Chapter Fourteen: On the Way to the Next Level

Spock had never been the nervous type. There was no logic to it.

And yet, as he waited for the arrival of Jim to his current place of residence, he had a fluttering in his stomach that might be related to nerves.

Because he planned to run Gad-Shen in Riverside temporarily, he had rented a studio apartment situated on top of the restaurant. There was a small staircase on the side of the building that accessed the front door of the studio.

As typical of most Terran studio apartments, his living quarters was basically one large room with no discernable separated rooms, save for the bathroom and a small closet to hang coats. Spock had placed a sofa and a lamp by the window that overlooked the street Gad-Shen faced, then a few feet from there he had placed a full sized bed and a dresser. Then there was the kitchen which was made up of a stove, a sink, and a refrigerator.

It was all very simple, but it was suitable and efficient for Spock’s current circumstances.

His pulse quickened when he heard footsteps on the stairs leading to his door. He had seen Jim only a short time ago at the restaurant, and yet, yes, Spock was filled with a certain anxious anticipation.

Spock was not at all without experience, but he found Jim to be more attractive than anyone he’d ever encountered and he also found himself feeling a rather interesting connective warmth whenever he touched Jim, even briefly. He had a theory as to the reason behind this very pleasing warmth, and he hoped to be able to test it that very evening.

He had moved to stand by the door when Jim tapped lightly on it.

Jim had dressed in a maroon pullover sweater and black pants, no doubt in deference to the chilly evening. It had been overcast all day and the restaurant staff had even speculated about the possibility of the first snow of the season.

“Welcome, Jim.” Spock stepped back to let Jim inside.

“Thanks. It’s getting really cold.” Jim rubbed his hands together. His cheeks were a becoming shade of red.

“What can I get you to drink?”

“What do you have?”

“I actually have a small bottle a red blend wine if you are interested.”

Jim blinked in surprise. “You have wine?”

“Yes. Though I admit I obtained it for you in anticipation of this evening.”

“Then by all means, I’ll have some.”

Spock opened the bottle and poured Jim a glass in a water goblet, since that was the only kind of glass he had there in the apartment. As he handed the goblet to Jim, Spock made sure their fingers brushed. He felt that same warmth immediately. Jim showed no outward signs that he experienced the same sensation, however.

“Thank you.” Jim took a sip, then nodded his approval. “What’s on the menu?”

“A Vulcan version of ramen noodles,” Spock replied.

Jim laughed. “That’s great. I love ramen.”

“I have included stir fried vegetables too. You may sit there on the sofa and relax with your wine while I finish up.”

“Okay, sure.”

Jim looked good sitting in Spock’s apartment, even though Spock knew it was no permanence there. To the apartment, of course. Jim and himself was a different story. Certainly he hoped so if what he suspected was true.

But he was, perhaps, getting ahead of himself. He had to get through dinner, and then, he hoped, something more.

Yes, Spock realized. He’d been using that word a lot in his mind.

Hope.