Futurama

Fan Fiction

Crazy
By Ramon_51

This fan fiction is the continuation of Your Cold, Cold Heart.

Chapter 1

Leela had been sitting on her couch for over an hour, just listening to classical country western music. Her visits to the “Texas Cowboy” had given her an appreciation for the genre. She found that she especially like two female vocalists. One was named Patsy Cline and the other was named Loretta Lynn.

At the moment, she was listening to a Patsy Cline tune called “Crazy.” Leela listened intently to Patsy’s rich, full voice as the song floated by:

Crazy
Crazy for feeling so lonely
I’m crazy
Crazy for feeling so blue

As she so often did with country western music, Leela found personal meaning in the song. It spoke to her soul as well as to some of her deepest fears. She had always worried that any man would eventually tire of her and leave her high and dry.

I knew
You’d love me as long as you wanted
And then someday
You’d leave me for somebody new

“After all,” Leela asked herself, “hasn’t every other man dumped me after a short while? Even Sean tired of me in less than two months.”

Worry
Why do I let myself worry?
Wondrin’
What in the world did I do?

She sighed as she though of the possibility of losing Fry. “Why did I play games with Fry…reeling him in, and then pushing him away?” Leela made a mental note to ask Venus about it at their next session.

Crazy
For thinking that my love could hold you

Venus…they had been lucky to meet her. “How much more of my crap would Fry have taken?” Leela wondered. “Everyone has their limit,” Venus had said during their last session. Had Fry been close to his?

I’m crazy for tryin’
Crazy for cryin’
And I’m crazy
For lovin’ you

I would have been crazy to let Fry go,” Leela decided. “For I do love him,” she breathed almost silently.

I’m crazy for tryin’
Crazy for cryin’
And I’m crazy
For lovin’ you

When the song ended, Leela sat quietly for a moment. Then she looked at her Wristamajigy. Realizing it was time to meet Fry after his weekly session with Venus; Leela rose, turned off the music box, and left the apartment while humming the tune.

Chapter 2

While Leela was listening to Country Western music, Fry was seated in an armchair talking to Venus. He found their conversations easy, although he often found Venus’ questions a bit odd. He didn’t mind answering, though. Venus had explained how important it was for her to understand as much about both Leela and him as possible.

“When did you first realize you had deep feelings for Leela?” Venus asked.

“Um...” Fry rubbed his neck, “That’s a tough one.” He sat silently for a moment, “It was probably right after I thought she had died for me on Trisol.”

“What happened?”

Fry shifted in his seat, “Well, I kind of became the Emperor of the planet by accidentally drinking the old Emperor.”

Venus right eyebrow shot up in a display of surprise, “Really? You drank an Emperor?”

“Yup.” Fry smiled, “It turns out that they thought I had killed the Emperor…but he wasn’t really dead.”

“No?”

“Nope, he was just inside me waiting a chance to get out.”

He shook his head, “During the Coronation Ceremony, the Trisolians found out the old Emperor was inside me.” He shook his head, “Man, they were pissed.” His eyes widened, “They wanted to put me in a giant blender!”

“That would have hurt.”

“No kidding.” Fry smiled again, “The Trisolians had us all of us trapped in the palace. They were determined to save their old Emperor and kill me, but Leela came to the rescue.”

“Came to the rescue? Wasn’t she in the palace with you?”

“Um…no.” Fry shifted uncomfortably, “I had kind of had an argument with her. She went back to the ship while everyone else stayed with me for the Coronation.” He paused, apparently lost in thought.

Venus broke the silence, “So how did Leela save you?”

He laughed, “Like she always does, by attacking the problem head-on. Leela just plowed through the Trisolians like a hot knife through butter.” He leaned forward, “But I didn’t know that she was OK. Bender told me she had been killed and I believed him. So I started to cry and the Emperor began to come out.”

“I see.”

“Well, Leela climbed in through a window and I stopped crying. At that point the Trisolians were beginning to batter down the door to the Throne Room…that’s where we were…and I thought I was dead.” He shivered, “But Leela asked me to trust her, so I did. She figured that if she could get me to cry, the old Emperor would come out. Then the Trisolians wouldn’t want to kill me anymore.”

“How did she get you to cry?”

“Well…” Fry shifted uncomfortably in his seat again, “she beat up on me.”

Venus right eyebrow almost merged with her hairline, “She beat up on you?”

Fry shook his head, “Oh, it wasn’t just her. Everybody took a turn.” He paused before adding, “It really was for my own good. It wasn’t like Leela liked doing it.” He appeared briefly lost in thought, “But I believe Bender enjoyed himself.” Fry grimaced, “That cigar really hurt!”

“Well, I take it that it all worked,” Venus observed dryly.

“Yup.”

After a brief moment of silence, Venus asked, “So Fry, this is an important question. If there were one thing you could change about Leela, what would it be?”

Fry looked confused for a few seconds before he blurted out, “I wouldn’t change anything.”

Venus smiled, “That is a very sweet answer.” She looked Fry straight in the face, “But is it totally honest?”

The silence seemed to hang in the air. Venus sat quietly, waiting for Fry to answer. Finally Fry spoke up, “I…I guess that I wish she wouldn’t get so mad at me when I do dumb things.” His face was a mask of anxiety, “When Leela blows up, I feel like I did when my Mom got mad at me.” He shivered, “Mom had a heck of a temper.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah.”

Venus scribbled a note to come back to the subject of Fry’s mother in the next session, “So Fry, Leela’s anger frightens you?”

“Not exactly, I just want her to be happy. Making her unhappy makes me feel like such a loser.”

Venus leaned forward, “Fry, listen to me.” She said emphatically, “You are not responsible for Leela’s feelings.”

“But…”

“Just listen.” Venus reached up to brush back a wisp of hair that had fallen across her face, “There are only two things you can control in life. They are your own attitude and your own actions.”

Fry nodded, not sure if he agreed.

“Leela is responsible for her attitude and her actions. She had a tough life and her defenses include venting her anger in such a way as to make people reluctant to … how should I put it … disappoint her. It is her means of protecting her mental health, but it is very hard on those around her.”

Fry nodded, this time in agreement.

“Fry, you can help Leela with her anger but you are not responsible for it. When you learn that, you will be a much happier man.”

The wall clock chimed. Both Fry and Venus looked up.

Venus said softly, “Well, that’s all the time we have for this session.” She leafed to the appointments section of her notebook. She glanced up, “Same time next Tuesday?”

“Sure.” Fry grinned, “You’re the shrink.”

Chapter 3

The sidewalk was crowded with pedestrians as Fry emerged into the sunlight from his session. He blinked briefly before looking around. A smile crossed his face as he spotted Leela striding down the street from the direction of the tube station, her ponytail swaying gently from left to right.

Fry couldn’t help but continue to smile as he admired her. “Man,” he thought, “she is some woman.”

Much to Fry’s surprise, Leela returned his smile. “So, Fry, how was your session?”

“Not bad.” He paused to let her come within a few feet, “I have another one Tuesday.” Fry paused uncomfortably, “I’ll bet she wants to talk about my Mom.”

Leela’s eye widened in surprise, “Your Mom?” Her surprise crept into her tone of voice, “Why on earth would she want to talk about her?”

“Well…” Fry exhaled as he shrugged his shoulders, “I just told her how my Mom had a really bad temper that used to scare me as a kid.”

There was a brief silence. Leela could see how uncomfortable the subject was making Fry, so she changed it, “Do you mind going grocery shopping?”

“With you?”

“No, silly … with Nibbler.” She laughed, “Of course with me. You know I like to buy a month’s worth at a time. There’s just no way I can carry it all by myself.” She linked arms with Fry, “I need a big strong man to help me.”

Fry grinned, “Maybe I can go get one to help us.”

Leela’s only response was to giggle and swat Fry lightly on the shoulder.

They walked silently, arm-in-arm down the crowded streets to Leela’s block. Fry had thought they would take the tube, but Leela strolled past the entry without slowing down. “This is really nice,” Fry thought, “I could get used to this.”

There were so many things Fry wanted to say, but a still small voice in his mind said, “Just enjoy the walk.” So, that is what he did.

When they arrived at the corner grocery store, Leela took a hovercart and so did Fry. They wandered through the store, gradually filling the carts. Fry like to watch Leela as she made her selections…she was so focused!

Just to make her laugh, Fry waited until Leela looked his way. Then he did an impromptu imitation of Nibbler consuming dinner. Fry opened his mouth as wide as he could and made chomping noises three times in rapid succession. It worked!

“Fry,” Leela said through her laughter, “You are crazy!”

Then she went back to selecting groceries and filling the carts.

Somehow, Fry got out ahead of Leela. He was sure she was behind him, though. He could sense her there. So, Fry decided to repeat his gag. He turned and imitated Nibbler, expecting to make Leela laugh again at his antics.

Fry was shocked to see that instead of Leela, an elderly, distinguished looking gentleman stood behind him!

The man’s face was a mask of horror and disgust. “Pervert!” he spat out before wheeling his cart and disappearing from view.

“Oh crud,” Fry breathed almost noiselessly. He went in search of Leela, who he found at the checkout counter. She was just emptying the last items from her cart. He pushed his cart up to the counter and began to empty it swiftly, all the time glancing nervously around.

Leela gave him a quizzical look, “Fry, what on earth is up with you?”

“Nothing…let’s just pay and go.”

“Fry, come on. What’s up?”

“Well…” Fry told Leela what had happened. “Then he called me a pervert and left.”

Leela’s reaction startled Fry. She literally doubled over, howling with laughter. “Oh my God!...HA-HA-HA...Fry…HA-HA-HA…you didn’t!”

“Leela, let’s just pay and get the heck out of here.”

Straightening up a bit, Leela looked at Fry, “Is he still here?” HA-HA-HA, “Let’s go find him!”

Fry startled himself with what he said next, “Leela, shut up! Let’s just pay and go.”

Doubled over, Leela managed to gasp between gales of laughter, “I…think…I’m…going to…pee…myself!” Her laughter rose to the level of a shriek, “HA-HA-HA!”

The checkout lady interrupted, “Sir that will be $110.75.”

“Leela, pay the woman.”

“I can’t…HA-HA-HA…I can’t…”

“It’s not that funny.” Fry reached into his sock. He gave Leela almost all of his check, but he kept a little beer money aside. Now he used it to pay for the groceries…anything to get out of the store.

“Come on Leela.”

Leela paid no attention. She simply remained doubled over, laughing. Fry tried pulling her along. That was too slow. He turned to the delivery boy who had helped bag the groceries, “Can you deliver these?”

“To Miss Leela’s apartment?”

“Yes.”

“Ok.”

Fry tried pulling her along again. No soap. In desperation, Fry hoisted her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carried her, still laughing, all the way to the apartment.

Chapter 4

Once inside the apartment, Leela began to calm down. They stood just inside the doorway.

Fry waited until Leela seemed capable of speech before he asked with some heat, “Why did you freak out on me back there?”

She reached out and touched his cheek affectionately, “Oh Fry, you are so sweet.” She laughed gently, “Why do you put up with me?”

Fry changed from angered to perplexed, “Uh…because I love you.”

Leela was briefly lost in thought before she replied, “Fry, I don’t know why I thought it was so funny.” Then she smiled radiantly, “But it was the best laugh I ever had in my whole life. Thank you.”

At that moment Fry ceased to care about his embarrassment. He returned her smile, “You’re welcome.”

Fry embraced her. Their lips pressed together in a passionate kiss. Much to Fry’s amazement, Leela emitted a low growl and began to peel his jacket off. As their lips parted she panted, “Oh Fry, I want you.”

Before Fry could answer, there was a knock at the door, “Grocery delivery, Miss Leela!”

“Damn it!” Fry swore softly, “Why can’t he be a goof off like most delivery boys?” After a short pause Fry called out, “Just a minute!”

Leela giggled, “I feel like a teenager caught by her parents.” She kissed him on the cheek, “We’ll have to pick this up later.”

With a sigh, Fry pressed the door release. It slid open to reveal the delivery boy, a gangly dark haired teenager, standing behind a hover dolly piled high with groceries. Fry gestured toward the kitchen, “Come on in. Take ‘em into the kitchen.”

“Yes sir.”

“Don’t call me sir, I’m not that old.”

“Yes sir…I mean no sir…I mean OK.” The delivery boy pushed the dolly into the kitchen and unloaded the bags onto the counter in a flash. He paused for a moment, waiting for a tip. Fry reached into his sock for a few bucks. Then he realized that his beer money was gone…spent on the groceries. “Aw snap. Leela, do you have any change?”

Wordlessly, she reached into her pocket, pulled out a few dollars and handed them to Fry. “Don’t spend it all in one place,” Fry said as he handed the money to the delivery boy.

“Thank you sss…I mean, Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.”

As the delivery boy left the apartment, Fry turned to speak to Leela. But she was no longer in the kitchen, “Leela?”

Her voice replied from the bedroom, “I’m in here Fry. Are you ready to pick up where we left off?”

Fry nearly fell on his face as he eagerly rushed toward the bedroom. His voice climbed half an octave in his excitement, “I was born ready!”

Chapter 5

Tick..tick…tick.

Leela glanced at the clock on the waiting room wall, then at her Wristamajigy. “Only one more minute to go before my next session,” she thought. “If anyone had told me six weeks ago that I would look forward to a session with a shrink, I’d have told them they were crazy.”

The sound of the door to Venus’ office sliding open caused Leela to look up. She smiled reflexively at the slender Neptunian woman who stepped through. The woman returned the smile along with a nod as she left the waiting room.

“Come in Leela,” Venus’ voice sounded from her office, “On time as always.”

Leela stood, brushed a few imaginary wrinkles from her clothing, and then stepped into Venus’ office.

“Good morning, Venus. Lovely day, isn’t it?”

Venus nodded in reply, bent over her desk finishing her notes on the last patient. “

Yes, it is a lovely day.”

Then she looked up, “So how are you?”

Leela sank into the armchair that she favored. It had a wonderful view of a small courtyard garden with a fountain. With a smile, she replied, “I feel great!”

Venus stood and moved to the matching armchair opposite Leela, “I’m certainly glad to hear that.” After a short pause she asked, “So how is Fry?”

Leela grinned, “He’s fine. Can I tell you something?”

“That’s what we’re here for.”

They both laughed.

As their laughter died away, Leela looked thoughtful, “You know, six weeks ago I would have been offended by what you just said. Now, it’s just funny.” The she proceeded to relate the story about Fry and the grocery store.

They both enjoyed a good laugh. Then Leela added, “I don’t know why, but that was the best laugh I had in my life. It’s almost like I crossed some kind of barrier…I don’t know. It’s kind of weird.”

Venus scribbled a note, then looked Leela in the eye, “Leela, I think you are ready to begin on the next layer of the onion.” She paused to let it sink in, “What do you think?”

Without hesitation Leela replied, “I’m ready.”

Venus shifted slightly in her seat, “Very well. What is your greatest fear?”

“Being abandoned…alone…it scares me to death.”

“Why?”

Leela touched her own cheek as she was temporarily lost in thought, “I guess…I guess it goes back to being left in the Orphanarium.”

“Please explain.”

“Well, you have no idea what it was like.” Her delivery became increasingly laden with emotion, “I mean, every day someone beat it into you that you were an orphan…that nobody wanted you…that you were alone in the world. I grew up thinking my parents had abandoned me.” Her eye moistened, “I always used to invent good reasons for them leaving me, but the fear that I was unlovable was always a black spot on my spirit. It gnawed away relentlessly at my heart.” A silent tear slid off the end of her nose.

Venus leaned forward, pulled a tissue from the tissue dispenser on coffee table between them and handed it to Leela.

“Thanks.”

Leela dabbed her eye, “God…I thought I would never shed tears about that again.” She paused, “After all, my parents did come back into my life. At least I know why they left me at the Orphanarium.”

“Why did they leave you?”

“Um…for my own good. They wanted to spare me the degrading life of a mutant.”

“How does that make you feel?”

“I can understand their motives, but I would have preferred growing up with them rather than in the Orphanarium.”

“Really?”

Leela blinked in surprise, “Of course! Who in their right mind would want to grow up in an Orphanarium?”

“If you hadn’t grown up in the Orphanarium, would you be the person you are today?”

“Well…yes…I mean no.”

“Leela, you went through some very tough times. Wouldn’t you agree that instead of breaking you, they made you into who you are today?”

Leela nodded, “But that doesn’t mean I wanted it that way.”

Venus looked Leela directly in the eye, “Leela, listen to me. Most of the people I see torment themselves over the past. They refuse to do the one thing that will free them.”

Leela’s face took on a look of intense focus, “What is that?”

“They refuse to let go of the past.” Venus paused to let that sink in, “Leela, the past only has the power over you that you permit it. As long as you keep dredging it up, it will control you.”

“But how can I stop?” Leela sounded almost frantic.

“First, you have to make a list of all the people who have hurt you…right now.” Venus reached back to her desk, took up a writing pad, and handed it to Leela.

Leela took the pad, shrugged and said “Okay” doubtfully. Then she set to work for about twenty minutes. She finally looked up and said, “Finished.”

“Okay,” Venus extended her hand, “Let’s see what it looks like.”

Leela handed the pad over wordlessly. She watched as Venus ran down the list. She was a bit startled when Venus looked up, “You left some people off.”

What? Why do you say that?”

“I’ll tell you why, because you didn’t put your Mother and Father here.”

“But…”

Venus cut her off, “No buts, Leela. Half of the problem is the confusion, anger and hurt generated by your parents. You don’t want to admit it, so you invent other causes. I suspect that Fry has been punished for your parent’s actions more than once.”

No, that’s not true,” Leela almost screamed. “Yes, it is true.”

Leela burst into tears. She realized that it was true…that she had been masking and redirecting her fear and anger. “Poor Fry…what have I done…what can I do…” Her voice trailed off, stifled by sobs.

When Leela had cried herself out, Venus leaned forward and lightly touched her on the shoulder. In a gentle voice she said, “Leela, you can begin by forgiving everybody on this list, beginning with your parents.” She extended the pad to Leela.

Leela recoiled as though Venus were presenting her with a snake, “How can I forgive some of these people? They would just do it again!”

Venus kept the pad extended, “Forgiveness simply means that you let go of the past…that you refuse to be bound to it and the person who hurt you any more. Forgiving does not mean that you have to let someone abuse you again.”

Leela sat quietly for a moment. Then she took the pad, “So how do I do this?”

“Read each name aloud. Then say, ‘I refuse to be bound to the injuries this person did to me in the past.’ Then you will be on the road to freedom.”

For the next twenty minutes, Leela worked her way through the list, at times with great difficulty. When she reached the end, she said quietly, “That’s it.”

“So Leela, how do you feel?”

“It’s hard to say…calmer…I don’t know exactly.”

Venus glanced at the wall clock, “Well, I’m afraid we’re out of time.” She smiled at Leela, “Same time next week?”

Leela rose, “Yes, I’ll be here. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Oh and when the old feelings start to come back…and they will… just forgive. You’ll find that with each repetition, the bad feelings will get weaker and weaker.”“That’s good to know. See you next week.”

“Next week then.”

Chapter 6

“Good morning, Fry.” Venus gestured to the same chair that Leela always preferred, “Have a seat. I just need to finish this paperwork from my last client.”

Client?” Fry thought as he sat down wordlessly, “That’s an interesting way for a shrink to refer to a patient.”

Venus stood and moved in front of her desk, taking a seat opposite Fry, “So Fry, How are things going?”

Fry flashed his best boyish grin, “Things have never been better!”

“Really?”

“I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but keep it up.” He smiled again, “Leela has been…well…really nice to me.”

Venus suppressed a grin, “That’s good to hear. Does she have more control over her temper?”

Fry nodded.

“That’s interesting. Fry, in our last session you mentioned that your mother had a terrible temper. Could you tell me more about that statement?”

The grin vanished from Fry’s face, replaced by a look of anxiety. He licked his lips nervously before responding, “My Mom used to home school me. I…I just was never very good at school stuff. I was always screwing up. I would make her lose her temper.” His voice quavered, “When she lost her temper, she would smack me on the back of the head.”

Venus eyes widened, “She hit you?”

“Not hard, but it sure scared me.” He shivered at the thought, “She used to yell, too. I really hated that.” A wan smile flitted across his face, “She would always apologize, but she would go right back to yelling and smacking when I did something dumb….and I always seemed to do something dumb, especially when I was nervous.” He raised both hands, palms uplifted in a gesture of helplessness, “I just wanted to make her happy.”

“Why did she home school you if aggravated her so much?”

“Ummm…she didn’t want me on drugs.”

Venus sounded genuinely surprised, “Was there a drug problem in your Elementary School?”

Fry shook his head, “No…No…nothing like that. The school wanted to put me on Ritalin because I was diagnosed with ADD.” He shrugged, “Also, I had dyslexia.”

“Go on.”

“Well, my Dad said there was no way I was going to become a druggie. So Mom stayed home and Dad deployed overseas. He was in the Army.” His voice quavered, “Mom had to be in charge, you know? I mean…she had to take care of us…she had to be both Mom and Dad. I guess that’s why she would lose her temper.”

“How did you feel about your father being gone so much?”

There was a pause while Fry rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “Mom always used to say that was his job. But as a kid, well, I kind of resented that other kids had their Dad there and I didn’t."

“How long was your father in the service?”

“He retired in 1986 when I was twelve.” Fry’s face took on a look of pained concentration, “Let’s see. I remember his first tour in Vietnam was in 1968 so he would have served for…for…”

“Twenty eight years?”

“Yeah. That sounds right.” Fry looked embarrassed, “I was never good at math.”

“So Fry, let’s return to your home schooling. Were you home schooled all the way through high school?”

“Nope. I went back to school in the eighth grade.”

Venus paused for a moment. Normally she was confident as she worked with her patients and knew just how to steer the session. But Fry was baring his soul in a manner that most men wouldn’t have revealed even after months of therapy. How to proceed? After a few more seconds of thought, she made up her mind.

“Fry, last time we spoke, do you remember what we talked about?”

“Sure. We talked about how I wasn’t responsible for Leela’s bad temper. You said, ‘There are only two things you can control in life. They are your own attitude and your own actions.’ I’ve been thinking about that a lot.”

“And?”

“Well, I can see that it applies to my Mom.” He shifted in his seat, “I mean…I guess I shouldn’t blame myself for Mom getting mad. But you know, I still feel sorry for her. I was really a hand full.” He smiled, “I’m not sure that I’d like to have a kid like me.”

Venus smiled, “I would.”

“No way.”

“Fry, I need to tell you something.” She paused to brush back a wisp of hair that had fallen in front of her face, “I have met people who did not face half of your challenges in life who are bitter, neurotic, and unwilling to change. Yet you remain cheerful and optimistic.” She paused briefly, “Why do you suppose that is?”

He shrugged, “I don’t know.”

“I believe it is because you have compassion for others.”

Huh?”

“Compassion really means that you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and not judge them. It is a very rare quality, one that makes you an extraordinary person.”

“Well, I don’t know about that…”

“Please, let me finish. Where you go wrong is assuming the blame for others. You know your own faults, but are so generous in forgiving those of others that you often shift their blame onto your shoulders.” She paused to see if it sank in, then she resumed, “Fry, I don’t think you should stop being compassionate, but I do think you must stop shouldering the blame for others.”

“Like my Mom?”

“Exactly. Fry, she was an adult…you were a child. There is no way that you were responsible for your actions at that age. On the other hand, your mother was an adult and fully responsible for her actions. I know it’s difficult, but you are going to have to keep your compassion in check.”

“What?”

“Fry, any emotion carried to an extreme can be harmful. Just don’t let your compassion make you to think you are a screw up, because you are not.” She smiled, “You are a fine, decent man.”

Fry smiled, “Thanks.” His smile became an impish grin, “Would you give me a doctor’s note that says that? I just want it in case Leela loses her temper.”

Venus laughed, “Fry, I’d be glad to write that note.” She glanced at the clock, “It seems we’ve run over a bit. Do you mind picking this up next week?”

Fry rose, “Heck no. I’ll see you next week.”

Chapter 7

It had all been Leela’s idea. She had talked first Amy, the Inez and finally Munda into a “girl’s day out.” She had even gone to Mayor Poopenmeyer and gotten Munda a day pass to visit the surface.

They met in front of Alien Overlord and Taylor. Amy and Leela arrived first via the tube. Munda arrived next, emerging from a sewer. Inez was next, driving up in a chauffeured white Hovercaddy.

They shopped until they were ready to drop. Inez had brought the shopping to a halt when she announced, “I so hungry that I could eat a Bugallo.” She lapsed temporarily into Cantonese, then continued, “There anyplace good to eat near here?”

Leela pointed down the street, “We could try the Blue Moon Café. “

Amy chimed in, “It has great food Mom.”

Inez looked dubious, “I don’t know. Last time you say food was great, I get sick.”

Amy looked exasperated, “Well, I thought that was over and done with, Mom.”

Before Inez could reply, Munda spoke up softly, “It certainly looks inviting.”

Leela asked respectfully, “Is there anyplace else you would like to go, Mrs. Wong?”

Inez shook her head, “No, we can go there.”

Without further debate, they trudged to the café, encumbered by their multitude of packages garnered from a dozen stores.

When they entered the café’s cool and dimly lit interior the owner, a tall Neptunian female named Angelique greeted them. “Welcome ladies,” she motioned them toward an empty booth at the rear of the café, “please take a seat and your server will be right with you.”

Leela scooted into the booth first. Amy sat next to Leela. Their mothers lined up opposite their own daughter, with Munda sitting opposite Leela and Inez sitting across from Amy.

As soon as they had settled in, their server – a perky little redhead – came up. She smiled broadly, “Hi, my name is Wendy and I’ll be your server. Can I get you anything to drink?”

Inez spoke first, “Ice tea, no sugar for me.”

Amy said, “Slurm, no ice, please.”

“I’ll…I’ll have ice water, please,” Munda said hesitantly.

“Iced coffee, please,” Leela said with a smile.

“Coming right up!” Wendy replied. She whiled about and headed for the counter.

Amy made a face, “Ugh! How can anybody be so perky?”

Inez laughed, “She got no money, that why she so perky.”

“Why would that make her perky?” Leela asked with a slight edge to her voice.

Inez raised an eyebrow, “She gotta earn a living. So, she gotta be polite and perky…get bigger tips.”

No,” Leela thought, “I’m not going to rise to the bait. Why did I ever include Inez on this trip?”

Munda spoke up gently, “It always pays to be polite. It doesn’t matter who you are.”

“Yeah, yeah…whatever.” Inez said dismissively.

Their conversation lapsed for a moment as they all studied…or pretended to study…the menu.

Wendy returned with their drinks. She put them down without error. Then she pulled her order pad from her apron, “What can I get for you ladies?”

“I have a large Chicken Caesar Salad with Thousand Island Dressing,” Inez said while closing her menu.

Wendy looked at Amy expectantly. Amy peered over the top of the menu she was holding, “Give me a minute, I’m still deciding.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Wendy turned to Munda, “What can I get you ma’am?”

Munda smiled, “I think I’d like a chocolate croissant, please.”

“Oooh! Mom, those are great!” Leela looked at Wendy, “I’ll have one of those too.”

Wendy waited patiently while Amy finished scanning the menu. Amy closed her menu, “I’ll have a chicken salad sandwich.”

Wendy smiled, “I’ll be right back with your order.” Then she headed off for the kitchen.

Inez said, “I know who she remind me of, that gwei-lo Fry.”

Leela’s eye narrowed, “Gwei-lo…what is that?”

“I not know in English.” She laughed. “But at least she know what she is doing. Fry always seem to mess up.”

“That’s Fry,” Amy chimed in.

“I wonder. When is he going to get a better job?” Munda asked.

Leela’s face froze in a mask of disbelief. She fought hard to control her temper, grinding her teeth together.

Amy heard the sound and realized what it represented. Before Amy could even try to defuse the situation, Inez spoke again, “He so lazy that no one would promote him. He not very bright either.”

Leela shot to her feet, rocking the table and causing the drinks to slosh over. Glaring at Inez she roared, “THAT IS ENOUGH!”

The entire café became silent as a tomb. Patrons paused with their glasses or forks raised to their lips, stunned by the sudden outburst.

Leela balled her hands into fists, placing them very deliberately on the table as she struggled to control her emotions. She leaned forward, “Let me tell you something. Philip J. Fry may not be an Einstein, he may not be rich, he may even be a little clumsy….but I love him!”

Munda started to speak, “Sweetie…”

Ignoring her, Leela went on, “Fry is kind and gentle and…most importantly…he loves me.” Her facial expression softened, “I’m tired of people running him down.” A single tear rolled off the end of her nose, “He’s a good man.” She sobbed, “I’ve been such a bitch to him in the past. How many times did he ask me for a simple date and I refused him? I even divorced him without giving him a chance.”

She stood there silently for a few seconds, tears rolling off the end of her nose. Her breathing was ragged as she fought for control, “But I want you all to be the first to know, if Fry ever asks to marry me again, I’m…going…to…accept.”

Standing erect, Leela pushed past Amy with a muffled, “Excuse me.” She ran to the bathroom holding her hands to her face and sobbing.

Amy watched her go and then turned to Inez, “Way to go, Mom.” Then she stood up and followed Leela into the bathroom.

Standing in front of the mirror, Leela had regained a measure of control. She turned to face Amy, “I’m sorry that I blew up like that, Amy.”

“It’s okay, Leela.” She smiled, “I never knew you had those kind of feelings for Fry.”

Leela replied in a voice tinged with surprise, “Up until a few minutes ago, neither did I.”

Chapter 8

Venus brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen across her face. She scribbled a quick note. Then she turned her attention back to Leela. “So, what happened next?”

Leela shifted uncomfortably in her seat, “Well…I went back to apologize to my Mom and Inez for blowing up like that.”

She smiled, “My Mom was absolutely fine with it, but Inez was another matter.”

After waiting a few seconds Venus spoke up, “So what did Inez say?”

With a frown, Leela said, “It wasn’t what she said, it was how she said it.” She shook her head, “She was so cold. I guess you have to be rich to be that nasty.”

Venus nodded, “Money reveals the person. It’s not really important what she said. It’s just important that your conscience is clear.”

“Oh my conscience is clear all right.”

“So what happened after you left the café?”

“I walked my Mom home.” Leela smiled, “We had a nice talk…you know…girl talk. It’s interesting, for the first time she told me about how she and my Dad met.” She laughed, “My Dad must have been really impulsive when he was young. The first time he saw my Mom, he walked up to her and said, ‘We’re going to get married one day’. They were only in Junior High! Can you believe that?”

“Stranger things have happened.”

“Well, my Mom told him; ‘You are crazy!’ and she wouldn’t go out with him for almost six months.”

“That’s understandable if she thought he was crazy.”

“But my Dad never gave up. He chased her for nine years before they finally married.”

“That’s close to a record.”

Leela’s tone softened, “But you know, she never was cruel to my Dad.”

“Leela, stop it.” Venus leaned forward, “That is all in the past. Digging it up will do you no good. Fry has forgiven you so you need to forgive yourself.”

“Sorry.”

“No need to apologize, Leela.” Venus leaned back in the chair and smiled, “Now, what else happened?”

She shrugged, “Mom and I talked about a lot of things. She was a little concerned that I was going to marry a Normal. But I told her something that I figured during as I walked down the boardwalk to our house…that Fry is a Mutant.”

Venus exclaimed, “What?”

“I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. Fry fell into Lake Mutagenic and didn’t mutate. He has to be a Mutant.”

Venus looked dubious, “Are you certain?”

“Yes.” She paused, “The first time we went into the sewers…before I knew I was Mutant…Fry fell into Lake Mutagenic. He didn’t just fall in, he swallowed some of the water, yet it didn’t mutate him.” She laughed, “I can still remember him sputtering like a cat and saying, ‘Oh, the aftertaste!”

Venus laughed, “Has the Lake always been mutagenic?”

“Yes, that’s how the Mutants became mutants. Any Normal who falls in mutates always mutates. Mutants are immune.” She paused before continuing, “Bender…I’ve told you about him…dumped a bunch of toxic waste in it after Fry fell in, but all that did was make the lake glow. It may have made it a bit more mutagenic, but not that much.”

“So how does that make you feel?”

“I know that Fry and I were made for each other.” She began to worry her ponytail slightly, “I’ve never thought much about fate or God or anything like that but I know that I am destined to be with Fry.” She released her ponytail and smiled, “I’m so glad he never gave up.”

Venus smiled in return, “Well, I believe the time has come for a session with Fry and you together.” She glanced at the clock, “Same time next week?”

Leela nodded, “Same time next week.”

Chapter 9

Venus finished reviewing her notes in preparation for Leela and Fry’s arrival. A smile flitted across her face as she glanced at the clock, “Five minutes to go.”

Leaning back in the chair, Venus closed her eyes briefly. She always liked to have a few minutes to relax between sessions. Breathing deeply, she let her mind simply drift.

Right on time, there was a tapping at the door. Leela’s voice sounded from the other side, “Venus?”

“Come on in.”

The door opened and Leela stepped through, followed closely by Fry. They exchanged greetings as Leela sat in her favorite spot and Fry took the chair next to her. Venus rose, walked around the desk, and took her seat opposite Fry and Leela.

“So how are you both doing?”

Fry smiled, “Fine, I couldn’t be better.”

“I’m doing well,” Leela replied, “these past few weeks have brought a lot of change to my,” she paused and glanced at Fry, “to our lives.”

Venus scribbled a quick note, “You said our lives, what does that mean?”

Leela unconsciously stroked her ponytail before responding, “It means…it means that Fry and I have a lot more in common now. I guess that Fry and I are” she paused, “a couple.”

“How does that make you feel, Fry?”

“Great!”

Fry’s enthusiastic but monosyllabic response made Venus smile inwardly. It was so typical of Fry, upbeat and simple. “Would you care to expand on that?”

“Ever since I came to the future and met Leela, I’ve wanted to date her.” He smiled, “Now I’m with her all the time. It’s like being in heaven or something.”

Venus returned Fry’s smile, “That’s very sweet.” She looked at Leela, “How does what Fry said make you feel?”

Leela shook her head, “I don’t know why Fry feels like he’s in heaven.” She laughed, “Well…I’m no angel, but I am awfully glad that he didn’t give up on me.” Leela reached out and touched Fry’s arm, “It’s really nice having him around.” She looked Fry in the face, “You make me feel so special Fry. Please don’t ever change too much.” Her voice quavered, “I can’t imagine life without you.”

Fry gulped audibly, surprised by the emotion in Leela’s voice. He stammered, “Do…do you m..mean it Leela?”

“Yes, Fry.” She smiled, “Can you forgive me for being such a bitch to you so many times?”

Fry’s mouth dropped open at the word ‘bitch.’ Then the words gushed forth, “Leela! If you want me to forgive you, it’s done. But you were never a bitch…things just happened.” He shrugged his shoulders, “I’m not exactly a prize myself.”

“Fry…”

“No Leela, listen. I’m not very bright, but I know that I love you. I’ll never be mean to you or be unfaithful. Do you believe that?”

Her lower lip quivered as she replied, “Yes.”

Fry reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out a small black velvet box. He opened it silently, revealing a glittering solitaire diamond ring.

Leela gasped, “Fry!”

Fry knelt down and took Leela’s hand, “Leela, will you marry me?”

“Yes” she replied before she began to cry. Tears rolled off of her nose as fought for control, “Oh Fry…I’m so happy…I’m so glad.”

Fry took the ring out of the box, slipping it onto her finger.

Leela sobbed loudly, throwing her arms around Fry. Fry was so surprised by her action that he was almost knocked onto the floor. However, he managed to stay upright as he patted her on the back, “There…there…please don’t cry Leela.”

“I’m so happy,” she said through her tears, “I’m just so relieved that you want me.”

“Heck, Leela, I’ll always want you.”

Leela released her hold on Fry slightly. She looked searchingly into his eyes, then kissed him passionately. She growled as she ran her hands up into his hair.

Venus coughed, “Sorry. It looks to me like you two no longer need me professionally.”

They parted as if shocked by electricity. Both burst into laughter simultaneously.

Fry grinned sheepishly, “Sorry…I guess we ought to get a room.”

Leela blushed furiously, “I’m…I’m sorry…I guess I got carried away.”

“Don’t worry,” Venus said cheerfully, “Love I can take, it’s the fistfights or screaming matches that go with this job that get me down.” She stood up, “When you’ve set the wedding day, will you make sure that I get an invitation?”

“Certainly,” Leela replied, “If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be getting married.”

“Well, if you both hadn’t been willing to work at it, it wouldn’t have happened either.”

Fry smiled, “I’m just glad it’s happened.”

“Me too,” Leela replied, “me too.”

The End


I offer many thanks to everyone who has followed this story and offered me encouragement. It will be followed by a sequel entitled One’s On the Way.

Buddies