Ensign Tom Kent arrived at Aria’s quarters on time after they had gotten off duty. When she opened the door for him he handed her three purple irises. They were pretty and Aria put them in a vase right away. She had just gotten off duty and was still in uniform. Tom had changed and said he did not mind waiting for her. It didn’t take her too long to change and felt better that they were not wearing uniforms on their date. She did outrank him and felt that rank should be left at home, at least on dates, both in romance and in friendship. It was probably the only way she could leave ‘the office’.
“You look wonderful, Aria,” Tom said as she joined her date in her living room. She wore a deep blue dress that did not expose anything exciting, but showed off all of her curves, that was exciting in its self.
“Thank you, Tom. I’m sorry that I am running late. There is just so much for me to get through in this new assignment.”
“It was worth the wait. Shall we go?” Aria nodded and the two left for her tour of the ship.
Tom really did give a though tour of the ship, which surprised her but Tom was on a security team so he did have to be very familiar with the ship. He knew what was behind each door and had stories for each of them.
When Tom was done the tour and they waited for the tubolift, he asked her, “Where would you like to have dinner? There’s Ten Forward, the mess hall or my quarters.”
“Ten Forward sounds interesting. I haven’t been there yet other than for a meeting and that was when no one was really there.”
“Okay, I was hoping you were going to choose there. I have this roommate who is very messy.”
“I had a roommate at school just like that. I have no idea how we were ever matched together.”
The two entered Ten Forward, which was full of crewmates relaxing after their shifts. They found a table near the large window where they could see the stars streaking by. Aria was still amazed that she was on a starship and not still on the starbase. She was still mesmerized by the stars flying by.
Once they placed their orders and chatted for a few minutes, a few of Tom’s buddies showed up at the table, all acting like high school boys, teasing Tom the way guys do. They were all from security and worked together. Aria though that they were a bit rude, but dismissed their behavior as testosterone overload. When their food came, the friends soon left the two alone again.
“I’m sorry for that, Aria,” Tom said apologetically.
“It’s okay. My friends from college would of probably done the same. Luckily they are touring Vulcan for the next few weeks.”
“What’s their assignment?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, they’re not in Starfleet. They are musicians, mostly classical, chamber music and such. They tease me incessantly about being Starfleet.”
“That’s great that you have been able to keep so close to them.”
Aria and Tom talked all through dinner and sipped coffee after their meal. Tom was the typical Starfleet officer, always wanted to join to get out of his small farm town in Ohio. Aria realized that they really did not have anything in common with him, but Tom was a really nice guy and they did have an enjoyable evening together.
Tom walked Aria back to her quarters. Outside her door, they talked for a few more minutes, then when it seemed as if Tom was looking for a kiss goodnight or an invitation inside her quarters when Aria said, “Tom, I’m sorry. I’ve just gotten on board and I am trying to settle in. I like you, but I have to take things very slow right now. My job comes first unfortunately and that means that I have a mountain of work waiting for me inside. I would like to see you again, but I want to start out as just friends and see where things go from there. I do hope you understand?”
“Yes Aria, I do. Getting re-assigned is always hard to adjust to,” he replied a bit disappointed but seemed to understand.
“Thanks Tom. I have to get through this mountain of work, but I do want to see you again. Can we talk in a few days?”
“Sure, maybe we can do dinner again. How about same time, next week?”
“Yes, that sounds nice. Thanks again Tom for a wonderful evening and by the way, you are a great tour guide,” and Aria gave Tom a quick peck on his cheek. “Good night, Tom.”
“Good night, Aria,” and he turned and went down the hall to the turbolift as Aria went inside. She had enjoyed herself but really felt nothing for him but friendship. He was a bit juvenile for her to be romantically involved with anyway. She needed a real man, not a boy, who enjoyed things that she did; music, theater, literature. They only thing she had in common with Tom was the food.
Aria added her date with Tom for the next week onto her schedule and made herself a pot of tea. She sat down at her desk to get back to work when her communicator went off. It was the Captain.
“I know it is late, but are you busy?”
“Sir, I am always busy but never for you. I am at your disposal.”
“Good, I was wondering if you were available to discuss ideas for the celebration for the crew?”
“Certainly, sir. I’ll be right there. Just let me get back into uniform.”
“That isn’t necessary. It is after duty hours.”
“Then I’ll be right there, sir.”
“Good. Picard out.”
Aria’s heart raced. She checked her hair and decided to let it down and finger combed it to give it a bit of volume. After checking and re-fixing her make up, she grabbed her data recorder and headed up to the Captain’s quarters.