Monday morning. Pretty bright, but not so early. It was just before 9:00 AM when the black Porsche pulled up in front of the Buy More.
"Don't forget to swagger," Sarah said jokingly.
Chuck gave her a sideways look. "And why would I be doing that?"
She looked over at him with an are you kidding me look. "You left here in my car last night. You are returning here in my car this morning. What exactly do you think your co-workers are going to think?"
Realization dawned on Chuck's face. "Riiight," he said slowly. "Sorry, I just haven't had my coffee yet."
"God help us if you ever have a flash before you have your coffee," Sarah grumbled.
"Hey, at least I never murdered an alarm clock simply because it woke me up," Chuck shot back.
Sarah's expression changed to half-amused, half-you-are-going-to-be-in-serious-trouble-if-you-don't-get-out-of-my-car-right-now. Chuck smiled. "Well, I better keep up appearances."
He leaned over, but didn't try to kiss her. He just gave her a sort of half hug, wrapping his left arm around her back. She hugged back, and closed her eyes, just briefly, imagining what it would feel like if it lasted longer than –
The passenger door of the Porsche slammed shut. She watched his receding figure head toward the front door of the Buy More, and then she pulled away. Time for another day at Wienerlicious, oh joy, oh happiness.
Chuck strode up to the Nerd Herd desk at 9:01. "Morning, bitches," he said airily.
Lester and Jeff looked up at him. "Bitches?" Lester asked, an offended note in his voice. "Chuck, we all agreed on this. We're your Stable of Hos, not your Bitches."
"All right, all right, my apologies," Chuck replied, holding his hands up in a conciliatory gesture. "Morning, HOS."
"Much better," Lester said with a smirk.
"You sure are in a good mood this morning, Chuck," Jeff rumbled.
"And you sure… look… hung over? Jeff, seriously. Big Mike's not going to put up with this forever. Have you considered going to meetings?"
Jeff ignored him. "Why are you in such a good mood, anyway?"
"Looks to me like he got laid," Anna remarked from behind Chuck. He whirled around.
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, your good mood, the way you came swaggering in here… the fact that you left here in Sarah's Porsche last night and came back in the same car this morning…"
Chuck just stared at her. "Are you stalking me?"
"No, Chuck," Anna sighed. She paused. "Morgan is, and he found it necessary to share all this with me."
Chuck rolled his eyes. He picked up the PA microphone. "Morgan Grimes to the Nerd Herd desk, please. Morgan Grimes."
"So, how about it, Chuck?" Lester pestered him. "Did you?'
"Come on, Chuck," Jeff said. "We're pathetic computer geeks. We have to live vicariously through somebody, and given that you're banging the hottest woman any of us have ever met…"
"Jeff!" Chuck snapped. "First of all, I don't ever want to hear you say that again."
Jeff nodded. "Sure, Chuck, alright."
"Secondly…" Chuck paused. What the hell, he thought. "A gentleman does not kiss and tell."
Jeff and Lester's faces lit up. "AW YEAH," Lester said. "That's our boy!"
Chuck shook his head as Morgan walked up to the desk. "You needed to see me, Chuck?"
"Morgan, my boy," Chuck said. "Anna tells me you're stalking me."
Morgan immediately got defensive. "It's for your own good, Chuck. I've seen how Sarah can stab you through the heart…"
Chuck glared daggers at him. "I'm sorry, Morgan, but do you remember, when she and I broke up back in November, who it was that did the breaking up with whom?"
Morgan nodded. "Right, true."
"And when we got back together, who it was that initiated that?"
"Morgan, seriously. I can handle myself. You want to stalk me, let's make sure we're at least on the battlefield or something?"
"2:00 PM, Home Theatre Lounge."
Morgan pumped his fist. "Victory shall be mine!"
At lunchtime, Chuck left the Buy More and headed across the parking lot to the Wienerlicious. It was practically empty, as usual. Chuck had never been sure how they stayed in business – after all, there was rarely anybody in there, and though he didn't have the heart to tell her, Sarah was terrible at this job.
Of course, when Casey had told him that Wienerlicious was strictly a CIA front operation, and that it would stay in business as long as the government wanted to, many things became clear. That was why it didn't surprise Chuck when, after the Los Angeles County Health Department nailed Wienerlicious for six critical violations, an automated frying system appeared in the kitchen overnight, and Sarah's job requirements were cut practically in half.
Sarah smiled when Chuck came in the door. He loved seeing her smile. What he didn't know was that she really couldn't have kept herself from smiling if she'd wanted to – she had essentially come to think of him as the best part of her life.
"Guter nachmittag, und willkommen zu Wienerlicious," Sarah said to him.
"Please, save it for somebody who cares," Chuck replied with a grin.
And suddenly, without warning, a barrage of ketchup packets was flying through the air toward him. Eyes going wide, Chuck dove behind a table. He grabbed a napkin from the dispenser on the table and waved it in the air, his white flag of surrender.
"You want to try that again?" Sarah called out.
Chuck stood up tentatively. Sarah stared at him with a massive degree of intensity.
"Guter nachmittag. Willkommen zu Wienerlicious!"
"Danke, mein Fraulein," Chuck replied. "Mag ich einen gebratenen cholesterinstock haben?
Sarah gave him a puzzled look. "You want a fried cholesterol stick?"
"Do, please, tell me a better way to describe the delectable trans-fat bombs this place cranks out," Chuck answered.
"Uh-uh, we don't use trans fats!"
"Fine. Can I just have a corndog before I start thinking too much about what goes into them?"
Sarah pushed a button on the automated fryer – or, as Morgan termed it, the "Superfry Death Machine" – and a moment later, a corndog, shining in grease, slid out the end in a small cardboard tray.
"Genießen sie, mein Herr, und danke für das wählen von Wienerlicious," Sarah said, handing him the tray.
Chuck shook his head as he slathered the corndog in ketchup. "Do you really have to say that to every single customer?"
Sarah grabbed his arm and explained as she guided him outside. "If I don't, then Scooter gets all butt-hurt and reports me to the regional manager. The regional manager, in turn, reports to Director Graham. So yes, I have to say it, otherwise Graham gets on me about not maintaining my cover, and that's always such a joyous conversation."
Chuck just nodded, not saying anything as he sat down. It was always best to just let Sarah talk if she was venting.
She sighed. "So, how's your day been?"
"Well, you were right about what my co-workers would think about me showing up in your car," he said. "Or, at any rate, what Morgan thought and then shared with the Nerd Herd. In fact, to put it in Jeff's words, I'm apparently 'banging the hottest woman any of them have ever met'."
Sarah's eyes went wide, and she spat a mouthful of Diet Coke out into the parking lot. "What?!" she gasped, alternating between coughing and laughing.
Chuck just smiled and shook his head. "Thus are the people I work with."
He gave her a moment to calm down, and then asked, "So, do you have any plans for Thursday night?"
She looked across the table at him. "Chuck," she said, "despite indicators to the contrary, I have less of a life than you do. I'm not scheduled to work Thursday night, and I haven't heard about anything I have to do mission-wise… so, no. Why? Did you want to do something Thursday?"
"Well," Chuck replied. "Given that it is Valentine's Day, we might want to do something, if just for the benefit of our cover."
Sarah's eyes widened again. "It's already Valentine's Day?!"
"Well, it does follow that February 14th – commonly known as 'Valentine's Day', or 'Singles' Awareness Day' to the lonely and bitter crowd – comes three days after February 11th, which happens to be today."
"Crap," Sarah breathed. She took a moment to think. "Yes. I would love to do something with you on Valentine's Day."
She grabbed his hands. "However. If you're taking me out on Valentine's Day, I expect roses and chocolates."
"But… but those are expensive!" Chuck protested.
Sarah smiled, just a touch of evil on her face, as she stood up and headed back into the Wienerlicious. "I don't care!"
Chuck was almost halfway across the parking lot when he heard her yelling his name from the door of the Wienerlicious. "CHUCK!"
He turned around. "WHAT?!" he yelled back.
"I LIKE GODIVA!"
Chuck could almost feel his wallet cringe. "Jesus Christ."
On Thursday night, Chuck pulled up in front of Sarah's building just before 6:00 PM. He got out of the Herder, grabbing the dozen long-stem roses ($48.00; they would've been more if Devin hadn't known somebody) and the box of Godiva chocolates ($32.00) that he had stopped and picked up at the Godiva store in downtown L.A.
When she opened her door, a smile formed on her face as she saw the roses and the box in his hands. "You really got me chocolates – Godiva chocolates! – and roses."
"Yes, I certainly did," he replied. The smile on her face was one of those smiles that made him feel truly warm and fuzzy inside.
Sarah took the roses, and put them in a vase she had set up by the door. "You really were expecting me to bring them, weren't you?" Chuck asked.
"That's the thing about you, Chuck," Sarah replied, taking the box of chocolates to the refrigerator. "You're a genius at little things like this. You just don't disappoint."
Chuck turned bright red, right to the roots of his hair. "Well, thank you," he said. "I would… I'd never want to disappoint you."
She walked over to him, stopped right in front of him, and looked up into his eyes. "I know," she said quietly.
Sarah wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled herself to him. "Thank you," she whispered, resting her head on his chest.
"You're welcome," Chuck said, hugging her back.
They just stood there for a moment like that, before Sarah finally pulled away. "So, what's the plan for tonight? Dinner and a movie?"
"No!" Chuck protested. "That's old and clichéd! No, we're going to do a movie and dinner, in that order!"
Sarah laughed in disbelief. "You are such a gigantic nerd sometimes!"
"And proud of it," Chuck shot right back. "No, I thought we'd go see a movie first, and then Ellie and Awesome have invited us to join them for a late dinner at the apartment."
Sarah's forehead wrinkled. "They're okay with us joining them for dinner on Valentine's Day?"
"Ellie was almost overly enthusiastic," Chuck said. "And C.A. – well, he thinks everything is awesome."
As they drove away down the street, Sarah asked, "So, where are we going? What are we going to see?"
"Well, I thought we'd head over to the Arc Light," Chuck said. "There's a movie that just came out today called Definitely, Maybe. It looks pretty funny."
"I think I saw a commercial for that," Sarah mused, searching her memory. "That's the one with the guy who played Van Wilder in it, isn't it?"
"Yeah, Ryan Reynolds," Chuck replied. "But he's been in some other stuff since then."
"I know… it's just, Van Wilder's the last movie I saw in a theatre while I was still a civilian."
She got very quiet then. Chuck didn't say anything. It remained like that the rest of the way to the theatre.
Sarah enjoyed the movie, though. Or at least, it seemed to Chuck that she did. She had a smile on her face most of the way through, and laughed quite a few times. He even heard her muttering, "Leave the book, you jackass," when Ryan Reynolds' character was debating whether or not to leave a copy of Jane Eyre with Isla Fisher's character.
"So, did you like it?" Chuck asked afterwards.
"Yeah, it was pretty good," Sarah replied. "I have to ask, though, would you tell a story like that to your ten year-old daughter?"
Chuck laughed. "That'd be a good one. 'Let me tell you the story of Jill, Lou, and Sarah – the slut, the sandwich maker, and the spy!'"
For some reason, Sarah found that hilariously funny. However, she wasn't laughing too hard to not notice when Chuck slipped his arm around her waist, pulling her a little closer to him.
She leaned her head over, resting it against his chest as they walked. Either he's getting better at the cover part of things, she thought, or this is really going somewhere my superiors wouldn't approve of.
A rather large part of her hoped it was the latter.