The lights of the city where glittering all around them, gothic structures protruding into the sky, glinting towers in a forest of concrete and crystal. The air was frigid over the dark Chicago night and the occupants of the roof sat close together covered up tightly.
“So what do you think?” John Connor asked. The broad, muscular man’s brown vintage leather coat was wrapped around him, a dark blue scarf protected his neck. There was an amused smile on his face as he watched intently the person next to him.
The teenage girl had long ringlets of dark hair that fluttered in the wind and paled skin in the cold. A purple motorcycle jacket, matching scarf, and hip huggers, where hardly protection from the deep cold of the wind coming off the lake they shared the view of. In hand Cameron Baum had a thick slice of Pan Pizza that steamed in the bitter air.
“It’s not bad …” She claimed blinking at him.
He laughed bitterly at her. “Not bad … Cam, you drove us out here without warning, practically kidnapped us to go on a road trip with you … all for just tasting that pizza, and it’s only “Not bad” is it?” He sighed at his companion, enduringly.
At his response she tightened her cheek. “It’s not that it’s good or bad …” She studied the pizza. “I can’t quantify the experience.” She turned back to him.
“In other words you’re not sure what you’re feeling?” He asked.
“Yes.” She nodded.
He smirked. “Give it here.” He motioned her to bring the box of pizza his way. But instead, Cameron brought herself closer to him, and moved the bitten into slice to his mouth. Without a thought he let her feed him. He felt a little self-aware as his companion watched him eat, steam blowing in her face from the mixture of the pizza temperature and his breath clouding out with every bite.
“Well?” She asked this time.
He nodded. “Not bad …” He smirked mischievously at her.
She rolled her eyes. “What does that mean?” She complained, clearly not liking being teased.
John swallowed. “Well how am I supposed to quantify it for you, when I don’t know what you want me to equate it too.” He chuckled clearly enjoying the power over her.
She looked mildly disappointed, feeding him another bite after taking another. “Is it like sex?” She asked.
A cough sputtered out of John, to which his cyborg companion patted him on the back. “What?!” he gapped at her.
“Is this pizza like sex?”
“Do you know what sex feels like?”
“Like going to church?”
“Been to many Mass’s where it ends with a giant orgy, Cam?”
“No, but I hear Sarah squeal it out sometimes, when Derek puts his hand down her jeans.”
“ …and now I’ll never see another church the same way again.”
“John, If I had sex … would I be required to commune with the holy trinity pre-coital, to achieve orgasm? Assuming that’s why so many women apparently call out god’s name.”
“h’okay … Let’s just enjoy the pizza, Cam.”
After a moment Cameron fed him another slice, to which he smiled. “It’s your pizza … don’t you want anymore?” He asked.
She almost seemed shy, looking away a moment. “It’s just …” She looked back at him. “I like watching you eat.” She seemed ever serious about the statement.
With a quirked eyebrow John couldn’t hide the grin. “That’s a bit weird.” He admitted.
“Oprah says everyone’s a bit weird.” She replied.
John shook his head. “You really watch Oprah?” he asked.
“No, I met her?”
“At the book store.”
“You went to a bookstore?”
“Sarah and I went to a bookstore while you and Derek where finding directions to the Sears building.”
“Why would you go to a bookstore? Mom doesn’t read … In fact I think the barbarian would sooner burn a book to fuel a fire than actually pick one up.”
“She said it was a new dawn and she was going to catch up on all the things she missed.”
“She got distracted by the train sets in the children’s section.”
“And the circles of the world were circles indeed … So what did you tell Oprah?”
“That her television network is going to be terminated.”
“Yes, I read an article in an old magazine at Home Plate in the future once, dated three years from now.”
“I’m sure she took it well.”
“She asked if Donald Trump sent me.”
He laughed and put a strong arm around her shoulder.
Slowly the Chicago roof top faded into a dark abyss and John Connor at twenty four found there where several things going on around him. One, he could feel he was in bed, the sheets up to his waist. Second, he could feel the comfortably familiar material of satin rubbing against his bare chest, and a warm torso underneath the material. Three, Someone was shaking his large muscular arm over and over again.
Opening his eyes the first thing that hazily came to view was golden flecked brown eyes staring at something behind him. John found his cyborg protector to be in the familiar position of siting in bed in her satin night slip, his arm thrown arcoss her thighs, head tucked against her belly. He felt the same somewhat annoying weight of his bed companion’s smartphone propped against his head.
He grunted and turned to find, piercing blue eyes that where not unfamiliar, but a rare sight. A woman in her mid-thirties with a bed robe stood looming over him and a gentle maternal hand on his arm.
“Ah, whut teh hull?!” John was hazily startled, Jumping, his back pressed against Cameron’s chest.
Michelle Dixon … or whatever she was now after the divorce, looked sympathetic and awkward, despite the desperation and fear in her eyes. Despite the fact that she had been dating his uncle for a few weeks it still was a bit of adjustment to see her in the mornings.
“I’m sorry, John.” She placed a hand on his thigh through the covers.
“Michelle … what’s, what’s going on it’s ...” John reached up taking Cameron’s hand that had been holding her phone in place against his head and brought around into view.
“It’s six in the morning” he finished, looking up at her.
“John, you got to get down there!” She walked to the window.
He rubbed his face, sleepily. “why?” He sighed.
“It’s Charlie … I think Derek is going to kill him.” The kind eyed woman said nervously, looking down from John and Cameron’s window.
John just rolled his eyes. “Well if we all go back to sleep we can testify we didn’t see anything at the murder trial.” He yawned and reached a hand back again, playfully shutting Cameron’s eyelids. Slinking down into a lying position, Cameron wrapped her arms around John’s chest and both pretended to go back to sleep.
Seeing the two of them, a blaze of fear and frustration lit the nurse’s eyes. “Guys!” She uncharacteristically lost her cool, stomping a foot.
John let out a long agitated sigh at a situation he was tired of policing. “Alright … Alright, I’ll be down in a second.” He yawned one more time. He heard hurried steps leave the room.
With another long yawn, he felt his body fighting him all the way, telling him that three hours of sleep wasn’t enough. But when you had a best friend that never slept it was a trend to lose track of time when talking in bed. Cameron untangled her arms from around him and was first out of bed, John struggled to sit up scooting back to his side of the bed.
“I was dreaming of Chicago.” He placed his head in his hands, hunched over in a sitting position, deluding himself that he wasn’t really awake.
Cameron turned from her digging through a drawer and watched him. “Was there a fire?” She asked. John just frowned.
“No … when we went up there last month.” He chuckled sleepily at her odd comment.
“Oh … are you hungry? We can drive back if you want?” She replied finding what she was looking for, and plucking it out. She walked over and handed it to him, a soft long sleeve t-shirt to cover a shirtless upper body covered with gruesome scars.
He smiled at her. “I don’t think anything can top the first time.” He seemed incapable of moving his arms so he placed his head against her stomach affectionately. There was a ghost of a smile that crossed her lips, but it disappeared quickly.
“Don’t go back to sleep.” She stepped away from him, his head lulling at the separation.
He willed his arms to work straightening the shirt to wear. A few feet away Cameron stood sentry at window watching something outside.
“You know …” He sighed with a confused look on his face. “Before that, I had a weirder dream.” He seemed pensive.
Turning her head back to John, Cameron seemed to be very interested. “What about?” The cyborg had always been intrigued about dreaming and the subconscious of the human mind. Every morning the first thing John woke up too was Cameron asking what he was dreaming about. Sometimes he thought that the only reason she lays in bed with him all night is so that she could hear about what goes on in his head when she’s not with him. John would admit that he feels a little twinge of guilt when he tells her that he can’t remember and she gets that disappointed wince that if you blink, you miss. So sometimes he made things up to make her happy … but this time he couldn’t make up what he dreamed about.
“I had a dream that J-day happened … and from the nuclear fires armies of walking Broomsticks with buckets were over running the planet.” With a quirk of an eyebrow, he found her brown eyes, expectantly.
“Oh …” Cameron exclaimed softly. “I watched Fantasia on my phone after you fell asleep.” She confirmed.
John nodded. “Well that’s explains why we all lived in an Old Castle, I had mouse ears, Mom was dressed like Merlin, and you saved me with an army of hippopotamuses in matching ballet costumes.” He sighed. He then paused, face screwed up in confusion.
Both exchanged looks, wordlessly, their gaze then fell on Cameron’s abandoned phone on top of the covers. The former soldier turned back to Cameron. “You got to stop watching movies on top of my head, when I go to sleep.” He frowned.
With a tired grown he found his feet and stumbled for balance a moment, before lumbering over to the window in order to share the view of his former protector. Below in the front yard, a tall man in a long sleeve and designer stubble seemed to be in the face of a shorter man with a buzz cut in a motorcycle jacket of black leather. Both seemed to be trying to intimidate the other. Several feet away, a lithe figured woman stood in a matching leather jacket to the buzz cut man, she had pale skin in the cold, and long waving blond hair, stuck under a wool cap. Her sharp green eyes looked annoyed.
John groaned, turning to his companion. “I believe there was a plan from last year if they ever pulled this again?” He asked.
Cameron frowned. “We kill Charlie and Derek, pay off Michelle, and hold Sarah prisoner till Stockholm sets in.” She supplied emotionlessly.
John gave a long drawn out sigh of regret.
“We should’ve killed them when we had the chance.”