They woke her at, what Erin considered, an indecent hour. Smiling brightly at the foot of her bed. How they got there, she had no idea. She KNEW that she hadn’t let them spend the night. She would have remembered THAT experience. She had wanted them to stay, gods how she had wanted them to stay, but she had resisted temptation.
If it wasn’t so damn early, she would have cursed her foolishness. Instead, Erin grudgingly opened one eye, which seemed to only encourage them. Face juggled a cup of coffee while Ton held a white bag. "Morning, Sunshine," Ton grinned.
Erin burrowed deeper under the covers, wishing the Wraiths would fade like their namesakes. "Go away," she mumbled from beneath her blanket.
She could picture Ton and Face giving each other one of those looks that seemed to convey volumes worth of information. "I don’t believe she’s a morning person," Face announced.
"I don’t’ think so either. Though how could she not? The sun is shinning, the slot machines are clanking…"
"Go away," she growled from beneath the covers.
Another one of those looks. "She didn’t mean that."
"Of course not," Face announced. "How could she want US to go away?"
"I don’t know," Ton sounded almost hurt. "After all, we’re so wonderful."
"Ego trip?" Erin muttered to herself.
Face gave his wingmate a critical look. "That was a little over the top. Maybe she’s one of those people who can’t wake up without a cup of caf."
"Go away!" she repeated, though not with as much force as before. Their banter was cheering actually, despite her deep hatred for morning people.
"Awww, come on Red. It’s a wonderful day and we don’t want to miss a moment of it." Face’s voice turned as smooth as the finest chocolate. "Especially not a moment with you…"
She peaked over the edge of her blanket. "That was a good line."
Face smirked at her, laughter glowing in his pale green eyes. "I thought so."
Ton rolled his eyes, gagging softly to himself.
Loran pretended to glare at the Medic. "What do you suggest, oh wise and brilliant one?"
Ton shrugged and held up the bag he was carrying. "Caffeine. Sugar. She may be able to resist us, but she sure as hell can’t resist that!"
After they had eaten breakfast and Erin had changed out of her pajamas, they headed out to the strip. They had argued over which end of the strip to visit first, but soon decided that they should see the sights farthest from their hotel (Lisa’s staff was moving Erin’s things into the same hotel as the Wraiths) and work their way back "home."
They took a tram from the MGM to Bally’s, where Face ogled the posters of the girls in the Follies. "Tragic fetish for feathers," Ton drawled as he dragged Loran away from one of the promotional pictures.
"What’ll happen if he meets one of the women FROM the Follies?" Erin asked, causing Face to scowl. It took all her self-control not to laugh at the wounded look on the ex-actor’s face.
"She would thank me for the rest of her life," Face countered, sticking his tongue out at Erin.
Smirking, Erin arched one flame-colored brow. "Planning to use that tongue anytime in the near future, Loran?"
"Not on you if you keep harassing me all the time," he grumbled.
"I guess I’ll have to be content with fantasies," Erin pretended to sob while Ton made an exaggerated attempt to calm her. When she was sure, Face was rolling his eyes at her display, she looked at the pair. "Ready to go to Paris?"
Ton swept down in a low bow, giving her a wicked grin. "Lead the way, my Lady."
The Paris was…amazing. Sure, the faux cobbles hurt her feet, but this was as close to France as she was ever going to get. "It’s lovely" she murmured as she stared up at the painted sky above her. The shopping area that seemed to be a requirement of all casinos on the strip was decorated to resemble a French village. Storefronts were decorated with rugged stone and cheerful thatch. Signs were written in French. Clerks dressed in peasant garb. Impressionist paintings advertised the various amenities of the hotel boasted
"It’s so provincial." Erin knew she was acting like a tourist. But who cared? She WAS a tourist after all.
"It reminds me of Beauty and the Beast."
The trio stopped as Erin turned to stare at Ton. "You watch Disney movies?" Ton looked uncomfortable as Face patted her shoulder. "It’s not one of those things he likes to talk about. Sarcastic, obnoxious…." Ton glared at Face. "Pilot of superior intellect being addicted to animation. Now anime I could understand but Disney?" Face gave Erin a pleading look. "What would his legions of fans do if they found out? They would be shocked. Completely horrified…"
Erin arched a brow. "Is he usually this melodramatic?"
"Actually he’s usually worse," Ton quipped.
Face turned, his mint colored eyes wide with shock. "You think I’m melodramatic?" Ton shrugged, causing Face to gape at him. "You really think I’m that poor of an actor?" He sputtered for a moment, completely at a loss for words.
Ton shifted uncomfortably. It was obvious to Erin that he had meant the words as a joke, but the jibe had somehow managed to cut through Loran’s ego. Gotta defuse this before serious damage is done to their friendship.
"You know, Ton’s right. It does look like something out of Beauty and the Beast." She caught hold of the pilots’ hands, hoping that Ton would follow her lead. Before she could consider what she was doing, Erin threw back her head and began to sing. "Be our Guest! Be our Guest!…"
Ton chuckled and quickly took up the tune while Face stared at them both as if they had lost their minds. Then suddenly, he was singing too. Their voices melded together so smoothly that many of the tourists that passed them thought they were part of one of the casino acts.
Erin wasn’t sure how she kept a straight face during their song. Especially when Ton took up the role of Lumiere and Cogsworth while Face…oh Gods, how has she managed not to laugh? as Mrs. Potts…. Especially since he was bouncing around like a demented teapot.
She was sure she would die from holding her breath as Face sang in outrageously accurate impersonation of Angela Landsbury. But somehow she managed to sing her part through to the end.
THEN she collapsed against Ton, laughing so hard she was sure she had cracked a rib. Erin expected Face to be insulted, but instead, he just grinned. "Nothing like having an appreciative audience."
And that he had…All around them were stunned tourists who were applauding the trio’s efforts. A few even threw money, which Ton happily collected after handing her over to Face.
"Glad you liked the show," Face murmured, brushing a strand of red hair from her eyes. "Now what were you saying about using my tongue?"
She answered him with a nervous smile, backing away before she gave into the impulse to kiss him. He’s too attractive for my own good.
He chuckled at her shyness, then offered her his arm. "Shall we go?"
Their next stop was the Venetian. Not exactly how I planned to see Europe. Oh well… By this time, Erin was becoming a little tired of the casino scene. The ever-present slot machines and the annoying noise they made while spitting out coins she had not won was beginning to get on her nerves. But the Wraiths were visually devouring the sites around them, trying to absorb as many details of Earth as they could during their brief vacation.
Finally, they rested near one of the outrageously expensive shops inside the casino, watching what seemed to be a piece of detailed artwork "So…" Ton drawled stared at the "statue" in front of him, eyeing the array of dollars fanned out around her feet. "You’re telling me some woman actually stands around in powdered clothing pretending to be a statue and makes a living at it?"
"Yep," Erin answered, sipping at her disgustingly high-priced Coke. Thank the Gods I’m not paying for this trip.
Face was slowly walking around the woman dressed in white. He reached out, almost touching the white chalk-like stuff that coated her robes. "This has got to be the most…" He paused, eyeing the crowd that was enraptured by the "living stature" before returning to Erin’s side. "This has got to be the most BORING job I have ever seen! Palpatine’s fashion consultant had a more thrilling career!" he hissed. Erin bit back a snicker. "Sithspawn, I had some bad holo roles but this has got to be the WORST job an actor can get!"
Ton considered the woman and her seemingly impassive gaze. "I wonder what happens if she moves."
Face eyed his wingmate. "It would completely ruin her act."
"So she’s not suppose to move, like those guards in Britain we read about."
"Yep," Face looked down right maniacal, in Erin’s opinion. And Ton…with that blazing red optic instead of an eye…they had made no effort to hide his prosthetics, assuming that the audacity of Vegas would explain away someone with a metal plate on his face…Ton looked absolutely demonic. Uh oh…
Ton looked stern. "I believe we should test her resolve, don’t you agree?"
"Most definitely," Face grinned.
The pair circled the living statue like wild animals stalking towards prey. If she had been the "statue," Erin would have been nervous. Face tried the usual waving a hand in front of the actress’ face routine, with, as expected, no results. Ton snickered, then began to stare at the woman. The red optical sensor seemed to unsettle the woman. It wasn’t something the eye could see, but Erin sensed that the constant contact with that ruby light was steadily unraveling the actress’ calm.
Then Face was beside her, whispering in her ear. The crowd murmured its disapproval as an almost imperceptible breath escaped the woman. Then slowly, but steadily, a faint tinge of pink crept across the ‘statue’s’ cheeks. Seeing that his words were effecting the actress, he continued whispering until the woman let out a gasp and swatted at Loran.
He chuckled evilly as he danced out of the way. "Time to get out of here," Ton suggested while dashing towards Erin. "Let’s get out of here!"
Erin dragged them into the dress shop behind her before the ‘statue’ committed murder upon the three of them. The actress followed them for a few steps, then realized how foolish she looked screaming at a pair of tourists then settled herself for another few hours of mind-numbing but profitable standing.
While the actress fussed, Erin grinned at Face. "So what did you say to her that made her lose her cool?"
"Oh…I just told her all the uses I had for my tongue…"
Continued in Part Ten