A/N: This story isn't completed yet. But someone wrote a very nice PM asking for the first couple of chapters of the Ant Invasion sequel. So I'll be posting the first two seeing that I don't plan to change anything written at all. I hope you…enjoy?
Fletcher Quimby should've been used to this treatment by now.
"Quincy. Chris. Stevens. We go through this, everyday! Don't you get tired of it?" Fletched cried out, exasperated.
Here he was, at the threshold of Janice Takahashi's new place in San Francisco, which she'd been living in for 5 months now, getting frisked for anything "dangerous" that he may have on him by the security guards. They checked everywhere – his jean pockets, his jacket, even his bag. Now they were opening his mouth and checking his teeth –
"Hey!" He slapped Stevens's hand away. Steven was a tall, burly man in a black suit with a blank face.
All Stevens said was: "Stay still. We are attempting to check if your teeth match with the dental records."
Fletcher rolled his eyes. "I'm Fletcher Quimby! I'm the same kid who visited yesterday, and the day before that, the week before that, and the month before that. I'm the only person who ever visits!"
"Hold on a second," Quincy said, completely ignoring Fletcher. He was bigger still than Stevens, and even more monotonous in his voice. "That third molar. It looks completely different from the x-rays. We might have an infiltrator in our hands."
Quincy fixed a stare at Fletcher that made him gulp, but then Chris, the third guard, took the x-rays from Stevens, and eyed the x-rays with professional, critical eyes.
Chris gazed upwards, towards the chandelier: "That was just the shadow. We really need to fix the lighting in this foyer." The other guards regarded his comment thoughtfully.
Fletcher groaned. "You know, taking thumbprints would be a lot faster. And a lot less invasive."
"That's true, but then my bodyguards wouldn't have any fun," a voice called out.
All eyes turned to meet the speaker – Janice Takahashi – who stood at the top of the stairs looking very much amused at the whole scene. Fletcher met the eyes of his girlfriend for 5 months. Her eyes – while it wasn't quite as dark and spirited as Chyna's – twinkled a soft, warm brown. Fletcher felt at home in those eyes.
"Well maybe, if they had other things to do, they wouldn't have so much fun tormenting the innocent, lovable boyfriend," he complained.
Janice laughed, a kind of laugh that as far as he knew was only reserved for family, and well, him. He'd heard his girlfriend laugh at school, with other people, but it was a different kind of laugh altogether – colder, and unnaturally high. "You should be happy that I got them to do away with the body chemistry tests," Janice said.
Fletcher shuddered at the memories. "Please, don't remind me."
Janice laughed again. She turned to her guards, "Are we done here?"
The guards, who didn't look like they were having fun at all, nodded in the affirmative. Like a spring, Fletcher took hold of Janice's hands, which sought his at the bottom of the steps, and bounded up the steps. He dragged Janice up with him -
"Fletcher – slow down – "
"Your bodyguards are unbelievable," Fletcher complained, once they finally reached the living room. "I'm not sure how much longer I can put up with them." The living room was an expansive yet comfortable sitting area with plushy furniture and royal red walls. Large windows faced them on one side, with large, cedar wooden shutters that can open out like a door.
Janice only smirked at him: "Well, as long as you want to keep seeing me, the answer should be pretty obvious."
Fletcher smirked in return. "Ok. So maybe three more weeks, tops."
Janice laughed, and playfully slapped him on the shoulder. "So, what do you want to do today?" She asked. "We can go bowling downstairs – we fixed up the alley a little bit - or maybe we can stay up here and watch movies again. Whatever you want."
Janice's home was large. It wasn't quite London Suite size, but Fletcher was sure it came close. They were upstairs in the living area. Downstairs were all the cool stuff – like a bowling alley, swimming pool, even a full sized basketball court. The basketball court wasn't used much though.
Fletcher considered Janice's question a second. Bowling did sound like fun, and he was pretty good at it. But he knew that Janice had a competitive streak a mile long. He wasn't sure if he had the patience to deal with it today.
"The movies." He finally suggested.
Janice didn't look like she minded. "Yea, sure – sounds like fun. I'm not sure if we have any new blu – rays, but I can check – "
Fletcher thought about it. "What about Rise of the Planet of the Apes?"
Janice rolled her eyes. "That movie again? We've seen it like 27 times."
"Yea – but it's been a while since we've seen it last – "
"Which was last week – "
"Exactly! Plus I don't think I memorized all the lines yet. Please?" Fletcher pleaded.
"I suppose." Janice got up to fetch the movie. "I really don't get what you see in this movie, Fletcher. Such a harshly wrought plot, and a long-winded title…" She scolded, though she had an amused smile on her face –
Fletcher shrugged. "What can I say. It's a classic!"
Janice chucked a throw pillow at him. She smiled, "You're lucky that I have a soft spot for you! We never get to watch what I want!"
Fletcher laughed, "Oh no – not the pillow! Anything but that." He loved Janice's reaction just then – how she narrowed her eyes in mock threat, as if to say Are you making fun of me? It was always fun to tease her. He would've said more, but the phone rang – his –
He picked up the phone.
"Hey, Fletcher!" Chyna Parks, one of his best friends for what – 3.5 years now - greeted him on the other end of the line. "We're here already, and we were just wondering when you were coming – "
Fletcher stayed silent. What was she talking about?
"You forgot, didn't you?"
Fletcher scoffed. "No, I didn't forget! But uhh, just to make sure you didn't forget, uhm – what was it, that I didn't forget?"
"We're at Sunrise Mall right now, dummy! Remember Random Falls? Chad Dylan Cooper's new movie? We're supposed to see it tonight – "
Oh right! Fletcher felt like an idiot for forgetting. He'd been talking about it with Chyna for weeks.
"I can't believe you forgot." Chyna sounded a little annoyed. "The whole week we were talking about how we were going to make fun of all the bad jokes and laugh at Chad's acting."
"I'm sorry, it slipped my mind – "
"You're with Janice right now aren't you?"
"Um. Yea…" He admitted.
There was a pause on the other end. Fletcher hated that pause. Chyna and Janice didn't exactly get along.
"Well, that's ok!" Chyna's voice finally said. "Bring Janice along. The more, the merrier."
"You know that can't happen, Chyna." There was no way that was going to happen, at least tonight anyway. Chyna had to understand. He'd only explained this to her like a billion times.
"Well – I know. But you gotta come, Fletcher! I – I mean Olive, she's going to be mad at you if you don't come. It's supposed to be your turn to buy the popcorn."
Fletcher winced. "Darn, I was hoping she'd forget that."
Chyna laughed. "You do know we're talking about Olive right?"
Their friend, Olive Doyle, had an eidetic memory. Anything she'd ever seen, heard or read – she'd always remember.
"Right. Uhm. Anyway, I'll talk to Janice – " Fletcher looked to Janice, who only stared at him with arms crossed, and a cold, single raised eyebrow. "Maybe tonight we can make an exception."
"Sorry, Fletcher. No exceptions."
Fletcher slumped in his chair. "Awh! But why?." He whined.
Janice's hard face softened, a little. "I'm sorry, Fletcher. You know if I had it my way, we'd be hanging outside all the time."
This was true. Janice was always on complete lockdown. She was only allowed to leave the house for school, or swim meets and practices, and then afterwards – it was always straight back home.
"I know," Fletcher sighed. They'd talk about this before. "Don't you get tired of it though?" He asked quietly. He was getting tired of splitting time between his best friends and his girlfriend. All this time seeing each other at school, and the closest people in his life were still pretty much strangers to each other.
If only Janice was allowed more time out of school. Just how much can you get to know a person in school anyway?
"I'm used to it. That's always the way my life had been, even in Japan," Janice answered, matter of factly, as if living her life any other way would be wrong. Fletcher had to admire that about her. Janice seemed to take a lot of things in stride.
Well, most things anyway. She was a little funny sometimes. Things like being put on lock – down 24/7 didn't seem to bother her. But if you beat her in a game of monopoly – god, help you.
Fletcher could only nod, not knowing what else to say to that. If Janice was ok with how things were, then he supposed he should be ok with it too – for now, anyway.
So Fletcher decided, if Janice wasn't going to stress over this, then he shouldn't work himself up either. He felt himself relaxing, ready to settle in for the in – home movie when, Janice surprised him with a question. Her voice took on a cooler, steely tone when she asked: "So…it appears we have a dilemma. What do you want to do? Are you going to stay, or leave to watch the movies with your friends?"
Fletcher wasn't prepared for the question. He was all but ready to watch Planet of the Apes again with Janice. He didn't think Janice was going to give him a choice between her and his friends.
Fletcher knew what the right thing to say was –
Janice, do you have to ask? Of course I want to stay in and watch the movie with you!
He was completely ok with doing just that – until Janice gave him a choice. Suddenly all he wanted to do was go to Sunrise Mall. A part of him really wanted to take the opportunity to leave. After all, he planned the Random Falls night with Chyna – and Olive a long time ago. The only question was now - would Janice really be ok with him going, or was this one of those tests? He read about this kinda thing in some magazine – girls always liked to test their boyfriends. Fletcher was still thinking about it, when the silence of the room was cut into – by another phone call – this time Janice's.
Janice quickly fetched the phone, which was inside a purse sitting on one of the sofas. Fletcher listened closely without meaning to. He knew right away that this phone call wasn't going to turn out well. He could tell by her immediate annoyance when she saw who was calling. And he was right.
Now he didn't know what Janice was saying, but he could tell by her increasingly animated gestures, her rapid Japanese, and the scrunching of her eyebrows that she was in an argument. What's she mad about? He wondered. Well, he got his answer, when she hanged up after a few minutes.
"It's my coach," she explained. "He wants me to go to bed soon. He says that I'm to wake up bright and early tomorrow morning. He wants me to get an extra practice in before swim meets this weekend."
Fletcher scoffed. "Really? Do you even have to practice anyways? You win every race, by a mile."
Janice's cross features gave way to a soft smile. "Thanks, Fletcher, but it's because I always practice that I win."
Fletcher nodded, but he didn't really understand. He'd seen Janice swim. The way she swam, it was as if she was born to be in the water.
"In any case, it looks like you'll get your chance to hang out with your friends today," Janice said with a slight sneer.
Fletcher knew that he should be happy right now. Just a second ago he was suddenly dying to go – which was surprising considering he'd completely forgot about his movie plans to begin with. But he just couldn't celebrate at the sight of Janice's sneer.
"I wish you wouldn't put it like that," Fletcher said, sighing.
"Like – you don't like them."
"That's not true," Janice smiled, finally. "I like Olive. And…Angus too, I suppose."
Fletcher didn't miss Janice's omission of Chyna's name. But he didn't feel like discussing her with Janice tonight. He looked at his watch. He could still make it to the movies.
Fletcher and Janice parted ways. She kissed him goodbye at the threshold of the living room - and then he was off. He sprang like a cheetah through the hallway, ran down the main stairs, and crossed the main foyer in a zip –
He was almost out the door when a hand the size of his chest stopped him. "Not so fast, Mr. Quimby. We have to frisk you and check your personal items," Chris said, with the other two guards in tow.
"Guys, c'mon! You should know by now that I wouldn't take anything from the house."
The security guards ignored him. "Arms high, Mr. Fletcher," Stevens Said.
Fletcher groaned as he put his hands up. "Make it fast, guys."