Disclaimer: I don't own FOP…for the last time in this story.
Chapter Ten: End
When she sits me down in Il Maestro, my eyes start to wander around the room. I can't help it- everywhere here holds some sort of memory, a recollection of what once was. Besides, the walls, filled with Italian art, invoke a sense of peace I don't get from focusing on her face. It's not that being alone with Vicky in the middle of a near empty restaurant has me spooked, but the fact that she told me she was going to be honest.
Personally, I didn't know she had that word in her vocabulary. Honesty has never been Vicky's best policy, particularly when it came to me. Then again, in the past few hours, she's exposed more of herself than ever before. Maybe she's figured out that it's the only way to win a war, or maybe she's just sick of lying. Whatever the case, it's led us to here, a table in the corner, a single red rose in a simple green vase in the center of the table, at the most popular Italian place in town.
Although the attire, for the most part, is formal, she managed to bribe her way in because, apparently, the words, like a dam about to burst, can't wait for a change of clothes. I can see it in her eyes, her past quaking like an unsound foundation, about to crumple and show its roots before me. For once, there are no holds barred- I could tell her anything I want to and, while her defenses are down, hammer her until she breaks. But I won't. Somehow, I think we've progressed past that without considering it.
Her eyes sweep the room along with me as she seeks a way to avoid telling the truth. However, unlike me, she truly does have something to hide. I should have realized the magic was a front, but how could I tell that Cosmo and Wanda couldn't tell me adult problems when I was a kid? How could I have guessed she felt this deeply about anything? How could anyone?
My name trembles past her lips, but she closes them tightly. Tightly drawn, her face expresses nothing, but her eyes speak volumes. Past, present, future, all concealed within one set of beautiful ruby eyes, shimmering in the candlelight.
Gently, unintentionally, her hand brushes mine- I'm tempted to shove my hand under the table, despite how cruel that might look. Today has been the rudest shock alive for both of us and I can't imagine any other way to deal with this than to run and hide. Still, I expect that probably won't work, because she's dead-set on telling me everything she can. You can't blame a guy for trying, though.
Tentatively, her pink polished nails skittering on the edge of the glass cover, she clutches my hand in hers. I can see the whiteness around her knuckles, the pallor behind her makeup, and I pity her. No one has ever risked so much for what might be considered so little. In admitting that she loves me and trying to pursue me, she's risking her babysitting empire, her relationship (if it exists, that remains to be determined) with her family, and the public's opinion of her. If they aren't open minded like she wasn't with them, then they'll pass bad judgment easily and she'll lose everything. I'm sure it wasn't her intent this morning to wake up and blurt out that she loves me, but here we are, clearly immersed in the world of her feelings. The odd thing is- I think I like it.
No sane guy would ever admit to liking Vicky, not if they didn't want their precious items in a vice grip as they screamed out in pain. She's not the type of person to take love well, if she can at all. That's probably why it surprised me so much to consider the possibility that she had any positive feelings at all. How can you expect a monster to sympathize when she's never shown anyone anything good?
When Vicky was nice, however brief (and almost nauseating) that was, was that her true self? Or is it somewhere in between? Can we be certain of what we've never seen if we only have magic to compare it with? I'm sure Wanda might know, but I don't think she's going to be talking to me for a while. I think Cosmo has a few questions he wants answered.
"Timmy," She whispers, the hand holding mine trembling somewhat. She's gripping it so tightly; I've lost all feeling in it. For once, she's not intentionally hurting me…not that she did in the past, come to think of it. All those threats and brandishing her fist at me as I performed meaningless, thankless tasks, she never once struck me. I guess no matter what, she couldn't bring herself to harm the person she loved (that doesn't really help Tootie, does it?).
Gently, I place my other hand atop hers, in both an attempt to pry mine away and to placate her. At least, that was the plan, but my hand ends up remaining there, sandwiching hers between mine. Her hands are surprisingly soft, belying her true nature. I wonder if there's anything else that's soft about her.
Heat rushes to her face and her mouth opens again. However, instead of professing what the hell's been going on for the past few years, she asks me something else that catches me completely off guard (and also causes me to glance towards the table as if expecting a pink salt shaker and a green pepper bottle). I've never been alone with Vicky without them there (albeit frozen once). I never realized how much I depended on them for security.
"How do you know the gypsy?" Possession marks her eyes as though she owns this magical being and I'm merely leasing it from her. In a way, I guess to her it must seem that way, that I've stolen part of her past that she'd dearly love to get back. It's not enough that I've invaded her life, stolen her heart, but now I have to ransack her past too? Again, pity strikes me, another weird emotion around her.
"She's-" The words die on my lips. No matter how honest she might be around me, I won't betray my godparents. Still, if a relationship is built on honesty, then…
Searching for words, I find my old lies haunting me. Wanda and Cosmo have been in human form only three times (if we count the gypsy) and I can honestly say that I can't figure out how to explain them to her. I can't call them my parents, like I did around Crocker, I can't tell her I know the gypsy because she does from wherever she knows Wanda, and somehow, telling her they're my parents' friends when they were only around for a short while doesn't seem to fit. I'm stumped.
"She's my godmother," I answer finally, biting my tongue. Jorgen doesn't appear to whisk me away to Fairy World; no magical vortex to tear me away from this world- I guess the magical word that I needed to have uttered was "fairy". Humans have godparents, after all. Besides, it's pretty much the truth, minus the fact that she can do magic. It's the extent of what I can tell her, anyway. She can't pull anymore with a crane.
Vicky nods, processing this. Her eyes close, but not before she moves her chair over and touches my face. It's the softest caress, short of maybe my parents and godparents, that I've experienced. More and more, I feel myself drawn in by the enigma that is her. She's got so many layers, so many half truths and hidden secrets.
Words tumble out of my mouth before I can properly stop them. I guess we've skipped the tongue tied stage, too, and are going straight to awkward, yet revealing conversation.
"She's my fairy godmother," She says, almost dreamily, and I think any sort of blood I had in my face and or the rest of my body has drained to somewhere, perhaps my feet. If I looked in the mirror, I might expect to see someone from a different program, because I resemble a ghost. Fortunately, her eyes are still closed and she can't see the effect those words just caused. If she could, I doubt she'd sit here so calmly.
"How could- what are you-?" I stammer, wishing I'd selected a better choice of words than that. Come on, Turner, there are hundreds of thousands of things you could have said, and you had to pick the ones that make you look like a jackass? At this rate, I'd be better off braying at her.
Cocking one eye open, she smirks at the pallor, the way my palms have started to sweat profusely, and, if she could tell, the way my heart rate has virtually soared. I can see her long to monopolize on it, but I can also see concern for me, something that before now, probably only existed in worlds that weren't mine. For once, she might actually let me off…which is good, because after the day I've had, staying on my toes with all that she suspects about Cosmo and Wanda might be difficult.
"She led me to Prince Charming, didn't she?" She says simply, smirking still. I exhale sharply, quite obviously expecting her to say something else entirely. Thank God for those fairy tales.
Nodding mutely, I glance once into her eyes and then draw back, overwhelmed. Somehow, I highly doubt I'll leave here with the same opinion as before, but whether that's for better or for worse has yet to be decided. The sad thing is, I'd always thought Vicky was fairly predictable. It's not hard to figure out what an evil, sadistic babysitter is going to do. Now that that's gone, I haven't the faintest clue what she might do or say next.
When I say nothing in response, her eyes narrow momentarily, then she sighs and meets my gaze head-on. Her eyes glue mine to hers in no time at all, and, in a matter of seconds (or what feels like seconds, I don't know exactly), she's captivated me. I want to shudder, look away, do anything that might return what precious little I have left of my sanity, but it doesn't work. After what Wanda said (and what Vicky admitted), I can't focus on any one idea of who exactly Vicky is. As a matter of fact, I'm not so sure I know anything about the girl that babysat me for six years at all.
Clearing her throat, she launches into her story. Most of it Wanda has already said, but it's still her spin on the whole thing. No words come to my mind during her speech, so I just take her in while she says it. Something tells me this is her true self, the one she's desperately hid for years. She's nervous, fidgety, but almost painfully honest. I can tell she wants to shut her mouth and pretend none of this had ever happened, but it's too late. Even if I could wish it so she'd never said anything, I'm not so sure I want to. I think I like her like this.
"My parents…I don't remember much about them. My father was named Vick, he was Denzel Crocker's babysitter (which tells you he must be older than him by a few years)…and he hated me. I don't think he ever wanted to get married, but somehow, there I was and he resented my birth.
"Until I was five, I lived with him and my mom Nicky. All I remember from then was a lot of hitting- my dad had a bad temper. He resented me and, after a while, I resented him and the way he treated me. I might have been five, but no one pushes me around.
"My mom ran away from him and took me with her. He eventually found us, though, and my mom did the only thing she could do- she called my uncle. I didn't want to go…and the more I refused to leave, the worse things got for everyone around. I started to hate the world for treating me like I was some sort of hackey sack."
Swallowing hard, yet finding it thoroughly impossible to remove her eyes from mine, she continues. Her voice may be monotonous, but I can tell the events were anything but. Unconsciously, I reach out and touch her cheek- my hand lingers for a few seconds, but I don't remove it. Somehow, I don't dare.
"I hated them and I still do. They're weak, just like my mother. I don't know what happened to her and I don't really care, either. If their fear is anything like my mother's might have been, then she's probably stuck in another marriage.
"A few years later, after my father got himself arrested, Tootie was born. I could tell she was going to be just like them, but they insisted that I pretend she was my sister. I hated her, both because I had to pretend we were related and because they could love her and not me. I wasn't their kid- she was.
"The more I hated her, the more my mind kept returning to the one chance I had of getting out of this, that guy the gypsy told me I was going to fall in love with. I started obsessing over it…which was why when Tootie started obsessing over you, I went through the roof. If she fell in love with the guy that I was supposed to be with, then I'd have nothing except hatred for the world and not even two parents to call my own. She didn't deserve you.
"But I couldn't tell if you were the guy or not until I started babysitting you and I saw those pink and green animals. I had the feeling your pink goldfish was always watching me, as if she knew something I didn't and I got angry. Who was a fish to judge me? She didn't know anything about me."
Biting back a smirk, I refrain from shaking my head. The sad thing is, if they were just regular goldfish, I could write that off as a touch of insanity. But Wanda really has been watching Vicky and she really isn't just a normal goldfish with pink eyes.
"I started to realize you were it…and I was furious with the damn gypsy for predicting such a stupid thing. You're six years younger than me! Who the hell is she to tell me who I can and can't fall in love with?
"So I liked only boys with certain qualities that you didn't have. I thought that if I acted like a normal teenager, no one would notice and it would go away, whatever weird crush I had on you. It didn't- it got worse.
"I got nastier with you, hoping that the more I shoved you away, the less of a chance I had in keeping the crush. That didn't work either, except for the fact that you started to hate my guts and I was frustrating myself.
"I guess I've always wanted to tell you this…" She turns her head away, but I place my hands (removing the one sandwiched between hers) on the side of her face and hold it there. Apparently, what she just said was a lot for her to handle, because I can tell she wants to bolt. I have no intention of letting her, but I understand.
"I love you, Timmy…and I'm sorry for treating you like, well, how I was treated…"
Rising to my feet (and preventing the waiter from heading our way, because I don't have the money to take her out on a date), I remove my hands from her face as she deflates. Defeated, she gazes at me and waits for me to tell her I hate her and I want her to die. Ironically, those thoughts passed through my mind as recent as yesterday, but it's not there today. (And no, I've never told Wanda that, because she'd freak).
Offering my hand to her, I lead her out of the restaurant (amidst the employees screeching at me for wasting space and not buying anything). I might regret what I'm about to do, but, once again, I won't fix it with magic. Magic has done a lot for me, but romance isn't exactly an area it should touch. Humans should be able to handle it on their own, at least, I hope I can. I'll find out in a few seconds, at any rate.
Both of us trembling slightly, I shift closer to her as we stand outside, in the alleyway in the back of Il Maestro. Fortunately, the staff hasn't found us. Otherwise, we might have a situation on our hands.
Before I can even think of what I wanted to, she grabs me around the waist and presses her lips against mine. I guess you could never say Vicky is shy…normally. She finds something she wants and, eventually, she gets it.
She breaks the kiss after a few seconds- my head's spinning. A devilish grin splits her face and, as soon as I catch my breath again, she kisses me. It's sort of like lather, rinse, and repeat, except, you know, without the shampoo.
"So?" She asks, eyes sparkling mischievously.
Glancing at my face, she starts laughing. I can tell a tomato would envy my color, because all the blood has raced to my face. I haven't kissed her back, but she's got the idea.
"Um…wanna sneak into a movie?" I offer, because I'm hopeless in debt at the moment.
Smirking, she grabs my hand and yanks me all the way to the movies.
After a few weeks, Timmy finally got used to Vicky and, although they can't exactly come out and say they're a couple, they're pretty much official. She wants to keep her babysitting practice, after all, but at least she isn't as nasty as she used to be. Timmy's trying to work on getting rid of all of that, but it's not quite working as he'd planned.
Cosmo had a long, tiring conversation with Wanda regarding her premonitions. After finding out that she can't really control them and no, she didn't see any signs of them breaking up, he calmed down long enough to snuggle on the couch. They fell asleep together…and, now that he knows the whole story behind most things, their relationship has improved.
Tootie didn't take their relationship too well. Wanda had to have one hell of a conversation with her, including preventing her from hurting herself. For a good while, Cosmo and Wanda had to act as her fairy godparents, because she needed them more than Timmy. She's finally decided that both Vicky and Timmy are dead to her…which, although isn't the healthiest thing, might be the best thing at the moment.
So where are our love birds now? Well, I'd ask, but somehow, I don't think a locked door is very inviting.
So, yeah, not too happy with that ending, but that's how the cookie crumbles, I guess. Besides, I hope to have this, Overlooked, and Wedding Game done soon so I can work on another idea (or replace "Fear Not the Reaper"…)