DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Beth Carlson and is copyright (c) 1981 by Beth Carlson. Rated PG13.

 

Second Best

Beth Carlson

 

Christine gave a small moan of pleasure and lay quietly beneath him.  She did not open her eyes but allowed a smile of contentment to escape her, the detachment of the moment still high.

 

He looked at her, studying her, and a smirk developed. Opening her eyes, Christine looked puzzled. "What's wrong? You okay?"

 

"Fine," he said sarcastically. "I'd be even better if you were here."

 

"Meaning?"

 

Engineer Barry DeSalle rolled away from her and lay on his back with an arm across his eyes. "Meaning every time I touch you, you close your eyes and pretend it's him."

 

He turned to look at her and she sat, gathering her knees to her, the covers falling at her waist. "Not every time."

 

"No, only when I'm not entertaining enough -- like tonight." She said nothing, and he sat up to look at her face.

 

"Barry, let's not get into this again," she said fingering the blanket.

 

He lifted her chin to him with a knuckle, and as his eyes met hers, the anger welled up in him. He grasped her jaw firmly. "LIKE TONIGHT," he hissed, pushing her answer.

 

Christine looked at him defiantly. "You're hurting me." He jerked his hand away from her jaw, but the glare remained. "Yes," she said. "Is that what you wanted to hear? Yes." She looked into his eyes for a long moment and then got up and went into the bathroom.

 

He sat there, hearing first the toilet vacuum and then the shower as he tried to put the whole thing out of his mind. Unsuccessful, he got up, fixed himself a drink, and drank it slowly, working his anger down to a point of rationality.

 

The shower stopped and there was the sound of the stall door opening and closing. He finished the drink and walked to the bathroom, standing in the doorway watching her dry, her back to him. He walked in and took the towel from her, drying her back and neck. Finally, she turned. "I've never lied to you Barry," she said.

 

He hung up the towel and pulled the pins from her hair, letting it fall again, pulling the damp strands in place. "I know," he said quietly.

 

"We're friends, we can talk, and we're good together. We decided all of this months ago. I've never led you to believe it could be anything else."

 

He touched her shoulder and allowed his hand to follow the damp curve rising to her breast, watching his hand against her skin. "Yeah. You've been honest as hell," he said with a slight wry smile and then looked into her eyes and took her hands in his. "Come back to bed for a while, Chris."

 

He leaned to kiss her gently, and she responded. This time, he promised himself, she wasn't going to think about the Vulcan.

 

FIN