It isn't like he meant for this to turn into a contest.
"Starbase 6," Tasha says, holding up her tumbler of Aldebaran whiskey like she's preparing to toast him. It's not real whiskey, of course, but the replicators aboard their new Galaxy-class starship make a worthy imitation.
That doesn't stop him from clinking glasses with her. "Two," he announces. The whiskey goes down smooth.
"Come on, Commander. We were only there for eight hours." Lieutenant Yar makes the same face as Cadet Yar did when she used to call his bluffs at the Friday night poker game at the Presidio Club. "You didn't used to be a man who needed to pad his score."
He's not bluffing this time. "Oh, I'm sorry, I guess we should have clarified. Are we talking strictly different sexual partners, or different sexual encounters?"
She looks impressed. "The Calidian twins?"
He shrugs and knocks back the rest of his drink. He wipes his hand across his mouth, clearing any splashed drops of synthehol from his end-of-day stubble. "Calidians do everything together, you know."
"So I've heard. I've got some catching up to do."
"No one on Illyria II?"
"He doesn't count." Tasha pops a peanut in her mouth. "I'm not totally sure he was a he, actually."
"Since when does that bother you?" When they first met, actually, there had been a pretty brunette with bright green eyes - 19-year-old Will Riker had done his level best, but she had left with a hotshot blonde cadet specializing in security. Figures he'd be sitting here now with Tasha and he can't even remember the brunette's name.
Tasha waves a hand. Her movements are exaggerated with synthehol. "It's not like I mind that," she says. "I just like to know ahead of time what I'm getting into."
He winks. "Or what's getting into you, as the case may be."
She laughs and fires a peanut at his head. It doesn't exactly feel like old times - not only is the alcohol fake, but they're only ten decks below their posts on the Federation flagship - but it's reassuring after all this time that she still laughs at his jokes.
"So are you ever going to grow a beard or what?" she asks. "It looks like they let a kid be second-in-command of a starship."
"That's sir to you."
"And, well, it's not like you care what I think when there are plenty of Calidians out there who enjoy a fresh-faced young officer."
He nods. "You said it. You know, on a ship this size, there have to be enough people who play Parisses Squares to put a few teams together."
"Maybe a league," Tasha says.
"A duty shift the next time we get shore leave says you still can't beat me."
She grins. "You're on. I happen to know that Worf plays."
Will points to his chest. "Undefeated champion, Lieutenant."
"Talk is cheap, sir."
"Bring me the best you've got."
Tasha grins. "Don't I always?"
Riker laughs. He wonders if she's thinking of the brunette he lost out on a decade ago. He lifts up his empty glass and toasts her. "Never change, Tasha."