He got on her last nerve. On duty, she showed him nothing but the respect due him as captain. Mostly. It was hard. It was as if Kirk was deliberately trying to get under her skin. It felt like it was working. She could not get him out of her mind.
She had to admit that he was an extremely attractive man. Irish called him Captain Fine, and Uhura had to agree: her captain was very fine. His eyes were as blue as a methane flame, eyes that grabbed you and forced you to pay attention to whatever he was saying. He had nice lips—she would admit to having stared at them for brief moments during lulls on the bridge. He had a great body; the male Starfleet uniforms were, if anything, wonderfully snug. Most importantly, the man had a commanding presence. Women were known to slingshot themselves at him, and as far as Uhura knew, he rejected not a one. A whore was what he was, captain or not, good looks notwithstanding.
Uhura knew for a very long time that Kirk desired her. He had said as much. She sometimes found his boyish antics at trying to get her to give him her first name endearing. And she acknowledged that he was a brilliant strategist and a bold leader; a better captain of the Enterprise could not be found. She knew that in spite of his desire, she could learn a lot from him and did not find working under him the least bit repulsive. Most days, anyway. Some days, she could have cheerfully knifed her commanding officer and welcomed the punishment for doing so. He knew how to get a rise out of her and some days she had to wonder why it was so easy for him to do so if she hated him so much. Perhaps she didn’t hate him at all. Perhaps it was something else. Maybe it was.
But his admiration of her changed over the past few months. It morphed into something else, something far more intense. She knew that it wasn’t just lust. Her intuition told her that she had to be careful around him. Sometimes she noticed that he seemed to study her when his attention wasn’t on something else. And then there were times when he stared at her, his eyes brazenly focused on hers. Then his gaze swept lower, over her lips. He never stared further than that, but it was enough. It was times like these—and they were rare (he was captain, after all)—where she could feel the heat in his eyes. He was not ashamed to let her know that he wanted her, and differently than he had when they were cadets. This was by far more serious than his Academy infatuation.
The first time he looked at her like that was on the bridge. They were on a diplomatic mission to establish a relationship between the Federation and the citizens of a small M-class planet out past Proxima Centauri. Negotiations went well and the away team gained permission from the citizens to establish a Federation outpost and exchange Ambassadors. The Enterprise remained in orbit while Spock’s away team completed preparations. Kirk was pacing back and forth, waiting on an update when he paused in front of Uhura’s station. She was, as always, listening.
“Lieutenant,” he said, his voice low enough for her to hear. She turned and looked at him. He met her gaze and she was unable to look away.
“Yes, Captain?” she replied.
He stared for what felt like hours but was only moments. There was desire—white hot—in his eyes. Being a communications expert, Uhura read what was in and behind his powerful gaze and her cheeks blossomed with color. She turned back to her console, managing a “yes sir,” even though he had asked nothing of her. Verbally, that was.
She managed to maintain her composure, but the moment she got back to her quarters, she needed to take a shower to cool off. What had happened and when had it happened?
As had become part of her routine when she worked beta shift, she went back to her quarters and decompressed for twenty minutes. Then she changed into shorts and a tank, covered herself in Starfleet sweats, grabbed her music clip, a towel and some water and headed for the observation deck. The obs deck was usually deserted and allowed her the freedom to dance unfettered and unrestrained. She supposed she had Gaila and Irish to thank for that. Since the bar experience, Uhura began dancing again. It was the best stress reliever she had. Sex would have been better, but it just wasn’t an option. Her standards were high. So she settled for dancing.
It enabled her to relax and release. It helped her to sleep soundly, which had a positive effect on her work. It helped with her composure and kept her nerves calm. And since she kept a regular routine, the exercise helped her get in better shape. She was toned. Her arms and calves curved nicely and there was a lot less cellulite around her upper thighs. Her ass had more definition and her buttocks definitely were higher. Her abdominals were flat. However, the dancing did nothing to enhance her breast size, which she desperately wanted. A little more cleavage would be nice to have, but it ultimately didn’t matter because the Starfleet uniforms were positively Victorian above the waist. Below the waist was another matter altogether. Who designed such a contradictory female uniform? Probably some perv with a leg fetish.
When she danced, she was free. The colors of the galaxy streamed in, augmenting her light with a kaleidoscope. The only thing on her mind was her movements, and they were improvised. She never planned anything; she just let go and did what she felt like. If any of her colleagues or superiors saw her, she knew she would be reprimanded for not only wearing unsuitable clothing, but also for indecent and risqué behavior. Her movements were positively scandalous. Commander Spock would have a Vulcan-style conniption fit and there was no telling what Captain Kirk would do if he found out.
Considering the look of open desire on his face when he looked at her sometimes, she didn’t think he would reprimand her. If she was right about what she saw in his eyes and her instincts told her that she was. Should she call him on it? Dare she? How did it make her feel to know that he wanted her?
Truth be told, it made her feel good. She was not an ordinary woman and James Kirk was not an ordinary man.
* * *
Candy—especially chocolate—was her weakness. She kept a stash in a box under her bed, as if anyone would search her quarters looking for contraband confections. Uhura inherited her sweet tooth from her father, and it was one of the few vices she had. Sexy shoes were another vice, though it was not one she could indulge while on board the starship. Damn those regulations that mandated the wear of those hideously uncomfortable and unflattering mukluks. What she wouldn’t do for a pair of strappy sandals, red stilettos, or calf-hugging leather boots. But candy…now that she could treat herself to, and she did so with relish.
She remembered the one time back at the Academy when she popped a decadent Lindor milk truffle in her mouth and Commander Spock chose that moment to call on her and she nearly choked. Since then, she kept her candy snacking in class to a minimum. That was one of the rare days when she thought him a Vulcan bastard. Didn’t stop her from eating candy, however.
The Enterprise’s commissary was blessedly stocked with all kinds of candy, Terran and otherwise. She made secret frequent trips to stack up on whatever goodies were available. Some days, she would sneak a few treats to the bridge to enjoy on those long hours at her console when three quarters of what she heard was either meaningless gibberish or nothing at all. The reward of a caramel, a chocolate square, or a fruity gel was enough to get her through those tedious times. She did her best to hide her snacking from the captain, and most definitely Spock.
Uhura made sure to make her visits to the commissary at a time when she knew Kirk wouldn’t be around. She knew that he would have something snide to say about her fixation. He was just that way.
She walked among the clear containers, filled with a multitude of sugary confections, trying to decide what she wanted. Oh, there was a variety of Cardassian caramels, so creamy and sweet and could melt on the tongue. Mmn, Betazoid butter toffees—Irish’s fault for introducing her to those sinful things. Ummm, Ferengi Fire Puffs; just the right amount of sour and sweet. Saurian Swizzle Stix…lovely powdery goodness! Bajoran taffy, nice and sticky; Andorian Jujubees, soft and colorful with a hard sugar coating; heavenly. Oooh, Deltan nut clusters…how could she possibly choose? And then her favorites…good old fashioned Terran Blow-Pops, Gummy Bears, and Snickers Bars.
“Give me a quarter kilogram of each,” she said to the clerk, pointing to the Cardassian caramels, Betazoid toffee, and the Andorian jujubees. Then she grabbed a handful of Blow Pops, three Snickers Bars, and a sack of Gummy Bears. She looked around to ensure that no one had walked in while she was making her wicked purchase. It was going to be a happy time the moment she got back to her quarters.
The clerk bagged her candy and handed her the sack. She pressed her index finger into the ID pad and the computer deducted the cost of the candy from her credits. Uhura turned to leave the commissary and ran into the captain.
“Damn,” she muttered under her breath. So much for the happy time. Was he stalking her?
“So,” he said, eyes traveling appreciatively over her face, “what did you get?”
“Nothing, sir.” She tried not to roll her eyes. Why was he here? He should be on the bridge.
“That bag is bulging, Lieutenant. ‘Nothing’ doesn’t bulge. What did you purchase? I’m curious.”
“Captain, this is a private matter. Please don’t pry.”
He cocked his head and looked at her. Uhura met his stare and took a deep breath. Dare she hope he would let this go? Dare she hope he would let her walk away without saying anything?
Who was she kidding? This was the man who lived to get on her nerves. He stared at her and there was nothing innocent in his gaze. His voice lowered and he leaned close to her. “What did you get? I want to know.”
Would it be impertinent for her to walk away from him in front of the clerk, who Uhura knew to be watching? No. It wasn’t professional. She wouldn’t disrespect him like that. She wondered if she should lie.
“Tampons, Captain.” Uhura hoped he would be embarrassed. She squeezed the bag’s handles so that he couldn’t see. She would prefer him to think that she was having her period rather than indulging in sweets. Menstruating was normal. Her obsession with candy was not.
“Oh really,” he said, his tone teasing. “Why don’t I believe that? It’s not like you’ve been irritable this week.”
Screw what the clerk thought. Uhura glared at Kirk and walked out of the commissary. He followed, of course, and then said, “Lieutenant?”
She stopped and turned slowly, hating him with every fiber of her being. “Yes, Captain.”
He walked up to her, closing the distance in three quick strides. She found herself staring at his neck. He leaned by her ear and she couldn’t help but inhale his scent. He smelled good. She closed her eyes.
“Kindly do not walk away from me in front of our crew members, please. That’s grounds for insubordination.”
“I’m sorry sir,” she said. “Permission to speak freely?”
“As long as you keep your voice down.” Kirk stared at her. She met his gaze and was unsure of what she saw.
“I apologize for my behavior moments ago, sir. But you are really, really starting to bug the hell out of me. Why do you care so much about what I bought?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” he said. He wasn’t smiling and the light in his blue eyes wasn’t playful like it usually was when he addressed her. “I know that you didn’t buy tampons. I know when you’re having your period. So what’s in the bag?”
“You know when I’m having my…?” She closed her eyes and felt her face go hot. “How do you know that?”
He smiled lazily and Uhura took a female moment to appreciate how it lit up his eyes. Kirk was heart-stoppingly handsome, or he could be if he didn’t fight so much. There was a fading bruise on his left cheekbone. Someone recently got in a good sucker punch. She wished it had been her. “I just know. Tell me what you bought. You know I won’t stop asking until you give in.”
She looked at him. Why did it feel like his last words meant more than what they seemed? Uhura sighed. There was no use in delaying the inevitable and she didn’t feel like fighting with him today. She wanted to eat her candy. “Tell me how you know when I…and I’ll tell you what’s in the bag.”
He smiled again. “You have this look, like you don’t want to be bothered. You tend to be quieter than normal. You rub your stomach when you’re at your console—you never do it otherwise. You drink hot chocolate instead of tea. And I get my confirmation from Spock, who can sense your hormonal changes. It’s wise to be prepared when you have a lone female in the command crew. We need to maintain harmony, which means no irritating you when Aunt Flo’s visiting.”
Uhura knew that he was perfectly serious. She was not sure about how she felt about the fact that he paid such close attention to her. “Spock can sense—” She was mortified. “Aunt Flo?”
“Don’t be embarrassed,” he said, tucking loose hair behind her ear and catching her lobe between his fingers. He stroked it. “It’s normal. I thought McCoy developed a hypo to combat PMS.”
Touching her ear like that sent a bolt right to her core. She groaned. “It doesn’t work. He’s a man. What the hell does he know about PMS?” She held out the sack. “Promise me you won’t bring this up again.”
He smiled. “I promise on the lives of my unborn children, my future wife, my—”
“You are a gargoyle,” she said and handed him the sack. He opened it and actually, actually looked surprised. Uhura held out her hand for her bag.
“Hey! Can I get one of those—”
“Yes,” she said, trying not to snap. She was embarrassed. He reached into the sack and pulled out a Snickers bar. Kirk gave her back her bag and opened the candy wrapper. He bit into the chocolate bar and there was a moment of blessed bliss. Uhura had to smile. She recognized the look on his face; it was the same one she had when enjoying a sweet. She began walking back to her quarters, and to her annoyance and amusement, he followed, finishing the candy bar in four bites.
“I haven’t had one of those in ages. Thank you, Lieutenant.”
“You’re welcome, sir.”
They walked in companionable silence, passing other crew members. Uhura held her bag close to her body. Why was he here? Why wasn’t she mad about it?
“So why is it such a big secret?”
“Did you see how much candy I bought?”
She shook her head. “It’s no secret. I like candy.”
“If it weren’t a secret, you would have told me right away.”
She stopped at her quarters. “I don’t like everyone knowing my business, sir. I would prefer that you didn’t share this with anyone.”
“What are you afraid of?”
“Nothing,” she said. Her door swooshed open and she walked in.
“Can I come in?”
“Why? Why are you stalking me?” she asked. Just when she thought she figured him out, he came at her a different way. “Shouldn’t you be on the bridge? Don’t you have somewhere to report to?”
“Yes,” he said. “Here. To you.” Kirk walked in and the door closed. “Spock has the conn. There’s nothing going on. I wanted to see you.”
Uhura sighed. Now she wasn’t sure about anything anymore. “What can I do for you, Captain?”
He was looking around her living area, looking for little things to pique his interest and irritate her about later. Thrown over her chair was a pair of shorts and a tank top. Kirk stared at the clothing a moment longer than necessary.
Uhura put the bag down and reached in. She grabbed the sack of caramels, took one out and popped it in her mouth. The rich, buttery sweet taste of the caramel was like a short vacation. She closed her eyes and allowed the candy to melt on her tongue and enjoyed the sugar rush. Absently, her fingers trailed over her throat.
Kirk watched her, his expression a mixture of desire and desperation. She always made him feel like a high school frosh with a crush.
After the caramel melted, she almost grabbed another but then remembered she had a guest.
“Captain,” she said. “What can I do for you? What do you want?”
Kirk looked into her eyes, boldly holding her gaze. Bones was right. This had gone on long enough. It was time to man up. Time to slap the cards on the table. Time to go all in. “Nyota, I want you.”
Uhura looked at him and shook her head. A giggle escaped her. He wasn’t serious.
Kirk glared at her. “You think I’m being funny?”
“Aren’t you always trying to be funny? Or irritating? Or annoying?” She laughed.
The way he looked at her then made the laughter go right out of her. The same white heat that she’d seen in his eyes before was there again. He gazed at her hungrily and took a deep breath. “I promise you, I have never been more serious in my life.” He swept his eyes up and down her body.
Uhura shivered and her nipples tightened. His eyes were like hands. “Sir, if I may speak freely?”
He glanced at her chest before looking at her eyes. “By all means, Lieutenant.”
“It is really inappropriate for you to look at me in that way.” She folded her arms across her bosom.
“I’m well aware of that.”
“If that’s the case, then why are you toeing the line? You are, you know.”
“I know. I’m about to step right over it. Nyota, I want you. I want you. I know that there is a history between us, a history you’re not fond of, but you are intelligent enough to realize when all a man craves is your attention.”
Those cobalt blue eyes of his were doing a number on her senses. They revealed everything his voice did not.
She stared at him. She could not believe he was serious. “Is that what all this is about? You trying to get my attention? There are better ways, you know.”
“When I tried those ways, they didn’t work. You barely noticed me. What else was I supposed to do? Surely you’re not so obtuse that you can’t see I’m crazy about you.”
“Captain, I’m not obtuse!” And just like that, she was irritated again. “Why do you deliberately try to anger me? Why do you try to get under my skin? Why do you do that to me?” She wanted to hate him, but she could not let those blue eyes go. They were breaking her resolve, bit by bit. Uhura always knew that Kirk lusted after her, but anything else? The man wasn’t capable of that. He just wasn’t capable…
He walked over to her. The heat in his eyes was undeniable. “Am I under your skin?” he asked.
Uhura took a deep breath. There was no point in lying. “Yes.”
“Good,” he murmured, moving that same bit of hair back behind her ear. He tweaked her earlobe again. “Then we’re even, because I lose my ability to think straight when I’m around you.”
A moment passed where they just stared at each other. She got warm. “Captain, I…” The Enterprise could have burned down and she wouldn’t have realized it.
“You know that I’ve wanted you since the night we met. You know that. I know you dismissed me because you thought I was a dumb hick who only had sex with farm animals; thus incapable of anything serious. That was four years ago. Everything has changed except my desire for you. I want you, Nyota. I want to be with you.”
“Sir, I don’t…”
“I know that you’re attracted to me. I can feel the energy between us.” He moved closer. She backed away from him until her thighs bumped against her table. Uhura stared up at him.
“There’s no energy between us, sir.” She said it with a straight face, but knew she was lying. If she wasn’t affected by him, there was no way he could hassle her. If there was no chemistry, she wouldn’t be bothered by his nearness. Her skin wasn’t thick enough. And she was affected by his proximity. She really was.
“There is,” he said, gazing at her mouth. “It draws me to you. I can’t fight it anymore. I don’t want to fight it. And admit it, you enjoy our back and forth as much as I do.”
Uhura tried to be the voice of reason. “Captain, this is against regulations!”
“Do I look like I give a damn about Starfleet regulations?”
She bristled. “Well, sir…it’s not like you’re inclined to follow them, but this is different. You’re my boss; it would be inappropriate for us to be involved intimately. I will not jeopardize my career for a fling.”
“So you want to be intimate with me? I’m glad that it isn’t one-sided. And if you think this is a fling, you’re going to be very surprised when time passes and I’m still with you.”
“Yeah,” she said, rolling her eyes. “That’s going to happen.”
He stepped closer. Uhura stared up at him. His eyes were a beautiful, endless blue. And his closeness did nothing to alleviate her warmth. He smelled so good. She closed her eyes, bringing her hands up in a feeble attempt to ward him off. She closed her eyes. This wasn’t happening. It had to be just a fling, because her captain put the ‘boy’ in playboy. He wasn’t her type. He wasn’t who she would choose if she could. Was he? Did she really know James T. Kirk? Who was this man standing before her?
“You don’t believe me?”
“No. I don’t believe you, sir. I can’t.”
“Why? Call me Jim. Say my name.”
“Frankly, Jim, you get on my nerves. You annoy me. You aggravate me. Sometimes you make me so angry that I could kill you. I have thought about killing you. Many times.”
“Good. That means that you are affected by me.”
“How can I not be? I’m not allowed to ignore you, or I would.”
“Could you ignore me, Nyota? Can you? Right now?”
She closed her eyes. “Captain…”
“Jim. Oh baby would work as well.”
“I can’t—I never knew that you felt like this.”
“Sure you did. I have been as obvious as I could be, other than saying it and trying to keep away from a harassment charge or a punch in the mouth. I’m telling you now because I can’t take it anymore.”
Uhura breathed deeply. This man wasn’t the captain she knew. The man before her radiated a sexiness she hadn’t believed her captain was capable of. Was this how he made all those other women feel? No wonder they couldn’t resist him. She didn’t know how long she would be able to. Her knees were weak. She thought she might faint. She was definitely moist.
“Sir, you know what a cad you are. You know that you’ll sleep with anything that has breasts and a vagina. You’re capricious about sex and I’m unwilling to put myself out there for you to hurt me like that.” There. She said it.
Kirk cupped the side of her face. He grazed his thumb over her cheek. “That’s just release. I can give that up for you. I will give it up if I have a chance with you. This isn’t about sex.”
Lust notwithstanding, she had to concentrate on the issue at hand. If she was seriously contemplating considering what he was telling her. “How do I know that? All I know is what you have shown me. You’ve shown me that you’re incapable of commitment. I’ve seen you with dozens of girls, and heaven knows how many more you’ve bedded on your excursions. You can’t even pass a woman without leering at her. You’re a whore! I can’t be bothered with all that.”
“Nyota, I’m at a point in my life where I require more than sex. I need something more, something to anchor me. I need you. I will give all that up if you will give me your heart. I promise you, I’ll cherish it.” He lifted her hand and gently kissed her fingers. His hand was large. She wondered if its size was indicative of the size of another body part. Irish told her that one time, but she hadn’t believed it.
‘I do not need to be thinking these things.’
“I don’t give my heart, Captain. It’s not a gift. It’s a prize.”
“Jim,” he said. “Then let me win it. Let me show you that I’m not playing with you. If you are not convinced, then I will leave you alone.”
“You are serious?”
He ran his thumb over her lips. “As serious as my responsibility is to this ship and its crew.”
The intensity in Kirk’s voice and his eyes were staggering, nearly mind-blowing. She was going to have to think about this. Then she looked at his mouth. His lower lip was full. Irish would have called it luscious. Uhura never thought that her trip to get a bag of candy would lead to a sugar rush like this. She closed her eyes. She wanted to kiss him. He needed to leave. Now.
“I need some time,” she said. “I need…time.” What she needed was for him to get away from her before she capitulated to her desire to kiss him.
“All right,” he said. He gazed at her for a very long moment and then pressed his lips to her forehead. Then he turned and left. After he was gone, she collapsed on her couch. She couldn’t help it; he made her tingle. Tingle and burn.