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

EWpilogue

[[NOTES: Although we've come... to the ennnnnd of the rooooad... still I caaaan't leeeeet goooo...

Yes, this is the END. If by some impossible fluke you're insane enough to want MORE of this story, even now, I'm apologizing because there's nothing left to tell, really. Unbridled Honesty-wise, I COULD crack it open again and write some fun things, but why? This is the story I wanted to tell, and I finally told all of it. Only took me a thousand years. So if you absolutely NEED to know what happened between Adymm and Roxie in the intervening years, maybe YOU could write that? :P I wouldn't tell you not to if you so desired.

But I'm being mean; this is such a bittersweet occasion. Libby's been with me for many years, mirroring my personality and experiences in strange ways. Wrapping up her saga is like seeing off a friend who's moving to another country. Thank you SO MUCH for reading this far! You must not have hated it if you read this far, even if you didn't "like" it per se. I sincerely hope you enjoy my future writings, even though they won't be Libby-related... and there IS more in the works, believe you me. And I need to take a verbal Pepto to head off this spewing, so on with the last bit. See you around.

Jessica X]]

~*~ EW-pilogue ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

SLAP!

Shoot, now she's done it - she hit me. I can't believe she just hit me! Okay, so maybe I had it coming - or maybe I didn't, but... she just crossed over the threshold from passive-aggressive displeasure to physical violence, and... how do I feel? Sorry. The remorse surprises me because I did nothing wrong, and at the same time I'm surprised to be surprised. Do I really think I'm above feeling guilt for disappointing somebody, even if there happens to be a logical explanation?

"Gorgonzola, where the hell have you BEEN?!"

"H-hey, wait, I, I-"

"Oh, shut up and come here," Sabrina growled, pulling me into a crushing embrace, nails digging though both my windbreaker and the shirts underneath. I had scarcely enough time to be reminded how warm she felt and good she smelled before she said, "You are such a- a- oh, I dunno, but it's something stinky!"

"God," I grunted breathlessly, travel bag slipping from my hand to the carpet. "I'm sorry, Breeny, I didn't mean to-"

"Well, you freaking did," she sobbed into my shoulder. "Scared the potatoes outta me!"

"You didn't have to hit me, though!"

"Oh, yes I did!" she snapped, pushing me back at arm's length, fire back in her eyes. "Why didn't you call, or email, or something?! You could have rammed straight into a mountain, or into a ravine, or- or been eaten by zombie pack mules for all I know!"

"Jesus, would you take a breath?" Running a tired hand through my hair, I crossed into the dining room and dropped my purse on the table. Sabrina followed, arms crossed, expression livid. "My phone died, and I was going to charge it at the airport but I came this close-" I used my thumb and forefinger to demonstrate "-to missing my flight. Then, I could have stopped to recharge once I touched down, but I figured it would be better just to return home as soon as possib-"

"Yeah, well, you thought wrong! Haven't you ever heard of a payphone?!"

"Haven't you ever heard that they decommissioned them all?" I retorted. "Besides, what about your magic? Can't you, y'know... scry or whatever?"

"Real witches don't scry," she grumbled. "Besides, I... sent my magic out for a tune-up yesterday."

I blinked. "They can do that? No, wait... I seem to remember you mentioning this before. A bunch of glowyness ends up in a bank-teller canister?"

"Yes, that; my pointing has been getting increasingly pointless lately." Her words remained snappish, but I could tell the anger was slowly fading. "All I could do was call your dead phone helplessly; I tried getting ahold of Aunt Hilda, but she's on God-Knows-What-Plane-Of-Existence, and Aunt Zelda's still a candle, so without-"

"Enough," I groaned, plopping into a chair at the table. It was then I noticed the Lean Cuisine and Sunny D. "Oh, you ate already?"

"I was about to try before you decided to, y'know, be alive."

I frowned. This was not a hill to die on. "Sabrina, seriously, I am sorry. Can you forgive me?"

"No." Tears again. "You know how I get when I lose my magic, even if it's only for a day or two."

"I know, I know; all panicky and underconfident." That tidbit of jealousy resurfaced just long enough to make me say, "Some of us have to live without it, anyway."

"Don't be like that. I can't help it."

We sat in silence for a moment as I massaged my temples; jet lag mixed with being smacked across the jaw was the worst sensation, in my opinion. I was about to ask if we had any ibuprofen when she said, "Do you want me to give it up?"

"Sabrina-"

"No, Libby, you always deflect me," she continued doggedly. "I could walk away from magic, and I would for you, but you never tell me one way or the other."

"Don't be an idiot. It's part of you."

"Well, it is now, but if-"

"No," I said clearly, sitting up and glaring at her. "You are not going to use me as an excuse to become less than the woman I married."

Her cheeks flushed - they always did when I said that, and I couldn't help but smirk. Still, she only said, "Gee, thanks for dumping it right back on me."

"An honour and a pleasure."

She flipped me off as she padded back into the kitchen. I couldn't help but watch her go; she was wearing those tight brown slacks that show off precisely how much junk she keeps in her trunk.

"By the way," she called out as my restless legs wandered into the living room, "Roxie called. She says her business trip to Reykjavik was a gigantic bust, and that she would truly appreciate us taking her out for a toxic amount of alcohol ingestion when she gets back to town."

"Sounds like a plan. Ophelia and TQ are supposed to be coming down, too - her book comes out in two weeks and she picked visiting our quaint old burg as a celebratory 'treat'. When is Roxie getting in?"

"Tuesday."

"Mmm." There was a thin coating of dust on the mantle above the fireplace. Usually, the house was spotless - but then again, Sabrina didn't usually have to use elbow grease and actual cleaning tools to do it. "Did you see the newest Mad Crow Disease video?"

"No," she replied, still with a hint of gruffness. "Should I have?"

"Greg produced it."

"You're kidding?! Wow, that's terrific - I felt so bad for him when his solo album flopped."

I grimaced. "Yeah. Still on the fence about whether that was 'ahead of its time' or 'a flaming barge of bilge'."

"I liked it okay, even if I could have done without the weird cow-moo samples he threw in on track seven. Anyway, so how was the gig in... what, Venezuela?"

"Vancouver," I corrected, shrugging off my coat and tossing it over the back of a chair. "Venezuela was a month ago."

"Excuse me," she said acidly. Water was running; doing the dishes? What dishes? She made Lean Cuisine for dinner! The only possibility was that she'd neglected her mess from lunch... and probably breakfast, too. She could be so lazy when her magic was on the fritz.

"Excused. They run together for me, too." The faded snapshot of Sabrina with her mother was so old - I wished I could get them together to take a new one, but it was against those damn rules of theirs. On the other hand, it was right at home on the mantle next to the picture of me and Gran, as they were taken around the same time. "Adymm broke his lucky pick."

"Ah, crap. Does he still have it?"

"The pieces, yes. Placebo's bassist stepped on it."

A snicker. "I'll see what I can do. In a few days, that is."

"In a few days. You going to modify his memory, or let him wonder how his guitar pick fixed itself?"

"The second way's always more fun."

I rolled my eyes, then picked up our wedding photo. Okay, so maybe it wasn't a legally-binding marriage, but I got to wear a white dress and they threw rice at us - that's a wedding in my book. "Were you seriously frantic?"

No answer. After a moment, I set the picture down with an affectionate pat and turned to head into the kitchen, but right about that time she launched herself at me, pinning me to the living room carpet.

"Can you try not to drive me bananas anymore?" she whispered in a pained voice. "It's cruel."

"I thought you liked it when I drive you bananas."

Her lips were pushing into mine, and the unexpectedness of it was offset by how overdue this was. So what if it had only been about a week since we were last together? It felt like an ice age could have come and gone - I'd certainly felt cold enough at night. Her body lowered, and her heart was thumping so hard I had to open my eyes to check hers for signs that something might be off, but they were squeezing shut. My arms snaked up and around her back, threading through her golden locks and holding her face against mine, seeking out her tongue. My other hand found her backside and squeezed, which caused her to release and lean back.

"Whoa, going for the brass ring already?!"

"No time to waste; I've got a signing at some mall in Boston tomorrow morning."

"Agh," she spat, rolling off me. Where'd all the love go? "And I thought I had you home."

"You do, for the rest of the week," I said earnestly. "This is a contractual obligation; they wanted me to perform, too, but I don't have that kind of time to squander."

"All right, all right." With a shake of her blonde head, she snuggled into my shoulder; apparently, I had killed (or at least wounded) the mood. I placed my arm around her back, holding her to me. "But nothing else after that. I already feel like I barely see you."

"Well, usually when I'm home, you're hot on the heels of some story or other. What gives?"

"Me. I gave my current assignment to Parsons," she said contentedly. "It was super heady, and would have taken hours of research."

"I thought those were your favourite pieces."

"They are... when I'm living alone in Granny Chessler's former digs." A bemused smile. "Otherwise, I'm all about the life and Liberty."

I laughed. "And the pursuit of Sabri-ness." Suddenly full of energy, I jumped to my feet. "C'mon, let's go do something reckless!"

"Geh?" she said, in a perfect imitation of Salem - whom was nowhere to be seen, I realised. Another parole hearing, and so soon? "You don't want to, y'know... stay in?"

"Oh, I plan on coming back, all right," I said with a dark smile. "But, I dunno... I wanna take my girl someplace special."

"No place special around here - not even The Slicery, now that it's been bought and turned into an office."

My eyes sprang open. "What?! They put an office in The Slicery?! But... but they can't do that!"

"Sign's in the window," she said with a shrug, though that manic gleam had entered her blue eyes. "'Cuthbert, Semsch, Beagle and Musgrave, Attorneys At Law'. But..."

I could see she was about to burst; I'd been right about the manic gleam. "What'd you do?"

In a rush, she blurted, "I got you a present, it's out in the garage!"

Regarding her skeptically all the way, I allowed Sabrina to clap her delicate hands across my eyes and lead me through the kitchen and into the garage. When she uncovered them, what should be sitting against one wall but-

"A Slicery booth!" I squealed happily, rushing over to examine it more closely. "Hey, look, that's-"

"Harvey's initials," she giggled, pointing to its surface. "And there's Jenny's, and mine, and Valerie's... that might be Gordie's, can't tell... I didn't see yours, though."

"Oh, I never wrote on any of the tables," I sighed, running my hands along its surface. "That place has been empty for years, but... but I guess somehow I thought it'd always stand as a testament to our youth."

"Well, now it's a testament to workman's comp suits." After a moment, she leaned closer to me to ask, "Like it? I thought we could put it in-"

In answer, I grabbed her and pushed her down on the tabletop, ravaging her lips for the second time in as many minutes. The buttons flew off her silk top as I pulled it open, and I wriggled out of my sweater as if it were on fire. Right after her hands had found their way up my thighs and beneath the hem of my skirt, she pulled back and panted, "Let's go inside."

"Why? The garage door is down."

She giggled. "But the bed is a teensy bit more comfortable than this ancient Formica."

"But I want to," I said hotly, staring down into her blue eyes - just as enchanting without her powers - and never having been so glad to be in Westbridge, where I belonged. "Let's express all sorts of love right on top of our memories, Sabrina. All sorts."

For a moment, she stared at me as if I were losing my mind. Then, her hand came up and drew my chin closer, and she placed her lips gently against mine as she breathed the last coherent word that would be spoken by either of us for well over an hour.

"Freak."

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ End ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

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