I Get Along Without You Very Well
A/N: This continues my series of attempts to explain Tony's changing attitude toward Jeannie throughout the series. Or, rather, the motivations behind his actions. It takes place throughout "Divorce, Genie Style" but covers the second part of the third season from right after "Tony's Wife" on.
"Thanks, Joe," Tony called as he walked out of the supply room. He was dressed in a long overcoat that didn't quite hide the embarrassment of his showing ankles and in his hands he carried a brand new NASA issue uniform. After Dr. Bellows had caught him in his shrunken and poorly patched suit, he had been issued strict orders to "get some decent clothes." So he did.
Tony was glad when he was back in his office. He closed and locked the door behind him and quickly changed into his fresh, new clothes. When he finished dressing he turned to fold his diminished suit and, upon seeing the iron shaped red patch in his shirt, began to chuckle.
When Jeannie told him that she had lost her powers for a week, Tony didn't know what to think. More than anything, he thought it was a joke. So he treated it like one. But as he laid there in bed the night before, he realized how important it was to her. And though it had already caused more than enough havoc, Tony tried very hard that morning to show her how proud he was of her accomplishments. After all, it was incredible that she knew how to do as much as she did, considering that she had never had to accomplish any of those tasks without magic before.
Tony put his old clothes on top of his filing cabinet and sat down at his desk. He reclined back and put his feet up with his hands behind his head.
He knew, of course, that it was his fault that Jeannie had gotten rid of her powers. He tried to never take Jeannie for granted, but he should have known that Jeannie would get upset when he began to praise Mrs. Bellows. He was really just thankful that Haji had only agreed to take away her power for a week. Although it would be easier to be with Jeannie if she didn't have her powers, there was always the chance that their children would be genies. So he would be right back where he started, with one major difference: he couldn't marry her without her powers, and he couldn't keep her without them.
The more Tony thought about it, the guiltier he felt. Sure, it would be a good learning experience for Jeannie, but he should have been more attentive. He should have let her know how happy he was just to have her, how lucky he was to have her. Yes, Dr. Bellows was a lucky man. But Tony was luckier. He had Jeannie. And no amount of cooking or cleaning or affection could make Mrs. Bellows out to be any better than that.
He shook his head at himself and silently resolved to show Jeannie a wonderful time for the duration of the week. She took care of him enough. Now that she couldn't (or, rather, had to learn how) it was his turn to take care of them both. With that resolution in mind, he returned to his work.
Tony entered the house two nights later thoroughly excited. He had made dinner reservations at the Surf, Jeannie's favorite restaurant in town, and had stopped off to get her a bouquet of flowers. "Jeannie?" he called, as he walked in. "Jeannie?" Looking around, Tony was shocked at the state of disarray that occupied his house. He opened his closet and said, "I've got a surprise –" before he was cut off by falling clothes. He bent over to throw them back inside his closet and remarked as he closed the door, "I wonder what the place looked like before she started cleaning it up." But Tony wasn't really mad. He remembered how desperately she wanted to please him, and couldn't help but feel sorry for her. Smiling, he called, "I've got a surprise for you, Jeannie!" as he looked at the mirror beside him.
He realized that there were words written on the mirror and read them without really knowing what they said. He turned then and called, "Hey, where are you?" while he walked toward the living room. "I've got a –" he started to say again. But then it hit him.
What had the mirror said? Something with "left" and "louse"?
He ran back and read aloud, "She's left you, you louse." Thinking it over he said, "'you louse'?" And when it finally sank in, "She's left me?" He ran back toward the kitchen calling, "Wait!"
He stopped at the desk where he found Jeannie's bottle. At least he still had the bottle, he realized. That was a good sign. "Jeannie?" he called, peering inside, but then he remembered that she had lost her powers. Clinging to the bottle, he ran into the kitchen.
"Jeannie?" He extended his arms and looked around, hoping she would appear. "Now, come on, Jeannie! This isn't funny!" he called, and ran, frantically trying to find her.
"Jeannie?" She wasn't on the patio.
"Jeannie?" She wasn't in the den.
"Come on out, Jeannie!" She wasn't in the bedroom.
"Jeannie?" Or the bathroom.
"Jeannie, where are you?" Or the garage.
"Jeannie?" She wasn't under the couch.
"Jeannie, would you come on out?" Or under the bed.
Finally, the flowers, Jeannie's bottle, and his hat long cast aside, Tony sat down in his chair with the phone. He called every hotel in Cocoa Beach asking for a blonde woman named Jeannie in a pink harem costume that might have checked in within the last hour or so. With every click of the receiver, Tony became more worried. He loosened his tie, unbuttoned the top buttons of his shirt, and tried another hotel.
His mind was frantic with thoughts. Thoughts of Jeannie all alone in the world without her powers, of him having to live without her, of life being once more nothing more than a busy succession of nothings. But he couldn't allow himself the luxury of dwelling on these thoughts. Tony had to act. And act he would.
When the doorbell rang, Tony was more annoyed than anything. But, hoping it might be Jeannie, he sprang up. "Yes?" he said a bit forcefully as he flung open the door. Seeing Dr. Bellows in front of him, Tony said, "Oh!" and backed up a bit to allow him to enter. "Good evening, Dr. Bellows," he said, trying to regain his composure, doing his best to conceal his secret. After all, Dr. Bellows didn't need to know his genie had gone missing.
"Is it?" the doctor replied simply.
"Yes, yes!" Tony said emphatically. "It is, as a matter of fact. It's quite nice." Tony cleared his throat.
"You seem agitated," Dr. Bellows noted. "Is anything wrong?"
"Oh, no!" Tony began. "No, no, nothing," he assured him. "Well, my housekeeper has gone missing, as you can see," he admitted, gesturing to the mess around him, "and I was just trying to locate her."
Tony started to pick up around him, trying to make his house a bit more presentable when Dr. Bellows said, "That's what I came here to discuss."
"What? My housekeeper?" Tony asked, doing his best to remain nonchalant and continuing to pick up around him.
"If that's what you wish to call her," Dr. Bellows replied. "You see, Major, I know all about her."
Shocked, Tony dropped the clothes in his hands and turned to face him. "You do?" Then, recovering, he continued, "Well, what I mean is, there's nothing to know. She's just your ordinary, everyday housekeeper," he finished with a chuckle.
"In a pink harem costume?" Dr. Bellows retorted.
This time, Tony's laugh was a nervous one as he giggled, "A pink harem costume." But then, realizing that he had found her, he said seriously, "You've seen her. Where is she, Dr. Bellows?" After receiving a knowing look from the colonel, he clarified, "What I mean is, she shouldn't run around loose. You have no idea what kind of trouble she can get into."
"She's perfectly safe, Major," Dr. Bellows assured him. "She's staying at my house until Mrs. Bellows can arrange for the divorce."
Tony smiled, glad to hear she was alright, but when he realized what Dr. Bellows had told him his face fell. "Divorce?"
"That's right, Major. Divorce."
"What do you mean, sir?" he asked, leading him into the living room where they found more clutter on the couch. Tony cast it aside and sat down in the chair across from Dr. Bellows.
"I knew that something had been going on for the past two years, Major Nelson, but I had no idea that it was a secret marriage," he admonished.
"Dr. Bellows, I can assure you, Jeannie and I aren't married," he argued. "It would have come up in the NASA background checks. She's just my housekeeper."
"Housekeeper?" Dr. Bellows said knowingly. "Major, housekeepers do not dress in pink harem costumes. Amanda was quite shocked at how you treated her. As a matter of fact, I was shocked as well."
"Please, sir, if I could just talk to her –"
"No, Major Nelson. You aren't to go anywhere near that girl," Dr. Bellows said, getting up and walking toward the door.
"But sir –" he said, jumping up to follow him.
"No, Major. That's an order. Do you understand?"
Tony swallowed. "Yes, sir." And Dr. Bellows was gone.
Tony sighed. He knew she was safe. That was the most important thing. And he knew where she was. That meant he could go after her. So that's exactly what he did.
He had decided to wait until it was late, knowing the Bellows would be in bed. But he entered the wrong window, and instead of picking up Jeannie, he picked up Mrs. Bellows. But Tony had underestimated how late Dr. Bellows would be up on a Friday night, and when Dr. Bellows caught him trying to take Jeannie home, he wouldn't let him talk to her, despite all his pleading. Instead, he was sent home empty-handed.
Tony spent that entire weekend pacing in his study. He called Roger early that next morning, and together they did their best to try and persuade Dr. Bellows to let them talk to her. But it was no good. Roger sat with him Saturday as he drank the night away and did his best to reassure him that everything was going to be all right.
Again on Sunday, after sleeping in late, he called Dr. Bellows to see if there was anyway he could talk to Jeannie. And again, Dr. Bellows shut him down. Helpless, Tony tried to get some work done, but his mind was filled with thoughts of Jeannie.
He and Jeannie had been together for two and a half years now, and it seemed as though not a week could go by without some disaster. But Tony had gotten used to it. He was a much quicker thinker, and surprised even himself with some of his explanations.
No, the one thing Tony had never gotten used to was almost losing her.
In their first year alone, a Russian cosmonaut had taken Jeannie, she had almost married Roger, she had disappeared on the day of the Ram, and Roger had stolen her. Add that to encounters with the Blue Djinn, Tony Millionaire, Mrs. Bellows and her annoying attraction to Jeannie's exotic bottle, and his own foolishness that sent her away on Haji's birthday, and Tony didn't seem to have had a moment's rest. After all, it had only been two weeks before since he finally got her out of that NASA moon safe.
The moon safe. Tony shook his head at the thought.
He and Jeannie had been just about to leave for a vacation when she popped in on him at work. Together, the two of them and Roger were going to have a ball in Rome. Tony couldn't remember being more excited for a trip. He and Jeannie had once gone on a fishing trip for his vacation, and, though it had been very nice to spend a week alone in the woods with Jeannie, he was glad Roger was coming along this time. Some of his happiest memories were of the times the three of them spent together.
Instead of enjoying his two-week vacation, however, he spent a month trying to get Jeannie out of the moon safe.
Tony and Roger had gone after gangsters to get help, tried to bust it open themselves, and had even traveled all the way to Baghdad to try and get her out. And in between all of that craziness, Tony had been convinced that Jeannie was crushed at a junkyard. When it finally came time to open the safe, he couldn't even let her out without being sure he would be the one to do so.
That month, needless to say, had been an emotional rollercoaster. More than anything, during that seemingly endless month, Tony had simply missed her. And now, only two weeks later, Tony had to worry about losing her again.
Despite everything he and Jeannie had been through, Tony was certain of one thing: he couldn't live without her and never wanted to try.
Frustrated, Tony threw down his pencil and got up, headed toward his bedroom to call it an early night.
The Bellows had been forced to wait until the weekend was over before they could get a lawyer out to their house. Tony heard, thanks to the gossip in the NASA hallways, that a lawyer had been sent out to the Bellows first thing that Monday morning. But still, no matter how hard he begged, Dr. Bellows wouldn't allow him to talk to Jeannie.
It was Tuesday evening when, finally, after barely sleeping for four nights, Tony was able to have Jeannie safe in his arms once more. Dr. Bellows had walked into his office that day where he was sitting at his desk, head in hands. Dr. Bellows cleared his throat and said, "Major Nelson, I want to apologize for this business with your wife."
Tony's head shot up. "My wife, sir? What about her? Can I talk to her?" he asked quickly.
"She's being taken to your house right now, Major. She'll be there when you get home," Dr. Bellows answered.
"Thank you, sir!" Tony said, jumping up to grab his hat.
"Major," Dr. Bellows said, stopping him, "Why didn't you tell me she was delusional?" Tony stopped dead in his tracks.
"She told us everything, Major, about how she was a genie and that she slept in a bottle. Oh, Major, if only we had known, we never would have interfered," he lamented. "How you must have suffered!"
"Well, sir," Tony said, doing his best to look noble, "you can't help who you fall in love with." And before he had a chance to respond, Tony ran out of the door.
"Jeannie!" he called when he arrived home.
"Master!" Tony sucked in a breath. Her voice.
There were two things about her voice that he noticed. First, that he had never heard a more pleasant sound in his life, and second, that it came from the direction of the couch.
"Jeannie!" he exclaimed, delighted at the sight of pink in front of him. Suddenly she was in his arms.
"Master!" Her lips were upon his.
When his senses finally caught up with him, Tony was acutely aware of everything. He was noticed how soft her lips were, how sweetly she smelled, how tightly she gripped him, how stale his mouth tasted, how bright the colors were that danced across his eyelids, and how musical the soft groan she let out as she exhaled sounded.
After what seemed like an eternity, they parted and Tony looked at her for the first time in five days.
"Oh, Jeannie," he breathed. "I missed you."
"And I missed you, Master."
"Don't ever pull a stunt like that again, do you understand?"
"Yes, Master." She quickly kissed him. "I am sorry." Another kiss. "I will never do it again." This time when Jeannie kissed him, Tony pressed back, prolonging the kiss.
Later that evening, the Bellows stopped by, apologizing once more for irritating the whole situation with his "wife." He got rid of them as quickly as he could, anxious to be alone with Jeannie again. As they left, Mrs. Bellows insisted he go over to their house for dinner the next night, and Tony, unable to take the opportunity to teach his genie a lesson, agreed. And though Jeannie had been agitated at the idea of him going back to the Bellows, he knew they were really just both thankful to be back together.
No, no matter how many disasters came up, it was all worth it. Because as much as he could never get used to almost losing her, one thing he found very easy to get used to was the pure joy he felt at getting her back.
Fin.I'd love a review. Thanks in advance.