Jim watched his two friends, Spock and Uhura, as they interacted during lunch. They were all seated at a table in Starfleet Academy’s cafeteria. He didn’t miss the warmth in the Vulcan’s dark eyes as he sparred verbally with Uhura, the communications expert. He also didn’t fail to notice her bright smile and frequent laugh.
He sighed inwardly as he stabbed absently at the lettuce in his salad. He’d wanted a burger and fries, but had bowed to the wisdom of his friend, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, a doctor, who had already departed their table for a class. Now he was sorry he had listened to Bones, because damn he wanted to stuff his face with that burger. He knew all about the problems with emotional eating. But that was what he was feeling now.
Unrequited love sucked. And he had it big time for the Vulcan sitting across from him. The problem was that Uhura wanted Spock too and from all appearances Spock very much reciprocated her interest.
“Are you quite well, Jim?”
It took Jim a moment to realize he was being addressed. He’d felt ignored throughout the lunch.
He looked up into those beloved dark eyes and forced a smile. “Sure. Just thinking about a test.”
Spock nodded. “It would be wise to prepare for it. And now I must excuse myself to attend class.” He rose.
Jim was preparing to depart himself when Uhura put her hand on his arm.
“If you don’t mind, Jim, I’d like to talk to you for a minute.”
“Okay, yeah, I’ve got time.”
And he did too. He had only one more class that afternoon and it was not for two more hours.
They both watched Spock depart before she turned to Jim.
“I want some advice.”
Jim blinked but then grinned. “You need help with a class?”
She snorted and flipped her ponytail. “Get real. I certainly don’t need your help with that.”
He raised both eyebrows. “What then?”
She sighed and leaned her chin on her hand. “There’s this guy I’m super into and I’m not sure he’s into me.”
Jim thought about the last hour or so of lunch. “Oh, I bet he is.”
“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to get him to ask me out but so far nothing I’ve done has worked.”
Jim nodded. He loved Spock. Probably always would. But if Spock wanted to be with Uhura, Jim was okay with that. Spock deserved whatever he wanted.
“Have you tried asking him out yourself?”
“No,” she admitted. “I kept hoping he’d get the hints.”
Jim smiled. “I don’t think he always gets subtlety. Sometimes you have to be straightforward with him. I think if you tell him how interested you are and want to go out, he’ll agree immediately.”
“Yeah? You think so? He’s really into me too, you think?”
Jim ignored the crack in his heart as he said, “Oh yeah. Trust me.”
Uhura smiled. “Thanks, Jim. I’ll keep you posted. I gotta go.”
It wasn’t until the next morning that Jim saw Uhura again as they passed each other on the path between buildings.
She gave him a big smile. “You were right! He agreed right away. And he told me he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about me. A part of him thought I was out of his league which was why he hadn’t asked me out.”
“That’s great. I’m happy for you.”
“We’re going out tonight. Thanks, Jim!”
And off she went.
Jim’s heart broke more, but he never really expected someone like Spock would be interested in him. Gorgeous, brilliant, could have anyone he wanted in the universe. Why would he want a farm boy from Iowa?
After all his classes were over, Jim decided to go for a walk. He wasn’t really keen on returning to his lonely dorm room. Bones had a date. Uhura and Spock had a date. Seemed like everyone but Jim did. So much for his reputation as a slut, Jim mused.
But as he walked through the common areas, Jim was somewhat surprised to see Spock coming toward him. He had believed that the Vulcan would be getting ready for his date with Uhura.
Spock slowed as he neared Jim. “Hello Jim.”
“Hi Spock. I didn’t expect to see you out and about. Unless you’re on your way?”
Spock frowned slightly as he stood before Jim. “On my way?”
“I had not thought that far ahead yet, but if you would care to join me—”
“Join you? What about Uhura?”
“Nyota? I do not understand.”
Then almost as though she had been conjured up, across the campus, Jim spotted Uhura, arm in arm with Cadet Mark Owens, a sometimes member of their cafeteria group. Jim hadn’t a clue that Uhura had been…well anything with him. No wonder Owens had been confused and hadn’t known the so-called communications expert was into him.
Jim turned back to smile at Spock, his heart suddenly a thousand times lighter. “I thought you and Uhura had a date.”
“Me and Nyota?” Spock shook his head. “She is interested in Cadet Owens.”
“Yeah, I, uh, I’ve come to realize that.”
“My interest lies elsewhere also.”
Jim deflated slightly. “Oh yeah? Who?”
And honestly, he was sorry he asked. He didn’t really want to know who Spock had the hots for.
Spock inclined his head. “As to that I am still waiting for a response to my inquiry.”
“Would you care to join me for dinner, Jim?” Spock asked, rather pointedly this time.
“Oh. Sure. Yeah, I’d like that. But who—” Jim stopped, stared at Spock who had arched a brow. “Is it me?” His voice had not squeaked, really.
“Who else?” was Spock’s simple answer. “I have thought I was quite obvious in my interest.”
Jim’s smile widened further and his eyes lit up like the sun. “Maybe we should skip dinner.”
“You are not hungry?”
Jim shrugged. “Well.:
“Come, then. We will pick something up and take it back to my apartment. You can leave early in the morning to make it to your morning class.”
“I sure am, Spock. I sure am.”