Chapter Twenty-Three: A Change of Fortune
Gaila came up behind Jim as he looked at his messages on his communication device. “What’s up, Handsome?”
“My old boss, Charlie, wants to see me after my shift today.”
“Your boss at the shipyard?”
“Uh-huh.” Jim shrugged. “Probably forgot to do some paperwork or something. I’ll have to ask Maggie to watch Lily a little bit longer.”
“Speaking of weird, who do you think that is talking to the boss?” Gaila gestured with her shoulder as she carried a stack of dishes.
Sure enough there was a man Jim had never seen before speaking with Spock in the corner of the restaurant. He had silver at his temples, and he wore a heavy overcoat. Not that surprising as it was snowing outside.
For some reason, Jim couldn’t quite figure out, he looked…official.
“No idea,” Jim admitted.
And he didn’t really feel like he could march on over and demand to know either.
In fact, shortly after they saw the guy, he and Spock went back to Spock’s office and Jim didn’t see Spock the rest of the afternoon before his shift was over and he was supposed to go see Charlie.
Fortunately for Jim, Maggie could watch Lily for a little bit longer. He really needed to give her a giant Christmas present. He was really lucky he could rely on her.
Things seemed to be bustling at the shipyard when he arrived. Seemed a bit strange considering they were going to be shutting down.
Charlie was waiting for him when he got there. He offered Jim a drink, alcohol, but Jim turned him down.
“Have a seat, Jim. I have some good news.” Charlie was grinning like the cat who’d swallowed the canary.
Jim took the seat in front of Charlie’s desk. “Shoot.”
“Come January second, we can hire you back at the yard.”
Jim stared at him. “What?”
“Starfleet was here today. Man named Christopher Pike.”
“Pike,” Jim said faintly. The name sounded familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it.
Charlie nodded. “Captain there. Anyway, Pike said after some other considerations, they changed their mind about closing this yard here in Riverside. With that in mind, we can hire you back to start right after the holidays.” Charlie sat back and rubbed his tummy. “That is if you’re interested.”
Jim grinned. “Of course I’m interested.”
“Thought you might be. I know you got the restaurant job and that’s great and all, but this one pays a lot more, and I know you got your obligations. I’d like to get you back on, Jim. I felt bad about having to let you go. Oh, and we’ll bring you on at a few dollars more an hour too. I know you were looking to get a raise.”
Jim stood and shook Charlie’s hand. “Thank you. I couldn’t be happier, This is very good news.”
“Merry Christmas, Jim. I’m glad things are looking up for all of us.”
He had another message from Spock asking him to return to the restaurant to meet someone. Jim assumed it was the man Spock had with him.
So he once more notified Maggie, apologizing profusely, and then headed back into the main town.
Sure enough when he got back to Gad-Shen, Spock let him inside, and sitting at one of the tables was the man from before. He wasn’t wearing his coat and appeared to be drinking tea. There was a pot of it on the table along with two cups.
“Tea, Jim?” Spock offered.
“Did you come from the shipyard?”
Jim nodded. “You know about the message from Charlie?”
“Yes. Please come meet Captain Pike.”
Well, that certainly explained a few things.
Jim stepped over to the table. “Hello. Nice to meet you, sir.”
Pike stood up and shook Jim’s hand. “Jim. It’s very nice to meet you. Sit down, please. Join us.”
Jim sat at the table with Spock and Pike.
“I knew your father, Jim. We went to the Academy together. We were friends. I knew your mom, too, though not quite as well. I’m so sorry for the loss of both of them.”
“Thank you. I appreciate that. Mom might have mentioned you before because your name sounded familiar when Charlie spoke about you. You reopened the contract with Riverside?”
Pike smiled. “I did. We ran the numbers again after Amanda Grayson contacted us.”
Jim glanced at Spock. “Your mother?”
“Indeed. She had advised me that your name sounded familiar. Apparently she was also acquainted with Captain Pike as well as your mother before her marriage to my father.”
“That’s right,” Pike agreed. “I’ve known Amanda’s family for a number of years. She explained the situation here in Riverside, so I looked into it.”
“Wow, that was really nice of her.”
“Turned out she was right. It deserved another look. I came down to explain the situation to the shipyard.” Pike paused. “And also to advise several of you who live here about the status of your applications for Starfleet Academy.”
Jim shared a glance with Spock, but Spock gave nothing away.
“Unfortunately, we have no room for new recruits for the spring coming up, but the applications for the fall semester of next year have been approved for Spock, yourself, Nyota Uhura, and Montgomery Scott.”
Excitement bubbled up in Jim and he found it a little difficult to stay still. “That’s-that’s very good news, sir.”
“Yes, I thought it might be,” Pike said with a smile. “Which is why I came to Gad-Shen to explain while I was in Riverside anyway. I thought it might be welcome news for the holiday.”
“It definitely is.”
“Spock and I are going to have dinner together in a bit. You’re welcome to join us, Jim.”
“Thank you, sir, and ordinarily I would, but it’s just a couple of days before Christmas, and I have a very excited little girl who is waiting for me to pick her up from the babysitter.”
“Spock has told me about Lily. She sounds great.” Pike stood and shook Jim’s hand. “I’ll be off for the moment as I have a few more things to clear up before I have dinner with Spock. Jim, I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco next year.”
“I’ll be there, Captain.”
Spock walked Pike to the door and let him out of the restaurant.
He turned back to Jim then. “You are pleased?”
“Hell yeah. The Academy? Wow. That’s what we both want.”
“Yes. And having to wait until Autumn will work out well with my plans for Gad-Shen. I may have to accelerate things with Gaila, but I believe it is doable.”
Jim bit his lip. “Listen. About Gad-Shen. Charlie offered me the job back at higher pay after the first and I’d really like to—”
“Jim. It is fine. I am sure I can hire someone else to wait table at the restaurant.”
“I don’t want to leave you in a bind.”
“You won’t. And when I spoke to Captain Pike, I was aware that Charlie planned on hiring you back. I am pleased you will have that position until we leave for the Academy next year.”
Jim embraced Spock, smiling. “Things are really starting to work out.”
“It’s a Christmas miracle.” Jim laughed and then kissed Spock deeply. “I better go though. I owe Maggie some flowers for watching my girl and I want to have time to get them.”
“I will see you tomorrow.”
“Indeed, I will need to go to the shelter for Lily’s cat.”
‘That’s right. You’re the best, Spock. I’m so excited for all of us.”
And they shared one more kiss before Jim left to go pick up Lily.
After getting flowers of course.