Okay! This is yet another new episode in my latest rash of stories, old and new.This time this story involves Lee and it reveals her 6-month-old long affair with one of the world's most powerful and deadliest villains, Mirage. No, not the Mirage from The Incredibles. I really don't consider her as a villain anyway since she has not done anything that is considered evil and she did show to have a heart throughout the movie. The Mirage I'm referring to is the one from the old Aladdin television series. If anyone in here remembers seeing that show, chances are you might be familiar with her. This story is also a precursor to a future story that will definitely involve Mirage and perhaps involve Chaos as well.
As a matter of fact, the last story I wrote about her was the one I wrote in a diary where Harriet and Out were having an rambunctious house party while their parents are away for the weekend and Mirage shows up with Chaos and ends up holding Sylvia Marpoole, (from An Extremely Goofy Movie), and Aunt Voula, (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), hostage. She also attempted to create some sort of magic spell using Laverne as a pawn, (if my memory serves me right), in order to eliminate Rhonda and Team Legacy and was forced to confess her nefarious scheme with the help of a truth serum courtesy of Anna Moreno. And the funny thing was that Rhonda was a freshman in high school and 14 at the time; look how old she is now! Even though Mirage has not appeared in any of my stories in recent years, this will be her first appearance since that story; I have yet to give it an official title.
There was another story in which I wrote the outline and it concerned Team Legacy's excursion into a mysterious planet where dinosaurs could talk and Mirage was not only planning to capture it as her own base for her machinations, (she was going to rule the planet with the dinosaurs at her command), but she also planned to steal Princess Rhonda's throne and usurp the soon to be future queen in the process just as she was about to ascend the throne. To accomplish this, she broke into the mansion, ripped out Surdy's heart, which was the source of all his powers, and rendered him weak and helpless and also stole his half-brother's heart as well.
I realize that you have no idea who Surdy and his half-brother are, but I will say that Surdy is a mini Stitch-like alien that ends up becoming Lois Whitley's adopted son; he also has advanced shape-shifting powers. You will see him towards the end of Part 2 of The War On America, I promise you.
Before you ask, yes I have seen the Aladdin television series and I must say that of all of the villains portrayed on the show, Mirage was the one that stood out the most for me. I think it's because she is truly a scary, frightening and powerful sorceress and a formidable foe at that. I think it's all because of her voice actress that did such an amazing job on the show; she is such a talented woman and I must commend her for that.
I decided to write this after seeing an AMV on YouTube of Mirage with the song, "Devil Woman", which I think fits her to a tee, and I also checked out another video using femslash. And that was when I came up with a random idea that Mirage and Lee might end up becoming a very interesting couple since they actually had a sexual and romantic affair during the transition period from Lee's days in Seattle, Washington to Canada, (she might have been passing her time between Seattle and another state), and I also found out that during this relationship Lee discovered some of her powers, including her ability to transform into specific forms, including her cat creature form.
I think Lee was truly in love with her and Mirage was just using her as part of some sick bet to see if she would actually fall for her; when Lee did find out, she was infuriated and heartbroken and broke things off with Mirage altogether, (not that I can blame her; I mean, who goes out with an evil incarnate?), but I digress. This one-shot will explain the complexity of their relationship and of how things eventually fell apart between them. ):
So without further adieu, I hope you enjoy this story and if you have any questions, please pm me.
Read and review!
And yeah, the title was inspired by an old film "An Affair To Remember".
An Affair Not To Remember
September 20th, 2010
Chapter 1 - Flashback
It was a quiet, cool, Sunday night as Rhonda and Lee lay sleeping soundlessly together in bed with Rhonda's arms wrapped around Lee. Lee opened her eyes slowly and gazed out at the door with little streams of light pouring out from underneath. The middle-aged woman then sighed and cradled her head against her heads and it was not long before Rhonda noticed that something was on her lover's mind.
"What's wrong, Lee? Is there something you would like to tell me?" the young English girl inquired her friend as Lee just stared ahead with a glassy and distant look in her eyes and lay silently beside her. Rhonda sighed and stroked her arm tenderly to try and soothe her.
The two women had been through a lot together in the past couple of weeks since their infamous body-switching experience. Rhonda had gotten a taste of what was like to be about 30 years older and a lot taller; her new height had given her a kind of confidence that she had never known before, and she felt extremely proud with her body since that meant that she would no longer had to strain and sit up whenever she had to see something on the board or have to fetch a step ladder to get cups, glasses or bowls.
However, it disheartened her to find that Lee was considered to be one of the most unpopular people in the entire school due to her unpleasant personality and her reputation as the school slut. Rhonda was also flabbergasted to discover how many enemies she actually had in Winston Churchill and was even more disgusted at having so many boys flirt around with her and attempt to get fresh with her.
As for Lee though, it was a completely different story. She had never fully realized just how popular Rhonda really was despite of her status as the school outsider and loner and was amazed at the fact that although Rhonda tended to distance herself from her classmates, there were so many people that somehow knew her by name and recognized her, notwithstanding her reputation as a heroic, patriotic and courageous superhero.
Lee quickly enjoyed her new body and found herself basking in a great abundance of attention that was usually reserved for Rhonda, while Rhonda had to contend with even more enemies that Lee had made and a bunch of other girls that were envious of Lee's position as Queen Consort of Team Legacy and Rhonda's official partner as well as spiteful of her in general.
Unfortunately, there were other disadvantages as well; Rhonda found Lee's slender, gangling yet imposing body too heavy and large to maneuver and she had a difficult time dodging and evading enemies in battle. What's more was that she struggled a lot with her newfound psionic powers and felt that they were extremely complicated and hard to master. Rhonda spent much of the next two days practicing and practicing her psionic powers until that very moment where she and Lee were in extreme danger and Rhonda was forced to use them, saving the both of them.
In Lee's case, Rhonda's diminutive, petite and light body were perfect for dodging and evading people and she was delighted at the fact that her long legs enabled her to run faster than she normally would have. However, the endless amount of powers and abilities that Rhonda possessed and their vast range overwhelmed her and it was very difficult to constantly keep up with them, especially when it comes to shape-shifting between forms. It took nearly all of her energy to dash at a high speed, change into one form, dodge and evade, and change into another form all at a constant speed. However, some of Rhonda's other powers were not so hard to use, including her pyrokinesis, which Lee was fascinated with.
By spending four days in each other's bodies, Rhonda and Lee had gained a lot of new perspectives on each other's lives and have learned to appreciate their different life circumstances as well as understand what each must go through every day.
Lee smiled briefly as she recounted the events from a couple of weeks ago and she felt Rhonda nudge her shoulder with her hand and she rolled over to meet her steady gaze. "What's up, Lee? Are you feeling okay?" Rhonda asked her inquisitively.
"I'm all right, darling; I was just thinking, that's all," was her brisk answer as she snuggled close to her and caressed her hair fondly.
Rhonda smiled as she let Lee pet her and Lee closed her eyes while her thoughts of the day began to drift into her mind.
She could remember so clearly what had happened while she was lying on her back in the bathtub with her long, raven hair spilling from her head and sprawled on the rugged edge of the tub; she was resting peacefully in the shower as she leaned her head back and let the drizzle of water run down against her face; the force of the water beating and pelting against her was pushing onto her and Lee had kept her eyes closed shut as she let the blackness of the world engulf her vision. All she could hear was the sound of water gushing and streaming down the floor with a distinct, hollow sound as she felt the humidity of the air overtake her lungs.
Lee coughed and rubbed her eyes as she squinted to see through the thin curtain of raindrops descending from the overheard faucet and it was not long before her body felt cold and numb and she began to feel dizzy. Lee caught herself just in time as she leaned back weakly as her head began to throb relentlessly and she saw red flashes in the blackness of her vision while closing her eyes shut. It was not long before Lee went limp and another vision began to overtake her.
She could see herself rushing to Rhonda's side as a black grayish cat-woman named Mirage held the poor girl underwater in the bathtub and Rhonda was screaming desperately for her help as she thrashed and fought for her life. Lee then lunged into the bathtub and shoved Mirage aside as the young she-devil slammed her head against the tile wall and then jumped into the water to retrieve Rhonda.
Lee then emerged with Rhonda dangling limp in the crook of her arm and sat on the edge of the bathtub as she patted her back gently to allow her to breathe. Rhonda then proceeded to cough and gag harshly as Lee hushed her tenderly and cradled her lovingly in her arms before performing rescue breathing on her. Suddenly, from the corner of her eye, Mirage lunged wildly at Lee with a snarl and Lee was forced to push Rhonda out of the bathtub and allow her to escape.
Mirage then tackled Lee into the water and grabbed her neck as she squeezed it tightly and proceeded to choke her. Lee gagged and gasped for air as a rush of water surged into her lungs and she thrashed about wildly while flailing her arms and legs.
She then saw an image of Renee bolting into the bathroom and watching the shadows of the two enemies brawl from up close; Renee hesitated for a few seconds before she vaulted into the bathtub and landed on top of Mirage while banging her arms incessantly on her back; Mirage then slammed Renee against the wall with full brunt force before turning around and grabbing the young girl's arm while flinging her into the water.
The moment Renee was hurtled into the water, the evil incarnate proceeded to squeeze her neck tightly while pinning her and her mother down with her weight. Renee then started to kick and squirm under her and struggled to breathe underwater as she saw brief flashes of light and memories of her life were flooding in before her eyes.
Lee was also experiencing some moments of her life as she saw herself as a child in the Soviet Union and then through her sultry and sordid past as a teenager and her various misadventures as a young and middle-aged adult. She saw Renee as an infant and a child, she recalled some memories of Stefano and her time with him, she also remembered all of the memories she shared with her various lovers, including Rhonda, Chopsuey, Elaine Paige, Chelsea Van Buren, etc.
Lee also remembered all of the good and bad times she shared with her siblings Miska, Hollisay and even Bertha, and with a weak smile she recounted the deep and intimate bond she shared with her half-sister and she could almost swear recalling the day Bertha herself was born.
She also recalled discovering and developing all of her powers throughout the years and even remembered her relationships with her parents, especially with her mother Natasha.
Lee recalled with bitterness of the times and memories she shared with her mother and of how they would constantly clash over every little thing, of how Natasha was always the woman of the house who dominated her husband, of how tyrannical, fiery and volatile she was. It horrified and sickened Lee to know that her stormy and complicated relationship with her mother must have some significant influence on her later relationship with her own daughter.
Lee's lungs were now burning severely as she suddenly became light-headed and dizzy; her vision was blurry and spinning in front of her as unconsciousness started to take over her. Lee kept on fighting valiantly to stay alive although she knew that it was futile to go on; the longer she was deprived of oxygen, the sooner she would lose consciousness and possibly drown.
No, no, I will not die like this; I'm going to keep on fighting even if I use up every ounce of my strength. I will fight for my family and ohana, especially my partner Rhonda and my beloved children. I will not allow Logan to be without a mother.
Lee continued to thrash and kick as she saw a glimmering vision of a long, curly, wavy, raven-haired woman with piercing, sharp, cold, onyx eyes, and a shapely, slender and curvy body floating in front of her. Mother… she gasped upon seeing her.
"Continue fighting, my little one," Natasha addressed her daughter with a crisp, deep, thickly Russian accented voice. "I know how tough and resilient you are; even with your difficult birth, I knew that you are a fighter and will not go down without a fight. I may have despised many things about you, but the one thing I admired about you is your strong spirit. Never give up, my daughter. Don't ever allow Mirage to think that you're a weakling. Show her that you're as strong as can be."
Mother, why are you helping me? Lee thought in surprise as the vision disappeared instantly and she felt herself invigorated and energized as she felt her strength returning to her. What is happening to me? She thought. Why is she helping me? She never would have thought to assist me before. My mother's the type of person that would just leave you there when you're down on the ground.
It was then that Lee suddenly knew what to do; she delivered a swift kick and her foot slammed right underneath her legs, causing the villainous cat-woman to let out a horrific cry of pain as she doubled over, releasing her grip on the two women. Lee then grabbed her unconscious daughter and surfaced out of the bathtub with a loud gasp; she cradled her daughter in her arms as she patted her cheek lightly to get her to wake up.
"Come on, Renee; don't die on me," Lee pleaded desperately as she tilted her head slightly to check for any breathing and saw that there was none. The middle-aged woman then got out of the bathtub and laid her daughter on the floor before she started performing CPR on her by slowly sucking all of the water out of her airway to allow her to breathe.
It was then that Mirage emerged from the bathtub with a gun and Lee turned around and flourished out a shotgun as she pointed it at her enemy with a fierce and indignant expression. Her eyes had a dangerous and menacing glow to them as green sparks were illuminated in her eyes and Lee snarled as she knelt in a stand-off position.
"You… get out, now! You have done quite enough to my family. You tried to kill me and you might as well have killed my own daughter. You are a cold-hearted, twisted and conniving snake who cares about no one but herself and you broke my heart by deceiving me into thinking that you loved me. How could I have ever fallen in love with such a cruel, spiteful and malicious woman such as you?" Lee hissed angrily as she spat out viciously at Mirage, and she quickly noticed that the young she-devil was pointing right at her forehead.
"You are a pathetic villain at that, Lee. No wonder you are now that spoiled brat's queen; you are too vulnerable and insecure of yourself to do any meaningful work," Mirage taunted her derisively and Lee tightened her grip on her gun as she glared ferociously at her. "Rhonda is not a spoiled brat; she is a good girl and I love her."
"Is that so? You think you're so tough; you might as well take a shot at me. Come on, Lee, go ahead. Take a hit; come on," Mirage chuckled evilly as she continued to mock her. Lee then fingered the trigger with her index finger and aimed carefully at her heart to shoot. Moments ticked by slowly as Mirage's smirk grew wider and sweat trickled down Lee's olive skin as she prepared to pull the trigger.
Suddenly Mirage lurched forward as she felt something rip through her heart and she staggered onto her knees before collapsing on the ground. Lee smirked evilly as she put her gun away and went over to Renee to roll over her and nudge her back to push some water out of her lungs.
Soon enough the young woman sputtered with a cough as she spat out large gulps of water and she continued to cough and gasp incessantly as she released out more water droplets from her lungs before opening her eyes, lifting her head and peering into her mother's eyes. "Lee? How did you…?" Renee stammered as Lee smiled and nuzzled her daughter lovingly. "You're safe now; that stupid cat-woman will never bother any of us again," she reassured Renee as the young raven-haired girl peered at her quizzically.
"How did you manage to fight back, Lee? You looked like you were about to drown back there," she asked her with a raised eyebrow. Lee sighed before answering, "Let's just say that your grandmother Natasha came to me in a vision; she gave me strength and willpower to go on."
"But you told me that Natasha was a cruel, cold and vile woman," Renee insisted as she glared at Lee suspiciously. "Are you sure there isn't something you have not mentioned to me?" Lee sighed again and thought for a moment before she gazed at her daughter again. "Well, let's just say that even a cold-hearted and foul-tempered woman like her has a heart," she said. Renee smiled as she wrapped her arms around her and hugged her tightly; Lee returned the gesture and her heart warmed up as she stroked her hair.
It was then that the vision ended and Lee slowly opened her eyes as she saw Doug and Julie hovering over her with concerned looks on their faces. "Lee! Lee! Are you okay?" Doug inquired her nervously as he shook her fiercely. "You really had us scared there for a moment," Julie added as the middle-aged woman rubbed her head and glared at them.
Lee's expression contorted into a scowl as she sat up slightly and pointed a finger at the couple. "What the hell are you doing here? Don't any of you respect my privacy?" she snarled indignantly as Julie rolled her eyes and Doug just glared at her silently.
"Privacy is not the issue when someone is found in the bathtub lying unconscious; you have been lying there for more than an hour now and when we came to check up on you and didn't get a response, I had to kick down the door just to get to you," Doug explained as a fleeting whirl of fuschia fur suddenly tore right into the bathroom and Lee was startled to see Courage standing in front of the bathtub babbling in gibberish. "You disgusting pervert! What makes you think you can just come here and watch a dying woman in the bathtub!" Lee chided Courage disapprovingly as the poor dog whined pitifully while covering his face in shame.
"Come on, Lee; Courage is only trying to help, that's all. I don't know if you noticed but he has become really attached to you," Julie retorted sharply as Lee smiled sadly and sighed before she held out her arms and allowed Courage to jump into them and snuggle on her chest. Lee then cradled the young dog in her arms and nuzzled him tenderly as Courage lay on her bare breasts and whined in content.
Julie then walked over to the door and grabbed a blue towel before sauntering back to the bathtub while she offered it to Lee; the middle-aged woman scoffed and glared at her older teammate and rival contemptuously as she snatched it abruptly and pulled the curtains closed while she headed over to the faucet and turned it off. Lee then wrapped the towel around her body and revealed the curtains before flipping off at Julie as Courage scurried out of the bathtub in a mangled, wet mess.
"By the way, Lee, did you have one of your visions again?" Doug inquired his ex-wife curiously. "Of course I did! I just still don't understand how I could have the same ability as Annie does," Lee answered with a retort. "I wish I knew, Lee, I wish I knew," Doug sighed while shaking his head.
"You should be grateful for this gift that you have been given. Granted that it causes you to become unconscious when a vision is triggered, but it may be useful someday for all of us. Remember when your ability first got activated while you were held hostage with Rhonda and the other prisoners in a Vietnamese prison complex during the Ohana Onipa'a incident?" Julie assured her while making a reference to one of their most infamous missions in recent memory.
Lee rolled her eyes with a scoff while glaring at Julie petulantly. "Don't you ever remind me of that incident! That is the one mission I would sooner forget," she growled irritably as Julie sighed while making an akimbo stance. "Well, it was YOUR fault that you went into the Ohana Onipa'a universe and it was YOUR fault that you tried to seduce a 16-year-old boy into fathering your next child. It was also YOUR fault that you tried to kill Naomi in Gantu's old ship and you ended up shooting Joshua when he jumped out of the way," Doug reproached her in an accusing tone.
Lee's face blanched upon hearing those words and she bristled as her lips curled into a sneer while she directed her cold, hard gaze at her former husband. "My fault? My fault! I didn't mean to kill Joshua! He jumped out of the way out of nowhere and I would have been able to stop shooting my lightning blast if I could have! He just came in too fast and I had no time to stall my attack! Don't you think I feel guilty for what I did? For killing the one boy I loved most in the universe? And now I'm under house arrest for my crimes and I'm never allowed to come by myself there again! I was lucky I didn't get banished!"
"You're damn right you were! And you had the whole entire Ranger army and the S.R.E. military forces at your tail! You could have easily earned a spot on America's Most Wanted with John Ralsh giving the entire world details about your sordid life and giving them tips on how to find you! You might as well have all of the armies of the world after you, considering how dangerous you were perceived by the Cobra Bubbles of that universe," Doug shot back at her sternly while reminding her of the serious predicament she had managed to get herself into.
"Doug's right; you are not only to counter most of our attacks but you are more powerful than any of Jumba's 626 experiments combined. The only people that have managed to successfully equal you in battle are Suzanne Carmichael and Rhonda, and that's saying a lot," Julie added with a reproachful tone.
"You are one of our most strongest members in the entire team, perhaps even more powerful than both Suzanne and Lena Rosenberg combined, and that's saying a lot," Doug continued to explicate his thoughts and sentiments to Lee.
"Hell, you've even been able to defeat Naomi in just one swoop; the only weaknesses we've been able to uncover so far are that you are unable to fight against people that not only possess highly advanced psionics but are more experienced in battle."
"We were also able to discover that when you are in your experiment form, you are very vulnerable to many things that usually befall an experiment, such as dehydration, experiment containers, glitch devices that are specifically designed for genetically converted experiments, nets, and also those devices that severely disabled your powers…"
"Just shut up!" Lee suddenly snapped at Doug, and the elderly man fell silent as her eyes narrowed into little slits and she quickly drew up the curtains before she sat on the bathtub floor while stewing angrily.
"Goddamn it, Lee. We were just stating the facts. A lot of things could have happened to you back in Vietnam. You could have been raped by any of the prisoners there or any of the guards…" "My friends would never rape me, except for that Ivan scoundrel…" Lee interrupted him brusquely by firing back venomously. "I'm just saying. Anyways, the guards could have come into your cell, raped you, tortured you, sodomized you; do you want any of these things to have happened to you? Your baby could have been taken away from you and Atlas would have made sure that you would never see him again," Doug continued on in an increasingly incensed and irate voice as silent tears seeped from Lee's eyes and she struggled to hold back her rage and sorrow as her body quivered in agony.
Doug could hear her sniffle slightly with her hollow breathing permeating through the curtains and his heart broke for her despite of himself; he understood Lee's pain, not only because he would not know what to do if anything were to happen to his daughter Hope, but because he still remembered that vow he made to protect Logan by any means necessary. If anything were to happen to the innocent child and if he were to be separated from his one and true family, (even if his mother was a BIT crazy), he would be beside himself.
Logan was his son, the son he had chosen to raise as his own flesh and blood, the son he prided himself in caring for. Doug knew that Logan needed a father figure due to the absence of his biological father and was willing to do whatever it takes to make a positive impact in his life. He will not allow his life to be overshadowed by the fact that he was the product of unfortunate and tragic circumstances.
God knows what other women out there he might have victimized and impregnated with his own offspring. At this point, Logan could have more than one half-sibling, if that was even possible, considering the occupation of his mysterious father. The SVU detectives from the state of New York have sworn to make his ex-wife's rape case their main top priority, and he was grateful for their zeal and professionalism. Not like those English policemen who think justice is a joke, the old man sighed as he rubbed his temple wearily.
If he could trust anyone to solve this baffling and horrific case, it was the Special Victims Unit of Manhatten, headed by Captain Donald Cragen. He was grateful to Maude Findlay for recommending the police squad in the first place, for he had been giving them calls every so often to check on things and to get updates on the case, which were not much, considering their current caseload and the keen elusiveness of their suspect.
The former mayor of Salem knew that it was not easy being a detective since things do not always go your way and there is always something that could either break a case, cause the police to run into a dead end or even complicate things. However, he persisted onward with the case anyway, calling up on the medical examiner Melinda Warner for any new evidence, Dr. George Huang for any indication of a psychological profile, and even Alexander Cabot, the woman that he had admired the most and trusted on bringing down the perp, on whether or not they might be able to gather any sort of evidence to prosecute Lee's rapist.
Doug not only respected Capt. Cragen, but he also had high regards for his detectives as well, including Olivia Benson, Elliot Stabler, John Munch and Odafin Tuotula Fin, or Fin for short. He hoped that whoever did this to Lee was eventually caught and made to owe up to his crimes and perhaps if they can get a sample of his DNA, they might also be able to solve the mystery of who fathered Logan.
Lee's rapist… that phrase still haunted him even 6 months later. These two words sounded so foreign to his mind and tongue and it was difficult to comprehend how this could have happened to anyone, let alone his ex-wife.
No, he thought to himself as his eyes narrowed. It was not difficult to understand. She brought this on herself; she asked for this to happen. She had tempted fate one too many times with her blatant and wanton promiscuity and her various sexual escapades.
Lee should have known that one of these days someone could have taken advantage of her and hurt her. And now she must pay for it for the next 18 years of Logan's life by raising him alone without a father around.
Not if I can help it, Doug snorted as he knelt down in front of the bathtub and peeked a little bit into the curtain to see Lee facing the opposite direction with her arms folded around her bosom to cover herself. The towel was still wrapped around her body and her wet, silky, dark hair hung loosely around her neck; the moment Doug patted her softly on the shoulder, Lee turned around and glared at him with tear-stricken eyes.
The elderly man could immediately tell by the bright redness of her eyes and the tear stains running down her cheeks that she had been silently crying in the shower.
Doug sighed pitifully as he shook his head and thought of what to do. The last thing he wanted to do was to deal with more of Lee's drama when clearly he despised her, but at the same time he couldn't help but feel sorry for her. After all, he did love her children, including Sydney and Logan, and he had sworn to protect them if anything were to happen to Lee; then again, Lee was family and despite of his reservations about her conduct and behavior he did care for her, no matter how much he didn't want to admit it.
"Lee, do you want to get out of the shower now? Julie and I could get out so you can change into something if you would like," Doug addressed his female teammate and ex-wife softly. Lee sat there stiffly with a cold gaze in her eyes before answering in a dry, hoarse voice, "Go right ahead." Doug nodded and massaged her shoulder gently as a soothing gesture before withdrawing his hand as he and Julie walked out of the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
Lee then stood up on her own two feet as she let the towel slide off her and glanced down at her stomach, which was stitched up nicely across. Silent tears seeped from her eyes as she thought of how her beautiful and flawless body had now been reduced to this horrific state. Lee then recalled the terrifying and frightening memories of Commander Ho Singh and of how he had hacked, cut and sliced into her stomach as if he were dissecting an animal and pulled out her frail and tiny son from her womb.
Chills ran down her spine as the memory of hearing her son's shrill cries upon entering the world flashed in her mind and she also remembered Ho Singh saying how lucky he was to have survived in the middle of the ocean and of how tough his mother was.
Lee could not help but smile a little at his words as she prided herself for being such a strong and resilient woman and then proceeded to recall her mother's words in her vision as well.
Mama was right, she thought to herself. I am a strong fighter and I never give up no matter what the circumstances. Even when it was difficult on my mother to give birth to me, I fought valiantly for my life and I won.
Perhaps somewhere in her heart my mother did love me; she just did not want to admit it. It hurts me to know just how much she despised me and of how I was always the target of her wrath if I crossed her or did something wrong. I sometimes wonder to myself if she knew that I was somehow born fucked up.
Lee then let out more stifled sobs as her body rocked with sudden tremors and she covered her face with her arms as she continued to weep softly. "My baby… Ripped out of my womb as if he were nothing more than an object, and I was tortured nearly to the point of death…" Lee suddenly stopped in midsentence as she spread out her arms and examined her body, which was riddled with the ugliest and unseemingly scars, bruises and gashes she had ever seen. She shuddered at the thought of being tortured and pushed her memories aside.
Just then, Courage slipped into the bathtub and screamed upon seeing Lee's body scars and wounds, prompting the young woman to turn away from him and shield her face in shame. "Stay away from me; you would not want me to see me like this," she sniffed pitifully. Courage then began to babble unintelligibly as he then reached into his pocket and took out a blue and yellow yoyo before proceeding to dangle and play with it.
"What the hell are you doing?" Lee snarled while glaring sternly at Courage. "You shouldn't be here; you're disrespecting my privacy and I desire to be alone." Courage then sighed while shaking his head and started to climb out of the bathtub.
"Wait!" Lee cried out the moment she grabbed Courage's shoulder and the young mongrel turned to gaze at her with stupefied eyes. "I'm sorry; I want you to stay," she whispered softly and a smile crept up on Courage's lips as he slid back down and scuttled over to Lee's lap as he nestled on top of her.
Lee smiled while stroking his soft, smooth, silky fur and a powerful, burning sensation suddenly began to overcome her as her hands were tingling and her heart began to skip a little bit.
Before she could stop herself, Lee began to lick Courage in the neck and the dog began to squirm and wriggle uncomfortably. "Stop it!" he cried as he broke away from Lee and he panted heavily as the middle-aged woman peered at him questioningly.
"What's wrong, Courage? Am I going too fast for you?" she asked him with concern. "It's not right!" Courage protested in a hysterical voice. "I shouldn't be sleeping with you! I shouldn't be going around deceiving my wife and kids by having an extra marital affair behind their backs! And you shouldn't too, not after what happened the last time!"
"Don't remind me of that, okay! I don't want to talk about that, do you understand? I care about you and I love you!" Lee shot back angrily as Courage shuddered in terror. "You do?" the young male dog whispered as Lee nodded in return. "Ever since you saved me from Ivan back in Vivian's ship in the Ohana Onipa'a universe; you also gave me your frying pan in order to defeat Naomi. I can never thank you enough."
Courage nodded with an "Mm-hmm" as he skittered back to Lee and jumped back into her arms as the Salemite woman cradled him tenderly and hummed a little lullaby. "I think it's better if we remain friends; I mean, I really do care about you, and I guess I must admit I was really suspicious of you at first because of the crimes you committed about 4 years ago and due to your reputation in Salem. I was also afraid that you were going to hurt Rhonda and put everyone in danger."
"But now it seems that my fears are unfounded because it appears that you do care about Rhonda and you do love her after all. Then again, maybe you're not such a bad person after all."
"As a matter of fact, I have actually come to like you and trust you to some extent. You're a very good friend to Rhonda and you are very devoted to her children as well as your own. You even loved Joshua dearly and would never want to hurt him," Courage confessed as he laid his head against her chest and listened to the sound of her heartbeat with the rhythm of her breathing.
Lee nodded as she cradled the young dog close to her chest and embraced him warmly in her arms while closing her eyes to go to sleep. "Hey, Lee?" Courage piped in while Lee opened her eyes and peered at him curiously. "What?" she asked with a sigh. "Are you still dealing with those nightmares about Commander Ho Singh?" was Courage's reply.
Lee exhaled through her nostrils and rubbed her temples in exasperation before answering. It has been over a week or so since their infamous mission in the Ohana Onipa'a universe, and Lee had barely slept at all. She felt extremely sluggish and exhausted and was completely stressed out due to her newborn son and the profound grief the Petrie clan currently suffered from in the wake of their beloved patriarch's death.
Lee had also noticed a sharp yet subtle change in Rhonda's demeanor lately and was worried about the fact that she didn't seem to be acting her usual self. The young Englishwoman was much more quiet than usual and took great effort to isolate herself more than ever. She would occasionally laugh at some of the stuff she saw on the Internet and Lee would note that a great spark of joy and contentment reflected on her face whenever she listened to music.
Other than that, however, Rhonda rarely smiled anymore and to make matters worse the young girl acted more sullen, brooding and dark than normal and her occasional cynical and bitter nature was getting the better of her. Lee also saw that the light was gone from her eyes and was replaced by a dark shadow on her face. Even though Rhonda never said anything, Lee could tell that her beloved friend now seemed to question everything in life and was beginning to lose faith in just about everything.
Rhonda has also expressed her disinterest in senior activities and was resolute on not attending any of them, citing that her parents did not have any money to go to half of these events anyway, which surprised, bewildered and infuriated her family.
Abigail and Sybille were the most shocked out of everyone. "How could you not want to go to prom, Rhonda? I have never heard of any teenager that does not want to go," Abigail scolded Rhonda upon hearing about what her older stepsister had to say. "What's the point, Abigail? I shouldn't even be going, not since my grandfather died. To do so would be to disrespect his memory," Rhonda growled angrily and bitterly.
Abigail gasped in horror before scowling and glaring at her sister. "So that's it? You're going to throw in the towel on your senior year just when you have barely begun? I can't believe you Rhonda! Look, I'm sorry that your grandfather is dead but you know what? Life goes on anyway. You have to move on sooner or later anyhow. Besides, it was his time to die and he was very old anyway."
Rhonda's body trembled with furious rage as she lunged at Abigail and slapped her right in the face, sending her back on the floor. Upon hitting the ground, a startled and jolted Abigail glanced up to see her sister seething in rancorous indignation as her face flushed with anger. "You don't ever say that, do you hear me? How could you be so insensitive and callous towards this tragedy? For Pete's sake he was YOUR grandfather too! I loved him very much and it makes me sad that he is not around anymore."
"Do you realize how much I regret not spending more time with him? I was too busy worrying about my own insecurities to even talk to him, even if I could not get through to him. I was too selfish to even give him the time of day and now I must pay for it with my tears and broken heart. I wish I can see him again but I can't. So don't you ever disrespect his memory and at least show some respect for him and for Lea."
Abigail laughed bitterly as she slowly rose to her feet and smirked at Rhonda evilly. "You are so pathetic; you are such a drama queen. Grow up and get a fucking life. Why don't you satisfy yourself with being the mindless happy homemaker and be a slave to your fucking husband? That's all you're ever going to be. Why don't you pop out 10 kids that will be as stupid and retarded as you? That's exactly what this house needs; then you'll be the next Octomom," she retorted with a cruel, derisive and snide tone as traces of venom and spite were evident in her voice.
Rhonda then scoffed before storming away from the room and slamming the door. Abigail snorted as she took out a book from the shelf and sat down on the bed to read. When Beatrice eventually found out about the altercation between the two sisters, she not only scolded and chided Rhonda for using physical force on her own sister, but she also grounded her for a week. Rhonda was infuriated and outraged but kept it to herself.
Also just the other day, Rhonda, her team and her father were riding in the car on their way home from the supermarket and Rhonda and her father were engaged in one of their rare conversations as Team Legacy slept. Rhonda then declared that she thought it was best if she never trusted the world around her, and Harold was baffled and astonished.
"Why do you think you shouldn't trust people around you?" he inquired her curiously. "Because they are going to take advantage of me," Rhonda answered glibly. "Why?" her father asked with a raised eyebrow as he kept on driving. "Because I'm autistic," was Rhonda's answer.
"Rhonda, people are going to take advantage of you no matter what; it happens all the time, you know. That doesn't necessarily mean you should stop trusting people," Harold sighed as he kept his eyes on the road and attempted to persuade his daughter to abandon this peculiar mindset.
"Why shouldn't I? There are a lot of bad people out there anyway. People are going to take advantage of me because I'm too nice all of time and I tend to trust others too willingly," Rhonda retorted snarkily. "I tend to trust people a lot too, Rhonda," Harold answered wearily.
He just could not understand why Rhonda was acting like this. Lately she had done nothing but whine, moan, complain, acting disrespectful and talking back to her parents and frankly he was getting tired of it. He could never possibly understand what was going on in his daughter's mind and he really didn't seem to notice any subtle mood changes in her.
As a matter of fact, despite of much progress he has made with his daughter, Rhonda was still like a complex puzzle box he just could never figure out. He prodded and poked around with a series of questions to probe into the young teen's mind, but Rhonda would never say much, which frustrated him. However, it appears that Rhonda just did not have that much to say, and would prefer to preoccupy herself with her thoughts and reflect on the information she has learned.
"Rhonda, do you really want to be alone for the rest of your life? Being a loner is not an easy thing to deal with, you know. Mistrusting people is not good, my love; it ends up making you miserable and lonely. People need human companionship to survive and if you have no one there beside you, then life is not worth living."
Rhonda rolled her eyes before answering, "I'm doing this just so I can survive and I don't get hurt; I'm not willing to get myself killed you know. The world is a dangerous and cruel place and you got nobody but yourself and there will be people that are willing to betray you to the wolves for personal gain."
"And if anyone were to find out that I'm autistic, they might think of all of the money they can profit from me and might try to harm or kill me in some way just to get rich from my death."
"And don't forget that just barely a month ago I was taken prisoner by the Alliance soldiers stationed in Vietnam along with Naomi, Lee, and the others and if Joshua, Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, Spike and Chomper had not hijacked Gantu's ship and flown to Vietnam to rescue us, we would have been dead!" And as Harold turned around to glare at her disapprovingly, Rhonda sighed and lowered her head down slightly while crossing her arms before adding, "Besides, how can I even trust people anymore?"
"Rhonda, sweetheart, you can still trust people but you have to be smart about it; you can't just let in a random stranger into your home and expect nothing to happen," Harold replied simply to his daughter, at which she scoffed and rolled her eyes while thinking, Of course you don't let random people into your house! They end up killing you!
Finally the car went silent as Rhonda stared off into space and said nothing more to her father, while Harold just kept on driving. And when the gang finally arrived home, Rhonda woke up the team and they all flooded out of the car and headed to the door to enter the house.
It was then that in the room that Lee and Rhonda shared that the two women were watching television together and Rhonda noticed that Lee was very quiet and was just staring ahead at the television screen.
The young British teen sighed as she stroked her head and Lee turned her steely and cold gaze towards her girlfriend. "Why don't you trust people, Rhonda? You know that not trusting people is not good for you; don't you love me?" Lee replied in a harsh, whispery, cracking voice that conveyed emotions of hurt, pain and anguish.
"Of course I love you, Lee; it's just that I was referring to the outside world. I guess lately I've become more cynical and bitter towards other people and I've begun to mistrust their motives. Sometimes I even wonder about my parents; I mean, I wouldn't want my daddy to control my life forever," Rhonda reassured her calmly and Lee's fierce, irate, scowling facial features began to soften slowly as a small smile crept up on her lips.
"You should have told me that; you didn't realize that I was listening to your conversation with your father with my telepathy as I lay sleeping. Or have you forgotten that I have the power to read minds?" she murmured as she smirked slyly.
Rhonda muttered a "Damn" as she slid her hand over her face in exasperation and placed her hand over her heart in a comforting gesture. Lee smiled as she grasped her hand and lowered it down on the bed as she held it and leaned over to kiss her on the cheek and then on the lips.