Mutt opened a door "Over here, Daddy-O"
Marion was curled up on a bed in her stocking feet, reading. She was wearing a soft white blouse with a belted navy skirt that showed off her trim waist and shapely legs. Her hair, swept back with a pair of tortoise shell combs, framed her face in fluffy curls. Indy breathed a sigh of relief at how well she looked. He didn't know if he wanted to crush her in his arms and never let go of her, or lay his head in her lap and never get up. On the other hand maybe he was just going to get another sock in the jaw, for old times' sake.
Indy closed the door behind him. "Hello, Marion" he said quietly.
She looked up from her book and smiled a tentative half smile. "Hello, stranger. It's been a while."
"Too long. They wouldn't let me come 'till now. I think I'm in Marion withdrawal."
"What? Why wouldn't they let you come to me?"
"We're not married, baby. And yes, I know whose fault that is. But when I wanted to go to you, I was told quite firmly that I'm not your husband and had no right to insist. The only reason I'm here is Mutt. I think he put his foot down as your next of kin and said he wanted you to see me…"
"Oh. You look like hell, Jones."
"Of course I look like hell!" he snapped. "They've been debriefing me separately from Mutt and Ox- basically holding me in solitary. I had no idea where they were, what was happening or if they were all right until today. God. I've been picturing you sick with hemorrhagic fever because they wouldn't let me see you-bastards wouldn't even tell me if you were still alive."
"Not to mention," he added "that my head feel like I've been hit with a rock, I've been repeating myself to every bureaucratic fool in the Southern Hemisphere for the past I don't know how long -and when finally they leave me alone I can't fucking sleep…"
Indy scrubbed at his eyes tiredly, and Marion's heart turned over. She'd seen that exact same expression on a hot, hungry, cranky toddler-who'd had enough-and only Mummy's lap would do. Somebody here needs some loving and a nap... Her lips curved in a tender smile. "You know, Jones, I think I just heard a loud thump."
Indy's shoulders relaxed and he nodded.
"Those would be my boots, babe. I think I just threw 'em."
Marion pointed at the door. "OK, Jones, for tonight it's just you and me, and the tent flap's over there."
She patted the spot beside her. "So come here, Indy, honey" she said softly.
"Come to me"
Yes. Oh, yes. If anything could put his world right, it was a little time in his sweet baby's arms. A quick glance showed Indy a chair he could wedge underneath the door knob to give them some privacy. He managed to shed his shoes and shirt on the way to the bed. Then he slid in beside Marion and wrapped himself around her. He buried his face in her hair and inhaled a delicious mixture of cologne, dusting powder, and sweet, warm woman.
"Oh, that's perfect," he breathed, as she caressed his shoulders. Her fingers began to ease the knot of tension at the nape of his neck. In return, one big hand snaked up the back of her leg and the other began a determined march down the buttons on her blouse.
"I think you remember what we got up to the first time you threw your boots." Marion teased into his neck.
Oh, honey, do I ….do I ever……
Marion had been cross when he'd told he was going into town with the boys that night.
She wasn't as innocent as she'd been the year before, and she knew full well, now, what 'going into town' entailed. Whichever single guys were off duty- and a few of the married ones as well-were planning to spend the better part of the night drinking in a few of the local taverns and amusing themselves with a few of the local ladies.
She turned her head away and bit her lip "Have fun, Jones. Try not to get rolled" she said, with an attempt at casualness that fell rather flat.
He gathered her, protesting, into his lap.
"Baby, I'm not gonna sleep with one of those bar girls," he coaxed. "The only girl I want is right here in my arms. But I have to go along with the fellas sometimes or they'll say I'm a Nancy-boy or well, some other things your pretty ears don't need to hear."
"Jones, didn't anybody ever tell you 'sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me'?"
He tipped up her chin and looked at her gravely. "Marion. Understand. I'm the dig supervisor this year and that means I'm the Big Cheese. There's times when I hafta give orders, and none of those men are gonna take 'em from a guy they think is a sissy or a Caspar Milquetoast. So I'm gonna go out with the other fellas, play some poker, lose a little money, have a few drinks. I may look at the girls, but I'm not gonna get laid. I promise."
Indy felt her relax and pressed his advantage. "Now, since I'm gonna be such a nice man, maybe someone could be extra nice to her Indy when he comes back to her tonight , hmmmmm?"
He started nibbling on her ear. "How about giving a guy something to look forward to?"
"Stop trying to sweet-talk me, Indiana Jones."
Indy grinned and squeezed her. "Awww… c'mon, honey, don't be mad at me. Not another girl in this world as sweet as my baby …"
He gave her the little-boy-in-big-mischief look that always won her over.
"So… gonna wait up for me, Bright Eyes?"
Marion turned in his arms and gave him a deep, toe curling, intoxicating kiss that left him wishing he could just carry her back to his bedroll for the rest of the day.
'Guess you'll just have to find out- won't you, Jones…." She slithered off his lap, blew him another kiss, and slipped out of his tent.
Indy's promise had been harder to keep than he'd anticipated. Several of the bar girls had set their sights on 'Mr. Indy', figuring that if he tipped well for his drinks he'd tip well for their company. The girls had teased him and suggested an assortment of 'delights for jaded appetites' that would have made even that dog, his old friend Remy, blush. On top of that, his buddies had razzed him unmercifully. He'd had to fall back on his position as the Big Six and remind them that an officer shouldn't fraternize. "And if any of you rubes think you're gonna catch me with my trousers down, pass me some of what you've been drinkin'."
He'd also had to drop some broad hints that he wasn't exactly doing without 'feminine companionship' before a couple of the fellas would shut the hell up. He knew he was skirting dangerously close to the secret he couldn't let them find out. But from the ways those guys were slamming down the local rotgut, he was pretty sure most of them would be nursing wicked hangovers by morning. Indiana Jones' love life was likely to be the least of their worries.
Indy's mood was not improved any by being one of the two guys sober enough to drive back to camp and pour the rest of the group into their tents. Listening to his friends brag about their 'exploits' with the girls didn't do much for his peace of mind, either. When he finally made it back to his own tent he was hot, tired, thirsty and-he had to admit-randy as hell. But no welcoming light glimmered softly for him through the canvas.
Well, son of a bitch. Marion's probably pissed I'm late, so she went back to her own tent. Damn. Maybe I should've saved myself the trouble and gone upstairs with the girls anyway Awww, but I couldn't hurt that sweet baby of mine-and from that kiss I got, I was sure there'd be some mighty sweet lovin' when I got home. So much for that. Hell.
Indy let down the tent flap behind him, and cursing softly, yanked off his boots and looked around the shadowy tent. He'd gotten so used to the little things Marion did for him that he only noticed their absence. And tonight there was no cool water, no late-night snack, no cup of wine to help him sleep. And worst of all, no sweet, loving baby to snuggle up in his arms and give him what he was aching for. With a frustrated snarl, he threw his boots over toward his cot. First one, then the other, hit the tent canvas with a resounding thud. And then, one of the shadows moved.
For a moment, Indy thought the lovely girl sitting up in his bedroll was a figment of his imagination. Then he was sure-damn sure- she was the best thing he'd ever seen.
Marion was wearing one of his shirts and nothing else –the view was delectable. She rubbed her eyes, stretched – and saw him standing there.
Indy's face was lost in shadow so Marion couldn't see the emotions that flickered across it-love, desire, impatience, fatigue, a tinge of shame at his anger and frustrated lust.
All she knew was her man was back -and he needed her.
She patted the spot beside her. "Come here, Indy, honey. Come to me."
Oh, God. Indy crossed the tent in a few rapid strides, dove into the bedroll and pulled her into his arms. Her breasts rose against his chest as her arms reached out to hold him, and a hot, silken mouth opened beneath his. His hands, frantic, rucked up her shirt and fumbled desperately with his belt and trousers. And of course the goddamn zipper jammed. He was ready to tear the trousers off when slim, cool fingers slipped in to unfasten them. His needy body rolled onto Marion's, and pressed her back into the blanket.
He growled in her ear. "Been dreamin' about me, baby? Or about what we'd be doin' when I came back?" Oh, sweetheart. Marion was warm, and soft, and deliciously ready for him. They had probably been fully joined before the second boot finished sliding down the tent wall and hit the floor- not that either one of them had noticed or cared.
'Throwing my boots' became a sort of code between us after that night. No matter what else was going on, even if we were fighting, if I said I'd thrown my boots, Marion would put everything else aside-and just love me. What a woman. Maybe I didn't know what I had then, but I sure as hell do now…
So, many years later, Indy cupped Marion's chin in his hand and looked in her eyes. "Honey, I need you as badly as that boy who threw his boots ever did. But my baby's been sick…"
Marion's fingers found the button on his waistband. "Well, then let's take it a little slower this time…."
Indy eyes fluttered when warm breath puffed in his ear
"Jones" a voice was whispering. " Jones. Indy. Wake up, honey."
What? Why should he have to wake up? It was snug, and blissfully warm, next to Marion. His head didn't hurt anymore, because it was resting on her. There was silky skin beneath his cheek, and a soothing heartbeat in his ear. A loving hand was stroking his hair, and soft, sweet kisses feathered his face and neck. Lots more places where it didn't hurt…mmmmm……
Indy lifted his head and groaned. "Aww, shit… 'sit mornin', already, babe?"
"No. But we better get dressed, before someone walks in on us"
The hell I will… He snuggled back down. "Fine where I am," came a sleepy, protesting grumble from beneath Marion's collar bone. "Like it here. B'long wi' my baby."
Indy made a halfhearted attempt to drag the covers back up, and then settled for twining his arms and legs around her. "Jus' wan' sleep" he mumbled, "lemme stay…"
He wasn't just talking about one night, and she knew it. Indy's eyes closed, and he sank into sleep like a stone thrown down a well.
When Marion kissed his hair again, one corner of his mouth turned up in a lopsided, beatific smile.
My baby boy used to smile like that when I'd rock him. One of my few talents, I suppose-I put Jones males to sleep.
Marion felt a sudden wave of fierce, protective love for that baby's father, warm and safe in her arms. Goddammit, after everything he's done, Indy should be getting a medal pinned to his chest. He rescued two innocent people- and did his best to save that rat bastard Mac. He stopped the Soviets from using the skull against his country-and the world. And he kept all of us alive on the trek here. So what's his reward been? He gets ripped away from his family, locked up, and treated like a criminal. All his life, people have wanted something from Indy. But then they just chew him up and spit him out when they're done. If he's bitter, maybe he's got his reasons….
The hell with all of 'em. I'm free and over 21. If I want to share my bed with the man who fathered my child, that's nobody's business but ours. Tonight, he's still my Indy. And they better believe nobody's taking him away from me without a fight.
Marion tucked them both back in, and reminded herself that snoring was vastly underrated. Snoring was reassuring, soothing, and rather sexy- at least her Indy's was. So she let his familiar masculine rumble lull her to sleep. When she woke again, she found a relaxed, playful, and rather amorous bedmate spooned up behind her.
"Getting pretty friendly with those hands, there, mister…"
"Hey, I'm a friendly kind of guy. I was wondering when you'd wake up and join me, beautiful."
"I will say you're better company when you've had enough sleep, Jones."
"No doubt about it. I was such a mess last night even I couldn't stand to be in the same room with me." He nuzzled her neck. "Don't know why in hell you put up with me, baby. But I'm glad you do."
Marion glanced at the light beginning to slant through the blinds at her window
"Someone's bound to come looking soon, Indy…"
"Nah. If they haven't by now they won't. Since I didn't leave you and go back to my room, someone has to know we're still together. The way I figure it, I was given my parole when our story checked out. It's a pretty far-fetched story, I'll give you that, but the powers that be have heard far-fetched from me before. I'll bet they arrested those Russkies who'd been chasing Mutt and me pretty early on, maybe even the day we left. Being KGB, they kept shut at first. But once the comrades knew Spalko's mission failed, she was dead, and they'd been hung out to dry-they started trying to cut a deal."
"That does make sense."
"MI5 debriefed me- yesterday, I guess it is now- and it turns out they'd been suspicious of Mac for awhile. He was one clever son of a bitch, so they couldn't pin anything on him directly, but they were sure something wasn't on the up and up."
"Did they tell you half the city of Chicago has been calling their congressman, or badgering the State Department trying to find you and Ox?"
"I'm sure they've had more than a few calls from Connecticut, Indy."
"Are you," he said flatly.
Indy forced a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Now here's where I can't decide, sweetheart. On the one hand, I could say that the whole Board of Regents and half the town of Bedford are looking for me- you know, see if I can impress you with what a big shot I am. On the other hand, just for jazz, I could try telling you the real story."
"Oh?" Marion didn't like the sound of this.
"The truth is," he said without looking at her, "that your Indy's best days are behind him, Bright Eyes. Most of the people who gave a damn about me are dead. I've outlived my usefulness to just about everybody else, and I'm a problem they're glad to see the back of. So, hey, if I tell you that, maybe you'll feel sorry for me and give me some extra lovin'. It's a tough choice."
"Must be," said Marion, holding him closer. "But not all the people who care about you are gone. OK, maybe your country hasn't thanked you -yet. But I doubt the three people here who owe you their lives are going to believe you've outlived your usefulness, Indy. And it seems to me that your best days- and nights- are still with us."
"Very much with us," she added softly.
His smile was genuine this time. "Someone sureknows what her fella likes to hear…"
Indy paused, and cocked an eye at the ceiling. "You know, I didn't stop to think about this last night, but this room may be bugged."
Marion started to snicker.
"What's so funny?"
"Maybe there's some spook with a stop watch timing us to see how long it took us to …."
Indy winced, and then he caught her eye. Despite himself, his face split in a lopsided grin and he gave a very un-professorial guffaw.
"M-m-maybe there's a chart- all the guys who've been in this room… with ratings…." His shoulders shook with laughter.
Marion grinned back and gave his cheek a quick smooch. "Well, you'd get the gold star- so maybe you'll have boys cornering you in the mess and asking for pointers, Indy..."
Indy snorted and ducked his head, pleased. "As long as you're happy, baby. And as long as none of them are my son…"
"Our son. And he better not…."
They cuddled together, still laughing, until Indy's face turned tender and serious.
"It's good," he said softly, "to have this time with you."
"Pillow talk with real sheets and pillows, Jones-it's certainly a change of pace."
He rubbed his cheek against her hair. "And it's so good to be your man again, to know that I can make you happy, and please you the way a man wants to please his woman…."
He began to kiss her neck.
"We better not start anything, Indy, or else we're going to want to finish it."
Indy rolled over and pressed the full length of his body against hers.
"Little late, for that, doll. One of us already wants to."
"Oh, Jones," Marion said indulgently.
Instead of answering, he dropped a soft little love bite at the exquisitely sensitive junction of her neck and shoulder.
"Oh," said Marion in an entirely different tone, "Jones…"
After he'd made Marion (and himself) happy again, Indy propped up on one elbow and looked down at her. One thumb caressed her lips and cheek.
"I'm a much better man after a little of your sweet comfort, honey. It-it's almost embarrassing how much better."
Marion sighed. "Tell me- what does it say on your passport, Indy?"
He frowned in puzzlement. "Henry Jones, Jr. Why?"
"Because, you idiot man, there's a reason it says H-e-n-r-y- J-o-n-e-s, and not J-o-h-n- W-a-y-n-e. When I was sick you took care of me. When you needed me I was there for you. Give and take. That's how it's supposed to work, Jones."
"Is it, then?" He smiled. "I probably am an idiot, but I'm a teachable idiot-try me and see."
"Maybe I will."
Indy sat up and stretched luxuriously.
"You and I end up in the damndest places, Bright Eyes…tents, Model As, broom closets, submarines, for God's sake. Just once I'd like to do something exotic like go out for dinner, maybe find a club and listen to some jazz, and then go home and take you to bed."
"Ordinary life? We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves."
He flashed a devilish grin. "Oh, trust me, baby -I'd think of something."
She smiled back. "I'm sure you would. Maybe when we get stateside?"
Indy sighed, pressed his lips together and looked away. "Well, there's the problem, babe. I didn't know how to tell you this, but we aren't going stateside You are -day or so, though they may want to debrief you first, but I won't be going with you."
She looked up at him, hurt question in her eyes. "So you're on to…Leipzig, you said?"
"No such luck. Believe me, I'd rather go home with you. But Army Intel wants me to take a team to the Russian encampment, and then double back to see if we can find Akator-or what's left of it. MI6 wants in, so the Brits have asked for me as well. They'd take Ox, but he's in no shape to travel."
"And you are? After the way you've been treated, Indy, you should just tell them where to go."
"If it wasn't for Mutt I would."
"What does Mutt have to do with it?"
"Honey. Don't you see? About 20 years ago, a brave little woman named her baby 'Henry Jones'. Now, Mutt is Col's son as much as mine-maybe more- and I know that. He's got the right not to carry my name. But if he ever wants it, I should hand it down clean.
He shouldn't have to share it with"- Indy's mouth twisted- "a suspected traitor who was fired from his job in disgrace and left his country under a cloud. This is my chance to clear my-our- name and I owe it to him to try."
"He means that much to you?"
Indy closed his eyes and nodded. "Yeah."
She stroked his cheek tenderly. "Will you be careful?"
"Will you be waiting for me? Give a guy something to look forward to?"
"Still trying to sweet-talk me, Indiana Jones?"
He smiled and dropped a kiss onto her nose. "Baby, if you haven't figured out that I'm happier now, with you, than I've been for twenty years, I haven't been sweet-talking you enough. But you still haven't told me if I can see you when I get back."
"We're in bed together."
"So we are."
"Neither of us is dressed."
"Fine state of affairs if you ask me. Should happen more often."
"And not only are we naked and in bed, we've just had wonderful sex that couples half our age would kill for."
Indy grinned and rolled onto his back. "Wouldn't mind if that happened more often, either…"
"So what part of this makes you think I'll slam my door in your face when we hit stateside?"
"The part you haven't said."
"What part's that?'
"The one that starts with 'yes', and ends with 'I'll marry you, Indy'."
"Don't push your luck, pal,-answer's still no."
He sighed. "Well, OK, babe. I feel much too good to argue. But I'm gonna stick around, so expect me to ask you again-now that I'm sure you still love me."
"Oh, you're 'sure I still love you', are you? Cocky as ever, Jones…"
"Not necessarily. Oh, most of us suffering bastards would like to believe we're irresistible, but you and I both know a woman will bed a man for a lot of different reasons."
Indy suddenly found the ceiling intensely fascinating. "It did occur to me" he said at last, "that you loved Mutt and Ox so much that you'd pay any price to get them home. And if the price happened to be sharing a bedroll with Henry Jones, well. I know you-you'd put a smile on your face and pay up. And I wondered if maybe that was all there was left between us. I thought, when they were safe, you might just kiss me off and go back to your life. Pay me back for what I did to you, and let me be the one with a broken heart for a change."
Marion looked away. 'I thought about it", she admitted.
"I know-I'd be surprised if you hadn't. But I don't know how much you remember about the time you were sick?"
"Not much-you, mostly."
"You were pretty disoriented from the fever. You didn't recognize either Mutt or Ox. And you didn't like either the thunderstorm or riding in the 'copter. But with all due respect to Col, honey, you didn't ask for him. You wanted your Indy, in the worst way..."
"Or maybe it was the best way." Indy patted his chest, and someone who loved him snuggled in tight. "So you just cuddled up right here where you belong and stayed put. And" he finished lowly, "it just kills me to think of all the times you must have needed me-and I wasn't around. I don't want to let you go, Marion. Not ever again."
He turned so he could see her face. "So, you amazing, adorable, and thoroughly exasperating woman, are you gonna be waiting for me?"
Marion started to say 'For a while' but she was stopped by the naked longing on her Indy's face.
"I'll meet you at whatever air strip you land at, if they'll let me."
"I'll be looking for you."