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

Freak On The Ocean

"See if you can get a piece of this!"

Adymm leapt up, his lean muscles flexing in the sun as he caught the frisbee, landing deftly on the sand. "Hah!" he cried, taking a moment to steady himself. "Can't shake a Koriander's reflexes!"

"Just throw it back," a disgruntled TQ shouted back, shielding his eyes impatiently.

Laughing, I looked around; it was such a beautiful day to hit the beach. Sure, it might have been way too chilly that day to brave the water for longer than a nanosecond, but who cared? The sun was warm enough to break out the old magenta bikini from the back of my suitcase, the sound of the waves was delicious... and speaking of which, there's the view of Adymm through my sunglasses, which brought me no end of delight.

But not enough delight. That is, not enough to make me give over to it and disregard all my problems... but it went a long way toward it, at least.

By the way, the whole thing was Milnot's idea; he had heard there were one or two decent beaches in the Boston area, and figured as long as we were there we should try to have at least a half-teaspoon of fun. The idea was sound, and there we were - or there they were. I was on a blanket, trying to soak up the insubstantial sun and forget about pretty much everything as hard as I could.

An hour or two must have passed like that, with the guys alternately braving the water, tossing a frisbee around and swapping dirty jokes and stories. Every once in a while Adymm would come over to keep me company, but when I told him I wanted to nap and to go "play", he was only too happy to oblige.

Eventually, Milnot and TQ wanted to rent some bodyboards and see how they fared, but Adymm had had enough of the frigid waves and opted to crash next to me.

"Whew!" he grunted, planting his hands under his head as he laid on his back, closing his eyes against the glaring sun. "It's crazy, but this is one thing I missed about Swords - messing around by the lake. It seems like we never actually make it to the beach in New York, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," I said lazily, fondly remembering dipping my toes in the lake and wishing I didn't have to go back inside that austere building again. "What a drag."

For a few moments, we relaxed, letting the wind flow over our bodies, smiling up at the scattered puffy clouds and basking in the feeling that there were good things, and they existed nearby enough that we could still touch them.

And then he said, "I'm gonna miss this. This, right here."

I sighed, though I didn't move otherwise. "Adymm-"

"Sorry," he said. "I just... I have this feeling that you didn't accept what I said back in my room as, y'know, real."

"It wasn't. It wasn't because only you said it, not me."

We spent a few more seconds gazing around the sky, hoping to think of something poignant to say. Unfortunately, there wasn't much left to say at all, and when that finally hit me, it felt like an anvil thudding into my chest.


"I know," he sighed. "Believe me, I know."

"Well... poo." I sat up and folded my arms. "How stinky of you, Adds."

His nose crinkled at the nickname. "Ready to accept it, huh?"

"No!" I said, gesturing emphatically. "I mean... I wasn't prepared for this! We- we can't be-"

"Over." His eyebrows were knitted, but other than that he showed no outward signs of pain. "'Fraid so, Ilsa."

And my arms went limp. "You're right, but... but I'm still not ready. Why did we have to end?"

"Oh, well, that one's easy: for you and Sabr-"

"Don't go there right now," I growled, eyes flashing dangerously (which might have been more effective without the sunglasses). "There is no 'Libby and Sabrina', okay? Everybody keeps doing that! Stop working off the basis of a fact that's not even a fact yet, or I'll rip your arms off and beat you with them!"

That got his attention. He rolled onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow. "You said 'yet'. Don't lie, I heard it."

My throat stuck, and I could feel my cheeks flushing. "N-no, I didn't. Stop putting words in-"


With a very, very careful glance up and down the beach, I leaned in and said, "So what if I did? Stop trying to read so much into me misspeaking!"

"It's called a Freudian Slip," he said smugly. "That means the tiny mistakes you make in speaking reveal your true-"

"Oh, blah blah blah," I cut across him. "I took Psych 101, too, y'know - but that's only a theory, get it? It doesn't mean every time I- I... oh, forget it. You're a bitch."

"Y'know, I talked to Roxie this morning," he said, fingers pulling at a loose thread in the blanket. "She said she heard Sabrina crying in the bathroom. Did you two have a lov-"

"Adymm, I swear to God, if you say 'lovers' spat', you will need a groin graft." But I relented anyway, running a hand through my hair as I absorbed, digested and filed away the information that Sabrina had been crying about this for later analysis. "Let's suppose we had some kind of argument last night. It was pretty bad, and... I may have said and done certain things hastily that probably scarred her for life. For Pete's sake, Adymm, how can I make this right?"

"Well, first of all, you have to admit to yourself that you're-"


"-wrong." He grinned that evil grin that he used when he thought he was being clever. "What, did you think I was going to say something else?"

"Prick." But I bit my lip for a moment. "Nevermind what you were trying to infer in your less-than-subtle way, but... I know I was wrong. That's so obvious they can probably see it from Mir, but- but I also don't know if all the Return To Sender stamps in the world can take back those things. How can I make her see I- I really am sorry?"

"Tell her. Tell her everything you thought you said wrong, and make sure you top it off by apologising for anything else you can't remember." We lapsed into silence for a moment before he added, "Oh, and bring a peace offering; something small, but make sure it's important."

My arms folded again. "Like an Aston?"

"Hey, that worked you like Ali worked Frazier in the tenth round," he laughed. "What is it with you and cars?"

"Not all cars," I reminded him. "But... seriously, I need more help. What can I do to fix this?"

He shrugged. "Not like I'd know better than you... except when it comes to you."

My sunglasses came off for a second so I could wipe my eyes. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it in the middle of our conversation, but it wasn't just how uncomfortable I found the topic; this breakup with Adymm was doing a number on me, and even if we weren't meant to be, I was gonna miss him like hell. "How's that, eh? Bring a girl one DB7 and you think you're God's gift to-"

"You guys," he said quietly. "Somehow, I fooled myself into thinking if I hounded you enough I could conquer all, make you forget. But all along, deep in the pit of my soul... I knew it. How could I not? That Christmas in Swords Village - and maybe before that, even, but it was when you made the phone call that I knew for sure. It was always going to be her for you."

My words sounded more and more hollow and dispirited. "Please, stop doing that like you're some kind of omniscient, blue-haired demigod! I- I don't know anything for sure anymore, how can you? Christ on crutches, this can't be happening, least of all with Safreakna Spellman!"

"The way I see it, it's finally happening. She did whatever she did to sweep you off your feet back in high school - only it took you a while to look down and realise she had. Maybe I don't have you pegged like I think I do, but from where I'm sitting... you've been crazy about her from day one."

Don't ask me why it happened right then - and by all that is holy it shouldn't have, there were hundreds of moments before that were more appropriate - but the curtain rolled back, and out stepped the Wizard, revealed at last. Adymm was absolutely right, in every way, shape and form, and it blew me away. Despite all the doubts and fears, the disgust at myself and shame at my actions, I found those were fading into something golden against my will. I could run, I could hide, I could deny and slander, and I could kiss all the coworkers I wanted... but the undercurrent had me, and all the flailing in the world couldn't keep me from drowning in Sabrina.


"Yeah, there it is," he said with a smile, watching my features carefully for the moment they changed.

"You think you're soooo smart." I took a deep breath, noticing most of my body was shaking with the weight of my revelation. "Heh, I do need a medic..."

"Come again?"

"Nevermind." Slowly, I turned to look directly into his face, my lip quivering (again). I wanted to fight, I wanted to struggle at least for the sake of it, but by then I knew it would only delay the inevitable. "How can you sit there like that and be so... so casual about this, about losing what we had? Don't you care about- that I'll miss you, being yours?"

He waffled for a moment. "Yes and no. I won't miss you because you'll still be around - at least, I hope. We were friends before, and we will be again. There's always the band, and hey; you're going to be happy, and maybe I will, too, eventually. But... I'll miss the holding. That, I'm gonna miss with a vengeance."

"Then... then can we?"

A sigh. "Libby, it's not-"

"Please. One last spoon, here by the ocean. I- I can't not have that. You owe it to me, okay? We owe it to... to the memories. To the 'us' that was."

For a split second, I thought he actually might start crying. "Of course. Even though you're not my girl anymore, you'll always be my queen."

And then he opened his arms, and I was enveloped in that warm, safe lovers' embrace... for the last time.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~~*~ END Chapter Seven

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