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The Khadidran sighed as she stood in front of the mirror. Dates were simply not her thing. Sherilyn had only agreed to go because it was Tomas Mazzi who had asked, the Italian-Betazoid engineer who had impressed her on the Lexington. Dinner would be a chore, but if it meant spending the night, she would endure. Her dark skin was softened by the cream sleeveless, low v-necked blouse and short pleated burgundy skirt that barely reached her thighs. Silver strappy flats accented her white hair and beaten metal rings circled her wrist. Her long wavy strands were pulled back into a ponytail at the top of her head to help keep her cool. Teal irises swept over her lithe form and she hummed in approval. Just enough was covered to keep him looking and imagining.
He’d dressed in black slacks and a pale silver dress shirt. The grin on his face couldn’t be contained. Maybe it was the gorgeous weather that day, or that he’d finished every single thing on his action list (including squashing that irritating bug in shielding algorithm), or that he bested his twin during their subspace game of chess. Ah. Who was he kidding? It had everything to do with the fact that Sherilyn Vocke, the hot, seductive wow-of-a-woman agreed to join him for dinner. Tomas Mazzi was over the moon with joy at the prospect of having a meal with the sultry science officer. He carried a bouquet of assorted flowers, handpicked from his short walk through the grounds. His dress shoes tapped softly and echoed against the walls of the hallway as he made his way to his destination. Clearing his throat, he rang the chime to her door.
She finished applying a dark red matte lipstick and ran the tip of her tongue over her upper lip as she set the makeup down and turned to leave her bedroom. Her hips swayed with the natural ease of her gait and the fabric of her skirt swirled around her legs. Sherilyn took in a deep breath to steel herself for the first part of the evening, promising herself that the second half would be well worth it. A sinful smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she opened the door and her gaze fell on the officer that greeted her.
His eyes were slow as it travelled over her form. An appreciative glint sparkled in his clear blue hues. “Ciao bella.” The greeting was offered in a low and smooth baritone, a slight smokiness rasping his voice. Tomas took a small step forward to encroach on her personal space as he offered her the bouquet.
The science officer remained where she stood, allowing him into her so called bubble. He was more than welcome, he had an alluring musk that screamed fun. Sherilyn gave an appreciative hum and took the flowers, dropping her gaze to the assortment of native blooms. “Thank you,” she whispered in a soft and sultry voice. ‘I think. What do I do with these?’ She tilted her head slightly and glanced back up at the engineering officer. The bouquet was tossed to the armchair next to the door.
His eyes followed the bouquet of flowers and he managed to hide his flinch. ‘Okay. So the flowers were a bust.’ Tomas’s devil may care smile remained on his lips despite his surprise. Women typically liked flowers. He offered her his elbow as he stepped back. “You’re in for a treat,” he assured her. “I made you dinner.”
Her fingers slid into the crook of his elbow and she followed him down the hallway. “What have you made for dinner?” Sherilyn asked with forced interest. The thought of a possibly ill-prepared meal had the Khadidran inwardly groaning. ‘There’s a reason I don’t date,’ she murmured to herself. She hummed quietly and enjoyed the feel of the fabric of her skirt swishing against her thighs. The blouse hugged her torso to reveal the swell of her chest.
He grinned. ‘Eat your heart out, Demetrio.’ He led her outside the residential building. The sun was just beginning to set and the air was colder than it had been during the afternoon. It was still technically winter, but the snow was gone. He decided it was a brilliant idea to have a picnic outside in the cold. He’d be freezing, but she’d appreciate the sentiment. She was a cold blooded woman after all. The checkered red and black picnic blanket was set with two plates and a bottle of sparkling wine that chilled perfectly despite not being placed in ice. A basket was set to one side. The engineer helped her down to her knees before settling to sit beside her.
The Khadidran glanced over the setting as she adjusted to settle on her backside. Her knees remained pressed together and her ankles tucked to one side. She smoothed her delicate fingers over her skirt and offered Tomas a small smile. “This is quaint. Aren’t you going to be cold?” The air temperature was nearly perfect for her but she knew that other humanoids weren’t as hardy. Sherilyn distinctly recalled his comment about the cooler air in the astrophysics lab where they’d first met.
“I’ll have you to keep me warm.” The response was smoothly given and without a hint of hesitation. Tomas leaned towards her and pulled a small device from his pocket. He let his head rest against hers as he waved the camera a bit in the air. “Just a picture before the light is too terrible.” Tomas gave her a dazzling grin as his arm lifted up to hold the holocamera with the lens pointed towards them. His other arm wrapped around him and he turned his chin to press a kiss to her lips. He was so proud of himself that he completely missed the incredulous expression on her face.
It took everything in her not to roll her eyes and slip out of the picture before she heard the shutter click that indicated the image had been captured. A wince accompanied the flash and her eyes remained squinted against the near blinding square of light that permeated her vision. She lifted her hand to place on his chest and she shoved him back. “What did you need a picture for?” The line he’d answered her with about keeping warm was so good. He had to ruin it by burning holes in her retinas.
“Remember our first date,” he answered easily. Not necessarily a lie. He just failed to add that he was going to send the photograph to his twin brother so he could gloat. The small holocamera was slipped back into his slacks pocket and he pulled away simply so he could pull the insulated tins from the basket. Each one was placed on the blanket. He lifted the covers to reveal the menu for the evening. Tortellini were skewered onto small toothpicks with sun dried tomatoes and drizzled with a light pesto sauce. Stuffed pasta shells with various vegetables and a modest amount of ricotta sat in a rich red sauce that had been simmering for hours and was bound to pair well with the crisp dry wine. Dessert was a simple panna cotta topped with a fresh berry reduction. The menu went against his Italian upbringing, but it showcased his skill in the kitchen and Tomas was sure it’d impress the woman by his side.
“And hopefully the last,” she murmured under her breath as she watched Tomas placing tins. A deep inhalation brought the strong aroma of pesto and marinara to her senses. An appreciative hum slipped from her throat as she studied the dishes. The Khadidran glanced toward the engineer and raised a brow. After a few moments, she leaned forward and reached for one of the toothpicks. The tortellini was lifted toward her lips and she hesitated just a beat before slipping it into her mouth. Surprise was brief on her features as she bit into the ring shaped pasta. Sherilyn was polite enough to swallow before nodding in appreciation. “Very good.”
“Mmm. I’d certainly hope so considering I made them.” He wasn’t surprised. Tomas was more than confident in his skills in the kitchen. He offered her a fork and the tin with the large stuffed pasta shells.
She took one more of the tortellini before accepting the offered fork and tin. This style of eating was quite foreign and the engineer wasn’t forthcoming in how a picnic worked, so Sherilyn was hesitant to take bites. Once she cut into one of the stuffed pastas and had a bite, it was forgotten. The flavors were vibrant, and the touch of ricotta cheese made it rich. “Well done,” she praised before taking another bite.
He grinned and pulled another fork from the basket to steal a bite from the tin. “This is nice,” he muttered softly before letting the morsel slip between his lips. Tomas considered a topic of discussion. “So. Tell me about yourself.” That was open ended enough. He could easily give follow up questions to make her feel like she was the center of his attention.
The science officer groaned softly, masking the sound with a bite of stuffed pasta. ‘I knew there was a reason I don’t date. Jonathan was so easy.’ Sherilyn sighed quietly and lifted her glass of white wine to sip. It was far from sweet enough. Her eyes rolled up to the darkening sky as she considered what to tell Tomas. Several minutes passed before she lowered her gaze to meet the engineer’s. “My family makes armor, but I am the disappointing daughter who chose to study rocks instead.” She sipped again, waiting to see if that was good enough. After a few moments of silence, apparently it wasn’t. “I’m one of only a handful of Khadidrans in Starfleet.”
That was not exactly the conversation starter he was expecting. It was a bit depressing actually. Who revealed such depressing morsels on a first date? It was supposed to be upbeat and cheerful. One didn’t get to the nitty gritty stuff until at least the third date. “I’m sure you weren’t the disappointing daughter,” Tomas offered kindly. It seemed like the right thing to say. Soothe her self-deprecation with compliments. “You’re an officer in Starfleet, exploring life and adding to the benefit of all.”
She hummed and cut another bite from the stuffed pasta. “Khadidrans are not thrilled with Starfleet’s outpost on the surface.” Sherilyn took the bite, enjoying the vegetables and ricotta before swallowing it down. “Older Khadidrans are not. The younger generations are eager to rise from our archaic lifestyle.” Her gaze lifted from the tin to the engineer. “What about you?” She thought that was the right question to ask.
“Nothing much to tell. Just a simple man. Got a twin.” He chuckled softly and shook his head. “We’re thick as thieves, but you know how siblings are.”
Sherilyn tilted her chin slightly and hummed quietly. “I don’t know how siblings are, but if they’re thick as thieves, I’m glad I don’t. They would have no hands.” She lifted the glass of white wine to sip as if she spoke of the weather.
What does one say to such a thing? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Tomas stared at his hands. They were his livelihood. What was an engineer without hands? Modern day prosthetics were amazing, but there was no way he could imagine himself running artificial fingers over a warp core. ‘Ah! I’d never feel a woman ever again! Merda! I’d rather die by Klingon pain stick!’ The engineer blanched. “Uh- I didn’t think anyone did an eye for an eye anymore in this day and age,” he quipped with an awkward laugh. “Is that enforced by your government or are citizens allowed to take the law into their own hands?” That was a horrible play on words and completely unintended. If possible, more color drained from his face. All he could think about was if he wronged the science officer, she was going to cut off some piece of him. Subconsciously, he lowered his hand to his lap to protect himself.
“The Shahaan supports the methods of punishment.” Her chin tilted slightly as she regarded the engineer. A soft hum escaped her lips and she shifted her gaze to the horizon as she drank the last of the crisp white wine. “Is this how dates with you generally are?” The Khadidran glanced toward the half-Betazoid and raised her brow. The lack of color in his face caused her other brow to lift and mirror the first. It was an honest question, not asked with any malice or disappoint- well, there was disappointment, but not with Tomas. Perhaps herself for agreeing to the picnic. Teal irises dipped briefly to his hand over his lap and her lips curled in a smirk. The empty wine glass and tin were set aside.
He gulped. “What?” He lifted his chin and stared at the Khadidran. His initial concern disappeared when he found himself entranced. ‘Wow,’ he gasped softly. The light played perfectly on her skin, a shimmer of soft silver against the grey complexion. He couldn’t help but think her stunning, a statue worth studying and admiring. “My dates are usually far more- interesting. Got to admit you’ve got me at a disadvantage. Never went on a date with someone who wouldn’t hesitate to cut off my hands.”
She chuckled softly, humming as she leaned toward the blue eyed Adonis. “You needn’t worry about your hands,” Sherilyn mused in a low and sultry voice. “I enjoy them far too much.” The tip of her nose caressed his lightly, and she teased him with her lips.
He lifted his hand and placed them gently on her cheek, his palm sliding along her skin until it was flush against the back of her neck. The engineer was cold with the winter air whipping around him, so he pressed closer to the woman as he pushed her onto her back. “Questo è solo l’antipasto (That’s just the appetizer),” he whispered before he silenced her response with a passionate kiss.
‘That’s a good boy,’ she cooed silently to him. The Khadidran easily drew him closer to her and she turned her chin to reciprocate the deep kiss. Tomas tasted far better than Jonathan and Sherilyn looked forward to replacing the memory of the afternoon delight with exquisite dessert.
She was rather enjoying Tomas’ hands. A voice in the darkness interrupted them and Sherilyn growled lowly in her throat. “Go away,” she insisted with a hiss. When the baritone instructed them to break it up and return to quarters, the Khadidran snapped her gaze to the intruder. He was a tall and dark haired, with blue eyes nearly as stunning as the engineer’s. “You should join us,” she purred with a languid smile. She grunted softly when she felt the half-Betazoid pulling away. Low curses slipped from her lips as she gathered her clothes and slipped into them. It felt like she waited forever for her ‘date’ to pack up the picnic so they could retreat to his quarters. In that time, she watched Lukas Behr from the corner of her eye. ‘He looks like fun.’ Her wink was lost to the darkness and she pulled Tomas to hurry him to the residential building.