Disclaimer: Primeval and all its characters belong to someone else.
Chapter Eight- Guys Night Out.
**Previously… before Matt spoke to Connor…
"Matt, can I have a word?" Becker asked looking around the room at all the staff milling around.
"Sure, mate. What's the problem?"
Matt looked surprised, but motioned to Becker to follow him to a room where he sat and waited to hear what Becker had to say. This was unusual- Becker never really spoke to him privately. Must be important.
"It's about Temple..." Becker began but Matt immediately stood up, frowning in alarm. "What's he done now? He hasn't reopened the anomaly he made has he?"
"No, no! It's nothing like that. I'm just worried about him. Abby too, to a lesser degree."
Matt visibly relaxed, relieved it was nothing New Dawn related. "What is it? They had another argument? They haven't split up have they?" Matt continued worriedly, that could cause unnecessary tension within the ARC. Perhaps Lester had a point about relationships in the workplace.
"No! Matt- listen... it's just that Connor is still in trauma over his time in the Cretaceous. I don't suppose all that Philip stuff helped him recover too well. One disaster after another. Both Abby and Connor have recurring nightmares and Connor sometimes sleepwalks."
"Well, I guess that's to be expected after experiencing something like that."
"Matt- last night at Jess' flat..."
"You were at Jess' place? All night?" Matt asked, smirking.
"Yes, Matt I was. She is my girlfriend. Anything wrong with that?"
"No, no nothing at all." Matt replied still smirking and clapping Becker on the back.
Becker stared impassively at Matt and then continued as if Matt hadn't spoken. "Anyway, last night at Jess'," he repeated, using any excuse to say her name out loud, savouring the sound of it on his lips. "Connor walked in his sleep. He smashed up the TV, thinking he was still in the Cretaceous fighting dinosaurs."
"What were you watching?"
"The Lost World: Jurassic Park."
Matt laughed outright. Becker looked angry. "If you're not going to take this seriously...!" He began to leave the room, but Matt intervened.
"OK, OK, I apologise. I guess the sound of the dinosaurs triggered his memory."
"We did have the TV on pretty loud." Becker acquiesced. "I didn't realise what was happening- I nearly shot him!"
"Have you spoken to him about it?"
Becker looked a little chagrined. "I tried but he didn't remember anything about it. He thought I was blaming him for something he didn't do. I didn't handle it too well... I wondered if you'd help me talk to him. He and I have always had this...friendly rivalry going on, but he looks up to you. He might listen. I thought if we all went out to the pub, we could..."
"Talk to him. I just want to help him, Matt."
"It's OK, Becker, I'm just playing with you. Yeah that might work, but if he doesn't want our help, there's nothing we can do. Let's give it a go though, he's a good lad. What about Abby?"
"She just gets nightmares on occasion. I think she's in control. At least she hasn't smashed the place up! But if we can get Connor to go to counselling, maybe she'd go too, and they can put that whole episode behind them."
"OK, I'll go and tell him we're having a guy's night out. Jess is good for you, mate. Never seen you so compassionate!"
Becker stood watching Matt as he left the room. Not compassionate! What was he talking about! Matt was right about one thing though- Jess was good for him...
Becker, Matt, Danny and Connor were seated around a small table in the local pub, pints of beer in front of them. Up until now the talk had been very general. Connor was enjoying himself, although he wondered now and again if Abby was having fun on her girly night. Becker and Matt exchanged a look. Connor had downed a good few beers and seemed very mellow and a little tipsy- he never had been able to hold his drink well. His eyes were half closed, his cheeks were tinged pink and although he looked like he was almost falling asleep, he laughed loudly over the smallest thing.
"You know what…" Matt began. "I'm the only one of us who has only gone through a couple of anomalies- the one that brought me to this time; the one where the tree creeper was and the Victorian era- not forgetting the New Dawn anomaly, of course. The rest of you have much more experience than I. Er…Danny, you must have gone through a few chasing your brother?"
"Actually it wasn't that many. I found him pretty easily. It was sheer luck I found one back, and that was a relief, I can tell you. I went through several after being trapped in the past when we chased Helen though. The Pliocene wasn't too bad- it was more lonely than anything else, although it was sparsely populated with hominids. Fortunately I didn't really see many creatures. At first I followed the hominids, keeping well away from them. It wasn't long before I found an anomaly…I don't know what era that led to but I just travelled through anomalies until I finally got trapped for six months in a time with those terror birds. It still looked like the Pliocene, but maybe it was a different time- I don't know, but finally I actually had a bit of luck and found one that brought me home- only to be shot by Matt here when I arrived!" he finally managed to say, his words slurring together at times.
"Matt likes shooting people!" Becker and Connor chorused together, looking at each other. Connor burst into giggles. Becker, feeling slightly woozy allowed himself to smile a little.
"So…" Danny began, taking full advantage of Connor's state of inebriation. "How about you, Connor? Come on, spill! When you and Abby were alone in the Cretaceous…. Did you… You know…" Danny whistled.
"You asked me that once before!" Connor whined.
"No...I asked Abby and we were interrupted by a terror bird! Come on, mate- we're all guys here together!"
Connor suddenly stood up, so quickly that the world began to spin and he swayed on the spot. His face went red and he looked like a startled rabbit. "Er…my round. Same everyone?" He rushed over to the bar as fast as he could, echoes of Danny's raucous laughter following him.
Becker threw his hands up in despair. "Way to go, Danny! And if you ever ask me that I'll shoot you myself!"
Danny's mirth subsided as he looked at Becker. "Er...sorry, mate. Only asking…"
"We need a new tack." Matt said "…not quite so personal, Danny!"
"Sorry" Danny said again, looking abashed.
Becker 'harrumphed' but looked at Matt and said. "Connor may be drunk, but let's not take advantage. Matt, just ask him straight out to talk about the Cretaceous. Danny- I think you've had enough to drink…" with that, Becker removed the pint that was half way up to Danny's lips, much to Danny's annoyment as it was snatched out of his hands.
Connor ordered their drinks at the bar, and then wondered what he'd been embarrassed about. He couldn't remember, the room was spinning too much for him to concentrate. Luckily he only had to tell the barman they wanted another round- he couldn't even recall how many beers they needed. He began to try to work it out for himself. Well there was…Matt. He liked Matt! He was a good man. There was Becker. He loved Becker. Becker was his friend. Then there was…Abby! The woman next to him was Abby! What was she doing there?
"Abby!" he cried, throwing himself at her and flinging his arms around her.
"Dunno who Abby is, kid, but I'm game, if you are!" a woman's brash voice replied in his ear.
Connor slowly opened his eyes. There face to face with him was a scantily dressed middle- aged dyed blond woman with bright red painted lipstick and makeup you could scrape off with a knife.
"Argh!" he yelled, jumping backwards, quickly glancing behind him to see if the others had noticed his indiscretion. For once he was lucky, they weren't looking his way!
"Wanna go somewhere more private, honey?" the woman cooed.
"No! Er...thought you were someone else…sorry...with friends…gotta go!"
"Don't be like that, baby! Look…here's my number...call me- I'll teach a young lad like you a thing or two!" The woman grabbed Connor's hand and scrawled a number on the back of it.
"Er…" was all Connor could stutter. The other men at the bar laughed at his discomfort. They knew Roxy was a man-chaser…especially those younger than her. Roxy turned her attention back to the bar, and Connor grabbed up the drinks and carried them precariously back to the others, his face once more red with embarrassment.
Danny was sitting with his arms folded, looking like a petulant child. He still wasn't used to drinking after his long time away, and reacted by becoming moody and changing from being full of fun and laughter one minute to becoming morose and sulky the next.
Becker began to think that this wasn't the correct environment to try to help Connor- he was beginning to feel slightly worse for wear himself. Becker's mind kept wandering without him meaning it to. He began to think about brightly coloured short, short, skirts and legs that were the prettiest he'd ever seen. He never realised how much of a 'leg man' he was, he mused- at least not before he met Jess. He suddenly had a great desire to go home to her. He missed her! But he had to do something first…what was it? Oh yes, Temple, he remembered as he took another swig of his pint. Jess probably wouldn't be home yet anyway- she'd gone out too. Danny was now gulping down another beer that Connor had bought him, and Becker gave up. He wasn't his mother, he decided- and he had enough trouble focussing on the task himself.
"Connor, can you tell us about your time in the Cretaceous?" Matt slurred. "In your debriefing on your return, we mainly spoke about you being fired. We never really spoke about your experiences."
"I bet you've got loads of stories to tell us! Eh…nudge, nudge, say no more!" piped up Danny, back to his giggling self after his sulk.
"No!" Connor said shortly, suddenly turning angry. "You…" he pointed at Danny. "You just want all the gen on me and Abby. That's private! And you…" he turned on Becker "Don't think I don't know what you're doing. You're blaming me for smashing up that TV- trying to make out I'm crazy or something! I thought better of you, Matt! I'm going home to my fiancée…and no Danny, I'm not gonna tell what we're going to do together tonight!"
Connor tried his hardest to look intimidating, but just succeeded in everyone staring at him, Becker half amused, half annoyed, Danny giggling crazily, and Matt just raising a surprised eyebrow. Before anyone had a chance to move or respond, Connor tried to sit on the nearest chair feeling dizzy, but missed the edge and slumped to the ground drunkenly.
"Hey… guys…this carpet's sooo soft. I love this carpet! Carpet- I love you!" He bent his face to the carpet, raining kisses on it. "Marry me, carpet!" he added. "Abby won't mind. She's at the bar…wrote on m'hand!"
"Get up, Temple!" Becker bellowed. "You're drunk!"
"Me too!" giggled Danny.
Connor and Danny started laughing uncontrollably, Danny spitting beer out of his mouth and nose as he spluttered with laughter, making Connor laugh even more, holding his stomach and rolling around the floor as he fought to breathe.
"Time to go home, gentlemen!" Matt announced thickly "Grab the boy and Giggling Gertie here, and we'll talk to Connor when we're sober! It's time we went home to our women!"
"You know what, Matt- that's the most sensible thing I've heard all night! Come on, sunshine!" Becker said as he threw Connor's arm around his shoulder and dragged him to the door, leaving Matt following with a protesting Danny. Time to go home to his Jess, Becker thought….he couldn't wait...
To Be Continued…