Like Clockwork ch 23

I weaved my fingers through his, clasping his hand tight as we sat on the beach. I held my breath, waiting for the characteristic tunnel of light. Pause. Hmm, nothing. I let out my breath slowly. I know I had taken a risk, touching his hand like that with my heart beating hard, but I was relieved nothing had happened. We sat there in silence, watching the waves break on the beach, accompanied by the occasional seagull cry. The peace was interrupted by a loud grumble from my gut. Marco turned to look at my stomach, then up to my face currently colored by a deepening blush. He laughed. That carefree, whimsical laugh that was just so him.

"I guess we better get some food in you." He scrambled up and reached down to help me up.

"Sounds good. Too bad the stalls are closed for the season." I replied, as I brushed the sand out of my skirt.

"Eh, there's a great ice-cream place down the road a bit." He interlaced his fingers with mine once again and started off.

The ice-cream parlor had a 1950s feel, although it had obviously been renovated recently. I couldn't recall whether it had existed here in the 50s or not. We sat in a corner booth, I with my plain vanilla cone and he with a chocolate milkshake. We idly chatted about plans for the winter break, what Marco and his siblings planned to do now that they weren't moving, and I even shared a little about my father/daughter heart to heart a few days ago. After about an hour of chatting, we decided to head back home. As we stood up, he shot me a sly grin.

"You've got something on your nose." He said. "Here, let me." I stood stock still as his fingers came up towards my face. Then, without warning it wasn't his hand by my face but his lips. They were smooth and smelled of chapstick and oh my god, Marco was kissing me! The butterflies I had left at the beach returned in fluttering swell and I almost missed the bright light behind my closed eyes.

"Whoa," said Marco as he backed away, still grinning. "That was some kiss! I should have done that way sooner," he laughed.

"Heh," I chuckled nervously. I wasn't so sure he'd be as excited when he discovered what had actually happened.

"Let's get you home. Then maybe a repeat performance?" His face fell as he took in my face which must have looked nervous and frantic. "Or, I mean, we don't have to. I'm sorry, I should have asked first instead of going for it. I just.. I thought…" he was waving one hand wildly while the other raked through his blond curls.

"No, that's not. I liked it really. There's just, uh, something you need to know. But not here."

I glanced around the parlor. Apparently it had existed in the fifties. The vinyl on the seats was now blue instead of red and the girls staring at us from the booth behind us were wearing blouses and poodle skirts instead of jeans and t-shirts. Otherwise the place looked almost exactly the same, which is why Marco hadn't yet noticed anything unusual. Not eager to explain things to him with an audience, I tugged his arm and practically dragged him out of the shop.

"Whoa, slow down there Casanova. I mean we still have a long bus ride and I -" he stopped mid sentence and squinted at the road in front of us. Whereas the beach and neighboring areas had been practically deserted an hour ago, they were now teeming with people. Marco's eyes widened as he scanned the scene then he let out a yelp as I pulled him into the alley way between the ice-cream parlor and an office building.

"Adeline, what's going on?"

"Uh, remember when you said you wanted an adventure?" I gave him a sheepish half-grin.

"Ye-ah," he drawled, "what kind of adventure are we talking about here?"

It was probably best to go the band-aid route instead of hemming and hawing. Just start with the truth and this will be easy.

"Time-travel." I answered simply. I chewed a little bit on my thumb as I waited for his response.

He blinked at me. "Time travel." I nodded. "Um, okay, you want to maybe elaborate?" I took a deep breath, but before I could explain he interrupted again. "You mean this is some movie set-up or LARPing thing, right?" Okay, so maybe not so easy.

"Larping?" I asked.

"Live action role-playing. Like a whole bunch of people pretending they're dragons or whatever. The Chazwell twins do it all the time."

"Marco, this isn't some game or movie. We traveled through time. It's 1955."

He tilted his head and looked at me strangely. Probably deciding whether I was as delusional as I sounded.

"How." It came out as more a demand than a question, but I answered anyways.

"When you kissed me it -"

"Wait, what? How does kissing you make us travel back in time?"

"Let me finish!" I snapped. He took a step back and crossed his arms. Maybe taking Marco back wasn't a good idea after all. And after years of never telling anyone, I was tired of having had to explain it so many times in the last few months. But Marco deserved to know fully what he was getting into with regards to my 'gift.'

"I'm a time-traveler. Every now and then I sort of travel to the fifties."

He motioned for me to continue.

"I don't know when it's going to happen, although It's usually triggered by stress. And if someone is touching me when it happens, they are pulled along for the ride.

He scrunched his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "So when I kissed you, it like triggered your internal time machine or something? And because I was touching you, I'm here now."

"Yeah, pretty much."

"Damn. So how do we get back?"

"I usually feel it ahead of time when a return trip is coming. I'll let you know, and make sure we're touching so you don't get left behind here." The grin that had snuck through at the mention of 'touching' wavered at the mention of being 'left behind.'

"Has that ever happened? Have you left someone behind?" Good news - the question indicated he believed me. Bad news - I'd have to tell him about Dan.

"Um, yeah once. You know how Dan Highland is, well, missing?"

He nodded, then his eyes widened. "No! No way."

"It was an accident?"

"You brought freakin' Dan Highland to the past and left him here? I mean I know he's a jerk but…"

"I didn't do it on purpose! I told you, it's triggered by stress. He cornered me in school and grabbed me. I couldn't shake him off before I traveled. And he got into a fight with Howard and I couldn't get to him in time to bring him back."

"So you left him."

"Again, not on purpose. But It actually turns out for the better. I ran into old Dan the other day and he told me not to bring him back, that he ended up with a great life here, in the past."

"I'm pretty sure Dan Highland strikes me as a Biff than a Marty. Who's to say he doesn't screw up the timeline or something. Heck who's to say we don't screw it up?"

"I think we're already part of the timeline, so I don't think we can screw it up. Although I haven't actively tried at any rate.

"Hmm. And provided we don't destroy the future, what's our story when we get back? I doubt my mom will buy that I went time-traveling with the girl next door."

"We won't need a story. I always end up back exactly when and where I left, same clothes and everything. The only thing different are these deep bags under my eyes and I'm super tired. No one will even notice we're gone."

He nodded and closed his eyes obviously digesting this wealth of information. Suddenly he walked back to the entrance to the alleyway, pausing the look at the hustle and bustle of nineteen fifties Hollywood. Then he turned back to me and that grin of his was back.

"Well, lead the way future girl! I told you, I'm so up for an adventure."

A/N - I know I know I left you hanging again. But for now, this is just a one-shot.