I do not own Three's Company, or its characters (I'm not smart enough to come up with such great ideas!) All I own are the suporting characters that I invented, the plot, and of course the story itself.
Before some true Three's Company fans critisize me for having facts mixed up I'd just like to say that I changed things around purposefully. This tale takes place right after the sixth season, so seasons seven and eight have never happened. It is stated in one of the episodes that Jenny, Janet's sister, gave birth to a child, but I have ignored that fact... for reasons you will later understand. Janet's father's name has been changed from Roland to Andrea Castelleni (I thought it sounded more Italian and had a cool ring to it!). And finally, the episode "Janet's Secret" has never happened, because as you might figure out Jack has never met Janet's parents.
Oh, and it might help to say that Janet isn't quite the down-to-earth girl we all remember. I decided to give her a deeper personality and a little bit more history (don't worry it's nothing drastic!). I just want you guys to really connect with her, and if it turns out that that's not the case then I'm sorry... But at least I tried!
Anyways, thanks for reading. I welcome all reviews (and I don't mind your critisism in the slightest... because I know I need it!). Love you all! God bless. 3
- Caris August
Chapter one: The Fast
Failure is impossible. Or so that's what I'm told. It's a comforting feeling, knowing you can never completely lose when you're trying so hard to win. That even if you become backed up against the wall and find yourself in the worst situation possible you haven't totally blown it. Why? Because, at least you tried. At least you did all that you could to make it work out, sometimes trying is all we can do and the rest is simply out of our hands. So when it doesn't work out, and at the end of the day you walk away beaten, bruised and torn inside there's always the hope and reassurance that at any rate you tried and gave it all you could. Trying cancels out Failure, right? Well in order to prove that it has to happen first.
But, what if you're too scared to even attempt? Too frightened at taking the chance of risking everything, because you don't know for sure. What if it doesn't work out and there is no hope or reassurance there's just… failure. What happens then when you're too afraid to try?
Janet rushed out of the kitchen at the sound of someone knocking outside the front door. She pranced into the living room merrily, she always pranced when she was in a good mood, in other words Janet pranced a lot.
"Just a second!" she called as she approached the entrance way and turned the knob, then she swung the door open with a smile. However that smile dropped ever so slightly when the door revealed their houseguest, well not their houseguest, it was more like Jack's. Actually it wasn't even a houseguest; it was just another one of his 'goddesses'. "Hello, can I help you?" she asked as politely as she could muster.
The girl stood in the doorway with a puzzled expression, her green eyes seemed confused. "Umm…" she began and then twisted a finger through her waist length red hair absentmindedly "I'm looking for a man called Jack Tripper, he's my date tonight. But I think I have the wrong house, can you point me in the right direction?"
"No, no, you've got the right place, come in." Janet said as she motioned for her to enter.
The girl looked around the room awkwardly, "you live with Jack? He said he wasn't living with anyone…."
Janet grinned as she got the just of what the girl was trying to say "Well, I'm not living with him in the sense you're referring to, we're just roommates. Strictly platonic. You know, it's easier to pay the rent when you're sharing the apartment. Jack pays a half, I pay a half… and Terri pays a half."
"Umm" Janet winced, apparently Jack hadn't gotten around to telling this girl much about him, it didn't surprise her any. He had a different girlfriend each week, in his words: why share more than what was necessary? Janet headed towards Jack's room "I'll just go get him for you."
Janet knocked on his bedroom door, "Jack?" No response. She sighed and slipped into the room, closing the door behind her, "Jack?" Suddenly Jack emerged from his closet on the other side of the bedroom, wearing a new blue and white polo shirt and… his underwear? "Jack!" she yelled as she threw her hands over her eyes, "please, I know you think it's hard, but could you keep your pants ON for once!"
"Janet!" he retorted as he hastily pulled on a pair of black denim pants, "this is my room, I thought it was safe to get dressed in here."
"Well, I just thought it'd be nice to tell you that your date's here" Janet said as she peeked from between her fingers, making sure he had everything on that was at least necessary. She pointed down to his bare feet, "you forgot socks."
"I'm wearing sandals."
"You'll catch a cold."
Jack rolled his eyes as he brushed his hair in the mirror, "it's May, Janet. Plus we're having a heat wave right now, which explains why, the thermometer, or as Chrissie used to call it: the "weather wizard", is on 91°"
"Well, a cold is always a possibility. Twenty percent of you're body heat is lost through your feet you know."
"Of course, whatever you say my Little Encyclopaedia", he grinned.
Janet sighed; Jack knew she couldn't stand his nicknames. She watched as he grabbed his jacket from where it had been hanging over the bed post and threw it on, and then he inspected himself critically in the mirror again. "Jack, would you just get out there, she's waiting for you."
"Yes 'Mom' right away", he replied dryly, walking past her to the door.
"Well… have fun."
Jack winked, "Trust me, I will."
Janet felt her mouth pull into a smile before she could stop it, "I'm sure you'll find some way to enjoy yourself tonight."
"Janet! You've got a sick mind!" he turned quickly to kiss her cheek and she smiled. He grinned, "This is great and all but I do really have to be somewhere, so now if you'll excuse me…"
She smiled and gave him a shove, "get going already!"
She watched him hurry into the living room and listened as he greeted his date with one of his many compliments, then used one of his classic lines that only came from the mind of Jack Tripper. Janet shook her head slowly, how'd she end up living with such a playboy anyway? Waiting until she heard the slamming door which meant they had departed, she made her way to the kitchen. Usually, Janet only ate when Jack had cooked a meal or if there were some of his leftovers in the fridge. She'd rather not risk getting poisoned from her own cooking, but seeing that there was nothing else, and her stomach's growling could've been heard from the bathroom, she reckoned she could take the chance at least just this once.
She sighed contentedly at the sight before her. "Well" Janet said proudly to herself, "it isn't exactly a gourmet meal, but it's as close as your going to get with my culinary experience." She dipped her fork into the pot of spaghetti that was resting on one of the stove burners and dished out a helping for herself on a huge plate. Licking her lips impatiently, she carried her supper to the table and plopped into one of the chairs.
She picked up her fork, "and now we see if the last two hours and forty five minutes were worth it…" Suddenly feeling cautious, Janet leaned her head forward and sniffed timidly. "Well, at least it smells like spaghetti, but the big question is, is it edible?" she asked to no one in particular. Finally, she twirled her fork through the pile of pasta and shoved it into her mouth before she could think against it. Janet forced herself to chew slowly, letting her taste buds savour it carefully, and then she swallowed.
"It's… Good!" she exclaimed jubilantly, and then stuffed another mouthful into her face. Now that she knew she was going to survive, she ate ravenously; the entire plate was gone in under two minutes. Janet sighed as she pushed the empty dish away and leaned back in her chair, a big grin plastered on her face. She had cooked food, good food! That was something no one thought possible, wait until Terri found out, and what about Jack! He'd probably die of shock; she had better save some, just so they would actually believe her…
"Speaking of Jack", Janet shifted so she could see the clock clearly, it was almost nine thirty, "he should be back soon." She knew Terri wasn't due home until the next morning, she had gotten a slight promotion at work and now she sometimes had to work night shifts. Janet shuddered, she would have never enjoyed being a nurse, but now that she thought about it she couldn't recall a time her roommate had ever complained about her job. She shook her head, not fully understanding Terri's love for her career.
Just then there was banging at the door. Janet heaved herself to her feet and bounced into the main room, "who is it?" she shouted.
"It's me, open up."
She smiled at the sound of Jack's voice. Janet unlocked the door quickly and threw it open. But her grin turned into a frown when she eyed him up. He looked frustrated, his eyes glared back at her angrily and his usual crooked smile had disappeared. "What happened to you?"
Jack shoved past her into the apartment, "I'd rather not talk about it" he grumbled and slumped on the couch. Janet closed the door and walked behind the sofa, she peered down at him with concern etched on her face. She put her hands on his shoulders, and rubbed until she felt the tension in them ease away.
"Come on Jack" Janet urged, "you know if you don't tell me what's bugging you then it'll bug me and when Terri comes home tomorrow she'll be bugged because we're both bugged… and then Mr. Furley will have to call in an exterminator because this place will be all bugged out!"
He looked up at her, "I love your logic Janet" he said sarcastically. Okay… so apparently Jack wasn't in a joking mood.
She put a hand on his cheek, "please, maybe I can help."
"I doubt it" he said stubbornly, pulling away.
"Try me." She squeezed his shoulders gently.
Sighing, Jack moved over and patted the empty spot next to him. Janet grinned and hoped over the couch, landing beside him. She turned so that she was facing him, "so, what's the problem Mr. Smooth, what did your date do this time?"
Jack flashed her favourite crooked smile even if it was a rather small one, and shifted so that he could put his arm over the top of her side of the sofa but his eyes still held that frustrated glare, "she didn't do anything, she was a perfect lady."
"I see" Janet replied thoughtfully, "so what did you do then?"
"Nothing, I was my normal self."
"You call being yourself 'nothing'?"
"Hey" Jack poked her, "that's not the problem."
"Well then what is?"
He looked away for a second and she could tell he was thinking about how to answer her, and then he glanced down, letting out a breath, "Honestly, I have no idea Janet. I mean for the last few months I've been feeling… nothing. Don't look at me that way, I'm not mental. It's just, well when I go out on dates usually I feel so… great and lately I can't feel anything. It's like there's a glass wall around me, I can still look out, but no emotions can get in, I know it sounds stupid."
Janet gazed at Jack, slightly taken aback, he couldn't feel anything? What did he mean? Then she smiled, understanding quickly dawning on her, "Jack, it's not stupid. I think I know what's going on."
"What?" he asked.
"You" she said, pointing at him, "need a break."
Janet was grinning now, "From girls, from dating, from….. you know what I mean. How can you feel anything for a woman when you're seeing four different ones each month? You've got to take it easy, listen Jack you're not Larry- thank goodness for that- you're not completely insensitive and your mind's telling you, you need to slow down. Correct me if I sound corny, but Jack Tripper I believe your heart has met its match. It just can't take anymore."
He looked back at her; a thoughtful expression took over his face. "Janet that might've just been the… stupidest thing you've ever said."
"Thank you… wait, what?"
"Janet," Jack told her, "it's me. Maybe I'm not exactly another Larry, but I'm definitely not losing my touch. Really, after seven years I thought you'd know me a little better than that!"
She laughed and put a hand on his knee, "I didn't say you were losing your touch Jack, I just said that you need a break."
"Alright then, if that's what you think, prove it." Jack crossed his arms, he glared at her smugly. How could she possibly prove that he 'needed a break'?
Janet peered at him and huffed, "If you want proof then look back at the last couple weeks. All your dates were set up by Larry; you've never actually asked a girl out on your own in what seems like forever, even that date tonight was all thanks to Larry the Lovebird. And you've hardly ever made a single move on Terri for ages, I thought maybe you were being more mature, but that's unreasonable, because we both know that's never going to happen." She watched him ponder her words, hoping what she was trying to tell him was getting through that thick head of his. Suddenly his expression seemed completely disgusted, she grinned, he got the message.
"What's happening to me?" Jack exclaimed, quickly rising to his feet, he paced back and forth across the carpet. She could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he thought. "You're right! Something's wrong with me. Don't look so smug Janet, this is horrible. But I don't understand I've always been like this before, what's changed now that's made me feel so different?" He spun around, grabbed her arms, and shook her violently; Janet could feel her brain rattle in her head. "Janet! You've got to fix me! Help me!"
"Jack! Stop hollering you're gonna wake up Mr. Furley!" she shouted, twisting out of his grip. Janet had no idea he'd react like this. She placed her hands on his arms and directed him back to the couch. She struggled to push him into a sitting position. "Now listen" Janet put her hands on her hips, and taking control, "you can do one of two things: follow my advice that I'm about to give you, or you can go talk to Larry or something and with his help you'll probably be doomed for the rest of your life."
Jack glanced up at her and took a deep breath, "Ok. What's your advice?"
Janet sat back down beside him, "Well, I'd say that the reason why you haven't been acting like such a 'lady's man' lately is because you've unconsciously gotten tired of it. So, to me the only rational 'cure' is to stop being one." She noted his confused expression before continuing, "My advice is that you should try not to go on a date for one month, be a normal person… well at least try to be a normal person. Then after you've taken a break maybe you'll feel more like your normal self."
"Let me get this straight..." he said, "you want me to not go on a date or go anywhere with any girl for a whole month?"
"Well Terri and I are an exception, we do live here. And plus we don't really count as-"
"A whole month?"
"Yes, and maybe if you could-"
"A WHOLE MONTH?"
"Yes, Jack! A whole Month!" she snapped.
"Next to your advice talking to Larry and 'being doomed forever' doesn't seem that bad, it's actually tempting…" he started to stand and turn towards the door.
Janet yanked him back down beside her and gave him one of her classic stares. "A month is not that long", she replied, "and if it works out in the end then you'll be thanking me."
"'If' it works out? What do you mean 'if'?"
"When it works out", she corrected, rolling her eyes, "Just try it Jack, please. Terri and I will help as much as we can, it'll be easier than you think."
Jack glared at her, "Terri? No, you're not telling Terri about this, this is private Janet! You're lucky you even found out, and if I had known you'd want me to quit girls for a month then I wouldn't have told you at all. This is between me and you now, that's it!
"So you're saying you'll do it?" she asked.
"No, I didn't say that."
"Oh Jack! Please!" Janet threw her arms around his neck, "it'll work I promise, Terri doesn't have to know if you don't want her to." She kissed his cheek, "please, please, please!"
Jack grimaced, "Janet, flirting is not going to break me. Remember? I can't feel anything."
But she grinned and kissed his cheek again, "please? Come on, you can do it….it's no big deal." She pecked his other cheek, "and then you'll be back to your normal self in no time." Janet leaned forward and blew in his ear. "Please?"
"Janet!" Jack complained, "Stop it."
She kept blowing until Jack finally pushed her away, then she stuck her bottom lip out into a pout. "Janet I-", Jack started, "I don't want-…." Finally he sighed, "Oh fine. I'll try, I'm not promising anything though"
"Yes!" this time she threw her arms around him into a hug.
He sighed again, "What can I say; I'm weak when it comes to persuasion."
Janet leaned back, "But I'm serious Jack, I'll help you any way that I can."
"Any way that you can?" he asked mischievously, his blue eyes twinkling again.
"Oh! Jack!" she swatted his arm playful, "get your head out of the gutter."
Jack grinned at her and then pulled himself to his feet, "maybe it won't be as bad as I think; just one month, besides if it breathes life back into the old Jack Tripper then it'll be worth it in the end, right? I'll be the lady's man again in no time." Janet nodded, and he turned his attention to his watch. "It's almost eleven, not overly late at night, but I feel booked."
"Bedtime for Jack?" she asked teasingly.
He yawned, "I think so. What about you?"
Janet rose up from the sofa, "I'm going to call it a night, I have work tomorrow and I hate being tired while I'm on the job." She stretched out her arms and sauntered towards her bedroom door; she took a step into her room then stopped and turned around, "Hey Jack?" she called timidly.
He glanced over at her, "yeah?"
He smiled, "'Night Janet."
She closed the door behind her and crawled over Terri's bed to her own. Throwing back the blankets she collapsed on her pillow, but sleep didn't come no matter how tired she felt. Janet glanced up at the ceiling, thinking. Jack seemed pretty sincere when he told her he hadn't been feeling anything lately. She sighed and shifted so that she was lying on her side. She wondered if Jack would be back to normal after a month, she had told him that, but there was no possible way to know for sure. Janet closed her eyes, she would have to help out, somehow keep Jack busy from thinking of girls…she groaned… this was going to be impossible! But for some reason the idea of Terri not being in on their little plan pleased Janet. She was the only one Jack trusted enough to tell his problem to, and that made her some what content and even more determined to help him. For the next month, she had Jack all to herself.
I am left with an empty feeling.
~ Shaun Edwards