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Annie Isn't Very Good at Surprises

Posted on 24 Sep 2018 @ 8:41am by Civilian Phillip Sharpe

Mission: Character Development
Location: Phil & Annie’s Quarters
Timeline: Six months after 'The Admiral's Daughter' Incident

Annie licked off the frosting from her finger as she spread the thick chocolate cream around the freshly baked vanilla cake. She didn’t have much time left before Phil was due to come home, and of course she had gotten lost in her work and lost track of time.

It had been a happy, though rather clumsy, six months for Annie and Phil. She still felt like a fish out of water though she had gotten much more comfortable with Phil’s reassurances of her not needing to change one bit just because she was his wife now. Annie realized all of the concerns she had about the whole thing were based on her own personal insecurities. She had been working hard knowing this was her chance to have the happy ending she had always dreamed of.

“Damnit!” Annie exclaimed to herself as the tube of blue frosting took control of the decorating and dripped extra frosting down the side of the round cake instead of sticking just to the edge. Ok, she was no Stepford Wife but at least she tried.

Phil yawned as the pilot of his personal XT900 private yacht landed on his reserved private pad in the residential docking area. The staff quickly secured everything and opened up the side door, lowering the ramp to allow him to walk down onto the deckplates. It had been a very long trip to the Rigel system, and he was glad to be home. Wearing his dark grey business suit with light blue shirt and pink tie, he carried his briefcase as he left the hangar and walked out into the corridor of the top-level residential area, where his apartment was. He was exceptionally keen to see his wife again, a concept that never got old for him... his wife.

Unbeknown to her, he carried a holographic picture of her laughing and smiling at their 'coming out' party, where he'd never seen her so happy. It helped him remember what he was working hard for whenever he was lonely and missed her. She'd be all self-conscious about it if she knew he had it, but it was important to him. He'd considered putting a big picture up of her on the bulkhead of his personal cabin on his yacht, but since there was every chance she'd travel in the yacht with him, he had put that notion aside.

He came into the apartment via the main door and put his briefcase down on the dresser. "Honey! I'm home!" He called out, as he took off his jacket and loosened his tie. He'd always wanted to say that, and it never really got old for him. Plus, as he'd teased Annie, it gave her a chance to hide any boyfriends she had around. She'd simply scoffed and hit him with the back of her hand when he'd made that lame joke.

Annie dropped the icing tube on top of the counter at the sound of his voice and caused a bit of the blue icing to shoot out onto her white t-shirt. “Aww, man!” She wasn’t expecting him home so early, and now she wasn’t going to be able to get his little surprise done. “You weren’t due for another two hours!” She grabbed a towel and tried to wipe off her mess. Annie was happy to see him but slightly frustrated that she had messed up her own idea.

"I'm sorry, should I go away again?" He replied, jokingly. "Do you need time to hide your boyfriend? Shall I come back once you're done?" He knew that'd tweak her.

“NO!” Annie called out, feeling the jest stab her a bit. She had been working hard to come up with a way to celebrate Phil’s birthday and make it special and he wasn’t making her feel any better. “Might as well come into the kitchen.” The defeat was heavy in her voice as she tossed the towel to the side.

“Surprise...” Annie did a pathetic grand gesture towards the unfinished cake. “Happy birthday, I guess.” She couldn’t help but chuckle at the whole thing. Nothing ever seemed to go as planned when it came to her and Phil.

Phil chuckled and walked over and gave her a hug. "I love it, thank you." He said, kissing her forehead. "Did you make it yourself?" He asked, as he looked at the chocolate cake, with the weird icing patterns. It was very obvious she'd tried very hard, and had she had those extra two hours, she might have made it look even better. The fact was, she'd tried, and she'd done something special for him. It didn't matter that it looked like a drunken ape had attacked it with an icing gun, it was perfect.

Annie let out a sigh as she wrapped her arm around his waist. “Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. And half of the blue decorations ended up on me.” She looked down at her shirt and tried to wipe off a bit more of it with her thumb. “Might as well cut into it? No point in me trying to salvage it.” She gave him a kiss on his lips then made her way around the kitchen gathering utensils and plates for them to partake in the dessert. “How was your trip?”

"I hate the Rigel system. I strongly dislike the Klackar Brothers. I fail to understand why we need to do business with them, I really do." Phil said, leaning back against the counter as Annie clattered around. "It's a dirty planet, and those two are slimes of the highest order. I felt dirty just being in their presence. I'm convinced they're into shady stuff, but I can't prove it, and even if I could, I doubt very much that the board would care all that much. They contribute to eight point nine percent of Intergalactic Horizon's business portfolio for the Alpha Quadrant. That's a three hundred and seven million credit wedge of our income for domestic shipping. No way the board are going to pass that up for my concerns."

Intergalactic Horizon was the one company that Phil didn't own, but was merely Vice President and Co-Founder of. He had a controlling interest in the shares, but was merely one voice around the table, unlike most of his other ventures controlled by Sharpe Holdings. He'd been toying with the idea of giving up his seat on the board of IntHor for some time now, as most of his business trips were in relation to that company, rather than many of his own.

Annie looked at him as she began cutting into the cake. "Seems to me like you're not a fan of this particular business venture of yours. Every time you've come back from your monthly trips to wherever they send you you're always either frustrated or just downright pissed at the board. This isn't just their credits, Phil. It's your credits too." She hated seeing him waste his time and potential earnings on something that went against what he valued the most.

"Trouble is, business doesn't operate in the idealistic world in which I want it to." He sighed. "Sometimes we have to deal with these 'tards to be able to give the little guy a better deal. Lately though, I feel that the company has moved away from the ideals upon which we embarked. We're trampling on the little guy, who we always wanted to help up. Big business are getting the preferential rates, but I suppose that's the nature of business economics. I just don't understand why we need to do that - when I've got sixty-seven businesses under my control, where I help the little guy, and I still make decent money. They seem to have forgotten the mantra that you need to spend money to make money, and that kindness promotes kindness. The guys who work for me are happy they work for me, because I treat them well. I treat my employees well, my clients well, their clients, and so on."

He went to the refrigerator and got out two bottles of Archie's famous brew, and opened the bottle tops, putting one by Annie as she cut up the cake. "I've been considering resigning my board position with IntHor, and just be a controlling shareholder, rather than an active board-member. It'd keep me here more than I am, and I can focus more on the Sharpe franchise. What do you think?"

He knew she'd baulk at the question, because she knew it was out of her experience, but he valued her input, and he'd made sure that over the last six months or so, he'd brought her into his confidence more and more, involving her more and more in his world - bit by bit. He'd bought an animal rescue shelter on Loki only after giving her the options of which companies he should invest in on Loki. It was important to him that she feel appreciated, respected, valued and listened to, without running the risk of her feeling patronized. This was something he was desperate to avoid, as he would never do that. It was a fine line to tread, and so far, he'd done it rather well. However, this decision did affect her in a way, in that he'd be around more, but could potentially be busier.

Annie leaned herself back against the counter facing him, bringing the opened bottle up to her lips. She would love more than anything to have him here on the base more, but it meant more to her that he did what he felt like he needed to do to be successful. She honestly had no clue how his world worked and she didn't even bother to try to make sense of it all. "I want you to be happy, babe." She took a quick sip of the drink and crossed her arms in front of her. "Of course I would want you to be here more. It's hard enough between my work and your work for us to be able to see each other as much as we would like, and traveling just makes things doubly hard. I also don't like seeing you come home with your eyebrows furrowing in dissatisfaction after dealing with those people."

"I think it'd be good for me to be around more. I wouldn't be loosing anything really, other than a voice in the management of the company I founded with Stone. I may loose control of NewStar, but I'm planning on offering Stone to buy it out from under IntHor, and make it part of my group. I feel bad leaving Stone alone with that board, but they stopped listening to me a while ago." Phil said, then took a swig of his beer. "I'd really like to stop going on these pointless trips, that I suspect they only send me on to keep me out of the way."

"You are worth far more than that, Mr. Sharpe," Annie gave him a mischievous smirk. "Plus, it'll help to have some extra hands around here that you don't have to pay for."

At this point, her entire birthday surprise for him had been ruined so it was no use trying to be clever. Ever since Phil had mentioned wanting children sooner rather than later, it forced Annie to think of the possibility. She had been scared out of her mind at the prospect, but then again she had been scared out of her mind when she and Phil had decided to continue with their marriage. Annie was finally getting settled in with her career and adjusting rather well to having Phil a part of her life. The one thing that was holding her back was the fear of turning into her parents. She had been barely getting by just trying to take care of herself before. But she had Phil... someone who would do anything and everything in his power to take care of her and his family. He had his own parental issues he had been dealing with for far longer than she had been dealing with hers. If anything their own parents had shown them what not to do. It also didn't help seeing how incredibly happy and beautiful Paul and Archie's relationship had become with the addition that was about to be brought into the world. Maybe it was time that she and Phil created their own beauty... it would be just one more positive force they could add to the dark world they lived and worked in.

"Its settled then, I'll have a chat with Stone." He said, smiling at Annie, but wondering why she had a mischievous smirk on her face. "What do you mean, more hands that I don't have to pay for?" He asked, as he started eating his slice of cake. What was he missing? Annie was hiding something, something she found amusing. Maybe it was the jet-lag, although why they still called it 'jet-lag' in the modern age of warp travel, was beyond him. Warp-Lag? Didn't have the same ring to it. Whatever it was called, it was clearly preventing him thinking clearly. Although it was hardly uncommon for his wife to have the upper hand on him. She was, after all, incredibly intelligent. Yet another quality he adored in her, even if she couldn't ice a cake.

Annie gave him a shrug. "I talked to the doctor today. Actually, I talked to Archie's doctor today. You know, the cute one she and Sully are always gossiping about."

Phil rolled his eyes and took another bite of cake. He swore that Archie and Sully only went to see this doctor so regularly because he was so handsome and charming. It amused him no end that they acted like that, considering one was married and about to have a kid, and the other... well... the other was Sully. Honestly, he should've known better. He was however interested that she was talking to that doctor, and he raised his eyebrow slightly. He wasn't sure if he should be concerned or not at this point. "Am I allowed to know what you discussed?"

"Well," Annie sauntered over to Phil, taking the plate from his hands and setting it down onto the counter next to him, "this was actually going to be part two of your surprise that I blame you for ruining." She chuckled as she playfully kissed him on the lips. "But it seems that since I'm still quite young there shouldn't really be any issues except for waiting for the birth control shot effects to wear off. It may not happen right away but that could also give us time to adjust to the idea."

It took him a moment for what she was saying to fully impact through his fog. Did she just say what he thought she just said? Was he dreaming? What was in that cake? Was he drunk? Was she? Was this a prank? After the processing was done, he allowed a grin to form on his face. She was really ready for this. She wanted kids, and his kids at that! If he could be happier right now, he had absolutely no idea how. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet and planted a huge kiss on her lips as her loose hair fell around his face. There were just no words, no sentiments he could say right now that could possibly explain his feelings, his happiness. It wasn't just that she'd agreed to have kids, it was that she wanted them! She was finally in a place in their marriage that she wanted a family, that she was ready to do it. It was such a huge step in their relationship, and he couldn't be more proud or more happy.

Annie's laughter grew as she felt his lips press firmer and his arms tighten around her. She knew he had been wanting to push the idea since he was getting to the age where he wanted to not have to be carried in a hoverchair to his child's high school graduation but of course felt like he didn't want to put too much pressure on her. This was not an entirely surprising reaction but it made her feel amazing to be able to push it out of him. She pulled her lips back and looked over his face. "So, I take it that's a yes?"

He chuckled and buried his face in her hair and hugged her. "Yes, you can take that as a yes." He replied, happily. "Oh, I'm so happy Annie." He grinned, with tears of joy in his eyes. "I'm definitely going to make sure I'm around a lot more. I'm certainly going to enjoy making the baby with you." He grinned at her with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. "You'll be walking like a cowgirl for weeks..."

She couldn't help but roll her eyes at him and playfully smacked him on his chest. "Easy, cowboy. Don't want you to pull a muscle."

He did a playful growl and laughed. "If its doing something like that with you, I'd rather pull a muscle than not try."

"Remember, it's going to take some time. So please don't get frustrated or anything, ok?" She was genuinely worried that something would happen, especially after watching MacKenzie go through the heartbreak of her miscarriage.

He was sober for a moment, realising that Annie needed to have a grown up talk now. She still had concerns, but about him, not her, which was typical Annie. "I know how it works hun, and I know its not an overnight thing, or a guaranteed thing. The first thing I'm going to do tomorrow is go see the doctors to get my little men tested, see how well they swim. Since you got yourself checked out, its only fair. Whilst I'm certainly not against the extra happy time, we shouldn't overdo it or go crazy over timings or special positions or any of that other malarkey. This needs to be something special between us, made by two people who love each other in a loving way. All I'm happy about right now is that you are comfortable enough to take this step. What comes, will come." He said, then leaned in and kissed her softly. "No matter what, you're still my everything, and nothing that happens will change that. I'll stand by your side, through anything and everything."

Annie's lips twitched up. "Now, I'm not saying we can't have fun with it. I'm just trying to make sure I don't get your hopes up." After going through so much heartbreak in her life, she needed to make sure they were well protected. She wrapped her arms around Phil and pressed herself against him. "You should probably finish your cake. You're gonna need all of the energy you can get."

He didn't need telling twice. He gobbled up the cake hungrily, downed his beer and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He then grinned at Annie, hoisted her up onto his shoulder, gave her a playful smack on her butt, and carried her on his shoulder into the bedroom as she laughed.

 

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