[Cheerless #6] CheerSoaked: A Tale Of Two Freaks

Freaking On A Jet Plane

Roxie, Miles, and Morgan bid the rest of us goodbye at the college house that morning; they all had early Monday classes. Sabrina did, as well, but she told me privately that she'd conjured a tape recorder to appear in a shadowy corner.

"You can do that?" I hissed.

"Easy peasy," she laughed quietly. "Well, it won't be that easy listening to Dr Finkbotham's lecture, but at least I hope not to fail?"

"Okay, I'm off," Roxie called over her shoulder, the last one to leave. Her hair was hanging in odd, haphazard angles, and I saw a Pop Tart sticking out of her backpack. "You guys... you'll be okay getting to the airport?"

"Yeah," said Ophelia, dragging her duffel out of the linen closet it had ended up living in. "It's landing I'm worried about."

"Problem with planes?" asked Sabrina.

"It's so unnatural, right? If mankind were meant to fly, Goddess would have provided."

Roxie smiled wryly. "But we were granted the mental capacity to create the aircraft." But Ophelia was not so easily shaken.

"We were also granted the mental capacity to write and film more than one 3 Ninjas movie. Just because you can do something doesn't-"

"Okay, okay, point to you." Roxie snickered before turning her attention back to the matter at hand. "Sabrina, you gonna be okay to drive home?"

"I'll not be swilling down vodka in the terminal," she protested.

"Everything's fine, Roxie," I said. "Go, learn."

"Learning." With one last glance back, she smiled like a kid in a Kodak commercial and said, "You guys..." And then she was off.

"You'd think she was getting extra credit for hooking us up," Sabrina muttered.

"She could be secretly filming a documentary," Ophelia offered. "Something along the lines of, 'When Roommates Munch Rugs'..."

"That's vulgar," I said. "Also, I have yet to munch a single rug."

Ophelia and Sabrina were both stunned into silence by the suddenness of that announcement. Finally, when I dropped my gaze to the floor, Ophelia uttered an innocent little, "You don't say?"

"Our greenish friend has a point," Sabrina said through gritted teeth. "Why would you say that? Why would she need to know? Do you-"

"Oh, leave me alone!" I laughed at their outbursts. "It is the truth, isn't it?"

"The truth can be, uh... disquieting," Ophie said, staring off into space.

"Sorry, sorry," I said genuinely, still fighting the urge to laugh. "C'mon, let's just get out of here before we miss our flight and create more chaos and disorder."

But as the three of us shuffled out the door, I took one last look back. Though I'd only seen the inside of it for perhaps a total of five or six days, it felt like a home away from home. Maybe it was the collegiate bohemia... or maybe it was that so much of Sabrina was there that I loved it like I loved her. Maybe watching Home Alone in the middle of the night, pushing the recommended capacity of the couch, was enough to bond you to a place for life. Whatever. I was going to miss it... almost as much as I'd miss the people who lived there.

Before I could break down for what would have appeared to be no reason at all, I was startled by Sabrina saying, "Hey, what's-"

"I'm sorry!" sobbed a overwrought, moist-faced Morgan, whose arms were flung around both myself and Sabrina a second later. "Almighty Nick Lachey's Abs, I've been a harpy, and y-you, I-"

"Whoa, whoa," I gasped, "slow down! What the hell's wrong with-"

"My poor little gaylets," she blubbered. "I've been way unsupportive, too busy being grossed out to help you get through all this! Can you ever- can I- there's-"

"Morgan, calm down!" Sabrina laughed, patting her on the back as best she could when her arms were pinned to her sides. "It's okay, we-"

"It's not, though!" With a great heave, she pushed us away to arm's length, bottle-tanned face more determined than I'd ever seen it. "God, I ought to be giving a pair of my Dee and Gees to you two to make up for- or, I mean, well, not that I have any I could part with, but I- if I did, I would, at the drop of-"

"Don't worry about it, Morgan." Though she hadn't changed that much yet, at least she was evolving. "It's the thought that counts."

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

"Ugh - a window seat."

Sabrina and I smiled. "Sorry, Ophie," I said, hefting my carry-on. "What seat number?"

Her turquoise locks seemed to wilt as she checked again. "Twenty-six A."

"Oh, look at that," I said brightly. "Twenty-six B."

"Yeah," she said with a wry grin, snatching mine from my hand. "I appreciate this."

My lips pursed as I took hers in trade; she hadn't technically asked, but she knew she didn't have to. That doesn't mean I wouldn't have appreciated the gesture. "What are friends for?"

"Well, I... I'm going to go get situated," she said hesitantly. "You, uh... you'll follow me into the terminal soon?"

I nodded. We all glanced between ourselves. Was it me, or had things grown even weirder with Ophie since we 'figured it out'? She was staring at her tiger-striped hi-tops; Sabrina was staring at them, too, but I think it's more likely she was wondering what Salvation Army Thrift she'd found them in. Then, Ophie said, "What the hell," braced her hands against Sabrina's shoulders, and planted a gentle one on her lips.

In spite of myself - and GOD, was this annoying to deal with in the middle of a crowded airport - a whirlwind of emotions kicked up into existence. What was she doing? Nobody was supposed to kiss Sabrina, now - she was off-limits! Could Ophelia have feelings for yet another girl - my girl? How dare she! And how sick and twisted was it that despite the crawling of my skin, watching them touch like that caused my face to start feeling the tiniest bit warmer? Scenes, dark possibilities flashed through my imagination, and new, worse thoughts replaced the ones I hurriedly dismissed. God, I should be shot! My only saving grace is that the onion bagel I'd eaten scant minutes ago churned angrily; no, I didn't like this... even if it was easy on the eyes.

Then Sabrina was panting, "Wow... that's, uh, a woman-kiss."

"Jesus Christ!" I growled. "Does every girl in the United States have to give it a whirl?! Are our sappheromones that pungent?!"

"Sorry," Ophelia half-laughed, deliberately avoiding my death-glare. "I... yeah. Maybe I had to do that, or... or maybe it was just another stupid thing I've done for no reason other than me being certifiable."

Sabrina cleared her throat. "In the interest of fairness, might I remind you-"

"Wanted to see what you were missing?" I demanded, looking away as she glanced at me automatically.

But it was Ophelia who answered. "Maybe. Too many 'maybe's. Maybe I should shut up and get on the plane before I blow something up or go ninja on an innocent bystander."

"There's no such thing as spontaneous ninja-ing," Sabrina laughed - and her laugh was too high. One of her "tells" I had memorised by now. "But... hey, I'm not gonna die from one Ophelia peck, I'm sure."

"Yeah, probably not. I'm not wearing poisonous lipstick today - at least, I don't think so."

One of Sabrina's eyebrows arched, but I just smiled. I'd heard her use that once before on TQ; he'd flipped out and ran to the bathroom before she could tell him she was only kidding. After a moment, Sabrina saw me smirking and snorted. "Oh, right - make with the inside jokes and leave me in the dark. I appreciate that."

As we all laughed, Ophelia pulled her into a more conventional hug and said, "Merry part, Sabrina, and take care of yourself; Libby needs that, which means I do, too. Don't you forget."

The din of several hundred people seemed to press in on us once Sabrina and I were alone in the terminal. One of life's lamest, most uselessly complicated moments had finally crept up and bit us; the airport goodbye. I adjusted the thin denim jacket I had on, making sure my ticket was in the pocket. Sabrina wiped just under her bottom lip, as if making sure Ophelia hadn't smudged her own lipstick (she hadn't). I checked my watch more as an excuse to perform an action than to see what time it was. She moved her purse from beneath one arm to the other. I almost completed a deep, burdened sigh when she interrupted me.

"Do you have to go?"

My lip instantly tried to tremble, but I told it to steady. This didn't have to be disgusting and sloppy. "Kinda. School."

"School sucks."

"Duh, Spellman."

"Can't you move back home?" she pleaded, tucking a string of blonde behind her ear. "Miles should probably find a dorm with other guys, anyway, and then Roxie could have his room and-"

"Too late in the year to transfer my credits. Besides, I... not that it holds a candle to true love or anything, but I like Columbia. I think I'd like to try to get a bachelor's in something if I can... unless the record deal takes me on the road, and then I guess I'd have to postpone my education until that's all-"

"But we're-" She struggled with it, and I would have, too, if I'd been the first to say it. When the word finally came out, it was so quiet I'd have missed it completely if I didn't already know what she was going to say. "We're lesbians, right? Aren't we supposed to move in together as soon as possible?"

"We're not. L-lesbians, I mean - I'm not, anyway." Fidgeting with my bag strap, I glanced around furtively, blinked up at her and smiled shyly. "I'm just in love with a girl."

She looked as if she wanted to say something back, but all she could do was try to fight down that same guilty grin I was wearing. My ducts really were going to explode like a geyser if we kept staring at each other like that. I changed direction.

"So I say, preconceptions be damned - we're going to let this play out the way we want it to! I am my own person, not a societal notion or a stereotype, and neither is my girlfriend!"

"Yeah!" she piped up wetly, pumping her fist. There was only the barest note of defeat behind her voice; she was sad to know I'd be leaving, but both of us knew we'd make it despite the distance. "They can watch all the 'Ellen' they want, but that doesn't mean they know us! Fighting Scallions are more than they seem!"

"They'd better be," a voice from behind us said, "'cause this year's team is pretty damn useless."

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~~*~ END Chapter Sixteen

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