Chapter 8: The Delay

"No vacancies?" Jimmy said in disbelief. "But, there has to be at least one room open."

The harried man at the cash register shook his head. "Sorry, but the Sommersville Motel is completely booked. You wouldn't believe the number of people who have to wait here until the bridge to Ultima is back up."

Jimmy and company had driven around Sommersville, trying to find some way around the blockade. There turned out to be no feasible way around. All the bridges within a few days drive, which wasn't that many (it was a very low population area), were flooded out. Mary-Sue finally suggested that they just rent a room in Sommersville and wait it out. It was estimated that the bridge would be back in business within a day. By that time, they had been driving about for a few hours and most of the hotels were either too expensive or booked to the full. The Sommersville Motel was their last resort.

"Please," said Mary-Sue, putting on a puppy face. "My husband and I have been driving all day and the kids are practically exhausted!" She took Jimmy's hand up in hers and leaned against him

Jimmy turned red and felt tingles go up and down his spine. "Err…y-yeah."

The man looked up at the couple and felt sorry for them. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do."

Mary-Sue looked down at the floor. "I understand," she said, in a quiet and sad voice. "Come on, honey, I guess we'll have to sleep in the car tonight. Poor children…" She and Jimmy turned toward the door to leave

The harried man noticed several other people in the lobby throw disapproving looks at him. He also felt sad for the couple. Wait…maybe there was something he could do…

"Um, excuse me, miss?"

Jimmy and Mary-Sue turned around. "Yes?" asked Mary-Sue, trying to hide her smile.

"Well, I just realized that there was a couple who had been staying here and went to Ultima before the flood waters rose. I…I guess I could give you his room for the night, seeing as he won't be able to get back. Not tonight, anyway."

Mary-Sue walked up to the man. "Do you…do you think you can do that?"

"Uh, sure. Just don't touch any of their stuff and you'll be fine. I must warn you, it's a two person room."

Mary-Sue smiled. "Oh! Thank you, thank you! Don't worry, we'll make do! Did you hear that, Jim? We've got a room!"

Mary-Sue gave Jimmy a big hug and he picked her up off her feet. Several people in lobby applauded and beamed at the happy couple.

Several minutes later, the four of them arrived at Room 2B. Jimmy opened the door and flicked on the light.

"Not much to look at, is it," muttered Gabe.

The room was a bit dingy, and a bit on the smallish side, but it was cheap and probably one of the last ones in town. There was one double bed with floral print covers, a small nightstand with a lamp, phone, and alarm clock, and a small television.

"We'll make due," said Mary-Sue. She turned to Jimmy. "I really appreciate you letting me stay with you guys," she said. "I hope I'm not intruding. I don't want to make things difficult."

"Oh," said Jimmy, blushing, "not at all. We couldn't just leave behind."

Mary-Sue beamed. "Thank you! Thank you very much. I'll try to not be much of a bother. I promise." She turned to Jack and Gabe. "Why don't you two boys give the room a once over while your Uncle Jim and I get the luggage and a couple roll-aways, okay?"

"Sure," said Jack.

"Whore," Gabe muttered when Mary-Sue and Jimmy had left the room.

Jack wheeled on Gabe. "What was that about?"

Gabe rolled his eyes. "Have you been paying attention at all? Have you been looking at the way she looks at Jimmy? She's out to get him. She's like a shark! It's like my dad says, 'You can never trust women.' I wonder what she promised the guy at the register to get this room."

Jack snorted. "No wonder your parents broke up."

Gabe glared at Jack. "You take that back!"

Jack glared back. "Make me," he said with much more defiance than he had ever shown Gabe before.

Gabe roared and full-on tackled Jack, fists flying.

'Hey! HEY! You two, KNOCK IT OFF!!"

They both looked up to see a very angry and domineering Jimmy standing over them. "What has gotten in to you two? Huh? This is getting ridiculous!"

"He started it!" they both said simultaneously pointing at each other.

Bang! Bang! "Keep it down in there!" said the neighbors through the west wall.

"Sorry!" Jimmy called out. He then turned and glared down at Jack and Gabe. "Couldn't you tow at least try and get along? Tomorrow, we'll be in Ultima. If we're lucky, the Madame might already be there. She can fix the watch, and this will all be over. Got it?" Jimmy surprised himself by how much he sounded like his dad whenever he was mad.

"Hon – err, Jim? What's going on?" Mary-Sue entered the room, carrying Jack's and Gabe's, and Jimmy's bags.

"Oh, nothing much," said Jimmy. "Just sorting out a few problems."

"Oh, okay," she said, looking down at Jack and Gabe. "I hope you don't mind if I call my friend in Ultima. She's probably wondering why we're not there by now. Um, I'll use the pay-phone in the lobby." She put down the bags and left the room.

Jimmy sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, not caring how much he felt. He pulled the cracked watch out of his pocket. 35 years and 1 month, it read. He hadn't aged a bit since they had left Miscellaneous. He aimed it at Gabe. 10 years and 6 months.

"Ten years old," said Jimmy. Gabe gaped at the watch. "Huh? That's not possible!" He tried to grab the watch, but Jimmy simply held it high above his head. "Hey! No fair!" he yelled, sounding just like a ten-year-old.

There was some more banging from the west wall. "I said, keep it down!"

"Sorry," Jimmy called again. He then turned back to Jack and Gabe. "I just need you guys to keep it together for a little longer, okay? Just a little longer."

Jack hung his head and Gabe turned away and pouted. Something told Jimmy that this was going to be a long night.

"…and now we're sharing a room together!" Mary-Sue concluded.

"Wait," said Martha. "You mean to tell me you're…you know…" she had trouble finding the proper words.

"No! No," said Mary-Sue. "There are kids with him. And besides, we haven't gotten that far, yet."

"Have you gotten anywhere?" Martha asked, skeptically.

"Well, we kinda told a little of ourselves to each other. He's a little shy, though, and that makes him even more adorable!"

Martha sighed. "Okay, you're twenty-six. How old is he?"

Mary-Sue sighed. "Thirty-five…I already told you that."

Martha sighed again. "You don't see a problem with him being almost ten years older than you?"

"But, I feel a real connection! I do," Mary-Sue insisted. "I would support you in a situation like this. Why can't you support me?"

"You didn't just pull that card, did you? Just be careful, okay. I don't want you getting hurt, emotionally or physically. Just warning you, the age difference may put him off a little, and, from how you described him, he may be feeling a little insecure."

Mary-Sue rolled her eyes, and, since Martha couldn't see her through the phone, she gave an exasperated sigh for good measure. "Yes, 'mother,'" she said sarcastically. "Don't worry about me Martha, I'll be careful. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on him."

"Alright. I hope to see you tomorrow then. Bye, Hun."

"Bye." Mary-sue hung up the phone. She began thinking, how was she going to reel this big fish in…?

It was later at night. Gabe and Jack had gone to sleep in their roll-away beds and Jimmy and Mary-Sue were sitting up in the double bed, stirring the remaining contents of their Chinese food (all the eat-out restaurants had been full) with the television on with low volume.

They were discussing plans for tomorrow, if the bridge was open. Jimmy was to drop Mary-Sue off at her friend, Martha's, apartment, and Jimmy would take Gabe and Jack and go his separate way. At the moment, Jimmy was glad to feel clean clothes on his skin, he was wearing a green tee and sweat pants of Mr. Cheston's.

"You sure you don't want to come by any time during the week?" asked Mary-Sue. "I mean, it's still a few days until the circus and all."

Jimmy ran his hand through his hair. "Um, well, I'm not sure…"

Just then the television began to play a familiar theme tune. Jimmy looked in time to see the opening sequence for an old Doctor Who episode. It was one with the Fourth Doctor, the one with the curly hair and really long scarf.

"Oh!" said Mary-Sue. "I love this show!"

Jimmy looked at her, surprised. "You do?"

"Yeah," she said. "I loved to watch these reruns when I was little. I was ecstatic when the new series started."

"My little sister likes this show," said Jimmy.

"Oh? How old is she?"

"Eight," he said without thinking.

Mary-Sue blinked. "Eight year old?"

Jimmy stiffened, realizing his mistake. "Erm, did I say eight? Uh, heh, I meant twenty-eight."

Mary-Sue nodded and smiled. "Ah, I see. So, do you like Doctor Who?"

No, thought Jimmy. "Yeah, I love it," said Jimmy.

"What about the new series," she asked. "I know some people despise it because it's not enough like the classic series, but I like the new feel it brings to an old series."

"Yeah," said Jimmy. "I know where you're coming from." I do? he thought.

The watched the rest of the episode together, Mary-Sue occasionally pointing things out to Jimmy.

"I miss K-9. I do wish they would bring him back in the new series." "Heh, you have to wonder just how hot it is for the Doctor under that scarf." "Did you know that TARDIS stands for 'Time And Relative Dimensions In Space'?"

Eventually the episode ended and Jimmy and Mary-Sue bedded down for the night. Jimmy was tired and fell asleep immediately.

However, Mary-Sue was still feeling a bit anxious. She was sleeping in the same bed, right next to a man she had only met that morning, and an attractive one at that. But there seemed to be some sort of barrier to him. He was so shy, almost childlike in some way. There was just something…off…about him. But she was determined to get through him.

She looked at his sleeping form. His back was turned to her, so she couldn't see his adorable baby face or button nose, but she could see the cute little bald spot on the back of his head. She gently ran her fingers through his hair.

Martha once said she had a "fetish" for certain men. Humph! So what if what did? That was her personal preference, and if they didn't like it, why should they care?

She gently put her arms around his soft, teddy bear form. He stirred a little, but didn't wake. He also began to snore.

When she was little, she had had a radiator in her room that made quite a bit of noise. It became that she eventually couldn't sleep without it. Now that there was no radiator, she enjoyed the sound of his snoring. She gently closed her eyes and nodded off to sleep with one word on her lips.

"Jim…"