The Adventures of Marian, the slightly aggressive Librarian,
The sad but necessary conclusion to our small entertainment; in which all’s well that ends well…..a stitch in time saves nine……and a rose by any other name……
Marian was curled up under a soft throw on the sofa-thing; she felt like a bon-bon, soft and gooey and chocolatey; lush and sensual; just popped into someone’s mouth, just beginning to melt, sweetness oozing out onto that someone’s tongue…or in between the cushions……OK, she might be taking that simile a little too far. Let’s just say she was warm and cozy and quite, quite, satisfied with life.
Terry was outside in the pool. She hadn’t wanted to let him go, but he whispered something in her ear that opened her eyes.
“Oh…..” she said. “I don’t believe I’ve ever, um……that is……I’ve not…..had……that, exactly, before….” (This is when she started her chocolatey-melting, thinking about this thing that he promised her…..)
“You wait right here, luv. And we’ll see about it when I come back in.”
She was waiting with a smile on her lips.
She heard the door open, she heard his huge feet slap against the floorboards…..she stretched, her arms above her head, and opened her eyes…………
Just in time to see to see the door slam open again and a bruised and bloody creature rush in. He started jabbering in that other language she was so incredibly tired of, waving a gun in the air. Pointed it squarely at Terry’s chest.
“Just hold on there, mate,” Terry said. “Let’s think about this a bit.” Gloriously naked and wet, his hands up in the air, he stepped aside, one step, two, until the gunman (who had to be PL&BN, didn’t he?) was facing directly away from Marian. “You look like you’ve had a bad night, but let’s not do anything rash.” The idiot hijacker screamed something at him again, and then sobbed. The gun shook in his hand.
It was possible that, in circumstances similar to these, an ordinary woman might have screamed. Might have been frightened, might have tried to hide…..might have, if she were exceptionally brave, looked for something to hit the man over the head with…..
Marian didn’t think about any of those things. What she thought about, as she stared at PL&BN’s back, was how he’d tried to ruin her vacation. How he’d sneered at her, and threatened her womanhood. What a bozo he was. How much she wanted to hurt him.
And he was standing there about to put a bullet in that lovely chest, somewhere between those delicious nips……..
She stopped thinking.
She grabbed the throw she was covered up with, and launched herself at the gunman. Threw the throw over his head, and jumped up on his shoulders, screaming terrible epithets in his ear. He quite understandably panicked, thrashed his arms, trying to get the banshee off his back; stumbled and fell forward, dropping the gun and stubbing Marian’s toe when they landed.
That was the last straw. She grabbed his ears through the thin blanket, pulled his head toward her, and slammed it back down against the floor as hard as she could.
“I’ll show you, you cretin,” she yelled. “You’ll never even LOOK at another woman with a roll of duct tape in your hands when I get done with you!” And she slammed his head against the floor again. And again.
“Marian. Marian. Don’t, luv—“
She ignored Terry. She ignored the fact that the stupid hijacker was not making a sound now. Not moving. Still.
Terry put his arms around her and lifted her away from the fellow on the floor. “Don’t kill him, darlin’,” and kissed her ear. She kicked and tried to wriggle loose. He held her fast; his arms were just as strong as they looked.
“Let’s put all that adrenaline to another use, shall we?” He turned her head and kissed her mouth until he had her attention, and then, since her engine was roaring and ready to go, he lay back and let her run whatever race she wanted on his body…..
It was a sunny day, much like the day she’d arrived. She squinted at the sky once, then looked out of the corner of her eye at the man in the tailored blue suit who stood next to her. Hard to believe this dignified man was the same man who just a couple of days ago had been playing Scary Monster From Under the Bed, growling ferociously, a quilt over his head, while she whooped and ran and laughed herself sick. That is until he caught her and she ended up under the quilt with him……
“I hope you’ve enjoyed your vacation, even though it began in such an unfortunate manner,” the bureaucrat from the airport said.
“Oh yes,” she replied. “Mr. Thorne gave me very good advice on what to see and do while I was here.”
“All’s well that ends well,” Terry said.
She touched her cheek to his, very decorous, very polite; and whispered, “Come and see me when you can.”
“Of course I will,” he said, and smiled.
Of course that’s what he would say, Marian thought. She knew there was a good chance she would never see him again, that’s just the way these things went; she tried to cheer herself with the thought that nothing was ever certain. She wasn’t sad, she’d had a wonderful week, after the first couple of days, and that was nothing to be sad about.
“Good-bye.” She turned and walked toward the plane.
Stopped when he said, “Marian,” and followed her. Stopped breathing for a minute when he took her face in his hands and kissed her, not politely, but like a lover, in front of the airport man, and his partner, and everybody working all over the field……
He let her go, backed away, and said, “I will.”
The stewardess thought at first the woman in 6C was sick; she spent the entire flight with her eyes closed, and her purse clutched against her chest…….but sick people don’t usually smile quite so much……
“I don’t know,” Henrietta said. “I don’t feel any different.”
“You don’t look any different,” Mike said.
“He didn’t really explain what he was doing. I was so upset I didn’t ask any questions.”
They were sitting in the bowling alley, but at the bar instead of watching Bill’s Plumbing beat the pants off Marla’s Nails. Henny threw back the last of her Mountain Dew, and said to the bartender, “Give me another one.”
“Maybe he was lying.”
“No. I felt it. He did something. I felt it before, but didn’t know what it was.”
“You don’t know what it is now.”
“What if he’s living inside my head, and suddenly one day he’ll break out, like the thing in Alien, except not like that, ‘cause he’s in my head, but you know what I mean---and maybe hurt somebody.”
“Well….it couldn’t be like in Alien, ‘cause he doesn’t have a physical body, where the Alien laid an egg, sorta, in the guy’s chest--“
“I KNOW THAT!”
“Ok.” Mike drank his beer, stared at the fiberglass counter. Henny drank her Mountain Dew.
“I wouldn’t worry too much,” he said. “So he tried to do something, maybe it won’t even work. You know? Maybe he did put some stuff in your head, but you know you’ve got lots of room in there you’re not using. Maybe it’ll just sit there and never bother you.”
That was a cheery thought. “Maybe,” Henny said.
Mike looked over his shoulder when the yelling started behind them. “Looks like the game is over.” He turned his beer bottle around and around on the counter. He seemed nervous. “Ummm…..were you going to……um…...” He looked up. “Do you need some company tonight? When you go home?”
Henrietta thought for a minute, glanced at him, and then back at her soda. She’d never been sure just why someone like Marian, who’d been involved with numberless handsome, brawny, experienced men, would have fallen for someone like her skinny young Australian fellow……but now she thought she knew. Good looks and “cool” only went so far…..and sometimes--not all the time, but sometimes--a woman wanted more.
“You wanna walk me home?”
She thought for another minute. If she was thinking to herself, what would an experienced woman who wants to entice a young man (who actually probably doesn’t need much enticing), do in this situation?…….or even what would Sid do if he was her?……we shall never know, because she’s able to keep a secret when she wants to. She did, however, lean very close to Mike and whisper something in his ear that made him take a deep breath and sit up straighter on his bar stool; and it could be she slipped the tip of her tongue just inside that ear for a second before she grabbed her purse and stood up.
Mike looked thunderstruck. (Not lightning struck, that would be black and charred…..I’d like to know how anybody gets struck by thunder. I guess you’d be extremely surprised if such an impossible thing ever happened to you, and that’s certainly how Mike looked.) “Damn,” he said. “Wait,” he said to her back. “I’m coming.”
Marian would have been proud of her assistant. She turned back, lifted her eyebrow, said, “Not yet, I hope. But we’ll work on it.” And walked out the door.
I’d like to be able to report that their evening ended in a flurry of lust and romance when they reached Henny’s little house, but alas, that was not the case.
A sliver of light was shining out onto the front step when they walked up; the door was ajar.
“Did you leave the door open when you left?” Mike asked.
Henny shook her head. “I turned all the lights off, too.”
“You stay back here,” Mike said, and walked cautiously toward the house.
Henny followed him. “Maybe we should look in the window first,” she whispered.
“We really should just call the police.”
Neither one of them did either of those things. Mike pushed the door open, and poked his head in.
“Do you see anybody?” Henny hissed. He said, “No,” and stepped back.
She knew by the way he looked at her that something bad had happened. Really bad. “What is it?”
He put his hand around her arm. “Let’s go call the police; wait till they get here.”
“What’s happened?” She twisted her arm out of his grasp and rushed through the door.
Her tidy little house was a shambles. There was broken glass from one of the windows on the floor, her table was over turned and shoved against a wall, a nasty smell emanated from the sofa, things were missing. Her stereo, her TV…….
…….and her computers.
She and Mike stayed in his house that night. If Mike was secretly relieved that her roommate was gone, he had enough grace not to say so. He comforted her as much as he was able, as much as she would let him……
The end of one chapter, the beginning of another, she thought as she listened to him snore. He’d told her, more than once, that it would be alright, and she decided to believe him.
She turned her back to him, snuggled against him spoonwise; after a moment, she poked him in the ribs with her elbow. He jerked; stopped snoring (the desired result), put his arm around her waist……Nuzzled her neck, and murmured something into her ear, a few words that I shall not report to you, dear reader, because they were so very private. They were words he’d never said to a woman in his bed…..and none of our business. And then he went back to sleep, without even waiting to see the effect those words had on the assistant librarian in his arms………
A tiny misstatement…….the chapter is concluded, and much of the plot is as well……we’ve seen our heroines safely to the end of the roles they played……and questions of such things as suspensions and astrophysics, not to mention kings and blindness and fickle FBI agents, must wait until the next time…… but the tale….well, it’s possible that it’s finished…..then again perhaps not quite……...