This part is dedicated to Lacey; I was going to write more about her being the flower girl, but I couldn't think of how to write ya in, Lacey! Maybe in the 'Friends' version I can fit you in... =P And just for the record, I love the song "Walking On Broken Glass"!
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS
That evening, everyone gathered after the wedding rehearsal at the Paris’ house. Lisa had introduced everyone to her three nieces - Sarah McNeill and Julia Parker, who would be her two bridesmaids, and Lacey Dason, who would be her flower girl, as well as their brothers and her immediate family, and the house was packed full of people.
“We are having a small wedding,” Heather muttered to Harry as they walked through the buffet. She herself was wearing the navy blue dress she had gotten while shopping with B’Elanna and Seven. Harry was wearing black jeans and a dark green shirt. Harry noticed that Heather only helped herself to a salad and a roll, and commented on it. “You’re not going on a diet, are you?” he asked, unsure of how to go about it from there.
Whitney looked at him in surprise, then glanced back down at her plate. “Oh.” she remarked simply, then shook her head. “No, I just want to be able to fit into my dress tomorrow,” she teased.
Kim gazed at her slim waist, but didn’t say anything further. “What’s for dessert?” he asked out of curiosity.
Harry laughed. “Chocolate mousse.”
“That answers *my* question,” Harry commented. Heather *loved* chocolate.
Heather gave him a look, but helped herself to some chicken out of spite. Together the two walked to the main table in the dining room, where Tom, Lisa, Chakotay, Kathryn, and Seven were sitting. Neelix, Tuvok, and the Doctor had promised to show up early the next morning for the pre-wedding planning. “Mind if we join you?” Harry asked.
Tom laughed lightly. “Go ahead,” he said, motioning to two chairs.
Heather slipped into the chair beside Seven, and Harry sat down next to B’Elanna.
For the next two hour or so, they -- Tom’s parents and Lisa’s parents were sitting at another table -- talked gaily about the going-ons and the events that would happen tomorrow. “So its going to be at St. John’s Cathedral?” B’Elanna asked curiously, taking a bite of her soufflé.
Nodding, Tom replied. “Yes, and then we’re going to have the reception here.”
“Really?” Seven asked in mock-surprise. You would have to be blind not to notice the crews setting up large outdoor tents in the backyard.
Lisa smiled. “Yes, really,” she said deadpan.
Laughing, everyone continued to talk about everything. Realizing how late it was getting, the guests said farewell and left, saying that they’d be at the Paris’ house early the next morning.
“Eighteen hours and counting,” Chakotay commented as they all helped clean up.
Lisa giggled nervously. “I know,” she said quietly.
Tom met her gaze, and they shared a secret look.
Kathryn cleared her throat. “I think I’m going to go help in the kitchen,” she said, looking pointedly over at B’Elanna and Seven. Heather was busy stacking the plates. “Sure,” B’Elanna commented good-naturedly, then took the stack from Heather and followed Kathryn and Seven into the kitchen, where Dana and Alyssa were busy putting the food away. Owen and Richard were busy cleaning off the grill and the outdoor deck.
“So, Heather, still looking forward to singing tomorrow?” Tom teased gently as he stood next to Heather.
Heather, blowing out a candle, stopped and stood upright. “Excuse me?” she asked, suddenly tense.
Paris gazed at her, and was surprised to find that her blue eyes were glittering with anger. “I heard you were singing tomorrow. Have a song picked out? I can’t wait to hear you,” he said seriously. He took her hands. “What’s wrong, Heath?”
On the other side of the table, Samantha, Harry, and Lisa stopped clearing up and focused their attention on Whitney and Tom.
“What’s *wrong*, Tom?” Heather asked, her voice raising. “Why would anything be *wrong*?” she practically screamed. Yanking her hands out of his grasp, she stormed out of the dining room, slamming the door in the process.
“What happened?” Alyssa called, wandering into the room. Her eyes fastened on the closed door which had just slammed shut.
“Heather just blew up,” Lisa said, extremely confused.
“Harry, what’s her problem?” Tom asked, suddenly annoyed at the half Betazoid for acting so childish.
“Why should I know?” Harry retorted, terse.
Samantha looked at the two men. “I’m going to go help Rick,” she said, and high-tailed it out of the room.
“Peculiar,” Seven muttered under her breath, knowing all too well what the empath was frustrated with. She knew that Torres still had feelings for Lieutenant Commander Paris, but the engineer hadn’t said anything to the pilot yet.
“She’s probably not feeling well or something,” Harry commented, trying to lighten the tension in the room. All of a sudden it was hot.
Tom’s eyes narrowed. “That’s no excuse to blow up,” he reminded Kim.
Harry rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t making excuses for her, Tom,” he protested, slightly annoyed at the helmsman.
“Do you want me to go talk with her?” B’Elanna, who had been standing in the doorway, asked.
“That’s all right; I’ll go talk with her,” Paris replied, “I’ll be back to help clean up soon.” He walked out of the dining room and headed in the direction Heather had taken.
Just as he was about to close the glass door leading out onto the wooden deck, Seven caught up with him. “Mind if I walk with you for a bit?” she asked hesitantly.
Tom beckoned for her to step out onto the back porch, and closed the door behind her. He began walking, and she quickly fell into step next to him.
Breaking the silence, he remarked, “Its hard to believe I’m getting married tomorrow,” as they walked down the path leading to the dock, where he guessed Heather would be.
“That is most unrealistic.” Seven commented.
“And why is that, Seven?” Tom asked out of curiosity at her drone-like tone.
“You yourself were the one who proposed to Lisa, and the wedding date is set. Yet you are unable to comprehend that you are getting married.”
Tom laughed. “Its just a figure of speech,” he told Seven.
Seven’s brow furrowed. “I have been human for almost two years now, but I am still getting used to old Earthen ‘figures of speech’.”
They exited the path that led through the azalea bushes up to the dock. Whitney wasn’t there. “Maybe she went to the gazebo,” suggested Seven, turning to Tom, who was gazing out at the ocean.
Paris nodded, and they began to walk down the path that led there. The moon was out, and the stars shined brightly even though they were close to the city.
“Tom, can I ask you a question?” Seven asked.
“You just did,” Tom joked, then sobered. “Shoot.”
“But there is nothing to shoot and I am unarmed,” retorted Seven.
“Seven!” Tom cried, exasperated. “Just ask the question!”
Seven paused before asking the question that she was driving herself crazy trying to figure out ever since the actual event had happened. “Why did you and B’Elanna break up?”
Tom stopped dead in his tracks, feeling as if all the wind had been knocked out of him. “Why are you asking that *now*?” he asked incredulously.
Seven took a deep breath before venturing, “Human relationships are very complex and confusing for me. You and Torres seemed to be a wonderful match.”
Paris began walking again, digesting this information. “There are a lot of reasons,” he said slowly.
After a moment, Tom explained, “Things just didn’t work out between us. We were both so busy and we never had time for one another. So we called off our relationship and decided to just be friends.”
Seven nodded, but Tom could tell she didn’t fully understand. “I don’t understand why the two of you never tried to sort things out. Neither does anyone else onboard Voyager.”
“I guess we could have, but we didn’t,” Tom said shortly.
This time it was Seven who stopped walking. Tom stopped as well, turning to find Seven’s blue eyes piercing into his, trying to find the answers to her unasked questions. Tom shifted, slightly uncomfortable, as her blue eyes - one real, on synthesized - bore into his eyes. “You are in love with Lieutenant Commander Torres,” she stated, making it sound almost like the accusation it really was.
“I am *n-” Tom stopped. “*What*?”
Seven smiled softly, like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. “See you later!” she called, then turned and headed back to the house.
Tom watched her go, his thoughts in a turmoil. Of course he loved B’Elanna - she was one of his closest friends. But.... He shook his head. He loved Lisa in the romantic sense, *not* B’Elanna. A small voice contradicted his thoughts and he shook his head to clear his head. Walking up the steps to the gazebo, he found Heather standing, hands on her hips, with a wistful expression on her face looking out into the sea. She wore a short-sleeved navy blue dress with silver designs that sparkled in the pale light, and her loose brown hair trailed out behind her as the wind blew into her face. “I’m sorry, Tom. I seriously didn’t mean to blow up at you. Forgive me?” she apologized, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Anytime,” he replied softly, walking over to her. He took her hand in his. “What’s bothering you, Heath?”
“Absolutely nothing, and absolutely everything,” she told him. They talked for a few more minutes. A gust of wind blew and she involuntarily shivered. “I’m going to go inside. Are you coming?” she added, pausing halfway down the gazebo’s steps.
“You go ahead. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Tom told her.
Heather nodded slowly. Sensing Tom needed some time to himself to think , she headed back to the house.
B’Elanna reached for the dripping bowl Alyssa handed her and began to dry it with the dish towel. As soon as it was close to dry, she set it on the rack that was placed on top of the island in the middle of the kitchen, only to be handed a wet frying pan. “They just keep coming and coming, don’t they?” she joked.
Alyssa laughed. She and B’Elanna had volunteered to wash the remaining dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher. Everyone else was sitting in the living room chatting. “I know. When we were little, Sam, Tom, and I used to do rock-paper-scissors to see who wouldn’t have to do the dishes that night; we all hated this chore.”
B’Elanna grinned and set the frying pan aside. Then she leaned back against the island, relaxed. So she was pretty startled when Alyssa asked, “You still love him, don’t you?”
Torres’ brown eyes widened. “Excuse me?” she hissed.
Alyssa’s green eyes sparkled in faint amusement at B’Elanna’s reaction. She repeated her question.
“What exactly do you mean?” B’Elanna asked, suddenly knowing how a cornered deer felt. She had been caught completely off-guard
Alyssa turned back to rinsing off a china bowl. “I’ve seen the way he looks at you, his eyes following your every move. Even now that he’s getting married to Lisa, for goodness’ sakes.”
“We were over a long time ago, ‘Lyssa,” B’Elanna replied quietly, not meeting Tom’s oldest sister’s gaze.
Alyssa watched the other woman carefully. “B’Elanna, I watched Tom go through dozens of other women, breaking their hearts in the process, when he was younger. And I love Lisa like a sister-”
“Alyssa, why are you telling me this?” B’Elanna asked.
“He deserves to know the truth about how you feel before he stands up at the alter and says ‘I do.’” Alyssa whispered after making sure no one else was near or in the kitchen.
Torres’ eyes narrowed. Then she smiled softly and hugged Alyssa. “Thank you,” she said in a hushed tone.
“You’re welcome,” Alyssa replied solemnly. Grinning, she added, “Now shoo! I’ll finish up here.”
B’Elanna grinned at her, then headed out the door. She nearly rammed into a very energetic science officer. “Are you all right?” she asked, remembering Whitney’s previous outburst.
“Who, me?” Heather questioned with a smile. “Oh, yeah.” she added quickly.
“Do you know where Tom is?”
An excited look flashed across Heather’s face, and B’Elanna wondered what her sugar input for the day had been. “Yes, he’s at the gazebo. Why?” the empath asked curiously.
B’Elanna didn’t answer the question. Instead, she merely murmured a quick ‘thank you’ and hurriedly headed down the steps before she could change her mind.
Heather watched her go, her blue eyes sparkling in anticipation as she wondered how *that* conversation would turn out.
To Be Continued . . .Copyright April 1999 by Jane Griffen; e-mail me at JaneG100@rocketmail.com