35 years, that’s how old he was. Minus the thousand years he spent frozen of course, but that didn’t matter now, his life was in the year 3019. 10 years since he’d had a real job, 10 years since he’d seen Leela and 2 years since he was discharged from the army. Now he had nothing. Nothing except a backpack with two extra pairs of clothes, his DOOP uniform, a worn out pair of shoes, $50, his mess kit, and a sleeping bag. He had spent the last 2 years in Texas then one day decided to sell everything and he set out on a quest to find Leela.
10 years ago, his only living relative, Professor Hubert Farnsworth perished in a fire caused by a mishap with explosive chemicals. His lab went up in flames burning the building to the ground. Although it was devastating loosing both his nephew and his job, there was good news; the love of his life was pregnant.
Of course there was one problem. It wasn’t his.
He and Leela weren’t even dating. Her boyfriend Ben seemed perfect in her eye. He was a smart, handsome, rich successful lawyer, but he was the most egotistic, rude, stubborn guy Fry had ever met and had absolutely no idea why Leela picked him.
Broken hearted and jobless Fry jointed the DOOP army not sure what else to do.
He quickly became good friends with three guys in his unit. Tim, Ted and Alex. Tim was from Miami, Ted was from Chicago and Alex was from Detroit. The 4 of them could sit around and laugh at almost everything.
Every week the 4 of them along with a bunch of other guys would play poker. Fry remembered his dad teaching him how to play, but realized that after 1000 years the rules had changed and he played terrible. He almost all of his money, and had only about $10 left. He decided to quit playing.
While everyone else played every Friday night, Fry stayed in his bunk dreaming about Leela. He wondered what she was doing, how she was doing, how her son was. Amy had sent him a letter telling him about her son Cody. Reading it was too painful for Fry. It broke his heart to see that Leela was happy with someone else and asked Amy not to mention her anymore. She kept quiet until she found an old picture of Leela and Fry on his birthday a year before the Professor died. She sent it to him saying that she knew deep down he would want it. She was right.
When Fry first got the picture he sat on his bunk for three hours just staring at the picture when Alex walked in asking him to join them in their poker game.
“No thanks,” Fry said, his eyes never leaving the picture.
“Come on, it’ll be good for you.”
“I said no.”
“Fry either you come or I’ll get Tim and Ted to help me drag you in there.”
Fry slipped the picture in his pocket and followed him.
That night something happened; Fry was winning every game. He got one good hand after the other and finally four people dropped out and four new ones jointed. By sunrise Fry had tripled the amount of money he lost the first week.
“It must be that picture.” Tim said “You had it the whole time and won every game.”
“It’s not the picture I just got lucky.”
“I don’t know Fry,” Ted said shaking his head.
“Well I do, and I bet if I play again next week I’ll lose every game.”
The next week was the exact opposite of what Fry predicted. He realized that his friends were right and the picture did give him luck. But he had no idea what would happen next.
Fry, Tim, Ted and Alex were all sent out into combat. There were so many rumors going around base Fry really had no idea what was going on. There were rumors that they would be attacking from the north, then there was rumors that the enemy was attacking from the west, there were rumors that there was going to be no attack. Having no idea what would happen he wrote a farewell letter to Leela and said to send her his dog tags. He had also put the picture of Leela right next to his heart before leaving.
The next few hours were a blur. All he remembered was a large explosion, screaming, a searing pain in his leg then nothing. Finally Fry woke up in a medical bay on the Nimbus. The doctors said that he was being discharged and would be going back to earth. He had stepped on a land mine and the bottom part of his right leg (from the middle of his shin and down) had been blown off. The doctors said that he was extremely lucky to be alive since he had lost a lot of blood.
The next day when Fry asked about his friends they said that Tim, Ted and Alex were also going home. But not in the same way. All three were given a proper military funeral back on earth.
That was 8 years after the Professor died. Then when the doctors were able to successfully able to reattach his leg back he spent 2 years in Texas at a special rehabilitation center for physical therapy. The 2 years he spent in Texas were painful, both physical and emotional. There were times where he just wanted to give up and said “What’s the point? I have nothing.” But his doctors and counselors helped him get through it all. After the first few months he was able to find odd jobs around town to help him make some money and that wouldn’t hurt him. The DOOP also gave him some money to help with medical bills and other expenses. He practically lived off it for the two years he spent there.
After he had made a full recovery and gained full use of his leg again that’s when he started thinking about Leela even more and finally sold everything and walked up to New New York.
Five months he spent walking half way across the country and was surprised how relaxing it was. He was able to just clear his head and think. He thought about his old friends, about Leela, about his time in the DOOP and his lost friends. Every morning he would start his journey at 5:00 AM and wouldn’t stop until around 11:00 PM. He never got much sleep because of the conditions; sleeping on the cold hard ground in a worn out sleeping bag, but also because of the nightmares. He had been having nightmares since his third year in the DOOP. Back then they weren’t so bad, but now because of all the friends he lost, they were more frequent and worse than before. In some he didn’t even make it out alive. But for some reason the last month of his trip they suddenly stopped. He thought it was because he started sleeping in motels with the money from the DOOP and what the Professor left him. He had it in a account that would wire him the money when ever he needed. It was enough to buy him a nice apartment in the city if he wanted but he could really care less. All the money in the world wasn’t worth not having Leela. He hadn’t really planned what to do when (or if) he saw her. He wasn’t sure if she hated him because when he last saw her, they weren’t exactly the best of friends anymore. Plus he knew that Ben hated him and probably kill him if he even got close to Leela.
He thought about what he was going to do when he got back to New, New York the whole trip and when he finally got there he still had no clue. But before he did anything he knew he would have to shower, wash his clothes and get a hair cut. His hair was now below his earlobes and ended at the middle of his neck and he also had a thick beard.
New, New York was exactly like how he remembered it. Dirty, crime infested, horrible drivers. Home Sweet Home… After walking to the old burnt down Planet Express building and finding an old picture of everyone that was burnt around the edges, he reached in his backpack and found one of the letters Amy sent him and read her return address.
A short walk later he was standing outside of her apartment. He knocked twice and waited for an answer. Amy answered wearing her old sweat suits and holding a baby in her arms and Fry could also hear two other little kids running around inside. Jeeze, she’s changed.
“Can I help you?” Amy said a little wary.
“Amy, it’s me. Fry.”
Amy looked at his face more closely and smiled. “Fry! I didn’t even recognize you. Come in, come in. How have you been?”
“I can’t complain.”
Fry saw Kif sitting on the couch and saluted. “Lt. Kroker.”
Kif laughed and stood up before giving Fry a friendly hug. “At ease Private Fry. How’s the leg doing?”
“All better. It’s like it never even happened.”
Kif nodded and a little boy with green skin and black hair ran past him.
“Three kids?” Fry asked.
“Yeah, one big happy family.” Amy said as Kif put his arm around her.
“Congratulations you guys.”
“Thanks Fry.” Kif said as Amy took the baby in it’s room and closed the door.
“Kids, go play in your room, grownups have to talk.” Amy said. The two kids groaned before going into their room and Amy sat down on the couch. “What’s going on Fry?”
“Nothing.” he said.
“Then why are you here?”
“I just wanted to come home.”
They stared knowing that he wasn’t telling the whole truth. He sighed and looked out the window at the city skyline. “I miss her.” he said softly, “I need to see her again. Was I stupid for coming up here?”
“Fry, of course not. You’re in love, and people do crazy things when they’re in love.”
He smiled and scratched his head. “Do you guys know where she is?”
“Cool, but before I go there’s something’s I have to take care of.”
“Like, a haircut? A shower?” Amy teased.
“Yeah,” Fry laughed, “like that.”
Amy washed the clothes in his bag as Fry took a long hot shower. She sat on the couch with Kif who looked at the door. “Should we tell him about Leela?”
“I don’t know, what do you think?”
“Well she doesn’t know what happened to him, for all she knows he’s still in the DOOP.”
“Maybe we should, it would probably be better for him.”
Kif nodded as Fry walked out of the bathroom with his dirty clothes back on.
“Hang on Fry,” Amy said, “Let me get you your clean clothes.”
After changing, and loving the feeling of being clean and wearing fresh clothes, he walked into the living room and found Kif standing there with a pair of scissors.
“If you’re going to see Leela again, you have to look like yourself.”
20 minutes later Fry’s hair was back to its normal length and his beard was short and evened out. He ran a hand over his jaw and smiled. “I like this look.”
Amy laughed and sat down next to him.
“So where is she?” he asked.
“She’s upstate, about two hours away. You can take our car to get up there, but before you go there’s something you should know.”
Chapter 2: Damn Regret
I’ll try to forget
Don’t worry about me
Cause I’m refine
Cast my line
To see what’s behind
As Leela watched her son run around the backyard with his best friend, she couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. In about an hour his father would pick him up and take him to his house for the weekend where she knew he would have a miserable time.
Cody was now 10 years old, but he was extremely bright. His room had a large bookcase filled with science books, he had posters of stars, planets, and spaceships, had model rockets and solar systems and glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling. He loved to play chess, do cross-word puzzles, and had learned how to play the piano over his summer vacation. During the school year he was in the science club and was a straight A student. Leela couldn’t be more proud of him, but she always knew that no matter what he did, he could never make his father proud.
Ben was stubborn, everyone knew that, and Leela remembered her mother telling her that Ben was not the guy for her.
“I’m only saying this because I love you; you need to leave Ben. He’s going to end up hurting you and then you and your baby will be all alone.”
She was right. The two of them weren’t even married for a year when they divorced. Cody was a month old. And for the first few months all they did was fight. Now they only saw each other when he came to pick up Cody.
But what was she suppose to do? She was young, and (now she realized) stupid, and not to mention pregnant. If she could go back and stop herself from being with Ben in the first place she would. But then she wouldn’t have Cody, and she loved him to death.
Leela was pulled from her thoughts when Cody walked up to her. His light brown hair with a few purple streaks were shining in the sun and it reflected in his two eyes.
“Hey sweetie, having fun?”
“Yeah, and Jimmy said that his mom said I could spend the night if I wanted and if it was okay with you. Can I mom, please?”
Leela sighed, “I’m sorry Cody, but you’re going to your Dad’s this weekend, remember?”
“But can’t you call him and ask him?”
“I’ll try but, I cant make any promises.”
“That’s okay, never mind.” he sighed before joining Jimmy again.
Leela sighed heavily. Cody always dreaded weekends with his Dad, but what could she do? She and Ben had joined custody, but she knew that Cody would be better off if she had full custody. Hell, Ben knew it to, and he just did that to piss Leela off. Plus his father was the judge who determined that, but Leela knew he only did that because he didn’t want to lose his grandson. Pete, or Gramps as Cody called him, loved his grandson. It seemed like he loved him more than his own son. He was furious at Ben for divorcing Leela, since he really liked her, and Leela didn’t think he was too bad either. She really couldn’t stand anyone in that family except Gramps. He was the only one who didn’t treat her any different after the divorced. Leela also knew that he had told Ben to take a more active part in Cody’s life and be nicer to him.
It want like Ben abused Cody, but he did put a lot of pressure on him to play sports, especially blurnsball. Since he was old enough Cody did nothing but learn how to play sports and hated everything about it. Cody played little league blurnsball for 4 years before telling Leela he wanted to quit and learn piano instead. Leela was understandable, but Ben…needless to say he was furious.
Leela wasn’t sure why, it’s not like Ben was supportive of Cody. At his games while all the other fathers were supportive and were just glad their kids were just having fun, Ben stood there and scowled the entire time. Leela just wanted to smack him in the face with a bat. And she probably would of if the other parents weren’t there.
The weekends Cody spent at Ben’s weren’t any different. Ben would always make him do chores like take out the trash, mow the lawn, clean the kitchen and the bathroom. Then afterwards he would make him go out and practice his throwing and catching. But instead of being nice and helping Cody learn from his mistakes Ben just criticized him. He would say things like “Come on, catch it!” or “That was terrible, it’s like you’re not even trying!”. They would finally stop when Ben became so frustrated he threw his glove down and stormed inside. Cody would spend the rest of the night in his room and just wait until Leela came to pick him up.
The only thing Leela was thankful for was the fact that Ben kept his young (22 year-old) girlfriends out of the house when Cody was over. Although he did have one take care of him one night when he had to rush to the office for a few hours. Cody had to help her re-make the macaroni and cheese after she burned it. Apparently the directions on the box were beyond her. What a keeper, Leela thought.
She heard the doorbell ring and made her way inside from the backyard and opened the door. On the other side was a blond, and very pregnant woman.
“Hi Lisa,” Leela said, “Come on in.”
Lisa was Jimmy’s mom and Leela’s best friend. They were the same age, their sons were the same age, and both had been divorced, but unlike Leela, Lisa had been married for 7 years before she and her ex husband divorced and she had also remarried a year ago. Where she tried to fix Leela up with her husband’s brother Adam. Leela actually liked him, but for some reason he broke up with her saying he didn’t think it was going to work. The odd thing was that every guy she had tried to form a relationship with ended the same way.
“So did Jim and Cody have a nice time?” Lisa asked.
“Is Cody going to spend the night?”
“He can’t, he’s going to Ben’s. But thanks for thinking about him.”
“It’s no problem. But sorry I brought it up, he must have been disappointed.”
“When is he not disappointed when he has to spend time with Ben?”
Lisa put her hand on Leela’s shoulder, “I still can’t believe him. You weren’t even married for a year!”
“But maybe it’s for the best. I bet there’s someone else who’s much better for you out there. Some one who will love you and will treat Cody like he’s his own son. That’s why I fell in love with Ray.”
“You really think I could meet someone like that?”
“I know. And from what you’ve told me about the years before you met Ben, I’m sure he’s still out there.” she said with a wink.
Leela opened the door and Lisa called after Jimmy to come on and Leela told Cody to get his stuff ready. After saying goodbye and Cody was in his room gathering his things Leela sat on the couch and pulled out a photo album from under the end table. Inside were pictures of everyone from Planet Express. She had seen everyone over the past years except for Fry and she often wondered about him and whished she could see him again. The last time they saw each other they fought. Fry had tried to warn her about Ben, but of course she threw it in his face. It started out with just them talking and he had offered to help her take care of her baby. She couldn’t believe it, Fry (of all people) was willing to take the responsibility for Leela’s mistakes. But it wasn’t any of his business and Leela let him know it. That’s when they had their last conversation. But they fought the entire time. Sure, when they were working they fought, but not like this. Leela slapped him in the face and Fry actually screamed at her and said he hated her and she just said “Fine, because I feel the same way about you.” and that was the last thing she’d said to him.
She knew, or at least hoped, that he didn’t hate her because she didn’t hate him. She never could. It wasn’t until her and Ben’s first 3 months of marriage that she realized that Fry had always been there for her. That he was right and that he was just trying to help her. Everyday since the divorce she wished that Fry was there with her. Amy had said that he joined the DOOP, but she did not want to hear anything about it. She still cared for him and couldn’t bare hearing about him being in danger.
Leela put down the album with the doorbell rang. Looking up at the clock she sighed and stood up. “Cody, hurry up your Dad’s here!”
She opened the door and saw Ben on the other side in his suit, since he had just got off of work. Ben was about 6 feet tall, had short brown hair and green eyes.
“Hello Ben.” Leela said crossing her arms.
“Hello Leela,” he said with a flirty tone. Leela had no idea why he kept doing that. It was pretty obvious she had absolutely no interest in him. She knew there was something messed up with him. Especially since he had actually came over one night and begged Leela to take him back. He said he was sorry for divorcing her and he just wanted to come home and be a part of their life again. Leela could smell beer on him and slammed the door in his face.
“Is Cody ready?” he asked.
“I’ll go get him.”
She turned around and saw Cody standing there with his backpack on and a book in his hand. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Ben look disappointed when he noticed the book. He saw stuff like reading for fun and playing piano as “wussy”.
“There you are. You ready to go?”
“I guess,” he said dejectedly and refusing to look at his father.
Leela knelt down and gave him a hug and a kiss. “I’ll see you Sunday when I come to pick you up okay?”
Cody just shook his head.
“I love you.”
“Love you too Mom.”
She hugged him again before watching the two of them drive away.
Chapter 3: Ghost of a Good Thing
Love is like a role that we play
But I believe in you so much
I could die for the words that you say
But you’re chasing the ghost of good thing
Haunting yourself as the real thing
It’s getting away from you again
She’s divorced. Am I getting a second chance?
Fry was almost to Leela’s house when that thought hit him.
Was that why I survived? So I could come back here and be with Leela?
He was so distracted he almost didn’t notice her street and he made a sharp turn getting honked at by other drivers. Slowing down he examined the numbers looking for 1729.
1690.…his heart started beating faster and faster.
1710.…his breath quickened and sped up.
1715.…his knuckles turned white as he tightened his grip on the steering wheel.
1720.…his mouth formed a large smile.
1729.…his foot hit the break and he stopped.
Taking a deep breath he got out of the car and looked at her house. It was a small one floor house, with a one car garage and he could see a fenced in backyard. He locked the car door and walked up to the house. The walk seemed to take forever and he didn’t even notice he knocked. The next thing he knew she was standing in front of him. They both stood there stunned. Neither thought they would ever see each other again, but there they were. 10 years of being apart and all they could do was stand in the doorway and stare at each other.
Fry noticed that she had barely changed over the past few years. She looked almost the same as she did in the picture that was in his pocket. Her hair was a lighter shade of purple, she had the faintest sign of wrinkles on the sides of her eye, and she was only about 10 pounds heavier. But besides those few, and barely noticeable things, the years had been very good to her.
Leela noticed similar things on Fry. His hair was still short, but was no longer spiked and he had a thick beard. She also noticed the muscles he had and a scar below his left eye that hadn’t been there before, but when she looked in his eyes she still saw the same kind gentle man she knew years ago.
“Fry?” she asked hoarsely.
He couldn’t speak after hearing her voice. It reminded him of an angel singing, even though she had to clear her voice to speak more clearly. All he could do was smile and nod.
“Oh my God, Fry!” she said throwing her arms around him. She felt him put his arms around her and give her a squeeze. Leela finally pulled away and smiled as she wiped her eye. “I’m so happy to see you.”
“I’m happy to see you too. How have you been?”
Alone, miserable, wanting to kill my ex-husband, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you for the past 10 years. How about you?
“Great. How about you?”
Suicidal, alone, paranoid and having the feeling that someone’s about to kill me. I’ve also had my leg blown off!
“Come in, I was just about to start making dinner.”
“Oh, I don’t want to interrupt.”
“It’s fine, I would actually like you to stay. I’m not a big fan of eating alone.”
“Alone?” he asked closing the door.
“Ben just picked up Cody.”
“Oh that’s too bad. I wanted to meet him.”
Leela looked up a little surprised.
“Amy told me.” he said.
“Oh,” was all she managed to say.
“I am so sorry.”
“So am I. You were right Fry, I should of listened to you.”
“Don’t beat yourself up, you did what you thought was best.”
She smiled, “Thanks Fry.”
Looking in the fridge she pulled out a package. “Steak sound good? I ended up buying too much at the store and need some help getting rid of it.”
Fry laughed, “Hell, anything sounds better that the crap they gave us in the DOOP.”
Leela laughed and got everything else she needed. “Really I thought with Zapp in charge it would be ham, ravioli and a Sunday bar.”
“Yeah, for him.” Fry said leaning against the counter.
Leela laughed again, and remembered how much fun the two of them use to have together. “Can I get you anything to drink? Some soda, beer?”
Fry thought about it and after deciding that this may be a long night he said “Got anything stronger?”
Chapter 4: The Sharp Hint of New Tears
It’s cloudy and so is my head
The hint of these new tears are sharp
I try to choke them back
But it’s useless
I’m useless against them
they’re beating me with ease
Fry and Leela spent that night catching up about the past few years. Fry told her about being in the DOOP, but didn’t go into too much detail, and Leela was grateful for that. Though he told her about the friends he made, he didn’t say anything about how they had died tragically or how he had gotten hurt. He also didn’t say anything about the picture.
Leela had told him about getting a job as a English teacher at the high school and told him more about Cody and showed him some pictures. After she said there wasn’t much to tell, she realized how boring her life was.
“But I can’t wait until Cody’s old enough and I might be able to have him in my class.”
“I’m sure when’s he’s 16 he’ll love having his Mom as a teacher.” Fry teased.
“It should be nice. I mean from what you told me he’s seems like a really great kid.”
“Yeah he is. I just-” she paused and looked at the wine glass in her hands.
“You just what?”
“I just wish Ben would be more involved in what Cody likes.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well…you know how Ben is, and he’s always wanted a son who he could go to blurnsball games with, and who he could go hunting with. But instead he got a son who likes science, and would rather spend the afternoon sitting under a tree reading.”
She took a sip of her wine and her words started coming faster. “And I know how much it hurts Cody and he feels like his Dad doesn’t care about him.” She paused again and tried to fight back tears by putting a hand up to her face. “But Ben doesn’t seem to care, so be puts so much pressure on him and sometimes it’s just too overwhelming. I mean you should of seen Cody’s face when he left, he was so sad.”
Fry put his arm around Leela’s shoulders trying to comfort her.
“The worst part is that Cody only gets to see his Dad every other weekend, but he dreads it. We would both be better off if I had full custody.”
Softly he said, “Oh Leela,”
Finally it was too much for her and she broke down crying into his shoulder.
“Shh,” Fry said, “it’s alright.” He closed his eyes and rested his cheek against her forehead. “Listen, you are fantastic mother, just as I knew you would be, and from what you’ve told me you have done one hell of a job of raising your son. That’s coming from someone who’s never met him. But if his own father is that self-centered and can’t appreciate his son for who he is than it’s his lost.”
Fry wasn’t sure if it was that fact that he was on his third rum and coke, or if Cody’s relationship with Ben somehow reminded him of his relationship with his own father, but he felt the words come easier.
“If Ben keeps being so neglectful he’s going to lose him, and he wont realize his mistakes until Cody’s older. And by that time…” he paused, “he’ll be gone and he’ll never look back with out a second thought.”
Leela looked up, “But I don’t want that to happen. Cody needs a father in his life.”
Taking a chance he exhaled deeply. “Leela I want you to know, no matter where I am, no matter what is going on in either of our lives, I promise, if you ever need me I’ll be right there. For you and for Cody.”
She wiped her eye, “You mean it?”
“Of course I do.”
Biting her lower lip to stop it from quivering Leela put her arms around him. “Thank you.” she whispered.
“You’re welcome. And don’t worry, Cody will be fine. As long as he’s got you in his life he’ll grow up to be a wonderful guy who’s going to make you proud. And I’m sure he’s already doing that.”
Leela pulled away after giving him a light peck on the lips. Smiling she looked at the clock. “Oh wow, it’s almost midnight.”
“Jeeze,” Fry said looking outside at the dark sky, “Time files, huh?”
She laughed before realizing how tired she really was.
“I should probably go.” Fry said standing up, “Do you know if there’s a cheep motel near by?”
Leela heard a voice in her head say Don’t let him stay in a motel, he just offered to take care of you and your son when ever you need it.
“Why don’t you just stay here?”
That was actually Fry’s first idea, but wasn’t going to say anything if she didn’t offer. He smiled and nodded. “If that’s okay with you.”
“It’s no problem. You don’t mind sleeping on the couch do you?”
“That’s fine. Thanks Leela.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll go get you a pillow and a blanket.”
“Cool, I’ll get go grab my bag out of the car.”
He walked outside and smiled. He was glad he and Leela were able to talk so openly to each other. But maybe that was just the alcohol talking. No, he thought, I know what I said and I meant every word of it. He quickly got his back out of the car and went back inside to find Leela laying out a blanket on the couch.
“There you go.” Leela said.
“Thanks again Leela.”
They smiled at each other and it took everything inside of Fry not to run over to her, take her in his arms and kiss her. Instead he said “I guess I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night Fry.”
She walked into her bedroom and closed the door before leaning against it.
Of Fry, she thought, I’ll tell you the truth soon enough.
Chapter 5: Living in your letters.
Pouring over photographs
I’m living in your letters
Breath deeply from this envelope
It smells like you and I
Can’t be with out that scent
It’s filling me will all you mean to me
The next morning Leela woke up around 10:00 after a night of tossing a turning. She kept thinking about Fry and a few time she debated going out into the living room and sleeping with him on the couch even though she wasn’t sure if it would fit the two of them but she didn’t care. She walked into the bathroom and splashed some cold water on her face to wake up and looked at herself in the mirror. For having a 10 year old son and being 5 years short of forty she still looked pretty good. She had noted before that she didn’t really look that much different than when she was 25, but having Fry around now made it more obvious to her. Probably because he complemented her about three times during dinner.
Smiling she walked into the living room and found Fry starting to stand up from the couch.. His back facing her, he stretched his arms out and groaned as Leela admired the muscles in his back and arms. The DOOP is good for something she mused. Fry turned around and jumped a little seeing Leela there. She had on a spaghetti strap tank top and sleep shorts and Fry was trying not to stare at her figure.
“Morning,” he said scratching his head.
Fry noticed he was just in his boxers and quickly grabbed his shorts. He was so tired last night he didn’t even bother changing. He could hear Leela laughing quietly as she waked into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. Fry walked into the kitchen with his shorts from the day before and a clean shirt on.
“What happened?” Leela asked. “The scar on your leg.”
“Oh,” he said looking at his leg and sitting down. “This is the exact height of the bumper on the 2997 Taurus. I looked left instead of right and-bam.”
Leela smiled, “Did you just make that up or do you use it all the time?”
Fry chuckled but decided to tell her the truth. “There’s something I have to tell you.”
He started to explain what happened two years ago when he went into combat for the last time, but first he explained the picture that Amy sent him. Pulling it out of his pocket he placed it on the table in front of her.
“I carried this around for 4 years before I was discharged. I don’t know what it was, but after I got this picture my life turned around. It started out with me winning poker games, but when I went into combat it kept me safe. Before I was discharged I survived 11 bombings and I had been shot at hundreds of times. My friends Tim, Ted and Alex all said that it was the picture.”
Leela picked it up and examined it. It was laminated but the edges were torn and worn out. She remembered the day it was taken. It was Fry’s 26th birthday party and Leela had thrown a party for him at Planet Express. Everyone had a great time and once everyone else was gone Fry asked her why she threw him this party. He thought it was her way of saying that she cared about him like he cared for her, but as always Leela said that she just wanted to be friends with him. It broke his heart into pieces.
“Then,” Fry said getting her attention back, “I found out I was going on a dangerous mission. No one knew what was going to happen, and I didn’t think I was going to make it. Before I went I took this picture.” he paused and took a deep breath, “The last thing I remember was this huge explosion…and then nothing. When I woke up I was in the hospital and-” he put his leg on the table and motioned to his scar, “this was gone.”
Leela’s eye went wide and she put her hand on his leg, “Gone?”
“Completely gone. I spent four months in the hospital where they were able to reattach it. Then I spent the rest of the time in therapy. Both physical and mental.”
Leela just remained silent.
“That’s where I’ve been the past two years.”
He could tell Leela was a little shaken and he took her hand. “After I knew I had to see you again. I believe that you protected me. When I got better I sold my house, my car, and everything else except for what I have in my backpack and then I walked up here.”
“You walked up here?”
“And it didn’t occur to you that that could be dangerous?”
He shrugged and Leela took a deep breath.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, I just can’t believe what happened to you.”
“But I’m okay now.”
Leela put her head in her hands and Fry moved closer to her and gently moved his hand up and down her back. She almost lost Fry. More than once. Fry listened as she took a deep shaky breath.
“I’m just glad you’re okay now.” she said softly looking in his eyes.
Fry put his arms around her. “So am I.”
Leela smiled and leaned into him putting her arms around him. I could get use to this.
Saturdays without her son were very uneventful at Leela’s house, but luckily for her she had Fry to help her pass the time this weekend. They went to the grocery store where Leela didn’t feel like a loser walking through the isles by herself since he was there the whole time talking to her. After dropping off everything back her house Leela suggested they go out for lunch so they walked to a small deli that wasn’t too far from Leela’s house and after eating spent sometime in the small bookstore across the street.
At 5:00 Fry was watching as Leela slept on the couch with her book on her stomach. Smiling he put down his own book and quietly got out of his chair and picked up her book and close it before setting it on the table.
“Stealing my book?”
Fry turned and saw Leela sitting up.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“That’s okay,” she said stretching out her arms.
Looking at the clock Fry said, “Hey you wanna go see a movie or something?”
Leela smiled and nodded, “Sure.”
Four hours later Fry and Leela were walking through the park after seeing The Floppy Disk, which Fry found out was a remake of The Notebook, and going out for dinner.
“That was fun,” Leela said as they slowly walked through the park on the curved sidewalk. “I haven’t seen a movie in a long time.”
“Well at least not one that I want to see.”
“Why don’t you go on the weekends Cody’s at Ben’s?”
“I don’t want to go by myself. Besides I’m busy.”
Fry slowed down, “You’re busy?”
“Yeah, I mean during the school year I use that time to grade papers and then I have cleaning and shopping to do. Then during the summer I still have cleaning and shopping to do. Plus anything else important I have to get done.”
“Wow. Sounds like an exciting life.”
Leela playfully slapped him as he laughed. She couldn’t help but laugh herself, “Don’t be rude.”
“I’m sorry. I’m just trying to figure out what you do for yourself.”
“I just told you.”
“No, you do that stuff because you have to. I’m saying what do you do for fun?”
They walked in silence for a few minutes before Leela answered, “Painting.”
“After Ben and I divorced I started painting. I still do it when I can.”
“Yeah, I mean I have all these emotions and I would draw pictures of stuff like to ocean or gardens or things like that and it would help calm me down.”
“Hmm,” Fry said before pausing, “was that before or after you took your Valium?”
Leela shoved him again as he laughed.
“I’m kidding,” he said defensively.
The two of them sat on a park bench as the sun slowly set over the trees. Leela turned and looked at him. “You’re different.”
“The way you look. Everything.”
“You look different too, but in a good way.”
“But you’re kind of the same.”
She nodded, “Yeah.”
They sat there for a few more minutes before Fry spoke. “Do you feel like we’ve had this conversation before?”
She thought about it before nodding, “Yeah…weird.”
They looked up as the sky quickly turned black and they heard thunder rumbling in the distance.
“Great. We have to go.” Fry said standing up.
When they got to the car the rain had already started pouring. Fry struggled to find the right key, leaving them in the rain. His shirt was soaked through when he finally got in the car and he rubbed his arms fiercely trying to warm himself up. After turning on the heater, he pulled out of his place. Driving extra slow Fry struggled to see out the windshield.
“It would be easier to just stick my head out the window.” he said moving his foot from gas to break, gas to break. “I can’t see a thing.”
He tried to turn on the windshield wipers all the way on, but realized they already were.
“Just relax, I would rather spend an hour getting home than be killed.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll be careful.”
After half an hour in total silence Fry slowly pulled the car into Leela’s driveway. Blinded by the rain Fry ran straight into the door before stumbling backwards. Leela grabbed his arm and took out her keys letting them inside the house. Fry groaned as he sat down on the couch.
“Are you alright?” Leela asked sitting down next to him, “You hit the door pretty hard.”
“No I’m fine.”
“Here let me see.”
She pushed his hair back and saw a large red mark. “Do you want some ice?”
“No, it’s not that bad, besides I’m freezing, the last thing I need is ice.”
Leela had forgotten her clothes were drenched and felt a sudden chill.
“I’m gonna go change and I’ll get you a towel to dry off.”
She left the room and Fry sighed. Thank God, Leela didn’t realize until she looked at herself in the mirror, that her shirt was soaked through and her bra was showing but Fry was grateful she didn’t notice him staring at her. The whole time when they were in the car and when she sat next to him Fry kept thinking Don’t stare at her, don’t stare at her. A gentleman wouldn’t stare at her. A friend wouldn’t stare at her. He was relieved when she said she was going to change.
Realizing he was still in his wet clothes Fry reached in his bag and pulled out a pair of sleep pants (his only pair) and a dry shirt. Leela came out a few seconds later with sweats and a NNYU shirt on.
“I put out some towels in the bathroom for you.”
“Cool, thanks Leela.”
When Fry shut the door Leela picked up his backpack to move it out of the way but noticed something on the floor. Setting his backpack against the wall she picked up what looked like a stack of letters that fell out. She guessed they were letters Amy sent him but noticed they all had her name on them with her parents address. There were about 10 letters, all different sizes; some thick, some thin, but all were addressed to her. She opened last one and noticed that it was dated two years ago.
I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that after tomorrow I might never see you again. Tomorrow my unit is going on a extremely dangerous mission. I’m writing you this letter so I can get all my feeling out and if I die I’ll be happy knowing that you found out how I feel.
First off, Ben if you’re reading this, please give this to Leela. I wont be bothering her anymore. I just want to say good bye to her.
Second of I hope you and Ben are happy and I mean it. I may think he’s a huge jerk but if you and your husband and son are happy then so am I. but I also want you to know that I wish you’d made a different decision. I don’t trust Ben, and he’s gonna hurt you. I know you might not like me saying this, but it’s the truth.
Finally all I want to say is that I love you. I always have please know that. I hope the rest of your life is full of happiest. I hope Cody grows up to be a wonderful man and I hope you’ll forgive me for saying that I hate you, because I don’t and I never could.
I Love you,
Private Phillip J. Fry
Leela wiped her eye and heard the bathroom door open. She struggled to get the letter back in the envelope but her hands were shaking and she couldn’t do it.
Leela turned and saw Fry standing behind the couch looking at her. He saw the letter in her hands and his eyes went wide. He wasn’t sure which letter she read and was a little scared seeing as though he went a little crazy in some of them, that’s why he never sent any. In some he went into detail about his nightmares and also in some he kept saying how much he loved her and that he missed her, but instead of sounding like he really felt he ended up sounding like a crazy stalker. He was drunk when he wrote some of them too.
Leela stood up and Fry wasn’t sure about what she was going to do. He was surprised when she wrapped her arms around him and then shocked him by kissing him. Not like she did the night before but passionately and Fry could hear her moan slightly as he kissed her back. After they broke the kiss they stood there for a long time holding each other, both never wanting to let go.
“I haven’t been kissed like that in years.”
Leela was curled up next to Fry on the couch, his arm around her shoulders and she had her hand rested on his knee and her head on his chest.
“Really? A pretty girl like you?”
Leela laughed and snuggled closer to him. “Why do you always say things like that?”
“You always tell me that I’m pretty or beautiful, you have since we’ve met.”
Fry turned and looked at her. “You are beautiful.”
Leela smiled and kissed him. The two of them stayed up for a little longer before Leela stood up saying she was going to bed. She was about to walk in her room when she turned and looked at Fry.
“Are you coming?” she said opening the door and walking inside.
“Hell yeah,” he said jumping up from the couch.
“We’re just sleeping,” Leela warned him.
Still, it’ll be more action than I’ve had in the last 10 years.
Chapter 6: This Is Home
Waiting for a place I’ve never known
This is home
Now I’m finally where I belong
Yeah this is home
I’ve been searching for a place of my own
Now I’ve found it
Fry rolled over in bed and saw Leela’s back facing him. The shades were pulled over the windows but there was a little bit of sun coming in. Smiling he scooted closer and kissed her cheek.
“Hey, wake up.”
He heard Leela groan a reply and buried her head in her pillow. Laughing he put his arm around her and pulled her closer.
“Come on wake up.”
Leela squirmed in his arms and Fry kept a strong grip around her. Laughing Leela broke free and pushed him on his back.
“Good morning.” he said.
“Morning,” she said kissing him.
“You know I could get use to this.”
“Is that so?” she said laughing as Fry ran his hands up her back. He laughed as she kissed his chin and neck.
“So,” Fry said, “what do you wanna do?”
Leela looked at the clock and got up. “Nothing right now, I have to go pick up Cody.”
“Cool, so I finally get to meet him?”
“Yeah, I’ll go get him, come back and get you then the three of us will go out for lunch.”
“Why don’t I just go pick him up with you?”
Leela sat up and Fry did the same. “Well, you know that Ben hates you, and I would just like to avoid having a scene with him.”
“But can I ask you something?”
“What exactly was your plan when you came up here? I mean you didn’t know that Ben and I were divorced and you knew that he hated you.”
“To be honest I didn’t really have a plan. I just figured I come by say hi and catch up a little before leaving. I thought Ben would at least let me do that. After 10 years of not seeing each other I just figured he’d be somewhat of a gentleman.”
“Well, you would be wrong. He said that if you ever came near me he would borrow his brothers gun and shoot you. And with his dad being a judge and his brother being chief of police he’d might get off easy.”
“Oh come on. He’s not above the law, like Nixon.”
“When your family controls the town you are.”
“But the other thing I wanted to ask you how long do you plan on staying here?”
He thought about it and finally smiled. “Lets just say I have no intention of leaving anytime for the foreseeable future.”
She smiled and teased him, “Then where are you gonna stay?”
“I don’t know. I do know this really nice girl. She’s divorced and has a ten year old son. I thought she might let me stay with her.”
“Well you don’t have to do that. You can just stay here.”
Leela got out of bed and got some clothes and a towel before going into the bathroom. Fry stayed in bed for a while and felt Leela kiss his head before leaving. He laid there staring up at the ceiling thinking about how lucky he was and that now he finally had a chance to win Leela’s heart. He stayed there for few more minutes before getting up and getting ready to meet Cody.
Across town Ben watched out the window as Cody finished mowing the lawn. His mom would be here soon and then he wouldn’t see him for another 2 weeks, but he was okay with that. The kid was too whiney anyway. Like last night he sat on the couch after dinner when Ben had asked him to clean the kitchen. After he asked again and Cody still didn’t move Ben completely flipped out. Leela would of said he was too harsh but what did she know? She was too nice and didn’t discipline him at all so Ben took that as his job. Cody needed some “tough love” as Ben told Leela and Gramps, but both of them disagreed. Ben thought his father was a total hypercritic saying he was too hard on Cody but he raised Ben the same way.
He shook his head and sat down at the table and thought about her. Sure Leela didn’t love him, but who said they couldn’t be friends? Ben had even thought of suggesting they become “friends with benefits” but knew she wouldn’t go for it. So instead he tried to just be friendly and suggest that all three of them do something fun as a family. Then keep doing that until she started warming up to him again. That’s when he would make his move. After a while he would ask her to go out for a drink, “just as friends”. But Leela was smart, and she knew what would happen; he’d probably spike her drink with Vodka until she started slurring and then talk about how sorry he was, and with her state of mind she’d probably forgive him, then one thing would lead to another. She would never go for it.
He could hear Leela’s car pull up and opened up the back door. “Cody your Mom’s here!” he shouted.
Cody ran inside, grabbed his bag and burst out the door. Leela had just gotten out of the car when Ben walked outside and met up with them.
“Hey Cody, how was your weekend?”
Cody noticed that his dad was right behind him.
“We had fun didn’t we champ?” Ben asked putting his hands on Cody’s shoulder causing him to cringe.
“Yeah we did.”
Leela knew it was a lie but she also knew that Cody would remain silent until they left.
After saying goodbye to his dad Cody got in the back seat, thankful he wouldn’t have to see him for another two weeks.
“So what do you have going on today?” Ben asked standing a little too close for Leela’s liking.
“We’re going out for lunch,” she said going around the car and opening the door. Suddenly her mouth formed a smile. “With an old friend.”
With an old friend? What the hell did she mean by that?
Ben was sitting on the couch with a beer thinking about Leela’s words. He wasn’t sure who she was talking about and then realized he shouldn’t care. He didn’t care.
But what if who he thought it was? It can’t be, 10 years in the DOOP? With that jackass Brannigan he should be dead by now. Besides Zapp hated the guy too.
Although the way she smiled…it was like she was taunting him. Like she was mocking him. “Yes, that’s right.” she seemed to say “I’m going out with him and he’s even going to meet your son.”
Ben hated the guy, what was his name? Fry, that’s it, he hated Fry more than he had hated anyone. He tried to steal Leela away from him.
Ben prayed that Fry wasn’t the one Leela was talking about but if it was Fry, he had better watch himself. If he even got near Leela he would regret the day he ever came back to New, New York and the day he messed with Benjamin Nobel.
“Mom I thought we were going out for lunch? Like we always do.”
Leela looked in the mirror and saw Cody’s puzzled face. “Don’t worry we are. But a old friend of mine came up for a visit and he’s coming with us. He’s staying at the house so we have to pick him up.”
“Why didn’t he just come with you when you came to get me?”
Leela thought about the best way to explain their situation to him. “Well he knew your Dad knew each other before you were born and- lets just say that Dad didn’t like him very much.”
“Oh. Why, is he mean?”
Leela thought about the conversation she and Fry had two night before. Smiling she said “No, he’s very, very nice.”
A few minutes later Leela pulled up into the driveway and honked the horn. Fry walked out a few seconds later with his shorts and last clean shirt on. Climbing into the passengers seat he looked over his shoulder.
“You must be Cody. Hi I’m Fry.”
“Your Mom has told me a lot about you.”
Cody just shook his head and Fry smiled before putting on his seatbelt. “So where are we going?”
That night Fry was relaxing on the couch after a afternoon with Leela and Cody. They had went for lunch at a small pizzeria that had a bunch of old fashion arcade games and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the park. Leela watched as Fry and Cody ran around and swung on the swings and anything else they could do. By the time they were done with dinner Cody was exhausted. As Leela put him to bed he said that he liked Fry and that he was happy that he was staying with them.
As Fry laid there he thought about how easily he got along with Cody and how much fun he seemed to be having. But he also thought about Leela brushing her legs against his under the table and flashing a smiled at him. Then at the park when Cody wasn’t looking she would hold his hand. After she put Cody to bed and sat on the couch with him she pushed him on his back and kissed him. He had no idea what had gotten into her but he didn’t really care. All he knew was that things were going to change for the better.
He smiled as he slowly drifted into sleep.
He was in the desert, just like he was years ago. It was hot and he felt weak, his gear weighed him down. Tim, Ted and Alex were in front of him their guns drawn silently stalking the area. It was quiet he noticed, too quiet, and when he looked up he saw someone looking around the corner of a building up a head. He called after his friends to warn them but they didn’t hear him. He tried again but this time nothing came out. He couldn’t speak no matter how hard he tried, so he just ran after them. To get their attention he shot the ground but that didn’t even work. They were walking into certain doom. They turned the corner and Fry began running faster, but he grew weaker with every step. He expected to hear gun fire but there was nothing, just the same creepy silence. This time he sprinted and when he rounded the corner he was greeted by four guns aimed right at his head. It turns out the fourth person was Ben. He tried to scream but again nothing came out and they all pulled the triggers.
Fry woke up screaming and fell on the floor. He gasped for breath and wiped the sweat from his face. He heard a door open and Leela ran out wearing her robe.
“Fry are you alright? I heard you screaming from my room.”
He got off the ground and sat on the couch taking deep steady breaths closing his eyes. “I’m fine.”
Running a hand through his hair and then putting his hand up to his forehead he sighed heavily. “I just had a bad dream is all.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
He thought about it and looked up smiling. “No, I’m fine.”
“Okay, just try to go back to sleep. And if you need anything I’ll be in my room.” she said before kissing the top of his head and going back into her room. He laid down and sighed before closing his eyes.
The next morning Leela walked out of her bedroom and found Fry’s blanket and pillow neatly folded next to the couch on the floor. Looking in the kitchen she saw him stirring a cup of coffee absentmindedly. He was staring into space and didn’t even notice her walk in.
“Hey,” she said softly and she saw him look up his eyes bloodshot, “are you okay?”
He said nothing and just took a sip of coffee.
“Come on, talk to me.” she said talking his hand.
He sipped his coffee again and sighed before speaking. His voice was a horse whisper. “The nightmares didn’t stop. I had three more after the first one and finally gave up on going back to sleep.”
He was about to add something but shut his mouth putting a hand up to his head.
“It’s okay, go on.”
“I haven’t had these dreams in a while” he said finally, “not for almost four months. But I use to have them all the time in the army but that’s normal a lot of people had them. I also had them when I first got home but that was normal too. Except mine were weird. They weren’t like the other dreams I had, it was like I was actually living them.”
“They’re all like my old missions but they all end differently.” he paused, “In my dreams I never make it out alive. But the worst part is that it’s everyone in my unit that kills me.”
“There’s something I didn’t tell you. You know that the picture gave me luck but I didn’t tell you it also made me the most hated guy on base.”
“Because it made me so lucky. No one could believe I survived everything that I had. But the thing that made them hate me was that guys who had girlfriends or fiancées or wife’s and kids never made it back. But I did, and I was the one who had nothing.”
He sighed and wiped his eyes. “At times I felt like my friends even hated me. Then none of them made it back. When I got hurt they were all with me. Up until that point the picture had kept all of us safe. But then it was like it’s luck ran out and it had just enough for me. Then when I was in the hospital with a bunch of other soldiers I kept hearing whispers about me. They would talk about the other soldiers who had died and they would talk about their families. Then all their eyes would shift to me. Like it was my fault. That’s when the nightmare started getting worse. I thought about Tim and Ted and Alex’s families and felt awful. I mean they all had their families and I had nothing. But I made it out.”
Fry buried his head in his hands and Leela put her chin on his shoulder. “You don’t have nothing.”
He looked up and Leela ran a finger down his cheek. “You have me.”
Smiling he put his arms around her and squeezed her. “That’s all I need.”
Fry would of kissed her then but pulled back when he heard the door open. Cody wandered out a few seconds later with his pajamas on.
He sat at the table next to Fry and Leela stood up. “Let me get breakfast started.”
Chapter 7: Things I’ll never say
If I could say what I want to say
I’d say I want to blow you away
Be with you every night, am I squeezing you too tight?
If I could say what I want to see
I want to see you go down on one knee
Marry me today
Guess I’m wishing my life away
With these things I’ll never say
Throughout the next two weeks Fry had practically moved into Leela’s house. The two of them began working on their relationship and Fry had also developed a relationship with Cody, which Leela absolutely loved. The two of them got along so easily, just like a father and son. The three of them would take walks in the park where Fry and Cody would run around, then in the evening the two of them would play chess until Leela said it was getting too late. After Cody would go to bed Fry and Leela would sit on the back steps looking out at the creek behind her house. He hadn’t noticed it until Leela pointed it out and also showed him where Cody’s tree house was. There was a wooded area behind her house and Cody’s tree house was a little farther down into the woods. Fry said that it needed to be repaired because the wood was rotting and it could be dangerous if it started raining. Promising he would rebuild it he went out and examined it everyday and with Leela’s approval went up there with Cody a few times. Since it was still hot out it was okay, but he had a feeling that if it rained it would collapse.
Since school was starting in two weeks Leela and Cody began preparing. Leela had taken him shopping for new clothes and Fry also bought some new stuff since he had been wearing the same thing over and over.
One morning Fry was sitting on the couch drinking a glass of juice when Leela ran out of her room wearing a black skirt and a white blouse. She searched her desk for some papers, unplugged her laptop and shoved everything in her bag.
“Okay, I’ve got my computer, all the papers I need-”
“What is exactly going on?” Fry asked.
“I have a meeting today to start preparing but I completely forgot about it. I think have everything but I feel like I’m missing something.”
Fry raised his hand. “Ooh, ooh pick me! Pick me!”
Leela smiled and pointed at him, “Yes, Phil?”
“You forgot to find someone to watch Cody.”
Leela thought about it and put her hand up to her head, “Oh crud, you’re right. It’s too late to ask one of his friends, and he’s not going to Ben’s until 5:00-”
“Leela I’ll watch him.”
“Why didn’t I think of that? That would be perfect. Thank you Fry, but I’ve got to go.”
She was about to walk out the door when Fry stopped her. “Hey, since Cody’s going to Ben’s…do you wanna go do something?”
“Like go on a date?”
“Yeah,” he said.
“I’d love to Fry,”
“Cool,” he said not knowing what else to say.
“Lets talk about it when I get home because I’m running really late.”
She closed the door and Fry smiled. Yes, yes, yes!
He emptied his glass and went into the kitchen to refill it. Cody walked out of his room a few seconds later.
“Hey Fry, where’s my mom?”
“She had a meeting. She’ll be home in a few hours so it’s just going to be you and me.”
“You want some breakfast? How do pancakes sound?”
“Can you make pancakes?”
He laughed, “Can I make pancakes-” he paused “actually I can’t. Hey, there’s a first time for everything isn’t there?”
“Okay, so this will not be my first time.” Fry said looking at the mess he had made in the kitchen trying to make the pancakes. There was milk and eggs all over the table and he had batter in his beard.
“How about we just have cereal?” Cody asked.
“Yeah good idea.”
A few hours later at the high school Leela was sitting at her desk looking around her room. Everything was set up and she had just finished writing down the book numbers. The one thing she hated was that her room was always like a sauna during the first few weeks and the last few weeks of school, then during the winter it was like a ice box. Her blouse had sweat stains on them and she just wanted to get home to change. But there was one more thing she needed to do. Picking up her cell phone telephone she dialed a number and heard it ring a few times before her mother answered.
“Leela! How are you sweetie?”
“Good,” she said.
“That didn’t sound like a very optimistic ‘good’.”
“Well, I have a problem.”
“Oh boy, what did Ben do?”
“No, it’s not Ben. Do you remember my friend Fry?”
“You mean the nice young man who tried to save you from Ben but you just threw it in his face?”
Leela sighed, her mother was determined to never let her forget about what she did to Fry. “Yeah, him. Well he’s back in town and he’s been staying here with Cody and me-”
“’Cody and I’ dear, for God’s sake you’re an English teacher.”
“Sorry, he’s been staying here with Cody and I.”
“So what’s the problem? Has he turned into a jerk?”
“No, he’ perfect. I mean he’s nice, he’s funny, he’s respectful, just like he was before, and he’s also great with Cody.”
“That is a problem.” she said sarcastically.
“No, the problem is-is-is-”
No matter how hard she tried, Leela could not get the words out. Come on, she thought, you’re a grown woman who deserves to be happy.
“What is it Leela?”
“The problem is that I love him and can’t figure out how to tell him!” she spat out.
Although it felt good to get her feelings off her chest she was worried when her mother didn’t respond. “Leela,” she finally said, “I can’t tell you how to tell him. If I did that then I would be the one saying that you love him. You just need to be honest with him. Trust me he loves you, and when the moment feels right you’ll just say it. There’s no reason to be scared, he will make you happy, and that’s what you deserve.”
Leela smiled. “Thanks mom.”
After hanging up the phone Leela took out her sketch book and began to draw.
About 45 minutes later she left the school and arrived home 10 minutes after that. Walking in the house she put down her bag and was expected to be greeted by Fry and Cody, but instead the house was empty. Cody’s chess set was on the kitchen table and she could then hear laughter coming from the back yard. She thought they went to the tree house, even though she told Fry she didn’t really like Cody up there, but then saw the two of them playing catch. Watching Fry throw the ball and Cody catching it her heart surged. Cody was actually having fun. He threw the ball back to Fry and once more he threw it. This time when Cody didn’t catch it Fry just nodded.
“It’s okay, you’re doing great. Just keep your eye on the ball. You want to try a pop up again?”
Fry threw the ball up high in the air and Leela watched as it landed in Cody’s glove.
“Nice!” Fry said giving him a high-five. Then he looked up and saw Leela looking out the window. “Hey Cody I’m gonna get some Slurm, you want some?”
“Alright, I’ll be right back.”
He walked inside and was greeted by a teary eyed Leela.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
Leela said nothing but threw her arms around him and kissed him.
“Whoa, what was that for?”
“For being the wonderful man that you are.”
Fry smiled and looked outside. “He’s a great kid. You’ve done a wonderful job of raising him. He‘s smart too. Bet he gets it from you.”
“Well we know he doesn’t get it from his father.”
Reaching in the fridge he pulled out two regular Slurm’s and a Diet Slurm for Leela. They looked out the window and saw Cody throw the ball up in the air and catch it.
“He’s actually pretty good.”
“Yeah when he’s not being yelled at.” she said a hint of disappointment in her voice.
Fry gently put his arm around her and gave her a light hug before they went back outside.
“Cody look who I found.” Fry said when they walked outside..
“Hi Mom!” Cody said.
“Hi sweetie, having fun?”
“Yeah,” he said drinking his Slurm, “and Fry said I was doing really good.”
“You are, lets show her.”
Fry picked up the ball and threw it to him. Leela smiled as Cody caught it.
“Great job Cody.”
He threw the ball back at Fry, but Fry was too busy staring at Leela and it hit him in the stomach. He bent over as Cody and Leela ran over to him.
“Sorry Fry are you okay?” Cody asked.
“I’m fine,” he wheezed, “man do you have an arm. Just like your mom.”
“We’re lucky he didn’t throw it so hard we’d have to take you to the hospital.”
“Sorry again Fry,”
“It’s alright buddy, my fault. I wasn’t looking.”
“Why don’t you guys take a break? Lets go inside where it’s cool.”
The three of them walked inside where Fry and Cody sat at the table and Leela got out a plate with cookies on it. She watched for a while as the two of them played chess and smiled when Fry put his hand up to his head observing the board. She knew by the look on Cody’s face that the game would be over soon. As Fry put his hand on his rook Cody smirked.
“I wouldn’t do that.”
Fry pulled his hand back and looked at the board again. Then he hovered his hand over his knight.
“Okay,” Fry said, “then what would you do?”
“Move your bishop 4 spots forward, but then I can just take that with my queen and you’ll be in checkmate.”
“So there’s no safe move for me is there?”
Fry laughed and nodded his head. “Okay, you win.”
Cody started resetting the board but Leela stopped him. “Sweetie your dad is going to be here soon, you might want to get your stuff.”
Cody’s smiled disappeared and he sulked to his room. Fry looked at Leela.
“Wow, poor kid. The look on his face-”
“I know. But at least he had fun with you. Thanks for that by the way.”
“It’s no problem, I had fun too.”
Leela smiled and heard the doorbell rang. “That’s Ben. Would you mind just going in my room for now?” He gave her a sly look and she playfully slapped him. “Not like that. I just don’t want Ben to see you.”
“He doesn’t scare me Leela.”
“I know, he doesn’t scare me either, but-you know how he is. If he finds out that you’re here he might take it out on Cody.”
Fry thought about it and stood up. “Okay, but sooner or later I’ll have to see him. I can’t just hide forever.”
He walked into her room leaving Leela to think about his words. He has a point, but I’m just not ready for this. Cody came out a few seconds later with his bag and Leela walked over to him. “Hey Cody, can you do me a favor?”
“What is it?”
“Well, can you just not say anything to your Dad about Fry?”
“Okay but why?”
“Remember how I told you that Dad doesn’t like him?”
Cody shook his head. “Yeah,”
“Well I don’t want your Dad to get upset. It’s just too hard to deal with. Okay?”
“Okay. I won’t say anything.”
Leela gave him a hug before he left with Ben and she sat down on the couch. Fry came out a few seconds later and sat next to her.
“So,” she said, “what are we doing for our date?”
“I thought that we’d do something fun.”
“Yeah, something fun and relaxing. Plus the only dressy outfit I have is my uniform and I usually only wear that for special occasions.”
“So our first date isn’t a special occasion?” she teased.
“It’s so special I can’t wear my uniform because it’s not nice enough.”
“So instead you’re going to wear shorts and a tee-shirt and take me to play mini-golf?”
“Exactly.” he winked.
“Okay, just let me change.”
After a short drive Fry and Leela arrived at the mini-golf course. After paying and getting their clubs Fry picked out two balls. “Here, blue for the strong and pink for the weak.”
“Okay,” Leela said taking the blue ball.
“Hey that’s mine.”
Leela laughed and picked out a purple and a orange ball. “How about these?”
“Which one do I get?”
Handing him the orange ball Leela walked out to the course with Fry following.
The two of them slowly made their way through the course, talking and laughing and by the 15th hole they were tied. Fry had the score sheet in his pocket and he put the ball down before hitting it towards the windmill hole. It went through the windmill but bounced off the hole.
Leela giggled before hitting her ball and watching it go through the windmill. Fry was on the other side and saw it go inside the hole.
“Did it go in?” he heard her ask.
“No,” he lied picking the ball out of the hole.
Leela saw him and ran after him. “You liar!”
Fry laughed and held the ball up above his head. “Try to get it.”
She remembered Fry always was ticklish so she poked him in the side and he jumped dropping the ball.
“Okay, okay,” he said, “just don’t do that again.”
Leela picked up her ball and watched as Fry lined up his putt, then poked him again. The ball bounced off of the hole again and Fry hit it in.
“That’s counts as 2 because you screwed me up.” he said writing it down.
“Fine, but what’s the score now?”
Fry took one look and put the paper back in his pocket. “That’s not important.”
“You’re just saying that because you’re losing.”
“I can still beat you.”
A few holes later at the 18th hole the two of them were tied again. Fry had just made his putt in two tries and he was just taunting Leela. “You know you have to make a hole in one to win.”
I’m just saying if you don’t I’ll win.”
“Just don’t choke”
“I’m gonna choke you if you don’t shut up.”
Fry laughed as Leela swung and they both watched as the ball went right into the hole.
“Looks like I win.” she said smiling.
“That’s your opinion.”
Leela laughed before putting her arms around him. “That was so much fun Fry.”
“I’m glad you had a nice time. So what do you want to do now? Are you hungry?”
“Why don’t we just go pick up something and go relax at home.”
Ben watched as a car with two people, one of which looked like Leela, pulled out of the mini-golf course parking lot. He couldn’t tell who the guy next to her was, but had a feeling it was Fry.
He and Cody had just had dinner at the restaurant across the street and when he saw the car he turned around and looked at Cody. “What was your mom doing tonight?”
“I don’t know, why?”
She’s up to something, I know it. He had to find out, I can’t go anywhere though, I’ve got the kid. Finally it hit him and he faked a page.
“Bad news Cody, I’ve got to go into the office for a few hours, but I’ll just call Gramps and see if you can spend the night.”
“Okay,” Cody said secretly ecstatic. He would rather spend time with Gramps than with his Dad.
After calling his father and dropping Cody off, Ben made his way to Leela’s.
Chapter 8: As Lovers Go
I’ll be true I’ll be useful
I’ll be caviler, I’ll be yours my dear
And I’ll belong to you if you just let me through
This is easy as lovers go
So don’t complicate it by hesitating
This is wonderful as loving goes
This is Tailor Made,
What’s the sense of waiting?
As Leela looked into Fry’s eyes she knew that this was the moment her mother had told her about only hours ago. She knew that tonight was the night she would finally tell Fry exactly how she felt. There was nothing in the universe that could stop her.
The two of them were slow dancing in the kitchen after dinner. Leela had just finished cleaning up when she heard Fry put on soft romantic music and felt him take her hand. While they were dancing he thanked her for letting him stay with her and her son and everything else she had done for him. Leela just smiled and rested her head on his shoulder. She thought about how this was what she had always wanted. It didn’t matter if they were at a fancy ball in Paris dancing or in a small kitchen in a small house in upper New, New York. All that she cared about was that she was with Fry.
“You know,” she heard him say, “I’ve always dreamed of being with you for years but I never thought I would get the chance. I mean with me being in the DOOP and you being married.”
“I never thought I would get the chance to be with you either. I mean I‘ve hoped for this moment for the past ten years.”
Fry stopped moving and looked in her eye. Seeing her sincerity and realizing that Leela was finally his he leaned in to kiss her, but to his surprise he stopped him.
“Wait, there’s something I have to tell you.”
“I never told you the reason why Ben and I divorced.”
This time he let go of her and gave her a look, “What about it?”
Leela wiped her eye and took a deep breath. Just tell him, he’s done so much for you, and he deserves to know the truth.
“After our first few months, oh hell probably not even that, our first few weeks, I began to see who he really was. The person you warned me about.”
“Leela, did he hurt you?”
“No, he didn’t hurt me. I hurt him.”
Fry leaned against the counter trying to figure out what was going on.
“We started fighting all the time. I realized what a jackass he was and that I should of listened to you. Then I started thinking about you. A lot. Of course Ben wasn’t too happy about that, and finally he asked if I was in love with him or you. Then the next day we started signing divorce papers.” He stood up straight and felt Leela take his hand. “All I’m trying to say is that, I love you. I love you so much Fry. You’re the only one who’s ever been there for me 100% and no matter what I’ve done to you you’ve never stopped loving me. I mean when I‘m with you, I can just be myself, and I never feel like someone‘s judging me. You and I can just sit around for hours and have tons of fun. Plus you‘re great with Cody and he really likes you. All I‘ve ever wanted was someone who loves me for me, and it turns out he‘s been there the whole time. You‘ve done so much for me, and I think it‘s about time that I do something for you. For both of us.” Leela saw Fry’s shocked expression and smiled. “Well say something.”
Finally he just smiled back. “Leela, I-I love you so very much, no, so much more than very much, and I‘m so happy that you feel the same way. You have no idea how happy I am right now.”
“If you want you can kiss me now.” Leela said.
“I was getting to that.”
Damn it, I can’t see anything.
Ben was hiding in a bush across the street watching Leela’s house. An hour had went by and he still couldn’t see anything. The blinds were drawn and could only see a small light on, but not enough to cast any shadows. Soon the light went out and the house was black, but he did see a slight movement in the bedroom and felt his blood began to boil. He wanted to go over there and break open the door, but knew that it wasn’t the time. As a lawyer he had learned to put two and two together so he was 99% positive that it was Fry. But he had to be 100% positive so he decided to leave, plus is was about this time of night that the crazy lady, who’s bush he was hiding in, let her stupid cats out.
The last thing I need is some cat pissing on my shoes, he thought standing up and looking at the bedroom window. Leela’s in there with him, I know it. Probably putting out like a harlot. Disgusting.
He shook his head and walked down the street where he parked his SUV, not wanting to chance having Leela see it. Making a note to borrow the stuff his brother Dan used while staking out crime scenes, he started the car and drove away.
Fry had better watch himself, if he runs into me he’s gonna be in a shitload of trouble. But hey, I’m a nice guy, I’ll let him off with a warning. Tell him to get the hell out of here and stay away from Leela, or else, then I’ll rough him up a little to show him that I’m serious. Nothing too noticeable of course, I don’t want a repeat of my incident with that loser Adam. I almost got caught then, but luckily he kept his mouth shut. Probably because of Dad and Dan.
Ben thought about what happened when Leela went out with Adam for that short amount of time. Just like he did with all the other guys she had tried to form relationships with over the years, he watched him and when he found Adam alone he gave him a talking to. To his surprise, unlike the others who had no spines and just gave into Ben, Adam stood up to him. That’s when Ben punched him in the face, knocking out his front tooth, and that’s when Adam knew that he was serious, and that something worse could happen to him. He broke up with Leela the next day, and just like Ben told him, “It’s just isn’t working out for me and you deserve better.” Of course, since Adam was her brother in law, Ben knew that Lisa suspected him. But Leela was stupid when it came to her relationships and her relationship with Fry would be no different. All Ben had to do was let him know he was serious, and that if he didn’t stay away from Leela, he’ll pay. It wouldn’t be that hard, and his problem would be gone. Even if the guy was in the DOOP, Ben would bet on his life that Fry was still the weak and spineless idiot he was 10 years ago. Then with Fry gone Ben would comfort Leela, because she would be broken hearted, and he would tell her that people changed and it wasn’t her fault that Fry had turned out to be a jerk.
Yeah, Ben thought smiling as he pulled into his driveway, this “friends with benefits” thing is looking better and better.