The high pitched trill of an exotic bird just outside the window was what woke Wally. He opened his eyes and kissed the back of her neck. He gave Jinx a squeeze and held it just to feel her skin a bit longer. He sighed contentedly and looked past her with one eye. The sun was fairly high in a cloudless sky. Late morning? He glanced around the huge bedroom, the only place they'd been the last day and a half. He could not help another contented sigh though he suppressed it to not wake her. But then he felt the rumble of his empty stomach. A stomach typically fed seven times a day just to keep his weight at 166 pounds lets out a mighty rumble when neglected a day and a half. Whether it would risk waking her or not, he had to eat.
He slowly untangled himself from her, eliciting a few soft moans from the pink haired sorceress, and sat up on the edge of the bed. Where was that swimsuit? He vaguely remembered one of the times in that day and a half, the two of them, against the wall, knocking over his bag on the nearby chair and its contents spilling out.
It was just lucky he'd checked before they left the Tower. There was such a feeling of momentum in the air. About to jet away. Honeymoon. New life together. And it was all wrapped in such a feeling of optimistic expectation. He could barely stop for a moment. Come on Wally! Robin's waiting in the T-Jet! He could barely make himself stop in the site of the old life for even a moment. If he hadn't been so sure, he might not have. The moment he started opening the bag, she got a look on her beautiful face, a combination of about to burst out laughing and the look of a child caught at something. Eventually laughing won out as he removed the little black slingshot from his bag.
"You were going to have me wear that on the beach at that place?"
"Oh. Hahahaha! How did, hahaha, how did, haha, that get in there?" She could barely even say it.
"I can imagine."
"Speedy said you looked great in it and that you loved wearing it. He said it was much better for you than that squarecut thing you prefer."
"Never listen to Speedy," had been his only response and he zipped over to the dresser and replaced it, smiled at her smiling at him and they were off up to the roof to leave their old life and honeymoon in their new life.
Ah, there it is, Wally spied the edge of the stretchy black fabric among the folds of an errant sheet. He pulled on the squarecut swimsuit, quite minimal enough, in his opinion and made his way out to the kitchen.
Like the rest of the place, the kitchen was lavishly appointed. But, then that should be expected for an island mansion dubbed the "Billionaires' Time Share"
That'd been the headline over the article in the Wall Street Journal that that Bruce Wayne guy had sent to them. And even that article hadn't said exactly where it was. It mentioned that it was a mansion on one of three islands not quite in either the Indian or Pacific Oceans. The article mentioned Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet and Bruce Wayne as some of the half dozen billionaires reputed to sometimes vacation there. It talked about a gleaming mansion of bamboo, mahogany, steel and glass, with every feature the most expensive imaginable.
Wally would have agreed with that assesment. And the way they stocked the kitchen was consistent with the headline. Looking in the giant fridge, he saw platters of lobster and shrimp, other meats and all sorts of delicacies. He ate a handful of some kind of truffle and foie gras thing. There was a little label on each platter. He wolfed down some shrimp and lobster dipping it in some sort of culinary wonder of a sauce. At least it was supposed to be. It may as well have been the stuff they put on Big Macs for all Wally cared. As a speedster, he had unique requirements for quantity of food that left him little room to be picky about its quality. His bullet train metabolism temporarily sated, Wally rubbed the eight squares of his abs and craned his neck around the corner to look down the hall at Jinx. She was just starting to stir, stretching atop the covers. A thought occurred to him, something he remembered from their evening arrival a day and a half ago.
"Good morning!" he half shouted to her.
"Good morning," she fairly purred through a happy sigh.
"I'll be right back. I'm going to bring some stuff to the guards."
A slightly modulated sigh was her only answer.
He remembered what the guy on the boat, half yacht, half speedboat that delivered them to the island had said. "Don't worry about your safety. There are four heavily armed guards at the other end of the island and another boat, sort of a PT boat constantly on patrol."
The guy had gone on to say how the guards were hand picked for their total dedication. He'd gone on about round the clock protection etc in a way meant to reassure Wally and Jinx, pretending to be just regular newlweds somehow connected to Bruce Wayne, he in a suit and she in a bright dress and pink scarf. But it'd sort of made Wally feel sorry for the poor guys. He didn't like the idea of guys knocking themselves out to guard him and Jinx and being treated like a lower caste or something.
So, he gathered up a platter with lobster, shrimp, some other meat and some of that truffle-foie gras stuff and started out the mansion's front door and then a hundred yards down the path at the end of the manicured lawn to the guard building. He was greeted at the door by a couple of the guards with fairly heavy machine guns slung over their shoulders. They were Indonesian, he guessed. Halfway in darkness between Dick and Cy and all a couple inches shorter than him. They reacted with big grins at the sight of him with the platter. One called inside the door and the other two guards came out to meet him as well.
Wally stepped inside the door carrying the platter and put it down on a desk. The guard building was a pretty sparse 20 by 20 structure, not much more than a bunk bed and some desks and chairs with some racks for additional machine guns and what looked like bazookas and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile on the wall. He offered the platter to the guys and they were grateful. They bantered a little bit back and forth. A couple of them grinned at him a certain way. He knew immediately what it meant even before they glanced toward the mansion and chuckled, "You and her! Hehehe!!" And he saw the other two looking at him a certain way. He wished he'd worn a shirt. They were looking at what incredible shape he was in with a sort air of assessment that wasn't quite skeptical but was obviously part of putting together some sort of puzzle. He was about to leave, was shaking hands with a couple of them when their apparent leader chuckled.
"Kind of funny, the four of us assigned to protect you and the pink haired girl."
Wally reflexively went into protective mode. "Huh? Her hair's not . . . that was just the scarf she wore over it when we arrived."
The leader patted Wally's muscular shoulder. "Look at you, huh?"
"It on the CNN all day that day," said one of the others less accomplished in english. "The-the orange and the pink, they marry. It on the CNN over and over that day. And look you at!" he grinned, pointing to Wally's torso then his hair.
Wally sighed. Oh what the hell. He nodded and the guards all burst into grins anew. All four vowed to keep quiet. They asked how well he knew Bruce Wayne to get the place for a week. Wally shrugged. They really didn't know the guy at all. He was just this weird multi-billionaire type who had helped pay for the Tower and who they sort of had to invite to the wedding because of it and then the guy had told them, after receiving his invite, that he probably wouldn't be able to make it but was giving them one of his weeks at this place for their honeymoon. Wally didn't mention the additional check.
"Bruce Wayne, he a jerk," said one of the other guys.
"Never acknowledge that we here," said another to nods of agreement all around.
"The Steve Jobs, he the worst. Worst. Worst. Worst. He treat everybody like the shit. Everybody."
"That guy think nobody any good but him." Nods of agreement all around.
"Beel Gates not bad," said another to more nods of agreement. "He and wife here right before you."
"Bill Gates of . . . ?" Wally had started to ask before his eyes went wide recalling something and he burst into laughter. The guards had asked what was so funny. He struggled to tell the story. The middle of the night. My wife and I about to . . . um . . . again. A blind reach into the drawer of the nightstand where the box of rubbers was. Then a frustrating inability to get the next one on. How could that be? The others were just enough. But this one . . . not nearly enough. Not nearly. He hadn't suddenly gotten twice as big as the last time! It didn't matter how he tried. He couldn't wear that. Jinx chuckling at his difficulty. Then, with the light turned on, he could see the label on the foil wrapper.
Why would anyone want to call it . . "micro"!? Or "soft", for that matter?!
The guards fell over laughing. Wally tried to shake hands and say goodbye but they begged him for a trick. Guys always wanted a demonstration. Always. Reluctantly, he agreed. You catch bullets? Wally nodded casually. The guards all grinned. Then the leader pulled the clip out of his machine gun and pulled the top three bullets out of the clip. With a pocket knife he scratched marks into all three then replaced them in the clip and smacked the clip back in place. He leaned the machine gun barrel out one of the windows and looked over to Wally. Wally nodded.
He fired a three shell burst over the ocean. Wally raced out the building, down to the water and then sprinted over the water, catching first one then the second then the third bullets like a shortstop catching liners off the bat before racing back to the guard building and stopping in front of the lead guard with three marked shells on his open palm.
The guards hooted and clapped and patted Wally's back for a bit.
"Okay, I have to go now," said Wally and they shook his hand and congratulated him on the wedding and two of them again grinned at him. You and the pink haired girl. Hehehe!!
Wally waved at them from the path as he made his way back into the heavily vegetated area the path wound through on his way back to the mansion. He hadn't seen it from that side. It was impressive. But then, a 9,000 square foot mansion on a manicured lawn just 50 feet from the ocean's edge is bound to look impressive.
He thought of going for a swim. It had been more than 30 seconds since he'd eaten, Flash's rule. But only if Jinx was swimming, too. He wanted to swim with her. And, for some reason, he thought of how Dick and Roy and some of the others had looked at him the day of the wedding. They couldn't believe he wasn't more nervous, more intimidated by the commitment. He searched his thoughts to try and find some of that sort of sentiment, the reaction they thought he would be having. But it didn't feel like a big commitment, like something different. Roy had gone on and on about a ball and chain. And he'd been frustrated at Wally's expression of "What the fuck are you talking about, Harper?!"
This wasn't anything new. Oh, the mansion was new and the title of husband was new and the ceremony and all. But the commitment had started that night at the museum.
Hmmph. Another odd thought occurred to him. Batman's expression. How the hell Batman had ever become a Justice of the Peace, anyway?! He'd have to get Dick to explain that some other time. But it had sure been convenient. No need to bring in another civilian to a wedding attended by more than a hundred "capes" as Jinx said they sometimes called heroes at the Academy. But, gods, it was a happy occasion. Did Batman not understand the concept of happiness? The way he'd spoken it to each of them! "And do you . . (death glare) Wallace, take (death glare) Virginia to be your . . . . till DEATH do you part?" He totally emphasized death. Totally. There was no denying it. Was he saying he'd kill us if we broke our vows? That's how he looked at me. He looked at her the same way, didn't he? DEATH!
Gods! Chill, Bats!
Still, the whole thing had gone off without a hitch. And he remembered that first look at her when she pulled up her veil.
And he remembered their first married kiss. First of dozens, just at the reception. What a scene? All the arrangements coming off just right. Jinx and her mother so proud of it. And a hundred heroes all enjoying themselves. And all those heroes cutting loose. Green Arrow! What a wild man! Even without Cy's filming everything, it would stay in his mind forever. And there had been Flash, so proud and so happy. He hadn't been anything close to that happy since Aunt Iris was taken away. And even Robin had been kind of emotional, standing there in his best man's suit congratulating him afterward with almost, maybe a little glassy eyes. Robin!?!? Tears?!?
My-my eyes sometimes take a while to adjust to light without the UV filter in my mask.
Was it right to laugh at him and tell him that he was a "fucking liar" right then and there and not let the truth be known by both of them but unspoken? Oh well. Too late now. Anyways, somebody had to call Dick on his stuff some of the time.
And then, whoosh, we've only just begun. Jetting out to this hyper exclusive vacation spot thanks to that Bruce Wayne dude, who only showed up at the end of the wedding and then just sort of stood around in the back. What a weird air that guy has around him! And then he was more generous than anyone. Wally shook his head. Go figure. A week here then a week in Paris.
At the front door to the mansion, he heard her shout from the little beach next to the dock.
"How 'bout a swim?"
He nodded and watched her jump off the dock in her skimpy white bikini into the crystal clear water of the lagoon. He zipped the platter back to the kitchen and then out to the dock. She waved to him from 50 feet out. He dove in and went to her like a bullet. The water was comfortably warm and brightly colored fish swam about around them. They swam about for a while, grinning at each other in unspoken recollections of the last day and a half in the bedroom and promises of the five and a half days to come. Eventually, they both pulled themselves up onto the dock and stood there smiling at each other and overlooking the picturesque south seas view till finally she burst out laughing.
"That was the funniest thing the other night, you, Dick, Roy and Ty! Oh gods! Those slingshot costumes! And the way you danced!"
"Hey! That was the way they told us to dance. That's not what I do in clubs."
"Okay, but really, what happened?"
"We trusted Speedy and we listened to his advice on what to do for a party."
"Never listen to Speedy, Wally. Outside of advice on a fight and munitions, when Roy speaks, just put your fingers in your ears."
She demonstrated the appropriate technique. "La la la! I can't hear you, Roy Harper! La la la."
"It started out okay. But I ended up practically getting mauled by these old ladies spraying champagne on me and . . . . . . . licking it off in that back room."
"Oh, is that what went on there for you?"
"Yeah," he grumbled avoiding eye contact. "This 300 pound woman picked me up by my . . costume and carried me in there and they just kept covering me with champagne and chocolate and whipped cream and . . licking it off."
Jinx laughed at his embarassment. "Ahahahaha! Oh gods! You didn't realize women might think of you that way, you with your speedster buns?"
She patted him.
Wally shrugged and there was a pause. "Hey, you asked if that was what went on in there for me like you thought it would be something different."
Jinx smiled. "You didn't see us carry Dick in there?"
"No. I was busy being Wally the exotic dancer."
Jinx snickered. "Um, well, Wonder Girl and Starfire picked him up like he weighed nothing and brought him into that champagne room right after you left."
"And . . . ?"
Jinx tried to suppress a huge smile. "Well, it seems like Bat Girl had some left over bad feelings toward Robin."
Wally had to wait a minute while Jinx overcame some guffaws and finally composed herself.
"I told her about all your insane protect the secret identity stuff you'd done before joining the Titans. I mentioned how, once, you'd had to let some older kids paddle your buns 25 times in front of the whole 8th grade. And she thought that was really funny. And she also remembered Robin not liking you before he ever met you and how he used to say he was three times as tough as you. I guess he repeated that a couple times to her. Three times as tough as Kid Flash. Sooooooo . . . hah, she found this cheese board in a corner of the champagne room. It was shaped just like a paddle, really. And three times 25 . . . hahahahahahaha!"
"She whacked Robin 75 times!?!"
Jinx doubled over laughing again before composing herself.
"Well, not just her. Starfire, too and also these two middle aged women who followed us in because they thought Dick Grayson was just the prettiest boy ever with his long lashes and light blue eyes and nicely toned if still, kind of short body."
Wally couldn't help but laugh. "Oh my god. Poor Dick. So that's why . . "
"So that's why what?"
Wally chuckled. "Well, he was acting a little weird before the ceremony. We were all in the kitchen talking and he wouldn't take a seat. It-it just seemed funny."
"What were you talking about?"
"Oh, mostly how the guys all thought I would be nervous but I wasn't."
"I had the same thing with the girls. Argent and Wonder Girl kept asking why I wasn't nervous. I was, like, what the hell should I be nervous about."
"I think all our friends were just thinking of themselves in that position that day."
"But I liked having everyone around."
"Oh, gods, I so completely second that emotion. I loved going out the nine of us together. That sort of social feeling, my peers. People who I don't have to explain anything to, who have the same worries as me, well at least some of them. I really enjoyed that."
"It was the same way with the guys. Before we went out, they all came up to me, separately, but I think each guy thought he might've been the only one. And they all said that they thought it was right, you know, you and me."
Wally nodded. "Well . . . . except for Speedy."
Jinx rolled her eyes. "What did he say?"
"Well I don't remember his exact words, but he thought I should go out and play the field, play the entire field, the way he does."
"Batting from both sides of the plate?"
Wally chuckled. "Yeah."
Jinx rolled her eyes again. "And did he try to explain this advice?"
Wally shrugged. "Some weird claim about enjoying sex more."
Jinx half chuckled then leaned over toward him, her lips just an inch from his as she simultaneously reached and hooked both her thumbs inside the waistband of his stretchy swimsuit then pulled down as the kissed him. When their lips parted she whispered from an inch away.
"What'd I tell you? Never listen to Speedy."