“So, should I join the Chess Club or the Ancient Literature in Modern Times Discussion Group?”
Bones glanced at Jim as they walked along the path between buildings at Starfleet Academy. “That’s like asking me if you should be a geek or a nerd.”
“Funny. I could, honestly, join both because they’re held at different times and days.”
“How fortunate,” Bones said, sarcastically.
Jim smirked at him. “You could join too.”
“No, thanks. I’m up to my eyeballs in courses about being a doctor on a starship. They’re kicking my ass. I have no free time. And any free time I have is spent studying. But I have no free time.”
“And you repeat repeatedly.”
Bones grinned. “You know it. But knock yourself out, kid. Hopefully all that nerdity won’t rub off on me.”
“That’s not a word.”
When Jim got to the Wednesday Night Chess Club initial meeting he was a little surprised to see a lot of females. And maybe that was a little sexist of him, but it still seemed strange for him to be like the only guy.
He spotted Uhura, from the bar, over by a wall, so he went over to her.
“You’re interested in chess?”
She shrugged. “Why not?”
“I don’t know. It’s just…”
Uhura rolled her eyes. “Look around, Kirk. Most of the cadets here aren’t interested in chess. Not really.”
Jim glanced around the room and then spotted the tall Vulcan in the corner wearing a black turtleneck sweater, black jeans, and black boots. He was surrounded by females.
He blew out a breath. “Oh. Professor Spock.”
“Yes, Professor Spock. Why’d you think everyone was here? Why are you?”
“To play chess, duh.”
“You’re one of the few, I’d say.”
Jim watched her watch him. “Including you.”
Uhura smiled. “He’s really cool and gorgeous. Brilliant. Why wouldn’t I be interested? Aren’t you?”
“Whether I am or not has nothing to do with the Chess Club,” Jim told her. “I didn’t even know he was behind it.”
And that was true. Spock was gorgeous, just like Uhura had said, but Jim wasn’t pursuing the Vulcan professor. He had plenty of interest from other cadets, he certainly didn’t need Jim mooning after him too.
But after three chess matches, all of which Jim won easily because those he played with hadn’t paid the slightest attention to the chess game, he decided to leave.
He was headed out the door when Spock called to him.
“Cadet Kirk, leaving already?”
He turned to face Spock. It was on the tip of his tongue to compliment him on how good he looked in black, before his brain reminded him that he wasn’t going to be like everyone else, gushing over Spock.
“Yeah, it’s uh…to be honest my opponents weren’t much of a challenge so I don’t think the club is for me.”
Spock inclined his head. “Perhaps you would care to challenge me?”
Jim smiled a little. “You, Professor? Bring it on.”
A few matches later, some Jim had won, he leaned back in his chair, stretched his arms up in the air and yawned.
“You have an interesting playing style,” Spock murmured.
Jim grinned. “You mean you’re surprised I managed to beat you.”
“It is a rare occurrence when I am bested,” Spock admitted.
Jim looked around and noticed everyone else had left. “Wow it must be late. Or they all left when I monopolized your time.”
“Perhaps some of both.”
Jim got up. “Thanks. I didn’t mean to keep you away from everyone else.”
“My purpose was to have meaningful chess matches and you provided those. I have no regrets. But we are behind the time I said I would utilize this room so…”
Jim held up his hands. “I’m leaving, no worries. Thanks again, Professor.”
“You will be here next Wednesday?” Spock asked as he walked Jim to the door.
“I don’t think so. This, uh, this isn’t really my thing.”
“I surmised you enjoyed playing chess.”
“And I do. But the players here tonight…I’m not sure why they were here, exactly,” Jim hedged. “But it wasn’t to play chess. Anyway, I’ve taken up enough of your time. Goodnight.”
The following Monday, Jim popped in at the Ancient Literature in Modern Times Discussion Group only to see most of the same cadets he’d seen at the Chess Club, including Uhura.
Jim sighed. “Don’t tell me. Spock again?”
“Of course,” she said coolly. “You sure managed to catch his attention on Wednesday. Back for more?”
And that’s when Jim noticed just about everyone there was glaring at him with open hostility.
“I don’t need this,” he muttered. He looked at Uhura. “Nope. Wrong room. See you.”
Just as he was stepping outside, Spock approached the room.
“You are leaving?”
“Yeah, don’t think this group is for me.”
Spock frowned slightly. “You are not interested in Ancient Literature?”
Jim nodded. “I am. It’s just…” He took Spock’s elbow and drew him aside. “Those cadets in there aren’t interested in discussing literature any more than they are interested in chess. In fact, they’re pretty much the same crowd.”
“I do not understand.”
Jim sighed. “Spock. They’re interested in you.”
Spock stared at him for a long time and then his lips thinned and he nodded. “I see. Would you like to discuss Ancient Literature in Modern Times privately over tea one afternoon?”
Jim smiled. “I’d love to.”
Spock looked at the door of the room. “In fact, Cadet…may I call you Jim?”
“If you are free after the conclusion of this discussion at six-thirty, I would like to take you to dinner.”
For a moment, Jim wasn’t sure what to say. And when he finally did it came out stupid. “Uh.”
“If I have misjudged an interest then—”
“Yes. I mean…no. I’m…you’re asking me for a date, right?”
Spock arched a brow. “Yes.”
Jim moistened his lips. “And, uh, when you mentioned discussing Ancient Literature over tea? That was a date too, right?”
Jim let that wash over him.
“Then you are interested?”
“Yeah. I am. Yes. I’d love to have dinner.” Jim smiled. “I guess it would be easier to attend the discussion tonight so we can just go out after.”
“You know, all those women in there, they really like you.”
“While I am flattered by their interest, it is misguided.”
“My interests with regard to mates lie with males.”
Jim’s smile widened. “My lucky day then. Shall we?” He indicated the door to the room.
Spock went in before him and Jim followed. And it was really hard not to preen in front of the others. But he tried. Really.