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Donna S. Frelick

February 14, 2253

Midshipman James Kirk stood in the shadow of a potted palm and chafed under his dress grays. He wasn’t the only one who hated these formal affairs; most of his fellow Academy cadets stood in similar stiff discomfort in other corners of the room, smiling uneasily when called upon to be sociable. The quarterly Commandant’s Ball was not optional, however. Cadets of midshipman and higher rank were required to attend, unless, of course, they were on restriction for some reason. Kirk almost wished he’d racked up a few more demerits.

"Aw, don’t take it so hard, Jimmy," he heard someone say. "It’ll all be over in a couple of hours."

"Lieutenant Finney," he said when he saw who was teasing him. "How are you tonight, sir?"

"I’m fine," Ben Finney replied with a scowl. "And for God’s sake loosen up a little."

"Yes, sir."

Finney sighed. "Look, I am currently I’m your instructor in Records Management, but it hasn’t been that long since I was standing there in an itchy new dress uniform. Here, have a drink."


"You’re legal, aren’t you?

"Well, no, sir. I turn twenty next month."

"Close enough," Finney said firmly. "Drink."

Kirk took the glass of champagne and gulped it gratefully. After all, he’d just been given a direct order.

"Hey, go easy on that. We’ll both be in the brig if I have to carry you out of here."

Kirk bristled a little at the implication. He had more experience in this area than Finney might realize.

"So," Finney said, surveying the brightly lit ballroom. "No date tonight?"

The reason he’d been standing alone in this corner came back to Kirk with a crash. "No, sir. My girl and I broke up last week."

"What? You let that lovely creature get away? Shame on you, Jimmy."

"Well, it wasn’t my idea, sir," he said testily. And what business was it of Finney’s anyway?

"Will you stop calling me ‘sir’?" the young lieutenant protested. "I don’t see any brass within a hundred paces."

Kirk must have been feeling the effect of the alcohol because he blurted out a response before he had time to edit it. "Then what the hell should I call you?"

Finney laughed. "That’s better." He snagged another couple of glasses from a passing a tray and handed one to Kirk. "Call me Ben as long as there’s no one to hear it. But do it in class, and I’ll have your ass walking the line every night for a week."

"Yes...uh, understood."

Finney caught sight of a woman in the crowd. "Ah, there’s Serita," he said, waving her over. He grinned at Kirk. "And looks like she’s got someone with her that’ll make you forget all your troubles."

Kirk quashed an urge to bolt. Making small talk with the instructor, his wife and one of her dowdy friends was not the midshipman’s idea of a good time, champagne or no champagne. He started giving serious thought to earning enough demerits next quarter to spare himself this ordeal another time.

But any notion of escape instantly dissipated in the warmth of the smile from Serita’s anything-but-dowdy companion. She was beautiful, as graceful as a dancer, her hair a mass of golden curls that swept up from her neck to the top of her head. He couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to see those curls falling across her soft shoulders.

Kirk didn’t realize he was staring until Finney discreetly elbowed him in the ribs.

"Ruth Bonne, this is Jim Kirk," Serita was saying. "Jim is one of Ben’s students this quarter."

Kirk did his best to ignore his body’s instinctual response to the young woman and act like the officer and gentleman he was supposed to be. He took her hand—it was warm and smooth—and tried to keep from grinning like a Tellarite ape-dog as he said hello. Her eyes were the blue of Iowa skies in October.

It was a long, blissful moment before Kirk realized Serita was speaking again. "Ruth is on home leave from Delta Aurigae. She completes her doctoral studies in philosophy at the University next summer."

Kirk deflated. He had enjoyed the few philosophy classes he’d taken, but he was no deep thinker. He made an effort to sound intelligent. "Philosophy? Do you have a favorite?"

"Ptorak of Andor," she answered with a sparkle in those blue eyes that showed she was on to him. "You?"

Kirk said the first name that came to mind. "Spinoza."

"Ah," she said with a smile. "An ethicist."

He laughed. "Actually, what I know about philosophy you could put on the head of a pin, along with all those angels you’re supposed to be able to fit on there."

Ruth was kind enough not to tell him she already knew that. "That’s just as well. I’ve had enough philosophy to last me for a few weeks. I’d much rather talk about something else."

"All right," Kirk said, brightening. "Let’s start with you."

She smiled again. "If you insist. But surely there’s a spot outside where we could escape this ungodly noise?"

"Careful," he whispered, more for the excuse of putting his lips close to her ear than for any real need for secrecy. The delicate orange flowers that she wore at one shoulder smelled deliciously of ginger. "I think Serita may have been on the music committee."

She giggled appealingly. "You know, I think you’re right."


The rough, humid interior of the greenhouse at the far end of the commandant’s garden was a stark contrast to his backyard; the festive light had dimmed to the near darkness of the moonlit night.

Ruth was in his arms, her face timed up to him. "What?" she said. "Suddenly shy after that marvelous buildup?"

His heart was trying to break down the inside of his chest. The ache in his groin was fully developed. Her body was molded tightly to his, the skin of her bare shoulders and back was a delight to his fingertips. He kissed her, and her mouth was warm and yielding, inviting him deeper. His arms snaked around her back and held her in close. She moved against him, using her hips as skillfully as a hand. She moaned—God, she moaned! Was it possible a woman like this could want him as much as he wanted her?

Jim had no idea how they were going to accomplish anything in the verdant confines of the greenhouse. But he couldn’t stop to think; his body was overwhelmed with her. He wanted her desperately. He was already moving beyond arousal, craving the heat and rhythm that would take him to heaven. Please, God, don’t say no. Just let me...

Gently, she pulled away from him. He could see, even in the darkness, that she was smiling. Her chest was rising and falling with quick breaths. "This won’t do," she said, indicating their surroundings.

Disappointment ripped him like a knife in the belly. Oh, no, please... "But..." he started to protest.

She laid a soft finger on his lips. "Why don’t you take me home?"


Ruth’s apartment was small, decorated sparely, with a few handmade wooden pieces in the sitting room, a futon on grass mats in the bedroom beyond. Jim touched the ladderback chair hanging on a Shaker peg near the door. The wood was flawlessly silky.

"This is beautiful," he murmured as his fingers skimmed the chair leg.

"Yes," she said, standing very near him. "It’s a genuine antique. Four hundred years old. Cost me six months’ discretionary stipend." She smiled. "But it was worth it."

She slipped her arms around his neck and nestled into his embrace. "We started something in the greenhouse. Would you like to finish it?" She teased him with a light touch of the lips. "I would understand if you’d changed your mind, but I would be very disappointed."

The ache of his desire returned in a breathless rush. He pressed closer to make sure she knew it. "I wouldn’t be disappointed," he said as he sought her sweet mouth. "I’d be devastated." His tongue slipped between her lips for a long, delirious exploration. She welcomed him with a taste like rosehips and clover honey. Her mouth, her skin, the crush of her breasts against his chest, assaulted what little control he had. He was in critical meltdown, and he couldn’t bring himself to stop it.

Reading the urgency in his body, she broke off and lifted her lips to his ear. "Slowly, darling. Give me time to enjoy you."

He nodded. He didn’t trust himself to speak, the shaking in his body was stealing his breath.

She walked away from him into the bedroom. At the center of the room, she turned to face him. Then she reached for the clasp that held her long gown in place and let the shimmering folds drop to the floor.

He stood motionless at the door for a long moment, following the contours of her perfect body with his eyes. She held herself confidently under his gaze, without a trace of the embarassment or nervousness he’d encountered in the girls he’d loved before. She was different that way—stronger, more self-possessed. The difference was intoxicating.

He stripped off his boots and most of his uniform and joined her by the bed. He touched her face, tracing the smile on her lips with his fingertips. He found the clips that held her hair in place and removed them, shaking the curls out over his hands and down her back. She stood in quiet poise while his hands traveled over her delicate ears and graceful neck, her shoulders, the generous curve of her breasts. At last he circled her tiny waist and drew her into his arms. He kissed her, lifting her up and into his hips. She fit him so exactly that he imagined he could feel her wet heat through the cloth of his trousers.

He wanted nothing more than to feel that heat enveloping him, engulfing him, drawing him in. But once more she retreated from his grasp. She knelt on the bed, tugging at his belt to pull him closer. She undid the closures and pushed his trousers down over his hips, leaving him open to her hungry touch. His breath caught in his throat as she caressed him.

Nothing in his adolescent experimentation, nothing in the giddy freedom of his middle years at the Academy, nothing he’d ever experienced had prepared him for Ruth. She knew so clearly what she wanted. He wasn’t sure how, but he understood that she was willing to teach him what he needed to know to please her. He had only to find the self control to let it happen.

She looked up and smiled. "You’re so beautiful," she said, holding him as if she owned him. "I want to taste you. Can you wait?"

God, no! he thought. But he wasn’t going to disappoint her if he could help it. He took a deep breath. "I’m sure as hell going to try."

She lifted him to her mouth. The warmth of her lips, the wet flick of her tongue sent a hot sizzle of sensation through his groin. With a heroic effort he held on, though everything in him screamed to let go. He breathed, and found himself watching her face as she took him in. Her eyes were closed with pleasure, as if the velvet of his skin and the steel beneath it was as much a joy to her as her touch was to him. Her face was a revelation; he was determined to wait for her if it killed him.

After a moment, she withdrew and lay back on the bed. He stretched out on top of her, ready to move on to the next stage, but again she stopped him. "My turn now," she whispered.

No woman had ever asked him for that pleasure, though one or two had allowed him a tentative taste. He tried hard to reign in his eagerness, to take his time as she had with him. He pressed his lips to the tender hollow of her throat, working his way down to her round, upturned breasts, across her belly to the downy triangle between her thighs. He settled in to explore this new territory thoroughly, breathing in her musk, delighting in the swirl of her juices and the buttery texture of her flesh. For a while, he was so focused on the pure sensory delight of his experience that he barely noticed her response.

Then she whispered his name, and he understood that she wasn’t stopping him, she was suffering her own sweet torment of need. He began to perceive the subtle signals that revealed her body’s response to him—she liked it this way, not that; here, not there. In sudden inspiration, he added the touch of his hand and was rewarded with a gasp of pleasure. She was close now; he could feel the tension building, demanding resolution. He tuned himself to a more deliberate rhythm and plied it until at last she cried out and arched under him, passion overflowing into orgasm.

He moved to cover her body with his, unable to wait any longer. Poised at the gates of paradise he begged for admittance. She breathed a single word in his ear—" Yes"—and with a groan he pushed inside. He pulled back slowly, then thrust in again as far as her flesh would allow. Back—and in again. He felt her open ahead of him, until he was buried deep in the heart of heaven. They moaned together in recognition of this intimacy, and he began to stroke in earnest.

She came again quickly, her legs tightening around his buttocks and pulling him in even further. The rippling pulse of her orgasm broke down the last ramparts of his control. She urged him on, and in seconds he was gone, wave after wave of climax surging through him until she had taken everything he had.

When the spasms finally stopped, he lay inside her and waited while his heartbeat gradually returned to normal. He suddenly knew with the certainty of memory that this night with Ruth would mark a change in him. She wasn’t his first lover; she wouldn’t be his last. But she was the first to show him what it truly meant to make love to a woman. He would never be a boy again, in the bedroom or out of it. And the man he became that night sighed with grateful satisfaction, wanting nothing more than what she had given him.

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This story can be found in printed form in ORION ARCHIVES 2229-2265  THE BEGINNINGS3
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