No Regrets - Part 25
Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.
How did I make it back to my quarters? I don't remember. I
hope I didn't meet anybody on the way. I couldn't keep the
pretense up with Tom any longer. I made my excuses and got out
How could I have been so stupid? So blind? So totally
self-deluded? I'd argued with Tom, telling him he was wrong. I
knew how I felt. I *knew* I was no longer in love.
The truth had hit me as I'd looked into Tom's concerned eyes. I
was still in love with him. Totally and completely. I hadn't
stopped for a moment. Everything he'd been saying was true. I
couldn't just stop loving him by telling myself to.
Why hadn't I realized sooner? I've been such a fool. So, what
happens now? I continue to secretly love Tom? Is this my
destiny? If so, I don't like it much. But what else can I do?
Nothing has changed. Tom's friendship is still too important to
me to ruin with a sudden declaration of love.
Tom still has feelings for Chakotay, if the look on his face
when he saw B'Elanna kiss the Commander is anything to go by.
And I'm sure that Chakotay has feelings for Tom. I'm not sure
how B'Elanna fits into all of this.
I sigh unhappily and decide to go to bed. At least now that
I've admitted to myself that I'm still in love with Tom, I won't
have to force myself not to have those fantasies regarding him.
I can just relax and indulge myself. My favorite one is when I
pretend that it's me, not Chakotay, trapped in that lift with
I shiver with anticipation and barely have time to strip off and
throw myself in under the covers before my imagination takes
I don't know why I agreed to come here again tonight. I'm not
in the mood for a leisurely swim followed by a quiet, relaxing
sunbathe. I want to get up and do something.
I've already gone for a not so leisurely swim, churning up and
down in the water until I was so tired I could hardly drag
myself back up the beach. As soon as I recovered, I set up a
volleyball game that became so enthusiastic that everyone
finally fell to the ground in complete exhaustion, including me.
Harry is sprawled in the chair next to me, completely relaxed.
He's more relaxed than I've seen him for weeks and I'm happy for
him. But I don't understand it. I thought he would have been
more upset about B'Elanna. I can't believe he could just stop
loving her like that, no matter how determined he is.
I guess I should be pleased that he's not heart-broken, but it's
a little unsettling that he didn't react the way I thought he
would. It's not the first time, of course. Sometimes, when I
look at Harry, I find myself wondering if *I'm* the naïve,
innocent, young Ensign and not him at all.
Now that I'm fully rested I begin to think about what other sort
of game I can organize on the beach. I'm still making plans
when Greg Ayala walks past. That would have to be about the
fifth time in the past hour. He smiles warmly, but keeps
walking. You know, if he does it again, I think I should
suggest he moves his chair up closer to wherever the hell it is
that he keeps going.
I turn my head towards Harry to say what I'm thinking and I'm
surprised to see him watching Greg's retreating figure with a
small smile on his face.
He turns to look at me, a deep flush crossing his features.
He blushes even more. "I think he probably has some sand in his
eye or something."
"I'm sure he's not really winking at me."
"Greg Ayala's been winking at you?"
"That's what I just said. I'm sure he's not."
"I see," I say a little faintly. "Would it bother you if he had
"No, why should it? He's very attractive."
"I... I suppose he is. Harry, are you feeling all right?"
"What makes you ask that?"
"I was just wondering." I lean forward a little. "Ayala's a
"Very funny. You know what I mean."
Harry suddenly turns away. "Yeah, I know *exactly* what you
mean," he says in a small, sad voice.
I've upset him again. He turns around once more and there's a
determined glint in his eye. "Would it surprise you that much
to know I think Greg's very good-looking?"
I don't know what to say to that. "Do you?"
Harry watches me closely, leaning forward a little as he
answers. "Yes, I do. And from what I can see he has a nice
body. Have I shocked you?"
"Shocked is a rather strong word. Surprised... yes. This isn't
some sort of reaction to B'Elanna is it?"
"No. Listen, forget I mentioned it."
Yeah right, Harry. I'll just forget the whole thing. "I didn't
think you were interested in guys," I say.
"Well, then, you were wrong."
"Obviously. Are you sure you are?"
Harry's eyes narrow. "Of course, I'm sure. And, if you must
know, I've had a lot more experience with guys than I have with
"That's all right. I don't have to know that," I say quickly.
"I don't understand. I've known you for six years and never
once in all that time have you gone out with a guy."
"Yes, I have."
"But... I'd know if you had," I protest.
"You probably weren't paying any attention."
I'm not sure if I like the sound of that. "It almost sounds as
if you think I don't take any notice of you."
"I didn't mean to imply that. It's just that you..."
"It's just that I don't think you know me as well as you think
you do," he says hesitantly.
"Well, you do, but there are some things you don't."
Harry leans back in his chair, flushed a bright red. I don't
know whether it's in annoyance or embarrassment.
I decide to lean back too and not say anything. I don't want to
make matters worse.
A shadow falls over me and I squint up to see B'Elanna standing
looking down at me. "Hi! Tom, can I talk to you for a moment?"
"I'll leave you two alone," Harry says quickly, before I can
answer her. He seems very keen to get away and I suppose I
can't really blame him.
Standing up, he quickly pulls on a shirt. "I'll catch you
"You don't have to go," B'Elanna protests.
"No, that's okay. I'm kind of tired." He's gone in seconds.
B'Elanna watches him go. "Is he all right? He seemed a little
"I don't know. I think I should check on him afterwards. What
did you want to see me about?"
I can't believe that Tom didn't realize I was interested in guys
as well as girls. I've never kept that a secret. I haven't
dated many men on board over the years, I know, but I honestly
wasn't trying to hide anything. It's just that none of them
interest me the way Tom does.
And, anyway, I *have* dated some men over the years. Tom knew
about it, too. What did he think I was doing? Having a quiet
dinner with a pal and then going back to talk in my quarters?
I stop suddenly. That's *exactly* what he thought. Why
wouldn't he? That's exactly what *we* always do together. I
shake my head at his naivety. And he thinks I'm naïve?
I make my way back to my quarters and step in quickly. No
wonder he found it so easy to believe I wasn't in love with him,
never wondering about some of my actions over the years. But I
couldn't let him continue to believe that misconception about
me. There's been too many lies as it is.
The look on his face when I told him that I had a lot more
experience with guys than with girls. It would have been funny
if the whole thing hadn't been so damned awful.
Shaking my head, I quickly undress and dive under the covers.
Tom had looked wonderfully... hot, tonight. After the first few
volleyball games, I'd sat back and watched him as he jumped, ran
and dove all over the temporary court.
I close my eyes and remember how the sweat had trickled down his
broad, freckled shoulders and the hairs on his chest had curled
up in the heat. He'd looked fantastic. I sigh with contentment
and let my imagination take over.
B'Elanna looks a little nervous. "I know we said when we broke
up that we would be happy for one another when we started
Oh Damn! Oh Damn! She's going to pursue Chakotay.
"Well, anyway, something's happened. I've had a... um...
proposal put forward to me and I'm seriously considering it."
"Proposal?" I squeak.
"Not that sort of proposal," she says, hitting me lightly on
the arm. My heart starts beating again. "At least, I suppose
it could turn out that way after all. I never really thought
about it like that." She has a far away look in her eyes.
"B'Elanna, what are you talking about?"
She focuses back on me. "Sorry. I just mean that at the moment
it's solely a matter of fulfilling a mutual need. If a bond
forms after we've mated, then so be it."
"I don't believe I'm hearing this. Did he suggest this?"
"He was very embarrassed about it, actually."
"I'll just bet he was."
"Hang on a minute. You don't even know who I'm talking about."
"As a matter of fact, I do."
"You do? Oh, of course, you do. I suppose the Doc's discussed
this with you, just in case."
The Doc? He knows about this? And he never said anything? I
was with him this morning and he didn't even hint about it.
That's not like him.
"You *are* his medical assistant, after all," B'Elanna
What the hell does that have to do with anything? What does she
think happened? Does she think Chakotay came racing into
sickbay, declaring that it's been so long since he's been with
anybody, and he couldn't help noticing that B'Elanna seemed
interested, so would there be any medical reason why he couldn't
proposition her? I shake my head at the thought.
"I just sort of guessed."
"Of course you did. Well, anyway, you understand why this is
all rather rushed, don't you? He's desperate, but I don't have
to tell you that, do I?"
I bite my lip at her words. "Thank you for reminding me." I
try to keep my voice steady.
"You're upset, aren't you? Chakotay didn't seem to think it was
necessary for me to talk to you about this, but I knew it was.
Tell me what bothers you the most about it all. I really do
care about him, you know. I couldn't do this otherwise."
"I realize that. I guess I'm a little worried that you're going
to get hurt."
"He's assured me that won't happen. I trust him completely. If
we do things properly everything will be fine."
"Of course. We need to familiarize ourselves with one another.
We're going to get together a few times over the next few weeks.
I'm not going to just strip off and throw myself on him, no
matter how much he needs me."
"Shit, B'Elanna. You make it sound like all it's about is sex."
"Well, it is, isn't it? I told you, though, if a bond forms,
I'm prepared to accept it."
"I can't believe you can be so callous about the whole thing."
"I'm not being callous, I'm being practical. Somebody has to do
it and I'm really touched that he asked me. You're really not
happy about this, are you?"
"How can I be? The thought of the two of you together..." I
break off, unable to speak. How can she do this? How can she
expect me to be happy about it? After what happened between us
in that lift, how can she possibly think I'd be pleased to hear
that she's now going to get it on with him? And in such a
"I'm sorry you feel that way," B'Elanna says rather stiffly. "I
still don't see what your exact objection is. Is it because
he's a lot older than me?"
"Of course not."
"Are you sure? Now that I think about it, he is rather old."
"He's not old," I protest quickly. "He's in his prime."
"Compared to me, he's old."
"He is *not" old," I defend grimly. "And anyway, age has got
nothing to do with it. Geez, you make it sound like he's some
old grandfather or something."
"If you really cared about him you wouldn't care how old he is,"
I say, feeling myself getting rather hot under the collar.
"Kahless, Tom. I didn't realize age was such a touchy subject
"It's not. It's just that..." What? How can I explain my
sudden defense? "Age shouldn't come into it," I finish rather
"That's the way I feel, too. So what's the problem?"
What am I supposed to say? I don't want you to have him,
because I want him? That's basically what the problem is, I
suddenly realize. I guess a very important point in this whole
equation is, who does he want? The answer's sitting right next
I take a deep breath and place my hand over hers. "This is what
you really want?"
"Yes. I know it sounds weird, but it is."
"Then, I hope things work out for you."
"Thanks. I want things to work out for you too. I think it's
time you examined your feelings. It's time to be honest with
"What do you mean?" I ask, genuinely puzzled. The only feelings
I have are in regards to Chakotay and I don't know how I can be
more honest with myself than I already am. And what the hell's
the point, anyway?
"How do you feel about Harry?"
"Don't think about your answer, just say the first thing that
comes in your mind."
"Harry's great. He's the best friend I've ever had, and am ever
likely to have, too. He's loyal, generous..."
"Very attractive," she interrupts. "And all that eager
enthusiasm is a huge turn-on, isn't it?"
"What?" I say, feeling more than a little annoyed with her. If
she feels like that, what's she doing with Chakotay?
"Oh, come on, Tom. Admit it. You're in love with him."
I shake my head in confusion. "Who?"
She slaps my arm. "Stop it! It's time to face up to the truth,
Tom. You're in love with Harry. I think it's wonderful, by the
"Harry?" My voice rises a little. "Don't be ridiculous. I'm
not in love with Harry."
Her eyes narrow. "Of course you are. You've done nothing but
talk about him for weeks. You're fooling no one but yourself."
"But that was for you. I was trying to get you to notice him."
"Why? What are you talking about? Anyway, I don't believe you.
Your feelings for one another are obvious. Even Chakotay..."
"Chakotay?" I interrupt furiously. "What the hell's he been
saying to you?"
"Nothing. It's just that he thought the two of you were
together, so it's not just me..."
"That bastard! What the hell's he playing at? First he tells
me that Harry's in love with me and then he tells you that we're
on together." I stand up on shaky legs. "That's what it's all
been about all along. He's wanted you for himself."
"Tom, what are you talking about? You're talking crazy."
"No. It all makes sense. He made sure we broke up..."
"Tom, Chakotay had nothing to do with our breakup."
I ignore her. "He wanted you to think that Harry and I were
together so that you wouldn't look at him and you'd turn to
him instead. And you did."
"What?" She grabs my arm. "I think you'd better sit down."
I pull free and head for the holodeck doors as fast as I can.
"Tom! Come back!"
I take no notice and step out into the corridor. "Computer,
please state the location of Commander Chakotay."
To be continued in part 26.