Index > Earth
Earth Sweet Home
Copyright © 2001 David E. Rutan
Kenderra sat across from Spencer in the diner. The plate before her was empty of the asparagus pasta dish she'd managed to choke down. "I still can't figure out why you insisted on eating here instead of the 'PALMDALE HOUSE' down the street."
Spencer smiled, chewing the last of his food. He took a drink and said, "Just because I offered to pay for the meal doesn't mean I'm taking you to the most expensive place. I've often found that high-faluting restaurant food is tasteless."
"Tasteless would be ideal, I think," she said, glancing at the clock. "It's getting late. Shouldn't we get back to Sacramento?"
Spencer put down his glass and shook his head. "There's no way I'm going all the way up there tonight. We'll find somewhere in Palmdale to stay.
"Alright," she said. Kenderra dreaded being away from her own comfortable apartment, but perhaps this was an opportunity to seduce him to her way of thinking.
"No vacancies?" Spencer said. Kenderra stood next to him in the small motel office. They'd walked the entire town looking for lodgings and, it seemed were still out of luck.
The old woman behind the counter shook her head. "You should have booked ahead," she said. "The conventions have booked everything from here to Roswell." She waved an arm and let out a dry laugh.
"What convention?" said Kenderra.
The woman's eyes widened. "Take your pick. UFO geeks, Trekkies, Esperantists--they're all in L.A. this week."
"Do you know of any place that isn't full?" said Spencer.
The woman looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well, my nephew's place might have a room. It's right across the street."
"Thank you," said Spencer.
Kenderra turned and opened the door to the street. They stood next to each other and looked across at a sign that read: 'JUAN'S BAR AND GRILL.' Together they crossed and entered the building.
It was dimly lit inside, but Kenderra could tell the clientele were lower class. She heard a wolf-whistle and turned to see a young scruff leering at her legs. She felt flattered and threatened at the same time, but before she had time to respond to it Spencer pulled her gently away by the arm.
"Stay away from those types," he whispered in Kopanset.
"Think I can't take care of myself Spencer?"
"I just want to avoid starting anything around here."
The man who was looking at her yelled, "Hey gorgeous, don't let him drag you around. Come and sit next to me."
She ignored him and leaned close to Spencer's ear. "You need to find the bartender to find out about the room."
"I know. Just give me a chance."
"Calm down." she put a hand on his arm. "You just looked lost for a minute."
"I hate the way these Earthers act," he said. "It's disrespectful."
"What? Do you mean the whistler?" Was it making him jealous? Maybe she was getting to him after all.
Spencer walked up to the bar and addressed the man wearing a white apron. "Excuse me, Sir, I'm interested in a room for the night."
Juan, as the embroidered name on his apron read, looked them over and winked. "I guess you would with a catch like that," he whispered. Kenderra watched Spencer's face. He frowned a tiny bit and said, "It's not like that. We're tired and everything's booked."
"Got it," Juan said with another wink. Just a minute I'll take you up."
Kenderra wanted to laugh as she watched Spencer. He was still so--Koplushian. It was comical. All this time he'd spent on Earth and he refused to blend in.
"We'd be more convincing if we had more luggage than my fresh underclothes. She held up the plastic bag containing a purchase she'd made during their search for accommodations. A giggle escaped her at Spencer's expression of annoyance.
Juan returned and lifted a section of the bartop like a drawbridge to step through. He led them up a flight of dark narrow stairs to a hallway. It smelled musty and as Juan fumbled for the key to unlock the room, Kenderra heard sighs of pleasure behind one of the doors. The whole situation was amusing to her only because Spencer was showing such signs of discomfort.
Juan opened the door and held up the key. "That'll be fifty-five bucks."
Spencer glanced at her quickly, scowled slightly and produced his debit card. Juan swiped it through the scanner on the wall and handed it back. "Have fun--sleeping," he said and went down the stairs.
Kenderra walked into the room ahead of Spencer. It was very small. An air conditioner hummed loudly in the only window, and the overhead fixture was the sole source of light. She heard Spencer close the door as she turned off the air conditioner. The sounds of customers talking below them in the bar drifted up through the floor.
"Charming," she said, setting her bag and purse on the tiny shelf along the far wall.
Spencer shrugged. "It beats sleeping on the street."
"I can't believe this is the only place in town. We should have gone elsewhere."
"I'm tired of traveling," said Spencer, "and I just want to sleep. Tomorrow we'll get the ship away from the Air Force and then I'll decide what to do with it."
Kenderra looked around the room. "Okay, where's the bed?"
Spencer looked thoughtful and stepped to the side wall. He parted a curtain, sighed, and reached up. Kenderra heard the squeal of a spring as he pulled the bed down from the wall.
"I don't believe it," she said. The bed took up all the floor space in the room save for a narrow aisle around the edges and a foot by the door.
Spencer stood frowning.
"What's wrong?" she said.
He shrugged and sighed, "I was going to sleep on the floor, but there isn't any left."
Kenderra's glance shot to the door as loud voices passed by outside. There was muffled conversation and laughter. Then a door closed and the voices lowered considerably. Kenderra noticed Spencer was also looking at the entrance to the room. When he turned back to her, she whispered, "There's no need for that, Spencer. We know each other. Why don't we share the bed?" It wasn't as though they'd never paired up before.
He shook his head with pursed lips. "It wouldn't be the proper thing to do."
Her eyes shot upwards. "I wish you wouldn't shove those Koplushian mores in my face. We're on Earth now. We're tired and alone. There's no reason we can't sleep in the same bed for one night."
Spencer raised his voice. "In case you forgot, I'm married."
Kenderra shrugged. Like an Earth woman should mean anything. "I wasn't suggesting an orgy Spencer--were you?" She smiled, but his face remained impassive.
"I'm so tired I don't care anymore. You sleep under the covers and I'll sleep on top of them."
She exhaled a tiny laugh. It must get tiring to be so noble. She walked to the window side of the bed and turned down the covers. Then she removed her blazer, folded it and placed it on the shelf. Next she unbuttoned her blouse and pulled it out of her pants.
"What are you doing?" Spencer said. He sounded shocked. "I'm getting ready for bed. You don't think I'm sleeping in my clothes do you?" Kenderra turned to look at him and saw his back facing her. She couldn't help but laugh. After putting the neatly folded blouse on the shelf she reached for the clasp of her bra.
"Can you help me with this thing?"
"No!" he said. "Deal with it yourself."
The clasp finally came free. "Relax, will you? Nobody's watching us here."
Spencer stood his ground, saying, "Let me know when you're under cover."
She couldn't understand what would make a man so unbreakable. After the rest of her clothes were on the shelf, she slid between the clean sheets and bunched the flat sand bag of a pillow under her neck. "Okay, Brother Spence. It's all clear."
"Why do you call me that?"
She rolled onto her side to look at him. "You know. Monks... Brothers... Celibacy. Sometimes I can't believe you've been here on Earth a year longer than me."
Spencer sighed. With his back still facing her, he removed his suit jacket and hung it on the door knob. His tie joined it. When the light was turned out and he moved to lay down, Kenderra ripped the covers off the bed, exposing herself completely. If this didn't loosen him up, nothing would.
She didn't expect what happened next. Spencer slowly sat down next to her on the bed. She anticipated a gentle touch. Instead, he put his hand on her jaw and used the firm grip to turn her head to look directly at him.
Spencer brought his face very close to hers. She could feel his breath on her cheeks. "Listen to me," His voice was a hoarse whisper. "I'm sick to death of your games, so stop it. I don't have any feelings for you and I don't want to... pair up. Understood?"
His hand left her jaw, but the feeling of pressure remained. "I understand...," she whispered, rubbing her cheek, "and I'm sorry." Spencer didn't answer. Instead, he stood up, pulled the sheet up to her neck and then lay on his side with his back to her. A minute later, he turned onto his back and moved his leg.
"Where are you going?"
"Nowhere," he grumbled. "I'm trying to sleep."
"You just put one foot on the floor."
Spencer sighed and whispered, "It's something I heard once."
Kenderra turned away from him, onto her side. It was obvious she had no effect on him anymore. Earth must have ruined her looks and she hadn't noticed. Tomorrow they would liberate her ship and she would escape this place. The Alliance is where she wanted to be, and with Spencer returned to the authorities, her reward was assured.
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