Chuck vs the Bern incident
What if Ted Roark and his cronies didn't show up and ruin Ellie's wedding.
I started this story after a giving a long review to Graydoc's "Chuck and the 2nd chance." I wrote the review while waiting for Graydoc to post the second chapter. We both must have thought along the same lines but as Graydoc story went off in one direction I thought I could make a shorter version that went off in a tangent.
Chapter 1: Moving On
May 27, 2009.
American Airlines AA738 -Philadelphia to Lisbon.
Hi my name is Chuck and here are some things you may not know.
The Intersect team, Casey, Sarah and I, are no more: Team Chuck with a lot of help from my dad, destroyed Fulcrum. My dad, the creator of the Intersect, also managed to remove the Intersect out of my head.
The NSA for some time had been working on a new and improved version and that is destine for someone else's head. General Beckman's asked me to stay on as an consultant for the NSA but I turned that offer down.
I felt awkward to sit there and watch my handlers wrapped up the mission and dismantled Castle. I offered to help but Casey told me that this was no longer my concern. So by the end of the day, I'm finally no longer of any interest to the NSA. Casey and Sarah would be reassigned elsewhere and they would soon leave.
I was surprised when Casey presented me a cheque for past services. The NSA finally put me on the payroll and I got backpaid. Flushed with cash, a million different ideas flashed through my mind on what I could do with it. Finally one idea became more desirable that any of the rest, I just needed to ask someone about it.
Last month was my sister Ellie's wedding to Devon Woodcomb. Ellie, of course, looked radiant on the day, and my dad was there to proudly walk her down the aisle. Even now, a month after the event, I still get a little emotional when I think back and see Dad with Ellie on his arm, walking her down the aisle.
It was a good day for Ellie, in spite of the fact that she didn't get her beach wedding that she secretly always wanted. She didn't get much of a choice of the matter, Honey Woodcomb started planning and arranging everything the moment Devon phoned to say he was engaged, Honey had the church booked, reception, the flowers, everything. All Ellie and had to do was to turn up looking beautiful, which she did. Ellie did get one minor say, Elle chose her wedding dress, I did hear a few phone conversations between the women arguing over whether the dress would be good enough. Casey allowed me to hear the tapes of the conversations, I guess he wanted me to know what kind of woman Ellie had to deal with and wanted me to supply some emotional support to her. Casey occasionally let his humanity come to the surface.
The wedding day started out great for me, Casey made sure none of Devon's buddies did anything stupid to Devon to ruin the big day. We had a few drinks at home the night before, you know the type, a few beers with the pizzas. Everyone was well behaved and Devon didn't lose an eyebrow overnight. Nor did he or anybody wake with an horrendous hangover. Casey made sure Morgan didn't spike the punch.
Morgan actually surprised me, he flew back from Hawaii for the weekend even though he wasn't personally invited. For a man who worshipped my sister way too much, he took her pillow to the senior prom, he was very accepting of the proceedings, he got busy in the kitchen with Devon and they put on quite a spread, for a man who spent his working life trying to avoid work, he certainly outdid expectations.
For such a great day, I was disappointed when it went downhill very quickly. You see, I had been working on this great idea and I wanted to ask Sarah about it.
I found Sarah leaving the bridal room in the church. She looked stunning in that peach dress. I told she looked like a real bridesmaid. I think it was the only time I saw her blush. She complimented me, saying I looked like a real spy in my suit. I laughed, she giggled. With this going well I decided it was now or never.
Now was the question, never was the answer.
My invitation to Sarah to go on vacation with me was barely past my lips when Sarah informed me in a flat, cool tone that she was leaving the next morning to work with Bryce on the New Intersect project. The project I was asked to join but I turned down the offer.
The rejection hit me as if it was a hammer to the top of my head. I was stunned, I vaguely recall uttering some comment, "Thanks for coming to the wedding." I think I also said, "This will be good for the cover," and then wandered off to find a stiff drink.
A decent swig of quality champagne, Honey Woodcomb spared no expense, in the empty reception room beside the chapel, was enough to give me courage to go back in and be Devon's best man.
I wasn't going to let Ellie down on the most special day of her life. No, not a chance, not after all she's done for me. I had to keep it together for the ceremony and reception.
During the next several hours, I did all that was expected of a best man, I believe that my speech was well received, I had had put a lot of thought into it, it wasn't crude or crass but it was heartfelt. Sometimes speeches try to be too funny or crass enough to embarrass the couple, it was not my intention so I didn't. The wildest thing I said was constantly calling Devon "Captain Awesome".
I even had one last dance with Sarah. We joined in during the bridal waltz, she led of course. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. As we moved around the dance floor I could feel a huge lump form in my throat and I knew if I tried to talk I'd end up blubbering some nonsense and we would both feel really awkward and uncomfortable. As it was we barely exchanged ten words.
I wasn't going to get her to change her mind. I knew that once she had made up her mind, it was near impossible to get her to change it. And Sarah said very little except to wish me well and hoped I would find true love and happiness.
Of course she was never going to give all that excitement and adrenaline up to just hang around Chuck Bartowski, I after all was planning a less exciting existence.
Seriously, I shouldn't have been surprised with Sarah's answer to my invite to go on vacation with me. I mean come on, lying on a beach on some tropical island somewhere, sipping cool drinks from long glasses with the little umbrellas, talk about Dullsville compare to the adrenaline and excitement of whatever she could get up to with Bryce or Carina or even that Englishman Cole Barker.
So after we danced, I then went to the bridal table and proceeded to self-medicate myself with something a bit stronger than the champagne. That is how my father found me with a glass in my hand. I think he wanted company since he got a glass and decided to join me.
"It's been a wonderful day!" he declared.
"Is it?" I sort of just blurted it out.
"It isn't every day your sister gets married. She looks the happiest I've seen her for a very long time."
"It's been a very long time since you've seen her!" I cynically replied.
"It's not something I'm proud of, but it kept you safe." He then pointed a finger at me to add to his point.
He then looked up and noticed something about the waiter who approached us with a bottle of bubbly. Bold as brass, if it wasn't Bryce Larkin dressed as a waiter and making a beeline for us.
"Chuck, I would like to talk to you."
My dad wasn't going to have any of it, and was quite abrupt and hostile.
"He said no! Don't try to change his mind. You know what you are going to ask may get him killed."
There was an uncomfortable silence as the two men stared at each other. Bryce was the one to blink.
"I'm sorry for interrupting." Bryce turned on a dime then moved away, he kept his disguise as a waiter going by offering more drinks to the guests. I watched him head for the exit and then disappear. I looked around the room for Sarah but failed to see her, was she off assisting Ellie performing bridemaids duties? Maybe she was already gone.
After a few awkward minutes sitting quietly with my father then it got worst, Honey Woodcomb found us and sat down in a spare chair beside us.
"I'd just like to say what a beautiful ceremony. All you men look so handsome up there. And nothing went wrong, but why would it, I planned it with military precision."
Stephen blushed but he managed to get a thank you out. I opted to keep quiet, I didn't have enough to drink and I knew not to interject. I let my father do all the talking as I opted to tune out and drown in my own self pity, Honey Woodcomb wasn't high on my favourite person list. While Honey talked and Stephen listened I kept a lookout for the bridesmaids. There was one in particular I wanted to see but it wasn't to be. It didn't need a genius to realise that Bryce had gate crash the reception to take Sarah away.
Sarah was a notable absentee when it came to throwing the bridal bouquet. The bouquet was caught by one of Ellie's doctor friends. The happy couple departed soon afterwards for their honeymoon. As for Dad and me, we caught a cab home to "Casa Bartowski" because neither of us were sober enough to drive.
As we walked across the courtyard to my door I wasn't paying attention when my father stopped talking, he was droning on about something that my brain felt it too late in the night to care. It wasn't until I had opened my front door and then turned to step back to let him in first that I saw why he stopped. Holding him up was Bryce.
"Help me get him through the door before he loses muscle control and collapses under me!"
"What have you done?"
"I wanted to talk to you in private but you father seemed to be always by your side." He pleaded, "come on, help me get him inside, he's getting heavy."
I helped Bryce by taking my father's arm and slinging it over my shoulder so to take his weight. The two of us managed to get the unconscious man onto the living room couch and leaving him there sleeping until the drug wore off.
Before Bryce could talk to me he had to dodge one of the backhanders I threw at him, he was taken aback by my unsuccessful attempt of violence. He backed away as he read my pissed off face.
"I've had an emotional day, my sister got married, my pseudo girlfriend left without saying goodbye, I've had too much to drink and now you have tranqed my father. You might have to tranq me if you want to leave my apartment safely."
Bryce took the hint, muttered something like 'sorry to disturb you' and retreated out the front door.
For the first time in two years I felt lonely. For two years I had someone watching and recording my ever move, now it was over and the silence was deafening. All that was left of my spy life was a red feathered dart still protruding from the back of my father's neck. As I removed the dart I had a revelation.
I am alone!
The next day, it felt eerie, apart from having my father asleep on the couch the morning felt like there was something amiss. When Morgan dropped in just after my father woke up, the reality hit me. The moment Morgan asked about the whereabouts of Sarah, I lost it. Morgan never knew about Sarah's other life so I made up the lie that we had a big fight and so dumped me cold. Morgan couldn't believe it until my father back up my lie. He said it was probably the biggest fight he had ever witnessed. When he added that he could see the signs that something wasn't right between us. My father also knew Morgan had been training in Hawaii and the troubles started after he left.
My father was just as big a liar as I was.
Morgan insisted on cooking up a morning feed, it was something he learned on his course. In no time he had whipped up a delicious feed for three. I couldn't shake Morgan all day because he wanted to spend time with me until I dropped him off at the airport.
After I return from the airport and my father had already gone home. The apartment felt cold and gloomy. I knew that my cover girlfriend, Agent Sarah Walker, was gone. I tried her number but it was already disconnected. Across the courtyard Casey's apartment had already been cleaned out.
If I felt lonely last night , I felt even more lonely tonight. No computer games for me tonight, I spent the night face down on the bed squeezing the life out of my pillows.
To my credit though, I handled it much better than I did when Jill stomped on my heart all those years ago. Deep down I always knew Sarah would leave one day whereas I thought Jill would be with me forever. Sarah pulled me out of my five year funk, she did amazing work with me, she had pumped up my tyres and built up my confidence in who I was and what I could achieve. I don't know what strings she pulled but she got Stanford to give me my degree.
I could have easily slipped into a miserable funk but the life lessons Sarah taught me meant I couldn't, but it still hurt that she left without letting me see her go. I thought I meant enough to her for a final goodbye. My mood over Sarah leaving with Bryce didn't last that long. It couldn't, Ellie was only away for a week and she wouldn't allow it.
Ellie wasn't impressed when she found out Sarah had returned to Washington to be with her old boyfriend Bruce, she kept asking me why I wasn't fighting to win her back?
"I asked her to marry me, Elle! She said no!" I lied to my sister.
The lie stopped Elle for about a minute before the next barrage came.
"You proposed?" she questioned, "And she turned you down?"
Shit I thought as I now realised that I would have to tell even more lies, lies that I didn't want to tell, especially to my sister, I was going to go straight to purgatory at this rate.
"How can she turn you down? You are the best thing that ever happened to her! Stupid woman! Stupid woman!" she repeated and now she was walking around in circles. She stopped and looked at me, looked through me and then shook her head. Her face went red and it looked like she was going to cry then she got control of herself and located her inner chi. Watching Ellie achieve her inner calm was amazing, and then in a calming manner, "It never ceases to amaze me how supposedly intelligent person can make such a bad life choice. If Sarah wants to run back to a man that never valued her love for him then she's the biggest fool I've ever met!"
I thought about jumping in and defending her honour but I knew it was me who had sullied it. If I kept quiet then I wouldn't tell any more lies. And more lies to cover those lies.
Ellie eventually told me to think fondly of the good times I had with Sarah but I had to move on. Her exact words were, "Get this through that thick head of yours, you are a great guy, okay. You've quit the Buy More so you don't have to hang around here in Burbank. Now go and spread your wings. Do something! Do anything! Go and do some travelling, just like Morgan, but don't go to Hawaii. Let Morgan concentrate on his training."
Ellie grabbed a pad of paper and made me write down a list of things I would like to see and experience around the world. It wasn't long before I had a decent list of things to do in Europe. I had not even thought about Asia
Ellie asked me if I had a current passport?" I couldn't tell her that I had a dozen valid passports from different countries and various aliases. Before I knew it she had me buying an airfare online.
So, here I am on this AA738 headed for Lisbon, Portugal to start my backpacking trip through Europe.
With the cheque that General Beckman gave me, I've estimated that I can easily live and travel well for a year before I need to find work. It was the largest sum on money I've ever held. There had been times when a customer in the Buy More would pull out a roll of notes and paid cash. A man with more money than sense once walked into the store and bought heaps. Taking the money and getting Big Mike to put it in the store's safe gave me heart palpitations.
When Ellie found out that I had all this money she asked me how I got it. I told her that the Buy More had settled a class compensation claim that the employees had taken against them after the Christmas hostage drama of last year.