Philip returned to shadow Bob when she emerged from the crowd and walked out of the conference room toward the restaurant. Noticing that she had a business card in her hand again, Philip asked, "Here on business?"
Bob sneered at him. Before she made the restaurant, she turned to face Philip and asked, "Didn't you have something in your car?"
"Yes, yes in fact," he confirmed.
"Wait here," Bob told him with a long look at his lips, meant to intrigue him. It worked. She heard him growl to himself and she could feel the promise of excitement. Anticipation fired arousal and she bit the tip of her tongue. None the less she was done with him for now and had other things on her mind which easily eclipsed any other thoughts at the moment. Without further hesitation, she turned and started walking toward the restaurant.
"Hey where do you think you're going," Philip snapped impulsively.
A defiant glare back to him over her shoulder blindsided him. "Where I want," she curtly retorted.
"Uh I know," Philip said while walking along side of her and stalling for time so he could think of something to say that wouldn't tick her off. There was something formidable about her that made him decide to stick to being patient and wooing her. Besides he was finding her very entertaining in the meantime. The view from behind wasn't exactly discouraging his interest either. He did briefly consider that her plastic tan skin looked fake. If so she would have to be coated in makeup from head to toe and he figured that was impractical if not impossible. Since she also looked on the unreal side in other ways, he was happy to buy the illusion. Not caring if he sounded a little petulant Philip asked, "What if I wanted to come with you?"
That question earned him a glib retort, "I'd have to guess you weren't listening."
"You win," Philip conceded with a shrug. Roberta either didn't hear or was completely unimpressed. She pushed hurriedly ahead and into the restaurant. Watching from inside the doorway to the restaurant, Philip saw a buss boy deliver a tub of plates and himself head first into a service aisle nook as she crossed the restaurant. "Ha!" Philip laughed, clasped his hands and spun back out into the hallway to wait, with the sounds of a few breaking plates following.
Bob was so distracted and in such a haze that she didn't remember right away where she had left her humans. So she started covering the restaurant, which she absently noticed was modestly busy now that most of the wedding crowd seemed to have left. Some guy who seemed to be working there saw her as she walked past, stared at her and slid all the plates he was collecting right off the table. 'Humans can sure be clumsy', she thought to herself, 'but he sure has a nice face and arms'.
Soon she remembered where they had been earlier, at the far side of the restaurant. Jack was still there, seated facing the inside of the restaurant and preoccupied having dinner. Bob could also see his cell phone on the table near him. She saw him looking pensively at his cell phone for a moment and instinctively felt that he must have recently spoken with John about her. 'Why should I care what his frelling sire thinks?' she argued at herself but it was too late. A lump formed in her throat.
Some clumsy diners distracted Jack to look around at the noise but he didn't see Bob until she arrived nearby the table. Studiously fixing his attention on his plate, Jack shook his head slightly to himself and told her a little more sternly than he intended, "Take a seat."
Standing at the table side with a hand on her hip she asked through a broad smile, "What'd I do now?" But she was still doing a poor job of hiding her nervousness as usual.
"Nothing dear," Jack told her, "it's just that you missed John." She started to sit but Jack finally tore his focus from his dinner plate and gestured her to go around to the seat she'd taken earlier. Meanwhile he moved himself back around to where he was sitting before and could enjoy the view of the course. At the next table over, the eyes of a man who had been enjoying the view of the golf course glanced at Bob. His hands were busy cutting his steak but when he took a double take at Bob and his eyes stuck on her, he started sawing into his steak like a being possessed. Meanwhile Jack explained, "He called for you while you were gone."
"Oh," she said very simply and walked around to take a seat where he had gestured. Seeing the man frantically sawing his steak, Bob paused before sitting to lean forward and clue in Jack in a whisper, "If you get anything else, don't get the semi-square two dench thick piece of bovine flesh, it's seriously tough."
The diner staring at Bob finally sliced through the thick steak. His distracted sawing sent the plate flying and crashing into pieces on another table. Jack answered Bob over the noise, "Thanks I'll keep that in mind. What else did you talk about with Philip? How is he these days?"
"He's pretty hot," Bob bluntly answered. "I think he wants to frell me in his transport. Car. He said you're okay, your family is frelling fharbots and John's the drenhole that cost him his career at IASA."
Jack choked on his mouth full of food. Springing up and into action, Bob scurried around behind Jack, grabbed him in a strange way with her arms and back of the chair both in play and squeezed the tar out of him until the food fired out of his mouth and onto the other side of the table and he collapsed face down beside his plate with Bob half leaning over him. "What was that about?!" Jack gasped.
"Just freed your frelling windpipe and you ask me what that was about?" Bob said and chidingly smacked the dear silly male on the shoulders before returning to her seat. While absently sweeping the chunk of half eaten food ejected from Jack off of her place mat with a wine list, Bob explained, "You have something like it. Call it the Hindenburg Maneuver."
"There was some resemblance," Jack said while he peeled himself off of the tabletop, straightened up and caught his breath. "Whew. Well, Miss paramedic," he called Bob, who was now fanning the unusually pinkish looking human with the wine list, "your zealous action was very impressive, but I'll recover. I was uh, just caught by surprise. I don't think Philip expected you would be telling me that. At least not exactly in that way." From the way Bob shrugged, Jack guessed that she couldn't care much less about the social etiquette. According to John, that would be among the least of the problems he'd have with Bob.
Jack kept reminding himself that she literally wasn't human. On the surface, sitting across from him was a very petite, tan and bold little foxette with a mod black bob 'do and quirky personality, a strange but enchanting young Miss who seemed incurably attached to his beloved idiot son and was a pleasure to be frustrated with. But as he reminded himself, under the passably human veneer and behind those eerie black eyes was Chiana, a naturally gray, blue blooded alien who grew up in outer space under circumstances he didn't want to know about and also had the capacity to be very dangerous. But he knew she had a wide range of deep feelings human enough for him to understand well enough and her attractive presence certainly reminded him that he was still a red blooded, foolish young man somewhere inside.
Whatever her disregard for his culture's standards of confidence, it didn't escape Jack that her honesty was refreshing and currently advantageous. Besides she had him when she wryly asked, "Don't tell me you didn't have any clue."
"We all have our share of uncharitable thoughts," Jack said.
"Easy for you to say," Bob retorted, "you're the only one he was being respectful about."
"I wonder why," Jack said as he resumed eating his meal.
She closed her lips and looked aside in thought. His comment impressed her, but she couldn't put her thoughts together any further to continue any conversation. All that was in her head was a thundering, billowing dark storm cloud of churning anxieties and thoughts about the usual greebol, John. Talking with John was impossible and if she listened to him, she knew what would happen. His voice would tug at her heart, arouse her further and make her cry right here and now that she wanted to be near him. Whether or not he wanted her with him right now.
Jack seemed to know exactly what she was thinking about and pushed the cell phone across the table. But from her perspective Jack was on John's side. Bob looked down at the cell phone in front of her as though it were insulting her, with her arms folded and lower lip in a pout that looked petulant and very cute to Jack. Turning his attention to his meal, Jack waited for her mood to ease. But when a few minutes passed without the normally mercurial Miss shifting an eyebrow, he decided her mindset might be more or less intractable. Finally taking a good look at her across the table he noticed she had a gold eagle pin placed oddly on the collar of her shirt. He couldn't remember seeing it earlier. Changing the subject he asked, "Where did you get that eagle pin?"
"Pawn shop," Bob answered.
"Oh? What did you pawn?"
"Pawn?" she asked from her brow. To her that was an unfamiliar use of an unfamiliar word.
"I won't ask," Jack decided. Bob grinned at the perplexing human silliness on one side of her cute lips and leaned back and stretched. Jack watched until she settled into a bored and petulant pout, seated leaning forward with her arms crossed in her lap. Changing the subject again he asked, "Would you like to order something for dinner?"
She shook her head no.
"Would you like to see a menu?" Jack asked.
She shook her head no, but stood up and walked to a service aisle, took a menu and returned to her seat with her nose in the menu. Soon she looked away and it was obvious she was thinking of something else all along.
"See anything you like?" Jack prompted her.
"Nno," she maintained with a sure shake of her head.
"Maybe desert?" Jack asked. The lower lip returned. "Maybe not." A few more bites of dinner later, he told her, "He's really concerned about you and would like to talk to you." She nodded understandingly but didn't say anything. After a few more moments she was pretending to be interested in everything nearby except the phone. The act didn't change a bit when the phone chimed again. "That'd be John," Jack told her. But it seemed she was so disinterested she didn't even hear him. It chimed and chimed with John's typical persistence. Finally Jack asked, "Would you like me to get that?"
"Not really," Bob answered a little flippantly. Bob felt that besides being bothered and uptight, Jack was also determined to have her talk to John. Her heart, which was really annoying her, was also determined that she should talk to him and some sense told her she should eat and then let Jack take her back to her place. But something inside her just couldn't stand any more and shed off all the layers of accumulating responsibilities. Jack picked up the phone and she stood right up and told him, "Enjoy the chat," and went to walk off.
"Now you two have to work with each other," Jack sharply told her, handing the phone out toward her.
"No!" Bob hotly refused, grabbing the phone and slamming it down on the table. "No," she repeated with less volume and more anxiety. "And the last thing I need is him thinking he has me because I have to have him. You talk to him. No. I don't need to. And I have a ride back to my place. So you can....en-enjoy yourself, and talk to Mister Smug, and enjoy your dinner, and your dessert, and the bus! And-" Awkwardly hanging there with her eyes searching in thought for a moment, as soon as she was sure she had run out of things to add she said, "....yeah," nodded to herself and walked off obviously irritated.
Jack scowled and picked up the phone, which turned out to be broken in half, with a few pieces falling off while he carefully raised it to his face and answered. "John?"
"Dad, what took you?"
"Well son," Jack told him, "she might not want to talk to you right now. She's uh, stronger than she looks, isn't she."
"....Yeah?" John confirmed.
"I'll have to stop on the way back and pick up a new phone," Jack told him.
"Oh," John said.
When Roberta had stormed out from the restaurant two things were obvious to Philip Classens. One, she seemed to be upset. But he wasn't concerned about that beyond the potential to wreck his prospects. Two, he was going to have a delightful walk to the car, particularly if she continued to ignore her shorts. On their way to the parking lot, he quickly learned another thing. She lost or concealed her temper very quickly. But he also lost her attention very quickly and she seemed to be very preoccupied. He tried to get her talking with him about the clubhouse, the weather and cars. To Philip's chagrin, the first thing she said that she seemed to be paying much attention to happened to involve John Crichton.
"John has a GTO," Bob told Philip as he led her toward a few steps leading to the parking lot and his car.
"That old boat from the '60s?" Philip called it. "He only got that after my dad got a Corvette. 409, four on the floor. Petty rivalry, that was dad and the Crichtons. Of course I have nothing against John Crichton myself, nothing at all."
"You said that," Bob reminded him.
"Oh," Philip said. "He takes you sailing in that boat huh? Not blaming him, you might stop traffic."
"Might?" Bob asked, amused. "Guess I need to work on that. I like the GTO. It's crazy to go fast in something like that. Very exciting."
"You'll like mine better."
"Braggart," Bob teased him as she glanced down him and wondered what she could stir him to do. "You'll have to prove it first."
"Your car can say allot about you," Philip told her, "unintentionally for most people but intentionally for me. I started with a practical base and went from there."
The human kept talking about his transport. Keeping her mind on Philip was becoming a real struggle for her anyway, especially when thoughts of a makeup with John flooded into her head and fanned her already toasty arousal. Even harder to keep in mind were little things like watching where she was going. They reached a few steps leading to the parking lot and she was so preoccupied imagining what she'd do during a fourth frell with John that she failed to notice there were no steps where she was stepping.
Just as he started down the steps, Philip's new favorite piece of scenery had suddenly dropped from sight. He looked to both sides and hurried down the steps but didn't see any sign of the girl. To his surprise Roberta reappeared just as suddenly at the bottom, stepping back in place alongside of him and batting away a gust of bush leaves, a few eucalyptus twigs and a hibiscus petal or two blowing from her.
Trying not to break their stride despite having just twisted her leg, she hobbled and bit her tongue while the man kept talking. "Now I have a CZ-ROC-2X-100. Tricked it out, remapped, nitro, eighteen inch rims, customized suspension, Goo Bot interface by Macro Phat, we're talking way over eighty grand in it."
"That's alot of money," Bob guessed to make Philip feel important since he seemed to need her to be impressed with his car or money or coolness or all the above. Although her shorts had slid below useless, they continued to be ignored as what little attention she was sparing herself was more concerned about any injury she might have from twisting her leg. Fortunately the twist was minor and she was back to walking normally, but she was still conscious of her walk. Besides, most of her mind was going right back to the idea of frelling John senseless.
"Twice that if I counted my time," Philip continued bragging, "it's completely one of a kind. Like a lady I could name," he tried flattering her, but she didn't seem to hear him. Gesturing to the car as they approached Philip told her, "There it is."
A white plastic looking small car was in the spot he gestured to. Nothing seemed remarkable to her except maybe the insipid custom license plate frame that read, "I C U So Back Off." Staring with a less than overwhelmed expression Bob waited for him to clue her in on why she should be so excited. Philip didn't notice her expression, since he was busy leering at her body below the neck as she walked along the side of the car.
"And check it out," Philip pointed out the spoiler on the trunk lid of his Honda, "air effects and," he gestured under the car, "ground effects. You oughtta see it at night. It flashes blue. It's great." He kicked his foot in annoyance when she bent over with her head facing him.
Trying to think of something to say about this variation on dangerous primitive human ground transports, Bob mustered, "Looks alot better than the one that one, one of my friends has."
"Totally tricked out," Philip told her as he led her around to the passenger side. "Inside too," he added as he let her pass and grinned wildly as she carelessly walked by. He opened the passenger door for her and explained, "Custom upholstery." To his delight, she leaned in to look and he had an incredible view right in front of him. "In-credible!" he nearly cried.
"It's not bad," Bob mildly said.
"It's unreal!" Philip seethed. No sooner did she stand back up and turn then Philip was against her, pinning her back to the car and feeling her rear with his hand.
For some reason, nothing seemed to particularly trouble her. Just as if this happened all the time, she blissfully asked, "What's this Oo Lala you were talking about?"
"I'll show you Ooh La La!" Philip leered and laughed. But she didn't get the joke. Suddenly he remembered General Morrison mentioning she was from Quebec, therefore she might be French and might have been offended at his little joke. "Uh. How about I play it for you? We could listen in the car, go for a little ride?"
"Ssshow it to me first," Bob requested while staring at his cleft chin.
"I'll check inside, it might be inside," Philip told her as he tried to think with his brain, "or in the changer in the trunk. Actually I use my uStash but I still keep some of my CDs in the changer. I'm sure it's in the trunk," he said, going for the trunk. "Supernature it's called, I got the club mix too," he said and rummaged around. It took a minute, involved hitting his head on the back of the trunk lid and he was nearly biting his tongue to keep from swearing too loudly but he finally found the CD. "Ah hah!" he declared and stood to show it to her.
But there was no Bob in sight. Urgently, Philip checked in his car, under his car and around his car, then all around, but she was gone. "F*ck!" he yelled and slammed the CD onto the ground. A piece of plastic shot back up and cut his finger. "Ow. Can't believe. Can't believe that. What a. Shit!" he yelled, slammed his trunk on the way past, which cracked his custom plastic tail light covers. Ticked off even more, he stormed back toward the clubhouse. Too mad to pay attention where he was going, he also had a run-in with a car that was backing out of a stall on the way.
"Freller," Bob's grumble came from under a nearby car as she slid herself out. "Got my shirt dirty too," she groused as she claimed the CD he'd thrown away onto the ground. "Frell. Frell! Why did I run from that?! I hope Crichton appreciates, mm, what I, what I didn't do, for him," she kept grumbling and started toward the old Holden she'd found on the lot earlier.