"Damn it, Holtzmann!"
I freeze as her voice rings out from the bathroom. I know I should, but I don't remember her even going in there in the first place. The upgrades to the proton packs have consumed me. The more powerful the packs, the more successful our work. It's really that simple.
"Come on! Are you kidding me? This is freaking ridiculous!"
The door opens, a cloud of steam billowing out to herald Abby's entrance. The scent of patchouli and motor oil permeates the air. And then it hits me… No!
"Abby?" I call out tentatively, trying to act casual. "Babe, you didn't by chance see a bottle marked experimental in the tub, did you?"
She comes storming out into the main room, bath sheet wrapped around her heat-reddened skin still beaded with water. Except for the areas where she's got black streaks from the goo still in her hair. It looks like one of those melted crayon art pieces. The black is even soaking into the towel. And are those footprints visible behind her?
"You mean the bottle that normally houses my deep conditioner?"
"Yes?" I can't help but cringe at the fire in her eyes. But at the same time, it's kinda sexy when she gets all riled up like this. I bat my eyelashes at her and coo, "Holtzy's sorry?"
"I could kill you right now."
Sidling up to her to run my fingers through her hair, I marvel at just how evenly the oil coats her hair. "Wow! You really massaged that stuff in nicely."
"I swear to God, Holtz, if you can't get this out, I'm gonna have to cut off all my hair and that is not gonna be pretty."
That makes me laugh. "Are you kidding me? You would rock a buzz cut. Oh! We could even super clean a chunk down along your hairline and braid it. You could totally bring back the Jedi 'do."
"No!" She's trying to be stern, but that twinkle I love is in her eyes again. She reaches up to hover a hand over her hair. "You think so?"
"Babe, you would seriously rock that look. And who knows? Maybe I'll do the same." Grinning, I lean in closer to mock whisper, "Do you think we can get Erin and Patty to do the same? It could be like our call sign or something."
Abby's laugh is loud and less stressed. "You mean besides the car and the siren?"
I roll my eyes. "Those are for work. I'm talking about us. We're more than just our work, Abby."
"Oh my god! You sounded way too much like Erin just now."
My eyes grow wide at her comment. "Whaaaat?"
Abby laughs and goes to bat at me, but her towel starts to fall and she clutches at it wildly. "You need to stop that."
"Never gonna happen, toots." I tug down my goggles to waggle my brows at her. "You might wanna put some clothes on if you wanna fight ghosts today. Or keep from scandalizing our partners."
She tries to shake her finger sternly at me, but her blush ruins the effect. "You need to figure out how to get this crap out of my hair."
"And off your skin. I don't know if that actually stains permanently or not. I wasn't worried about it when I mixed it because I was wearing gloves and a lab coat."
"Are you serious right now?"
The high-pitched hitch in her voice is adorable, and I just can't help myself. "Jedi 'do and we add some ink to the stains. Abby, you do realize that you could be a walking billboard for the business?"
Her mouth opens and shuts several times in rapid succession, but no sound is emitted. Then she turns around and, with a snort of disgust, she heads back into the bathroom. I just stand there for a minute, not sure how to proceed at this point. Have I finally gone too far? Not possible. We've been in each other's hip pockets for years now and--
"If you aren't in this bathroom in thirty seconds with that industrial sized bottle of Dawn, you're sleeping on the couch for the next week. And I'm taking all the power cords to your electronics and your lab equipment."
Shit! She's serious.
"Not my babies!" I race around the lab, looking for said detergent barrel. "Abby, you can't cut me off like that!"
Finally grabbing an empty soda bottle, I fill it with detergent and race into the bathroom. Abby's already back in the shower, bath sheet unceremoniously dropped on the floor. She'll definitely need my help to get the oily black tar mess out of her hair.
And off her skin.
Without hesitation, I strip off my own clothes, but keep my goggles on. I hate water in my eyes.
"Who said that was off the table?"
A chuckle rumbles up from my gut. "Abby, you swept this table clean so we could christen it again."
"Okay, you swept it clean the first time that we christened it, so you set the precedent." She lifts her head to glance over my shoulder at the floor. "Did I ruin anything important?"
"No idea. This one had Erin's stuff on it." The look on her face is comical enough that I start laughing. "I'm not sure how you're going to explain this to her."
The sharp slap to my shoulder stings and gets my juices flowing for another round. But do we have time?
"Speaking of Erin, where are she and Patty?" Abby asks, glancing toward the door.
I shrug and toss a leg over hers. "I guess the deli was busier than expected? I honestly figured they'd be back by now. I was kinda hoping to scandalize one of them. It's been a while." Before she can answer, I hear a noise downstairs. It sounds like that weird howl Kevin makes when we bring him takeout. They're back. "Waaaaait! I think we can still scandalize them. Are you up for it?"
"Oh my god, what are you going to do?"
I can hear heavy steps coming up the stairs, accompanied by an a cappella rendition of "Edge of Seventeen." I know who's coming with our food. "We can still get them. Please, Abby, can we do it? I'll do anything you want for a whole week, without complaint. Please?"
Abby chuckles. "Who is it?"
The devious smirk on Abby's face reminds me of when Rowan had possessed her and nearly killed me. I'd be lying if I said it didn't terrify me a little bit. I'd also be lying if I said it didn't turn me on at all. She pulls me into a rough kiss, shifting the towel barely covering our bodies in the process. Not that I'm going to complain. Bossy Abby in bed is a definite synapse burner for me. She smells like sex and dishes, and I don't even care.
"Abby? You up here with Ho-- Oh, hell no!"
I splutter into the kiss, body shaking with laughter.
"Oh, I did not need to be seeing Holtzy's vajayjay. You bitches need to cover that shit up."
Abby leans back to look at Patty. Still clinging to her, I turn to look over my shoulder at our friend as she says, "Hello, Patricia." The memory of Rowan's possession is stronger now, and I see recognition dawning in Patty's eyes.
"Yep," Patty says, as she starts to turn around. "Lab full of nightmares. Not going in there again. Whole second floor's dead to me. You win, Holtzy."
As she starts to leave, my stomach growls. "Hey, Patty? What about my food?"
"You can clean up yo' nasty asses, get dressed, and come downstairs to eat like civilized people." She continues her rant as she stomps downstairs. "Bunch of crazy white bitches gettin' they skanky nekkid selves all over everything. You know, people work in that lab, Abby! You should know better! I expect this kinda shit from Holtzy."
Her voice fades into an unintelligible background noise as we both still stare at the door. Abby breaks first, laughing hysterically. "Oh my god, Holtzmann! That was so fun!" She slaps me again. "Why didn't you tell me how much fun this is? We could have been causing trouble for Patty and Erin for weeks now! Damn it! I may need to enforce your punishment anyway."
"Oh no, you don't!" I reply, gripping her legs with mine. "I did nothing wrong. You were the one who started this particular scandalizing, so you should be the one punished. Not me."
Abby snorts. "You couldn't punish me if you tried, Holtz."
I want to reply, but my stomach growls again instead. "You're lucky I'm starving right now. Come on, let's just toss on our jumpsuits and head down to eat."
"You mean, starkers underneath?"
"As the day we were born, baby."
"But why? We're gonna have to clean them."
"Because we haven't scandalized Erin or Kevin yet. We might as well go for the hat trick while we've got the chance."
Abby chuckles and brands me with a hard, guerilla kiss. "I knew you were my favorite for a reason, Holtzmann."