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Readying For The Leolo Root Ball

VC: Readying for the Leolo Root Ball
D'Alaire — 22 Sep 1998, 9:34 AM

She'd arrived first back from town, but she didn't dally once she'd led her horse into her stall. Well, not too much, as she couldn't help but check in on Kona and Frisco as she headed to the back of the stable. Certain enough, the mates stood all but asleep by each other, and were barely bothered by her entry.

After getting Liberty into her own stall, B'Elanna deftly unhooked the horse's bridle and saddle, plunking them on their holders, and packed some hay in her feeder. Giving her a loving pat, she then remembered the time, and hurried up again. A little altercation after the race had delayed her leaving town. And she had a lot to do, she knew.

Grabbing the gown Madame D'Alaireux had wrapped in tissue and tucked in her saddlebag, B'Elanna ran from the stable back to her house to wash and dress. Yet once in her room, she had to pause. What in the world do I do first? I don't do these things.

In that pause, she first figured that she'd brush her hair and get washed up -- wished she had time to wash her hair, too. So, after brushing her hair vigorously, she unhooked her belt and leather skirt, draping them on the chair, pulled off her boots and her shirt away as well, before finding herself a robe.

But returning from her armoir, she caught herself in a mirror, and for the first time, couldn't help but stare. Gracious, what's all happened today? D'A, Harry, the race...and what I've been up to! And Pa...Damn men and their stupid pride. Be easier if I didn't love them like a fool. But she knew in the same breath she didn't mind knowing she was loved.

She touched her face, her dirty cheek, almost hesitantly traced a line across the slight ridges of her brow given her by her mother's blood. They'd always been a curse to her--at least in her eyes--a thing that made her different. But she hadn't much minded being different...well, in some respects, anyway.

She was a damn good horsewoman, that she knew. And she'd loved it. The feel of a fine horse under her, knowing it was her work that'd helped make it fine, was a great souce of pride and satisfaction. And she knew she was strong and sassy, which was nothing to be ashamed of. More like a blessing with the life she led and loved.

But being different had shied her away from all the girlish things that she'd spit on in public, but secretly desired. She'd wanted to go to dances. But one bad trip and a roomful of laughter was enough to make her curse it. She'd always wanted to make up for that -- show them good. It was the next best thing to knocking Meg Delaney's lights out.

VC: Readying for the Leolo Root Ball, part 2
D'Alaire — 22 Sep 1998, 9:42 AM

B'Elanna went ot her basin and poured it full of cool water, then dropped a sponge inside. Thinking on that, she reached over and opened a bottle of rosewater -- a present from Annie on her birthday not long past. To herself then, she smiled, smelling the light perfume as it poured into the basin.

"B'Elanna!" came a call from outside her door, interrupting her smile, and she grabbed her robe around her when she heard her father's boot heels coming close.

But she didn't answer him, just let him come. He knocked. Knocked again. Finally she took a breath, steeling herself for the worst. "Yes, Pa," she said tonelessly.

He opened the door, took a full step inside, his hand hanging on the door latch. For a moment, B'Elanna's mouth opened in a bit of surprise, seeing the bruises on her father's jaw. But he was fine, she knew, so she resumed her upright stare.

"I just got through making peace with Mabus Ogla," he told her. "Maybe you'd like to hear?"

"What about it?"

Chakotay drew a hard breath. "Mabus says if you'd hit his boy any harder, you might've thrown his teeth through his head."

"I didn't hit him nearly that hard."

"So now I've got the Olga cousins going haywire and Marsh stomping on my grave -- On top of everything else you've been up to. You've really opened up a hornet's nest, girlie!"

"So, I suppose I'm grounded?" she replied tipping her head.

"Yeah," he said with equal sarcasm. "banished to the tower for the rest of your life." Her responding glare might've equaled Miss Kathryn's had she not been her own mother's daughter. Not that half-Klingon was anything to laugh at. "I want you to apologise for hitting him."

"Apologise?!" B'Elanna shot back. "That Ogla pondscum's a jackass! 'Sides, he started it! Didn't you hear--"

"And not just an apology," he interjected, "but you take him some biscuits and jam and make nice for a while."

She spat a laugh. "Over my dead body!"

"We can't be starting any more blood feuds with the Olga again right now," the forman insisted. "We got trouble from town and out. We don't need any more enemies"

"You should talk, the way you've been acting," she snapped back, "like a dang mad dog set for blood in your own den."

The forman took a long breath. She did have a point. His eyes darted for a moment, seeing for the first time the dress layed out on her bed. When his stare returned to hers, he could tell she knew where his mind had gone in that moment.

"I guess nothin' I say or do's going to keep you from going?" he said.

B'Elanna didn't break his eyes. "That's right," she replied, trying desperately to seem more confident than she felt. She did want to go, more than anything, wanted to be with Tom, but she hated being at odds with her pa, hated being forced to choose between them.

And Chakotay knew this, too, looking at his little girl. He hadn't forgotten that she could be as stubborn as a mule with twice the kick, like her mama that way. But she did have a soft spot in her, there was a lady under all those briars. He hadn't forgotten, either, that she'd made her own bed, and wanted to lay in it.

"I guess I'll see you there, then," he finally said, and with a genuine, if not slightly uncomfortable grin, which grew when he found his daughter's face light up with a smile he'd not seen in a long while. "Just stay away from those Ogla boys okay?" She nodded. "You'll be the finest lady there--And don't let that Tom Janeway treat you like anything less than that."

She nodded, laughing a little. He'd always be her father, she knew, no matter what he thought about her beau. "Tom's always been good to me...Thanks, Pa."

(If I've made any continuity errors by using the Ogla's cousins, please tell me. I tried to be non-descript for the time being.)

VC: Readying for the Leolo Root Ball, part 3
D'Alaire — 22 Sep 1998, 9:48 AM

The forman closed the door as he backed out, giving her another smile. With a happy breath, B'Elanna turned back to her dressing table and dropped her robe. "Dang right, he will," she said. Unhooking her corset, she looked at herself again, determined to remember the look that went along with the feelings beating in her proud heart before undressing the rest of the way.

Running the sponge over her warm body, feeling the cool, fragrant water spice her senses, she allowed herself an idle smile, recalling how Tom had been where that sponge had that day. Except then and there, it was hot and musky, both of them dripping with sweat and hardly able to breathe in that sun-cooked stable as they went at each other with complete abandon. A stallion and his mate, yet with more than animal lust and mutual understanding...even if that was right nice. They'd done some loving there, and said so, ached with desire and released it onto each other with a passion inborn but never truly shared before.

The memory of it alone fed the smile, and her wondering if they might find an excuse to get away from the dance a little early.

The rosewater had pinked up her caramel skin, and she'd pinned her short hair back on one side (no matter what the style was of the day, she'd always kept it more like a boy's, a bob just sitting on her shoulders, for convenience), and she'd chosen her best corselet and bloomers. Never can be too careful, she'd figured as she hooked up the front of the former, thankful and proud that her figure never required much pulling and pressing in those whalebone torture chambers. The dress came next, which she slid over her head, then straightened easily. The fabric was not too heavy, but of fine quality and dye. Dang nice.

After buttoning it up the back and turning to she if she'd missed one, she scowled at the fact that it fit remarkably well on her lithe frame. But she shook her head. "Nah." Still, she couldn't help but admire herself in it, indulge in a little vanity for a change.

She hooked on her black city boots met with a bit more difficulty--she hadn't worn them in some time, after all--But she did manage to get them on without cursing too much. Giving herself one last inspection before taking one more breath of nerve, she left her room.

Her pa wasn't there, probably washing up outside, so she went ahead without a word. She couldn't help but wonder, also, where Annie might be. She'd have thought that the older lady would have come to fuss or offer her some help. But shrugging it off--Annie had other ladies on the ranch who'd need her help--B'Elanna stepped carefully down the front steps of her house and looked around. Tom said he'd meet her there, but was nowhere in sight.

Wonder if Tom's even back yet, she thought, and then, Maybe he'd gone to see after little Sourdough...but wouldn't he have told me?...Dang men. And they say the ladies are hard to fugure out. With a sigh, she decided to walk on, see if he'd returned.

It was awkward with the nearly forgotten black heeled boots and with her skirt hiked up, but she didn't stumble or trip--she knew every bump on that path. But she almost did stumble when she glanced up and saw Tom Janeway staring at her, looking dang nice all in his best--and nicely fitting--black jeans and shirt, staring at her in both surprise and admiration...and desire.

She had stopped for that moment, feeling her heart begin to beat harder, her face flush with heaven-knows what. But collecting herself, she let her skirt drop and began to walk across to him, a little smirk crossing her lips as she approached.