IMPORTANT: For all of you who did not want to read the Grawl x Glar: I'm having chapters named "Omake: "chapter title"" containing the said couple. You just have to skip those chapters if you wish not to read about Grawl x Glar. It will contain events outside of Lem's situation. The main story will only be Lem's pov, and it will only contain Neera x Lem and Chuck x Lem.
Also; Changing Lem's age to 21, because '`Mr. Gregor Samsa'` made a very good point. For Lem, 17 would be too young to be a college student, since he was 17 and in high school at the time of the movie. Also, this leaves wiggle room for other semi plots chapter ideas.
There will be things unanswered now, but remember, the reader is supposed to be confused. Your knowledge is as limited as Lem's is. You will not know Chuck's emotions, you're as oblivious as Lem is. You'll just have to catch the hints through his moves. ;D
/// no more author's notes, I know they're annoying.
Chapter 2: "Live a little."
That's what my watch read, in big flashing blue letters.
It was like me to be punctual. My parents made sure I always was, for whatever it was in life. From daycare to my very first job interview, which was still the current position I'm holding at the observatory. I had gotten this job about years ago, when I was old enough to work. Years of community service helped me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't get in trouble or nothing. I'm not a hoodlum or any kind of that trouble. I just have a passion for astronomy, even when I was young.
My foot starts to tap as I waited, growing impatient. It's cold in Nevada before the sun comes up. Goes from 30 to 80 degrees in a matter of hours. I should be used to that kind of change, but I've always preferred hotter weather over the cold. But I had to admit, the Glipflorg Observatory had such a beautiful view. The hill was so high and a fair distance from the manufactured light of the town; perfect for star gazing. That was my most impacted memory. Nostalgia, right up there, in the night sky. Seeing the incredible magnitude of stars. That was nostalgic for me. Absent from city lights, the stars look like they were painted to the sky. Like someone threw a huge bucket of white paint onto a black canvas. I remember drawing imaginary pictures from the stars as a kid. When I found out you could make wishes on the stars (A taboo I now deemed ridiculous) I wished to visit the stars. Once I found out they didn't let untrained individuals into space after the Challenger, I lost hope. But still, I was happy I even had the honor to see the stars.
Just, loo-- Owch!
The pain in my shoulder brings me back down to earth. My messenger bag was starting to weigh me down. Professor Plegm's instruction went heeded; I planned destination for this astronaut. I didn't even get his name. Formalities are supposed to happen today. A soft thump was heard as I put my bag down. There. That will give my shoulder a rest.
I couldn't blame the Professor for being so scatter brained about this. I mean, an astronaut of all people. I'd be running around like a chicken without a head too.
Which I did, by the way.
You see, the second after the Professor gave me my instructions, I was told to go home and prepare as much as I could. Driving home proved... difficult, as my hands trembled with excitement. Getting home was even harder, as I almost got into a car accident twice. But that didn't matter, because I was meeting an astronaut. I stopped at a gas station and picked up a map of the town. I knew all the local places to visit, but still, having visuals seemed like a good idea.
But the second I pulled into the gas station, I saw that dreaded tie-dyed Volkswagen. Glar came out of the convenient store that moment, and I sunk in my seat, wishing I could be invisible. I noticed he was holding posters and wooden sticks. A protest, I bet. I'll ask Neera about that when I call her...
When the damned car drove away, and the coast clear, I did what I had to do by buying a map of Glipflorg. All movements were robotic, and didn't even care that the cashier shorted my change by 50 cents. I was meeting an astronaut.
Home was my next destination.
Immediately, I was confronted by Skiff. Questions flew by me in a frantic, very fan boy like way that was Skiffs character. I just ignored him, and walked to the single couch we owned. Usually, I would find humor in his swooning motions. But I was still too much in awe to really think about that.
"I'm going to meet an astronaut." My voice confirmed, more to myself than to Skiff. Again the gaps and spazzing emerged from Skiff, but that seemed faded out when I fully took to the idea.
I called Neera that night. She was just as astounded to hear of my news. Only, she was curious why I was the one touring him around instead of some tour guide. But I didn't care. I didn't even remember to ask her about why Glar was buying materials. I mean, I was going to meet an astronaut.
Wow. I'm meeting an astronaut.
Now, I am even still flabbergasted by the idea. Even as I stand in front of Glipflorg Observatory here waiting for my said idol to arrive. Ever since I found out about the idea of an astronaut, the idea a person could travel to space, travel to the stars, I've admired them. I remember the night I asked my father during a camping trip. We were sitting under a night sky, the same one I stood under now. I remember the feeling of awe coming over me. That amazing feeling, the feeling you only get when you've decided who will be your hero. I only wondered now, what will it be like to meet that said hero?
Could it get any more perfect? The girl of my dreams, Neera, by my side. Living in a decent sized apartment with my best-friend since my days at daycare, Skiff. I'm going to meet an astronaut. Now all I have to do is get my dream job at NASA; I'll be sure to get the job with the astronaut as a connection! Sure, we need to hit it off, but that won't be hard. All I have to do is impress him with the town, fulfill every one of his bids and wishes, and kiss his ass. That won't be to hard, right?
I looked at my wrist watch again. 06:07 it read.
I wonder who'll I'll meet... Arnold Armstrong, Sally Rosenberg, Barb Garret, Ruth Richards, Charles Baker-- Wait, these were all American Astronauts. What if I'm an astronaut of a different nationality? That could soil my chances of getting into NASA!
Just as I was about to convince myself that I just need to learn a new language and move to a new country for the sake of my perfect life, a car appear from the horizon. It was a limousine. Could I expect any less? The professor should be in there with the mysterious astronaut; I vaguely remember him telling me that.
I stood there, still and stiller. All excitement within must have frozen, getting harder and colder as the vehicle approached. I realized it wasn't time that had slowed and prolonged these kinds of events; it was my brain being overloaded, slowing everything within myself, like a lagging computer.
I couldn't panic now. I was too far into the game to panic. Cool, I must be cool, calm and collected. Cool, calm, collected... Cool, calm, collected... Cool, calm, collected. The mantra played in my head over and over again, and breaths became forcefully deep in an attempt to relax myself.
The limo finally pulled up in front of the planetarium.
Relax, Lem, relax.
The door opened.
Oh god... It was, it was. It was-- Professor Phlegm? I couldn't help, disappointment engulfed me when I saw my boss instead of my hero.
"Lem! Good, your here." Why wouldn't I be here, Professor? "I would like to introduce you to..." The moment the Professor started his introduction did someone else step out of the car. A very tall man, dwarfing my height of only 5 feet and 5 inches. My neck pained looking up at him. He was familiar. This was, "...Charles T. Baker." Professor Phlegm finished. But I already knew that. I've memorize the looks of ever astronaut, and Charles Baker was just as I remembered from the magazines. The ginger hair in tack, and more casual, granted fashionable, clothing.
I had to take a sharp breath in as I steadied my feet. Did I almost faint? That doesn't surprise me. Meeting your idol can have that kinda of effect on you, so I heard. I wouldn't know. I've never had the opportunity to meet one... Wow, this feels so weird. It's a warm, tingly, floating-on-air like feeling. I got this same feeling when first meet Neera.
"Hey kid!" Charles waved his hand in front in my face. I snapped out of it. How long, I wonder, was I spaced out, "You alright?"
"Huh... Oh, y-yeah!" I held out my trembling hand, offering to shake Baker's hand. "Forgive me, Mr. Baker. I'm... side tracked?"
Charles smiled, more genuinely then that crooked smile that appeared in all of his pictures. He firmly took my hand, "Nice to meet you too, Lem. Oh, and do me a favor, kid, call me Chuck."
I nodded vigorously. "Right... Chuck?" That name felt good on my tongue.
"Chuck," The astronaut, confirmed. 'Chuck' it is. Another man stepped out of limo from the front of the vehicle. The man was taller than Chuck, if that was possible. Sun glasses hid his eyes and a gray suit graced him. He vaguely reminded me of a Men in Black agent. Chuck motioned his head toward the stranger. "Ah, that would be James. He's my bodyguard." The man known as 'James' bowed his head in acknowledgment.
I looked at Chuck for a moment, confused. Was Chuck that paranoid of getting ambushed by paparazzi? I had no idea an astronaut needed so much security. As far as I knew, if an astronaut was caught on the street and recognized, he'd just be asked for an autograph. I gave Chuck a questioning look, which he promptly ignored. Curious.
"Nice to meet you, James." I said, and got another bow from the tall blurry man. An awkward silence hung in the air.
"So!" Chuck clapped his hands, a somewhat forced smiled on his face. "Let's move along with that tour now, shall we?"
"B-but, Charles..." The Professor piped up. "Wouldn't you rather become familiar with the planetarium?" Funny, the professor was never as docile as he sounded now. He'd yell and give me an order. I guess that whole celebrity thing really changes a person's vantage point.
"Yea-No. I have all weekend for that, Prof." My eyes widened when I heard Chuck call Phlegm by his most hated nickname. "And I told you before, it's Chuck." Last time I called the Professor 'Prof.' he threatened to fire me. Never happened again.
"Of course Cha-- Chuck." It was so amusing to see Phlegm suck it up.
Chuck smiled that grin. A tense, forced one. "Great, with that solved..." The astronaut pushed me firmly towards the car, "We'll be goin' now."
Before the professor could even respond, he pushed me in the limo. I heard the door slam behind us, and faintly, a small squeak from the Professor. "Drive, man, I don't care where, just drive." I had just barely managed to pull my self up into a seat. Then the car bolted into drive, and I fell back on the floor. A hand helped me up, pulling me into my seat by my arm.
"T-thanks." I said, rubbing my sore arm tenderly. That's when I realized I left my bag. "Shit!" I covered my mouth, surprised I would even let that kind of language. In front of someone I was trying to impress! How embarrassing...
"What? What happened?" Chuck asked, not fazed by my cussing. He just blinked, curious.
"I.. uh... Left my bag. I needed that for the tour. You see, I made a map and a list of destina--."
"Let me guess, that old guy told you to do that, right?" Chuck raised his eye brows, unimpressed. I only looked at him, surprised. How did he know? "Alright, listen kid. Your young, what, eighteen?"
"Twenty one." I interjected.
"Yeah, whatever. Point is, that old guy Professor, he has this philosophy about life that should have been dropped somewhere around the 1800s." Chuck sent a disgusted face in the direction of the planetarium. "That's why I wanted to get away from that guy. The guy is just to..." Chuck paused, trying to find the right words. "Anyway, I didn't like him."
"Point I'm trying to make is: you can't be like that old geezer. It makes you old too quick." There was a look of indecisiveness on my face. I wasn't prepared for not being prepared... "Live a little, Lem." I looked up at Chuck. The look on his face reassured me. Then, at that moment, something within me, something cold and rigid, chipped away. The feeling was eerily familiar to relief, but even better. I knew, for some reason, that I didn't need to impress this guy. Being myself was the only way I would be accepted by Chuck. That was a feeling I had forgotten; it felt so foreign. "Just wing it."
I nodded my head, said, "Okay." and took prolonged exhale out. I didn't realize I was holding my breath...
Chuck immediately changed the direction of the conversation."Good. Now that we've got that settled, where to?"
But something was eating at me. It ate at me, all day and even now as I sit in this limo."Chuck, just before we go anywhere, can I ask you something?"
"Let me guess, you want an autograph?" Chuck, you're so humble.
"No!" My brows fell in a serious face. I was not amused by Chuck's conceit, "I was wondering why you asked the Professor to find you a tour guide, when.. When you could have asked a local touring company."
Chuck's happy go lucky smiled morphed into a mixture of embarrassment and humor. "Let's just say I uh.. I've gotten banned from service by the only touring company that's in your area..."
My eyebrows furrowed, confused.
"... I got sued for something. Let's just keep it at that." Chuck closed the discussion. "So where to?"
"Sure..." Disappointment edged around me, but I wouldn't let that bother me. No law suite between an astronaut and a touring company was ever out. I mean, I would've known about. "Uh... Do you like bowling?" There was still a lot of unanswered questions. But it wasn't a good idea to go prying this early down the road anyway. Speaking of prying, I still wondered: Why the hell did Chuck need a bodyguard?
`To be continued...`
A/N: Don't mind the extremely minor OC. I just need him for story/plot development.
Reviews, I need them to know if I should keep writing. Tell me about any mistake that should be fixed or advice on my writing/grammar skills. Thanks you guys~