After leaving the restaurant, they ran into a group of Starfleet delegates and all went to a nightclub near the hotel. The group consisted of Lieutenant Commander Christopher Strom, Captain Paul Peterson, Commander Scott McKinney, Commander James LaTava and Captain Alex Petrov who were all attending the conference. Picard knew most of them from other gatherings. All of them were dressed in casual attire, much like Picard. Aria was the only female in the group and was enjoying the extra attention they were all giving her. The group sat a large table and ordered more tropical drinks. Even though they were all in an exotic location, they still could not escape talking about work.
As the night went on, the club’s lights got dimmer and the music got louder, almost to the point where it was hard to talk.
Commander McKinney asked Aria to dance. She gladly accepted and he escorted her out to the well-populated dance floor. The music was fast and had a driving beat as they began to dance. Because of the growing crowd, they were forced to be a bit closer than she would have been with a man she barely knew. She thought it was fun to have the attention of this young officer. Scott was the tall, dark and handsome type who was very strong and had great muscle tone, which she could feel as they danced. Eventually, the band took a break and the two went back to the table, where the others sat. Aria picked up her purse and went off to the ladies room to freshen up a bit.
Inside the bathroom, Aria looked at herself in the mirror. She felt amazing. She was getting more attention from her male companions than she was used to and she and Picard were having a lovely time in the beautiful location. Her dress was perfect for the evening and she felt amazing in it. She felt sexy and alluring, like she held the world in her hands. After fixing her make up, Aria returned to the main room in the club and saw many of her tablemates on the dance floor, including Picard. She joined them on the very crowded floor. The music was almost defining as they moved to the music, letting it almost control them. Joining the group, Aria gravitated towards Picard wondering if her mother had been correct about him.
He noticed her getting close to him, letting the music control her body. He watched the music serge through her body. Move her in ways that made him feel like he was just a man, not the Captain of a powerful starship. Jean Luc wanted so much to reach out and touch her, hold her, but Scott was more confident and aggressive in his actions towards her. Before Jean Luc could react, Scott had taken Aria by the waist and began dancing very close to her. He felt waves of disappointment flow through his body as the young Commander moved in sync with her. What could he do?
Jean Luc was concerned for her because Commander McKinny did have a reputation for being a lady’s man. He was well known for seducing women and quickly moving on. Aria deserved better, she deserved a man who was going to worship her, respect her and be there for her. Jean Luc wondered if he was capable of giving all of that to her. Did he have the courage to take that leap to find out by risking the friendship they already had? As all of this ran through his head, Scott had danced her away from him. Frustrated and jealous, Jean Luc marched off the dance floor and ordered another drink, thinking of what he should do about this beautiful but yet very intelligent woman who completely captivated him, haunted him. Something had to be done before Commander Scott McKinny sunk his philandering claws into her.
Scott and Aria were close enough to speak a few words over the almost deafening music.
“Do you want to get out of here and get some air?” Scott asked.
Aria nodded and the two left the club and went to take a walk on the beach. They spoke about their duties and some of their crewmates. Scott was the Second Officer on the Intrepid. He had graduated the academy a few years before Aria, but knew most of the instructors that she had. While at the Academy, Scott had played baseball and led them to three undefeated season. Aria really liked him and he was fun to be with. She felt a bit guilty that she was with him but she tried to push that feeling and her mother’s words out of her head, at least for that night. Here was an attractive man who was interested in her and was allowed to let his feeling show.
Scott plucked a white tropical flower from a near by plant and placed it behind her ear. “Aria, you are a very beautiful woman.”
“Thank you, Scott. It’s pretty easy in a place as beautiful as this.”
“I have never met a woman that was as confident and intelligent as you.”
“Scott, you flatter me. If I did not know better, I would think that you are trying to seduce me,” she said smiling.
“What would make you think that?” he said.
“I never hear things like you tell me.”
“That is a shame,” he told her as he stoked her cheek. “Is there someone on the Enterprise that should be saying these kinds of things to you?”
“I don’t know,” she said turning away from Scott. “Things are a bit more complicated back there.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“There is something I want on the Enterprise, but I know it is completely unattainable not to mention unrealistic.”
“Well, let me try to get him out of your mind. You are far too beautiful to be pinning away for someone who does not care for you that way that I could,” he said as he leaned down and kissed her. His kiss was gentle and seemed well practiced. Aria let herself kiss him back. Hell, if she couldn’t have the Captain and she was feeling that her man in gold was only interested in that one moment with her, she might as well enjoy the attention the man in front of her.
The rational side of her knew that anything that they were to share was probably not going to go any farther than the shores of Malrata, but she did not want to think anymore, she was tired of being alone, tired of thinking. Scott wrapped his strong arms around her and held her tightly against his muscular chest. His embrace felt so good to her and she melted into him. Scott then scooped her up into his arms and started walking towards the water.
“Scott, what are you doing?” she asked a bit concerned.
“Things are getting a bit hot, so I thought we could cool down a bit,” he replied with a devilish smile.
She started to laugh as the water lapped up on his legs and splashed on to her. She kissed him again as they stood in the water with the waves washing up onto the shore. They could just barely hear the music that came from the club they had left, but it was still enough to add to the atmosphere for the two of them. Scott let Aria’s legs down, but still held her close, her feet barely touching the water. She laughed as the water tickled her feet. They were both laughing and playing around. Scott was pretending he was going to drop her in the water. Aria really didn’t care if he did but she preferred not to get her new dress wet.
Scott was lightly swinging her feet like a bell, when her communicator went off.