A/N: Yeah. Horrible person. My dad's was sick. I had school. Blah blah. Dad's fine. School's boring. But I am co-directing a full casted Rocky Horror Picture Show this Halloween. So, yay me. Here's chapter five.



Arrival



"Look. I'm going to walk over to Travis', the whole group is going to pile into a Suburban and go get her. We're taking her to the hotel, then we'll come back here for dinner, okay?"



Dade was trying very hard not to yell at his father. As Gina's sister, brother-in-law, and oh-so-preppy nephew were staying at the house for the wedding, he figured it would be better to avoid a scene.



Dade could almost understand his father's position. When he left Seattle, he had been different. He had been less secure and more, well, teenager like. But having to deal with seasoned criminals, having your mother threatened by a maniac, and hanging out with some fairly jaded people will help a person grow. Really.



"Fine. Go. But I'm calling your mother. Let's see how she's going to take this."



"Yeah, Dad. Let's."



Dade let the room, heading for the stairs. Jeff immediately picked up the phone.



In New York, Lauren answered her phone on the third ring. After her salutation, Jeff began.



"We have to talk about Dade."



Lauren had a moment of parental fear. "Why? Is he okay?"



"Well, I should say so. His girlfriend's going to be here in a couple of hours."



"Yeah."



"What do you mean yeah?"



"I mean, I knew that. Dade forgot your wedding gift, so Kate came by yesterday to get it."



"You don't have a problem with the fact that our son, our child, has a girlfriend that will fly cross country for him."



"He's not a child anymore, Jeff. You can't pretend he's still 11."



"Not a child? Maybe not, but I have met his girlfriend. She didn't look like the type of girl I want my son to be dating."



Lauren was quiet for a moment. "What exactly do you mean by that?"



"I mean, that she seems a little experienced. And she and Dade are far too comfortable with one another."



"Well, they are dating."



"When I came to see him, they were in bed. You weren't home."



"Okay, Jeff, you know what? I'm finished with this. You listen to me. First of all, I resent the implication that I'm a bad parent. I was at work. She and Dade were napping. Trust me, if they wanted to have sex they would have gone to her apartment, her mother was on a tour, and Kate has a bigger bed."



"Then you're admitting that they're having sex."



"Well, of course. Have you seen Kate? If she's willing, Dade's not going to fight her off."



"I'm betting she's plenty willing."



"You shut up."



Jeff was shocked. "What?"



"I said shut up. First of all, how old were you when you started having sex? Seventeen as I recall. So don't lecture me or Dade about abstinence. Secondly, and most importantly, I will not listen to you call Kate a whore one more time. She's a lovely girl, and I like her. Granted, she's not the cheerleader I'm sure you've picture Dade with, but you know what? She has a brain and she doesn't take crap from anyone, including Dade. In fact, I'd watch out if I were you, cause I guarantee you that you don't scare her. She's the type of young woman I'd want my own daughter to be like. So unless you want to estrange your son, and piss me off, you'd better be nice. I had enough of your crap during the divorce, and I'm not going to take it now." Lauren hung up the phone.



*****



Dade and friends arrived at the airport about twenty minutes before Kate's plane was due. Unfortunately, it was off schedule and they were forced to wait nearly an hour for Kate's arrival.



Nicky flung herself into one of those uncomfortable airport sofas. She gestured for the boys to arrange themselves around her. Travis dragged one of the chairs closer to the couch, while Dade took another. Mike settled himself next to Nicky and, characteristically, waited for someone to speak.



Nicky obliged. "What does she look like?"





Dade groaned. "Fine. She's tallish, I guess. And she has dark hair."



"How long have you been dating?" Travis inquired.



"Since before Thanksgiving. It's a long story."



Mike spoke up quietly. "Are you having sex?"



The group turned to look at him. A whole sentence, and a hardcore question. From Mike. Shocking.



Nicky smiled. "My boy coming in with the big guns. So, are you?"



Dade put on his blank face. Oh, what the hell? "Yes."



The three nodded. "Okay then." Nicky paused. "Well, she can't be too hot if she's sleeping with you. I mean, she had to be fairly desperate, didn't she?"



Dade smiled. Good to know things don't change. "As opposed to all the guys lining up to sleep with you. I don't notice you with a boyfriend."



"As a matter of fact, I have a date with someone for your dad's wedding."



Everyone looked surprised. Mike spoke. "With who?"



Nicky turned to him. "Some guy from my church. My mom knows his mom."



"Oh."



"We're just going as friends though."



Mike nodded. "Oh."



Dade jumped in. "Well, that's cool. I'd like to meet the guy willing to hazard alone time with you."



Travis laughed. "Me too."



Nicky turned away from Mike. "Well, the wedding's in a week and a half. Which reminds me. Why is Kate flying out so early? If she's coming to be your date, that is."



"I figured you guys could meet her. And I could show her around Seattle. And I just wanted her to come. And she didn't have anything better to do."



"So she has enough money to buy plane tickets and reserve hotel rooms."



"Well, her mom's famous. And she's glowing with pride because of the MIT thing. So Ruth's going to be in Ireland, Kate just used the credit card her mom gave her."



Travis sat up. "Her mom's famous?"



"She writes self help books, like Women Who Love Men Who are Emotional Amoeba and Twenty seven Ways to Tell that He's a Loser.



Nicky laughed. "Ruth Libby? She's her mom?"



"Yeah."



"I saw her on Oprah. That's crazy."



Mike, always the best listener, "What MIT thing?"



"She got in. Technically, we both did."



Stunned silence. Travis spoke. "Wow, man. Congratulations. Damn I knew you were smart, but damn."



Dade shrugged.



The conversation turned to reminiscing and before long, the plane landed. People poured off the plane. Travis noted a very pretty girl around their own age with shoulder length black hair, wearing a flower print dress. "Is that her?"



"No."



"Too bad."



"Not really."



"Dude, if you say so."



The room began to crowd with people. Finally, Nicky saw a girl exit. Nudging both Mike and Travis, she laughed. "Well, I'll bet you do wish it were that girl." Both guys nodded.



Kate was wearing the same thing she had on the first time she and Dade met. It was clingy; it was street, and Kate looked absolutely unapproachable while wearing it. It was a look she had cultivated after years of conversations with morons. Carrying a bag much like Dade's, she walked towards the gate.



Dade smiled. "Don't have to."



The girl, closer, overheard. "Don't have to what?"



"Wish."



Winding an arm around Dade's neck, Kate nodded. "That's always nice."



Dade nodded before wrapping one arm around her waist and leaning down to kiss.



Kate gingerly set down her laptop without breaking the kiss. Finally able to give her full attention she turned into Dade, wrapping her other arm around his neck.



Dade wound another arm around her and lifted, deepening the kiss. Kate sighed in the back of her throat before pulling back. Dade didn't put her back on the ground and Kate looked into his eyes. She leaned in for one more chaste kiss before turning her head to the left. "Hi. I'm Kate."



Dade set her back on her feet. "Nicky, Mike, and Travis." He gestured toward each. "Kate."



Picking up her bag, Kate aligned herself next to Dade. He put an arm around her and smiled. "Dad refused to let me use the car. So Mike is being generous with his."



Kate smiled at him. "Thanks."



Mike nodded. Dade's friends seemed fairly speechless. Not unusual for Mike, but it still took Nicky a moment to recover. "Um, anyway. If we have to have you back at Dade's house for dinner, we better go to the hotel."



Dade suggested they go retrieve Kate's luggage. Two suitcases and a hanging bag later, the group was piling into Mike's car. Kate climbed in the back between Dade and Travis, while Nicky took the front passenger seat, next to Mike.



Dade laid his right hand on Kate's thigh and she put her hand over it. Kate looked up. "This is a cool car Mike. No one in New York gets to drive anywhere. No one I know even has a license."



"Well," Travis pointed out. "Except for Dade."



Kate turned. "You can drive?"



"It's pretty standard in suburbia. I had to sell my car before we moved."



"What do you guys do for fun around here? I've never been to Seattle."



Nicky laughed. "Honestly we don't do much of anything."



Dade broke in. "I'm sure we can find a club somewhere."



"Cool. Which reminds me. Razor and Blade gave me a box they want us to deliver somewhere."



Dade snorted. "Where?"



"I don't know. They gave me a burned CD. Said directions were on there, but not to watch it until I was with you."



"Hotel."



Kate nodded.



Kate and Dade's friends did the get to know you thing until they arrived at Kate's hotel. Parking on the corner, they lugged her baggage up to the front desk. Finally a bellhop came to relieve them of her stuff and escort them up to room 3742.



Kate immediately open her laptop and took out the CD. She set the computer on a table near the bed. The guys, including Nicky, sort of spread themselves around the room where they could see. Dade and Kate climbed onto the bed.



The screen showed a mushroom cloud which resolved into a white screen. The screen slid away, revealing two heavily made-up Asia men, i.e. Razor and Blade.



Razor spoke first. "Crash, Burn. It's good to talk to you. Especially when you can't talk back. I realize that the two of you are probably wanting to, uh, reunite or whatever."



Blade broke in. "We're using "reunite" as a euphemism for "fuck." We're nothing if not tactful."



Razor nodded thoughtfully. "Yes. Tactful. Anyway, we were going to have to head to Seattle ourselves, in order to deliver the highly illegal program you hold in your hands."



Kate, at this, dug the black box out of her bag. Blade continued over Razor. "But since we heard from our somewhat hippie houseguest that you were going to be there, we figured we could put our much deserved vacation time to better use."



Razor broke. "Yes. We shall find a tropical beach and reunite, as it were."



Dade smiled. "As it were."



Kate laughed.



"Anyway, we figured that the two of you owe us. Considering the fact that we made you generals of the digital army we created. Not that we'd begrudge you. Burn, my dear, so feral. Kinda turns me on. If that were my thing."



Once again Razor spoke up. "And Crash. You didn't tell us you were Zero Cool. You just come into our club looking innocent and unaware. And here you are, hacker icon."



Razor took a moment to consider. "I always thought you were Asian."



Kate had to hold back a laugh. Dade, looking bemused, just nodded. Kate looked over. "If it's any consolation, I never thought you were a chick."



Dade raised his eyebrows. "Well, I did think that you were probably a pocket protector wearing dork, but not a chick."



"Good to find out you were at least wrong about the pocket protector part, wasn't it?" Nicky threw in.



Kate snapped her head to the right. Making eye contact with the girl, she smiled widely. Smart-ass women have to stick together, and she and Nicky just bonded.



They all looked back to the screen where Razor was leaning on Blade and whispering something. Blade nodded.



"You can take the box to Jubal. He'll be at a club called D.B.A. Burn's butch enough to get in. Crash, you'll need to appropriate some eyeliner or something. You look so damn unassuming. I'm trusting Burn to tart you up. Anyway, just tell the bouncer who sent you. He'll tell you where to go."



Razor broke. "Two such media icons as ourselves are on many guest lists. Just do it before Sunday, okay?"



"Ciao."



The screen went blank.



Kate turned to Dade. "What's D.B.A?"



Travis answered. "It's a big gay club over on 21st."



Kate nodded. "Well, we were gonna go clubbing anyway. You thinking Friday?"



Dade shrugged. "Sure."



Nicky interrupted. "Okay. So you're going to transport illegal programs for your funny, if not slightly fey friends. That's cool. Now will you please tell us about this damn Ellington thing? And how an idiot like you got a girlfriend?"



"Nicky thinks she's funny."



Kate nodded. "I think she's funny."



"Anyway," Dade scowled. "I never did have time to tell them the full story. So go ahead. I'll correct you when necessary."



Kate gave a long-suffering sigh and started at the beginning. "You see, we don't actually have a pool on the roof, strictly speaking . . . ."



*****



Dade and Kate entered Jeff's house sometime around 8:00. Jeff had insisted that Dade be back for a late dinner with the "family."



Knowing how Dade's father felt about her, Kate offered to change into a more acceptable outfit. Dade pointed out the fact that nothing short of a trip to the Gap, a haircut, and some strategic plastic surgery making her look far less edible would make his father happy. Shrugging, Kate headed out the door in the same outfit she had shown up in.



The man Dade had been instructed to call "Uncle Jimmy" was sitting in the living room with his son, Nathan. They looked up as the front door opened to allow Dade and Kate's entrance.



After introducing Kate, Dade went to find his father. Finding both Jeff and Gina in the kitchen, just finishing making dinner, he notified them that he was back.



"Well," began Gina. "It will be wonderful to see Kate again. How is she?"



Dade smiled. "She's fine. Tired from the plane."



Jeff nodded. "I suppose she'll want to head back soon after dinner to get some rest."



"Most likely. If dinner's gonna be a few more minutes, I figured I'd just run throw some stuff in a bag."



Jeff paled. "Excuse me?"



Dade sighed. "I'm staying with Kate, Dad. Let's not make an issue of it."



"No issue? You are not old enough to be staying in a hotel with your girlfriend."



"I'm 18 Dad. Officially, I'm old enough to do most anything I want."



"I am still your father. I have no idea what your mother has let you do in the past, but you will not sleep with that girl while I'm in charge. I can't believe you would even date a girl like that."



Dade glowered. "Let's get one thing straight, Dad. I do not like the way you made "that girl" synonymous with "whore." Kate is my girlfriend. In fact, if you don't drop this right now, I'll go upstairs, pack, and be back in New York by tomorrow morning. I'm staying with Kate tonight. That's the end of it. I can either stay for dinner, or leave now. You're choice."



Gina raised both hands . "Why don't we just have dinner. Dade, go pack up a bag. Show Kate your room. Jeff, go set the table. There's no reason to fight over this."



Dade walked back towards the living room.



As soon as he had left, Nathan and Jimmy had stared at Kate incredulously. Nathan smiled in a vacuous manner. "So, you're from New York."



Kate smiled. "Yes."



Jimmy narrowed his eyes. "How did you meet Dade?"



"We go to school together."



Nathan, in an attempt to flirt: "I thought that Dade went to one of those magnet schools for really smart kids."



Kate regarded him coolly. Once deciding that he honestly didn't see it as an insult, she spoke. "He does."



Luckily, Dade entered soon after this last remark. "Hey Burn, let's go upstairs so I can get some things together."



Kate stood gladly and followed him to the stairs. Once safely ensconced in Dade's second floor boudoir, he picked up a pillow and threw it at a wall.



Kate nodded. "So I see that things went well with your father."



"Well, if nearly calling you a whore equals well, then I guess so."



Kate laughed. "A whore, huh?"



Dade looked at her in alarm. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have told you that. He was mad that I'm going to stay with you at the hotel."



Still smiling, Kate put a hand on his arm. "I've been called a lot worse. I'm used to it."



"We should just leave, go back to New York."



"No. Years from now, you'll be sorry."



"Well, we should just go back to the hotel."



"Maybe you should just stay here. I know that you get upset when you're father's being like this."



Dade looked up from stuffing things in a duffel bag. He managed to look insecure, pitiful, and expectant all at once. "Do you want me to stay here?"



Kate bit her bottom lip before walking over to where Dade stood in front of his bed. "No," she said, pushing him down onto his comforter and moving to straddle him. "I want you to come back to the hotel, with me. I'm wired. I need someone to make me sleepy."



Dade tried to think of something witty to say, but decided that letting Kate get the last word couldn't hurt.

There was a knock, and Gina stuck her head in. "Oh. Sorry. Dinner's ready."



Kate stood up and extended her hand to Dade. "We gotta go."



Dade sighed heavily. "Guess so. But let's drop my bag by the door, in case we need a fast getaway."



Kate laughed.