04 - Time is an Illusion
Chapter 04 – Time is an Illusion
He carefully lifted a tendril of long dark hair and Jackie smiled at him. "Good morning honey….coffee? Now?"
That was when Eric fainted.
Eric woke with the wretched smell of ammonia under his nose. Two sets of green eyes were peering at him and Jackie Burkhart was wiping his face with a cool cloth. "Are you sick?"
Eric's head was still spinning – what the fuck was going on? Was he in the Twilight Zone? Slowly he rose to a sitting position and a smaller troll crawled on his lap with those bright green mocking eyes. "Umm….where am I?"
Jackie laughed, "Oh good, no concussion. Eric, you're in our bedroom. Where else would you be?"
His chest felt tight. "In my penthouse apartment?" oh, why did his voice have to go up an octave on that question?
Jackie chuckled and leaned forward, dropping a kiss at the side of his mouth. "I already made coffee so why don't you get the boys dressed and I'll start breakfast. Your sister should be here in a couple of hours."
WHAT? Eric thought he was going to pass out again. Laurie? Someone found his missing sister? Scrubbing his face with his hands, Eric paused when he noticed the gold band on his left ring finger. He was married?
Jackie called back from the kitchen. "Harry can't dress himself my dear! Ben? Honey, you want Eggo's or cereal?"
The gnome named Ben regarded Eric with a quizzical expression. "You don't feel like my daddy." He rolled off the bed and landed on pajama padded feet shouting, "Eggo's mommy!"
The littlest troll must have been Harry and there was something foul smelling coming from his…what was that? Eric dared to pulled the elastic back from the small Spiderman pajama bottoms and was rewarded with the stench of a fully loaded diaper. He threw up a little in his mouth as he rolled out of the bed.
"Uh….Jackie? I think we have a poop situation going on here." He shouted towards the kitchen.
Jackie popped her head in the bedroom door and smiled, "Oh I'm sure we do and I changed the last one so it's your turn dear. There's a new box of Pampers under the crib."
Eric glared at the little boy. "You just ruined my day."
Harry smiled back with dimpled cheeks and whispered an excited, "Dada!" He couldn't help it, but Eric smiled. This little rascal looked just like he did in old baby pictures. Two plump little arms reached up for a hug and Eric picked him up, horrible smell and all. There must be a second bedroom somewhere in this nightmare house.
Changing a diaper was more than just terrible smells and "what the hell did this kid eat?" It was also getting peed on and trying to clean up a mess you didn't' create while preventing the kid from rolling around and making a bigger problem. Eric dropped the little boy in the crib and hurried to the bathroom to disinfect his hands.
There were bottles of liquid soap shaped like Superman, tiny toothbrushes capped in plastic germ fighters and the distinct smell of Mr. Bubbles. Eric thoroughly washed his hands and leaning his weight on the sink, turned his face towards the mirror.
Where in the hell did all that hair come from? He ran his fingers through his scalp and marveled at the thick head of hair he had. Just last night he was fearing that he had inherited his dad's receding hairline and now look at that – no bald spots!
"Jackie! What's the date!"
She yelled back," Christmas Eve, you know that."
He poked his head outer of the bathroom, "I mean what year is it?"
Jackie stood framed in the kitchen doorway clad only in silky short nightgown. The outline of her hips and those bare legs made Eric swallow hard. She smiled, "its still 1989. Just like it was yesterday…and the day before. Seriously, you are too worried about the New Year's Eve party aren't you?"
With a will of it's own, Eric's hand snaked up to the top of his skull and he tugged on his full head of healthy hair. Hell, it's still 1989 and I'm NOT a baldy! At least something good came out of this nightmare. But he still had to deal with these two kids and a sexy Jackie Burkhart in a sexy nightie who thought she was his wife. But then again, he had a wedding band on his hand - explain that one Universe!
Breakfast was over and Eric was helping wash up while Jackie kept issuing shy smiles. Finally, he couldn't take the pressure of the giant ensuing burn that was building up. "What's going on?"
She shrugged a shoulder. "Nothing. It's just you hardly ever help me with the breakfast dishes. So are you okay with Laurie coming over? I mean we did promise to help wrap and hide your parents Christmas presents."
His parents? He hadn't seen his folks in such a long time it was atrocious. After he had achieved his successes, it seemed like he just drew further and further away from his old life. And sadly, it seemed like it didn't exist anymore unless he really thought about the old days in Point Place.
"Mom and dad…they're..okay?"
Jackie smiled, "Honey, they are fine. We just had dinner at their house a couple of days ago. Did you hit your head or something? You're acting a little weird."
Eric wiped his hands on a dishtowel. "You know something? I need to run into town." He looked around the cozy little kitchen and spied two sets of car keys on a coat hook. "Let me clean up and I'll be back in a couple of hours."
Ben tugged on Eric's pajama bottoms. "Daddy….are we gonna see Santa?"
Eric tried to deflect the little hand, "Hey…little guy…I have to go see a man…about…." Think Eric think! The idea just popped in his head, "I'm picking up mommy's present."
Jackie squealed excitedly and launched herself at him, "You DID get me a present! I knew you would, I mean I looked all over the house and thought maybe you had forgotten but you sweet dear man…" she peppered his face with kisses, "You are going to be so loved tonight…if you know what I mean.."
Eric did and it had been a seriously long time since he had been loved at all. Well, yeah there were those infrequent visits to the Gentleman's Club on 80th Street where the ladies catered to every whim….for a price. A lonely man could really spend some money if he wanted.
He gently hugged, as you would an alien from Mars, and set her on her feet. "I won't be gone long."
Jackie smiled and touched his cheek. "You really are a sweet man."
Eric took the fastest shower he could ever remember and dressed in some off brand designer clothes. They fit and surprisingly, looked good on him. When he was sure that Jackie was in one of the bedrooms with those children, Eric sprinted across the kitchen floor and snagged the key ring that had a Z symbol on it.
He had to smile when he spied a snow covered 280 Z car in the driveway. Must be daddy's car! There was no back seat and that meant no baby smell in the vehicle. Yay! Quickly, Eric opened the door and slid into the driver's seat. Okay, the cockpit was a little worn but it looked well loved – much like his old Vista Cruiser…he turned the ignition and the auto roared to life.
He smiled to himself. Penthouse? I'm coming home!