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Behind The Scenes
by Voleuse

Date: Fri, 26 Sept 2003 15:02:23 +1000
Subject: Life Down Under

Australia is not cool, man. The new apartment is cool, and the work is sweet, and the ladies are just as gorgeous here as DC, but the cable package sucks.

How's the apartment?

- Darin

Another hour, another box.

Using the key to his new apartment, Jake slits the clear packing tape and tears open the cardboard, wondering what he'll find this time.

Towels and a random collection of books. He tosses the towels onto the couch and carries the books over to his desk. Sets them carefully next to Diane's lamp and decides to consider bookshelves later.

He turns back to the task at hand.

Every box is a surprise; it's what happens when you let a government agency pack up your entire life when you're not paying attention.

Not to mention his roommate.

He'd like to know how they explained that to Darin. The NSA can be abrupt at times, but they don't usually pack techies off to new continents without so much as a moment's breath. The entire thing screams of special circumstances, but Jake finds it all hard enough to believe himself.

They probably fed Darin some official-sounding excuse about needing his skills elsewhere. They were pretty low on the totem pole, but even the lowliest tech has some security clearance, and Darin wasn't half-bad at his job to begin with.

At interpersonal communication, Jake admits to himself, Darin wasn't a pro, but the government hasn't yet made "suave" part of the job description. Techs don't have to be James Bond.

Then, he remembers. He's not a tech anymore.

And he begins to worry about his score on the suave scale.

Maybe he'll ask Diane when he sees her tomorrow. She's probably a good judge of that sort of thing.

He turns back to the boxes and bets himself the next one will be kitchen appliances.

He slits open the tape, tears back the cardboard.

CDs and tennis shoes.

Date: Sun 28 Sept 2003 03:15:32 -0500
Subject: re: Life Down Under

> How's the apartment?

Funny story, actually. I've kind of moved to a new place. You know, rent. My new place is above some shops, and it always smells like sandwiches. It's weird, but I've gotten used to it, aside from always being hungry now. The sandwiches aren't half-bad, at least.

I sort of got a promotion, too, but if I told you I'd have to kill you. You know the drill.

What's your new job? Have you met anyone named Sheila yet?

- Jake

Jake debates using cinderblocks and planks for a couple of days, but when he gets his new, upgraded paycheck, he decides to splurge on IKEA. It might make the place look classier, and he thinks they match his new lamp, kind of.

He thinks about asking Sarah to tag along on the shopping trip, but he doesn't know how he'd explain...anything, really.

Instead, he takes the fall catalog to work and asks Diane what she thinks. Luckily, the one she likes the most is the one he likes the most, so he finagles a company car and drives down to Baltimore over the weekend.

He buys an "as-is" model, mostly to quiet the nagging voice of Top Ramen in his head. (That's a month he's never fully recovered from, psychologically speaking.) He spends the afternoon putting the thing together, and finishes by propping up one end with a cinderblock.

When he sees Diane on Monday morning, she asks how the bookshelf expedition went.

He invites her over to a Seagal-fest so she can see for herself, because really, who actually pays attention to those movies anyway?

Date: Wed 01 Oct 2003 09:43:17 +1000
Subject: You what?

Congratulations on the promotion, man. Seriously, though, how could they promote you? Did that jackass Parker finally get fired?

The sheilas down here aren't bad, but they're not so impressed with the NSA deal, which sucks. Plenty of honey anyway, but you know how it is.

The job's pretty much the same as before, except with an office and a couple of kids to train. The perks are pretty good--they set me up in a sweet apartment, and HR's letting me pick out my vacation time. Maybe I'll come back and visit the new apartment, make sure you're keeping in line.

- Darin

Stocking the fridge is actually the hard part. He keeps buying food for two people, and beer enough for two. He buys milk because Darin eats cereal for breakfast, and it spoils because he's lactose-intolerant.

With his new dietary requirements, he realizes that he should probably buy vegetables, but it seems ridiculous to start making salad for one.

He mentions it to Diane one morning during his daily physical, and she mutters something about liking salad, so he invites her over for dinner that night.

He spends his lunch break browsing the aisles of an organic food market, and dashes home to refrigerate two heads of romaine lettuce, a package of cherry tomatoes, and some surprisingly-not-bad goat cheese.

Back at work, he passes Diane in the hallway. She asks if he wants her to bring dessert.

She arrives at his door twenty minutes early, with two pints of Ben & Jerry's and the best of Adam Sandler.

She gets there three minutes before the pizza arrives, and Jake is forced to confess that he was so focused on the salad that he forgot to make the actual dinner.

They kick back on the couch, Big Daddy playing as background while Jake tells Diane how he and Darin met. They dive into the ice cream first, because it might melt. Then, the pizza and the beer.

The salad sits forgotten on the kitchen counter for an hour and a half.

Date: Fri 03 Oct 2003 10:20:17 -0500
Subject: re: You what?

> Did that jackass Parker finally get fired?

Something like that.

- Jake