What Flavor Is A Second Chance?
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: set immediately after Persistence of Vision
“Come in.” Chakotay didn’t look up from the report he was reading.
“Have you got a minute?”
He looked up to see B'Elanna standing just inside the door of his office. “For you? Always.”
The dimpled smile made her heart race, and she hoped her face wasn’t as hot as it felt. She sat in the chair on the other side of his desk. “I need some advice.”
“Is there something wrong?”
“I – the visions – they – “ She stood up abruptly. “Never mind, forget it.”
“B'Elanna.” Chakotay came around the desk and caught her before she could leave. “Come here and tell me.” He led her to the small sofa and sat down.
His big hand was warm and she couldn’t help squeezing it. “I heard that the visions were – what you – really wanted.”
“Yes and no.” His own vision of making love to Kathryn had been exactly what he wanted but others had not had pleasant visions. “Harry said he saw his fiancée, but Tom saw his father.”
“That couldn’t have been fun.” She chewed on her lip.
After a few moments, he took the initiative. “You had a vision of something you wanted?” He watched her face carefully. “Or someone?”
She knew her skin was flushed now. “Yes.”
“B'Elanna, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” He patted her knee. “The alien dug around in your mind and brought out something private. You did nothing wrong.”
“What if…” His leg was pressed against hers and his hand still rested on her knee. “What if you want it to be real?”
“Well, it depends.” Chakotay tugged at his ear thoughtfully. “You should find out how this person feels. It’s possible he has feelings for you.”
“So I just say ‘hey, I’ve been hiding my feelings for you and I really want you to know’?”
“You might be a little more subtle.” He laughed. “I assume this is someone who already likes you?” When B'Elanna nodded, he continued. “Start spending more time with him. Lunch, time on the holodeck, maybe a romantic dinner. Let him know you’re interested.”
He took his hand from her knee and picked up a handful of jellybeans from the bowl on the table. B'Elanna watched jealously as he popped some in his mouth and rolled them around on his tongue.
“Do the things women do.” He shrugged. “Woman things.”
“Woman things? That’s not very helpful, Chakotay.” She scooped up some jellybeans.
“You know, the way you look down and then up through your eyelashes. The casual hand on a man’s chest.” He grinned. “Woman things.”
“I don’t know how to do any of those things.” She growled as she slumped back on the sofa. “I’d get laughed at.”
“B'Elanna.” Chakotay cupped her face in his hands. “You’re a beautiful woman.”
Oh my god! He’s going to kiss me! He was close enough that she could smell the subtle spicy scent he wore. Closing her eyes, she tipped her face up and waited. The brush of his lips across her forehead made her eyes snap open.
“Just be yourself.” The door chime caught his attention. “Come in.”
Disappointment lashed her heart raw as his face lit up at the sight of the Captain standing in the doorway. His dimples hit full force as he smiled. If there was any doubt as to where Chakotay’s heart lay, it vanished with his smile.
“Am I interrupting?”
“B'Elanna and I were just talking about woman things.” He grinned at Kathryn’s expression.
“And you’re qualified how?” She sat on the edge of the table facing them. “What did he tell you? He probably told you to wear something slinky, didn’t he?”
“I did not!” He protested.
Picking out a couple of coffee flavored jellybeans, Kathryn popped them in her mouth. “So, who’s the lucky man?” Her other hand came to rest on Chakotay’s knee.
“There isn’t one. I was just – I need to go.” B'Elanna jumped up. “Thanks for listening to me, Chakotay.”
“Anytime.” He stood up as well and to her horror brushed a kiss across her cheek.
The Captain stood and laid a hand on her shoulder. “Relax, B'Elanna. Any man on this ship would consider himself lucky to have you.” She elbowed Chakotay. “Just don’t listen to anything he told you.”
Suddenly, B'Elanna felt like a teenager with her parents. “I’ll see you two tomorrow.”
“Goodnight.” The Captain echoed him. “Now, Chakotay, you said something about dinner?”
As she left, B'Elanna turned and caught a glimpse of them. She had her hand on his chest and he was laughing at something she said. It didn’t ease the ache in her heart to see the Captain look up at Chakotay with the same adoring look he’d given her.
Charging blindly into the turbolift, she collided with someone and knocked him to the floor.
“Where’s the fire?” Tom picked himself up.
“Shut up, Paris!”
“What did I do?” He held his hands up.
“Just shut up!” She turned her back on him and snapped out the order for her deck.
“Computer, halt lift.” He stepped in front of her. “What the hell did I do?”
“Nothing! Nothing…” She forced open her clenched fists.
“Did you hurt yourself?” Tom took her hand and gently touched the red stain on her palm. “It’s sticky.” He raised her hand to his nose. “Cinnamon?”
“Jellybeans.” She’d forgotten the candy she’d taken earlier.
“Is this a Klingon thing?” He nibbled candy off her palm.
“Stop that!” B'Elanna jerked her hand back.
“Computer, resume.” Tom turned to face the door, hands clasped behind his back.
They rode in silence for a few moments. “Tom, can I ask you a question?” Her voice was quiet.
“Have you ever wanted something so badly – “ She clenched her fists again. “But you can’t ever have it?”
“What did you do?”
“I crawled into a bottle.” He turned to face her again. “And then I got a second chance.”
“I don’t know that there’ll be a second chance.” B'Elanna said bitterly. How could anyone be as kind and caring as Chakotay? Who else would look past these damn ridges?
“Come to the holodeck with me.” The lift had stopped and the doors slid open. “Me and Harry are going to play Parrises squares. You can watch me thump him.”
“I don’t know.”
“Want a bottle to crawl into?” Tom held out his hand. “Second chances don’t come looking for you, B'Elanna. You have to go look for them.”
“Fine, I’ll go to the holodeck with you.” Slapping his hand away, she followed him out of the lift. “Just don’t get any ideas.”
“Who me?” He smiled as he watched the sway of her hips when she walked past him. “Would I do something like that?”