I'm baaccck! This time around, Gaila was demanding some leading lady time so I could tell her part of the Spock/Nyota love story.
Big Orion-sized hugs to my beta and friend, miss steph, and to the daft muppets at Writers Anonymous: Doc, TFTSS, etc, and kalenel.
This story is dedicated to the Perusing for Posteriors forum at WA. It knows why.
I do not own Star Trek or the characters; I think everyone already knew that.
~*~Gaila's Big Book of Songs and Stuff by outtabreath~*~
Come sing a song of dusting,
Of cleaning and of mopping
Sing, sing a song of cleansers
Of soap and of bleach.
No one must clean alone,
Someone can always help
With the scrubbing and the sponging.
Song of Joy by Gaila and Beethoven
The room was smallish, but it might be okay.
I spent ten minutes arranging my beauty products, making sure they were in order, smallest to largest, with the labels facing out. It made it easier to find what you needed when you were pressed for time because things had run later, or better, than anticipated.
It was a trick I'd learned when I'd ended up in a shower with lotion and astringent, and nothing else. Besides the guy. I'd ended up in a shower with nothing but a bottle of lotion, a bottle of astringent, and a very adorable Bolian.
We'd been very late that day and I'd learned a very valuable lesson: being under-prepared while in the shower led to lateness. Sure it also led to getting shower-lucky, which is the best kind of morning-lucky there is, but lateness was frowned on at the Academy, so I was going to be on-time for every class, pressed and clean, my hair bouncing and behaving, my skin glowing lustrously.
Order was necessary to live in civilization.
My soon-to-arrive-roommate had grown up in civilization, so she should already be well-versed in the importance of boundaries, limits, and personal space, and the need for cleanliness and order.
Still, I'd dropped plenty of hints in the messages I sent her in our forced – no, not forced, Strongly Encouraged By The Academy – correspondence over the last two months.
I'd talked about my products, my clothes, my shoes, my things. I'd sent her articles about how orderliness improved grade point averages. A video about how to make a bed so you could bounce things – and not just body part things, but other things – off of it. I'd written a song about the joy of cleaning and had a Draylaxian with a beautiful body and even more beautiful voice sing it to her. There'd been a three page e-mail about my big closet accompanied by holos of it – neatly organized, with the rainbow of colors all in their special places.
She was a Xenolinguistic prodigy; subtext was her thing. I was confident that she'd understand what I'd been subtly communicating to her.
It'd be okay, I decided. Nyota Uhura of the United States of Africa was a smart, insightful woman who had grown up on Earth, among Humans and would, therefore, clean up after herself, make her bed every day, and put everything back where she found it.
I was starting on the closet when the door to our room slid open.
She came around the wall that divided the entrance alcove from the sleeping alcove. Her step was light and quick. She was taller than I expected; skinnier in person than in the holos she'd sent me. I ran my eyes over the box she had under one arm and the large case she was pulling behind her with the other hand.
"Gaila?" she asked, as if another Orion was going to wander into her dorm room by mistake and begin unpacking and organizing; she dropped the box and the handle of the case in the middle of the room, right between the beds.
I courageously ignored her actions
"That's me. Hi, Nyota," I said, stepping forward and hugging her and, wow, she was really, really skinny.
She stiffened in my arms.
Okay. Not a hugger.
I released her and stepped back, smiling at her; the smile she returned was half-hearted.
I also courageously ignored that.
"So, I started unpacking," I announced, "But I wanted to wait for you to choose beds." I bounced up on my toes. "I'd like the one away from the door. Or the one near the door. I don't care. What's your opinion?"
She blinked; her eyes were a little dazed as she turned as if searching for something. "That one?" she pointed at the bed nearest the door.
"Works for me," I said, returning to my work on the closet.
She picked up the box, and dumped it on her bed. I watched in stunned horror.
Next, she opened her bag and picked it up – she was skinny, but strong – and dumped its contents onto her bed. In a pile. On top of the other pile.
I whimpered before I could censor myself.
"What?" she asked.
I stumbled to the bed and ran my eyes over the mound of stuff lying there: clothes, personal items, toiletries all mashed together. The labels on the bottles were worn off, the clothes were wrinkled and the shoes….
I couldn't even look at the shoes.
"What did you do to them?" I asked, my hand shooting out so I could cradle a pair of flats. They were nicked and scratched and the heels were partially worn off.
"I wore them," she said, something approaching a question in her tone.
I took a deep, shuddering breath. She may be brilliant, but she was an idiot, too. "They're little and defenseless and you did this to them!" I pointed at a particularly grievous scratch.
Her eyes got very big and she sucked in a breath that, truly, used up half the oxygen in the room. "They're shoes, Gaila."
"Yes, shoes," I agreed, though I was starting to realize that meant something very different to her. "Okay," I said, briskly, "I'm going to take care of this stuff for you."
"Yes. I'm going to fix what I can, organize everything, and then you and I are going to have a little talk about the care of clothing and footwear."
"Uh," she said.
I held up a hand – the one without the injured party in it – and quelled her. "I thought you would understand. I sent you articles and holos, Ny."
"You were serious?" she demanded. "I thought those were jokes."
I gasped and sunk to the bed, right beside a pair of pants with what looked suspiciously like holes in them. I averted my eyes. "There are three things I don't joke about. One, computers. Two, orange. And third, orderliness, clothing, and products. Stuff."
"I think that was six things. And why don't you joke about oranges and what's 'ny?'" She sat down on the other side of the pile.
"Ny is your nickname," I said. "Nyota'll take too long to say when I have important things to talk to you about."
"I don't want a nickname."
I leaned over and patted her hand. "And yet you need one. It'll be a good thing, you'll see. And it's not oranges – but orange, the color." I shuddered. "It is an evil thing and no one should ever, ever wear it." I glanced at the pile; I couldn't see any orange, but it didn't mean there wasn't some at the bottom – just lurking there.
"I don't mind orange," she protested.
I narrowed my eyes at her and resisted the urge to root through the pile to insure that no orange had snuck into my room. Our room.
"You'd look terrible in it," I pointed out, even though I wasn't sure about that. She had the kind of skin and coloring that probably looked good in everything but brown.
She'd probably even look good in brown.
"I'll have you know that I look very good in orange."
"I don't want to know how you know that," I whispered.
She sighed. "Look, I know that it's going to take some time for the two of us to get used to each other…."
"I like you already," I protested, "the shoes and orange and…" I swept my hand over her unruly belongings, "aside. We'll be fine." And I did like her. She had a nice energy to her – calm, focused, teachable. I stood and began to sort through the pile, carefully schooling my face as I found more scuffed shoes, a plastic bag with mascara, and some truly heinous clothes.
"I have a sister," she said.
"I remember." We'd covered the whole family thing in the first message. She had two parents and a sister and two brothers. Her family liked music – which was a good thing – and she had a dead grandfather who'd been a chess champion.
"She and I shared a room for a long time," she said like she hadn't heard me. I realized she was talking to herself more than she was to me. "And we both survived."
I looked at her, patiently waiting for her to figure out that she and I were going to get along just fine.
As long as she didn't wear orange. Ever.
She took a deep breath, stood and began to sort with me. "So," she said just as I realized that the mascara was her only cosmetic. "That holo was really your closet?"
I smiled. "It's incredible, isn't it?"
"Incredible," she echoed, then she smiled – a real, genuine smile. It transformed her face entirely. "So, are you going for the same thing here?"
"As much as possible," I said. "This closet is small."
She nodded. "The room is kind of small."
"We'll make it work," I said.