By Caroline Smith
A Captain Scarlet Short Story for Valentine’s Day
Melody Angel was supposed to be on duty, but an hour into her shift she had developed a really bad headache and even Dr Fawn’s medication hadn’t cured it. So she asked Symphony if she wouldn’t mind covering for her for a couple of hours. As she made her way back to her quarters to lie down she happened to pass Rhapsody’s door. She heard music coming from within the room and then Rhapsody’s crystal-clear voice rising above it.
“Well, who would have thought you were such an old romantic, Rick? I like that in a man.”
Melody stopped in her tracks. What the hell was Rick doing in Rhapsody’s quarters? She knew that nothing good ever came from eavesdropping on other people’s conversation, but since one of those people just happened to be the man she was falling in love with, she was helpless to resist. She also noticed that the door was slightly open which meant that she couldn’t resist the further temptation to peek at what was going on. What she saw made her heart sink like the Titanic. Ochre, who only three nights ago had whispered sweet endearments in her ever so willing ear, was holding Rhapsody tightly in his arms and both of them swayed to the slow romantic music.
Then she saw him move his head closer to Rhapsody’s and he murmured gently in her ear, so she had to strain to hear.
“I only hope we can keep this a secret from Magnolia, I’d hate her to find out too soon.”
“I’m sure we can, if we’re careful, we’ll just have to hope she doesn’t catch us sneaking off together,” Rhapsody replied with a giggle.
“Speaking of which, I guess we can meet again tomorrow on your off-shift. Magnolia will be in Angel One so she won’t catch us.”
“It’ll be my pleasure,” Rhapsody replied.
Melody froze to the spot. She could hardly believe her ears and eyes, and felt an overwhelming sense of shock wash over her. Dianne.... and Rick?
She pulled away quickly from the door, feeling her face flame and her heart thump against her ribcage. She couldn’t listen to any more and bolted for her own quarters. Once inside she gave vent to her emotions. Her head pounded even more than ever and she suddenly felt her whole world crash down in pieces around her.
How could he do this to me? she seethed, oscillating between anger and hurt. Okay, she had to admit, their relationship could be a bit on the bumpy side. They both had hot tempers and she was still never sure when he was being serious and when he was pulling her leg. But she had been so sure that he reciprocated her feelings for him and it wasn’t all just fun and games between them.
And Rhapsody! She was supposed to be her friend, and she was supposed to be engaged to Scarlet... That thought made her feel even worse. Scarlet adored Rhapsody, much as he tried to hide the fact from everyone. What on earth would this do to him when he found out?
Melody wasn’t one to get all soppy, but for the first time in her life she had actually been looking forward to Valentine’s Day. Nice one, Magnolia she thought, what absolutely perfect timing to find out your boyfriend is having an affair with someone else.
Melody sat in Angel One. But all she could think about was that Ochre and Rhapsody were probably smooching together again, knowing that she was trapped up here in the cockpit. She once had the notion that there was something between the two of them, a while back. But when Rhapsody and Scarlet’s relationship became common knowledge she never gave it another thought. Then, some time after that, Melody was surprised but flattered at the American’s interest in her, and for a while now, things seemed to be progressing nicely from her point of view. What a difference a few minutes could make to one’s perspective.
She continued to wait out her shift, totally frustrated. She almost wished for a Mysteron emergency so she could just take into the air and stop her recycling thoughts tormenting her. Then again, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. She was so distracted that she would more than likely end up crashing the interceptor and killing herself.
Finally, her torture over, she exited the elevator and was startled to find Rhapsody sitting in the Amber Room, quite calmly reading one of her books. She looked up when she saw Melody come into the room and bestowed a bright smile on her.
“Oh, hello Magnolia, I hope things weren’t too quiet for you up there.”
Melody lost it. “You know Dianne, everyone thinks you’re so sweet and loveable, with your big blue eyes and that ever so winsome smile. But you’re not foolin’ me, honey!”
Rhapsody blinked at the vehement response and the sarcasm in Melody’s voice. “Excuse me?”
“One man not enough for you, Dianne? You just had to go and take mine as well?” Melody’s eyes were flashing daggers at her.
Rhapsody stared at the American girl, horrified. Oh no...she must have seen us together! “Magnolia, please, I can explain, Rick and I...”
Melody cut her off with a withering look. “Oh save it, you cheatin’ schemin’…Minx!!!”
And before Rhapsody could utter another word Melody threw down her helmet on one of the chairs and stomped out of the room.
Rhapsody let out a long breath after Melody had exited. This wasn’t good. She had to speak to Ochre. Grateful that she and Melody had been the only occupants of the Amber Room, she flipped open her personal communicator to contact the Midwestern captain.
“It’s Rhapsody. Is it safe to talk, about you know what?” she asked him.
“Yeah, is there a problem?” he answered, uneasily.
“I’ve just seen Melody, and I don’t know how, but she saw us together, and I think she suspects the worst.”
She heard Ochre’s sharp intake of breath. “Darn it, we were trying to be so careful. What did you tell her?”
“Well, she didn’t give me much of a chance... I’m sorry Rick, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.”
Ochre sighed, “Well I can only hope she’ll be okay once she knows, there’s only a few more hours to go.”
Melody went straight to the gym and quickly changed into a vest and shorts. She was very upset and she knew the only thing for it was to punch the living daylights out of an inanimate object. She put on her head protection and started pummelling the training bag. With each blow she imagined Ochre’s or Rhapsody’s face in the centre of the bag.
She didn’t notice Scarlet entering the gym, carrying his holdall. He had just finished a racquetball session with Blue and was about to head back to his quarters when he heard the noise coming from the gym. He stood and watched her with a look of amusement on his face. Melody was really putting her back into it.
“Must have been a boring shift,” he shouted, wandering across to her. But she continued pounding the leather, oblivious to his voice. He came up and grabbed the bag, laughing. His next comment died on his lips when he saw her tear-streaked face.
“Magnolia, are you all right?” Scarlet asked. He couldn’t remember when he had ever seen this tough little Southern girl cry. Melody was as tough as nails.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” she gulped, trying not to sob and make a complete fool of herself.
Damn, of all the people on this base that just had to come into the room and see her in this state, it just had to be Scarlet.
“You don’t look fine, want to talk about it?” he asked solicitously.
Oh, you dear, sweet man! Rhapsody is a BITCH!!!
“No, I’d rather not, but thanks anyway.”
He smiled at her. “Well, maybe when you finish your training I could buy you a cup of coffee, you look like you need it. I was planning to get a drink anyway, it’s thirsty work beating the crap out of Blue.”
She smiled weakly at his joking and accepted his invitation. Scarlet brought two mugs of steaming hot coffee over to their table in the canteen, together with a large glass of water for himself. “There you go, get that down you and you’ll feel better.”
She nodded her thanks, trying not to betray her discomfort. She felt incredibly guilty that she knew of his fiancée’s deception. Should I tell him? she thought. God no, what would I say? I wonder if he suspects anything?
“Is everything okay with you and Dianne at the moment?” She tried to sound nonchalant.
He looked a touch surprised at the question, but couldn’t help a smile on hearing his darling Rhapsody’s name. “Couldn’t be better, I’m hoping that I might get a nice surprise for Valentine’s Day tonight.”
Melody tried not to choke on her coffee. Oh Paul, you’ll get a surprise, but it’s probably not the one you’re expecting.”
Melody sat in her room with the lights low, feeling truly miserable. It was Valentine’s Day night and she was off-duty and she was alone.
Damn you, Richard Fraser, and damn every man on the planet, I’m going to be Celibate Angel from now on, she vowed to herself.
She barely heard the door chime. Maybe if she just ignored it whoever he/she was would go away. It chimed again, and then a third time. Annoyed, she got up from her bed and stalked over to the door. She hit the panel and the door slid open to reveal…
“Rick! You’ve got some nerve!” She suddenly lost her temper again and took a swing at him.
He managed to dodge her blow and sidestepped neatly into her room.
“What the %$^% do you think you’re doing?” she yelled at him, furious beyond belief that he dared to show his face after what he’d been up to, and not caring who might hear her.
“Please, Magnolia, come with me, there’s something I need you to see.”
“I think I’ve seen quite enough the past couple of days, thanks honey, Anyway shouldn’t you be with your precious Lady Dianne?” Her voice dripped with biting sarcasm.
Ochre groaned. This was going to be more difficult than he thought. If only she hadn’t spotted them!
Then she suddenly became aware of his attire. He was dressed as if he was going out for dinner, at some fancy tie-only restaurant at that. She couldn’t remember seeing him so… elegant. And handsome. And…
“Forget it, Mister, I don’t know what on earth you’re doing all dressed up in the monkey suit and bothering me, but if you don’t get out my quarters in two seconds, I’m calling security!”
Ochre suddenly grabbed her by the arms and sat her down on the nearest chair. This called for shock tactics. “And if you don’t shut up, I’ll throw you over my shoulder and forcibly carry you to where I want you to go!”
Her eyes blazed. “You wouldn’t dare!”
His blazed back. “Just try me.”
She sat back, subdued by the power in his voice. She shivered. Damn! She couldn’t even get mad at him without going weak at the knees at the same time.
“Look,” he said in a quieter voice. “I promise that if you hear me out, and you’re still not happy, then I’ll disappear for good and never bother you again. Deal?”
She caught her breath when she saw his gaze. Was that tenderness in his brown eyes? She must be mistaken. But looking at her the way he did, she never was able to resist him. Oh, just what the hell was going on?
“Deal,” she acquiesced. Her curiosity had won over her anger. And he led her out of her quarters towards his own.
“Hey!” She pulled back. “What’s going on?”
“Shhh, you’ll have people coming out to see what’s up.”
She shut up and he half dragged her to his door. When it opened he pulled her in. And what she saw left her speechless.
Ochre’s sitting area was spotless and had been decorated with bunches of red roses in long stemmed vases. They filled the room with an intoxicating fragrance. Candles provided a romantic soft glow. A small table was set with dinner for two and an ice bucket, pearled with moisture, held a bottle of what looked like pretty expensive champagne. Melody suddenly registered that the music playing was the very same that she had heard coming from Rhapsody’s quarters when she had spied them together.
She finally found her voice. “Rick, I don’t understand…”
“I was hoping to surprise you,” he said, “but then Rhapsody told me you had seen us together. It was all for you, honey, I wanted this to be the most romantic Valentine’s Day ever.”
She looked around the room again, then back at him, dressed in his fancy clothes and looking at her with a pleading expression. Could she have been mistaken in what she saw and heard?
“But when I saw you, in her room, in each other’s arms. You looked so happy. I thought…” She trailed off, looking miserable again.
Ochre pulled her into his arms and suddenly whisked her round the small floor-space, quite literally taking her breath away. “Dianne was trying to teach me how to dance...” He looked embarrassed. Melody stared at him open-mouthed.
“I’ve got two left feet, so I asked Dianne if she would help. She said she would show me some easy stuff. She also helped me do this place up, you know what she’s like when it comes to parties.”
Melody shook her head, half remembered sentences started falling into place. “Oh, Rick.”
“I wanted to sweep you off your feet and wow you with my Gene Kelly flair, then some dinner, more dancing and then…Well, I guess there’s no chance of that now… I’m sorry you got the wrong idea about me and Dianne. I can see how it must have looked and I don’t blame you for being mad at me.”
Melody suddenly felt a touch guilty, even foolish. She could hardly believe all the trouble he had gone to, just to make her feel special. It really was true what they said about eavesdropping, she thought ruefully. Oh, and why was she so blasted impulsive, why didn’t she just go in and ask them what they were doing? Magnolia Jones… you are a first class idiot and maybe there’s a lesson in all of this.
“I’m hardly dressed for a romantic dinner for two,” she said, glancing shyly up at him. He looked hopefully at her, was that an - “I forgive you” in her voice?
“You look absolutely gorgeous to me, Magnolia Jones, whatever you’re wearing.”
She could feel herself starting to fall in love with him all over again and just maybe, this might turn out to be the best Valentine’s Day ever after all.
The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love.
~Terence~ Roman comic poet
Disclaimers: I don’t own the rights for any of the characters in “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons”. I do however own the situations and character dialogue …or to paraphrase Marion Woods… the dialogue the characters MAKE me write. So don’t blame ME if you don’t like it!!!
Acknowledgements: My heartfelt thanks to Chris Bishop for allowing me to put my thoughts on paper (and for the possibility that someone might even read them). And, for preventing me from ever having boring daydreams again, I’m too busy thinking of new stories!!
And once again, to Hazel Kohler, who as always, is my kind reviewer and lets me know immediately if I should stick to the day job.
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