It was with great reluctance that Don packed up the chariot in preparation to make the short trip back to the Jupiter 2. Judy exited the bungalow, her arms full of supplies. "I think this is the last of it," she announced, as she handed the items to Don. He shoved the last bags into the back of the vehicle and closed the door with a thud.
They stood and took one long last look at their honeymoon hideaway. The last five days had passed all too quickly. They had spent leisurely days exploring the surrounding landscape, and passionate nights exploring the depths of each other. They had spent hours reminiscing about their past, and dreaming about their future. They dreamed of what each new day would bring and all of the possibilities that would come with their new life together. There had been no agenda, no stress, no pressures, and especially no Dr. Smith to antagonize them. It had been heaven.
"Oh Don, do you think we can come back again before we leave this planet?" Judy begged.
Don smiled down at her. "OK, you talked me into it, Mrs. West."
The afternoon sun was slowly sinking toward the horizon. If they hurried they could make it in time for dinner.
Don extended his hand and helped Judy climb into the chariot. He quickly followed her, climbed in, and plopped down in the driver's seat. As the engine started they both glanced back one more time, then turned and looked toward their future.
Will was the first to see the all-terrain vehicle as it slowly approached in the distance. "Mom, Dad, come quick… Judy and Don - they're back!" He yelled at the top of his lungs as he ran toward the Jupiter 2.
Maureen and John quickly exited and dashed down the ship's ramp. Penny and Dr. Smith were not far behind.
The chariot lumbered into camp and abruptly came to a stop. As the family circled the vehicle, Don hurriedly rose from the driver's seat, and pushed the vehicle's side door open. Jumping out, he quickly turned and grabbed Judy under her arms, lifting her to the ground.
They turned to face their family, and were quickly overtaken with hugs, handshakes and laughter.
"Welcome home dear Judith. So wonderful to see you again. You too Major West," Dr. Smith quipped.
Judy's eyes welled up with tears. "Oh Daddy, Mother… thank you, thank you! It was so wonderful!" She ran into their waiting arms and hugged them both simultaneously.
She then returned to Don's side and wrapped both of her hands around his forearm. They gazed lovingly at each other.
John and Maureen couldn't help but notice the change in both of them. They looked… different. Judy glowed with a new maturity. And Don, he looked… relaxed… happy.
"Oh Daddy, can we show them now?" Penny anxiously asked as the group made their way toward the Jupiter 2.
A mischievous smile crossed his face. "I guess now is as good a time as any," John replied.
"Come on." Will grabbed Don by the arm and Penny took hold of Judy's hand. They pulled the newlywed couple into the ship and into the waiting elevator. As they descended, Don and Judy looked at each other mystified.
Maureen and John hastily descended on the ladder and met them in front of Don's quarters.
Something was different. The flimsy accordion door was gone and replaced with a sturdy, solid pocket door. John patted the door with his open palm. "This is for your privacy," he stated.
The children then eagerly slid the door open to reveal a large double bed where once had been a single bunk.
Don beamed. "How did you do it?" he asked, as he turned to face the others.
With that, Will grabbed the bed and started to demonstrate. "See, you release this levers here on the side. That raises the legs and then you can lower this half down, and it tucks underneath the other part. To put the bed together you just do it all in reverse. See?" He demonstrated retracting the bed and then brought the two pieces together into one again.
"Will came up with the design. He's quite the little engineer!" John stated with pride.
Don smiled again, approached the small boy, and ruffled up his red hair. "Gee thanks bro."
Will smiled from ear to ear.
Tears streamed down Judy's cheeks again as she faced her family. "What did I ever do to deserve all of you?"
"Come on now Judy, don't cry. Come help me in the galley." Maureen took her by the arm and steered her away, as the others retreated to the upper deck.
As they prepared the evening meal the two women talked.
"Mother, I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it all was. It was magical!"
"Oh darling, I'm so glad."
"And Mom, I know we've all seen Don be a little rough around the edges and hot-tempered at times, but I couldn't have asked for a more caring, gentle, and passionate lover."
Unbeknownst to both women, John had entered the galley at that very moment. Upon hearing Judy's last remark he quickly covered his ears with his hands, spun around, and mumbled something about "too much information…" He then swiftly exited the room.
Both Maureen and Judy looked up, shocked to see him. They watched him leave and couldn't help but laugh as they saw the distressed look on his face as he fled.
After the dinner dishes were cleared away, the children, and Dr. Smith quickly spread the family's Monopoly game out on the table. It was such a beautiful evening. "Come on Judy, join us," Penny invited.
Don and John sat together near the chariot discussing the updated ship repairs and flight plans as usual.
Maureen watched her children and Dr. Smith as they played the game in front of them.
Will was the banker as usual. He always had to be in charge of the money. He took his turn and then passed the dice on to Penny.
Penny threw the dice and squealed with delight. "Advance to go. Pay up banker boy!" She quickly moved her token around the board and shoved her outstretched hand under Will's nose.
As much as she had missed her family, Judy's mind wasn't on the game at all. She threw the dice, and landing on "Chance," took a card from the top of the deck. It was a "Get out of Jail Free" card. She casually glanced up and her eyes locked with Don's. Judy looked down quickly. Then she focused on Maureen. "Mother, would you mind taking over for me?"
"Are you alright?" Maureen's face showed concern.
"I guess I'm just a little tired. I think I'll say goodnight." Judy rose from her seat at the table.
"Alright Dear," Maureen stood and quickly began to change places with her daughter.
As Judy and Maureen stood, Don eyed the exchange. He continued to talk with John, but his attention was on his wife.
Judy slowly walked toward the Jupiter 2. As she did, she gave Don one last wistful look, tilted her head, then turned and disappeared up the ship's ramp.
John watched the exchange between his daughter and his new son-in-law. He smiled to himself. 'Don was clearly not thinking about the repair of the ship anymore.'
"Why don't we finish this in the morning, Don?" John stood and patted his son-in-law on his shoulder.
Don blushed with embarrassment at being so transparent. He grinned and stood. "Thanks John."
Both men walked over to the rest of the family and the game at hand. John pulled a chair up behind Penny and began to coach her on game strategy. Don said his goodnights to all and retreated into the Jupiter.
As he pulled the sliding door open, Don caught a glimpse of Judy's naked body as she climbed into their new bed and slid beneath the covers. He quickly pulled the door shut behind him and flipped the small lock at the side.
"How did you get away?" Judy inquired with a coy smile.
"I think your Father is a bit wiser than we both give him credit for."
Judy watched as Don swiftly shed his clothes and joined her. She couldn't imagine ever growing tired of watching his masculine body as it moved.
Don took her in his arms and pressed his body next to hers. Their bodies fit together perfectly. He buried his hands in her golden hair and kissed her deeply at first, then slowly, tenderly. Stopping, he pulled away, and then lay on his back.
Judy lifted herself up on one elbow and gazed down at him. "I love you so much," she whispered. She lay her head on his chest, as he continued to stroke her hair. "You know Don, we still don't know what the future holds for us."
"No one does. But you know… I think we can handle whatever may come our way. The most important thing is that we have each other to hold on to."
She brought her lips up to meet his one more time.