Jeff smiled as he walked Holly back to her flat after their date, and his smile widened when he saw the look on her face. He had been interested in the beautiful and talented science officer for some time, even longer than before he had known she had access to a time machine. But while they'd been on speaking terms, he had been careful not to blow it like some of his other girlfriends, although Holly was nothing like them, since as a quantum physicist she was incredibly intelligent as she was beautiful.
However, he knew Holly was interested in him as well; he remembered how their first meeting had gone, and he had caught her staring at him a few times, and they had a generally good relationship even if they didn't have similar interests in some fields but that didn't matter since they both gelled so well together.
But Jeff wasn't stupid; he knew one of Holly's biggest fears was he would dump her if something happened to the time machine, and that he had only started dating her because of the machine. But he was nothing like Marlowe, who had only gotten into Professor Turners' life because he wanted to learn more about time travel for his own use. He wasn't hanging around Holly the way Marlowe had hung around her father when he had been working on his time travel experiments before he had disappeared and was only dating Holly simply because doing so would bring him closer to the family.
There was no doubt in Jeff's mind that was one of the reasons why Marlowe had dated Holly. He had wanted to learn as much as he could about time travel so he could build a time machine of his own, or provide enough knowledge and insight for another scientist, or scientists since he had manipulated Chapman and Haywood into building that more advanced time machine at Webb Biotech.
No, while the time machine had certainly brought them together, Jeff knew eventually he would have become more friendly with Holly. The fact he was able to bond with her when they travelled back, and she kept him from trying to change history helped; it had taken him some time, but he had eventually gotten the lesson he could not change history, although it hadn't stopped him from time to time.
There were times he still could not believe time travel was possible, as though out of a Doctor Who episode. Okay, so the time machine itself looked like a heap of junk or one of those artist exhibitions who had simply gathered a collection of electronic parts and stuck them together, but it worked.
He remembered how disappointed he had been when he had found out about the machine, believing Holly was making it up until much later, and they had journeyed back into the past.
Sure, he had tried to change history once or twice - that thing with Sonja Duvall one of the biggest examples, or that time he had tried to win the lottery using the time machine to go back into the past so he could bet on the winning numbers, but he had learnt so much about it. Also, he had seen first hand what a temporal paradox was when he had held two photographs after Sonja's 'murder' that Holly had taken of Hopkins, and the helmeted figure they later realised was Sonja, and not her sister Linda like they'd originally suspected, only for the photos to both go blank when he and Holly had returned to the present.
Jeff still wasn't sure about the other paradoxes, but he didn't want to cause a schism, especially since Holly had told him it would destroy the entire universe. Another thing was he'd learnt, slowly, once something had happened in the past, there was no stopping it. He had worked that out gradually, but the most biggest proof of that had been when Holly had come back in time after seeing him taken to the hospital.
Their relationship was still thriving, and it was going slowly; Slade knew that most people would have expected him to get into Holly's panties by now, but he had no intention of pushing her down that route until she felt comfortable. If she confronted him about it, or she was the one to imitate it, then great, but he was content to wait and just take it slowly. Ever since he had recovered the electromagnetic crystal from Marlowe's machine, they had begun spending more time together, and for that he was grateful especially after what she had been through; yeah, he had been a bit of jerk during that time since he had continually accused Marlowe of being responsible for the one of killing Chapman and Haywood.
What had disappointed and hurt him during that time, was Holly had thought he was just being petty on purpose since Marlowe had been her boyfriend once, and even liked that old French black and white movie the night Chapman was run down by Marlowe while he was time travelling.
Slade knew that he was a bit jealous, but if Holly really thought that he was letting his own feelings cloud his judgement, then she didn't know him. Okay, he had been a bit jealous, especially since Marlowe and Holly had a common ground between them both, and it frightened him for a while he would come to be tolerated by the woman he loved, and it had terrified him when he had realised Marlowe had a time machine of his own.
What made it all worse was he really was the killer, as Holly found out; Slade knew how frightening it was to be threatened. He had been threatened many times in the police, and he had almost potentially lost his life once; if Holly hadn't seen the news report, and travelled back in time to try to stop it, even though she had known she couldn't have prevented the event since it had happened in the first place. He wasn't stupid; he had done some reading in time travel theories ever since he had found out about Holly's machine, but his practical experience helped him get some clues about what was and wasn't possible.
He and Holly rarely time travelled nowadays. Ever since the cracking of the original crystal and the new one which he had managed to save from Marlowe's time machine, Holly had been frightened something else would go wrong. She had wanted to do some work on the machine, work which would have taken months and months of her salary as a Science Officer working for the police, but he had helped her. He had given her some of his cash, and he was even thinking of selling his own flat, or renting it out if he could get the money to do it up a little bit better to earn some additional cash to help Holly with her work.
Holly had been taken by surprise by his idea…
"What's what, another bill?" he'd asked when he had gone round to her flat for a visit.
Holly barely looked into his face as she read the letter. "Yeah. They never stop. When I was alone I would only use the time machine for controlled experiments, but something would continually break. It seemed like the time machine wanted to break down, to give me trouble."
Jeff stared at her with concern, noticing her drawn and tired look. "What did you do before?"
"Sometimes I would wait for a few months before I sent off for parts, and then conduct the experiments then. You've got to bear in mind, my father assembled the machine gradually over the years. Like me, he only conducted a few controlled experiments. He knew he could travel back a week or two, but at the time….he wanted to take things slowly with the initial experiments before he looked to lengthening the photon rods. That's when it happened."
"The Loop of Infinity," Jeff whispered, his eyes troubled and dark as he remembered seeing the Loop first hand. It had been weird to see Marlowe repeating his actions over and over again while the time machine he had made Chapman and Haywood build burnt itself out before it finally destroyed itself.
Holly winced at the mention of the time loop. "Yes."
Jeff had told her what he had seen in the car on their way back to the flat, but only after he and Holly had only just managed to persuade Webb and Grisham Marlowe really had been the murderer, and he had hired someone to kill him, Jeff. Holly had been the one to bail him out there and then, by telling Grisham and Webb Marlowe had taken her to a cold storage facility, and he had tried to kill her by leaving her to die by being frozen to death, and Marlowe had confessed to being the killer, although he hadn't said why.
The salvaged gun Marlowe had used had been saved from the destroyed lab where the time machine had been kept, and the fingerprints on it had corroborated the story although neither Jeff nor Holly could explain his reasons for becoming a killer, knowing neither Webb nor Grisham would believe them if they mentioned the existence of the time machines.
"I don't want to use the time machine at all, at least not until after I've sorted my finances out," Holly went on in a whisper.
She lifted her head and he saw some real fear in her eyes. "This time machine…it might drive me insane at times, but it's all I've got left of my father. Please, don't force me to destroy it unless the crime really is big."
Jeff licked his lips as he took in her terrified eyes as he was reminded of how he had broken into her flat and used the time machine even as she'd expressly told him not to do so. He looked between her expression and the letter still clasped in her hand. Suddenly an idea came into his mind, and he suddenly felt clearer minded.
"What if I help you?" he asked.
"What?' Holly blinked up at him in surprise.
"What if I help you with the time machine?" Slade went on.
"I don't understand-."
"I can sell, or even rent out my flat, get some income, and use that to help you with the time machine," Slade went on, smiling at Holly.
The young woman blinked up at him in surprise. "Why would you do this?" she asked.
Slade licked his lips. Even though the pair of them had clasped their hands on the electromagnetic crystal, the change in their relationship had been unvoiced, but now was a perfect time.
"I love you, Holly," he said. "I truly love you. And besides, I think I gave something back."
Jeff Slade truly did not know what sort of things would happen in the near future, but he didn't care. He would always be there for Holly, and who knows, maybe in the future, he and she would be able to use the time machine for other things.