Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own Outlaw Star or anything affiliated with said show.
Jim was woken up the next morning by a continual banging on the door to his hotel room. Sitting up groggily, he'd agreed to a Street Fighter tournament that had gone until almost midnight, he rubbed his eyes and tried to get them to focus on the clock next to the bed. The pounding noises definitely weren't helping any.
Finally the red numbers came into focus and Jim stared at the clock for all of five seconds before flying out of bed and changing as fast as he could. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he slipped on his flops and pulled open the door.
"It's about time man, I've been knocking for ten minutes." Greg said with a grin. He had a pair of green board shorts on over his swimsuit and a towel tossed over his shoulder. "Everyone else already went down; we'll be late if you don't get a move on."
"I know, I overslept, sorry." Jim apologized as he stepped out of the room.
"Less apology, more walking." Greg said as he grabbed Jim by the arm and began pulling him towards the elevator. "Lisa said if we're not there in ten minutes she'll have to make the team forfeit the match."
Jim stopped mid-step. "Forget the elevator, let's take the stairs." He said, heading in the opposite direction.
The pair raced down the hallway, narrowly avoiding a cart filled with towels and toilet paper, and hit the stairs running. They made it down the three flights in no time at all and within minutes found themselves pushing open the door to the pool area.
Greg followed the edge of the small pool to another door, one Jim had never seen before. Actually, now that he thought about it, Jim realized the whole room looked smaller. And then it hit him, a wall had been put up to separate the pool they used in training from the one the resort guests used.
Staring at the wall in shock, Jim ran into Greg's back when the other boy stopped to open the door. "Sorry." He said, still distracted by the enormous wall that had seemingly appeared overnight.
Seeing where his eyes were focused, Greg nodded his head in understanding. "Ah, yes, the divider wall. I forgot that you were new here and haven't seen it before." When Jim looked at him curiously, he continued. "This wall is lowered between the pools whenever we have tournaments. That way we're not distracted by kids playing around, and the guests still have access to a pool. It's a brilliant idea really; the guy who owns this place must be some kind of genius."
Jim was tempted to laugh at the idea of Fred being a 'genius', but before he could do anything Lisa appeared in front of them looking quite frantic.
"It's about time, now go join the rest of the team." Waving her hand in the direction she wanted them to go, Lisa walked over to the judges table to let them know the last of her kids had arrived.
Following after Greg as he led the way to the bench their team was using, Jim took a good look around. Not only was the dividing wall new, but they'd also brought in some bleachers on the far wall where family and friends were sitting. There were two large tables at the end of the pool were the judges and referee were located, and on the opposite side of where they were headed was another team, presumably the Dragons, dressed in maroon swimsuits that had gold dragons printed on them. The team looked extremely unfriendly, but Jim was pleased to note that three of the swimmers wore suits that had whitish splotches all over them thanks to Sasha's bleaching stunt.
Taking a seat next to Sasha, who smiled in greeting, Jim nodded his head at Trey and Tony when they waved. He noticed that Sarah and Amy were finally dressed in the team uniform, even if they did look annoyed to be doing so, and was about to turn his attention back to their opponents when Lisa came over.
"Alright you guys, here's how it's going to go." She said, holding up a paper with the schedule for the matches printed on it. "First up is Julia. You're going up against Mika in the high dive competition. Then Sasha's taking on Ray in a three lap, butterfly stroke, match. Trey and Tony, you guys are up against Carl and Steven in a ten lap, tag out, front crawl race. Tony you run the first five laps, tag Trey, and he'll take the last five."
Pausing for a breath, she continued. "Greg, you've got the next round against Markee, a five lap backstroke race, and you know how tricky he can be so watch out. And last we have our secret weapon Jim. The Dragons haven't swam against you before so that'll give us a bit of an edge, but you'll be going up against their best member Joe so make sure you give it your all. It'll be a ten lap freestyle match, so the stroke is up to you, but since it's also a timed race against the clock you'll need to choose carefully. This year they've changed it up a little though, and each lap they'll shave a few seconds from the clock. When the buzzer sounds you'd better be ahead of him or you're screwed."
"Piece of cake right." Trey said, giving Jim a nudge on the arm and grinning widely.
Seeing Jim's face pale, Julia gave him a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, you'll do fine." She said encouragingly.
Nodding in thanks, Jim sat back as the tournament announcer's voice came out over the sound system.
"The Heifong Teen Division Swim Tournament will now commence." The male voice said. "Today's round will be between the reigning champions the Heifong Dragons, and the Summer Moon Typhoons." As he announced the teams, the members all stood up and faced the crowd in the bleachers that were cheering their favorites on. Once they'd sat back down and things had quieted, he continued. "Our judges this year are from the Blue Heaven Swim League. Please give a warm welcome to Jane Kingsly and Paul Jones."
There was the obligatory clapping from the crowd and teams, as well as several muttered comments from the Dragons which thankfully went unheard. "Our referee for the matches today is Tom Parks." The announcer continued. "And now, the first round of the teen division ranking tournament shall commence. Julia and Mika, to the diving boards please."
Julia jumped up from her seat with a determined look on her face as she headed to the far end of the pool. Ignoring her opponent, a tall blonde girl that looked more like a model than a swimmer, as she made snide remarks in-between posing for photos from boys in the bleachers, Julia focused her mind on the task at hand. She'd been training on the high board for months and was certain she'd pull her dive off flawlessly.
As they reached the ladder to the diving boards, the ref flipped a coin and it was decided that Julia would go first. Taking a deep breath, she climbed up the ladder, heading for the very top. The higher she got, the faster her heart began to beat and soon it felt as though it would burst out of her chest. Her breathing became shorter and she had to stop a few rungs from the top to calm herself down.
"You can do it!" Jim called out from below when he saw her pause on the ladder. "Show them what you've got!"
"Yeah, you go girl!" Trey and Tony added together.
Glancing over at her teammates, Julia smiled and then pulled herself up the rest of the way. Her nervousness now completely gone, she stepped out onto the diving board, took three calming breaths just like Lisa had taught her, and then with a short run she jumped into the air and began her twenty-five foot freefall to the water below. Tucking her knees to her chest, Julia spun two times in mid-air before straightening herself out and slipping into the water with barely a splash.
When she brought her head above the surface she was met with loud cheers and whistles from all around and a bright smile lit up her face as she pulled herself out of the water. Waving to her parents, they'd come home to see her swim, she walked back over to her seat as the announcer's voice came back over the speakers.
"And what do our judges say?" The voice asked as the couple at the table both held up papers with large numbers written on them. "Julia receives an amazing combined score of nineteen folks, that's going to be very tough to beat. Can the Dragons swimmer Mika pull off a perfect dive? Well let's find out."
Jim watched as the black haired girl made her way to the diving boards, waving at the crowd on her way. Apparently Mika had been one of the unlucky ones; her one-piece suit had over a dozen splotches all over it. Covering a snicker behind his hand, though he needn't have bothered because Trey, Tony and Greg all began to laugh out loud, Jim was impressed with how Mika maintained her composure.
When she reached the ladder, Mika turned to glare at the Typhoons and slid a hand across her throat menacingly before climbing up to the top. Everyone watched in silence as she straightened up, took a deep breath, and then proceeded to jump.
Jim had thought Julia did a great job, but Mika was amazing. She started with a back flip that lead into three complete spins and a perfect entrance into the water. There was no doubt in his mind that she'd just taken the match, and he was right. Not five seconds later the announcer spoke up saying the exact same thing.
"What a spectacular dive by Mika! She's definitely living up to her name as the High Dive Queen. Judges, do you agree?" He asked over the speaker and the two judges held up their signs, each sporting a large ten. "They do! Mika has just won the round with a perfect score!"
Climbing out of the pool, Mika smirked in the Typhoons direction and then headed back to take her seat with her team who congratulated her with pats on the back and high-fives.
When things quieted down, the announcer continued. "And now, on to the next match. This will be a three lap, butterfly stroke race. The first swimmer to complete all three laps wins. Our swimmers for this round are Sasha from the Typhoons, and Ray from the Dragons. Swimmers, to the pool if you please."
Sasha stood up and walked over to the edge of the pool to stand next to her opponent. She looked so tiny compared to the nearly six foot tall, spiky blonde haired teen. Refusing to look at Ray, who was standing smugly next to her despite the fact that his regulation speedo looked really out of place on his huge form, Sasha got into position and waited for the whistle to be blown.
Jim looked at the pair and felt sorry for Sasha. Sure she was a great swimmer, but there was no way she'd be able to beat a giant in a race. That Ray guy would pull five feet ahead with each stroke. Frowning, he glanced at his teammates and was surprised to see them holding back smiles. It was almost as if they knew something he didn't.
The referee put the whistle to his lips and gave a sharp sound announcing the start of the race. The two were in the water in moments. Immediately Ray took a commanding lead, pulling out in front by a quarter of a lap and earning loud cheers from several groups in the crowd.
Sasha on the other hand appeared to be taking her time, doing each stroke leisurely and appearing as if she hadn't a care in the world. Worried, Jim leaned forward on the bench and was about to call out to her when Julia placed a hand on his arm.
"Just watch." She said softly, her eyes still trained on the pair in the water. "It always takes Sasha a lap or so to get started, but then there's no stopping her."
Greg nodded from his seat. "Julia's right. I've never seen someone come from behind like Sasha does, but trust us, she'll blow that guy right out of the water."
Suddenly, after beginning her second lap, Sasha began to fly through the water. She was going so fast Jim couldn't believe his eyes. In the time it took Ray to finish half a lap and start on his final one, Sasha had completed her second full lap and had caught up with him. Ray didn't stand a chance, one second he was a good lap and a half in the lead, and the next, Sasha had pulled out in front and was fast approaching the finish.
With a growl of frustration, it shouldn't have been possible for a scrawny little girl to move that fast, Ray pushed himself as hard as he could. In the end it didn't matter. Sasha hit the edge of the pool nearly half a lap before Ray and the referee blew his whistle once more to signal the match was over.
"What an amazing turn of events!" The announcer called out from the sidelines. "The young swimmer Sasha came from behind and pulled off a stunning victory over the Dragons! This match is going to be talked about for years to come my friends!"
Ray climbed out of the water and headed straight for Sasha who'd begun walking towards her seat with an evil look on his face. Reaching out, he was inches from grabbing onto her arm when a hand clenched his elbow painfully. "I wouldn't do anything stupid if I were you." Tony said, his face serious for once as he tightened his grip enough to make Ray wince.
Trey stood up and blocked Ray's path so he couldn't move forward. "Yeah, why don't you go back to your seat before something happens that you'll regret."
Narrowing his eyes, Ray looked between the brothers and finally decided to back off when Greg pushed himself up as well. "Whatever." Throwing off the hand on his arm he turned to leave and then stopped. "Don't think this is over, we'll get our revenge." He said without looking back.
As Ray walked away, Jim breathed a sigh of relief, thankful the ordeal was over with. The rest of the team, however, simply sat back down as if that kind of thing was no big deal. Which considering how many times they'd dealt with the Dragons was probably true.
Either oblivious to the happenings between the two teams, or simply choosing to ignore it, the announcer proceeded with the tournament. "Okay folks, the score is now tied with one win for each team as we move on to the next match. This round we have a ten lap, tag team, front crawl race. The Typhoons swimmers are the Crain brothers, Trey and Tony, and the Dragons swimmers are Carl and Steven. Tony and Carl will swim the first five laps, tag their partners, and then Trey and Steven will do the last five. To the pool swimmers."
Trey and Tony pushed themselves up off their seats and made their way to the edge of the pool. Their opponents, Carl, the teen with short black hair that Jim had met earlier, and Steven, a suave looking kid with chin length red hair, were already standing there with their arms crossed and mean looks on their faces. The brothers, however, failed to notice the harsh looks because they were entirely focused on Carl's spotted attire.
Truthfully, the speedo hadn't been bleached all that bad, turning a few shades lighter as opposed to the white on Mika's suit, but the position of the spots made it really stand out. No matter how they looked at it, Tony and Trey always ended up seeing a large smiley face on the front of Carl's suit. Which was precisely why they'd stopped walking before reaching their destination; they were laughing too hard to continue.
Carl narrowed his eyes and began to step forward when Steven stopped him. "Let them have their laughs." He said when Carl remained where he was. "In the end we will be victorious, just like last time."
That comment snapped the Crain brothers out of their laughter instantly and their faces became serious. Finishing the short walk to the starting line, they took their positions. "Keep dreaming slowpoke." Trey said with a smirk as he stood behind Tony. "You guys are about to be creamed."
Before they could respond, the referee came up between the two groups. "Alright, first swimmers to the edge." He said, and Tony and Carl stepped up to their respective lanes. "When you've completed your fifth lap, climb out of the pool and tag your partner. Are you ready?" Seeing them nod, he blew his whistle and the race began.
Carl was in the water first, followed seconds later by Tony. They both raced through the water, staying close to each other for the first three laps. On the start of the fourth lap Tony pulled ahead by a body length and he kept that gap up until the tag out.
Pulling himself out of the pool, Tony slapped Trey's hand just as Carl crawled out of the water and switched with Steven. Trey managed to get himself a larger lead, nearly three body lengths, by the time Steven slipped into the water.
Unfortunately for Trey, Steven was quite a bit faster than Carl and he soon found himself overtaken. He was struggling to stay a few feet behind, but it seemed like no matter what he did, Steven was pulling further ahead with each stroke.
As they both turned into their final lap, Trey gave it his all, but was still a few feet behind Steven with no chance of gaining the lost ground since his body had already been pushed to the limit. He was about to give up when his brother's voice shouted above the crowd.
"Move it Trey or I'll destroy your favorite action figures!"
Trey's eye narrowed and a sudden burst of adrenaline had him shooting past Steven just in the nick of time. Ignoring the crowd, who'd just gone wild over his sudden and unexpected come from behind victory, Trey jumped out of the pool and advanced on his brother. "How dare you threaten my precious action figures!" He growled angrily.
Grinning, Tony gave Trey a congratulatory slap on the back. "Congrats bro, we won."
Pausing, Trey blinked before looking around and waving at the cheering crowd. "Of course we did." He said cockily. "No way would we lose to the likes of them."
Tony rolled his eyes at his brother's behavior as the referee signaled the end of the race and the announcer's voice came over the speakers once more.
"In an amazing comeback, the Typhoons have managed to take another victory here today! This brings the total to Dragons 1, Typhoons 2." The voice said and half the crowd roared in approval.
Giving a mock salute to their opponents, Trey threw his arm around his brother and they walked back over to join their team. He'd only taken a few steps when he heard a growl coming from behind him and grinned. Sure, they'd want revenge, but the Dragons wouldn't be stupid enough to try anything during a tournament, not with the judges and ref watching, so he'd worry about that later.
"Way to go you guys, that was awesome." Jim said as the pair took their seats on the bench.
"Yeah, not bad at all." Greg added, giving Trey a high-five.
"That was so cool!" Sarah squealed, pulling Tony into a tight hug as Amy did that same with Trey.
Lisa rolled her eyes at her fellow instructors before shooing them away with her hand. "Back off you two, we still have a meet to finish. You can smother the boys later."
"Meany." Amy pouted, but the two of them backed off anyway.
Suddenly the announcer spoke again and everyone quieted down to listen. "The next round is a five lap, backstroke race, between Greg from the Typhoons and Markee from the Dragons. If the swimmers would please make their way to the starting point we'll get this race started."
"Go get 'em." Tony said as Greg stood up and walked to the end of the pool.
"Good luck." Julia and Jim called out at the same time, receiving a wave in response from their teammate.
Greg joined Markee by the referee and stretched his arms above his head to loosen them up. Turning his gaze to his opponent, he nodded politely, snorting when all he got in return was a glare. Markee was shorter than him, by a good five inches, and looked more like a bookworm than a swimmer, if you overlooked the fact that he was bald and had several small scars on his face. He was a perfect example of how looks can be deceiving.
Getting into position when the referee pulled out his whistle, Greg took several deep breaths and prepared for what was surely going to be one very intense race.
The sound of the whistle rang out through the room and both swimmers dove into the pool, coming up on their backs, and pulling themselves through the water at an impressive speed. Arm over arm they raced, neither gaining even the slightest lead, and it stayed that way through the first four laps. Finally, by the last lap, Greg managed to pull ahead by a little over a foot. He maintained his lead all the way to the end and pulled himself out of the water proudly, ready to accept his victory.
"And Markee wins!" The announcer said loudly, and Greg looked over at the judges in shock.
As it turned out, Markee had actually beaten him by little more than half an arm's length. How the other teen had managed to pull ahead without him noticing, Greg had no idea, but in the end it didn't matter. He'd still lost the match.
"Better luck next time." Markee said with a smirk as he headed back over to his team.
With his head hanging, Greg walked over and took his seat next to Tony. "Sorry guys, I really thought I had him that time." He mumbled apologetically.
"Eh, it's no big deal." Trey said, Tony nodding his head in agreement.
"He's right. Everyone knows that Markee plays dirty, so don't let it get to you." Lisa told him with a smile. "Though his trick of not straightening his arms all the way was rather creative. Not even I could tell that he was actually in the lead." Shaking her head, she looked over at Jim. "Well kiddo, it looks like you're our last hope at winning this thing so go out there and show them what you've got."
"No pressure." Trey said with a grin, earning him a slap to the back of the head from his brother.
Glaring at Trey sharply, Tony rolled his eyes. "Way to go moron, now he's really going to get stressed out."
Sasha pat Jim's hand gently and gave him a soft smile. "You'll do fine, don't worry."
"With the score tied at two wins each, the outcome of this tournament all comes down to this last match." The announcer said. "This will be a ten lap freestyle race against the clock. Each lap the countdown timer will get shorter and shorter until finally one of you wins, or is eliminated. On the Dragons team we have Joe, and on the Typhoons, Jim. Swimmers, make your way to your starting positions."
Taking a deep breath, Jim stood up and slowly began walking towards the referee. The crowd was loud, cheering for their favorite team, but Jim blocked the noise out as he focused on the task at hand. Definitely not one of his brightest ideas.
By the time he reached his destination, Jim was petrified of messing up. All his thinking did was bring up all the ways he could screw this up and the thought of losing and letting his teammates down was overwhelming. He was about to forfeit and run away, when his opponent spoke up.
"After I crush you I'm going to make that little blonde friend of yours pay for bruising my nose." Joe said with a sneer, drawing Jim's attention to the swollen skin that had turned an interesting shade of purple since the last time he'd seen the dark haired kid.
Eye's narrowing when he processed what was said, Jim's fear vanished and was instead replaced with a sense of calm. "I'll make sure that'll never happen." He said firmly, before looking down at Joe's bleached suit and adding with a smirk. "By the way, nice suit."
Joe didn't have a chance to respond because the referee, seeing that the two swimmers were in their places, placed the whistle at his lips. "Are you ready?" He asked. When they nodded, he gave a quick blow and signaled the start of the race.
The moment the whistle was blown, Jim launched himself into the pool, intent on gaining a lead from the start. However, things didn't quite work out the way he planned since Joe was a good foot-and-a-half taller than Jim and had pulled ahead before they'd even made it into the water. Mentally complaining about his lack of height, Jim propelled himself down the lane determinedly.
They both made it through the first lap with time to spare, and the clock reset itself as they continued on to the second lap.
Three more laps passed in the blink of an eye and Jim was starting to get frustrated by his lack of progress. Not only had he not managed to shorten the gap between himself and his opponent, but on his last lap he'd only beaten the clock by a couple of seconds. If things continued this way he wouldn't stand a chance.
On the sixth lap Jim gained a little ground and cleared the lap with five seconds to spare. Still too close for comfort, but he wasn't out yet. Kicking his feet as hard as he could, Jim pulled himself through the water at an amazing pace.
He continued to overtake Joe as they moved through the next three laps and by the time he turned into the last one, he found himself nearly neck and neck with his opponent.
Just then the clock sounded its five second warning and Jim knew he wasn't going to make it to the finish. Thankfully though, neither would Joe. That meant that whoever was in the lead when the buzzer went off would be the winner, and Jim gave everything he had to make sure it would be him.
The last few seconds seemed to drag on forever, but finally the buzzer sounded and both swimmers came to a stop to await the announcement of the winner.
"What a close race!" The announcer said excitedly. "Even the judges are having a hard time figuring out who the winner is. They've brought in the video and are replaying it as we speak. In a few moments we'll find out just who will move on to the next round in the Heifong Teen Division Swim Tournament."
Jim swam the rest of the way to the edge of the pool and pulled himself out when he saw Joe do the same. They both made their way back to their respective teams and waited on bated breath for the outcome to be announced.
Finally, after what felt like hours, the announcer's voice filled the room once more. "After much deliberation, the judges have come to a unanimous decision. The winner of the race, by mere inches, is…" Pausing for effect, he continued. "…Jim from the Typhoons! Congratulations Typhoons, you're moving on to the next round of the tournament!"
Joyous shouts and cheers rang out as the members of the winning team jumped up and began congratulating one another. Even people in the audience began making their way down to the pool to join in on the celebration.
"I knew you could do it." Trey said, throwing his arm around Jim with a huge grin on his face. "My bet on the Dragons was just because I felt bad for them."
Smacking his brother's arm, he just had to mention the betting, Tony gave Jim a slap on the back. "Great job man, that was an impressive win."
"That was awesome!" Greg said as he joined them. "You should've seen the look on the Dragons faces when they said you won. They were furious. Joe's eyes were so wide in shock I thought they were going to pop out of his head." He finished with a laugh.
Sasha and Julia came over and each gave Jim a hug. "You did good." Julia said, and Sasha nodded her head in agreement.
Suddenly Jim was pulled away from the girls and into the crushing arms of Sarah and Amy. "Such an amazing little swimmer you are." Sarah said as she squeezed him even tighter.
"He is isn't he, and it's all thanks to our expert teaching skills." Amy added with a smile.
Shaking her head, Lisa pried her fellow instructors off of Jim. "Come on, give the kid some space." She said before facing Jim. "Good job." Placing a hand on his shoulder, she gave it a gentle squeeze and then looked around at the rest of her team. "You all did an excellent job today, I'm very proud of you guys. Now let's go get our medals!"
"Yeah!" They all cheered, following after Lisa as she made her way towards the judges table.
o o o o o
After receiving their medals, the Typhoons were forced to sit through many photographs for the local news crews as well as their family and friends. From there they all headed to a nearby pizza parlor for lunch, a prize for winning the tournament, and then it was time for them to go their separate ways.
"Okay guys, I'll see you all on Wednesday for our next practice." Lisa said as everyone prepared to head home. "And once again I just want to say what an amazing job you all did. I expect to see you do even better when we go up against the Panthers next Sunday."
"Well I can't make any promises." Trey said cheekily, earning himself a slap to the head from his mother and a punch to the arm from his brother that made everyone laugh. "You guys are so mean to me." He said with a fake pout.
Julia waved. "See you later everybody." She said as her family headed to the door as well.
Greg left with his parents a few moments later, Sasha and Amy following shortly after. Soon the only ones left were Lisa and Jim. Catching him before he could leave, Lisa spoke up. "So how about it, do you feel like sticking around for awhile?" She asked curiously.
Pausing, Jim cocked his head in thought. "You know, I think I just might. I've really missed all this and I don't think I'm ready to give it up again yet. I can't guarantee I'll be around for every practice and tournament, but if the spot's still available I'd love to have it."
"I was hoping you'd say that." Lisa said with a smile. "I already had them add your name to the roster list as a permanent member of the team." Ruffling his hair, she continued. "Now get your butt home and get some rest, you've earned it."
Batting her hand away, Jim grinned. "Will do coach. I'll see you on Wednesday." Waving, he turned towards the door and began his trip home. He had to make a quick stop off at his room to grab his things, there was no use staying there if there wasn't going to be any practice for a few days, and he needed to catch up on work anyway so he figured he may as well head home, but it didn't take long and he soon found himself standing outside the flat he shared with the rest of the crew of the Outlaw Star.
Reaching for his key, he was startled when the door was pulled open and he came face to chest with Gene. "Hey Gene." Jim said slowly. "I didn't know you were going to be back so soon."
Looking down, Gene shrugged. "Neither did I, but there were some malfunctions on the ship or something and they sent everyone home a little early. I'm just heading out now to grab some supplies for dinner, you want anything?" He asked.
"No thanks." Jim said, shaking his head.
"Okay then. Well, Mel's in the kitchen. Do me a favor and tell her I'll be back soon." Gene said before taking off down the street.
Closing his mouth, he'd intended to respond but Gene had disappeared too fast, Jim shook his head as he walked inside. Turning towards the kitchen, he spotted Melfina looking through the packages in the freezer. "Hey Mel, Gene said he'll be back soon."
Jumping in surprise, Mel whipped around, calming when she spotted Jim standing in the doorway. "Jim, it's good to see you."
"Good to see you too." Jim replied.
Moving her focus back to the freezer, Melfina called out over her shoulder. "So, did you do anything interesting while we were gone?"
Thinking about the medal that was currently resting in his pocket, Jim couldn't help but smile. "Oh you know, just the usual." He'd thought about telling her everything, but changed his mind at the last second. He wanted it to remain his little private getaway, something that was all his…that and he really didn't want Gene to find out that he had a membership to an exclusive resort that's filled with lots of bikini clad women.