a/n: This is dedicated to purplepeopleeater78, who reminded me this week I've let this slide. This is the WIP chapter that I blew off for weeks. There's going to be one chapter after this, to wrap things up. In the meantime, its another completely absurd situation. Enjoy!
"I don't get it. We've been on the road for six hours."
"And that's a problem because…" Chase wasn't sure what the issue was.
"Look at this map that I printed out," Cameron said, holding out the pieces of paper. "How long does it say it takes us to get there?"
Chase glanced over quickly, careful not to keep his eyes off the road too long. "Three hours and 11 minutes. So we've had some setbacks."
"We're easily another one hour away. Some???"
"Look, your silly map didn't account for the twenty car pileup on the New Jersey turnpike, or the fact that the entire Philadelphia metropolitan area is under construction, or the fact that we have one year olds that both get car sick. Those multiple trips to Wal-Mart to get wipes and air fresheners add up you know."
Cameron grumbled under her breath. "It smelt like puke in here."
"You're a doctor, why does that bother you?" Chase pondered the idea of turning the car around and going back. Things were not getting off to a good start. "Look at it as we're having family time. Isn't that what vacations are all about?"
"Family beach time!" Cameron yelled. "That's what this vacation is all about."
Suddenly they slowed down and came to a stop, a sea of taillights ahead of them as far as the eye could see. "What's going on now?" Cameron asked in frustration.
"I'll ask that cop over there." Chase rolled down the window. "Excuse me, what's the hold up?"
"Out of towners. Don't you guys ever check the local festival calendars before coming through? It's the 30th Annual Melon Festival. The parade is going on right now. Traffic should be clear in an hour."
"This is the only main route through the state," Chase protested.
"Take it up with the suits in Dover. Not my fault they don't know how to plan their traffic issues. You could go back five miles and take the local roads."
"You realize there's a reason why tourists aren't encouraged to take those roads," Chase answered, rather leery over the suggestion.
"Ain't nothing wrong with the smell of chicken poop in the summer son. The scent's like petunias to us. Just head east and you're bound to hit ocean eventually."
Chase flashed a crooked smile. "Thanks for your help. He rolled up the window and settled back.
"What are you doing?" Cameron said very irritated. "We need to get on the alternate routes."
"I'd rather wait it out. Most side roads in these parts are old horse trails that twist and turn in between farm properties. I'm not taking my chances."
Cameron folded her arms, her face scrunched in displeasure. Chase ignored her, until Emily started screaming. A minute later, Ethan joined in. Chase turned his head toward Cameron, jumping at the sight the evil peering through the slits of her eyes. He sighed and put the van in gear, turning it around.
"At least we're here," Chase said, trying to offer some optimism to his now stir crazy wife and to the two screaming kids in the back. They sat on the main strip on Rte 1, traffic moving at a crawl, people everywhere.
"We've moved half a mile in twenty minutes, and all I see is one strip mall after another. I could have got this at home," Cameron said.
"Yeah, but you wouldn't have gotten the wild back country adventure getting here. I swear I was humming "Dueling Banjos" at the site of some of the locals." Chase's smile dropped when he saw his wife wasn't in the mood for humor.
"Great, bring up a Deliverance reference. It's not like our experience wasn't disturbing enough." Cameron clutched onto her throbbing head, doing her best to drown out the screams in unison of her cranky and tired children.
Chase watched the crowds piling into the outlet malls, it packed with so many cars and motorcycles no one was moving. "I'm not sure you're getting in your shopping today."
"Why are there so many bikes around here?" Cameron asked. "I know it's a nice day for riding but they must have flocked for specials."
"Here's our turn," Chase announced with mild enthusiasm, getting into the long turn lane that led to the village area. The wait for the turn signal triggered worse screaming from Emily and Ethan.
"Shut up!" Cameron hissed at her children. That somehow managed to stun them both into mild whimpering. Even Chase was impressed. After about five turns of the light, they were finally able to make the turn, moving in a slow crawl through the main part of town.
"This part seems very charming," Chase said, still trying to be upbeat.
Cameron maintained her scowl, just wanting to be there. "You need to turn right at the next light."
Chase nodded and did as instructed after they finally managed to reach the light.
"Go two blocks and then turn left."
He turned down the local street where the boutiques and tourist shops turned into small bungalows and vacation rentals. He was pleased to see they would be walking distance from everything. He made the left turn where he was supposed to, and promptly slammed on the brakes. He and Cameron's jaws dropped and eyes popped out wide, both too stunned to speak.
"Uh," Cameron said after a long pause.
"Um," Chase said in reply, not able to find words either.
In front of them was a scene of mass insanity, for the street was blocked by tons of motorcycles and the bikers that went with them. Loud music played and everyone had a beer in their hand. Some sort of block party was going on, and there was a sign hanging over head.
"Welcome to biker week?" Cameron said, finally managing to find words.
"I don't think we're going to find a place to park here. You sure you have the right street?" Chase asked.
Cameron nodded and pointed to a building on the right. "That's the place."
Chase's head fell onto the steering column. "That's why you were able to get a last minute deal."
"Shut up and see if you can't find parking a few streets over. We can walk back here."
"Oh sure, because a vacationing family of four won't stick out among this rowdy crowd."
Cameron gave him that silent look of death again, the one that told him he was really in trouble. "I'll find a place to park." He turned the van around.
"You have to admit, it's a nice place," Chase said, getting settled into the two bedroom condo. Emily and Ethan had just been put down for a nap, and he was ready to go on a beer run, for the empty fridge was too troubling.
"A nice place? You hear that? They're playing Metallica." Cameron pointed to the floor, where the group of bikers staying below were having their own private gathering.
"The kids don't mind the music. They at least know good rock when they hear it."
Cameron sank onto the couch and buried her face in her hands. She really made a mess of things. Chase sat next to her and pulled her into his arms. "Don't worry, I sincerely doubt these bikers are going to be hanging out on the beach or the kiddie rides. There's still room for us. As a matter of fact, we'll likely have these areas all to ourselves since no family would come on biker week."
"Gee, I feel so much better."
Suddenly, Chase frowned.
"What is it?"
"They're playing Motley Crue downstairs. I hate that band." Suddenly both Emily and Ethan started screaming. "I've got it," Chase said, going in the back bedroom to tend to his children.
No matter what Chase tried, he couldn't calm either down. He even tried singing along to the bad song booming from downstairs. "Girls, girls, girls…" That made them cry harder. After a few minutes, the song ended, and the kids instantly calmed down. "Huh," Chase said, watching with amazement his kids fall back asleep as Motorhead came on next.
"Are they okay?" Cameron asked, watching a confused Chase come out from the bedroom.
"Yeah, fine. If I didn't know better, I think they hate Motley Crue too." Chase headed toward the front door.
"Where are you going?" Cameron asked.
"I'm going to get a beer, for I'm not sure I can take this day getting any weirder sober."
Chase sat at the booth, nursing the high alcohol content beer. This was his third night in a row at the bar, and each night so far had been the same. The day of family activities went horribly wrong, Allison freaked out at the end of the evening, and he ended up here after the kids' bedtime to preserve his sanity. Work was less stressful.
Chase was lost in his daze when the surprise visitor slid into the space across from him. He should have been surprised, darn well shocked actually, but somehow, the way this vacation had been going, nothing could spook him anymore. He wasn't in the mood to give a greeting.
"Aren't you going to buy me a beer?"
Chase noticed the waitress come over. He held up two fingers and pointed to the table. She nodded and went off to fetch the drinks.
"You should marry her. She understands sign language way better than your wife."
Chase swiped his hand to his forehead and buried his face in it. "Let me guess House, you're here for biker week."
"Of course, I never miss it."
"You haven't taken a vacation in 10 years. Suddenly, you end up in the same two places I've gone to within six months at the same time. Do I have to get a restraining order?"
The waitress arrived with the beers, with House ignoring Chase to give her a wink. After taking a sip and savoring the flavor, he remembered the question. "Oh come on, you need me. I'm way more fun than Cameron and that daughter of yours will murder you in your sleep."
"Actually, she loves me. Allison is the one that should worry." Chase looked around, puzzled when he saw the bathroom door was open and the light off.
"You lose something?" House asked.
"No, you did. Did you leave Wilson back at the hotel?"
"Nah, he has a soft spot for your wife. He's taking care of business right now."
Chase shrugged, realizing House probably got the better end of the deal. Still something was bothering him. "It's Delaware, House. I should feel honored that you'd actually be willing to endure this place just to make me and my family miserable. You do care."
"Are you kidding? The best beer on the East Coast is right here. Plus the beaches are way cleaner here than in New Jersey."
"Oh, so you're honestly going to put on your trunks and feel the soft sand running through your toes?"
House smiled. "I will if you will."
Chase took a long gulp of the beer. "No problem. Trust me, you're the least of my problems right now. The bikers in the flat below us are doing their best to prevent any of us from getting sleep. Except Emily and Ethan both love sleeping to Motorhead and Metallica. They get fussy though every time 'Girls, Girls, Girls' comes on though. I'm still negotiating the music pact after 8pm, but all it takes is one drunk bastard to ruin all the fun."
"Bikers? Why didn't you say so? They're my kind. I'll make sure Motley Crue is never played again."
"Don't give me that. You'd be the drunk asshole that will put it on."
House went to defend himself, but then stopped. "Yeah, I would."
Chase's head dropped to the table, and House could see the stress oozing form him. "Oh come on. You mean to tell me you haven't had any fun?"
"Fun? Each afternoon I've had to feed dollar bills to a ticket booth attendant while Ethan cries at the end of each horsey ride screaming "Again, again!" Emily on the other hand decides to run off instead, weaving in and out between the roller coasters, spinning rides and fun houses scaring her mother half to death. Allison captures her for only a few minutes, and she finds a way to escape.
House smiled. "Yeah, that kid knows her mother's weaknesses. You got to be impressed with her deceitful nature."
"This morning we tried going to the beach. Why not dip the kids' toes in the water, Allison says. A huge wave comes out of nowhere and knocks Allison down, engulfing the kids in sea water. Both start crying, and now they don't want to go near the ocean. We tried playing in the sand, but Ethan wouldn't stop eating it, each time making him cry worse. Then Emily tried to bury him in it."
"Ah kids, aren't they so precious?"
Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Wilson. "Stay away Chase. Your wife kicked me out in a fury. It happened the second Motley Crue came on downstairs. I didn't realize she hated them so much."
Chase didn't even need to point as Wilson took his place next to House. The waitress arrived with beer in hand. Wilson smiled in appreciation and took a drink. "Chase, you should marry that girl. She's-"
"Yeah, I get it," Chase replied, cutting him off. "I guess I need a longer cooling off period. Like Friday."
"Cameron told me she's been kicking you out every evening. She told me that after she threw a fake plant at me. I guess she thought I was you." Wilson savored the beer. "Wow this is the best-"
"We know," Chase and House said together.
The three sat in awkward silence for a few minutes, taking in the pleasant atmosphere and consuming more beer.
House turned to Wilson. "Chase said there's a great biker party going on every night under his place. You game?"
Wilson shrugged. "Yep." They both slid out of the booth and went on their way.
Chase pulled Wilson's beer over to himself and started double fisting the drinks.
The load pounding at the door initially went ignored. A minute later after more pounding the door was kicked open.
"Hey, what's going on?" A burly man said, going to investigate. He was stunned to find the thin blonde man with the funny accent from upstairs wielding a baseball bat.
Chase came in and started waving the bat around at the crowd, who now came closer to see what was going on. They kept their distance though, seeing the crazed look in his eyes and knowing he meant business.
"Just calm down man," someone said, still staying away as Chase moved through the room, holding the bat out in a threatening manner, willing to strike whoever got near.
Chase backed up all the way to the stereo, which was blaring the loud music. He turned off the stereo and ejected the CD. He held it up, reading the embossed lettering, "Motley Crue" and dropped it on the floor, pounding the living hell out of it with the bat. Once the CD was cracked with a few pieces broken off, he regained his composure and gave a nervous smile to the stunned crowd.
He reached over, put in a Motorhead CD and went on his way.