Jack Crichton had opened the first of the double doors to the coffee house. After observing him doing that, Bob made a point of opening the second door for Jack, feeling very pleased with the mutual niceties. But Jack gestured to her to go first. Sliding her eyes to the door she was holding, Bob wondered how he expected her to go first and still hold the door open. Then she guessed that he was showing her the gestures to make. So she gestured him to go with her free hand. Jack gestured her to go again. Bob patiently tried mimicking him more exactly. Jack patiently gestured her to go again. Giving up the attempt to mimic him properly, Bob glared and exaggerated the gesture to get him to move already. But Jack just repeated the gesture for her to go again. The next gesture was with her foot on his seat pushing him in first and having both of them walking from the entrance way to the "wait here" sign in a cloud of grumbles.
"We wait here," Jack told Bob when she drifted past him.
"What? Why?" she complained as she backed up. "Lots of tables nobody's using!"
"Just act normal would you?" Jack told her out of the side of his mouth. Bob walked right past him at that, looking back over her shoulder with more than a tinge of rebellious wounded resentment. 'That was the wrong tack for the wrong person', Jack realized. "Let's make it the counter," Jack suggested a compromise as he caught up with her. He was thinking of trying to get service from the teenage waitress, who was currently visiting at a table of other youngsters.
One thing John's plan hadn't accounted for was that his faux fiancée had a particularly notable tendency to be hard to account for. Such as, walking through the front doors of some coffee house at some time after two in the morning with his old man Jack while he appeared to be out making time with a little blond babe. But there they were, his dad following a scandalously dressed Bob towards his booth. "Holey Donuts!" John swore and impulsively swept Bridget's legs with his. In a blur of straight blond hair, Bridget slipped straight under the table. Her yelp was drowned out, John hoped, by some hoots directed at his freshly arrived faux fiancée from a far table of young guys currently hangin' with the teenage waitress.
Jack nearly walked right into Bob when she came to a very abrupt halt. Bob's face was staring ahead to one side. Jack followed her gaze with his eyes and winced. Sure enough, of all the people in the world there sat John, looking back with a similar wince, which was understandable considering that he was trying to hide someone under the table. Bob turned a furious glare to Jack as Jack realized she'd led him here to see his errant son for himself. Jack clenched his jaw a moment but managed to stifle the frustration. "Let's make the counter," he repeated. Bob drifted with him over his shoulder only as far as John's table, where she stopped to glare.
"What is the big f*cking idea?" blared Bridget while she recovered at least onto her hands and knees under the table. When she looked up she was surprised to see a cute face of a young woman with strikingly big black eyes staring back at her under the table.
Bob stood from bending down to look under the table and John offered a phrase usually uttered by the doomed. "I can explain."
"I could use a laugh," Bob said and rested on a hand on the end of the table.
"We'll order one," Jack said and ushered Bob with him toward the counter, leaving John in the company of an attractive young woman Jack couldn't remember ever having seen before. He wasn't about to speak with John. Jack certainly didn't expect Bob to go along, in fact he was expecting manifestations of hell to arrive in the coffee house any moment, probably all in the form of Bob. But she kept going although he could see the haze of hurt in her face. Hoping to calm her, Jack leaned closer and said quietly, "Find out who and why first."
Bob turned toward Jack, scuffled to a stop and told him in fractured English, "I'm don't care why she is! She's obvious trelk she is his is his trelk and I gonna kick the who into tommowland."
But Bob kept standing there as though part of her was waiting for guidance from Jack. Taking the slim chance, Jack gambled on the best way he could think of on the spur of the moment and said as calmly as he could, "How and why. I know some of the men you were with today and I know at least some reasons why."
Bob's eyes and nostrils flared in outrage but she literally swallowed it and started nodding instead. "Mkay. Okay. Why," she rolled her eyes up and her head back but started walking to the counter again.
"Ever since then," John continued spreading a balm of lies onto Bridget as she uncrumpled in her seat again, "it just hits me like that and bang! Spasm. They tell me it'll go away and it's true that it's not as bad as it was."
"Huh," Bridget hissed but after another sweep of her hair, settled into her seat and picked up her coffee cup with a trembling hand. "Why didn't you tell me you invited your fiancée?"
"It's no problem," John claimed, "we trust each other implicitly. I didn't know they were coming. I didn't know you were coming. I didn't bring her, he did," John pointed over his shoulder. Not that he blamed his dad since he figured Bob must have him lost in deceptions and her big black eyes. He started to look over his shoulder but Bob looked too hot for him to risk giving more than a shielded glance. "Look: they're just going over to a seat," John hoped. "No problem."
"I'm looking," Bridget assured him since she was the one facing their direction. Bridget's unhappily ruffled face changed to being visibly impressed. "Wow. And she is....?"
"Uh well uh," John fumbled, "twenty. Two."
"Twenty two," Bridget repeated with her voice dripping with doubt. "Twenty two inches at the waist? Ha you might be overestimating from the looks of that."
"Nononono," John waved off, "not that. I mean, I don't know. Why don't I? Never mind. I mean, twenty-two-"
"Arrests maybe?" Bridget dug, considering how his strange fiancée was dressed and the subtly sneaky and would-be dangerous vibe that seemed to cloud around her. John didn't laugh or seem to think of disputing the dig, which struck Bridget as very odd. "I meant, what's her name?" Bridget asked.
John read her expression, but he couldn't remember what she had just said because he was too distracted from worrying about how bad this was going to go. Plus it was hard to care about the conversation when he was half wishing he were dead.
"I'll get a menu," Jack told the brooding woman drifting to the counter with him, "You take a stool." Bob started toward the menus at the end of the counter instead and Jack stopped her with a hand on the shoulder. "No, I get the menu, you take a stool." Unconsciously his hand gently squeezed her shoulder affectionately and Bob responded to it by placing her hand on his and closing her eyes.
"Menu," Bob agreed and looked up at him. From his expression she realized she must have said something wrong. Paging back a little in her mind she figured it out, nodded annoyed at herself and turned around to claim a stool. "The fekface, why does he think, yeah sure surprise me," she was muttering some of her stewing thoughts and rubbing her aching forehead with her palm as she put her elbow and forearm on the counter and then maneuvered the rest of herself onto the stool.
"I uh," Bridget just said to John and completely lost the conversation. Bridget was gawking stupidly around John's head, then pulled out her cell for its camera to capture what she couldn't believe she was watching as John's strange fiancée sat, she would have said mounted, a stool at the counter. Either the nearly useless shorts, the body itself or the extremely sensual and flexible way John's fiancée moved onto the seat would have been enough by themselves. Put together it left Bridget speechless. She wasn't alone. The people in all six of the occupied tables behind the counter area seemed to have gasped or scrambled for a camera at once. She was pretty sure no one who saw it was going to forget that too soon.
Full of dread, the waitress advanced to the counter to tackle the issue. Approaching the outrageous exposée the waitress started, "Listen, you ca-" but stopped suddenly when the woman turned to look at her with big, black and crying eyes. "Um," the waitress was at a loss for a moment and walked around to the service side of the counter before asking, "Are you all right?"
Bob glared in response, looked up and to a side and seemed suddenly angry. Jack, whose attention had been on the menus he brought with him to the stool next to Bob, leaned closer to the waitress and quickly explained, "A little domestic problem."
Meanwhile John, who was still seated facing Bridget and facing away from Bob, caught the gasps and subsequent muttering from around the coffee house, closed his eyes and asked, "What did she do?"
Bridget just stared with her big pale blue eyes open wide for a moment. Giving her skinny shoulders two quick nervous shrugs while her hand was texting like mad, Bridget just replied, "Oh. Nothing." She could only guess that the show was some strange way his fiancée was taking to diss or show up John behind his back, or maybe meant to be in his face except that John was studiously avoiding a look back.
"Would you like to sport my apron?" the waitress offered Bob.
"With your apron?" Bob asked skeptically.
Jack struggled to keep a straight face. Taking a stool at the counter probably wasn't the brightest idea now he thought of her shorts, but he had been trying to block that matter from his mind. He knew the waitress was offering Bob something to cover up with. But Bob had obviously made a very different interpretation of the term "sport." 'You're lucky she didn't agree,' Jack told himself, 'that would be harder to explain. Nah, she wouldn't.'
Suddenly the waitress stared past Bob at Jack seated on Bob's other side, gasped and pealed, "You're Jack Crichton! Oh! My! Gawd! I was just reading about you in my history book."
"I'll put his son in there," Bob flippantly said out loud to herself but neither of the people on either side of her was listening.
'One can only have so much luck', Jack thought to himself and folded his fingers on his chin while he took a deep breath and almost convinced himself that he was glad he provided a distraction. Almost. He mustered a polite smile and replied, "Yes."
Bridget burst out at John, "That's your father?!" She covered her mouth with her hand. One hand because the other was texting. The young lady seemed to become upset very suddenly.
'Her nerves seem a little shaky', John thought about Bridget. He wasn't sure why, so far this was a pretty mild disaster as life according to John Crichton went.
The waitress flattered Jack, "You look great as ever." Bob took another appraising look at Jack and seemed to be pleased to agree.
Bridget was still dithering. "I knew! I knew. I knew. I just- oh my gawd. Now he thinks- oh my gawd."
John reassured her, "No my dad thinks in terms of 'oh fudge' and 'gosh darn it, this whatchamajigger broke the gul durn hoosit'. Not o-m-g." Bridget giggled to his surprise but she was doing it through tears. "Your makeup's running," he claimed, to give her an excuse to bail and regain some composure. Or maybe just split.
"Oh! Excuse me," Bridget told John and hurried to the ladies room.
Back at the counter, the waitress was also repeating, "Oh. My. Gawd."
Confused, Bob leaned closer to Jack's ear and asked, "She thinks you're a-a deity?"
Jack glared at the suggestion and told the waitress, "Just a moment."
Bob held her hands out and said, "What? You could get it all free. Think practical."
"Free as you like!" the nosy waitress was quick to offer. Bob gestured a hand toward the waitress since she seemed to have confirmed Bob's case.
"No, the figure of speech," Jack told Bob as quietly as possible. To the waitress he replied, "No, no I'll cover it. We'll order in a minute." Bob nodded along with what she took as a show of impressive wealth, looking down slightly in a hopelessly cute attempt to look snooty. Soon as the waitress left and before a couple of other customers moved in to approach the celebrity, Bob looked back to Jack and lectured the silly male, "Blow your currency. Greebol."
When John slowly turned around to quickly check Bob, all he could make out was that Bob and Jack were seated at the counter. What could be seen of her behind above the padded stool she was seated on sure seemed like bare tan skin but he assumed her shorts were a characteristic tease and would only be so daring. 'Besides,' he told himself in a swelling of darkly dastardly thinking, 'she is fully covered. In paint.'
Remembering what he had seen of Bob earlier brought a grin to his face as he picked up his water glass and thought, 'If I had known the makeup was gonna get that good. Hot damn. I wonder how bold she would- nono better not.' When he swallowed a drink of water, it was with a slight lump of his own. 'Great', he thought. 'Another way she could find to be trouble. No, many ways. Maybe she won't. Who am I kidding. It's trouble. If she can, she will'.
Finally able to look back at the menu in his hands, Jack asked himself out loud, "I wonder if they have pork chops?" To Bob's curious look he explained, "Pork is meat from a pig."
Thinking of the multiple meanings humans had for the word Pig, Bob quipped darkly to herself, "I know a pig I could chop."
Knowing Bob had hearing superior to human, John made a slight whistle, hiss and gestured for Bob's attention. Bob heard him and saw he was alone but pointedly ignored him, turning her attention to Jack and even reaching over to rest her hand on Jack's thigh. The gesture was taken as casual affection by Jack and more overt by John just as intended, but John rolled his eyes up at the attempt and turned away instead of being genuinely bothered. Bob didn't care: it annoyed John anyway.
To cheer the dark cloud next to him, Jack patted her hand reassuringly and tried to sound upbeat as he said, "You know, I haven't had a meal at this hour since, I can't remember anymore. Are you ready to order?"
"Are you ready to listen?"
Gesturing Bob's attention to the approaching waitress, Jack clarified, "Place an order for a meal."
"Yeah meal," Bob said suddenly, removing her hand from Jack's thigh. Unfolding the menu Jack had placed near her, Bob took one look over the images of food and announced, "This one. This one. And this. And a Duck Rogers."
"Roy Rogers," Jack corrected her.
"Him too," Bob told the waitress and glared at Jack.
"Sorry mate, what's that?" the waitress asked.
"Roy Rogers," Jack repeated for her. "It's a coke with grenadine."
"A coke then with what?"
"Grenade," Bob repeated for Jack then realized that had to be the wrong word.
"No dear, grenade's a bomb," Jack reminded her.
"You got one?" Bob asked the waitress with half a mind to throw one over her shoulder.
"I'm sure she doesn't," Jack slid a droll look to Bob. To the waitress he said, "Cherry coke."
"Diet," Bob said, her fingers tapping nervously on the sides of the menu in her hands.
"Diet cherry coke right, well I'm fresh out of that," the waitress replied. "We have eighteen custom and gourmet coffees to choose from. Would you like to see a list?"
A memory jumped into Jack's mind, of John warning, "You really don't want to see Chiana on too much coffee." Jack believed it. Trying to think of anything else, Jack remembered he was in Australia and remembered a drink he used to buy. "Bundaberg."
"Do what?" Bob asked.
"Do you have Bundaberg Ginger Beer?" Jack asked the waitress.
"I'll get one," the waitress offered and immediately removed her apron, placing it on the end of the counter, then hurried right out of the coffee house. Jack, Bob and half the place watched in puzzlement.
The master of good timing, John took that moment to hold up his coffee cup, look around and ask, "Hey can I get a refill? Waitress?"
Jack looked over and saw John return to brooding over his empty coffee cup. Giving the storm cloud beside him a little nudge, Jack suggested, "Now might be the time to get the who and why."
Bob argued, "If he was so eager to tell me, he could tell me."
Jack retorted, "Maybe he is in as bad of a mood as you are." He bit his lower lip but managed to weather the withering glare she shot back. "Perhaps if you stirred him up a bit. Yes that's another crazy Earth phrase not meaning to spin him around on his seat."
She took in a sharp breath and looked up. A mass of conflicting feelings. As Jack was betting on, the part of her that won out was the part trying to keep a level head and knew what was involved in all this fishing for information. "How?" she asked.
Bob was clearly stressed out about all this and her emotion choked face was a plea for help. The young lady's eyes were so expressive with such emotion, clearly including love, that Jack felt a distinctive yen for her. But Jack was certain that if he turned and asked John for the identity of that lady he was with, he wouldn't manage to sound too mild. His son, not being exactly insensitive himself, would take it as a demanding tone and get up and leave. The comfort zone with his son was much wider than it used to be, but never was it too great let alone perfect. Perhaps tomorrow. Not tonight. Bob wasn't the most easy going of people to settle down and wait. She would have to do something and Jack couldn't do a thing more for her. Except perhaps give a little nudge and live with whatever happened.
"Say, you are in a mood," Jack told her.
"Not mood," Bob said. "Jell-o."
"Jam," Jack corrected.
"I don't feel like playing music, okay?"
"Well never mind the phrases," Jack said. "You don't have to sit there feeling rejected and fester." Lightly tapping the side of her face he said, "There's a dangerously, excuse me, decidedly clever young lady in there."
"He can tell me himself," Bob stubbornly insisted. "I'mmm not going to wait on-" The phrases worked around in her head and she suddenly looked at the apron the waitress had left. Looking back to Jack she saw the idea hit him and he looked back to her. Actually his face said he wasn't going to approve, but it also said he wasn't going to disapprove, so Bob took that as encouraging. If it was a good idea who knew. Bob decided to go for it. She went to the end of the counter and put on the apron.