The Land Is Not As Bad As You Think
by Enthusiastic Fish
It had been a very long, hot summer...followed by a long, humid...milder season. It couldn’t really be called winter. Now, it was headed for summer again. It was time for an escape. He was ready for it.
He sat down in his air-conditioned apartment and pulled out his phone. He dialed.
“Hello, you’ve reached Agent McGee. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
“Hey, Tim. That is the most professional message I’ve ever heard. It’s Tony. I think it’s time for that road trip we talked about. It’ll give me the strength to face another Bahrain summer. Let me know.”
He hung up and sat back, enjoying the cool air. The heat and humidity was terrible.
“Why would anyone want to live here?” he asked the walls. His team seemed okay with it, but he sure didn’t like it. He tried not to reveal that at work, but his walls kept his secrets.
This was the perfect time to watch a movie. He had made a point of getting out and seeing the area, but sometimes, in the evenings it was nice to just sit and watch a piece of Americana. In this case, it was the The Magnificent Seven. A quintessential Western, even if it was an adaptation of Seven Samurai. It sure worked set in the Old West. And nothing could beat that theme song. Tony wasn’t a big horse guy, but this song had always made him feel like he should become a cowboy. It was like someone had taken a cowboy riding through the countryside and turned it into music. He knew there was a remake, but he wasn’t sure he could handle it. How could it possibly hold a candle to Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and the rest of them? It couldn’t. That was that.
He grabbed some leftovers for dinner and ate while watching the movie. It was such a great one. Perfect for the end of the day.
Just as the closing credits started to roll, his phone rang. He checked who it was and smiled.
“Are you still thinking Alaska?”
“Yes. Absolutely. I need the complete opposite of here.”
“I’d think Antarctica would be more appropriate. Less humidity. One of the driest places on Earth and it’s really cold.”
“Ha. No way. That’d be too expensive.”
“Yeah. I could use a vacation, to be honest. I haven’t had one since my honeymoon.”
“Not one? Come on, Probie. You gotta do better than that if you’re going to last as team lead. Not everyone can be Gibbs and brood in the basement to relax.”
Tim chuckled. “Minus the Gibbs comparison, that’s what Delilah tells me, too. I have the time coming. I was just waiting for the right time to use it. Delilah and I have taken a couple of days, but that’s it.”
“Then, a trip to Alaska is exactly what’s called for. How much time do you need to get ready for it?”
“I’ll have to check with the other team in the DC office to see about moving my guys around. They’re both too new to be in charge on their own.”
Tony liked hearing Tim talk with such practicality. There was none of the anxiety that had kept him from accepting the position before.
“Let’s see... about a month from now? That’ll give me time to make sure everything is set. It’ll give you time to get a good flight without having to pay through the nose for it. And we can think about what part of Alaska we’re going to see. There’s no way to see the whole thing. I read once that it would take a full year to see every part of Alaska if you drove past a million acres a day. So we’ll have to whittle that down just a bit.”
“Yeah. A lot a bit. A month works for me. I need to make sure everything will be set out here, too.”
“When was the last time you took a vacation?”
“A long one? Your wedding, but I’ve taken days off here and there, been to some of the places around Bahrain. Heck, I took a few days and went down to Socotra, that island with the weird trees. Sounds like I’ve done much better at getting time off than you.”
“That doesn’t surprise me.”
“And just what do you mean by that?”
“That you’re much more likely to not work than I am,” Tim said, with a chuckle.
“Very funny. You want to plan on me flying over to DC and then we go from there?”
“Yeah. That’ll be easier than just trying to meet up in Alaska.”
“But remember that this is a road trip. Just because I’m letting us fly out to Alaska doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be driving.”
“I know that. We’ll just have to rent a car.”
“Good. Keep that straight, McGee. It’s a road trip.”
“You keep saying that like you think I’ve got short-term memory loss. I know it’s a road trip. You don’t need to keep reminding me. What you need to do is figure out what part of Alaska we’re going to see because we can’t see even a fraction of it in the time we’ll have.”
“How much time?”
“No more than a week, plus a day or two to get there and back.”
“That’s it? Come on!”
“Tony, if I use all my vacation days on a road trip, Delilah may never forgive me.”
Tony laughed. “Well, if you put it that way, I guess I’ll have to accept it.”
“Good. Let me know when you get your flight out here and we can get our flight to Alaska arranged.”
“Okay. Will do.”
“Don’t have to keep saying that, you know,” Tony said. “It’s been a long time.”
“Not long enough and it’ll never be enough to adequately say it.”
“Once was enough,” Tony said.
They both hung up and Tony leaned back against his couch. It was true. Tim didn’t need to keep thanking Tony for helping him out after the whole Dearing debacle. The number of expressions of gratitude had faded as time went on, but Tim still said it. More than he should. But at the same time, Tony rather appreciated knowing that Tim was still grateful. If nothing else, his problems had actually helped them become much better friends.
Would this road trip buck the trend and just be about fun? Tony doubted it. He had his own thoughts that had begun to push for more attention. Whether Tim had something going on in his life or not, Tony definitely was planning on the road trip being a part of the solution.
That being said, it was time to get himself going on requesting the leave and making sure everything would be ready for when he left.
Tim hung up and sat back, tossing his phone onto the couch beside him and then stretching his long legs to their fullest extent. He knew that Tony had been working today, even though it was his weekend. It was nice to have their work weeks a bit off of each other’s . Then, with the time difference, there were days that it was easy to get a hold of each other.
Tim looked over and smiled.
“He’s ready for the road trip. Probably in a month, if I can swing it.”
“You can. You just haven’t,” Delilah said. “You know that you can do it.”
Suddenly, he was a little worried.
“Do you mind that I’m doing this? Using some of my vacation days to go on a trip with Tony, not you?”
Delilah chuckled. “If you were to tell me that you’re running off with Tony, then, yes, I’d mind. As it is, I don’t mind at all. I just want you to get some time to relax. We can still take a few days later on. I’d rather have you over Christmas, anyway.”
She rolled over to him and kissed him. Tim leaned into the kiss and then pulled back.
“I already have my name down for Christmas off this year.”
“Good. Are you ready for another week?”
“Are you?” Tim asked, grinning.
“I’m always ready,” Delilah said. “But you sometimes aren’t.”
It was far too true, Tim knew. He had some bad days, still. He’d had a few, especially when he’d just been promoted, days when he was sure he was only going to get his team killed. It was great to have Delilah there to talk him out of that negative mindset, and as he’d had the position for more time, those bad days had diminished in frequency and intensity.
“I feel ready.”
“Good. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. How about an early dinner?”
“That sounds great.”
Tim got up and they went into the kitchen together.
Tony and Tim are taking another road trip. This time, it's to Alaska, and they both have news to share with each other.
Categories: General > Drama
Challenges: Lucky in Love Challenge
Challenges: Lucky in Love Challenge
Series: Road Trip
The Land Is Not As Bad As You Think