Disclaimer: Usual stuff: Nope, I don't own any of the copyrights and am just going to borrow the characters for awhile. Copyright 2006 Mistress V. Permission to archive at TrekTales; all others need only ask. This story is rated PG.
"Evenin', Miz Christine."
Christine Chapel did not look up from the newspaper she was reading. "Tex. Your usual?"
He took the whiskey and downed it in one gulp then pushed the glass back towards the bartender. "Same again, Len."
He turned his attention back to Christine. "Where's the Sheriff tonight, Miz Christine?" His voice had just a touch of sarcasm in it.
"Tex, he and the Marshall are out on a scoutin' mission, you know that as well as I do. Them Paiutes is actin' up so they've gone to check on the settlers out on the Laramie road."
Tex laughed, a harsh bitter sound. "That Sheriff, he's a right fool to leave a fine lookin' woman like you back here all alone. When you gonna see that he ain't-a fixin' to fall in love with you? All he'll ever love is that badge of his and the power he thinks it gives him. Even the Marshall knows that."
"Tex, I will not have you disrespectin' the Sheriff or the Marshall that way. There's plenty of saloons in this here town. Why not go to one of 'em instead?
"Cause I'd rather be here with you, Miz Christine. You run the finest establishment round these parts. I can see you need a real man to show you the lay of the land." He pulled Christine roughly to him and forced a kiss on her.
"Tex, you let me go!"
"Not quite yet, darlin. Let's have another of them kisses, huh?"
She slapped him, but he did not even flinch. His eyes darkened. "I like a woman with spirit, like a good filly. But I'll have to break that spirit a little, I reckon. Now give me another kiss, 'fore I start gettin a bit riled up, like."
"Tex. Unhand the lady."
The voice was cool, but its edge was like ice. Tex turned to see the tall figure standing in the doorway.
"Why if it ain't ol' yaller belly hisself. Why don't your run home to your mama, boy? Ain't nothin' here for you, not that you'd know what to do with that is." Tex turned back to Christine and pressed another unwanted kiss on her.
"I said to unhand the lady. Don't make me open a can o' whoop ass, Tex."
Tex laughed again. "A can o' whoop ass? Where you from? The moon?"
The shot rang out and whizzed right past Tex's ear, shattering the mirror behind Christine. Without another word, Tex let her go and made a bolt for the swinging doors.
"Now who's got a lilly liver?" the Sheriff asked as he walked up to the trembling Christine. He took her in his arms.
"Miz Christine, I have been a fool. Truly I have. But I do love you. Can you ever forgive me?"
"Oh, Sheriff Spock, of course I can. I love you too."
"Then kiss me right quick and show me how much!"
Spock forced himself to focus. "Yes, Jim?"
"It's your move, remember?"
"Indeed. Forgive me. My mind was on other matters."
"Oh?" Kirk was intrigued. The First Officer had seemed unusually preoccupied the past few days. "What things?"
"Our impending beamdown to Capella IV this Friday. Even though the planet has been quite peaceful over these years, I am still wondering how the new mining treaty will be accepted."
"Point taken, Spock. However I'm pretty sure that under the new governor, all is, as we say, going smoothly." Kirk was disappointed. It was only mundane Federation business that had Spock so out of character. "It's a done deal."
"Perhaps. But it will also be interesting to see how the young Teer has matured over these years."
Kirk returned to the chessboard. "Yes, Leonard James Akaar is no longer a child. Checkmate, Spock. That's a match. Do you want a replay?"
Spock politely declined. "I believe I shall go over my report once more in preparation for our visit. No doubt the mineral concentrations will have changed since the last tests were run, and the Federation mining office will want to be apprised. I wish you a good evening."
As Spock began the walk back to his quarters, he realized that the tip he had read in the "Guide to Winning the Woman You Want", that of pretending he was the character in a favorite holovid, was not going to work. What he needed was something more simple, more basic in the way of advice. He would not win Christine with theatrics. It was too illogical.
Uneasily, he wondered about Lt. Dillon. He had seen the young engineer in the vicinity of sickbay at least twice this week. Of course, he, too had been in the vicinity of sickbay himself more than twice this week, so it was logical to presume they were both there for the same reason. The Lieutenant had been cordial in his greetings. Which was also logical. No one knew Spock was trying to pursue Dr. Chapel expect Spock. Oh, he suspected Commander Uhura had been filling Christine's head with all kinds of speculation. Christine had been her usual cheery self this week, however, so nothing seemed amiss.
He had planned to attend the musical event this week and speak to Christine, but now was assigned to the shore party for Capella, which would last most likely until late in the evening. This was also logical, as he, Kirk and McCoy had been there for the first mining treaty's negotiation, so their presence for the current visit was all but required. Spock had hoped Lt. Dillon might be assigned to the party as well, but that had not happened. So his worries increased at the thought of Christine being pursued by the laughing, confident young man.
He sighed. Such illogical worry would not accomplish anything. He decided to meditate on the issue.
* * *
"Banana bread? Chris, you're spoiling us! What's the occasion?" Leonard McCoy bit into a piece of the fragrant cake and gave a satisfied sigh.
The other members of the briefing party, Spock included, were busily helping themselves to the treat, which was disappearing rapidly.
"I know, " Sulu said. "She's trying to bribe me into giving her some of my cacao pods. Right, Chris?"
Christine laughed. "Yeah, on the nose. Please? I'm dying for some decent chocolate. C'mon, you must have more than enough!"
"Maybe." Sulu thought a moment.
"There has to be a catch to this," Nyota said.
"If you'll sing 'Hanky Panky' on Friday, I might think about it." He did not notice the scandalized expression, if you could call it that, on the face of the officer seated next to him.
"Sorry to disappoint you Mr. Sulu, but you're on the landing party list for tomorrow," Kirk informed him. He looked around the table. "And my apologies to all you future 'Galaxy Idol' finalists, but I believe the formalities on Capella will keep us there quite late. We'll have to take a raincheck on seeing your performances. Now, to the business of the day. Bones, your report on the vaccines we need to take to the planet?"
* * *
Spock looked down at the computer monitor, scanning the list of holobooks for something that might help his predicament, but his mind was elsewhere. He had realized that Sulu not serious that afternoon when he spoke about Christine singing the risque-sounding song, which he now knew to be by the Terran artist Madonna. Teasing was a human practice he did not know well, though what he had read of human courting indicated that women did like it at times. He frowned. Christine was again performing tomorrow, but he could not be there. That meant that Lt. Riley would have the clear advantage. This bothered him a great deal.
A title caught his eye and he read the summary. His eyebrow raised thoughtfully. Perhaps this guide to human courtship would give him the information he needed. Of course, it might eventually become necessary for him to procure a guide on human sexual practices as well. From what he had seen in holovids and read in books, the act itself seemed the same as that practiced during the time of pon farr, but that was where the similarity ended. Sadly, Spock realized that he very likely would have no concept of what to do should that opportunity present itself. Humans mated for pleasure, and that concept was alien to Vulcans. And the prospect of disappointing Christine, should he indeed win her, bothered him as well.
* * *
"Well, gentlemen, that was quite a day," Kirk said as the shore party stepped back onto the transporter pads. "Thank God that's over."
His companions agreed heartily. It had been a very long day of custom, formality, and negotiation. All was well, but it took the better part of 18 hours to ascertain this. The only bright spot of the entire trip was that Leonard James Akaar had announced his intent to study for entrance to Starfleet Academy. He hoped to become a navigator, he had told them, and someday visit places far from his home. Kirk had no doubt that the youth would do just that.
Spock checked the chronometer. It was 0005, and the festivities in the rec room would have long since ceased. He did not have the courage to go down to the bar, so resigned himself to watching a taped holovid of the performances in his quarters.
He first saw Commander Uhura sing a pleasing song called "Memory," which he knew was from an old Terran musical about felines, one his mother had liked. He then watched Lt. Dillon swagger through a tale about being from someplace called the "Boon Docks". What was a boon dock? He would have to look that up. And then Christine had stepped up and had all but rocked, to use the old Terran term, to a song about an old kind of Terran jet fuel, called kerosene, but the words bore no relation, that he could see, to the song's title. She certainly had been full of energy, and he could clearly see Lt. Dillon watching her every move. They were most likely dancing in the bar right now.
His logical side cautioned him that he did not know this to be true, and for once he gave into his Vulcan background. He would see how things were before he made any presumptions. It was, after all, illogical not to do this.
* * *
Saturday passed interminably for Spock. He did not go to the arboretum, fearful of the possibility that Christine would not be there, and what doubts that might raise. Instead, he prepared his report on the findings from Capella until it was time for dinner. He was further unsettled to learn that the Terran slang term "Boon Dock" indicated the equivalent of a remote outpost, with uncivilized inhabitants populating it. Did this mean Christine preferred such a man?
As he made his way into the officer's mess with Kirk and McCoy, he noticed her sitting with Uhura. They were alone. He wanted to go join them, but could not even think of doing so. Then to his amazement, he saw Kirk head over to them. "Ladies, " he said, "we're so sorry we missed your no doubt splendid performances last night. May we join you?"
"Sure," Christine had said, flashing her dazzling smile. Was it Spock's imagination, or had her demeanor visibly brightened at that moment?
As they sat deconstructing the previous night's events, Spock noticed Lt. Dillon and several other companions enter the mess. Then, to his absolute delight, he heard the one word he never thought would make him so pleased.
"Yuck," Christine whispered to herself as she saw him pass by.
* * *
Spock glanced at his mailbox the next day. There seemed to be a parcel for him in the mail room. What could it be, he wondered? It would most likely be from his mother. Well, he thought, he had best fetch it and see for himself.
* * *
"It's an acoustic coffee house, that's a change," Nyota said to Christine as they prepared to head to a yoga class. "What do you want to sing?"
Christine shrugged. "How about 'I'm a Vulcan's Fool'?
Nyota laughed. "C'mon. You need to do something that'll knock Spock right onto that Vulcan caboose of his."
"He hasn't been at the last two nights, why should I bother? Maybe I'll do 'Vision of You' and cry onto my guitar. I'm building a dream with no foundation." She sighed.
"Now stop that! We'll pick you out a great song, and you'll sing it. Got me?"
"He won't be there," Christine repeated sadly.
"Leave that to me, honey," Nyota replied.
Christine sighed again. Whatever.
The songs I mentioned were "Kerosene" and "Boon Docks" and I love both of them.