(Macedonia) Greece, 1940. Salonika, The Blue Oyster Bar.
"So we have a deal?" Mr. Nelwin asked as he stood up from the table, extendin his hand out to Janice. "Yep." is all she replied before givin his hand a firm shake.
"Good. I'll have the tablet delivered to your hotel in the morning" Now why doesn’t he just give it to us now while we’re here? That would be the most sensible thing to do I thought. There’s something bout him that I’m not quite sure of. Something in my gut tells me not to trust him. And that’s usually not like me at all.
I think Janice was havin the same feelins bout him cause she paused while she was shakin his hand and glanced over at me. Don’t look at me, you were the one that agreed ta do this. I’d just like to get outta here and get some kinda sleep tonight. Or is that this mornin?
"Okay. Sure thing." She said as she looked at him again. Maybe it’s just me, but this all seems a bit odd. How could Janice trust a man that clearly stole this tablet from her daddy?
"Fine, I can expect the extra G with the tablet then, right?" Big Rod inquired as he stood up from his seat, foldin his arms cross his chest. He reminded me of one of those little blowfish that puffed itself up tryin to make itself look intimidatin. When in actuality, like Big Rod shown himself to be, he was really just full of hot air. "I'll need cash up front to appease my sources." I still wanna know where in the world Janice met this character from.
"If none of you have accommodations. My man Smithers will take you to a hotel"
Finally, we get to get outta here and I can get to bed. I rose to my feet, still a bit confused that Janice actually agreed to do this. And walked over to her askin, " Are we gonna do this, Janice?"
"Sure why not, we got the Xena Scrolls this will be a bonus."
I noticed Helena got awfully interested in our conversation at moment the scrolls where mentioned. She inquired as she leaned in closer towards us. "The Xena scrolls?" She's a nosey little thing isn't she?
Janice glanced over to Mr. Nelwin, "Send it to the Lido make it out to Pappas" It registered that Mr. Nelwin just said somethin bout Smithers takin us to a hotel. Tryin to be polite I smiled in his direction, "Um, I already have a hotel room. All my things are there." No sense in movin ta another hotel.
He looked over at Smithers and ordered him, "Go with them. See they all get rooms and charge it to me." I hope he just heard what I said. I already have a room. "Yes, sir." The little fella answered as he stood prepared to leave. He followed closely behind us, patiently waitin for us to make our exit from the bar. I turned around and couldn't help but smile at him. He's such an adorable little man, much cuter then Jack. Now why couldn't he be just a couple feet taller? And he shyly smiled back at me.
"Smithers will be my eyes and ears with you." Mr. Nelwin said as he donned on his coat.
"Comforting." She answered then stiffed a yawn. I lifted my brow at her. Aww poor thing. You must be as tired as I am. Well if we're done with all this stuff here, I'm just gonna have to get ya in bed. I think we both could use some well-deserved sleep.
Mr. Nelwin straightened out his coat. "Well I shall talk with you all soon. Good night!" He addressed us all before he headed outta the door.
"Night Mr…What was his name again?" I never was too keen on rememberin people's first names. I had directed that question to Janice, but I see she was no where near me and had made her way back to the bar again. Smokes, cusses, and drinks too. Well now I'm learnin a lotta things bout ya in the last 24 hours Janice Covington. I just hope you're not one of them obnoxious drunk when ya get intoxicated.
"What?" I heard the bartender ask as I made my way towards her. She had just finished another drink.
"So whadda think Mel?" Janice inquired as I came up behind her. How'd she know it was me?
"Another one?" I asked before I answered her question. Causin the bartender to grunt. Is that all he can do is grunt?
"Never got to enjoy it the first time." I never did understand how one 'enjoyed' drinkin hard liquor. A nice glass of wine is somethin one can enjoy but whiskey? I shuddered at the thought of a previous experience I had with whiskey. Rhett Butler had to throw away a perfectly good pair of shoes cause of me. That was embarrassin.
"Hey Janice, I need to borrow that gas can on the back of yer wheels." Big Rod said as he limpin his way to us. I hadn't noticed that limp before. That's what I get for not payin attention.
"Its empty Rod."
"Damn." He sighed then limped up to the bar.
"Well, um... I'm not sure bout this Janice."
"Getting a bad feeling Mel?" she smirked as she ordered another whiskey.
Not really sure how to explain it I just shrugged, "You can say that. I don't trust these people." I said as watched the bartender pour another drink for Janice. "And who is that woman." I tilted my head nonchalantly at Helena. She's obviously not with Mr. Nelwin, and we definitely don't know her.
"I think you're just tired, when have you last slept?" Janice answered not really payin attention to me but more to her glass of whiskey. She did have a good point. I was startin to feel a bit exhausted. She leaned up against the bar, "Spy maybe, we need to keep an eye out on her."
"What do you need the gas can for? I might have one in the car? I heard Smithers ask Big Rod.
He just grumbled, "Nothing, I'll be ok as long as we coast going downhill." Causin an actual laugh to come outta the bartender. That's better then his gruntin.
"Um, I tried on the plane, but..." I started to answer, but was cut off by that woman who had walked up to us. How incredibly rude! I wondered if she had heard us talkin bout her.
"I don't believe we've been properly introduced, and since we're going to we working together." I wasn't sure if she had her hand extended out to us cause I was lookin at Big Rod. "And that big guy." I finished what I sayin before Helena interrupted us.
Janice leans back again, "Oh Rod is harmless. He worked for my father."
"He's so..." What's the word I'm lookin for? "He's so big." I couldn't hold back a giggle from lookin at him. Janice raised an eyebrow gigglin also, "And gimpy." She must mean that limp he seems to have as 'gimpy'.
"Tsk tsk, have archaeologists no manners these days?" Helena said in a condesendin tone. I still hadn't turn to face her cause Big Rod was starin at me.
Oh my. He must had over heard our conversation, cause he was starin directly at me with this silly little smile on his face and a single eyebrow raises. I could have sworn that if he had a mustache he would have been brushin the ends of it with his index finger. The same exact thing that Jack had done several hours ago. Sorry big fella. I am not interested.
Janice turned to look at her, "Manners yes, but I don't know you from Adam sweetheart and you just tried to muscle in on my deal."
I placed a fake little smile on my face, still lookin at Rod and slowly leaned in to Janice, "You trust him?" I asked her still smilin at Rod, hopin he couldn't read my lips.
"Yeah, I trust Rod to be Rod." She leans towards me, "Like I trust Melinda Pappas to be Melinda Pappas." Now just want was that suppose ta mean?
"You're welcome." Helena said, still with that same condesendin tone of hers.
"You see that skirt over there? She's been lookin' at me. I'm in like Flynn, my man!" I pretended I didn't hear Big Rod say that. What's a Flynn? But that comment from him caused Janice to laugh. That's another sayin I don't know. First "shag me" now this "Flynn".
I mentally shrugged it off and noticed that the room had gotten awfully hot all of a sudden. So I started to fan myself with my hand. I know I have bad eyes, but the entire room had started to look fuzzy. Then slowly started to fade to black. "I...um... I'm feelin..." I felt someone grab my shoulder, think it was Janice, as my knees started givin in on me. "You okay?" I could barely hear her ask me cause my ears have a buzzin kinda sound in them.
I was a bit dazed and confused, "Huh?" I looked up at Janice who was holdin me up. Did I faint? I guess I had cause she had her arms wrapped around me supportin me.
"Next time I'll just leave the threatening, drunken men alone." I didn't see who said it but I'm assumin it was that annoyin woman.
"What's wrong?" Janice asked me with concern.
"Why, I think I really should sit down." I thought I was just thinkin that to myself but apparently I wasn't cause Janice was helpin me on to a stool.
I glanced up to see Big Rod poke his head over Janice shoulder and say, "I do seem to have that effect on women." This is no time for jokes. But Janice found it amusin cause she smiled.
"Hmmm, she's a bit frail to be on digs." A woman's voice said.
"Just think I need some sleep, that's all." I said still fannin myself. I think I teetered when I should have tottered cause I almost fell off of the barstool. Luckily Janice held me tighter. I could feel her the muscles in her arm flex as she held me closer to her.
"Melinda will be fine, she's my partner, anyone got a problem with that they can talk to me about!" I heard her say not really knowin to whom it was addressed.
"Did you drink that gin Mel?" Oh dear god no. "No. Please no gin. Janice, I think I'll be ok. Can I get a glass of water or…" I think my voice trailed off cause even I didn't know what I really needed. A bed maybe. And to think I thought I wasn't that exhausted from the days adventure. Tired maybe. But not to the point of where I'd faint.
"She just needs some rest, Jan. Now to go start that jeep." I heard Big Rod say somewhere from behind me. At least I thought his voice was comin from behind me. I wasn't exactly sure.
I could see Smithers outta the corner of my eye lookin at me then at the door and then back to me again, "Maybe we should go to the hotel." Yes gettin me outta here now is a good idea Smithers.
Next thing I know Helena is handin me a glass of something brown. "Here it'll only cost you one spot on your job." She smiled as my eyes tried to focus in on what exactly it was that in the glass. Then I realized I was touchin a glass that that gruntin bartender must have spit on and I let it slide through my fingers and smash on to the floor. Oh I didn't wanna touch that.
"Smart girl." I heard Janice say.
"Or not... Try and hit the good leg next time, Jan." I looked up from the glass that had shattered on the floor in front of me. When and why did she hit him? I missed something while I was tryin to figure out what was in that glass, I guessed.
Fannin myself again I asked, "Janice? Can we please get out of this place?" I don't know what came over me. Or why I fainted. But I did know I wanted to get outta there and back to the hotel now.
She quickly agreed and helped me down from the barstool. Supportin me around my waist with her arm, she escorted me all the way out to the truck. She even opened the passengers door for me and assisted me into the seat.
"I'll meet you over at the Hotel Lido." Smithers said as he headed off towards his car.
"Oh my. I don't know what came over me in there." I said as I dug through my purse for my hanky, that I always tucked away somewhere on me or in my purse. Findin it, I slowed blotted the light sheen of perspiration off of my face and on the top of my bosoms.
"Mel you are exhausted, not many people can kick the God of Wars ass and live to tell about it." She has a good point there. Well it really wasn't me, but Xena. But either way my body is still swore from doin all those flips and kicks. I have to admit Xena must have kept herself in great physical condition to be doin that all the time.
"I'll meet up with you at the Lido!" Big Rod said to us before grabbin a hose outta the back of his jeep, then started eyein the surroundin parked vehicle. What's he gonna do with that?
"Hey, wait!" I heard Helena screamed to us before we drove off. If I was in a better mood I would have insisted that Janice give her a ride. Or at least try to find her a ride. But after that smart comment she made before she handed me that brown murky water, I could care less if she found a ride. Apparently so did Janice cause she started up the truck and took off without her.
"Oh my lordly it's hot." I said, still busy blottin the perspiration off of my forehead and chest. "No that's just me Mel." I heard her say causin me to raise my eyebrow at her yet again, "It's a joke, you can laugh at that." Is it now? I'm beginnin to wonder.
Feelin the breeze on my face made me feel a lot better I thought to myself as I sat lookin out the car window. I saw Janice glance over at me with a worried look on her face. Maybe this will ease her mind. "Just think I needed some air is all."
She looked over at my window then back at me, "Mel, you do have air."
"I know." Isn't that what I just said. I needed some air? I thought to myself. " I mean…" She had gotten me all confused now, "...never mind Janice."
"Want me to stop, is it the car? I never told anyone this, but I get motion sickness."
"Oh. No Janice, I'll be ok, really." Aww now isn't that sweet of her all worried bout me. She's not as tough as she tries to make herself look, I see. I had to smile just at the mere thought of it.
"Funny? What? Is if funny that I get sick on boats and planes? What?" I had to shake my head and tried not to giggle but it didn't work. And that just seemed to annoy her even more. Hope she doesn't think I'm makin fun of her. But I can tell, by the way she looked at me, that she must have thought that I was. So I smiled at her in hopes that it would relieve some of the tension that was in the air now and tried to change the subject.
"Nothing Janice. Let's just get ta the hotel. Ok?" I couldn't tell if she was listenin to me so I repeated myself, "Ok?"
Sighin she lit a cigar and said, "Whatever, Melinda Pappas." And grunted like that unsavory bartended did. I see her mood changes as fast as a chameleon changes its colors. Well so be it. I'll eventually get use to that. But those smelly cigars, well, that's another story.
"And really Janice Covington! Must you smoke those ungodly things?" I said as I waved my hand in front of my face to clear the cloud of smoke from around me. She didn't seem to care and purposely blew smoke in my face, which caused me to cough. She seemed to get delight from doin this cause she smiled. I thought I heard a giggle come from her too.
Finally we arrived at the Lido. Not long after we arrived Smithers, Big Rod and Helena also did. And Janice was still steamin over God knows what. She opened up her door, got out and quickly slammed it shut. She completely ignored me.
"Well I never!" I said as I headed to the hotel entrance.
"That's obvious Mel, by the way you walk!"
Out of no where I heard Big Rod laugh, "That may be your biggest problem." Which left me utterly speechless with my mouth hangin open.
"Careful Mel, something might get in there!"
"Well it so happens that back in South C... never mind." Now Melinda don't ya go makin up stuff when ya know ya really 'haven't'. But that's really none of her business, now is it?
"Really Mel Pappas, so you aren't just a tease then?" A tease? I am no such thing.
"Well I n.... " I stopped myself just in time and just glared at Janice.
"You what? What was that you never? Didn't you just say that you did." It was obvious from the look on her face that she was lovin every minute of this.
By this time we were already in the hotel lobby and just bout everyone was watchin us bickerin. Includin Helena who was coverin up her mouth cause she was laughin. And just what do ya find so funny missy? I decided I was tired of Janice's insults and stopped listenin to what she was sayin. Givin my full attention to the desk clerk, who was busy tellin Smithers that I was already a guest of the hotel. "Hmm…She has a room. You may too, but these..." he pointed to me and just looked at the rest of our motley crew with a questionin brow.
"Hello." I said with the most pleasant smile I could muster at the time.
I felt Janice walk up behind me, "Our room key, please? I'm with her." She says tiltin her head in my direction.
"Ms. Pappas, that true?" The desk clerk asked me as he looked down his nose at Janice. Lordly, why did he have to go and do that? I hope that doesn't start Janice up again. She whispered something to me that I didn't quite catch.
"Why yes." I answered givin him another smile.
Lookin indifferent he answers, "Very well." I look down at Janice to see her smilin and muse that she can be charmin when she tries to be.
"And you all?" I heard someone ask, which brought me outta my daydream. "We all what?" I answered a little confused, not knowin who exactly asked the question. I really need to get some sleep cause my mind was wanderin now.
A nice big warm bed with fluffy soft pillows. "Who is paying for the rooms?" The question brought me outta my daydream again. "I guess I'll pay for the rooms." I answered as I started to fish out the money from its hidin spot. I had totally forgotten that Mr. Nelwin was payin for it all until Smithers spoke up. "No, charge it to Giles Nelwin. He's my boss." Oh for heavens sakes, that's right.
The desk clerk was taken a back, "Did you say Giles Nelwin?"
"Melinda, come on sweetheart!" I turn around to see Janice patiently, or is that impatiently waitin for me, holdin the lift doors open. And our room key danglin at the end of her index finger, like it was some kinda bait hangin at the end of a hook, waitin for a fish to come along and get it. Well, I'm so exhausted right now I'll bite. A nice soft, comfortable, clean bed right now is exactly what I needed.
Pushin my glasses up the bridge of my nose, I quickly turned on my heels and made a beeline towards my partner. From behind me I heard the desk clerk spewin apologies to Smithers and the others. "Mort, Andy! I am so sorry Mr. Smithers! Please accept my apologies."
Havin finally made my way into the lift, retreatin to the back of the it to make room for the others. I turned around in time to witness Janice releasin the doors as the others were headin towards us. And from the devilish grin on her tanned face, she had done it intentionally. "Why Janice Covington! I swear, I can't believe some of the things ya do."
In one of the most dreadful imitations of a southern accent I have ever heard of in my life she says, "Why Melinda Pappas… I can't believe you'd go blurt out your torrid affairs," Torrid affairs?! "...for all of Greece to hear in the wee hours of the night."
Oh that does it! I'm too tired to get inta that discussion again. I paid her no mind, crossed my arms in front of my bosoms and prayed that we would just get up to our floor as soon as possible. Why did I have to get one of the penthouse suites?
"That reminds me." Was all I heard from Janice before I felt two of her fingers go divin down between my cleavage. I can't believe the utter gall of this woman sometimes! "What are ya…" Was all I managed to get outta my mouth before I started slappin the top of her hand.
But that didn't stop Janice from her search for the buried treasure. She continued her fishin for the money, wigglin her fingers, forcin them down farther into my blouse. "Whadda do with it Mel?"
"Stop that this instant!" I shouted, this time grabbin her hand and yankin it outta the front of my blouse. Her fingers had worked their way over one of my bosoms instead of makin their way down my cleavage. "Well that wasn't it!" She said with amusement as her fingernail scratched my nipple. Oh my.
She crosses her arms, lifted her fedora up on her forehead, leanin back against the lift, "Give it up toots." She said holdin out her hand palm up and outwards waitin for me to get her the money.
Composin myself I snapped, "I'll get it for ya. Just ya wait a second." And placed two of my own fingers down my between my bosoms in search of the money. "Oh." No wonder she couldn't find it. It was practically shoved so far down, that the wad had made its way under my breasts. Instead of bein between 'em. I got it out and handed it to Janice.
"Still warm too!" She exclaimed when it was restin in her hand.
"There! And don't ya do that again, ya hear me?" I scolded her. Though I wasn't gonna admit it gave me a slight thrill when she was doin it.
"I will wait for an invitation next time, my lady!"
The lift operator cleared his throat to remind us he was there also and to get our attention. He said, while holdin the doors open for us, "Ladies, your floor." Oh goodness, what he must think of us. I thought to myself as I made my way outta the lift. I heard Janice giggle as she followed me out. All I can do is shake my head at the thought of how she thinks this is all amusin to her.
She must have seen me shake my head for she shouted, "Mel, just shut up I'm tired!" Which caused me to stop dead in my tracks. I didn't say a word to that woman!
I spotted Helena, closely followed by Smithers, makin their way up the stairs. As she passed by us, key in hand, she raises an eyebrow and asked me, "My, what happened to your blouse?" Never ya mind missy!
"Accident." Janice answered. Accident my tush! And I give her a look to let her know that she shouldn't have lied to Helena. That she knew darn well that what she did wasn't an accident at all.
Helena didn't buy it either, "Mmmm mhhhh..." And headed straight for her room. Smithers just past by us, not sayin a word to us.
I, on the other hand, would have gonna directly to my room if I had the set of keys with the room number on them. "Where is the room?" I asked barely able to hold my eyelid open now.
"Here Melinda, its the same room from earlier." Janice said as she walked up to a door, inserted the key into the lock and swung the door open. Well, too much has happened today. I'm sorry if I can't remember where my room is!
I tried to change the subject, "I need ta get outta these clothes and inta something clean."
"You just changed and hour ago!" She says in an irritated tone, a bit louder then was necessary.
Walkin past her, completely ignorin her, I kicked off my heels, took off my blazer and collapsed on the queen sized bed. "Thank the lord." I said with a sigh. With the combination of pure exhaustion and the comfort of the bed, I must had fallen asleep immediately.
I was back at the Janice's dig site right after we had barely escaped Ares' tomb. And I was talkin to Jack Kleinman. He was standin right in front of me explainin why he couldn't join Janice on her next dig. I heard Janice and Big Rod chattin off to the side of me. Why is Big Rod here?
Jack took my hand in his and softly kissed the top of it. Then leaned towards me and whispered in my ear if I would join him for a ride on his motorcycle before he left. "But we just met." I giggled back to him. I don't make it a policy to just ride off into the sunshine with any fella I just met. But what the heck? It's just one just one little ol ride. And I'll be right back.
Finally acceptin his offer, he lent me a hand up onto his motorcycle. With my skirt torn at the seams it was easier to straddle the seat, but I feel a little awkward exposin this much of my legs. Very unladylike. I wrapped my arms around Jack's waist, looked over to Janice and silently mouth, "Be right back."
This caused Big Rod to lean into Janice and he said somethin to her I couldn't hear. But as we slowly past by them I heard Janice say to him, "Well he had a bigger wad Rod."
"What's going on?" I asked, still half a sleep. But the light from the desk woke me. And through sleepy squintin eyes I could make out Janice standin by the desk and someone else. Not sure who though. My hand blindly searched the nightstand besides me for my glasses. I don't remember takin them off my face.
"Nothing sweetheart, you just rest those pretty little blue eyes."
Puttin on my specs, my eyes focus in on Big Rod. "Oh my." Boltin up to a sitting position I quickly grabbed the covers, hugged them closer to my body and ask, "What are ya doin in here?"
He just waves me off with his hand, "Not now sweetheart. Yeah Jan, but he needs payment tonight. Something about another job." And continues his conversation with Janice.
I shook my head and muttered, "I must be dreamin. Yeah..." Fallin back onto my pillow I was out like a light again.
I'm not exactly sure what woke me, but all was quiet in the room. No light on at the desk. No Big Rod. Just the sound of peace and quiet. I felt around me on the bed to see if Janice had decided to slip into bed with me. But her figure was nowhere to be found. I reached over to turn on the light. Wonder if she's still here? She was. There she was layin on the sofa, sound asleep. Hope she doesn't wake up with a crick in her neck in the mornin. Quietly I got outta bed and walked over to her. Lookin down at her, I pulled the covers up over her shoulder. There.
Well, since I'm up I might as well change outta this clothes and into my nighty. Grabbin one of my suitcases, I took out something to sleep in. Strippin down to my birthday suit I slipped on one of my favorite nighties and settled back into bed. It didn't take long for sleep to consume me again.
I felt something hit my cheek, which caused me to moan in annoyance. I felt something else bounce off my nose. "What the..." I began to say before I sat up in bed and turned on the light. And what was cause of the facial assault? Big Rod, who was tryin to hide behind a dresser drawer. And failin miserably at it I should add. I looked down at my blanket and saw peanut layin on it. He was throwin food at me?!
"What are ya doin in our room!" I nearly screamed. I quickly scan the room for Janice. I know she didn't just leave him in our room cause I was just up a little while ago. I wanted to know why he was in our room. And how he got in here to begin with. Lord only knows what he might find in here, thinkin he could make a quick buck off of it. Well, ok I don't think he's the thievin type, but still. I reached over for my glasses. There she is still sleepin on the sofa. Fast asleep and suckin on her thumb. Aww…well isn't that a sight. I would have never though Janice Covington would be a thumb sucker. Wonder if she even knows she does that in her sleep? I'll have to remember to tease her some bout that later on.
I really didn't wanna have to wake her up from her slumber. But she knows how to deal with him and I don't. "Umm... Janice." I had hoped that she was a light sleeper and would have heard me.
"Hmmm…Mel I need $50." He said to me. I should have known this had ta deal with money.
Huggin the covers closer in front of me, "For what?" I asked.
I glanced over at Janice when I heard her mutter, "Xena… wow." Dreamin bout Xena, huh? At least someone is getting some sleep.
"I don't have the money. She does." I pointed to Janice.
"She was supposed to give it to me for Pittman, but she fell asleep. I'll pay you back in the morning." Big Rod whispered to me.
I knew the only way I was gonna get Big Rod outta my room was to give him what he wanted. So I hopped outta bed, noticed Janice's pants were hangin on the chair and went over to pat them down. I could have sworn that's were she put the money after I gave it to her in the lift.
"That would be good. You get it and I'll pay back Jan in the morning." Big Rod said. Lookin over at him I see he's covered his face with his hands, but was peakin outta at me through open fingers. What a strange man.
No, it's not in her pants. I did a quick search of her shirt and the entire room, but didn't find it. "Where did she put it?" Well, there was only one person that could answer that question and I really didn't wanna have to wake her up. But I'm gonna have to do it.
"Janice. Oh Janice...." I called out to her, still lookin about the room for the money. She mumbled something incoherent and turned over.
"Don't wake her for gods sakes!" He nearly yelled to me. I rolled my eyes and turned in his direction. Givin him a Oh and ya didn't want me ta wake her and you're yellin look. I think he got the hint cause he lowered his voice and said, "She's very touchy when she's woken up. Shhh."
Ignorin his warnins I looked back down at her sleepin face. Is she smilin? "Janice!" This time I said it a little louder.
"Hum?" She asked still asleep.
"Janice." I said tappin her on the shoulder. All she did was gigglin in her sleep.
I gently tried shakin her arm, "Janice, now get up." I'm sorry hon. I really don't wanna disturb your sleep.
"Not now sweetheart I have a big day tomorrow." She mumbled, huggin the covers closer to her body.
"Just get it off her and I'll pay her back in the morning." Big Rod whispered from behind me. Well now that would be a wonderful idea if I knew where the money was. "Will you stop touching her!" I ignore his warnins and continued tryin to wake her.
"Janice Covington, you get up right now." Shakin her shoulder a bit harder. Big Rod was wearin my patients thin. I just wanted to get him out of our room now.
"Five more minutes daddy." Came the voice of a younger Janice Covington. It didn't look like she was gettin up anytime soon. "Big Rod, get me some water." I said jokingly with a smile. I couldn't really do that to her, but it was an idea.
Maybe she heard me cause next thing I know she grabbed a hold of me and threw me onto my back. I was lying completely underneath of her. "Oh my…"
Still half asleep she stares down at me, "Mel?"
"Um... Janice, now wake up." Yep, she's still half a sleep. I would have lightly patted her face with my hand to help wake her up completely, but she had a hold of them.
"What's wrong?" She asked still dazed and a bit confused.
I raised my eyebrow at her and pointed to Big Rod. "Him." Who, apparently, she didn't notice was standin right besides us. She was still straddlin my waist with my wrists pinned up above my head. What a compromisin position this was.
Becoming more coherent she asked, "What do you want Rod?"
"Nothings wrong Jan. I just need that $50 now." He said answerin both of her questions at once.
"Why?" She asked with a yawn.
"Janice Covington, please let go of me." I scolded her feelin a bit embarrassed, given my current position of havin her on top of me.
"Sorry." Is all she said as she helped me up into a sittin position. I tuck away some strands of hair that had gotten in my face.
"$50 for Pittman. He needs it tonight." He signed.
"Not important. I'll pay you back in the morning, I promise. Unless you want to move every rock by yourself."
"It's my money Rod I want to know." She stood and glared at Big Rod. She's got a good point there.
"What's it for Rod? Janice said emphasizin each individual word slowly.
See if I ever try to wakin her up again. I've had enough of this. I head back to bed and make myself comfy under the warm covers again. Placin my glasses back on the nightstand, I drifted back to sleep.
In the mornin I was awaken by the bright sunlight that had filtered into the room through the curtains. Am I dreamin again? Or did I just feel the bed move? I slowly opened one eye to spot Janice sleepin soundly besides me. Now how did she end up in bed with me? I opened up the other eye to make sure it wasn't my imagination playin tricks on me. I blinked several times. I wasn't just dreamin it after all. I thought to myself smilin. There she was sound asleep.
I looked around the room to make sure that Big Rod still wasn't lurkin around. Good she finally got rid of him last night, I guess. I turned my attention back to Janice, who does look younger when she's asleep.
I sat up in bed, found my glasses where I placed them before and placed them on my face. Lookin down at Janice again, I didn’t really want to have to wake her up again. Not after what happened last night. She must have been god awfully tired from everything that happened yesterday. I know I was. But I knew that she wanted to make get up early this mornin so we could get to work on this tablet of Mr. Nelwin's.
"Hey." I took my fingernail lightly tappin it on her arm. "Wake up sleepy head." Which got a small smile on her face. Wow! This is gonna be easier then it was last night. I thought to myself. She rolled on her back and sighed. At least she moved a little.
I sat back for a moment, just watchin her sleep. And tryin to decide how I was gonna go about gettin her up. "Lordly Janice, wake up." I tapped her on arm a bit harder. She started to stir and opened up one eye, takin in her surroundins. Smilin down at her, "Mornin."
She looked over at me and grumblin, "No it's not." And turned her head into her pillow. Ok so she's grumpy in the mornin.
"Um... what are ya doin in the bed with me? And what happened to that Rod?" I quickly scanned the room to make sure everythin was where we had left them.
I looked back down at her. Looks like she fell asleep again. Shakin her arm, "I think it's time for us to get up now. Janice Covington. I swear, ya sleep as hard as a rock. Now get up!"
Ok then, we'll do this the hard way. I got outta bed and headed to the bathroom to find an empty glass to fill with water. Where are they? There they are. Takin one of the glasses I filled it half way with water and made my way back to the bed.
She looked so content all curled up in a ball in the covers. I couldn't help but smile. "Janice. Oh Janice... Fine dear, have it your way." Placin the glass above her face, I tilted it, watchin the water land directly on it's mark. I'm in trouble but she asked for it. And I'm not gonna send 15 minutes tryin to wake her up this mornin.
With the quickness and strength I didn't know Janice had in her, she bolted straight outta bed grabbed my waist and hoisted me up over her shoulder. "You think that's funny, Mel Pappas?" She asked makin her way to the bathroom.
I tried to explain myself to her, "Well ya didn't wake up. I didn't mean ta dump that much on you." I said tryin to wiggle free from her hold and stop myself from gigglin at the same time. Then it hits me. She's gonna throw me in the shower! "Put me down." I said slappin her backside in hopes that she would see this wasn't funny anymore.
With one hand she reached in and turned on the water. All that's runnin through my mind is, I asked for it this time didn't I? And then it hits me. She's not jokin around. She's gonna actually throw me into the shower and get me back for dumpin the water in her face. "Ohno! Put me down!" I started to scream. "Janice Covington! Put me down!" All the playfulness in my voice gone.
"Okay Miss Pappas." She said as she dumped me into the cold runnin shower. She backed up fast so she wouldn't get hit by the stream of cold water comin from the shower head. And fast enough as to where I couldn't grab her to drag her in with me. She was laughin up a storm while she watched me get drenched. This water is freezin!
"Oh oh" Was all I could get outta my mouth, the water was so cold. And I tried to make a break for it but Janice blocked my way and held me in place under the cold stream of water by puttin both of her hands on my shoulders.
"Janice! Well I never. Move outta my way!" I yelled tryin to break free of her hold.
"Oh no Mel, you should never wake me!" Oh now she tells me.
I know I must have been poutin like a baby by that time. I didn't think she could be so strong and keep me from escapin this water torture. "Janice! This is freezin. Let me outta here. Please!" I pleaded with her. Either that or I'm gonna pull her in with me.
"Sorry Mel I couldn't resist." She said as she reached over to turn off the tap, still laughin at me.
Shakin the wet strands of hair outta my eyes, I reached over for a towel. Lookin down at my drenched nightie, well, let's just say you could tell I was freezin. Oh my. I grabbed the towel I quickly wrapped it around my body for warmth and modesty sake.
"Well Mel, you had your shower now it's time for mine." She says leanin back against the sink with a smirk on her face. I gave her a dirty look as I exited the bathroom and went quickly lookin for some dry warm clothes to put on.
From behind the bathroom door I could hear Janice intentionally laughin as loud as she could while the water was runnin again. "I hear that!" I shouted in the direction of the bathroom. She thinks this is funny, huh?
Then came a knock on the door. I hope that's not Big Rod this early in the mornin. "Yes, Who is it?" I asked as I made my way to the door. From the bathroom Janice was still laughin, but this time splashin water to add to her continuous teasin.
"Its the Clerk ma'am." A voice answered from behind the door as I opened it. "Yes?"
"Uh.. yes.. uh." he said uneasily tryin to look everywhere but directly at me. "The package is here downstairs." Now what is his problem? Then it hits me or should I say a cold breeze reminded me that I was still in a very wet see-through nightie. Oh goodness. I'm sure I turned the brightest shade of crimson.
"The others are in the cantina waiting." He said as he turned around to leave abruptly, makin a hasty path to the lift.
"Oh. Ok thank you. We'll be down as soon as she is done with her hot shower." I said. But I really don't think he heard me as fast as he was walkin.
I had almost closed the door when Janice, wrapped in only a towel, came rushin towards the door. "Where is it?" She asked peekin her head outside the door. Lookin for the desk clerk I suppose. "Why didn't he bring it up?"
I gathered up the outfit I had choose to wear and went into the bathroom to change. As soon as I saw the shower a chill ran through my body. I'll get ya back for that Janice Covington. Ya mark my words.
"I don't know." I yell loud enough for her to hear me from the bathroom. I quickly get dried off and change outta my wet nightie into my outfit and applied my markup.
As I came outta the bathroom I witness Janice, half dressed, throwin things up over her shoulder from her racksack. She was cussin up a storm.
I wasn't goin to ask what she doin or what she was cussin about. I just figured it was some sort of mornin routine she had while lookin for something to wear. "Well now, we should really go downstairs and see this package and the others. Hurry up now Janice."
"Son of a Bitch!" They're gone!" She exclaimed.
"Ya'll always use such colorful language, Janice Covington?" I asked as I turned around, just in time to catch the rucksack that came flyin my way. Now what has gotten inta her? And I thought I had problems tryin to pick out with pair of heels to wear with which outfit.
She started pacin back and forth, runnin her fingers through her wet hair concentratin on somethin awfully hard. "What's gone?" I asked lookin through the sack. It was completely empty. The contents were scattered all around the hotel room floor.
She wasn't payin a bit of attention to what I asked. She grabbed the other duffel bag and started rummagin through that one also. But apparently whatever was missin wasn't in that bag either, cause she landed right on her tush and held her head in her hands.
"What are you talkin' bout?
"Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!"
"What is it ya'll are talkin bout that's missing?" I asked again.
She started throwin anything that is within her reach at the walls; shirts, boxer shorts, boot… Were those batteries I saw hit the wall? I shook my head and raised a brow at her.
"They are gone, Mel! G. O. N. E. Gone!" She yelled in my direction as she got up from the floor. Leanin over to snatch up a pair of trousers she put them on hurriedly.
I still was in a state of confusion, "What on heaven sakes is missin?"
"The Scrolls Mel! The Scrolls!" She snatched up the rucksack that I had dropped to the floor and pointed to something on it. I leaned in to get a closer view and saw the stencil that read; Jack Kleinman on it.
I was stunned. I sat down on the bed and placed my hand to my head. "I knew we couldn't trust that Rod…" She dropped kicked the rucksack causin it to hit the wall. I'm sure the people next door were wonderin what was goin on in our room.
Then the thought hit me, "Oh... Jack?" No he couldn't have purposely taken the scrolls. He was such a swell fella. He wouldn't have done that. And I smiled as I thought of yesterday when I first met him. Now come to think of it, I shouldn't have done that.
"Jack Kleinman! That bastard!" She walked straight up to me and stared yellin, "Did you give them to him? Miss Goo Goo eyes anything in trousers? Huh? Did you give them to him?"
"Now Janice, we'll get them back somehow." I started to say when the realization hits me. I'm in complete shock that she would accuse me to doin such a thing. "Me?! Miss Goo Goo eyes?!" Now this is gettin ridiculous.
"Yeah you!" She yelled, still pacin the room. "I see how it is, everyone here. Do I know them... no I don't. Here they are in my life. "
"Of course I did no such thing!" I wasn't goin to just sit there and have her accuse me of doin such a thing. The best thing to do was just leave her be. I made my way towards the door. But she wasn't goin to have that. She rushed past me, blockin my path to the door.
Pressin her index finger into my chest she said, "You just walked into my life, like that eh?"
No Janice Covington. Ya asked me to stay in your life by becomin your partner. "How could you think that I'd do something like that?!"
"Gee Mel? How could I not, I don't know you! Just cause our ancestors were friends doesn't mean we are!"
I felt a sharp stab of pain hit my heart as soon as the words left her mouth. How could a woman, that I had just met over 24 hours ago, cause me to feel like this? Like I'd just lost my best friend. I tried to hold back the tears that I left buildin up in my eyes. "I came all this way over here to talk to you. And..." I walked back to the bed sat down heavily on it and fished out my hankie from my bra. "And..."
"And what Mel? So I can save you from a boring life of a husband and babies?" She blurted out. "I am NOT your savior!"
That did it. I shot a glare directly into her eyes, "I can see that." I said coldly, still tryin to hold back my tears.
She turned to kick the closest thing to her and stubbed her toe in the process, "Ouch!" Good, serves ya right. She hopped over to me and sat down next to me. I quickly turned away from her. If she's lookin for sympathy cause she hurt herself she's not gonna get it from me now.
"I would never do somethin like that Janice." I said with a shaky voice.
"Sorry Mel, its just I spent my whole life trying to recover those damn things..." I felt her hand on my shoulder, but didn't turn around to look at her. "Sorry I yelled."
There was another knock at the door. I made no attempt to get up to answer it. I was too shaken and hurt by Janice's accusations. All I could do was sigh and try to dab up the wall of tears that were fillin up my eyes with my hanky. Janice had gotten up off of the bed and went to answer it. I quickly dabbed the hanky under my eyes again and turned around to see who was at the door.
"Yes?" Janice asked as she ran her fingers through her still wet hair while openin up the door.
"Uh Miss. Covington, Ms. Helena? She still waiting for you in the cantina." I heard the desk clerk say to her as I stood up and made my way to the bathroom. "We are coming." She told him then shut the door.
"Who is that woman?"
"I don't know." I said as I entered the bathroom and turned on the water.
Like nothin happened Janice asked from the bedroom, "Where is my hair tie Mel?"
"I don't know." I repeated. Which was what was runnin through my mind at the moment. How was I gonna convince her that I'm here to help her with the scrolls. That I didn't give Jack the scrolls. That she could trust me. I didn't know.
I felt her standin in the doorway, starin at me. "I'll be ready in a little bit." I said as I looked at her through the bathroom mirror.
"You okay?" She asked with concern in her voice, still watchin me.
I shook my head a little tryin to clear my thoughts. "I'm going to try to be."
"Mel?" She asked in a softer tone.
I sighed quietly to myself, findin it hard to stay angry at her when she seemed so sincere now, "Yes?"
"You have to forgive me sometimes, I haven't ever had a partner before. You know us redheads, quick to snap and all." She said with a silly lopsided grin on her face. I could tell from the look in her eyes that that was one of the hardest things for her to admit. She retreated from the doorway back in to the bedroom.
"Well, I guess I could learn to get use to that." Decidin that I'd try to lighten up the tension in the room. I checked in the mirror to make sure I looked presentable again. I walked up to her and pressed my index finger to her nose, "But if ya ever put me in a cold shower again. I'm gonna have to hurt ya somehow." I said givin a her nose one final playful flick before I backed away from her smilin.
She grins at my playful threat. "Might take you up on that Mel." She said bendin down to finish lacin up her boots. I'm countin on it. I grinned as I walked past her to the door, "Coming?"
Updated January 16th, 2000