“No,” says Nyota.
“But it’s so cute!”
“It’s not cute, it’s tacky.”
Gaila pouts. But it is tacky. It’s a curtain of rainbow-colored, star-shaped plastic beads. With glitter. It’s tacky.
Suddenly Gaila brightens. “We could string it between our beds. That way, when I bring someone back here—”
Maybe she was a little too emphatic. Now Gaila looks hurt.
Feeling somewhat contrite, Nyota says, “I just don’t think it goes with the rest of the stuff in our room. Besides, it rattles. That’s going to be so distracting when we’re studying.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Gaila sighs. “It was stupid. At the shop, there was this light shining through it and I thought it was so pretty. I never had anything this colorful on Orion Prime. But you’re right. It really doesn’t go with anything. It doesn’t look Starfleet at all.”
Nyota feels like she’s been kicked in the heart. And the thing is, as much as Gaila annoys her sometimes, she knows this isn’t passive aggressive talk. That’s not Gaila’s style. Nyota scoops the bead curtain out of Gaila’s hands. It rattles as she carries it to the bathroom and stands in the doorway, her lips pursed thoughtfully.
Finally she says, “We can hang them here.”
“They won’t annoy you there?”
Nyota shrugs. “I can live with them if they’re not right in my face. You just have to promise me one thing.”
Gaila eyes her warily. “What?”
“Two things,” Nyota says. “First, this curtain is not a door. There’s an actual door, and we’re going to keep using it. Second … when you come out from behind this curtain, and you’re wearing something gorgeous, you have to strut. You know what I mean.” She twirls in the bathroom doorway, and mimes parting a curtain. She stalks toward Gaila, head tossed back, hips rolling.
Gaila’s girlish squeal of delight makes the whole thing worth it.