"Good Morning Heartache"
By: Katherina Rosellini
Date: October 2001
Synopsis: Set somewhere between "Displaced" and "The Gift". Harry interrupts Tom and B'Elanna while they're in the middle of...well read and find out.
"Good Morning Heartache" written by Milt Gabler and performed by Billie Holliday.
Startrek and all of its characters are owned by Paramount. Shame isn't it?
Thank you Brigid
and BR. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I don't
know how you two have time to beta read, but fortunately for me, you found
some. Thanks again.
"Good Morning Heartache"
Her voice was
so smooth, and her emotion so real for a hologram. He had to admit,
Harry had done a great job with this jazz club program. The room
was crowded with people all dressed for a night on the town. Women
in dresses that hugged all the right places and men in fitted suits with
hats adorning their heads, enjoying a drink or dancing to the slow rhythm
of Billie Holliday.
Feeling a little out of place, Tom found a small, round table near the stage and took seat, reminding himself to dress more appropriately next time. He had told Harry that he would stop by the holodeck on his lunch break to give him a helping hand with his new jazz program, but from where Tom was sitting, this program was as good as it was going to get, and he went back to enjoying the easy going style of music Billie was singing.
She sang of a man that wasn't much to speak of, a man that had many women and didn't really give her the time of day, but as long as he came home to her at the end of the day, she would love him no matter what. Her eyes were closed and her voice melodic, and Tom was lost in the music as the holodeck doors opened to let B'Elanna enter.
B'Elanna stood there for a few minutes just enjoying the mood of the holographic simulation going on before her, and the look of the room surrounding her. The club was in the basement of an old brick building. Round tables scattered throughout the room, topped with white cloths, and candles in smoky colored hurricane lamps created a cozy environment for men and women to sit, dance and enjoy the music. Among the crowd was the reason she came in here in the first place, not that she'd ever admit that out loud.
She walked between the holographic couples, excusing herself as she made her way towards Tom's table thinking how exceptionally unhappy the singer looked. Sure, it was an emotional song, but even between songs, she looked as though her life was a troubled one. B'Elanna laid her hand on Tom's shoulder, and said "Great program. This makes Sandrine's look a little..."
"Shabby?" he finished for her.
"Well, not quite shabby, more like...unrefined. There's just one thing. Why does she look so...sad?" she gestured towards the entertainer, as she took a seat across from him.
"That's Billie Holliday," he explained.
"Billie Holliday," he stated. "Don't you know the story about Billie Holliday?"
"Well apparently not," she countered with a pleasing mixture of flirtation and sarcasm.
"Billie Holliday was one of the greatest jazz singers on earth. In her time..."
"Sometime around the early 1940's to 1950's."
"Really? Why am I not surprised?" Her question was dripping with sarcasm once again.
"Do you want to hear this or not?" He asked, her silence answer enough for him.
"Billie Holliday was raised in a very poor neighborhood. Back then, people would use something called money for everything, and if you didn't have any...well then you couldn't do things like...live in a decent home, have nice clothes. In some instances there wasn't even enough money for food. Since her mother didn't have much money things were very...tight. Not to mention they were considered a minority race...."
"Back then people used to look upon each other much differently than they do now. People would judge each other on the color of their skin, and their heritage. But this didn't keep Billie from using her gift. She had what was considered one of the best female jazz voices in history."
"So what happened?" She asked leaning closer in towards him, hanging on every word.
"Well...I'm not sure of the specifics, but somebody heard her singing, and she got signed to a record contract."
"You know those black, plastic, round things in my juke box? Those are records. Not everyone could be on a record. There were only certain people that made them, and if you were asked to be on one, well...that was an honor."
"So people would obtain these records and play them in their juke boxes?"
"Well...not really. They would buy a record and play them on a record player. Juke boxes got popular later."
"That still doesn't explain why she looks so upset. People must have liked her if they obtained her records."
"Oh, they did, and they bought her records."
"Bought. I'll have to remember that," she said to herself.
"They loved her. They loved her so much that she would perform in clubs like this one, all over the country, and just imagine what traveling was like without a transporter. Plus, she was of African American descent so she wasn't allowed to use the same transportation as other people. Needless to say...it was a hard life. Between the traveling and the performing she hardly slept. That's when she started to use illegal drugs."
Before B'Elanna could ask, Tom answered for her "Stimulants. They were an addictive substance that wasn't allowed by law. Eventually because of her addiction to them, she lost all of the money she made on her records, she lost the man she loved, and after a while she lost her life."
"Well, I guess that explains the look on her face," she said, and watched as Billie started the last song of her set.
"Oh! I love this one. It's definitely one of her best. I think this is my favorite Billie Holliday song. All though 'God Bless the Child' is right up there with this one." He looked over at B'Elanna, gauging her reaction to the way Billie was singing, and wondered if he should take the chance and ask her to dance. What the hell, he thought. Why not?
"B'Elanna?" he waited. "B'Elanna?" he tried a little bit louder, attempting to get her attention, and not succeeding one little bit. With the song at the bridge he thought he should hurry before it finished and stood up between her and her view of the stage.
"Tom, I can't see."
"Well, it was the only way I could get your attention."
"What do you want?" she asked as she craned her neck around him trying to enjoy the show.
"I wanted to know if you would dance with me." That got her attention.
"What?! No...I mean...I can't...I really have to get back to engineering before..."
"Before what? You don't look like you're really in a hurry to get anywhere."
"Computer, freeze program. Come on, B'Elanna. Dance with me."
"I would love to, but I only have five minutes left on my lunch break," she said, hoping that the lack of time would discourage his persistence, but in true Tom Paris fashion he countered.
"Computer, how many minutes is the song 'Good Morning Heartache'?"
"Three minutes, five seconds," the computer replied.
"Well according to my calculations that leaves one minute, fifty five seconds left on your lunch break which we could either spend arguing back and forth or enjoying the music like all the rest of the crowd seems to be doing." She was coming around, but wasn't quite convinced...yet. "We're wasting time. Computer restart the program from the beginning of 'Good Morning Heartache'." With his hand held out to her, the music started playing, the crowd started dancing and he pleaded with her one last time. "Dance with me? Please?"
She reluctantly let out a deep breath, and placed her hand in his as she let him lead her to the dance floor.
"You know, I think you spent too much time trying to convince me to dance. I'm probably going to be late getting back to engineering." She tried in vain to escape his arms.
"So you're a few minutes late. What's the purpose of being chief engineer if you can't bend the rules a little every now and then? Besides, I don't think the warp core is going to breach in the next few minutes."
"Oh, you never know on this ship. A few minutes can make a world of difference. I probably shouldn't be wasting them on the holodeck," she said as he pulled her a little closer to keep her in place.
"That's the great thing about the holodeck. You get to forget that you're on a ship in the middle of nowhere for a while. We can just pretend that we're two people meeting for the first time tonight." His voice getting softer, and her body fitting closer, he continued, "Just imagine...I saw you across the smoky room sitting by yourself, and decided to work up the courage to buy you a drink."
"Which I wouldn't accept."
"We're pretending, B'Elanna, remember?"
"Oh, that's right."
"Where were we?"
"You were buying me a drink."
"That's right, and you were accepting. We sit and talk for a while."
"Oh, I don't know...everything."
"That's a lot of ground to cover."
"Yeah, but we've got all the time in the world," he said as they closed their eyes, swayed to the music and let their imaginations take them away.
"I was a 'lead man' for an ammunitions plant, until the war ended. Then I got fired from my job, we all did. There were no jobs available for me or any other woman, for that matter, unless of course I want to be a school teacher or a librarian," she said.
He knew women that lost their jobs because the men came back to reclaim them, and he was one of those men that didn't necessarily agree with that choice. But what were the plant managers going to do, tell the men that fought the war that there were no jobs for them? No. A sacrifice had to be made, and unfortunately, the women who kept the home fires burning, paid the price.
"Maybe it wasn't because you were a woman that you got fired, but because there's really not a great need for ammunition, unless it's wartime."
"Good point," She thought she'd give him a break, considering he was probably one of the men that came home to her job.
"I thought so."
"So...tell me about yourself. What do you do?"
"I was a pilot, based in Hawaii."
"Really? What brought you out here?"
"Your father? Is he a pilot too?"
"No," he choked on his drink a little. "My father is definitely not a pilot."
"So what is he?"
"He's an admiral in the United States Navy."
"Yeah, right," he said flatly.
"I take it you're not planning on following in your father's footsteps?"
"Not if I can help it. You see, I moved out here to get away from my father." After some time he continued, "My father was very strict while I was growing up. Nothing was ever good enough, and that included me. Oh, I tried the Navy thing. I really had no choice with the war and all. But to make a career out of it...well lets just say, it wasn't for me."
"What, the war or the Navy?" she asked with the cutest grin on her face.
"Both. But I'll be honest with you...I sure miss piloting. It's the greatest feeling in the world. Imagine being so high up in the air that you're above the clouds. You're all alone with your thoughts just soaring above the sky like a bird," he saw the amused look on her face and said, "Sorry. Sometimes I get a little carried away."
"Oh, no. Don't be sorry. It's just that it's been so long since I've met anyone with so much passion....I mean...." Feeling a little embarrassed at herself for using such familiar language with a complete stranger, she stopped mid sentence.
Sensing her embarrassment he thought he would change the subject, "What do you say we forget about my father, and piloting for a while, and just enjoy the music?"
"I'd like that."
They listened as Billie Holliday sang about lost love, and broken hearts. Every now and then they would steal a glance at each other, and share a smile. After a few songs, he worked up enough courage to ask her to dance.
"B'Elanna? Would you like to dance?"
"I'd love to," she said, hoping that she didn't sound too eager.
"This is one of my favorite Billie Holliday songs."
"Mine too." And they let the music take them away. He hummed in her ear, as they swayed to the rhythm. She could feel the slight stubble of his beard against her forehead, and grew warm when he ran his hand up her back and lightly rubbed her between her shoulder blades.
He could feel her softly squeezing his shoulder and rubbing her thumb back and forth over his hand. Her breath was warm against his neck, and his heart started to race as the soft skeins of her hair skimmed over his hand on her back.
I've got those
The moment he saw her enter the club tonight he had felt a surge in his gut, like someone had slugged him, and even hours later, he was still trying to catch his breath. He had the feeling that even if he spent a million years with her, he'd still feel breathless whenever she was near. He pulled back and looked down into her brown eyes, knowing that he should keep his distance and not rush anything, but he couldn't help himself as he leaned in.
She knew she shouldn't let him get so close, but she couldn't help it, and as he leaned in to kiss her, she tilted her chin up to meet his lips. She could feel the catch of his breath the first time their lips brushed, and the tension in his arms. It made her smile to know that he was just as nervous as she was. He leaned in again, as her lips parted slightly. She could almost taste him...
"Hey, Tom I'm sorry I'm late." Harry stopped short at the scene in front of him as Tom and B'Elanna scrambled to collect themselves. Both of them looking around, wondering exactly when the music stopped, and where all of the people went.
"Well I should probably get back to engineering."
Was B'Elanna blushing? I don't think I've ever seen her blush before. Hell, I didn't think Klingons were capable of blushing. "Yeah, you're probably late by now," Tom said, trying to make her exit a little easier on both of them.
"Look, guys. I didn't mean to interrupt anything."
"You didn't!" They both replied in unison.
"I really have to go. Thanks for the dance, Tom," she whispered for his ears only. "See ya, Starfleet," she said and nervously left the holodeck.
"Gosh, Tom. I'm really sorry. If I had known she was in here with you, I would have never interrupted."
"It's okay, Har. We weren't doing anything anyway."
"That's not what it looked like to me," he said with a knowing grin and wagging eyebrows.
"What, exactly does that mean?" Tom asked, angrily.
"Nothing. I just meant that you two looked a little...cozy when I came in. That's all."
"Well, we weren't 'cozy', we were dancing. B'Elanna's not one of the Delaney sisters you know? I would never do anything..."
"Tom, you don't have to explain it to me," Harry interrupted. "I know that you'd never try anything like that with B'Elanna. Unless she wanted you to," he chuckled. The look on Tom's face was enough to stop Harry dead in his tracks.
"That's not funny, Harry. B'Elanna's not that type of girl."
"Jeez, Tom, lighten up. I was just kidding. Look," he said as he put his arm around Tom's shoulders, "you and B'Elanna have been playing this game for months now. Why don't you just ask her out?"
"I have. She keeps turning me down. I've tried asking her out to dinner, to the movies, dancing, you name it, and she says 'No'. The only way I can get her to do anything alone with me is if I trick her into it."
"Don't ask. It's a long story."
"Well, have you tried telling her how you feel?"
"That's just it. I'm not sure how I feel."
"What do you mean?"
"Well..." he started, "have you ever felt like you can't get any air? Like no matter how deeply you breathe, there's just not enough air?"
Not waiting for an answer he continued. "Well that's how I feel when I'm around her. And it's not just that either. I think about her all the time, and I do mean all the time. Just the other day, while I was at the helm, Chakotay was telling me to change course and he had to repeat himself three times before I finally heard him. I just can't seem to concentrate on anything."
"I guess not, considering I was on the bridge that day, and it was me that got your attention."
"See what I mean? Harry, she's driving me crazy. She's taken over my mind...my dreams, and for the life of me I don't know when it happened."
"Captain to Lieutenant Paris."
"Paris here," he said tapping his comm badge.
"Were you planning on rejoining us on the bridge today, Mr. Paris, or did you decide to take the rest of the day off?"
Oooops. "Sorry Captain. I guess I just lost track of time. I'll be right there. Paris out."
"Don't worry, Tom." Harry said. "I'm sure this thing with B'Elanna will get better,"
"Yeah, I'm sure it'll get better too. It's probably nothing...just another one of my passing phases. It'll be over soon, it's just a matter of when. Well, I've gotta go." As he walked out of the holodeck he turned to Harry and said, "By the way, this is a great program, Harry. I wouldn't change a thing."
Harry sat and thought about his two best friends for a few minutes, and wondered if either one of them knew that they were in love with each other. He thought about the scene he walked in on, and remembered something Tom had said. He'd said they were dancing, but there was no music playing when Harry walked into the holodeck. As a matter of fact there was nothing but the empty club, and a few holograms putting up chairs, and wiping up tables.
"Hmmmm? Computer, what was the last song played in this program?"
" 'Good Morning Heartache' "
"How much time elapsed from the end of that song to the time I entered the holodeck?"
"Seventeen minutes, fifteen seconds."
minutes, fifteen seconds of dancing with no music, and not knowing it?!
I think this "passing phase" just might last a lifetime. Computer
save program to Kim alpha one, and transmit to Thomas Eugene Paris and
B'Elanna Torres exactly one year after their wedding. Seventeen minutes.
Passing phase....yeah right."
Four years later
"B'Elanna? Would you like to dance?"
"I'd love to."
"Happy anniversary, Tom."
B'Elanna," and he leaned in to finish the kiss he had started many years