DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
RATING: T for Teen
PAIRING: N&M's/JAR (Nick/Mandy & Judy/Archie)
SUMMARY: Archie goes to the only successful nerd in the Lab Rats for advice about his love life.
A/N: Happy Birthday, Brandie! Your present? My first JAR Fic! With much love to the Guerilla!Beta for cheering me to the finish line on this story. I didn't quite get this one done in time for the big birthday, but I managed to come close. Thankfully the person it was written for is patient and forgiving. Happy Birthday, and may you have many more to come.
REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.
It had taken exactly twenty two minutes to get from Nick and Mandy's to her condo building. It was the longest twenty two minutes of her entire life.
The whole ride over, even while she recounted to Archie exactly how she had quite literally stumbled upon the hidden Easter Egg, she kept hearing Mandy's words in her head. "Just don't look too hard for it that you miss it when it's standing right in front of you."
Archie had always been sweet in that she's the one that handles all the calls and the extra paperwork, so don't tick her off kind of ways. But she never thought it went beyond that in any way. She was beginning to think that needed to change.
"So, how often do you login to play, anyway?" Archie kept trying to keep the conversation going.
"Um, maybe once or twice a week. I don't get to spend as much time goofing off as I'd like, right now."
He quickly jumped on that opening. "Oh yeah? How come?"
Almost embarrassed to admit it, Judy said, "I'm ah, studying for the GRE."
"Very cool. I never had the drive to do grad school. I've taken some continuing ed courses, mostly in document analysis, but to really sit down and make myself get a graduate degree? I just don't think I have it in me, you know?" He seemed resigned to his place in life as he continued to pay attention to the road.
"Um, turn right at the next light." She gave him the direction and then explained her situation. "Well, if I want to do anything other than reception, I've gotta have a higher degree. So, I'll just have to see if I can pull this off. I have a horrible suspicion that I'm just receptionist material."
"No way… Well, I mean, if that's what you want, then it's fine. But I think you've got way more going on than only that." Archie smiled at her a little as he made the turn into her complex.
"Yeah? You really think so?" She chanced a small smile in the face of his optimism.
"Totally!" As he pulled into the parking lot, he looked to her for instruction.
"Last building on the left."
"So, what happened to your car?" Archie asked as he carefully made his way through the parking lot.
"My brother-in-law happened." Judy was still irritated with the circumstances surrounding her poor car.
"That sounds like a good one."
"Boy, is it ever." Judy was shaking her head as Archie pulled into the empty guest parking spot and then waited for her to tell the story. "Now?"
"Yeah, I don't have anywhere to be, unless you've got somethi-"
"No, I'm not going anywhere… Not without my car, especially." She looked down at the purse in her lap as she tried to decide what to do next. She settled on the easiest solution, and stalled the decision by telling him the story. "Well, Randy, my brother-in-law, thought he was being funny, making cracks about my toy car…" Seeing the confusion on Archie's face, she elaborated, "I drive a Smart Car Passion Coupe."
"Oh, okay." Archie nodded his understanding and signaled her to go on. "Gotcha."
"Anyway, he tried saying it was like a big bubble that would pop with the slightest touch. Well, he has the subtlety of a Power Ranger, and with his humongous titanium wedding band he thumped on it and knocked out one of my windows." She turned in her seat to face him fully when she asked, "Do you know how hard it is to get a Smart Car serviced regularly, let alone a replacement part for a brand new one?"
Archie chuckled, "I bet it's worse than this Malibu Hybrid."
"It can take two weeks to schedule an oil change! So, I paid the extra to have it rushed, and it still took two weeks before they had the part and someone could install it." Judy was obviously disgusted with the whole situation as she shook her head. "The only thing saving me is that Henry lives in the same complex and he's been getting me to and from work."
Nodding, Judy watched as Archie squirmed in his seat. "Yeah, that Henry's a good guy, all right."
She decided to play a hunch when she said, "Yeah, and thankfully he's not one of those guys who would try to take advantage of the situation. Of course, it probably helps that he's been dating Janeane in accounting."
"He is?" When Archie instantly perked up, Judy knew exactly what she was going to do.
"Oh yeah. For a couple weeks now." Judy smirked at the smile spreading over Archie's face. "Too bad it took him two months to work up the nerve to ask her out after she smiled at him."
As Archie nodded in agreement, his hands tightened their grip on the steering wheel. She could tell he had something else on his mind, but then again, so did she.
When the silence between them stretched out too long, Judy decided it was time. "You wouldn't do that, would you, Archie?"
He turned to her in a near panic and asked, "Do what?"
Her girlish smile took over as she said, "Make me wait two months before asking me out?"
Archie's eyes grew to twice their normal size with her question. But thankfully he recovered very quickly. He clicked his jaw to relieve some of the tension and tilted his head to the side as he said, "Two months is way too long. Last I checked…the standard was five days."
Judy immediately caught on to his joke and sent it back to him. "Is that so? Well…you know, a lot could happen in five days."
Archie turned in his seat and rested his arm over the back of the seat. "Yeah, it could…" He ran the back of his finger down her arm. "And it will…if you don't mind it happening with me."
That tiny bit of contact was almost magnetic, and Judy felt drawn to Archie. Before she understood what was happening, they were leaning in to each other, their breaths mingling in the same place. Trying to break the spell, she whispered, "Is that an offer or a suggestion?"
With a nervous smirk he uttered, "It's a promise." Archie's left hand slipped up to cup Judy's cheek as their lips met softly in the middle. It was sweet and it was tender and it was filled with all of that promise.
As their lips finally parted, they held their foreheads together and giggled. Judy was the first to speak. "So, how long do we make Mandy suffer before we let her know the scheme worked?"