A/N: Welcome, friends! :) Inspiration for this story came from Ellie Goulding's amazing song "Bittersweet" (I listened to it on loop while writing and it's still one of my favorite songs of all time!). Also, the story is set around the CP episode "Bottom Line Green", when Linka gave us W/L fans something to really worry about! At the beginning of each chapter, there will be a name: the chapter is told from that person's Point Of View. FEEDBACK PLEASE!

RATED T FOR LANGUAGE, MINOR VIOLENCE, AND SUGGESTIVE ADULT THEMES.


BITTERSWEET

By: Miss Mango

Chapter 1

Gi

In an hour or so it will be sunset on Hope Island. The last rays will turn everything golden, and the heat will feel even more delicious just because it will be fading. Right now, the sun is still scalding, reflecting off the fine white sand. I look up from the book I'm pretending to read, my eyes scrutinizing the surroundings behind my dark sunglasses.

Linka is sitting almost across from me, her towel neatly laid out underneath her. She is brushing her long blonde hair so that it will dry more quickly and I wonder how she manages to look so flawless even after a swim in the ocean. Today, she is sporting a white one-piece bathing suit that looks killer on her figure. I swear she is the closest human Barbie clone on this Earth. She is blessed with perfect complexion that never burns in the sun, bright green eyes with long eyelashes, and a mouth that could make any man fall at her feet. She's the classic Russian beauty, I guess, tall and with an hour glass figure. Now, she doesn't have extremely large breasts but they are something, especially compared to my A-cup lumps.

I sigh. I shouldn't complain, I remind myself with a small shake of the head. I'm often told I'm cute, with my neat dark bob and chocolate, almond-shaped eyes, even though my body is more athletic-looking compared to Linka's bombshell figure. I'm not as tall, obviously, but my smile is warmer than Linka's. If you do the math, you can tell how many more guys hit on her rather than me. I think she's used to it by now, anyway. She looks at her admirers uninterested, as if she were observing some bug ready to be dissected.

Linka and I are good friends. We like to go shopping together and stay up late at night talking about lots of things. The past, the future, boys (my favorite topic), family, the missions (her favorite topic). She is a really good listener. She always gives me her undivided attention when I speak, tilting her head sideways as if really considering what I'm saying. Sometimes we laugh over mindless things. Linka is not as good when it comes to sharing herself. She carries with her a sense of reservedness and I respect her for it. Culturally we are abysmally differently, but we have enough common ground on which to build a solid friendship.

Wheeler is sitting beside her, and he's obviously convinced her to rub some sunblock over him. How he can get his way all the time, I'll never know! He's got a persuasive aura to him, a type of charm that is hard to resist. I think the only battle he's ever lost has been with Linka. The redheaded New Yorker has always had a thing for the Russian blonde. We all know it. Even Linka knows it. But for some reason or other, they are stuck in the land of nowhere. It's like they are standing in the middle of quicksands, neither going backwards or forward. They are good friends, and I wonder if that is partly the cause. That, and the fact that Linka is not very open with her emotions. She pushes him away for the most part, except for the rare times when she allows him to put his arm around her or flirt with her. A strong reaction of hers is jealousy. She can't stand it when Wheeler gives attention to other girls, and that happens often.

Now, I know I should be objective. I tell myself that I should consider Wheeler my big brother. It's wrong for me to think that he's good-looking. Hell, I wish it was only that! I think he's a babe! This revelation is shocking to me. When I first met Wheeler, I did not think too much of him, he was just a kid from the slums that could get a laugh out of us all. Fast forward to two years later, and you have him turning into an easy-on-the-eyes man. I guess Wheeler is a bit of the jock type. He loves sports and has the body to prove it. No matter how much he eats (and it's massive amounts, one time he had a pizza delivered in the middle of a mission!), he remains lean and muscular. He has a bright, beautiful smile and cheerful blue eyes. I especially like his voice. I think with his accent, he could be reading from something as ridiculous as Busy Betty's Big Book of Pies and make it sound dead sexy! He's the type of guy that when he tells you everything's going to be all right, you instantly believe him, then probably start crushing on him a minute later.

I find myself daydreaming about him a lot. And it's not like I can talk to anybody about it. We work together, after all, and if that kind of news divulged, it would make for one awkward team. If I tell him, he would not be so keen to hang out with me, and we do a lot of stuff together. We watch movies and sports together, and we go for daily swims. Wheeler likes to talk to me about a lot of different things, and I appreciate his openness. I don't think he shares himself so openly with a lot of people. And, yes, sometimes he talks to me about Linka. Mainly he's confused, I don't think he even knows what's going on with that. From what I've gathered, he's kissed her a couple of times, but apparently Linka shut him out so quickly afterwards that he did not dare try again.

If I were to tell Linka, I think that would pretty much annihilate our friendship. Linka does not seem to appreciate Wheeler's advances, but at the same time, she doesn't want him paying attention to anyone else. Boy, I'd like to get inside her head (as would Wheeler, I'm sure)! She doesn't intend to, but she jumps from hot to cold in the blink of an eye. For example, it was about a month ago that she came to my room and excitedly told me that she had just received a call from Greg. Apparently, he had invited her out to dinner. The shine of her eyes had been just beautiful!

We met Greg on one of our missions. He is the son of a factory owner we teamed up with to capture an Eco Villain. Linka and I both thought Greg was handsome off the bat. Even though in his late twenties (Linka and I are both in our late teens, she's a couple of years older than I am), he carries himself elegantly, and has a charming, successful business-man vibe to him. He is always dressed impeccably, with chestnut hair and eyes, a solid build, and angular facial features. Greg seemed to instantly take to Linka (no surprise there), and Linka seemed flattered by his interest.

Wheeler was, of course, furious, and found a way to make Greg appear as the villain. Those two avoided a fist fight by some miracle. Linka-issue aside, Wheeler and Greg are as different as day and night. Greg is overly mature, takes his job very seriously and is not always looking for constant attention. He is also reserved and in this he resembles Linka. They probably make a more sensible pair than Wheeler and Linka ever would.

So, it's been a month that Linka has been seeing Greg. I don't know if this has changed her relationship with Wheeler much. Those two have this strange, strong connection that neither of them seems to comprehend. I watch inertly as Wheeler gets Linka to laugh over something, then read the adoring look in his eyes as he examines her face and wonder just how much he's suffering on the inside. When he first found out Linka was dating Greg, he got into one of his terrible moods. It was like a child's temper tantrum, only it lasted a couple of days longer. He hasn't made any actual comments on the matter, but sometimes I hear him muttering under his breath whenever Greg's name gets dropped in conversation.

None of us really know how Linka's relationship is going with Greg. She doesn't talk about him much (as I said, she's quite reserved). I assume she enjoys his company, and is proud of the fact that Greg is quite a catch, but Linka likes to keep a lot to herself. All I can say is that they look good together; they make an attractive couple, esthetically speaking, anyway.

Wheeler also goes out on dates, it's easy for him to find girls who are interested. He has never mentioned the same name twice, however, and I think his main priority is to get out of his mind the unreachable image of Linka. It's strange, because knowing him as I do, I don't think this type of serial dating behavior is in line with who he really is. He's a big goof at times, but I can see him committing in a serious way to a girl he deems worthy. Wheeler can be really sweet and thoughtful when he wants, and the best thing about him is that he makes you feel safe. You could be facing a monster or a tidal wave, and he'd still find a way to ease your mind.

Where does that leave me, then? Nowhere, really! I have never had a boyfriend in my life. Sure, I've been out with a boy or two, shared a few kisses, but nothing as intense as I would like. It's not like we meet a lot of people with our crazy schedule, plus being out-shadowed by Linka's beauty crosses out the potential boys I could meet on missions. And crushing on Wheeler has not been so good for me because I find myself more eager to spend time alone with him and less with others, in general. I know that nothing good is going to come out of this, and maybe Linka and Wheeler have the right idea dating people outside of our group.

But is that really true? I ask myself, discarding the useless novel and hugging my knees to my chest. I'm suddenly jealous of how close those two are sitting, of their implied intimacy that despite everything, is still present. Are any of us truly happy with the way things are at present?