Unfinished Snippet from The Grab Bag
"You want me to wear THAT?!" Tom's expression and voice were both incredulous. "No way, Torres!"
"Now, Tom, Captain Janeway's expecting us to report back to Voyager in two days with the good news that we traded for the engineering supplies we were sent here to barter for. How was she to know that this was a matriarchal society where men are--"
"Don't say it!"
--bedwarmers?" Torres smiled sweetly and picked up the garment he had flung in disgust to the floor. She dangled it before him. "Come on, Tom. For the ship."
He remained stonily silent, arms crossed over his chest defensively.
His gaze met hers and the temperature in the room got knocked up by about twenty degrees but still he shook his head.
B'Elanna sighed. "Come on, Tom. You really don't have a choice. If we don't present the image that you're mine, that I've taken you for my bedwarmer, then you're fair game. And from what Coralia said, the natives here take what they want. At least with me you have a choice."
He snorted but she could see he was weakening. Finally, heaving a very put upon sigh, he said, "B'Elanna, this could get really awkward, you know. It's not like we've actually . . ." He shrugged.
"Slept together?" She laughed out loud as a blush engulfed his face at her brashness. She'd always been taken with the fact that he could still blush.
Grinning ruefully, Tom draped an arm around her waist and pulled her in close to him. "Soon, Torres," he promised softly, kissing her gently on the lips. Then he grabbed the flimsy garment from her hands and headed for the bathroom. "Give me a moment to change," he called over his shoulder.
It had taken Tom more than a moment to change, not being quite sure what went where and how to keep some things in place. Bravely turning to face the mirror, his face scrunching up at what he saw. Paris hoped this never got back to Voyager. It was bad enough he had to parade around for these natives and let Torres declare ownership on him. He certainly didn't want to have to deal with what any of Voyager's crew might have to say should they see him like this. Exhaling and putting on a brave face, he stepped out into the main room to join B'Elanna.
Hearing the door slide open, B'Elanna turned to get her first glimpse of Tom in the Minarian outfit. Her heart skipped a beat as she watched him stride into the room. His long legs were bare, covered only by knee-high boots with a golden design woven into the soft cream-colored leather of the boots. He wore nothing over his upper body except a white silken cloak that hung to just past his hips. The cloak was embroidered with the same golden design.
Swallowing the urge to whistle, B'Elanna's gaze lingered on Tom's chest for a long moment before moving on to the flat planes of his stomach and lower. All that covered his waist was a thin white silk brief that was practically transparent. The briefs hung low around his hips, the waistband done in textured gold. As far as she could see, there was no other support there but the soft silk gently cradling his manhood. She stared, unable to tear her eyes away.
Tom stood still, watching her gaze swarm hungrily over him. If he'd held any doubts before that B'Elanna Torres desired him, they'd all just been wiped away.
He waited for her to say something but she merely stood there as if suddenly struck dumb. "So, do I pass muster?" he finally asked.
"I'll say," she breathed under her breath.
"What was that?"
"What?" She lifted her gaze to meet his. "Oh, nothing. You'll do. Give me a moment to change and then we'll join Coralia for dinner."
Tom followed B'Elanna down the corridor, one step behind her left shoulder as Minarian custom dictated. He covertly watched B'Elanna, admiring her in the ivory-colored silk dress that coincidentally complimented his outfit. The dress bared one shoulder, reminding him of Earth's ancient Greek togas. She looked absolutely stunning.
He ran a hand over his face in consternation. B'Elanna had waited until just before they were to join Coralia for dinner to hand the mask to him, explaining that as his mistress she was the only one allowed to see his face. He'd balked a bit at wearing it but had finally agreed to don the gold mask. The mask was a work of art, the paintings on it seeming to have a life of their own. It covered the upper half of his face, leaving his mouth and jawline bare. Tom was completely unaware that the painted black flames around the eyes only served to heighten the blueness of his gaze.
Neither of them really knew what to expect at this dinner. B'Elanna had said that Coralia's bedwarmer would be in attendance as well and that it would be safest for Tom to watch and emulate him whenever possible to avoid accidentally insulting their host.
Tom had heaved another sigh at that. It was going to be a long night.
They entered the outer room to Coralia's private quarters, where they waited to be announced. Tom fidgeted self-consciously, pulling the cloak closer around him. B'Elanna turned just in time to see him doing this and, grinned. "Don't hide the merchandise, Paris."
He scowled but was prevented from a reply when the door to Coralia's inner quarters opened and they were escorted in.
Dinner was laid out in regal splendor. It was tastefully underdone but everything pointed to a richness of culture that Coralia was deeply a part of.
B'Elanna and Tom turned to find Coralia watching them. Her attendant stood at her shoulder. "Good evenwatch," returned B'Elanna.
Coralia, her blonde hair piled atop her head in a cascade of curls, was dressed in a black silken dress, the style reminiscent of B'Elanna's. She was a striking woman, but in Tom's opinion she couldn't hold a candle to B'Elanna.
It was Coralia's companion, however, who drew their attention. A tall male, slightly taller than Tom, who had jet black hair and bronzed skin. His eyes met Tom's briefly, and Tom was caught by the independent fierceness in the other man's eyes. Perhaps there was more to these Minarian bedwarmers than met the eye. Could it be they willingly served their mistresses? Willingly bowed down to their command? On the surface they had only seemed like so much decoration. Now Tom's trepidation was beginning to kick in as he wondered what the true story behind the male Minarian's place in this society was.
"Remember," whispered B'Elanna, "eyes down."
Tom quickly averted his eyes. He tried to humbly look at the ground, but he didn't do humble very well, nor did he miss the appreciative gaze Coralia sent his way before his eyes flew downward in submission.
"He's quite delicious looking," Coralia complimented B'Elanna. "How long have you had him?"
With a start, Tom realized she was talking about him. He wasn't sure if he should feel honored or insulted that Coralia referred to him like a possession. B'Elanna, as if sensing his apprehension, ran gentle fingers up and down his bare arm.
"He is lovely, isn't he?" she agreed.