I almost make it to the door before he sees me.
But almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.
He's speaking to me.
I didn't think he would. Not now, not ever.
I don't want him to. Not now, maybe not ever.
Why? What does he think he has to say to me?
I slowly turn. "Yes, Mr. Spock?"
He approaches me as though I am a wounded animal and he is here to…. what? Calm me? Kill me? Take me back to a cage? I'm already in a cage, Mr. Spock. My own prison. I opened the door and threw myself in heedless of any danger or harm. I'm stupid like that when it comes to you.
He stops far enough away to keep his Vulcan space, but stands close enough to be able to gauge my every expression. "I… wished to see how you are," he says. "If you have recovered."
I blink, struggling to hide my surprise. Then I realize. He wants to be sure I have a grip on myself: that I won't embarrass him. I feel sad, and angry. Doesn't he understand? He had to have gotten infected from me: how could he not? What the hell does he think he's doing?
"I'm fine now, Mr. Spock," I say, impressed with how smooth my voice is. It will not last, but it's enough to get me away from him. I start to turn, but his voice stops me.
He tilts his head. "Miss Chapel… there is something I wish to tell you…"
Oh, no, no, no.
I can't… he mustn't...
He looks so uncomfortable. Almost in pain. Is it that horrible for him to know that he is loved? Well if it is, I'll save us both the trouble.
"No," I interrupt him, quickly, frantically. "Please, don't."
He stops, brows drawn together in a facsimile of a frown.
I have to stop this. I can't… I can't bear to hear whatever he's about to say.
"Mr. Spock, I know you are aware that the virus removed inhibitions and created effects similar to being intoxicated. So I'm sure you know, or I hope you do, that I would never have said what I said to you under normal conditions."
He takes a step forward, but I hold up a hand. He stops, looks at me again, and blessedly remains silent.
"I know what happened must have made you as… embarrassed, and ashamed, as it did me," I continue. "I am sorry: sorrier than I can ever express. I never wanted you to know…"
voice breaks, and I struggle with the tears that want to fall. I
hold them back, with effort.
He is still watching me; with an expression I have never seen and can't define. Somehow, I manage to go on.
"But please be assured, I have spoken of this to no one, and I don't plan on it. I will not do anything to embarrass you in front of others. I will be just as professional as I was before."
He opens his mouth: again I thrust my hand forward.
"Mister Spock, please don't say anything. I… I'm sure I know what you are about to say. And I understand. You have chosen the Vulcan way, and that way doesn't include being in love with anyone. You already told me you were sorry. I know what that means. I might be Human, but I can put two and two together."
He closes his mouth, slowly, eyes burning into mine. Is he angry that I asked for his silence? Relieved? I don't know. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that the ache in my heart isn't going away anytime soon.
"So you see, there's really no need for you to tell me anything," I conclude, giving him a faint, wistful smile. "I appreciate that you wanted to explain, but there's no need. I do understand. And, for what it's worth… thank you. Thank you for being so kind to me when it happened."
He blinks. Maybe he doesn't understand why I'd call his "I AM sorry" a kindness. But it was. Because I heard the genuine regret there. And as much as I ache, that helps soothe the savage wound.
I feel the tears starting to fall. Time to end this and get away from him. If I don't have to see him, see the look on his face, I'll be ok.
"I have to go." I manage to choke out the words. "I…"
My throat closes up as my heart squeezes. Unable to say more, I turn away from him and walk through the door. Back into the warmth of the corridor, the friendship of Leonard and Nyota.
Back into the emptiness.
As the door closes, I think he is talking to me. Trying to tell me something. But I can't hear him. Don't want to.
Don't speak; I think to myself as I walk down the hall, towards my room. My empty, cold room.