Life Is Not Always Easy

Chapter 1: Decisions

October, 2267

He sat across from her at the table in her quarters, drinking tea. She had her cup between her hands, there on the table, and her eyes were focused on it. He could detect nothing on the link between them. She was so quiet and he did not know why. They had managed to get through a whole week back on the bridge, working near each other again. He thought there had not been any problems. And so he had asked, hesitantly, if they could talk about how they might proceed, about what they wished to do. And now she just sat there, and he could not tell how she felt or what she wanted. He did not know what to do or what to say. Perhaps he should not have brought it up. Perhaps it was too soon. Perhaps she had begun to regret…. No, he would not go there. He would not.

She heaved a deep breath and spoke, softly, her eyes still on the table. "This just isn't working."

He froze. He could not breathe. Surely she did not mean this. He reached one hand out toward her, hesitantly, made a very small sound of dismay.

Her head jerked up. Her eyes met his, startled. "No, no, no, Spock. That's not what I meant. Not at all." Her hands left the tea cup and grasped his. "Oh, no, love, not what you're thinking, not at all."

He gasped in air. His hands clutched hers, tightly. "What is not working? Tell me Nyota."

"Sitting here like this. Trying to make all the decisions at once. This isn't the way to do it."

His heart began to calm back down. "How would you prefer to do it? I am agreeable to anything you wish."

She smiled at him, caressed his hands softly. "Come sit on the couch with me." She stood, still holding his hands and led him to the couch, pushing him gently down at one end. And then she sat on his lap, her back to the arm of the couch, her feet on the cushion next to him, and leaned against him, bringing his arm about her waist, holding her in place. She raised her face so that she was breathing on the skin of his neck. "There, isn't that better?"

"It is certainly very nice. I have no objections to holding you this way." He rested his face against the top of her head, inhaling her lovely fragrance. He brought his other arm up and encircled her, resting his hand upon her upper arm, moving it gently against her.

"Now can you feel me? Can you feel my emotions?"

"Yes, Nyota, I can feel you." And he could. He was not sure why it was better this way, but it definitely was. And now he could feel her, there in the back of his mind, glowing brightly, full of love. He began to relax.

"Okay. Okay. Now. Let's just work on one thing at a time. Is that all right?"

"Yes. That is all right. What thing would you like to work on?" He was willing to proceed in whatever manner she chose.

She sat there, her hands clenched together. And then she moved, wiggling a little, so that she could slide one arm around his back. The other she laid on his chest. And now she sighed a little and relaxed against him. "Let me just think out loud for a few minutes and you just listen, okay? And then you tell me what you think." She waited for his answer.

"I am amenable. Say whatever you wish and I will listen."

"I do not want you to do anything at all that feels uncomfortable to you. You need to stay yourself. And that's important. So I don't want you to think that everything has to happen at once or that you have to expose everything, give up your privacy, because that's not what I want at all. Not at all. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, I think I do. And I am grateful, Nyota." He rubbed his face softly against her hair.

She sighed again, snuggling a little closer to him. "So I don't think we can just announce this and go on like nothing unusual happened. In the first place, I don't really think you want the whole ship to know what happened on Vulcan or why you needed to go there in the first place. And I'm not at all sure that we really want to make what happened here afterwards public either. That's...private. It's just between us. It's not for public consumption." She held him tight.

When she stayed quiet, he assumed she wanted a response, even though she had not asked him a question. "That is what I would prefer, yes. I would be...uncomfortable...sharing those things. I am sorry, Nyota, but that is the way that it is."

"You have absolutely nothing to be sorry about. I don't think those things need to be spread about either. Like I said, those things are private. So. If all of that is suppressed, there really is no way to explain a sudden change in our behavior. Right?"

He thought for a moment, examining what she had said. "I believe you are correct. There should not be any sudden change in our behavior." He waited, and when she did not start talking again, he asked her another question. "Perhaps a slight change in our behavior?"

Now she relaxed completely. He could feel the tension draining from her. "Spock, recently you began to do...things. To walk about the ship with me. To sit in the observation deck, looking out at the stars with me. To invite me to the movies and bring the popcorn. Things like that. I liked those things. It would please me if they continued."

"Then, by all means, they shall continue. I did enjoy them as well." Now he bent his face and nuzzled softly against her forehead. "Courtship."

"Yes, that's right. Courtship. Slowly, easily, little things. So that people become used to seeing us together and think nothing of it. And eventually, we can be more open about it and it won't seem odd, or connected to any specific thing that people might think about."

"Yes, I do see that. I do agree with you. This is the way we should behave."

"Unfortunately, that means a lot of slipping around and hiding for quite a while yet. I'm sorry." she rubbed her face against him, her lips brushing softly against his neck. "I'd much rather not have to hide, but I just don't see a way around it without causing a lot of talk."

"We will survive, Nyota. We have survived for some time now, hiding."

"Yes, we have. We can do this. I know we can." She was quiet a while, just holding him. "Len will be quiet about it all. He considers it doctor-patient privilege, as well as friendship. Kirk is the one we have to watch out for."

He knew that only too well. "There may come a point where we must tell him. We shall just have to wait and watch and assess his behavior, possibly repeatedly."

"I'm sure you're right about that." She was moving now, wiggling in his lap, making him work at controlling himself. "But there's one thing that I insist on."

Whatever it was, he would agree. "And what is that?"

"We have to sleep in the same bed, every night it's possible. Have to."

"I can find no fault with that statement." And now he could not control himself any longer. "Nyota, is it time for bed yet?"

And she was giggling and wiggling and kissing his neck and sliding her hands under his shirt, so he picked her up and carried her to the bed, giving the computer orders as he went.