And I'm back to finally finish "Bliss Of Another Kind" for good. 25 chapters, my longest fic ever! Appropriate that it should be the longest, as it was the first. I'm glad I made it to 25. It's a nice round number. Divides neatly into five three times. I'm picky about things like that.
Anyway, here is the last chapter. Disclaimers are at the bottom with the thank-yous (I like doing thank-yous) but I'm sure you all know them anyway.
Here is the final chapter of my first ever fic on here, "Bliss Of Another Kind"... it really is the end... so enjoy... I'm quite sad this is ending, so I've tried to make it good and full of fluffy things for you all. I really hope I've succeeded. Enjoy.
Part of me still can't get it into me 'ead. I've spent what feels like me whole life, me whole life, for this to happen. Somehow, the rain makes everything seem so much more real, but at the same time so much more unreal. When Howard finally pulls away from me, still strugglin' for breath a bit, he looks like an outline of a man, not an actual one.
He looks at me and shakes his head. He reaches his 'and up and strokes my face, and hold it to my skin, feelin' the water pressin' off his fingers onto my cheek.
Eventually, when the street lamp flickers and starts bringin' us back and makin' us real people again, we do walk back to the kebab shop, and the kebab guy, who is still in tears, tells me that I can 'ave my tea for nothin'. I didn't really think it was worth payin' for, but I'm not really in the mood to think about that. He also lets my new friend have 'is free, too.
"I've never had such an amazing experience!" he tells us all, thickly. "You've shown me how much love is worth, all of you! I'm gonna call my mum, I haven't seen her for years – I'm gonna get back in touch with my ex-wife and visit my kids again..."
My new friend smiles gently, amused in a touched way, and calls a cab for me and Howard cos we're not really in the right mental state to do it ourselves.
In fact, I don't properly start thinkin' until we're in the cab, and the noise of the rain is suddenly shut out, so it's all silent and dark. I lean my head against Howard's shoulder, relishin' the contact. I feel the wet in his shirt and the wet in me hair, but I kind of like that we're both the same.
Howard leans his head against mine.
I start shiverin' from the water after a bit, and he puts his arms round me properly then.
"I won't be able to keep you very warm," he says. "I'm wet too."
"I don't care," I say. "I don't care if you can't, cos it's you."
Perhaps you think we should make love when we get 'ome, but we don't. To be 'onest I reckon we're both too exhausted. We just crash. In his bed, curled up together. But we don't sleep with each other. Not as in sex.
When I wake up next mornin', Howard's sleepin' above me, and the sunlight is streamin' all clear and beautiful through the windows. Not that 'eavy kind of hot sun you sometimes get. Really, really clear. And I remember. And I know that this is it.
We don't tell Naboo and Bollo right away. Once we've both got over the slight shock of wakin' up with each other, and once we've kissed quite a lot – "We need to make up for the last ten years," I say, which makes Howard all awkward, which I rather like – Howard makes tea, and then we sit in 'is bed and 'ave The Talk.
"I love you," we both say, at once.
Howard tells me he's still afraid of hurtin' me.
I tell 'im that I can't get better if I don't 'ave him. I need him.
We tell Naboo and Bollo that afternoon. They're smokin' hookah. They 'aven't been doin' that so much recently. They've been too busy. I s'pose they figured that cos I wasn't about, they could have a rest from lookin' after me.
"I guessed," says Naboo, deadpan as ever. "Why else would you have been in the bedroom all day?"
Howard goes bright red.
Naboo just takes another drag of hookah – but 'is eyes are twinkling.
Bollo is more forward. "Bollo relieved," he declares, wavin' his arms about.
"Watch it, Bollo," says Naboo.
Bollo gets up. "Howard," he says solemnly, "Look after precious Vince."
"I will," says Howard.
Bollo gives me a hug. Like I'm gettin' married.
But I don't mind. I like it.
"We'll take things slowly." That was the agreement. But it's only a week before Howard finally relaxes and I lead 'im into my bedroom.
When I wake up next mornin', Howard is watchin' me sleep. As soon as he sees my eyes open, he pulls me in and kisses me, runnin' his hands over my hair.
I don't think he'll ever stop makin' my heart do gymnastics.
Gradually, things get back to normal. Me, Howard, Naboo and Bollo. The way it ought to be. Like Bollo said.
Well, almost normal. I'm still seein' me therapist, of course. He says he's very pleased with my progress. It's difficult sometimes, but I want to do it. I want to do it for myself. I want to do it for all of them. I especially want to do it for Howard.
The other difference, of course, is that Howard and I are now very much together.
Our livin' arrangements change a bit, to accommodate this. We alternated at first. Sleepin' in his room, sleepin' in mine. But then Naboo says this is ridiculous so we move into mine, cos it's bigger. Howard gets half the wall to put up his funny jazz pictures – which I'm still not tellin' him I actually find quite endearing – and two shelves. This shelf situation isn't cos I'm selfish. It's just cos Howard has no clothes. (Not literally – unless, of course, I get me hands on him.)
Howard's room becomes the storage room – which is good, because we've got so much random stuff and nowhere to put it. Loads of my old clothes that have gone out of fashion. Various broken things that have been given to us for the shop and we can't sell cos they're useless, or ugly. Things like cans of paint that we needed when we moved in, but don't anymore. Some stuff from the kitchen, like pans, that we don't really 'ave space for (no more incidents of me knockin' stuff out of cupboards). Old magic stuff of Naboo's – "never, ever touch this", he tells us.
Once it's all stuck in that room, I wonder how we lived before without drownin'.
Apart from that, things are just the same. Howard and I still work in the shop – although somehow I'm a lot more fond of the old place now. Bollo still does the cookin' and cleanin' and shoppin'. Naboo's still a bossy sod, but I s'pose that's partly why we like 'im.
"Naboo lonely," says Bollo one time when I'm 'elpin' him unpack the shoppin'. "Think he should take out advert in Lonely Hearts column."
"He'd never agree to that."
"Bollo know. That why Bollo put one in without telling him."
"You – you didn't!"
I burst out gigglin'. Bollo chuckles too.
"What 'bout you, Bollo?" I ask, after a few minutes. "You lonely?"
"Oh no. Bollo happy here, make tea for Vince, make spells with Naboo, laugh at Howard –"
" – sorry. Bollo not need love."
A few moments later, I find a DVD case hidden in one of the shopping bags.
"What...?" I hold it up. "Chimps Gone Wild 2?"
Bollo snatches it away. "Bollo not know how that get in there."
"You dirty monkey pervert! No wonder you don't 'ave a girlfriend!"
"No girlfriend as good as porn star anyway," says Bollo, tucking his DVD under his arm and going on unpacking the shopping.
"I reckon all the monkey girls are lucky you don't want 'em," I say. "You'd be a right wife-beater."
"Who's a wife-beater?" asks a familiar voice – and we turn to see Howard, comin' up the stairs clutching some merchandise.
"Howard!" I grin happily, and hurry over. He drops his box and holds his arms out to me. I run into them and he kisses me warmly.
"Bollo would be a wife-beater, if he 'ad a girlfriend," I explain, when we're done. "'E's a right old-fashioned bastard. Reckons no girlfriend's better than a porn star."
"Bollo right. All you need is porn."
"Romance really is dead," I laugh.
"Am I better than a porn star?" Howard teases me.
"Of course... especially when you do that thing with your tongue where..."
"Oh no!" groans Bollo.
"Shut up!" Howard grabs me and tries to put his hand over my mouth, laughing. I struggle, so he picks me up, carries me to the sofa, and throws me down on top of it. "I'm gonna make you shut up!" He starts ticklin' me.
"Bollo! Help! Howard!"
"Bollo not looking," says Bollo.
"Eww," says another familiar voice, and we look up to see Naboo, standin' there with 'is arms folded. "What 'ave told you? No hanky-panky on my sofa."
"'Hanky-panky'?" I repeat. "How old are you, Naboo?"
"Over four 'undred, so watch it," he says.
'Bout a week after this incident, I get a visitor in the shop.
I'm readin' Cheekbone. Angelo DiLacey has broken his own make-up record, 'parently. He did it in one minute nine seconds, a five second increase on his previous time.
Anyway, there I am, and then the bell 'bove the shop door goes, and I look up, and...
It's my friend from the coffee shop.
I squeak slightly with surprise. "What – how – how d'you get 'ere? How d'you know where we – sorry, what's your –?"
He smiles faintly, in that gentle way I remember so well from that night. "Charles," he says. "I'm Charles. And I knew where you worked because I gave your address to the cab company, remember?"
Of course. I remember now.
"How are ya?" I ask eagerly, hurryin' round the counter.
"How are you?" he says.
I just smile. But it's a smile that tells him everythin' he wants to know.
"I'm glad," he says.
I grin. "D'you want anythin'? Cup of tea?"
"I'm afraid I can't stay," he says. "But I was in the area, and I thought I'd come in, because I wanted to tell you – I'm back with my girlfriend."
"Yes. After what happened with you and Howard – I thought maybe you were right, about trying harder. So I called her up, and, well..." He smiles.
I feel like my silly old grin is splittin' me face in half.
"Anyway," he says, "I have to be going – but we should – you know – have a drink sometime."
"Yeah," I say. "We should."
He shakes my hand, and then turns to go. Then he turns back.
"I took Sara – my girlfriend – to see the kebab shop – and remember the owner?"
"He had his kids visiting," Charles says. And leaves.
After he's gone, I lie back on the counter, crushin' my Cheekbone – but strangely, Cheekbone doesn't mean as much anymore. Angelo DiLacey hasn't got Howard. I do.
So it really does seem to be an 'appy endin' for everybody.
Charles and Sara are back together. The kebab guy did get in touch with 'is kids. My therapy goes on goin' well. The Velvet Onion hosts a gig that NME approves of, so suddenly loads more people are goin' down there and Bob Fossil's so busy that 'e doesn't have so much time to be a freak anymore. I see him in the street sometimes. He says, "Good morning, Vincey" and I say, "Good mornin', Fossil", pretty normal, now. Everyone's got someone, or somethin'.
Even Leroy gets someone. I don't see 'im as much anymore, but one time when we go to a club together – I invite Howard but he says he'd rather stay at home, so I promise I'll hurry back – he introduces me to a blonde girl.
I recognise 'er. It's one of the girls we met before, the ones he went off and had a threesome with.
"We kept in touch," Leroy explains. "We got talking over coffee the mornin' after and found we both love strawberry bootlaces and X-box games!"
When she goes to the bathroom, he adds privately that she doesn't mind 'im livin' like a pig, because she does too.
Proof, I think, that there's someone for everyone.
Bollo's got his porn collection.
Naboo's in the lonely hearts column, waitin' for some short shaman lady to find 'im. If this fairy tale theme goes on, I wouldn't be too surprised if she comes along sooner rather than later.
The four of us are still in our flat. We 'ave TV dinners and argue with each other and don't earn enough money, but that's the way we like it.
The Moon sings even more than usual. Perhaps 'e's found someone too. I close my eyes and imagine that Earth is really a pretty, clear-eyed girl with a funny voice a bit like 'is, and he finally put a move on 'er and she said yes.
And then I open my eyes and shift over in bed, in the dark of the nights or the sleepy warm haziness of the morning. And I find Howard.
Yes. I've got Howard.
I put my head on his chest and he holds me against him, and we only 'ave eyes for each other. It's weird. It's crazy. Everyone wanted it, no-one suspected it would ever 'appen. We're so different people never understood how we were friends. They still don't understand how we're together. He still loves jazz and wears tropical shirts. I still can't get up early and dress like a "futuristic prostitute", as he puts it. So yeah, it's mental. But it's bliss. Not the old kind, from havin' my hair look good or playin' loud electro music. Another kind.
Steady as it comes
Right down to you
I've said it all
So maybe we're a bliss
Of another kind...
Bliss of another kind...
The Mighty Boosh and all its characters belong to Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding.
The title for this story came from a line in the Tori Amos song "Bliss".
The chorus is the quote at the bottom of the story.
violence4 would like to thank all her amazing readers for their love and support –
stars of andromeda
x Thursday Next x
SparkieSchteff (who was the first person ever to review this story – thank you!)
... and anyone I forgot. Sorry. Thank you.
And anyone who read and didn't review. I don't mind that you didn't review. Your silent support is just as appreciated. Thank you.
July 24th... sequel to "The Jazz Maverick, the Mod & the Wardrobe" will be up...