Disclaimer: Don't own Dead Like Me or 'Second Chance' by Shinedown.
A/N: To all my Dead Like Me - George/Rube junkies, this is me feeding your habit. :)
George sat in her mustang, once again in front of her parent's house. She knew she shouldn't be there, that there would be consequences if she continued on her current path. She sat for a few more minutes before she drove of.
When she arrived at Der Waffle Haus, Rube was still there. She took the evidence as it was, no other team members, and an expectant look on his face, and she knew he was waiting for her, most likely to read her the riot act. She flirted with the idea of going home and avoiding him until the next morning, but that would mean going home to deal with Daisy. She took the lesser of two irritants and headed into the restaurant and sat down in front of Rube. He gave her a baleful stare, but she couldn't bring herself to say anything.
Rube continued to stare at George, taking in her blank face and cold eyes. There wasn't an ounce of contrition in her posture, only her normal uncaring sprawl. The apathy was coming off her in waves.
"George, you cant keep this up. They wont let it go on forever. If you don't stop, they're going to stop you, and it wont be pretty." Rube stated. George continued to stare. He knew her silences well by then, and this once spoke easily of her path to destruction. "George...peanut..." He tried again, earning a frown over the hated nickname. "They've given you and ultimatum. Either you stop now, and you can write them letters, one to each of your parents and your sister, or you can lose all your memories, except your name and how to be a reaper." She finally looked up at him, a snappy retort on her tongue. " I'm not kidding, George. I've seen it happen. Its better to remember and stay away, than to wonder what you've forgotten."
She studied him, gauging his sincerity. She knew he wasn't lying to her, but it was so hard to let go. She knew he understood. He had left behind a wife and daughter, but he also wasn't perpetually 18.
"Alright." She nodded. I'll write the fucking letters." He nodded and pushed an empty notebook toward her.
She took it and the pen he offered her. She wasn't sure who to write to first, but she would figure it out. Rube left her a few minutes later and Kiffany refilled her coffee. It was time to get started.
As you know, I'm dead. Cant say it wasn't a big surprise, you know, being killed by toilet seat reentry. Must be a new one in some record book, right? And of course it had to happen to me, on of the most invisible people, right? But this isn't about me, not really. This is about telling you I'm ok. I'm really dead. Theres no way I could fake my death with that one. I know you miss me, and probably have for a while. I mean, I had that 'who gives a fuck' attitude down to a science. The truth is, I love you, and I miss you too. I should have kept out Sunday breakfast dates. Try not to be angry with yourself or with mom over me. I made my choices and I had to live with the consequences. I'm still living with them. No, I'm not in hell. Cant write letters from there, they burn too easily. I will miss how you got my sense of humor. You always thought I was hilarious when I wound Mom up. I should probably apologize for getting you into trouble with her so often, but I wont because we both know how much you enjoyed that part too. I love you Dad. Its ok to let me go now. Be happy.
She set turned the page and started the next letter to her mother.
You know, the last thing I said to your back was, "Someone had some nerve calling you Joy". You didn't hear me, you were already out the door. I hate myself for the cruel things I said to you. I was awful. I'm not much better now. You saw me that day at the garage sale. I was the one who bought Franken Fruitti. I tried to tell you it was me when I came by the second time, but I couldn't get the words out. I wanted to tell you I'm sorry for all the things I put you through. Honestly, I'm not much better off here. Things are hard, and often not fair. And I've learned the hard way that I cant have my cake and eat it too, as well as what it means to be truly responsible. I guess thats part of growing up. I wish you could see me now. I'm a much better person than the one you knew. I was awful, neither of us can deny that. But I have to say, you were no walk in the park either. I love you Mom, but I hope you're treating Reggie better than you treated me. Granted most of the stuff between us was you reacting to my bad attitude, but don't allow whatever attitude she gives you to do what it did to us. She doesn't need to end up like me. I know you're still angry at Dad. I cant change that. All I can ask is that you try to give him a second chance. He still loves you. He just doesn't know it. And I know you still love him, you just need to chill out. Be a little more like Grandma. You are way too uptight which is what cause all the problems. I love you Mom, never forget that, even though I never said it, I felt it. Try to be happy.
There was only one letter left for her to write, the one to her sister.
I really am dead. I know you think I sent you JD, and JF. I did in a way. I nudged them on the right path because I knew you needed unconditional love. But I really am dead. I'm so sorry Reggie. I was a horrible sister. I know you only wanted me to love you and play with you and I was so jealous of all the attention Mom and Dad gave you that I did everything I could to push you away. I'm sorry for that. I want you to be you Reggie. Don't try to be me. You are too good to be having an attitude like mine, and way too smart. You're brilliant. I've learned that by watching you from where I am. Mom and Dad both love you and want you to be ok. Be ok for them. Be smart, be beautiful, be confident in yourself. Love Mom and Dad and most of all know that I love you and always have. Be happy.
And she was finished. She felt like she was emotionally drained, almost like a shell waiting for something new to fill her up.
When Rube walked into the diner the next morning, he found George much as he'd left her, staring blankly at the notebook and pen he'd given her. He sighed in defeat. She had probably ignored his warning and now was without her memories. He felt a sadness creep over him with that thought. The thought of George not really being George anymore was more than his harden heart could take and he swore for a moment that he heard it crack. He sat down across from her. She didn't even blink at his appearance.
"George." He called softly. Nothing. "Peanut." He called again and reached out and brushed her hand. George jumped a mile, figuratively.
"Holy shit, Rube! What the fuck? Way to scare a girl out of her skin." She groused at him, and he internally sighed in relief as his heart pieced itself back together.
"I was trying to get your attention. Did you write the letters?" She nodded and pushed the notebook toward him. He pushed it back to her and pulled out three envelopes and handed them to her. "Mail them. But after this, no visiting. Its time to let go." She nodded again.
"I know." He nodded at her and turned to order breakfast from Kiffany who had appeared at the end of their table. When Rube was done, she turned to George who waved her off with a smile.
George ripped the pages out of the notebook and carefully folded them, and stuffed them into the envelopes. She addressed each one. Once she was done, she pushed the notebook and pen back across the table to him.
Rube studied her, trying to read her face, her emotions, anything to give him a clue as to what she was feeling. He handed her some stamps and she placed them on the envelopes. Before he could say anything else to her, she was out the door and on her way to the mail box.
George paused before dropping the letters in the mailbox. She took a moment and said her final goodbyes to her family. Rather than going back to Rube, in the diner, she headed to work at Happy Time. She really didn't care if she had a reap that day or not. George got in her mustang and drove away. She clicked on the radio just to avoid the silence. The song that played would tell her life story.
As she arrived at the office, something felt different. She wasn't sure what it was. She could tell what it felt like. It was like a weight had been lifted off her, or as if she'd lost some baggage somewhere between the diner and work, and suddenly she didn't mind letting it go.
George felt like her eyes were open for the first time. She could still experience all the things she wanted to know. Just because she was dead didn't mean she couldn't love, or have sex, or travel, or get married. Sure she'd never have the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids, but she'd never wanted that to begin with. No, she could still live within the confines of her undead life. There was no stopping her, so long as she did her job as a reaper. She felt as though someone had whispered in her ear, asking her why she was stalling. And she didn't have an answer, except that she was finally on the road to living, even though she was dead.
Work passed by too quickly, and she actually worked instead of sitting in her chair and spinning. It was pleasant almost. Afterward she was going to head to the diner. She didn't really want to see anyone else, except Rube. She needed to see him, was almost desperate to see him. This, of course, stopped her in her tracks as to why she wanted to see him so bad. So as she sat in her mustang, in the parking lot at Happy Time, she contemplated the need. The realization hit her like a sledge hammer and startled her as much as Delores knocking on her car window, which she politely rolled down.
"Are you ok, Millie?" She asked worriedly.
"I'm not sure. I just realized something..."
"What's that?" George looked at her.
"Get in, this might take a moment." Delores nodded and walked around the car, and sat down in the passenger seat.
"What's up, Millie?" She asked again, with concern.
"I'm in love." It was hard enough to get the words out, but as Delores gushed and held her hand, she realized something else. She could tell her friend, her best friend anything without judgement.
"That's wonderful Millie! With who?"
"Oh." Delores was suddenly quiet.
"I know. I realized something else, Delores."
"What's that?" She looked expectant.
"You are my best friend, the only true friend I've ever had. I hope that never changes."
"Oh Millie!" She hugged her over the console, happy tears in her eyes. "Now, about Rube. I assume you haven't told him yet."
"No. You're the only one who knows."
"Are you happy about that?"
"That I'm in love with him? More like terrified. I don't know how to love. What if he doesn't feel the same way, or worse what if he does and then I go and screw something up? What will I do then?"
"First things first. You have to tell him how you feel. If he doesn't feel the same, then you do your best to pick up and move on. No man is worth unrequited love. In the even that he does feel the same, then you take to each other, never assume, never go to bed angry, and never walk out, no matter how angry you are. Theres no right or wrong way to love. You can only do your best and love with all your heart."
"How did you get so wise?"
"Trial and error, lots of error. Now get going, and tell that man how you feel."
"What about the age difference?"
"Age is only a number, sweetheart." And with that Delores left her to her thoughts.
George drove to the diner on autopilot. she walked to their booth in a haze and sat down. Rube looked around his paper at her before setting it down. No one else was there. He stared at her with curiosity, especially when she got up and nudged his feet out of the way so she could sit down next to him.
"Whats up, George?" She looked at him, gauged his mood as good, and leaned toward him. She was inches away from him, their noses almost touching.
"I love you." It was whispered and ghosted across her lips to his in a delicious fashion, and then her lips followed her words, tracing the path to his own. Then she was kissing him and he was kissing back.
A cleared throat brought them back to the present and they both blushed.
"Now I know you two are feeling good, but this is a family place. keep it contained. Now congratulations you two. Do you need anything?" Kiffany asked.
"No, Kiff, we're good." Rube answered.
Alright then. Behave yourselves." She said over her shoulder.
"So what changed, Peanut?" Rube asked wrapping an arm around her.
"Sometimes goodbye is a second chance." She answered with a smile.
My eyes are open wide
By the way I made it through the day
I watch the world outside
By the way I'm leaving out today
I just say Halley's Comet, she waved
Said "why you always running in place?"
Even the man in the moon disappears
Some where in the stratosphere.
Tell my mother, tell my father
I've done the best I can
To make them realize
This is my life
I hope they understand
I'm not angry, I'm just saying
Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.