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AUTHOR'S NOTE/WARNING: Alludes to adult situations. It is designed to be read by adults and not intended for children. Caution is advised if any of the above is offensive. WARNING TO THE WARNING: You’ve been warned.
[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
A Wandering Eye
“No word yet from the committee about my paper.” Marielle let her fork slice through the dark chocolate cake. Her eyes were on the dessert on her plate. “But that’s pretty normal, right? I mean, that doesn’t mean it’s been rejected.”
He sat in the booth with one shoulder resting against the wall. A talk with Ryan Winnetka had long ago dashed his hopes that might improve regarding his night life with Marielle. ‘Nah, it’s normal to dial it back once you get into a routine,’ the Chicago native had said. Gideon grunted softly at her question and lifted the dark glass bottle of beer to take a pull. His gaze shifted briefly toward the diminutive woman across from him before he set the bottle back on the table and turned his chin back to the other denizens of the Helios lounge. “You said it was normal to take up to three months to hear back.”
“But the conference is in four months,” she murmured. “I knew I should have submitted it sooner. I really shouldn’t have waited for the last minute.” Marielle nearly stabbed the plate with the tines of her fork. She paused to take a bite, allowing the moist chocolate cake to melt on her tongue before she slid the fork from between her lips. A soft contented moan escaped her as she relaxed. “I cannot remember the last time I had dessert.”
“Me neither,” he murmured as he lifted the bottle to his lips once again. He really would have preferred to have a glass of whisky or bourbon. It wasn’t resentment that built within him, but sorrow. He mourned the once exciting lifestyle that he and Marielle had shared. His fate was hard to swallow. A soft sigh fell from his lips as he finished the beer and slid the bottle on the table.
“It’d be stupid of them to reject the paper,” she attempted to convince herself. “It’s a good theory. The equations are sound. The simulations are promising.” Marielle nodded with her words, though she wasn’t convinced. Self-doubt moved through her. ‘I rushed through the equations. I shouldn’t have submitted it. It barely qualifies as a proper paper and I put my name on it.’ She sighed softly. ‘But it’d be so nice to get to Lusola III. It’d be a great holiday. Sailing, walking the beach- He’d be so surprised and what a great way to celebrate- We’ll be together for a year by then. Wow.’ The researcher shook her head as if doing so would allow her to remove the doubt from her head. “Yeah. It’ll get into the conference.” She let the fork move through the layers of the slice of cake.
‘Gods El.’ His eyes rolled briefly to the ceiling before he shifted slightly to straighten on the bench. ‘I love you so much, but lay off the frakking paper. You’ve done everything you could, worrying about it now just distracts you from other things.’ Cobalt moved to study her and he quickly turned his gaze away so she wouldn’t see the accusation in his hues. ‘Like me.’ “It’ll get into the conference,” he assured her, as if he knew one way or the other. He propped his elbows on the table and clasped his hands to rest his jaw on his knuckles. ‘From ten rounds a night to once a week. How pathetic are we.’
She could only nod as she took another bite of the chocolate cake. Her tongue swept over her lips to steal any hint of icing that remained. Another soft moan escaped her. “I haven’t had a proper bake night in so long,” she lamented. “I should fix that.” Marielle looked up to smile at her boyfriend. The distant look in his eyes had her frowning. The downward pull was quickly amended to the barest of smiles. “Hey. I’m sorry. I’ve been rattling on about some stupid paper,” she started softly as she placed the fork on her plate. “How was your day?”
His elbows slid on the table so his forearms rested on the surface, his fingers still interlocked. Gideon turned his head to glance at Marielle and he pushed a smile to his features. A quick blink had him focusing completely on the diminutive woman across from him. “You don’t need to apologize,” he assured her quietly. “It’s important to you.” The half-Bajoran leaned forward slightly and shook his head. “My day was just like the others. Class, patrol, training.” It was easy to inject some brightness into his tone.
“I never thought- that taking Yari up on his invitation would have us so busy,” she sighed and shook her head slightly. She smiled at him sadly. “I feel like I rarely see you these days. Have you been going to game night? It’s been a while since I’ve gone.”
It took everything in him not to speak his mind. ‘You haven’t seen me in three weeks. I have breakfast and dinner with you, we fall asleep and wake up next to each other but I may as well not be there.’ His jaw clenched briefly and he chuckled quietly. “Went last week,” he revealed easily. “It’s tomorrow if you feel up for it.”
“I can’t tomorrow,” she sighed. “I’ve got a subspace call with my father.” She wrinkled her nose. “I have a feeling that I’m not really going to be in the mood to be sociable.”
“You want me to hang around? Moral support?” Concern moved through him easily, trumping most of his other emotion. Tension pulled his muscles and his thumbs pressed against the table.
She shook her head and smiled warmly at him. “No. It’s fine,” Marielle assured him. “If it’s anything related to, you know, I can weasel my way out of it.” She reached out for his hand, fingers light over his. A gentle squeeze spoke volumes of how much she appreciated him. “You’ll tell everyone I miss them, yeah? I’ll try and make sure my schedule is free next week so I can join you.”
Gideon had turned his hand and he tenderly squeezed her fingers in return. “Yeah,” he agreed quietly and with a brief nod. He sighed softly when the diminutive woman pulled her hand from his and he reached up to comb his fingers through his light brown strands. His gaze shifted back toward the lounge and he focused on a lieutenant from science when their gazes met. He watched as the red haired woman blushed and lifted her fingers to wave at him.
She lifted her chin and smiled warmly at Gideon. She was about ready to ask if he was free the following afternoon for a picnic when she caught the glint of interest in his eyes. Subtly, she followed the direction of his gaze and her heart sank as she caught a redhead at the bar quickly shift her eyes away from their booth. Marielle turned her head to study the half-Bajoran for a brief moment before her eyes settled on her plate. ‘That was quick,’ she thought sadly. She found she couldn’t even bring herself to be upset - as if she’d known it would eventually happen. ‘I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been so selfish. This is my fault.’ She reached for her glass of water and took a sip. ‘Too much and too little, all over again.’
His attention had moved to the other patrons of the lounge and his brows furrowed when he felt the surge of sadness from the woman across from him. Gideon focused on Marielle with a slight tilt of his chin before leaning forward toward her. “What’s going on?” he asked quietly. His fingers had interlaced once again and his forearms remained flush against the table.
Marielle lifted her gaze to meet his and she forced a smile to her lips. She shook her head quickly as she buried the doubt and pain. Logos easily brought up a happier memory, which lifted her spirits. “Nothing,” she managed. “I was- just reminded of some universal truths.” The researcher slowly slid from the booth. “I should get going. I’ll see you later, yeah?” She moved to stand beside him, ready to lean forward to kiss him on the cheek. She stopped when she realized they were surrounded by their peers and he didn’t care for such public displays of affection. ‘Maybe it’s because it breaks the whole ‘Giddy’ reputation?’
His hand lifted to rest on her side and he frowned when she hesitated. “Where are you going?” He didn’t recall that she had anything to do after their dinner. Gideon slid along the bench to step out of the booth.
She took a step back to allow him room to leave the booth. “Just work,” she explained weakly. Marielle waved for him to stay. “It’ll be boring. You should just- Enjoy yourself. I’ll see you later.” She turned to hide her face and she quietly made her way towards the exit. ‘I told myself I’d accept whatever he was willing to give. This is just who he is. There’s no point in arguing. After everything I put him through- I just thought we were fine. It can’t just be about the- I know we haven’t- He loves me for more than that.’ The moment the doors closed behind her, her strides became hurried. She found herself unable to confidently argue against her doubts. ‘I got lazy. I haven’t been paying attention. Frak. He’s going to start looking elsewhere if I don’t fix this.’
He sat at the end of the bench, prepared to push himself to his feet but he found himself unable to do so. Gideon stared after her as she walked out of the Helios lounge. He nearly fell back and grunted softly with his frown. ‘This is getting bad. We’re going to have to talk again.’ The half-Bajoran sighed heavily and lifted his hand to call over the waiter. He needed a drink.
Copyright 2018. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud and Gideon M. Salieri, including character biographies and published stories, are the property of the United Space Federation and its author. It cannot be reproduced, imitated, and copied without written permission from the authors. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction using aspects of the Star Trek universe as created and copyrighted/trademarked by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and their affiliates.