PARANOIA

Polska – welcome to another exciting edition of the Powerpuff Girls from me, the super fabulous Polska! Okay, maybe I'm not fabulous, considering that it's been about…how many months since I've updated a story? Well, I had a genius idea after reading Xenophobia (this is me name-dropping one of the best stories I have ever read) and now, Taking Responsibility (well, that story inspires me anyhoo) and I decided to turn it into a story.

By the way, this story is completely AU. The Powerpuff Girls do not have superpowers in this story and are legal, consenting adults :). Enjoy! Review!

There should always be reason to believe that someone is watching you. The irrational notion that overshadows the truth is what brings you to assume that there is constantly someone behind you.


n. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others

CHAPTER ONE

"If Heaven and Hell decide

That they both are satisfied

Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs."

I Will Follow You Into The Dark, Death Cab for Cutie

She sees her everywhere.

Everyday she can't breathe because she knows everything about her and what she is is no way to escape the scandal that rules her world...

Sometimes she wishes that nothing had ever started.

Maybe it she managed to control herself she wouldn't have to live like this;constantly in anxiety, in shame, in fear...

Everything would be normal.

She can't walk the streets without seeing her, can't breathe without hearing someone breathe beside, can't even remain in her house without living in fear that someone's watching her.,

Or maybe she's just...paranoid.


He's intoxicating, poisonous in the fact that he's even more addicting than cigarettes. His kisses are toxic. Even the slightest can cause her to lose all function. To her, she can't bare the thought of losing him.

She, on the other hand, is just so alluring, so coy and innocent and irresistible. She isn't venomous but her enticing persona is just so goddamn attractive. To him, she could truly be the one.

A part of her screams that the entire affair isn't right. The rest of her wins the fight and refuses to let him go.

A year ago I was the maid of honour at her wedding. Now I'm the honourable bitch stealing her husband.

"Why do I always get the feeling that she knows?" she softly murmurs in his ear, almost subconsciously. She lies on top of him, savouring his subtle touch over her own silky skin. The room is thick with hot air and she can't contain the recurring heat that seems to creep up her neck so easily. If he notices he doesn't let on much, albeit he has that smirk that appears to settle onto his face habitually. It's that smirk that gets her. The smirk that suits him so well, that makes his crimson eyes so much less frightening. It's that smirk that makes her forget what she is doing to herself.

"Don't think so much," he whispers back, leaning up to say this into her ear. He runs his fingers over the backs of her thighs allowing her to shiver unknowingly. It's impulsive; he's just so goddamn intimidating. She can't help but feel this way.

The scent from the candle on the coffee table wafts through her nose and she inhales deeply in an attempt to calm her skyrocketing heart. The familiarity of it all appeases her enough to relax in his muscular arms. The position is so comfortable that she momentarily forgets her train of thought.

"Where does she think you are this time?" I ask nonchalantly before he kisses me tenderly.

"Tonight I'm spending quality time with my brothers," he replies.

She sits up, unable to keep tranquil after remembering his lie. He glances at her and sighs, running his fingers through his red hair.

"Blossom, I told you not to worry about her," he says, also sitting up. She is forced to get off of him. Reluctantly she does so and instead settles herself against the leather of the black couch. Objects like those did not come free. However picturesque and untouchable her house is, it was not cheap and she refused to let herself forget the assiduousness that she had poured into her own work to be able to afford such an attractive home.

"I know she knows," Blossom cries, unable withhold her emotions. She fixes the buttons on her simple pink Oxford and adjusts the straps on her bra, silently scolding herself for getting so poignant in front of him.

He moves towards her, trying to wrap his arms around her in an attempt to provide solace but Blossom declines to let him. Instead she stands up, straightens her black pencil skirt, and pads across the white shag carpet to her mahogany door.

"Maybe you should leave. It's getting kind of late. I'm sure your wife is wondering where you are," she says coldly, refusing to even look at him. She is sure he tries to catch her eye but she won't give in, no matter how intoxicating she remembers their moments were.

"Blossom, you can't ignore me because you're scared," he pleads with her as he walks towards the door. Blossom finally looks at him, noticing the genuine hurt in his eyes. She softens slightly but knows that they are done for the night.

"Go back to Buttercup, Brick. I am sure she's getting worried…" she trails off, unable to finish her sentence. Brick notices this but he doesn't say anything. Instead he slides on his coat, casts Blossom one last contrite look, and slips into the chilly winter night.

Blossom closes the door and leans against it, sighing heavily. She can't help her occasional irrationality. She can't help feeling vulnerable when she walks to the grocery store, or even to check her mail. She can't help but live in unjustifiable fear that someone is watching her every move.

I'm going crazy.


Brick feels for Blossom, he really does. But he can't help from feeling slightly angry with her. He knows that they share an undeviating connection; one that he knows he has never truly shared with his wife.

Why is he with Buttercup anyways? It seems like an unanswerable question. He's sure that it's her feminine wile, her manipulating ways of seduction, that body…

Right then he comes to the conclusion that his attraction to her is purely physical. Her beauty, he realizes, is the determining factor in their relationship. He knows he would not be with her otherwise. As much as it pains him to hear himself be so shallow, Brick knows he cannot evade reality.

Why does she want to be with me anyways, if not for the same reason?

As he walks down the street, hands stuffed in his leather jacket, Brick contemplates what he is going to say to his wife. She assumes that he was with his brothers at night but Brick can't help but worry that she is sceptical. Briefly he curses himself for sounding like Blossom.

Soon he arrives at his luxurious apartment building. Taking a giant breath Brick rings the doorbell and waits for his wife's throaty voice to come over the intercom.

"Bricky?" she says huskily. Brick announces that it's him and waits patiently for her to let him in. The door buzzes and a faint click is heard. Brick opens the door and slips quietly inside, taking no time to admire the building's fancy décor like he usually does. He walks up the stairs, taking them two at a time in order to get to their penthouse apartment quickly.

Soon, he reaches the top and pushes the door open. He is surprised to see Buttercup settled on a corduroy couch, her slim, tanned legs crossed and that little black dress that he loves so much clinging to her curves almost unbearably. Her long black hair cascades down her chest and when she looks at him she's forced to brush her bangs back and reveal black-rimmed verdant eyes.

Brick's heart pounds and he suddenly remembers why he married her. She has the power to turn even the most intimidating man into a blubbering mess. She wields power, a concept Brick finds himself aching for.

She has a cigarette dangling from her fingers. After certain pauses, she places it between her lips and inhales, allowing tendrils of grey smoke to curl around her head. The room is now layered with the scent of her rancid cigarette, drowning out Brick's faint memories of Blossom's vanilla-smelling home. When she takes puffs of her cigarette Brick is instantly reminded of those glamorous women from the early twentieth century, an Ingrid Bergmann type character. He certainly loves his classic black and white films.

"I missed you," she says in that deep sensual voice that Brick adores. He gulps slightly, willing Buttercup to stray her eyes away from his bobbing Adam's apple. She doesn't look and instead grounds her cigarette on the ashtray by the couch. She stands up and walks towards him, laying her hands upon his chest when she reaches him.

Brick glances down at her pallid, slender fingers and then back at her. She takes that as a hint for her to kiss him and she does, invoking such passion through her kiss. Brick tries, he really does, but he can't seem to get that old spark that seemed to ignite into a wildfire whenever he used to kiss her.

Buttercup notices. She pulls away and looks up at him worriedly.

"Did you eat something at Butch's?" she asks, tone anxious but stern. Tough. She's always been a tough one. Brick knows the last thing to do is tell her the truth so he agrees with her statement instead. She seems oddly satisfied. Brick can't help but wonder if she refuses to hear anything but what she wants to hear.

"Well," she says, running a finger down his chest, "I was wondering if maybe we could hang out tomorrow." She kisses the side of his mouth seductively and moves her lips to his ear.

"You know, just the two of us."

Brick scrunches up his nose, grateful that Buttercup is still lingering at the side of his face and can't see his expression. He was planning to spend the day "working on a project with one of his colleagues". Naturally this meant spending the day making love to Blossom.

"Actually, I was planning to spend the day working on a project with Jim and Randy," Brick replies, clearing his throat. A disappointed expression crosses Buttercup's face briefly.

"Can't you tell them that you already made serious plans?" Buttercup asks hopefully, though he detects a hard edge. She folds her hands in front of her and watches his expression carefully.

"'Fraid not, sweetie. The project is due in a couple of days. We're not even close to being finished," Brick answers regretfully, or what sounds regretful to Buttercup, wrapping his arms around Buttercup's slender waist. She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him.

"Okay, but I'll get you alone one of these days," she murmurs in his ear, never straying from her atypical sensuality. Brick raises his eyebrows.

"You can have me now," he says lightly and picks up Buttercup. She laughs as he carries her into their bedroom and closes the door. He gently lays her down on the bed and jumps next to her, grabbing her around the waist and pressing her to his chest. He can feel her heartbeat through her dress and her smoke-tinted breath against his face.

"I love you," she whispers. Brick nods and looks away. He knows she is expecting him to say it back but he can't. He knows he can't.

I can only say that to one person. And it's not you, Buttercup.


December 7, Present Year

Diary:

My heart pounds a lot. I noticed that today. It pounds whenever he's near me, and it pounds when I panic. I panic whenever I feel her presence. I've been around her long enough to recognize whenever she is near me. Brick thinks I'm being paranoid. I know I am not being paranoid. I'm the most rational person alive, aren't I?

How did this happen anyways? How long has it been going on? I lost count of the months. Maybe I should start. I know it was sometime around her wedding. Before or after? Was I an honourable home wrecker back then or was I simply the maid of honour?

I could be the one married to him. I could be the one waking up to him every morning. But I lost my chance. It's funny how I fell for him after he got married. I could've resisted. I didn't have to do that to my sister and yet I did. Nobody would assume that of me. I'm a "true-to-your-man-family-friends" kind of person.

Well, I should be anyways.

It was on her wedding night. I was congratulating her for the nth time that night at reception. I complimented her dress (I was just being nice; it was too untraditional for my taste) and exchanged squeals with Bubbles. I remember Buttercup leaving to have a dance with the Professor and Bubbles going to dance with Boomer. I remember heading to the bar and ordering myself champagne. I remember him sitting on the bar stool next to me.

"From a bar?" he asked incredulously when I told the bartender my order. I glanced at him, surprised that he was speaking to me at all. I couldn't help but notice how handsome was; black suit and bowtie, completely traditional. I saw his eyes drift over my body, resting on my chest. I suppose I'd purposely worn that pink dress with the plunging neckline (Buttercup's bridesmaids dresses were horrid; I was grateful for the opportunity to change afterward).

"I'm not much of a drinker," I confessed, thanking the bartender when he handed me my champagne glass. I sipped it gracefully at first, then chugged the rest. I called the bartender for another one and was passed two more immediately. Brick watched me with an amused expression on his face. I cast him a sidelong glance and growled when I saw the look he had etched into his visage.

"What?" I snapped. Buttercup and the Professor were still dancing, so everybody was focused on them instead of Brick and I.

Brick continued to look at me, a twinkle in his scarlet eyes. I ignored him and continued to drink my champagne. It was delicate drink, easy to down as I did not care much for hard liquor. I managed to finish five glasses before the song ended. A flushed Buttercup hurried over to us and pulled Brick to the dance floor. She didn't acknowledge me much and instead openly, and I doubted accidentally, kissed her husband directly in my presence. I suppose she had been marking her territory once and for all. The crowd applauded when a slow number began. I narrowed my eyes at my sister's audacity. Even on her wedding she bared no shame in acting like a complete bitch.

Instead I leaned on the bar counter and laid my head over my bare arms. Ted, the bartender, came over to me and leaned his elbows on the counter, sympathy dawning in his gaze.

"Old flame?" he asked knowledgeably. I rolled my eyes.

"Hardly," I replied. "He used to like me a hell of a lot. I never gave him a chance. I was so focused on someone else. Now I regret it so much." At that I turned and looked at the happy couple on the dance floor. Buttercup was leaning against his chest, her eyes closed and a serene expression on her beautiful face. Brick danced with her solemnly. Once, I was pretty sure I caught his eyes flicker to where I was sitting. But was it only my imagination?

Evidently Ted saw it too. He winked at me. "Looks like someone still isn't over you."

I blushed. "We can't get together, he's with my sister now. I'm not that kind of person." Yet, I always romanticized myself as that sort of person. I was always the goody-two-shoes and I never got into trouble. What if I just wanted to do one rebellious thing? Did fucking my sister's new husband qualify as sin?

Though I suppose my agnosticism could argue against this. I refused to think profoundly about it.

Ted winked at me again. "Maybe. But he clearly is." He nodded his head offhandedly in the direction behind me and busied himself with previously clean glasses. He began to whistle a joyful tune and that elicited a vague smile on my face.

"Buttercup's about to get drunk as fuck," a male voice whispered in my ear. I froze at the sensation of his hot breath, bare against my neck. "That means you and I can spend as much time as we want together without her noticing."

I glanced at Ted who was too far away to hear anything. I turned my head slowly and saw Brick standing there; that trademark smirk situated on his face. It just suited him so well. My heart began to quick its pace, thumping loudly against my chest and in my ears.

"You think I would do that?" I hissed at him. He seemed amused by my reaction. He was already close enough to me to casually begin to run his fingers up my thigh, under my dress…

I slapped his hands away. He still looked amused.

"I know you would," he whispered.

It was a fatal stab to my sensibility. I knew he was right; I'd always wanted to try something defiant, no matter how hurtful it was. Screwing my sister's husband was right at the top of the list.

So I jumped off my stool, shot him a look and walked away, purposely swaying my hips from side to side. It was a move Buttercup had mastered; something I'd hardly been able to accomplish.

I remember seeing Buttercup downing shot after shot. Butch, Boomer, and Bubbles cheered her on as I left the hall. I remember being pushed against the wall by Brick, being kissed so fervently that I felt like I was about to collapse and my lips would fall off. I remember Brick pulling me up the stairs of the hotel, lips and tongue still battling with mine, and pulling me into a deluxe suite. I remember him locking the door and pushing me onto the bed, him climbing on top of me. I remember almost every last detail…

I willingly pulled off his clothes while he worked on removing mine. I know that he tended to kiss me a lot, trailing his lips across my neck not sparingly. I kept trying to insist, among shorted breath and gasps, not to leave any marks but I don't know if he listened. I remember every pleasurable and painful moment. I even remember the end, when we lay there in bed, chests heaving up and down and faces flushed.

"I never really got over you," he said suddenly. I crossed my hands over my bare chest and turned my head to face him.

"I know," I replied. He leaned over and kissed me. I remember leaving the suite fifteen minutes after him with the bruised lips that ached to my touch. I remember feeling the best I'd ever felt before. I remember seeing Buttercup fawn over Brick in her drunken form and my heart breaking. I remember that little wink at the end of the night from Brick, solidifying our secret affair…

I don't remember if Buttercup had seen the wink.

Sometimes I wish I had some control over the entire event. If only I managed to restrain myself, I wouldn't have to live like this; constantly in fear that Buttercup is pursuing me like a cheetah after its prey. Maybe Brick's right, diary, maybe I am paranoid?

But then, how would Buttercup have found out anyways?

-Blossom


Butch could've had his chance with Buttercup. He knows he has liked her for almost the entire time they have known each other, if even subconsciously. There was that brief interruption when he was dating Blossom, but that was nothing more than a fling, a blip in the system. Buttercup is the one he really wants. He lusts after her.

He doesn't know why he finds her so goddamn attractive. Her sisters are equally beautiful, maybe even more so, but he is just so beguiled by Buttercup's personality, her wit, and her disposition in general. They just have so much chemistry together, rough and almost dangerous. Butch refuses to believe that Buttercup has slipped out of his grasp forever.

He knows that she and Brick won't last. Buttercup might be blinded by her belief that Brick loves her but Butch knows the truth. He sees the twinkle in his brother's eye whenever he looks at Blossom. At get-togethers, he often recognizes the looks Brick gives Blossom. This leads Butch to question why Brick is still with Buttercup when he so obviously still loves Blossom.

Yet Butch knows that he can do nothing to tear Buttercup away from her husband. She thinks she loves him and Brick will never give up on his prize. Butch knows his brother. Buttercup may be oblivious but Butch knows.

He saw them together on the night of Buttercup's wedding. He saw Brick and Blossom leave the hall together. He saw them come back with swollen mouths. He saw Blossom's unkempt hair, contrary to her sleek locks only hours earlier. Butch knows that they are unaware he possesses this information, and he plans to leave it that way. He knows he should tell Buttercup but he doesn't have the heart to betray his brother. He wants Buttercup to realize that she is too good for Brick.

Butch isn't really a heavy drinker but he knows that, eventually he has to drink away his sorrows. His brother, Boomer, has been telling him that for years, but even at twenty-four, Butch still doesn't realize that Boomer is right. Of course, Butch knows that Boomer is referring to all the occasions that he'd screwed Bubbles over and he drank to forget about it. Sometimes Butch doesn't understand why Bubbles still stays with Boomer.

'I guess that's true love,' he muses, stirring his vodka Highball. He is sitting at a bar in downtown Townsville, watching a hockey game on one of their big screen televisions. Others in the place are either playing pool or cards or are just sitting on the chairs, drunk out of their minds. Butch wishes he were like them, able to drink away their troubles so easily.

Instead he simply sighs and his shoulders droop. He is visibly deflated, and there is no one around to ultimately care. It's at times like this when he doesn't even care if it's Buttercup, as long as he has someone to have and hold. In early years this outright declaration would have shocked him.

"Why so glum?" a soft feminine voice asks from behind him. Butch whirls around and sees a familiar figure.

"Bubbles, what are you doing here?" he asks, more curious than suspicious. As far as he knows, Boomer and Bubbles are still happily together and Boomer hasn't done anything to offend his wife, not this time.

She looks sad. Butch feels a pang in his heart. It hurts him to see someone so innocent looking so miserable. He clenches his fists, wondering what Boomer has done to her this time.

She notices. "Oh, no, Butch, it's nothing to do with Boomer."

Butch relaxes. He grabs his drink and takes a giant swig, ignoring Bubbles' slightly repulsed look. He lays the glass back to the counter and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, gesturing for Bubbles to take a seat beside him. She does, lowering herself in the barstool gingerly.

"So what's wrong?" he asks her once she is comfortable and has asked the bartender for the drink of her choice. She takes a refreshing sip and lets out a sigh afterwards. Butch watches as she turns to face him.

"I got fired," she mutters inaudibly.

"What?"

"They cut me from my job," Bubbles says louder. Butch raises his eyebrows.

"Why?" he asks, not able to believe that sweet little Bubbles has been fired. He takes one look at her long uncombed blond hair and bedraggled Woodstock t-shirt and decides that it's for professional reasons. After all, the building she worked at refused to employ…lower-class citizens.

"They were 'downsizing'," she replies angrily. "Can I help the way I look?"

Butch decides not to comment on the obvious. He reaches out and pats her arm; the only kind of comfort that he knows. Offering solace is not Butch's strong suit and Bubbles knows this, but she seems grateful that he is at least trying.

"And," she continues, "I'm worried about Buttercup. I think Brick is having an affair…"

Butch looks away, hoping she doesn't notice. He doesn't want her to question what he knows. Unfortunately luck is not on Butch's side.

Bubbles cocks her head curiously. "Do you know, Butch? Do you know something?"

Butch shakes his head. He doesn't want to get into the matter with his brother's fiancée. As rude as he is, Butch knows better than to betray his own sibling to an outwardly vocal girl unable to keep a secret. For all he knows, Buttercup will think that he is simply jealous of her relationship with Brick and is attempting to break them up so that Butch can get have her all to himself.

"So, what is Boomer doing tonight anyways?" Butch asks desperately, attempting to redirect the conversation.

I would never do that to Buttercup.


TO: butonium (at) systemek (dot) org

FROM: bronalds (at) defusion (dot) com

SUBJECT: No subject

DATE: December 7, present – 11:32 PM

Blossom,

Tomorrow I'm working with a few colleagues on a big project that de Vito's expecting done in three months. I think that we can work past that little bump in the road from earlier today. Remember the wedding? I know you still want to.

Brick


TO: bronalds (at) defusion (dot) com

FROM: butonium (at) systemek (dot)org

SUBJECT: RE: No subject

DATE: December 7, present – 11:57 PM

"I never truly got over you."

Yes, I remember. See you tomorrow.

Blossom


Buttercup wakes up the next morning, not at all surprised to see her husband missing from his usual spot next to her. She is surprised, however, to see that she is still wearing her lingerie. She assumed that, after their moment last night, she would not be fully clothed. As Buttercup strains to remember, she sits up and traces her finger around the faint indent left in the bed from her husband's body.

She sighs, remembering how even though they cuddled and kissed, he did not tell her he loved her and they certainly did not make love. In fact, Buttercup can't remember the last time they made love to one another. She wonders if maybe there is something troubling him, or maybe he just doesn't love her anymore.

"FUCK!" she screams, pounding her fist into the bed. She knew this was going to happen. Since they got married, Buttercup knows that Brick isn't the same as he was when they were dating. As curious as she is to know her husband's business, she isn't really sure she wants to know the truth. The fact remains that she is perfectly happy in her little utopia.

She gets out of bed and pads across the plush carpet, opening the door to reveal an attached kitchen and living room. There is no sign of Brick or any forms of life. The television isn't on, there is no note on the counter, and Brick's laptop remains silent in its place on the coffee table. Buttercup is unnerved.

She shivers and rubs her bare arms, brushing away random strands of hair that have escaped her messy bun. She pats her nightdress pointlessly as if searching for something and realizes absently that it doesn't have any pockets. She quickly walks over to the drawer by the stainless steel refrigerator and pulls out a half-empty box of Marlboro Reds. She desperately lights one and relaxes once she inhales.

Sighing, Buttercup leans against the granite counter, still smoking her cigarette. She tries to think of a reason to why Brick is so distant with her but nothing comes to mind.

"I love you," she says. But there is no reply. He simply looks away and purses his lips. She snuggles in closer to his chest, waiting for some sort of acknowledgement to what she has said but there is none. They simply lay there in an awkward silence, unable to fill the void that has unknowingly already been filled.

Buttercup minces her cigarette in one of the numerous ashtrays about the apartment and bangs her palms against the counter. The throbbing sensation sent coursing through her arms goes by without recognition and her breath becomes haggard. She is too preoccupied with the fact that her own little utopia is crumbling down around her.

Why doesn't he love me anymore?


Blossom is seeing her again. She had run down her sidewalk to get the mail and was sure she felt someone watching her. However, having turned around she found herself utterly alone. Her heart hammers against her chest when she thinks that someone could know about her private scandal.

She tries to stay calm while she waits for Brick. But everytime she manages to relax, she feels someone's hot breath on her neck and odd noises coming from outside. Blossom knows that it isn't normal for her to feel this way, but there is nothing she can do about it, bearing in mind that she is the only one who knows, and Brick quite perceptibly isn't affected much by the affair.

Blossom taps her slender fingers against her bare legs as she sits on her leather couch, awaiting Brick's arrival patiently. She has arranged everything perfectly, waiting for the chance to rekindle the flame that died out the day before. Unfortunately her nervousness is affecting her state of mind and all she can think about is that feeling.

That someone knows the truth.

TO BE CONTINUED


Polska – so what do you think? I'm actually really proud of this story. I hope people like it and actually review this time. Nobody ever reviews anymore. Anyways, thanks for taking the time. This took me so long but…yeah; I'm excited for this story. I have no idea where it's going, but I've decided to just go with the flow…

My favourite part was Blossom's diary entry.

Review. Please.

EDIT: September 6/2011: I did a bit of rewriting for this chapter, as I will do for the remaining chapters just to get my juices flowing for the new chapter. It was a bit obvious that I was young when I wrote this, or at least hadn't honed my writing talent properly. It's not great, but it's a lot better. Also, I'm sorry if any of these characters seem out of character. Like I said, I was young when I started this story and didn't quite understand the concept of characterization haha. I will try to work on this in future chapters.


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HYSTERIA