<USS Banshee> "Off the Beaten Path"
- From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2005 19:30:11 -0800
“Off the Beaten Path”
by Lt. Commander Joshua Asper
Special Guest Writer:
Angelika Rose as Ada Grace
The promenade seemed to last forever. There were so many shops it seemed as if they wouldn't end. Josh had almost lost track of time as he admired the shimmering good in display cases and sales windows, but always snapped back to the beauty of the woman walking besides him. "So, I ended up a juvenile detention center. All for family honor and all that stuff. So, what about you? What kind of childhood did you have growing up?"
Not a happy one, I'm sorry to say. My mother and father were scientists, and because of new technology, and developments in different places, we ended up moving around a lot. It was really hard for me to make friends, and whenever I seemed to make one, we would end up moving the next week. And seeing as I'm an only child, I didn't really have anyone to talk to when we moved somewhere new, so I was alone most of the time.
"It's the life of most science babies, I'm afraid," Josh said as he rounded another corner having seen the same shop just minutes before. "Are we going in circles? I am getting hungry and you did promise me a dinner." Smiling, Josh looked at her and tilted his head in that charming and innocent gesture that he swore he should have copyrighted at the academy.
Ada shrugged, and turned to respond to his question, when she was met with the most adorable look she's ever seen a man give her. Every man had their trademark look, but she had never met one with a look like this. She shivered and gave him a small smile. "Caught...I didn't want to take you back to my quarters until I knew at least a little bit about you." Ada blushed and turned away, waiting for him to follow her in the opposite direction.
Smiling more on the inside than out, Josh swivelled on his heel and moved down the promenade in the direction from whence they had come. "I see. Not wanting to invite a stranger home with you. That makes sense. My roommate at Starfleet Academy was the same way. He would chat with the girl for hours before inviting them home. The problem was he was one of the ladies' man around campus and they wanted nothing more than to get into bed with him. It's a curse, he would say." Unsure of whether or not his conversation was suitable, he covered up the awkwardness with a muffled laugh before looking at the hoards of people passing.
Ada laughed out loud, in reply to his cover. Why was he so uncomfortable? "Really now? That's very interesting. If you're hinting at something, I'm not like that. If I was, I wouldn't be picking up on Starfleet officers."
"I would never have implied that...I just...I meant that..." He stammered, suddenly immensely uncomfortable.
Ada laughed again, flashing him a dazzling smile. Finding the whole conversation hilarious, she turned and looked him in the eye. "I know what you meant. And believe me, if I wasn't truly interested, we wouldn't be talking right now. Now let's go. Dinner is waiting for us." She turned, and started towards her quarters.
He had never met someone so amazingly calm and compassionate. Not a wavering step, not a slip of the tongue, not even a moment of imperfect hesitation - she was the epitome of balance. The walk was uneventful, more small talk about past and present, and without warning the quarters came upon them. "After you..." Josh said, offering his arm in a gesture for her to enter first. Gentlemanly ways would win him everything every time; Josh would bet on it.
Ada giggled slightly at the sweet gesture. Thoughts raced through her head. 'He's so charming, and even though we've only known each other for a short time, I feel something so real for this amazingly handsome man.' She sighed and walked ahead, entering her quarters.
The room was almost hospital clean. Nothing out of place and everything with its own specific nook or cranny for perfect placement. Josh smiled at himself and compared it to the virtual disaster in which his quarters had been in before Telsia had moved in. Telsia. He shook her from his mind on reflex and he briefly wondered why before disregarding that notion as well. "So, what's for dinner?"
Ada watched Josh out of the corner of her eye as he looked around. She smiled to herself. She had always prided herself on having everything clean all the time. Anyone who didn't know her was always surprised the first time they walked into her quarters. Unlike many other single women, she was as tidy as can be. She couldn't stand mess. She has always blamed it on her parents, with their surprise room inspections, and white glove tests. She turned to Josh, and smiled. "What ever you want."
"Your place, your choice." Josh said, shrugging casually.
"You're my guest. You choose." Ada smirked, enjoying the little game of cat and mouse he had started.
"Ladies first." He countered.
Ada sighed, surrendering. "Why don't we start with some wine?
Josh smiled, looking out the window at the array of stars littering the black background of space. "Nothing red, if you don't mind. A reisling would be nice if you have something in your files. A Bajoran reisling would be a good choice. I heard that 2349 is their best year." He looked at her and smiled.
Ada smiled at his request, and stepped over to the replicator. "Two glasses of Bajoran Reisling, aged 2349 please." She picked up the two glasses, inhaling the sweet scent of the wine. She slowly walked over to admire the view, gently lifting Josh's hand in her own to take the wine glass. "Is this what you were looking for?"
"Perfect." There was a moment of calm serenity between the too. He was amazed at the complexity of feelings he felt when she touched him. He nearly dropped the glass, but didn't let it show. Why was she so beautiful and alluring? Taking a sip of the wine he moved back to the couch and sat down. "A nice glass of wine is always good."
Ada nodded, in silent agreement, and followed him to the couch. Setting her wine glass down on the table in front of him, she circled the couch and stood directly behind him, her hands moving to his shoulders. "You know what goes great with a nice glass of wine? A massage. Being a Starfleet officer, I imagine you don't get many massages, which is sad because you have a very stressful job." She slowly started rubbing his shoulders, taking in his reaction.
Again, Josh almost dropped his glass. Massages, like she said, were few and far between. And, damn it, he did have a stressful job. "You don't know the half of it, you really don't. His eyes closed and he basked in the wondrous touch of multi-talented woman. He almost had to wonder what else she could do with her hands. Opening his eyes abruptly, Josh realized what he had been thinking.
It didn't matter anymore. At least he didn't think it mattered.
He almost didn’t realize it when her lips touched his. The soft presence of skin on skin made him flinch, but he didn’t resist. Without thinking, his hands went to her face and pulled her closer to him. The warmth of her body on his as they rolled flat on the couch made his head spin and he got lost in a euphoria that put him in another place.
It was moments of unidentified movement before he found himself sprawled out on a mattress with his shirt being undone. Hands - strange hands - were roaming his bare chest as a pair of lips pressed themselves again against his face. “Oh, God...”
“Josh, you’re so amazing.”
“You’re amazing,” he said in the small moments when his mouth was covered by hers.
“I’ve never felt like this about anyone.”
“Thank you so much, Josh.”
“You’re welcome, Telsia.” He stopped, eyes bolting open. The moment had been shattered by his Freudian slip. He searched her eyes as they bulged open and her head shook in disbelief. “I’m sorry.”
She stood up and moved across the room and pulled her blouse back on. “Who is she?”
Josh leaned up, supporting himself on his elbows. He ran a hand through his hair, “She’s my fiancee. I’m sorry for misleading you. I don’t know what came over me. You were just so beautiful and...”
“You just needed someone to sleep with you. What’s wrong with her? Is she ugly?”
Ada tilted her head, “Not skillful, if you catch my meaning?”
“No, it’s not that...”
She sat on the bed, staring him down and probing into his very soul. Her eyes had drained from the beautiful color that he had remembered from their time at the waterfall and transcended into a black obsidian. “Then what is it, Josh? You’re a nice guy, but there’s got to be a reason why you conveniently forgot to mention her.”
He shook his head, suddenly unsure of everything. “Nevermind. I don’t even know and I don’t feel like discussing my personal life with a complete stranger. It’s none of your business. I’ll leave and we’ll act as if it never happened.”
“You let me into your troubling childhood, but your sex life is out of the question? Explain to me the irony in that? I don’t get it.”
“Some things are better left unsaid.”
“Like the fact that you’re engaged,” Ada countered.
Josh shook his head, “Ada, it’s not like that.”
“What is it like, then?”
“I don’t expect you to understand. I don’t even understand it myself. I’m out of here. I apologize if this wasn’t what you had planned.” Josh picked up his shirt and put it on, buttoning it up as he moved back into the living area and towards the door. “It was a pleasure meeting you.”
She rolled her eyes, “Pleasure was mine.”
Josh smiled at her sarcasm and they nodded their equal understanding of the bust situation. Josh fastened the top button and then moved back into the corridor. The door slid shut and he leaned against the bulkhead. Tilting his head back, Josh thought what had just happened and the impact that it would have on his relationship with his soon-to-be wife.
It was then and there that he decided that nothing happened and nothing needed to be told. It wasn’t a lie or a secret, it was something that happened that he wasn’t proud of and would keep to himself. Everyone deserves to have some things that are known only to them. It was his right as a man. However, was it his right as a husband?
Yes, yes it was.
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