You're Getting to be a Habit With Me
A/N: This story tries to explain Tony's changing moods toward Jeannie throughout the second season. The story is about how they make up after Jeannie ruins Tony's dinner party in "My Master, the Swinging Bachelor" and includes reflections on "Who Needs a Green-Eyed Genie?", "How Do You Beat Superman?", and "There Goes the Best Genie I Ever Had."
Major Anthony Nelson leaned back against his door and listened as Dr. Bellows and his wife argued outside. He rolled his eyes as he listened to their mutual jealousy, looked at the balloon in his hand, and called out.
When she did not appear, Tony walked into his living room and called again. "Now, come on out, Jeannie. I mean it."
With that, Jeannie materialized before him. She stood there, biting at her nails and looking at him shyly.
"Yes, Master?" she asked timidly. Tony shook his head.
He had gone to work expecting it to be an average day. Jeannie had recently stayed out of trouble, and for the past week nothing had gone wrong. Thinking back on it all, Tony knew that he had been overdue for an emergency. And that's exactly what he got when Dr. Bellows invited himself over to dinner.
Of course, Tony knew that Dr. Bellows was looking for trouble, and so the first thing he did after encountering the Colonel in the hallway was dig in the bottom of his filing cabinet for his little black book. It took him a while to find it, and he had to practically tear apart his office looking for it. It had been over six months since he'd seen anyone, and, consequently, six months since he'd used any of his numbers.
The last date he'd been on had been with Miss Galaxy on Hadji's birthday, but that hardly counted as a date. While he was there, he was busy thinking about Jeannie the whole time. It had been that night that he almost lost Jeannie forever, and all of his own volition. He had never actually had the power to get rid of her before, and when he finally had the chance, he was seriously tempted. Tempted enough to tell her that it was over. After all, as much as he loved her, having her around was dangerous. It seemed like everyday something happened that almost blew his cover. Not to mention the fact that the more she was around, the more accustomed he was to having her. And no matter how much he loved her, he could never marry her, but as long as she was around, he could never be with anyone else.
So Tony sent her away, and instead went out with Miss Galaxy. No matter how hard he tried, however, Tony couldn't tear his thoughts away from Jeannie. He knew then, that even with her out of his life, he could never be with anyone else. As clichéd as it was, she had ruined him for other women. Even Miss Galaxy paled in comparison to Jeannie. Her eyes had no brilliancy; her hair had no sheen; her smile, no sparkle. Her figure was straight and blocky when he thought of Jeannie's voluptuous curves, and her mouth seemed flat next to Jeannie's plump lips. And no matter what Tony did, he couldn't shake the feeling of Jeannie's phantom kisses covering his face and neck and mouth.
Before that, however, there had been at least four months since his last date. And, naturally, Jeannie had screwed that one up, too.
It had been with Joan Sheldon, a girl he had gone with in Chicago, and when Roger unwittingly let the cat out of the bag, Jeannie had turned her into a chimpanzee. After a good rebuking, however, Jeannie allowed him to go back where he was, for the most part, enjoying himself. But that night, that had been the goal.
He had agreed to see Joan because she had once meant a great deal to him. He had almost proposed to her when he was reassigned. Joan hadn't been ready to leave Chicago, and Tony wasn't sure he was ready to deal, not only with a new assignment, but also with a new wife. So in the few months he and Joan had left together, they let their fire blaze until it dwindled out, precisely as planned, with no hard feelings or regrets.
He had agreed to see Joan because he was trying to forget Jeannie.
He didn't know how long Joan would be in town, but he hoped she would stay a while at least. And he certainly hoped to rekindle that fire that once burned so hot. Because marrying Jeannie was impossible, so eventually he knew he'd have to find another.
But Joan turned out to be married. And to a gangster who tried to kill them both. And it was only with Jeannie's help that Tony escaped alive. Any hope of finding a passion that once was, was gone. So Tony tried to resolve himself once more to the idea of forever being a bachelor.
Of course, when he looked back on the whole situation, he should have known Jeannie would try to retaliate. And while the charade lasted, Tony was genuinely worried that he was going to lose her to that figment of her imagination, Tony Millionaire. Just when he was getting used to the fact that he would forever be single just to be with her, he almost lost her again.
And no matter how he tried to reassure himself, Jeannie's stunt left him worried. What if Jeannie really would leave him for another? Did his seemingly indifferent attitude leave her as anxious for her future as he was for his? When the charade was over, though, Tony promised himself to demonstrate to Jeannie that nothing meant more to him than she did. Besides, he found it was much nicer to enjoy kissing Jeannie at night and be greeted by her kisses again in the morning, than to hope to make out with another girl and be greeted by Jeannie's cold shoulder the next day. As a result, he hadn't seen his little black book in months.
As he flipped through the pages of his date book, he wondered which girl he should call up. Every name he passed seemed impossible. Diane wouldn't do. He hadn't spoken to her in years. He passed over Zelda's name quickly, remembering how she pressured him to take their relationship more seriously. Mary, Margret, Sue, Kathryn…
That's it! Kathryn Galato! Yeah… He hadn't seen her in eight months but he was pretty sure she'd say yes. She clearly liked him, but never tried to pressure him and was always good company. And her cooking! Yes, Tony thought, she'll do nicely.
When he called, Kathryn was surprised to hear his voice on the other end, but after Tony slyly mentioned how much he missed her cooking, she easily offered to treat him that night.
Tony also knew that, just as important as getting a girl to come cook for him, was getting Jeannie out of the house for the evening. So right after hanging up on Kathryn, Tony called the theater and reserved her a ticket to see "The Tales of the Arabian Nights", a play she had expressed particular interest in seeing. Later, just to make things less personal between Kathryn and him, he invited Roger and asked him to bring a date. Then, on his way home, he picked up Jeannie's ticket, and did his best to enthusiastically give it to her and underplay his lie of having too much work to do.
And also, looking back on it all, Tony should have known that Jeannie would find out he was lying to her. Rarely was he able to lie to her and get away with it. And so he should have known better than to lie to her again about having Kathryn cook dinner for him, but he also knew that if he had told her the truth, the evening definitely would have ended in disaster. And at some point, she was gonna have to learn to obey him.
"Oh, that was great, Jeannie. Just great," he said, stepping closer to her. "Do you know what you could have done? Huh?" Raising his voice he continued, "Do you know how important that dinner was?"
Jeannie continued to chew at her nails and replied, "Yes, Master." Gaining confidence, she rounded on him and said, "But why did you not tell me about that – that woman?"
"And what if I had told you? You never would have let her come! No, Jeannie, I needed someone to come over and cook for me – I mean, really cook, and show Dr. Bellows that there was no reason to be suspicious. And you almost ruined the whole thing," he finished with a nervous chuckle, plopping down on the couch and draping an arm over his eyes.
"Oh, but Master," she said, sitting up on her knees beside him, "when I realized how much trouble you would get into, I fixed it."
"Yeah, barely. Jeannie, you're just gonna have to learn to trust me, that's all."
"Oh, but I do trust you, Master," she replied earnestly, and laid her head against his shoulder. She grabbed at his shirt. "I will never interfere again."
Tony chuckled and removed his arm from over his eyes and put it instinctively around her waist. "Yeah, that's what you always say," he commented under his breath.
She pulled up to look at him. "No, Master. Truly. I will never interfere again."
"Yes, Master. I promise." Tony nodded.
"Well, alright, then." She smiled expectantly at him and he looked at her for a moment. Then he leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss. Jeannie, unsatisfied, pressed her lips gently against his and lingered there for a while. When she pulled back, Tony looked at her and said, "I think I'm gonna call it a night, Jeannie. I'll see you in the morning."
"Goodnight, Master," Jeannie said and kissed him again.
"Goodnight, Jeannie," he replied.
The next thing Tony knew he was lying in bed in his nightclothes. He chuckled to himself and rolled over on his side. Tony thought, as he closed his eyes, that eternal bachelorhood wasn't all that bad. Jeannie would always love him, no matter what. And that was enough for tonight.