Summary: Oh yeah!
Word Count: 2000
Adam was having a perfect day: nothing to do except read a new book by Charles Dickens and then ride into town for a few drinks with friends in the evening. He stretched luxuriously in his blue velvet chair, carefully avoiding the rubbed out patch (clearly made by a much smaller person than himself) when a thought struck him. Was Joe sneaking a comfy seat when his brother was out? Standing up carefully, Adam studied the mark in detail: it was certainly at the right height to have been made by the youngest and smallest (and mosssst breathtakingly gorgeous) of the Cartwrights. His perusal was interrupted by the sound of voices and the clatter of footsteps. Turning around slowly so as not to jar his dicky back, Adam saw Joe and the Giggly Sisters enter the house.
“Adam!” Joe called out happily and bounded across the room. Unfortunately, he caught his foot in the Indian blanket, which had decided it would rather be a rug and consequently had moved itself onto the floor. As Joe went careening towards his brother, Adam did a neat side swerve, so that Joe measured his length onto the floor.
The blonde gave him a hard stare, which was mirrored by Paw, the Sisters’ pet bear, who habitually lived in her handbag.
“Have you ever noticed how Adam hates to touch Joe?” she asked curiously.
“Yes, I have,” answered the redhead. “I mean, there he was, in MBK, and Joe was writhing stunningly well on the bed, obviously distressed, and Adam wouldn’t even touch him. A hand on his head. Well, whoopee.”
“It is sad,” agreed the blonde, and she and the redhead helped Joe onto his feet. “Because he was good in that one.”
“It does help when he acts with more than his eyes, or a measly 10%,” said the redhead, who had a good deal of acting experience herself. “How natural is it to touch someone you’re supposed to love?”
“Well, to you and I, perfectly normal,” the blonde replied. “Is that why you took to wearing all black?” she enquired.
Adam was fuming too much to say anything. He glared at Joe as his younger brother began to laugh.
“No, he did that when someone told him how slimming black was.” Joe allowed the sisters to check him over for maims, but apart from potential bruising, there was nothing to see. The redhead looked disappointed.
“Dear God, I’d hate to see the size of his bum if that’s it slimmed down,” she commented.
“I wear black because it’s a contradiction,” Adam said, with great dignity. It would have been more effective if his rug hadn’t been squint again. The Toupee Toffee had been missing that morning when he got up, and he’d forgotten to ask Pa for it again. “I am a member of the family who are the heroes, and the heroes traditionally wear white. I decided that it would be more unusual if I wore black, instead.”
They contemplated this in thoughtful silence. Paw played with the monkey on the blonde’s handbag. He didn’t like Adam at all. He glared at Adam with all the venom such a soft, sweet natured and cuddly little creature could muster.
“I wonder if it had anything to do with that dreadful ‘Quaker come to meeting’ hat he wore in the opening credits one season,” mused the redhead. She didn’t like Adam much, either.
“Well, Joe looked positively mortified in them!” Adam said defensively.
“But gorgeous at the same time!” the blonde reminded him gently and Joe preened himself unselfconsciously.
“Why did you shoot him accidentally-on-purpose in that episode anyway?” the redhead enquired curiously. Adam was getting a little tired of this topic of conversation and consequently his temper was just a trifle frayed.
“How many times do I have to tell you?” he enquired testily. “I thought he was a wolf!” As usual, the excuse did not carry much water. With a shudder of distaste, Adam realized that Joe was edging closer to him and he had to jink sideways to avoid coming into physical contact with his younger brother. The sudden movement jarred his back, causing Adam to wince out loud.
Joe flinched visibly. “You really don’t like me at all, do you?” he said sadly, looking down at the ground and shuffling his perfectly sweet feet in an unhappy way.
“Nonsense!” The familiar, resonant tones of the Voice of Canada filled the room, and Paw retreated into the handbag in fright. “Adam loves you, don’t you son?” Ben moved forward and put an arm around each son, hugging them close. Joe snuggled in appreciatively, but Adam remained rigidly upright.
“Don’t you?” Ben repeated firmly, exerting the full force of his formidable personality, while at the same time increasing the pressure of his grip of Adam’s shoulder. He took the opportunity to whisper sharply “And I ever catch you giving that finger gesture in family photographs again …”
Adam took umbrage at this remark. “At least I don’t always have to sit in the front row, unlike Shorty here!”
Joe’s eyes filled with tears and, not for the first time, the sisters wondered exactly what color they were. Some writers insisted they were hazel, while others maintained they were green. Things got even more confused when those with a literary bent referred to them as emerald.
Adam seized the opportunity to escape from Ben’s fatherly grasp. “I’m going to get changed.” As he turned to go, the redhead could not help noticing the large amount of chest hair that was poking wirily out of his shirt collar, through the little gaps between the buttons and even at the shirt cuffs. It was rather disconcerting. In fact, it looked rather like…
With an effort, she wrenched her eyes away from the hair, and feasted them instead on the smooth perfection of Joe’s golden-toned body. She loved the way he wore his shirt unbuttoned lower than his family. She suddenly wondered if that was why she wore her shirts unbuttoned lower than some people thought decent.
When Adam came back downstairs, wearing what looked like exactly the same clothes, even down to the huge turn-ups on his trousers, Joe and the sisters were sitting snuggled up on the uncomfortable settee. The blonde looked at him curiously. “I thought you were getting changed?” she asked.
“I did,” Adam replied, stiffly.
“All our clothes are the same,” Joe said. “Sometimes we get to dress up, but generally, we have closets full of the same clothes.”
“I suppose you had to get your pants extra long so that they would fit round your lumpy bum?” asked the redhead.
“I do not have a lumpy bum!” Adam protested. He decided to ignore the sisters. “Have you saddled Sport for me?” he asked Joe.
“Do I look like a ranch hand?” Joe answered. “Besides, he bites.”
“He doesn’t bite me,” Adam retorted.
“He doesn’t want food poisoning,” said the redhead, not quite sotto voce. Adam smiled thinly and Joe gave him a look that was full of tender, brotherly sympathy.
“What?” Adam asked testily and Joe’s perfect lips curved in a beautiful smile. The girls had to take several deep breaths to stop their hearts from fluttering.
“It’s not easy, is it?” Joe said solicitously. “Trying to look supercilious and yet tolerant at the same time. Of course, things aren’t helped by the fact that you’re sadly lacking in the lip department.”
“I am not!” Adam’s dark eyes flashed dangerously and for a moment, it looked as if he would overcome his abhorrence of touching Joe and clobber him one. Ben decided to intervene.
“Now then Adam, it’s no secret that your top lip is almost non-existent. But there’s no need to fret – you’ve got lovely dimples, son!”
The blonde was intrigued. “I always wanted to know if they were real!” she exclaimed. “I sometimes wondered if the makeup girls popped them in when they were bored, the way they used to paint the cleft onto Joe’s chin.”
“The dimples are real,” Adam assured her. “I have no need to resort to unnatural artifices.”
Ben gave a deep, throaty chuckle and the conches on his waistcoat glistened in the firelight. “Don’t forget that there’s a big fight scene coming up in Act 4,” he advised.
“Does my shirt get ripped?” Joe asked eagerly.
“Of course it does, son. We know what the fans like and we aim to please. You also throw yourself athletically thought the air onto the villains and you receive the traditional cut above your left eyebrow. And Adam …”
A look of panic spread across Adam’s face at the tone of his father’s voice. “What? Do I get shot? Stabbed? Brutalized?”
“None of those, son. It’s just that Joe gets shot and you have to carry him to safety.”
Adam blanched and then hollered “Betty!” A slim, dark haired girl dressed entirely in black ran down the stairs.
“What is it now, Adam?” she asked, as the sisters gazed at her in wonderment. She was wearing exactly the same clothes as Adam! What was this? Was she Adam’s unmentioned identical twin sister?
“I have to carry Joe,” he said, in a faint tone. “You’ll have to do it. My back isn’t up to the strain.”
Betty heaved a huge sigh. “I can’t,” she said, while Joe looked down at himself, wondering which part of his skinny, but well muscled and sexy body would cause Adam strain.
“You must,” Adam said, in a desperate tone.
“It’s a close up,” she snapped. “I don’t look that much like you, you know!”
“Nah, you’ve got a better butt,” commented the redhead, who was rather proud of her own svelte figure and neat butt.
“More hair,” amplified the blonde, whose own wonderful figure and sleek hair made her what the extras referred to as a ‘prime dame.’
With a twitch of her pretty mouth, Betty whirled round and ran lightly upstairs again, while Adam stood there grinding his teeth. He pinched the bridge of his nose. It wasn’t because he was thinking; it was because thinking always gave him a killer headache.
“How can the producer do this to me?” he whined. “How far do I have to carry him?”
“Across the yard, into the house and upstairs to bed,” Ben answered. “I told the director that that settee is too uncomfortable for someone who’s been badly wounded.”
The sisters wondered if they were the only ones who could see the mischievous glint in Ben’s eyes. Then Joe gave a cough, and hastened outside for some air.
“I sometimes feel the whole world is against me!” Adam fumed, flopping down into the blue velvet chair and fretfully wringing his hands together. The redhead smiled happily at him.
“You know we were only teasing. We don’t want to incur the wrath of your army of loyal fans. Some of them even have special coffee cups with a picture of you in the shower on them.” She studied him carefully. “And even I think you’ve got rather nice wrists.”
Joe came in and looked rather crestfallen at this pronouncement. He pouted slightly, in his appealing, boyish way and the blonde hastened to comfort him.
“Don’t worry, poppet! I still adore your feet!”
Paw sat and studied his own hands and feet and pondered on the vagaries of humans. He much preferred a well-turned snout himself. Ben sat back and wondered, not for the first time, who the Giggly Sisters were and what they were doing living in his house. But then, strange things were always happening in and around the Ponderosa and he had always thought it best to turn a blind eye to them. Although he was a little perturbed by the blonde’s passion for Joe’s feet. Perhaps it was best that Adam was averse to touching Joe. After all, he wouldn’t like anything to rival those classic Joe/Pa moments!