Pitching Woo by Djinn
The walls of the bar seemed to throb-or maybe that was just Chapel's head? How many drinks had she thrown back in that shot contest?
She stumbled, felt strong hands on her and debated whether to turn around and punch the person or be happy to see whoever had caught her. Punching seemed better.
Whoever it was wisely did not let go, and she was forced to stand still. "Christine. May I suggest it is time to go home?"
"Spock?" She wrestled her way free and turned to stare at him. "Oh my. It is you."
"Yes, it is I." He'd gotten some rest since last night. Looked good.
"You, mister, are one damned handsome man."
"And you, Commander, are inebriated."
"I am, aren't I?" She laughed softly. "Don't you get it? Drunk is the way to be today. That way we don't have to think about Admiral Cartwright-my mentor and mentor to half of the people here"-she moved her glass to demonstrate how many of them and booze sloshed all over-" going to a Klingon prison."
"He is a traitor."
"Shhhhhh. Those are fighting words." She pulled him away from the group.
"You are concerned for my safety?"
"Maybe I'm just concerned for mine. They'll think I'm with you, if I'm not careful."
"Christine, you are with me."
She had to think about that. "Only since last night."
He closed his eyes for a moment, seemed to be praying for strength-but she knew Vulcans didn't pray. "You do remember what transpired? You took antitox before we-"
"Before we had wild monkey sex? Wild, wild, wild damn monkey sex-may I point out that you are still really mad at Valeris? It made the sex a little strange, I have to say." She laughed again and motioned for a server to come over.
"You have had enough to drink."
"I'll say when I've had enough, lover."
She turned on him, pushing him against a wall. Several people cleared out of her way.
"They are afraid of you," Spock said, looking around at the burly types who had moved.
"Goddamned right they are. And you should be, too." She leaned into him, could feel him reacting to her. "I let you in last night and that was a big mistake. I'm going to blame it on all the tequila I drank. But if I did it tonight, I'd have to swear off tequila, and that is not going to happen. So...you come back when you are not so angry over your little Vulcan traitor. And be prepared to pitch some serious woo. And maybe, just maybe, I'll consider letting you back into my bed." She punctuated each sentence with a finger to his sternum.
She moved back, wobbled a little but stayed upright without too much trouble. "Okay. You can go."
"I have antitox." He looked extremely hopeful, even for a Vulcan.
She laughed; it was not a nice sound. "I'd tell you where to put your antitox, but I'm sure you already know." She turned to one of the men walking by and said, "Carruthers, I want to dance, damn it."
Carruthers visibly paled but led her to the makeshift dance floor.
"Don't be scared, kid. I'm not going to bite." She took a deep breath. "Do you have any antitox? I just turned some down and it was really stupid of me."
"In my jacket pocket."
It was a slow number so she was able to root around in his pocket till she found the pills. She popped one in, felt her head start to clear immediately.
"Was that Spock, ma'am?"
"What? Oh, yeah. He's a friend of mine. Sort of. Well, not really." She took a deep breath. "Carruthers, permission to speak freely. Do you think I'm mean?"
"Not when you're sober, ma'am."
"So I'm a mean drunk?"
"Well, you've never been mean to me. But I know Landon and Baker sometimes wish you'd lay off the sauce."
"Hmm." They were on the side of the performance curve leading to village idiot, so this didn't really dismay her too much. "But I'm not mean to people who don't deserve it, right?"
She let him go, feeling her buzz falling off as the medicine went to work. "Thanks for the honesty, lieutenant. Now go dance with someone you'd really like to be close to."
He hurried off.
If only Jan were still here she'd have someone to talk to. But Jan was off with Sulu gallivanting through the stars, and probably getting it on like crazy-it had taken her forever to realize Hikaru had the hots for her and then some.
Chapel would love to think Spock had come to his senses and realized what she had to offer, but she wasn't that stupid. Last night had been a mistake. A wild, sexy mistake, but still a huge lapse in judgment.
On both their parts.
She looked up and saw a delivery man standing in her office door. He was holding a huge bouquet of flowers. "I think you have the wrong office, toots."
"Yes." She got up and took the flowers. "Seriously?"
"Yes, ma'am. Someone likes you a lot. These are really expensive. Flown in special from the Delmara Federation."
Delmaran Roses? Holy shit. They would set her back a month's pay. She checked the card. It read: "I believe this qualifies as wooing?"
She laughed softly. "Wow, who knew you could make flowers this nice unromantic?" She smiled at the delivery man. "You can go. Thank you."
"You bet." He turned around. "Is there a message back?"
She frowned. "Huh?"
"There's a place on the card. See." He walked over and turned it so she could see a tiny input screen on the back. "It goes right to the sender."
She laughed. Carefully typed in: "Beautiful, but you'll have to try harder."
He read it and she said, "Hey, private message."
"Ma'am, you do know how much these cost, right? What did this guy do to you?"
"If I told you, I'd make you blush. Now scram." She had her "don't fuck with me voice" and he scrammed in double time.
She carried the roses to her window, and breathed in the scent of them as they slowly warmed in the filtered sunshine.
"Oooh, nice flowers." Jan stood in the doorway, grinning like a fool.
"Janice Rand, you didn't tell me you'd be here."
"They called us back unexpectedly. I thought I'd surprise you. Who are these from?" She walked over to the flowers, picked up the card. "Spock?"
A stunned look was her answer.
"I know. I think he might be courting me."
Chapel laughed at the disbelief in her friend's voice. "That's an excellent question."
"Did you sleep with him? I told you not to do that."
"I did. The night he got back from Khitomer."
"Oh. Angry sex."
"Yeah." She could feel the grin starting.
"Good, angry sex."
"Oh, hell yeah." She took Janice's arm. "Are you free for lunch?"
"I just happen to be. And I want to hear every sordid detail."
"Only if you tell me what you and Hikaru have gotten up to."
Jan blushed deeply. "Nothing to tell."
"Still a really bad liar, my friend." She laughed as they headed to the mess. "At least some things don't change."
Chapel was just contemplating the contents of her chiller when the doorbell rang. She hurried to it, hoping against hope it was a psychic delivery boy with some chicken enchiladas or maybe some lo mein.
Spock stood in her door, filling the telepathy requirement but sadly bereft of food. "Hello."
"Hello." She frowned. "Did you send a comm I missed?"
"I did not." He seemed content to stand at her door but she was a little worried Kahless the Cat would get out, so she pulled him inside.
And not a moment too soon. The blasted animal shot by her and was brought up short by the closing door.
"You have a cat."
"No shit, Sherlock." She picked up Kahless, who was complaining bitterly, the way only an affronted Siamese could.
"I like cats."
She thrust the cat at him; he settled down immediately in Spock's arms. "Oh, of course. My cat likes you. He usually hates everyone but me."
"He is quite attractive. His eyes match yours."
"Yes, and that's why I got him." She watched fascinated as Spock and Kahless engaged in a rather overt petting and snuggling ritual. Spock managed to stay stone faced, but Kahless was purring so loudly she could hear him from where she stood. "Give me him."
Spock turned away, taking the cat to the sofa and making himself comfortable.
"You'll get cat hair on your nice robe."
"Clearly, I do not mind." More petting, more purring.
She walked away and back into the kitchen. "I was getting ready to make dinner."
"That would be acceptable."
"I did not say I was getting ready to make it for you."
"Do you have enough for two?"
"Sweetie, I'm not sure I have enough for one." The cat, of course, had plenty of food stocked up. She was always responsible when it came to his food, especially since she was called off world so often and had to get the service to check in on him. She wasn't half so careful with her own diet.
"Would you like to go to dinner?" Spock was standing in the doorway, Kahless still in his arms and looking as if he'd turned to feline jelly. "Is there a place you have wanted to try?"
"The place I want to try is impossible to get a reservation. Carlyle's?"
"I know it." He walked to her comm unit, dialed in his own information, slung Kahless over his shoulder, and had Carlyle's on in mere moments.
"Captain Spock. This is an honor, sir." The maitre d' looked like he was ready to fall down. "Would you care to dine with us?"
"Tonight. There will be two in my party."
"Very good, sir. I have a lovely table. When would you like it?"
Spock turned to look at her.
"Now," she murmured
He turned back to the screen. "We will be there in fifteen minutes. Is that agreeable?"
"Indeed, sir. We'll be waiting."
Spock signed off and resumed petting Kahless, who appeared to have fallen asleep on his shoulder.
"We can't walk there in fifteen minutes. It's across town."
"I have a personal transport waiting downstairs. I believe, when one is wooing, it is customary to provide conveyance?" He thought about something. "And pay for the meal, which I am, of course, prepared to do. Should I have brought more flowers?"
"You did not like the roses?"
"They were gorgeous. I loved them and they smelled heavenly." She looked down. "But they aren't enough to win me, so don't overuse them."
"Ah, save them for the 'big moments'?"
"You've got it."
He moved closer. "So there will be big moments in our future?"
He almost smiled. "I find that idea most pleasing." He headed for the door.
"You can't take Kahless to the restaurant."
He seemed surprised to discover he was still holding the cat. "Of course not." He set him down gently on the couch, and gave him a last little stroke before he walked away.
"Being nice to my cat will not win my heart."
He looked over at her, his eyes gleaming. "I already have your heart, Christine. It is your mind I'm endeavoring to conquer."
"That's crap. You do not have my heart."
He moved to her, gently took her by the arms and pulled her to him ever so slowly. She wanted to stop him. She did. Really.
Just before their lips touched, he stopped and whispered. "You see. You would allow me this, but you would regret it soon after. I must get you to a point where you do not regret it." He let her go.
She felt a little lost for a moment. She'd been looking forward to the kiss-he was a damn fine smoocher.
He didn't give her time to analyze that. Just eased her out of the apartment and to the waiting transport.
The staff at Carlyle's fawned all over them.
She liked it very, very much.
Spock kept the conversation light, making her laugh more than once with his dry comments on this or that.
She liked that even better.
Chapel saw Spock sitting alone in the departure lounge on Lattra and walked over. "Hey, sailor."
He looked up and his expression lightened. "Christine."
"Buy a girl a drink?"
He got up quickly, walked with her to the bar, found them two vacant stools, and ordered her a tequila and tonic without asking if it was what she wanted.
Fortunately, it was.
He stuck with just tonic. "I did not know you were here."
She however had known he was here. Since he was wooing her, she didn't feel it was utterly stalker behavior to know where he was posted. "I wasn't here. I was on Morella. This is a transit stop to get back home."
"Ah. I am...glad." He met her eyes; he did not look particularly glad.
"You seemed deep in thought."
"I was. I was thinking of Valeris."
"Not in an angry manner. Just analyzing why I didn't see what was right in front of me."
"Hey, I missed it with Cartwright, too."
"You were not melding with Cartwright."
"Oh. Okay, that is pretty stupid." She grinned to take away the sting.
"I am afraid it was. I was blinded by my feelings for her."
"She was also a very adept little liar." She leaned in and let her shoulder touch his. "Spock, she used you."
"Yes. Yes, she did."
"You loved her?"
"You know, there's a certain stigma about being the rebound for someone."
He met her gaze. "I am aware of that."
"I don't know why you're after me. Other than I want you and always have."
"You are making me work rather strenuously for someone who wants me and always has."
"Well, I'm stupid but I'm not easy. When I'm sober." She winked at him. "You picked me because I was a sure thing."
"You are no longer that." He took a deep breath, let it out slowly. "You did not invite me in after dinner at Carlyle's."
"You expected me to?"
"Wow, you really do think I'm easy."
"Perhaps my assessment of the amount of wooing required to win you was on the low side."
"I think you might be right about that." She leaned up against him again. "Do you miss her? Valeris?"
"I do. That is stupid of me, is it not?"
She shrugged. "I always missed you when you weren't around. And you didn't even pretend to love me."
His lips tilted a bit. "Ah. That makes it all better."
"I thought it might." She shook her head. "I miss Cartwright. I miss his leadership. I miss his parties. I miss his confidences." She saw Spock's head whip up. "About everything but the plot, Spock. You can meld with me if you don't believe me."
"I believe you."
"Maybe you shouldn't."
"Do you want me to meld with you?"
"No, I'm saying that maybe part of the reason Valeris was able to trick you is because you want to think the best of people. You did the same thing with your brother from what I heard when he stole the ship. You did it with T'Pring, too. Left her alone while you were on a ship and expected her to be true."
"What you say is accurate." This time it was he who leaned into her. "Should I not trust you?"
"You can trust me, Spock."
"Good. I find myself on somewhat shaky ground these days when it comes to that."
"You can trust Jim."
"Yes. I can trust him."
"You going to the launch?" The Enterprise B maiden voyage was the talk of Command. Harriman was too, but in a completely different way.
"No. I have diplomatic obligations."
"Jim's going. Don't know why. He hates Harriman."
"You spend time with Jim?"
She shrugged. "We meet up for drinks sometimes."
"But nothing more?"
"I'm not his type, Spock."
"You are a scientist. I think he has shown a marked preference for those."
She laughed. "Okay, then maybe he's not my type. Too open and emotionally available for a gal like me."
"That I am more inclined to believe."
"He is pretty, though. Even now."
"Yes, he is quite handsome."
She glanced at him, a grin growing.
"It is merely truth, Christine. Expressing this truth does not mean I wish to avail myself of his good looks."
"Ah." She took a deep breath. "Am I good looking?"
"I've gained weight."
"I did not complain the other night."
"No, you did not."
"In fact, you are probably better able to withstand a Vulcan at full passion with, what is the phrase? Oh yes, some meat on your bones."
She laughed. "I was still pretty damn sore."
"I regret that."
"Don't. It was great sex."
He looked very pleased with himself.
The call for his shuttle to Vulcan came over the loudspeaker and he rose. "I look forward to seeing you when I am next on Earth."
He surprised her by laying his hand on her cheek for a moment, then he was gone.
Chapel watched the news, numbly now that it was no longer the top headline that James T. Kirk had perished giving his life to save another man's ship. The tributes and "inside stories" had been playing all week, and she was saturated but could not bring herself to turn the vids off. It seemed disrespectful to the captain she'd served, the man she'd called friend these last few years.
Her doorbell rang and she hurried to it, not surprised to see Spock standing there. She drew him in, shut the door, then pulled him into a tight embrace.
He clutched at her, his breath coming in shallow rasps.
"I'm sorry, Spock. I'm so sorry."
He pulled away and tilted her chin up, staring hard at her. "I want to forget. I came here to forget."
She nodded and pulled him into the bedroom. He stripped her clothes off gently, made love to her just as sweetly. She kissed him and murmured nonsense things to him and felt him relax against her.
"I should have been there," he said so softly she had to strain to make out the words.
"You might have been killed, too."
"We'll never know." He buried his face in her hair.
"He died on the Enterprise. Doing the right thing. Saving others. It's how he would have wanted to go."
"Yes, it is." He rolled to his back, pulling her so she was resting half on top of him. "You are a comfort."
"Good." She kissed him gently.
"I realize this does not mean my pursuit of you is over."
"Shhh. We can worry about that tomorrow." She kissed him as tenderly as she could.
He met her eyes, his gaze fierce. "You are not a rebound, Christine. You must understand that. I thought of no one else when I heard the news."
"I was your port in the storm?"
"That's nice, Spock. Really."
"Would I be yours?"
"I don't know."
He nodded, as if the answer was not unexpected. "That will have to change."
Carruthers sat with her in the shuttle waiting to rendezvous with the marine troop ship heading back to Earth. "Ma'am, you seem uhhh mellower."
She glanced at him. "Yeah?"
He nodded. "There's some speculation as to why."
"Is there an office pool?"
He turned red. "Maybe."
"Have you put your entry in yet?"
"Anybody taken Spock yet?"
"Captain Spock? The Vulcan?"
"That would be the one. I suggest you snag that option." She nodded at his padd. "Now."
He sent a quick message. "Thanks."
"No problem. If there's a pool, I want you to win. You're my favorite, Jack. But if you ever say I said it, I'll deny every word and make your life a living hell."
"Yes, ma'am." He was quiet for a moment. "I have trouble seeing you with a Vulcan."
"Because I'm not smart enough?"
"No, of course not." He laughed easily. "Because you're rather...errr...volatile?"
"I didn't use to be. Before Ops, I was Little Miss Calm."
"Really?" He shook his head, as if not believing it.
"I was a nurse then. I needed to be calm. It helped the patients."
"Ah." He had a funny look on his face.
"I'm just trying to picture you being ummm nurturing."
"Listen, buster, I can nurture with the best of them." She grinned at him. "But I admit, you've seen little of that in me in this job."
"I think I prefer this you. You make the job interesting."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, kiddo." She smiled with satisfaction and turned her attention back to her padd, but was quickly distracted. She was looking forward to being on Earth again. Spock was due back soon, too. He'd been called away the day after he'd come to her. In a way that was good. Kept her from letting him back in all the way. Gave him a chance to regroup, to collect himself after Jim's death. She didn't like angry sex; she liked grieving sex even less.
Even if it had been damn good.
Spock was very, very good in bed, whether he was being tender or a wild man. It was a wonderful surprise.
She commed Spock from the departure lounge on Starbase 6. He answered immediately, even though it was the middle of the night where he was.
"I'm close by. I can get to where you are. If you want?" She made the last part very teasing.
"Yes." So simple. So direct. He steepled his fingers. "Do you require anything to make your stay more pleasant?"
The chase was back on. Good. It had been several months since she'd seen him. "A guest room."
"I can arrange that."
"Some scintillating conversation."
"Also at hand."
She laughed. "Truffles. The chocolate kind not the rooty thing. Mocha truffles-or the local variation." She wasn't sending him on a wild good chase. The people on the planet he was helping to negotiate mining rights with were masters of the chocolate trade. Or what passed for chocolate-and quite frankly was even tastier.
"I will procure them at once."
She let her smile dim. "Are you all right?"
His expression changed a little. He nodded.
"Do you want me there?"
"Did anything in my demeanor just now indicate I did not?"
"No, but it hasn't been that long since the launch. And if you want me to wait or if you want me to come and not have to buy chocolates or pitch any woo, then I'll understand."
"You mean I can sleep with you with no effort if I choose?"
She laughed. "Yes. That's what I'm saying."
"I believe the effort would be beneficial for my outlook. A pursuit is a worthy diversion, would you not say?"
"Have you been wallowing?"
"I regret that I didn't go."
"Spock, it is what it is. You're here. You're alive. And he's not. What Ifs and Should Haves won't make things any better."
"Your words are logical."
"Yes. And yet." He took a deep breath. "I look forward to your arrival."
"Me, too. For the record, I'm not sleeping with you if pursuit is on."
"Does telling me how this visit will end not take the...fun out of this?"
"Oh. Right. Okay, forget I said anything." She smiled at him. "I've missed you."
"And I you. I am staying in a lodging a block from the transport station. I have sent the coordinates to you. I will see you soon."
"Bye." She cut the connection and headed for her gate.
She wasn't really sure she wouldn't sleep with him this visit. Sympathy was a powerful motivator for tenderness. But maybe he didn't need sympathy. Maybe he needed a project.
Not the most flattering way to think of herself, but probably accurate in a lot of ways.
Chapel paced the small confines of the guest quarters she'd been assigned at the Sigma Eight colony headquarters. She was waiting for Nyota to answer her comms. She'd tried her a couple dozen times since she'd heard about the Jenolen, lost with all hands.
Scotty had been one of the lost. He and Nyota had just begun talking again, repairing a relationship that had started late and ended too soon.
And now was over forever.
A message came over her unit. Audio only and recorded so she couldn't cut in. It was Nyota. "Christine, I really do appreciate your concern, but I need to deal with this in my own way. I love you. I'll be in touch soon."
Chapel replayed the message several times, still felt restless. Jim. Now Scotty. Jan had been injured a few weeks back-badly enough to scare both of them.
She commed Spock, not caring what time it might be on whatever world he was calling home at the moment.
He answered immediately. "Are you all right?"
"Where are you?"
"I have finished a negotiation. I am on my way home. Would you like me to come to you?"
"I'm not home."
"Where are you?"
"It is close. I will be there shortly." He cut the connection. A move that in a human would be rude. But she knew it just meant he was packing and would do as he said: be there soon.
It still took half a day and she was cycling off duty when he showed up in the corridor of the Sigma Eight headquarters. It always amazed her how much access the man had. She'd been nearly strip searched every time she'd come in despite being temporarily assigned here to help with disaster recovery, and he got in with no orders and no real business on the planet.
She hurried to him. "Come on."
"Are you hungry?"
"No. Come on."
"Are you angry at me?"
She met his eyes. "No. Come on."
He wisely did not comment this time, just walked with her to her quarters. The minute her door closed, she had him up against the wall, was tearing off his robe-or trying to. Why was he fighting her?
"Christine." He grabbed one hand, then another, forcing her to stop. "Christine. I know about the Jenolen. And Mister Scott."
She stopped, didn't meet his eyes.
"It is why you wanted me here, is it not?"
"No, I just-" She stopped talking because he was kissing her, very gently, very tenderly.
It broke her. When he let her go, she clutched at him, felt a huge lump in her throat and said softly, "Ny won't talk to me. She and Scotty...they had made up. She was going to visit him after he settled in. See if they could make it work again."
"Everyone faces grief in his or her own way. She will let you in when she is ready to let you in."
"I'm her friend. You let me in when Jim died. Why won't she?"
He eased her out of the entry way and to the main room. "Are you sure you are concerned about comforting her? Perhaps it is you who need comfort?"
"I'm fine. I lost a friend. She lost a lover. Or an ex love, anyway-and maybe future one."
"How many bodies have you worked with here?" His eyes were very gentle. "How many times have you had to wash dead skin off your hands?"
She took a ragged breath.
"How many times have you thought about Admiral Cartwright? Dying alone in that Klingon jail?" The news had come a few days ago. Just before she'd heard about the Jenolen.
She tried to pull away.
"Christine. Stress accumulates. Grief builds. It is not good to hold it in."
"Says the master of holding it in." But she let him ease her down to the couch and hold her. She felt his lips on her hair, heard his murmured, "It will be all right."
She wanted to cry, but she couldn't. But she felt a wave of tiredness, accumulated sleepless nights catching up with her.
She fell asleep in his arms to the unaccustomed feeling of being comforted and safe, and woke in the morning, sprawled half over him, his hands still on her.
Chapel was in the middle of some much needed downtime when her communicator sounded. "Chapel, here."
"Howdy, sailor." She wondered just how many people were standing around Spock. Then again, he probably would have addressed her as Commander Chapel if they had an audience.
"I am on Earth."
"I am aware of this. The Vulcan embassy is full due to a scientific conference. As Kahless is no doubt alone..."
"Oh, sure, do you ever stay there when I'm in town? You just love me for my cat."
There was silence, and she waited to see what he might come up with. "I love you for more than that. I am, however, quite fond of your cat."
Wow. He'd said the L-Word without stumbling or flubbing. Who knew?
"Sorry. I'm still processing your last statement. Of course you can stay at my place." Thank God she had a cleaning service. "I'll set the door for your code."
"You're welcome." She grinned as she asked, "So, are you going to sleep in the guestroom or in my bed?"
"Which would you prefer I sleep in?"
Banter. Goddamned clever banter. She sighed happily. "Well, I prefer you in my bed with me in it, too."
"A coincidence of momentous proportion. I, too, prefer that scenario."
She laughed. "Sleep wherever you want. Kahless will take the whole bed no matter which one you pick. He snores. And he drools."
"As do you."
"Hey, buddy, do not even start on the snoring. You have no idea what it's like to sleep next to you." He did not, however, drool so she left that alone.
"I do not; you are correct." He cleared his throat a little. "My mother's birthday is imminent and there will be a celebration. On Vulcan. I wondered...I wondered if you would like to accompany me."
"As your plus one? Your date?"
"I didn't say we were dating, Spock."
"Are you saying that is not what we are doing?"
"Well, usually one works up to the sleeping together. We sort of hit that first and are regressing."
"I do not consider getting to know you better regressing." His voice was stern.
"My mistake." She softened her voice as much as she could to make up for it. "I'd be happy to come with you. What should I pack?"
"If I said things of silk and lace, would that be taken amiss?"
She laughed. "I meant what kind of outfit will I need for this shindig?"
"It will be casual."
"Which on Vulcan means only sort of casual. I know you don't want me showing up in shorts and sandals."
"You have very nice legs. I would not object."
She laughed again. "I'll figure something else out. I'm sure I have something suitable to wear."
"Are you not going to ask me when the celebration is?"
"Spock, I was obsessed with you for how long. Do you think I don't know your mother's birthday?" God, that was really creepy of her.
"Disconcerting but efficient. I will arrange transport for you."
"Many thanks. Have fun with the kitty."
"He no doubt misses you. I do."
"Awwww." She said goodbye before she could reply with something equally sappy.
Chapel followed Spock into his parent's house. He led her to a room with a door that no doubt hooked up with his room. He saw her looking at it and nodded, as if he knew what she was thinking.
"And yet discreet." He almost smiled.
She saw a big vase of roses on the dresser, walked over and enjoyed the lovely aroma. "Your mother's?"
"Yes. She is quite accomplished. It is no small feat to coax roses out of Vulcan soil."
"You're a poet, Spock." She reached out her hand as she continued to smell the flowers, felt him take it and squeeze.
"I hope everything is all right in here?" Amanda was smiling as she took in their clasped hands-Chapel tried to let go; Spock didn't.
"It's beautiful. These are beautiful."
"Thank my son. He wanted to be sure I put these in here. He said you liked roses."
Spock actually flushed. "Mother."
"I'm sure you would have done it anyway, Amanda."
Amanda smiled. "Of course I would have. Who do you think taught him to appreciate flowers?" She took Chapel's arm. "Come, my dear. You can unpack later. I have so much to grill you about."
"Oh, Spock. I promise to be gentle."
He gave up in the face of motherly determination. Chapel laughed at she and Amanda walked toward the kitchen.
"I was thrilled to hear he was bringing you, my dear. I couldn't stand Valeris. And voila, I was proved right in the end, wasn't I?"
"Well, I'm sure you didn't call her being a traitor."
"Well, no. But I knew she was a little bitch. Excuse my French." She grinned, and Chapel had the feeling there might be a lot of excusing of her French when the family was alone. "I could not understand Spock's infatuation with her. Neither could Saavik. Sarek wisely did not comment since he is trying very hard to be supportive of his son while also maintaining his spot in our bed."
Chapel laughed again. "They are rather driven by the whole bedroom access."
"They are, aren't they?"
Should she be talking about the Vulcan male sex drive with Spock's mother? That seemed a bit off. "Happy Birthday. I should have said that before."
"I'm old and now I'm older. By one day. Woop tee doo." She laughed. "Indulge me. Drink champagne with me? No one else will."
"You don't have to ask me twice."
Amanda sighed happily. "So, so, so glad he's with you."
Chapel came home from a very long day to find Spock stretched out on her couch asleep, Kahless cuddled into his neck.
He hadn't said he'd be back. It was no doubt a testament to the strength of their relationship that he could crash without warning, and that she could walk in and not be too surprised to see him on her couch, stealing her cat's heart yet again.
She took a shower and put on some comfortable clothes, then walked out to the kitchen, throwing some food together that he would like and that she could tolerate too. His rabbit food diet left something to be desired. She didn't tell him, but she was hitting the barbeque places pretty regularly after he left. Meat, and lots of it, was what she wanted after a long visit. How did Amanda do it? Maybe she had a beef stash the way an alcoholic had booze squirreled away. Then again, booze tended to keep better than meat, so maybe not.
She heard an annoyed "Mrroowww" and then footsteps from the living room into the kitchen. "You're awake," she said without turning around, mainly because she loved the feel of him pressed against her back, his arms under her chest.
He did not disappoint. "I am." He turned her, pulled down her sweats, and eased her onto the counter.
She slowly raised an eyebrow.
"Do you object? Must I woo you more?"
"You think you can come into my apartment, sleep on my couch, and then just have sex with me?"
He thought about it. "Yes, apparently I do."
"Well, just as long as we're clear." She pulled him to her and laughed as he kissed her.
He wasted no time in the having of sex, making sure she was very, very happy before finding his own bliss.
"Come into my kitchen anytime, Spock." She felt boneless. "I made dinner."
"I see." He kissed her and walked over to a cupboard, finding Kahless's dish and food.
She realized the cat was hovering around the cabinet. "Oh, my God. He wasn't watching us, was he? He's just a kid. We've scarred him for life."
"I have my doubts as to the veracity of that statement."
"You wait. He'll be in counseling in weeks."
Spock's lip ticked up as he set the food down for Kahless.
"You really like him, don't you?"
"Not as much as I like you, but yes, I am inordinately fond of this cat."
"Well, he's in love with you, too, you big lug." She held out a hand to him. "Come back here and kiss me."
"Agreeable if unnecessary." He walked over and let her pull him back into the circle of her arms and legs.
"Oh, this is very necessary. You want to keep me happy, don't you?"
He stroked her hair back. His expression was exquisitely tender. "I do. For a very, very long time."
"You pitch wonderful woo, Spock."
"I have done my best." He nuzzled her neck. "May we eat? I am very hungry."
"Typical man." She laughed and jumped down off the counter, pulling on her clothes before handing him a plate. "I love you, by the way."
"I am gratified to hear it." This time he did smile. It was a teensy tiny smile, but a smile nonetheless.