AN: For those of you that celebrated the Memorial Day Holiday I hope you enjoyed your weekend. This story is the result of a writer being drunk off his ass. BTW it's Charah.
Sarah sat down heavily on her couch and let out a frustrated sigh, knowing she needed time to compose herself after the latest mission fiasco. "Not even three months in to this mission and I'm compromised. I accused Chuck of faking a flash because he was jealous, what's wrong with me? I have to think this out better before I blow my whole career." Her decision made she headed to the one place she knew she could find some inner peace, the beach where she first asked Chuck to trust her. On her way there she stopped by her favorite coffee shop to grab a coffee to go and a chocolate croissant. While she was standing in line she noticed and a woman in her mid-fifties looking at her with sorry filled grey eyes. Sarah noted they were about the same height and build, but the lady had grey hair mixed with her natural blonde. When the lady picked up her coffee she headed over to Sarah.
"Young lady," she began, "I can see your troubled and most likely cursing at your life." Sarah was startled by how well the lady could read her.
"I've not doubt you dream about the things you'll never do. I wish I had someone talk to me like I'm gonna talk to you. You see, I've been to Georgia and California and anywhere else I could run, but you know what? I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free. I've been to paradise but I've never been to me."
"Look Ma'am. I have no idea what you're talking about so if you don't mind I'd like to get my coffee and leave." This woman is hitting a bit too close to home for me.
"Please lady, don't just walk away, because I have this need to tell you why I'm all alone today," she replied as she looked right into Sarah's eyes. "I can see so much of me still living in your eyes. Won't you share a part of a weary heart that's lived a million lies? I've been to the Nice and the isles of Greece where I've sipped champagne on a yacht. I've moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed em what I've got. I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see."
Sarah could see the unbridled tears running down the lady's cheeks as she continued on. So much of what the woman had said so far resembled her life so many ways it scared her. If she had learned anything from Chuck it was listen to what people had to say so she signaled the woman to continue. A small smile now graced the older woman's face.
"Do you want to know what paradise really is? It's a lie, a fantasy we create ourselves about places and people as we'd like them to be. The truth is, paradise is the kids you'll have in the future, the man you fought with this morning, the same man you want to make love with at night. That's truth, that's love."
"I don't know what to say to that ma'am? And I don't know what to do to make it right," Sarah said with a shake of her head. "I'm terrified of the consequences."
"Sometimes at night I find myself crying for the children I could have had that might have made my life complete. But I took the sweet life and never realized when I was younger that I'd be bitter from the sweet. I spent my life exploring and subtle whoring that cost too much to be free. Don't end up like me. I may have been to paradise but I've never been to me." She turned to leave and Sarah took her gently by the arm and asked, "we've never met so how can you see so much of yourself in me?"
"I've been around a lot longer than you have young lady. I had the same look in my eyes once you know. Whoever he is, grab hold of him and never let go. Take the greatest risk a woman can take, give the man your heart. Don't make the same mistakes I did, because no matter how your life turns out if you've never been true to yourself, the rest won't matter. Have a good life and please remember what I've said, I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me." She turned away and walked off into the crowd and disappeared like she was never there.
Sarah heard her name being called alerting her that her order was ready, she hurried to the counter, paid for her food and quickly headed to face her fears. This better work or I may have just blown my chance. How the hell did he get to me so quickly? All my life I was told love was for fools yet some strange woman in just over ten minutes convinces me that it's not. That no matter where you are, if you're with the person you love its paradise. If all goes well Burbank will be paradise soon enough.
A short time later she was standing outside the apartment Chuck shared with his sister and it was said sister who answered the door. "Sarah, this is a surprise, come in and have a seat while I get Chuck for you,"
"Thanks Ellie," answered Sarah as she made her way to the couch. "I've something I need to tell both of you when you get back." Ellie returned a few minutes later with Chuck in tow. Sarah patted the couch next to her, silently telling Chuck where to sit while Ellie took a seat in the chair across from them. She took Chuck's hand in hers and gave him a small smile when he looked at her.
"I'm really not good at this kind of thing so please bear with me and Chuck don't freak out ok?" seeing their nods she pushed ahead, "After we had our little fight yesterday I needed time to think. I met this woman in a coffee shop and we talked for about ten minutes. Her story was remarkably like mine, including what she told me. She said she had been to paradise but had never been to herself. This is me being true with myself. Chuck, I like you, a lot, more than I should or am allowed. The kiss on the docks was the best kiss of my life. My ex never kissed me like that."
"Sarah, I'm not sure I'm following you," said Chuck.
"Maybe if you let her finish you would," Ellie firmly stated.
"Thanks Ellie," Sarah replied holding Chuck's hand a bit tighter than before, "Chuck, I need you to believe what I'm saying so I want to say it with Ellie here. Ellie, I work for the CIA, John works for the NSA. Your brother is an analyst for the CIA and works with us." This caused both of Chuck's eyebrows to rise into his hairline. "Chuck, I want you to be my boyfriend for real, not for the cover, not for any missions we may go on. I want us to go on dates, take long walks along the beach hand in hand and maybe, just maybe, one day get married. I want to take a shot at finding out what paradise really is, not my construct of what I think it should be and I want you to make that trip with me. So Chuck, will you be my boyfriend?"
"I would love to be your boyfriend but what about our bosses?" he answered while moving in for a kiss.
"Not so fast love birds, you two have a lot of explaining to do before you run off and play house," Ellie snapped as she stood up and began pacing the room. "Explain the part about you two working for the CIA and go from there."
And so it begins thought Sarah. Sarah and Chuck took turns explaining what the intersect was, how Chuck got involved with the CIA and NSA and discussed how they would tell their bosses. One thing Sarah knew from that moment on was she was well on her way to paradise because she had people around her that loved her plus the man she had fallen for when she watched him help out a young ballerina.
AN: This story is loosely based on the song and contains some lyrics from, "I've never been to me" by Charlene.