Doug drove up to a posh complex of several-storey modern high rises. Bob was leaning out of the passenger window the instant Doug said, "Here we are." The high rises were ringed with tan balconies and otherwise covered in aqua glass.
"Looks like an aquarium," Jack pronounced.
Doug quipped to that in a crackly attempt at Scotty, barely heard over his shifting gears, "There be whales, here!"
Jack tried keeping his head out of the way, but Bob leaning over him really had him pinned, nearly to the front window. "I hope no clowns are going to start filing out of the floorboard," Jack quipped at Doug.
"Ha ha," Doug sarcastically laughed.
The crowded Jack turned his head and said to Bob's jean overalls, "Excuse me."
Bob leaned in distractedly. "Yeah," she agreed to excuse him before craning back out the window. She smiled as they passed a handsome older man in a suit. "Might like some of the neighbours," she said to herself, if just for fun. After Doug pulled up a short driveway, he stopped outside the garage to punch an access code into a keypad in a small box mounted on a post. Bob watched intently, memorizing the rather simple code. The garage doors began to rise slowly.
Bob looked incredulously at the doors and back at the keypad. That was what the humans called security? She could bypass that kind of system in about 10 microts, no problem. Bob shook her head in wonder at these backward humans as Doug pulled into the garage and parked the car. It took much more effort for Doug to pull the sputtering, stalling Honda into the garage than it would take her to break in and snurch everything. She decided she'd have to talk to John and Jack about the security here, what a joke it was.
Doug and Jack unloaded the luggage while Bob snuck around for a look. As with all of them she'd seen in the area so far, it was a rather cramped complex. Tiny planters, berms and terraces were stuffed in everywhere, trying to make it look more expansive. After a few minutes, Doug whisked Bob and Jack into the elevator and up to one of the penthouses. Even Bob, the experienced space traveler that she was, made an impressed frown when the elevator doors opened on the fifth floor.
Bob, Jack, and Doug stepped out into the marble foyer between the two penthouses. The foyer was floored entirely in black marble. Against the wall sat an enormous antique styled mahogany table upon which rested a glitzy vase with a huge bouquet of flowers. Subdued gold light fixtures suffused the whole foyer with soft light and contributed to the rich ambience.
Doug's voice broke Jack's attention from gawking. "Hey, Bob, come on, man," Doug was saying. Jack then saw that Bob had taken one of the flowers out of the ornamental bouquet. She fussed with rearranging them on some whim. Taking a couple different ones out, she started taking them apart to see what they're made like and only then took a sniff of some of the petals. Then she dropped the pieces onto the floor and walked over to the staring Doug and uneasily waiting Jack.
"What?" Bob asked.
Doug didn't say anything, but led Jack and Bob to the door on the right. Once inside they saw that the penthouse apartment was just as richly done as the foyer. The same marble from the foyer was carried over to the apartment entryway. Straight ahead was a hallway with several doors opening onto it. Jack looked to the left and saw that it led to a living area. Looking around, he also saw that the whole apartment as far as he could see was decorated in about a dozen different shades of grey. "It's so grey," he said.
"Yeah, they had some expensive interior designer do this," said Doug gesturing at the walls. "Cost them a huge amount of money for all this grey."
"Something wrong with grey?" asked Bob, a little defensively.
Jack looked at her and grinned. "Sorry, and no there's nothing wrong with grey at all. In fact it happens to be one of my favorite colors," he said. Bob grinned back at him and giggled while Doug just looked puzzled.
"Where's my room?" Bob interrupted before Doug could ask what the joke was.
"I thought you might want to stay with John," replied Doug. He pointed down the hall. "His is the last room at the end of the hall."
Bob grabbed her bags and scampered down the hall and opened the door. "Drad," she said excitedly as she looked into the room then rushed inside. Jack chuckled as he heard her opening drawers and examining the room. Doug looked a bit worried but Jack just waved it off. "Don't worry, she'll be fine. Where's my bedchamber, Duke?"
"It's this one, Your Emminence," said Doug leading him to the middle door in the hall. There was a wild cackle of laughter from John's, now John and Bob's room, that made Doug pause. Jack waved toward the room. "She's an exciteable kid. Let's see the room."
Jack opened the door to his room and stood in the doorway in shock. It was a suite actually. The bed was a little ways inside the door and beyond that was a large sitting area, complete with small entertainment center. Jack walked into the room and saw that there was a doorway on the other side of the sitting area which led to the bathroom and closet. "God," he exclaimed. "I think this room is bigger than Leslie's and my first apartment. I'd say this suite's bigger than the cabin."
"They're all like this," said Doug shaking his head. "It sure is a giant step up from that place John and I first stayed when we were pitching the Farscape project. Now that place was a dump."
"Was that the one with the giant bugs?" asked Jack.
"Yeah, the one with the cockroaches the size of Buicks. Even the spiders were afraid of them."
Jack laughed. "I remember that place. I remember the time I stayed there on your couch. I don't think I got any sleep that night because I was too busy defending myself from the cockroaches."
Doug laughed at the memory. "Yeah, I remember that. You finally gave up and invited us to go along with you to the Hilton. God that was heaven."
"Hey Jack, our room has its own bathing chamber," Bob breathlessly informed Jack as she ran into the room. She stopped short and cocked her head when she noticed the bathroom off Jack's room. "You got one too! Whoa. How many does this place got?"
"Have, Bob," Jack corrected. "The correct word is have, how many does this place have?"
Bob scrunched up her face at Jack. "Have, got, whatever. How many?" she asked and looked to Doug.
Doug thought for a moment. "Well, each bedroom has one. Then there's the one across the hall from this room and then there's one off the laundry room, so that's five."
"Five?!" Bob incredulously exclaimed. "Why the f- ah, why do you need five?" She cocked her head at Doug. "Only need one waste facility, any more's too much." She shook her head. These frelling humans always had to have a lot of anything. Even John was like that.
Doug shrugged. "Hey don't ask me, I just stay here."
"Naw, that's so's they can charge rediculous rents or leases, or whatever," Jack figured. "Put a lot of fancy trim on it, make brouchures marketed for the very, very wealthy, give it too much of something like bathrooms, cram it in some overcrowded area with other overpriced places and viola, sky's the limit. I just hope they don't come back on John for any of this fleecing."
Bob shifted impatiently and grabbed Jack's hand. "C'mon, Jack, let's go see the rest of the place."
In what seemed like no time at all, both males were in separate bathrooms, leaving Bob to wander into the main living area, caught in a sudden state of loneliness. As she stood alone in the large, luxurious room, she reluctantly let herself glance at a nearly wall-length mirror on the wall surrounding a decorative chest. Only then she fully realized that she was slightly crouched and radiating wary insecurity.
Drawing back, she reached a high table holding a huge, tall vase. She slid to rest on one foot and with half her rear on the table top, trying to stand straighter and seem more casual. Then she became conscious of how she was scanning her surroundings and automatically making mental notes of all the entrances, exits and areas someone could be hiding at or which she could use to hide. With a tiny gasp, she grasped at her hair and sheltered her eyes with her forearms. After a few moments of deep breaths, she let go and tried to sort out her feelings.
Here she was, in a situation that should be scaring her grotless. Even if it was partly or largely because of somebody else, John, as usual, she was still putting herself in danger. It was all she could do to stop herself from being flooded with thoughts of what could happen to her. Being here on Earth like this was all too similar to living in Nebari space and waiting to get found out as an itinerant anti-conformist who needed to be "remade" by mind-cleansing. For just being who she was, she could be horrifically and permanently destroyed.
In the past she'd turned to her thirst for the thrill of experiencing things to get her by when she would have been overwhelmed by troubles or fear. She might look at the sheer opportunities for excitement, or the variety of sensations and activities she could find here, or the pleasures and satisfactions of making it through all the challenges with her own resources. That was a very difficult thing to keep up, and it wasn't getting any easier the more she lived and learned. Since following John here, she'd had all too much time in which she had been left alone to face the gravity of her situation.
A hum of anxiety peeped out of her into the otherwise quiet room. Her mind seized on the differences between where she was now and being back in her "home" area. The word "home" was such a telling point. John could have called this home, and even if he didn't feel at home here anymore, it had been those things that made it home to him, like family, cultural things, or his pets. She couldn't call her place of origin her home. It wasn't anywhere she'd want to ever go back to.
About the only thing she had in common with John in homes was family, and that only because of her brother Nerri. That was also lost to her, long before she ended up here. This wasn't a surrogate home to her any more than John was actually a surrogate brother, but there were some senses of things she got from John about his home that were starting to get to her, especially his dad, Jack. Actually being here was exposing her to other things as well that she was starting to appreciate.
Compared to the life she was used to out there, it really was remarkably safe here, apart from the risk of a calamity like being caught bleeding blue. Everyone had to live with often unknown risks. There was a warmth from many Humans that she picked up on, with her keen sensitivity to those things. She knew they were deficient in many ways, like their eye sight or hearing, and even some of their thinking, but she never thought it was important. In fact, from the moment she met her first and favorite Human, she'd decided that, by and large, they were definitely one of the good things about the universe. Even though they tended to automatically think so too.
All around her she could see it reflecting in so many ways. The phony childish dren usually on television contrasted to the kinds of exploitation she was used to out there. The Earth sidewalk crossings showed something resembling an unwillingness to accept even a few people getting hit. Out there, where they existed at all, pedestrian safeguards were often reluctantly implemented to stem losses, and even then they sometimes victimized the public. There were naive, often huge flaws in everything Humans seemed to do. But the mix of childish selfishness, over-sensitivity and honesty Humans radiated was refreshing and even endearing to her. By the standards she was used to, amazingly little of it was actually dangerous.
She knew from what she sensed of John that it could be like this, but it was something of waking up in a dream world only to find it frighteningly real. There was a conflict springing up already. A survivor part of her had a compulsion to shut herself up in whatever refuge she could use John to get and being as safe as possible. She'd be physically safest, but it'd be stifling or even poisonous to her spirit. She also worried that she might become paranoid or have other troubles if she had to sit around staring at her problems too much.
The thirsty part of her spirit wanted to go run wild. She'd always had the urge to bust out, making a scene of her behavior, body, her sexuality and everything. She'd have all kinds of adventures and experiences while showing this place something Humans hadn't seen anything like before. It was almost a compulsion to be unique. It had settled down since being out from under the stifling conformity of Nebari Establishment, but she was bristling somewhere inside at the thought that some places on this planet could be a great place for her to bloom into something she hadn't known the likes of either. Even so, she still didn't want to hurt John. She really didn't know what to do yet, and it was driving her half farbots.
Somehow, she knew, she'd have to deal with these often conflicting things in herself and how to deal with where she was. She'd have to feel her way, but very slowly and carefully, which wasn't going to come naturally or easily to her. Bob swallowed, finding the beginnings of the resolves she needed just in time to manage a smirk for Jack when he walked in. She stepped from the table and walked more easily toward the windows to look outside.
Jack searched for and found the remote control for the television. Before he turned it on, he looked back to Bob and smiled. "Don't you want to get comfortable, young lady?" he casually asked.
It was just the thing from him, right down to the fact that it wasn't calculated, to bring a smile and a tear to her face. "Yeah," she said with a broad smile. She vigorously scratched her head through her wig. "Find, mmmy bed," she told him. She walked to John's room, suddenly wanting to just smell him on the bedding and loose herself in a cushy Earth cocoon.
Jack watched the oddly emotional Bob walking to the bedroom in her quirky as all get-out way. "That girl," he said while shaking his head, "must be from outer spa-....well yes," he told himself while turning on the television, "she is. Douglas?" he called. "you wouldn't happen to know if there's any golf on, would you?"
"Dude," Doug called back from the bathroom, "there's like, a whole golf channel they get, channel 572."
Jack tuned it to 572 and sat down with a sigh, tired from the flight and all the worry. Then it occurred to him. "I can't believe....I'm getting used to....an alien?"
John hit the redial button on the satellite phone for the tenth time as he pulled up to the underground parking garage of the condo. He'd just had the day from hell, and now to top it all off, Bob wasn't answering the phone. He absentmindedly punched in the security code as he listened to the phone ring and ring. Still no answer.
"Damn," he cursed through his teeth and threw the phone into the passenger seat in frustration. "I told her to stick close to the frickin' cabin!" A nerve behind his left eye began to throb. 'Great,' he thought. 'Just what I need.'
John pulled the car forward, clearing the rising garage doors by bare inches. The radio antenna struck the rising door and bounced wildly but John, distracted as he was, didn't notice. He pulled into his parking space, noting with distaste Doug's piece of crap car parked nearby. 'So Benedict Arnold is in the house,' he thought. 'Jerk probably thought I wouldn't even notice him sneaking out.' He'd counted on Doug's support during the meeting, but when he'd looked to him for confirmation on something, he'd seen Doug making a quick exit.
John grabbed his briefcase and the phone, slamming the car door shut behind him. 'Well, were gonna have it out when I get up to the apartment, the jerk. Now if Bob would just answer the damn phone.'
John hit the redial button again as he waited for the elevator. "Come on Pip, goddammit, answer," he muttered into the receiver as the phone rang and rang. Frustrated, he got into the elevator as it arrived and pushed the button for the fifth floor. Now he thought about it, he recalled that his dad was supposed to be there as well. A growing sense of dread began to fill him as the phone continued to ring and ring. Something was wrong.
The elevator doors opened and he stepped out, went to the door, and unlocked it. Suddenly an idea struck him as he stood there. He'd call his dad's cell phone; he should have it with him. John quickly dialed the number as he walked into the apartment.
"Hello," Jack's blessedly familiar voice sounded back loud and clear.
"Dad, thank god, I finally got through to somebody. Isn't that phone working? Where in the hell have you been, and where is Bob? Is she with you? She's not picking up the darn phone and I'm beginning to get worried."
"She's fine John, she's here with me."
John blew out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding as he walked down the hall to his room. "That's a relief. I was getting a little worried there'd been some problem, well, worried sick actually. You can never tell with Bob."
"Well don't worry son, she's fine and she's with me."
"What the-" said John as he paused in the doorway of his room. He stared at the suitcase that lay open on the bed, clothes scattered everywhere.
"Something wrong son?" asked Jack.
'What? Uh, no dad, it's just-something's weird here. Can you hold on for a second?"
"Sure, it's your dime."
John put his hand over the phone and yelled, "DK!" No answer. Jack walked swiftly out of his room and down the hall. "DK," he shouted again as he walked into the living room and right past Jack who stood there, cell phone to his ear, a smirk on his face.
"Uh, hi dad," John said absently as he walked past him. "DK," he yelled again before suddenly stopping and spinning in place as he realized who was there.
"Dad! What the-?"
Jack grinned, closing his cell phone and putting it back into his pocket. "Well hello to you too, son."
"I can't get Bob on the phone dad," John sat on the bed with a weary exhale. "I thought you said she was with you, but you're here, so where is she?"
"She's here," replied Jack. "Don't you think it's a bit extravagent to call someone in the same flat on a cell phone?"
But John wasn't listening. He hit redial again on the satellite phone and listened to the phone ring again and again. "I told that girl to stay close to the cabin, now where in the hell is she?"
"Uh, John, she's here with me." Jacks reply was diverted when Doug walked into the room from the balcony.
"Oh yeah well, here's a good friend," John stood. "I'm not so fond of redundant meetings myself so I just kept them distracted so you could leave. What's a friend for?" John raised his brows and looked at Doug with a bleary sarcasm. "Hey I've been talking a while, don't you want to leave?"
Doug just grinned and shrugged. "I had to go pick up your dad and Bob."
"Yeah, Bob, son," Jack said. "I told you she was here with me." John looked back and forth between the two of them.
Bob chose just that moment to walk into the living room from the balcony, stepping through the blind slats without troubling to move them out of her way. "Hey, you two I just saw-." she started to say when she spotted John and spontaineously leaped into his arms.
John, unprepared for Bob's aerial assault, barely caught her. She peppered his face with kisses as she bore him to the floor. "Didja miss me, huh? Didja?" she breathed excitedly, between kisses. "Australia, drad, let's m-go out, see more," Bob continued. She paused grinning wickedly at the man trapped beneath her. "Course it can wait," she said, her hands reaching for his belt.
Her actions snapped John out of his shocked state and he slapped at her hands trying to stop her. "No, Bob."
John tried gently to pry her hands off as she tried to unzip his pants. "I said no Bob. Now behave."
"Nnnnuh, 'mon on Crichton, you know you want to," she said with a smirk, redoubling her efforts.
"Behave!" John said as he grabbed her hands. Bob suddenly was lifted off of him. John quickly scrambled to his feet as Jack set the loudly protesting Bob on hers.
"Now behave, young lady," Jack said quietly to Bob, which got her to focus on him enough to stop squealing. "There's plenty of time for that later."
Bob twisted away from Jack and glared at him for a moment before breaking into a grin. Jack was right, plenty of time for that later.
"All right," John ran his hand over his head like he had a headache. "What are you two doing here?"
"Well hello to you too son. Doug asked me to come over. He thought you guys could use the help. I guess you'd say Bob's along for the ride."
John turned a glare to Doug . "Oh he did, did he?" John jerked his head toward the kitchen. "Can I see you for a moment DK? Excuse us for a minute dad, Bob. You and Bob make yourselves at home. You want anything to drink while I'm out here?"
"A beer would be nice son."
"No piss," Bob shook her head no.
John smiled to himself for a moment, brushed past Doug where he waited in the kitchen, and went straight to the refrigerator. John grabbed a beer, opened it, and drank all of it in less than a minute, something that Doug hadn't seen since they were in college and a sure sign that he was upset.
John set the empty bottle down on the counter and suddenly was in Doug's face, forcing Doug to back up against the counter.
"What were you thinking," John said fiercely while trying to keep his voice low. "Or is that the word for it?"
"Hey don't get mad at me," Doug defensively replied. "I thought we could use his help. Bob showing up was a surprise to me too."
"You had no right, no right at all to go behind my back and get my father involved in this, and now Bob. We can handle this ourselves."
"Yeah right," Doug sarcastically replied. "Like you're handling it now. Lies, half-truths, secrets and a smarmy attitude. That's really winning friends and influencing people. Dude, right now, hey, we need as many people as we can get on our side. Your dad's got connections. Maybe he can find out why they're on your back, call in some favors, call off the dogs."
"Great DK, how's that gonna look. Johnny Crichton running to his daddy for help every time he gets into a little trouble."
"A little trouble? John, this makes no sense, and that could easily mean big trouble."
"There's just some big shots with big inadiquacy problems. Once they flake off, this thing'll blow over in no time. We've already had this discussion, many times."
"That's just it, isn't it? It's not just gonna blow over John. We could lose our jobs over this."
John snorted derisively. "It's just a job DK, there's lots of others."
Doug rolled his eyes. "Yeah, that's easy for you to say, mister big-time astronaut. I'll be lucky to end up a high school science teacher if this falls apart. Oh no, not you, mister book deal, Oprah guest, IASA golden boy. Oh no not you. No, you'll land some cushy corporate consulting job somewhere where all you do all day is show up, look good, and bag the babes all day."
"I don't bag the babes all day," John angrily pointed at Doug, stepping back and getting a drink out of the refrigerator.
Doug continued on, his own temper starting to rise. "Is that why you don't want Bob here? Hm?" he knocked the back of his hand on John's upper arm. "Worried she'll put a crimp in your style, or don't you want her to find out that you hump more than a rabbit and not with her."
John shoved Doug against the refrigerator. "Shut the hell up and keep your damn voice down." He shoved his face up into Doug's. "You don't know squat about me and Bob," he seethed, pointing the bottle top in his other hand at Doug's nose, "and you're the one whose put Bob in danger by bringing her here, not me."
Doug shoved John away and stood there looking at John with a mixture of anger and puzzlement. "Bob in danger? How exactly have I put Bob in danger?"
"That isn't what I meant," John waved it off. "I just meant that you brought them all the way here for nothing."
"Bull! I just asked Jack to come, not Bob. You can blame him for letting her come, not that I'd bet he knew you wouldn't want her to. Now stop trying to evade the question. How is Bob in danger by coming here?"
John turned away muttering, "She's not, forget I said it."
Doug grabbed his arm and pulled John around to face him. "I'm not gonna forget it." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "If its something about Bob John, you know you can trust me."
"No I can't," replied John.
Doug recoiled as though he'd been struck. "You don't trust me? I've been your friend since grade school, John. We know everything about each other, we've never had secrets, and now suddenly you don't trust me enough to tell me what's going on."
John winced at the hurt that crept into Doug's voice. "It's not that I don't trust you DK. It's..." he sighed, "complicated."
"Then uncomplicate it," Doug nearly spit.
"I can't. Not right now. Just trust me to tell you when the time is right. Okay?"
Doug stared at him, his expression a mixture of hurt and anger. "So, let me get this straight. You don't trust me, even after everything we've been through together, but I'm just supposed to blindly trust you to eventually tell me the truth. Correct?" But John stared back, unreadable and unyeilding. "Fine, keep your secrets then," Doug turned to leave.
"No, f*ck you Crichton. You don't trust me then f*ck you." Doug yelled as he rushed out of the kitchen.
John slumped dejectedly against the counter. 'Way to go John boy. Piss off one of your only supporters.' He shook his head. 'What a way to end the day from hell.'
Only it wasn't over yet. He still had to face Bob and his dad, and convince them to go back home. 'Oh yeah, Johnny, that's gonna go over like a lead balloon,' John sighed and walked out of the kitchen.
Bob and Jack were talking quietly in the living room when Doug went slamming out of the apartment. They'd already heard the raised voices and they looked at each other as he slammed the door on his way out. Both looked around as John came out of the kitchen.
"What's wrong with Doug?" asked Jack.
John looked toward the front door. "We had a slight disagreement about how to handle this situation. You know how DK overreacts to everything." He sighed. "I'm afraid you've come all this way for nothing dad. We can handle it." John gave Jack and Bob his best high wattage smile.
"Uh, huh," said Jack skeptically. "Then you wouldn't mind if we stay a few days. I could nose around a bit, maybe see if I can find out why they keep hounding you."
John's smile faded a bit. "Uh sure dad that would be great. You and Bob could stay, see the sights and everything. I don't know how much time I could spend with you though, what with the tests and all."
Jack sighed. "Cut the crap, John," he said. "It's time we had a talk, son."
John laughed. "I think it's way too late for the sex talk dad, but hey, if you wanna talk about football or somethin' else I'm game. Well, Bob might get kinda bored, she doesn't like football." John turned toward the kitchen. "You wanted beer or somethin' dad?"
"I like footballs," Bob contradicted.
Jack sighed again. "You know I really hate it when you do that son."
John turned back toward Jack. "Do what?" he asked with all innocence.
"Keep up the endless stream of chatter hoping to confuse the person and change the subject. It never worked with me son and it isn't working now," said Jack.
"I don't know what you mean dad," said John still trying to play dumb.
Jack came to stand in front of John and crossed his arms. "I think we need to talk about what happened to you on the other side of that wormhole son and," he looked back to Bob for a moment, "about little grey girls."
"I don't know what you're talking about dad," John claimed, too smoothly.
"Certainly you remember Chiana don't you son? Girl with grey skin, black eyes, fluffy white hair, and blue blood." When John didn't answer Jack continued. "So you saying you don't know this Chiana, son?" Jack turned and winked at Bob who grinned back. "I'm sorry son, of course you know her as Bob."
John looked daggers at Bob who just grinned back. John grabbed her arm none too gently and began to drag her from the room. "Excuse us dad. I need to have an urgent talk with Bob."
"With Chiana," Jack stepped closer and looked intently straight at John. "Her name is Chiana."
John hesitated a moment with Bob pushed halfway through the doorway. John continued ahead with Bob and mumbled rhetorically, "What's in a name...."
John dragged Bob down the hall to his room, now theirs, and pushed her inside. As soon as he had closed and locked the door, Bob was on him, reaching around from behind to unfasten his pants. "Hey let's get you comfortable," she purred into his back. But he removed her hands from his pants and pushed away.
Bob merely smirked at him. "Come on Crichton, you know you want to," she said in a low, sultry voice. "You know you missed me." She looked meaningfully down at his crotch. "Really missed me."
John waved a finger at her. "Now's not the time for that Bob," he said stepping over to the bed in order to put some distance between them. He surveyed the open suitcase on the bed.
"I take it this is yours," he said indicating the suitcase. Bob nodded. "Right. Then don't bother to unpack, 'cause you're not staying," John started picking up Bob's scattered things and threw them back into the suitcase.
"Wha-? Yeah, yeah I am," Bob protested. "DK said you need our help."
John stopped throwing Bob's things into the suitcase and stood regarding her with his hands on his hips. "Yeah well, DK tends to overreact. For goodness sake, the man gets hysterical if his socks don't match. I don't need your help, or my dad's," he continued over her giggle.
Bob shrugged, then grinned cheekily at him. "Fine," she said, "I'm still stayin'."
"No you're not. You're going back on the first plane tomorrow and you're taking my dad with you."
Bob straightened up and glared back at him, her anger beginning to rise.
"You can't tell me what to do, Crichton. Mmm stayin'." She smiled tentatively at him. "Sides I can help."
"Yeah right," said John skeptically. "What are you gonna do, frell my bosses into submission."
Bob's mouth dropped open in shock. With a shriek she leapt at John and stuck him across the face. Bob's sudden attack caught John off guard and he staggered back, a hand to his burning face, but Bob was not finished. She yelled incoherently, rage bubbling up inside her, and she struck at him again but John managed to catch her flailing hands before she could hit him.
"Stop it Bob," he yelled as he tried to subdue the squirming, angry woman in his arms. Bob was past hearing, however, overcome by anger and hurt as she tried to kick him. "Stop it," he repeated, but it did no good. John finally pushed her against the wall, hard, and pinned her there with his body but even that didn't stop Bob from trying to hit and kick him.
"Stop it Bob, I'm sorry," he said low in her ear as he kept her pinned against the wall. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it," he said again as Bob tired, her struggles becoming weaker until they finally ceased altogether. Bob stood there, head down, breathing heavily, still pinned against the wall, but quiescent for the moment. "I'm sorry Bob. I didn't mean what I said."
"Why say it," she whispered her head still turned down toward the floor.
John let go of one of her arms to cup her chin gently in his hand and raise her head to look at him. "You bein' here scares me Bob." He let go of the shoulder he still had pinned and gently stroked her cheek with his hand.
She let out a wordless hiss of exhasperation.
"Pip. I told you how dangerous it is for you to be here, and you know I wasn't making it up. The people I work for wouldn't hesitate to take you and lock you up if you were discovered. That's the least they'd do to you. They'd dissect you Bob, cut you up to see what makes you tick." He paused as Bob gazed at him mesmerized by the concern she heard in his voice. "And do you know what they'd do to me or to my dad or anyone else who they even thought knew about you? It'd make what Scorpius did to me seem like a picnic. That's what would happen if you were discovered and I couldn't do a thing to stop it."
"But you're in trouble, I wanna help," Bob said.
"The best way you can help me little girl is to go home," he said. John leaned down and kissed, long and hard, his tongue invading her mouth. She resisted until the force of his passion melted her restraint. He finally broke the kiss after a few moments leaning his forehead against hers. "I want you safe Bob. Take my dad and go back to the cabin and wait for me."
Bob leaned against him burying her face in his chest; inhaling his familiar, comforting smell that heralded her safe haven from the bad things in the universe. "I wanna stay," she said, her voice muffled against his chest. "I can help."
"And I want you safe at home," he replied adamantly.
Bob smiled against John's chest, touched by his concern but equally determined to stay. Obviously reasoning with him wasn't working, so Bob decided to resort to one of her tried and true methods. Pressing closer to him, she pressed her hips against his and began to move them in that little figure eight motion that had him mesmerized every time he saw it.
"Missed you," she said her voice low and seductive. "Need you."
"Uh, missed you too," John said thickly. It was getting too hard, literally, for him to think. Bob's slow-motion grind against his hips was causing his blood flow to turn abruptly south. "Uh, Bob. What are you doing?" he said, his voice thick with desire. Bob just laughed lightly and increased the tantalizing motion. "Bob, stop it," he groaned but he really didn't mean it. "Bob, stop it, now's not the-" John repeated, only to be cut off when Bob grabbed his head and dragged it down so that she could kiss him. Bob continued to grind her hips against his as they kissed, even as her hand found its way down into his pants.
John gasped into her mouth as her hand found him and began to stroke him. He tore his mouth away from hers, groaning and muttering an incoherent prayer to all the gods for leather gloves and little grey girls. He groaned again as her hand tightened around him and at that moment he knew he was lost.
"Dammit Bob," he said as he pushed her back against the wall again and began to work frantically at her clothes. This time Bob didn't protest or struggle, she merely laughed, low and sultry in the back of her throat, as he tried to undress her. She released his now hard manhood and, with a few deft motions, freed him entirely from his pants, pushing them and his boxer shorts down. They fell to the floor and he stepped out of them kicking them away. Looking down, Bob noticed that his socks and shoes were still on, but it was too late to do anything about those as John redoubled his efforts to get her clothes off. He looked silly like that, but as usual he made silly into kinda cute in her eyes.
He finally succeeded in getting her overalls unbuckled. Bob stepped out of them as they puddled at her feet and kicked them away. John grinned his lustfully gleeful smile as he noticed the lack of underwear under the overalls and grabbed her striped t-shirt and pulled it over her head, Bob laughing as he did so.
Both finally naked, he pushed her against the wall again. John brought his mouth down over hers again and kissed her hard as he ran his hands lovingly and urgently down over her lean hips and hoisted her up. Bob wrapped her arms around his neck and quickly wound her legs around John's waist, her back braced against the wall.
Bob hummed a giggle into his mouth as he pushed against her, frantically seeking entry into her body. Unwinding one of her hands from his shoulders, she reached between their bodies to guide him to her. She fought a smile at finding moisture at his tip and lightly brushed him over the light white fluff covering her sex to the opening already wet and tightened in anticipation.
John plunged inside her. She gasped, tearing her mouth away from his as her back arched and her head hit the wall. He wasn't gentle, but driven by need as he buried his face in her sweet-smelling hair and began to thrust frantically into her. Every thrust crushed Bob against the wall, making the pictures on the wall rattle, but she didn't care, reveling in the brute passion.
He groaned against her ear. Bob felt his teeth graze her earlobe, then move slowly, nibbling at her jaw line as he began to search blindly for her mouth.
"Are you two all right in there?" a voice from the hallway broke into their private world. John and Bob looked at each other and froze in place. Jack! They'd forgotten all about him in their haste. Bob opened her mouth to reply but John covered it with his hand and shook his head at her.
"Yeah dad, we're fine, we're just talkin', you know. Why'd you want to know?"
"Cause the whole place is shaking like there's an earthquake going on, that's why. What are you two doing in there?"
"Nothing dad, we're just discussing some things, everything's okay," John desperately tried to sound calm and not short of breath, but he winced at the results. "We'll be out in a few minutes."
They heard Jack mutter, "discussion my ass," before he asked, "Bob are you all right? I thought I heard you scream a little bit ago."
John gave Bob a meaningful look before he removed his hand. Bob grinned at him again. "Mmm fine Jack," she managed to speak with the ease of being experienced at having to sound calm while under distress and laboring to breathe. "We're ah....we're just going through some, some things. D-drawer. Stuck. Be out in a few microts."
"Are you sure you're okay Bob?" Jack asked again.
"Yeah I'm fine," she replied.
"Okay," Jack replied, the skepticism clear in his voice.
Jack turned and started to walk back to the living room when there was a large thud against the wall and the pictures along the hallway wall rattle. He heard muffled giggles and John's quiet groan, "gawd Bob you're killing me."
Jack shook his head as he entered the living room. Young people these days, couldn't even wait until they were in bed. He grinned, remembering a time when he and Leslie were equally as eager as he sat down on the couch, picked up the remote, and turned on the TV.
Bob grinned mischievously at John and tightened her inner muscles around where he was buried inside her. John pushed her against the wall resuming his frantic thrusting. A groan escaped him. "Gawd Bob you're killing me," he said quietly. Bob just giggled.
John kissed her, his mouth ravaging hers in his need and his frustration, even as he continued to plunge frantically inside her, driving them both relentlessly toward release. Bob wound her legs a little tighter around his waist as he pushed her hard against the wall a final time. She tore her mouth from his and screamed loud and raw as she came in a wave that dazed her vision into sightless spots. John came an instant later, his groan of completion muffled by Bob's hair. John's knees finally gave out from the strain and they slowly slid to the bedroom floor in a sated tangle.
Struggling to control their breathing, they lay together for a while. Bob pawed the top of his head and nuzzled the side of her face against his. "Be okay. You'll be okay," she willed and barely whispered.
Laying under her love at that moment he finally felt okay, for the first time in what seemed like ages. "You'd say that to a dead rat," he retorted, but it didn't cover the tears of love in his voice.
"Yeah....well don't be a dead rat or I'll have to kill ya," she smart assed back to him, still carressing lovingly with her hand.
"Okay that's a promise," John smiled into her ear and finally gathered the composure and strength to pull away from her. "Get dressed," he said grabbing his pants and standing up.
"Told ya you missed me," Bob said grinning triumphantly as she stood and began to search for her clothes. By the time she had gathered her scattered clothes and dressed John was composed and ready to face his father. Bob's triumphant smile didn't wane a bit as they left the bedroom.
Jack was sitting on the couch in the living room watching television. He looked up as they entered and turned it down from the high volume he'd had it on.
"So are you two finally done 'talking?'" he asked.
John had the good grace to blush but Bob just laughed as she bounced over to Jack. She plunked herself down next to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Jack couldn't help but notice that she had the unmistakeable smell of sweat and sex as well as her own distinct scent. He couldn't fight a blush.
"Yeah, we talked. I'm stayin'," she said, that triumphant smirk lodged on her face.
"No you're not," John retorted and pointed at her as he walked over to the other couch. "You two are going back on the first plane tomorrow."
They both looked at him. "No we're not," they said in unison.
John awoke suddenly when Bob scrambled madly over him in a rush to get out of bed.
"C'mon mom just five more minutes," he mumbled as he struggled to wake up. He heard the bathroom door slam and Bob moving around in there. "I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go," he quipped to no one in particular as he stared blearily at the clock on the nightstand. The clock read 2:06 am. Or 2:08, his sleepy eyes couldn't make it out clearly enough. Early or late depending on how you looked at it. Late to him, early to Bob, he figured. John snuggled back into the warmth for a few minutes before he noticed that Bob had not reappeared from the bathroom.
"You all right in there?," he called out. He held his sleepy head up with much effort but no answer came. Then he heard the unmistakable sound of someone vomiting. John sat up, threw back the covers, stumbled over to the bathroom door, and knocked on it.
"Bob? You all right in there?" he repeated. Again no answer except for another round of retching. John threw open the door and turned on the light. Bob was kneeling on the bathroom floor, her head in the toilet as she threw up again. "Bob, what's wrong are you all right?" he said as he quickly knelt beside her.
'No, mm so frelled you dumb drannit,' she wanted to reply, but all she could do was retch again. John grimaced at the sound but rubbed her back, hoping to be helpful. There really wasn't much he could do until she finished, so he settled for that.
Bob felt dizzy and weak as she finally finished throwing up and pushed away from the toilet. She practically collapsed in a heap in his lap and buried her face in the comfort of his warm thigh as she waited for the world to quit spinning.
John gently stroked her hair. "Are you feeling any better now?"
"Noh, imph noh fefulmn butler," she said, her reply muffled by his thigh.
Bob turned her head slightly so he could hear her. "Noh, mm not all right. Stupid frelling human food."
John grinned above her head but continued to stroke her hair. "Well, maybe you shouldn't have tried to imitate the three little pigs all by your little ole self."
"Was hungry," she replied.
"Yeah, but you ate enough for an army, Pip, way more than you usually eat. Keep that up and I'll have to call you Porky Pip."
Bob grimaced. "Oh. Thanks, Crichton," she sarcastically replied.
He grinned again. "Hey, thats me, Mr. Sympathy. C'mon let's get you a drink so you can wash out your mouth, nothin's worse than that taste, and then you're going back to bed."
Bob smiled and moved her head closer to his crotch. "Like it here, wanna stay."
John laughed. "Course you do, but, Little John ain't makin' no more public appearances tonight. Both of us need shut eye and you'll probably feel better lying down."
"Always trying to get me on my back, aren't you Crichton," Bob giggled.
"That's not that hard, Bob, come on darlin'." John helped Bob to her feet, surprised she didn't give him a good sock with her elbow for that crack and more surprised about how shaky she was. He waited next to her as she rinsed out her mouth and then helped her back to their bed. Bob was shivering when he pulled her to him. "Gawd Bob, you're like ice," he wrapped himself around her and pulled the covers over them both. "Maybe you should stay here tomorrow," he suggested.
"Wanna go," she murmured sleepily against his chest, "wanna help."
"I'd feel better if you didn't. Let dad and I check things out first, you stay here. Are you listening Bob?" When he got no answer he looked down to see the Nebari sleeping peacefully. He kissed her on the forehead, pulled her tighter to him and closed his eyes, trying to go to sleep. But sleep eluded him.
His mind kept playing scenarios over and over. What if Bob was truly sick, how would he help her? What if Bob had caught some bug harmless to humans but deadly to her? Or what if she was developing some kind of superflu, or other bug, that would kill her and everyone on Earth? The scenarios played over and over and he could come up with no solutions. Human medical facilities were primitive compared to the Uncharted Territories and it was safe to say that no facility on Earth had the ability to treat a Nebari.
John finally settled down with a sigh. He just had to hope that Bob was okay, and if not, try to find a way to help. 'Hey that's all I could do,' he told himself, not for the first time, as he finally drifted off to sleep.