A/N: Hey, so. Yeah. It's been a while. Yeah, it's been a while. How's it going? How's the family? I want to apologize for being gone so long. I've actually been working on developing my novel, so that's kinda a pain in the neck. It throws a wrench into fanfiction writing. But I have some time on my hands and I'm excited to pick this up where I left it! Thank you for being so patient. I hope this chapter is good enough for you. I like it. ^_^
Free hot men for reviews.
I feel like it should be hot men day.
"This will be your room, sweetheart." Aunt Shell directed Fella to a spacious room at the end of the hall. Felicia walked to it slowly. It was beautiful. Her bed had pink sheets on it — obviously brand new — with stuffed bears and other cute animals. It even had four posters and a canopy.
But there was a void in Fella's soul that a walk-in closet and perfect interior design couldn't fill. "Thank you." She said slowly, setting her suitcase on the bed."Thank you for everything."
"It's the least I can do." Aunt Shell said. There was a small pause. Fella stroked the ears of a nearby bear with empty eyes made of glass. She felt like she related to that bear. Aunt Shell was at her side, sitting next to her on the ground. She started to cry, and Fella was alarmed.
"I know I'm not going to be able to fill the gap of your mother, Felicia." She said slowly, keeping her composure despite the tears on her cheeks. "I know I'm never going to be your mother. But please. Never think that you're alone, darling. I know you feel like God has forsaken you, I know it's unfair that you lost your mother..."
Fella started to break. Tears stung her eyes and her face twisted up.
"... But I lost my sister, Fella. We both lost her. You and I. And if you ever need me, I am right here." Fella needed Aunt Shell right at that moment, when she plunged into her arms and cried. Aunt Shell held her, cradled her head, and cried with her.
Once Fella was through letting her emotions pull her into despair, she was finally able to regain some composure. Mom wouldn't have wanted to see Fella crying. But Fella cried anyway. She cried at the funeral. She cried after the funeral. She didn't know when she would stop crying. Mom was in a box in the ground. Fella was a teenager without a mother.
"What do you want for dinner, Fella?" Aunt Shell asked, her loving voice still lined with tears. "I'll cook anything. Anything you want."
"Hey, there she is." Vanessa's voice greeted Fella when she walked in through the flat's door. It was nice not to have Van shrieking at her, but the kindness was just as unusual. (She should have at least been kind enough to hold open the door instead of watching Fella struggle with her luggage). Vanessa stood leaned up against the counter with one hand propped against her hip. "How was your flight?"
"Horrible." Fella said immediately. "Like, it was awful. This kid behind me kept kicking my seat and I'm pretty sure his dad was paying him to do it."
"Should have smacked him."
"I was two seconds away from catapulting out of the seat and strangling him, but," Fella sighed and noticed the familiar smell of mildew from the old flat, "apparently that's not in airplane regulations." Vanessa gave an actual laugh. Or Fella thought it was an actual laugh. She couldn't help but raise her eyebrow at it. It was actually happy. Trying to be happy, at least. But Vanessa didn't seem to be covering up anger.
She seemed sad. Like she was prepared to comfort Fella over something; Felicia couldn't even fathom what she would need comforting for. The only thing she wanted was a shower. And takeout.
But, nevertheless, Vanessa was all too eager to help Fella in any way she could. Including taking her luggage to her room.
"I'm surprised you didn't sprint out while I was gone, Van." Fella laughed. "I was expecting to come home from Malibu and see some homeless man in our apartment and a letter from you sent from Vegas."
"As nice as Vegas sounds compared to mice and dripping ceilings, I'd rather not leave this place to rot." Vanessa sighed and ran a hand impassively over her face. Her fingernails were unmanicured. Another strange thing from Vanessa. Fella sat on her bed and looked up at her warily. "Listen, Fella, I'm sorry I was such a brat right before you left..."
"It's fine, Vanessa. I understand."
"No, really, just let me talk," her old edge came back for a moment. "I really mean it. I had some time to think while you were gone and I really had my priorities screwed. I hope our friendship isn't dead." Fella smiled.
"I can probably bring it back with some CPR."
"I knew I should have learned CPR when I was in girl scouts." Vanessa laughed again as she walked toward the kitchen. That was it, right? Vanessa just wanted to apologize? That's why she was acting strange, right? Because she felt bad.
So why did Felicia get the strange vibe that something was horribly, horribly wrong? She felt as if someone was going to jump out with a gun from her closet. And those moments where nothing happened were exhaustively stressful. Fella was on pins and needles all of a sudden.
"Vanessa?" She decided it was better to just directly address it rather than beat meaninglessly around the bush. She was still trying to throw Anthony and all of his stuff out of her mind, so further complications were only going to irritate her.
"Is something wrong?"
A brief pause.
"No, what makes you ask?"
"Listen, girl, if you're being held hostage or something, just tell me. I will beat the everliving daylights out of the guy."
Vanessa laughed. First genuinely, and then slightly pained.
"Nothing like that, Fella."
Fella looked out the small window by her room, a view met only by the walls of an alleyway and scaffolding. And why did the sky always seem this overcast in this section of New York? Would a blue sky be too much to ask for?
"What's wrong, Vanessa?" Fella asked again.
"Seriously, Vanessa, if you have something important to tell me, you better damn tell me right now. If you're keeping something from me, I want to know."
She didn't respond right away. But after a few moments, she walked slowly into Felicia's doorway. Her black hair was slightly rustled, and her makeup could have been better. The beauty queen wasn't herself. And now her entire happy face was shattered, and her true depression stared at the pieces on the floor.
"I just wanted you to be happy, when you came home. I didn't want to tell you right away, because..." Vanessa sighed, slowly tipping her eyes up to meet Fella's.
And suddenly, Fella's heart panged. She didn't want to know. Whatever Vanessa was about to say, Fella suddenly didn't want to know. Vanessa looked horror-stricken. That scared Fella. A lot. But she was frozen as Vanessa said —
"The hospital called for you while you were gone, Fella."
"A-and the results? Of the tes—" Fella stopped. Of course she stopped. Why would she ask questions that she obviously knew the answer of? "The tests? Were they...?"
Vanessa's eyebrows slanted and her eyes hit the floor again. She shook her head.
All thoughts of Tony fluttered away in the moment. They promised to return, like they always did, but then they left. All of them. The vacancy in Fella's mind was filled with panic. Her eyes must have shown it, because Vanessa started to cry.
"I'm so sorry, Fella," She cried. "Is there something I can do? Or...?" Tears streamed down her face.
It was Fella's turn to shake her head slowly. Her heart was overcome with shock. Vanessa cried, but Fella didn't. Fella just sat there, hands in her lap, looking at the floor with wide eyes. Vanessa slid down to the ground, where her crying turned into painful sobs. But Fella just sat there.
Eventually, she moved. She left the bed and crawled across the floor to Vanessa, who was still huddled and shaking in the doorframe. Taking Vanessa into her arms felt strange. She felt like it should have been the other way around. Vanessa should have been comforting Fella.
But Fella suddenly felt nothing at all. No fear, no panic, no regrets. She was numb. Everything around her drifted like the fabric of a dream, and nothing seemed to be real.
"We'll be okay, Vanessa." Fella said softly.
"I know I'll be okay." Vanessa said between painful sobs. "But you won't."
"Don't think about it." Fella said slowly. She was saying it to herself. But Vanessa didn't know that. "Just don't think about it. What do you want for dinner, Van? I'll cook anything. Anything you want."