Disclaimer: all the characters in this story are the sole property of Paramount. I‘m just borrowing them and promise to give them back when I‘m finished playing. Any feedback is more than welcome and can be E-mailed to me at email@example.com. And by the way my name is Pamela and E-mail me with any questions you may have and I will be more than happy to answer them. PLEASE E-mail me!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Summary: This is my second piece of Voyager fan fiction. It‘s P/T and rated pg. I guess it probably takes place after the fifth or sixth season and it has to do with Tom, B‘Elanna and a sneaky plan to get them to take some time off. Dedicated to Ashley for giving me the idea, Robbie and Roxann, who are my idols and the best actors ever, to Starmei for all of her kindness and support and to all my other friends and family who have beared with my endless babbling about Tom, B‘Elanna and Voyager in general...........enjoy!!!!!!!!WARNING: it‘s a little corny but if you‘re a hopeless romantic like me then it‘s definitely for you:*)
The Love Trap
By Pamela Blotnicky
"B‘Elanna?" said Tom carefully, hoping she was in a better mood than she had been lately.
"What is it now?!" B‘Elanna snapped in return, "Oh, it‘s you."
*Guess not . . . * thought Tom to himself. "Nice to see you too!" he answered with a sarcastic smile.
"Sorry, Tom. What is it?"she answered suddenly realizing how bad a mood she was in.
"Oh, nothing. I just wanted to see how you were doing."He told her, "You were up all night working you know."
B‘Elanna rolled her eyes. "I don‘t need you checking up on me every time I have to work a double shift, Tom." Her glare softened into a tiny smile and she stood on tip toes to kiss him on the cheek. "Now, get out of here before we attract attention and, ah . . . I‘ll get some sleep tonight."
Tom gave her a suspicious side glance. "Promise?" he asked.
"I promise," she answered with the B‘Elanna Torres trademark, half smile half glare.
"Okay then," he said gently, bending over to give her a quick kiss before turning to leave engineering.
He was almost out the door when B‘Elanna remembered that she hadn‘t eaten for a while either. "Tom!" she called after him. He stopped and turned around to look at her. She walked toward him so that she wouldn‘t disturb everyone in engineering (not that anyone was actually concentrating on their work !), "uh . . . how about meeting me for dinner on the holodeck tonight."
"I‘m off tonight." Tom said with a grin, "What time?"
"Oh, I don‘t know. . .how about 20:00 hours? That‘ll give me enough time to finish up in
here and get ready."
"Under one condition. . ."stated Tom.
"And, what‘s that?" B‘Elanna prompted stepping closer.
"Let me pick the holodeck program this time." he answered.
"Deal," B‘Elanna agreed beginning look forward to the date, "see you then!" Tom turned
around for the second time to leave engineering. B‘Elanna couldn‘t resist the temptation. To the surprise of Tom, herself and everyone else in engineering she reached out and slapped him on the butt (talk about a mood change!) At the surprised gasp of Tom, the entire engineering crew burst out in roaring laughter and a wide grin crossed B‘Elanna‘s face. B‘Elanna smiled to herself as Tom made one last sarcastic comment and left. It wasn‘t everyday that you met someone that could change your mood from irritable (okay, down right grumpy) to ecstatic in just a few minutes. Then again, Tom Paris wasn‘t just anybody. Especially to B‘Elanna.
It was just past 19:00 hours and B‘Elanna was still in engineering. She had been trying to get out of there for the last half hour but several minor repairs all came up at once and she hadn‘t been able to escape. It wasn‘t like she had to be there. After all she had just finished a triple shift and had worked well past her assigned hours. But she felt that as the chief engineer, it was her duty to make sure everything got done correctly.
"Computer time," B‘Elanna requested.
"The current time is nine-teen hundred two hours," answered the voice of the ships computer.
"Damn!" said B‘Elanna quietly to herself. As much as she wanted to stay and make sure everything went alright she knew that Tom was right. She dealt out assignments to all of the on-duty engineering crew and made her exit. She practically ran to her quarters and accidentally bumped into the into the Captain on her way.
"Oh, careful Lieutenant!" Janeway chuckled.
"Sorry, Captain ," answered B‘Elanna feeling a little bit embarrassed.
"And where are you off to in such a hurry, B‘Elanna?"
B‘Elanna blushed. "Uh, to my quarters, Captain, to get ready for supper with. . .Tom. I‘m a little late."
"Well, don‘t let me keep you then,"said Janeway, grinning from ear to ear, it looked like her plan was beginning to take shape and despite being a professional Starfleet captain she was a hopeless romantic at heart. B‘Elanna gave her a friendly smile of her own and continued walking to her quarters. When she arrived she ordered the computer to lock her door and ran into the washroom to have a quick shower. She was in and out in 10 minutes and rushed around trying to
find something appropriate to wear. Since she had no idea what program Tom had planned she wasn‘t sure what to put on. Usually his dates were semi formal and very romantic but that really didn‘t narrow it down much. He had spent hundreds of replicator rations on dresses for her and she had plenty to choose from. She finally decided on a blue tank top and a black mini skirt. She put the finishing touches on her hair and makeup and rushed to the holodeck nearly running into three other officers on the way. The last thing she needed was a repeat of what happened with her and Captain Janeway earlier. She burst into the turbolift and practically shouted out her destination failing to notice Harry Kim standing behind her.
"In a hurry?" Harry asked her with a laugh. Not having even known that he was there B‘Elanna
jumped and turned around quickly.
" Harry!" stated B‘Elanna taking a deep breath, "I didn‘t even know you were here! And ah. . .yeah, I‘m running a little late!"
"Well, have a good time," answered her friend, still grinning.
"Thanks, Harry," smiled B‘Elanna as the turbolift came to her stop. She got out and ran to the holodeck as fast as she could. She gingerly pressed the button to open the holodeck doors and walked in calmly. Tom was there waiting for her.
"Sorry I‘m late, Tom," she said hoping she wasn‘t more than a few minutes overdue. She walked over to him and gave him a hug.
Tom held up a hand, "Hey, it‘s alright. I know how hectic things can get in engineering. By the way, you look beautiful."
"Thanks, Helmboy. You‘re not so bad yourself," B‘Elanna said giving him a kiss. (who was she kidding? He looked gorgeous!) "So, where are we going tonight?"
"Well, I narrowed it down to two choices," said Tom, "we can either go swimming on a huge white sand beach in Samoa or we can go horseback riding along the plains in Western Canada. We can pack a picnic for supper. What do you say?"
"Well , I don‘t know Tom. I‘m hardly dressed for either!" B‘Elanna said looking at her miniskirt and tank top.
Tom smiled fondly at her. He, himself wasn‘t exactly dressed for horseback riding either. He had on a semi formal suit that showed off his cerulean eyes. "Don‘t worry. I‘ve already thought of that and everything‘s covered. So, what do you say?"
"Well, I‘ve never been horseback riding. What‘s it like?"
Tom was glad to see her considering the horseback riding. He really loved horses but hadn‘t had a chance to ride in years. "It‘s really great! It‘s a little scary at first but once you get the hang of it you can just sit back and relax. Have you ever seen a horse, B‘Elanna?"
"Once when I was five my father took me to a farm with a bunch of exotic animals from other planets. I remember being completely captivated with the horses," she giggled softly, "I couldn‘t stop talking about them for a week. I drove my mother crazy! That was only a few weeks before my father left us. It‘s one of my fonder memories from back then. . ." B‘Elanna‘s voice trailed off and her facial expressions showed that she was deep in thought."Tom felt sorry for her. He knew what is was like to have a cruel, demanding past come back to haunt you in a disturbing reverie. He also knew, from his own experiences, that it would probably make her feel better to talk about it. He made a mental note to bring it up again later but for now he decided to change the subject.
"So what‘ll it be, B‘Elanna? Wanna try the horses?"
B‘Elanna was snapped out of her whim and covered up her disturbing thoughts with a broad grin.
"Yeah, Tom, let‘s go for it! Sounds like fun."
Tom turned on the rightful program and the setting in the holodeck changed dramatically. They found themselves at the walkway leading up to a small farm house. The ground underneath their feet was dry and dusty. The weather was hot and the smoldering sun was beaming down on them. They looked at each other displaying silent words and together they began to walk up the steep hill to the small building. When they reached it they found it vacant and went in. It was a one room home with no furniture except for a small wooden chair in the corner. There was only one window and two doors. The one that they entered in and one on the wall across from it. They kept walking and exited out the back door. Outside there was a barn on either side of them and a huge fence a couple of meters in front. So far neither of them had said a word and Tom felt it time to break the silence.
"If I remember correctly, there are horses in the barn on our right and in there are some pigs."Tom took B‘Elanna‘s hand and lead her to the barn with the pigs. They fed them and watched them eat for a while before Tom suggested they take a look at the horses.
B‘Elanna tried to muzzle a laugh but couldn‘t withhold a small giggle. "Ah, Tom, no offence but don‘t you think you‘re forgetting something?" she regarded their clothing, "I, ah, don‘t think we can ride in these!"
Tom blushed. "Oh, yeah. I guess I forgot. Common." She allowed him to take her hand again as he lead her back into the barn with the pigs and up a steep set of wooden steps. In what I guess you‘d call an attic, there lay two sets of clothing on an old tattered mattress. Both pairs of clothing were almost identical except in size. There were long sleeve, button up shirts with brown leather vests, pants and even shoes with spurs. "Okay," said Tom, "think you can ride in these?"
They changed into the riding attire. B‘Elanna looked at Tom, "So, how do I look?"
Tom ran his eyes over her clothing pretending to contemplate his answer until they came to stop at her face. "You look perfect, B‘Elanna, but I think I‘m forgetting something."
"You look pretty good to me," she answered with a smirk.
Tom looked thoughtful for a moment, "That‘s it!"Tom exclaimed (perhaps a little overly excited.)
"What‘s it?!"asked B‘Elanna, mocking Tom‘s enthusiasm.
"Hats!"said Tom not even noticing her heckling.
"Hats?"B‘Elanna repeated, puzzled.
"Yes, hats," said Tom "and I think I know where we can find some. Common!"B‘Elanna
giggled at his obvious amusement of the subject but allowed him to guide her down the stairs and out of the barn. "Over here," he told her. She followed him into the horses barn. In the entrance there were a variety of cowboy hats hanging on the wall. Tom took one and placed it on to his head. "What do you think? Is it me?"
B‘Elanna couldn‘t help but smile. He looked like a little kid with a new toy to play with. "Yes Tom. It‘s definitely you."He took another off the wall and gently place it on her head.
"Perfect. A regular cowgirl," he stated. His look lingering on her a bit longer than necessary, "Now you look the part. Let‘s see if you can ride."They walked over to the horses and Tom went over to pet one of them. There were only six in the barn but there were a lot outside in the field and they suspected that there were about thirty all together. B‘Elanna followed him up to a horse and let out a small gasp.
"What is it B‘Elanna?"Tom asked concerned.
"Oh, nothing, I guess I just forgot how, ah, big they were," B‘Elanna said a little bit embarrassed, "It has been a while!"Tom smiled as he grabbed two saddles off the wall and handed one to B‘Elanna. She watched him place the saddle gingerly on to the horses back and did the same.
Next was the bridal. Tom carefully slid it properly over his horses head. When it came to B‘Elanna‘s turn she tried but was somewhat dissatisfied with the results. Tom giggled at the frustrated look on her face and went over to help her. "Do these horses have names?" B‘Elanna asked, petting the one she was going to ride. "I modeled this place after my Aunt and Uncles farm in Alberta and I‘m pretty sure most of their animals had names but I can only remember a few. The horse I‘m going to ride is named Bonnie and the Appaloosa twins over there are named Lin and Lee but that‘s all I can remember. Would you like to name yours?"
B‘Elanna judiciously contemplated the situation, "let‘s see. . .I know! How about Mark?" Tom started to giggle but couldn‘t help his snicker from rapidly becoming a full blown laugh. B‘Elanna could feel her temper begin to rise and indignantly asked Tom what his problem was.
He stopped laughing long enough to answer her question, "You really don‘t know much about horses, do you?"
B‘Elanna rolled her eyes, "Not really. . .why?"
"Because. . .<G>. . .because. . ." he started to loose it again, "¾cause Mark is a girl!" he erupted
into uncontrollable laughter and was soon joined by B‘Elanna after she got over her initial embarrassment.
"Okay then," she giggled, "How about Leah??"
"Leah," answered Tom, still feeling a small urge to laugh, "would be perfect."They lead the two Clydesdales out of the barn and into the hot sun.
"Now what?" asked B‘Elanna worried that she all ready knew the answer.
"Now," answered Tom, "We go for a ride."
Tom went over to assist B‘Elanna on to the horse but was promptly solicited away, "I want to try this part myself, Tom," B‘Elanna declared, "just, ah, tell me how."
"Okay," said Tom. He turned his horse so that B‘Elanna could see from an easier angle and´talked her through it, step by step as he got on Bonnie. "Make sure you get on the left side. Put your left foot in the stirrup and swing your right foot over." B‘Elanna, with her Klingon stamina had no problem with this and was on her horse in an instant. They made sure that their stirrups were at the right height and Tom gave Bonnie a swift kick in the side. B‘Elanna guessing these big horses could handle a good jab in the side she gave Leah a firm kick of her own. Tom had turned around and was
going left towards a frequently used trail but Leah had made up her mind to go strait at full speed B‘Elanna began to panic, "Ah, Tom!!!"she yelled behind her to the person a good 150 meters away by now.
Tom turned his head, "B‘Elanna!!!" Tom shouted. He made a complete turn and started towards B‘Elanna. He continued to kick Bonnie until the strong Clydesdale was up to her full potential speed. "Come on girl! Keep going! That a girl!" he prompted the horse as he gradually edged closer to B‘Elanna. Finally he caught up to her. Now it was only a matter of slowing the spooked horse down. He reached out as far as his arm could go but still was unable to grab the bridal. He kicked Bonnie one more time and she inched a little closer to the Leah‘s head. Bonnie had come to anticipate Tom‘s next move and that‘s one of the reasons that she had always been his favourite when he was a kid. He reached out with his left arm one more time and was able to latch on to the bridal with a tight fist. She gradually slowed down and ultimately came to a total stop. Tom looked at B‘Elanna. Her mouth was slightly open and her usually tanned face was white with shock. He rubbed her back, "Are you all right?"
"What the hell was that!?"she demanded.
"Guess so," he joked. Seeing that B‘Elanna was pretty much back to her old self, "I‘m not sure
but I intend to find out." He got off his own horse, eased B‘Elanna off her‘s and walked around
Leah, stroking her softly. "Ah, here it is," he said with a voice mixed with discovery and sympathy.
B‘Elanna went closer to see.
"What is it?"she asked concerned.
"A bee sting," said Tom comforting the animal, "She should be fine, now but I‘ll trade you horses if you want."
B‘Elanna feeling sorry for the poor horse declined the offer, "No, Tom. I think she‘ll be all right now." She pet the horse affectionately, whispering softly to her. Tom couldn‘t really hear what she was saying but thought it was something along the lines of, "You‘ll be okay now, Leah. Now let‘s go ride. Kay?" She gave her one last pat, stuck her left foot in the stirrup and pulled herself back on to Leah‘s back. "Common, Tom. Lead the way." Tom pulled himself on to Bonnie in a single motion and sat down. He admired B‘Elanna‘s courage and desire to please. He leaned over to kiss her and nearly fell off his horse. He leaned back quickly to keep from collapsing. B‘Elanna had a faintest of smiles on her face, "Care to try that again, Lieutenant?"she asked with a hint of sarcasm.
"I think I will," he said grinning. They both leaned in this time and their lips met. "Okay,"said Tom, reluctantly backing away, "Why don‘t you say we get a move on? We don‘t have all night on the holodeck, you know. But don‘t I wish. . ." he added with mischievious grin. B‘Elanna slapped him playfully on the shoulder. Tom made a light clicking sound and Bonnie and Leah began to walk without as little as a kick from their riders. They made it well into the trail without incident. They had been riding for about fifteen minutes when Tom felt it time to break the silence.
"So. . ." he started.
"So," repeated B‘Elanna. A few more minutes passed and B‘Elanna spoke up, "Well, say something, Tom!"
"Me say something! Why can‘t you say something?"
"Because I can‘t think of anything to say," B‘Elanna answered.
"I wish we really did have all night on the holodeck. There are some really great camping places around here," said Tom, hoping that was a good start to a conversation.
"Really?" answered B‘Elanna.
"Yes, really," replied Tom.
"Well, maybe we can pull an all nighter sometime soon," B‘Elanna suggested.
"Maybe," responded Tom, already planning the rendezvous in his head, "Let‘s make it a date."
"Sounds like fun," she responded, grinning and not noticing the smirk on her boyfriend‘s face. Just then they heard the Captains voice over the open comm, "All senior staff report to the briefing room immediately."
"Oh. . ." Tom could hear B‘Elanna sigh softly.
"Computer. End program." They waited for a second for the program to shut down and when nothing happened Tom tried a different command, "Computer. Terminate program."
B‘Elanna tried the same command wondering if the computer would respond to her own voice. Still, there was no response so she decided to try something different, "Computer, display emergency exit for holodeck 2." They waited for a few more minutes trying various commands but there was no response whatsoever.
Tom looked frustrated at B‘Elanna, "What now?" he asked, the feeling of consternation showing in his agitated voice.
It only took B‘Elanna a split second to come up with a possible solution, "I‘m going to check the EPS manifold. You contact the Captain and let her know were going to be a little late."
Tom nodded, admiring B‘Elanna‘s sense of ingenuity and leadership. While B‘Elanna turned in search of the EPS manifold Tom lightly tapped his comm badge, "Paris to the Captain," he waited a few seconds, "Captain, please respond."
"Okay," began Captain Janeway to her senior officers, now all assembled in her ready room except for Tom and B‘Elanna, "I‘ve brought you here to inform you of a confidential plan to get our Chief engineer to take some time off. I‘m sure you are all aware that Lieutenant Torres has been spending more time working than she has doing anything else. Although I am undoubtedly quite proud to have someone on Voyager who works as long and hard as B‘Elanna I am sure I am not the only one who thinks she has spent more than one to many hours realigning warpcoils then necessary for one person. The big problem is, I haven‘t been able to get her to willingly take any time off. She hasn‘t been on shore leave the last four opportunities she has had and, frankly, I‘m a little worried about her," she stated, "Now for my plan. I have discussed the matter with Commander Chakotay and after thoroughly examining all options we have come up with a strategy that I believe will not only force her to take a break but enjoy it too. It also worked out that we can give Lieutenant Paris some R&R at the same time. I waited until they were on the holodeck together and locked them in there with command codes that can only be overridden by Chakotay, Tuvok and myself. I know it sounds weird but sometimes you need to take somewhat. . .drastic measures. Besides, as we all know, weird is part of the job! Any questions?"
Tuvok spoke up. "With all do respect, Captain, I too am somewhat concerned with the welfare of Lieutenant Torres but would not just ordering her to take some time off suffice?"7 gave the Captain a look that said that she agreed with the Lieutenant Commander.
The Captain had predicted this question from either Tuvok or 7 and answered it casually, "That thought crossed my mind but I think it would be a lot more fun for her if she could enjoy herself in the holodeck with Tom than stuck in her quarters." The thought of her spending the time with Tom made Chakotay flinch slightly but Katherine had told him to forget about it and that‘s exactly what he would try to do. He had been a little overprotective of B‘Elanna for a while and knew that he had to stop treating her like a little kid. She could more than take care of herself and anyone else who
happened to get on her bad side! Tuvok and 7 both seamed satisfied with the Captain‘s answer and so did everyone else.
"I think it‘s a great idea!" exclaimed Harry, who knew that his two best friends needed a break and to spend some time together. Captain Janeway smiled and gave Harry a pat on the shoulder."How long are you going to keep them in there?"
"I think I will keep them in there until sometime tomorrow night around 21:00 hours." After a brief pause, Captain Janeway rapped up the meeting.
"Okay then. Now that we have that taken care of you are all dismissed and, oh yes, one more thing. As I said, this is a confidential matter and I ask that you all keep it that way. At the nods of the senior officers the meeting was adjourned.
B‘Elanna wasn‘t having much luck either. Though her search was as thorough as she could make it, she wasn‘t ableto find the conduit anywhere. It was as if it had disappeared. She was rationalizing this idea when Tom walked over.
"Much luck?" he asked her.
"No," she sighed, "I can‘t even find the conduit!"
"That‘s funny," remarked Tom.
"What is?" asked B‘Elanna, a little distractedly. She was still looking for the EPS console.
"I wasn‘t able to contact anyone either."
B‘Elanna turned to face him with a puzzled look on her face, "Maybe there‘s something wrong with your comm badge," she suggested. Tom shrugged his shoulders and B‘Elanna responded by meagerly tapping her own, "Torres to the Captain. . .Captain?" She gave Tom a suspicious look, "Something weird‘s going on here. All these systems wouldn‘t just go off at once."
Tom nodded, "I know. Voyager may have been testing us lately but this is too much!"The day before had been hectic for Voyager‘s crew. First about half of the ship‘s replicators had malfunctioned at the same time sending many of the crew to sickbay with food poisoning. After that the shields were down for a few hours and then the warpcoils malfunctioned and that‘s what had kept B‘Elanna up all night. After she fixed that, several minor difficulties began to come up one after another.
B‘Elanna sighed, "Engineering must be frantic right now! I knew I shouldn‘t have left."
Tom looked at her, "Yes, you should have B‘Elanna. You needed a break!" he took her hand,
"Besides, engineering would be chaotic even if you were there. So aren‘t you glad your here with me?" He gave her a cocky grin and she smiled back.
"Yes, I think I am, hotshot," she answered facetiously.
Tom got that look of childlike excitement on his face again and his eyes widened, "Hey B‘Elanna!" he practically shouted, "I just thought of a great idea!!!"
"Uh-oh," B‘Elanna giggled.
"What?!" answered Tom, pretending to be extremely offended.
"Nothing, ah, please...continue," she replied.
"Did I just here you giggle!?" he asked with exaggerated astonishment. B‘Elanna gave him a look that said "me, giggle??" and he decided to continue telling her about his "great idea."
"Remember how I told you about the great camping places around here?" he asked her.
"Yes," she answered warily.
"So, let‘s go camping!" he exclaimed.
"Tom, we can‘t just get up and go camping!" contended B‘Elanna, "Besides the small little fact that we both have an early shift tomorrow, Captain Janeway just called us!"
"Well, it doesn‘t look like we‘ll be getting out of here anytime soon. Besides, it‘ll be really fun,"
Tom pleaded in an almost whiney voice, "Common, Bella, what do you say? For me?"He begged with puppy dog eyes.
B‘Elanna gave him a curious look, "What did you just call me?" she requested.
"Bella?" he said. It was more of a question than a statement.
"What?" B‘Elanna asked. Wondering what the heck it meant.
"Bella," repeated Tom, "It means beautiful in an old Earth language called Italian."
"Tom," declared B‘Elanna, feeling not at all deserving of the name, "You know as well as anyone that I‘m not beautiful. . ."
"Yes you are B‘Elanna!" said Tom, cutting her off without delay, "Don‘t start talking like that!
I think, no I know you‘re beautiful and I‘m going to have you believing that if it‘s the last thing I do!"
B‘Elanna wasn‘t quite sure how to answer. Instead she blushed and switched back to the prior subject, "Why don‘t we?" she suggested.
"Why don‘t we. . .what?"
A wide grin spread across Tom‘s face, "Yeah, why not?" he answered holding out his arm. B‘Elanna accepted the gesture, pushing all thoughts of their present predicaments out of her mind for the time being. They walked arm in arm back to their horses and hopped on. They trotted on at a fair pace, side by side. They were like that for what seamed like just a few minutes but in reality it took them over an hour before reaching their destination. "Here we are!" Tom exclaimed looking more content than B‘Elanna had seen him in a long time. He sat on his horse for a short while just
admiring the scenery and breathing in the arid, woodsy air. After a few minutes he slid gracefully off Bonnie and walked quicky to the left side of Leah, extending his hand to B‘Elanna. Although it usually annoyed B‘Elanna not to be fully independent, something about Tom had her except his assistance without with out as much of a hint of reluctance or hesitation. She hopped off of her horse and looked around, taking in all of her surroundings. Tom did the same and then motioned for her to follow him. They walked until they came to a fork in the well warn path. Tom stopped for a second with a thoughtful visage. One of the trails was more worn than the other and had obviously been frequently traveled. The other was slightly grown over with shrubs and tall grass but was distinctly separate from it‘s surrounding trees. "Okay," said Tom, "Both of these trails will lead us to a campsite. As you can see, most people went left," he gestured towards the well worn side, "I‘m not sure why. The one on the right is great. It also is a little deeper in so you really feel like you‘re out in the wilderness. Mind you, it is a bit more of a hike. So, what do you think?"
It was obvious to B‘Elanna which route Tom wanted to take, "I think I can handle a hike," she said proudly, "Beside‘s, it sounds like that path will give us a bit more privacy." Tom grinned, "You‘re right about that."
"What about Bonnie and Leah?" B‘Elanna asked.
"They know the routine," Tom explained, "They won‘t go anywhere." B‘Elanna was still a little concerned but a reassuring look from Tom convinced her. Besides, the horses knew this place better than either of them. She hesitated for only a second before proceeding up the narrow path holding Tom‘s hand. After quite a while they came to a stop at a small opening in the trees with a small tent in the middle of it. It had been quite the hike but it was worth it to be that far into the wilderness without any interruptions accept for the occasional bird or squirrel.
"What now?" asked B‘Elanna.
Tom looked at her, "Hungary?"
"Well then, how about we eat now and by the time we‘re finished it should be almost dark enough to roast marsh mellows ?"
"Sounds good." confirmed B‘Elanna. They enjoyed the delicious picnic that Tom had packed and cuddled for a while watching the sun set and listening to the peaceful sounds of the crickets and soft rustling of the tree branches when B‘Elanna broke the silence. "Computer, what time is it?" she asked.
"Unable to comply," answered the female voice of the ships computer. B‘Elanna sighed.
Tom glanced down at her, laying in his arms, "common, Bella, it‘s not that bad is it?"
She looked into his eyes was instantly lost in them.
After a few seconds Tom called her back to reality, "Voyager to Lieutenant Torres. Come in please."
"Your right Tom. This isn‘t bad at all," She looked back up at the sky. The moon was up and only the last rays of sunlight remained causing striking blues, pinks and purples to sheet the rapidly darkening sky, "I‘m here, off of work for god knows how long, watching the sunset...with the man I love...What more could I ask for?" He leaned down and tenderly kissed her.
"I love you too, Bella." B‘Elanna leaned up and pulled his face towards hers affectionately.
Later on, when the only lights in the sky were the bright half-moon and several twinkling stars, Tom and B‘Elanna had built a small bond-fire and were roasting marsh-mellows. It had turned quiet and was really very peaceful.
"How ya doin‘?"Tom asked changing his gaze from the flames to B‘Elanna.
"Oh, Tom. This is wonderful. I‘m starting to get a little chilly though."
"Hold on, I‘ll be right back." Tom got up and went back to the tent and came back in about a minute with a large wool blanket. He rapped it half way around B‘Elanna and then snuggled in beside her. "There, is that a little better?"
"Much warmer. Thanks." They talked for a long time about nothing particular. What they would have to do when they finally got out of there, what they wanted to do, what they thought was happening back in the Alpha quadrent (though they both considered Voyager their home) and just general gossip around the ship. B‘Elanna realized that she felt more at ease with Tom now then she ever had and, she liked that feeling and wondered if he felt the same way. She lifted her eyes to the sky, admiring the detailed programing and momentarily forgetting she was on a holodeck.
Everything was so perfect. A person could swear that they were really on Earth, in Western Canada.
"The stars?" Tom said in a questioning voice.
"Mmmhmm," answered B‘Elanna, "You did a great job. It‘s hard to believe this is just a simulation."
Tom explained that he had worked for months to get this program as close to the real thing as possible and pointed out a few of the most common constellations like the "Big Dipper" and "Orion." The detail fascinated B‘Elanna. It amazed her that one person could make a mere simulation so lifelike. A passing glint of light caught her eye.
"Hey, look, a shooting star. It‘s an old human tradition to make a wish." B‘Elanna closed her eyes and thought up a wish.
"Can I tell you what I wished for?" asked B‘Elanna.
"No, if you tell it won‘t come true." They cuddled by the fire watching the stars for a few more minutes before putting out the fire and turning in for the night.
B‘Elanna tried to ignore the bright light trying to force her to wake up but the light one out and she conceded to open her eyes. She blinked a few times until her eyes became more accustomed to the bright light and unfamiliar surroundings. The camp sight seemed a lot different then the night before. The trees looked even greener and the stars and crickets were replaced with a bright sun and the harmonic sound of all different kinds of birds. B‘Elanna sat up and looked around the tent. Not seeing Tom anywhere she decided to get up see where he went. As soon as she left the tent a mouth- watering aroma filled her senses. She followed the smell to where the fire had been the night before to find Tom standing over a new fire, frying pan in hand. She walked quietly up behind him and put her arms around his shoulders.
"Good morning," he said giving her a kiss, "Sleep okay?"
"Yes, very. What time is it?"
"Oh, about 10:30."
"It‘s so late. Why didn‘t you wake me up?"B‘Elanna asked, still a little bit groggy.
"Well, decided to let you sleep while I came out and made us something to eat."
"Mmmm, smells good." answered B‘Elanna starting to feel a bit hungry.
Tom scooped some scrambled eggs, pancakes and bacon on to two plates and motioned for B‘Elanna to join him on the rock they had sat on the night before. While they were eating Tom suggested that they spend most of the day there and then see if they might be able to change the holodeck seen to a romantic dinner and spend the night in a resort in Paris. B‘Elanna promptly agreed and after cleaning up they set back down the trail to Bonnie and Leah. It was a nice walk, despite the summer heat and the scenery was much nicer in broad daylight.
Most of the day was spent with the animals. They worked out all of the trained horses and
spent some time with the rest of the animals. At around 5:30, after all were fed and looked after Tom and B‘Elanna changed back into their more formal clothes and Tom attempted to change the holodeck scene.
"Computer, can we change this simulation from in here?"he asked.
It took a few seconds longer than usual but the computer eventually had the answer they were hoping for. "Affirmative." Tom and B‘Elanna both breathed a sigh of relief.
"Play program, Bella Paris." B‘Elanna lifted an eyebrow at the name but Tom just smiled at her and waited for Paris to shimmer into existence. In a few seconds the sights of the beautiful French city became visible. They were on the balcony of the Eiffel Tower and could see everything. The shimmering moonlight was radiant as were the many earthly constellations. The flickering lights of the picturesque, French city were dazzling and took B‘Elanna and Tom‘s breath away.
"Tom," B‘Elanna said after taking a few second to recover form the initial shock, "This is amazing."
"I had hoped you would like Paris," answered Tom with a relieved smile, "It‘s strength and beauty reminded me of you." B‘Elanna felt herself blushing.
"Thank you, Tom. That means a lot to me. Have I told you yet that you look. . .really, really great tonight?"Tom smiled. They spent about a half an hour taking in the sights from the balcony and pointing out specifics before Tom stood up from leaning against the rail.
"I‘ll be right back, Bella. Wait here."
"Where are you going?" B‘Elanna asked.
"Just to the other side of the balcony. I‘ll be right back." B‘Elanna was puzzled. Since they had switch holodeck programs Tom had become increasingly fidgety and seemingly nervous leaving B‘Elanna to wonder what in the world he was up to.
Tom checked to make sure B‘Elanna hadn‘t followed him before addressing the computer.
"Computer, is the diamond ring I replicated three weeks ago still in a velvet box in the closet of my quarters?"
After a brief pause the computer responded, "Affirmative."
"Good. . .transport velvet box and it‘s contents into my hand. The small box appeared in his hand and Tom took in and let out a deep breath as he opened it. There lay the daintiest, shiniest and most important gift he had ever gotten for anyone. He could only hope and pray with all his sole that it would be accepted. He closed the tiny box and slipped it carefully into his suit pocket. Taking one last look at the table setting he had prepared for their dinner he turned and walked slowly back to B‘Elanna. As he came nearer, the sight of her leaning on the bar looking out along the horizon made him nearly gasp and added a great deal to his nervousness. He needed her not to turn down this proposal. He couldn‘t live without her. He took a steadying breath and walked casually over to her and put his long arms around her waist. She leaned back into his embrace and turned her head around to tenderly kiss him.
"Where did you go?" she asked glancing into his intense blue eyes.
"I had to make sure everything was perfect," he whispered in her ear, "ready to eat?"
B‘Elanna nodded , "Okay, this way." He took her hand and they walked to the other side of the building. B‘Elanna‘s eyes opened wide at the elegant table setting and silverware. Tom pulled out her seat and dramatically placed the silk napkin onto her lap causing B‘Elanna to giggle softly. He then proceeded to sit down himself and place he remaining napkin on his lap in the same fashion earning quite the smile from his lover. The food choices were all delectable French dishes, adding to the realistic holoprogram. There was something Tom called vichysoisse (a type of soup)and
vol-au-aunt (a type of beef pastry dish.)They ate this along with Kterion Merlot whine and hot fudge sundays for desert. They talked quietly over a peaceful dinner and relished the delicious desert.Shortly after they had finished Tom requested some quite music and stood up motioning to B‘Elanna to remain seated. He dug into his coat pocket and hid the box behind his back. B‘Elanna had a curious smile on her face, like a little kid waiting to open a birthday present, and asked him what he was hiding.
"Close your eyes." he told her.
"Tom!" B‘Elanna begged.
"B‘Elanna!" Tom answered copying her semi-whiny voice.
Deciding the quickest way to see her present was to do what he said, she complied and slowly closed her eyes. Tom took a deep breath, for what seamed the hundredth time that evening, and kneeled down in front of her.
"Okay," he said in a shaky voice as he opened the box to reveal the engagement ring. B‘Elanna opened her eyes and her mouth dropped. She reached out and touched the ring. She looked from the Tom, to the box then back to Tom again and her face brightened.
"Yes!" she said leaning over to hug him.
"But I haven‘t even asked you the question yet Tom said giggling from the relief of hearing her say yes. B‘Elanna sat up strait again, obviously anticipating the question. Tom looked meaningfully into her eyes. "Bella, I love you and can‘t imagine a day without you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and need to know if you feel the same way. B‘Elanna Torres. . .will you marry me?" Without the slightest hesitation B‘Elanna nodded, allowing a single tear of joy to escape her deep brown eyes.
Tom slipped the ring onto her slender finger and held her hand. When B‘Elanna could speak
again she leaned in to hug Tom and whisper in his ear. "I love you too, Tom." Before she had a chance to say anything else the beautiful sights of Paris faded and was replaced by the black and yellow grid of the holodeck. Tom caught her before she fell to the ground after her chair disappeared.
"Well," Tom said sarcastically, "The holodeck seemed to let us out at a convenient time." He stood and held out his hand and pulled B‘Elanna to her feet. They were almost to the door when B‘Elanna stopped.
"Remember the shooting star we saw the other night?"
Tom nodded, "sure."
B‘Elanna met his gaze, "I got my wish." There lips met for the last time on their short vacation and they walked out of the holodeck. Eventually they ran into Captain Janeway in the halls.
"Lieutenants," She nodded to them with a smile, "Did you. . .enjoy your time on the holodeck?"She hadn‘t planned for her secret to come out but the mischievious smile on her face was a dead giveaway. The couple narrowed their eyes.
"You planned this all along, didn‘t you?" B‘Elanna accused her grinning. Now it was Janeway‘s turned to blush.
"Guilty!" she conceded, "I figured this would be the best way to get you to take some valuble time off. Now back to my question. Did you two have a nice time?" B‘Elanna quietly lifted her hand up to show the Captain the ring and her smile grew even wider. Apparently Katherine wasn‘t the only one with some explaining to do.