To recap, Duncan and Methos have a bet that Methos can get Triona to forgive him before the day ends. At stake are two fine bottles of single malt scotch, not to mention Methos' connubial bliss.
Part One of Just Desserts is here.
The three prior installments: Amongst the Stars, Make That Two Bottles, and To the Victor Go the Spoils.
“I don’t know what you’re waiting for, Jacob! You’ve known Arianna for nearly a century; when are you going to ask her to marry you?” Triona stood on top of the small power substation, looking down at the man who had been handing her tools from below.
“The timing hasn’t been right,” he protested. “I want to offer her something before I ask.”
“She doesn’t want things, Jacob, she wants you,” she replied firmly. “Her ship will be here in a few weeks. What better way to start your lives here? I could even marry you,” she added brightly. “Being a ship’s captain has some very cool prerogatives!”
Jacob just laughed, taking the wrench she handed down to him.
“Run very far and very fast, Tanimura,” Methos’ voice said from behind them. “Once a woman gets marriage on her mind there’s no escape! And my wife can be very persistent.” He came around the building, looking up at Triona with a smirk.
“Ignore him, Jacob.”
“You know I’m right!” He held up his arms, and she allowed him to lift her from her perch. Setting her on her feet, he added, “Like a dog with a bone; a very small dog.”
Triona rolled her eyes, but didn’t immediately pull from the light hold of Methos’ hands on her hips. “You should know by now that small dogs can bite,” she pointed out.
“Oh, I hope so,” he said softly, a wicked gleam in his eyes.
Jacob smothered a laugh and Triona shot him a look that only worked to make him laugh outright. “Fine.” This time she did pull from Methos’ grasp, but he was pleased to see she didn’t seem quite as ticked off with him as she had been at breakfast. “You two have your fun, but just remember it wasn’t me who wanted to get married, Mr. Sixty-eight Wives!”
“Sixty-eight?” Jacob repeated the number in disbelief.
“Sixty-nine actually, if you count her.” Methos pointed his finger at Triona. “And I needed the practice with the first sixty-eight to deal with her, so you see it all worked out rather well.”
The other man snickered, unfazed by Triona’s glare. “So you didn’t want to get married?” he asked her, curious.
She shook her head. “It wasn’t about not wanting to, it was just—“
“Redundant,” Methos interrupted. “I believe your exact words in response to my proposal were, and I quote: ‘Isn't it, I don't know, a little… redundant?’. I was wounded!” he declared dramatically. “Wounded to the core!”
“Oh for god’s sake, are you ever going to let me forget that?”
Methos was grinning broadly. “Nope.”
“Thanks very much! After this, Jacob will never propose,” she said in exasperation.
“Actually, it gives me hope,” Jacob unexpectedly replied.
“It does?” the other two Immortals asked in unison.
“Yeah. I mean, how bad can Arianna’s answer be compared to that?”
Methos exploded with laughter, and seemed unable to stop. Finally, gasping for breath, he got out, “That’s the spirit, Tanimura!”
Triona had given up, sitting down on a pallet of cable while she waited for the two men to get it out of their systems. Methos knew he wasn’t really making much headway with the goal of winning his bet with Duncan, but teasing her was just irresistible, especially with a receptive audience.
He sat down next to her and Jacob seemed to decide it was time to take his leave.
“I need to check out the sensor grid,” he told them with one last laugh, shaking his head as he walked away.
“Was there an actual reason for you to be here?” She crossed her arms, looking up at him at him with a quirk of a brow.
“Indeed there is!” He pulled a small datapad from his jacket pocket and held it out to her. “These are the final readings from the clinic. I wanted you to check them out and see if we’re ready to switch from the generator to primary power.”
Nodding, she took it from him. Soon, she was intently studying the data, absently toying with a strand of hair that lay against her neck. As he looked down at the line of her throat, the curve of her shoulder, Methos resisted the urge to pull the pins from her hair, letting it loose from the knot it was constrained in. It was something he loved to do, but wasn’t sure that her usual reaction of fond exasperation would be the one he’d get today.
The hand that was toying with the hair slid up, covering the pins protectively, then she looked up at him, searching his eyes. He just smiled in return, shoving his hands deep into his pockets and she shook her head, lips twitching. “Everything looks fine,” she told him, handing back the datapad.
“That’s good news.”
“Mmm-hmm -- I wouldn’t want you to get blown up after all.”
“No?” She shook her head. “I’m very glad to hear it.”
“An explosion would be so common,” she explained. “I prefer something more… subtle.”
“I’ve always been a fan of subtle.” His voice caught a little as her hand ran across the inside of his thigh.
“Have you?” Her voice took on a smoky tone that left his throat suddenly very dry.
“Oh yes.” Those two words skimmed across her lips, melding with her sigh as he drew her closer. But their kiss was interrupted by the familiar mental jangle of another Immortal's approach.
Methos growled at the intrusion, and he felt Triona’s smile against his lips. Privacy and time had been in short supply since they’d landed a little more than a week ago. This newest interruption just added to the frustration he’d felt since the morning’s thwarted encounter and everything that followed.
“Something wrong, dearest?” she asked facetiously.
“What do you think?” She just giggled in response. Sighing explosively, he rubbed at his eyes. No, this was definitely not his day. Make that year, he thought in disgust as a very familiar voice called out.
“We’re here to rescue you, Trie,” Duncan said as he and his cousin Connor walked towards them. “And just in the nick of time too,” he added, smiling smugly. Methos glared in response.
“He doesn’t seem very pleased to see us,” Connor observed.
“No, he doesn’t,” Duncan agreed. “Trie, I’m here to take you to dinner, as promised.”
“Bugger off, MacLeod! In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the middle of something,” Methos snapped, standing. This was really too much. Bloody interfering Boy Scout!
“I could see that. All the more reason to make sure you don’t take advantage of her good nature,” Duncan declared.
“Her good nature? When has my wife ever done anything she didn’t want to? I’ve told you before, and I’ll tell you once more, she doesn’t need rescuing! Get that through your thick Scottish skull!”
“Hit a nerve, did I?” He bounced on the balls of his feet, rubbing his hands together. “Now, if you don’t mind?” He turned his attention back to Triona, but she was no longer sitting on the pallet. During the two men’s verbal fisticuffs, she’d moved to stand in front of Connor.
She leaned against the older man, with a smile that made Methos very nervous. “I’m sorry; Duncan, Methos, but I have a prior engagement.” The smile widened. “You see, darling, I realized you were right, I do need more rest, so I asked Connor to help. He’s set up a very nice little room at the power station for me. That way, I’m right there and can get much more sleep.” She looked up at Connor. “Isn’t that right?”
“Absolutely!” Connor agreed heartily.
Nodding, she continued, “And since you always complain I steal all the covers, you’ll get more rest having the cabin all to yourself! See how well it all works out? And after – how long was it, Connor? – six days, Connor and I will have all the winnings of your little wager to divvy up between the two of us.”
Methos slumped, and Duncan looked like he’d been hit by a truck. “She knows,” he mumbled.
“Of course she bloody knows!” Methos rapped out. “And he told her.” He stuck his chin in Connor’s direction. “This is all your fault, Mac. You had to tell him, couldn’t keep your mouth shut,” he griped.
“I really am disappointed in you, Duncan,” she tsked sadly. “I would expect something like this from Methos, but you?”
“But—“ Duncan began.
“It was his idea,” Methos interrupted. “I just got caught up in the moment.”
“That’s what Connor told me before breakfast. You know, you think you know people.”
“Told you so,” Methos told Duncan smugly. “Boy Scouts have more to lose.” Then he turned his attention to Triona. “And you, you’ve been playing me all bloody day! I never suspected a thing!”
“I know. Aren’t you proud of me?” she asked with a smirk of her own.
Methos covered the distance between them, pulling her into his arms and kissing her hard. “Yes.”
“And are you sorry?”
“For the bet? Yes, I am.”
“Hmmm… just as I thought.” She pursed her lips in disapproval. “I guess we’ll have to discuss that next week.”
“After Connor’s won his bet with Duncan, of course.”
“After…?” Now it was Methos’ turn to look like he’d been hit by a truck. “You aren’t seriously going through with this?”
Reaching up, she kissed him on the cheek. “You know what they say about making your bed, my love.”
“Gentlemen,” Connor nodded at them, before putting out his arm for Triona. “Your palace awaits, milady!”
“Why thank you, kind sir!” she dropped a curtsey, taking the proffered arm. “Sleep well,” she called out merrily as she and Connor walked away.
This was all MacLeod's fault. If he hadn't gotten Connor involved, Methos would be making up for this morning right now. "I hope you're happy with yourself," Methos said in disgust.
"Methos—“ Duncan began.
"No!" he sliced at the air with his hand. "I do not want to hear it!"
Methos waved him to silence. "No apologies or protestations of goodwill are going to make it better! Deal with it!"
"That's good then." He was obviously amused, and Methos looked at him sharply. "Because what I was going to say was, you can drop the single malt off at my place after dinner."
Thank you for reading this series through the summer!