85: Competitive

Rao waved his hand away from her hair. “Pat me again and watch what happens.” She murmured just loud enough for him to hear before sneaking a cheeky wink. While she was sure somewhere somehow she should have felt embarrassed about being picked up- in a gown- at an embassy event…it barely registered as anything more than a tactic to keep her where he wanted her. “Where could I go?” She teased, clearly insinuating how the building was like a fortress. Smoothing out her dress she looked up just in time to see a beautiful woman approaching with an equally handsome man in tow. “Cadet Rao, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Rao introduced herself brightly with a polite nod. Following the woman’s gaze downwards it dawned onto her the woman may be far more interested in the Capellan she was with than anything else. The man with her seemed pleasant though. She went to say something, but stopped when the woman gave her a once over. “Excuse me for a moment.” She quietly retreated back to the food table. Zletka had explained that as Marcus’ date she might not be regarded as anything more than a decoration which was fine, but Rao wasn’t used to being talked about and appraised like anymore. Finding the green/orange delectables,she treated herself before moving down the line. “Cadet Rao.” An unfamiliar voice earned her attention. The voice belonged to a man she didn’t recognize in any sense whatsoever. “Yes?” Rao looked over to realize she wasn’t even sure what species the male was. “Good evening.” He gave her a pleasing smile, “I see you’re enjoying the Ptolich.” He gestured to the green/orange things she was so fond of. “Oh is that what they’re called? They’re so amazing.” Rao admitted as she picked up another one. “I have to say I come to these things all the time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone like them so much. My planet would be pleased to know it’s been appreciated.” He raise a glass of rich purple liquid before taking a sip. “I see.” Rao nodded understandingly, “I normally wouldn’t be eating so much, but it was a long day.” She admitted with a small breathless laugh. “Getting ready for the even tonight?” He queried. “Oh, no.” Rao shook her head abruptly, “That was only at the end. I spend a full day in the ship yards running around.” She explained the male took a glass off a floating tray and handed it to her, “Thank you.” Rao took a sip. “No lady should be left without a beverage.” He watched her with keen interest. “Aren’t you still a cadet. I’m surprised they let you guys work in the ship yards.” He took another sip while observing the crowd. “Are you an engineer?” He dropped his gaze back down to her. “That’d be correct. In my final year so I guess they thought I could use the hands on experience.” Rao shrugged lightly. “And you still found the time to come to a gala afterwards? That’s impressive.” He spoke casually. Rao was a bit surprised at that. “…Thanks.” She smiled.

Zletka found it curious Etes would recognize she was ‘unmeasured’ and yet continue with his line of thought, but also recognized this as a common practice within psi-null beings. Offering no comment as he pulled her close she gently curled her fingers over his shoulder and fell in line with his lead. Given their close proximity she found his clarity of his thoughts helped lull what was fortissimo to what she could pretend was a mere pianissimo in competing lines of thought. The Betazoid simply let herself the intricacies of the dance, her gaze only lifting to take in appearance on the briefest occasion. Her eyes flickered in the direction of a Romulan who was thinking very particular thoughts about Rao just as Etes procured the idea’ of her being his wild beast. Understanding the Romulan had no intention of dropping her she let one hand temporarily fall from his shoulder. It had been quite some time since her last formal dancing experience and she found she had missed it- having someone handle her so deliberately with ease…even under the current circumstances. Zletka squinted ever so slightly as she picked up on his chuckling at the the comments of others on her appearance, but it barely lasted half a breath. Once back upright she met his eyes though her expression betrayed nothing of her polite and calm demeanor- mild irritation causing her to remove her hand from his first. At the sound of another’s voice she turned to give him a polite smile- one far warmer than the one presented to Etes. While she was privy to the nature of his thoughts she sought a moment of reprieve the one considering her becoming his ‘wild beast’. “I would be-” Zletka turned her attention to Etes when he decided to answer for her. Well, more like lie. It was moments such as this when she was reminded of her grandfather’s comments on other being proclivities for lying. Looking between the two Romulans as they spoke she moved to place her hand on top of Carak’s, but hesitated as his face contorted. Between the thoughts of the two she had now fully realized both the error on Sunsan’s part as well as the preparation done on behalf of Vinaa. It seemed Vinaa had been correct. “Of course.” The Betazoid once against offered Carak a polite, yet warm smile. Etes’ command mixed with his prior statements forced her to think over her potential responses in the blink of an eye. “Would it be acceptable if I were take advantage of my time on the dance floor for a bit longer?” The question was poised innocently enough. “I wouldn’t want to keep you from your respective affairs; however, so I could find another dance partner if you’d prefer.” As another song started she made neither a move towards him or further onto the dance floor.


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