Day 2 (cont)
Smitty took a taste of his gin and slid into one of the privacy booths along the edge of the officer’s lounge. I don’t feel like talking. I’m just going to have one drink before I go to my room and break open the technical magazine that came in last night’s mail. He hunched over the table, toying with his glass.
The tip of her bright tongue moistened her strawberry lips. “Well, I really should be clinging as I do you now,” she stated, her hands on his chest. She knelt and opened the panel in the front of his uniform. He felt her—
Footsteps clicked in the officer’s lounge. Smitty jerked out of his daydream and peeked out at the brown-haired woman crossing the room. Wilson, he realized. Why isn’t she on duty? His eyes finally noticed her long slinky dress. Must be her day off. And she’s obviously got a date.
She sat near-by, exchanged greetings with others who were filtering into the lounge.
A flurry of activity raced into the lounge. When he peeked out again, the newcomer had paused to look around. MacDowell! “I should be clinging as I-“ She headed for Wilson’s table, and he stiffened. Trouble. The old girl friend confronting the new one. That’s never a good idea.
“Are you Ivy?”
Wilson turned to face the redhead. “Yes.”
MacDowell took her hand and pumped it vigorously. “Hi, I’m Mac, Bugalu’s puppy. Look, there’s not much time before Bugs gets here; you know how punctual he is. But I have a joke to pull on him.” She hurried across the room, jumped on a chair along the wall, and began fiddling with the clock.
Hey! Smitty’s objection was over-whelmed by the question of what tools she was using. His eyes traveled up and down the form-fitting over-stretched exercise suit she wore. There’s no place for her to keep any tools, but I didn’t see her carry them in.
The clock was out of the wall and in her arms for half a second before she put it back in place. She hopped down, swiped at the chair seat, and hurried back to Wilson. Smitty stared at the clock. Surely it’s not that late! How long was I ... daydreaming?
“I need your help,” Colleen told Wilson. “When Bugsy gets here, act mad!” Wilson grinned. “No! Don’t smile! He’s late! You’ll never get to the concert on time! And you’re mad about that!” The girl was grinning as she said it.
Wilson wiped the grin off her face. “Right. Now hide.” She glanced around the lounge. “Anybody else going to the concert, please hide, or you’ll tip him off.”
Two other couples ducked into privacy booths. Not wanting to be seen, Smitty sat back, was surprised when Colleen backed into his booth and tried to scrunch her curves to one side of the opening. He wrapped his hands tightly around his glass, to keep from reaching for … anything else.
“You look beautiful, Ivy,” came from the main lounge.
“It’s about time!” Wilson returned hotly. “If this is an example of how much you care, Bugalu, by being late when you knew I wanted to hear this concert, then-“
“Late! I can’t be late! I left in plenty of-“ Smitty leaned forward to see the negro staring at the clock. It hadn’t changed since Colleen had put it back in the wall.
MacDowell tried to stifle a giggle, and the slight sound caused Wilson to grin. “Mac!” Bugalu called angrily. “Mac, you get your butt out here!”
Colleen stood up straight and walked out of the booth. “What’s up, Bugs?”
“Don’t pretend this isn’t your doing! I know you too well to believe that.”
Wilson laughed. “Take it easy, Bugalu. It was a good joke. You should have seen your face!”
The negro glared at the redhead for another moment, until Wilson lay her hand on his arm. His face began to soften. “I can’t let her get away with this!” he protested. “Life will be so complicated, if I don’t keep her under tight control!”
“Well, of course!” the redhead agreed readily. “Why else would I be here?”
Bugalu looked exasperated, but Wilson leaned closer to him. “I still say it’s a good joke, but we should leave now, if we want good seats for the concert.” She placed a peck on his cheek.
The navigator turned toward the brownette, and his face went completely soft. “Okay, let’s go.” He turned back to the redhead, and his eyes went hard again. “Later, Mac. Don’t think you’re going to get off easy.” He pointed toward the non-functional clock. “Fix it.”
“I know,” Colleen agreed readily.
“Let’s go, Bugs,” Wilson urged.
“Oh, don’t call me that!” he pled as they moved off. “It’s bad enough she calls me that!”
“Then don’t let her.”
“You don’t know Mac.” They were gone, other couples following.
The redhead laughed silently for a minute, then skipped across the lounge and stepped up onto that chair, still chuckling. In a moment, the clock was in her arms again. She can’t muck with that! Smitty got up and drank half his gin as he crossed the lounge. The closer he got, the more he frowned, thinking about broken clocks. Then she slapped the clock back into place, and he saw the setting move backwards as the ship’s computer corrected it. She began to tighten the fittings. He heard the clatter of a tool falling to the floor. “Drat!”
He picked up the small item from the floor. As he stood up, his eyes traveled up her thighs, past her abdomen to her cleavage, where the fingers of one hand fumbled with two other diminutive tools tucked between her—“Here,” he said hoarsely, tapping the searching fingers with the retrieved tool.
“That’s the wrong size,” she muttered without looking. “Where did that 1/8 go?” Her fingers dug deeper, pushing the strained zipper down a bit before she pulled out the missing driver. “Here it is.”
Smitty forced his eyes higher, watched as she tightened the fastenings. She stepped down, tucked her tiny hardware into her cleavage and pulled the zipper up. Her face was red as she took the tool from him, and drained absolutely white when she raised her green eyes to his face. “Oh, dear,” she breathed.
He tossed down his remaining gin. “Would you care for a drink?” he heard himself ask.
“N-n-no,” she stuttered, still white. She whirled and left. Once her gorgeous rump disappeared around a corner, Smitty went back to the dispenser and dialed himself another, larger drink.