Category: Light romance
Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything connected with Startrek Voyager, no infringement is intended.
The black ball rolled gently and cleanly into the corner pocket.
"Good game, Commander," Kathryn extended her hand and shook his.
"I nearly had you beaten that game, Captain. That might be the last pool tournament you win."
"Yeah, Chakotay, you only had one ball left on the table," piped up Tom, from where he was leaning against the bar. "Next weeks tournament could be really interesting. Harry's game has picked up too."
"So I better keep on my toes," laughed Kathryn. "I might not be the undisputed champion for much longer."
The rest of the crew gradually dispersed once the tournament was over, leaving Kathryn and Chakotay alone in the dim smoky atmosphere of Sandrine's. The only holocharacter still running was Sandrine herself. She came out from behind the bar.
"Mes amis, I am going now. I have poured you both a glass of wine; it's on the bar with the rest of the bottle. Please, can you turn out the lights when you leave?"
"We must be going too, Sandrine," said Kathryn. "We both have duty shifts tomorrow."
"Drink your wine first, I gave you the last of the '89 Bordeaux. It would be a shame to waste it. Good night." Sandrine left, leaving them alone in the bar.
"Since when has Sandrine left the bar before the customers?" asked Kathryn.
"Since Tom programmed it that way," replied Chakotay. "I think he's back to his old tricks. If we are alone in a holoprogram together all the other characters shut down."
"At least this time he hasn't..."
Privacy lock is engaged. The metallic tones of the holodeck computer.
"...Engaged the privacy locks," they both finished simultaneously.
"I hope this time he lets us out before morning. Remember when he left us in his Hawaiian Resort Program and the locks didn't disengage until 0600? We had to sleep on the beach!"
"I remember that," said Kathryn. "You thought it was your lucky night for a while there, didn't you?"
"Never give up, Kathryn. There's an old Maquis motto - 'non illegitimi carborundum est'. ."
"Latin? What does that mean?"
"Don't let the bastards grind you down."
They laughed and sipped their wine in companionable silence.
"You know, this evening I thought I nearly ... had you there for a while," said Chakotay. "Fancy a rematch?"
Kathryn studied him from under lowered lashes. "Sure. But to prove how confident I am about beating you, let's make a bet."
"A bet? You already take most of my replicator rations for coffee as it is. I can't afford to lose more or I'll turn into a leola root."
"Okay, something else then. Name your bet."
"Name my bet? Why, Kathryn, how very bold of you. Who knows what I'll demand if I win!"
"But you're not going to win. So name your prize."
He pretended to consider, but already he knew what he would ask for. He also already knew who would win the game, and it wasn't going to be him. He had yet to beat her at pool. But flirting with Kathryn was part of a long running game, both of them knew the boundaries and did not overstep. Flirting yes, but following through? No.
"A kiss, Kathryn. One kiss."
"I kiss you all the time! That's not much of a prize."
"Uh-uh, you peck me on the cheek all the time. I mean a real kiss." He studied her parted lips, smiling inwardly to himself as she flushed slightly and moistened her lips. "I want a lover's kiss." So there could be no mistake.
Her parted lips told him of her surprise, but his gut told him she wouldn't refuse. He wasn't disappointed.
"Fine. Do you want to know what I want?"
"I know what you want. Coffee. Chocolate. Failing that no doubt you want me to take one of your early duty shifts."
"The latter will do nicely, Commander. And when I win, you can take tomorrow's early shift for me . "
"It's a deal." Swiftly he racked the balls. "Winner to break?"
"I think I can afford to be generous. Mugs away, Chakotay."
He broke cleanly and two stripes fell into the pockets.
He chalked his cue and potted three more balls before missing a difficult shot into the middle pocket.
Kathryn raised an eyebrow. "I had better watch out."
Swiftly she potted four of her own balls before an unlucky shot bounced out of the pocket.
Chakotay grinned. "A chance! She gave me a chance."
Without missing a beat he pocketed his remaining two balls and lined up for the black.
"Top pocket." The ball fell cleanly into his nominated pocket. He straightened. "Well, Kathryn?"
He stood there relaxed, smiling slightly at her. "I think I'll claim my prize."
He approached her and took hold of her shoulders, still smiling down at her, waiting for her to make excuses or try and wiggle out of it. He was not disappointed.
"Double or quits?"
"Two kisses or two duty shifts?"
"Why should I give up my kiss? How do you know I'll want a second one?"
"You can take Wednesday's early shift as well as tomorrow."
"So confident," he teased. "And you just lost spectacularly."
She shrugged. "I won't lose again - I can't afford to."
"Is the thought of kissing me so bad?"
"I doubt you'll ever know for sure." She grinned to take the sting out of her words and winked at him.
She racked the balls and he gestured expansively with his cue. "Mugs away."
She broke and a single spot rolled into the pocket. Studying the table pensively, she chalked her cue and then potted five more, leaving only a single spot on the table. It was in a bad position, nestled up tight to two of Chakotay's balls. She played a safety shot.
"You need to do something with your balls, Commander."
He smiled at her, and did just that, clearing the table of all of his balls.
He lined up for the black. "Pity you still have to get up early for that duty shift tomorrow, Captain. Middle pocket."
The black ball brushed the cushion, but fell into the pocket and he straightened a huge grin on his face. "I don't think you can double or quits your way out of this, Kathryn. Four kisses are a bit excessive. And you don't know yet how long I intend to spend on each one."
He crossed over to her and stroked his hands down from her shoulders to her elbows, tugging her gently closer. "I think I'll claim the first one now."
Kathryn was gazing up at him, her eyes huge. She was so close, he could feel the heat radiating off her body, see her eyes darken to smoke as he smiled down at her. He was crowding her deliberately, and unless she stopped him now, he intended claiming his kiss. Her breathing seemed loud in the charged silence.
"Who said anything about quitting, Chakotay? Two fluke games mean you can't possibly win a third. Double or quits?"
"I said I didn't want four kisses. Two is quite enough for me."
He tugged her a little closer, so that her breasts brushed his chest. His stomach clenched at the contact.
She had to tilt her head back to look up at him.
"Let's increase the stake. How about a week of duty shifts if I win, and if you win ... a night together."
He was suddenly and shockingly still. Surely, she didn't mean it? Surely not.
"Kathryn, you shouldn't bet what you can't afford to lose."
"I won't lose, Chakotay."
"You just did. Twice."
"So? Have you ever known me lose three times in a row?"
"No, but then I've never known you even joke about what you just suggested."
"Do we have a bet?"
"And what if I win? Does a night together mean a night together with the whole bridge crew on Gamma shift?"
"Name your terms."
"A night together, alone in my quarters. You sleep in my bed. With me. No protocol in bed with us, just Kathryn and Chakotay. Beyond that... whatever you want to do ... or not do. That is your choice and I wouldn't push you."
"And if I refuse?"
"Then we can settle up now, and be off to bed ... separately."
His lips started to descend.
She twisted out of his hold.
He smiled to himself as she racked the balls. He knew that at the end of this evening he would have lost, and he would never have the pleasure of holding her to the bargain, but it was fun to dream. He had consciously stepped up the flirting, to see how far she would go.
She broke, and a solitary stripe tumbled into the pocket, along with the white ball.
He reset the white ball, and succeeded in pocketing a second stripe, but missed an easy shot on a third.
Chakotay was studying the table. She must be flustered, that was a break that even Jenny Delaney, the worst regular pool player on the ship, wouldn't have done. But he had seen her win from a much worse position then this. He suspected she was stringing him along, and would wait until he thought his victory was assured before wiping the floor with him.
She attempted a tricky double cushion shot - and missed.
Chakotay potted a third ball, then a fourth. Now he too had only difficult shots. He attempted an acute angle cut. The ball spun towards the pocket, but it wasn't hard enough and it came to rest, blocking the pocket. He had to grin - his ball was now blocking her only decent shot. Unbelievably, she had yet to pocket a ball.
She pulled off an impossible shot, a spin shot that should never have worked. She was concentrating hard as she chalked her cue and bent over the table again, stretching to reach a long shot.
He was so busy admiring the way the blue jeans she wore stretched taut over her behind he missed what she said.
"I said, jump shot into the corner pocket."
Before he could react, she had pulled off another impossible shot, jumping her ball over his so that it landed directly in the pocket.
"Dirty pool!" he cried. "Jump shots are illegal."
She shrugged, but handed over the cue all the same. "But it worked."
She had left him open.
He pocketed two easily. Now he had only one colored ball on the table plus the black. She had five balls left. He watched her out of the corner of his eye as he chalked his cue. She seemed outwardly calm, but he wondered what she was thinking. There was now every chance she would lose this game. He allowed himself a small moment of anticipation. He would hold her to the bet - make her sleep in his bed. But he wouldn't force anything else on her, except of course the two kisses. She owed him that at least for the sleepless night he would be bound to have.
He reached his big frame far over the table to line up for his last ball. Balanced on one leg, bracing himself as he squinted down the cue, he didn't hear her come up behind him. The cue pulled back as he concentrated on his shot, and then jerked uncontrollably, nearly ripping the holographic baize as her hand ran up the inside of his thigh. The cue slid off the white ball, which barely moved.
He straightened and faced her. "Now that really was dirty pool."
"Never fails though. When in a tight spot, pull out all the stops. First secret to pool hall hustling." She took the cue.
"Of course, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," he said. "Why don't you go for that long shot over there?"
She glared at him. "Don't you dare."
He looked innocent. "Why not? You did."
He positioned himself behind her as she bent over to take her shot. She tensed waiting for him to do something, but his hands stayed in his pockets. It was still enough to distract her though and she missed.
She moved over to the bar, sipping on her wine. She seemed relaxed enough as she poured the remainder of the bottle Sandrine had left them into their glasses.
He lined up the shot, slid the cue back, then straightened up and looked around.
"What is it?" she was grinning.
"Just making sure you're not going to drop my pants when I take this shot."
"I wouldn't do that," she said. And waited until he was in position to take the shot, cue slid back, before she added, "I was thinking more of dropping mine."
He gasped, but her timing was off and his ball slid into the pocket.
"Sorry, Kathryn, your distraction didn't work. You won't get me twice that way."
"I'll have to think of something else then." She studied him over the rim of her glass, as he lined up on the black. And missed.
"Chakotay, how about three kisses and we call it quits and don't finish this game?"
"I'm on the black ball. I won't miss a second time. You have four balls on the table. Why do you think I'll accept your offer?"
"Because I'm the captain?" She looked hopefully at him.
"No, you'll have to do better than that."
"I could make it an order."
"But you won't will you, Kathryn. Imagine Tom's face when I tell him you ordered me to throw a pool game that you were in danger of losing because you didn't want to pay up when you lost. Then imagine his face when I tell him what the bet was."
"You wouldn't dare."
"Try me. Dirty pool remember. Anything goes."
"Well I'll just have to win then, won't I."
Lining up, she executed a perfect cushion shot. One down. Then an easy straight shot. Two. Then ran the red ball along the cushion to slip in. Three.
She cocked an eyebrow at him. "Should have taken me up on that last offer, Chakotay. Looks like you missed out." She bent for the fourth ball.
Chakotay groaned to himself. It looked liked he'd been hustled in a big way. She was cleaning up.
The fourth ball teetered on the lip of the pocket, but did not fall.
Kathryn stood, mouth open in disbelief. "How did I miss that?"
Even worse for her, the white ball had come to rest with a straight shot on the black.
Chakotay bent over to take the shot. His mind was whirling. He could picture it all, the black ball rolling in, Kathryn's disbelief. He knew she would go along with the bet, she wasn't one to welch. He imagined leading her into his quarters, stripping down to his boxers ... what would she take off? he wondered. She couldn't sleep in jeans and a sweatshirt. He imagined curling up next to her, his arm around her and drifting off to sleep, just holding her. Hah. She would drift off to sleep, he would be doomed to lie awake all night in a constant state of sexual arousal. Maybe he should throw the game, the torment wouldn't be worth it. While his mind raced, he absent-mindedly took the shot. And missed.
"Looks like you missed out." She grinned, she must be relieved.
Efficiently she potted her last color and lined up for the black.
Dirty pool. Chakotay decided he wasn't going to give up without a fight. As she bent over the cue, he gently and deliberately stroked the curve of her bottom. She quivered and didn't strike the cue ball, no doubt hoping that he would stop. He kept going, caressing her hip and her bottom.
"Chakotaaaaaaay." A definite warning in her voice.
"I don't have to remind you do I?"
"Dirty pool" they both chorused.
She took the shot anyway. And missed.
The cue ball rolled to a stop, with the black ball over the pocket. He couldn't miss. He didn't miss.
There was a moment of total silence. He looked at her.
"Well, looks like you won, Commander. I won't say fair and square, but you won."
He tried to read her face. Was she annoyed?
Slowly she turned and walked towards the holodeck doors. Over her shoulder, she said, "Let me know when you want to collect."
"Um, Kathryn," now he was nervous. Very nervous. How come she was being so calm about this?
"We can make it a week of duty shifts if you prefer." Hell and damnation. Why had he said that? Now she was off the hook.
She turned, "A bet's a bet, Chakotay. Tell me when you want me."
He started a little. Had she really said that?
She resumed walking. "Besides, I had to accidentally miss an easy shot and set you up on the black ball twice before you finally pocketed it."
His jaw dropped open. In a heartbeat he was beside her, grabbing her arm to make her stop. "Kathryn?"
She turned to him and stroked his face, smiling tenderly up at him. "How about tonight? You wouldn't want me to change my mind now, would you?" Pulling his head down to her, she kissed him gently, but her lips lingered enough that there was no doubt as to what she meant.
He slipped his arm around her, and pulled her close. Together they left the holodeck for his quarters.
They forgot to turn out the lights.