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[JL Deniaud/Salieri/Vaeros] TE: ( ) amo (x) quila

USS Aldrin Lounge


by Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud, First Lieutenant Gideon Salieri, Doctor Erik Vaeros
[Stardate ]

Login AUTHORS’ BLANKET WARNING FOR THESE CHARACTERS: The story involving Deniaud, Salieri, and Vaeros involves adult situations and coarse language. 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. Consider yourselves fully warned.

[Deniaud/Salieri/Vaeros] Collaboration Log
Stardate: 1707.29 [29 July, 2017]
TE: ( ) amo (X) quila


“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.”
- Oscar Wilde [An Ideal Husband]


“You’re such a frakking lightweight, Ellie.”

Marielle stared at the shot glass filled with amber liquid as the entire world seemed to tilt to one side. She blinked and the ship’s alignment seemed to have returned itself to normal. Normally vibrant green eyes settled on the dazzling smile of one Cana Graves as the nurse licked her hand, tipped the shot into her mouth, and then sucked on a lime. “I’m not!” the engineer whined softly, though she giggled as well. She did the same save for the fruit - licking her hand free of salt, took the shot, and threw the flesh of the orange into her mouth.

“What’s going on over there?” Erik Vaeros leaned against the bar as he stared at the women who were in the far back of the Six Forward Lounge. The ship’s counselor had heard the hazy sound of their souls when he had neared the space, and it was only the melodic motions of the familiar symphony that made him venturing inside instead of turning around and heading back to his office. Except for himself, Mike, and the two women, the lounge was empty.

Mike looked up as he poured hot water into the counselor’s cast iron teapot. “Cana dragged Marielle in here to get her liquored up and get some juicy details about her life.” He chuckled. “It’s only starting to work. Didn’t realize our resident engineer could hold her own against the legendary Cana Graves.” There was a pause, and the barkeep snickered. “Though. I think she’s finally hit her limit.”

Sharp amethyst irises focused on the bubbly woman, who was red faced and giggling up a storm. He closed his eyes and disappeared into the aria of her soul. It drowned out the white noise of the slumbering ship. Sharp bright staccato violin strings plucked in polyphonic melodies with the explosive lightness of piano and the chimes of bells. He could barely hear the undercurrent of stringed instruments that carried the hint of sadness. The symphony was especially lively when she was inebriated, he learned. Apparently, the tiny woman was an even happier drunk than her already normal cheerful self. The sound of chairs shifting on the carpeted floor had his eyes opening, and he watched as Marielle started to stand on a chair at another table, a filled shot glass in one hand and an orange slice in the other. His mouth twitched at a hint of a smile. “I’ll come back for this,” he tapped his finger by his teapot and teacup, pushed away from the bar, and made his way to the pair.

“Ooo!” Cana cooed as she leaned back into her chair and turned her head to watch Erik walk up to them. “Don’t look now, Ellie. Tall, dark, and broodingly handsome is coming over to see us.” She raised her filled shot glass in his direction in a silent toast before she took the shot and then refilled her glass.

“Lush,” came the gruff greeting. There was a quick glance at the table. Three empty bottles of sparkling wine, and one bottle of amber tequila, two wine glasses stained with their lipstick, a plate with a mountain of salt, another with lime and orange wedges, and several shot glasses. Some of the glasses were overturned while others were still filled with amber. He caught the label and couldn’t help being impressed. El Tesoro de Don Filipe Paradiso Añejo. Erik didn’t even look at the nurse, his eyes watching as Marielle took a wobbly step onto the table beside their bottle-covered table. His hands remained deep inside his lab coat pockets, but the Draconian would be quick to catch her if she fell. He stood by her table, his back to the lounge doors.

“What?” Marielle held her arms out to balance herself as she spun on her bare feet, the skirt of her red sleeveless dress spinning on air. Momentum sloshed the tequila in the glass, but barely a drop was spilt. Vibrant green eyes zeroed on the ship’s counselor, blinking to focus. Her smile grew tenfold at the sight of him, splitting her face in half as her teeth-filled grin made her face glow. “Hey! It’s the can- can- cantank- Crap. Talking is hard,” she giggled. “It’s the ass!”

The normally grumbly inner voice preened at the smile that she shared his way, and Erik couldn’t really argue with the grouchy monologue. The engineer had one hell of a smile. Even red faced drunk, she was gorgeous. His eyes swept over her quickly, appreciating how her dark red fabric highlighted the dip to her curves, until they settled on her footing. She was centered on the table. He had first hand knowledge of how well she moved as a dancer and knew she could easily balance on the table without tipping it over, but that was when the engineer was sober. His eyes swept up over her body again and he blinked. The light on the ceiling was just behind her head, and she looked like she was covered by a halo. “That’s Doctor Cantankerous Ass to you, Bright Eyes,” he managed, pulling at the words he knew she’d use because she used it plenty of times.

Marielle giggled, bending forward to close the distance between their faces as her foot came up to complete the arabesque position. She stood steadily on one leg with the raised leg extended in a straight line behind her, her foot perfectly pointed. The skirt of her dress slid along her leg and pooled around her waist. With the hand that held the orange, the engineer pressed her manicured finger on his nose. “Boop!” she giggled when his eyes crossed to stare at the offending finger.

Briefly, Erik considered the hilarious fact that the engineering chief was flashing the entirety of the lounge. He couldn’t see from his angle, but Cana’s reaction was enough to have him curious. He was thankful that the scene was unfolding in a relatively empty space. He didn’t want to deal with fighting any of Mike’s patrons. The scent of the orange she pinched between two fingers filled his nostrils. He was surrounded by the amalgamation of everything that was intrinsically her. Peonies, plum blossoms, orchids, and wild oranges. There was that undertone of a scent he still couldn’t identify, something naturally calming that emanated from her pores. The sweet floral scent was laced with the sharp burn of tequila and the crisp citrus. He didn’t know he could get drunk on scent alone. His head was spinning.

The engineer straightened, turning her attention to the drunkard at the table. “Have- have you met the in- incomm- incommo-,” she stopped to laugh again. “Cra-ap. I know way too many big words.” She lifted to her toes as her back arched away from the counselor. Her arms stretched far above her head to reach the extended foot, the filled shot glass and orange slice offered to the heavens like an oblation. “I like big things! Go big or go home!”

Erik could only gawk and choke on his spit at her claim, and his darkening eyes following the lines of her body. Her legs were perfectly perpendicular to the floor. ‘Gods almighty. This woman is going to kill me.’ He would die in his sleep with the thoughts of her running through his demented brain, and the Draconian didn’t even care. He’d die a happy man a thousand times over. It didn’t help that her soul sang, actually sang, when it realized he was near.

Cana spat out the shot she had just taken, groaning as some of the tequila pushed into her nostrils. She used her hand to wipe her mouth dry, dark brown eyes moving to the counselor. She said nothing as he just stared up at the engineer, the tips of his ears burning bright red. The nurse grinned as she shook the tequila bottle in Marielle’s direction. “Ladies and gentlemen, our engineer-”

As fate would have it, Gideon had taken the overnight shift that night. He sighed softly as the call came in from Mike. The half-Betazoid acknowledged and stood from behind his desk in the security office, heading into the corridor. It had been quite some time since his last graveyard shift and Gideon recalled why they were unfavorable to his junior officers. Commander K’hevok had required the schedule to be fair, so the chief figured once a month was fair enough. The turbolift seemed to arrive before the doors even closed. Gideon rounded the corner and rested a hand on his phaser before stepping into the lounge. He relaxed immediately as he took in the scene, only to tense again once he saw the ‘offending’ party.

Her extended leg dropped quickly, her foot stomping on the table. The table shuddered in response. “Hey! Chief of Engineering!” Marielle interrupted with a fake pout before it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. “Hail to the Chief!” Her delighted peal of laughter filled the Lounge, ringing like a collection of bright bells against the monotone walls. The exclaim had earned her a laugh from the nurse and a curious brow from the counselor. Again, she bent forward to close the distance between her and Erik, returning into the arabesque position - her leg yet again extended so that the lines of her legs ran perfectly perpendicular to the table’s surface. The skirt of her dress again pooled around her waist to keep her somewhat decent. She lifted both her hands to his face, hazy green eyes locking with his purple. She gave him a lazy smile. “Want some?”

‘Yes. Yes. Yes. Frak me yes.’ Erik gulped and could only nod when the words died in his throat. When Marielle lifted her hands, both his hands grabbed each of hers. His eyes never broke away as he lifted one hand, licking the salt on the fleshy part of her hand between her thumb and pointer finger. The taste of her skin erupted over his tastebuds and darkened his eyes. The Draconian was now certain. She was sin incarnate, with the touch of coffee and chocolate. ‘Frak. That was a really, really bad idea,’ his inner monologue growled in irritation. Because now, he wanted more. He hadn’t had a taste of her since the kiss - the single kiss when he thought they’d never see one another again. He gazed into her glazed eyes as Marielle carefully moved the shot glass to his lips and tilted the tequila into his mouth. The burn washed over his tongue and down his throat, but it was nothing compared to the fire that erupted through his veins. The orange wedge was slid between the seam of his lips, and he was barely able to focus as the engineer gave him a lopsided smile. “What did you do to her, Lush?” his voice was hoarse, cracking when he found his throat dry.

‘Che cazzo sta facendo?’ It took every fiber of Gideon’s being to not rage at the sight in front of him. The statuesque engineer spoon fed him. The chief security officer could only stare, frozen in place. He could have floated on the Draconian’s lust it was so thick. His breaths came slowly, deeply. So many emotions ran through his mind, he couldn’t focus on just one. Unconsciously, he settled on fear. His fear that Marielle, the petite engineer dangerously close to another man, would not want him. Gideon shuddered and he blinked, shaking his head. Unwilling to let Erik know what he was thinking, the Betazoid mix quieted his mind and took a step forward. Then another.

Cana had watched the whole interaction quietly, taking small swigs from the bottle of tequila on the table. Marielle was good, even if the engineer clearly didn’t realize what she was doing to the ship’s counselor. If this was the engineer’s natural charm, the nurse really wanted to see what she offered when she tried. Cana grinned at the woman as she tipped the finish of the tequila bottle into her own mouth. “You’re welcome.”

Marielle, lost in her own world, giggled and dropped the shot glass. She didn’t even notice Gideon walking into the Lounge or how the Draconian caught the glass without so much as a turn of his bod. Her extended leg lowered as she straightened and her arms moved up to reach softly towards the sky with her fingers bent loosely, though her lifted leg didn’t touch the floor. Instead, her once extended foot pointed to her knee, and then she attempted a pirouette. Her standing leg was already wobbly, but the lack of momentum had her tipping to the side as she laughed hysterically.

The Draconian snapped out of his haze instantly, and his body moved just as quickly. His legs pushed the chairs in his way to the sides, and they fell over with a loud clatter. Arms wrapped around the engineer, his arm snaked under her covered legs and her back. Purple eyes swept over her face. He had wanted to look for any signs of pain, but his breath was stolen as soon as he caught the glazed look she gave him, complete with a pout on her lips and flushed cheeks. ‘Damn. That’s a damn good look on her.’ Instincts had him pulling her closer.

Marielle’s hand moved over the span of his chest, her eyes widen at the taunt muscles hidden under the cloth. “Erik! You’ve got muscles!” she suddenly exclaimed, giggling as if she had stumbled upon a great and wondrous secret. Tiny fingers started to work at the buttons at the collar of his dress shirt. “Cana! You gotta see this!” The declaration only earned her a loud guffaw from the nurse. “Take it off, you ass!”

Erik struggled to keep her safe in his arms as she wiggled. He pulled her closer to himself, hoping to pin her arms to stop her from unbuttoning his dress shirt. “Bright Eyes,” he started carefully, “I swear to the Gods that if you don’t stop, I’m going to drop you.” He nearly groaned. He wouldn’t have minded her attention if the engineer wasn’t red-faced drunk and they were in the privacy of either one of their quarters. When he heard Cana snickering into her bottle, his head snapped in her direction. “You’re cut off too, Lush. This shit is your fault. Stop trying to corrupt her.”

“Why?” Cana asked innocently, pausing to take another swig from the bottle. “So you can?” She waggled her brows at the counselor. There was a pause at the scathing look he gave her, and the nurse could only laugh aloud. “Oh, you do! You really, really do!” Cana focused her attention on the engineer. “Lucky you, Ellie!! The Doc’s hoping to tickle your engines too!”

‘No, no-’ Salieri pleaded silently with Marielle, feeling his soul withdraw and drown in a whirlpool of doubt. “Shut up, you harlot,” Gideon hissed to himself, willing Graves to pass out. The cacophony was enough to make any sane man turn around and leave. Still, mechanically, the security officer placed one foot in front of the other. As the counselor’s ardor reached a peak, Gideon felt a wave of heat wash over him and he furrowed his brows, glaring at the Draconian.

“No way!” Marielle blinked, her head tilting to the side as she lazily looked from Erik to Cana and back to Erik. “No way! We totally talked about it.” Her eyes narrowed as she caught the pink on his cheeks. “Right, Erik?”

The tips of his pointed ears grew even hotter at the question, which he did not answer. He must have been imagining it. There was no way the dulcet tones of her voice had changed to be breathy and sultry. If he had full use of his hands, he would have slapped his own face and dragged his hand over it. Erik released a cool breath into the air and tried to calm himself. He needed to get her back to her quarters and he needed to take a damn cold shower. A nice long cold as hell shower. It was then he heard it. The tell-tale sound of the security officer’s soul. It raged in a fast approaching storm, dark clouds rolling in with thunderous claps as the oceans slammed against cliffs and dark sands. Great. Just what he needed. Loverboy. Erik’s facial expression instantly hardened in preparation. He shifted Marielle in his arms, throwing her up an inch or two so he could adjust his hold on her. It earned him a delightful squeak that had his mouth twitching to smile. With his arms firmly pressed into her back and under her knees, his hands wrapped over her legs and her arms to hold her possessively to his chest.

The scene was hard to take in. Cana was drunk, no surprise there, Marielle was drunk, huge surprise there, and Erik Vaeros was holding his best friend like a lost childhood blankie. ‘Cazzo.’ It was all he could do to snap himself out of the shock and disbelief. Gideon slapped a smile on his face and sauntered over. The idea of a former conquest, though Cana Graves hardly needed conquering, speaking to his current flame had put a sour bubble in the pit of his stomach. It jumped with each step, threatening to release the bile into the back of his throat. The security chief was careful to guard his thoughts, being that he was on duty. The Betazoid mix always respected his uniform.

Cana looked past Erik. An impish smile appeared on her lips as she crossed her legs. The nurse leaned back against her chair, ready for a show. Her drunken eyes took an appreciative sweep over the fast approaching security officer. “Hello tall, dark, and delicious. How about a little kiss for old time’s sake? You can have more, if you want.” She winked at Gideon, clearly tickled at the simmering anger that his eyes couldn’t hide. It was an odd plan, but she hoped it’d give the security chief a push. The betting pool was quickly growing, but Marielle and Gideon were still locked at a standstill. She had thought their little kiss to scare off Jane Annesley would have been enough. She had thought a lot of things were enough, but the nurse was driven to the brick to insanity when the pair proved yet again that they were dense.

“No,” he replied curtly, his blue eyes not sparing Graves a look. She was in fine form, thoroughly drunk as usual at this hour. Briefly, Gideon wondered how Doctor Nightwing allowed the alcoholic to work around patients. ‘Not my place to judge how other people run their department,’ Salieri reminded himself as his attention focused on Marielle and Vaeros. “Doc.”

Erik didn’t address Salieri as turned towards the entrance of the Lounge. Marielle’s head rested against his chest as she hummed some tune to herself, her legs kicking up and down over the arm that held her knees. He took a long step over the chair. The Draconian doubted he’d be able to escape the security chief’s attention, but at least he could get another second with the engineer in his arms.

Unfortunately for the Draconian, the engineer had different ideas. She leaned back against the arm behind her back, and she looked back to stare at Gideon’s back. She squealed in delight at the sight of the security officer as he turned to stare at Erik. “Gid! Gid!” she called out brightly. Her arm flew up at she waved furiously in his direction. “Hi! Gid! Hi!” Her head turned to stare up at the Draconian. “Hey! You ass, did you see?! Gideon is here! Yay!” The engineer squealed, both her arms thrown up in the air as she stretched her body out and arched her back towards the ceiling. “Are the two of you friends yet?! The both of you should totally be friends by now!! You’d be like- The bestest of the most amazing-est friends ever!”

The security officer turned and maneuvered to cut him off as Erik attempted to slime away. His smile returned, more genuine than before, as he met Marielle’s glossy eyes. His heart had begun racing the moment he came upon the lounge, and only after seeing her verdant green orbs did his heart skip a beat and slow its wild pumping. The security chief raised a hand in a halting gesture and followed after Vaeros. “Hold on there, Doctor. Put her down.” His strides were minutely shorter than the Draconian’s, but Gideon made sure to close the distance.

Erik didn’t stop walking, and he willed himself not to break out into a run. His eyes flickered down to the body in his arms as it stretched from end to end. He groaned. It just wasn’t fair. The Draconian couldn’t help feeling dismayed at the sound of bright trumpets that sounded when Marielle realized Gideon was in the room. The engineer clearly liked the security officer and he’s grown to accept it. He just couldn’t understand what she saw in the manchild. “Move,” he said to Salieri flatly.

Cana yelled out from her seat as she howled with delight. “You’re hilarious, Ellie! They’re good friends! Aren’t ya boys?!”

Ignoring Cana, he reached out and grabbed the Draconian by the shoulder, only applying enough pressure to slow him. Gideon was careful not to make any big moves so that Erik wouldn't drop Marielle. “No, I was called to escort Mari- Miss Deniaud to her quarters.” Salieri stood in front of Erik, the once contorted features of rage now soothed into a stony facade.

Erik released a low and dangerous growl as he felt Salieri’s fingers press into a particular sensitive scar under the fabrics of his lab coat and shirt. “Don’t touch me.” His fingers pressed deeper into Marielle’s flesh and his arms pulled her in closer to himself.

Marielle’s mirth melted as she felt the tremor that moved through the counselor’s body. Green eyes settled on his face, and a hand moved up to cup his cheek. Her thumb brushed against the end of the scar that ran over his eye. The moment of clarity in her eyes disappeared as the drunken haze returned to cloud her usually vibrant hues. She flashed him a toothy grin as her fingers pinched his cheek. Hard. “No more grumpy wumpy ass doctor.”

The brief touch, almost loving, had shocked him out of his anger. But, when he felt the pinch on his cheek, Erik could only stare down at the woman in disbelief. ‘Did she just-,’ even his inner monologue was stunned into silence. “Dammit woman,” the Draconian growled softly, the sound mixed with a chortle, down at Marielle. “What the frak is wrong with you?”

Gideon quickly withdrew his hand, not for Erik’s sake, but for Marielle’s. “Counselor, put her down.” It was an order. The Betazoid mix stood firm, watching with great intensity. His hands were fists at his sides as he tried to keep from blowing his lid at the Draconian.

Erik released a quiet sigh. Another moment ruined by the manchild. Slowly, very slowly, the Draconian turned and stared angrily at the security chief. “What do you want, Salieri?” He continued to hold Marielle, who only looked from Gideon and Erik with a joyful expression.

“I need you to put Commander Deniaud down. I'm taking her to her quarters.”

“No.” Erik stared down at Gideon and sneered. “You can’t be trusted.”

“The frak you say?” the security chief barked before he could stop himself.

“You heard me you walking sex crazed-”

“You have pretty eyes!”

Snapped out of the increasingly heated exchange, both men stared - rather incredulously - at the giggling engineer briefly before their eyes met to silently glower at the other. Marielle, who had only been staring between the two men to look at the hues of their irises, had completely missed the derision that existed between the ship’s counselor and the security chief. Her ecstatic giggles were only muted by Cana’s loud cackle of amusement.

Erik moved his eyes back down to the giggling woman. It was really hard to be angry when the woman in his arms just bubbled with joy. And, that’s when he remembered. That Marielle was able to naturally calm him. His arms pulled her closer to him, selfishly, and lifted her higher so he could surround himself with her scent. More than ever, he didn’t want to let her go. “You heard me,” he watched Marielle bopping her head from side to side. Apparently, she was in tune with the symphony of her soul, bopping in time with the beats. “How many drunken nights have you had with a woman? Or, should I say women.”

“There are a few I can remember! And, a few I can’t!” Cana blurted out after taking a swig from her bottle, answering when Gideon didn’t. She laughed, “Hey, remember when Levani joined us? That was one hell of a night.”

“Hear that? You really think I’d trust her with you?” Erik’s eyes flashed to Cana and snickered. “Besides. Sounds like the lush the one that needs an escort.”

‘Bugiardo!’ His neck warmed and the tips of his ears reddened. “As Chief of Security, I'm more trustworthy than you are with the safety of this crew. You may not be Starfleet, but while you are assigned to this ship you will follow our regulations. A report was made to Security that Miss Deniaud needed an escort to her quarters and you are not qualified to do so.” He took a breath. “Now put. Her. Down.” Gideon was sick of this fel tainted counselor’s constant barrage on his character. He decided then he would stand until he died for Marielle. Dismissively, he added, “Ensign Graves can take care of herself.”

Erik was about ready to snap back at Salieri when he felt Marielle’s head lean against his chest. His heart skipped a beat as her head tilted back and her eyes met his. The half-dreamy eyes smiled fondly up at him. For a moment, everything melted away and all he could see was her. He could hear his racing heart slowing to match the steady and unwavering tempo of hers. He lost the desire to tell Salieri to jump out the nearest airlock without an EV suit. The anger that he always felt melted away, if only for that moment, when the symphony of her soul had changed into a simple yet calming pianissimo. The Draconian lifted Marielle as he bent his head low to close the distance. The tip of his nose brushed against her temple as he spoke softly into her ear. He would have enjoyed it better if the manchild’s scent wasn’t latched to her own. “What do you want, Bright Eyes?”

Marielle shivered as the cool air of his breath hit her skin. She hiccuped, which made her giggle all the more. “Gideon,” she answered softly, suddenly calm.

Gideon’s heart soared at that moment. The previously hard stare melted away as a smile found his lips. Blue eyes shifted from Marielle to Vaeros. While his expression toward the Draconian wasn't smug, the security chief made sure Erik knew that Marielle had chosen him.

Cana whooped from the sideline. That was what she wanted to hear. Perhaps it’d be enough to push the security chief into action to seal the deal. She swayed slightly as the tilt of the bottle threw off her balance. She successfully swallowed a pull and smacked her lips theatrically. There had been some worry when the Draconian entered the lounge - she hadn’t expected that - but apparently Marielle’s true desires came out when she was drunk. “Praise the tequila gods!” she exclaimed with absolute delight as she threw back another swig straight from the bottle.

The counselor’s lips formed a thin line. Although disappointed, somehow he had known. He just didn’t think it’d sting as much as it did. He ignored Salieri’s smug face or the odd exclamation from the inebriated nurse. “You sure?”

Marielle nodded and grinned lazily up at him. “Yeah. It’s tea time, right? Don’t want to break tea time. You get can- cantank- Oh frak it. Grumpy. Bad grumpy doctor.”

Erik blinked. The answer was not something he expected, and it brought out a rare smile. Even in her current state, the engineer was as thoughtful as ever. “Yeah,” he admitted quietly. “It’s tea time. But, you don’t have to worry about me, you know?”

She only giggled in response. “I always worry about my friends. Gideon can take me home. You drink.”

Erik stared at her and nodded slowly. He bent down and released her legs, his hand just brushing against her hip as he tried to settle her. His nose brushed through the strands of her hair as she straightened, and he kept his hand on the small of her back until she fell into the security chief’s waiting arms.

Marielle fell forward into Gideon's ready arms, slender fingers gripping each of his biceps. Hazy green eyes looked up at him affectionately as she found her footing, her body pressing into his. “You’re really hot,” the engineer told him, a coy smile on her lips. “Bet you already knew that.”

He chuckled, sighed softly, and picked her upright. Gideon wrapped one arm under her knees and scooped the engineer to his chest. Every negative emotion dissipated from his body and the world around them stopped as he gazed upon the frisky engineer in his arms. ‘Questo è dove si appartiene.’ He whispered heavily, “Tesoro.”

The engineer released a delighted squeal as she was once against scooped up into another set of muscled arms. Her hands roamed over his chest and pulled at his uniform tunic. “You have muscles too! I like your muscles,” she exclaimed brightly. “Show Cana your muscles. She really likes muscles!”

“Seen ‘em already, hot stuff!” Cana yelled out.

“Oh right,” Marielle pouted as an intense sting of disappointment swept through her. “Everyone’s seen Gideon’s muscles but me.”

The comment jolted through him, nearly causing him to stutter as he shook his head. “No one’s seeing my muscles. They're working right now.” He furrowed his brows as he glanced toward Cana, his chin wagging still as he focused on Marielle again. “You saw them at the pool party, silly.”

The counselor’s jaw tightened through the whole exchange, but Erik said nothing until Salieri started for the exit. The Draconian made his way to the messy table of empty bottles. Their shoulders brushed past each other. “We’re not done. You and I. Not by a long shot. I’m not backing down so easily.” There was a pause. “I will kill you if you hurt her.” The threat was growled out soft through a clenched jaw.

“It’s her choice, you heard her. She doesn’t love you.”

“That’s not nice,” tsked the chief engineer. She booped Gideon’s nose. “I love him. He’s one of my best friend, silly! I love my friends!” Marielle’s arms lifted up as she cheered. “All you need is love!”

His eyes crossed to her fingers as he smiled despite the sting in his chest. “You know I could have him arrested for threatening an officer.” When she pouted in response, he curled his arms gently to assure her that he wouldn’t. He tossed a glance over his shoulder. “She’d kill me first. Settle down,” he was about to say more when Marielle interjected again.

“Allô, Gédéon.” She looked up at with dark emerald irises.

His name on her tongue put all thought of Erik out of his mind and Gideon focused on Marielle as he made his way toward the exit. “Ciao, El,” he smiled as he spoke softly, his arms holding her gently but firmly to keep the engineer secure in his grasp.

The last thing Erik heard as he stalked over to the table to join Cana was Marielle’s exuberant laughter and the sweeping aria that defined her. When the nurse passed the tequila bottle to him, the Draconian took it without question as he fell into the seat. His head tipped back, and he finished the contents in several breathless gulps. It was smooth as it slithered over his tongue and down his throat. He slammed the empty bottle down on the table with enough force to make a crack run from the base all the way up to its neck. Erik glared at the empty bottle. The ship’s counselor didn’t even need to ask for another. Cana had already placed a fresh bottle in front of him, a sad and pitied look in her eyes.





Copyright 2017. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud, Erik J. Vaeros, 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.
   
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