Chapter Ten

Malcolm takes his shirt off – again!

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After giving the bed a good workout they barely had time for a shower (together) and to dress before going downstairs for the dinner. Trip wore a white shirt and cream coloured slacks, while Malcolm was wearing his favourite outfit - black button up shirt (with half the buttons left undone) and black leather trousers. And he still didn't realise how sexy he looked in it. To him it was just - well - comfortable.

The dinner was a pleasant, informal affair with lots of chatter and laughter. Only the waiting staff wore uniform, and the variety of civvies was amazing although there was not a single tee shirt and jeans ensemble to be seen. For the cadets it was certainly a party.

When the dessert dishes had been removed and coffee was served the principal called for attention.

"This will be your one and only opportunity to question Lieutenant Reed about his title of the 'Sexiest person in Starfleet', so I'd advise you to make the most of it."

When the cheering subsided the questions started coming. There were the obvious ones like how did he feel about being the winner of such a competition, and did Mr. Tucker vote for him? And some less obvious like, was he going to take up a career in modelling now? He answered all as honestly and truthfully as he could, and when finally the questions stopped he thought it was all over. How wrong he was! Out came the cameras, as all the cadets wanted their own personal photo of him. He was asked to come round to the front of the table so people could get better pictures, and he graciously obliged. He stood and sat in different positions as asked, and then there was a shout from further back in the hall.

"Get your shirt off, Sir, we want to see your muscles." The cry was echoed all round the hall, "Yes, come on, Sir. Get it off."

Malcolm looked at Trip. This was exactly what had happened when he won on Enterprise. He gave a deep sigh, shrugged, and climbed up onto a table. Then he started to unbutton his shirt. Someone in the crowd must have heard what had happened on Enterprise at this point, because the strains of a harmonica playing "The Stripper" were heard, and as before Malcolm played up to it, moving sensually in time to the music, whilst slowly undoing his buttons. The cadets la la-ed the tune clapping in time as they sang until Malcolm finally flung his shirt across the room. There was thunderous applause at this action, and cameras were working overtime. Cadets who were standing close enough were able to see several scars on Malcolm's torso - proof, if it was needed, of the dangers involved in being a security chief. Malcolm posed as he had the first time, with his thumbs hooked in the waistband of his trousers, then he suggestively undid the top button and toyed with the zip! The cadets went wild. They'd forgotten that he was a lieutenant in Starfleet. To them he was simply a gorgeously sexy man.

Trip decided to get in on the act again, or maybe to remind them that Malcolm was his and they couldn't have him. Whatever the reason, he climbed on the table behind Malcolm and put his arms around him, running his hands over Malcolm's chest. While cameras clicked from all corners, as on the previous occasion Trip worked his hands downwards until he could tuck his fingers into the waistband of Malcolm's trousers. Then Malcolm turned in the circle of Trip's arms and gave his husband a long, lingering kiss!

When they broke apart, Malcolm jumped down from the table and went in search of his shirt. As it was handed to him, a cadet asked, "Sir, do you really do tai chi?"

"Yes, why?"

"I thought it was - er - kinda sissy, Sir." Cadets standing nearby were rather shocked at this remark.

"Are you saying I'm a sissy?" Malcolm gave him such a look the cadet blanched and backed away. The atmosphere in the room had suddenly cooled.

Malcolm pushed his shirt into Trip's hands and strode to the middle of the room, "Clear some of these tables out of the way," he instructed. "I need some space." He sat down and removed his shoes and socks.

Moving into the cleared space, he stood silently in the centre, wearing nothing but his trousers, feet slightly apart, eyes closed. Then he began the tai chi form. Beautifully, like a dancer, he moved through the exercise, his muscles rippling with each step and arm movement. Although performing very slowly he was completely controlled, never losing his balance or missing a step. The cadets were entranced. When he came to the finish he stood still for a moment, then he adopted a fighting stance.

"Right," he challenged, "does anybody want to call me a sissy?"

He slowly turned in a circle, looking at everyone, challenging them, but no one stepped forward. What? Take on the most dangerous man in Starfleet? Not likely!

He laughed then, lightening the atmosphere. "Let me assure you," he said. "Tai chi can be as tough as any of the martial arts, and can take as long to learn properly. Don't underestimate it." He took his shirt from Trip and put it on, shoes and socks also.

It was close to midnight by now, so the principal called a halt to the evening, thanked their guests for coming and wished everyone goodnight. Trip and Malcolm were given a rousing send-off by the cadets, before going up to their suite and falling into bed. It had been a very tiring day one way and another.

Tomorrow would be the start of ten hectic days of travelling around the world visiting several Starfleet facilities, posing for photos, signing autographs and talking to various groups of people. And when all that was done, Trip and Malcolm would be headed for that village in the heart of the Devon countryside, and a few days of peaceful relaxation, before reporting back for duty on Enterprise. They were both very much looking forward to that and getting back to normal. Plus, of course, they would now be able to buy a house and furnish it completely, courtesy of Lacey and Garrod's!

Epilogue.

Eventually they arrived back on Enterprise with only a couple of hours to spare before the ship left dry dock and headed into deep space once again. As the pair exited the shuttlepod they were amazed to find the launch bay area packed with crewmembers eager to welcome them home. There were balloons and streamers everywhere, and as Malcolm appeared, the Armadillos started singing 'I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt', and making a better job of it than the original group, Right Said Fred. Malcolm, by now, was quite used to removing his shirt in public, having had to do so a number of times in the last few weeks, and had no qualms about doing so yet again. He would do anything for the Enterprise crew. They were his family, after all. So to make them happy, he took his shirt off - one more time!

The End

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Well, now you've reached the end, how about telling me what you think of this. Do you like my style of writing? Knowing what you don't like is as important as knowing what you do like. Thank you for reading.