"Toss me an apple, will ya?"

Geordi looked up to see the Commander's eyes on him before they
detoured to the bowl of apples sitting on the table in the midst of
an assortment of eclectic dishes.

"You and your apples," Deanna shot an amused look at the man sitting
next to her. He shrugged and poised for the catch.

Just as the engineer was about to pitch the red fruit, Beverly waved
her hand in the air while trying to swallow the last of her sandwich.
"No throwing food at the table, boys," she said between swallows.

Will's attention focused on the doctor. "Aw, and I just taught him
how to not throw like a girl."

With that, Geordi palmed the apple and placed it back in the bowl.
"You can just come get your own apple."

"You know, I like the Captain's idea of eating lunch in the
observation lounge. It certainly accomplishes its goal of promoting
cooperation between crew members."

"Shut up, Christine," Will said as he got out of his chair and headed
to the other end of the table towards the fruit bowl.

"See?" she said in reply.

Data who had been pretending to be as hungry as the rest of them had
been after a long morning of computer upgrades, reached over and
picked an apple, offering it to the Commander before he could reach
his destination. "Apple, sir?"

Riker took it from him, flashing petulant look at LaForge. "Thank
you, Data," he said. Lifting the apple to his lips, he took a huge
bite before taking his seat again.

"Good?" Deanna asked him while spooning her chocolate ice cream
dessert. All he could do is flash her his trademark smile and then
proceeded to finish the apple off.

"Sir?" Data directed to Riker. "If this lunch was the Captain's idea,
why is he not here to share it with us?"

"I don't know," Will said. "Maybe he hit it off with one of those hot
chicks doing the upgrades."

"Will!" Both Deanna and Beverly reprimanded him at the same time.

He ignored Beverly, but it wasn't easy to ignore the glare coming
from Deanna. "What?" he feigned innocence. "Well they were pretty
good looking - weren't they Geordi?"

"Not as long as I throw like a girl they aren't."

Will frowned. "What's wrong with you today? Usually you like to take
a joke or two."

"Leave him alone, Commander," Christine said as she returned her
plate to the replicator. "I think he's got more trouble than just
throwing like a girl."

"Hey!" Geordi's head snapped in her direction.

Will leaned over and whispered in Deanna's ear, "I like her." She
simply rolled her eyes and gave him a nudge away from her.

"If I may say so, sir," Data joined in, "they were what I would
consider anatomically pleasing to the male psyche."

"See?" Will addressed the group. "Even and android thought they were

"You keep saying that and you'll find yourself eating dinner alone
tonight," Deanna warned him while waving her spoon in front of his

Will knew when it was time to back off, so he pushed his empty plate
away from the edge of the table and leaned back in his chair. "So
what's the trouble, Geordi?"

"I would suspect," Beverly said, eyeing the engineer, "that is has
something to do with Leah."

"Leah?" Will asked.

"Forget it, Commander," Geordi said. "She's just a girl I met last
week...one of the new officers on board. The problem is that her
favorite holiday, Valentine's Day is coming up and I have no idea
what to get her."

"Wait," Will held up a hand, "you've only known her for a few days
and you're celebrating Valentine's Day together?"

LaForge shrugged, "What can I say? We've moved really fast."

Beverly smirked, "You better watch it, Will. They might even get
married before you and Deanna do."

"I'd believe that," Deanna said.

Will threw her a tolerant look, "It's not my fault you're not ready
to take the plunge."

Deanna turned and looked at him. "Excuse me....we're not ready."

"We're not ready," Will said back to Beverly. "However," he leaned
over the table, "I'm very interested in this Leah. She's not a
hologram is she?" he asked Geordi.

"A what?" Christine asked, still standing by the replicator.

"Long story," LaForge replied. "Nope, she's as real as anyone in this
room - excluding Data," he said quickly before Riker could make a
remark. "No offense, Data," he offered his friend. Data only nodded.
"She's perfect."

"And we've lost him," Christine said, noticing the way Geordi's gaze
seemed to ignore everyone else in the room. She took her seat again
next to Deanna. "How come you two don't act like that?" she regarded
the counselor and commander.

Beverly stood up and grabbed another piece of sandwich. "Haven't you
heard? They're already practically married."

"It's true," Will confirmed. "Ask me what I'm getting her for
Valentine's Day."

Vale, amused, decided to play along. "Okay, what are you getting her?"


"It's all I could hope for," Deanna said with a dreamy gaze of her own.

Christine laughed, "And we've lost her."

Will shook his head and leaned back, watching the love of his life.
"She doesn't even care if I'm there or not just as long as she has
the chocolate to keep her company." Noticing that Deanna still hadn't
snapped out of her fantasy, he playfully poked her in the ribs.
"Knock it off!" he said laughing.

"Okay you two," Beverly warned, trying not to break into laughter
with everyone else, "don't get frisky at the lunch table."

Deanna gently grabbed hold of his uniform front and pulled him
forward, "I could never choose chocolate over you," she said smiling
before she gave him a quick peck on the lips. Had they been alone,
she would have done much more.

Will extricated himself from Deanna's grip and stood, indicating that
they wrap up their meal. "See what you have to look forward to
Geordi? It doesn't matter what you give her as long as you spend time
with her."

Beverly patted him on the back as she passed him, "I'm very
impressed, Riker. I guess you do understand women more than I thought
you did."

Vale chimed in, "According to what I've heard–"

"Never mind what you've heard," Deanna coaxed her in the direction of
the door. "I'll see you tonight," she tossed over her shoulder to
him. He winked in response.

The three men watched as the women left the lounge. "So, where do you
think the Captain really is?" Geordi asked. Data cocked his head and
guessed that Riker knew more than he was letting on.

Will looked down at the table strewn with plates, cups and dishes
from one end to the other. "I told him that we were going to eat at
1300 instead of 1200 hours. That way, I don't have to clean up this
mess. I'll leave it to him."

"Intriguing," Data said. "Would that qualify as a practical joke,

"More like laziness," Geordi replied.

"Let's call it a little of both. Shall we, gentlemen?" Riker gestured
to the door. He wanted to make sure they were gone before the Captain
arrived. As the door closed behind them, the door on the opposite
side of the room opened, allowing Picard entry.

As soon as he saw the now deserted table, he stopped dead in his
tracks. "Damn it, Will." Sighing, he sat down at the head of the
table and picked out what was left of the food.