* * *
“You aren’t going to Dom’s house,” Patterson told Kowalski
as they walked out toward Kowalski’s car in the Institute parking lot.
Kowalski wasn’t inclined to listen at the moment.
“What if she needs us?” Kowalski asked his friend, wondering
how Patterson was so calm about this whole thing.
It was bad enough that Dom was dating some guy that wasn’t from
the Seaview, someone that Kowalski didn’t personally know and trust, but
now it turned out that the guy she was seeing might be dangerous.
Well, Kowalski knew how to deal with dangerous things.
“She doesn’t. She’s fine,” Patterson insisted.
“Why are you listening to anything Portman has to say anyway?
You hate the guy.”
That was true. Portman was a stuck up creep that treated the crew of the
Seaview like they were low class losers.
He even treated some of the officers that way.
He just did it kind of on the sly, so that no one could actually
prove anything or complain about it.
Kowalski supposed that might have been what was just going on in
the cafeteria, but he didn’t know if he wanted to take that chance.
“Look, we don’t know anything about this Harper guy,”
Kowalski tried to reason with Patterson.
“Except that he’s some kind of genius that’s scaring the
pants off the other engineers at the Institute with his brain power.
Even Ro is impressed and she’s no slouch in the thinking
department. Also, we know
that he’s a little guy and he got his ass handed to him a week ago, so
he’s obviously not secretly a black belt or something.
We’ve been teaching Dom to take care of herself.
If he did anything, which I kind of doubt he would, she’d take
him down,” Patterson told him with absolute certainty.
“Yeah, well...” Kowalski said, wanting to argue the point, but
his resolve was beginning to waver.
“Portman is a jealous creep.
He’s been after Dom for ages and now she’s seeing Harper and so
Portman is up to his old tricks,” Patterson said.
“Why are you buying into it?
You’d usually be the first one to see what’s going on.”
“Because,” Kowalski said, then grumbled the rest of what he was
thinking under his breath.
“Because? It’s not
just Portman, is it? What’s
going on with you, Ski?” Patterson pressed as they reached Kowalski’s
“It should have been you, okay?” Kowalski grumbled, this time
loud enough for Patterson to hear him.
Patterson’s mouth went flat with annoyance.
“I thought we settled this already.”
“Well, it’s unsettled now!” Kowalski declared and then got
into his car. Patterson got
in a little more slowly and sat in the passenger seat of Ski’s Camaro,
looking a little angry. “Look,
I know we’ve talked about this, but it’s still bugging me,” Ski told
him. “You and Dom, you just
get along so great. It
doesn’t make sense why you’re not together.”
Patterson let out a long, deep sigh.
“Look, Rick, me and Dom are friends.
That works because that’s all it is and all it’s gonna be.
We have fun together and take care of each other and stuff, but
that doesn’t mean that I do it for her.
Guys with brains, they get Dom all hot and bothered.
You should see the looks she gives the Admiral when he’s being
all brilliant and saving the day with his mind, not his fists.
That’s what she deserves, a guy that she can look at like that,
that can make her feel that for
him. I’m not that guy and
it’s okay. Maybe Harper’s
that guy. I don’t know. I do know I’m not gonna be the person that keeps her from
finding out if he is. I want
her to be happy, Rick. If
she’s happy, I’ll be happy.”
Kowalski sat there for a minute not saying anything because he
didn’t really know what to say. “You’re not stupid,” he said after a few minutes,
wanting to say something.
“I know,” Pat replied with a sad little smile.
“Harper better treat Dom right or I’m pounding the living
daylights out of him,” Kowalski snarled, suddenly wanting to hit
somebody and not having a target.
“Yeah, well, wait til Harper does something worth getting socked
for before you even start thinking about it, okay?
He seemed like a decent guy when we met him.
He adores Dom. You’d have to be blind not to see that,” Pat replied.
“All right, all right,” Ski grumbled.
“Batting cages?” Patterson asked, probably knowing he had some
aggression that needed venting. Kowalski nodded and started his car. At least he could hit something there and no one would get
mad at him for it. “Now, if
you wanted to pound on Portman, I might just be willing to hold him down
for you,” Patterson said in an offhanded manner as Ski started back out
of his parking space. Pat’s
words made Kowalski laugh in spite of himself.
Shopping with Seamus was an interesting experience.
It was sort of like taking a small child to the mall.
He didn’t know where to look first and got excited over just
about everything except what he was supposed to be looking for.
Dom was sort of glad he didn’t have much money to his name, and
what money he did have he already had plans for, because otherwise the
kiosk owners in the middle of the mall walkways would have had a banner
day, especially the ones that sold electronic gizmos or toys.
When she finally got him into a clothing store, he wanted to buy
cargo pants and other casual attire.
Dom, however, had specific instructions from the Admiral.
While it was acceptable to buy Seamus some new casual things that
fit him properly, the Admiral wanted him to have appropriate clothes for
work at the Institute as well. Unfortunately,
the things that Dom thought Admiral Nelson would find acceptable for that
category, Seamus sneered at in contempt.
Knowing of only one thing was going to get Harper into a dressing
room, trying on anything even remotely like what the Admiral had in mind,
Dom stepped over to a dark blue shirt that she thought would go
wonderfully with Seamus’ eyes and felt it as she glanced at him.
He was standing nearby, frowning, arms crossed over his chest,
having declared everything in the general vicinity to be unwearable.
“You know,” she said as she ran a hand down the front of the
shirt, making sure to do it slowly and sensually.
“I love the feel of this material.
Seamus got a funny look on his face as he watched her and his arms
started to loosen, then his face tightened again and he said a little
angrily, “I know what you’re doing. You think I haven’t had enough women do this very thing to
me that I wouldn’t know?”
Dom picked up the shirt and carried it over to him.
“Of course you know. You
are brilliant after all,” she cooed, laying the shirt over his chest and
arms and looking him over with as much evident approval as she could
squeeze into one look. “This color really brings out your eyes,” she said,
running a hand slowly over the shirt and Seamus’ chest.
She felt him shiver even through all the material between him and
“Stop that,” he protested, but his words had absolutely no
conviction in them and he was edging closer rather than backing away from
“I think you would look so incredible in this shirt,” Dom told
him, giving him a soft smile and looking into his eyes.
Harper pursed his lips, seeming to weigh his options.
“What do I get if I try it on?” he asked.
“If it fits, a really nice shirt once we pay for it,” Dom told
him. “And the knowledge
that you will be the sexiest guy in Engineering when you wear it at
“Yeah, yeah. What else?” Seamus asked, bouncing between bored and
“Well,” she said, running her hand over it again with a
contemplative look, getting another nice shiver in response.
“It does feel awfully nice.
Heaven knows I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off it.”
Seamus took the shirt from her looking disgusted, probably with
himself because he grumbled, “I am so damned easy.
Fine. Dress me. But I
want that shirt we saw in the WB Store too.”
Dom kissed him on the cheek for giving in.
“I liked that shirt. It
was so you. We’ll go there after we’re done here.” Now that Seamus was cooperating at least a little bit, Dom
quickly found other things that might suit him and got him to try them on
without giving him a chance to think about it too much.
In no time, they had amassed a fairly good wardrobe for him, even
finding some soft sleep pants and loose, comfortable t-shirts for him to
wear in the dorms at night. Dom knew he currently slept either in his underwear or
nothing at all, since she knew for a fact that he didn’t sleep in his
clothes. She didn’t like
the idea that he might wander the dorm halls naked and wouldn’t put it
past him. Now she wouldn’t
have to think about it anymore. Seamus
seemed to be perking up with the thought that they would soon be done
while it was still relatively early.
“I want to go grab a spare pair of cargo pants.
I think all the washing is starting to wear holes in mine,”
Seamus told Dom as they laid his new things out on the checkout counter.
“Go ahead. You
should probably get a couple, for weekends, and that red jersey you liked.
You would look so hot in that.
This will probably take a few minutes,” Dom said.
Seamus grinned at Dom telling him he’d look good in the shirt he
liked and took off at a quick walk back toward casual clothes as the clerk
began to sort and fold the mountain clothing that had been dumped before
him. Dom turned to help, and she started pulling off hangers and
separating things. She was
just folding a shirt so the tag was accessible for ringing when a hand ran
up over her shoulder. Smiling,
Dom spun around, thinking Seamus had gotten back awfully fast, only to
find herself looking at Philip Kensington.
“Oh, Philip!” she managed to say, having to do a mental
“Dominique, what a pleasure!” Kensington purred at her with a
Hollywood smile as he lifted one of her hands to his lips.
“And who is the lucky man that has you shopping for him?”
“Hands off my girlfriend, rich boy,” came Seamus’ annoyed
voice from behind him. Philip
released her hand as he half turned. Seamus moved past him, tossed the things he was holding onto
the pile, then quickly put a possessive arm around Dom and pulled her
close next to him.
Dom glanced between Seamus’ glare and Kensington’s surprised
face, wondering when they had met. “I
guess introductions aren’t necessary,” Dom said, thinking someone
ought to say something.
Philip seemed to have reorganized his thoughts and a smile came
back to his face. “I
didn’t realize that you were seeing anyone, Dominique.
What a lucky man you are, Seamus,” he said, taking a step back.
Dom felt her eyes narrow of their own volition.
What was going on? How
did Seamus and Philip know each other?
Why did Philip suddenly have his game face on?
“Yeah, aren’t I?” Seamus asked in return and Dom got pulled a
little closer. Dom looked up
at him and Seamus looked like he was ready to get into a fight.
He felt threatened? She
had told him that she had absolutely no interest in dating Philip and that
had been when Seamus was still staying at her place, before they were
dating. Why would he think
things had changed?
“And it seems we’re destined to keep meeting, Seamus,” Philip
continued as if he didn’t notice Seamus’ expression or body language.
“You never did say what sort of engineering you specialize in the
Dom felt dread build in her, suddenly realizing at least in part
what was going on. Oh, no!
This was a whole new level of bad!
“Philip, it was nice to see you, but Seamus and I have a lot to
get done,” she said quickly, thinking that she needed Philip to go
before things got ugly. Seamus plainly did not like
Philip or his recruiting practices and he did not have Ro’s
“Are the clothes for you, Seamus?
Please, allow me!” Philip said, starting to reach back for his
wallet. No, no, no was all
Dom could think as she barely stopped herself from clapping a hand over
her face. If Philip did pay
for the clothing, Seamus would never wear any of it on principle!
“Keep your money,” Seamus growled, starting to pull his arm
from around Dom. She caught
his wrist and pulled his arm back around her waist.
Seamus did not need his hands free at the moment despite the frustrated look he
shot at her.
“Thank you, Philip, but we’re fine.
See you around, okay?” Dom said, hoping that he would take the
rather pointed hint.
Philip looked disappointed, but Dom knew he’d get over it.
“If you’re sure I can’t...” he started.
“You can’t,” Seamus snapped, tensing, but Dom squeezed the
hand she still had a grip on, distracting him and keeping him from saying
“Then we’ll have to have dinner together sometime.
How does flying to Paris for the weekend sound?” Philip asked.
Why didn’t he ever give up easily, Dom sighed to herself.
“Like it’s not happening,” Seamus replied tugging against
“Good bye, Philip,” Dom said, trying to sound pleasant despite
the fact that she was tightening her grasp against Seamus’ insistent
pulling. She was sure the
only reason she still had him in hand was that he didn’t want to hurt
her by yanking himself free. Seamus
got major good boyfriend points for showing that consideration, especially
since he was angry with Phillip at the moment.
Now she just had to get rid of Philip so she could reward Seamus,
but Philip just wasn’t leaving. “Maybe
we’ll see you at the Institute,” Dom said, beginning to think he’d
“Count on it,” Philip said, then finally left smiling.
Dom finally let go of Seamus and let out a deep sigh, saying,
“Philip, Philip, Philip,” under her breath, then turned back to the
checkout counter. The clerk
was giving her an odd look as he continued to ring and fold, but she
couldn’t really blame him. A
glance at Seamus found him doing a slow burn as he glared at Philip’s
departing back. Dom sighed
again, then decided that she was glad Seamus was easy to distract in this
instance. “You know, I think we ought to buy that tie you liked,”
she commented as she fished out her expense account card.
“Huh?” Seamus asked, sounding more baffled than angry, letting
her know she had derailed his train of thought.
“You know, the one at the kiosk earlier,” Dom reminded him,
even though she knew the Admiral would hate the tie.
Served him right for playing his silly game with Philip with Seamus
in the middle. The clerk told
her what was owed and Dom handed the card over to him.
“And we need to stop for at least one pair of shoes, as per
orders. It’s supposed to be
warm tomorrow and Sunday. Want
to get some swimming trunks and we’ll hit the beach in back of my place
tomorrow morning? I usually
don’t have someone to rub sunscreen on my back when I do that and I’d
be more than happy to reciprocate.”
Seamus started to look excited at the prospect of rubbing oil on
her back, then got a miffed expression on his face.
“Cut that out! You’re
doing it again! You’re just
saying that so I’ll forget about Kensington pawing you,” Seamus
accused, and rightfully so, because that was exactly what she was doing.
It had been a little too much to hope for that this tactic would
work as well a second time in such a short length of time.
“You probably wouldn’t even let me rub oil on you anyway,”
Seamus pouted sullenly, though his eyes wandered over her body and
unfocused a little as he seemed to imagine it, then he stirred himself
back to the moment. “I bet
ol’ Philip would just love getting you alone on a beach.
First he wanted to take you to Australia, now Paris,” he said,
looking angry all over again.
“He wanted to take you to Paris,” Dom reminded him.
A disgusted look formed on Seamus’ face and it dawned on Dom that
he probably thought that Philip intended something other than dinner.
She was not addressing Philip Kensington’s sexual orientation in
the middle of a department store. “And
you know I’m not interested in Philip at all,” she told him instead,
as she signed the charge slip. She
turned back to Seamus with two of the bags sitting on the counter and
handed them toward him, grateful that no one else was waiting to be
checked out because he was giving her a tight lipped, obstinate look.
He was also sneering a little as he looked at the bags.
Dom was determined to get him back into a good mood so that all the
clothes she’d just bought wouldn’t have bad thoughts attached to them.
She put a contemplative look on her own face and said, “You know,
I could use a new bathing suit too. I
should probably try on a few, maybe some bikinis.
I never know which one to chose.
How about I show you when I try them on and you can help me pick
one out?” The miffed,
doubting expression vanished at the word bikini.
“Hell yeah! Something I can finally get into shopping for!
Do I get to pick out ones for you to try?” Seamus asked
enthusiastically as he took the bags she was handing toward him,
forgetting about being angry and Philip entirely.
When she nodded to his question, he grinned from ear to ear.
Dom smiled as he took the rest of the bags too, then kissed her on
the cheek and told her she was the best girlfriend ever. A little swimsuit modeling was a small price to pay for
getting Seamus dressed nicely and to make up for Philip appearing out of
nowhere as he had. She was
also very glad that Seamus seemed happy with bathing suits and hadn’t
brought Victoria’s Secret back up.
He had certainly mentioned how much better the underwear in the
window would look on her than the manikins often enough after seeing them.
She would have to talk to the Admiral about what had just happened
with Philip on Monday. This
round of ‘who gets the engineer’ had better end immediately or Seamus
wouldn’t be the only person angry about it.
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