Precisely at 14:49 Pacific Time, the door to Sareks office opened and Stavel, his personal aide, stepped through. "Sir?" he spoke politely. "I have finally been able to schedule Doctor Grayson to see you. She is here as you requested." He stepped aside to usher a petite, young Human woman into the room.
Sarek looked up from the data solids that covered his desk and raised an eyebrow in pleasant surprise. "Doctor?" he queried as he stood.
"Doctor," she answered firmly, a radiant smile curving her lips. "Confirmation arrived in todays post."
Unseen, Stavel slipped out of the office, closing the door softly behind him.
Sarek gave a small, formal bow. "You have my sincere congratulations, Amanda." A trace of a smile tugged at his lips.
"Thank you," Amanda replied. Glancing back at the closed door, she took a step closer to towards the desk, and added softly, "I missed you at lunch."
Inhaling deeply, Sarek declared, "I, too, received a special missive in todays post. It is the reason I could not luncheon with you." Sarek paused, for effect or to gather his courage, even he was not sure. "It is also the reason I have requested your presence."
Remembering his manners, Sarek gestured to one of the comfortable seats opposite his desk, and Amanda seated herself. She waited as patiently as she could while Sarek re-organized the data pads and disks on his desk. "Is it about the job offer here at the embassy?" she prompted when she could no longer stand the wait.
"No," Sarek replied. He folded his hands ceremoniously atop the nearest data pad and cleared his throat. "My family is again urging me to seek a wife, and it is to that end that I require your assistance."
"Oh," Amanda muttered softly. She sat back in her chair, unsure of what was coming.
Sarek took another deep breath. "I have taken the liberty of planning the marriage." He removed his hands from the stacked data pads and pointed to them before rushing on. "I thought both a Federation ceremony as well as the usual Vulcan one would be best. After all, Federation law takes precedence over those of its individual members."
Despite its over-stuffed cushions, the chair in which Amanda was sitting was becoming very uncomfortable. She said nothing, only stared at Sarek.
Clearing his throat, Sarek continued. "My father pre-selected three suitable women as potential wives for me, and I congratulate myself on having made the most logical choice."
"I see," Amanda managed to say softly. You idiot! she scolded herself. How could you even begin to think that he might choose No! Dont even think it!
Taking her remark as encouragement, Sarek launched into a detailed account of the Federation standard wedding ceremony he had planned. "My first thought was to keep the Federation ceremony as simple and as private as possible; however, my position as ambassador, it seems, dictates that a more formal, showy, ceremony will be required. It is with these particular details that I desire your input."
He needs your help with social etiquette just like when TEvra and Stavel asked you to help with the embassy dinner parties, she told herself. Well, what did you expect? Hes a Vulcan, and youre just a valuable employee. She snorted to herself. And fool that you are, you fell in love with him.
Aloud, she managed to say, "Im sorry, Sarek. Im afraid I cant help you."
Sarek sat back in his chair, stunned. She has misunderstood, he immediately thought.
"Your help is required with this, Amanda," he restated firmly.
Just as firmly, she answered him. "No, Sarek, its not. Im sorry, but it would be impossible."
Sarek had assumed that like most females of any species, Amanda would enjoy arranging some of the details of her nuptials herself. Shaking his head in perplexity, Sarek spoke nearly vehemently. "I must insist that you also have a say in the matter, Amanda."
His imperious attitude was too much. He may be just a man and a Vulcan with absolutely no clue that hes breaking my heart, but there is no excuse for being such a blockhead! "Im afraid not, Sarek." Her hurt expressed itself in resentment, and the tone of her voice was angry and bitter. "I just cant help you, and thats that so stop pushing me."
For the first time in his life, Sarek was at a complete loss. Amanda was decidedly angry with him, and he couldnt fathom why. Brow furrowed with puzzlement, he inhaled deeply. What have I said to upset her so?
"Amanda," he said softly, "there must be some misunderstanding." He paused, mentally retracing his logical conclusions, but could find no errors. Shaking his head slightly, he continued in his most persuasive voice. "Im sure you must have misunderstood me."
"Misunderstood you?" she asked, her voice rising to indicate her disbelief. She shook her head and laughed at the ridiculousness of it. "You tell me that your father is pushing you to remarry, and that youve made a logical choice in the matter, and then you ask me to sit here and listen to you go on and on about your oh-so logical wedding plans." She inhaled deeply, trying to control herself before she either slapped him or broke down into tears. "Oh, no," she added, her whole body trembling with effort. "I did not misunderstand you."
More puzzled now than ever, Sarek stared at her. She had, indeed, understood him. Why was she so angry, so upset? "Then, why," he asked neutrally, trying to phrase his question as gently as possible, "are you so so emotional?"
"Because," she started angrily, "because, well, I thought that you, that I, that" She broke off, angry now with herself.
Sarek sat silently and patiently, mentally urging her to continue her explanation. Perhaps given time she would be able to elaborate more fully. So far she was quite incoherent. Then he noted the tears, silently slipping down her cheeks. No, this will not do. "You thought what, Amanda?" he asked softly.
"Nothing," she quickly replied, as she wiped away the tears. "Nothing at all."
Nothing? Sarek thought incredulously. She sits crying and states that nothing is wrong. "I do not understand, Amanda," he replied as calmly as possible, although internally he himself was not calm. He steepled his fingers, attempting to take refuge in the traditional meditation posture. "Your answer is completely at odds with your current state of obvious emotional distress. I can only concur that my original conclusion about this discussion is correct. You have somehow failed to hear me."
That was the last straw. Amanda stood, her anger rising to a white-hot level. "Now, listen here, buster," she fumed, "I may not have points on my ears, but I can hear just fine without them!" She stormed towards the door, jerking it open when she reached it. "Good day, Mister Ambassador, sir!"
Before Sarek could move beyond a standing position, she was out of the office and half way down the hall. He dared not raise his voice to call her back.
Stavel, trying to conceal his curiosity, watched Doctor Graysons unorthodox departure as he stepped into the office. "Ambassador?" he queried softly
Sarek inhaled very deeply, holding his breath for a moment, then releasing it very slowly. His jaw muscles were in a spasm as he tried to control his distress. "Yes, Stavel?" he asked as blandly as possible.
"You have a priority call on the comm unit, sir," Stavel stated. Suddenly startled by the sound of a slamming door, the aide jumped. He glanced from the Ambassador to the direction in which Doctor Grayson had fled.
Sareks face and voice remained neutral. "And with whom shall I be speaking?"
"Your father, sir," the young aide replied.
Sinking back down into his chair, Sarek again steepled his fingers and stared at the surface of his desk. Its rich cherry surface shone beneath the now scattered padds. Permitting himself a short, quick exhalation, Sarek lifted his head to face Stavel. "I will accept the call," he told his aide. "Please hold all other concerns until I have finished."
"Of course, sir," Stavel replied correctly before leaving the office. He politely closed the door behind him.
Sarek had intended calling home after he and Amanda had finalized their plans. Now, he did not particularly wish to speak to anyoneespecially his father. The ambassador was not pleased at all.
Marshaling all of his mental control, Sarek turned toward the comm unit and snapped the control switch to receive. Then he nodded politely at his father, Skon.
"Greetings, my son," the older Vulcan stated. A bit of affection and fatherly pride warmed the old mans voice. Were he Human, Skon would have smiled.
"Greetings, my father," Sarek replied.
Not one to illogically waste time, Skon began immediately with the point of his call. "I was informed that you had made your choice in the matter of a bride."
Sareks jaw twitched slightly. "Yes, Father," he answered smoothly. "I weighed all of the relevant factors and made my decision logically."
The trace of a smile flittered across the older mans features but was quickly and correctly controlled. "Ah, well done," he conceded. "And whom did you choose?"
"Why the most logical choice, of course," Sarek replied. "But I have not yet finalized my plans. My next Time," a faint green tinged the tips of his ears, "will not be for another eighteen standard months, two weeks, four days, and eleven hours, plus or minus a few minutes. It is often difficult to predict accurately such occurrences when one has lived off-world for so long."
"Yes, Sarek, I am aware of that fact. You forget that I, too, served in the diplomatic corps before being assigned to the home office and found that, off-world, my cycle was often disrupted," Skon agreed. He nodded sagely as he continued, "Just as I am aware of your diplomatic attempt to re-direct the conversation." He paused to allow time for his son to digest that statement. "Is there a problem, my son?"
"No," Sarek was quick to reply. "None whatsoever."
Again, the father nodded. "Then who is your choice?"
"Why must you know now?" Sarek countered.
Skon frowned. It was unlike his son to prevaricate. "As you yourself have pointed out," he replied sternly, "your cycle is nearing. There are plans to be made, and, as your father, it is my responsibility to contact the womans father in order to arrange the marriage."
Sarek inhaled deeply, held his breath for a moment, and released then it. "I prefer to make my own plans, Father," he stated stiffly. Then, as he could see the green beginning to shade his fathers face, he hurried to add, "And I prefer to speak with the young woman myself first."
"You would defy tradition?" Skon asked coldly. "Would you bring shame upon the House of Surak?"
"It is neither my intention to defy tradition nor to bring shame upon the House of Surak," Sarek answered evenly. "However, I believe it would be best if I asked the young woman first."
"Then you do seek to defy tradition," countered the older Vulcan. "It is one of our oldest traditions that the males father seek out the father of the female in order to arrange the bonding and marriage."
"Ah," rejoined the younger, "that is, indeed, the case with children; however, as both I and the young woman are adults, I am strongly convinced that it should be I who first approaches her with the idea of matrimony." Sarek could see that his father was slowly considering this novel idea, and he quickly pressed his advantage. "I would not have another unwilling wife, Father. If this young woman is opposed to the idea of marriage, then it will be necessary to make a second choice. It would hardly be flattering to the next woman or her family to know she was but a second choice."
At that, Skon had little choice but to nod in agreement. "Very well, Sarek, speak to the woman first. If she is agreeable to the idea, you will let me know, and I will contact her father immediately."
"Understood," Sarek replied. "I will bid you goodbye until then." Quickly, before his father realized that he had not actually agreed to Skons suggestion, Sarek cut the link. I wonder what would happen if I allow Father to contact Mister Grayson? Sarek wondered briefly. It would, perhaps, correct the misunderstanding between Amanda and me. But, still, I believe that a man should ask a woman to marry him.
Suddenly, his error with Amanda became glaringly obvious. He had informed her of his fathers insistence that he remarry, of his careful scrutiny of each choice, and of his correct and systematic elimination of each until he had arrived at the logical choice. He had even shared with her the plans he had formulated for the wedding, but he had neglected to inform her that it was she whom he had chosen.
Sarek moved rapidly towards the office door and pulled it open swiftly. "Stavel," he called loudly, causing the younger man to leap to his feet. "Have Doctor Grayson report to my office."
Stavel shifted his weight from one foot to another, "Yes, sir."
Returning to his office and closing the door before Stavel had time to finish his reply, Sarek moved across his office at a brisk pace. He stopped before the window and gazed out at the sunny courtyard below. His mind was racing, furiously seeking the words he would need when Amanda returned.
Hearing the door behind him open, Sarek wheeled around, hands held out with the palms upward. "Amanda, I " He broke off as he saw only his aide standing there.
Stavel cleared his throat. "Ambassador," he began awkwardly.
Instantly Sarek re-assumed a more seemly posture. As he clasped his hands firmly behind his back and squared his shoulders, he addressed his aide. "Yes, Stavel?"
Stavel inhaled deeply. "Doctor Grayson has," he paused, unsure of how to pass along this information, "left for the day."
Sarek nodded, accepting this news. "I see," he murmured slowly and paused for a long moment. Logical scenarios and probability ratios were shifting rapidly through his mind. At last one such idea, seemingly more feasible than any of the others, presented itself. "Stavel," he began suddenly, "have the primary transporter ready. I will be beaming to Doctor Graysons apartment building. It is imperative that I speak directly to her tonight."
"Of course, sir," replied Stavel, relieved at last to be of useful service. "Shall I have a security escort ready?"
"No," Sarek answered quickly. "You may secure my office and reschedule or handle anything else today." Stavel nodded, but his acquiescence was left unacknowledged for Sarek was already striding purposefully towards the private areas of the embassy.
Within the hour, Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan, in casual slacks and tunic, was beamed directly into the receiving area of one of the nicer apartment facilities on the beach. Doctor Grayson, he had been informed, resided in apartment number 228. Sarek easily located the correct dwelling and rang the buzzer. He waited 1.42 minutes, then pressed the buzzer again.
"Yes? Who is it?" Her voice was polite, but she sounded tired.
"It is I, Sarek. Amanda, it is imperative that I speak with you tonight."
Only silence answered him. Just as he was beginning to think that she had simply walked away, the door opened. Quickly, Sarek entered intent upon his mission, but his carefully planned speech was lost to him when he turned to look at her.
Amanda had changed from her usual professional clothing into a much more relaxed ensemble, possibly sleeping apparel. A loosely tied pink terry cloth robe covered her torso, while matching pink fuzzy slippers encased her feet. But what arrested Sareks attention, causing him to momentarily forget his thought, were her eyes.
Her soft cerulean eyes, normally so crystal clear and sparkling, were now red-rimmed and swollen. She had evidently been crying, and he knew that he was the source of her tears.
"I have come to rectify our misunderstanding," he declared softly.
Anger flared up in her eyes. "Look," she growled with barely controlled fury, "Ive already told you that Im not"
Unable to restrain himself, Sarek interrupted her. "No, Amanda, you do not understand, but that is my fault. I did not make myself clear before. Please allow me to explain."
His mistake? Amanda thought. This Ive got to hear. "All right, Ill listen," she said as she led them over towards her sofa.
Sarek seated himself beside her. "All that I explained to you before at the embassy is true," he began. "However, it seems I inadvertently left out one critical piece of data." He stopped. It was, indeed, difficult to admit to an error.
"The identity of my chosen wife."
"And, she is?"
"Me?" Shock, surprise, joy, confusion each swept across Amandas face. "Let me get this straight," she said softly. "You chose me to be your wife?"
Sarek permitted himself a slight twitch of his lips, the barest hint of a smile. "Yes, Amanda, that is why your input is essential. You are the most logical choice, and I deeply regret not making that clear to you earlier."
At that moment Amanda was speechless, and Sarek took her silence as encouragement. Again, he outlined, albeit briefly this time, his thoughts and plans concerning their upcoming nuptials.
"Your plans seem quite complete, Sarek."
"I thought you would find them agreeable."
"But," she added, "there is one major problem."
Sareks brow furrowed. "I do not understand. I see no problem."
Amanda hid her grin well, but she couldnt hide the mischievous sparkle in eyes. "You proceed from a faulty premise."
The furrow in Sareks brow deepened. "Elucidate."
Her best poker face in place, Amanda dared to explain. "You assume, Sarek, that I am willing to marry you."
Sareks face went blank. Never had such a thought entered his mind. As he tottered on the edge of insult, he realized she was teasing him, and he relaxed. "Ah, again, I seem to have made a mistake," he replied, matching her teasing tone. "I have neglected to ask." Then, taking a deep breath, Sarek spoke using his most honeyed tone of voice. "Amanda, will you marry me?"
"That depends, Sarek, on why you want to marry me."
Sarek frowned. Yet again, Amanda had confused him. Shaking his head slowly, Sarek replied, "Amanda, I told you that you were the most logical choice."
"Well, in that case," she answered as she stood up from the couch, "Im afraid Ill have to decline the honor."
Sarek stood with her. "I do not understand."
Amanda turned to face him. This time she seemed very serious. "Sarek, I love you, but I dont want to marry you just because its the logical thing to do. I want to marry you because you love me."
Sarek inhaled deeply. How do Earthmen deal with such females? he thought. "Amanda, love is illogical," he explained slowly as if to a child.
Crossing her arms over her chest, Amanda tilted her head back and began tapping a foot. "Of course, it is," she answered. "Whats your point?"
He held out his arms and looked around as if beseeching the gods to help him explain this to her. "I do not deny the existence of love. It does exist, Amanda," he confirmed softly. "But as it is admittedly illogical, it cannot be acted upon." What more can I say? How else can I explain this? "Logic is the cement of our civilization. I must act upon logic, Amanda, not love."
She uncrossed her arms and stepped closer to him. Her expression softened, and she looked up at him with absolute love. "And you chose me out of logic?"
Still she moved closer until she could touch his face. "Oh, Sarek, I will marry you even though it isnt logical." Then she kissed him.
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