DISCLAIMER: Star Trek belongs to Paramount/Viacom/etc. The story is the property of Cherpring and is copyright (c) 2001 by Cherpring. Rated PG-13.

A Day in the Life of a Struggling Nurse

Cherpring

"Uh ... Spock?"

"Yes?"

"Are you sure you wish to continue to ... um ... participate in this activity?" Christine asked doubtfully. He was as tense as a Horta on steroids.

"I fail to see any logical reason why I should not."

"I just thought that ... well, there might be some kind of Vulcan cultural taboo or something against what we're doing."

"There is not," he answered succinctly, adjusting his position a bit to enhance contact and thus the incredible sensations her efforts were producing. "If that were true, I would not be here. Why would you believe such a misconception?"

"You're ... well, very tense. And it just seems like something Vulcans wouldn't ... um ... particularly appreciate," she responded. "Although I have never known any male who didn't appreciate this," she added more to herself than to him as she curled her hand tighter and increased the pressure a bit to give her statement more emphasis. " Just relax," she commanded very quietly a second later, leaning closer to him. "You're supposed to be enjoying this, remember?"

Spock suppressed a small shudder as the moist warmth of her breath fanned out across his sensitized skin. He closed his eyes and willed himself to release some of the tension from his body, mentally turning himself over to her as she requested. It would be extremely illogical not to do so. After all, that was why he was here. "Vulcans are physical beings," he explained, starting to warm to her ministrations. "And as such we have physical needs, much as any physical being. It would be illogical to deny those needs. And ... Unn ... " Spock couldn't stop the low moan of pleasure that escaped him, cutting off any further comment.

Christine looked at him, amusement sparkling in her blue eyes. "Oh, I see. As long as it's logical," she chuckled softly and bent to renew her efforts.

"Indeed," Spock murmured, lost in the slick, silken pressure of her touch.

They were silent several long minutes as Christine continued to perform her magic upon his body. Spock released a slow, blissful sigh. It had been so long. He couldn't remember the last time he had participated in this particular act. Was it with Leila? Or perhaps Zarabeth. No, what he and Zarabeth had engaged in had been quite ... different. It had to have been Leila, he decided. He had forgotten what it felt like, the intense pleasure ...

"Ungh!"

Spock almost bolted upright and Christine jerked back, instantly contrite. "I'm so sorry, Spock! I didn't mean to hurt you! Are you all right?"

Spock eased back down. "You did not ... hurt me, precisely. However, you are ministering to a particularly vulnerable area. Please keep that in mind," he admonished her lightly. "And please ... continue," he added in a husky voice as he took a deep breath and settled more comfortably on the pillow. Closing his eyes again, he tried to recapture the feeling of just a few moments earlier.

Christine frowned in concern. "Are you sure? I'm not as familiar with Vulcan anatomy as I am Human. I don't want to cause you any discomfort."

"In this instance, Vulcan anatomy is not so dissimilar from Human, as you have no doubt already discovered. And I assure you, discomfort is not what I am experiencing at this moment." Spock opened his eyes again and his dark gaze caught and held hers as she waited. He could sense she was still unsure, afraid of hurting him again. He made a small gesture with his hand, relaxing his face into a near smile. "You may proceed," he urged her quietly.

After a brief pause, Christine gave him a hesitant smile in return and nodded. "Very well, then..."

And proceed she did. At one point, Spock was sure he would die from the sheer ecstasy of it. She was really quite talented he mused within the heavy layers of near rapture that surrounded his mind. Quite talented, indeed. Perhaps he should have come to her sooner. Yes, much sooner.

Later, when it was over, she gently patted his thigh and straightened up. For several long minutes Spock could only lay there, so enervated he was unable to rouse sufficiently enough to move more than an eyelid. Finally, he allowed himself a deep, contented sigh and pushed into a sitting position to look at her. Her hair was slightly tousled and her cheeks a pretty pink from her exertions. And her mouth, her lips ... When had she become so incredibly beautiful? He wondered.

Christine smiled warmly. "That'll be fifty credits."

Spock felt his right eyebrow quirk up in surprise. "Fifty?"

Christine laughed quietly and shook her head. Vulcans were known to be more than a little tight-fisted. "I may be fond of you, Spock, but business is business. If I charged you less and the word got out, then my other clients would expect a cut in their prices as well. Medical school isn't cheap, you know. Starfleet may reimburse me for the tuition, but medical texts and lab supplies are quite expensive. And I have less than a year left to build my nest egg."

"Indeed."

At his rather dry comment Christine tilted her head and frowned at him slightly, obviously offended. "You don't think it was worth it?"

Spock paused thoughtfully. Worth it? Yes, it was definitely that. In fact, he wasn't sure his legs would support his weight if he stood up at that moment. His lips twitched upwards and both eyebrows rose innocently as he looked up at her. "Every single credit, Miss Chapel," he answered by way of an apology. "May I make another 'appointment' for next week?"

Christine relaxed. She had been hesitant about doing this with Spock when he had first contacted her -- for several reasons, not the least of which were her own feelings concerning the First Officer. And he wasn't exactly her usual customer. But she had always prided herself on her no-nonsense, straightforward attitude that made it possible for many of her clients to be able to submit themselves to her particular talents without feeling embarrassed. Why had she been afraid Spock would be any different? As he had stated, he was a physical being with physical needs. It just surprised her a bit that he admitted to those needs and sought to remedy them. She almost sighed. No doubt he had a logical reason for doing so. "Just drop me a line to let me know when would be the best time. I'm sure we can work something out."

Spock stood up ... carefully. "Very well, Miss Chapel. I shall do so." With that, he gathered his clothing and disappeared into the bathroom.

Tightening her scrub robe securely around her, Christine went to her desk and poured herself a cup of tea from the thermos she kept there when she was working. As she waited for Spock to return and sipped on the tea, her mind wandered and she found herself wishing that what had just taken place between her and Spock had been more for pleasure than business. How long had it been since she had done something like this just because she wanted to? Not since Roger, she realized. And not since she had fallen head over heels for a man who was just as untouchable as Roger was now. Touch ... Oh God, what if Spock had been able to sense something from her?

The bathroom door hissed open then and Spock emerged, once again fully dressed. Christine plastered on a casual smile as he approached her and held out his credit slip. "You may add an additional ten credits," he told her, his voice low and slightly husky.

Chapel blushed at the generous offer and took the slip from him. "Thank you, Mister Spock, but a tip isn't ... "

"I wish to give it to you," Spock interrupted. Suddenly, he reached up and pushed back a stray wisp of golden hair from her face, letting his fingertips brush across her cheek in the process. "After all, I shall be contributing to a worthy cause. I believe you will become an excellent physician one day, Christine."

At his touch and use of her given name in his deep, rumbling baritone, Christine felt her blush intensify. He had only ever used that tone of voice with her once before. She turned away from him to hide her embarrassment and slid his credit slip into the slot next to her computer. When the transaction was complete, she retrieved the slip and faced him again, but kept her gaze averted. "Thank you, Mister Spock."

"You are most welcome," Spock replied in that same voice. "I do not have a vast amount of experience to draw from, but I believe you must be quite skilled at what you do."

Christine gave a small, self-deprecating laugh. "I should be. I put myself through grad school this way. But thanks, I'm glad you were able to get some re ... um ... benefit from it."

"Benefit," Spock repeated thoughtfully. "Yes, I believe the experience was most beneficial."

Just then the door buzzer sounded and Christine almost jumped, startled. She glanced up to see Spock looking at the door, his face unreadable. When he returned his gaze to her, his eyes were questioning. Christine sighed. "My next customer," she informed him. "You took a bit longer than I anticipated. I had hoped you could avoid meeting anyone on your way out, but..." she shrugged. "I'm sorry."

Spock was silent a long moment, his expression revealing nothing.

Of course, Spock mused wryly, he could not expect to be her only client tonight. But aside from his own discomfort at being seen leaving her quarters, the thought of her doing with someone else what she had just done with him suddenly made him feel almost ... protective of her in a strange way. It was a shame she had to resort to this instead of studying for her upcoming medical entrance exams or enjoying her off-duty time in some form of recreation as most of the crew did. Yet he understood. There were many advantages to being in Starfleet, however pay wasn't one of them. She needed the credits to supplement her income and, as he had told her, she was very good at what she did. No doubt her services were in high demand.

Finally, Spock nodded and took the credit slip she still held out from her hand. "It is of little consequence," he reassured her. "Until next week?"

Christine smiled as she walked Spock to the door. It seemed that she had managed to hide her feelings from Spock after all or he certainly would not be requesting another appointment. It had been difficult for her to remain detached, but at least it did afford her some semblance of intimacy with Spock, however businesslike. And his manner seemed easier with her now. "Next week, Mister Spock," she confirmed. The door slid open to reveal a rather impatient Leonard McCoy standing on the other side, his hand half raised to press the buzzer again. "Well, it's about damned time, Chris! Hope you don't mind, but Scotty and I traded because ... " His voiced trailed off as he saw who stood with Chapel in the doorway. "Spock?" He asked incredulously.

"Doctor," Spock responded with a curt nod. He turned again to the woman beside him. "Good evening, Miss Chapel."

"Good evening, Mister Spock."

Spock eased his way past McCoy and strode down the corridor.

Looking at McCoy's expression as he watched Spock leave, Christine didn't know whether to laugh or cry. McCoy would probably get no end of delight out of harassing the Vulcan about this for God only knew how long. "Close your mouth, Leonard. You're attracting flies." She turned to go back into her cabin. "And come in and close the door while you're at it," she threw over her shoulder.

McCoy came back to himself and stepped into the nurse's quarters, the door hissing shut behind him. "Were my eyes deceiving me, Chris, or was that Spock who just left here?"

"Your eyes are just fine, Doctor," Christine replied as she bent to change the sheets.

McCoy came up behind her. "But ... but ... " he stammered.

"But nothing," Christine sighed irritably. She straightened up and turned to face him. "And don't you go giving him any grief over this, Leonard, or I'll skin your hide! Spock has to deal with a lot of stress in his position and he deserves an opportunity to relieve some of that stress just as much as any man onboard this ship!"

"I quite agree," McCoy responded, his mouth pulling into a wide grin. "I just never would have thought Spock..."

"Get your clothes off, Doctor," Christine interrupted, softening her words with a little smile of her own. "You know the drill. Besides, you're wasting valuable time."

McCoy almost protested further but decided to let it go for the moment, anticipating what was to come. Christine was one of the best in the business, and he should know. He had been to more than a few. At this thought, his expression brightened considerably. "Anything you say, Nurse." With another grin, he disappeared into the bathroom.

While McCoy was gone Christine finished changing the sheets then went to her dresser. She sighed heavily as she pulled a brush through the thick strands of her hair and studied the carefully made-up face before her in the mirror. There were hints of dark shadows beneath her eyes and small lines at the corners of her mouth. God, she was tired! But McCoy was the last tonight she consoled herself. Afterwards, she could take a long hot shower and maybe grab a quick bite before crashing for the night. She only did this three nights a week and usually only two or three customers a night, but still, it ate into her study time and she was forced to hit the books hard in her remaining off-duty hours. She was 'burning the candle at both ends', as her grandmother would say, and she knew it. But it would all be worth it in the end, she reminded herself, when she had that MD clutched in her hand.

The sound of the bathroom door opening pulled her from her ruminations. She glanced up and saw McCoy's reflection as he emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel. She turned to face him with a smile, ready for him.

"Still, Spock of all people ... " McCoy started in again, as if there had never been a lull in their conversation.

Christine's smile faded. She moved over and patted the clean sheets. "Shut up, Len, and get your ornery butt over here."

When it was obvious Christine wasn't going to talk about it, McCoy sighed and did as he was told.

As the doctor stretched out before her, punching up the pillow and making himself comfortable, Christine grinned maliciously. This was one massage she was going to enjoy inflicting a little pain.

FIN