Looking back to Jack and the crowd nearly engulfing his father as he approached the doors of the coffee house, John bumped into the waiting Bridget. He had been ready to push the door open with his shoulder and proceeded to do so, just with Bridget squished between his shoulder and the door. "Oops!" John said when he belatedly realized what had happened.
Bridget tumbled around in the entrance between the double doors but somehow John found her backed up against the side and himself facing her, with an arm that was steadying her around her and her hand in one of his pockets. "Would you watch it?" she told him about his actions just as it occurred to him to think of saying the same about hers.
"Nono," John reactively said then thinking how that sounded quickly specified, "I mean I'm sorry. Just that's one funky crowd huh?" She pretended to be straightening his pants and before she could slip her hand far into his back pocket, he backed away.
Bridget ground out a breath with her jaw out and looking upward. Grabbing the outer door beside her, she pulled to open it and succeeded in pulling herself closer to the door instead. "Oophs." She ground out another annoyed breath and, better prepared, started opening the door. John belatedly helped her to open the door the rest of the way and held it open for her. Fortunately, Bridget had turned from annoyed to silly, staggering and giggling. "Ohmygawd," she said between covering her mouth as she spilled out onto the sidewalk ahead of John, "Did I snort?!" she giggled and snorted again, "Ohmygawd."
John hadn't noticed if Bridget had accidentally snorted. The instinctive "right arm" connection between himself and Bob wasn't there, in fact he felt no connection with Bridget at all. But in part thanks to Bridget being there, Bob was not. At that time he had been looking back inside and noticing that he didn't see hide nor hair nor wig of Bob in that coffee house either. Throwing on a smile, John told Bridget, "Don't worry about that. I'd never believe any insinuations you snort, except maybe some coke. Cola, of course."
Bridget snorted in response to that. She fell into walking alongside of John and she asked, "Oh do you um....?"
"Nope," John answered, "I've got enough problems. Besides, Coke gives me gas. I once took DK's Honda to Canberra on a Big Gulp." The chuckling couple rounded the corner and approached his Mustang, the thought of returning to the coffee house still on his mind. But that wasn't all that was on his mind. A sense that he was being approached crept up on him. Fumbling in his pocket for a moment, which he was puzzled to find did not contain his keyfob, John allowed the person to approach. Then he abruptly turned to surprise and face the sneak.
Though John's sudden action surprised Bridget beside him, it didn't surprise anyone else since no one else was around. "Whoa Trigger, somebody's gettin' jumpy," he guessed. "Second time tonight I've had that feeling."
Seeing his keyfob glinting on the sidewalk beside his Mustang, Bridget nearly squealed and hurried by, plucking up his keyfob and turning to face him as she backed toward the car door. "Maybe you shouldn't drive!" she piped, a mad glee glinting in her beaming face while she jiggled his keys and keyfob in her hand.
Giving her a tolerantly amused face, which always worked on Bob, John reached for the keys and joked, "Yeah I think I can keep it between the lines."
Bridget snatched the keys up and away in her hand and said, "Like you do your career?" With a snappy click she opened the Mustang's doors and her eyes widened as she crooned, "It must be tough with your dad's shadow in your way but you'll keep fumbling ahead!" She laughed, hurried into the Mustang and closed the door, nearly catching John's prying fingers in the process.
"Crap," John grunted and hustled around to the side door as she was lowering the side window. "Now do I, do I sense a little note of jealousy here?" he mockingly asked as he made it to the door. He pulled the handle but it was locked.
"No worries!" Bridget told him, "I'll leave it somewhere you'll find it!"
Standing with his hand reaching out for the door handle, John was left in a cloud of rubber smoke after she stomped the throttle and sped away in his Mustang. "What the f-. What the! Damn. Damn!"
"Hey unmph-" Bob started to protest as she was thrown around in the trunk. Next thing she knew, she was front down staring at a rental car ad packet bundle with some light leaking in from the back lights and his briefcase bouncing on her buttocks. While trying to rise from the back of the trunk during a wheel-screeching sharp turn, Bob squawked, "I thought you said I had to drive slow and cautious like in, in-in-habited areas. Frellnik."
The kvetching Bob climbed to the front of the trunk and managed to free the seat backs. Squeezing John's briefcase through followed by herself, Bob made it about half way into the cabin and opened her mouth to give John a piece of her mind when her eyes gave her mind the news that John wasn't in the transport. Bridget was in the driver's seat, gripping the steering wheel strangely in one hand, fooling with something on the glove box between the front bucket seats and alternating manically between whines and wild half-laughter. A bald whisper came out of Bob's slack mouth, "Ah frell."
John hustled back to the coffee house double-quick. Jack was wearily emerging onto the sidewalk and was nearly run over by John. "Whoa son!" Jack called to the blur brushing past him. John turned like a whirlwind between the doors and spilled back out to stand next to Jack. "Where's the fire?"
"The-the-the," John tried saying and diced his hand near his face but was too tongue tied for a moment. After taking a breath, he plowed ahead and nearly shouted, "Little Miss Muppet? Stole my crumpet!"
Jack was perfectly still, except a blink.
"My car," John clarified. "She stole my car! In front of my freakin' face!"
"Bre'ger? Uh, Bridget?!"
Hands on his hips, John started pacing to the curb and back as he went on, "Chicklet. The little blond piece of coppertone cake. Just past jailbait. Oh ho, now she'll be the one in jail. Soon as we find her flat ass. Oooh man. Oh man, if she wrecks my car. Not my car. Crap I don't even know if the insurance would cover uh, uh, this. Nice girl I said. Nice girl! Freakin' car thief! That's the kind of outfit they got?! Secret weapon? Bridget, the starving student social networking machine and international car thief. Man chickpea better get a grip, stop that car and call for mercy. Gonna throw the book at their ass." After a moment of silence he paused in front of Jack. Gesturing Jack, John cued, "Okay tight lips. Before you go off, it wasn't my fault. So. Let's hear it."
"Did you have anything of value in that car, son?" Jack steadily asked.
"Yeah daddy, I still got my wallet," John said and double checked as he said it. "Yeah. But they got the clean underwear in the glove box."
"Not that kind of value," Jack explained. "Something of value to them."
"No, there's....wait," John said and placed his fingers on his forehead in thought. "My briefcase. Ye-ah, you're uh, good point. Trying to think what I still had in there. No I think they're gonna be pretty disappointed. Have everything pretty much in my head. Which now I think about it, probably isn't a really good place to put anything either."
"Yes," Jack agreed, recalling the story John told him about the illusion of Earth some aliens had put John through, complete with an illusion of Jack. Ultimately the aliens had placed knowledge of wormholes in John's mind, which in turn led to myriad problems when others wanted that knowledge. Jack added, "The surest sign those aliens were impersonating me was that they didn't know better than that."
"Yeah that shoulda been one of those clues," John agreed. Turning on his heel toward Doug's Honda, John suggested, "Let's go take the piece o' sheet back to the penthouse. You drivin'? And where's shortsy?"
"I'll go see if she's done in the-," Jack started to answer. Instead, he remained in place and asked, "Son: how did she know?"
"You might get to see every inch of her but make no mistake," John flippantly replied, "the first mystery you'll discover is how Chi still has an inexhaustible stock of mystery."
"Don't be a wise-ass, son," Jack told him. "How did she know you were here with that woman?"
John's eyes flared as he looked aimlessly into the coffee house, what Jack was thinking occurring to him. His eyes gazed wildly back at Jack. Clenching his jaw, Jack shook his head slightly. "They do not," John said, pacing ahead and waving his hand, "They do not have my Pip!" Springing into action, John barged into the coffee house, looked around, barged into the kitchen and even into the bathrooms. John marched right back out and summarized to Jack on the way to Doug's Honda, "Open back window."
Jack muttered to himself as he hurried to the passenger door, "Huh. She went out through the bathroom window."
John paused before getting in the Honda long enough to look upward and ask, "Ever have that.....never-ending night feeling?"