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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Stardate: 1707.09 [09 July, 2017]
Game Night Tension
Erik stuffed his hands deep into his lab coat pockets, grumbling softly as he walked towards the Lounge. His purple eyes drifted to the engineer beside him, who practically skipped down the hallway as they turned the last corner. He could hear the ruckus already - not just the jovial sounds of the joshing security officers but also the mixture of souls. It was going to be a difficult night. He had thought he was going to be spending the evening with the engineer, quietly enjoying another movie marathon. Their walk in the holodeck earlier that day had been pleasant and the idea of sharing the woman with the security department didn’t exactly make him happy. “Why do we need to be here again? ” he grumbled. He had been looking forward all day to another movie night with Marielle, only to be completely taken by surprise by her nagging to have him join her for some insipid game night with the security team. He had been ready to tell her to frak off, but the woman just batted her eyes and said please. “You owe me for this.”
Marielle only chuckled as she clasped her hands behind her back. She purposefully leaned over, bumping her shoulder into his arm. “Don’t be such a curmudgeon,” the engineer lectured, “People should see that you’re not some frightening oaf. Make some friends.”
The Draconian was about to tell her he had just the right number of friends when they entered the proximity sensors for the lounge. The doors opened, the sounds of laughter making his ears twitch. He grumbled under his breath as he glanced around. There were easily fifteen people in the intimate space - all gold uniforms save for the one blue that belonged to the lush, Cana Graves. His eye twitched at the sight of the woman as she chugged straight from a pitcher of beer.
His eyes moved to the engineer by his side, watching as she giggled softly and waved. “Geez. ‘You wanna go where people know, people are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name’?” Erik asked her, his baritone voice gruffly quoting the verse.
Gideon glanced up as her name was called out, a smile creeping into his features as he turned his head toward the door. The security officer hummed when his cobalt irises locked onto Marielle. He blinked, then, when he saw the counselor. His brows furrowed and he wondered why exactly the Draconian would join them. ‘She must have dragged him along. Why though?’
“Something like that, though not as depressing,” she giggled softly. Her hands grabbed his hand, slender fingers gently wrapping around his wrist as she pulled his hand from his lab coat pocket. Her hand moved to wrap around his calloused fingers as she began to lead him towards the larger game table. Bright flawless green eyes swept through the lounge as she dragged the Draconian behind her. “Hey guys!” she greeted, the melodic dulcet voice easily filling the lounge. “Got room for two more?”
Mark Huntsman leaned over to Jackson Mccaslin and whispered, “What’s the Counselor doing here?” His eyes fell to their joined hands. Mccaslin only shrugged, though he did look up from his cards. The southern gentleman shook his head. “This is going to piss off Cana,” he muttered.
Cana Graves, Ryan Winnetka, Jessie Jessup, and Jonathan Battey were all seated at the same table as Gideon Salieri. The core group of friends smiled at Marielle as she approached the empty chairs at their table, though they were unable to hide their surprise at seeing the Draconian being led in their direction.
“He’s royally screwing up the odds,” the nurse mumbled under her breath.
“I didn’t think he socialized,” muttered Rico Suave to Sreagon. The pair were seated with Huntsman and Mccaslin, their table filled with Dasre Lebaun and Pierce Takaesu.
“Behave,” the security chief barked, his gaze searching for each of the officers at the table. Gideon glanced toward Rico and the others. He picked his cards back up and nodded toward Marielle. “Have a seat. We’re almost done with this hand.”
Marielle grinned as she took the empty seat next to Gideon. “What are we playing tonight?” she asked, watching as Cana flipped over a fifth card on the table.
Gideon smiled at the engineer, leaning toward her to bump her shoulder with his. “Good to see you.” It had been just that morning Marielle visited Security with a breakfast and the paintings, and the Betazoid mix had stopped by Engineering on his way into work the day before yesterday. He hadn’t expected to see her again today, so it was a pleasant surprise.
She graced him with her bright warm smile, complete with a twinkle of delight in her vibrant green eyes. “Yeah. Not sick of seeing me again?” The engineer turned to her other side, green eyes moving up to find Erik’s glowering gaze wandering throughout the lounge. She rolled her eyes at the ship’s counselor. Realizing their hands were still joined, she simply tugged on his calloused fingers. “Sit down, you cantankerous ass!”
Erik snapped out of his daze. He had been staring at Jackson, his eye twitching at the sound of the crewman’s soul - a high-speed shuttle race through an intricate set of obstacles. The shuttle in his soul kept veering off course. It was the weirdest thing he’d ever seen, and certainly not a good indication of his mental state as a security officer. The Draconian grunted as he fell into the seat, Marielle to his left and a laughing Cana to his right. Erik glared at her as she made a whipping sound. He leaned to the engineer to his left and growled in her ear. A slight smirk curled his lips up when he visibly watched her shiver at the sound. “Have I told you that you owe me for this?” he muttered softly.
Gideon shook his head, not answering the question otherwise. He glanced at Cana and then his hand before revealing the cards to Marielle. “What do you think?” The security officer leaned closer to the engineer in an effort to keep her focus away from Erik.
The engineer leaned towards the security officer, the top of her head brushing at the tip of his nose. “Hmmm,” she hummed as her eyes moved to the cards on the table. Cupping her mouth to hide the movement, she whispered into his ear.
A shiver moved from his ear to his toes, his body squirming slightly as her hot breath tickled the sensitive skin of his ear. He wrinkled his nose and shook his head as he leaned back, sticking his tongue out at the engineer. “You’re helpful.” Gideon reached to his pile of chips and raised.
“So. Doc,” Winnetka cleared his throat. “Uh.” He scratched the top of his head. Being polite to the Draconian was difficult with the man simply staring at him. Ryan threw his chips into the pile in response to Gideon. “Good to have you back,” he said weakly.
Straightening in her seat, Marielle turned her attention to the Draconian. “Be polite,” she warned as she elbowed the man playfully.
Erik watched the chips fall. He pointed to the engineer by his side. “She made me come. No need to force conversation.”
Marielle laughed, her elbow leaning on the edge as she watched Jessup throw down his cards to bow out of the hand and Battey followed by throwing in a few chips to match Gideon’s raise. “No, no. Definitely force conversation,” she mused, her hand darting out to push Erik’s shoulder without looking at him. “I’m trying to socialize him.”
“Like a puppy!” Cana laughed from behind her pitcher. “That’s adorable!” The comment had the lounge laughing aloud, albeit uncomfortably. It stopped when Erik growled, though the nurse continued to guffaw at his expense. She watched as Gideon, Winnetka, and Battey showed their hands, snickering at Winnetka and Battey grumbled at their loss to Gideon yet again.
The engineer only rolled her eyes and turned to Gideon. “He was going to make me watch a horror flick tonight. Something called Ringu?” She turned to the Draconian and wrinkled her nose at him. “I hate horror movies. Why can’t we just have another marathon of romantic movies? Rom coms? Last night was so much fun!”
He ignored the snickers of the team around them. “You’re going to ruin my rep, Bright Eyes,” he grumbled as he felt his neck warming to a healthy red. Erik watched as the tipsy nurse by his side shuffled the cards and as Marielle divided the available chips between them. “Besides, it’s not that bad. You’ll hide under my arm the entire time,” he snickered.
He was collecting his chips as he spoke. “The guys have missed you. Bilbo makes the crisps, but nothing else is the same.” Gideon glanced briefly at Vaeros, then back toward Marielle. The counselor was obviously out of place in the loud and boisterous lounge.
She had been ready to give the Draconian by her side a biting retort when Gideon’s words caught her attention. The engineer turned her attention to the security officer to her left, a teasing grin on her lips despite the slightly apologetic glint to her eyes. “You mean they miss the pastries I bring with me.”
“You promised me that cla- cla-,” Sreagon stammered on purpose.
“Don’t fall for it,” Gideon warned as Cana began dealing a new game. He smirked toward the Rigelian and ducked as a card was whipped in his direction.
“Clafoutis grand-mère aux cerises ou clafoutis aux poire?” Marielle’s gaze flickered between Gideon and Sreagon.
“Ellie, never change,” Cana snickered. “Omaha High, Beautiful. Remember how to play?”
Erik only smirked as he grabbed his cards, calloused fingers bending at the corner of the card. “Gonna agree with the lush, Bright Eyes. Never change.” The Draconian watched as Sreagon all but melted in his chair as he shifted in his seat. He grumbled as Huntsman and Mccaslin also shifted in their chairs, the tips of their ears red. The counselor looked to the engineer beside him, his head shaking.
She nodded as she stared at her five cards, watching as Cana flipped over three and placed them on the table. Marielle’s eyes lifted to the ceiling as she thought.
Winnetka reached down and picked up the card Sreagon had thrown, tossing it back to the other table. He returned his attention to the game, tossing in his two chips to buy in.
“You could at least try to bluff when you’re counting the cards,” Gideon quipped, smirking as he glanced at Marielle before tossing his chips in. He waited until Marielle looked in his direction before winking at the engineer. He then nodded in Erik’s direction. “And no mind reading.”
“I read souls, Fabio.” Erik threw in two chips.
Marielle filled her cheeks up with air as her head turned to the security officer by her side. “You didn’t mind it the last hand,” she wrinkled her nose at him. As she threw in her chips, she laughed as Winnetka, Jessup, and Battey all grumbled at Gideon.
He chuckled softly, raising his index finger to his lips. “Shhhh. Our secret.” Gideon raised his hand against a chip being thrown in his direction, shaking his head as he tossed it back at Battey.
Laughing softly, Marielle leaned forward and made a show of whispering. “I think they’re onto us, Gid.”
Gideon leaned forward as well, hovering into Marielle’s personal bubble. “We really need to work on your bluff.” His cobalt irises focused on her emerald green hues, mirth twinkling in his eyes.
“I bluff just fine, thank you very much,” the engineer insisted as she looked up at him through her lashes. She pinned her lower lip with her teeth to stop from laughing.
The Draconian watched as the engineer and Gideon, his lips forming a thin line. Huffing, his eyes returned to his cards before he watched Cana flip over a fourth card. He held his cards with one hand as his free hand slid to the small of her back. When she leaned in his direction - and more importantly, away from Salieri - he muttered in her ear, “You sure you don’t want to just go back to your quarters and cuddle up watching a movie?” He purposefully allowed his voice to carry so that security chief could hear. He placed his cards face down as he threw in two chips, then two more.
The engineer shook her head at Erik, smiling at him as her green met his purple. She leaned back a bit, her cheeks a bit flushed at his closeness. “If it’s too much for you, then we’ll go. I promise. But, you have to play one hand at least.” She was about to peek down at her cards, but then Marielle pressed them to her chest. “No peeking!” A slender finger pressed into the Draconian’s forehead as she pushed him back with a laugh. Once he straightened in his seat, the engineer looked down at her cards and threw in two chips before adding two more to match Erik’s bet. Marielle turned to Gideon. “Are you joining me for bake night soon? I was thinking we’d attempt something traditional. Gateau orange et gingembre, maybe? Though, I’d honestly prefer millefeuille aux fraises. If you’re game for something a bit more ornate.”
“Make her say it again,” groaned Sreagon softly. Rico and Huntsman nodded in earnest.
Winnetka, Jessup, and Battey all laughed softly. The three men only shook their heads, each tossing in their chips. Though, Jessup wiggled in his seat discretely.
He’d been quietly sulking, leaned forward against the table, one elbow on the table, fingers propping his chin while his other hand played with the chips he was preparing to toss into the pot at his turn. Gideon blinked and raised a brow toward Marielle, grinning behind his fingers. “Bless you.” After the chuckling died down, the Betazoid mix nodded and dropped his hand from his face. “I’ll be there with bells on,” he said with a grin. “Will we be able to finish the mill aux phrases in one night if it’s ornate?”
Marielle giggled softly. “Honestly, Gideon.” The engineer turned to the Betazoid mix and leaned forward as she pointed to her mouth with a slender finger. “Mille-feuille aux fraises,” she repeated softly. Her head shook slightly as she chuckled. “Pas si difficile à dire, Gédéon. (It’s not that difficult.)”
Sreagon groaned, his head falling to his table as he covered his lap with his fanned out cards. “Oh, Gods,” he muttered under his breath.
Gideon leaned to one side, pointing at the other table. “You owe me.” The security officer returned his full attention to Marielle, licking his lower lip as he grinned. “Mill a few ill aux fray isis.” Raising a brow, he waited to hear if he’d gotten it right, a hand held out for show.
Erik leaned over just as Marielle was about to utter the words, his hand covering the engineer’s mouth as his other remained gently resting on the small of her back. He pulled her closer to him. His head ducked as he whispered in her ear, grinning as she shivered when his breath ghosted her skin. “Don’t, Bright Eyes. They’re doing it on purpose.”
“Kill joy,” grumbled Rico behind his cards.
The engineer tensed, her head turning to look at the Draconian. Her nose brushed over his cheek. Her eyes narrowed as her slender fingers wrapped over his wrist and she attempted to pull his hand down from her mouth. When he didn’t budge, she stuck out her tongue and moved her face from side to side.
“Auck!” the counselor leaned back, jostling Cana as she was drinking from her pitcher. He ignored the cry of woe at having spilt her beer. Erik stared at the palm of his hand before his purple met the gleeful twinkle of Marielle’s green. “What are you?! Five?!”
Marielle snickered. “That’s what you get.” The engineer shifted in her seat, laughing as the Draconian wiped his hands on his lab coat. She turned to Gideon, a warm smile on her pink-flushed face. “Mill-fau au fraiz. Roll that ‘r’ at the back of your throat,” she attempted again softly. The engineer stared at the security officer, waiting for him to repeat. Her elbow was propped on the edge of the table, her body leaning ever so slightly towards Gideon.
The Bajoran had low key been glaring at Vaeros, but as soon as Marielle returned her attention to him, he’d put a grin back on his features. He was surprised that Cana hadn’t said anything about keeping the game on track, but Gideon licked his lip again, nodding. “Roll the ‘r’.” He cleared his throat, glancing at Marielle intently, his chin dipped slightly so that he looked at her through his lashes.
The engineer nodded as she opened her mouth, her chin tilting up so he could watch her tongue and lips move. “Millefeuille aux fraises.”
“Mill feuille aux frases,” he repeated slowly. His brows raised and he grinned. “That sounded right.” Gideon waved at Marielle to confirm. “Did I get it? Millefeuille aux fraises?” He’d had enough lessons at this point to put together words and phrases. His accent was marred by the way his mouth formed words in Italian.
“Oui! Beaucoup mieux, Gédéon! (Yes! Much better!)” she praised, though she laughed softly and shook her head as she stared at her cards. “Mais, ton accent est encore atroce (But, your accent is just horrible),” she uttered the words aloud while keeping a very cheerful tone. There was no way for Gideon to know she was critiquing his inability to wrap his tongue around the softness of the ancient language.
Cana nudged Erik’s shoulder, tilting her head down as she whispered to Erik so that only he could hear. “Can’t compete with Giddy, Doc,” she muttered as she continued to dab the napkin over her lap to soak up the beer that had spilt over her. She flipped over the fifth card finally.
He growled quietly at the nurse, though he did not address her comment. Erik watched as Marielle giggled softly as Gideon told her something that was certainly not funny. His eyes narrowed at the security chief. He stared at the cards on the table, throwing in two chips for his opening bet and tossing in three more.
Battey tapped his fingers on the table top, drumming a beat to his own music. He leaned toward Jessup, who cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. “Sounds much better when she says it.”
“Duh,” Jessup countered.
“New rule. Ellie only speaks French when she comes to game night,” offered Sreagon loudly. It was met with a resounding cheer.
The engineer laughed. “So, I’m to bring treats and speak in a language you don’t understand?” she asked as she folded her cards and placed them face down on the table. “I’m out. Too rich for my blood.”
Jonathan Battey shrugged. “To be fair, you didn’t bring treats tonight. Just tricks.” His eyes darted to the Draconian briefly, who gave him a glare through narrow eyes, before he folded his cards.
Jessup tossed his cards down, grumbling to himself. Ryan Winnetka called the bid, tossing in five chips.
Gideon took a moment to look over the cards on the table, fingers playing with the chips in his hand. He grinned and shrugged, tossing the handful into the pot, a total of eight chips. Cobalt irises turned to the Draconian.
Erik glanced at Gideon, his eyes flickering to his cards. Quietly, he ran his hand from her neck down her spine to settle once more on the engineer’s back. “Movie after this?” he asked as he counted his chips.
Marielle leaned forward on the table. Her elbows were propped on the edge, her head resting on her interlaced fingers as she turned towards the Draconian to her side. “You sure you don’t want to stay for one more hand?” She sighed when he shook his head. “Fine. But no horror flicks. Mindless action! Explosions!”
“Car chases,” Gideon suggested.
She laughed, her head turning to the security officer to her left. “And death-defying jumps from tall buildings!” With her eyes on Gideon, she missed Erik tossing in three additional chips and three more of his own. The engineer shivered as the Draconian’s hand moved in small circles on the small of her back.
Winnetka shook his head to himself and folded his cards. “I’m not getting in the middle of this pissing contest,” he muttered as he took a drink of his beer. Battey and Jessup nodded.
Cana leaned over to Jessup as she drank what was left of her beer in the pitcher. “Pot’s getting pretty rich there. How much time in the holodeck are we looking at now?”
Jessup quickly glanced at the chips. He shook his head. “Looks like at least thirty hours.”
“Does the hero get the girl?” Gideon asked as he looked over at Marielle. In his peripheral vision, he was counting the chips Vaeros still had left. There was a subtle undertone to his question, his cobalt gaze darkening slightly.
She chuckled. “Of course!” she exclaimed. “What’s the point of a good action movie if the hero doesn’t get the girl.” The engineer smiled at Gideon. “And, he’s got to get the amazing kiss with explosions going off in the background.” She kissed her hand once and let it fly into the air.
The Betazoid mix picked out ten chips, letting them roll from his fingers one by one into the middle of the table. “Well, cue the fireball in three, two-.” Gideon turned toward the engineer, leaning closer as if to collect the kiss in question.
She mimed out the kiss, her hands flushed on both of Gideon’s cheeks. Her head leaned towards him but their lips did not meet. “Kaboom!” Marielle exclaimed as she leaned back in her chair and threw her hands up into the air. The engineer released a soft peal of laughter, the lilting melodic tone easily filling the quiet lounge. She had failed to notice the other table watching Erik and Gideon in their bidding war, the men clearly leaning up in their chairs as they watched their comrade and the counselor stare each other down over a game of poker.
He smiled, his heart swelling the the sound of her laughter. Gideon sighed softly and leaned back into his chair. Marielle’s laugh was worth it.
Erik chuckled down at the engineer, his hand moving up along her back as his hand draped over her shoulder. With a small tug, he pulled the woman closer to his side as he leaned towards her. “Anything you want, Bright Eyes. As long as we get movie night.” The Draconian threw in seven chips to meet Salieri’s bet. Quickly, he flipped up his cards and glanced at his options. With his free hand, the Draconian pushed his tower of chips into the center. “I’m all in,” he told Salieri, his chin resting lightly on Marielle’s head as he stared at the security officer.
Several soft long whistles filled the room. Winnetka grumbled as his eyes drifted between Gideon and Erik before they settled on the engineer between them. The counselor had his hands on the woman, who only seemed to watch Gideon. Somewhere, he had to wonder just how good the Draconian’s soul listening skills really were because from his perspective, the engineer had a clear preference.
“That’s very kind of you to contribute to my holodeck fund, Doc.” Gideon reached forward to count out chips and pushed forward another ten to match the all in bet. “Call,” he commanded quietly, his gaze lifting to settle on Vaeros for a few moments before smiling at Marielle. “Where would you like to go with all my holodeck time?”
Cana let out a long soft whistle. “Damn,” she muttered.
“What?” Marielle’s head turned to look up at Gideon. “Oh. Why would you want to-”
Erik glared at Salieri from over Marielle’s head. His gaze dipped to the woman between them. “Don’t forget we’ve got a lot of catching up to do, Bright Eyes.”
The engineer turned her head to look up at the Draconian, vibrant emerald irises meeting his dark amethyst. She nodded slightly and turned her attention to Gideon. “Another time perhaps? Erik did just get back, and I promised I’d help him get settled.”
The Draconian flipped over his cards to reveal a combined hand of four queens. “Four of a kind, Fabio.”
The room let out a groan. “That’s a tough hand to beat,” muttered Jackson Mccaslin as he stated the obvious.
“If you like hanging out with losers,” the half-Bajoran grumbled quietly as he turned his eyes to the table. Gideon winced and turned away, raising his hand to his face as he groaned aloud. The Betazoid mix lamented for a moment before returning to face the table, tossing his cards face up. They were neat in one pile, but as they hit the tabletop, the cards slid, fanning out to reveal the six of hearts and the seven of diamonds. Two pair with the house hand. He leaned forward as he noticed the other cards were still hidden. With the tip of his forefinger, Gideon slid the rest of the cards into view. Three aces. His cobalt irises shifted from the cards up to Erik, a smirk on his lips as he glanced at the ace on the table. “I think four aces should do it.”
The room erupted into a mad cheer. Ryan Winnetka, who was seated to Gideon’s left, immediately threw his hand over his friend’s shoulder and began to laugh wildly. Other tables were abandoned, the men crowding around their comrade as they cheered.
“Holy crap! That was awesome!”
“There’s got to be at least fifty hours in that pot!”
“How the hell did you do that?!”
Erik grumbled as he stood up, glaring at Salieri as he was surrounded by his peers. The noise level was already too much when they had entered the Mess hall an hour or so ago. It was too much with the security officers laughing and exclaiming loudly. “You ready to go, Bright Eyes?” he asked.
Marielle nodded briefly at the Draconian by her side as she laughed. She pushed Sreagon out of the way as she stood up, the back of her knees pushing her chair back. Leaning forward, the engineer placed a chaste kiss on Gideon’s cheek as her hand fell on his shoulder and slid to lightly grip at his bicep. She ignored the whooping sounds the other officers released as she softly whispered in his ear, “Good win. Make sure you enjoy some R&R, okay? You’ve been working a lot lately. And eat. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.” Her hand lingered on his upper arm.
He nodded, a grin on his features as he watched Marielle. “I’ll save some to take you to the island again, hmm?” The hand hadn’t been about winning some time on the holodeck. He’d had plenty beforehand, and ended up giving most of it to Battey for his wedding gift. Gideon was working to stay busy, the thought of time alone in the holodeck wasn’t comforting.
“I’d like that,” she turned to leave then stopped. “Glad you liked the painting. Tell me when I can swing by after you’ve put it up on the wall.”
Gideon smiled wide, his eyes twinkling with mirth. “Excellent. I look forward to seeing you up on my wall.” For an instant, his gaze flickered toward Erik to find the Draconian simply glaring, the smile morphing into a smirk before returning to the engineer.
“What painting?” asked Sreagon. Those who had crowded the two murmured their desire to know as well.
“You’ll see it tomorrow,” Gideon told them mysteriously, a wink tossed in Marielle’s direction.
“Oh geez,” she blushed ten shades of red. “I still can’t believe I agreed to this madness.” The engineer grinned down at him, her hand squeezing his arm briefly before she turned and moved away from the table as Jackson Mccaslin took her spot. She lightly punched Erik in the arm. “Sorry about your loss,” she smiled apologetically up at the Draconian, her hands clasping behind her back.
Erik shrugged but smiled down at the woman before him. He threw an arm over her shoulder and pulled her close to him, tucking her to his side. “It’s fine. I won in other ways,” he assured her. “Let’s just curl up and watch a movie. No horror, but I’m not in the mood for action either. How about a classic?”
Gideon waved at the people surrounding him, trying to get them to back off. “All right, all right! Sit down!” As there was a break in the chatter, Gideon smirked. “Who wants to try and win this off me?”
She released a warm bell-ringing laugh, her head shaking lightly. “Aren’t they all classics at this point?” Marielle took a step towards the exit. Her hands remained clasped behind her back as they walked side by side. “An Affair to Remember? Ooo! As Good As It Gets?!” She laughed with the Draconian as they crossed the threshold and disappeared behind the sliding doors.
The security officer had glanced up at Marielle’s laughter, once again smiling to himself. The banter around him had quieted for a moment, but as soon as the doors closed behind the engineer, the noise in the room came back full force.
“Man. He’s all over her,” grumbled Sreagon. “Cana, you sure they’re not dating?”
The nurse nodded as she placed her empty pitcher on the table. “Yup. Asked her about it since they’ve been hanging out every day since he got back. She said they went out once or twice, but they’re not exclusive.”
“Do you really think she’d tell you?” Winnetka asked, doubt obvious in his tone.
Cana raised a brow at Winnetka. “She’s been asked out several times in the last couple of months. Crewman Clark Sevinn asked her out for a date just yesterday, and Ellie said no. When Nobody asked her about it, Ellie specifically said that she’d accept if it was the right person. So far, Erik’s it.” The nurse leaned forward, a pointed finger aimed at Ryan Winnetka. “Do you doubt my ability to find out the truth in the rumour mill?”
Ryan blinked a few times before shaking his head. Jessup commented, “Guess the counselor assumes they’re dating exclusively?”
She shrugged as she gathered the playing cards that the security officers handed to her. Nimble fingers began to shuffle the deck. “You’d have to ask him. He’s pretty tight-lipped. Honestly, this is the most I’ve seen him touch her,” the nurse glanced at Gideon. “Normally, it’s an arm on her shoulder or an elbow on her head to tease her about her height. Typical crap between friends. Not sure what all that was about tonight.”
Gideon had taken everything in with a blank expression as he stacked his chips. Once he felt Cana’s eyes on him, he glanced up, then around at the table. Feigning ignorance, the Betazoid mix shrugged. “Are we gonna talk all night or play some cards? I must have sixty hours here to lose.”
The men just stared at Gideon. “Really? Nothing?” Suave motioned to the door. “Ellie could be dating that- that-”
There was a pause as everyone turned to Mark. “Meanie? Really?” asked Battey incredulously. He only laughed as Huntsman shrugged.
“Well?!” demanded Rico as all eyes turned to Gideon.
Slowly, he looked around at everyone, blinking again before focusing on Rico. “I’m going to ask her out, why’re you guys so nosy about it?” Gideon raised a brow as he looked around.
The murmurs filled the lounge. Voices floated over the crowd, though there was no way to know who had said what.
“Cause I think I’ve got a chance.”
“Yeah right. She’d totally go out with me.”
“You haven’t got a chance with Ellie when I ask her.”
“I’m asking her out.”
Gideon frowned as he tried to look past the wall of people for who might have spoken up. He shook his head as he looked over his junior officers. “Doesn’t hurt to ask,” he murmured. “You just need to be respectful or I will throw you in the brig.” His frown deepened as he looked back to his pile of chips.
Ryan watched the madness that ensued. He turned to the nurse and leaned towards her. “You’re gonna need to adjust your books,” he whispered quietly. His gaze fell back to the security chief and sighed softly. “Come on. Let’s get back to the game.”