“What?” Jim said, his eyes slightly wide as he took in what his boyfriend just said. He tuned out the sounds of the busy restaurant they were in and stared at Gary across from him.
Gary chuckled. He reached across the table and took Jim’s hands in his. “I said, sweetie, that…” Ugh, I wish he’d stop calling me that, Jim thought. “…that we should talk. About the future. Our future.”
What? We’ve been together four months! “I um…alright. What about it?”
Gary squeezed Jim’s hands. It took everything Jim had not to pull them away. Gary’s hands were always clammy and he was never one for hand holding.
“Well we have a year and a half left at Starfleet.”
“Uh-huh.” Jim nodded. Shit. Is he going to propose?
“And you know Starfleet keeps married or long-term partners together.”
Fuuuuuuck. “Yeah, I know. But um…like you said, we have a while to go before…before we have to worry about that.”
Gary shrugged. “I guess so. I see this conversation is making you a little rattled.”
“No, I just…I’m hungry,” Jim forced a smile. “You know how I get when I don’t eat.”
“I do,” Gary laughed. “Anyway, I was thinking…how about you come stay with me and my parents for the holiday break? I know you don’t have anything to do. You never have anything to do.”
“Bones and I usually do something if he doesn’t visit his daughter.”
Gary pulled his hands away from Jim’s and crossed his arms over his chest. Jim saw Gary’s hazel eyes darken slightly in irritation.
“McCoy, right. You know, sometimes I feel like there are three of us in this relationship.”
Jim internally sighed. “He’s my best friend. It’s not like he tags along on dates.”
Jim recalled the previous week. He studied, annoyed Uhura, ogled the hot, but annoying Vulcan professor from afar, studied, spent the night with Gary, he and Bones went to the Alcatraz…oh Gary at Alcatraz too.
Jim put on an innocent smile. “He’d never been and you and I did sneak away for a few moments by ourselves.” Jim then nudged Gary’s foot with his under the table. The irritated look left Gary’s eyes as his boyfriend grinned and nodded.
“That was fun, but he’s still always there. Come with me to Vancouver. My parents have are having a family party. I’d love for you to meet them. Please.”
It couldn’t hurt, Jim told himself. Gary can be a caring boyfriend at times and the other times…he’s a dick. Maybe his parents and family are nice?
“Okay. I’ll go to Vancouver with you.”
Gary beamed at Jim before leaning across the table and planting a big kiss on Jim’s lips. Gary sat back as their waiter appeared with their food. Jim smiled and thanked the waiter as his plate was placed in front of him. He glanced to Gary and found the irritation was back in Gary’s eyes.
The waiter placed Gary’s plate down and before he could say anything, Gary snapped. “Well it’s about time. We’ve been here almost an hour.”
Jim closed his eyes and tried to keep his own annoyance and anger at bay.
“I’m so sorry, Sir. It is a bit busy tonight and we are down a cook.”
Gary made a disgruntled noise then said, “And this isn’t even what I wanted. The steak looks medium rare not well done and I wanted fries not mashed potatoes.”
You ordered the potatoes! Jim opened his eyes and mentally screamed.
“I can take it back and…” the waiter tried but Gary waved his hand.
“No, I’ll eat it. Who knows how long it would take to get the right food.”
That waiter nodded.
“Thank you,” Jim told the waiter, giving him a genuine smile. The waiter smiled softly back then turned and left. Jim turned on Gary. “That was rude. He’s doing…”
“How hard is it to take an order and tell the cooks? And it’s not that busy.”
Jim looked down to his own food and counted to ten. When he calmed, he said, “I was a waiter all through high school and some afterwards. Shit happens but that doesn’t give you…”
“I bet you were a cute waiter,” Gary grinned, nudging Jim’s foot with his. “Did you work at a Hooter’s like place? Have tight little shorts?”
Jim internally groaned. He forced a smile and merely nodded.
After dinner, Jim saw Gary had left an abysmal tip. He told his boyfriend he had to use the restroom. Gary went outside and waited while Jim found their waiter in the back and gave him more credits.
“I am so sorry for him,” Jim told him. “He’s…not like that normally. Bad day at the academy.”
“Thank you,” the guy replied.
Jim smiled then left the restaurant, finding Gary leaning against his expensive hover car.
“My place?” Gary asked, wiggling his brows at Jim.
Jim walked over and shook his head. “Not tonight. I…I think the shrimp I had may have had some spices that I’m allergic too. I should head back to my dorm and have Bones look over me.”
And there’s that look again, Jim thought as he looked into Gary’s eyes.
“Fine, alright. I’ll drive you there.”
“Thanks. So when will we be leaving for Vancouver?”
“I don’t know. In a few days, after finals,” Gary said, his tone matching the look in his eyes.
Jim plopped down on his bed in his dorm and yelled into his pillow.
“Bad date?” Bones asked.
Jim turned his head and looked to his bestie, lounging on his own bed. “Yeah.”
“Dump him already.”
“I can’t,” Jim sighed, sitting up and shrugging off his jacket.
“Can’t? You can Jim. You don’t have to put up with him. He’s a dick.”
“Sometimes he’s a dick.”
Bones sat up and faced Jim. He placed his hands on Jim’s knees and squeezed them reassuringly. “You don’t deserve this type of relationship, Jim.”
“No, listen. When we met, we were both in bad places and making changes for the better. I don’t drink as much. I get to see me daughter a lot more because you knocked sense into me to get a better lawyer and get a decent custody arrangement. Now it’s my turn to knock some sense into you. He doesn’t deserve you. You don’t deserve the type of relationship he’s offering.
I was glad a few months ago when you said you were going to try a relationship. Try being with one person and try falling in love—being in love. You don’t love Gary. He’s a dick, he gets moody too easily, and you always make excuses for him. It’s all about him, Jim. Not you. That is not a healthy relationship.”
“Bones. I…think he’s going to propose.”
Bones pinched Jim’s leg.
“Ow. I’m not going to say ‘yes’. I’m not that stupid.”
“You’re not stupid at all. An occasional dumb blonde but not stupid.”
Jim snorted. “Gee thanks Bones.”
“And you’re not even a natural blonde.”
Bones arched a brow.
Jim chuckled. “Shut up. Look…I know Gary’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I just…I don’t know.”
Bones moved from his bed to sit next to Jim, putting an arm around his bestie. “I love you, Jim. You’re like the annoying little puppy I never had.”
“Little brother,” Jim corrected.
“I said what I said. I love you. I won’t tell you what to do but I’ll tell you that…just really think things through. In five years where will you be? Do you see Gary next to you? What about in ten years? Is Gary still there? There is somewhere out there for you. I know it. They’ll love you will all their heart and you’ll love them.”
“When did you become such a romantic?”
“I need to start drinking more again.”
Jim leaned his head against Bones’ shoulder. “Gary asked me to go to Vancouver with him to meet his family for the holidays.”
“I’m going to go and then, when we come back, Gary and I will have a long talk and…we won’t be together anymore. Is that okay?”
“Whatever you want Jim, I’m here.”
“Thanks. Why can’t we just be in a relationship?”
Bones laughed. “You’re not my type.”
“I’m everyone’s type.”
Jim chuckled. “Fine, I’m not your type.” Jim moved away and stood up. He walked over to his dresser and started undressing. “What will you be doing for the break?” Jim asked.
“Jocelyn said I can come for Christmas and visit Joanna.”
“That’s great. So we’ll both be gone.”
Bones nodded. “Yeah, but the north is expecting a snowstorm so be careful.”
Jim turned to his friend. “I’m always careful. Hey, what do you want me to get you for Christmas?"
"To see what your natural hair color. Are you a ginger?"
"No and I am a natural blonde. You're getting a gift certificate to a spy. You need a relaxing day."
Bones made a face. "Yeah, relaxing. You jabbering all through it. Strange people touching and massaging me. No way."
"I won't be there."
"I'll take it, but only if I can pick the massage place. I don't want some seedy dive you found a coupon for."
Jim laughed. "Alright. What are you going to get me?"
Bones stood and bowed to Jim. "You get the gift of my company. And your monthly vitamin hypos."
"I want a gift receipt to exchange all of that."
Spock sat his PADD down on his desk top before grabbing his ringing communicator. “Spock.”
“Hello, kan-bu,” his mother said.
“Mother, I am not a ba…”
“You will always be my baby,” his mother interrupted him with a chuckle. “I am just calling to let you know that your father and I will be departing for Vancouver in three days and we will see you when you arrive. I am so looking forward to having everyone home for the holidays.”
“I am certain you are.”
“I know my human family can be too much for you so anytime you are feeling overwhelmed, Grandpa said you can go into his study like when you were a kid.”
“Thank you, mother.”
“He’s looking forward to seeing you. Its been a while.”
“Yes, I know.” Four point seven five years…since Grandmother’s funeral. “Aunt Doris is meeting you and father at the shuttle terminal, correct?”
“She is and then she and Seth are going to Chicago for a few days to visit with Jimmy. His wife just had a second baby, did you know?”
“I did not know. Congratulations to them. What about Lester?”
“Lester will meet his parents and brother in Chicago and then they will all come back to Vancouver.”
“And Aunt Ruth?”
“Well Ruthie and Bobby live in southern California. She never did like the cold weather in Canada. Your cousin Rebekah are coming in with them. Natalie and her husband and kids are coming in Christmas Eve from Boston. Garrett is coming in as well. I think the same day as his parents.”
“I have not heard from any of them in years. What have they been up?”
“Well I don’t know what Garrett has been up to but Rebekah is in college. Going to be a teacher like her favorite aunt.”
Spock nearly smiled. “I did not know Aunt Doris was her favorite aunt.”
He heard his mother laugh. “And they say Vulcans don’t have a sense of humor. So wrong.”
“Indeed,” Spock said as his office door chimed. “Mother, I have to go now. Nyota is here to go to lunch. My transport is reserved and I will see you on the 22nd.”
“Are you sure I can’t pick you up?”
“No mother, I have a hovercar reserved as well. I shall talk to you soon.”
“Love you, kan-bu.”
Spock tried to say ‘I love you, too’ back but choked. His mother said good-bye then disconnected. Spock put his communicator away and shook his head at himself before Uhura to enter so they could depart for lunch.
“Vancouver, huh?” Uhura asked at their weekly tea ‘date’.
Spock nodded and sipped his tea. “My grandfather sent out a stern message in July stating that he wanted everyone home for Hanukkah and Christmas.”
“They start around the same time this year, don’t they?”
“Indeed. I will be leaving for Vancouver next week on the 22nd and will return January 2nd.”
“Not staying for your birthday?” Uhura asked with a wink.
“I regret informing you of my date of birth.”
Uhura laughed. “It was only logical as I told you mine.”
Spock shook his head. “Celebrating one’s day of birth is illogical.”
“What about Christmas and Hanukkah?”
“They are illogical but I have grown accustomed to them because of my human family. Grandmother insisted and no one, not even my father could say ‘no’.” It also makes mother smile when I participate in the holiday traditions…and where those ‘ugly’ sweaters.
“That is a funny image. How is your human family? Do you talk to your cousins a lot?”
Spock took a sip of his tea before replying. “I do not. Growing up I would only see them for holidays and special occasions. I have seen or heard from any other them, besides through my mother, since my grandmother’s funeral four years ago. We were never close growing up. I preferred spending time with my grandfather in his study.”
“What would you two do together?”
“Build model planes, ships, trains.”
Uhura smiled. “Seriously?”
“Yes. In fact, for a Christmas present I have been building the H.M.S. Beagle as a present for him.”
Uhura stared at him. “Beagle?”
“H.M.S Beagle. It was the ship that Charles Darwin sailed on when he postulated the theory of evolution by natural selection.”
Uhura slowly nodded. “Right. Nerd stuff.”
Uhura laughed. “I’m just teasing. I think its neat that you and your grandfather bonded over ships and planes.”
“Yes, all of that,” she smiled. “Now, you will be away for Christmas. I will be away. When do you want to exchange gifts?”
Spock blinked. “Exchange gifts?”
“Yes. That is what friends do.”
“You don’t have to get me a gift. I just got you a little silly something.”
“No, Nyota. It is customary to give a gift when one is received. I will get you a gift.”
Spock looked down to his tea cup then glanced back up to his friend. “What…what would you like?”
Uhura laughed. "I am certain whatever you get me will be lovely."
"That is not helpful."