Returning to Earth for every man and woman from the Atlantis expedition had its pitfalls. Oh it had the delights – fast food, the many different flavours of Coca Cola (for two months solidly Atlantis had lived off lemon which had not been a pleasant experience for some marines and one Rodney McKay) and by far the most important, in Laura Cadman’s mind, was the return of aimlessly shopping for expensive toys.
Tagging along after her at the shopping centre, her boyfriend Doctor Carson Beckett almost wished she was more a clothes shopping woman. Almost. At least the clothes boutiques were all in neat rows, unlike the electronics and DVD stores which seemed to enjoy taunting him by being scattered everywhere a cashier could squeeze some goods into.
Up ahead, Laura suddenly froze and dissolved into transports of delight. She waved frantically at him. Repressing the urge to roll his eyes, Carson dutifully walked to her, eyes landing on the object of her delight. She exclaimed, “A camera on the front and back!”
What’s this now…
It was one of those mobile phones – or at least it looked like one. He couldn’t be sure amidst a foul lime green case, artistic diamantes and hinges. Hinges on a phone, of all things. Laura tugged on the sleeve of his new white jacket, listing a string of features on the…phone…thing.
“What model do you have?” Laura asked, hand diving into her pocket to retrieve her own.
Carson shrugged. “I don’t have one, lass.”
She stared at him incredulously. Evidently, this was one of the great travesties in the modern age of gizmos. Cadman probed disbelievingly, “You don’t have a cell phone?”
“Of course I don’t bloody have a mobile phone,” he retorted. “I’ve spent the last two years in another galaxy.”
“Not even before you went to Atlantis?”
Carson swallowed at that glint in her eyes – the glint she got when she was rigging something to blow or when she was about to persuade him into a truly regretful decision. Not that skinny dipping off the East pier had been entirely regretful, but the initial coercing into such things always made him uneasy. He tried to sound flippant as he responded, “What was the point? My apartments and labs always had landlines. I never needed a mobile phone.”
“Cell phone, Carson, cell phone,” Laura corrected a touch too loudly – a gaggle of passing teenagers giggled.
Carson shook his head adamantly. Much as he didn’t want to attract any kind of attention with a heated comeback, he felt his pride could definitely benefit from some protection. He grumbled under his breath before insisting, “No, lass, a cell is something I look at through a microscope. Being mobile means a phone that is…mobile!”
“I’m going to need to ring you when you’re out and about,” wheedled Laura. “You wouldn’t want to miss out on a date because you didn’t have a cell phone would you?”
The next phase, Carson thought wearily, threats of missing dates.
He laid a hand on her arm and gently tried to prise her attention away from the window display. She narrowed her eyes dangerously but that wasn’t the most destruction weapon she had up her sleeve. Beckett swallowed again and began resolutely, “No, you’re not going to convince me…no don’t pout, love…”
It was that same pout that resulted in the skinny dipping – and ultimately, he remembered now, being caught by the curiosity of Radek Zelenka. Carson sighed and let go of her arm. The sooner she dragged him into the store, the sooner he could find a good stiff drink to help him recover from the outing.
So barely a minute later, he followed her into the store like a man walking into the beam of a Wraith dart. Laura flounced up to the dealer behind the counter and announced, “My boyfriend wants a cell phone.”
The only response from the bored sales person was to wave vaguely at the nearest wall, covered with the latest models. She grinned and explained patiently to Beckett, “You have to get the one with the coloured screen and the camera.”
“Why’s that, love?” he asked, trying to smother a resigned sigh.
“So you can take pictures.”
“If I wanted to take pictures, I’d buy a bloody camera.”
Laura frowned momentarily, but her grin soon returned in full force. She sauntered over to him and slid one arm around him, leaning in and rejoining in a murmur, “And so I can send you pictures. You know…” she practically purred at this point, “…secret pictures.”
Carson couldn’t think of any suitable response. His face suddenly felt very hot and he suffered momentary embarrassment as he imagined briefly what would happen if anyone stole the blasted phone and saw such pictures on it. Cadman, sensing her victory, went for the kill. She dropped a kiss on his neck and whispered, “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”
“Aye…” he managed dazedly.
Laura drew back and waved over at the counter, “Hey! My boyfriend will have this one.”
Her spell was instantly broken. Carson blinked a few times and groaned. That bloody thing had to be expensive.
Outside in the car park, Laura cheerfully explored the features on her boyfriend’s new purchase. It was all Carson could do to keep from throwing the thing in the nearest bin. He searched his pockets for his car keys despondently, wondering what he was supposed to do with a phone that had more games than contact numbers.
“Look!” exclaimed Laura, just as the small lens on the back of the camera flashed.
She turned it around to show him the snapshot. Mouth open, eyes shut – not exactly the best photo. Couldn’t she at least have warned him when she was taking a photo? She said lightly, “You know the wind could change and that scowl could freeze on your face.”
Carson’s smile was not entirely reluctant. It was a mere ten seconds before he was coerced by that pout into posing for a photo with her. Laura happily showed him the improved shot. He admitted, “That’s lovely.”
“I can make it the background for the phone,” she told him.
“Yep. Watch this. You’ll need to remember how to do this.”
Carson didn’t really hear the last sentence. She’d just leaned into him and, God, she smelled good. Right now he wanted nothing more than allow her to come through with the playing she’d begun in the store. He snapped out of his daze when Laura teased, “Now was that so hard?”
“I suppose there are some uses of having a mobile phone.”
“Cell phone, Carson.” Laura rolled her eyes. “I won’t let you kiss me again until you say it right.”
She wasn’t letting the subject go, but then that was no real surprise by now. Beckett demanded, “What’s my mum going to say if I start chatting away like an American?”
“She’ll have to get used to it some time. I am going to meet her, aren’t I?”
“You’ll be wanting that kiss then, lass.”
Carson lifted her chin and drew her into a deep kiss.