By Jane Griffen
Author's Note: I wrote this story on a whim, and had it untitled until I remembered Semisonic's song "Closing Time" :)
Disclaimers: Paramount owns Tom, 'Lanna, and the rest of the characters and properties of Star Trek: Voyager. I own the story, Julie Hawthorn, Katrine DeWhit, Dana Mclean, and Gillian Kirby.
Four women sat in a booth at Sandrine’s. The lights were dim, and the bar was almost deserted, except for a crewmember or two on the other side of the bar chatting with Sandrine, the hostess.
Julie Hawthorn sipped her Raktijino, leaning back in the booth and scrutinizing the other three occupants with her hazel eyes. “So,” she said casually.
“So,” echoed Katrine DeWhit with a smile. She ran a hand through her loose long blonde hair, then propped her elbows on the table and cupped her chin with her hands, content with the companionable silence between herself and her friends.
Next to her, Dana Mclean spoke up. “Did you hear about Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Paris?” she asked, her gray-blue eyes sparkling at the newest gossip she had overheard in Engineering.
“No, why?” Gillian Kirby, the fourth occupant of the booth, asked curiously. “If this is about the chief engineer being pregnant,” she added in a warning tone.
Julie giggled. “How else do you explain the overcoat she wore last year?”
Kirby rolled her eyes. “Has anyone ever told you you have an over-reactive imagination, Jules?” she teased.
Julie sighed dramatically. “I’m going to take that as a compliment,” she shot back.
“Not that it was intended as one,” muttered Gillian.
Hawthorn sent her a look, but ended up smiling. “I’m serious!” she protested.
Katrine rolled her eyes.
Dana cleared her throat. “Seriously, I heard Paris is going to propose to her.”
“What?!” cried Gillian, her eyes widening.
“That’s what I heard.” Dana shrugged.
“It’s about time,” DeWhit commented.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” teased Julia.
“Well, for one thing - Gill, stop it.” Kirby, who had been mimicking DeWhit, stopped, and Katrine continued. “They’re perfect for each other and it’s obvious they love each other. They’ve got great chemistry-”
“You’re starting to sound like Seven of Nine,” remarked Dana.
“Excuse me?” Katrine’s brow furrowed, not sure how to take the comment.
“Didn’t you hear about the incident in the Mess Hall?! She was ‘observing’ the two - collecting data on them - and then started spouting something about intimate relations-”
Mclean was interrupted by Hawthorn, who jumped right in to the new twist in the conversation. “’There is no one on Deck 9, Section 12 who does not know when you are having intimate relations.’” she quoted with a grin.
“You’re serious?” screamed Katrine, then quieted down at the look Gillian sent her.
“Yes! Where have *you* been?” Julie teased.
“Remember that time before Tom and B’Elanna were dating when Ensign Vorik gave B’Elanna Pon Farr, and she and Tom nearly had s-” Gillian was stopped by Dana
“Oh. My. God.”
“But Vorik beamed down to the planet before they actually got really into it-”
Katrine covered her mouth with her hands to keep from screaming. “Are you *drunk*?” she asked incredulously.
“No, I’m serious,” retorted Gillian. “All I’ve had tonight is three glasses of Ginger Ale. I hate alcohol.”
“Gillian might not be drunk, but Ensign Paris sure was when he told everyone what exactly happened on the planet a few days later while he was playing pool with Harry Kim,” Hawthorn stated matter-of-factly.
Katrine shook her head, at a loss for words. “So anyway, enough about them. Dana, what’s this I hear about you and David having dinner together?” she asked with an innocent smile.
The redhead’s eyes widened. “How’d you-” She stopped and shook her head, bewildered.
“So it *is* true?” Gillian smiled.
“Why didn’t you tell us, babe?” Katrine persisted.
“Why didn’t *you* tell us about John?” Mclean asked Katrine with a knowing smile.
Julie turned to Katrine, who was in the process of muttering under her breath. “Is all this true?” At Katrine’s nod and Dana’s sheepish smile, her hazel eyes widened.
“It’s a small ship,” Katrine explained.
“Speaking of guys...Gill, are you ever going to ask Nick out?” Dana prodded, glancing over at the tall brunette next to her.
Kirby shook her head. “He likes Jenny,” she said morosely.
“Jenny Delany?” Julie asked, puzzled. “But I thought-”
“I’m not sure. They were talking about either her or Jenn Montgomery.” Gillian continued.
“Last time I checked, Jenny Delany was going out with Anderson.” Julie finished with a triumphant grin.
“I thought she was going out with Greg Watson from Security.” mused Katrine.
“Nope. Jenn *Montgomery* is going out with Greg,” retorted Dana.
“Are you sure they weren’t talking about Jennifer Brown from Ops?” Julie asked, a thoughtful expression on her face.
Gillian groaned. “I have no idea!”
Katrine shrugged. “But I thought I heard that one Jenny got dumped.”
“No, it’s the other way around. Jenny *Delany* dumped Greg Watson, who is now going out with Jenn *Montgomery*, and is now going out with Ayala.” reported Dana.
Kirby threw up her hands in defeat. “I give up!” she cried out. “All right! I’ll ask him tomorrow! We’re having breakfast together since we have to finish writing up our reports for Tuvok.”
Julie laughed. “And just think: this time tomorrow, half the ship will know about it.”
Gillian’s eyes narrowed. “If I find out one of you breathe a word of this...” She let her voice trail off, her tone full of warning.
Katrine reached over and squeezed her friend’s hand. “Of course not.”
“Besides, half the rumors that are spread aren’t true,” stated Dana.
“In other words, Dana never heard that the chief engineer and pilot are going to get engaged,” Julie commented dryly.
“But I *did*”! Mclean protested.
Just then, the computer beeped and the captain’s voice came over the comm system. "This is Captain Janeway. It is my privilege and delight to announce the engagement of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres. On behalf of myself and everyone else, congratulations!”
Mclean, DeWhit, Hawthorn, and Kirby stared at each other. Then Dana smiled smugly. “I told you so.”
There was a long pause as the four didn’t make eye contact. Julie looked over at Gillian, and the silence was lost.
The four burst into uncontrollable laughter.
Original disclaimers apply. This story copyrighted by Jane Griffen; November 1999