t think they would come out in quite that order or under these circumstances. He probably won‘t even remember that he said them." "I can be your witness if you want?" he offered, a grin on his face.
A similar grin graced her face. "Thanks anyway." Harry could have sworn though that there was a hint of disappointment in her tone.
Three days later.
Tom woke up in his quarters for the first time since, well since the Hirogen took control of the ship. It had been three days since his operation, three days of hearing the doctor painstakingly describe the simulated ‚hunts‘ the crew had been forced to endure along with detailed accounts of the various injuries that had been inflicted and he had had to treat. Some of the stories were even humorous, try as he might he couldn‘t picture Neelix as a fierce Klingon leading his fellow warriors into battle.
Three days, and every time he slept he had the same dream. It was a dream like none he had ever had before, a truly lovely dream which always left him waking feel very content and satisfied. The dreams weren‘t exactly the same every night. Some times he was with B‘Elanna in their cabin together, one time they were on the Bridge, and still another time they were in the Engineering, but there were some things that never changed. One was that B‘Elanna was always pregnant. He had always thought that she was beautiful, but she was absolutely ravishing ‚with child.‘ Maybe it was not so much the fact that she was pregnant, but what it represented, an expression of their love, which only enhanced her beauty. It was if she was possessed with an inner radiance. The second constant was, that in every version of the dream, they were giddily happy, he couldn‘t ever remember being so euphoric. Tom, old boy, maybe someone‘s trying to tell you something, he pondered on his way to the shower to get ready for his first day back to work. And there was plenty of work, the Hirogen saw to that.
During the three weeks the Hirogen had controlled the ship, they had tinkered with and tampered with almost every system on board. Needless to say, one female half-Klingon was furious to put it mildly and she had every right to be. B‘Elanna and Harry, along with the rest of the crew, had hardly had a chance to rest from the invasion, before they were pulling double and triple shifts trying to get the ship back in order. This explained the fact that he had barely seen B‘Elanna or Harry since his operation. In fact, he didn‘t even remember that she and Harry had been there when he initially awoke. The Doctor told him later that they refused to leave until he regained consciousness, and even then they were reluctant to go. B‘Elanna had only been able to come to the Sickbay once before he was released. She was so tired during the visit, he was able to convince her to crawl up on the nearest biobid and rest. She had barely put her head down when she fell to sleep and slept for twelve hours with orders from the Doctor that she was not be disturbed.
As he changed to take his morning shower he reached the conclusion that he was blessed, he was one lucky man. Not only was Harry his best friend, he was only one he had ever had. But B‘Elanna . . . B‘Elanna was truly special, she was not only a dear friend but his. . . his what? lover? companion? confidant? mate? Yes, she was all that and more, much more, he thought as he stepped into the warm cascade of the shower and started to lather up.
He was the coward, not her, he determined. She had admitted that she loved him on the Day of Honor, and what had he said, something like ‚You picked a fine time to tell me.‘ A joke, wonderful, he had made a joke. It should have been so easy to have returned the sentiment, all he had to say was ‚I love you too.‘ so simple, and yet so difficult. Not that was it difficult to tell her he loved her, he did love her and had for a long time. But, he had told his father he loved him and he had disowned him, and he had told Ricki he loved her but she had left him after Caldik Prime. If it had been love he had felt for his father and Ricki, then what was it he felt for B‘Elanna? The feelings he had for her were just so much more intense that the simple words ‚I love you‘ seemed woefully inadequate. There had to be a way for him to tell her, show her, how he felt he mused as he rinsed the soap off his back. Maybe he could come up with a plan while he was in Sickbay for the next couple of days assisting the Doctor.
It was his second day in Sickbay and he still hadn‘t come up with a suitable location. He was alone for the afternoon performing inventory while the Doctor was meeting with Neelix to discuss the available food stores and the nutritional needs of the crew. In the silence of the Sickbay, he reviewed the various options he had already thought of and ultimately rejected. The Holodecks couldn‘t be used as they where still off line and with all the other items on the ship that required repair were not considered a priority. He had eliminated his quarters—been there, done that. The Mess Hall wasn‘t special enough, they ate there everyday. One of the cargo bays could be converted for the night, but it was bound to smell of plasma coolant and would require a great deal of work to get ready. As he continued to contemplate his problem, Meagan Delaney entered the Sickbay accompanied by her sister. "It‘ll be all right Jenny," she said soothingly "its just a small cut, it‘ll be better in no time." Noticing that no one was coming to their aid, she helped Jenny sit down on one of the biobeds and began looking around for the Doctor. She finally found his assistant in the back of the Sickbay bent over with his head in the supply cabinet mumbling something to himself.
"What?" he said as he quickly straighten up hitting his skull on an upper shelf. "Aargh." he bellowed as he reached up to rub the top of his head.
"Yeah, hard head, no problem," he said dismissively. "What can I do for you?" he offered half-heartedly as he followed her over to the biobed area.
"Oh I‘m fine, it‘s Sis she got a small cut helping out in engineering this afternoon, the way she‘s acting you‘d think she‘d almost severed her arm off," she teased. "Hi Jenny, let‘s see your arm." She held out her right arm to the pilot/nurse. "Oh that‘s not too bad, I‘ll have you fixed up right away," he said solemnly as he reached for the regenerator and started using it on her arm. "Tom how are you doing, everything okay?" asked Meagan worriedly noticing that Tom wasn‘t he usual cheerful self. Tom looked up at the red head. "Oh, I‘m fine." "Come on Tom this is us your talking to, spill it, what‘s up?"
"Well . . um . . . you know, maybe you could help me, that is if you can keep a secret," he teased. <I must be desperate, I can‘t believe I said that, these are the two biggest gossips on the ship. Well maybe he could trust them, a little blackmail might help ensure their silence. "You know ladies, you might be able to assist me." he offered, "I‘m having a little problem, and I can‘t come up with a solution." "Do tell," they both responded in stereo.
"I‘m trying to plan a special evening for B‘Elanna, you know fancy dinner, dancing, etc., but with the Holodecks out of service I can‘t come up with a suitable location. Any ideas?" The two sisters huddled and whispered back and forth, occasionally making hand gestures to illustrate a point. Finally, both nodded their heads in agreement and turned back to face the exasperated pilot.
"Well, this may require a little work, but we think we have come up with the perfect solution, but you have to let us in on one thing, what is so special about this dinner?" "Come on," he wined, "that‘s not fair."
"All‘s fair in love and war Tommy."
Hands on his hips he turned away from them paced off a few steps and turned back to face them. "If I wasn‘t so desperate, I‘d never tell you this, but I warn you if you breathe a word to anyone, I‘ll tell Ensign Hopkins that it was you two that‘s had him walking on eggshells for the last month," he threatened, pointing his finger at both of them. "How did you find out?" said the two in unison.
"I have my sources, inscrutable sources," he said slyly. "Your cruel, Paris, cruel," the red head relented throwing her arms up in the air. "Okay you‘ve got us. We know the perfect place, it‘s Stellar Observation Room 2." "Stellar Observation Room 2? You mean the Attic? You know I had forgotten about that little gem, but isn‘t it being used for temporary storage?"
"Yeah, well even good plans have a little catch. You just have to find the time to move a few boxes and then you‘ll have something really special, I promise. She‘ll love it." "You know I think your right, thanks, I really appreciate the suggestion."
"Tom, aren‘t you forgetting something?" asked Meagan. "What? Oh yeah, the special evening for B‘Elanna. Well . . . remember you have to keep your mouth shut or Ensign Hopkins .
"Spill it Tom!"
"I‘m a . . .er . . . planning to propose."
"Wow, congratulations that‘s wonderful, I‘m sure she‘ll say yes." beamed the buoyant blond, "if you need anything, anything at all ask us. Right sis?" She elbowed the red head in the ribs to snap her out of her daze. "Right sis?" "You bet, anything." said Meagan almost too stunned to speak.
"I may have to take you up on that offer, thanks!
The following two days the pilot spent under the conn station reconfiguring the Hirogen ‚modifications‘ and his evenings where spent working on the Attic. It had taken him several hours moving the few crates that had occupied that area and placing them in the only other available space—his cabin. In the end, he had even run of space there and had to leave several crates behind. Maybe they could be camouflaged in some way he considered.
There was a lot that had been done the last couple of days, but the whole plan rested on one little question to one person who might very likely say no, and it wasn‘t the chief engineer. Near the end of his shift on the second day back on the bridge, he gathered his courage and approached Chakotay. "Commander, I was wondering if I could speak with you for a moment, privately."
"Of course Lieutenant, the ready room?"
"That would be fine, sir."
Tom followed the commander into the ready room and the two men both took seats opposite one another.
"So what is this about Tom?" he asked as he leaned over and rested his elbows on the table top.
"Well, I was hoping that you could arrange it for B‘Elanna and I . . . believe me I wouldn‘t ask it if it wasn‘t important. . .if we could have a few hours off tomorrow evening, say from 1800 to 2300?" he blurted out. There he said it, now everything depended on the commander‘s answer. "I see."
"What‘s that about a request for some time off." responded a familiar voice entering the ready room from the other entrance.
Tom immediately stood in respect to his captain. "At ease Tom, and please sit down," Janeway ordered with a smile on her face as she herself took a seat. "Cap. . Captain," he stammered as a blush advanced from his collar to his hairline. "It‘s just that I‘m trying to plan something special for B‘Elanna and, unless there is some emergency, I was hoping not to be interrupted for a few hours tomorrow evening."
"Well I don‘t know Tom, there is still so much to do . . . " she began thinking over all the work that still remained to be done on board.
"I beg your pardon, Captain, it‘s probably not what you think. It‘s . . ah . . . well something very special, something . . .ah . . . hell, I‘m planning to propose to B‘Elanna." he blurted out staring at the table top and then looking up a first the Captain‘s and then the Commander‘s face.
"But that‘s marvelous Tom," gushed Janeway.
"It certainly is and about time," agreed her First Officer. "Thanks," replied the relieved and surprised pilot. Things had certainly changed in almost four years, Chakotay didn‘t seem to mind that he was going to ask his former Maquis crewmate to become his bride. Just a few short years ago, he would have skinned him alive. Just a few short years ago, marriage was the furthest thing from Tom‘s mind. "So tell me, what are the plans?" asked the Captain as she and the Commander leaned over the table anxious to hear all the details.
"Well it‘s like this . . ."
Leaving the ready room he returned to the conn momentarily before Ensign Sims relieved him of duty and followed Harry into the lift.
"You look quite pleased with yourself Tom."
"That I am Harry, that I am," he replied smugly, looking the young ensign over stem to stern as if trying to decided what to make of him.
"What is it, did I get oil on my pants or someth . . ." Harry turned a wary eye to the pilot. "Uh, oh, I‘ve seen that look before. What‘s up?"
Tom mocked innocence with one hand raised to his chest. "Harry, what do you mean ‚what‘s up?‘ Why would I be up to something, you wound me?"
The younger man crossed his arms over his chest in an attempt to stand his ground. "Come on, after almost four years I‘ve gotten to know you, so tell me."
"Harry, why don‘t you join me for in the Mess Hall for dinner and I‘ll tell you all about it, and if your good I‘ll even let you help."
"I know I should have kept my mouth shut, when will I ever learn?" he replied shaking his head knowing he was about to be conned again.
Just one more person to line up Tom mused.
"Paris to Carey."
"Carey here," came the response, "what can I do for you Tom?"
This was just too easy. "Do you really want to know?"
"I don‘t know, do I?"
Another morning, another repair, some things never change B‘Elanna thought as she entered yet another Jeffrey Tube. How many had there been during the last several days? She had lost count. This day though she had traded assignments with Harry who had been assigned to engineering for the day. He had convinced her that after the past few weeks if he had to crawl into another tube he would go insane. Well crawling around the tubes, she mused, was better than being up to her elbows in bioneural gel working with Seven, which was the other option, so she relented. As she neared the broken power conduit, she thought she caught the scent of something out of place in the tube. As she neared the intersection with another tube she spotted the source, a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a card attached, previously placed there by a willing ensign. She reached for it and read:
"Your always in my dreams and my heart. Please join me for dinner tonight at 01900, Stellar Observation Room 2, formal dress required. T" She lifted the flowers to inhale their aroma. <Tom was such a romantic. Well today might turn out good after all, but dinner in the Attic and formal besides? What was he thinking of? These thoughts kept flowing through her mind as she began working on the power conduit with the first smile she had on her face in several days.
"Kim to Lt. Paris."
"Go ahead Harry." the pilot answered as he entered the turbolift on his way to the bridge.
"Everything is going according to plan Tom, thought you‘d want to know."
"Thanks, I owe you."
As he sat at the conn, he couldn‘t ever remember being this nervous, it felt like Morovian crickets had taken up residence in his stomach. His future all rested on what happened tonight. Tomorrow, he would either be walking on air or down in the dumps deep dumps. But for now, he had to concentrate piloting the ship, but his thoughts kept straying to the next stage of his plan. Knowing that the Delaneys were scheduled for a late shift today, he decided to take them up on their offer and approached them early this morning with his plans for the Attic along with some of his replicator credits. They had assured him to leave everything in their capable hands and it would be just perfect for the special occasion. The sisters suggested that he stop by at his lunch break just to see if there was anything they might have missed. The hours dragged by that morning and every time he turned around in his seat and caught the Commander‘s eye, or Captain‘s eye when she was on the bridge, he could see their eyes twinkle with amusement at his obvious anxiety. Finally, lunch time arrived and as soon as he was temporarily relieved of duty he sprinted to the Stellar Observation Room 2 anxious to see the results. As he entered the room he was amazed, it certainly didn‘t look like a storage room any more, the Delaneys had certainly outdone themselves. They had transformed the room into a secluded romantic get-away. Underneath the transparent dome they had placed a round dining table covered with a spotless white tablecloth and two chairs, and on both ends of the Attic the remaining boxes where stacked against the wall with a cloth covering them to serve as side tables. The remaining four boxes were similarly covered and would serve as a bench up against the back wall. Lightly scented candles of various sizes and shades of pastel decorated the side tables along with flowers and ferns from hydroponics. For an added touch of elegance, long white tapers had been placed in a silver candelabra on the dining table.
"I am absolutely flabbergasted," beamed Tom giving each of the Delaney sisters a dazzling smile and a kiss on the cheek as he proceeded to walk around the room checking out every detail. "This is better than anything I imagined, how did you two find the time to get all of this done?"
"Well it‘s easy when the Captain orders you." teased Jenny. He abruptly stopped his inspection. "What?" he said in disbelief.
"The Captain gave us orders this morning not to report to Stellar Cartography until the Attic was up to "romantic standards," Meagan said in a deep voice with her hands on her hips in her best Captain Janeway impression. "She even came up here a couple of times to help arrange the flowers and donated her own replicator credits so we could have enough candles," piped in her sister.
"So that‘s why she was missing on the bridge on and off this morning," mused Tom. "It‘s perfect, it couldn‘t be better." "Yes it could," chimed in Meagan coyly.
"I don‘t see how," he countered.
"How about donated replicator credits for your dinner or . . whatever?" challenged Jenny as she handed him a datapadd which indicated that a sizable number of credits had been transferred to his account.
He grasped the pad. "Your kidding? Who donated credits?" "Let‘s see, the Captain, Harry, Seven, Carey, the Commander, Meagan and I, and maybe a few others."
"I‘m totally speechless."
"Quick, Jenny get this on a vidcam, Tom‘s speechless, Vulcan must have frozen over, inform Tuvok!" They all broke down and laughed.
"Jenny, Meagan, I wish I could stay and help, but I have one more thing to do before I have to report back to the bridge for the afternoon shift and believe me these," he said waving the data padd, "are going to make all the difference. Thanks again ladies, I‘ll never forget it, I owe you." "You owe us all the dirt on what happens tonight, well at least some of the dirt," said Jenny.
"Yeah," countered the red head with a grin, "we want to be the first to know when she says ‚yes‘ so we can start planning the bridal shower."
Laughing and nodding his head, Tom quickly left the Attic and headed to his own quarters. He wished he was as confident as they were regarding the outcome of the evening. With the donated credits along with some of his own saved over the past few months, his next task proved to be much easier. He strode over to his replicator and placed his order "One engagement ring pattern Paris Torres Omega, size. . . oh access databanks and select whatever size Lt. Torres‘ left ring finger is." Within moments an exquisite gold engagement ring had been replicated. Over the past few days, he had scrapped design after design until he finally decided on a ring created out of two delicate yellow and white gold bands intertwined around each other to symbolize their love with an oval-shaped Equarian diamond perched in the center expressing the hope of the future. Placing it in a safe place in his quarters, he returned to the bridge, whistling all the way.
If he thought the morning dragged, the afternoon was ten times worse, every minute seemed like an hour. Please, he thought, how about a little asteroid field to fly through, something to keep the mind and body occupied. But no, just a boring afternoon flying in a straight line.
Finally, about 1530, the Commander turned to the Captain. "Doesn‘t seem to be much going on this afternoon Captain" he said with a wink and a mock yawn. "Have I ever told you there are times I miss being where all the excitement is?" he said in a voice that carried all the way down front to the conn. "You know I think your right, it‘s just another typical boring day on Voyager, why don‘t you see if Tom will relinquish the helm for the remainder of his shift? Maybe that will keep you occupied? I wouldn‘t want you to bored." the Captain replied with a smirk.
"Aye, aye Captain." he said as he stood up saluting her with a silly grin on his face.
"It appears Tom," she ordered the stunned Lieutenant, "that you have been relieved from duty for the day." The Commander was already at Tom‘s side prepared to take his place as Tom turned around. "Yes ma‘am, thank you, and thank you, sir."
"Have fun Tom, and good luck, but I don‘t think you‘ll need it." quirked the Indian as he slapped the pilot on the back and sat down at the conn.
"Thanks again, but if you have time, maybe few words to your spirit guide? It couldn‘t hurt. Okay?" Tom then entered the turbolift with a nervous grin on his face. The smile was returned by everyone on the bridge.
"What to wear, what to wear?" B‘Elanna asked herself as she made a sketch on her datapadd, she looked up every once in a while to admire the flowers in the vase and to inhale their scent as she contemplated the design. She had come to the conclusion an hour ago that she had nothing to wear and had been working on the perfect dress since then. When she was satisfied with her design, she inputted the information into the computer and instructed the machine to replicate an off- the-shoulder, white silk, floor length dress to her specifications and to charge it to her account. Within seconds the beautiful dress appeared in the replicator. "Computer how many credits do I have left?" she inquired.
"Computer, create a single strand 45-centimeter pearl necklace."
"Now all I have to do is shower, no I think a bubble bath would be better, and get dressed." She was very excited, she couldn‘t wait to see what Tom had planned. It had to be special, but she couldn‘t figure out why it was in the Attic of all places.
Tom nervously paced inside his quarters carefully avoiding the crates of maintenance supplies which had limited his pacing to three steps a turn and three steps back. He was already dressed in a pale blue shirt, black vest, and black slacks. For the ninth time in the last forty-five minutes, he reached inside the vest pocket and extracted the ring to examine it and to buff it against his sleeve. It was now 1845 and it wouldn‘t be long before he would be up in the Stellar Observation Room 2 with B‘Elanna. Please let everything go right he prayed.
Shortly before 1900, B‘Elanna and a very anxious pilot left their quarters and made their way to their respective turbolifts that would take them to the Attic. They arrived almost simultaneously meeting each other in front of the door to the room in which their future would be decided. There before him was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen, a vision of elegance. "B‘Elanna," he began taking her hands in his looking her over from head to toe, "You look absolutely stunning."
B‘Elanna blushed a little but thanked him and returned the compliment. <This man is so thoughtful and handsome, and for some reason or other he thinks I‘m beautiful. They both entered the room together. It was breathtaking, even better than when he had seen it at lunch. The candles were glowing and along with the flowers emitted a delicate floral scent, the china glistened, and the stars twinkled magically all around them. In the background, music could be heard from an invisible string quartet.
"Tom this is just enchanting," she gasped as she turned completely around to view the whole room causing her gown to swirl around her body. "You certainly outdid yourself." "It certainly is," he replied but he was not looking at the room. Realizing what she was referring to brought him back to reality "I wish I could take all the credit for the transformation, but I had a little help." he replied sheepishly as he guided her over to the table, seated her, and as he helped her push in her chair gave her a kiss on her cheek. "Nothing is too good for you Bea." he responded. "I want this night to be special."
He was totally sincere she noted, the honest-to-goodness genuine article. No walls were up tonight.
Out of nowhere Joe Carey, playing the part of a waiter, appeared with menus in his left hand and a water pitcher in his right hand. He proceeded to fill their glasses and offered them menus, playing his role to the hilt. "While you make your decision, can I offer you some wine, maybe a Merlot or champagne?" At Tom‘s raised eyebrow, he whispered to the helmsman, "You talked me in to being your waiter, but I draw the line at the French accent."
The pilot chuckled, "Merci Joe and I think this evening calls for a bit of the bubbly."
B‘Elanna giggled as they opened the menus, "What happened, did you beat him at pool and he ran out of replicator credits?"
"Something like that, I‘ll tell you later," he said with a grin, "So what sounds good to you?"
They dined on spinach salad, Salmon ala Schoodic, wild rice, and sauteed vegetables in a light sauce, desert followed—a delightful concoction of chocolate and raspberries. The meal had been enhanced with light conversation, peppered with jokes and remembrances.
"Tom that was the best dinner I think I‘ve every had," she sighed, delicately wiping her lips with her napkin. "Thank you. You must remember to give Joe a good tip now, he‘s done a great job, even without the French accent." "Believe me, the pleasure was all mine. And don‘t worry, I won‘t forget Joe."
"By the way, how did you ever save enough credits for all this?" she challenged.
"Like I said, I‘ll tell you later." Looking at her questionable expression he added, "believe me Bea, its all on the up and up, I promise."
"Well . . . just remember I‘m watching you." "I‘m counting on that," he replied. As the quartet starting play a musical selection from the 20th Century, the pilot placed his napkin on the table, rose from his seat, and approached the beautiful half-Klingon. With a deep bow and a flamboyant sweep of his arm asked "Dear lady, will you do me the honor of dancing with me?"
She rose out of her chair and with a curtsey and smile responded "I thought you would never ask, kind sir." <This was wonderful, the two of them dancing beneath a canopy of stars, this was much better than any holodeck program. But where did all the maintenance supplies go?
Joe quietly picked up the table, leaving an envelope, and left the dining room for the night knowing that his services would no longer be required.
Tom held her close and they danced. She relished his touch and the woodsy smell of his aftershave. This felt so right she thought, she had never felt so special, so loved. She was so lucky, coming to the Delta Quadrant and finding this man were the best things that ever could have happened to her. Tom echoed her silent thoughts as he guided her around the room. <This was just incredible. If anyone told him he would be doing what he had planned on tonight four years ago he would have informed them that they were crazy. Instead, here he was dancing with the most gorgeous woman in the universe. As if hearing his thoughts she looked up him and he could see the stars reflected in her deep brown eyes, it took his breath away and he gave her a kiss and pulled her closer. "B‘Elanna," he whispered next to her ear, "your beautiful, absolutely exquisite."
Those words sent chills right down her spine. "Oh Tom." she blushed, "your the only one that has ever made be feel beautiful."
Tom then proceeded to kiss his way from her ear all the way down to her bare shoulder and back up to her ear again with a nibble or two thrown in along the way. Here goes everything he thought as he skillfully twirled her around. "B‘Elanna, I know I haven‘t told you this before but not only do I love you," he whispered again, "I absolutely adore you." She immediately stopped dancing and star-flecked brown eyes locked with star-flecked blue eyes.
"Did you hear me Bea?" he asked as he brought his hand up to caress her cheek, "I love you, I adore you. And I should have told you a long time ago." He bent down and pressed his lips to hers and gave her a passionate kiss.
As they both breathlessly pulled away she replied "I heard you, Tom. I love you too." She then rested her head against his chest, just where it belongs she thought, and they began moving with the music again. After a couple of songs had played Tom started humming along with the current selection. "That‘s beautiful," she commented, "what‘s the name of the song?"
"Oh just something I stumbled upon a few months back. Actually, there are vocals that were originally part of the song. Would you like to hear them?" She nodded. "Computer re- queue current song "And I Love You So*," original version and include vocals. With the gentle sounds of a guitar being plucked, the song began:
And I love you so, people ask me how,
how I‘ve lived til now,
I tell them I don‘t know.
I guess they understand,
how lonely life has been,
but life began again,
the day you took my hand.
And yes, I know how lonely life can be,
the shadows follow me and the night won‘t set me free,
but I don‘t let the evening get me down,
now that your around me.
And you love me too,
your thoughts are just for me,
you set my spirit free,
I‘m happy that you do.
The book of life is brief,
once the page is read,
all but love is dead,
that is my belief.
And yes, I know how loveless life can be,
the shadows follow me and the night won‘t set me free,
but I don‘t let the evening bring me down,
now that your around me.
And I love you so,
people ask me now,
how I‘ve lived til now,
I tell them, I don‘t know.
"Tom that‘s absolutely beautiful. Such a simple song but it speaks volumes."
"I thought so too when I first heard it. It reminds me of us."
After several more minutes of dancing, kissing, and touching, Tom gathered his courage and led her over to the bench against the wall and asked her to sit down. As she did so he knelt on one knee took her hand in his, and kissed it. "Bea, I love you, I can‘t imagine my life without you, you make me complete. Before Voyager, I may have been breathing but I wasn‘t living, my life had no purpose. I don‘t want to be alone any more, I want to go to sleep with you and wake up every morning with you beside me. You mean everything to me." He reached into his vest pocket and produced the sparkling ring. <Here it goes, hopefully the Gods are smiling. "B‘Elanna, will you do me the honor of being my wife?" She didn‘t know what to say, she couldn‘t believe it. This handsome, wonderful man had not only finally told her he loved her but was proposing too. No, this must be a dream, a wonderful, enchanting dream, but a dream nonetheless. But . . . then if this was a dream, why did it seem so real? Why could she smell the flowers and his aftershave so clearly? Why was her heart pounding so hard? No, on second thought this was real, she didn‘t know what she had done to deserve this, but it was real. A smile grew on her face, first starting with her lips and finally encompassing her whole face as tears threatened to fall from her eyes. "Tom, I would be honored to be your wife." She said as the tears began to fall from her liquid brown eyes.
Tom slipped the ring onto her finger, stood up, and bent down and pulled her to him giving her a kiss that left her toes tingling. "B‘Elanna, you‘ve made me the happiest man in the universe. I promise you won‘t regret it."
"Never, Tom, I could never regret it."
"By the way Bea," he laughed. "It‘s a good thing you said yes, or I‘d be paying back replicator credits until we returned home."
"What do you mean?"
"Well lets see, the Captain, Harry, Chakotay, Carey, Jenny and Meagan, and probably a few others, all donated credits and/or their time to make sure that this night went off as planned."
"We‘re very fortunate to have found so many friends."
"Very fortunate indeed."
They danced to several more songs, stopping occasionally to kiss, touch, and talk, until they finally realized that it was getting late.
"As much as I would like this to never end, Bea, I think it‘s time to blow out the candles and leave. We both have early shifts tomorrow and Harry volunteered to clean up tonight and I know his due on the bridge even before me," to which she reluctantly nodded.
"Your right, we don‘t want to alienate our friends, especially after all they did to make this night so special. But how about one last glass of champagne?"
"Sounds good." He reached for the bottle and poured the remainder of the bottle into their two crystal flutes and handed one to his companion. "How about a toast, to the future?"
"To the future." she echoed as they clinked their glasses together, smiled, and drank the remaining champagne. "Well unfortunately tomorrow morning going to be here before we know it," he replied as he proceeded to blow out the half- burned tapers.
B‘Elanna then noticed the envelop on the table. "Tom what‘s this?" she queried as she picked up the envelope from the table.
"Beats me, it wasn‘t anything I planned."
"Well its addressed to the happiest couple on Voyager, any idea who they might be?" she teased.
"Let‘s see, maybe Joe and Sam?. No? How about Harry and . . ." and she playfully slapped him with the envelope. "Oh that‘s right," me teased, "it must be us, why don‘t you open it up."
"Good idea flyboy."
She tore open the envelop and extracted a note, it read:
To the happiest couple on Voyager, Because we already know the outcome of this evening, we wanted to be the first to say congratulations. You are both invited to attend an engagement party next Tuesday in Holodeck 2, after all you‘ll be the guests of honor.
It was signed by all their friends that had contributed to their special evening P.S. By the way, you both are relieved from duty for the next 36 hours. Have fun. Signed the Captain.
"I guess they had no doubt." said Tom.
"And you did?" she questioned poking him in the arm in jest. "Sometimes B‘Elanna I think my whole life before this point had been nothing but doubt."
"Not anymore Tom," she responded with a twinkle in her eyes. "How about we wrap up this magical evening with a trip to my quarters?"
"I think that I‘d like to go to sleep with you tonight and wake up beside you in the morning. Of course, I might come up with a few more ideas in addition to just sleeping." "If you don‘t, I will." he promised.
Please send e-mail PJ in NH firstname.lastname@example.org, if only just to tell me your read the story and survived, you don‘t even have to tell me you liked it. Thanks.
Also, for a bit of trivia, from Tom and B‘Elanna‘s dinner selection, can you deduce where I spent my summers growing up?
*And I Love You So, performed by Don McLean can be found on "The Best of Don McLean, EMI a Division of Capitol Records, 1988."