Disclaimer: I do not own Jimmy Neutron.
Chapter 13: What Cindy Wants
"Back so soon?"
Cindy turned, startled, at the sound of Kaylee's voice from the doorway. The dirty blonde-headed M.D. stood there, arms crossed and lips pursed.
"Wh—I—I didn't go anywhere," Cindy stuttered. How had she figured it out? Jimmy had taken every precaution to make sure their little outing was a secret...or so she thought.
"Don't lie to me, Cindy," Kaylee sighed, shaking her head. "I know I seem like the bad guy who doesn't want you to have any fun, but I just want you to recover."
"But—but how did you find out?" Cindy questioned, still feeling totally in the dark.
Kaylee rolled her eyes. "I saw Jimmy go into your room, and I heard the whole conversation," she explained. "I'm really not as dumb as I look, although I will say that his invisible ray was a clever idea."
Cindy's eyes grew big. "You're still going to let him help, right?" she asked fearfully.
Kaylee sighed once more and rubbed her temples. "Look, Cindy, I'm not planning on cutting him off from visiting you anytime soon. I think he really is helping you to recover, although some of his antics are besides me," she replied. "I just want you to be careful. I think he might be trying to take advantage of you. He knows you think highly of him, and he wants to be the big hero."
Cindy shook her head slowly. "No—no, that's not true," she muttered, dwelling on the conversation they'd had on the island together. He specifically told her he didn't want to take advantage; she was the one who said she wanted to forget about their rocky relationship and maybe try and get closer.
Kaylee frowned. "I know you don't want to believe it, but just be careful. I don't want to see you hurt emotionally—you've been through enough already with your physical injury."
"James Isaac Neutron!"
Boy, was he in trouble or what. He had completely forgotten he hadn't come home the night before, and then he had taken Cindy out to the island. He hadn't seen his parents since yesterday morning!
"We've been worried sick about you! Where have you been?" Judy Neutron interrogated him.
"I'm fine, Mom," he assured her.
"That doesn't answer my question."
Jimmy swallowed. What should he tell her? The truth? That he had fallen asleep in Cindy's room, went to school, and then was with Cindy the whole time after that? But what would it sound like? That he was so obsessed with Cindy that he couldn't stand being away from her? After all, he couldn't tell her about the incident that had caused Cindy to suffer from amnesia. He'd already told three people after he wasn't supposed to. Oh, boy, was he caught in a tight trap.
"I was at Sheen's house, Mom," Jimmy lied.
"Nice try, but I called both Sheen and Carl's houses and talked to their parents," Judy said. Her voice shook. "I almost called the police, but your father talked me out of it. He said you'd be fine. So where were you?"
"Cindy's," Jimmy said quietly.
"Cindy's?" Mrs. Neutron repeated incredulously. "You expect me to believe that? What, is there some recent affection between you two or something?" She laughed.
"I'm not lying," Jimmy protested. "I fell asleep at her house, went to school, and then took her somewhere afterwards. I'm sorry I didn't call you, but I really am OK."
"So, what's going on between you that I don't know about?" she questioned. "Jimmy, this is unbelievable. There is no excuse for your behavior. I never thought I'd have to say this, but you are grounded from seeing Cindy for one week, except for when you're in school. Do you understand?"
"No, Mom, you can't!" Jimmy exclaimed. "Anything else right now, please!"
"Jimmy, what's gotten into you?" his mother asked in surprise. "You couldn't stand the girl, and now you're in love with her? This makes absolutely no sense."
"I'm not in love with her! I know this doesn't make sense, Mom, but there's a reason I have to be with Cindy, and I'm not allowed to tell you. Will you just trust me?" He looked up at her pleadingly. "Please?"
"You tell me what's going on this instant, young man," Judy said firmly. "No buts about it."
Jimmy sighed. It seemed there was really no way out. "I was in the park the other day, and I saw some cloaked guy raise a shovel over Cindy's head. I yelled at him, he hit her on the head with it, and then he ran away. I called 911 and an ambulance came to take her to the hospital. She's there with amnesia, and the police are trying to figure out who did this to her. I'm helping."
"Oh, Jimmy, why didn't you tell me sooner?" his mom cried out.
"It's extremely confidential, and the police said I wasn't allowed to tell anyone," Jimmy explained. "That means now you can't, either. Not even Dad. Promise?"
"I promise. But you still should've called us," she scolded. "Instead of being grounded from Cindy, you're grounded from TV. Fair enough?" Jimmy nodded. "All right, now go see your father so he knows you're OK."
Libby entered Cindy's hospital room and found her friend in a very confused and depressed state of mind. "Cindy," she greeted her in concern, "what happened to you?"
Cindy smiled weakly at Libby. "Well, it's not your fault. Jimmy and I did just what you planned."
"Excuse me?" Libby asked in disbelief. "What plan? I never planned anything with him."
Cindy's eyes grew wide. "What?" she gasped. "But he said that you wanted me to go!"
"Go where?" Libby shook her head. "You're gonna have to start at the beginning, Girlfriend."
"Well, I was still mad at him, but Jimmy came by today anyways and insisted I go with him somewhere. He convinced me by telling me that it was your idea," the blonde explained.
"I did nothing of the kind!" Libby insisted. "Where did you go, anyways?"
"An island..." Cindy laid back on her pillows and sighed deeply. "It was so romantic. He gave me a pearl and we watched the sunset together..." She trailed off, a dreamy look on her face.
"The island!" Libby exclaimed in amazement. She let out a low whistle.
Cindy perked up. "What do you know about it?"
"Well, you and Jimmy got in a fight over whether or not the equator was visible—"
Cindy burst out laughing. "Jimmy thought the equator was visible? Everyone knows it's not! That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!"
"Actually, Cindy," Libby said slowly, "you were the one who thought it was visible. Jimmy was trying to prove to you that it wasn't."
Cindy sat in stunned silence, trying to fully comprehend what Libby had just unveiled. "But..." She trailed off with a frown.
"Anyways," Libby went on, "you ended up getting stranded alone together on a deserted island. I had my own suspicions on what happened there, 'specially after I saw that 'J+C FOREVER' thing carved in that tree."
"You saw that?" Cindy questioned, her eyes widening. "So did I. Do you know who did it?"
"Well, I always assumed it was you," Libby replied, "but I wouldn't be surprised if ya both carved it together. Maybe you should ask Jimmy."
Cindy's mind went back to the day before, when she had first discovered the tree. Jimmy's reaction was one of shock, and from the way he had acted, she could guess that the tree wasn't one of the things he had planned on re-enacting. "I think it must've been me," she decided.
"But that's not what was botherin' ya, huh?" Libby guessed. "Ya wanna tell me what's really wrong?"
Cindy's face fell as her mind returned to the previous problem. "It's Kaylee," she confessed sullenly.
Libby was puzzled. "Your doctor? What'd she do?"
"She said that this is all a game to Jimmy," Cindy relayed. "That he doesn't want me to fully recover—just remember the things that he wants me to remember." Her eyes grew misty. "That's not true—is it?"
"Well, what do you think?" Libby wanted to know.
"What do I think?" Cindy repeated. "I don't know what I think! I just—I mean—I wanted so badly to—" She stopped and took a breath to calm down, and then continued, "Libby, Jimmy is the most wonderful boy that I've ever met. I know everyone says that I wouldn't think that of him if I had my long term memory back, but I don't care." Cindy sighed and buried her face in her hands, blind to the door opening right in front of her. "Jimmy Neutron is the sweetest, cutest, smartest, most heroic boy that I've ever met in my life! And nothing can change what I think of him!"
"Wow, thanks, Cindy."
Cindy's head shot up, terrified to find Jimmy standing next to her best friend. "What are you doing? When did you come in? How long have you been standing there?"
"Settle down, girl," Libby said with a smile. "He only heard the last two sentences." She turned to look at him. "I think that was enough, don't you?"
Jimmy, who had been rubbing the back of his neck and staring at his feet in embarrassment, blushed even harder at Libby's comment. "Um, maybe I came at a bad time…," he said.
"I suppose it doesn't matter now," Cindy sighed, her cheeks the same color red as Jimmy's. Their eyes met, and both quickly looked away.
Libby shook her head. "You didn't need to ask for my opinion, Cindy. Looks like you've already made up your mind. As for you"—here she turned to Jimmy once more—"I suggest that you just hook up with her and get it over with. Can't be too hard, can it?"
Jimmy swallowed hard. "Is that what you want, Cindy?" he asked uncomfortably. Silently he wished that he had walked in just two minutes earlier! Who would've thought that he would find Cindy spilling her heart to Libby about him at the exact moment that he entered the room? Apparently he really needed to work on his timing.
"Yes," Cindy declared suddenly, breaking him from his thoughts.
Jimmy looked up at her in surprise and disbelief. Surely he had heard wrong. Never in his life would he imagine Cindy saying any of this! It seemed that hit on the head had done more brain damage than he'd thought. "What—what did you say?"
"I said 'yes,'" Cindy clarified.
"You must not have meant it," Jimmy blurted out. He plastered on a smile. "Right?"
"'Not have meant it?' 'Not have meant it?'" Cindy demanded incredulously. "How could you possibly say that? Did you not hear everything I just said about you?"
"Cindy, I did," Jimmy started to say, "but—"
"Look, I'm gonna let you two work this out on your own," Libby interrupted. Before Cindy could protest, Libby nodded towards her and left the room, leaving Jimmy and Cindy to fend for themselves.
Cindy sighed and shook her head. "You always do this, huh." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Do what?" Jimmy asked, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Gosh darn it, didn't he realize that made him look even cuter?
"You act all romantic, and then pretend that nothing ever happened between us!" Cindy exclaimed in frustration. She had to admit—it felt pretty good to get that load off of her chest.
"You wanna know why, Cindy? You honestly wanna know why?" Jimmy asked, more than a little ticked off at her accusation.
"Yes!" Cindy nodded vigorously.
"It's because of you!" Instantly Jimmy clamped his mouth shut and wished that he could take it back. Cindy became so distraught that it appeared as if she would burst into tears at any second.
"Why—why would you ever think that?" she whispered, eyes glossy. "All I want is—is to take our relationship to the next level."
Jimmy's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. After a few moments of shock, he sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed. "Cindy, you have to understand where I'm coming from," he told her. "I still think of us as how we were before your injury. Back then you had your reputation to protect. We got close to each other every now and then—and even so it was usually when we were alone—but after that, it was as if it had been wiped from our brains. That's how you wanted it; that's how I wanted it. It would feel"—he searched for the word—"deceitful to try anything else. When you regain your memory, you'll just hate me even more for taking advantage of you. I just don't want to do that to either of us, Cindy."
A tear rolled down her cheek, and she leaned over to hug his neck. "Oh, Jimmy," she sighed, burying her face in his shoulder, "now I know that Kaylee was wrong about you. How could you possibly be so sweet?" She squeezed him harder.
"Kaylee? What did she say about me?" Jimmy asked in bewilderment.
"She said that you were trying to take advantage of me." Cindy pulled her head up and placed her hands on his shoulders. "But, Jimmy, you're not taking advantage of me," she protested. "This is what I want."
Jimmy shook his head. "But it's not what you would want if you had all of your memory back," he tried to tell her.
"How would you know?" Cindy demanded, yanking her arms from his shoulders and crossing them against her chest with a huff. "How could you know what I want? Maybe I should remind you that you're not me!"
Jimmy opened his mouth to argue, and then thought better of it. After a short pause, he finally said quietly, "You're right, Cindy. I'm not."
A/N: All right, I've decided to give this story another shot. True, it's not as popular as My Happy Ending, and my dad kind of messed up this chapter by not giving me the first part I wrote of it on his computer, but I can't just leave the loyal fans who do read it hanging, can I? I would hate it if someone did that to me, and that would be really unfair to you. And I'm sure you've all heard the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." :) I just hope I haven't disappointed you with this!