Chapter Five: Spelled Out on a Double-Word and Triple-Letter Score
AN: Yes, the title is from the Kimaya Dawson song "Loose Lips," from the movie Juno. Also, something that happened in this chapter happened to me. I'll put a secondary AN with an explanation at the end.
When Helena next turned on her lantern, she was surprised to see Myka setting up a board game of some kind on her hotel bed. "What's this?" Helena asked, examining the tiled board as best she could.
Myka smiled mysteriously. "Another word game," she said as she set a small wooden rack before the lantern so it faced Helena. On it was a set of wooden tiles containing letters, and each letter had a number in the lower right corner. The rack itself also had the numbers one through seven written across the bottom, but it looked like they'd been penned by hand. "It's called Scrabble," Myka continued. "Each letter is worth a certain number of points, and the goal is to earn as many points as you can both with words and with squares on the board." She indicated a colored square with writing on it. "The 'DL' stands for 'double letter,' so any letter placed there counts double." She pointed to another. "'DW' is for 'double word,' so if your word crosses through that, the whole thing counts double."
"So," Helena surmised, "'TL' stands for 'triple letter' and 'TW' stands for 'triple word'?"
Myka beamed. "Exactly." She finished setting up her own rack of letters as she explained the rest of the rules. "The starting player's word has to cross through the star on the center of the board, and each word after that has to share at least one letter with another word." Done, she smiled at Helena. "I numbered your letter rack, so just tell me what you want to put where." Helena could tell she was nervous, because she was wrapping one of her curls around her finger and biting her lip a little. "So…d'you want to play?"
Helena gazed at the other woman through the lantern. Despite her nervousness, as if she was almost praying that the dark-haired woman would like her idea, Helena thought she looked adorable, and her heart melted just a little more for the curly-haired agent. "Why don't you go first – show me how it's done?" Helena replied, resting her chin in her hands. Myka's responding smile was nearly blinding.
The agent looked at her tiles thoughtfully for a moment before vertically spelling out "OCCUR," counting her score and taking new tiles. Helena pondered her own tiles and the board for a moment before listing the numbers of the tiles she wanted to place and where, playing "COMPORT" from the second "C." Myka tallied her score, replaced her tiles, and so the game continued.
Their combined love of literature and lexical intelligence made for the most interesting game of Scrabble Myka had ever played. There were many a pause to debate whether or not words like "prithee," "verily," and "egads" were allowed, and Helena insisted that they stick strictly to British spelling while Myka argued that both American and British spellings should be allowed. Many words were able to take prefixes and suffixes as well, which made for some very underhanded moves.
Helena had just finished playing "QUIET" on the board and was waiting for Myka to take her turn when she saw the brunette visibly wince, even as she seemed to be trying not to smile. Giving Helena an apologetic look, she placed three letters on the board to spell out the word "QUIETING." The raven-haired woman's eyebrows hit her hairline as Myka tallied the rather impressive score. "Sorry," the agent said earnestly with another wince. "Cheap shot, I know."
"But a good shot nonetheless," Helena pointed out. Myka's smile was more than a little sheepish.
Helena found her opportunity for revenge some time later, when the board was nearly full. She'd been eyeing the second "D" in "DIAD" (a word of questionable legality by the more mundane, conventional rules, "MUNDANE" being on the board as well) for several rounds, and she was just lucky enough to have the tiles she needed.
"Tile two after the 'D' at the end of 'DIAD,'" she requested, trying her hardest to keep a straight face. Myka gave her a curious look, but did as she asked. "And then tile five after that." Myka complied, and Helena watched with some great amusement as the realization sank in.
It took the brunette a moment to fully comprehend what Helena had done, but when she did, she felt like she'd taken a sledgehammer upside the head. Myka stared at the tiles with wide-eyed astonishment, jaw hanging open. "DISQUIETING" was spelled out across the bottom of the board. On a triple-word score.
"I…you…" the agent began, unable to form coherent words. She looked up at Helena, who was smiling as innocently as she could, even though she was obviously trying to hide an outright grin. "I can't believe…you little…"
"Yes, darling?" Helena prompted.
Myka gaped for a moment before shaking her head in complete disbelief. "Only you, Helena. Only you."
She said it with such tenderness and affection that Helena's breath caught in her throat and her heart stumbled in its rhythm. For a moment, she thought she saw something in Myka's eyes she only dared dream of, wildly hoped for, desperately craved. But, panicking, she quickly chased those thoughts away; she couldn't risk losing Myka, losing her soul.
Instead, she cleared her throat, and Myka couldn't help but notice her blush. "It's your turn, darling," Helena mumbled, uncharacteristically shy. The brunette filed the strange behavior in the back of her mind to ponder later as she began to lay out her tiles.
Needless to say, Helena won by a landslide, leaving a baffled, slightly disgruntled, but very impressed Myka. "This means I get to pick your bedtime story," Helena said triumphantly as the agent put away the game.
Myka made a face. "You picked the story the last time, too!" She pointed out as she wriggled under the covers.
The dark-haired woman smirked nonetheless. "It's the victory that counts, darling." Myka rolled her eyes as Helena cleared her throat for dramatic emphasis. "Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night – "
"Hush, you. Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, a young woman hurried fearfully home through the streets of Whitechapel…."
For two hours, Helena regaled Myka with the story of the Warehouse 12 hunt for Jack the Ripper and the artifact he used to lure innocent girls to their gruesome deaths. Myka listened with a mix of eager curiosity and wild terror as Helena wove her tale, perfectly imitating the voices of the various people involved and adjusting her tone for each change of mood and pace. She hushed through the suspense, darkened her voice for the descriptions of the murdered, and for every sudden shock, her voice burst forth from an emphatic pause, making Myka jump.
"…And though the lantern was recovered for a time before being stolen by your rogue agent, no one ever learned what became of Jack the Ripper." Finished, Helena sat back with a smug smile as she observed Myka's reaction.
The brunette agent was nearly curled into a ball, clutching the covers she'd pulled up under her chin. When she realized that Helena had stopped speaking, she all but whimpered, "That's it?"
"That's it," Helena confirmed, trying to hold back her laughter. She stretched her aems, faking a yawn. "I must say, I am quite tired," she commented with exaggerated fatigue. Snuggling under her own bedcovers with a smile, Helena reached for her lantern. "Goodnight, darling." Myka's responding squeak was the last thing she heard before she turned the lamp off.
Falling back on her bed, Helena finally allowed herself to chuckle, reveling in the joy that evening's simple activities had brought. She was quite looking forward to the next night; she wanted to see how and if Myka had slept. Helena was still laughing as she turned off her bedside light so she could go to sleep herself.
For Myka's part, she did sleep, but with the lights on, the chair propped under the doorknob, the curtains shut, and her gun tucked under her pillow.
When Helena turned on the lamp the next night, Myka was once again setting up the Scrabble game, but…
Helena squinted and peered closer. "Is that in French?"
Myka grinned. "Well we couldn't let it get too easy now, could we?"
AN2: QUIET - QUIETING happened in a game of Words With Friends between me and my cousin, and I only noticed the possibility for DISQUIETING after I didn't have the tiles for it. Ah well. Since links are wonky here, go to photobucket and type "winning move missing" into the search bar. My username there is restless_goddess, so the result should be easy to find. :)