Story: Fears and Favors (chapter 9)
Authors: A Markov
Back to chapter list
Title: Bottle in a Ship
[Author's notes: I do not own Ardbeg, Jack Daniels or Ricky Charmichael. I would suggest you check out both Ardbeg and Ricky Charmichael but avoid Jack Daniels.]
The ferry brought them out to the middle of Lake Michigan where they were met by a fifty-foot trimaran. Monique opted to stay on board the ferry and head to Vladivostok by way of Canada, Alaska and Japan, while Kim, Ron and Bonnie boarded the trimaran for a cruise through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic where they would transfer to a passenger ship headed for France. All of the travel plans had obviously been put together by Wade with camouflage in mind, rather than speed. Attempts to contact Wade had been futile, so all of their information was coming from prearranged plans and old communications. After settling in on the trimaran, the three of them met in the galley for a late dinner.
Bonnie took a sip of the instant coffee and grimaced. “I knew I should have stayed on the ferry with Monique.”
“That must be why you said, ‘Russia in the winter? I don’t think so.’ when you were offered the chance.” Ron said sarcastically.
“Hey, I didn’t know I was going to have to spend two weeks stuck inside a three room boat with Miss Perfect and the Wonderful Wizard of Weird.”
Turning to Kim, Ron snarled, “Tell me again why you thought I needed to hear anything this bitch queen had to say.”
Kim rolled her eyes. “Because it’s important to her, Ron.”
“How would you know?” Bonnie snapped.
“I’m just trying to help…”
“Well just stop sticking your nose in my business! I don’t need your help.” Bonnie stormed out of the galley into the bunkroom.
Ron rose to follow her, still angry, but Kim stopped him. “Let her go, Ron.” She tried to raise Wade once more and when he failed to answer she slammed the Kimmunicator on to the table. “Damn! I wish I could raise Wade and find out why it is so important for us to do this.”
Still staring at the door Bonnie had disappeared behind, Ron said, “I wonder what she wants to tell me.” Kim rolled her eyes; it was going to be a long two weeks.
For a few days they walked on eggshells around each other. The close confines of the trimaran, and the fact that they were not supposed to go up on deck during the day, made for very uncomfortable quarters. Kim found it amusing that they tended to triangulate themselves to end up as far from each other as possible, usually with one of them in the galley, one of them in the bunk room and one in the lounge. When someone left their area to get a snack or go to the head, one of the other two would move into the recently vacated space. This caused a few growls and mutters but they managed not to hurt each other or get on each other’s nerves too much.
The third night on board, Kim woke to the sound of sobbing. She looked over and saw Bonnie had her face shoved into her pillow and was crying into it. Her sobs were racking her body and her knuckles were white from the death grip she had on the pillow. Kim wondered what she could do for the girl. It must have been difficult for Bonnie to drop everything and come on a journey with her boyfriend and her bitter rival at the drop of a hat without even knowing why it was necessary, especially since her relationship with Ron seemed to be in a rough patch. When Wade had mentioned Paris, Bonnie had probably imagined a first class plane ticket today and shopping on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré tomorrow. Kim was positive that Bonnie hadn’t counted on being stuck on a boat with her and Ron for several weeks.
She waited until the sobs had subsided and stirred gently; acting as though she was just waking. The noises from Bonnie’s bunk ceased as soon as she moved. Kim stretched and made her way to the galley where she put on the kettle and began preparing herself a cup of tea. She kept glancing into the bunkroom hoping to catch Bonnie moving so she would have an excuse to speak with her and was soon rewarded. When the kettle began to whistle, Bonnie sat up and stared daggers into the galley.
“Sorry.” Kim said. “I can’t sleep and I thought some chamomile would soothe me. Would you like a cup?”
“I don’t want any damned tea.” The acerbic brunette snarled. “I want a real drink.” She flung off her blanket and swung out of bed.
“Are you sure?” Kim asked, “You know alcohol doesn’t change your mood, it just amplifies it.”
“Spying on me, Possible?” Bonnie sneered at her. “Is that how you get your edge?”
For a few moments Kim considered playing it off, like she hadn’t seen the brunette crying but something in her thought that Bonnie really wanted to tell somebody what was bothering her. Whatever her reasons, she had left her life behind and come with Ron. According to him, Wade had been clear that they would be out of the country for a while, possibly permanently and she had just picked up and walked away from her life. Either her life was really bad, or Ron meant a great deal more than she wanted to admit, even to herself. Kim watched with growing concern as Bonnie walked over to the cabinet and pulled out a fifth of whiskey.
“I can’t believe it!” She exclaimed in awe. “They’ve got Ardbeg!” The brunette reverently poured two fingers into a cup and savored the shot as she drank it. “Oh!” She said quietly. “That’s good stuff.”
Kim remembered the first time she had tried a shot of whiskey. It had burned down her throat like fire and fell into her stomach like a brick, a very hot brick that wanted to come right back out.
“C’mon, Miss Perfect. Let’s get toasty.”
“What?” a disapproving frown touched Kim’s face.
“I’m going to tell you a story and I’ll be damned if you’re going to be sober when I do it.” The brunette set two paper cups on the table, “Be damned if either one of us is going to be sober when I do it.” She stared defiantly into Kim’s eyes. “Or have I finally found something I can do better than you?”
Kim knew that Bonnie was just goading her and that getting into a drinking contest with the brunette was probably the stupidest thing she could do, but something about the challenge in those icy blue eyes stirred her competitive soul and her Kimness woke up and took over. She picked up a shot and downed it. The liquid rolled down her throat, coating it in warmth, nothing like the throat burning disaster she had experienced with the Jack Daniels. And instead of the fiery charcoal lump she expected in her stomach, there was only a pleasant, smoldering warmth that radiated from her middle out toward her limbs.
She was transported back to a day in the early part of winter when she had been foolish enough to go out without a jacket and had arrived home barely able to feel her arms. Shego had lit her hands and gently massaged warmth back into her shivering body. The gentle caress had been comforting and quite erotic. The sensual memory cast sharp relief on the hole in her life that Shego had recently filled and, for a moment, the pain was so intense that she staggered back as though she had been struck. Bonnie’s face twisted into a triumphant sneer. “One drink and you’re already falling down.”
Kim shook her head, trying to hold back her tears. “No.” her voice was harsh and filled with her pain. “The whiskey feels like Shego.” Looking up, she could see the confusion on Bonnie’s face. “Shego…” Kim whispered. “When I was cold, Shego… would put her hand on my stomach and warm me… but… she… she left me.” Bonnie just looked at her, nonplussed. “The whiskey feels like Shego.” Kim whispered, unable to keep the tears from falling.
Bonnie stood over her rival watching the goody-two-shoes, stuck-up, bitch collapse in on herself and cry about being dumped by her criminal, lesbian, freak of a girlfriend. She should feel elated. At last, her life was better than Kim’s in every way that mattered. This was supposed to be a glorious day. So, why did she feel like she had just beat-up a third grader? Kim was a gibbering wreck; she should be dancing to Queen, not trying to figure out how to comfort Miss Perfect.
What is wrong with me? “Aw, hell!” Bonnie said in exasperation. She sat down heavily and poured out two fingers of whiskey into each cup. She took Kim’s hand and put another shot in it. “Drink up, Princess.” She said softly, “At least it reminds you of something you like.”
Bonnie kept their cups wet and listened as Kim poured out her heart. Occasionally she shook her head at the wrongness of being the confidant of the great Kim Possible. But as she listened, Bonnie began to understand that inside the seemingly perfect exterior, there was a little girl who was scared of letting everyone down. Afraid that she wouldn’t be good enough and that someone would get hurt again. The training, the world saving, all of it driven by something the red head hadn’t really understood or had any control over. As the alcohol kicked in, they found themselves commiserating about other things: school, Ron, Mr. Barkin, Ron, fashion, and Ron. There was lots of talking about Ron. Smooth as the whiskey was, Kim was not used to drinking and in less than two hours she was passed out.
Bonnie, not sober herself but not quite as far gone as Kim, watched the red head slowly fall over onto the bench and laughed. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, a cheerleader was running around and shouting, “we won!” Outwardly she just snorted and shook her head. “I tha’ yuwere gonna’ lissen t’ my prolems…” she got up and staggered around the table. She grabbed Kim under her arms and began dragging her toward the bunkroom. “Doan’ thing tha’ jes ‘cause I drank yer sorry butt unner a table tha’ you doan’ haff ta lissen t’ me…” Knocking over the stools and spilling all the cushions from the small couch, Bonnie managed to get Kim through the hatch into the bunkroom. She tried to lift her up onto one of the lower bunks but the unsteadiness of the boat, combined with her own shaky state made it impossible.
“Fine mess ya got me in this time, Possbul.” The brunette slurred from half under her passed out companion. “S’posed ta be able ta do anysing… can’ even get inna bed.” She giggled to herself, “Hower ya s’posed to save t’ world if ya can’ even get inna bed?” she made a half-hearted attempt to stand. “Haff ta get Ron ta do it.” She dropped her voice to a stage whisper, “He’s good at it ‘chya know. Savin’ stuff… saved me once.” She brought her finger up near her mouth and made a long wet shushing noise. “doan’tell ‘im… They we’re gonna rape me… loooong time ‘go... a‘fore high school… but Ron stop’t ‘em… Ron Stopapapmul… stopamole… stoppa’… Ron…” she giggled again. “Fell in love wi’ ‘im righ’ then.” She nodded her head once. “Jes’ too frikkin’ stupid ta tell ‘im… too stoop…”
Her head dropped down against the red hair splayed over her chest and she began snoring softly in time with Kim. She never saw Ron who had been awakened by the noises of her attempt to get Kim in bed. She didn’t feel it as he easily lifted Kim into her bunk and then did the same for her. She didn’t hear it as he cleaned up the galley and made himself a very early morning snack. She didn’t know he had been standing in the doorway, and heard every word. He sipped his coffee and thought about what he had overheard, trying to remember what she was talking about.
Ron peddled as fast as he could. He was supposed to be home already but he had lost track of time at Bueno Nacho. Kim had been trying to cheer him up, but no amount of Tex-Mex could change the fact that when they started at Middleton High, they would be in different classrooms for the first time since pre-K. He cut into the new construction area to shave a few minutes off of his ride home, and also because the way the builders had cleared the lots reminded him of a Supercross track. He tore through the freshly turned and leveled lots, making motorcycle noises and imagining himself powering over the jumps in front of thousands of screaming fans.
Ricky Carmichael has a fight on his hands tonight! Ron Stoppable is anything but “stoppable” as he carves through the field. One more lap to go! Can the cagy veteran hold off the young gun? Only two more turns… Ron slid his bike down a long bank and jumped over a small culvert across the path that led back into the tract where his house was. And Stoppable takes the lead! Ron Stoppable is your new Supercross Champion…! As he made the turn onto his street, Ron noticed a lot of people out in front of Josh Trollman’s house.
Josh was going to be a senior this year and Ron really hoped that he would find someone else to bully at school, since he generally made Ron’s life as difficult as possible whenever he saw him around the neighborhood. He pulled up short and looked down the street. No one had seen him yet, but he couldn’t get by the house without being noticed. “What do you think, Rufus, sneak past or go around?” he asked his constant companion.
“I gotta agree with ya’ little buddy, even though we’ll be even later.” Ron replied and turned to go around the block, when he heard someone say “But Lonnie, I don’t want to go with them.”
Looking closer, there was a girl, about his age, braces, stringy brown hair, clinging to the arm of an older blonde girl, probably in high school, dressed like Britina. There were three guys standing near a van, one of them was holding the brown haired girl’s arm. The blonde shook off the younger girl’s hands and said cruelly, “You want to hang out with Connie and me? You want to be a big girl…?”
“Then shut up and do what I tell you.”
“I’m tired of you already. Boys!” she said looking at the toughs around the van with an evil smile, “Why don’t you show her what it’s like to be a big girl.”
The brown haired girl looked around desperately and caught Ron’s eye. The pleading expression was too much for him to bear so he started peddling toward the van. He knew he was already going to be late and now he was probably going to get beat up. On the bright side, his ‘rents might go easier on him if he was beat up… Always look for the bright side. The girl watched him approach solemnly. He could tell that she wasn’t really expecting him to help. He gave her a wink and a wry smile as he ran his bicycle into the side of the van.
The guy holding onto her turned to look at him. “What the…?”
“Dude! He did that on purpose!”
“That’s it kid, you’re dead meat!”
Before his shirt was pulled over his head blocking his vision, he saw the girl running away, forgotten by the toughs who had turned their attention to him. It eased the pain… a little.
Ron finished his snack and went in to check on the girls. They were both still passed out. He rolled Kim from her back onto her side in case she got sick and she didn’t even stir. A thought occurred to him. It was an evil thought and he knew it was evil, but he didn’t even try to fight it. For the next ten minutes, he busied himself arranging everything for maximum effect, giggling insanely the whole time. He understood, deep down inside, that playing a practical joke on a woman who knew sixteen kinds of Kung-Fu was a bad idea and that involving his girlfriend pushed it into the realm of colossal stupidity, but this opportunity was just too good to pass up. As he paused in the doorway he fought the urge to take a picture. At this point he was definitely going to be bruised, possibly bloodied, but if he actually recorded this for posterity, he wouldn’t survive. Still, it took every ounce of will power he possessed to walk away without snapping a shot.
Kim rose to consciousness slowly. Her mouth was full of something nasty and her head was aching. She could feel every single hair follicle on her scalp and they all hurt. The sheet felt like a cheese grater on her skin and there was an uncomfortably hot weight pressed against her right side and laying across her chest. She reluctantly opened her eyes and found herself staring directly into Bonnie’s. Their screams filled the small cabin as they flung themselves away from each other with complete disregard for the throbbing agony they were experiencing. Ron, standing in the doorway, savored his last few moments of full mobility by wiping away tears of laughter.
[End notes: Next Time:
if You Give a Mouse a Cookie]
Back to chapter list