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The setting for the Sheila & K'avir stories is the Star Trek Mirrorverse. Anything Star Trek-related are the intellectual property of Gene Roddenberry. All other characters, planets, star systems and content not within said scope are my own.



A/N:  I haven’t written a shortie in almost five years.  It doesn’t feel like it, but the dates are there.  So I’m long overdue.  

This story was originally written in the summer of 1994, when I was in college.  I had a ginormous crush on my astronomy teacher (the ‘why’ eludes me because it certainly had nothing to do with his looks; he was nowhere near as fine as Renzo is) and I never missed a class.  Unfortunately, even though astronomy is my favorite science, I had dreams of a psychology degree and once the science requirement was met, I moved on to my major.  Never forgot my astro prof, though.

Just recently, I suffered from an extended bout of insomnia, and during one crazy night, the essence of the story came back to me.  So here it is.  You may want to go here and pick a hottie of your choice so you can have a workable image of Renzo in mind as the story unfolds.



Friday evenings were all hers and she was fiercely protective of them.  Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were 10-12 hour days working at the university.  Thursday and Friday mornings were spent on her dissertation with no interruptions or distractions.  Weekends varied between work, play, and frustrating attempts at trying to be social when she really didn’t want to be. 

But Friday evenings…they were hers to do with as she pleased, and she usually preferred spending them alone, listening to music, drinking wine, reading books for pleasure or watching television.   She didn’t make or take phone calls, respond to text messages or mess around on social media.  She didn’t even like thinking about anything scholastic.  This was her preferred agenda and had been for the past three years.  Dr. Candreva always made sure she got teaching shifts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays so that she could keep her schedule.

Jupiter stood in the doorway leading to her back porch, staring out over the water.  The sun was setting and it was always calming to watch it pass over and down below the horizon.  She was sipping on a glass of frizzante Moscato and thinking about calling Rashaun over.  They hadn’t seen each other in over a week, and Jupiter wasn’t really pressed about it.  Lately, she’d been using her sometime boyfriend for nothing more than sex, and she didn’t know if he recognized it for what it was…and depending on her mood, didn’t care.  Jupiter and Rashaun had an open relationship, and Shaun took advantage of it as much as he could.  Jupiter was too focused on her work to entertain multiple side pieces, even though she could if she chose.  Hideji and Oliver were all too keen on wanting to be with her.

She took a deep breath of the salty air, enjoying the sound of the waves and then took a long sip of wine.  Nina Simone’s “Blackbird” was playing and Jupiter was in a good mood.  Her dissertation writing was going well.  She submitted her most recent chapter to her major professor on Monday and he promised to have it read within the week.  In eleven months, she would be finished with her education and looked forward to the next phase of her life.  She had a myriad of options.

Her phone rang.  Jupiter turned and looked over at the end table, where it lay.  Who in the hell was calling her on Friday night?  Her friends knew her schedule and respected it.  Her colleagues would be more likely to text, so whoever was making her phone ring was someone unfamiliar with her schedule.  Curious, she walked over and picked up the phone.

The screen read, “L. Candreva.”

Jupiter frowned.  Why would Dr. Candreva be calling her on a Friday night?  Then, suddenly, a dozen worries flew through her mind.  Something was wrong…did he not like her chapter?  Did he need her to cover his classes?  Was his family ok?  Did the college burn down?  Why was he calling???

Jupiter answered.  “Dr. Candreva?”

His voice was like warm silk.  “Hello, Jupiter.”

“Is everything all right?”


“Well…what’s going on?”

“I need to speak with you, and I’d rather not do it over the phone.  May I come to your house?”

Jupiter bit her lip.  “Is everything ok?”

“Again, yes.  Everything’s fine.  Don’t worry; you’re not in trouble.  I’m leaving school now.  May I have your address?”

Jupiter closed her eyes.  Something was most definitely not fine, but she wasn’t about to deny her mentor the information he requested.

“I live in Catamaran Beach.  8414 Sea Spray Drive.”

There was a pause.  “You live out by the Salena?”  Salena was the South Salena Sea, and the surrounding communities were fairly upscale.

“You know where I live, sir,” Jupiter said.  Then she wondered if he actually did.  It wasn’t like she was forthcoming with personal information.  He could have had the department secretary look it up, but probably thought it best to ask Jupiter directly.

“If I did, I’ve forgotten.  I can be there in 25 minutes.  Is it all right if I come over?  I know the timing is bad; I know this is your night off, but…”

“It’s fine, Dr. Candreva.”

“All right.  I will see you soon.”

Jupiter hung up the phone and finished her wine before closing the back door.  She ran her fingers through her curls and looked down at herself, wondering if she should change clothes.  She wore a simple sleeveless dress, bright green and ankle-length with a split up one leg.  Jupiter decided she looked good enough to entertain her major professor, a man she used to have a wickedly intense crush on back when she was an undergraduate at DSU. 

She wasn’t the only one.  Dr. Candreva’s freshman Astronomy courses were extremely popular; full of admirers, both male and female.  Jupiter sat up front with two other girls who were gaga for the handsome professor but not the content.  Jupiter admitted that while Dr. Candreva was easy on the eyes and ears, she was there for the science.  The freshmen courses were weeder courses, and by the time Jupiter matriculated to the sophomore level for astronomy majors, the class population was reduced by 75%.  She was one of three girls, and the only black girl.  By then, Dr. Candreva knew exactly who she was.

Even though she was fairly neat, Jupiter had been raised to make sure her home was always prepared to receive guests, no matter who they were.  She hung up her sweater, checked the bathroom to make sure it was up to standard and closed all the bedroom doors.  It wasn’t long before she heard his car in the driveway.  Jupiter peeked out of the window.  Dr. Candreva was getting out of his car, a gleaming black Mercedes S-600.  She wasn’t surprised that he drove such a car; Dr. Candreva was probably the most well groomed man she’d ever encountered.

Jupiter unlocked the door and opened it when she heard him on the stoop.

“Hi, Dr. Candreva.  Come in.”

“Thank you, Jupiter.”  He walked in the house and looked around the open space.  “This is a really nice area.  I’ve never been out here before.” 

He made his way inside, hands in pockets as he surveyed the room.  Jupiter closed the door and followed him in.  He was wearing a black V-neck top with the sleeves rolled halfway up, and matching slacks.  Jupiter smiled to herself.  The man was a whole snack and had to know it.  She was woman enough to admit it to herself.

“Have a seat,” she said.

He sat on her couch.  “What are you listening to?”

“I’ve got my playlist on shuffle, but this is Aretha Franklin’s “Something He Can Feel.”  Killer track.  Would you like something to drink?”

“Whatever it is you’re drinking,” he replied, pointing at her wineglass.

“Sparkling Moscato.”

“Sounds good.”

Jupiter got the wine out of the fridge and another glass, pouring as she walked over to the couch.  She handed him the glass and sat on the other end of the couch after refilling her own glass.  Jupiter crossed her legs. 

“What’s going on?”

Dr. Candreva sipped his wine.  “This is good.  Where did you get it?”

“The Mesa Fresca Winery out past Sugar Creek.  I go once a month.  They’ve got some really good wine.  They also have a bed-n-breakfast and a spa.  I’m going to plan a weekend there at some point.”


Jupiter nodded. 

Dr. Candreva looked at her for a moment and put down his glass.  “I’ll be honest with you, Jupiter.  I don’t know how to say what I want to say, and I’m definitely not sure how you’re going to receive it.”

Jupiter’s mind went in the only direction it could.  “Are you…retiring???”  If he was, she was going to have to get a new major professor, and the only one on her committee who would suffice was Dr. Hu…and she didn’t really want Dr. Hu as her major professor.  She'd have to get another professor to replace Dr. Hu if he had to step up to become her MP.  Dr. Smith was an asshole, and Jupiter had little interest in working closely with most of the physics professors in the department, but if she had to pick someone to be on her committee, it would be Dr. Yamamoto.

Dear God, what was she going to do?  Dr. Candreva had been her mentor since she was a junior at Dawnstar State.  He had taught her so much; she could not imagine anyone else attempting to fill his shoes.

Dr. Candreva looked startled.  Retiring?  Heavens, no!  I’m not old enough to retire…at least I don’t think so.  I’ve got a lot of years left.”

At Jupiter’s relieved expression, Dr. Candreva chuckled and then became serious.  “Jupiter, I wouldn’t do that to you.  I will see you through to the end of this journey, which is just under a year or so, right?”

Jupiter exhaled roughly and nodded.  “Eleven months.”

Dr. Candreva took a long drink of wine.  “I wish what I had to say was that easy.”

“What is it, sir?  Are you all right?”

He put the wineglass back on the table.  “I’m fine.”  Then he looked at her.  “I want you to call me by my given name, Jupiter.”

“What?  Why?”

“Would you do it?”

“Why do you want me to call you by your first name, sir?”

“Would you? Please?”

Jupiter blinked rapidly.  Almost without thought, the word slipped out.  “Lorenzo.”

“My nickname.”


“That’s the one.”

“But sir—”

“Please, Jupiter.”

Jupiter closed her eyes for a second and then opened them.  “Why…Renzo?”

Upon hearing his preferred nickname on her lips, Renzo closed his eyes and sighed.  “I have wanted to hear you say my name for a very long time, Jupiter.”

Jupiter didn’t want to ask another ‘why.’  She hated feeling stupid, and asking ‘why’ always made her feel stupid, even if she needed the question answered.  She hoped her expression conveyed it.

Renzo took another long drink of wine, emptying the glass.  “Can I have another?”

Grateful for something to do, Jupiter grabbed the bottle of wine and filled Renzo’s glass.  She tried to refill hers and found the bottle empty.

She stood up.  “I’m going to get another bottle, all right?”

“Fine,” he said.

Jupiter walked into her kitchen, keenly aware that Dr. Candreva—no, Renzo—was watching her.  She opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of Tozaki Asju.  Jupiter spied a container of Brie and thought she needed to eat something.  She’d been drinking wine since 4:30.  Jupiter grabbed the cheese and put both it and the wine on the counter.  Her hands were trembling and she didn’t know why.

“Do you mind if I make a little snack, Dr. Can—uh, Renzo?  I haven’t eaten since noon and I’ve been drinking wine for the past hour…”

“Not at all.  Do what you need to do.”  Renzo was perfectly aware of what Jupiter was actually doing.  “Take your time.”

Jupiter turned on her oven and prepared the Brie for toasting.  She covered the round with rosemary, cranberries, pomegranate seeds and walnuts and slid it into the oven.  She was too nervous and stunned to talk, as her mind was fixated on what he’d said to her.  I have wanted to hear you say my name for a very long time, Jupiter.

Jupiter pulled a box of artisanal crackers down from a cabinet.  She went back into the fridge for grapes and apples and put them on the counter.  Slowly, her heartbeat was returning to normal.  Renzo got up, holding his wineglass, and walked over to the counter.  He perched on a barstool and watched her for a few moments.  Jupiter was chopping the apples methodically.

“I’m sure that was the last thing you expected me to say.”

Jupiter didn’t look at him.  “You think?  What am I supposed to say?  I don’t know how to take this!”

“Then just listen to me while you fix something to eat.”

Jupiter put the knife on the counter.  “Before you drop any more nukes into my lap, have you considered the…potential issues…of whatever it is you have to say?”

“I’ve considered them for years, Jupiter.  I’m not at your house ignorant nor unprepared.”

Renzo’s voice had always been mellifluous and seductive, and the words he chose to use on Jupiter made it all the more so.  “I’ve been attracted to you for a very long time.”

Jupiter picked up the knife and finished cutting the second apple.  She put the apple slices in a bowl and ran water over them before adding lemon.  Then she started plucking the grapes off their stems.

Renzo reached for the bottle of Tozaki.  “Can you hand me an opener?  I’ll take care of this.”

Jupiter opened a drawer, pulled out a wine bottle opener and then handed it to Renzo.  Then she grabbed her wooden cutting board and arranged the grapes to one side.  She got another wineglass and put it on the counter for Renzo to fill when he opened the bottle.

“Nice brand,” he said, studying the bottle.  “From the same winery?”


“So just listen,” he said as he worked the bottle opener.  “Time can slip by us unnoticed, you know?  We have been working together in a mentor-mentee relationship for almost eight years. Ever since I realized you were serious about majoring in astronomy.”

Jupiter pushed the cutting board off to one side as Renzo successfully removed the cork and filled her glass.  “I was twenty years old.”

“Believe me, once I figured out what was going on with me, I was profoundly aware of that.”

“What was going on with you?”

“I didn’t recognize it for what it was until you enrolled in ASTR 1660 the spring of your sophomore year.  I usually don’t have the patience to deal with young students; I teach it because I love the material.  But that year, I looked forward to that class.  Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10:00 to 10:50, you and eleven other students, most of them boys.  You always sat in the front, in my line of sight, and I always wondered—no, hoped—that you were deliberate in your seat selection.  You used to take notes by hand and when you were listening intently, I could always tell because you would put the end of your ink pen in your mouth or run it over your lips.  I struggled with lecturing because I thought my admiration was obvious, so I made sure I looked at the boys in the rows behind you.”

The smell of toasting Brie filled the kitchen and Jupiter inhaled deeply.  She swallowed and bit her lip.  “It wasn’t.”

“What wasn’t?”

“Obvious.  Your admiration wasn’t obvious, at least not to me.”

“Good.  I was uncomfortable when I realized what was actually happening, and when it became clear…well, let’s just say I had to course correct, no pun intended.”

Jupiter smiled and put on an oven mitt.  She got the cheese out of the oven and put it on the stove before opening the aluminum foil.

“That smells amazing,” Renzo said.

“It’s going to taste amazing.  I love Brie.  So versatile.”  Jupiter took a drink of wine, closing her eyes at the taste.  She opened up the artisanal crackers and spread them on the cutting board.  “Please continue.”

“After that, you took two summer classes: Black Holes, taught by Dr. Hu, and Dr. Lau’s Advanced Introductory Physics.  No, I wasn’t stalking—I overheard them discussing you.  Positively, in case you’re curious.  Anyway, we got the paperwork for potential physics and astronomy majors at the end of the summer and I was pleased to see your name on the list.  During one of our department meetings—the one where we decide who gets to mentor who—I let it be known that I would be the one to guide you through the program.  And then you were sitting across from me in my office that fall, telling me all about your love for astronomy, your parents, and how you got your name.  You were so beautiful, so innocent…and so damned brilliant.”

Jupiter took a moment to process the man’s words.  All she remembered was what a hard-ass he was.  “You were so hard on me!”  She picked up the soaking apples and dumped them into a colander.  “It drove me crazy!  You weren’t nearly as hard on the others, but with me you were merciless!  I hated you for that, but I wasn’t about to let you win!” 

Renzo smiled.  He had beautiful teeth, supermodel-straight and -white, a stark contrast to his complexion.  “And look where you are now, Jupiter.  Graduating with a doctorate in astrophysics.  Co-author of an astronomy textbook for children.  Published thrice over.  You’ve presented at several conferences.  In research circles, people know your name. Your skill set can get you into any research institute of your choice.  Where are the others?  Not where you are, not even close.  Once I really got to know you, I knew I had a diamond in the rough and it was my job—my privilege—to make you shine.  I take my role as a mentor and major professor seriously, Jupiter.  How I felt about you had to be contained, minimized, crushed, because I couldn’t let it get in the way of your education and my responsibility in that regard.”

“Eight years,” Jupiter said.  “How come you didn’t just get over it?  Eight years is a long time to lust over a person; which is what that was, Renzo.  Lust, infatuation, fascination, crush…whatever.  It should have worn off long before now.”

Renzo sipped his wine.  “It should have.  It did not.  And don’t think I didn’t try to make it go away.  I did everything I could.  What I felt, I…unleashed…on my wife.”

Jupiter swallowed thickly and moved the cheese to the cutting board.  Hearing those words made her just the tiniest bit jealous and she didn’t know why.  She knew Renzo was married; she met his wife Madalena at one of the department’s social events.  Madalena Candreva was a plain but pretty woman, very quiet and content to let her brilliant husband shine.  Jupiter was surprised to see a man as sexy and as fine as Renzo married to someone like Madalena, and she wasn’t the only one.

Renzo saw the emotions flit across Jupiter’s face and sipped his wine.  “It didn’t work.”

Jupiter nervously ran her fingers through her short, thick curls.  “Wha—what didn’t work?”

“Redirecting my desire to my wife.”

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