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[Cheerless #4] A Thread Breaking: Cheerless Again

By JessicaX

Drama / Romance

Ew Year's Resolution

Cheerless #4. Libby Chessler, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and all related characters are © Archie Comics / Hartbreak / Paramount / Whatever. Adymm, Ophelia, and the members of In Absinthia are © me, so there. This work of fiction is © myself.

[[NOTES:
CHEERLESS IV: A NEW HOPE
It is a period of civil war. The Rebels were defending the Lylat System when - oh, what? Stop doing that? Sorry, that's not what kind of story this is, I'd wager! Yes, I have gone 'round the twist, thank you for noticing - but don't you like my frilly pink cocktail dress?! I made it myself out of chewing gum wrappers!

Anyway, welcome to Cheerless IV, and yes, there's more intrigue and mayhem to come. The Fighting Scallions are getting older, having to deal with more adult things. If you're wondering whether or not the "Cheerless Again" connotates that this will be similar to "A Cheerless Interlude" in that Sabrina will be largely absent, you would be right; it's once again Libby's solo adventures for the nonce. Don't worry, that witchy woman shall be back (obviously, or there'd be little point). For now - on with the show!]]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prologue

"Sabrina,

What I have to say is so important that simple words aren't going to cut it, but every time I try to tell you any other way it doesn't work. Even now, something I mean to say will get left out, or something I DON'T mean to say will slip out. Can't blame a girl for trying, though, right?

You are my absolute best friend. This may come as some surprise to you - hell, it flat-out blew me away - but somehow it's true. Nobody has ever cared about me the way you do, because most people just don't seem to have the boundless capacity for compassion that you have. It's like, your soul runs deeper than anybody's should, and there are more facets to it, in an almost inhuman fashion. How does that work? You really are a freak, and every day I learn a little more about what that means and how wrong I was for thinking it was anything less than admirable.

Fact is, I miss hanging out with you. Remember that day we spent all day at Westbridge Bowl shooting pool, and those annoying guys hit on us? I'll never figure out where you got that plate of nachos from, but the losers wore them well, I think (ha ha!) Stupid crap like that. Funny how you and I were still more or less bitter enemies, and yet I'd give anything to go back to that... to go back to squabbling over that damn perfume project, just because it'd mean we wouldn't be living so far apart.

Anyway, I'm running out of room on this page, and I don't want to write over anybody else's signatures, so I'd better cut this short - kinda ridiculous to be babbling like this in your yearbook, huh? I'm sorry - about that and every other despicable thing I ever did to you in the past. If there's anything you deserve it's kindness and respect, and I can only hope you get more of that in the future. Even so, when I look back on those days in the halls of Westbridge, you'll always be my little freak - the thorn in my paw who not only kept my ego in check, but could always add spice to an otherwise lame day.

Classmates Forever,Libby Chessler

P.S.: Mr. Kraft actually signed this? Ew!"

Chapter 1: Ew Year's Resolution

Noise. It was all noise; happy noises, jealous noises, noises that held no emotion whatsoever. Tittering, and shouting and clanking and cheesy music- all of it rubbed me the wrong way. It was enough to make me retch, and I wanted nothing more than to-

"What do you say we get outta here?"

He read my mind.

As Adymm and I stepped out onto the vacant balcony, I took one last look back at the party; a bunch of my dad's artsy-fartsy friends wearing ugly hats, gossiping and schmoozing and acting like retards. Then a blast of frigid Winter air smacked me in the face, drawing my attention back to the balcony. Even out here, the air was filled with noise from the surrounding buildings - we could almost hear Times Square from there - but it was muffled by drastic space and a light sprinkling of snow that was falling.

"That's better," I breathed, even though I could practically see the words frozen in the air.

"Yeah." A pause. "Man, I can't get over how friggin' hot you look, Libbs."

Turning traffic-light red, I turned to look him over for the umpteenth time that night; the tuxedo was black, duh, but somebody had found him this metallic blue bow tie that matched the exact shade of his spiky hair. Clean shaven, shoes shined, his grandfather's cufflinks... it was quite a transformation. Meanwhile, I guess my little red dress was snazzy enough that I didn't look like a cheap trinket on his arm, which was the goal.

Oh, what the hell - I DID look hot. Both of us did!

"A toast!" That startled me, and I hurried to raise my champagne flute. "To the two of us; may the second semester of college be easier on our poor heads."

"Hear, hear!" We clanked and sipped, then laughed. As we watched the lights of the city twinkle, I couldn't help but feel contented and happy, if only for a moment; it was such a perfect night.

But of course, the feeling only lasted a moment. Even though we were making idle conversation, and at the time I was aware of it enough to respond, my mind wandered back where it always did, where it had been wandering for the past five days. You know how it is when there's something scary or unpleasant you'd really rather not think about, but the more you don't want to, the more you automatically do? That's how it was, and I never got more than five or ten's minutes of peace between.

What in God's name am I talking about, you ask? Well, I don't know about God, but my name is- ...actually, let's skip all that for now. Don't worry, I'll catch you up later.

"Libby?"

"Huh, what?"

He laughed, leaning back on the railing with his elbows. "I asked you if you had a resolution yet. Guess you were off in Libbyland again."

"Guess so," I laughed, opting to sit in a chair despite how frigid it was. "But... no, I haven't really thought about a resolution. I mean, how do you improve on perfection?"

"That's supposed to be my line, you conceited vixen."

And we laughed again just as we heard an excited cheer go up from within the apartment; the ball was dropping, and they started counting from ten.

"Here we go," I breathed, standing up to look into Adymm's eyes more properly.

"Eight!" the hoity-toities inside chanted.

"Do you believe in the whole midnight kiss thing?" he asked, slipping his hands around my waist.

"Six!"

"I dunno," I whispered, feeling up his back as my heart quickened. "Shouldn't we at least try?"

"Four!"

"Eh, why not?"

In the remaining three seconds, as Adymm's lips moved closer to mine, my mind drafted a New Year's Resolution: to forget my old life and everything about it, and to move forward with Adymm into the future. My resolution was to embrace a shiny new Libby Chessler, and forget about Westbridge altogether.

Except it wasn't going to happen. The moment he kissed me, and the whole world dropped away around me like the veils of a belly dancer, the dancer in the middle remained... and, as always, it was her.

On instinct, I broke the kiss just a half-beat too soon, and I immediately saw Adymm's eyes register confusion. Before that confusion could percolate into disappointment, I threw my arms around him, squeezing him in the tightest hug my arms could muster.

"Oh, Adymm... tonight has been so annoying, but you... this was perfect. Thanks for coming."

"Aww," he cooed, all the tension in his body disappearing. "Like I was going to spend New Year's Eve with my sister, watching Dick Clark again."

We both laughed, and I drew back to kiss him again; this time, no errant thoughts got in the way through sheer determination. Then we broke apart, and I asked, "So... ready to 'mingle' again?"

"If we have to," he sighed. "Guess I could use some more of those little hot dog things."

And we returned to the throng, laughing at horrible jokes and being accosted by old friends of my father, doomed to spend the next hour or so in socialite Hades.

- i o i o i o i o i o i o i o i -

Very well. The dirt, right? Guess I did promise. Now, some of you will either already know this crap from reading my past memoirs, or you've at least inferred parts of it. Well, said crap has been plaguing me for a while now, and unfortunately I am at a complete loss this time. But you guys wanted the skinny, so here we go.

Bonjour! Je m'appelle Libby Chessler, et je serai votre guide touristique ce soir. Sur votre droite, vous verrez- excusez-moi? Vous m'aiment parler Anglais? Je fais des excuses!

You should already know who I am by now, though, so let's cut to the chase; my problem. Admitting I have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? Well, my luck always seems to throw me at least one major, insolvable quandary per year (usually two or three), and I suppose it just had to get one last Catch-22 in for 2000. See, ever since a certain... thing happened the day after Christmas, I haven't been able to sleep very well, and my mind dwells on it at great length during the day, also. In fact, though Adymm and I have spent the last few days patching things up and living large around town, I still can't clean my brain out enough to fully enjoy it.

What's my deal? Well, if you've been with us so far, you probably already know, but... but it's worse than that. It's not just that I can't forget about it, or that I can't forgive myself for ruining everything... nor is it that she won't return my calls, even though she saw me off at the airport. When I'm not ruminating on the basic mechanics of what went on, I'm trying to run away from any implications it might hold, because I can't handle them. There's something more sinister at work here, something sabotaging the end of my holiday and corrupting my brain in all the worst ways.

See, what should have just been an innocent, controlled substance-induced lapse in judgement has been growing into a... a chronic phobia, almost. Or maybe we should be calling it an obsession. Whatever, it all comes down to one thing:

My name is Libby Chessler, and for one reason or another... I'm addicted to Sabrina Spellman.

-END Chapter One

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