Well folks, here is my entry for the Season Premiere Anniversary Challenge/Contest. Technically, it involves two anniversaries. And yes, it might seem odd that two anniversaries fall at around the same time, but let's face it, important stuff only seems to happen to these folks on Mondays, so the odds are somewhat reduced.
Actually, there are three anniversaries here. This happens to be the fourth anniversary of my not owning "Chuck."
Two Nights on the Town
1. Chuck and Morgan
Work was boring.
The recently renovated Buy More was a lot of things. Efficient, clean, inviting to the occasional passerby. It was a veritable utopia for the prospective electronics customer. The one thing it wasn't, was an exciting place to work.
Chuck missed the old Buy More. The chaos, the ever present promise of a complete meltdown. Unfortunately, his former co-workers had been replaced by various government personnel stationed to appear as sales staff. Of course, none of them had ever worked in retail before, and were only doing so to keep up appearances while keeping an eye on Chuck, so a general militaristic approach was taken to customer service. In fact, Chuck was convinced that some of his new "co-workers" were robots. Maybe when the mission was over, they'd sell themselves as state-of-the-art electronic products.
It was enough to drive Chuck nuts. Though maybe, he had to admit, it was the universe correcting itself for letting him go home to Sarah Walker every night.
At least there was Morgan. Morgan, unlike Chuck still on active duty, was good for a laugh and the occasional non-work-related conversation. The one remaining cure for boredom. Seeing that no one was lined up at the Nerd Herd desk, Chuck decided to find his friend.
Unfortunately, Morgan didn't appear to be in any mood to solve Chuck's ennui-related issues today. Chuck found him in the TV section, watching Meg Ryan doing something annoyingly perky on one of the plasma screens. A glum look enveloped his bearded face.
"Uh, hey buddy, what's up?" Chuck asked.
"Hmm, oh, nothing." Morgan continued to stare at the screen.
"What are you watching?"
Morgan just shrugged.
"It's kind of lacking in explosions. Not your usual fare. Anything wrong?"
Morgan continued watching the movie for a moment, then said, "You know what today is?"
"Um, August 14?"
"Right. Nine months ago today was Black Monday."
"Er, Black Monday?"
"The day Anna Wu broke my heart."
Chuck raised an eyebrow in surprise. He'd thought that Morgan had long moved past Anna. She'd come back for him not long ago, after all, and he'd turned her down flat.
Morgan had turned back to the plasma screen. "I thought she was my Meg Ryan, man. And she was. Just not the movie version, but the real one. The one that left me for an angry, brooding New Zealander."
"The prep chef was from New Zealand?"
Morgan sighed. "It's an analogy Chuck. Stay with me."
Chuck could see his friend was hurting, Russell Crowe-themed analogy or no. "I have an idea. How about you and I go out tonight. Just two guys, out on the town."
"You know, maybe a night of Call of Duty might be better."
"No." Chuck figured the last thing Morgan needed was to spend the night moping in front of a game console. "We're going out. Who knows, maybe you'll meet someone."
Morgan made a face. "Well, I suppose so," he said grudgingly. "You sure it's going to be ok with Sarah?"
"Of course! She knows how important guy time is."
"Let me get this straight. You're asking me for permission to go out to a bar and hit on women?" Sarah studied Chuck intently, her arms folded in front of her. Chuck backed away instinctively, nearly tripping on their living room couch.
"I'm not going to be hitting on women. Morgan is. I'm just his wing man." Chuck sat down, and Sarah followed him onto the couch. "Morgan is really depressed right now. It's the nine-month anniversary of Anna leaving him."
"Are you kidding me? He keeps track of anniversaries of breakups? By the month?"
"It's not that strange." Chuck had done his own share of wallowing on the first few anniversaries of Jill dumping him. The nine-month point had been marked with peach schnapps and several drunk dialings. He could certainly relate to Morgan right now
"Anyway, I thought he'd moved on."
"Yeah, me too," Chuck admitted. "But he's really hurting right now. This is what he needs."
Sarah thought for a moment. "Ok, I get it. But why not bring somebody else along. Casey?"
"Casey?" Chuck scoffed. "He'd just bring us down even more. He's not exactly the party guy, you know. Besides," he added, "I think he's spending time with Alex tonight."
"Ok, then how about Devon?"
"Are you kidding? If we're sitting at a table with Devon, no woman's ever going to look at us!"
"What do you mean us?"
"Oh," Chuck sunk back into the cushions. "I mean no woman's going to look at Morgan. They won't look at me either, but that's a good thing. Because I am totally off-limits. Wingman only, no look, no touch."
Sarah smiled. "I know. You know I trust you right?"
"But keep your watch on. I want to be able to find you if there's any trouble."
"Would you stop that!"
Chuck opened his eyes and looked over at the three darts fighting each other for space in the dead center of the bullseye.
"Uh, sorry about that, buddy."
"You know it's no fun playing with you when you keep…" Morgan batted his eyes repeatedly in a questionable impersonation of an Intersect flash. Chuck really hoped he didn't look like that.
"Hey, I'm not trying to set it off. But darts are deadly weapons, so it just assumes that I'm throwing them for some mission-related reason."
"And the pool table?"
That had surprised Chuck too. Billiards had always been one game that Morgan could always best him in, but thanks to the Intersect, he'd run the table in one turn. Apparently, the US Government believed being able to hustle people was necessary for national security.
"Well, it's not like we're here to play games anyway, remember." Chuck turned and gestured toward the bar. The place was packed with a wide array of people, including a respectable number of apparently single women.
Morgan shrugged. They'd been at the bar for about 45 minutes now, and the entire time had been spent playing various games. Chuck's wingman skills had yet to be required.
"Hey, are you little girls going to talk all night or are you going to finish your game?"
Chuck turned around to see two guys standing behind them, looking belligerent. They reminded him of some of his fraternity brothers back in Stanford, young and eager to assert themselves.
"Hey, we're talking here!" Morgan said, not in the least bit phased by the size of the newcomers. Chuck gave him a concerned look.
"Yeah, well how about you do it somewhere else, Papa Smurf!" The first frat boy approached Chuck and Morgan, and pushed Morgan with his fingertip. Morgan instinctively backed up.
"Colin, what are you doing?" a voice asked from behind the frat boy. Chuck looked behind him, and saw a pair of hazel eyes radiating annoyance. The owner had dark brown hair down to the shoulders of her light blue shirt.
"Don't worry, Barbara. Just having a little fun here."
"Your fun tends to get us kicked out of places, and I just got my drink."
"Well go drink it then. I like you better when you're wasted anyway."
"Hey!" Morgan moved towards the frat boy. "How about you be a bit nicer to her!"
The larger man raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me? Is this any of your business, Tattoo?"
"Maybe not. But maybe I'm sick of guys like you, with your expensive clothes, your perfect teeth, and your…Ginsu knives always getting beautiful women and then treating them like that!"
"Morgan, maybe this isn't…"
"I don't even know what you're talking about," the first frat boy interrupted Chuck. "But it doesn't matter. I think maybe you should apologize to me, then go back to your little…Lollipop Guild or wherever you came from."
"You apologize to her." Morgan held his ground. Chuck looked over to see the frat boy's girlfriend watching Morgan with a look of fascination on her face.
"You are funny, little dwarf guy. You'll probably be even funnier with my foot up your ass." The frat boy poked Morgan again.
"Oh you are making a big mistake there. My buddy Chuck could totally kick the crap out of you."
Chuck sighed. And there it was.
"You mean this guy?" the frat boy said, pointing to Chuck. "Please."
Chuck considered his options. Any fight would set off the Intersect. This would lead to three things. One, the frat boy would get hurt, probably seriously. Two, he would attract the attention of everyone in the bar, easily putting an end to any hope of anonymity. And three, Sarah would find out about it, and she wouldn't be happy. And possibly four, any attention of the female kind that he'd hoped for Morgan would be transferred to him. Which would only make three worse.
On the other hand, Morgan had set events in motion that now seemed inevitable. And would likely result in him getting seriously hurt. He had to do something.
As Chuck considered all of this, he noticed a waitress walking toward them with a table of shots. Seeing a possible way out, he said, "Excuse me," and snatched as many of the shots as he could, downing them all quickly. As insurance, he reached out and took the half-full beer from the hand of the frat boy's girlfriend and chugged it. Giving Morgan's two new friends his best bug-eyed look, he said, "Ok, now it's on."
Chuck's head was spinning as he slumped down into the car's passenger seat. He'd hoped that he could lie back and stretch his legs out, but was quickly and painfully reminded that they'd decided to take the Nerd Herder out that night. His groan was interrupted by the sound of the driver's side door closing.
Chuck turned to Morgan. "Please tell me you at least got that girl's number." His tongue felt like it had grown three sizes as he said this.
Morgan flashed a quick smile, and held up a small piece of paper. "Mission accomplished, my good man." As he reached over to start the engine, he added, "Though it would have been easier if she hadn't taken a sudden dislike to my friends. Did you really need to snatch her beer away?"
"Well, it had to be a fair fight, right? I coulda killed 'em if I got all inters…, inters…, intersexy."
"If you say so," Morgan carefully backed the car out of its parking spot.
"Just remember, twelve-month anniversary, maybe no picking fights."
They drove in silence for a few minutes, allowing Chuck to slowly get his bearings. Eventually, his brain began to stop swimming laps around his head, and he considered his fate awaiting him at home. Morgan didn't look too bad, with just a scrape on one cheek, and a bruise under his right eye. Chuck, however, was an unsightly combination of scratches, shiners, and nacho cheese stains. Sarah wouldn't be happy.
Deciding that he'd best not think about his imminent doom, he turned back to Morgan. "So why were you so bummed about this anniversary anyway? I thought you were over Anna."
It took a few moments for Morgan to respond. "I am. It's not so much that I miss her. I miss us."
Chuck's head began to swim again. "Come again?"
"I mean I miss me and her. The whole couple thing. Or what I thought it was with her. It seemed real, but you know, looking at you and Sarah, together, every day, I'm not sure. Whatever we had, and what you have, that's what I miss. And today, I guess I just felt that more."
Chuck nodded. "And you think getting into fights at bars will help you find that?"
"Well, you and Sarah were always in the middle of fights during missions. And I saw you two when you got back home afterwards. There were a few times you almost ran me over on the way to the bedroom."
Chuck raised an eyebrow. "Well, um, maybe. But that's kind of different."
"I know," Morgan replied. "And I'm not saying that I just want the sex. I want it all."
"Ok. Though I do get that. Nine months of no sex is a pretty long drought."
Chuck thought he saw his buddy color slightly underneath the beard. "Well, actually, about that…"