You can probably guess how well this all went.
There’s that saying about the best laid plans of mice and men.
Then there’s me and the walking disaster that I am.
So you pretty much know what happened, right?
“I don’t think it’s working.”
“Don’t say that. Next thing you know, we’ll get kidnapped right outside the diner. I’m not looking forward to getting kidnapped, okay? I know you think that it’s okay, but we’ve established that you’re more than a little crazy, Clayton.”
“I know that,” he agreed, happily biting off the head of a gummy bear and getting a smile out of his wife. She looked at him, and he passed her one. She swallowed it whole, and he made a face. She took another and bit that one’s head off. “Forgiven.”
She rolled her eyes. “Sometimes I don’t know why I put up with you.”
“It’s your superpower. We established that, too.”
April laughed. Then she reached for the straw in her milkshake and turned it around as she sobered up again. “What are we going to do, realistically? If they don’t make their move right away, do we keep making exaggerated public appearances until they do? Do we go back into hiding? What is our plan after this?”
“I was thinking bench next.”
“At the park?”
He nodded. “Yes. See, I figure we hit all the old haunts. Well, that, and I kind of wanted to make out with you there. What can I say? I’m sentimental.”
She shook her head, laughing. “You are so strange. Fortunately, I like that about you. And don’t repeat that bit about my superpower. I’m already afraid of what Larabee might come up with for that one.”
Clayton winced. “Oh, no. That’s going to end up in a bunch of spandex lingerie.”
April put a hand to her mouth. “I might have to puke after that one. Especially since I just pictured him wearing one of them. That was so not an image I needed.”
“Me, either. And thanks for that. You know I have seen him naked.”
“Larabee, we love you, but remember, always, always wear pants,” April said, directing that comment to him as she shuddered. She lifted her milkshake and finished it off before setting it back down. “Well, Clayton, I guess we should go.”
“Here. You have the last gummy bear.”
She took it from him and ate it, then kissed his cheek as she rose. “I love you. If we get kidnapped now, I’m going to hurt you myself, but I do love you. For the record.”
Clay laughed as he stood. “I love you, too, and if we get kidnapped now, you totally get to hit me. I deserve it.”
She rolled her eyes as she took his arm. “I do want this over. I want to have a real chance at a life that does not involve a conspiracy and a psychotic scientist. And no, I do not mean Larabee with that one. Larabee is… harmless. Kilbourne is a monster.”
“I know. Hopefully this will mean it’s all going to end soon,” Clay said, opening the door for her. He couldn’t help looking around as they left, but he didn’t see anything suspicious. Not that he necessarily knew what that was, but he doubted that he would have spotted a good covert agent if they were around—other than the ones he already knew were there, of course.
He took April’s hand and walked along the sidewalk, heading for their old park and that old bench. It had been too long since they’d been there as well. “I guess if it doesn’t work, we just keep going on with our lives as much as possible. You’ll teach. I’ll… Well, I really don’t feel like going back to my cubicle, but we do need both of our incomes, so I should probably take my job back—”
“With the people that lied to you all your life? Clayton, are you crazy? You can’t go back to work for them. Even if things are a bit tough for a while, we’ll make do. You can start looking for something else, but I don’t want you working with them. We still don’t know for sure if they were telling the truth. We don’t know how much approval Kilbourne actually had for what he did to you.”
“I know. I just… I have been mostly useless throughout this whole thing, and I hate to put another burden on you,” he told her. She gave him a look. “This isn’t me being chauvinistic or thinking that I have to be the main breadwinner or the strong one. I already know that you’re better at all of that than I am, and I can admit it. Not sure what that says about my masculinity—”
“As your wife, I have absolutely no problem with your masculinity.”
He smiled at her, stopping to kiss her. Of course, doing that on a sidewalk, right in public view, while acting as bait for a group of rogue operatives led by a warped scientist was not Clay’s brightest idea ever.
He heard the tires screech and tried futilely to push April away to safety as the doors of dark van opened and they were quickly surrounded by men doing good impressions of ninjas in a low budget film.
“Okay, you get to hit me now.”