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Spirk (with a small dose of Pinto)

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Let Nothing You Dismay Chapter 4

Chapter Four: Decking the Halls

By the time they made it inside to the farmhouse, Lily was barely conscious. She yawned the whole way in the hover car and he’d had to carry her into the house. He set her on the couch while he went back out to the car to get the things he’d bought.

He’d noticed Barb had included one of those big fat candy canes for Lily too.  

Back inside, Jim smiled at his angel, who now looked completely zonked out. He shook his head at the tree box he’d just bought.

Bent down and picked up his girl.

“Daddy,” she mumbled.

“What do you say we go to bed for now and decorate the tree and everything else tomorrow?”

Jim carried her upstairs.

“’K.”

He placed her on the bed and then went to her dresser to get her nightgown, this one purple with yellow flowers, and dressed her in it, before tucking her under the covers. She barely woke up.

“Been a long day for both of us,” Jim agreed before kissing her forehead. He turned out the light as he left her bedroom.

Before going to bed himself, Jim went back down the stairs and set up the tree in the living room so it would be ready to decorate when Lily got up. He also hid the bag with the crystal angel, doll, and candy cane in it. Those would be for Santa to give her.

He set up his coffee maker to go off in the morning and got together all the ingredients they’d need to make cookies tomorrow as well. Might as well give his daughter all the Christmas he could while he was still able.

Then he finally went to bed himself.

****

“So,” Jim said to Lily as he set her up at the dining room table with her breakfast of an egg and potatoes. “No work today so we can spend all day getting the house ready for Christmas.”

Lily clapped. “Yay!”

He smiled. Sat down next to her with his coffee and his own plate of eggs and potatoes.

“Daddy has a new job too. I start tomorrow. Pretty early again. But I’ll probably be able to pick you up from Maggie’s earlier now.”

“Okay, Daddy. After breakfast I want to write my list to Santa.”

“Sure thing. Um. But you know…” Jim paused and sipped his coffee. “Times are pretty hard right now. Even for Santa. So it might be that you won’t get everything on your list.”

She raised her big blue eyes to him. “I know that, Daddy. But I still have to ask.”

“Very true and very wise. Okay finish up and I’ll get you something to make your list with.”

Fortunately, her list ended up being pretty simple. Mostly toys and children’s books. But at the bottom of her list, the last thing she wrote was Daddy.    

Jim frowned as he walked into the living room where she was putting ornaments on their tree.

“Hey, angel, what’s this last one? You don’t want another Daddy, do you?” He grinned. “Don’t you already have the best one?”

Lily giggled. “Not another Daddy. That’s just a little note for Santa.”

“What do you mean?”

She sighed. “It’s a secret, Daddy. But Santa should know what it means. And if I get it for Christmas, I’ll tell you.”

Jim didn’t have the heart to say if she didn’t tell him what she wanted there was no chance of Santa getting it for her. He just smiled.

“Okay. I’ll mail off your list to Santa. When we’re done with the tree, we can make sugar cookies.”

“And decorate ‘em?”

“And decorate them. Yes.”

Jim was the world’s worst cookie decorator and that was the God’s honest truth. He wouldn’t know how to flood frosting properly to save his life, literally. And whenever he tried to pipe eyes or mouths they ended up looking like squiggly worms. Nothing said the holidays like a red squiggly worm mouth, Jim thought with a snort.

But Lily was happy and that was what mattered. Hers actually looked better than his, sparkly sugar dust everywhere and all.

It was a fun afternoon.

Even though there was a big mess to clean. And that night for dinner, they made homemade pizza. Another mess to clean. But Lily had a good day. So did Jim.

Let Nothing You Dismay Chapter 3

Chapter Three: Hiring Help

“Yes, Mother, I am keenly aware that Father anticipates I will fail at this venture and be on the very next shuttle to Vulcan to humbly accept the shame hanging over me for refusing entry to the Vulcan Science Academy.”

Spock paused as he entered information to his computer.

“That rather sounds like too much emotional reaction from you father,” his human mother, Amanda Grayson, declared with a teasing lilt to her voice.

Spock glanced at the communicator left open on his desk and shook his head. “You are, no doubt, correct. However, given that I made a promise to make Gad-Shen a success, I don’t intend to return to Vulcan any time soon.”

“Oh, I’m quite sure you will have no trouble. Your father is being quite…petulant about the whole thing.”

Spock’s lips quirked. “I cannot imagine Father showing petulance.”

“You’d be surprised.”

“Hello? Anyone here?”

Spock frowned, having been unaware anyone had entered the as yet unopened restaurant.

“Did I hear someone, Spock?”

“Yes, Mother. Apparently someone is here. I will contact you later. Spock out.”

Spock closed the communicator, rose from behind his desk in the small room to the back of Gad-Shen, and walked into the main dining area.

Standing just inside the door was a young human male with rather sandy hair and the bluest of eyes. He was extraordinarily attractive.

The man smiled at the sight of Spock.

“Hi.”

“Good evening.”

The man thrust his thumb out toward the Help Wanted sign.

“I came about a job. You’re hiring?”

“For wait staff, yes. Do you have any experience Mister…?” He left it dangling waiting for the human to introduce himself.

The man moistened his lips with his tongue. “Kirk. Jim Kirk. I prefer Jim.”

Spock nodded. “I am Spock.”

Jim’s smile lit up the shadowed room and Spock felt foolish thinking that.

“No experience waiting tables whatsoever,” he admitted. “But I learn quick. I just got laid off from working at the shipyard as Starfleet pulled our contract. I’m a single dad and I really need the work.”

Spock considered this. “Gad-Shen will only be open for breakfast and lunch Sunday through Friday. Six to two. I would need you to work from five forty-five in the morning until two fifteen in the afternoon on the days you are scheduled for. You would get a thirty-minute meal break. The restaurant will open the day after tomorrow. Can you start then?”

“Absolutely. Yes. That would be great. Thank you.”

“I have, so far, hired two other wait staff, both females, one named Nyota Uhura and the other simply calls herself Gaila.”

“Like Spock, huh?”

He arched his brow. “No. Our chef is Mr. Scott. He is well trained and versed in both Vulcan and Human dishes.”

“Okay, cool. Everything sounds great.”

“If you will provide me your contact details, I will send you all the information you will need to fill out to begin your employment and collect your pay.”

“Great.”

Jim came nearer and Spock could not help notice that he smelled very good. He wondered if it was wise to hire someone this attractive when…

Spock shook his head and focused on work.

****

“So, who was there?”

He’d contacted his mother as soon as he sent Jim on his way. He had watched the young man cross the street and go into the depot. He had remained watching until a few moments later, Jim had come back out, holding the hand of a cherubic little girl with long, blond curls.

He had declared himself to be a single father, and though Spock was quite curious, he had not asked.

“A man who was recently laid off and looking for a job.”

“Oh. That’s too bad. And right before the holidays too. Did you give him one?”

“Of course I did. His name is Jim Kirk and he is a single father.”

“Kirk? Why do I know that name? Hmm. Single father just laid off before the holidays? How awful.”

Spock was of the mind to lose one’s job any time was not pleasant. But he agreed and changed the subject back to his father.

Let Nothing You Dismay Chapter 2

Chapter Two: O Christmas Tree

“No lights.”

Jim frowned as he gazed, rather disappointed, at the lopsided tree he had just dragged up the basement stairs.

“Let me just jiggle it a little. Probably something just got knocked loose.” He smiled at his daughter, who looked back at him with big, wide blue eyes.

Jim knelt down beside the tree and shook it here and there. Fussing with all the little unlit lights.

“Still no lights,” Lily said.

Jim bit his lip. Figured. And anyway, why the hell had this stupid tree been saved if it didn’t have working lights?

“This should go straight to the trash. I don’t know why Mom even kept this.”

He frowned then as a memory, pretty much forgotten, flashed through his mind just then.

“Oh. This tree? It was the one your dad and I got the first Christmas after we were married.”

“Daddy?”

He looked up at her. Her eyes looked a little watery and he could tell she didn’t want to show him she was upset the tree didn’t work.

“Okay. Let’s go into town and get a new one.”

“Really?”

“Yep. I think there’s a sale down at the depot on Ralston Way. We can get one there. And maybe some lights for this one to put up somewhere else in the house and we can have two trees.”

“Yay!”

Jim didn’t know how he was going to afford it, but there was no way Lily was going to pay the price of his somewhat sucky life. When he’d become her single parent, he had vowed he would give her an amazing life, and if she wanted a Christmas tree with working lights, she would get one.

Jim got them back into their coats and back out to the hover car. It coughed a bit but then, thankfully, sputtered back to life. Jim could fix it if needed, but he sure didn’t want to mess with it in the cold.

Jim knew the owner of the depot store. Her name was Barb and she’d gone to school with Jim’s older brother, Sam, back when Sam was around, anyway. The store was kind of a mix, sort of like a general store of old, with food and clothes and décor, especially holiday stuff at this time of year.

She called out a greeting when Jim and Lily entered, and since Lily knew her, she ran right over to Barb.

Jim went over to the trees and on his way he spotted a little pink crystal angel that reminded him of Lily. It was cute and sweet like she was and was only a couple of bucks so he picked it up, figuring Santa could put it in her stocking.

When he made it up to the counter with his purchases, a six-foot pre-lit fake tree, a few strands of lights, and the angel, Lily was chattering away to Barb. Jim smiled and then glanced toward the nearby glass door that let him see the street beyond.

That’s when he spotted the sign in the window of the place across the street.

Help Wanted.

Jim turned quickly back to Barb, handing over his credit chip. “Barb, can you keep watch of Lily a little bit longer? There’s a help wanted sign over there and…”

“Oh,” Barb interrupted. “I heard about layoffs at the shipyard. You go right ahead, Jimmy.” Then as he turned to go outside, she put her hand on his arm, while looking to make sure Lily wasn’t listening.

She quickly showed Jim a doll with long dark, yarn hair.

“Lily was admiring this earlier. I’m going to add it to your order, no charge.”

“Barb…”

“Now, you shut up. I’m paying for it. You wrap her up and tell your girl it’s from Santa. It’s okay to accept help sometimes. You know?”

Jim nodded, feeling a bit of an uncomfortable lump form in his throat. “Okay. Thanks. Be right back.”

“Take your time. I’ll give her some cocoa.”

Jim stepped outside and drew his coat around him as he waited for a hover car to pass before crossing the street and going up to the door with the sign.

It was clearly a restaurant, or going to be, anyway, as it looked like it had not yet opened. There was Vulcan writing on the fixed sign. He stopped to read it. He knew some Vulcan. Not much but some.

Gad-Shen

“Sunrise,” Jim murmured. He put his hand on the door, pushed it open, and entered.

“Hello? Anyone here?”

Let Nothing You Dismay Chapter 1

Chapter One: December First

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Jim Kirk reached over and slammed the button down on the alarm. With a heavy groan he turned onto his back and stared at the dark ceiling.

“I’ll never get used to that.”

He turned his head to look at the alarm clock.

4:30 laughed back at him with big red digital letters.

Delaying it would do no good and his bladder urged him out of bed anyway. He swung his legs down to the furry throw rug beside his bed. Thank God for that anyway.

He made his way to the window in his bedroom, praying that the song he’d been forced to wake to hadn’t been literal. It was surely too early for snow.

Jim closed his eyes and heaved a sigh of relief. At least there was some luck on his side. This was bound to be a good day. He planned on asking the foreman down at the shuttle yard for a raise. And with the expected Christmas bonus, well, things should be looking good.

He’d showered last night before bed, so after he did his business in the bathroom, he brushed his teeth and dressed in jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt. He then went to the bedroom next door to wake his angel.

Jim spotted his four year old smack in the middle of her bed, legs bent and pulled up so high her feet were almost to her butt. She’d kicked off her covers and lay shivering in the middle with only her pink flannel nightgown for protection.

He sat on the edge of her bed and put his hand on her back to wake her.

“Lily. Angel. Time to get up.”

Lily moaned a little, but then her blue eyes, so much like his, sprung open to peer wide-eyed at him. “Morning, Daddy.”

“Morning, Angel. ‘Fraid it’s time to get up and go.”

He had to be at work at five-thirty and he had to drop Lily off at Maggie’s house. She was the lady who watched Lily for him while he worked. She’d been a lifelong friend of Jim’s mama before she’d passed away from cancer.

While Lily went into her bathroom to pee, Jim went to her dresser to pick out clothes for her.

“Pink or purple?” he called.

“Yewwow.”

“Yellow,” he automatically corrected. But he frowned. “Thought you were on a pink or purple kick.”

She came out. “Nope.”

He sighed and dressed her in the yellow pants with matching yellow sweater. Then he put on her patent leather Mary Jane shoes.

“Picture perfect,” he announced.

They walked down the stairs of the too cold farmhouse together and into the kitchen. He poured himself coffee into a thermos, then got their coats.

“Maggie’ll have breakfast for you.”

“I know, Daddy.”

“Of course you do.”

“Daddy?”

“Hmm?”

“What day is it?”

“Uh. December first.”

Lily nodded, her gold ringlets bouncing against her face. “You said on Demember first we could get a tree.”

December.  I did, didn’t I?”

“How will Santa find us without a tree?”

Jim smiled. “How indeed. Okay. After work, we’ll go and get one.”

“Yay!”

He bundled them up and then hustled them out to his hover car to make the trip to Maggie’s.

She was waiting for them, naturally. She knew the drill. She scooped up Lily and brought her inside. Maggie thrust a paper bag at him.

“What’s this?”

“A bagel with cream cheese. You’ll forget to eat,” Maggie admonished. “I promised Winona I’d watch out for you two.”

Jim smiled. “Thanks. You’re the best. See you around four this afternoon.”

And he was off.

****

It was about midday when Charlie asked to see him. Charlie was the foreman and Jim reckoned he was going to tell Jim what the Christmas bonus would be this year. And that’s when Jim intended to ask him for a raise. He’d been working at the Starfleet Shuttlecraft Plant for a good three years now and hadn’t gotten any raises when others had.

Charlie had a small office in the back and when Jim came up, he indicated a folding chair there in front of Charlie’s desk.

“Sit down, Jim.” He fiddled around with things on his desk. Then looked anywhere in the office except at Jim. “Jim, there’s no easy way to say this.”

“Charlie?”

“Gotta let you go. You’ve been here the shortest time and I gotta do layoffs.” Charlie sighed and leaned back. “Starfleet is pulling our contract after the winter season. Come the spring, they’re shifting all operations to Philadelphia.”

“Philadelphia?”

“Yeah. Eventually we’re all gonna have to go, Jim, and that’s the truth of it. Starfleet was our main contractor, building shuttlecrafts and ship parts for the starships. Without them, well, we ain’t got a business.”

Jim felt a little sick. “Wh-when?”

“Letting you go today.”

“Today? Before Christmas?”

Charlie still wouldn’t look at him. “I know you got Lily. I’m gonna give you severance that’ll pay you through the end of January. And you’ll get a five hundred dollar Christmas bonus. That’s all I can do.”

Five hundred dollars wouldn’t even pay the mortgage on the Kirk farmhouse. When Winona got cancer, they’d had to mortgage the place to cover treatments. If he was only getting paid through January, well, hell, none of the money was going to last long to take care of Lily.

But it was what it was, and Jim got up to accept it.

“I’m real sorry, Jim.”

“I know you are, Charlie. I know you’re doing what you can for me given what’s happening. I do appreciate it.”

Charlie stood up and shook Jim’s hand. “If I hear about anything…”

“Thanks, I appreciate that.”

****

Jim messaged Maggie from his communicator when he left work, so he didn’t have to tell her about it in front of Lily. The sympathetic look she gave him when he got there to fetch Lily nearly made him break down, but he got himself together and even smiled.

“Thanks for watching my girl.”  

“I’ll always watch her, you know that.” Maggie hugged him. “Jim, I’ll help in any way I can.”

“I know.”

“And if I hear about anything…”

“Yeah.”

Lily came out then, carrying a purple stuffed bear. “Look Daddy! Maggie gave me a bear.”

“Did you say thank you?”

“Sure I did.”

Jim leaned down and picked up Lily in his arms. “Well, Daddy thanks her too. That’s a very pretty bear. You name her?”

“It’s a boy, Daddy.”

“Oh. Okay. What’s his name then?”

“Sydney.”

Jim chuckled. “Okay. Come on Lily and Sydney. Time to go home.”

But if Jim thought Lily was going to forget the tree, he was very much mistaken.

“Christmas tree!” she exclaimed.

Jim grimaced and tried not to show her. Last year the damn tree had cost close to a hundred dollars. He couldn’t spend that much on a tree.

“Daddy?”

“Uh.” He moistened his lips. “You know, Angel. I think we have a fake tree down in the basement from a few years back. What do you say we go home and have pancakes and I’ll get that tree and the ornaments, and we put that up tonight? We can put on Christmas carols and all that.” He smiled brightly. “Won’t that be fun?”

Her blue eyes were wide in her little pale face as she stared up at him with all the love and trust in the world. “Okay, Daddy.”

“You sure?”

“Uh-huh. Long as Santa can find us.”

“Well, sure. Sure Santa will find us. Yeah.”

Lily clapped her little hands and Jim forced himself to remain cheerful for her sake. Somehow he would make it right for her. He would.   

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