No Regrets - Part 26
Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.
I gape in astonishment. Tom Paris is standing in my doorway
wearing nothing but a skimpy pair of bathing trunks. He looks
incredible and I'm powerless to stop my eyes from feasting upon
He's panting heavily, almost as if he's been running, and my
gaze locks onto his chest, the urge to reach out and touch those
damp little curls undeniable.
Finally, I tear my eyes away and look up to his face. He's
flushed, and his eyes are narrowed into slits, his lips a thin
Numbly, my mind belatedly registers his greeting. "Pardon?" I
say, rather stupidly.
"You set the whole thing up," he yells in response. Luckily,
there's no one in the corridor to witness whatever the hell is
I reach out and grab his arm, pulling him into my quarters. As
he stumbles inside, he glares at me and twists his arm out of my
I swallow before asking, "What's wrong?" He's so close to me
that our chests are almost touching.
"What's wrong?" he repeats. His voice rises a little. "What's
wrong? You must have known B'Elanna would tell me. She felt
she had to talk to me about this little proposition."
He practically spits the last couple of words out. I step back
away from him and find I can breathe a little easier. I just
need to keep some distance between us.
"She told me she would. I take it you're not happy about it?" I
ask quietly. Why the hell did he call me a bastard? None of it
was my idea. Does he think that I had something to do with it?
That I talked B'Elanna into it, or something?
"No, I'm *not* damn well happy about it." His breathing is
still rapid and I can't help noticing that he's flushed all
over. I see his fists clench and unclench at his sides.
"Well, it seems to be what she wants," I say as gently as I can.
I'm still trying to fathom why Tom is here. He's obviously very
upset about the thought of B'Elanna with Tuvok. I suppose it's
understandable, in a way. But he seems to be angry with me.
"You think I talked her into it, don't you? I can assure you
that's not true. I told her it was a decision only she could
"Why?" Tom's voice chokes a little and he takes a deep breath
to control himself. "Why proposition her like that? She
"B'Elanna doesn't look at it like that. She sees a need that
she can fulfill. And she cares enough to want to do it."
"You are un-fucking-believable, you know that?"
"Tom, she's happy with her decision. Don't spoil this for her.
She wants your understanding and support."
My words are not having the soothing effect I was hoping for.
Tom appears to be even more agitated and he's having difficulty
"Tom, I think you need to calm down a little. I honestly don't
understand why you're so riled up. Your reaction..."
"Fuck you!" Tom yells suddenly. "How am I supposed to react?
You wanted her for yourself all along and took advantage of me
to get her. You saw your chance in that lift and you took it.
You knew B'Elanna and me were on the verge of breaking up and
you decided to make sure it happened."
I stare at him speechless, too shocked to fully comprehend what
"I see it all now," he continues, no longer shouting. He's
hissing out his accusations now. "You pretended to warn Vorik
about gossiping, ensuring he was even more suspicious than he
was before. Then you tell me that Harry's in love with me,
hoping that I'll turn to him and away from B'Elanna. There was
still a chance we might have got back together again."
I shake my head, wordlessly.
"Don't try to deny it," he almost screams at me. "Just to make
sure we didn't, you decided to tell B'Elanna what had happened
in that lift, making her think I needed more in a relationship
than she could give me, and deliberately making her feel sorry
for me. Then you walked around the ship looking like the poor,
misunderstood, friendless Commander, and B'Elanna was hooked."
I choke for oxygen and realize that I haven't drawn a breath
since he started his tirade. I take in a lungful of air with a
deep gasp, and then another, but Tom doesn't seem to notice.
He's determined to continue with this completely ridiculous
"It didn't take long to reel her in, did it? But you still
weren't completely sure she was ready to move on, so you told
her that Harry and I were in love. I don't know what you told
her when you propositioned her, but it must have been damn good,
because she talks as if she's practically going to be saving
your life or something."
My legs are weak, I don't know if they'll support me, so I
lean against the wall. Everything Tom has said is starting to
sink in now.
"You really think I would do that?" My voice is so low that
it's a wonder he can even hear me. "You think I could be
capable of all that?"
I'm gratified to see hesitation on his face, but then he nods
"Perhaps you even think I rigged the lift?"
The hesitation is more pronounced. "No. I think you just saw a
golden opportunity and grabbed it."
"I see." I'm starting to shake now, but it's not with shock.
The shock is receding and in its place a fierce anger is
beginning to build, the intensity so strong that I'm afraid of
what I might do.
"I think you'd better leave." My voice is unexpectedly quiet,
belying my emotions.
"You owe me the truth," he says stubbornly.
"I owe you nothing. Believe what you want." I can hear the
bitterness in my tone. "Now, get out."
"Tell me I'm wrong." Tom's voice is a choked plea, but I refuse
to look at him.
The door slides closed and I sink to the floor, my anger
dissolving in an instant. That he could think that of me! That
he could believe that of me!
Why didn't he just reach in and rip my heart from me? The
result would have been the same. Is it even possible to still
live and feel this dead inside? I stay there on the floor,
unable to stand, and begin to rock to and fro.
I rush blindly down the corridor, not exactly sure where I'm
going. Why didn't he deny it? Why didn't he tell me I was
wrong? Why didn't he tell me my accusations were crazy?
I try to remember what he looked like while I accused him. I'd
been too worked up to notice. Waiting desperately for him to
tell me it wasn't true. Only, he didn't. He didn't!
He'd looked stunned at first, as if he couldn't comprehend what
I was saying, I remember that. But what about after? He'd
looked angry, bitter. Had there been hurt and bewilderment on
his face before that, though? Or am I just hoping? Hoping for
any sign that I was wrong?
My steps falter and I half turn around. Should I go back?
Apologize? The more I think about it, the more sure I am that
he'd looked hurt.
I shake my head. Even if I'm wrong, it wouldn't matter to
Chakotay. Why would he care what I think? He won't lose any
sleep over it. He's probably having a laugh about it now. And
anyway, that's if I'm wrong. If I'm right, he's probably having
a laugh about that too.
My eyes sting a little at the thought and I turn back around,
realizing how stupid I'm being. It's getting late, time to turn
in. Only, I don't feel like turning in. My insides are still
churning. Would Chakotay really have done all those things I
accused him of? It doesn't seem possible.
I need to talk to somebody about this. I'll never sleep
tonight until I have this all in its proper perspective. I know
Harry will have already gone to bed, but I'm sure he won't mind.
He'll help me to see everything clearly and rationally. I head
I moan with delight as I imagine Tom running across the court
and then jumping up to hit the beach ball. He turns to look at
me, winking mischievously. I wink in return.
The ball lands at his feet with a plop and he makes a great show
of bending down and picking it up. I moan once more as he lifts
the ball above his head and turns to face me, wriggling his hips
I sigh with pure pleasure as he gyrates before me, naked and
glorious, and my hand speeds up excitedly. He'd slowly slid his
swimming trunks off some time ago to play beach volleyball nude,
just for me.
He'd do anything for me. Anything!
His voice is soft and sensual as he humps the air, everyone
stopping to watch his performance.
"Harry," he says once more. His voice is so near to me that I
feel as if I could reach out and touch him.
"Tom," I pant, pumping frantically. I'm so close... so close.
"Harry! What are you doing? Oh my god! Shit! I'm sorry. I'm
It's like a bucket of ice cold water's been thrown over me. I
sit up, desperately peering through the almost complete
darkness, to see the object of my desires heading for the door.
"Tom!" I cry out in horror, clutching the sheet around me to
hide my now rapidly dwindling erection. "Oh, Tom!" My voice is
a high-pitched wail.
He stops and turns. "I'm so sorry, Harry. That'll teach me to
come in unannounced. I'll never do it again, I promise." He
clears his throat. "I'll leave you now. God, I'm sorry."
"Tom!" It seems to be the only thing I can say. I'm incapable
of uttering anything else.
"It's okay, Har. We all do it. I'm just so sorry I... um...
interrupted you. I didn't think. I guess telling you to carry
on is a little out of the question." He forces out a small
chuckle, but I can't respond.
"I'm so embarrassed." There, I *can* say something else. I can
even utter other noises now, too. It's a sort of strangling,
choking sound, but when I breathe in, it turns into a sob. The
sobs increase and Tom, forgetting his embarrassment of only
moments ago, races over to me.
He sits on the side of my bed and hugs me tightly. "Please,
Harry. It's nothing to be ashamed of. This is all my fault for
barging in like that. Can you ever forgive me?"
I nod against him and try to control my breathing. I can't
believe that one of my greatest fantasies is actually coming
true and I'm too upset to enjoy it.
I'm sitting here naked in Tom's arms while he pats my back and
smoothes my hair, wearing almost nothing himself, and all I can
think about is how to stop crying.
"Would it help if I told you, I know how you feel?" he asks
quietly. "My father barged in on me one day, only it was worse,
"Oh?" My tears are forgotten as my curiosity is piqued.
"It's a rather sordid story. Are you sure you're up to it?" He
forces out another small chuckle and I groan and punch him
lightly on the arm, before pulling away from him and wiping my
face with the sheet.
He fumbles around in the dark and then hands me some tissues so
I can blow my nose. "Okay. My Dad walked in on me and my best
friend, Charlie. We'd been fooling around, looking at some
pictures he'd managed to get hold of and talking dirty. You
know what it's like when you're fifteen. Anyway, we were lying
on my bed and it didn't take long for our hands to do the
talking, if you know what I mean. Dad must have been passing
my bedroom door when we both yelled out almost at exactly
the same moment. He burst in, thinking we were killing each
"Oh my god. What happened?"
"He just stood there looking down at us. We gazed back at him
in horror, frozen in place, our hands still wrapped around one
another. The door was wide open and I remember worrying that my
sisters might walk past and see. He then cleared his throat and
said in this really dry tone of voice he hoped we'd remember to
wash our hands before coming down to dinner."
I choke with laughter. "He didn't?"
"Oh, yes, he did. He also suggested we should find something to
do as we were obviously desperate for some exercise."
"I can't even imagine what my father would have done if he'd
caught me doing something like that. I think he would have
Tom joins in my laughter and I feel so much better. I reach
across and squeeze his arm. "Thanks."
He's silent for a moment and then sighs. "I'd better go."
"Oh, okay." As he attempts to stand, I reach out once more.
"Tom, why did you come here in the first place? I mean, you
must have wanted something."
"It doesn't matter now. I just wanted someone to talk to. I
was feeling a little restless." He sounds worried now.
"Oh? Is something wrong?"
"Not really. At least... no... it's fine."
"It doesn't sound like it. You might feel better if you talk
"No, it's really late now. I'll let you get some sleep."
"I don't think I'll be able to sleep right now, anyway." I
can feel myself blushing again.
"Harry..." Tom stops and gets up from the bed, stepping away
slightly. "Harry..." He hesitates again and I can feel my heart
start to beat furiously in my chest. Whatever Tom wants to say
to me can't be good. He's having a lot of trouble getting
started. "I think... no... I'm sure, I just made a big
"What do you mean?"
"I just... damn it!" I can hear him pacing and then he sits
down in the chair next to my bed. "I just accused Chakotay of
all sorts of stuff and I think I was wrong about some of it. At
least, I don't know, maybe I was right about his motives,
I wait patiently, my heartbeat slowing somewhat. This isn't
about me, it's about Chakotay.
"Harry..." I hear him take a deep breath and I wonder why we're
still sitting here in the almost complete dark when one of us
could have asked for some illumination. The darkness had suited
me at first, but now I wouldn't mind seeing Tom's face.
"Harry, I don't know how to say this, but... um... you whispered
my name. I thought you knew I was here, but... you moaned my
name again just as I realized what you were doing. I don't... I
don't want to embarrass you... It's just that I need to know why
you did that."
Oh my god! What can I say?
"Harry, please be honest with me. You were thinking about me
while you touched yourself, weren't you?"
Oh god! Oh god!
"I thought Chakotay was trying to keep me away from B'Elanna,
but he was right, wasn't he? You do have feelings for me, don't
Now would be a good time to start crying again, only I can't.
I can't do, or say anything. Now I'm grateful for the dark, but
I can't hide the truth any longer.
"Yes," I whisper hoarsely.
"Were you ever in love with B'Elanna?"
"No. It's only ever been you."
Tom sucks in his breath. "I thought..."
"I know and I'm sorry. I didn't want you to find out. I didn't
want things to change between us."
"They won't change, Harry."
"Of course they will. They can't possibly stay the same now.
You're going to pity me and then you're going to feel awkward
around me. You won't be able to bear being near me because
I'll make you feel uncomfortable." My voice is flat and
emotionless. I've thought about this so many times in the past
that it's like I'm reciting some memorized passage.
"Harry, that's not going to happen. I won't let it happen."
"It'll be beyond your control."
"Bullshit! I'm not going to pity you. I'm flattered... honored
that you feel that way about me."
"Don't! Spare me the platitudes. I don't want to hear how you
don't deserve someone as wonderful as me to love you. Or what a
great honor I've bestowed upon you and how I'll meet somebody
very special one day who'll love me as much as I'll love them.
It's all so much crap," I hiss bitterly.
"I wasn't going to say that." His voice is so quiet that I can
hardly hear him.
"I think you'd better go now."
He doesn't answer, just quietly gets up and leaves. As the door
closes behind him, I moan softly. Our friendship is over,
finished. Why, when I can cry so easily, can't I shed any tears
But, I'd known this would happen one day. I'd prepared myself
for it. I moan once more.
To be continued in part 27.