"Breaking the Ice"
She'd stayed! She'd actually stayed.
And Trip was finding it very hard not to smile, though he wasn't sure why.
Maybe it was because he'd been proven right? In his gut, he'd been sure that was what she wanted to do. Why else would she talk to a mere Human about her problem - especially a Human she seemed to find even more annoying than the rest? She had clearly been looking for an out.
But he hadn't expected her to actually take the out -- not when she had so many good Vulcan reasons to ignore her own desires.
T'Pol's desires. Oh boy. What else might she have buried under that stern Vulcan façade?
Oh, please. Down, boy. Even if she were Human and he had half a hope in hell of understanding her -- which was unlikely since he didn't really understand Human women either -- he needed to stay professional.
Besides, the very last thing he needed right now was another doomed relationship, only this time in the place where he worked, on a very small ship -- and one significantly lacking in privacy, as Jon had just been telling his nephew's class that morning.
Not to mention that, technically, he didn't know the thing with Natalie was over yet. He'd been a little surprised to hear himself telling T'Pol that all three of his serious relationships had gone bust.
But it had gone bust. He knew it in his bones. He'd suspected it even before he got off planet - in the tight, almost nostalgic smiles on Natalie's face those last weeks, in the apprehension he felt every time she looked serious. He still wasn't sure why he hadn't brought it up then, forced the issue a little. At this point he was just waiting for the official notification.
He knew it was over the way he'd known T'Pol actually wanted to stay here, on this ship, among the smelly and annoying humans.
x x x
He pressed her door buzzer and wondered if he was insane.
"Yes?" she said. She was wearing those rich burgundy pajamas again, or whatever they were - Vulcan leisure clothing, apparently. Her face was utterly blank, something he'd learned to associate with her displeasure. Perhaps he'd interrupted something. If Vulcans were anything like humans, she might well be having second thoughts.
"Sorry to interrupt, but I brought you a not-going-away present."
An eyebrow quirked. "This is a human custom?"
"Actually, going-away presents are the custom, but I thought -- well, it's just a slice of pecan pie, really, but I thought you might want to try it after all."
She just stared at him.
"Here," he said, all but shoving it into her hands. "Enjoy. Or toss it in the garbage chute, whatever. I guess I really just wanted to say that I'm glad you're staying with us."
"Thank you," she said and stared down at the pie. He could see her nostrils flare. Perhaps the smell of warm pie would entice her to try it after all. But he was fairly certain that would never happen while he was watching, so he said, "Well, okay. That's all, really. Have a good night!" And he nodded quickly and walked away.
Eventually he could hear her door slide shut, but it seemed to him it took longer for that to happen than it should have.
And once again he was finding it very hard not to smile.
Next installment: Civilization.
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