And I Love You So

Alternative ending to “The Killing Game.”

Summary: A pregnancy prompts Tom to propose to B’Elanna.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager and its characters. I’ve only
borrow the characters to satisfy my own creative urges. Archiving
is okay, just e-mail me. Please keep disclaimer and my name
attached.

AND I LOVE YOU SO
An alternative ending to “The Killing Game.” Rated G
by PJ in NH
kelhapam@lr.net

Dedicated to the pilot of my heart, my hubbie, Fred.

“I will spare your life, for now — but only because you are
carrying a German child.” threatened the Nazi officer.

“Leave her alone!” demanded Paris as he struggled and broke away
from the Nazi/Hirogen guard and approached B’Elanna.

The officer spun away from Brigitte/B’Elanna towards Tom, raised
his pistol, and fired hitting the pilot twice, once in his left
chest and once upper shoulder.

Tom’s eyes widened with surprise, he clutched his chest, and in a
cry of pain his knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground.

“You bastard!” roared B’Elanna and she knocked the Nazi out with
one
well-placed, long overdue, upper cut to his jaw and rushed to
help
Tom. Using material she had torn from her skirt, she attempted
to
stop the bleeding. “Hang in there Tom, we are almost out of
here,
you’ll be in Sickbay soon. The Doctor will fix you up.” she
promised trying to sound confident.

Tom looked up at her through a pain-filled haze, barely cognizant
of his surroundings. his hard clutched her wrist. “Help me . . .
can’t. . . breathe,” he moaned as his hand slipped from her wrist
and blackness crashed down upon him.

B’Elanna looked up and noticed that during this exchange all the
holocharacters had disappeared, obviously the Hirogen were no
longer in control of the ship. “Someone help us please!” she
screamed.

“B’Elanna, I’m coming,” shouted Chakotay from down the street,
“what’s wrong.”

“Chakotay hurry, Tom’s been shot, help me get him to Sickbay
before
he bleeds to death.” The Commander quickly helped her by
hoisting
the pilot by the shoulders while B’Elanna lifted his legs and
proceeded immediately to the Sickbay see the Doctor.

****

“Doctor, you’ve got to help Tom!” pleaded B’Elanna as she stood
beside the pilot and looked down at his pale face.

“I’m doing my best, this should help him breathe” replied the EMH
as the injected a tri-ox compound in the pilot’s neck. As he
activated the medical arch to extend above his patient he
explained, “Mr. Paris he has been shot in the shoulder and the
other projectile penetrated his left lung which will require an
operation. Now Commander please remove Lt. Torres from Sickbay
so
I can perform the procedure.”

“He’s right,” concurred the Commander and grabbed a reluctant
B’Elanna by the shoulders and attempted to steer her out of
Sickbay. “Tom’s in good hands now and the Hirogen are gone, why
don’t you get cleaned up and get something to eat. By the time
your finished maybe the operation will be complete.” Hearing the
conversation, the Doctor nodded in agreement. “See, now let’s
go,
besides I’d think you’d be glad to get out of these maternity
clothes,” he said with a little grin on his face.

“Your right, I know. Thanks for everything,” she said as she
have
Tom a kiss on his pale forehead and turned to the EMH. “Take
good
care of him Doctor, or you’ll have to answer to me,” she warned
as
the Sickbay doors slid shut behind them.

After Chakotay escorted her to her quarters, she removed the
maternity dress and prepared to take a shower. It felt good to
have the warm water cascade over her and to be clean again.
After
she was finished cleaning up, she changed into her civies and
went
to the Mess Hall, all of a sudden she was very hungry.

Using a couple of replicator rations she ordered a hot bowl of
vegetable soup and a roll and sat down and began to eat. Shortly
after she sat down, the chair across from her was pulled out and
a
very tired looking, red-eyed Harry Kim joined her. “How you
doing
Maquis?” he asked.

“Not well, Harry,” she responded not even looking up at him as
she
stirred the remaining broth. “Tom’s in the Sickbay being operated
on,” she explained. “He was shot twice in the chest before we
were
able to leave the holodeck.”

The ensign’s head snapped up. “Is he going to be alright?” he
asked
worriedly.

“The Doctor thinks so, but I can’t help it, I’m worried. I love
him Harry,” she said in a small voice, “I don’t know what I’d do
if
. . .”

“Don’t even say it,” he interrupted, “no bad thoughts okay?”

“Your right, thanks,” she said wearily as she reached over to
squeeze his hand in reassurance. As she looked up she noticed
that
he was exhausted and had a large abrasion on his left cheek.
“Looks
like *you* should be in Sickbay, what happened?”

“It’s nothing,” he chuckled, “I had a little disagreement with
one
of the Hirogen.”

“At least tell me he looks worse than you do?”

“I wish I could. Tell you what, why don’t you come down to
Sickbay
with me and we can both check on Tom while the Doc patches me up.
Okay?”

“Sounds good, I could use the company.”

****

“Welcome back Lieutenant,” the EMH said cheerfully greeting the
engineer as Harry and B’Elanna entered the Sickbay.

“How did the operation go?” she asked tentatively not even
looking
at the Doctor but to the pale figure lying quietly on the biobed
behind him.

“It went very well, very well indeed” he boasted obviously quite
pleased with himself. “He’s lost a great deal of blood, and will
need a few days to recover, especially after the injury he
received
last week during the United States of America Civil War
simulation.
He took a bayonet in the abdomen then,” he explained shaking his
balding head. It was incredible, he thought, what the crew had
had
to endure during the last few weeks, but it was fortunate they
wouldn’t remember most of it. “If you like, you can stay and
wait
for him to wake up, but don’t be too long he needs his rest,” he
admonished.”

“Thanks for everything Doctor,” B’Elanna said as she proceeded
over
to Tom, and pulled up a chair to sit beside the biobed and took
one
of his hands in both of hers.

“Mr. Kim, it appears you require medical attention.” the Doctor
stated as he appraised the ensign’s condition and reached for the
dermal regenerator. In a short period of time, Harry was healed
and had pulled up another chair on the other side of the bed and
joined B’Elanna to wait for the pilot to regain conscientious.

Forty-five minutes later.

“Harry, when do you think he’ll wake up?” asked B’Elanna for the
umpteenth time since they had sat down.

“I don’t know, it should be soon. . . look.”

Tom slowly opened his eyes and his gaze immediately fell on
B’Elanna’s face, totally oblivious that Harry was there as well.

“B’Elanna?” he said softly.

“Yes Tom, I’m here, your safe,” she explained inching forward in
her
seat in an effort to hear him better.

“I was having a wonderful dream,” he murmured as a small smile
lit
his tired face.

“Thanks nice.”

“It was about you.”

She smiled, blushed a little, and reached up to brush a few
errant
stands of hair away from his forehead.

“You were so beautiful . . . and . . . and . . . you were
pregnant.”

“Yes, Tom.” In explanation, she whispered across the bed to Harry
“I was holographically pregnant in the last Holodeck simulation.”
To which Harry nodded.

“You were so beautiful, Bea, you were carrying *our* baby, we
were
so happy.”


“Ah.
. . that’s nice” she responded shakily with a little smile on her
face “but aren’t you forgetting something,” she laughed trying to
keep it light, “we aren’t even married?”

“Okay” he said quietly as his eyes fluttered closed and the smile
returned to his lips.

“Okay what?” she asked now confused.

The drowsy blue eyes opened again. “Let’s get married.”

“Tom Paris how can we get married,” she teased, “you haven’t even
told me you love me yet.”

“But B’Elanna, I do . . I do love you . . . love you. . .” he
mumbled as sleep crept, no crashed down upon him again.

B’Elanna couldn’t believe their little conversation, shouldn’t it
go love, marriage, then babies, not the other way around?

“Well that must have been some dream,” joked Harry, but obviously
the joked flopped as he looked at the Chief Engineer with her
mouth
agape.

“Yeah, well,” stammered the engineer, “I always hoped I’d hear
those
words from him, but I didn’t think they would come out in quite
that order or under these circumstances. He probably won’t even
remember that he said them.”

“I can be your witness if you want?” he offered, a grin on his
face.

A similar grin graced her face. “Thanks anyway.”

Harry could have sworn though that there was a hint of
disappointment in her tone.

****

Three days later.

Tom woke up in his quarters for the first time since, well since
the Hirogen took control of the ship. It had been three days
since
his operation, three days of hearing the doctor painstakingly
describe the simulated ‘hunts’ the crew had been forced to endure
along with detailed accounts of the various injuries that had
been
inflicted and he had had to treat. Some of the stories were even
humorous, try as he might he couldn’t picture Neelix as a fierce
Klingon leading his fellow warriors into battle.

Three days, and every time he slept he had the same dream. It
was
a dream like none he had ever had before, a truly lovely dream
which always left him waking feel very content and satisfied.
The
dreams weren’t exactly the same every night. Some times he was
with B’Elanna in *their* cabin together, one time they were on
the
Bridge, and still another time they were in the Engineering, but
there were some things that never changed. One was that B’Elanna
was always pregnant. He had always thought that she was
beautiful,
but she was absolutely ravishing ‘with child.’ Maybe it was not
so
much the fact that she was pregnant, but what it represented, an
expression of their love, which only enhanced her beauty. It was
if she was possessed with an inner radiance. The second constant
was, that in every version of the dream, they were giddily happy,
he couldn’t ever remember being so euphoric.

Tom, old boy, maybe someone’s trying to tell you something, he
pondered on his way to the shower to get ready for his first day
back to work. And there was plenty of work, the Hirogen saw to
that.

During the three weeks the Hirogen had controlled the ship, they
had tinkered with and tampered with almost every system on board.
Needless to say, one female half-Klingon was furious to put it
mildly and she had every right to be. B’Elanna and Harry, along
with the rest of the crew, had hardly had a chance to rest from
the
invasion, before they were pulling double and triple shifts
trying
to get the ship back in order. This explained the fact that he
had
barely seen B’Elanna or Harry since his operation. In fact, he
didn’t even remember that she and Harry had been there when he
initially awoke. The Doctor told him later that they refused to
leave until he regained consciousness, and even then they were
reluctant to go. B’Elanna had only been able to come to the
Sickbay once before he was released. She was so tired during the
visit, he was able to convince her to crawl up on the nearest
biobid and rest. She had barely put her head down when she fell
to
sleep and slept for twelve hours with orders from the Doctor that
she was not be disturbed.

As he changed to take his morning shower he reached the
conclusion
that he was blessed, he was one lucky man. Not only was Harry
his
best friend, he was only one he had ever had. But B’Elanna . . .
B’Elanna was truly special, she was not only a dear friend but
his.
. . his what? lover? companion? confidant? mate? Yes, she was
all
that and more, much more, he thought as he stepped into the warm
cascade of the shower and started to lather up.

He was the coward, not her, he determined. She had admitted that
she loved him on the Day of Honor, and what had he said,
something
like ‘You picked a fine time to tell me.’ A joke, wonderful, he
had
made a joke. It should have been so easy to have returned the
sentiment, all he had to say was ‘I love you too.’ so simple, and
yet so difficult. Not that was it difficult to tell her he loved
her, he did love her and had for a long time. But, he had told
his
father he loved him and he had disowned him, and he had told
Ricki
he loved her but she had left him after Caldik Prime. If it had
been love he had felt for his father and Ricki, then what was it
he
felt for B’Elanna? The feelings he had for her were just so much
more intense that the simple words ‘I love you’ seemed woefully
inadequate. There had to be a way for him to tell her, show her,
how he felt he mused as he rinsed the soap off his back. Maybe
he
could come up with a plan while he was in Sickbay for the next
couple of days assisting the Doctor.

****

It was his second day in Sickbay and he still hadn’t come up with
a suitable location. He was alone for the afternoon performing
inventory while the Doctor was meeting with Neelix to discuss the
available food stores and the nutritional needs of the crew. In
the silence of the Sickbay, he reviewed the various options he
had
already thought of and ultimately rejected. The Holodecks
couldn’t
be used as they where still off line and with all the other items
on the ship that required repair were not considered a priority.
He had eliminated his quarters — been there, done that. The
Mess
Hall wasn’t special enough, they ate there everyday. One of the
cargo bays could be converted for the night, but it was bound to
smell of plasma coolant and would require a great deal of work to
get ready.

As he continued to contemplate his problem, Meagan Delaney
entered
the Sickbay accompanied by her sister. “It’ll be all right
Jenny,”
she said soothingly “its just a small cut, it’ll be better in no
time.” Noticing that no one was coming to their aid, she helped
Jenny sit down on one of the biobeds and began looking around for
the Doctor. She finally found his assistant in the back of the
Sickbay bent over with his head in the supply cabinet mumbling
something to himself.

“Tom?”

“What?” he said as he quickly straighten up hitting his skull on
an
upper shelf. “Aargh.” he bellowed as he reached up to rub the top
of his head.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, hard head, no problem,” he said dismissively. “What can I
do
for you?” he offered half-heartedly as he followed her over to
the
biobed area.

“Oh I’m fine, it’s Sis she got a small cut helping out in
engineering this afternoon, the way she’s acting you’d think
she’d
almost severed her arm off,” she teased.

“Hi Jenny, let’s see your arm.” She held out her right arm to the
pilot/nurse. “Oh that’s not too bad, I’ll have you fixed up
right
away,” he said solemnly as he reached for the regenerator and
started using it on her arm.

“Tom how are you doing, everything okay?” asked Meagan worriedly
noticing that Tom wasn’t he usual cheerful self.

Tom looked up at the red head. “Oh, I’m fine.”

“Come on Tom this is us your talking to, spill it, what’s up?”

“Well . . um . . . you know, maybe you could help me, that is if
you can keep a secret,” he teased. “You know ladies, you might be able to
assist me.” he offered, “I’m having a little problem, and I can’t
come up with a solution.”

“Do tell,” they both responded in stereo.

“I’m trying to plan a special evening for B’Elanna, you know
fancy
dinner, dancing, etc., but with the Holodecks out of service I
can’t come up with a suitable location. Any ideas?”

The two sisters huddled and whispered back and forth,
occasionally
making hand gestures to illustrate a point. Finally, both nodded
their heads in agreement and turned back to face the exasperated
pilot.

“Well, this may require a little work, but we think we have come
up
with the perfect solution, but you have to let us in on one
thing,
what is so special about this dinner?”

“Come on,” he wined, “that’s not fair.”

“All’s fair in love and war Tommy.”

Hands on his hips he turned away from them paced off a few steps
and turned back to face them. “If I wasn’t so desperate, I’d
never
tell you this, but I warn you if you breathe a word to anyone,
I’ll
tell Ensign Hopkins that it was you two that’s had him walking on
eggshells for the last month,” he threatened, pointing his finger
at both of them.

“How did you find out?” said the two in unison.

“I have my sources, inscrutable sources,” he said slyly.

“Your cruel, Paris, cruel,” the red head relented throwing her
arms
up in the air. “Okay you’ve got us. We know the perfect place,
it’s
Stellar Observation Room 2.”

“Stellar Observation Room 2? You mean the Attic? You know I had
forgotten about that little gem, but isn’t it being used for
temporary storage?”

“Yeah, well even good plans have a little catch. You just have
to
find the time to move a few boxes and then you’ll have something
really special, I promise. She’ll love it.”

“You know I think your right, thanks, I really appreciate the
suggestion.”

“Tom, aren’t you forgetting something?” asked Meagan.

“What? Oh yeah, the special evening for B’Elanna. Well . . .
remember you have to keep your mouth shut or Ensign Hopkins . .
.”

“Spill it Tom!”

“I’m a . . .er . . . planning to propose.”

“Wow, congratulations that’s wonderful, I’m sure she’ll say yes.”
beamed the buoyant blond, “if you need anything, anything at all
ask us. Right sis?” She elbowed the red head in the ribs to
snap
her out of her daze. “Right sis?”

“You bet, anything.” said Meagan almost too stunned to speak.

“I may have to take you up on that offer, thanks!

****

The following two days the pilot spent under the conn station
reconfiguring the Hirogen ‘modifications’ and his evenings where
spent working on the Attic. It had taken him several hours
moving
the *few* crates that had occupied that area and placing them in
the only other available space — his cabin. In the end, he had
even run of space there and had to leave several crates behind.
Maybe they could be camouflaged in some way he considered.

There was a lot that had been done the last couple of days, but
the
whole plan rested on one little question to one person who might
very likely say no, and it wasn’t the chief engineer. Near the
end
of his shift on the second day back on the bridge, he gathered
his
courage and approached Chakotay. “Commander, I was wondering if
I
could speak with you for a moment, privately.”

“Of course Lieutenant, the ready room?”

“That would be fine, sir.”

Tom followed the commander into the ready room and the two men
both
took seats opposite one another.

“So what is this about Tom?” he asked as he leaned over and
rested
his elbows on the table top.

“Well, I was hoping that you could arrange it for B’Elanna and I
. . . believe me I wouldn’t ask it if it wasn’t important. . .if
we
could have a few hours off tomorrow evening, say from 1800 to
2300?” he blurted out. There he said it, now everything depended
on the commander’s answer.

“I see.”

“What’s that about a request for some time off.” responded a
familiar voice entering the ready room from the other entrance.

Tom immediately stood in respect to his captain.

“At ease Tom, and please sit down,” Janeway ordered with a smile
on
her face as she herself took a seat.

“Cap. . Captain,” he stammered as a blush advanced from his
collar
to his hairline. “It’s just that I’m trying to plan something
special for B’Elanna and, unless there is some emergency, I was
hoping not to be interrupted for a few hours tomorrow evening.”

“Well I don’t know Tom, there is still so much to do . . . ” she
began thinking over all the work that still remained to be done
on
board.

“I beg your pardon, Captain, it’s probably not what you think.
It’s . . ah . . . well something very special, something . . .ah
.
. . hell, I’m planning to propose to B’Elanna.” he blurted out
staring at the table top and then looking up a first the
Captain’s
and then the Commander’s face.

“But that’s marvelous Tom,” gushed Janeway.

“It certainly is and about time,” agreed her First Officer.

“Thanks,” replied the relieved and surprised pilot. Things had
certainly changed in almost four years, Chakotay didn’t seem to
mind that he was going to ask his former Maquis crewmate to
become
his bride. Just a few short years ago, he would have skinned him
alive. Just a few short years ago, marriage was the furthest
thing
from Tom’s mind.

“So tell me, what are the plans?” asked the Captain as she and
the
Commander leaned over the table anxious to hear all the details.

“Well it’s like this . . .”

****

Leaving the ready room he returned to the conn momentarily before
Ensign Sims relieved him of duty and followed Harry into the
lift.

“You look quite pleased with yourself Tom.”

“That I am Harry, that I am,” he replied smugly, looking the
young
ensign over stem to stern as if trying to decided what to make of
him.

“What is it, did I get oil on my pants or someth . . .” Harry
turned
a wary eye to the pilot. “Uh, oh, I’ve seen that look before.
What’s up?”

Tom mocked innocence with one hand raised to his chest. “Harry,
what do you mean ‘what’s up?’ Why would I be up to something,
you
wound me?”

The younger man crossed his arms over his chest in an attempt to
stand his ground. “Come on, after almost four years I’ve gotten
to
know you, so tell me.”

“Harry, why don’t you join me for in the Mess Hall for dinner and
I’ll tell you all about it, and if your good I’ll even let you
help.”

“I know I should have kept my mouth shut, when will I ever
learn?”
he replied shaking his head knowing he was about to be conned
again.

****

Just one more person to line up Tom mused.

“Paris to Carey.”

“Carey here,” came the response, “what can I do for you Tom?”

This was just too easy. “Do you really want to know?”

“I don’t know, do I?”

****

Another morning, another repair, some things never change
B’Elanna
thought as she entered yet another Jeffrey Tube. How many had
there been during the last several days? She had lost count.
This
day though she had traded assignments with Harry who had been
assigned to engineering for the day. He had convinced her that
after the past few weeks if he had to crawl into another tube he
would go insane. Well crawling around the tubes, she mused, was
better than being up to her elbows in bioneural gel working with
Seven, which was the other option, so she relented. As she
neared
the broken power conduit, she thought she caught the scent of
something out of place in the tube. As she neared the
intersection
with another tube she spotted the source, a beautiful bouquet of
flowers with a card attached, previously placed there by a
willing
ensign. She reached for it and read:

“Your always in my dreams and my heart.
Please join me for dinner tonight at 01900,
Stellar Observation Room 2, formal dress required. T”

She lifted the flowers to inhale their aroma. These
thoughts kept flowing through her mind as she began working on
the
power conduit with the first smile she had on her face in several
days.

“Kim to Lt. Paris.”

“Go ahead Harry.” the pilot answered as he entered the turbolift
on
his way to the bridge.

“Everything is going according to plan Tom, thought you’d want to
know.”

“Thanks, I owe you.”

“Tom?”

“Yeah.”

“Good luck.”

As he sat at the conn, he couldn’t ever remember being this
nervous, it felt like Morovian crickets had taken up residence in
his stomach. His future all rested on what happened tonight.
Tomorrow, he would either be walking on air or down in the dumps
deep dumps. But for now, he had to concentrate piloting the
ship,
but his thoughts kept straying to the next stage of his plan.
Knowing that the Delaneys were scheduled for a late shift today,
he
decided to take them up on their offer and approached them early
this morning with his plans for the Attic along with some of his
replicator credits. They had assured him to leave everything in
their capable hands and it would be just perfect for the special
occasion. The sisters suggested that he stop by at his lunch
break
just to see if there was anything they might have missed. The
hours dragged by that morning and every time he turned around in
his seat and caught the Commander’s eye, or Captain’s eye when
she
was on the bridge, he could see their eyes twinkle with amusement
at his obvious anxiety.

Finally, lunch time arrived and as soon as he was temporarily
relieved of duty he sprinted to the Stellar Observation Room 2
anxious to see the results. As he entered the room he was
amazed,
it certainly didn’t look like a storage room any more, the
Delaneys
had certainly outdone themselves. They had transformed the room
into a secluded romantic get-away. Underneath the transparent
dome
they had placed a round dining table covered with a spotless
white
tablecloth and two chairs, and on both ends of the Attic the
remaining boxes where stacked against the wall with a cloth
covering them to serve as side tables. The remaining four boxes
were similarly covered and would serve as a bench up against the
back wall. Lightly scented candles of various sizes and shades
of
pastel decorated the side tables along with flowers and ferns
from
hydroponics. For an added touch of elegance, long white tapers
had
been placed in a silver candelabra on the dining table.

“I am absolutely flabbergasted,” beamed Tom giving each of the
Delaney sisters a dazzling smile and a kiss on the cheek as he
proceeded to walk around the room checking out every detail.
“This
is better than anything I imagined, how did you two find the time
to get all of this done?”

“Well it’s easy when the Captain orders you.” teased Jenny.

He abruptly stopped his inspection. “What?” he said in
disbelief.

“The Captain gave us orders this morning not to report to Stellar
Cartography until the Attic was up to “romantic standards,”
Meagan
said in a deep voice with her hands on her hips in her best
Captain
Janeway impression.

“She even came up here a couple of times to help arrange the
flowers and donated her own replicator credits so we could have
enough candles,” piped in her sister.

“So that’s why she was missing on the bridge on and off this
morning,” mused Tom. “It’s perfect, it couldn’t be better.”

“Yes it could,” chimed in Meagan coyly.

“I don’t see how,” he countered.

“How about donated replicator credits for your dinner or . .
whatever?” challenged Jenny as she handed him a datapadd which
indicated that a sizable number of credits had been transferred
to
his account.

He grasped the pad. “Your kidding? Who donated credits?”

“Let’s see, the Captain, Harry, Seven, Carey, the Commander,
Meagan
and I, and maybe a few others.”

“I’m totally speechless.”

“Quick, Jenny get this on a vidcam, Tom’s speechless, Vulcan must
have frozen over, inform Tuvok!” They all broke down and laughed.

“Jenny, Meagan, I wish I could stay and help, but I have one more
thing to do before I have to report back to the bridge for the
afternoon shift and believe me these,” he said waving the data
padd, “are going to make all the difference. Thanks again
ladies,
I’ll never forget it, I owe you.”

“You owe us all the dirt on what happens tonight, well at least
some of the dirt,” said Jenny.

“Yeah,” countered the red head with a grin, “we want to be the
first
to know when she says ‘yes’ so we can start planning the bridal
shower.”

Laughing and nodding his head, Tom quickly left the Attic and
headed to his own quarters. He wished he was as confident as
they
were regarding the outcome of the evening.

With the donated credits along with some of his own saved over
the
past few months, his next task proved to be much easier. He
strode
over to his replicator and placed his order “One engagement ring
pattern Paris Torres Omega, size. . . oh access databanks and
select whatever size Lt. Torres’ left ring finger is.” Within
moments an exquisite gold engagement ring had been replicated.
Over the past few days, he had scrapped design after design until
he finally decided on a ring created out of two delicate yellow
and
white gold bands intertwined around each other to symbolize their
love with an oval-shaped Equarian diamond perched in the center
expressing the hope of the future. Placing it in a safe place in
his quarters, he returned to the bridge, whistling all the way.

If he thought the morning dragged, the afternoon was ten times
worse, every minute seemed like an hour. Please, he thought, how
about a little asteroid field to fly through, something to keep
the
mind and body occupied. But no, just a boring afternoon flying
in
a straight line.

Finally, about 1530, the Commander turned to the Captain.
“Doesn’t
seem to be much going on this afternoon Captain” he said with a
wink and a mock yawn. “Have I ever told you there are times I
miss
being where all the excitement is?” he said in a voice that
carried
all the way down front to the conn.

“You know I think your right, it’s just another typical boring
day
on Voyager, why don’t you see if Tom will relinquish the helm for
the remainder of his shift? Maybe that will keep you occupied?
I
wouldn’t want you to bored.” the Captain replied with a smirk.

“Aye, aye Captain.” he said as he stood up saluting her with a
silly
grin on his face.

“It appears Tom,” she ordered the stunned Lieutenant, “that you
have
been relieved from duty for the day.”

The Commander was already at Tom’s side prepared to take his
place
as Tom turned around. “Yes ma’am, thank you, and thank you, sir.”

“Have fun Tom, and good luck, but I don’t think you’ll need it.”
quirked the Indian as he slapped the pilot on the back and sat
down
at the conn.

“Thanks again, but if you have time, maybe few words to your
spirit
guide? It couldn’t hurt. Okay?” Tom then entered the turbolift
with a nervous grin on his face. The smile was returned by
everyone on the bridge.

****

“What to wear, what to wear?” B’Elanna asked herself as she made
a
sketch on her datapadd, she looked up every once in a while to
admire the flowers in the vase and to inhale their scent as she
contemplated the design. She had come to the conclusion an hour
ago that she had *nothing to wear* and had been working on the
*perfect* dress since then. When she was satisfied with her
design, she inputted the information into the computer and
instructed the machine to replicate an off-the-shoulder, white
silk, floor length dress to her specifications and to charge it
to
her account. Within seconds the beautiful dress appeared in the
replicator.

“Computer how many credits do I have left?” she inquired.

“Thirty-two.”

“Computer, create a single strand 45-centimeter pearl necklace.”

“Acknowledged.”

“Now all I have to do is shower, no I think a bubble bath would
be
better, and get dressed.” She was very excited, she couldn’t
wait
to see what Tom had planned. It had to be special, but she
couldn’t figure out why it was in the Attic of all places.

****

Tom nervously paced inside his quarters carefully avoiding the
crates of maintenance supplies which had limited his pacing to
three steps a turn and three steps back. He was already dressed
in
a pale blue shirt, black vest, and black slacks. For the ninth
time in the last forty-five minutes, he reached inside the vest
pocket and extracted the ring to examine it and to buff it
against
his sleeve. It was now 1845 and it wouldn’t be long before he
would be up in the Stellar Observation Room 2 with B’Elanna.
Please let everything go right he prayed.

Shortly before 1900, B’Elanna and a very anxious pilot left their
quarters and made their way to their respective turbolifts that
would take them to the Attic. They arrived almost simultaneously
meeting each other in front of the door to the room in which
their
future would be decided.

There before him was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen, a
vision of elegance. “B’Elanna,” he began taking her hands in his
looking her over from head to toe, “You look absolutely
stunning.”

B’Elanna blushed a little but thanked him and returned the
compliment.

They both entered the room together. It was breathtaking, even
better than when he had seen it at lunch. The candles were
glowing
and along with the flowers emitted a delicate floral scent, the
china glistened, and the stars twinkled magically all around
them.
In the background, music could be heard from an invisible string
quartet.

“Tom this is just enchanting,” she gasped as she turned
completely
around to view the whole room causing her gown to swirl around
her
body. “You certainly outdid yourself.”

“It certainly is,” he replied but he was not looking at the room.
Realizing what she was referring to brought him back to reality
“I
wish I could take all the credit for the transformation, but I
had
a little help.” he replied sheepishly as he guided her over to
the
table, seated her, and as he helped her push in her chair gave
her
a kiss on her cheek. “Nothing is too good for you Bea.” he
responded. “I want this night to be special.”

He was totally sincere she noted, the honest-to-goodness genuine
article. No walls were up tonight.

Out of nowhere Joe Carey, playing the part of a waiter, appeared
with menus in his left hand and a water pitcher in his right
hand.
He proceeded to fill their glasses and offered them menus,
playing
his role to the hilt. “While you make your decision, can I offer
you some wine, maybe a Merlot or champagne?” At Tom’s raised
eyebrow, he whispered to the helmsman, “You talked me in to being
your waiter, but I draw the line at the French accent.”

The pilot chuckled, “Merci Joe and I think this evening calls for
a bit of the bubbly.”

B’Elanna giggled as they opened the menus, “What happened, did
you
beat him at pool and he ran out of replicator credits?”

“Something like that, I’ll tell you later,” he said with a grin,
“So
what sounds good to you?”

They dined on spinach salad, Salmon ala Schoodic, wild rice, and
sauteed vegetables in a light sauce, desert followed — a
delightful concoction of chocolate and raspberries. The meal had
been enhanced with light conversation, peppered with jokes and
remembrances.

“Tom that was the best dinner I think I’ve every had,” she
sighed,
delicately wiping her lips with her napkin. “Thank you. You must
remember to give Joe a good tip now, he’s done a great job, even
without the French accent.”

“Believe me, the pleasure was all mine. And don’t worry, I won’t
forget Joe.”

“By the way, how did you ever save enough credits for all this?”
she
challenged.

“Like I said, I’ll tell you later.” Looking at her questionable
expression he added, “believe me Bea, its all on the up and up, I
promise.”

“Well . . . just remember I’m watching you.”

“I’m counting on that,” he replied. As the quartet starting play
a musical selection from the 20th Century, the pilot placed his
napkin on the table, rose from his seat, and approached the
beautiful half-Klingon. With a deep bow and a flamboyant sweep
of
his arm asked “Dear lady, will you do me the honor of dancing
with
me?”

She rose out of her chair and with a curtsey and smile responded
“I
thought you would never ask, kind sir.”

Joe quietly picked up the table, leaving an envelope, and left
the
dining room for the night knowing that his services would no
longer
be required.

Tom held her close and they danced. She relished his touch and
the
woodsy smell of his aftershave. This felt so right she thought,
she had never felt so special, so loved. She was so lucky,
coming
to the Delta Quadrant and finding this man were the best things
that ever could have happened to her.

Tom echoed her silent thoughts as he guided her around the room.
If anyone told him he would be doing
what he had planned on tonight four years ago he would have
informed them that they were crazy. Instead, here he was dancing
with the most gorgeous woman in the universe. As if hearing his
thoughts she looked up him and he could see the stars reflected
in
her deep brown eyes, it took his breath away and he gave her a
kiss
and pulled her closer.

“B’Elanna,” he whispered next to her ear, “your beautiful,
absolutely exquisite.”

Those words sent chills right down her spine. “Oh Tom.” she
blushed,
“your the only one that has ever made be feel beautiful.”

Tom then proceeded to kiss his way from her ear all the way down
to
her bare shoulder and back up to her ear again with a nibble or
two
thrown in along the way. Here goes everything he thought as he
skillfully twirled her around. “B’Elanna, I know I haven’t told
you
this before but not only do I love you,” he whispered again, “I
absolutely adore you.”

She immediately stopped dancing and star-flecked brown eyes
locked
with star-flecked blue eyes.

“Did you hear me Bea?” he asked as he brought his hand up to
caress
her cheek, “I love you, I adore you. And I should have told you
a
long time ago.” He bent down and pressed his lips to hers and
gave
her a passionate kiss.

As they both breathlessly pulled away she replied “I heard you,
Tom. I love you too.” She then rested her head against his
chest,
just where it belongs she thought, and they began moving with the
music again. After a couple of songs had played Tom started
humming along with the current selection.

“That’s beautiful,” she commented, “what’s the name of the song?”

“Oh just something I stumbled upon a few months back. Actually,
there are vocals that were originally part of the song. Would
you
like to hear them?” She nodded. “Computer re-queue current song
“And I Love You So*,” original version and include vocals. With
the
gentle sounds of a guitar being plucked, the song began:

And I love you so,
people ask me how,
how I’ve lived til now,
I tell them I don’t know.

I guess they understand,
how lonely life has been,
but life began again,
the day you took my hand.

And yes, I know how lonely life can be,
the shadows follow me and the night won’t set me free,
but I don’t let the evening get me down,
now that your around me.

And you love me too,
your thoughts are just for me,
you set my spirit free,
I’m happy that you do.

The book of life is brief,
once the page is read,
all but love is dead,
that is my belief.

And yes, I know how loveless life can be,
the shadows follow me and the night won’t set me free,
but I don’t let the evening bring me down,
now that your around me.

And I love you so,
people ask me now,
how I’ve lived til now,
I tell them, I don’t know.

“Tom that’s absolutely beautiful. Such a simple song but it
speaks
volumes.”

“I thought so too when I first heard it. It reminds me of us.”

After several more minutes of dancing, kissing, and touching, Tom
gathered his courage and led her over to the bench against the
wall
and asked her to sit down. As she did so he knelt on one knee
took
her hand in his, and kissed it. “Bea, I love you, I can’t imagine
my life without you, you make me complete. Before Voyager, I may
have been breathing but I wasn’t living, my life had no purpose.
I don’t want to be alone any more, I want to go to sleep with you
and wake up every morning with you beside me. You mean
everything
to me.” He reached into his vest pocket and produced the
sparkling
ring. “B’Elanna,
will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

She didn’t know what to say, she couldn’t believe it. This
handsome, wonderful man had not only finally told her he loved
her
but was proposing too. No, this must be a dream, a wonderful,
enchanting dream, but a dream nonetheless. But . . . then if
this
was a dream, why did it seem so real? Why could she smell the
flowers and his aftershave so clearly? Why was her heart
pounding
so hard? No, on second thought this was real, she didn’t know
what
she had done to deserve this, but it was real. A smile grew on
her
face, first starting with her lips and finally encompassing her
whole face as tears threatened to fall from her eyes. “Tom, I
would be honored to be your wife.” She said as the tears began
to
fall from her liquid brown eyes.

Tom slipped the ring onto her finger, stood up, and bent down and
pulled her to him giving her a kiss that left her toes tingling.
“B’Elanna, you’ve made me the happiest man in the universe. I
promise you won’t regret it.”

“Never, Tom, I could never regret it.”

“By the way Bea,” he laughed. “It’s a good thing you said yes,
or
I’d be paying back replicator credits until we returned home.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well lets see, the Captain, Harry, Chakotay, Carey, Jenny and
Meagan, and probably a few others, all donated credits and/or
their
time to make sure that this night went off as planned.”

“We’re very fortunate to have found so many friends.”

“Very fortunate indeed.”

They danced to several more songs, stopping occasionally to kiss,
touch, and talk, until they finally realized that it was getting
late.

“As much as I would like this to never end, Bea, I think it’s
time
to blow out the candles and leave. We both have early shifts
tomorrow and Harry volunteered to clean up tonight and I know his
due on the bridge even before me,” to which she reluctantly
nodded.

“Your right, we don’t want to alienate our friends, especially
after all they did to make this night so special. But how about
one last glass of champagne?”

“Sounds good.” He reached for the bottle and poured the remainder
of the bottle into their two crystal flutes and handed one to his
companion. “How about a toast, to the future?”

“To the future.” she echoed as they clinked their glasses
together,
smiled, and drank the remaining champagne.

“Well unfortunately tomorrow morning going to be here before we
know it,” he replied as he proceeded to blow out the half-burned
tapers.

B’Elanna then noticed the envelop on the table. “Tom what’s
this?”
she queried as she picked up the envelope from the table.

“Beats me, it wasn’t anything I planned.”

“Well its addressed to the happiest couple on Voyager, any idea
who
they might be?” she teased.

“Let’s see, maybe Joe and Sam?. No? How about Harry and . . .”
and she playfully slapped him with the envelope. “Oh that’s
right,”
me teased, “it must be us, why don’t you open it up.”

“Good idea flyboy.”

She tore open the envelop and extracted a note, it read:

To the happiest couple on Voyager,

Because we already know the outcome of this evening,
we wanted to be the first to say congratulations.
You are both invited to attend an engagement party
next Tuesday in Holodeck 2, after all you’ll be the
guests of honor.

It was signed by all their friends that had contributed
to their special evening

P.S. By the way, you both are relieved from duty for
the next 36 hours. Have fun. Signed the Captain.

“I guess they had no doubt.” said Tom.

“And you did?” she questioned poking him in the arm in jest.

“Sometimes B’Elanna I think my whole life before this point had
been nothing but doubt.”

“Not anymore Tom,” she responded with a twinkle in her eyes. “How
about we wrap up this magical evening with a trip to my
quarters?”

“Your quarters?”

“I think that I’d like to go to sleep with you tonight and wake
up
beside you in the morning. Of course, I might come up with a few
more ideas in addition to just sleeping.”

“If you don’t, I will.” he promised.

The End.

Please send e-mail PJ in NH at kelhapam@lr.net, if only just to
tell me your read the story and survived, you don’t even have to
tell me you liked it. Thanks.

Also, for a bit of trivia, from Tom and B’Elanna’s dinner
selection, can you deduce where I spent my summers growing up?

*And I Love You So, performed by Don McLean can be found on “The
Best of Don McLean, EMI a Division of Capitol Records, 1988.”

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