Quark knew his crowds, and this crowd was on edge. Sure, the dabo girls smiled brilliantly; and the customers drank, and they gambled, and they laughed. But something was off, some undercurrent of chatter was too uneasy.
Ever since the incident with Siobhan and the Klingon, business had become increasingly dismal. Quark wiped a glass with an absent scowl.
Whatever business the Federation had with these faerie people, Quark wished they would get on with it soon. The tension on the station was ridiculous; it had only been a year and a half since the end of the war, and people were gunshy about the idea of another conflict.
Quark hatched an idea to himself then and there that he was going to change that. He pointed to a customer to acknowledge them and swiftly prepared a refill of the Saurian Seltzer and root tea for table six, all the while thinking furiously. How best to change the overall mood on the station?
Quark set down the drinks with an absent smile and nod, and he slipped back behind the bar. Quark tapped his fingers, and he suddenly snapped them with a grin.
"I've got it," Quark said to himself. "A celebration! I'll get these folks to forget their every trouble at Quark's Joyous Expo!" He frowned and waved at the air as he absently wiped a few spills on the bartop. "No, no, that's too juvenille."
He poured a pitcher of Regal Brandy Punch for table ten and slid the tray to his waiter.
"What about Quark's Concert of Calm?" Quark made a face, and then he leaned forward to take a customer's order. "God, no," Quark muttered to himself after he turned away.
He gently stirred two fizzing drinks and slid each one to a customer on opposite ends of the bartop.
"Quark's House of Fun?" he muttered to himself as he punched an order into the Replicator. He shook his head and reasoned, "Eh, I'll think of something."
Kira nodded at the guards, and Siobhan watched idly as the Bajoran officer nearest to the controls disengaged the security field.
"You're free to go," Colonel Kira said with a small smile.
Siobhan acknowledged this with a deep incline of her head. She stepped out of the cell, walking to join Kira for a moment.
"You have been kind," Siobhan told her with a smile.
Kira shrugged, and she replied, "It's what we do."
Siobhan nodded, and she waved before she walked out of the Security office a free woman.
Siobhan made her way to the turbolift, and she requested to be taken to the section closest to her quarters.
The turbolift doors hissed open and Siobhan walked out. She turned the corner and was confronted face to face with Garak.
His face took on a hint of surprise and Siobhan felt a slight flush creep up her neck.
"Siobhan," Garak said with a gracious nod. "Please, I would like to offer my most sincere apologies. I was too forward, and I have offended you."
Siobhan frowned, shifting her weight.
"That's not exactly true," she began. "I wasn't offended, exactly. You caught me by surprise."
Garak regarded her mildly, brows raised.
"I caught you by surprise," he repeated.
Siobhan nodded, and she twirled a lock of her hair in her hand.
"Yes," she stated. Her gaze fell to a corner of the floor, and she felt even more color rushing to her face. "It's been quite some time, you see, since I've had a...suitor."
Her eyes returned to Garak's, and he regarded her carefully.
"I see," he replied carefully.
"So, it's not that I find the idea of an advance from you unwanted," Siobhan said, "but rather... I don't quite know how to compose myself."
Garak smiled wryly.
"I see," he repeated, his tone mischievious. "I'm glad we had the chance to have this talk."
Siobhan nodded, and she felt some of the heat fade from her face at Garak's bland acceptance.
"Tell me, Siobhan," Garak began with a gleam in his eye.
Siobhan regarded him suspiciously, and she answered, "What?"
Garak smiled broadly, and he asked, "Would you like to accompany me to the Klingon restaurant for lunch? It could be our first date."
Siobhan was so startled she started to cough, and she goggled at Garak as she spluttered.
"The Klingon restaurant?" she repeated incredulously once she could properly breathe again. Garak nodded, grinning impishly. "Don't you think that's a rather fool hardy idea, given my recent problems with the Klingons?" she asked.
Garak grinned wider, especially since the date comment had gone unprotested.
"There is obviously much for you to learn about Klingon culture, my dear, if that's your most pressing concern," Garak said lightly. He gestured down the hallway, and Siobhan fell into step. "Trust me, you'll be treated like a hero."
XXXII END CHAPTER XXXII
Author's Notes: Hello and hi, once more. Thank you, as always, for reading. Special shout out to everyone who follows, favorites, or reviews!