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Bits From The Ball

Bits from the Ball
D'Alaire — 23 Sep 1998, 11:43 AM

They could hear the music, the fiddle and guitars and even a little horn playing, too, as Tom rounded the last turn onto the mainway. And while he smiled to hear the cheerful playing, to see the glow of the square up ahead, it faded a bit when he felt B'Elanna stiffen under his arm. "What's wrong?"


He eyed her. "C'mon, B'Elanna, you're not scared are you?"

"Of course not!" she returned, but slumped a little. "I am a might nervous."

"Yeah, I recall your last dance," Tom said, then knew he'd done wrong when she became even more rigid. With a sigh, he slowed the buggy, glancing down to her wide eyes, trying to catch them. "B'Elanna, that was a whiles back. You were just a girl. We were both different then."

"Tell me about it."

He chuckled. "And I know you've had a blood vengeance for Miss Megan ever since. I never saw why, though. She's a real nice gal, but she hasn't come near to doing what you have with yourself. I personally think you've scored her ten times over."

B'Elanna finally looked up to see his smile, at least one of his sparkling eyes staring down to her. "You really think?"

They'd come to the front of the square, so pulling on the reigns -- "Woah, boy, woah."--Tom placed a finger on her cheek and kissed her. "Yeah, B'Elanna, I really think, and I also happen to know it, too. So why don't we mosey on in there and prove it?"

Her smile didn't fade, but her voice did hold a bit of uncertainty when she said, "I don't really know how to dance too well, Tom."

"Aw, that's easy."

"Oh?" She wasn't convinced.

Tom took her hand. "We've been dancin', B'Elanna," he told her with a sly grin, "just not in front of everyone else." B'Elanna laughed. "So, just follow my lead and keep moving to the beat, and you'll do just fine."

He kissed her again, but after drawing a deep sigh, she couldn't help but smirk. "What if I want to lead for a while?"

Tom chuckled. "There'll be plenty of time for that later, B'Elanna."

At that, a young man came out and took the buggy horse's bridle. Tipping his hat to him, Tom took the cue and jumped down. Walking around, he held up his hands to B'Elanna, who had already begun to stand. Placing them securely on her slim hips, her hands falling upon his shoulders, he lifted her down and around, onto the walkway. With a brush of her hand, she adjusted the sweep of her gown, took a solid breath.

His eyes met hers again, his hand extended to her waist, and she smiled. In his stare, she knew he meant to show everyone they were there together, and that none of their gossip or staring or what-not mattered.

For herself she knew she'd done good in that race that day, showed off of her best horsewoman's skills (if not with a little help), and there in the square, washed and done up, she looked right nice in her stylish blue gown. Topping it off, she had the finest man in town on her arm...her man.

With that knowing grin, B'Elanna let Tom Janeway lead her into the Leolo Root Ball, through the crowd of curious, whispering townspeople. To her credit, she didn't say a word when her eye caught Miss Megan's, even if her grin turned up a notch higher and she gave the other lady a courteous nod.

RE: Bits from the Ball, pt.2
D'Alaire — 23 Sep 1998, 11:53 AM

Tom had really laid down his mark that night, holding B'Elanna's hand as they mingled and chatted around the square, all lit up with those fancy lanterns from way out east. Slowly, everyone had come out of their proper civility, and started talking with her, stopping their staring and actually acting nice.

At first, B'Elanna thought it was for Tom they'd been talking--he was friends with everybody, after all. But soon she realised that they were really talking to her, and she was responding. Soon, she'd relaxed and let herself enjoy herself as they mingled. It was strange, but nice.

Better still, he could somehow tell when she was getting tired of chatting, and led her aside, easing out of the conversation with gentlemanly grace and to a quieter corner. When she mentioned she was thirsty, he ran off to get her a cup of punch, placing it in her small hands upon her return.

"This is delicious," she commented after a sip.

"Sangaree," Tom told her. "Maxine actually donated a bottle of her Merlot for the cause."

"Well, she did good. I never had any MER-lo before." She looked around. "Where's the food, anyway? I'm right hungry."

Tom nodded. "Me too, I think Mama's got a table held for us, but I didn't see it."

"Excuse me, but I have already taken the liberty of reserving a table --Miss B'Elanna-- with a view of the corral."

B'Elanna turned a scowl to Vorik. "Huh?"

"You did express your fondness for that particular vista, in a conversation two years ago, about rodeo shows."

B'Elanna had to think, and scowled. "I reckon so."

"Good mem'ry," Tom muttered.

"Of course," Vorik replied, taking a step forward. But Tom stepped forward, too, getting between him and B'Elanna and placing a hand on the man's chest.

"She's my date, not yours," Tom told him firmly, looking down at him. "Go find your own pasture to graze in."

B'Elanna couldn't help but smile as the nonplussed Vorik stumbled away, nor did she bother to hide it as Tom took her hand again and led her off to a food table to get some cornbread sticks to tide them over. Nibbling on that and tipping up another cup of sangaree, B'Elanna turned her ear to the music playing and tipped her head in curiosity when she looked up to the bandstand. "Isn't that D'A's assistant up there?"

Tom looked. "Timmy? Yep. Plays a right mean horn, don't he?"

"Who's the lady? I never seen her before."

"She came in late on the Delta Flyer. Name's Juliet. Max said she was called out here all the way across the ocean out England way, some kind of captain, he said."

B'Elanna's brow rose at that. "A lady captain?"

"Reckon so. That's what Max called her."

"Those English are a funny bunch," she noted. "Nice to know they've got ladies in the navy, though, and she plays right fine, too." B'Elanna's eyes perused the square. Some of the people were already dancing, though the square dances hadn't started yet.

Tom looked down at her as that one song ended, grinned. "Would you like to dance, B'Elanna?"

She quickly shook her head. "Oh no, I was just looking at what everyone was doing."

Laughing lightly, he touched her chin with a finger. "Wait right here."

RE: Bits from the Ball, part 3
D'Alaire — 23 Sep 1998, 12:15 PM

B'Elanna watched Tom as he hopped up to the grandstand and bent down to Miss Juliet, whispering something in her ear. She seemed to think for a minute, then nodded. Tom took her hand and kissed it softly, making the lady blush. Pleased with himself, Tom jumped back down and came straight back to B'Elanna, taking her hand.

"C'mon," he said. "And don't fret. Just follow me, and it'll come to you."

Leading her right into the middle of the floor, Tom placed his hand on her hip as she drew up the edge of her skirt and took his other hand. She steeled herself with a breath, swallowing her nervousness. The guitar started playing, a slow, deeply melodic waltz, exotic and pulsing. Looking up into Tom's eyes, and feeling him nudge on her hip a bit, she stepped back with him...a pull on her hand, and she stepped forward with him.

Off on the side, just outside the square, Madame D'Alaireux sighed through her grin as she leaned against a post, watching. The young lady still was a little awkward, but catching on, her lover noticably attentive to her. Timmy had picked up on the tune, and the fiddle too in harmony.

"Ahhhh, Chopin," the Madame breathed.

The other couples started joining in, but the first couple didn't seem to notice. Smiling still, Madame D'Alaireux glanced to the mainway, where others were arriving, then pushed herself off the post. But she didn't enter the square. Instead, she found herself moving into the field, wandering away.

The music, moody and emotional -- especially for so early in the ball -- had taken over B'Elanna as she moved across the floor with Tom's expert direction, seemed to flow over and through her, beat in her heart with every turn and step. She'd become lost in it, in him. She'd forgotten her awkwardness, forgot all about the other people there, even those dang uncomfortable boots, but danced with her lover across the makeshift wooden floor to the sultry rhythm.

Even when it drew to a stop, she stared up into his eyes, breathing deeply as his gaze penetrated her. After a minute, she finally heard the clapping around her, and she and Tom finally smiled. Then, turning, he led her slowly into the new dance, his hand still securely on her waist but holding her a little closer as they stepped back together.

B'Elanna looked past Tom's arm to see her father, just entering with Lee-Marie, looking at her with the ghost of a smile on his lips. B'Elanna placed her hand on Tom's and smiled back before she turned with the rhythm.


That song passed, and then, after indulging in another sangaree, a few more. Everybody was there by then--Miss Kathryn and the Marshall, Kes and her escort, Cowgirl Vickie and that Magnum dude. And the floor started getting a might bit close for B'Elanna's comfort. Seeing this, Tom slowly led her away from the floor.

They got themselves some more punch to quench their dry thirst, and Tom paused, wondering what corner or group they might go to next. His mother looked like she wanted to put the forman on a spit, and meanwhile kept grilling the marshal. Kes and her "friend" were doing some kind of dance Tom didn't know--in public, anyway. The music kept playing, but he knew the square dancing wouldn't start till later.

He turned to ask B'Elanna what she wanted to do when he noticed a hawkish look settle in her stare, and couldn't help but be amused by it. "What're you up to?" he asked.

Setting her cup aside, B'Elanna gave his hand a tug. "My feet are sore," she said quietly, pointing with her eyes. "Help me rest them?"

Grinning at her hinting smirk, Tom tossed off the rest of his punch and let her lead him out of the square.