Reading. Playing checkers with the computer. Tinkering down in Engineering. Searching for the lost city of Atlantis on the holodeck.  Starfleet Systems Diagonistic Engineer Reginald Barclay would have preferred doing any of those things, rather than trying to enjoy his first night of shore leave on Starbase 227.

It was Counselor Troi's fault. She'd insisted that he needed some time off the ship, just like everyone else, and that too much solitude wasn't good for anyone, even someone as introverted as he was. She had bulldozed him into promising to meet her at the Sunset Cafe at 7pm.  So, here he was, wearing his best off-duty clothes and trying not bolt for the nearest transporter.

He was humming to himself when he noticed a familiar face. Ensign Robin Lefler had just entered the cafe and was looking around as though she was searching for someone. He noticed the way her pale blue dress accented her chest, then berated himself for having such thoughts about a fellow crewman. Sure, he'd had similar thoughts about Deanna, but that was different, sort of. Reg took another drink of his Shirley Temple.

Robin must have noticed him because the next thing he knew she was sitting on the stool next to him.  "Hello Lt. Barclay."

"Heh... hello." Reg toyed with the straw in his drink, trying to think of something witty to say.

Robin looked around the small cafe again.  "I don't mean to bother you, but have you seen Counselor Troi? I was supposed to meet her here at 7pm."

"You? You were supposed to meet her here tonight? But I thought that she told *me* to meet her here.  At 7pm."

Robin wrinkled her brow in confusion.  "That's strange."

Just then the bartender approached them.  "Hey," he said, addressing Reg.  "You by any chance Reginald Barclay?"


"I got this for ya." He handed him a PADD.

Reg read it, his eyes getting wide.

Robin tried to curb her curiosity. No small feat.

"I can't believe it," Reg said, placing the PADD down on the bar.

"Well?" Robin prompted when no more information was forthcoming.

"It seems Counselor Troi has 'set us up'."

"Set us up? As in a blind date?" Robin asked for clarification.

"Something like that.  She says that we're both shy and introverted and spending time together is 'Counselor's orders'.  Her exact words."  He looked down at his drink, at the bar, at his hands -- anywhere except Robin's face. He knew he must be ten shades of red, but other than running away like scared little boy, he didn't know what else to do.

"Well... um..."

Reg chanced a glance up into Robin's face.  Her cheeks were a lovely shade of pink and she looked just as flustered as he was!  Maybe Counselor Troi had been on to something.

"I... um, we could get something to eat... since we're already together... I mean --"

"That would be nice," Robin interrupted, probably to save him further embarrassment.  She looked around. "I'm sure the food here is nice, but would you mind if we walked around and tried to find some place else?"

"No, no I wouldn't mind."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Robin replied sliding off the stool and waiting for Reg to settle his tab.

"Please, call me Reg."

"Okay, Reg," she said with a smile.

They walked along the strip of shops, bars and vendor carts in silence.  It wasn't exactly a strained silence --they were both used to spending a lot of time alone, and could appreciate each other being lost in their own thoughts.

They settled on a small restaurant called Feagin's Folly, and sat at a corner table.  Conversation was stilted at first, but they gradually became more at ease with each other.  Robin ordered Andorian wine with her meal. Reg, normally not a drinker, decided to throw caution to the wind and have a glass himself.  He almost choked on his first sip of the sweet light green liquid, but tried not to let it show.

When the waiter tried to top off his glass, Reg declined, opting to have water for the rest of his meal.  Robin, on the other hand, was sucking the wine down like it was candy.

Reg toyed with his dessert, wanting to ask Robin a question but not sure how to go about it. All through dinner they'd shared stories of growing up, struggling through the Academy, and even some of what they hoped for the future.  It was that newfound camaraderie that gave Reg the courage to ask, "Are you still friends with Wesley Crusher?"

Robin stopped in mid sentence.  "Yes, we're still friends. And friends is all we ever were," she added, placing her hand over Reg's.

"Oh." He wished he could think of something brilliant to say. Anything.  "Want to go for a walk?" Oh yeah, that was brilliant.


Reg took care of the tab, insisting that it was his treat, and followed Robin out to the fairly crowded plaza area. He wanted to do more than just walk, perhaps take in a concert or see the traveling exhibition of Bajoran art, but he wasn't sure if Robin was into any of that.

They passed in front of a huge building that was set apart from the others they'd encountered.

"Oh, let's go in," Robin said, grabbing Reg's hand and urging him inside.  The heat was the first thing to assault him and then came the smell.  He looked around.  Plants and flowers of every shape and size filled the enclosure.

"It's an arboretum and hothouse," Robin said, turning and looking all around her, the hem of her dress dancing just above her knees. "I read about it when I learned we were stopping over here but I didn't imagine it would be this wonderful."

She darted from plant to plant, reading the information on them that was placed on a small placard nearby.

Reg watched her in fascination, taking joy just in watching the expression on her face as she smelled flowers and gingerly touched leaves.  He'd never noticed how pretty she was before -- maybe because they were in a setting other than work.

She ran up to him and took his hand again. "Come on, there's stairs to the upper level," She said, stopping at the base of the spiral staircase long enough to slip off her heels. She padded quickly up the stairs, Reg following behind and admiring the shapely rear in front of him.

The upstairs was devoted to the larger plants, even housing a tree or two in some areas.  A couple of chairs and a bench had been placed next to one wall for those who wanted to sit and just look rather than wander around.

Reg took advantage of the bench, sitting down and leaning back, watching Robin again.  She danced around the room, flitting from plant to plant, much as she had downstairs.

Her hiccup caught him, and her, off guard.  "Oops," she said with a giggle, stopping and putting a hand over her mouth.  "I think I had a little too much wine at dinner. I normally don't have more than a couple glasses a year."

"But you needed courage to be on a date with me tonight?" Reg asked, hoping that her answer would be no, but expecting it to be yes.

"No," she said, her hands on her hips.  "I was just caught up in the wonderful company and lost track of how many glasses I had."

Reg could feel his face turning red.  "Oh."

"Hey, Reg, do you know what this is?" Robin asked, picking up on his discomfort and deciding to change the subject. She placed her hand on the trunk of the tree beside her. "It's a palmetto tree.  These things get to be up to forty feet in height you know.  She looked pensively up at the green fronds.  "Hey, give me a hand, pretty please.  I have an idea."

Reg got up and walked over to her.  He wasn't sure what he was supposed to give her a hand with, but she hiked her skirt up around her thighs and indicated that she wanted a lift up. He bent over and braced his hands on his knees.  A grunt when Robin first hoisted herself up on his back was his only show that he wasn't in as good a shape as he thought he was.

She jumped off, happily brandishing two large palm fronds. "I probably shouldn't have taken them off, but I needed them."

"For what?" Reg asked, intrigued.

"For something," Robin replied impishly.  "You go back and sit down on the bench and close your eyes.  Better yet, cover them with your hand. And don't look until I tell you to. And no peeking!"

Reg did as instructed, wondering what surprise she had for him next.  This date was definitely turning out better than he'd ever hoped for.

"I heard this rumor while I was in the Academy," he could hear Robin saying. "Of course, I take all rumors with a grain of salt, but this one stuck with me for some reason." There was a slight rustle of something.  "I don't even know what's gotten into me tonight.  It has to be the wine. Or it could just be that the wild woman inside of me is tired of taking a back seat to the shy, conservative side.  Any case... you can look now."

Reg opened his eyes... then blinked... then blinked again. Robin was standing a few feet in front of him, as naked as the day she was born, as far as he could tell.  She held a palm frond in each hand, one covering her chest and the other covering her crotch.  Reg gulped.

"We don't have any music, but pretend," Robin said in a sultry voice that sent unstoppable shivers down Reg's spine.

Robin started moving her feet slowly, in a fashion that reminded Reg of old Earth hula dancers. Her body dipped and swayed to some imaginary orchestra, and Reg stared, transfixed.  He didn't think he could look away even if he'd wanted to.  A naked woman, well practically naked, was dancing in front of him. For just him. And she wasn't a holodeck character and he hadn't had to pay her, either.

As she danced, she got closer and closer to him. Her hair was loose around her shoulders and her eyes sparkled in the hothouse lights.  Reg didn't know what to say or do. He fidgeted on the hard bench, well aware that other things were beginning to feel hard, too.

Robin stopped directly in front of him, not more than six inches away.  Slowly, starting right into his eyes, she lowered her hands and let the palm fronds drop to the floor.

She took Reg's breath away.

"Don't tell me," she said, moving his hands from his lap and starting to slowly unfasten his pants, "that you've never wanted to do something outrageous. Something so out of the ordinary that no one would believe you if you told them about it."

"Robin... uh."

She sought out his iron hard cock and freed it from his pants.  "Are you going to tell me that you're not turned on?  That you don't want me."  Her hands caressed the length of him.

"I...I think you're drunk," Reg said.

Robin shook her head.  "I may be feeling a little giddy, but I know exactly what I'm doing.  I'm doing just what I've secretly thought about doing for weeks now."

Reg was stunned.  This intelligent, sexy woman wanted him? It was almost too good to be true.  He was too honest with himself to deny that she turned him on, that he wanted her almost as much as it seemed she wanted him.  Just once in his life, he determined, he was going to be the man he'd always wanted to be.

He reached out tentatively and touched her smallish breasts.  Her nipples stiffened at his touch and Robin moaned.  "I need you, Reg."

She put her knees up on either side of his lap, positioning herself above him.  He stuck out his tongue and licked a nipple.  She shuddered, and reached down to position him at her opening.

Reg closed his eyes in bliss as he slid into her, her liquid warmth engulfing him completely. He held her around the waist, as she started to move up and down in his lap. He planted kisses on her breasts and shoulders, not caring that anyone could walk in and discover them at any moment.

Robin bent her head forward, her hair falling around Reg like a silky curtain.  "Mmmmmmmmm," she moaned.

Reg knew that he wouldn't last much longer.  It had been too long for him, and the night, the woman and the atmosphere just heightened the whole experience.  "Robin... ungh!" he grunted as his orgasm overtook him.  He felt himself pumping into her and was dimly aware of her gasps of surprise and pleasure.

For a brief second he felt like a clod, coming so soon and not prolonging her pleasure.  Then he took in her ragged breathing, the continued small contractions of her body around his and realized that she must have finished just after he did.

Robin grasped Reg's face in her hands and gave him a long, passionate kiss. "You are incredible," she whispered.

Perhaps he wasn't such a clod after all.

As his heartbeat and breathing slowed, he became aware of other sounds -- of something that sounded like distant cheering.  "Do you hear that?"

Robin raised her head and listened.  "Yes, it sounds like..." her sentence trailed off as a look of horror filled her face.  "Oh no!"

Reg tried to twist around to see what had caused her reaction.  It was then he noticed the wall behind them --it was glass. It was facing the busy thoroughfare outside. People had stopped and were staring upward, clapping, cheering and whistling. At them.

Robin scrambled off Reg's lap and ran to where she'd stashed her clothing.  Reg quickly got up, refastening his pants and getting as far away from the window as possible.

In a few moments, shoes in hand, Robin joined him.  Her face was red, but because of their recent escapade or from mortification Reg couldn't tell.

"Do... do you think?" he questioned.

"With the bright lights in here and the dim lighting outside, uh huh," Robin answered.  She looked up at Reg, tears glistening in her eyes. "I'm so sorry."

"Don't," Reg said, wiping at her tears with his fingers. "Please don't apologize for what just happened.  It's the best thing to happen to me in a very long time."

Robin smiled softly at him and kissed his fingers. "I don't think I can face that crowd," she admitted.  "My bravery only goes so far."

"I don't think I could face them either," he admitted.

Robin looked around. "Do you think there's a back way out of here?"

"I don't know," Reg said, taking her hand firmly in his and heading for the stairs, "but if not, we'll make one!"

~ The End... for now ~

Copyright September, 2001 by Cait N.

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