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The First Time

by Catherine Ellis

Rating : Any Age
Disclaimer : Paramount owns Star Trek. I'm just playing with them.

Summary : A short P/C story. I'm sure you can guess what it's about by the title. (No, it's not that time!)

One glance around was enough to make him feel old, nearly everyone in the place looked 20 years his junior. Picard let out a resigned sigh, at least he wasn't in uniform. The presence of a Starfleet captain would have dampened everyone's spirits, including his own.

"What will it be?" asked the bartender.

"Belgian beer please, blonde."

Picard watched as the man poured his drink. The touch of grey at his temples was re-assuring. Maybe his own bald head wasn't so conspicuous after all.

"Your beer sir. Can I get you something to eat?"

"Later maybe. I'm expecting a friend."

Picard took a sip of his drink and scanned the room for somewhere to sit. Every table was occupied, even the standing area by the back wall was crowded.

"Sir? Do you want my seat?"

The words came from a woman at the far end of the bar. Picard bristled - was he so old that young women felt obliged to stand up!

"I'm just going, you can have mine."

He laughed at his over-sensitivity and made his way over.

"Thank you Miss... ?"

"Jenny ... Jenny Armitage."

"Thank you Jenny." He smiled and looked her straight in the eye.

The young woman blushed and stammered, "I'd better be going."

"Nice to have met you, Jenny." He was still smiling.

She blushed even more and scurried away, but not without turning to look at him once more. Picard let out another sigh, but this time it was one of contentment. It was always gratifying to have someone respond to your charms.

The stool Jenny had vacated proved a perfect viewing point. With his back against the wall and his drink beside him on the counter, Picard could observe the room without obviously doing so. As usual with this age group, a fair amount of 'courting' was evident - some more successful than others. At the table nearest him, a dark haired young man was desperately trying to engage a Bolian woman in conversation. Don't waste your time lad, she's not interested.

Picard's gaze drifted from table to table. Seeking out faces he knew and or ones that interested him. For some men it was physical beauty that they were looking for - blonde hair, perfect teeth, accentuated curves. Picard also appreciated beauty, however it was personality that he'd come to value more. His ideal woman would be intelligent, forceful, independent; the problem was how to find her. His method wasn't fool-proof but it worked often enough. He had learnt you could tell a lot about a woman from her face and from the way she held herself.

With this in mind, his eyes continued their search. At a table by the door there was a striking Vulcan woman, his gaze dwelt on her a while but then moved on - Vulcan decorum could be carried too far. Then, at last, he found what he had been lookking for. A human woman, mid-twenties he guessed, and she appeared to be on her own. A little young for him maybe but no matter. She was reading an old-fashioned paper book and she sat with one leg bent upwards, her foot resting on her chair. The leg - clad in tight black pants - was long and shapely. Picard imagined she had sat in this position since childhood. Did she know what she was doing to the men around her? Did she care?

As he watched her one of his own legs began to ache. He bent over and kneaded the calf with strong fingers. Glancing up he saw her looking at him. Vanity made him pretend nothing was wrong. He sat up suddenly causing his calf to go into spasm. Damn! There was nothing for it, he would have to stand up. Climbing carefully off the stool, he hobbled around until the pain had gone. He looked in her direction again and found her still watching him; this time with an amused smile on her face. Picard gave her a bow as though he had been performing for her amusement. He saw her laugh in response and then returned to her reading. No! No! Keep looking my way. He stared at her, willing her to glance his way again. As he did so a tall good-looking young man approached her table. The man seemed to be asking permission to join her. To Picard's relief he was sent on his way.

Just then a loud female voice drew his attention. 'No, Gary!' the woman as yelling. To Picard it was obvious she was genuinely upset, to this Gary it was just a game. The more she wrestled to keep his hands off her the more he liked it. Is no one going to help her? The people at the adjacent tables were too engrossed in their own conversations to notice what was going on. Picard was to interve when the woman looked around and met his gaze. She stood up suddenly, breaking Gary's hold, and made her way bar to the bar. There she came and stood only inches from where Picard was seated.

"Are you all right?" He asked quietly.

"I am now."

Behind her Gary was frantically trying to catch her up. People kept getting in his way so that by the time he reached the counter he was more than annoyed. He grabbed her upper arm twisted her around.

"What's going on?" He snapped.

"Let go Gary. You're hurting me!"


Picard tapped the young man on the shoulder. "The lady said 'let go'."

Gary turned and shouted "Stay out of this grand-dad" before pushing a hand into Picard's face.

It was the last movement he would make for some time. Within a second his left hand was trapped in a hold that threatened to snap his index finger.

"Do I have your attention?" Picard whispered in his ear.

"Yes! Yes!" Fear had changed his voice into a breathless falsetto.

"Good, because I'm only going to say this once - when a woman says 'stop', you stop. Got that?"

"Yes! Yes!"

"That's better." Picard gradually released his hold. "Now shall we start again?" He held out his right hand.

Gary hesitated. His left was still aching, he wasn't sure he wanted to risk the right. Cautiously he complied.

Picard's handshake was firm, just bordering on the pain threshold.

"What's your name cadet?"

"Gary Oldman." He replied, not daring to lie.

"Then here's some further advice Mr Oldman. Before you go shoving your hand into a stranger's face, consider two possibilities - one, the stranger might be faster than you and two, he might be a Starfleet Captain."

The blood drained from Gary's face. "I'm very sorry Sir."

"I'm sure you are Mr Oldman, I'm sure you are. Dismissed."

Gary left the place immediately. Picard looked around for the woman he had helped but she had already disappeared. No matter, she wasn't my type anyway.

"Nicely done, Sir." The comment came from the barman. "And no glass broken. Have this one on me." He handed Picard a fresh drink.

The captain thanked him, and turned his attention back to the room.

She was smiling at him! His chest tightened with excitement. Had she seen the whole incident? As if to answer his question she raised her glass in salutation. Picard reddened slightly and gave her a second bow. A group of people chose that moment to cross between them. By the time he had sight of her again yet another young man was trying his luck. As before his efforts were rebuffed. Jean-Luc immediately found himself fantasising that she preferred older men, especially when she caught his eye again and held it. She's interested! He was sure. He picked up his drink and made his way over to her table.

"Do you mind if I join you?" He opened.

A mischievous smile flickered across her face.

"My grandmother told me not to speak to strange men."

"Very sensible advice ... and do you follow it?"

"That depends."

"On what?" he asked.

"On how entertaining the stranger is."

"I see ... and how do I score on that front?"

"Quite well so far." She gestured for him to sit.

Picard took the seat opposite where he could best see her face.

"That's a coincidence," he began, "because my grandmother told me not to speak to strange women."

"Really? What did she think they would do to you?"

"Tempt me to misbehave."

"I see ...", the mischievous smile was back, " ... and do they... tempt you?"

He looked her straight in her eyes. "Definitely."

"Jean-Luc!" Jack Crusher was hailing him from across the room. "I'm sorry I'm late." He announced as soon as he reached the table. "But I see you've found each other." He bent down and kissed the young woman on the mouth. Picard saw her hand come up to fondle the back of Jack's neck.

Oh God! She's Beverly! Picard squirmed inwardly at his mistake. Somehow he'd assumed Jack would be bringing his fiancé with him.

When the kissing stopped, Beverly insisted that Jack introduce them. The lieutenant looked puzzled, but if that was what she wanted.

"Very well. Beverly this is my captain and good friend Jean-Luc Picard. Jean-Luc, this is Beverly Howard my fiancé."

"Pleased to meet you Miss Howard." Picard said formally.

"And I to meet you Captain." Her response was polite but equally reserved.

Jack looked disappointed. He wanted them to get along.

"Anyone hungry?" he asked.

"Let me get the food," Picard offered.

"No." Jack insisted. "You stay here and talk to Beverly."

When he had gone Picard looked down at his hands. How could he apologise without making things worse?

She came to his rescue. "You didn't know who I was, did you?"

He looked up. "No."

"Wasn't the red hair a clue?"

"Jack never mentioned it."


Jack's a legs man, don't you know?

He ran his hand over his own bald head. "I assume you knew who I was?".

"I guessed, Captain, when I saw you dealing so expertly with that young man ... Jack's told me quiet a few bar stories about you." The mischievous smile was back again.

Picard let out a snort of laughter and relaxed.

"Beverly... would you do something for me?"

"What is it Captain?"

"Call me Jean-Luc, will you? I'd like you to call me Jean-Luc."

The end.
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