“Locked in? How is that possible? The swinging doors don’t lock?” he looked at his daughter doubtfully, before striding over to the doors and struggling to push and pull it open. “Well what do you know? The backdoor too?”
Michael answered from where he was on the couch,, “Jose locked it when he left, I was going to head out from the front, I was going to meet some friends from Meta-Chem.”
“And the upstairs door was locked as well,” Jeff said aloud. Their story was so unbelievable it had to be true. Especially since it was already evident that the doors had indeed been locked, or at least had gotten stuck somehow. “And you didn’t have your keys Lizzie?”
“No, I left them upstairs. I rarely have them with me when I’m working,” she smiled at him innocently.
Michael stood up and walked towards his locker to grab the shirt he’d abandoned there the night before. He pulled it over his head and noticed Liz’s frilly black lace underwear peaking out from beneath the couch. He hadn’t given much thought to where they tossed things the night before, and resisting the urge to fling himself to the ground in a stellar tackle, he nonchalantly walked back to the couch and carefully took a seat, making sure to kick the lingerie back into the dusty floor beneath the couch.
“I hope you know, sir, that I would never disrespect your daughter, especially not in your own home,” Michael said humbly.
Jeff nodded in acceptance. Granted the situation seemed a little strange, but he knew that Michael was a good kid at heart, and he was sure that his little girl was safe with him. “Michael, I think I’ll need your help to pry these doors open, if you don’t mind going upstairs and getting the crowbar I keep in the toolbox in the laundry room I’d greatly appreciate it.”
“No problem, sir,” Michael said as he took the stairs two at a time.
Liz smiled at her father and said, “I hope I didn’t worry you or Mom last night. We tried calling out but you didn’t hear us.”
“I wish I knew what happened. I’m sorry you got stuck down here. You should go up and take a shower and change. I’ll get these doors open with Michael and make you two some breakfast.”
Liz nodded and walked up the stairs. Stopping a moment at the top of the stairs as she watched her father grumble and fiddle with the doors. She felt really bad about manipulating him the way she had, but she knew that it was the only way she’d ever be allowed to see Michael again. She just hoped her father didn’t decide to do a sweep of the break room, because she was pretty sure that what Michael kicked back behind the couch had been her underwear. And she wasn’t quite sure she’d manage to explain having taken them off.
Jeff and Michael struggled with the doors a while before Michael used his powers to open them. As they walked into the kitchen, Jeff loped his arm around Michael’s shoulders and said, “You know as a parent I often find myself walking a thin line of wanting to know exactly what my daughter is up to, and not wanting to know anything at all. You were stuck I give you that, but rather conveniently so. I know you love my daughter, which is why you kicked her underwear up behind the sofa. That you protect her is only one of the reasons I think you’re a good kid, and worthy of her. Now, I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that, and I’m not going to dwell on it. What I am going to do is threaten to beat you within an inch of your life if you ever do wrong by my baby girl, and then ask you to forget we ever had this conversation. Understood?”
“Yes sir,” Michael answered too dumbstruck to even pretend to misunderstand. He admired Jeff for laying it on the line like that. But really amazed him most was knowing that Jeff Parker thought that he, Michael Guerin, was worthy of his daughter.
Jeff nodded at Michael and set about preparing breakfast wordlessly inviting Michael to join them by setting four places on the counter. Michael felt his heart leap, not only was he worthy of Liz, he was being treated like one of the family. Silently he vowed he’d never give Jeff Parker a moment to regret his faith in him.
The next few weeks passed with dizzying activity. Isabel had been on a wedding planner kick that was driving the entire group crazy. Michael and Liz had barely any time to be alone together. In fact, with Max gone to California to find leads, Maria reconnecting with her old boyfriend, Billy, Isabel involved with some wedding hijinks or crying on Kyle’s shoulder, and Kyle alternately moping over Isabel or comforting her, you’d have thought they’d have figured out how to spend time together. And Liz was getting mad. More than mad, she was just plain annoyed. Michael Guerin better be prepared to satisfy her, or he had a shock coming. Unfortunately, when she got to his place he wasn’t there.
But Elizabeth Parker was unfazed. She knew what she wanted and no one was going to stop her from getting it.
Michael sniggered as Monk did his Arnold impersonation. This time it was Terminator II: Judgment Day. After sitting with Monk for two hours staring at a black and white monitor, Michael was sure he knew what the true meaning of torture was. Then he sighed, thinking that really torture was never finding a moment to be alone with Liz since the night in the break room. He wanted to know if she felt the same way he did. Because that night had sealed just how irrevocably in love with Liz Parker he was.
“The boy’s in love,” commented Fly as he walked into the room.
“No kidding. His sighs could provide the air conditioning for the entire complex.”
“Guys, knock it off,” Michael said defeatedly. He knew that once they started there was no stopping them.
“So you finally make some progress with Liz?” asked Fly.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh man, is he grouchy. He hasn’t been spending much time with his lady love,” Monk said, “That’s why he’s so crabby.”
“Guerin is always crabby,” Steve interjected as he walked in.
“Ah but he’s even crabbier when he’s mooning over Liz.”
“Makes sense,” Fly settled into the chair next to Michael’s.
Michael looked at them over his shoulder and shrugged, “How ‘bout Arnold in True Lies?” he asked Monk, who promptly set about giving them his best impersonation. Michael leaned back in his chair and thought of Liz and what he’d do when he had her all to himself.