Bella breathed in the cool smell of rain and looked up just as the heavens were opening up—on this planet that was earth and yet wasn’t earth—
Spock was lecturing that morning and then had office hours. He was taking her out during his lunch hour to purchase her a wedding band, something which made her smile slightly to herself.
Of course, Bella had to keep remembering a few pertinent points, which she kept on forgetting.
One. This wasn’t real. The ring would not be on her finger when she woke up from a coma or in a mental institution. She wasn’t sure which would be better.
Two. She didn’t believe in marriage. Her parents eloped to Vegas, her mother became pregnant almost immediately although only eighteen years old, and within months of Bella’s birth had left Forks and Charlie forever.
Three. She was seventeen. Marriage wasn’t even legal on her planet. Or alternate dimension.
Four. Just the slightest hint of emotion from Spock through the bond or the wondrously full look in his dark alien eyes made her forget all of the above.
Bella sighed as she ran toward the overhang of a building to get out of the rain. By the time she got there, her veil was soaking wet, and her silks were plastered to her body. She pressed herself against the building and took a deep breath as she watched the downpour.
The rain smelled different than it did in Forks. Then again, this was probably a different planet entirely.
She stood and watched the rain for several long minutes until she heard someone running toward her.
Looking up, she saw a young cadet with green skin and red curls—clearly alien—who stopped at the door and muttered something under her breath as she looked for something. After a few hurried moments, the girl took out a card of some kind and then dropped it. Bella instantly rushed over to pick it up as the cadet stomped her foot and clearly was distressed.
When she held it out, the cadet turned her strange, alien face to her, and pouted. “I hate the rain.”
“So do I,” Bella responded, the only thing she could think of to say.
The cadet grinned and motioned with her hand. Bella approached and with a swipe of the card, the cadet and Bella rushed into the building.
“Let’s get you dry, princess,” the cadet suggested with a wink and they walked down the hallway to a turbolift. The cadet greeted several other cadets, most extraterrestrials, and was clearly what Bella would describe as an “it” girl—not that that term existed in this strange place.
They came to a room on the first floor, and the cadet entered a code before they entered. The room was sparse with two beds, two dressers, and two desks.
“Your roommate’s out?” Bella asked as she walked into the room and began to unpin her veil.
The cadet, as if she had no shame, slipped out of her red uniform, kicking it toward the further of the two beds, and stood in black underwear.
Bella could only stare.
She was wearing what appeared to be an earth bra and black boyshorts, both skin tight and possibly a bit too small. Then again, that’s the way the cadet seemed to like it.
“You’re not a prude, are you?” the cadet laughed, twirling her hair with her fingers and then securing it with what seemed to be a scrunchy.
Bella swallowed, blushed, and shook her head. “No—it’s just—I’m not used to being around really anyone who’s only wearing underwear.”
The cadet laughed happily and sprawled out on the far bed, her head propped up with her hand. “Well, aren’t you going to take that off? You’re drenched.”
Looking down at her robe, Bella sighed and began to undo the ties on either side to loosen it. With some maneuvering, she managed to pull it over her head, her hair plastered to her neck and her silk camisole and bloomers sticking to her.
The cadet let out a whistle and grinned at her wolfishly, with some strange look in her eye. “What planet are you from, beautiful?”
“Vulcan,” Bella replied as she set aside her robe. “You?”
However, the cadet was staring at her in shock. “You’re Vulcan?”
“Yes,” Bella responded carefully.
Immediately, the cadet was sitting at the edge of her bed and practically humming in excitement. “Gaila Vro.” After a moment, Bella realized that was the cadet’s name.
Nodding, Bella came to sit farther down the bed, shivering slightly from the cold. “Lady Isabella of the House of Surak.”
Gaila blinked at her and then smiled slowly. “Are you here taking a tour? Thinking of enlisting?” She seemed almost like a coiled snake, ready to attack, and Bella honestly had no idea why.
Still, she tried to center herself. “No. I’m visiting my husband.”
There was a long pause when Gaila’s eyes raked over Bella, making her feel strangely vulnerable. “There’s a rumor that Professor Spock just got married.” She let the suggestion hang between them. “He’s the only Vulcan in Starfleet.”
“Really?” Bella asked in curiosity. “There’s an Embassy here in San Francisco.”
“Well, if you’re not the mysterious wife,” Gaila gabbed, “I suppose you know that Spock is one of the richest men in the galaxy.”
Bella frowned, having been completely unaware.
“He’s the son of the Vulcan Ambassador,” she continued, kicking her feet, her legs long and so strangely green.
“The Ambassador isn’t—er—rich?” Bella asked.
“He is,” Gaila told her. “Spock—as his son and heir—is counted in the rankings.”
It seemed like there was a Forbes list, then, here on Terra. Or in the galaxy. Or whatever.
“As a Vulcan,” Gaila continued, “do you have any idea who this woman is?”
Bella blushed and shook her head in confusion. “You said it was only a rumor,” she returned. “So no one knows.”
Leaning against the pillows, Gaila seemed pleased with herself. “My roomie has this massive crush on him. Like, it’s been eating away at her for two years now, and we got here two years ago,” she clarified. Clearly, she liked to gossip. “I mean, first day in lectures, and she was just tripping over her tongue. She did everything to catch his attention, but who catches the attention of a Vulcan? They don’t feel any emotion.”—Well, that certainly wasn’t true. Bella could feel Spock’s intense focus as he was lecturing somewhere on campus and a sliver of annoyance at one student who was doing something other than listening—“It’s all logic.”
“You don’t seem very logical. You ‘hate’ rain.”
Not certain how exactly to respond, Bella’s mind grasped at anything she could think of. “Vulcan is a desert planet,” she asserted, remembering that factoid.
This seemed to satisfy Gaila who glanced up at the ceiling, all the while taking looks at Bella. “Anyway,” she continued, “Nyota obviously got top of her class, she became obsessed with her hygiene—I mean, she was always thin and gorgeous, but she took it to new levels—she got into his Advanced Placement, cultivated Vulcan culture as well as she could.” She snorted. “You Vulcans are rather private for being one of the founding members of the Federation.”
“And all this didn’t pay off?” Bella checked.
Gaila sat up, a strange intensity to her, and told her, “She finally got the nerve to ask him out—in a very Vulcan way—and he informed her he was married. I mean, what’s up with that?”
It seemed, then, that Gaila’s roommate was unfortunately her husband’s admirer. A strange possessiveness, that was entirely her own, flooded through Bella, settling in her stomach. She felt Spock’s question and she tried to send warmth and comfort through the bond before refocusing on Gaila. “Isn’t it—inappropriate for a student and teacher to have a relationship?”
Scoffing, Gaila just looked at her with her brown eyes. “As if that really matters in the schemes of love and sex.”
Bella was slightly shocked at such an attitude, her eyebrows rising considerably.
Gaila didn’t seem to notice. Instead, she asked, “Is it true that there are no lesbians on Vulcan?”
That certainly threw Bella through a loop. She hadn’t been expecting such a question. Swallowing heavily, she decided on, “If there are, I’m sure it’s a private matter. As you said, we Vulcans are really private.”
The door chimed and Gaila’s gaze shifted toward it. “Must be Nyota. She doesn’t normally forget her passcode, except for the night she went out and got drunk when she found out Professor Spock was married.—which was two days ago.”
She got up and Bella stared after her in shock, remaining seated and glad that she was finally warming up.
The door slid open, Gaila arranging herself so that she filled the entire entryway, purring, “Jim.”
Bella looked up, knowing that was not only a human name but a male name. That could only mean that a Terran male was on the other side of the door.
The tones of a decidedly masculine voice responded, happy and seductive. “Gaila! I got caught in the rain.”
“So did we!” she told him happily, turning to enter the room and Bella immediately dove onto the other side of the bed. She did not want to be in her underwear in front of a strange male.
She could hear people enter and then there was a pause.
“You’re alone, Gaila,” the voice laughed at her. There was the sound of fabric shifting and then Bella saw a red cadet shirt, wet from the rain, thrown down on the floor.
“Isabella is a little shy,” Gaila responded. “She’s Vulcan.”
There was clearly a pause. “You have a Vulcan hiding somewhere?”
Keeping in a sigh, Bella decided to stay exactly where she was.
She didn’t have long to wait. Gaila’s face appeared, her red curls falling around her face as she leaned over the bed. “Silly, what are you doing down there?”
Bella looked down at the floor, wishing it would swallow her whole, and then slowly got to her feet, grabbing the blanket off of the bed and wrapping it around her shoulders. She took in Gaila who was standing unabashedly in her bra and boyshorts and a handsome Terran man with blond hair and startling blue eyes. His chest was completely naked and glistening with rain water, which made her distinctly uncomfortable.
“Isabella, Jim, Jim, Isabella,” Gaila introduced before she lounged down on the bed. “Isabella got caught in the rain.”
“Yes,” she agreed carefully. “I’m waiting for the lecture period to end and then I have to be at the water fountain.”
“Meeting someone?” Jim asked with a slow smile on his face as he sat down on the opposite bed, not minding that everyone was half-naked.
Bella nodded. “I lost my wedding ring,” she half-lied. “We’re going to replace it.”
Gaila looked up at her and patted the bed beside her and Bella gingerly sat.
Jim was looking at her in confusion. “Vulcans exchange wedding rings?”
Looking down, Bella admitted, “I’m a Vulcan citizen but—well—not strictly Vulcan myself. We exchange wedding rings on my home planet.”
Nodding, Jim took her in for a long moment, and then turned to Gaila. “Did you hear that that Vulcan professor got married? Or has been for years. I heard it from Pike.”
“Only you would have your godfather as your advisor,” Gaila scoffed. “You’re such a ‘fleet brat.”
That seemed to be something. And Spock—her Spock—was one of the wealthiest men in the galaxy. How was this even possible? Bella had to scrounge to buy warm enough clothes when she moved to Forks, since Renée was so terrible with money.
“I don’t see why this is such a big thing,” Bella put in. “The fact that a professor is married. Surely that’s not—uncommon?”
Jim seemed to ponder this.
Gaia openly laughed. “He’s so emotionally stunted that it’s difficult to see. I mean, half of the communications students are in love with him, but you need a 90% to pass any of his classes, let alone advance to the next level. He’s a hard-ass.”
Jim shifted the curtains and looked out at the rain. “I would comm whoever you’re meeting and let them know you’re trapped here, unless you want to brave it.”
“I don’t have a comm,” Bella murmured. She had inspected Spock’s regulation communicator and had memorized the number if she needed, but when he offered to get her one, she’d refused. It was too confusing. If she ended up here for more than a week, she’d break down and get one, but until then, she was going to go about this the old fashioned way.
Reaching into his pocket, Jim pulled out a device and tossed it to her.
Somehow, Bella managed to catch it and looked at the keypad which seemed to possess mainly Latin characters with a few extra. “Could you open a—text message—for me? I don’t want to disturb in case he’s busy.”
Jim accepted it back, pushed a few buttons and then asked for the number.
Bella recited it, glad that she had taken the time to, and then he was typing something. “Your name is Isabella, right?” he checked, his bright blue eyes looking at her.
She nodded and he returned to typing. Less than thirty seconds after he had started typing, he put it away. “Whoever you were messaging, now knows.” He gave her a smile. “Do you think we have time for a threesome?”
Bella’s face automatically paled and he reached out toward her and patted her shoulder, still wrapped in the blanket.
“I’m joking,” he assured her. Then he glanced at Gaila. “I’m seeing someone.—Hey! We can hack Spock’s Federation file to find out the specifics.”
“That seems a bit extreme,” Bella protested, not wanting Gaila to find out that her roommate’s crush was married to her. That would just be all kinds of awkward. “You could also get caught.”
“I never get caught,” Jim preened. “It could be fun.”
“I’m not sure Nyota will want to know,” Gaila whined. When Jim looked at her in confusion, she elaborated, “My roommate. She’s in love with him.”
“You don’t have to tell her,” he responded casually, leaning back to show that he had no intention to hack whatever server would be necessary at that particular moment. “I bet it’s some Vulcan princess. From the rumor mill, he’s practically royalty himself.”
Gaila turned to him, a light in her eyes. “I heard that he spent part of his childhood on Terra.”
“That makes sense,” Jim returned. “His dad’s a diplomat, right?”
Bella rolled her eyes and wondered why they were treating her husband like a celebrity. This was like the time—just last week—Jessica and Lauren wouldn’t shut up about Britney. And Paris. Apparently Paris was a person and not the city, which just plain confused Bella.
At that moment a ping went off and Jim reached into his pocket and took out his communicator. “Jim Kirk here,” he responded.
There was a moment of silence and then Spock’s familiar and eerily attractive voice filtered through the room. “I received a textual message from this number. Am I to understand that the Lady Isabella of the House of Surak is at the location you specified?”
Jim’s face twisted in amusement and he handed over the communicator to Bella, who was still holding the blanket tightly around her. As soon as she got a grip on it, she put it up to her chin and responded, “Hey, Baby.”
“It gratifies me to hear your voice. You are well?”
Smiling to herself, she responded, “Just wet. A few of us have taken shelter in this dorm room and are attempting to dry off.”
There was a pause and Gaila and Jim were looking at her intently.
“I sensed a slight amount of distress from you, adun’a.”
Bella opened her mouth to respond when the door slid open and a sopping wet Cadet Uhura walked into the room. “I’m soaking wet!” she exclaimed to no one in particular. “This was not in the forecast!”
Jim looked over his shoulder and suggested, “Just strip like the rest of us. We even have a Vulcan wearing only a blanket.”
Staring at him, Bella returned, “I’m wearing clothing under the blanket—sort of,” she admitted.
Gaila grinned wolfishly. “You’re just wearing one hundred percent Orion silk knickers.”
Frankly, Bella had no idea what that meant.
“Must have cost a fortune,” Gaila added.
The latest arrival—Uhura, Nyota, whoever—looked into the small dorm room, shock on her face. Before she could say anything, Spock’s voice filtered through:
“Adun’a, are you well?”
“Y-yes,” she returned after the slightest hesitation. Sensing his trepidation through the bond, she told him, “There are oceans on my planet. People wear much less than the other—people—in this room when they go swimming. And I’m wearing a blanket. You can’t even see my feet.” She didn’t think feet were a thing for Vulcans, but you never know.
Worry nonetheless flitted through Bella’s mind, clearly from Spock, but he only responded, “I will be there shortly.”
Jim took back the communicator.
“How is he going to get access to a Starfleet student dorm?” Gaila wondered aloud.
Uhura walked into the room and after a pause, shimmied out of her uniform, strangely glaring at Jim who was watching. She sat down as far away from him as possible and took out her hair, which was in a high ponytail.
“Isabella and her husband are visiting from Vulcan,” Gaila misinformed her. Then a sly smile spread across her face and she turned to bed, “I’m sure Nyota is dying to know if Vulcans are good in bed.”
Bella completely blanched. “Er—”
“It’s probably all ‘logical’,” Jim decided, stripping off his boots and then his red pants.
Gaila laughed. “We all know you have a secret boyfriend who is ‘to die for’—but now we have someone who can actually give us intel on Vulcans.”
“Professor Spock,” Uhura declared, “is, from what I’ve been able to scrounge up, only half-Vulcan. He’s more passionate, I’m sure, than the average Vulcan. Behind doors.” She crossed her arms and huffed. “Besides, this wife must live on Vulcan, he’ll need comfort when she leaves.”
Bella was shocked and felt anger rise in her throat. “That’s disgusting. And disturbing. And—I’m sure I could come up with other adjectives.”
“Aren’t Vulcans not only monogamous but prudes?” Gaila suggested.
“Definitely monogamous,” Bella assured, thinking that it would be rather awkward to cheat on your husband or wife if that other person could feel it.
“I heard Vulcans marry young,” Jim added to the conversation, Uhura rolling her eyes. “No, really. I’m not surprised that Professor Spock is married in the least. He’s probably been married since he was fifteen or something—and surely he was on Vulcan then.”
“How old were you when you married your husband?” Gaila asked casually.
“Seventeen,” Bella responded, since, as far as her own experiences told her, she’d just met Spock and they were married when they met. And, currently, she was seventeen.
“See,” Jim put in. “Nyota, you really should get over this bizarre crush. I mean, I get that he’s wealthy. I get that he’s royalty. I get that he has a super brain. However, not only is he emotionally unavailable for the simple reason that he is Vulcan, but he’s married.”
Uhura seemed to deflate a little. “I always wondered why he joined Starfleet given—everything.”
“I don’t think it was to meet hot alien girls,” Gaila told her sympathetically. “Or boys.”
A silence fell over the four and then Bella realized Uhura was regarding her. “You’re not Vulcan.”
“I’m a Vulcan citizen,” she informed her, “but, no, I’m not Vulcan—genetically.”
“I’ve only heard of one Terran-Vulcan marriage, and it’s pretty much kept hush-hush,” she mused, leaning forward, giving Bella a view of her small breasts. “How’d you manage to become the second?”
Uncertain what to say at first, Bella decided to go with the familiar line: “I’m not Terran.”
Jim gave her an easy smile and began to chat with Gaila. Uhura continued to look at Bella with suspicion.
It seemed like hours—though it was probably only a matter of minutes—before the door chimed again.
The four occupants looked between each other before Jim stated the obvious. “I think that’s the Vulcan and we’re all naked.”
After a long pause and a second chime, Uhura huffed out and walked to the door, letting it slide open. There was only silence and everyone looked toward the door.
She was standing there in only a thong and a sports bra—the oddest combination in Bella’s opinion—and staring in horror and the person on the other side of the door.
“Cadet,” Spock’s unmistakable voice sounded. “I see my wife was entirely truthful when she mentioned everyone was in a state of undress.”
Gaila began to giggle and Jim smirked at her, as if he expected no less. He glanced at his clothes, a ruin on the floor, and seemed to give up any idea of putting them on.
A moment later Spock was walking into the room, his hair and uniform completely dry, and Bella glanced toward the window showing that it was, in fact, still raining heavily. Confused, she looked up at her husband. “How are you not wet? That’s not possible.”
“I employed an umbrella to great efficiency,” he told her. “I keep one in my office for occasions such as this.”
She breathed out and sensed his amusement at the current situation.
“What’s so funny?” she asked.
A hint of lust filtered through the bond as his eyes took her in. “I am reminded of an occurrence when you decided to jump fully clothed off of a cliff at La Push.”
Her eyebrows rose in surprise because clearly she had never done such a thing—or at least not yet. “Well, we ‘pale faces’ like to hang with the indigenous tribes.” After all, Jessica was planning that trip to First Beach, which she may or may not make it back to on time.
She smiled as fondness trickled into her mind.
“Was she wearing Orion silk then?” Gaila asked casually, looking between them. “That would be a horrible thing to do to Orion silk.”
“I imagine I was wearing jeans,” Bella responded without thinking. She stood and then looked around, uncertain how she was going to get back into her robes, which still looked soaking wet. There also didn’t seem to be a bathroom for her to go into and change.
Spock indicated she should go further into the room and when she was in the corner, he took the blanket and held it up like a curtain after handing her the wet robes. She loosened them as much as she could and then pulled them over her head, wiggling into them. Bella didn’t even bother with the veil. She knew it would be hopeless. When she glanced toward the other three occupants of the room, she saw that Uhura was quickly getting dressed, her cheeks flaming with embarrassment.
Thoughts, half-formed, filled her mind and when she was dressed again, Spock lowered the blanket and helped pull her hair out from under her robe. “You have questions,” he murmured.
“Terra is—strange,” she admitted after a long moment. “There are so many different peoples here—”
“Affirmative,” he agreed. “However, when we next return to Vulcan, you will feel a sense of homogenization again, adun’a.”
Somehow, a planet that was earth and yet not earth seemed less comforting than a completely alien world. “I’ll hold you to that,” she told him firmly.
She came out and nodded her head toward everyone. “Gaila, thanks for rescuing me. Jim, it’s been a pleasure. Uhura,” she looked at the cadet who seemed pale despite her dark skin tone, “sorry for crashing.”
Uhura blinked at her. “Crashing?” she asked, the word seemed to be dragged out of her as if she didn’t want to have to ask what that meant.
“Um, crashing,” Bella responded, feeling Spock come up beside her. “Invading your space?”
The cadet just looked at her with resignation in her eyes and with one more wave toward the other two, Bella followed Spock out of the room and out into the rain.