Part 3: You look; sound; feel and hell, you even smell like the man I love! But the man standing in front of me is a stranger to me.
Chapter 22: Goodbye
Author's Note: Told you back… I'm back by June:P They have image manager now so I think I can upload pictures of dresses and shoes… I'll check it out. Also I'm really so thankful for you guys and your reviews have caused me to push on with chapter 22! I really think I could make 200 reviews… I'm at 186 and you guys (including this one) have about 4 more chapters to review.
Disclaimer: This goes out to my little newbies! Those of you who just started reading my story… welcome to the epic drama that is "Why are we so Blind?" Hope you enjoy these next few chapters:)
Disclaimer: Don't own this. Never have, never will. Quick, easy and painless… it's like ripping off a band aid!
Taz folded up her last shirt and put it in her suitcase. She closed the lid, sat on it, and zipped it up. She looked around her almost empty room. All the drawers in the dresser, nightstands, bathroom and desk were open and empty. Her closet door had been slid open and all that was in there was her uniform for tomorrow. There were pictures still on the walls, books still on the shelf, and many other miscellaneous objects around her room, though.
The girl grabbed a picture off her dresser and looked at it. It was her and Up at her birthday from a few years ago. She smiled and dropped it into a box specially designed for pictures. Taz picked up another one, this one was of Ryder and Up make silly faces at the camera. It went in the box with the other. She picked up two more, they were also of her and Up. Taz spun around in a circle, looking at all the pictures in her tiny room. They all had Up in them. They might have had the crew or Jose or Ryder in them too but Up was present too. She swept them all up in her arms and dumped them in the box, not wanting to go back down memory lane anymore. She sealed the box tightly with tape and decided she might have better luck with the book shelf.
It was rather small, only three shelves, so she only kept her favorites in it. Up kept all the rest in his huge bookcases. Taz placed the books in the boxes gently, making sure they were stacked in the order she liked them. The brunette went from the top to the bottom, but abruptly stopped at the third shelf. There staring back at her in their nice neat, colorful row were her copies of the scrapbooks. She stared at them; almost having a standoff with them. Who would win- her or the books? Would she look through them or would they go in the box?
Eventually, Taz won. The scrapbooks were grabbed and placed in the box in one go. This box was also tightly taped shut and she stacked the boxes on top of each other. She grabbed a bag off of her bed, exited her room and headed down to Up's. She had a few stops first, though.
"Hey, Taz. Come to get your books?" Up asked as she walked into his room.
"No, jou can keep dose actually. I'll hust ask jou to mail some if I want dem." She began to pick her nails; she had never good at leaving. "I'm all packed. Would jou mind helping me wid de boxes?"
"Sure." He slowly rose from the couch and walked to the door. "Ya coming?"
"I'll be dere in a minute. I want to take it all in one last time before I go." She clutched the handles of the bag tighter.
Up answered by turning and walking out of the room. Taz understood this was hard on him, they had said goodbye to many people but never expected for one second it would ever be to each other.
Taz slowly walked around his suite, taking everything in. The pictures in every room, all her books on his shelves, the feel of his sheets on her skin, the smell of coffee in the kitchen, his leather chair in the office would all stick in her head forever.
She slowly walked back into his room. She placed the bag on the bed and pulled out a card. Taz placed the card on the bag and quickly ran out of the room.
Taz walked onto the drop pod deck with her suitcase in hand. Up had taken all her boxes on a cart to the drop pod about ten minutes ago. She looked around and spotted the crew waiting for her. They were all standing very tall and rigid; trying not to cry. All except one: Jessica.
Again, Taz was not one to be good with saying goodbye so she merely gave each one a hug. February had burst into tears, Specs had trails going down her cheeks, Tootsie and Bug had a few running down their cheeks, and Megagirl was crying on the inside. Krayonder had sucked his lips and just looked at Taz with those puppy dog eyes of his. She knew he was trying so hard not to cry, but she could also see he was losing the battle as his eyes welled up.
She turned to Up, but he didn't look at her. He was staring off into the distance; eyes slightly glazed over as Jessica clung to his arm. The small girl hugged him none the less and was glad to feel that he returned it. Up kissed the top of her head and then broke off from the hug. He picked up her bag and walked into the pod. She followed him inside.
Taz ran over and gave him a hug and began crying for the first time all day. Up rubbed her back and shushed her.
"I'm going to miss jou so much." She pulled her head away from his chest.
He used his thumbs to wipe the tears from her face, "I'm gonna miss you too. I don't know what I'll do without ya."
The Commander walked out of the pod, closing the door behind him. Taz typed in her coordinates and then walked over to the window. The crew was still on the deck and they waved as the pod moved over towards the air lock. February and Specs' faces were drenched, Tootsie and Bug had tear streaks down their cheeks, and Krayonder had finally surrendered and let a few tears slip down his cheek. Up wasn't crying but he was staring straight at Taz. Jessica just smirked and gave a half wave. Taz waved back until the air lock doors closed.
She went and sat in pilot's chair. She couldn't believe she was really leaving, it felt like she was leaving Mexico all over again.
The crew all went their separate ways after Taz had left. They had all said it was because this day had been "emotionally draining" but they really just wanted to cry by themselves.
February walked into her room and immediately spotted the pink package on her bed almost immediately. She walked over and timidly picked it up. It didn't seem explosive so she ripped the paper off. It was a beat up 'Calculus for Dummies' book. She opened the cover and there Taz had signed it. The blonde flicked through it and a letter fell out onto her lap. It was written in very pretty and very legible cursive.
I remember you from the Academy. I seriously didn't think you were going to graduate and I was eternally grateful when you did, but I was not happy for the right reasons. I realize now how much I doubted your abilities. You aren't book smart or really street smart either, but you do know a lot about girl thing. You're sweet and innocent and I hope no war will ever take that away from you. Anyways, back to the gift. I remember you telling us a few weeks ago that you wanted to take a few classes to become both a Starship Ranger and a Science Officer. I never knew why but Rangers are required to take Calculus and let me be the first to tell you, it's not fun or easy. This book helped me and Commander Up helped me through the course and I hope it'll do the same for you.
February left a few tear spots on the letter as she read it. Taz was nice to her but it always had seemed forced, like she was merely putting up with her. This letter and gift showed otherwise.
Bug sat on the other side of the room from his bright orange box. He had been staring at it for five minutes, debating if he really wanted to find out what was in it. Finally, he got up and shook it. A metal clinking against metal sound came from the box and Bug couldn't take it anymore, he pulled the top off. He turned it over onto his bed and out came tumbling dog tags and a piece of paper. The orange bug examined the tags. One said "Bug, Bug World Ambassador, Starship Ranger, ID 5489612." The second one read "Bug, The Toughest Son of a Bitch this side of the Galaxy has ever seen." He picked up the letter and began to read the fancy cursive, struggling a bit in the beginning.
I don't know what to say to you that hasn't already been said. Everything they say is true, though. You are brave and nice and naive and welcoming and curious and so much more. I've only known you for less than a year and I'm disappointed that our time was cut short together. I figured that someone as good as you deserved their dog tags before their first year was complete. The first one is your official dog tag, I pulled a few strings and got it early as I mentioned before. The second one is one that I had made especially for you. I think the title fits rather well, don't you? You are going to be one hell of Ranger someday; I just wish I could be around to see you reach that position.
Bug put the letter back in the box and closed the lid. He placed it on his dresser and slipped the dog tags around his neck.
Megagirl and Tootsie walked arm in arm to their room. Tootsie was glad he had Megagirl in his life; she was always very strong in situations like this. Like now she was taking out her laser to shoot the mysterious envelope sitting on their bed. Tootsie ran over and pulled it out of the target zone. He quickly ripped the envelope open and pulled out a large packet and a letter. He handed it to Megagirl to read.
Dear Megagirl and Tootsie,
I didn't get either one of you when I first met you. Tootsie, you had all those crazy Farm Planet stories and I have to admit I didn't really understand them. I know that I will miss you having a story for almost every situation and your simple but kind nature. Megagirl, my feud with robots in the past made it hard for me to accept you. I apologize for that now. I will miss watching you enjoy more emotions as you continue your downloading process and our occasional quarrel. About the packet though, I overheard you discussing children at lunch. Knowing your predicament, I compiled a list of names of children for adoption. There are several lists but there is one in particular that I think you might enjoy. It is a list of orphans from Farm Planet that need robotic parts to replace missing limbs. I thought it really brought two very different people together.
Tootsie flipped to the page and he and Megagirl spent the afternoon looking at the children on that page.
Specs stumbled into her room and fell onto her bed. There was a loud thump and she picked her head up. She peered over the edge of the bed and saw a large bag on the floor. Clothes had spilled out of it and so had a piece of paper. The curly haired girl scooped it all up, sat up and wiped her eyes. She pulled what was left in the bag out. It was a collection of shirts, pants, skirts, shorts, dresses and shoes; all in her size and all highly stylish. Then she pulled out a box, filled with makeup. It was all organized but color, order of use, and brand. Finally, she unfolded the piece of paper.
I overheard you saying one day that you wanted to look more like February, so I got all the stuff for you to do it. Though I don't understand why you want to look prettier. You're already gorgeous and you have Krayonder, what more could you want? Do you think people will respect you more if you look good? Because I know for a fact that everyone respects and adores you. You have to be one of the smartest people I know! You may not be the most confident but maybe that is what the clothes are for. I just want you to know that you are a great person! You got Krayonder with the old you, which should count for something. When I was younger I wore everything in that was in style but I was still me underneath. I acted the same in a fancy dress as I did in sweats and a ratty tee. Putting on the clothes didn't magically make me act like a sophisticated lady. So I hope you take all this into consideration. I want you to wear the clothes but stay true to the Specs you are. I'll miss you dearly and take care of Krayonder.
Specs wiped her eyes again and read the letter over and over and over until she could recite it from memory.
Krayonder felt like his world was falling apart. Taz was gone and he knew that everything would be off for awhile. Up would be the biggest mess out of the crew, he was past showing his emotions but they would come out in training. He would work them so hard they wouldn't be able to think about Taz and Jessica would make sure they didn't talk about her. Even though they looked like they hated each other, Taz and Krayonder had a complicated relationship. When Up had taken Krayonder under his wing, he still had Taz under the other. The fought like siblings but loved each other like them too.
He grabbed the camouflage gift she had left him. He knew she would leave gifts for everyone. He pulled off the car and sat it on his bed. The hat wearing soldier shook the box next to his ear something rattled in it. He ripped off the top and inside there was another box. He timidly pulled out the little box and opened it slowly. Inside a diamond winked at him. He slammed the lid shut and dropped the box. Krayonder reached for the letter and opened it.
Besides Up, you had to be the hardest goodbye. We went through so much together and we now have come to have a very complicated relationship. I can't even begin to describe all we've gone through because this letter would then go on for days! I hope you know that the reason I am so hard on you is because I see your potential. I believe one day you can be a Commander or maybe even a General! Just keep your eye on the prize. Anyways, now that I'm gone you'll need someone else to watch out for you and I think you've already found her, so I got you something to make that forever. That ring was my mothers. I obviously kept it for a while but I don't wear and I have plenty more of jewelry that I wear occasionally. I hope that when you see it on Specs you think of me and all the times I've watched out for you.
Krayonder opened the small, velvet box again. Inside was a simple engagement ring with a white gold band. There was a good size diamond, not too big or small, in the middle and smaller diamonds going down the band. He closed the box and slipped it into one of the many pouches on his belt.
Commander Up walked into his room, leaned against the door, and sighed. All he had wanted to do since he had been informed Taz was leaving he felt like crying and now he could. There was a knock on the door and Up could feel the vibrations on his back. Jessica called out and demanded to be let in, but he ignored her. He wanted to be alone for a bit. The gray haired man walked into his bedroom and closed the door where the knocking instantly became muffled. He glanced over the bag on his bed and slowly walked over to it. He opened the bag and pulled out the letter first, but set it aside. He then pulled out a scrapbook.
He sat down on the bed and opened it. It was filled with pictures from the BugWorld mission, Up's birthday and the proposal, the Ranger Ball, Taz's birthday and many more. He set down the book and picked up the letter. He noticed that some of the words were blurred by big circular tear stains.
I know we don't call each other by our first names often but I thought it was fitting for the moment. Anyways, I wanted to give you your scrapbook. Year 9. Can you believe I made you nine scrapbooks? Neither can I! Well this will one will be the last, maybe you can start the tradition with Jessica. She may not like the idea but it's whatever. I just want you to know that I will miss you more than words can describe. I mean, how do you describe in words our nine years together? You could say they were fun, crazy, chaotic, stressful, amazing, eye-opening, knowledgeable, loveable, but that's only hitting the tip of the iceberg. You're my best friend and sometimes it's felt like more, but even though we are now on separate ships, we will be forever best friends. I almost died giving birth to Ryder cause I was so tiny, but you were there for me. I was there for you when you got your famous injury. Being on two separate ships can't keep us from being best friends! Well, I guess I should just say goodbye. I'll see you at your wedding.
Up sat there for a while in a daze, he didn't know if it was a minute or an hour, but he was jerked out of his thoughts by a banging on the door. He vaguely remembered it stopping when he had picked up the letter but now it was starting again. He quickly ran into the study, yelling that he was coming as he ran. He opened one of the drawers in his desk and dropped Taz's gifts in. He slammed it shut and ran to the door. He wiped the tears that had been brimming in his eyes since he read the letter away and pasted a smile on before he opened the door for Jessica.
After getting off the drop pod onto Starship 14-K7, it all went at lightning speed for Taz. Jose ran up and gave her a hug, so did Veronica, Ryder, Alejandro and some guy she felt like she knew but wasn't sure. She then was introduced to the rest of the team that Jose was Commander of and she would become a lieutenant to. She was given a brief tour, finding out where the hospital, cafeteria, gym, and various other rooms were. There was a brief catching up where she learned about Veronica's rise to Head Nurse and Alejandro becoming a doctor. Finally, she was able to escape to her room.
It looked exactly like her old room. She noticed that all of the boxes had been brought and she counted to make sure one wasn't missing. There were two extra, though they looked more like presents than moving boxes, though. Taz walked over to them and ripped the paper off of the flatter one.
It was her favorite picture of the crew. They weren't posing for an award or an article; they were laughing and smiling at something Krayonder had said at lunch. Specs had been trying out some new equipment and every few minutes a picture would take, Taz believed it was fate that had made the equipment take the picture at that exact moment. She had loved the picture since she had first seen it but she hadn't said anything. She plucked a small note stuck in the corner of the frame.
Even though you now have a new crew to boss around, we don't want you to ever forget us. You were part of our crazy, dysfunctional family and Jessica can never take your place. We'll always remember you!
-Your crew from Starship 15-A2
She smiled at the note and put the picture on her night stand and the note next to it. She moved onto the larger box. It didn't have any wrapping paper but it did say 'Lopez and Walker's' on the top of the lid in green cursive. She opened the box and sitting on top of the tissue paper was another note.
Even though the dress you bought to be my best woman was real pretty, it's not quite right for the wedding in my opinion. I know I said that you looked gorgeous and you did and you can wear it to the rehearsal dinner if you want, but just please think about this. I went back to 'Lopez and Walker's' and Mrs. Walker helped me pick out the perfect dress. It's the same color as your Quinceañera dress, you know, that blue you really like. Hope you like it.
Taz gently broke the seal that held the paper together at the top and pulled the paper apart. She gasped as she saw the top of the dress; it matched the color of her Quinceañera dress perfectly. Taz knew that one of the wedding colors was Caribbean blue to match Up's eyes and that was the color of her dress. She pulled it out of the box and held it up against her, looking in the mirror. It was full length, with a deep V-neck, and it synched together right at her abdomen. She stripped off her clothes and slipped into the gown. It was a little long on the bottom, nothing heels couldn't fix, but other than that it fit perfectly.
Taz sat down her bed and looked at the picture the crew gave her. Finally, she got up, hung up the gown in her closet and began unpacking boxes.
Finished! With this chapter:P Sorry it took me so long, I actually started writing it in May but had to study for exams and then summer started and my friends all wanted to hang out. This is also my second longest chapter being 14 pages (double spaced). The longest, last time I checked, is 15 pages:P So the plan is to finish this by late June/early July… but ya never know with me! Also, check out my image manager to find out what the dresses, shoes and Taz's mom's ring look like:)
Have a great summer (or winter if you're in the southern hemisphere)