"A DISH TO REMEMBER"

RATING: R For mild scenes of a sexual nature (to be honest, I don't whether this rates an R or NC-17. I decided to be on the safe side).
SUMMARY: Tom Paris introduces his wife, B'Elanna Torres, to the joys of potato salad. Set right after Season 7's "Repentance".
FEEDBACK: Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Tom, B'Elanna and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom and the usual Trek Powers to Be. Dammit!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: After seeing B'Elanna's reaction to potato salad in "Renaissance Man", I began to wonder how she became enamored of the dish. Judging from her reaction to it and Tom's presence, I assumed sex played a major part.

"A DISH TO REMEMBER"

Even Tom Paris would be the first to admit the truth. After six years in the Delta Quadrant, he had grown accustomed to Neelix's cooking. Somewhat.

He still detested Leola root with a passion. And Tom could certainly do without the Talaxian's angel hair pasta. So when he learned that Voyager's morale officer/ ambassador/cook had planned to serve the infamous pasta for dinner, Tom immediately made alternate plans for himself and his wife.

"Why the Holodeck?" B'Elanna Torres asked, as she and Tom strolled arm-in-arm, along the corridor of Deck Six, eight hours later. "I realize you wanted to avoid Neelix's god-awful pasta. But why not replicate dinner in our quarters?"

Tom patted his wife's arm. "Because the meal I had in mind requires the Holodeck." The couple finally reached Holodeck Two and entered. "You'll see. Computer, initiate the Paris Terran Alpha 3 program." The walls immediately transformed into a park-like setting - trees, grass and bushes, included. "Welcome to St. Louis's Forest Park," Tom announced grandly. "It's considered one of the best recreational parks on Earth. Created for the St. Louis World Fair around 1900 or 1904."

"I should have known that the 20th century had something to do with it," B'Elanna said with a smirk.

The couple found a nice spot located next to a wide lake. Tom helped B'Elanna spread a red-and-black checked blanket over the grass. "You know, this would be a great place to bring our daughter," he said. "The park has a world famous zoo." Nearly five months after their wedding, the couple had been surprised with the news that they were about to become parents to a baby girl. The unborn infant was now due to arrive in another three or four months.

After spreading the blanket, Tom and B'Elanna began to unload the picnic basket they had brought with them. Fried chicken, warm rolls, green tossed salad, a thermos filled with iced tea, a container of some dish and another container filled with what looked like a fruit cobbler. "Wow!" B'Elanna exclaimed. "Isn't this a bit too much food?"

Tom gave his wife a pointed stare. "You're kidding, right? This coming from a woman who has recently discovered the meaning of joy in the Mess Hall?"

"I'm not eating too much!" B'Elanna protested. Doubt crept into her dark eyes. "Am I?"

A smile crept across Tom's face. "Maybe. A little." B'Elanna's expression became a study in anxiety. "Don't worry about it. It's only natural. Remember when Sam was pregnant with Naomi? She practically ate like a horse."

B'Elanna glared. "Thanks a lot."

Tom's smile grew wider. "Besides, I don't think you'll be able to resist today's lunch. Considering the way you're staring at it, right now."

"What's that?" B'Elanna asked, pointing at the container filled with something yellow. "It looks like one of Neelix's Delta Quadrant specialties."

Tom replied, "Potato salad. With paprika. You've had it before. Right?" One glance at B'Elanna's pert nose wrinkled with distaste gave Tom his answer. "I guess you have. You have something against potato salad?"

Judging from his wife's reaction to the potato salad, Tom realized he might as well have served blood pie. "Let's just say," B'Elanna replied, "that you can have that all to yourself, as far as I'm concerned."

"When did you last have potato salad?" Tom asked.

According to B'Elanna, she once had potato salad at a local restaurant, not far from the Starfleet Academy campus in San Francisco. "I didn't really care for it, very much. Too bland and soft for my taste. Although I don't recall it looking yellow."

"You must have went to Forster's on Montgomery," Tom said. "I've been there once. I'm surprised it remained opened for business after I left the Academy. But don't you worry. My potato salad is much better. More flavor. There's mayonnaise, mustard, boiled eggs, onion, relish and paprika in it."

B'Elanna smiled politely. "I'm sure it's good. Only, I'd rather skip it, if you don't mind." She began to fill her plate with food.

A barely audible sigh left Tom's mouth. At times, B'Elanna can be incredibly stubborn, he thought, conveniently forgetting his own dominance of that particular trait. Unable to change his wife's mind, Tom filled his plate. And he included a healthy serving of his potato salad.

While the couple enjoyed their meal, they discussed a few topics to fill the time - their experiences at Starfleet Academy, preparations for their unborn child and Voyager's encounter with the Nygeans and their prisoners.

"Hmmm," B'Elanna moaned after she finished the last of her chicken. "That was a great meal! Anymore chicken or salad left?" Her eyes narrowed dangerously after a knowing smile curled Tom's lips. "What?" she demanded.

Tom's eyes grew wide with innocence. "I didn't say anything," he replied. His eyes dropped to her slightly protruding stomach. "It's just that . . . at the moment, you're reminding me of Sam from five years ago."

"This has nothing to do . . ." B'Elanna began to retort. Then, "I can't help it if I'm still a little hungry!" Another silent moment passed before she broke into a self-effacing smile. "Okay, maybe I am eating like a targ."

Tom leaned forward and pecked the side of his wife's mouth. "Or like a horse?" He smiled and placed another drumstick on her plate. "What about some salad?"

B'Elanna nodded. "That would be great. Anymore salad dressing left?"

"Dressing?" Tom's blue eyes grew round. "I was talking about potato salad. There is no more of the other salad."

Dark eyes flashed with annoyance. "Too-oomm!" B'Elanna said in a warning voice. She sighed and rolled her eyes. "Kahless! I swear you can be the most stubborn man alive. Klingons have nothing on you."

"Hey, I just feel that you ought to give my potato salad a chance," Tom protested. "You won't be disappointed."

B'Elanna retorted, "I'm sure I won't." Tom dipped one finger in the bowl of potato salad. His wife continued, "Look, maybe to you, potato salad is the greatest dish in the universe, but I'm really not in the mood for . . ." Before she could finish, Tom inserted his finger into her mouth. Potato salad included.

"Now what do you think?" Tom asked.

For a brief moment, time froze. B'Elanna's eyes widened, then narrowed dangerously, before they finally closed, while she uttered a groan of sheer ecstasy - with Tom's finger still in her mouth. The feel of her tongue wiping the remains of the salad from his finger nearly drove Tom into a state of arousal.

"God!" B'Elanna exclaimed, after Tom finally removed his finger. "That was good! Delicious! I want some more."

Tom hesitated as he glanced around for a utensil. "Uh . . . I can't seem to find a . . ." B'Elanna grabbed his finger and dipped it into the potato salad. Now he understood. "Okay." He scooped another dollop and again, stuck his finger into her mouth. "Uh," he began, trying to ignore the feel of B'Elanna's wet tongue . . . and failing. "You ah, really . . . I mean . . ." He let out a moan, as his body hardened. "God, B'Elanna!"

"I've got an idea," B'Elanna said in a husky voice. "Computer initiate privacy lock!" Her dark eyes now glittering, she searched around the blanket for a utensil. After finding a spoon, she forced Tom flat on his back and ripped his shirt open. Tom opened his mouth to protest, but she covered it with one hand. "Just lie still. Trust me." Tom let out a gasp, as B'Elanna dropped spoonfuls of potato salad on his bare chest. "Now," she continued with a feral smile, "let's see how this tastes like." She leaned over his inert body and proceeded to lick away the remains of the salad.

It took all of Tom's self-control to prevent his body - at least the part below his waist - from reacting to B'Elanna's hot mouth on his chest. Slowly, her tongue licked away potato salad that trailed from his collarbone to downward. His body nearly jerked uncontrollably as B'Elanna took great care in licking away the mixture that had got entangled in his chest hair. By the time B'Elanna reached his waist, Tom felt as if he was ready to burst.

"My turn," he said with a groan. He flipped her on her back, scattering a few empty containers and utensils around. Slowly, Tom removed B'Elanna's red blouse, revealing the black lace bra she wore underneath. "What do you know," he added, trying to sound nonchalant, "I see you wore a bra with a clasp in the front." He leered at his wife. "Expecting more than just dinner?"

A seductive smile curved B'Elanna's mouth. "What do you think?" she huskily replied. Her fingers deftly unfastened the bra's clasp, revealing a pair of pert breasts, swollen from her pregnancy.

Smiling himself, Tom picked up the container of potato salad and a spoon, and formed his own trail from B'Elanna's throat to her waist. Then he added a spoonful of salad on top of each quivering tip of her breasts, eliciting a throaty moan from her.

Tom licked away the potato salad with slow deliberation. When his mouth reached her left breast, she arched her body with a loud moan. Tom took delight in making sure that one trace of the salad remained on each nipple. Then his mouth resumed its course down her body, until it reached B'Elanna's belly button. His tongue darted in and out, removing the potato salad with the same thoroughness he used on her breasts. Meanwhile, his fingers surreptiously pulled down her loose-fitting pants, and eventually, her underwear.

"Wha. . . what are you doing?" B'Elanna asked in a voice breathless with passion.

Barely able to breath himself, Tom replied, "You'll see." Then he nudged her legs slightly apart, forcing her knees to stick up. He scooped up a handful of potato salad and smeared it on the mound of flesh between her legs. B'Elanna groaned. Loudly.

"To . . . Tooomm . . . I . . ."

Tom placed his stained fingers on his wife's lips. "Shhhh," he whispered. B'Elanna licked the remaining potato salad from his fingers. He smiled. "Lie still." Then he eased back down to his previous position between her legs, lowered his mouth and proceeded to enjoy the delicious meal before him.

"Ahh!" B'Elanna's body began jerking uncontrollably. In a passion-filled voice, she cried, "God, I love potato salad!" Tom could not have agreed more.

Three days later, Tom and B'Elanna sat inside the Mess Hall, enjoying their last bites of Neelix's latest culinary efforts. The Talaxian left his usual spot behind the galley's counter and approached their table. "So," he said in a voice laced with anxiety, "what do you think?"

Tom stared at the cook. "Think about what?"

"The broiled Cicercean trout with white Relik sauce and rice. Did you like it?"

Nodding, Tom replied, "One of your best dishes, Neelix. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that your cooking has been improving. Or else you had held out on us during those first three years here."

"Or maybe Neelix just hasn't been using Leola root that much, lately," B'Elanna added with a smile.

Neelix commented that he has not been able to find a planet that grew Leola root ever since Voyager left the Nekrit Expanse. "And that happened over three years ago."

Tom smiled. "That explains why your cooking has improved." He felt B'Elanna's booted toe kick his shin and winced silently.

B'Elanna added graciously, "Tom's right about the trout, Neelix. It was delicious. It's a good thing you came across that Cicercean trout during our last stop."

The Talaxian smiled with delight. "Yes, it was good fortune. Actually, the Cicercean trout reminded me of this fish I used to eat back on Talax. Nolak snapper. Very delicious. The sauce, of course, was one of my own recipes. Made from the Relik spice." His eyes fell upon a plastic container beside Tom's tray. "Something wrong with the potato salad, Tom? You barely touched it. Didn't I replicate it to your specifications?"

"It was fine, Neelix," Tom assured the cook.

A frown touched Neelix's expression. "Then why didn't you eat all . . .?"

B'Elanna grabbed the container and held it to her chest. "We're saving it for later," she said. "For a midnight snack."

"'We'? That's odd. I could have sworn, B'Elanna, that you once told me that you disliked potato salad."

A faint blush colored B'Elanna's cheek. Tom thought it made her look even more beautiful. "Well, I did," she replied. "Once. Only . . . well, this potato salad is Tom's personal recipe. And it's a lot better than any other I've ever had before."

"Really?" The cook's bushy eyebrows quirked upward. "I guess there's nothing like the 'old Paris touch', eh?"

A burst of laughter nearly escaped Tom's mouth, as he realized that Neelix's words perfectly described what happened inside Holodeck Two, three days ago. He glanced at B'Elanna, who looked practically stunned. And embarrassed. Tom smirked at her knowingly. Finally, B'Elanna responded with a suggestive stare at her husband. She slowly looked at the Talaxian and smiled. "You know something Neelix?" she said. "You took the words right out of my mouth. It was a dish to remember."

THE END