He thought he had blown his chance when Galactor attacked the following week, taking the team away for nearly a fortnight. Getting back to his trailer, he found a few messages on his mobile from her, the last few gave him the impression she was quickly losing interest. It was by sheer coincidence she came into the J, ironically to ask Jun for a job.
Joe recognised her voice the moment she spoke.
“Can I speak to the owner or manager please?” Kathleen asked when Jun went over to take her order.
“Yes, that’s me, how can I help?” Jun responded with a smile.
“I’m wondering if there are any vacancies going,” Kathleen fished out a crumpled sheet of paper from her bag. “I have had some experience....”
“I’m sorry, we’re not looking for anyone at the moment...” Jun began as Joe sidled over.
“Just look it over, eh, Jun.” He winked as he took the sheet from Kathleen’s hand and held it out. “Something might come up, sooner or later.”
“Do you know her Joe?” Jun asked, giving the resume the once over.
“Not yet, but I’d like to.” Jun saw the look Joe was giving the stranger, and understood. He wasn’t talking about employing her.
Jun sighed. “Well, I’ll keep it on file, but I’m not promising anything.”
After training the following day, Joe caught up with Jun.
“So how involved are you with this Kathleen,” she asked him, knowing that’s what he wanted to ask about.
“Not very, I’m holding back, you know.” He looked concerned. “Why? Is there something I should be worried about?”
“No, I’m just being nosy. I checked her out and nothing came up, at least not as far as Galactor is concerned.”
“How far back did you go?”
“A couple of generations. Her parents and both pairs of grandparents are or were all good honest people, the occasional traffic violation aside.”
“That’s fantastic, Jun.” To her surprise, he hugged her ecstatically. “Now I will be asking her out, thanks. So will you consider taking her on at the J, then?”
“I wish I could, but we really can’t support any other staff, it just doesn’t take in enough to pay her.”
The rest of the team were amused to discover Joe had finally met someone, then, knowing Joe’s reputation for unwittingly picking up Galactor women, surprised when they didn’t try to kill each other after the first week.
For him, she provided the motivation he needed to continue the combat against Galactor, when the final destruction of Sosai Z finally avenged the murders of his parents.
Technically that should have been the end of the war, yet factions of the terrorist group still existed, and remained determined to continue the fight.
“Are you two for keeps then?” Jinpei asked the loved up pair one afternoon in the J, after they had been dating for almost a couple of years.
“Who knows?” Joe replied, as Kathleen blushed at the youngster’s bluntness. “I’m just enjoying the here and now, not worrying what’s around the next corner.”
“Aww, so you’re not going to marry her then?” The younger teammate teased, “Onechan would be so jealous if you did.”
“That’s enough Jinpei,” Jun scowled, “Getting married is serious business, not something to do to make someone else jealous.”
“See, it’s working already.” Jinpei laughed as he made a hasty retreat.
“Oh, you never know, I might ask her one day.”
“Will you?” Kathleen asked in surprise.
“Yeah, I mean I want to be set up first, we’re gonna need somewhere to live for starters.”
“You don’t have to get married straight away though,” Jun pointed out, “you can start saving up, then when you’ve got enough, you can tie the knot.”
“Ok.” Joe considered this for a while, as Jun went back to serving the other customers, then turned to Kathleen, “so what do you think? Do you want to get married?”
“That depends,” she answered, grinning.
“Are you asking?”
All eyes suddenly turned to him as he pondered the question. “I suppose I am, yeah,” he responded at last.
“Ok then, let’s do it.”
“I am if you are.”
“Wow,” Joe grinned, “it looks like we’re getting married.”
Ken had been sat with Ryu, quietly listening to the interaction, and as the newly engaged couple kissed, and Jinpei whooped for joy, he rose from his seat and pulled Joe to one side.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” he asked, more concerned than anything.
“Absolutely, it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while anyway, I just didn’t know if she’d agree or not.”
“How much does she know?”
“About the Science Ninja Team? Relax, I haven’t told her anything, on the occasions we have been on missions, I’ve just told her I was at work. She knows I work for the I.S.O. and she’s satisfied with that. I’m not lying to her I’m just not telling her the whole truth.”
“Do you think you should?”
“What? And have her put in jeopardy? No, if she lets slip to anyone that she’s planning to marry the Condor, then who knows what would happen. Look, she is the best thing to happen to me since... well, since Nambu saved me from the devilstar assassin when I was a kid. It would really mean a lot if you supported me with this”
“You really are in love with her then?”
I’m sorry, it’s just the casual way you went about the proposal, I wasn’t sure if you were winding us or her up.” Ken smiled, “of course you have my support, on one condition.”
“Oh? And what’s that then?”
“You let me be your best man.”