Cerulean Skies, Golden Sand

Cerulean Skies, Golden Sand
By Jessica Ferroni

This is dedicated to Melanie Torpey, Official Parisite and doctor
of the Elektra. 🙂

* * * * *

He looked like an excited kid, with his hair all tousled and that silly
grin on his face. I crossed my arms in front of my chest and watched as
he scoured the beach – for what, I had no clue. His brow was furrowed
and his face was a mask of concentration as he hunted his prey.
For a full five minutes he searched, then apparently he gave up and
looked for something else to do. I squinted in the bright sunlight,
trying to see what he was doing now, but it was to no avail. I would
have to venture closer to the beach.
I cinched my robe tighter around my waist self-consciously as I walked
towards him, and ran a hand through my hair.
“Tom,” I called, not wanting to startle him. The last thing I wanted
to do was end up in the lake because of his reflexes. He turned toward
me, sun glinting in his blond hair, and waved happily.
“Lanna! C’mere a minute.”
I hesitated a moment before nodding and making my way to his side.
His face creased into an almost-wounded look.
“Why did you hesitate, Lanna?”
I looked down shyly, then a wry smile snaked across my lips and I
glanced up at him.
“I was afraid you might, um, throw me into the lake.” Now, before
Tom and I had been trapped together in the Sikari mines, I would never
have made an admission like that. I had always felt like my Klingon
strength could and would take on anyone and win. But in the mines
when I’d been under the influence of the Vulcan pon farr, he’d wrestled
the gun away from me easier than I could believe. Scary to think I’d
been under false delusions of grandeur for that long time – I’m just
glad in our earlier days I had never become totally uncontrolled
around Tom and challenged him to a fight. I would probably have lost,
big time.
So, I had hoped admitting my fear of being tossed into the lake
would prevent Tom the gentleman from doing so, even if I knew that was
just what Tom the rogue was itching for.
I was right. Disappointment and a pout warred briefly across his face,
then the pout won. Oh, how I wished he wouldn’t pout. He looks so cute
when he pouts, especially now with his hair all mussed up and….
Oh, my knees were turning into jelly. And then he put his bare arms
around me from behind and rested his chin on top my head. I struggled
to stand straight as my sandal-clad feet slid in the sand.
“My sweet Lanna,” he teased. His fingers found and lovingly caressed
the gold band encircling the ring finger on my left hand. His own ring
glinted as his fingers entwined with mine. “C’mon,” he urged, tugging
my hand to lead me along the shore.
“Where are we going?” I asked warily.
He shrugged his bare shoulders. “Nowhere in particular.” He suddenly
stopped short and his fingers left mine as he bent down to retrieve
something from the warm sand. Grinning triumphantly, he palmed the
object thoughtfully. I craned my neck to see what he held, but whatever
it was disappeared into a pocket of his swimming trunks before I could
see it.
“What is it?” I asked, reaching for his hand again.
He shook his head mysteriously as he placed my hand in his. “Can’t tell.”
“Oh, really?”
“Yes, really,” he murmured in a deep voice. “It’s a secret.”
I had to laugh. Tom constantly surprised me. Even after six years of
marriage, I was still amused and touched by the things he did. He was
the most wonderful man I had ever known.
We walked for some time along the beach, and Tom insisted on walking close
enough to the lake so that the waves touched our ankles as they lapped
onto the shore. The afternoon sun was warm on our backs and with a sinking
feeling I turned towards Tom. Sure enough, his fair skin was glowing a
bright, painful pink.
“You’re going to regret this tomorrow, you know,” I commented, touching
the back of his neck lightly.
He shrugged noncommittally. “Uh huh.”
I was annoyed. “How long does it take to apply sunblock, Tom? Five minutes,”
I answered my own question. “You couldn’t have given five minutes to put on
some sunblock?”
“I don’t like sunblock,” he explained, slowly and carefully. “It smells.”
Exasperated, I reached out to swat his shoulder, then quickly jerked
my hand back before it made contact.
His lips twisted. “Thanks.”
I took another look at the unnatural pink of his skin and sighed, wondering
if I would have to listen to him complain about it for the next few days.
I glanced at his face. He looked happy enough, ambling down the waterline,
his face set in a peaceful visage. No, he’d accepted the fact that he was
too stubborn to wear sunblock and therefore his sunburn was his fault.
He wouldn’t complain. He looked so peaceful, though, that I had to ask,
“What are you thinking about, Tom?”
He blinked. “Hmm?”
“What are you thinking about?”
“Oh. I was thinking that if we ever get back to the Alpha Quadrant,
I’m going to take you to Sandrine’s, then to Carmel, California.”
“Is it pretty there?” I asked, knowing it must be by the look on his face.
“Oh, it’s gorgeous, B’Elanna. Cerulean sky, golden sand, an ocean more
blue than the sky. And the water near the shore is so clear; it’s
unbelievable.”
I rested my head very carefully on his left shoulder. He winced and I
started to lift my head, but his right hand came up and stroked my hair.
“Sounds nice, Tom.”
“It is.” The longing in his voice made my heart ache. As much as he
may pretend to enjoy the Delta Quadrant, I knew he wanted to go home as
much as the rest of us, maybe even more so.
We walked in silence for a few moments, then I took another glance at
his pink skin. “Come on,” I said softly. “We need to get you back.”
A frown settled briefly on his face, then he shrugged and we walked back
up the beach. He was quiet the whole time, lost in thought or maybe dreaming
of Carmel.
As we approached the place Neelix had deemed the “party spot”, Tom gave
me a sidelong glance and a grin spread across his face. I was instantly
wary.
“What?”
Innocence. “Huh?”
I wasn’t falling for it. “Why did you give me that look?”
He smiled sweetly. “I was just thinking how pretty you’d look all wet
and with seaweed in your hair.”
“Don’t even think about it, Tom.” Tom the gentleman was being overcome
by Tom the rogue. I had a sudden bad feeling I was going to be very wet,
very soon. “Tom….”
“Yes, B’Elanna?” One arm slid around my waist.
“Don’t.”
“Don’t what, B’Elanna?” He bent down and his other arm went behind
my knees.
“Tom!” I pleaded. I’d just had a shower and put clean clothes on before
I came to the beach, and I had no intention of getting wet again. Tom
however, evidentally had other plans for me.
“Tom!!” I screeched as he settled me on his shoulder. I kicked and
pounded on him with my fists – hard, until I remembered his sunburn –
but to no avail. “*Put* *me* *down*!!”
“I intend to,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. “In just one second.”
I continued my frenzied kicking. “Thomas Eugene Paris, put me down this
instant!” We had reached the water’s edge and I unconsciously held my
breath. This was it. I was going to get wet whether I wanted it or not.
“Your wish, madam,” he said grandly, “is my command.”
And then I was in the water, kicking and spluttering and splashing.
“I’m going to kill you,” I informed him. He just laughed. I started to
make my way back to the shore when he decided to join me in the water.
“Tom!!” I screeched as he crashed into me, sending us both underwater.
When I surfaced, he was nowhere to be seen.
“Tom?” I called. Not even a ripple. A little more nervously, “Tom?”
From behind me came a splashing noise as he broke the surface. He turned
toward me, feral grin on his face.
“I am going to kill you,” I repeated, plowing through the water to get
to him. He stayed just out my reach, taunting me.
“Get over here, you coward,” I said in my best Klingon growl.
“Ooh, I’m scared,” he teased. “Or what?”
I pondered briefly. Something bad, something bad. “Or you’ll have to
help Neelix clean the mess.”
He stuck his tongue out. “So what?”
I pondered again. “You’ll have to clean the Jeffrie’s Tubes with Vorik.”
“I don’t care,” he replied loftily.
Time to pull out my ace card. “Or you’ll have to change diapers for the
next month.” That got him.
A corner of his mouth twitched up. “Can’t have that, can we?”
He made his way over to me and took my hand. “You’re right. Let’s go
back.” We waded slowly to the shore.
My momentary triumph at getting him to come was stifled when I noticed
he was limping slightly. His leg was bothering him again, then, or else he
would have stayed in water probably all day and nothing I could have said
would have enticed him to do otherwise.
Some time ago, about two months after we’d been married, Tom had been
a member of an ill-fated away mission. They were all alive when we found
them, thankfully, but Chakotay almost hadn’t made it, and Tom was bleeding
heavily from a gash in his right leg. The Doctor had sealed the wound and
Tom was released, but his leg still continued to bother him.
“You okay?” I asked him softly.
He tried for a grin. “I’m always okay, Lanna,” then he lapsed into
silence. We trekked up to the “party spot”, a shaded little place where
Neelix had set up chairs and tables laden with food and drinks. Harry
Kim saw us coming and waved us over to where he was watching our children
Blond-haired, blue-eyed Katie was laboring over constructing a sandcastle
with Harry’s help, and the year-old twins, Harry and Robert, were playing
close by under Kim’s watchful guidance.
“Did you behave yourself for Uncle Harry, Princess?” Tom asked Katie
as he settled himself gently into a chair. She nodded, attention focussed
on hollowing out a doorway for her castle.
“That’s an, um, interesting shade of pink you’ve got going there, Tom,”
Harry joked. His next question was directed at me. “Forgot the sunblock
again, did he?”
Tom hmmphed and crossed his arms over his chest as I laughed and replied,
“Of course he did, Harry. It’s tradition.” I glanced at the – thankfully
waterproof – chrono strapped to my wrist. “Look, I’m gonna go back to the
ship and change before the party, alright? You’ll be okay with the kids?”
“Of course I’ll be okay with the kids,” Tom retorted, looking miffed.
I smiled and picked my commbadge from the mound of clothes and assorted
things the Paris family had assembled there.
“Torres to Voyager. One to beam up.”

Neelix’s party, as usual, was a success. I sat next to Tom in a
comfortable chair, keeping one eye on him and the other on the children,
who were sleeping just behind Tom’s chair. The entertainment Neelix
had assembled consisted of, as Tom had dubbed them, the DQ Blues.
Harry, Freddie and Melanie Bristow, and Sharon Walker, all gifted
musicians, were playing something slow and jazz-sounding. A few couples were
dancing, but most were just enjoying themselves by relaxing with their
friends. I noted with a smile that Janeway and Chakotay were among the
couples dancing.
Tom was sleeping peacefully, having worn himself out earlier on the
beach. As if he could sense my thoughts turn toward him, though, he stirred
and one cerulean sliver peeked out at me.
I leaned over and squeezed his hand, the necklace of shells hanging
around my neck jingling softly as I did so. That was what he had been
doing by the water when I had interrupted him earlier. He had collected
enough shell pieces to form into a necklace and had presented it to
me before the party. It was a lovely gift. I fingered it and smiled at
him and, contented, the cerulean sliver disappeared as he drifted off to
sleep again.

The End. 🙂
_____________________________________________________________________________
© Copyright July 1997 by Jessica Ferroni on all original story content.
Not meant to infringe on copyrights held by Paramount or any other copyright
holders of STAR TREK: VOYAGER. Please do not reproduce for anything other
than personal reading use (including fanzines) without written consent of
the author. Comments are welcome at evenstar17@hotmail.com.

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